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A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress 
and Achievement 




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' ' GENERAL IT]':MS 53 
















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FARM 141 







































a The new Y'; 

History of Butler County 



Butler county is situated a little to the east of the north cen- 
tral portion of the State of Iowa, in the third tier of comities 
south of the Minnesota line and the fourth tier west of the Mis- 
sissippi river. It is bounded on the north by Floyd county, on 
the east by Bremer and Blackhawk counties, on the south by 
Grundy county, and on the west by Franklin county. Cerro 
Gordo, Chickasaw and Hardin counties corner with Butler county 
on the northwest, northeast and southwest, respectively. The 
county is an exact square, twenty-four miles on a side, containing 
sixteen congressional townships, making its area 576 square miles. 


The surface of the county is a rolling plain, broken by few 
conspicuous topographic forms. No detailed geological survey 
of the county has ever been made but from the data at hand it 
would appear that the highest point in the county is on the divide 
between the Shell Rock and West Fork valleys, probably the 
point of the location of the present coimty courthouse in Allison. 
The lowest point is in the extreme southeastern corner of the 
county where the Beaver creek crosses the county line into Black- 
hawk. The measure of range of elevation between these points 
does not exceed 250 feet, the altitude of Allison, as determined 
from the railway surveys, being 1,044 feet above the sea level and 
that of New Hartford, in the Beaver valley in the southeastern 
portion of the county, being 895 feet. In general the surface of 


the county slupes tu the suutli and east, followiug the direction 
of the streams. 


The county is chiefly drained by three streams, the Shell Rock 
river, the west fork of the Cedar, and Beaver creek. A small 
portion of the extreme northeastern part of the county is drained 
by a series of streamlets flowing into the Cedar. 

The ISheU Rock river has its source iu Silver lake in Worth 
county and flows southeastward through Cerro Gordo and Floyd 
counties, entering Butler county at a point a short distance north- 
west of Greene. It flows diagonally S(»utheast through Coldwater, 
Dayton, Jackson, Butler and Shell Rock townships, and thence 
through Bremer county to its junction with the Cedar in the north- 
western part of Blackhawk. Its valley is broad, with gently 
sloping hills rising on either side. Practically all of the valley 
is capable of cultivation and forms one of the most fertile farm- 
ing districts of the county. The width of the stream proper aver- 
ages several hundred feet and its volume is sufficient to supply 
much more power than is now utilized. It is one of the most 
beautiful streams in the state, its crystal clear waters flowing 
over sand and limestone and winding placidl.v through groves of 
stately natural timber to join with the classic Cedar, which it 
rivals iu all save romantic interest. 

The west fork of the Cedar, or "The West Fork," as it is 
commonly called, rises in Cerro Gordo and Franklin counties, 
being formed by the confluence of Dathmann's creek, Mayne's 
creek, Kilson's creek and a number of other small streams. It 
flows in a southeasterly direction through the county and fur- 
nishes an outflow for the surface water of the western and south 
central townships. Its bed is of a much more muddy natiu-e than 
that of the Shell Rock and its flow more sluggish. Its broad flood 
plain was in an early day so frequently overflowed as to be prac- 
tically impassable at certain seasons of the year. 

Beavei- creek flows almost due east through the soiithern tier 
of townships and empties into the Cedar river some distance 
above Cedar Falls. Its volume of watei' is not so large as that 
of the streams mentioned above but it is sufficient to furnish some 
water-power were its power made availalile. Like the other 
streams it has a much broader valley than its size would appar- 


ently justify. Ou the northern edge of this valley in the eastern 
part of its course rises Beaver ridge, a wooded bluff which 
extends westward for six or seven miles through Beaver and 
Albion townships. The eastern portion of the divide between the 
Beaver and the West Fork furnishes the most rugged section of 
the eoimty, the region being one of sharply alternating ridges and 
ravines. Largely for this reason tliis section differs materially 
both in the character of its soil and of its people from the rest 
of the county. 


Butler county lies in the heart of the prairie region of the 
state, although a portion of its area has always been covered with 
natural timber ; but sixty years ago by far the greater part of its 
extent was open rolling prairie. It is difficult for one to realize 
now when on every hand the ^^.ew is broken by stately groves and 
fruitful orchards around practically every farm home that then 
over most of the county the eye could sweep from horizon to 
horizon without sight of a tree, except in the valleys of the prin- 
cipal streams and their larger tributaries. The Shell Rock, the 
West Fork and the Beaver wound their courses through tracts 
of forest land that in some places compared well with the best 
virgin timber of the eastern states. Occasionally small groves 
were found on the prairies away from the water courses. 


The principal varieties of trees found in the early forests were 
hickories, walnut, oaks, maples, ash, elms, basswood, cottonwood, 
willow and others of less importance. Some red cedar trees were 
to be foimd when the first settlers came to the county but these 
as well as the best si:)ecimens of oak and walnut were cut and 
utilized for lumber almost before the prairie sections were settled. 
That the forest growth did not extend farther up the streams 
and outward across the prairies was due to no lack of fertility 
of the prairie soil or of adaptability for the growth of trees as 
subsequent experience has demonstrated was rather due prin- 
cipally to the immense prairie fires which swept every year over 
the plains. As settlement extended outward upon the prairies 
most of the cajuses of fire were removed and in many instances 


the forest growth began to extend faither up the streams and 
back to the uplands. 

When the people learned that the prairie soil was as valuable 
for agi-icultural purposes as that of the forest regions and the 
settlements began to extend out upon the prairies, there arose a 
need for the protection of the new homes from the severity of 
the hot and cold winds of summer and winter. Since the need 
was innnediate and the softwood trees were cheap, easily obtained 
and productive of early results, the first plantings of artificial 
timber were largely made uj) of such species as cottonwood, soft 
maple, box elder and willow. As the county grew older and more 
wealthy, better homes were built surrounded by slower-growing 
and longer-lived trees. So today we find the farm homes sur- 
roimded by groves of evergi^een of various kinds with elms and 
hard maple and other hardy trees that in themselves bespeak a 
thought for the welfare of the future. Many of these artificial 
groves are of relatively large size and point the way by which 
the threatened timber famine due to the depletion of our natural 
forests may be avoided. Honey locust, ash, black walnut, catalpa, 
and European larch are being grown for posts and lumber and 
wherever reasonable care has been given them they have given 
good results. One of the most remarkable of these artificial 
groves is that on the Iowa <]entral Stock Farm in West Point 
townsliip. Here between twenty and thirty acres were planted 
to selected hardy varieties of trees some forty years ago and today 
they form what has been termed by an expert from the State 
Agricultural College at Ames as "probably the most remarkable 
growth of artificial timber in the state." 


While somewhat north of the fruit belt, nearly every farm has 
an orchard and there are a number of successful fruit raisers in 
the county. Apples, cherries, phuns, and grapes are grown in 
abundance and the smaller fruits, strawberries, currants, raspber- 
ries and blackberries are staple products of the farais. The soil, 
the quality of which is discussed in detail in a later chapter, is 
unsurjiassed in fertility. Butler comity has never known a gen- 
uine crop failure. Com is king of the farm crops, but it is ably 
seconded by the crops of small grains, all of which may be grown 
with profit on this rich soil. In an early day much wheat was 


growu. The experience of that day, however, was that other 
crops coukl be growu with equal profit and less draiu upou the 
natural richness of the soil, so today comparatively little of this 
cereal is raised in the count}'. Oats rank next to corn as the 
most important crop with barley, rye, wheat and buckwheat fol- 
lowing in order. The forage crops, clover, timoth_y, and wild 
hay rank next in importance and value. A diversity of 
vegetables is produced on farms and in gardens, potatoes being 
practically the only vegetable produced in quantities sufficient to 
supply more than the local markets. In general it may be stated 
that in all farm and garden products that are raised in any sec- 
tion having similar clunatic and geologic conditions, Butler county 
stands with the first in quantity of yield and quality and diversity 
of products. 


Before the coming of the white man, the prairies and woods 
of Butler county were the homes of many forms of wild life. 
Deer, elk and buffalo grazed over the grassy hills and along the 
margins of the streams. The rifles of the pioneer hunters had 
driven most of these from their native range to the westwai'd 
before the first settlements were made here; but for many years 
thereafter the county w^as a hunter's paradise. In season, count- 
less coveys of quail and prairie chickens were found on the 
prairies and along the water courses wild geese and ducks 
abounded. The former have almost disappeared, although in the 
last few years under the protection of the new game laws a few 
quail and prairie chickens are seen where thousands once were 
to be found. AVith the advance of ci\dlization, too, the prairie 
wolf, once ul)iquitous, has disai)peared, being seen now only at 
rare intervals and in widely scattered localities. Today there is 
little or nothing left to remind one of the wild life that surrounded 
the pioneer settlers of these virgin acres. 


In common with other essentially rural sections of the state, 
Butler county has made no growi;h in population in the last decade. 
On the contrary the census figures show a slight loss. In tliis 
the county does not stand alone. All over the Central West tlie 


rural communities have suffered a loss in population. It is only 
the cities that have gained. Butler county has no towns of over 
1,200 people and so has not shared in the general urban 
increase. Of the 17,119 persons reported as residing within the 
county limits by the census of 1910, 5,990, or less than 35 per cent, 
are reported as living in incorporated towns or villages. There 
are nine of these towns and villages, ranging in size from Greene 
with 1,150 i^eojjle to Bristow with 291. Of the ninety-nine coim- 
ties of the state Butler ranks hfty-fifth in population. 

Below are appended tables of the population of the county as 
shown by successive state and national censuses since its or2:an- 
ization and of the towns and villages since 1885. 


1852 73 1875 11,734 

1854 420 1880 14.293 

1856 2,141 1885 14.523 

I860 3.724 1890 15,463 

1863 4,142 1895 16,966 

1865 5.006 1900 17,955 

1867 6.542 1905 17.636 

1870 9,951 1910 17,119 


Town 1870 1875 1880 1885 1890 1895 1900 1905 1910 

Allison 336 ... 436 463 503 495 

Aplington 379 427 503 427 441 448 

Bristow 198 218 257 355 317 348 291 

Butler Center 152 ... 149 

Clarksville 699 818 ... 735 830 849 957 895 

Dumont 433 562 550 

Greene 711 780 845 1,168 1,192 1,224 1,150 

New Hartford 244 277 ... 452 570 574 482 

Parkersbnrg 652 796 760 999 1,164 1,114 938 

Shell Rock 719 780 733 828 839 848 741 


Albion township, inchiding part of Parkerslnirg town.. 1.433 

Beaver towiLship. including New Hartford town 1.223 

Bennezette township 681 

Butler township, including part of Clarksville town... 1,471 












Coldwater township, including Greene town 1,836 1,967 1,608 

Dayton township 633 

Fremont township 757 

Jackson township, including parts of Allison and Clarks- 

ville towns 781 

Jefferson township 642 

Madison township 755 

Monroe township, including Aplington town and part of 

Parkersburg town 1,363 

Pittsford township, including Dumont town and part 

of Bristow town 1,286 

Ripley township 602 

Shell Rock township, including Shell Rock town 1,461 1,547 1.482 

Washington township 756 925 735 

West Point township, including parts of Allison and 

Bristow towns 1,439 1,506 1,033 

















Total 17,119 17,955 15,463 



We are indebted to geologists aud their detailed study of the 
remains of the past ages for onr knowledge of the periods that 
preceded history. These scientists tell ns and the unimpeachable 
geologic records sustain their statements that for ages what is now 
Iowa and the greater part of the Mississippi Valley lay beneath 
the waters of the sea. During this period by a process incom- 
prehensibly slow the sedimentary strata of Iowa were formed. 
Gradually the sea receded to the southward until the whole sur- 
face of the state was exposed. Later, forests and other forms of 
vegetation came to cover the land surface. Before, however, Iowa 
was raised permanently above the surface of the waters, another 
long period passed during which the greater portion of the state 
was again sunk beneath the level of the sea. Finall,v some 
unknown change of the surface of the earth took place as a result 
of which Iowa was finally elevated to a level above that of the 


From this time on for uncounted centuries, the climate of this 
section of North America was tropical. Tropical trees such as 
the cypress, magnolia, cinnamon, fig and i^alm flourished here and 
tropical animals were found in the forests and swamps." "Iowa 
and all the adjacent regions far north and westward reveled in 
the luxuriance of a tropical climate. The air was balmy and 
laden with the odors of flowers and fruits. The 1)right summer 
days seemed never ending. A listless languor sent the birds and 
beasts into the shade at midday. Tropical vegetation grew spon- 
taneously; brilliant foliage and flowers, luxuriant ferns and cling- 
ing vines mingled with the forests and open vistas in landscapes 
of surpassing beauty. 

*B. F. Cue: History of Iowa. 




"But iu the course of time a cliauge was perceptible. The 
intense heat of the long smmuer days was tempered by refreshing 
breezes and the nights became delightfully cool. The winters were 
slowly growing colder. Snow storms came and piercing winds 
swept over plain and forest. Tropical plants were stricken with 
early frosts ; ice formed in lakes and streams where it had never 
before appeared. The more hardy animals sought the shelter of 
wooded ravines and deep gorges. Snow fell to unusual depths; 
year after year it came earlier, and winter continued later. The 
earth became frozen to great depths; fniit and trees disappeared. 
As the snow piled higher each succeeding year, and the sunnners 
were too short and cold to melt it, all animal life perished. The 
pressure of mountains of snow and the percolating rains con- 
verted the mass into a solid sheet of glacial ice that not only 
covered nearly all of Iowa, V)ut reached out over the northern 
half of North America. 

"The ice sheet of this period had its southern margin south of 
the latitude of St. Louis. The ice was slowly moving outward 
from the center of accumulation, grinding over the underhdng 
rocks and crushing them to the finest powder. Fragments of 
enoiTnous size wea'e frequently caught in the lower portion of the 
flowing ice and carried forward bodily, grinding the rock strata 
into rock flour, and being themselves planed and grooved on the 
lower surface. All boulders of crystalline rock which we find 
strewn over the state were carried from their native ledges in 
British America by these ice sheets during this period." 

* "Glaciers and glacial action have contributed iu a very large 
degree to the making of our magnificent state. What Iowa would 
have been had it never suffered from the effects of the ponderous 
ice sheets that successively ovcrflowerl its sin'fac<\ is illustrated 
in the driftless area of northeastern Towa. Before the glacial 
drift was deposited, the surface of Iowa was carA-ed into an intri- 
cate system of hills and valleys. There were narrow gorges 
hundreds of feet in depth and there were rugged, rocky cliffs and 
isolated buttes corresponding in height with the depth of the 

"In such a region a quarter section of level land would bo a 
curiosity. This is a fair sample of what Iowa would have been 

•Condensed from Samuel Calvin: Geology of Iowa. 


had it not been planed down by the leveling effect of the glaciers. 
Soils of uniform excellence would have been impossible. The 
soils of Iowa have a value equal to that of all the silver and gold 
mines in the world combined. And for this rich heritage of soils 
we are indebted to the great rivers of ice that overflowed Iowa 
from the north and northwest. The materials which they depos- 
ited are in places hundreds of feet in depth. They are not 
oxydized or leached, but retain the carbonates and other soluble 
constituents that contribute so largely to the growth of plants. 
The physical condition of the materials is ideal, rendering the 
soil porous, facilitating the distribution of moisture, and offering 
unmatched opportunities for the emplo\anent of im]3roved 
machinery iu all of the processes connected with civilization." 

In all, four great ice sheets, each making a corresponding 
deposit of glacial drift, invaded Iowa at different times. These 
sheets did not come from exactly the same direction and there is 
some difference in the character of the material which they 
brought. The first and the greatest of these ice sheets that pushed 
their way into Iowa from the frozen I'egions of the north is known 
as the Kansan Ice Sheet, from the fact that it extended as far 
south and west as the present State of Kansas. This sheet cov- 
ered the whole surface of Iowa except the extreme northeastern 
corner, which, as was said above, was never affected by glacial 
action. The drift deposited by this glacier is now hidden from 
view, covered deep below the surface of the later drift deposits. 


The other three areas of glacial drift are kno-wai as the Illi- 
noisan, the Wisconsin and the lowan drifts. The Illinoisan which 
covered a small portion of the southeastern part of the state and 
the Wisconsin wliich covered the part of the state from Osceola 
to Winnebago coimties on the north and south to Polk county, 
had no direct effect upon the soil condition in Butler county. 
The lowan glacial ice sheet, however, was the direct agent of the 
formation of the soil in this section of the state. Roughly speak- 
ing the area of this lowan glacial drift covered a territory from 
Worth county south to Marshall, east to Linn and north to Howard 
county, including all the territory within these boundaries. But- 
ler countv lies entirelv within this drift area. 


It is estimated tliat fi'inn une hundred thousand to vnv liuu- 
dred and se\'ent\' thousand years have ehipsed since this in\asiun 
of Iowa by the glaciers. Subsequently another climatic change 
came slowly and the ice began to melt. When the ice of this last 
great glacial sheet which may have been ten thousand feet in 
thickness melted away, there was left upon the surface of the 
earth an accimiulation of rock flour, sand, gravel and boidders 
from two hundred to live hundred feet thick. The surface of this 
mass was not smooth to Ix'gin with. There was no natural drain- 
age. The sediment of the turbid waters foimed from the melting 
ice was deposited in layers of yellow clay. Gradually as time 
passed the lower jjlaces were filled up b,y deposits of this sediment 
and by wa.shing from the higher levels and streams l)egan to carve 
their channels over the surface of the drift. AVith the establish- 
ment of natural drainage lines the .surface assumed the most 
favorable condition for agricultural operations. 

This condition has been reached in the region covered by the 
lowan drift but in the area of the Wisconsin drift to the west of 
us the earlier stage of development is still evident. Hero the 
land surface is practically in the same condition in wliich it was 
left after the enormous mass of ice melted away, except, of course, 
that it is now covered with vegetation. A few large streams, such 
as the Des Moines, flow across it but for the most part they have 
not had time to extend their tributaries very far back from their 
main channels. Xearly tlic whole territory is as yet a monotonous 
stretch of prairie, dotted with luidrained ponds, sloughs and 
lakes. In consequence of this absence of a natural system of 
drainage, the surface is frequently so marshy and waterlogged 
that agriculture can be carried on only at a great disad\antage 
and with frequent loss in seasons of hea^■y rainfall. The chief 
jjroblem of this region is to secui'e adequate di'ainage. 

The area of the lowan drift in which Butler county is located 
shows a marked contrast to the above conditions. This glacier 
invaded the state before the Wisconsin and its de])osit is there- 
fore older. Its drift area has entered well upon the second stage 
of development indicated above. Natural drainage lines have 
been developed for the most part. The excess of rainfall and 
surface water has, therefore, much greater opportunity of flow- 
ing away of its own accord. This in itself constitutes the chief 
advantage which this area enjoys over that of the Wisconsin 
glacier to the west. 







Another contrast is to be noted in the character and size of 
the boulders, the presence of which in great numbers is noticeable 
in both areas. The granite boulders of the Wisconsin area are 
much smaller than those of the lowan area and are iu many 
instances apparently as fresh as when first broken from their 
parent ledges by the slowly moving ice cap. The most obvious 
characteristic of the lowan area is the enormous size of the boul- 
ders which it contains and their greater age as evidenced by the 
decay of their surface. Although conspicuous on account of their 
imposing dimensions, these boulders are rarely so numerous as to 
constitute an interference to agriculture. 

"pilot rock" 

The illustration here given shows one of these typical boulders 
found in Butler county. "POot Rock" stands on the farm of 
W. P. Miller in section 22 of West Point township. Although 
now so surroimded by gi'owths of artificial timber as to be hidden 
from view except at close quarters, in an early day it formed one 
of the most conspicuous landmarks upon the treeless, trackless 
]U'airie. This boulder is one of the largest in the state, measuring 
thirty-eight feet in length, twenty-six in width and twelve feet in 
height above the ground. How much of it is buried beneath the 
surface is unknown. It is composed of a very hard gray granite 
similar in quality to many of the boulders of the surroimding 
territory and plainly coming originally from the same parent 
ledge in the far away northland. 


Over this thick layer of glacial deposit there has been spread 
through the process of the centuries that have elapsed since the 
far off glacial age a mantle of the most fertile soil in the world. 
JNIany agencies have contributed to this result. 

^' "The chief agents concerned in modifying the surface 
throughout most of Iowa since the disappearance of the lat- 
est glaciers have been organic, although the physical and 
chemical influences of air and water have not been with- 
out marked effect. The growth and decay of a long series 
of generations of plants have contributed certain organic 
constituents to the soil. Earth worms l)ring up fine material 

* Calvin: ricologv of Iowa. 


from considerable depths and place it in position to be 
spread out upon the surface. The pocket gopher has done 
much to furnish a surface layer of loose, mellow, easily cultivated 
and highly productive soil. They drag leaves and any manage- 
able portion of plants into their burrows and much of the material 
so taken down into the ground decays and enriches the ground 
to the depth of several inches. Like the earth worm, the gopher 
for century after century has been bringing up to the surface 
fine material to the amount of several tons annually to the acre 
avoiding necessarily the j)ebbles and coarser constituents. The 
burrows collapse, the undermined boulders and large fragments 
sink downwards, winds and rains spread out the gopher lulls and 
worm castings, and the next year and the next the process is 
repeated ; and so it has been for all the years making up the cen- 
turies since the close of the glacial epoch. Organic agents in 
the form of plants and burrowing animals have worked unremit- 
tingly through many centuries and accomplished a work of 
incalculable value in pulverizing, mellowing and enriching the 
superficial stratum and bringing it to the ideal condition in which 
it was foimd by the explorers and pioneers from whose advent 
dates the historical period of oui- matchless Iowa." 


The soil of Butler county is typical of this region. Deep 
borings have shown the presence of sedimentary lime rock under- 
lying the later deposits. There are in places traces of coal 
deposits but neither in quantity nor quality sufficient to justify 
development. Upon this undei^lying stratmn rests a thick deposit 
of glacial till consisting of blue and yellow clay, sand, gravel and 
boulders. Above this on the surface is the mantle of humus, the 
soil which fui-nishes the elements of plant food and makes this: 
the most desirable farming section in the state. 





The first evidences of the presence of man upon this portion 
of the earth's surface are found iu the geologic remains from the 
period immediately succeeding the final disappearance of the 
glaciers. The discovery of arrow heads in undisturbed beds of 
loess and of skulls of horses and other animals used for food with 
their skulls cimshed as with a stone ax or other similar weapon 
together with the presence of stone axes in the same deposit with 
the skulls all indicate the existence of man at this period. 

No well authenticated instance of the discovery of human 
remains dating back to this early prehistoric period is known in 
Butler county, but in Floyd county to the north and Chickasaw 
county to the northeast, human skulls have been discovered that 
indicate that the first inhabitants of this section were "low-browed, 
brute-like, small-bodied beings who were but a grade above the 
lower animals." These skulls resemble those of the gorilla, hav- 
ing thick ridges over the eyes and an almost total absence of 
forehead, indicating a low degi-ee of intelligence. It is not at all 
improbable that if a thorough investigation were to be under- 
taken under the direction of competent archaeologists similar 
remains might be discovered in this county. 


Later in the prehistoric age, Iowa and the upper Mississippi 
valley were peopled by a race whom for lack of a better name 
we call "The Mound Builders." Of these strange, unknown 
people who possessed this land we now call ours. One in his "His- 
tory of Iowa" says: 



"Stone and copper hnplemeuts foiuid indicate tliat tliey had 
made progress in the scale of intelligence. Whether they eulti- 
A^ated the soil, erected comfortable dwellings and built towns is 
not known ; but that they made cloth is proven by samples found 
in the mounds ; strangely preserved through the innumerable ages 
that have elapsed. The numbers, color, habits, customs and 
forms of gOA'ernment of these people, as well as the manner in 
which their mounds were constructed, the purpose for which these 
enduring earthworks of various forms were nsed, and a thousand 
interesting details of these inhabitants of Iowa mnst forever 
remain unknown. Whence they came, how long they possessed 
the land, from what cause they were exterminated, are problems 
that will never cease to have an absorbing interest to succeeding 
races and generations." 

Evidences of the work of these people are numerous along the 
Mississippi in Iowa and are not unknown in this section of the 
state. Prom these evidences the conclusion is inevitable that 
their civilization was well advanced, that they existed in gTeat 
numbers and that they possessed the land for many thousands of 
years. In the end thej^ were assailed by a new race of warlike 
invaders coming ujiou them from the north and west, before 
whom after generations of conflict the,y retreated gradually to 
the southward. It is possible that the last remnants of this once 
mighty people sought refuge from the onsets of their resistless 
foe in the almost inaccessible cliffs of the Southwest where today 
we find the villages of the "Cliff Dwellers." It is probable that 
the conquerors of the "Mound Builders" were the ancestors of 
the American Indians whom the first European discoverers found 
in imdisputed jjossession of the continent. 


With the discovery of America by Columbus there begins the 
period of authentic history. On the basis of the Columbi;s dis- 
covery and the subsequent discoveries and expl(^rations of a score 
of adventurers under the flag of Castile and Ai'ragon, Sjiain laid 
claim to all the vast North American continent from the Gulf of 
Mexico to the Arctic regions. Basing her claims upon the fact 
that the Cabots were the first Europeans actually to sight the 
mainland of North America and upon the establishment of per- 
manent settlements along the Atlantic coast, England annoimced 


her title to the continent from ocean to ocean. At the same time 
France through the voyages of Cartier and his successors and the 
settlements in the St. Lawrence valley laid similar ambitious 
claim to these lands and all those that lay to the south and west 
of them. So were sown the seeds of a worldwide struggle that 
was to terminate only after centuries of warfare with the prac- 
tical annihilation of one and the elimination of another of the 
three great nations that coveted the possession and control of this 
new world. 


At first England and Spain contented themselves with a mere 
skirting of the fringes of the continent. True, for the latter 
nation, De Soto and Coronado penetrated the heart of the con- 
tinent from opposite directions and displayed to the view of the 
white man regions before existing but in the fervid imaginings 
of dreams. They sought, however, as all Spaniards did, not to 
build the foundations of a new nation in the wilderness and to 
make it strong by the development of its natural resources, but 
to exploit the country for their own selfish ends, to find the fabled 
"Land of Eldorado" where lay the "seven cities of Cibola" whose 
walls were built of precious stones and whose streets were paved 
with gold and silver. Failing utterly in this hope, finding only 
disappointment, disaster, and death as recompense for all their 
toil and hardships, the Spaniards abandoned the great Central 
valley and made no serious attempt to assert their rights to its 
possession which these explorations gave them. 


England builded better than she knew in laying the founda- 
tions of her future greatness in America. Her pioneers in the 
new world were home builders. For nearly two centuries after 
their first settlement on the Atlantic coast, the English in Amer- 
ica were content to make firm their hold upon the little strip of 
the continent that lay between the Appalachian highland and 
the sea. This made sure, eventually by a process of natural 
expansion, their descendants pushed across the low mountain bar- 
rier and down into the great valley. But England was never to 
hold in fee simple the title to the lands of North America lying 


west of the Mississippi river; for before this irresistible west- 
ward movement had more than well begun, England's American, 
colonies had been lost to her forever and it remained for the 
United States, England's rebellious offspring, to make sure her 
place among the sisterhood of nations by the annexation of this 
vast region in which we live today. 


But this is anticiiDating the actual progress of history. It 
remained for France actually to explore and settle the Mississippi 
valley. Under the French flag missionary and trader advanced 
hand in hand. Beginning in the St. Lawrence valley a chain of 
trading posts and mission stations was founded, extending west- 
ward around the Great Lakes and finally reaching the center of 
the continent. As early as 1634, Nicolet, a French explorer, 
traversed the northern portion of the United States lying just 
to the west of Lake Sujierioi-. Thirty-five years later, Allouez, 
a French missionary, reaching the same region previously 
explored by Nicolet, heard from the Indians of the existence of 
a miglity inland river floT^dng southward between boundless and 
beautiful meadows. The Indians called it "Mis-sis-se-pe," "The 
River of the Meadows." 

In 1670, Father Dablon wrote of this river : 

"These people (the Illinois Indians) were the first to come 
to Green Bay to trade with the French. They are settled in the 
midst of a beautiful coimtry away to the southwest toward a 
great river named Mis-sis-se-pi. It takes its rise far in the north, 
flowing toward the south, discharging its waters into the sea. 
All of the vast country through which it flows is of prairie with- 
out trees." 


From the earliest discovery of the new world, men of all 
nations had been searching for a passage through the continent 
to the western ocean. Nerved by a new hope roused by the news 
of this mighty body of water flowing southward to the sea, Mar- 
quette, a missionary, accompanied by Joliet, an explorer and 
trader, set out early in the year 1673 to explore this stream. 
From Green Bay the voyagers paddled up the Fox river, por- 


taged across to the Wisconsin and then floated down this stream 
to its junction with tlie Mississippi. 

*"It was on the 17th day of June, 1673, that Marquette and 
Joliet looked out upon the bold bluffs of the western shore a few 
miles below where McGregor now stands. They were the first 
white men who ever saw Iowa. Pushing out into the current 
they beheld a wild and beautiful landscape. On the Wisconsin 
side was a level prairie shore stretching northward for many 
miles covered with tall grass waving in the June breeze. East- 
ward were the bluffs which in prehistoric times had been washed 
by a torrent of which the Mississippi of modern days is but a 
little remnant. Westward coming down to the water's edge were 
lofty, wooded, rocky hills and deep gorges fringed with rich 
foliage and flowers. Once out upon the waters of the greatest 
river of the continent they felt the inspiration of a great dis- 

"Marquette and Joliet were charmed with the beauty of the 
country, the fertile prairies with theii' mantles of luxuriant grass 
and wild flowers stretching away westward; the fish and game 
most plentiful, and their friendly reception by the Indians. This 
was Iowa, as it was first seen by white men, and no more enchant- 
ing land ever met the gaze of explorers." 

The explorers continued their voyage southward until they 
reached the mouth of the Arkansas river, a distance of more than 
eleven hundred miles. There they encountered Indians with 
whose dialect they were unfamiliar and who were far more hostile 
than any with whom they had come in contact before. Fearing 
that the little party might be overwhelmed by their foes and all 
the results of their journey lost to the world, they turned back 
and after weary weeks of rowing against the current finally 
reached the mouth of the Illinois. This stream, the Indians told 
them, would give them a shorter and easier route to the lakes 
than the one by which they had come; so, passing up this river 
nearly to its source, they crossed to the headwaters of the Chicago 
river and thence to Lake Michigan and their starting point. 

Although this discovery of the great river and the exploration 
of its upper valley received little attention in Europe at the time, 
it led directly to the expeditions of La Salle in the next ten years 
and so constitutes the most valid basis of the claim which France 
set forward to all the Mississippi valley. 

* Gue: History of Iowa. 



Robert Clievalier cle La 8alle, tlie most famous of the explorers 
of the Mississippi valley, inspired by the achievements of Mar- 
quette and Joliet, made several unsuccessful efforts to complete 
the exploration of the great river. On one of these expeditions, 
Father Hennepin with seven attendants ascended the Mississippi 
from the mouth of the Illinois to the falls of St. Anthony where 
Minneapolis now stands. They completed the exploration of the 
eastern border of Iowa. In the account which La Salle wrote of 
this Hennepin expedition occurs the first mention of the Iowa 
Indians from whom our state takes its name. 

Later in 1682, La Salle was finally successful in his hope to 
explore the Mississippi river to its mouth, where he took formal 
possession of all the regions drained by its waters in the name of 
his royal master, Louis XIV. Thenceforth all this I'egion was 
called Louisiana in honor of the king. Eventually the establish- 
ment of the English claim to the territory east of the Mississippi 
restricted the name Louisiana to the lands lying to the west of 
the great river. 


Spain still asserted a claim to the territory now called Louis- 
iana and its definite ownership was not finally settled until the 
close of the French and Indian war in 1763. In 1762 a prelimi- 
nary treaty between France, England and Spain was sigiied at 
Fontainbleau by which it was agreed that the boundary between 
the provinces of England and Prance slK^dd l)e irrevocably fixed 
by the Mississippi river. By this treaty Iowa was definitely 
placed in the possession of France and all rights of claimants 
through charters and gi'ants made by English kings m the pre- 
vioTis centuries were terminated. The Treaty of Paris which was 
signed in 176.3 confirmed the l)0undaries agreed upon in the 
preliminary treaty. By this act ostonsil)ly, S})ain was to be defi- 
nitely and finally excluded from the Mississippi valley. How 
ever, at approximately the same time that these negotiations were 
in progress, by a secret treaty between France and Spain all the 
French possessions lying west of the Mississippi river, including 
Iowa, were ceded to Spain. Formal possession of this vast region 


was not taken by Spain until seven years later. From 1769 to 
IISUU Louisiana was administered as a Spanish province. 

Up to tlie time of this secret cession to (Spain no permanent 
settlements had been made by white men within the limits of 
Iowa. F^ur traders, hunters, trappers and missionaries had 
ascended its streams, built temporary cabins on the river banks, 
dwelt for a time amidst its beaiitiful gToves, and departed, leav- 
ing no record or trace of their sojourn other than the naming of 
the principal rivers and prominent landmarks, some of which 
names remain to the present day. During the earlier part of the 
period of Spanish possession, the same conditions prevailed. The 
fur trade with the Indians remained practically the only industry 
of this region and its continuance and increasing importance 
stood in the way of the development of the rich agricultural and 
mineral resources which were later to constitute Iowa's basis of 
permanent prosperity. 

A strong rivalry grew up between the English and the French 
over this fur trade mth the Indians and this rivalry became one 
of the chief causes of what is known as the F^'rench and Indian 
war. Another result of this rivalry was the establishment of a 
trading post on the w^est bank of the Mississippi a few miles 
below the mouth of the Missouri which in later years was to become 
one of the foremost cities of the new world, the city of St. Louis. 


For Americans, after 1763 interest shifts from the great 
struggle of France and England for world-wide supremacy to 
the lesser but far more significant struggle of our forefathers for 
their rights as Englishmen in the new world. To the outcome of 
this war for independence, Iowa vnth all the sisterhood of states, 
owes its very existence ; liut one incident of the war bears, perhaps,^ 
more directly ui:»on the development of Iowa tlian any other event 
of the period. This was the conquest of the N^orthwest Territory 
by George Rogers Clark. 

Tlie story of this magnificent achievement need not be retold 
here, but to it and to the man who made it, the United States 
owes its immediate possession of all the territory lying east of 
the Mississippi and north of the Ohio and probably its ultimate 
success in maintaining its existence as a free nation in the second 
war for independence from 1812 to 1815. At the close of the War 


of the Revolution in 1783, by virtue of the actual military occu- 
pation of this territory, England was forced to recognize the 
claims of the United States and ceded all her possessions east 
of the Mississijjpi river frum its sources to the thirty-tirst par- 
allel of latitude to the new republic. Thus was the western bound- 
ary of the United States extended to the Father of Waters and the 
eventual acquisition of the territory lying still farther to the 
westward rendered inevitable. 

The period of the Spanish government of Louisiana from 1769 
to 1800 was one of stagnation rather than development. The only 
European inhabitants of the territory were of French origin and 
they resisted persistently the attempts of the Spanish governors 
to enforce the use of Spanish laws and language. Even after the 
close of the Revolution, Spain still held possession of the terri- 
tory on both sides of the Mississippi as far north as the thirty-first 
parallel. This enabled her to control the navigation of the river. 
As the only commercial outlet for the products of the Mississippi 
valley, its free navigation was a matter of vital importance to the 
settlers farther up the river. This question was one of the rocks 
upon which the infant republic so nearly went to wreck and ruin 
in those critical years following the cessation of hostilities. The 
apparent timidity of the riovernment of the United States and 
the constant intrigues of the Spaniards led finally to suggestions 
of secession on the part of the people of the upper valley. In 
the end wiser councils prevailed and after years of fruitless nego- 
tiation a treaty was concluded with Spain whereby the free navd.- 
gation of the river was guaranteed to the citizens of the United 


The days of Spanish supremacy in Louisiana, however, were 
rapidly drawing to a close. Weakened by internal dissensions 
and foreign wars, disgraced by the profligacy of the queen and 
the imbecility of the king, the once proud Spanish monarchy was 
tottering to its fall. France, meanwhile, had emerged from the 
shadow of the great revolution and under the guiding genius of 
"fTapoleon was again the dominant world power. His boimdless 
ambition looked forward to the reestablishment of the lost colo- 
nial empire of France in the new world. As a first step in the 
realization of this project, he compelled the weak king of Spain 


by a secret treaty agreed to at St. Iklefonso in 1800 to recede 
Louisiana to i'rance upon the fulfilment of certain considera- 
tions to be performed by the French Republic. This agreement 
was publicly ratihed in the following year by the treaty of Mad- 
rid and Louisiana became for the second time the possession of 


Before adequate provision could be made by Napoleon for 
the occupation and defense of his new possessions in North 
America, he was confronted by the armed strength of Europe 
in another great struggle for supremacy. In order to save Lou- 
isiana from falling into the hands of the English and at the same 
time to insure the neutrality of the United States and make it a 
formidable rival of England in the new world, Napoleon opened 
confidential negotiations with the American minister to France 
looking toward the transfer of the sovereignty over this territory. 
On the 30th of April, 1803, a treaty of purchase was concluded 
between the representatives of the United States and of Napo- 
leon, whereby for a consideration of $15,000,000, France relin- 
quished all her claims to territory lying west of the Mississippi 
and north of the Spanish possessions. Out of this vast domain, 
an empire in extent, embracing a greater area than all of the 
United States at that time east of the Mississippi river, fourteen 
states of the ITnion today have been carved either wholly or in 
part. And the proi:dest of these is our own State of Iowa. 

"Our new possessions proved to be of greater value than all 
the territory conquered and held by Napoleon during his brilliant 
and unscrupulous wars of conquest in Europe and Africa. No 
such acquisition of valuable territory was ever before made 
peaceably by any nation in the world's history. The industrial, 
commercial, political and geographical importance of this region 
were colossal and inestimable. It rounded out our territorial 
possessions, opened up an inland water route to the sea, and at 
one step lifted the young republic into rank and power with the 
first nations of the earth." 


The first act of Congress providing for the government of the 
territory acquired in this manner was approved Oct. 31, 1803, 


and provided that all military, civil and judicial powers should 
be "vested in such persons and exercised in such manner as the 
President of the United States shall direct." This v^as followed 
in 1804 by an act dividing the territory into the Territory of 
Orleans and the District of Louisiana, the thirty-third parallel 
being the boundary line between these diAasions. The J3istrict 
of Louisiana was temporarily placed under the control of the 
Governor and the judges of Indiana teriitory, wMch then com- 
prised all of the present states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, 
and a part of Minnesota. In 1805, Congress established a sepa- 
rate territorial form of government for tliis district, executive 
and judicial powers being vested in a Governor and three judges 
to be appointed by the President. 


Coincident with the admission of Orleans territory as the 
State of Louisiana in 1812, the name of the Territory of Louisiana 
was changed to Missouri territory and an additional department 
of government was established. This department comprised a 
territorial Legislature of two houses, a Council of nine members 
appointed by the President for terms of five years, and a House 
of Representatives with one representative for every 500 
free white male inhabitants to be elected for terms of two years 
by the suffrage of all free white male taxpaying citizens. The 
power of absolute veto was vested in the Governor. Later, in 
1816, Congress conceded to the citizens of the territory the right 
to elect the members of the Council. At the same time the area 
of the territory was reduced by the formation of Arkansas terri- 
tory. Throughout this and the following period, the capital of 
Missouri territory was St. Louis. 


In 1821 by the terms of the famous Missouri Compromise, 
Missouri was admitted as a state with substantially its present 
boundaries. The remaining portion of the former territory of 
the same name was sparsely settled and for this reason and pos- 
sibly because public attention was so concentrated upon the prob- 
lem of the extension of slavery, now for the first time become a 
serious political question, no further provision was made for the 


goverumeBt of the lands lying north of ^iissouri. It continued, 
to be called Missomi territory but had no dehnite form of govern- 
ment vmtil 1834 when the portion lying between the Mississippi 
and Missouri rivers as far north as the British possessions in 
Canada was joined to Alichigan territory. 


With this act, the separate history of Iowa under its present 
name may be considered to have begun, as from this time on the 
new district over which the authority of Michigan had been 
extended was known as the Iowa district. Events moved rapidly 
now toward the final formation of the state. In 1836, Wisconsin 
territory was set off from Michigan as a preliminary to the ad- 
mission of the latter as a state and the Iowa district became a 
part of the new territory. Two years later by an act of Congress 
approved June 12, 1838, Wisconsin territory was di\dded and 
the portion west of the Mississippi was given a separate terri- 
torial form of government under the name of Iowa territory. 
This in turn led in 1846 to the admission of Iowa as a state. 

The act of Congress creating the Territory of Wisconsin in 
1836 is significant in that it pro^dded that the members of the 
legislative Coimcil and the House of Representatives should be 
elected by popular vote, all free white male citizens having the 
right of suffrage without regard to property qualifications. 

"Thus for the first time was the prerequisite of taxpaying 
omitted from the qualifications of voters in this territory. Hence 
also the first time the i^eople of this territory elected their law- 
makers a property qualification to vote was not required. In no 
part of the country east of the western line of the State of Iowa, 
except in Iowa and Minnesota, has it been true that the people 
have always exercised the right of siiffrage without the prepay- 
ment of some sort of tax." 


The first session of the Legislature of Wisconsin territory 
was held at Belmont. Wisconsin, in the winter of 1836. This 
assembly selected Madison as the permanent capital of the terri- 
tory but voted to meet for its next session at Burlington, Iowa, 
until the new capital city should be ready to accommodate them. 
Burlington continued to be the capital of Iowa territory after 


its creation by act of Congress in 1838 until the removal of the 
seat of government to Iowa City in 1841. The present capital, 
Des Moines, was selected by a commission appointed in accord- 
ance with an act passed in 1854. The final relocation of the 
capitol was completed in December, 1857, when the last load of 
material, "drawn by oxen upon a bobsled through wind, rain and 
snow" arrived at the new capitol in Ues Moines. 


The Second Territorial Legislature which met in 1840, passed 
an act submitting to the people the question of the calling of a 
convention to form a constitution preliminary to the admission 
of the state. The proposition was defeated at the polls. A simi- 
lar act passed by the Fourth Territorial Legislature was also 
voted down. The Sixth Legislature passed an act to this effect 
which was ratified by the people and the first constitutional con- 
vention in Iowa met in 1844 and prepared a constitution which 
fixed the boundaries of the proposed state so as to include a large 
part of the present State of Minnesota. Congress in its enabling 
act of 1845 relating to the adnussion of Iowa changed these bound- 
aries b.y cutting off considerable portions on the north and west. 
Largely because of the action of Congress in this regard, this 
constitution was rejected by the people in the election which fol- 
lowed. After another imsuccessful attempt to secure the pas- 
sage of this constitution with the boundaries as they came from 
the convention, the matter was dropped luitil the meeting of the 
Eighth Legislature. This assembly passed an act calling for a 
convention which was carried by the people. The convention 
met in 1846 and prepared a constitution which determined the 
present boundaries of Iowa. This constitution was ado})ted by 
a vote of 9,492 for and 9.036 against. In December, 1846, the 
act of Congress admitting Iowa into the Union was approved by 
the President. An election had been held in October for state 
officers and members of the Legislature. The First General 
Assembly of Iowa met at Iowa City in November, 1 846. and, after 
providing for the inauguration of the new state government, 
passed in January. 1847. an act accepting the proposition of Con- 
gi'ess foi- the admission of Iowa. ThiTs was completed the final 
step by which Iowa became a member of the sisterhood of states 
of the American Union. 



The various changes of sovereignty and forms of government 
that have been enimierated in the previous chapter are significant 
as matters of history only. Previous to 1832 there were no per- 
manent white settlements within the present limits of Iowa. A 
few white men had settled at widely separated points and had 
dwelt there among the Indians. The first of these and the man 
to whom is accorded the honor of being the first white settler 
in the state was Julien Dubuque, an educated and accomplished 
French-Canadian, who settled at a point near the site of the city 
which now bears his name. Dubuque, having heard that lead had 
been discovered along the upper Mississippi came west for the 
purpose of developing this natural resource if possible. Gaining 
the confidence of the Fox Indians who occupied what is now the 
northeastern portion of Iowa, he persuaded them to gi-ant to 
him the exclusive privilege of lead mining on a considerable tract 
of land along the west bank of the Mississippi. This grant is 
dated Sept. 22, 1788. 


Dubuque brought a sufficient number of assistants from 
Canada to enable him to develop the mines which he had dis- 
covered. He erected a smelter, built houses for his men and 
opened a trading store for the exchange of goods and trinkets for 
furs from the Indians. He soon became the most influential 
trader in the upper valley, making semi-annual trips to St. Louis 
with his boat loads of ore, furs and hides. The right of Dubuque 
to the land granted him by the Indians as well as his right to 
trade with them was confirmed by the Spanish government in 



1796. Uiubuque aud Ms little colony continued to occupy these 
lands and to carry on his industries until the death of the founder 
in 1810. Shortly thereafter trouble broke out between the white 
successors of Dubuque and the Indians as a result of which the 
whites were expelled from the territory and the Indians reas- 
sumed possession. They erased every vestige of civilization on 
the site of the former settlement and revoked or denied the grant. 
Tliis became the cause of one of the most famous of the early 
cases of Litigation in Iowa. Claimants and heirs of the Dubuque 
interests attempted through the United States courts to regain 
possession of the lost mines. In the end, however, the courts 
held that both the Indian and Spanish grants to Dubuque had 
been in the nature of leases and that no permanent title to the 
land involved could arise therefrom. 


From the death of Dubuque to the close of the Black Hawk 
war, no white settlements were attempted in Iowa. The period 
is marked by the conclusion of a number of treaties with the 
Indian inhabitants of Iowa by which they were gradually 
induced to relinquish their claims to the lands which from time 
immemorial they and their ancestors had held as their own. The 
first of these treaties was concluded between Gen. William Henry 
Harrison and representatives of the Sac and Fox Indians whereby 
these tribes agreed to cede all their lands cast of the Mississippi 
to the U2iited States. The United States in turn agreed not to 
molest the Indians in their enjoyment of their remaining terri- 
toi'v nor to allow anyone else to do so. In strict violation of the 
terms of this treaty, in 1<808 a fort was built on the west side of 
the Mississippi which was named Fort Madison and stood near 
the present site of the city of the same name. In the War of 1812 
the Sacs and Foxes took sides with the British and compelled tlie 
garrison of Fort Madison to abandon and destroy it. 

At the close of the War of 181.5, treaties of peace and amity 
were concluded with these tribes and others occupying Iowa ter- 
ritory. In 1824 another treaty was concluded with the Sac and 
Fox tribes by which the Indian title to all lands in Missouri and 
in what was known as the "Half-breed Tract" in soiitheasteni 
Iowa was extinguished. A year later Commissioners Clark and 
Cass secured an agreement between the Sioux tribes on the one 


hand aud the Sacs and Foxes on the other whereb}' the lauds 
in Iowa were divided between them, the Sioux agreeing to 
remain to the north and the Sacs and Foxes to the south of an 
imaginary line dividing the state from east to west. A portion 
■of this line passed through Franklin, Cerro Gordo and Floyd 
counties, just a little above the northwest corner of Butler 

"the neutral strip" 

This line, however, failed to restrain the hostile tendencies 
of the warring tribes and in 1830, the Sioux ceded a strip of land 
twenty miles in width extending from the Mississippi to the Des 
Moines river and adjoining the treaty line of 1825 on the north. 
At the same time a similar cession of a strip of land of the same 
width and lengih adjoining the treaty line on the south was made 
by the Sacs and Foxes. These two cessions comprised what was 
thereafter known as the "Neutral Strip." By this act the title 
to the greater part of what is now Butler county passed to the 
United States. The southern boundary of the "Neutral Strip" 
passes through Butler county from east to west, entering on the 
east a little below the northeast corner of Shell Rock township 
and emerging on the west a little south of the northwest corner 
of Washington township. 


In the same treat.y, the Sacs and Foxes gave to the United 
States a large tract of land lying in the western part of the pres- 
ent state. The consideration paid to the Sioux and the Sac and 
Fox Indians for this vast cession of territory was $284,1.32. It 
is difficult to determine the exact extent of territory affected by 
this transfer but it contained approximately twenty thousand 
square miles. The first recorded purchase price of Butler county 
land may therefore be considered to have been only slightly in 
excess of two cents an acre. ' 


The defeat of the Indians under the noted chieftain, Black 
Hawk, in the war called bv his name resulted in the cession in 


1832 of a tract about fifty miles iu width extending along the 
western side of the Mississippi from the "Neutral Strip" to 
Missouri. This was supplemented in 1836 by the "Second Pur- 
chase" to the west of this tract. These two purchases opened 
the eastern part of state to settlement. Immigration spi'ead rap- 
idly over the territoi'v thus acquired. The Indians attempted 
for a time to retain their hold upon what was left of their original 
territory in Iowa. As always it was a forlorn hoi3e, but it was 
not until 1842 that the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States 
all their remaining lands east of the Missouri. This cession 
included the southern portion of Butler county not covered by the 
"Neutral Strip." The purchase price of this land was approxi- 
mately ten cents an acre. 

The remaining rights to land in the state were secured when in 
1846 the Winnebagos, who by previous agreement had been set- 
tled upon that portion of the "Neutral Strip" to the east of the 
Shell Rock river in its course through Floyd and Butler comities, 
ceded their interest in the "Neutral Strip" and when finally the 
Sioux in 1851 gave title to the land which they still claimed in the 
northern portion of the state. 


The rapid increase of population iu the new lands acquired as 
a result of the Black Hawk war necessitated some provision for 
the establishment of local governments. To meet this need, in 
1834 the Sixth Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Michigan, 
of which, as has been explained above, Iowa was then a part, 
divided the Iowa district into two counties by rimning a line due 
west from the lower end of Rock Island. The coimty to the north 
of this line was named Dubuque county and that south Des Moines 


In 1837 during the second session of the First Territorial 
Legislative Assembl,y of Wisconsin, an act was passed dividing 
Dubuque county into thirteen counties, eight of which were then 
given the same boundaries as now. The territory now comprised 
within the limits of Butler county was by this act divided between 
Fayette and Buchanan counties. Buchanan county under this act 


contained all of the original portion of Dubuque county lying 
directly west of Delaware county and extending to tlie Missouri 
river. This included what is now the southern tier of townships 
of Butler county. Fayette county, as originally established, was 
the largest county in the United States. It extended west from 
Clayton county to the extreme limits of the territory and north 
from Buchanan county to the British possessions, comprising 
within its boundaries most of what was afterward divided into 
twenty-eight counties of Iowa, all of the State of Minnesota west 
of the Mississippi river and all of the Dakotas east of the Mis- 
souri and White Earth rivers. It covered an area of 14(.),000 
square miles, nearly three times the size of the State of Iowa. 

The boimdaries of Fayette county were later reduced within 
the limits of the State of Iowa but no further changes in form or 
organization were effected until 1851 when, during the session of 
the Third General Assembly of Iowa, forty-nine new counties 
were established. Among the fortj-nine were Butler comity and 
all of the counties surrounding it except Blackhawk which had 
been previouslv established bv act of the Territorial Legislature 
in 1843. 


For some time after the date of the legislative act creating the 
county of Butler, the term remained a mere geographical expres- 
sion. The name Butler had no local significance but was selected 
by the legislative committee which prepared the bill providing for 
the organization of the foi'ty-nine counties mentioned above. The 
Mexican Avar had closed but two years before this session of the 
Legislature and the names of its battlefields and military officers 
were fresh in the memories of the people. Of ovu" neighboring 
coun+ioo. TT.oTrlin was named for Colonel Hardin of Illinois, who 
was killed in battle in the Mexican war, and Cerro Gordo for one 
of the famous battles fought by General Scott on his victorious 
march from Vera Ciaiz to the Mexican capital. Butler county was 
named in honor of Maj.-Gen. William O. Butler, another military 
hero of the Mexican war. General Butler eonnnanded a division 
of the volunteer army in this war and achieved sufficient promi- 
nence to receive the nomination for the vice-presidency on the 
democratic ticket in the campaign of 1848. He has no other con- 
nection with the county's history and it is doubtful whether lie 


was ever even aware of the honor that was in this way conferred 
upon him bv the Legislature of Iowa. 

The act of 1851 pro^aded temporarily for the attachment of 
Butler county to Buchanan county for judicial purposes. By 1853 
a sufficient number of settlements had been made in the county to 
warrant an attempt to organize a local government. Aceordingij'^, 
Judge Roszell, of Buchanan county, in May, 1853, appointed a 
commission to locate a county seat for Butler county. Acting 
upon the instructions of the court the three gentlemen comprising 
this commission finally fixed upon a site in what is now Clarks- 
ville. This occurred about the 14th or 15th of May, 1853. 

In August, 1853, Judge Roszell ordered an election to be held 
in Butler county for the choice of officers to provide for the organ- 
ization of the local government of the county. No records of this 
election have been preserved, but it is known that George W. 
Poisall was elected county judge. None of the comity officers 
chosen at this election qualified. This first attempt to ijrovide for 
the organization of the comity, therefore, failed and the matter 
was for the time being abandoned. 

Following this failure to organize a separate county govern- 
ment, in the same year, 1853, Butler county was detached from 
Buchanan county and attached to Blackhawk county for judicial 
purposes. In August, 1854, a second election for the choice of 
county officers was held under orders issued by Judge Knapp 
of Blackhawk county. As a result of this election, a full list of 
coimty officers was chosen, all of whom qualified except the comity 
attorney. This office was filled by appointment and on the 2d of 
October, 1854, the permanent organization of the county govern- 
ment was effected and the separate coiporate existence of Butler 
county became an accomplished fact. 


Before passing on to a more or less detailed consideration of 
the development of the comity, it may not be out of place to pause 
for a backward glance upon the conditions that surrounded the 
early settlers of this and the other counties of Iowa in the log cabin 
days. Here and there among us still there lingers a gray haired 
man or woman whose memory fondly turns back upon these days 
of long ago. We cannot hope to reconstruct for the young people 
of today the life of these early times with any degree of the vivid- 
ness that it has in the minds of these pioneers, but if we can in 
some measure indicate something of the toil and hardship, some- 
thing of the courage and determination that made it possible for 
Butler county to become what it is today we shall be content. And 
in so doing we shall hope to surround the lives of these honored 
representatives of a rapidly departing generation with a halo of 
love and respect and to make their journey down the sunset slopes 
of life a pleasant and a happy one. 

The early settlements in Butler county were largely made up 
of men and women whose wealth consisted chiefly of youth, health, 
industrious habits and a determination to better their condition 
in life. They came from the eastern states, from the states of 
the Central West, from England, from Ireland, from Germany. 
They had little or nothing in common except the common experi- 
ence of having to struggle to accumulate anything of a surplus over 
bare subsistence and the earnest desire to leave to their children 
something other than an inheritance of the habit of industry. 
They saw in these unsettled Iowa prairies the possibilities of a 
great futm'e. They were not deceived as to the price that they 
must pay to achieve this great ideal. They knew that it meant 
the severing of all the ties of kindred and association, that it meant 
stern privation, sla^ash toil and long slow waiting for the coming 
in later years of the advantages that their children were some day 

Vol. I— a 



to enjoy. But taking all this iuto account, tliey came here, aud 
amid hardship, sickuess and often absolute want, they spent the 
best years of their lives in the building of a new civilization. 

The young people of today can know little and appreciate less 
the slow progress of evolution that has transformed the bleak 
prairies of sixty years ago into the beautiful fauns of unsurpassed 
fertility, adorned with shady groves, fi'uitful orchards, modern 
homes, and magnificent barns and outbuildings equipped with 
every modern labor-saving device, that surrounds us on ever_y side 
today. Thej^ cannot realize that our modern system of transpor- 
tation of persons, commodities and news by a network of railroads 
aud telegraph lines, rural telephones and rural mail delivery has 
so recently displaced the emigrant wagon drawn b}' oxen, the stage 
coach and the weekly horse-back mail carrier ; that our towns aud 
cities and thriving villages with their modern homes, imposing 
busmess blocks, factories, banks, churches and schoolhouses have 
within the memory of the older citizens disjilaced the Indian wig- 
wam and the pioneer log cabin and sod house. 

A hunter's paradise 

When the first settlers came into Butler comity, tlie_y found a 
land which was a veritable hunter's paradise. Buffalo, deer and 
elk were j)lentiful. With these there were bear, lynx, foxes, wild- 
cats, groimd hogs, weasels, raccoons, otter, beaver, muskrats, par- 
tridges, wild turkeys, Avild geese and inunerous other wild beast? 
and fowls. So plentiful was this wild game that the earliest pio- 
neers had no difficulty whatever in ol)taining a fail' share of their 
subsistence with their trusty rifles. From 1851 to 1856, hunting 
was the main employment of many of the earliest settlers. 

In the northei'u part of the county the Golieen brothers, E. E. 
and James, and one "Tobe" Miller were famous as successful 
hunters, E. R. Goheen having the record of shooting twelve deer 
and one buffalo in one day. At one time he made a contract to 
furnish deer for what the hides were worth, as he could shoot them 
standing on his door steps. In the winter of 1853-54, the Goheen 
brothers came upon a large buffalo near the present site of the 
Dunkard church in Greene, and shot it so as to cripple it. It was 
storming at the time, however, and the crippled lieast managed to 
escape. The next morning it was captured and killed l)y a man 
named Winchell, of Marble Rock. 


Up iiutil the winter of 1856-57, buffalo, deer and elk were found 
in large niunbers in the county, especially in the western part 
ai'ouud what is now Bristow, then called Boylan's Grove. So far 
as meat was concerned, the settlers fared siunptuously every day. 
In the winter of 1856-57, snow fell in unusual quantity until it lay 
three feet deep on the level. Alternate thawing and freeziug 
caused a crust of ice to form over the top of the snow strong 
enough to bear up the weight of a man. It was not, however, suffi- 
ciently strong to support the weight of the deer and elk. These, 
as they endeavored to run, would break through the crust and, 
floimdering in the soft mass beneath, become so impeded in their 
progress as to fall an easy prey to their pursuers, whether hunters,, 
dogs or wolves. As a consequence nearly all the deer and elk were 
destroyed that winter. By actual count, at what was known as 
Jamison's grove, within the space of two miles up and down the 
West Fork, thii-ty-two deer were killed during this season. The 
elk on account of their greater weight were even more handi- 
capped. Many were killed with axes and hatchets without the 
aid of dog or gim. A similar slaughter of these animals took place 
in other parts of the northern section of the state. After that 
month, few deer and no elk were ever again seen in Butler county. 
Wolves, said always to be plentiful where deer are, are also said 
to have been less numerous after this extennination of the deer 
and elk. This reduction in the number of wolves, though, may 
be more readily ascribed, perhaps, to the activities of two men, 
Jacob Yost and Joseph Riddle, who for several seasons poisoned 
large mmibers of them by the use of strychnine. Prairie wolves, 
however, continued to be sufficiently lunnerous to constitute a 
positive nuisance for thirty years afterward. At the present time,, 
although not unknown, they are uncommon. A few^ instances of 
the presence of gray timber wolves are recorded by the pioneers.. 
One of the last appearances of one of these fierce brutes occurred 
within the memory t>f the writer, then a very small boy, about 
the winter of 1884-5, in the grove on the Iowa Central Stock Farm 
in West Point township. This wolf, after a fierce battle with two 
large dogs, was routed hy a farm hand armed with a pitch fork and 
made his escape toward the West Fork woods. 

So before the forces of Nature and the progress of civilization,, 
aided by the deadly rifles of the hunters and the snares of the- 
trappers, the wild life of these woods and plains rapidly, but most 
reluctantly, retreated. The resounding echoes of the woodman's 


ax and the carpenter's hammer and mallet and the crack of the 
pioneer's ox whip succeeded the crack of the hunter's rifle. An 
age-long era in the history of this land ended and a new era of 
progress and civilization began when the fii'st lofty walnut, hick- 
ory and oak trees were f eUed to be converted into cabins and barns 
and fences for the new homes of the pioneers and their families. 


This necessity for utilizing the standing timber for the con- 
struction of the first homes of the pioneers accounts in part for 
the fact that the first settlements in Butler county and in all the 
western prairie country were made along the timbered streams. 
A careful examination of the earliest records of the original 
entries of land in Butler county reveals the fact that the first lands 
selected for homesteads were uniformly covered wholly or in part 
by timber. Another consideration which influenced this choice 
was the necessity of locating the home near an unfading supply 
of good water, which as a matter of course could only be found 
in a spring or ruiming stream, ahnost all of which were siu'- 
rounded or bordered by timber. 

In conmion, however, with the ideas of their generation, the 
earliest settlers considered the soil of the timbered lands of a 
quality superior to that of the timberless prairies and so they 
laboriously cut the trees and cleared the stumps from their claims, 
leaving ofter untouched by the plow the vast areas of open prairie 
land, ahnost within a stone's throw, land which we know today 
to be of far greater fertility than any of the lighter sandy soils of 
the river valleys. 


The woods, too, contained thickets of wild plums, tangled clus- 
ters of wild grape vines, hazel brush, hickory nut and walnut 
trees, choke cherry trees, wild currants and gooseberry bushes, all 
of which added to the sometimes monotonously meager contents 
of the pioneer larder. These, with the wild game, most of which 
was found more plentifully in the woods and along the streams, 
formed the staple articles of subsistence, until the time when the 
first crops of sod corn, beans and potatoes could be raised. The 
com thus raised was often crushed in home-made wooden mortars 


and so prepared to make the meal from which corn bread was 

In winter time the supplies sometimes ran low and the family- 
diet was meager and monotonous indeed. As one of the pioneers 

"One winter night our supply of meat, upon which we had 
largely depended for subsistence till spring, was stolen from the 
little leau-to shack where we kept it. Wild game had ceased to 
be plentiful and my father was compelled to take the long journey 
to market to replenish our supply of provisions. We were fortu- 
nate enough to have a cow and a fair amoimt of corn meal. Father 
was delayed by stoi-ms and bad roads and was gone for several 
weeks. Until his return it was mush and milk for breakfast, mush 
and milk for dinner, and mush and milk for supper every day for 
six days in the week except Sunday — and then we had milk and 


After a year or two some wheat began to be raised and a very 
few families were able to enjoy the luxury of flour and wheat 
bread. Not many enjoyed this privilege, though, and those who 
did had to pay a high price in labor for it. At first the nearest 
flom- mills were at Cedar Rapids and Independence. The trip 
could be made with a four-horse team in a week when the weather 
and other circumstances were favorable. 

Van E. Butler, in an article published some years ago in the 
Clarksville Star, said: "This history would be incomplete with- 
out reference to the first settlers, who dared the trials and hard- 
ships of pioneer life, when they were obliged to haul their supplies 
from Dubuque or Iowa City. The nearest grist mill was at Inde- 
pendence or Quasqueton, when a barrel of salt was Avorth $9, a 
bushel of corn $1.50, and a pound of bacon 25 cents. Our people 
were then compelled to accept what they could get from the mill 
owners and post agents, who supplied us with the necessities of 
life, and it was frequently very light returns, as was the case on 
one occasion, when Phillip J. Ebersold, of Da^'ton, in company 
with Charley Angell, of the same town, came home with the grist 
of twenty bushels of wheat — consisting of only three sacks of 
flour, and Charley remarked, jocosely, 'You're lucky they didn't 
chase you clear home for the empty sacks.' " 


Later a mill was bmlt at Cedar Falls and it is stated that wlaeu 
it was possible to secure flour so near at home the settlers were 
''a happy people." The Cedar Falls mill, at first, was provided 
Avith machiuerj' merely for grinding the wheat, the bolting or 
separating the bran from the flour, having to be done at home by 

In 1856, the first mill in Butler county was erected at Clarks- 
ville. The stones for this mill were brought from St. Louis, the 
balance of the machinery being obtained at Rock Island. After 
several changes of ownership this mill passed into the hands of 
Thomas Shafer, grandfather of the jDrcsent sheriff of Butler 
county, T. J. Shafer, hy whom it was owned and managed for 
manj^ years, and then it passed into (^ther hands. The comple- 
tion of this mill marks another important step in the progress of 
the frontier coimnunit.y toward modern civilization. Thereafter 
some, at least, of the i-aw materials ])roduced on the farms could 
be transformed into the finished product without dependence 
upon outside agencies. 


Toil had no terrors foi' these pioneers; all were of necessity 
workers. The very conditions of their life eliminated the unfit. 
The women, too, were constant toilers. In addition to the house- 
work that is the common lot of woman, they had to spin and 
weave and cut and make the fannly clothing. They were artisans 
and manufacturers as well ; and often they were the only teach- 
ers of the children. 

There were other dangers and privations than those already 
mentioned. The narratives of the lives of the early settler make 
frequent mention of sickness. Death from disease all too soon 
made necessary the founding of cities for the dead alongside of 
the dwellings of the li\ing. The prevailing form of sickness was 
"fever and ague," a malarial fever caused, doubtless, by the 
decaying Acgetation and the lack of adequate natural drainage. 
Several severe epidemics of tyi:)hoid fever also are recorded. 
When sickness came, neighborly help and kindness had to supply 
the place of the skilled medical aid and the scientific nursing of 
modern times. The nearest physician was usually too far away 
to be of assistance except in cases of severe and prolonged illness. 
When death came, as it often did, and cast its dark shadow over 


the stricken home, willing hands and warm hearts ministered to 
the bereaved family and tenderly performed the last sad offices 
for the dead. A rude box, hastily constructed by a frontier car- 
penter, formed the casket, which was borne by neighbors to a 
lonely grave. "Often there was no minister, no music, no flowers. 
No carved monument told the name of the dead ; the sturdy oak 
or lofty elm cast a grateful shadow over the grassy mound that 
alone marked the last resting place of the departed pioneer." 

The winters during this pioneer period were, most of them, 
very severe, much more so than the winters of the present day. 
Although in part, no doubt, this impression arises from the better 
means we have today of combating the cold through better houses 
and better heating facilities, still it remains unquestioned that a 
certain degree of climatic change has gradually taken place to 
make our winters less severe and the amount of snow fall much 
less plentiful. 


Then hardly a winter passed without its blizzard. This dan- 
ger no Inunan foresight could guard against. The roads of those 
days were mere trails winding over an otherwise trackless prairie. 
The first fall of snow obliterated every trace of the road. And 
yet journeys to the nearest trading place, for supplies, or to the 
tunber for fuel had often to be made by one man alone. Many 
such a man perished a victim of the blizzard in the early years 
of the settling of the prairies. They came without warning, an 
ever-increasing northwest wind driving particles of flint-like 
snow resistlessly before it. The temperature fell rapidly to a 
point many degrees below zero. With the sun obscured and a 
changing wind, with no landmarks to guide him, God pity the 
hapless man at the mercy of the pitiless storm! 

One of the best accoimts of a blizzard in the early histoi-y of 
Butler county is given below from the pen of Dr. John Scoby, a 
pioneer physician of Shell Rock : 

"On the 14th of January, 1856, early in the morning, I started 
as usual to visit a number of patients up the river, some fifteen 
miles away. The northwest wind was blowing vei*y hard and 
cold and the snow flying. My first call to be made was at Mr. 
Martin's, cast of Turkey grove, five miles away and two miles 
east from the Clarksville road. "NTo track was to be seen after 


leaving the main I'oad. Fanny plunged ahead until we came to 
the slough, some twenty rods from the house. She could go no 
farther. I tightened the reins and covered her with blanket and 
robe. I wallowed across the slough, found the house and pre- 
scribed for the patients. Mr. Martin asked me to step with him 
to his yard, where I think I saw six dead hogs, which had chilled 
and were frozen by coming out of their pen to eat corn. He 
showed me a pair of oxen that were chilled badly in their stall. 
The wind was veering and the air full of snow. I could not see 
six feet in any direction. I crossed the slough. My sleigh was 
not there. I traveled, as I supposed, up the slough, doAvn the 
slough, up and down a number of times, the snow up to my waist. 
Fanny was not to be foimd. T stopped, kicked the snow away 
and stamped my cold feet. Where was Martin's house"? I could 
not see it — in what direction I did not knoAV. My hopes were 
gone. A cold snow-drift would be my winter tomb ; the prowling, 
hungiy wolves would feed upon my physical foi'm. Good-bye to 
my family and friends. I straightened up and tried to look 
around. Naught could I see but flying snow. 

"Oh! for one glimpse of beacon light for me to steer. 
To cheer me in my last, my hopeless fear. 

"In those eternal moments of dark despair, had I owned this 
globe and the revolving worlds in the solar system, I would gladly 
have given them all for the privilege of stepping into my sleigh 
behind Fanny. 

"In those moments of intense thought that seemed to embrace 
an. eternity of time, all the acts, thoughts and deeds of my past 
life — of three score years — ^were presented to my mind. My 
thoughts did not peer into the future ; I saw but the past and the 
present. A thought came; I woidd start for Martin's though I 
perished in the attempt. As I was lifting my foot to take the 
first step, Fanny whinnied not more than one rod from where 
I was standing. It was a melodious sound that burst upon my 
ear through the whirling snow-flakes. My flagging energy 
revived ; I skipped to the sleigh, helped Fanny turn it round, and 
I stepped in. Fanny would soon reach the Olarksville road in 
the timber. I was now monarch of all I could see; there were 
none to dispute my right but old Boreas. He may rage with all 
his power in his hydrophobic whirls, and drive his snow minions 
into fits of desperation, but Fanny and I will win the race with- 
out my giving a world or a dime. The road being foimd, I passed 


up tlie river to Clarksville, and went several miles above, making 
frequent calls to see the sick. In the evening I returned safely 
home; I enjoyed a quiet rest and started on another pilgrimage 
the next morning . . . " 


Another danger that was encoimtered by the first settlers in 
the coimty was from the annual prairie fires. From midsummer 
on until snow fall there was constant danger from this source. 
The heat of the August sun and the early frosts of fall would kill 
the prairie gTass and make it as dry as timber. Many of the 
recent settlers, imaware of their danger, neglected to take proper 
precautions for the protection of their buildings and stacks, and 
even of their families. The \AT.ser and older settlers were accus- 
tomed to plow a few fiu-rows around their homesteads as a fire 
break but even these often failed to stem the tide of destruction. 
There is not an inhabitant of this county of more than thirty 
years' residence who cannot recall with greater or less vividness 
the picturesque but awful grandeur of the approach of a prairie 
fire at night. These fires were often caused by thoughtless emi-' 
gi'ants who carelessly left smouldering camp fires to be fanned 
into flame by a rising wind, and sometimes such carelessness was 
paid for by serious loss and even death. 

The worst of these fires swept over the southern tier of town- 
ships in the fall of 1856, as a result of which a little daughter of 
Jacob Codner was burned to death. This fire started somewhere 
on the prairies of Grundy county. The hurricane of fire, driven 
by an ever-increasing wind, swept northward with the speed of 
a race horse, reaping a swath of destruction miles in width. 
Escape for man or beast would have been impossible if back fires 
had not been started in time to meet the advancing tornado of 
resistless heat that could be stayed only by a counter fire. It was 
literally fighting fire with fire. Houses, barns, stacks, fences, 
bridges and much stock were destroyed and the groimd left a 
blackened, blistering waste of desolation. The fire burned into 
the timber around Parkersburg and killed a large part of it. 
Mr. Curtis, who kept the ferry across the Beaver just north of 
Parkersburg, had a hard fight for his life against it. It jumped 
the Beaver and swept on to the north, leaped the West Fork 
south of Butler Center, where a man named Samuel Gillard was 


nearly burned to death. It then passed on and finally Imrned 
itself out somewhere in the comparatively uninhabited timber to 
the northwest of Butler county. 


There were compensations, however,, for the privations and 
endless toil of the pioneers. Hospitality was nowhere more gen- 
eral or more genuine than among the early settlers. Enter- 
tainment of newcomers was generally free and cordial. The 
one-room cabin was never too full to furnish shelter and food for 
the traveler. Neighborhood corn-huskings ending with a dance 
for the elders and a frolic for the youngsters gathered the settlers 
for miles around. Shooting matches, with turkeys for prizes, 
were often held, and many a rifle that had winged its message of 
death to far larger and wilder game won for its owner these 
humbler prizes of his skill. 


The religious fervor of the pioneer found expression in camp- 
meetings held in some grove by the Shell Rock by the light of 
blazing log fires, where young and old assembled to listen to the 
rude but ferAid eloquence of frontier preachers, sermons livid 
with hell-fire and brimstone and filled with endless wrath and 
eternal damnation for the unregenerate sinner. One of these 
early preachers possessed such a degree of diamatic intensity and 
hypnotic power of suggestion that he is said actually to have been 
able to open for his hearers the very gates of hell and as he meta- 
phorically cast sinner after sinner into the fire that dieth not, his 
auditors would be roused almost to a frenzy of awe and terror 
until shrieks and groans would fairly drown the preacher's voice. 
But all this suited the sturdy pioneers. The sugar-coated religion 
of today would have seemed insipid enough to their more hard- 
ened emotional natures. Many a man and woman quiet and retir- 
ing in daily life, lifted a voice eloquent in prayer and exhortation 
at these meetings, and old and young alike joined in singing the 
grand old h\anns with a fervor that roused enthusiasm to the high- 
est pitch and made the woods ring, and the hills and valleys echo 
and re-echo to a sound that must have struck with strange dis- 
sonance upon these sentinels of Nature after all the silence of 
the centuries. 


In the annual Poui'th of July celebration, opportunity was 
I'oxukI for the expression of the patriotism that was rampant in 
the breasts of these truest of Americans. Poor, indeed, was the 
community that could not raise its Liberty pole on the birthday 
of the country's freedom and listen to some rising young politi- 
cian as he twisted the British lion's tail and recounted the glories 
and wonders of the new democracy of the western world. 

So out of this warp and woof of variable conditions of life, with 
toil and hardship and privation, bvit withal with hospitality, and 
good felloAvship and a genuine joy in living was spun the might}^ 
fabric of our civilization today. Life was lived then more in the 
open. There Avas little of pretense and less of foolish pride. To 
most of us today, it would seem crude and raw in the extreme. 
But underneath it all there ran the cm'rent of true manhood and 
womanhood, of courage in the face of danger, and determination in 
the face of misfortune that alone made it possible for these pio- 
neers to build so broadly and so sm'ely the foundations of civiliza- 
tion upon which w^e of a later generation have often unknowing 
builded. Theirs be the honor and the glory. Let every man and 
woman of today stand uncovered before the memorial of venera- 
tion and regard which we have built in our hearts in their honor. 


cakpentee's grove 

Of the earliest settlement of Butler comity a former historian 
says: "There are differences of opinion as to who was the first 
to make permanent settlement in the comity, and it is a hard 
matter to settle conclusively, as there is no one now living, who 
can be interviewed, who positively knows. It can only be given as 
tradition hands it down. 

"Late in the fall of 1850, two himter brothers, Harrison and 
Volney Carpenter, and D. C. Finch, wended their way up the val- 
ley of the Shell Rock in quest of game. They had come from Linn 
coimty, where they had also stopped for a time. It was a magnifi- 
cent comitry, and game of all descriptions abounded. Upon arriv- 
ing at the point on the river where the village of Shell Rock 
now rests, they determined to make that spot a temporary home, 
while they scoured the country for game. A little log cabin was 
accordingly erected, in which they took up their abode, and foi' 
about one year made this a sort of a 'huntsman's rendezvous,' 
when Volney, who was a married man, moved his family there. 
The whereabouts of any of the party at present, or whether they 
are yet alive, we are imable to state. The grove afterward took 
the name of Carpenter's Grove." 

This statement of the earliest settlement is commonly accepted 
as correct and is so given in Cue's History of Iowa, and in official 
publications of the state in regard to Butler county. There is 
little doubt, however, that there were many other pioneers whose 
names have never been recorded. They were nomads, and after 
sojourning a little while along the streams and in the groves of 
Butler coimty, they took their departure, leaving no record or 
memory of their settlement. 




The Carpenters do not seem to have remained long in their iiew^ 
home in Butler comity, for no other account of them is to be 
found and their subsequent history is imknown. The honor of 
being the first pei-manent settler is ascribed to Joseph Hicks, 
who in December, 1850, came from Rock county, Wisconsin, and 
located a claim near the present site of Clarksville. His log cabin 
was built in a grove which stood on the site of the gravel pits west 
of Clarksville. 

This cabin became the nucleus of a settlement here and for a 
tune gave promise of becoming a town. The grove in which this 
cabin was situated was for some unknown reason called Coon's 
grove, and the open country to the west was called the "Coon 
Prairie country." Here in Coon's grove in 1853 was established 
the first postoffice in Butler county, with Abner G. Clark as 
the first postmaster. 

With the Hicks famil.v came Robert T. Cruwell, later the 
first sheriff of Butler county. Crowell, however, returned for 
the time being to his old home in Wisconsin. Two years later he 
came to Butler count.y again and settled upon a claim near Hicks. 
Until the spring of 1851 the Hicks family were alone in their enjoy- 
ment of the new land, their nearest neighbor in the -valley being 
the family of James Ne^\•(■ll. who had settled on the Cedar, in 
Black Hawk county, aliout thirty miles to the southeast, near the 
junction of the West Fork and the Cedar. During the winter of 
1850-51, Hicks was obliged to carry his provisions overland on 
his back from Cedar Falls, then the nearest trading point. These 
were sui:)plemented by what he could secure in the Avay of game 
and fish, l)y hunting, trapping and fishing. In these latter enter- 
prises he is said to hiwe been ably assisted by his good Avife, — a 
typical pioneer woman, who could handle a rifle as well and shoot 
as straight as any man. 

In the spring of 1851, Henry J. Hicks, father of Joseph, came 
from Rock county, Wisconsin, and erected the first blacksmith 
shop in the county near the home of his son. Here was forged the 
first iron in the Shell Rock valley. Henry J. Hicks entered claims 
on sections 12 and 13, in Jackson township, on Jmie 21, 1851, his 
claim being the fourth to be entered in Butler county, and prob- 
ably the first to be entered by an owner actually in occupation of 
the premises. Henry Hicks died in the winter of 1854 and was 


biu'ied on his home place. His remains later were removed to 
Lynwood cemeterj-, near Clarksville. Another son, John B. Hicks, 
came with the father from Wisconsin and settled on a claim in 
Jackson township. One of his daughters, Ida Hicks, married 
Henry Wamsley. 

This spring of 1851 was marked by the arrival of the Wamsley 
brothers, ]Malon B. and William S., who came from Ohio and set- 
tled a short distance northwest of where Clarksiille now stands. 
M. B. Wamsley settled on a claim in section 1, Jackson township, 
previously taken up by his brother, John Wamsley. Mr. Wamsley 
commenced to build a log cabin, broke a piece of land and during 
this first year raised a crop of corn, beans and potatoes, sufficient 
for the family use. The family, consisting of himself, his wife 
and two children, in common with the other early settlers, suifered 
from ague. They were of true pioneer stuff, however, and stayed 
b\' their claim, steadily improving it, and within a few years the 
log cabin was replaced by a substantial dwelling which remained 
the family home for a nmnber of year's. Mr. Wamsley 's health 
failed him about the year 1870 and he retired from active farming, 
later removing to the town of Clarksville. With this community 
he was identified from that time until his death. He was one of 
the incorporators of the Butler County Bank, and was its presi- 
dent for ten years. Mr. Wamsley was the first justice of the peace 
in Butler county, having been appointed to this office in the fall 
of 1853 by the county judge of Black Hawk county, to which But- 
ler was then for judicial purposes attached. He died Sept. 9, 

William S. Wamsley was a younger brother of M. B. Wamsley. 
mentioned above, both being natives of Adams county, Ohio. 
Thrown upon his own resources at an early age, he worked fen- a 
time at farming and sul)sequently entered the employ of the owner 
of a steam sawmill, with whom he remained until he was twenty 
years of age. At that time, with his brother, M. B., he purchased 
a half interest in the mill 1)ut as this did not prove entirely a suc- 
cess, in 1850, accompanied by a younger brother, John N., he 
boarded the steamboat at Cincinnati and started out in search of 
a new home somewhere in the boimdless West. They traveled by 
steamer down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to Dubuque, from 
which point they set out on foot to explore the country to the west- 
ward. After some rather futile wanderings in search of a satis- 
factory location, they came upon Henry Moore, son of Aaron 


Moore, better known as "Uncle Aaron," an early settler of the 
Shell Rock valley. Mr. Moore was looking for some one to help 
him take a drove of cattle up into Bremer comity. As he was 
enthusiastic in his praise of this section of the country, the Wams- 
leys agreed to accompany him. Arriving in Bremer county, they 
assisted in the building of the first cal)in in the vicinity of AVaverly. 
Here they heard glowing reports of the fertility and wonderful 
opportunities of the land to the westward, on what was known as 
"Coon Prairie.'' They started out on horseback and after a few 
hours' ride reached a point on the Shell Rock river. They found 
the country fully equal to the reports and at once concluded to 
settle there. 

For some reason the 'Wamsle_ys did not take an}- definite steps 
at that time toward taking up claims. M. B. Wamsley, the older 
brother, remained in the employ of "Uncle" Aaron Moore, while 
W. S. Wamsley returned to Ohio, where on the 20th of February, 
18-51, he was married to Ann Eliza Richards. In March, 1851, Mr. 
Wamsley and his bride, accompanied by his half brother, Martin 
Van Buren Wamsley, started overland by team for Iowa. They 
were met at Muscatine hy Malon B. Wamsley and his family, who 
had come down the river by steamboat. Ferrying across the Mis- 
sissippi, the families journeyed northward together, arriving at 
Aaron Moore 's about the 20th of April. On the 26th of that month, 
W. S. Wamsle}^ located a claim on the northeast quarter of section 
12, in Jackson township. The definite entry of this claim was 
not made until the 1st of September, 1851, as shown by the records 
of the general land office at Dubuque. The Wamsley brothers had 
but one team of horses and one wagon together, which they had 
br( lught from Ohio. They each possessed a cow and a pig and a few 
chickens, and these with a few household goods comprised their 
entire personal propertv. 

The purchase of eighty acres of land apiece, at $1.25 an acre, 
took the balance of their cash, so with all their worldly resources 
invested hi the possibilities of this new land, they began their 
lives on their pioneer farms in the spring of 1851. This season of 
1851 proved to be an exceptionally wet one. It was often very 
difficult, and sometimes impossible, to get to market. In June 
W. S. Wamsley started for Muscatine. When he arrived at Marion, 
in Linn comity, the constant rain had rendered the streams so 
nearly impassable that he decided to tiu'n back. Piu-chasing a 
few goods, he commenced his homew^ard journey. The streams 


were so swollen that he was compelled to fasten the wagon box 
to the running gear to keep it from floating away, while crossing 
the streams. In order to cross the Cedar river he had to take his 
wagon apart and transfer it ovei', piece by piece, in boats and swim 
the horses to the opposite shore. They experienced all the hard- 
ships and privations that were the common lot of the pioneers but 
after weathering through this first and hardest test of their perse- 
verance, they found life considerably easier. Within a few years 
the fruits of their toil began to return to them in increasing abun- 
dance, and Mr. Wamsley became one of the most substantial citi- 
zens and owners of improved land in Butler county. With his 
brother he was the founder of the Butler County Bank, and served 
for a uiuuber of ,years as one of its directors. Mr. Wamsley died 
October 19, 1905*. 


The fall of this year 1851 saw several additions to the little 
group of settlers in this section of the county. Among these were 
Jeremiah Perrin, an Englishman, who with his wife had emigrated 
to the United States in 1845 and settled in Pennsylvania. In 1851 
he started for the western country, traveling by steamboat down 
the Ohio and up the Mississippi to Muscatine. He had planned 
to purchase land but suffering from a temporary illness, he decided 
instead to rent a farm in the neighborhood of Muscatine, where 
he remained through one season. During the sinnmer he made 
the acquaintance of two gentlemen named Taylor and Ensley, 
who had come from Indiana and were planning to go on farther 
west in search of land. These gentlemen had only an ox team. 
Mr. Perrin had a good wagon and a team of horses and he pro- 
posed to them that if they would bear their share of expense he 
would take his team and drive them through. This agreement 
was made and the three men started out. After some journeying, 
they finally selected a site in what is now Butler township for their 
future homes. Perrin and Taylor returned to Muscatine and 
brought their families back with them, settling in their new homes 
on the 16th day of September, 1851. Ensley brought his family 
about six weeks later. They all erected cabins on their claims and 
prepared for the coming winter. Mr. Perrin 's farm was located 
about a mile east of Clarksville, on section 17. Here later he built 
a home, which at that time was probably the finest house in Butler 


county. Mr. Perriii proved to be a veiy successful farmer and suc- 
ceeded in aeciunulating a considerable pi'0i:>erty in farm lands and 
business blocks. Mr. Perriu died in 1908. Morrison A. Taylor died 
on the 30th of December, 1856. Andrew E. Ensley sold his Butler 
county land within a few .years after his settlement here and his 
subsequent history is unknown. 

These gentlemen named above, so far as is generally known, 
were the earliest permanent settlers of Butler county. In the 
years inmiediately following, a constantly increasing number of 
emigrants came in and took up claims and bi;ilt homes in the Shell 
Rock valley. The limit of this work forbids going more into 
details of these settlers luit they each and all did their part in the 
founding of a new civilization and the Ijuilding up of a new com- 
munity in this previousl.y uninhabited countr3^ More detailed 
mention of some of these will be made in connection with the 
separate histories of the townships. 


At the time of the earliest land entries in Butler county there 
were two land offices in the state — one at T)nbu(|ue, and one at 
Des Moines. The di^dding line between the territory covered by 
these two offices was the line running between ranges 3(i and 17, 
thus dividing Butler county equally north and south. The first 
settlements in the county were all made in the eastern half, and 
as a consequence, the first entries of land were all filed in the 
Dubuque land office. It was not until 1853, as will lie indicated 
elsewhere, that the first entry of land was made in the western 
half of the county through the Des Moines land office. 

The honor of being the first man to enter a piece of land in 
Butler county belongs to an Irishman named John Heery. 
This constituted 160 acres located on sections 18 and 19, 
in Butler township, and a similar amount of land on sec- 
tions 13 and 24, in Jackson township. Both these entries were 
made on the same day — Nov. 22, 1850. The laud entered 
in Butler townshiii lies just in the bend of the Shell Rock river, 
adjoining Clarksville on the southwest. Mr. Heery was at that 
time a resident of Milton, Wisconsin. He first heard of this 
land from James Newell, who had been trapi)ing along the Shell 
Rock river. On Monday morning, Nov. 11, 1850. ^Nfr. Heery 
left his home in Wisconsin for the purpose of locating and enter- 


ing a claim in tlie Shell Eock valley. He assured liis wife before 
his departure that he would return within two weeks. He made 
the trip the entire distance on foot. On reaching the Shell liock 
valley he was successful in finding the identical piece of land 
which had been described to him by Newell. On this he staked 
out his claim and on his homeward journey went by way of 
Dubuque, where he made the entry in the land office, on the 22nd 
of November. He reached home on the evening of the second 
Saturday following the departure, having traversed on foot 
approximately four hundred miles. In the spring of 1852 Mr. 
Heery brought his family to their new home. 

The second entry of land in Butler county was made on Dee. 
21, 1850, l)y George Kittle, who secured by land warrant 
the northeast quarter of section 31, in Beaver township. There 
is no record of the actual settlement upon this claim by Mr. Kittle. 
He was a resident of Carroll county, Illinois. In 1851 he quit- 
claimed this quarter section to one Jacob Kittle, of the same 
county in Illinois, for the consideration of $150. Jacol) Kittle 
remained in possession of the premises mitil the 30th of April, 
1857, when by warranty deed it was transferred to Nicolas Puter- 
baugh for .'}<800. It would appear therefore that the Kittles were 
uever actual settlers of the county. 

The third entry of land was made by Jesse Morgan, on the 
10th of April, 1851, who entered forty acres in the southeast 
quarter of section 36, of what is now Beaver township. No fur- 
ther mention of Mr. Morgan occurs in the records of the early 
history of the county and we take it for granted that this entry 
also was made merely for speculative purposes rather than for 
those of actual settlement. 

The fourth entry by Henry J. Hicks has been referred to 
above as having been made on the 24th of June, 1851 — 
160 acres in sections 12 and 13, Jackson township. These claims 
included the land now occupied by the gravel pits west of Clarks- 
ville extending thence westward across the river, including 120 
acres in section 13 and forty acres in section 12. 

A munber of other entries were made during the year 1851, 
in Butler, Beaver, Shell Rock and Dayton townships, Avhich will 
be noted in connection with the individual histories of these sec- 
tions. Most of these claims were paid foi- Ijy soldiers' land 


During the first two or three years after the actual settlement 
of Butler county began, the settlers gradually pushed up the 
valleys of the Shell Rock and the Beaver, locating their claims 
along these waters. For reasons already indicated, these tim- 
bered sections of the country were considered superior to the 
prairie lands. Later adventurous pioneers began to push out 
across the prairies, and by 1852 a few log cabins had already 
been erected in the western portion of the county. For the actual 
date of these settlements we are dependent more or less upon 
tradition. The first officially recorded date in the history of the 
western section of the county is that of the entry by William H. 
Jamison, who on the 11th of August, 1853, entered 120 acres in 
section 18, and 160 acres in section 20, of what is now Pittsford 
township. This entry was made in the land office at Bes Moines, 
being the first original entry of land in the western half of the 
county, the dividing line between Dubuque and Des Moines dis- 
tricts being, as has been stated above, on the line between ranges 
16 and 17. As Mr. Jamison was one of the earliest and most 
prominent settlers in this section of the county, more detailed 
mention of him will be deferred until the treatment of Pittsford 

From 1854 on, the county filled up rapidly in all its parts, 
and by the close of 1856. life had lost much of its pioneer char- 
acter and had begrm to assume the aspects of life in the more 
thickly settled portions of the United States. 


So far as is known, Butler county was never the site of any 
peiinanent Indian villages. It had been, however, from time 
immemorial a hunting ground for the various tribes that occu- 
pied this territory before the coming of the white man. Mention 
has already been made of the series of treaties by which grad- 
ually the Indians were led to dispose of their right and title to 
this land and relinquish its possession. The three tribes of Indians 
whose claim to this territory was recognized by the United States 
in these treaties were the Sioux, the Sacs and Foxes, and the 
Winnebagoes. The cession of the ""NTeutral Strip" by the Sioux 
and the Sacs and Foxes in 1830 marks the relinquishment of 
title to what is now the greater part of Butler countv on the 
part of these two tribes. The remaining portion, not including 


the "Neutral Strip" was secured by treaty with the Sacs and 
Foxes in 1842. 

The Winnebagoes had entered into a treaty of peace and amity 
with the United States in 1816, following the conclusion of the 
War of 1812. In 1832 they joined Black Hawk in his war against 
the United States and at its termination, as a punishment for 
their breach of faith they were required to give up their lands in 
Wisconsin in exchange for a tract in Iowa included in the por- 
tion of the "Neutral Strip" east of the Shell Rock and Cedar 
rivers. This territory they occupied until 1846, when they were 
induced to cede their Iowa lands for a tract in Minnesota, to which 
they soon after removed. They were induced to make this change 
largely because of the fact that wMle occupying the "Neiitral 
Strip" they found themselves constituting a sort of buffer 
between the Sioux on the north and the Sacs and Foxes on the 
south. For many years, however, parties of them returned to 
hunt and trap along their favorite Iowa rivers until most of the 
game had disappeared. 


The early settlers in the northern part of Butler county have 
left rather a fragmentary record of a battle between the Winne- 
bagoes and the Sioux, which occurred in the northern part of 
Bennezette township. The location of this battlefield is given as 
on section 5, about where Coldwater creek enters the township 
from the north. The battle seems to have been the concluding 
one of a campaign that had begun between the tribes sometime 
previous and somewhere to the northward of Butler county. The 
Winnebagoes in retreat took their stand here and are said to have 
thrown up earthworks and fortified themselves as best they could. 
The Sioux greatly outmunbered their opponents and attacking 
them from behind their fortification, brought on a terrific con- 
flict. The Winnebagoes are reported to have been overwhelm- 
ingly defeated. The date of this battle is given as 1853 but this 
is probably a mistake, as after 1846 there were rarely any large 
bands of warriors of either of these nations in this territoiy. 
Early settlers in Bennezette township used to visit the scene of 
the battle and find there many Indian relics, such as knives, 
broken guns, arrow heads and Indian jewelry. 


The Winuebagoes amiually made a journey through the west- 
ern part of the county on their way from Clear Lake, in Gerro 
Gordo county, to a camping gr()un(l in the vicinity of James 
Newell's on tlie Gedar. Their route led them through Jamison's 
and Boylan's groves, thence down the West Fork, to its junc- 
tion with the Gedar. Occasionally parties of Sioux traversed the 
same route. These annual incursions continued for some years 
after the county began to be settled. When finally the game 
became scarce, these Indians were rarely seen. For years after- 
ward, however, little groups of Musquakie Indians from the Tama 
reservation were accustomed to traverse the county, begging their 
way from house to house. These Indians were semi-civilized and 
constituted a nuisance rather than a menace. Occasionally com- 
ing upon some outlying farm house where only women and chil- 
dren were at home, they were the cause of some fright, but these 
fears were usually groundless. No instances of unusual outrage 
are recorded against these Indians. 


In January of 1854, a desperado, Henry Lott, who had some 
trouble with a band of Sioux Indians, treacherously lured a Sioux 
chief away from his home and killed him from ambush. That 
night with more than savage cruelty and deceit, Lott butchered 
the Indian women and children belonging to the family of this 
chief. A brother of the murdered chief, with another band of 
Sioux, discovered the dead and mangled bodies a few days later 
and learning from some children who had escaped the massacre, 
the identity of the murderer determined ujDon revenge. This 
was the beginning of the troubles between the Iowa settlers and 
the Sioux Indians, which eventually culminated in the Spirit 
Lake massacre. The story of this tragic event forms one of the 
most remarkable series of incidents in the history of this or any 
other western state. It is not, however, distinctly germane to 
the history of Butler county. It is indicative, however, of the 
fact that this possibility of an invasion by hostile Indians was 
ever present in the minds of these early settlers. It is easy now 
to minimize its danger and to laugh at the sometimes rather 
ludicrous incidents that grew out of the fears which these pioneers 
sometimes entertained. But a studv of such events as those occur- 


ring at Spirit Lake will justify in the minds of any fair-minded 
person the presence of such fear. 

W. L. Pahnei', in a "History of Clarksville, " gives a graphic 
description of the Indian scare of 1854 in Butler county: 

"Id the spring or early part of the summer of 1854, the nerves 
of the Avhole population of North-central Iowa were set into a 
terrible flutter by the announcement, heralded throughout the 
country, that the noble 'red men' were greatl}- incensed by the 
appearance of nmuerovis pale faces within their, to them, legiti- 
mate territory, and that they proposed to massacre, at one fell 
swoop, every man, woman and child. Had the shock of an earth- 
quake, or the coming of a second deluge been announced, with as 
much probable certainty, the panic could not have been more suc- 
cessful, and for days and nights, the most timid might have been 
seen rapidly running toward the south. In some instances every- 
thing was left in the rear except sufficient to sustain life until a 
'heavier settlement' could be reached. But all did not act thus. 
The bugle was somided, the standard unfurled, and courageous 
volunteers rallied to its support. 

"Colonel Abner Eads, at that time superintendent of public 
instruction for the state, happened to be in Cedar Falls. Having 
been an officer in the army, during the war Avith Mexico, he was 
irmnediately elected impromptu commander-in-chief of all the 
forces that were about to engage in the prolonged and bloody cam- 
paign, and promptly set himself about organizing, drilling and 
reviewing two companies of volunteer 'dragoons.' During the 
t»rganizatiou, M. M. Trumbull, who was a sergeant of artillery in 
the Mexican war, and avIio had distinguished himself in the battles 
of Palo Alto, Monterey, Chapultepec, etc., was honored by the 
Colonel with the position of adjutant-general and chief-of-staff. 
Ed. Brown was captain of the company from Black Hawk and 
Jeriy Farris of that from Bremer. So soon as the roads and 
weather would permit, 'Brigadier' Eads headed his noble column 
and boldly striick out for the frontier. When the colmnn had 
reached Clarksville, its ranks were considerably swollen by the 
gradual 'falling-in' of strong-hearted recruits from the wayside. 
At Clarksville it halted for supper, a night's rest and a council of 
war, after a forced march of twenty-five miles. The refreshments 
were generously furnished by the remaining citizens who were so 
extremely patriotic that they would not 'take a cent'; but when 
the troops proceeded the next day, found they had been eaten out 


of 'house and home.' The decision at the council of war no man 
knew, save those in authority, but were compelled to ' guess ' from 
the proceedings which followed. A small detachment of ' regulars ' 
was left with the citizens, under orders to erect a fort — on the 
hill where Mr. Baughman's residence now is — and not delay a 
moment until its completion. The noble little garrison went man- 
fully to work, detailed two-thirds of theiix number for picket duty, 
while the rest began sinking trenches and throwing up breast 
works, never stopping a moment except to eat, di'ink and sleep. 
Dm'ing the progress of this work, the main colimin had proceeded 
as far northwest as Clear Lake, and frightened a few whites and 
a niunber of Winnebagoes almost out of their wits, who thought 
them red-skins. All the excitement was caused by the murder of 
a 'skinaway' and the scalping of an old 'squaw' belonging to the 
Winnebago tribe, by a marauding band of Sioux. The troops 
bivouacked for the night, and many were the disappointed heroes 
who would be compelled to return the next day bearing the sad 
tale to their friends that the Indian war was a myth, and that they 
were not permitted, by kind Providence, to wholly exterminate 
the very name of 'Injun' from the face of the earth, by pouring 
out their life's blood in defense of their homes and firesides. Dur- 
ing the home march of the veterans they were not so careful of 
their powder as on their northern trip, and occasionally amused 
themselves by discharging a shot at some wayside object, the 
reports of which 'panicized' the remaining settlers, who flew to the 
protection of Fort Eads, at Clarksville. Adjutant-General and 
Chief-of-Staff TrimibuU, when the troops went into camp for the 
night, strolled aw^ay in search of the Shell Rock river for the piu'- 
pose of bathing. While enjoying the refreshing bath, he chanced 
to observe a woman, near the bank opposite, washing clothes. An 
idea struck him. lie would rush wildly iuto camp and report tliat 
Indians, thousands of them, were on the opposite side of the river 
and were preparing an attack. The disclosure had the desired 
effect. 'Boots and saddles' was immediately sounded and the bold 
soldiers were off in a trice ; not toward the enemy, but each upon 
his own hook, bound to receive shelter behind the protecting walls 
of the little fortification. When the headlong retreat of the troops, 
who had all been 'cut to pieces,' was known at the fort by the arri- 
val of the better mov;nted dragoons — the only ones who escaped 
with their 'har' — the scenes in the fort could not have been better 
imagined than described; for there were assembled the women 


and children ! Brave hearts ahnost ceased to perform theii' proper 
functions ! Timid women wrung their hands and fainted, wliile the 
children wept at beholding the fearful carnage ! Quietude was at 
length restored; a hearty laugh indulged in; the war ended, and all 
returned to their peaceful homes. Thus closed the Indian massa- 
cre of 1854." 


The vital statistics of the county in the early days, were, as is 
not uncommon, more or less incomplete. It is commonly accepted 
that the first birth in the county was that of a son of Jeremiah 
and Elizabeth Perrin, who was born in March, 1852, on the Perrin 
farm east of what is now Clarksville. The child was named Wil- 
liam and died about six months later. 

The first death recorded in the comity occurred in the fall of 
1851, when a man named Joseph Kirker, about forty years of age, 
died at the house of William S. Wamsley. 

The first marriage license recorded in the county authorized 
Greenberry Luck and Susan Williams to be joined in the holy 
bonds of matrimony. Tliis is dated Nov. 1, 1854. This mar- 
riage license is the first to be given on the books of the clerk's 
office, although two others bear earlier dates. These are Daniel 
W. Kinsley and Mary Farlow, dated Sept. 10, 1854, and 
Samuel E. Taylor and Julia E. Armstrong, on the 26th of SeiDteni- 
ber, 1854. Both these marriages are recorded as having been cele- 
brated by a justice of the peace, Alfred M. Elam. The marriage of 
Greenberry Luck and Susan Williams took place at Clarksville on 
the same day that the license was issued. This marriage was cele- 
brated by Rev. W. P. Holbrook, a pioneer preacher of this section. 
The bride was the daughter of one Comfort Williams, who had 
come from Cedar Rapids in the smmner of 1854 and settled in 
Pittsford township. Mr. Luck was also from Cedar Rapids and 
doubtless had been acquainted with the family before his arrival 
in the county. On the day of the wedding, Mr. Williams, the 
father of the bride, and a woman who had been living with him, 
doubtless considering the opportunity a favorable one, also pro- 
cured a marriage license and were joined in matrimony the same 
day and by the same preacher. Williams and his wife soon after- 
ward removed to Cedar Palls and Mr. and Mrs. Luck settled in 
Beaver township, where they resided for a number of years. 


The first foreigner to be acbnittecl to full American citizeuship, 
in this county was William dough, a native of England, who on 
the 6th of October, 1857, received his tinal papers of naturaliza- 
tion. Mr. Crough was a resident of Butler county from 1854, 
settling first on a farm in Dayton township and later on section 
4, West Point township. He is the father of Thomas A. and 
Joseph J. Gougii, at the present time well known and prominent 
citizens of the central part of the county. 

The tirst school in the county was taught by Miss Malinda 
Searles, in a little log cabin in Clarksville, in 1855. 

The first recorded transfer of land in Butler county was filed 
for record on Dec. 13, 1853, and is of a warranty deed issued 
by John F. Ballier, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by his attor- 
ney, William J. Barney, to Alfred M. Elam, of Butler county, 
Iowa. It is of date Oct. 21, 1851. By this deed Mr. Elam 
came into possession of eighty acres, situated in section 28 of what 
is now Butler township. The consideration of this purchase was 
$200. This is the first warranty deed recorded but not the first 
instrument, the power of attorney from John F. Ballier to Wil- 
liam J. Barney, under which the latter uegotiated the transfer 
referred to above, having been given on the lOtli day of Septem- 
ber, 1851. This power of attorney was filed for record the same 
day as the warranty deed referred to above. 

Several instruments bear earlier dates of filing than these two, 
the earliest of these being a deed from Barnett Grandon and 
wife, of Butler county, to Nathan Olmstead, of De Kail) c(iuuty, 
Illinois, whereby forty acres in section 30, Beaver towoiship, were 
transferred for the consideration of $150. This instrument is 
dated Sept. 10, 1853, and filed for record Sept. 21, 1853. 

The first transfer of jii-operty liy will in the coixnty is that 
by which William Goheen, of Clinton county, Iowa, gives and 
devises to his two sous, James Wilson and Edward Rufus Goheen, 
his land in section 19, of Dayton townshii). This bequest is made 
with the following peculiar proviso, "provided they stay me until 
my death." It is concluded as follows: 

"Signed, published and declared by the said William Goheen 
as and for his will in presents of us, who at his request have signed 
as witnesses to the same. 


"Delana McCain 
"Frederick Hobbert. 


"In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand 
and seal this 20th day of February, 1852. 

"WUUam Goheen." 

The date of tiling of this instrimient is Nov. 10, 1853. 

These records were transcribed from the files in the office of 
the coimty recorder of Black Hawk county, to which at this time 
Butler county was joined for judicial purposes. 

The first mortgage for land in Butler county was made on 
the 11th day of October, 1854, by Jolm W. Sperring, of Oswego 
county. New York, to Reuben T. Davis, of Delaware county, Iowa, 
whereby the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of sec- 
tion 10, in township 90 north, range 15 west, was mortgaged for 
the consideration of $432. This instrument bears the earliest 
date of any mortgage recorded on the records of Butler county, 
but is preceded on the books by several instruments bearing later 
dates. For this reason it has escaped the notice of previous 

The oldest living women in point of residence in the county 
at the date of writing this history are Mrs. M. M. Molsberry and 
Mrs. W. H. Moore, of Clarksville. Mrs. Molsberry was Sabra 
Jane Wamsley, a daughter of Malon B. Wamsley, who came to 
the county with her parents and settled near Clarksville in 1851. 
She has from that time to date been continuously a resident of 
the county — a period of sixty-three years. 

Mrs. W. H. Moore, Mary Ann Perrin, was born in Pennsyl- 
vania in 1847, and came to Bixtler county with her parents, Jere- 
miah and Elizabeth Perrin, in the fall of 1851. Since coming to 
Iowa with her parents, Mrs. Moore has continuously resided in 
Butler county, except during the second year of her marriage, 
when they returned for a time to New York. About a year later 
thoy came again to Iowa and settled on a farm in Butler town- 
shij:), on which they lived for many years. Mrs. Moore has been 
for more than six decades a witness of the growth aud dcvclo])- 
incut of the county and state. 

Henry Wamsley, oldest son of Malon B. Wamsley, was an 
infant, only a few months of age, when his parents first settled 
in Butler county, in the fall of 1851. Since that date he has been 
(continuously a resident of the county and enjoys at the present 
time the distinction of the longest period of residence within the 
county limits of any man who is today living. 



As has been stated in a previous chapter, the permanent organ- 
ization of comity government in Butler county was finally effected 
on Oct. 2, 1854. At that time the local government of coun- 
ties in Iowa was vested in a "county court," which consisted of 
county judge, county clerk and sheriff. In the first county elec- 
tion held in August, 1854, John Palmer was elected county judge, 
William E. Burton, clerk of the court, and R. T. Crowell, sheriff. 
The other officials elected at that time were: A. Gr. Clark, treas- 
urer and recorder ; and James Griffith, school fund commissioner. 
The first term of the new county court was held in October, 1854, 
in Clarksville, then the county seat. The little log hut in which 
Mr. Clark sold groceries, was used as the first courthouse. The 
first entry in the records of this court is dated Oct. 2, 1854, 
and is as follows: 

"Ordered that the following taxes be and are hereby levied: 
For state purposes, one and one- fourth mills on the dollar; for 
county purposes, five mills on the dollar ; for school purposes, one 
mill on the dollar ; for road purposes, one mill on the dollar ; poll 
for county purposes, 50 cents; poll for road purposes, $1.00. 

" (Signed) John Palmer, 

"County Judge." 

The first case tried before Judge Palmer was in connection 
with an application for writ of injunction made by Solomon W. 
Ingham against Daniel D. Myers, of Shell Rock, restraining him 
from selling a piece of land in section 2, Shell Rock township. 
Having filed his petition and given bond in the sum of $100, the 
writ was issued and placed in the hands of Sheriff Crowell for 
service. This took place on Oct. 12 and 13, 1854, and on the 
19th the plaintiff was notified that on Jan. 1, 1855, a motion 




would be made to dissolve the iujunction. After further confer- 
ence between the parties this matter was deferred until early in 
Februarj^ 1855. On the date agreed upon the case was called up 
by the court, Attorneys M. M. Trumljull and A. Van Dorn appear- 
ing for Mr. Myers and Mr. Ingham, respectively. The motion 
to dissolve the injunction was sustained by the judge on the 
ground that the writ was not issued by a properly qualified offi- 
cer. Mr. Myers, by his attorney, moved to assess damages against 
the defendant in the amoimt of $100. This motion was over- 
ruled because no damages had been proven. A motion to allow 
evidence to prove damages w^as sustained. A jury of six was sum- 
moned, composed of T. T. Rawson, J. Y. Hicks, J). C. Hilton, M. 
B. Wamsley, James Ford and R. W. Butler. After the exam- 
ination of a number of witnesses the jury lirought in the follow- 
ing verdict: "We, the undersigned jurors, do agree that the 
said Solomon W. Ingham pay to the said Daniel I). Myers the 
sum of 25 cents, with costs." The costs were $5.90. Defendant 
gave notice of an appeal to the district court, but so far as the 
county court was concerned this first law suit ended here. 

The third entry records the platting of the village of Clarks- 
ville. It is given Ijelow in its entirety: 

"State of Iowa, ) 

'- ss 
Butler County. ( 

"On this day, to-wit, October 27th, A. D., 1854, the plat of the 
village of Clarksville, with the acknowledgments of Thomas 
Clark, Elizabeth Clark, Jeremiah Clark, Maria Clark, D. C. Hil- 
ton, Seth Hilton, Elizabeth Hilton, Dan Mather and Roxana 
Mather, proprietors of the land upon which the above mentioned 
village is situated; that the same is with their free consent and 
in accordance with their desire. And the court l)eing satisfied 
that the requirements of tlie law have been complied with, it is 
therefore ordered that the same be placed on the records of But- 
ler county, as the law requires. 

"John Palmer, 
"County Judge." 

Thus Clarksville has the honor of being the oldest town in 
Butler county. At this same session of the court, H. F. L. Bur- 
ton was appointed clerk of the court and M. M. Trumbidl, deputy 
treasurer and recorder. Harlan Baird, who had l^een elected 
prosecuting attorney in the August election, having failed to 


qualify according to law, Aaron Van Doru was appointed to till 
the vacancy and thereafter served the county in this capacity. 

The first criminal case in the history of the county to be tried 
by the county court came up before a special term of court held 
Dec. 9, 1854. It was entitled 

"The State of Iowa 

William Gasterline." 

The entry on the minute book is as follows: 

"Now, to-wit, December 9, 1854, comes Rufus L. Hardy, first 
being sworn, deposeth and saith on his oath that one William 
Gasterline did threaten to beat, wound and murder the said Rufus 
L. Hardy, and further says that in consequence of said threats 
he, the said Hardy's life is in danger from the said Gasterline 
and files an information to the above import, subscribed and 
sworn to as the law directs and producing Stephen L. Hardy as 
a witness verifying the above statement. A warrant issued 
directed to any sheriff or constable in the said county command- 
ing him to arrest and bring before the county court the said 
Gasterline to answer according to law. 

"Warrant returned served by arresting and bringing the said 
Gasterline into court. When the court proceeded to try the case 
and upt>n hearing all the evidence in the case it is hereby ordered 
by the court that the said defendant be held to bail in the sum 
of $100 to keep the peace and to answer at the next term of the 
district court of Butler county, in the state of Iowa. 

"John Palmer, 
"County Judge." 

"Bill of Costs. 

"Sheriff's fees 55 cents 

Witness " R. L. Hardv 50 " 

" S. L. Hardy 50 " 

" Lucretia Hardy 50 " 

" James Mann 50 " 

" Mrs. Gasterline 50 " 

" Daniel Clark 50 " 

The further trial of this case is given in connection with the 
history of the district court of Butler coimty. 

On the 29th of March, 1855, George W. and Elizabeth Adair 
presented to the court the plat of the town of Shell Rock. This 


being in proper form, it was ordered recorded by the county 

In April, 1855, the second election was held, as a result of 
which Aaron Van Dorn was elected prosecuting attorney ; W. H. 
Bishop, sheriff; and W. R. Jamison and Thomas Clark, justices 
of the peace. Appended to this chapter will be found a complete 
list of county officers from the beginning, it being deemed unnec- 
essary to devote more space to the consideration of the first 


In an entry on the court records, dated June 4, 1855, the first 
steps toward providing a courthouse for Butler county are given. 
It is ordered "that sealed proposals (be received) for building a 
courthouse on the courthouse square, in the village of Clarks- 
ville, of the dimensions as follows: 40x40 feet, two stories high, 
the first to be 9 feet and the second 9^2 feet in height, to be made 
of good and durable material, either of wood or brick." 

Nothing seems to have come of this effort to provide a home 
for the county officers, as on the 22d of April, 1856, the follow- 
ing record is f oimd : 

"In the Matter of Pubhc Buildings. 

"Whereas, great inconvenience is experienced by the county 
officers and other citizens in consequence of the want of room and 
accommodations for holding court and for the transaction of 
other i>ublic business, and whereas the coimty seat is entirely 
destitute of public buildings or of any other place in which the 
business of the county can be conveniently done or the public 
records safely and properly preserved, it is ordered by the county 
court of Butler county that advertisements be forthwith issued 
for sealed proposals for erecting a court house at Clarksville, the 
county seat of said coimt.v. Said court house to be 40 feet by 
60 feet, two stories high, be of brick of good material and to be 
enclosed by the 1st of November, A. D., 1856. Said proposals to 
be received imtill the first Monday of Jime next (1856). It is 
further ordered that a i^lan and specifications be procured and 
filed in the judge's office for reference. 

"A. Van Dorn, 

"County Judge." 

On Nov. .3, 1856, the court ordered that on account of 
insufficient means, want of time and material to complete or 


TILDE N rcj 


enclose it for protection against the weather, further progress 
of building the courthouse be postponed until the spring of 1857. 
This building was erected in the following year, and was used as 
a courthouse so long as Clarksville remained the county seat, and 
thereafter as a schoolhouse. It was finally torn down in 1903 to 
make room for the present commodious public school building. 
From the first there was agitation for the removal of the 
county seat from Clarksville. It was recognized that while for the 
time being Clarksville was the center of population, its distance 
from the geographical center of the county would eventually ren- 
der it an unsatisfactory location for the county seat. The first 
petition looking toward the removal of the county seat from 
Clarksville was presented to the county court in June, 1856. It 
was eventually overruled by the judge. 


On the first Monday of April, 1857, a special election was 
ordered to take place to fill a number of vacancies, which for one 
reason and another had occurred in the offices of drainage com- 
nussioner, county clerk, surveyor and coroner. 

At this same election a proposition for ratifying the courthouse 
loan was carried by a vote of 301 to 165. At this same election the 
question of borrowing $20,000 on five-year bonds for the purpose 
of bifilding a number of bridges in the county was carried by a 
majority of 180. Eleven bridges were provided for by this propo- 
sition — one at Shell Rock, two near Clarksville, one at New Hart- 
ford, and the others in various other parts of the county. 

Another special election was called for the 12th day of Septem- 
ber, 1857, for the purpose of determining whether or not the county 
should subscribe for $200,000 worth of stock, in bonds, payable in 
twenty years, iti the Chicago, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad, with the 
proviso that the company should build its Cedar Valley branch 
through the county within one mile of Clarksville and Shell Rock. 
This proposition carried by a vote of 244 to 187. This railroad was 
never constructed. The Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern, 
however, fourteen years later constinicted a line though the Shell 
Rock valley and gave to the county its first railroad service. 

In this same special election, D. W. Miller was elected county 
judge by a majority of fifty-four votes over Alonzo Converse, the 
latter having made his campaign chiefly upon the removal of the 


county seat from Clarksville. The result of this election was con- 
tested by Air. Converse, and although it appears from the record 
that Mr. Miller on the 29th of September, 1857, presented his bond 
and was duly qualified for the office of county judge, it appears 
from subsequent entry on October 5, 1857, that after a hearing 
before Judge J. D. Thompson, Miller was ordered to deliver the 
office and the books pertaining thereto to-Converse. At the Novem- 
ber term of court this year Alonzo Converse was present and pre- 
sided as coimty judge. 



The Eighth General Assembh- of Iowa in 1859 passed an act 
by which the county goverimient thereafter was to be vested in 
a body termed the board of supervisors. By this act the old county 
court was abolished and a new body, consistiug of one supervisor 
for each civil township, was vested with nearly all the authority 
formerly held by the county court. On the 7th day of January, 
1861, the first meeting of the new board of supervisors chosen in 
accordance with this act was held at Butler Center, now become 
the seat of county guvernment. This board, the membership of 
which is given below, eff'ected an organization by the choice of 
Peter Coyle, of Madison township, as temporary chairman ; James 
W. Davis as clerk; and Messrs. Alilo Hard, of Beaver township, W. 
R. Jamison, of Pittsford, and Thomas Haggarty, of Daylon, as 
conmiittee on credentials. The members then proceeded to draw 
lots to determine whether their terms should be one or two terms 
in length, according to law. As a result Messrs. Wilson, of Shell 
Rock, Haggarty, Stoner, Aldrich, Coyle, Long, Jamison and Taylor 
drew two-year terms, and the remaining mem])ers of the board 
one year. 

At this first session of the board A. J. Thompkins presented 
himself for admission as supervisor from Butler township. After 
an examination of his credentials, the committee appointed for 
this purpose reported unfavorably. Mr. C. A. Bannon Avas seated 
as supervisor from this township. James W. Davis, who was 
chosen clerk of the board of supervisors at this first session, 
remained in this office throughout the entire period, during which 
the county government was in the hands of a board of sixteen 
supervisors. A complete list of the various members of this board 
from 1861 to 1870, with the chairman for each year, is given below. 



1861 — Madison, Peter Coyle, chairman; Albion, S. H. Taylor; 
Beaver, Milo Hard; Bennezette, Milton Wilson; Butler, C. A. 
Bannou; Coldwater, Moses Aldrich; Dayton, Thomas Haggarty; 
Jackson, Jonathan Gilbert; Jefferson, 0. Rice; Monroe, Wells A. 
Curtis; Pittsford, W. R. Jamison; Ripley, George W. Stoner; Shell 
Rock, James Wilson; Washington, W. H. Long; West Point, Julius 
Hoffman ; Fremont, S. Bonwell. 

1862 — Madison, Peter Coyle, chairman; Albion, S. H. Taylor; 
Beaver, Milo Hard; Bennezette, Milton Wilson; Coldwater, Moses 
Aldrich; Dayton, Thomas Haggarty; Jackson, Jonathan Gilbert; 
Pittsford, W. R. Jamison; Washington, W. H. Long; West Point, 
Julius Hoffman; Fremont, S. Bonwell; Butler, James R. Fletcher; 
Shell Rock, James Wilson; Jefferson, W. A. Lathrop; Monroe, J. 
J. Criswell; Ripley, George W. Stone. 

1863 — Madison, Peter Coyle, chairman; Fremont, S. Bonwell; 
Jefferson, W. A. Lathrop; Monroe, J. J. Criswell; Beaver, Milo 
Hard; Jackson, J. Gilbert; West Point, J. Hoffman; Bennezette, 
Milton Wilson; Coldwater, William J. Nettleton; Pittsford, John 
M. Nichols; Ripley, John C. Hites; Shell Rock, M. Hollenbeck; 
Washington, H. A. Tucker; Dayton, C. Forney; Butler, J. R. 
Fletcher, resigned, A. J. Thompkins to fill vacancy; Albion, S. H. 

1864 — Monroe, J. J. Criswell, chairman; Albion, S. H. Taylor; 
Coldwater, William J. Nettleton; Pittsford, John M. Nichols;, 
Ripley, John C. Hites; Madison, Peter Coyle; Washington, H. A. 
Tucker; Dayton, C. Forney; Bennezette, I. Chamberlin; West 
Point, Johnson Lawyer; Beaver, William Rosebrough; Jefferson,, 
E. B. Allen; Shell Rock, Thomas G. Copeland; Jackson, M. B.. 
Wamsley; Fremont, S. J. Boorom; Butler, H. F. L. Burton. 

1865 — Butler, H. F. L. Burton, chairman, resigned; Madison,. 
Peter Coyle, chairman; Dayton, Thomas Haggarty; Fremont, S. J. 
Boorom; Monroe, J. J. Criswell; Jackson, M. B. Wamsley; West 
Point, J. Lawyer; Bennezette, I. Chamberlin; Coldwater, Joseph 
Miller; Pittsford, James Harlan; Shell Rock, W. S. Wilson, 
resigned, J. G. Scoby to fill vacancy; Jefferson, E. B. Allen, 
resigned, W. A. Lathrop to fill vacancy; Riplej^ J. B. Bullis; 
Washington, R. R. Parriott; Albion, R. W. Shaw; Beaver, James. 
Collar; Butler, E. Fowle to fill vacancy. 


1866 — Madison, Peter Coyle, cliairmau; Freniout, S. J. Boorom; 
West Point, J. Lawyer; Jackson, M. B. Wamsley; Butler, Edwin 
Fowle; Shell Rock, J. G. Scoby; Beaver, James Collar; Albion, 
R. W. Shaw; Coldwater, Joseph Miller; Pittsford, James Harlan; 
Ripley, James Bullis; Washington, R. R. Parriott; Dayton, 
Thomas Haggarty; Monroe, J. J. Criswell; Jefferson, Stephen 
Morse; Benuezette, Oliver Evans. 

1867 — Butler, Edwin Fowle, chairman; Fremont, S. J. Boorom; 
Bennezette, 0. Evans; West Point, J. Lawyer; Jackson, M. B. 
Wamsley; Shell Rock, J. G. Scoby; Jefferson, S. Morse; Dayton, 
J. V. Boggs; Coldwater, James Griffith; Pittsford, S. B. Dumont; 
Ripley, Henry Trotter; Madison, T. W. Smith; Washington, M. F. 
Whitney; Monroe, Isaac Hall; Beaver, A. Converse; Albion, W. H. 

1868 — Pittsford, S. B. Dimiont, chairman; Dayton, J. V. Boggs; 
Bennezette, O. Evans; Jackson, M. B. Wamsley; Monroe, J. J. 
Criswell; Coldwater, James Griffith; Ripley, H. Trotter; Madison, 
T. W. Smith: Albion, W. H. Hersey; Fremont, S. Bonwell; West 
Point, B. F. Garrett; Butler, J. Lyle; Beaver, Amos Nettleton; 
Shell Rock, J. Preston; Jefferson, J. Palmer, removed, George 
Murphy, ad interim, James McEachron to fill vacancy ; Washing- 
ton, M. P. Whitney. 

1869 — Pittsford, S. B. Dimiont, chairman; IVemont, S. Bon- 
well; West Point, B. F. Garrett; Jackson, M. B. Wamsley; Ripley, 
H. Trotter; Monroe, J. J. Criswell; Madison, T. W. Smith; Beaver, 
A. Converse ; Jefferson, James McEachron; Albion, W. H. Hersey; 
Bennezette, 0. Evans; Butler, J. M. Lyle; Dayton, J. F. Newhard; 
Coldwater, J. M. Miller; Shell Rock, E. L. Thorp; Washington, 
William Kenefick. 

1870 — Pittsford, S. B. Dimiont, chairman; Jefferson, James 
McEachron; Jackson, M. B. Wamsley; Albion, W. H. Hersey; 
Madison, T. W. Smith; Beaver, A. Converse; Ripley, H. Trotter; 
West Pomt, B. P. Garrett; Dayton, J. F. Newhard; Coldwater, 
James Griffith; Washington, William Kenefick; Fremont, E. P. 
Day; Monroe, Isaac Hall; Butler, J. R, Jones; Shell Rock, J. 
Preston; Bennezette, W. A. Keister. 

The last meeting of the board of supervisors represented by a 
member from each township was held in the fall of 1870. Under 
the new law, still in force, the members of the board convened on 


the 2d clay of January, 1871. The members of this governing body 
from that time up to the present follow : 

1871 — Alexander Chrystie, chainnan; M. B. Wamsley, H. C. 

1872 — Alexander Chrystie, chairman; H. C. Brown, S. Bon- 

1873 — Alexander Chrystie, chairman; H. C. Brown, S. Bon- 

1874 — Alexander Chrystie, chairman; H. C. Brown, S. Bon- 

1875 — Alexander Chrystie, chairman; H. C. Brown, N. H. 

1876— Alexander Chrystie, chairman; N. H. Larkin, G. Hazlet. 

1877 — Alexander Chrystie, chairman; N. H. Larkin, C Hazlet. 

1878 — Alexander Chrystie, chairman ; G. Hazlet, A. N. Leet. 

1879 — Alexander Chrystie, chainnan; A. N. Leet, Milton 

1880 — A. N. Leet, chaiiinan; M. Wilson, J. J. Burnham. 

1881 — A. N. Leet, chairman; M. Wilson, J. J. Burnham. 

1882 — A. N. Leet, chairman; J. J. Bm-nham, C. L. Jones. 

1883 — A. IST. Leet, chairman; C. L. Jones, J. M. Groat. 

1884— C. L. Jones, chairman; J. M. Groat, J. H. Hickle. 

1885 — J. M. Groat, chairman; C. L. Jones, J. H. Hickle. 

1886 — J. H. Hickle, chairman; C. L. Jones, J. M. Groat. 

1887 — J. W. Eay, chairman; J. H. Hickle, C. L. Jones. 

1888— J. W. Eay, chairman; J. H. Hickle, P. E. Newberry. 

1889— J. H. Hickle, chairman; F. E. Newberry, J. W. Ray. 

1890— J. W. Ray, chairman; F. E. Newberry, J. W. Temple. 

1891— J. W. Ray, chairman; J. W. Temple, Milton Wilson. 

1892 — J. W. Temple, chairman; Milton Wilson, J. W. Ray. 

1893 — J. W. Ray, chainnan; Milton Wilson, B. Leavens. 

1894 — J. W. Ray, chainnan; B. Leavens, Norman Long. 

1895 — B. Leavens, chairman ; Norman Long, Stanley Conn. 

1896 — Norman Long, chairman; Stanley Conn, B. Leavens. 

1897 — B. Leavens, chairman ; Stanley Conn, John Wade. 

1898 — John Wade, chairman; B. Leavens, Stanley Conn. 

1899 — John Wade, chairman; Stanley Conn, B. Leavens. 

1900 — Stanley Conn, chairman ; B. Leavens, John F. Wade. 

1901 — John Wade, chairman; B. Leavens, Stanley Conn. 

1902— J. F. Wade, chairman; Stanley Conn, John F. Mott. 

1903 — Stanley Conn, chairman; J. F. Mott, James McTaggart. 


1904 — J. F. Mott, chaiiiiiau; James McTaggart, William 

1905 — James McTaggart, chaii-man; William Dawson, J. F. 

A bill had been passed by the Legislature providing for biennial 
elections, so that those holding olfice wluose terms would otherwise 
have expired by law held over until their successors were elected 
in the fall of 1906 and qualified for office in January, 1907. Auto- 
matically the terms of all county officials expired and their suc- 
cessors Avere elected as follows, the tenure of office beijig two 

1907-08 — For term of three _years, E. Lehman and William 
Dawson; for term of two years, James McTaggart. 

1909-10 — James McTaggart, William Dawson, E. Lelunan. 

1911-12 — R. H. Waugh, William Dawson, James McTaggart. 

In the June meeting of the board of supervisors of 1890 the 
board voted to divide the county into three supervisor districts. 
Thereafter members of the county board were elected from these 
districts instead of from the county at large as before. This sys- 
tem of election has been continued to the present time. The first 
supervisor district comprises the townships of Dayton, Fremont, 
Butler, Jackson and Shell Rock. The second district contains 
the townships of Coldwater, Bennezette, West Point, Pitts- 
ford and Madison. The third contains Jefi^erson, Ripley, Beaver, 
Albion, Monroe and Washington toAMiships. Since the adoption of 
this plan the following have served as supervisor from the first 
district: J. W. Temple, B. Leavens. J. F. Mott, E. Lehman and 
R. H. Waugh; second district, M. Wilson, Norman Long, John 
Wade, James McTaggart; third district, J. W. Ray, Stanley Conn 
and William Dawson. 


As has been stated above, the official list of the county at the 
time of its organization comprised the offices of comity judge, 
treasurer and recorder, county clerk, sheriff", prosecuting attorney, 
school fimd commissioner, county surveyor, drainage commissioner 
and coroner. The county judge, clerk and sheriff c(.)nstituted the 
county court. This body had entire control of the affairs of the 
cotmty and in addition to holding other powers and duties, exer- 
cised all those belonging at present to the board of supervisors. 


111 1861 C. A. Bannon was elected county judge to succeed 
Alonzo Converse. Mr. Bannon before the expiration of his term 
of office enlisted in the Thirty-second Infantry, thus vacating his 
office. A special election was called to fill the vacancy and J. R. 
Fletcher, at that time supervisor from Butler township, was chosen 
to fill the vacancy. Mr. Fletcher had been one of the most ardent 
partisans of Clarksville in the county seat controversy, and pos- 
sibly for this reason neglected, or declined, to remove the books 
and papers belonging to this office to the county seat at Butler 
Center. At the June session of the board of supervisors in 1863, 
a resolution was offered ordering the clerk to notify Fletcher to 
bring his books and papers pertaining to the office to Butler 
Center, and to forthwith hold the office there in accordance with 
the law. On failure to do so, the clerk was instructed to proceed 
against said Fletcher, according to the law. This resolution was 
adopted by a vote of fourteen to one. The compliance with this 
resolution completed the removal of the county offices to Butler 

As has been indicated elsewhere, the functions of the county 
court were superseded by a board of supervisors, one from each 
township in the county, in 1861. Thereafter the county judge 
continued to exercise jurisdiction over probate matters until the 
office was abolished about 1870. By the terms of the law making 
this change, coimty judges in office became ex-offieio county 
auditor. A. J. Thompkins, who had been elected to the office of 
county judge in 1865, and reelected in 1867, thus became the first 
county auditor. This office is the most important in character and 
most diversified in functions of any of the county offices. 

The offices of treasurer and recorder were joined during the 
early period of the county's history and the duties appertaining 
to these offices were exercised by the same officer from 1854 to 
1864. In the latter year the two offices were separated and there- 
after were held by different individuals. John Palmer, elected in 
186.3, was the last to hold the two offices together. He was retained 
under the law of 1864 as county treasm-er, while J. H. Hale Avas 
elected the first county recorder. In 1910 Grace E. Dreher was 
elected county recorder, being the first woman in the history of 
the county to be elected to this office — the only one except that of 
county superintendent which under the present law may be held 
bv a woman. 


The office of clerk of the courts had existed without essential 
change from the date of the organization of the county. W. E. 
Burton was the first county clerk. From January 1, 1859, to Jan- 
uary 1, 1873, seven consecutive official terms, James W. Davis 
performed the duties of this office. This term of official service 
is the longest in the history of the covmty. 

The office of sheriff was first held by Robert T. Crowell, who 
came to the county with the family of Joseph Hicks, the first 
permanent settlers, in 1850. 

The first prosecuting attorney was Aaron Van Dorn, who was 
appointed to the office by Judge John Palmer. He filed his bond 
and qualified on January 2, 1855. In the April election of this year 
Mr. Van Dorn was elected prosecuting attorney and continued in 
office mitil October of the same year, when he became county judge. 
George McClellan succeeded him in the office of prosecuting 
attorney. McClellan resigned before the expiration of his term 
of office and the vacanc}^ was filled by the appointment of John 
Palmer, former county judge. He held office mitil 1856, when C. 
A. Bannon was elected to the position. The law at that time pro- 
vided that in case of the absence of any incumbent for a period of 
six months, the office should be declared vacant and a new elec- 
tion held to fill the vacancy. Mr. Bannon during his term of office 
left the county and it was understood that he did not contemplate 
returning. Therefore a special election was called to select a suc- 
cessor. W. E. Jamison was elected by a large majority, but before 
he qualified Mr. Bannon returned and Mr. Jamison withdrew, 
leaving the office to the former incumlient. Before the expiration 
of the term for Avhich Mr. Bannon had been elected, the office was 
abolished by laAv. The functions of this office were thereafter 
largely performed by the district attorney. The present office of 
comity attorney was created in accordance with an act of the 
General Assembly in 1886. The first county attorney under the 
present law was Prank Lingenfelder. 

The office of county treasurer was created in 1857 to take the 
place of township assessor. W. R. Cotton was the first and only 
ofiicer elected to this position. Before the expiration of his term 
the office was abolished and the system reverted to the former one 
of assessment by township officers. The office of coimty surveyor 
was abolished by act of the Thirty-fifth General Assembly and 
that of county engineer created in its place. This office is 


appointive by the board of supervisors. The first county engineer 
of Butler county is the present incvimbent, Frank W. Cave. 

The first woman to hold a county office in Butler county was 
Miss Emma Miner, who, ui 1892, was appointed county recorder 
to fill a vacancy caused by the death of her brother, Marion W. 


County Judge — 1854, John Palmer; 1855, Aaron Van Dorn; 
1857, Alonzo Converse; 1861, C. A. Bannon; 1862, J. R. Fletcher; 
1863, Ancel Durand; 1865, A. J. Thompkins. 

Auditor — The first county auditor as appears by the records 
was A. J. Thompkins, who was elected as a republican to the office 
in 1869. The names of his successors follow : 1871, R. L. Chase ; 
1877, J. McElvain; 1879, James W. Spencer; 1884, George O. Van 
Vleck; 1888, Edgar J. Davis; 1893, George W. Conn; 1899, W. A. 
Reynolds ; 1903, Henry W. Seitz ; 1907, T. M. Early ; 1911, Eugene 

Clerk of Courts— 1854, W. E. Burton; 1856, Mahlon Crozier, 
resigned, John Leslie (to fill vacancy) ; 1857, James E. Walker; 
1859, James W. Davis; 1873, William Burdick; 1879. C. H. Ilgen- 
fritz; 1883, W. S. Montgomery; 1887, John Barlow; 1891, Ernest 
W. Virden; 1895, William C. Thompson, Jr.; 1899, M. L. Palmer; 
1903, E. J. Davis; 1907, J. W. Thompson; 1911, George R. Dennis. 

Treasurer— 1854, A. G. Clark; 1855, D. C. Hilton; 1859, J. H. 
Hale; 18&3, John Palmer; 1867, J. P. Wright; 1871, W. C. Thomp- 
son; 1875, E. Thomas; 1879, John W. Ray; 1885, Samuel Thomas; 
1889, W. E. Hyde; 1893, Frank P. Bolton; 1897, Levi Baker; 1899, 
W. J. Burbank; 1903, Mason F. Green; ]907, H. P. Wild; 1911, 
James A. Barlow. 

Recorder— 1854, A. G. Clark; 1855, D. C. Hilton; 1859, J. H. 
Hale; 1869, Geoi-ge M. Craig; 1873, Elwood Wilson; 1879, W. W. 
Pattee; 1883, W. M. Himter; 1887, L. J. Rogers; 1891, Marion W. 
Miner; 1892, M. J. Kelley; 1893, Albert N. Bonwell; 1897, E. V. 
Franke; 1901, J. H. Hunt; 1905, W. R. Stanley; 1911, Grace E. 

Sherife— 1854, R. T. Crowell; 1855, W. H. Bishop; 1859, James 
Loverich; 1861, W. H. Bishop; 1863, M. Hollenbock; 1867, L. L. 
Smith ; 1871, J. R. Jones ; 1877, M. B. Speedy ; 1879, Gilbert Hazlet ; 
1884, Lorenzo Bartlett (to fill vacancy) C. S. Root; 1886, Lorenzo 


Bartlett; 1888, T. M. Early; 1892, Thomas Walsh; 1896, T. M. 
Early; 1898, M. S. Cline; 1902, A. W. Johnson; 1907, F. H. Hill; 
1911, Thomas J. Shafer. 

Surveyor — 1855, T. T. Rawson (resigned), George McClellan 
(to fill vacancy); 1857, J. Ellis; 1859, Judd Bradley; 1861, G. 
McClellan; 1863, A. F. Townsend; 1865, M. D. L. Niece; 1867, 0. W. 
Mcintosh; 1871, M. D. L. Niece; 1873, J. G. Rockwell; 1881, O. W. 
Mcintosh; 1884, J. G. Rockwell; 1885, A. L. Stannard; 1888, F. F. 
Voeltz; 1892, Ed Madigan; 1893. F. F. Voeltz; 1894, Edward V. 
Franke; 1898, Ward M. Jones; 1901, John E. Crossaut; 1907, F. 
F. Voeltz. 

Prosecuting Attorney— 1855, A. Van Dorn; 1855, G. McClellan; 
1856, C. A. Bannon (removed), John Palmer (to fill vacancy) ; 1858, 
W. R. Jamison; 1858, C. A. Bannon. 

District Attorney— 1858, Milo McGlathery; 1864, John E. 
Burke; 1868, 1. W. Card; 1872, L. S. Butler; 1876, J. B. Cleland. 

County Attorney— 1887, Frank Lingenf elder; 1891, Willis A. 
Lathrop; 1893, John W. Arbuckle; 1897, George A. Melntyre; 1901, 
C. G. Burling; 1905, W. F. Evans; 1907, Robert F. Camp: 1911, 
J. B. Gregory (resigned), W. S. Montgomery (to fill vacancy); 
1913, Montgomery (resigned), G. C. Burling (to fill vacancy). 

Coroner— 1855, D. W. Kensley; 1856, Orson Rice; 1857, J. V. 
Boggs; 1859, J. A. Barker; 1863, E. W. Metzgar; 1865, George 
]Murphy; 1867, E. W. Metzgar; 1869, T. G. Copeland; 1873, E. W. 
Metzgar; 1875, C. W. Murray; 1877, H. J. Playter; 1881, W. M. 
Foote; 1884, Thomas M. Early; 1886, N. H. Larkin; 1892, L. Bart- 
lett; 1893, 0. W. Rowley; 1895, A. N. Leet; 1896, Dr. T. D. Askew; 
1898, Dr. V. C. Birney; 1907, Dr. W. E. Patterson; 1909, Dr. Paul 
R. Burroughs; 1911, Walter Burroughs. 



As has already been indicated, tlie earliest settlements in the 
-county were all in the eastern and extreme southeastern portions 
of the county. As a natural consequence, when the location for 
the first county seat was chosen, it was fixed on the present site 
of Clarksville, then the center of the most numerous settlement in 
the comity. 


The location of this first county seat was fixed by a commission 
of three men — John P. Barrick and William Payne, of Bremer 
county, and D. C. Overman, of Black Hawk county — acting under 
instructions issued by Judge O. H. P. Roszell, of Buchanan county, 
to which judicial district Butler county belonged at that time. 
These gentlemen met by appointment at Barrick 's Ford, in Bremer 
county, and journeyed westward on horseback until they reached 
the Shell Rock river in the vicinity of the settlement made by the 
Wamsleys and others who have been mentioned. There seemed 
to be little question at the time that this location was most desir- 
able for the comity seat but there was considerable rivalry among 
the individual settlers to have the exact location fixed where it 
would be most advantageous to them and enhance the value of 
their holdings. Influenced by the persuasive powers of Jeremiah 
and Thomas Clark and W. S. Wamsley, whose claims Avere situated 
about a mile north of the present location of Clarksville, the com- 
missioners had about determined U> fix the seat of justice on the 
lands of these gentlemen, when they were called ixpon to stay the 
])roceedings until the rival claims of Messrs. G. W. Poisal and 
Seth Hilton, Sr., might be presented. 

Just what argimients were broi;ght to bear upon the com- 
missioners is unknown, but judging from the result they must 



have been potent ones, for after only a comparatively brief con- 
sideration of the new claims the commissioners turned their backs 
upon the location first detennined upon and selected a site on 
the claim of D. C. Hilton as the spot Avhere the future courthouse 
should be built. This spot was marked by an oak stake, which 
was driven into the ground on section 18, Butler township, on the 
spot where the Clarksville schoolhouse now stands. A compro- 
mise was arranged between the Hiltons and the Clarks, whereby 
the latter were given a half interest in forty acres later platted 
as the town of Clarksville. Reference to the copy of the record 
filed with the county court with the plat of this village, Avhich is 
given in fidl above, will show the names of all the owners of this 
town site. 

The date of this first official proceeding in Butler county is 
pretty generally fixed by a receipt signed l»y Commissioners John 
P. Barrick, D. C. Overman and William W. Payne, at Barrick's 
Ford, on May 6, 1853, acknowledging the receipt from Thomas 
Clark of the sum of $24 to cover their necessary expenses. George 
W. Poisal was produced as a witness to the payment of this sum 
by Clark and the latter was reimbursed for his expenditure b}^ 
a county warrant for the sum oi $24, issued January 4, 1855. 


In 1856 the construction of the new courthouse was begim but 
was not completed until the spring of 1858, when the first court 
was held within its walls and the county offices moved into it. 
This building Avas of brick, 40x60 feet in dimensions, two stories 
high and cost about $20,000. After the removal of the county seat 
from Clarksville the Innlding was sold to the school district for 
$2,800, and was remodeled and used as a schoolhouse initil the con- 
struction of the present building. 


Even before the courthouse was finished the question of the 
removal of the comity seat ])egan to be agitated. Other towns 
were springing up in various parts of the comity and each one was 
ambitious to become the county capital. Mutual jealousy, a desire 
to increase the value of their town property and a natural love 
of controversv, which seems more or less inherent in American 


natiu'e, kept the agitation going and for years excitement was at a 
Mgh pitcli in relation to this question. When it became evident 
that no town already platted and settled would probably have a 
better chance to secm-e the county seat than Clarksville, the point 
was raised and kept before the people that it was highly desirable 
that the county seat should be located near the geographical center 
of the county. 


In order to meet these conditions, a town was finally platted 
and recorded, embracing forty acres in the exact geographical 
center of the coimty, at the four corners of Jefferson, Jackson, 
West Point and Ripley townships. This paper town was called 
Georgetown, and on paper it made the best appearance of any 
town ill the county. The plat was exceptionally well drawn and 
the location unquestionably favorable but the prospective eoimty 
capital had not a building nor a sign of habitation. It existed 
solely in the imagination of its projectors. 

A petition to bring the question of relocation of the county seat 
at Georgetown was drawn up and extensively signed. This peti- 
tion was presented to Judge Alonzo Converse, who granted 
the request and ordered the question submitted to the voters of the 
county at the April election in 1858. After an active campaign the 
matter was decided in favor of leaving the county seat at Clarks- 
ville by the narrow majority of 327 to 320. As all the hopes for 
the future Georgetown had rested upon the successful termination 
of this campaign, its prospects received a death blow by this result. 
No further effort was made to establish a town on this location. 
It remains therefore merely a geographical expression. 


The friends of removal, however, would not acknowledge 
defeat. Having failed in their attempt to relocate the comity seat 
at Georgetown they fixed upon Butler Center, a village situated 
about two miles south of the geogi'aphical center of the coimty, 
which already had quite a few residents and several places of 
business. Another petition was circulated which secured over 
four hundred signers, requesting that the matter be submitted 
again to the people to determine whether the county seat should 


be moved to Butler Center or to remain at Clarksville. The peti- 
tion was granted, and tlie question submitted to vote on the ith of 
April, 1859. As a result of this vote Butler Center received 357 
votes and Clarksville 336 — a uiajorit)' of 21 for the former. The 
following entry on the records of the coimty coui't imder date of 
April 11, 1859, is self explanatory : 

"Be it remembered that on this 11th day of April, A. D., 1859,, 
the returns from the election from all the townships having been 
received, the County Judge calling to his assistance George 
McClellau and John M. Nicholas, two justices of the peace of 
Butler coimty, proceeded to canvass the said returns of the vote 
cast upon the question of the coimty seat on the 1th day of April, 

1859, between Clarksville, the existing coimty seat, and Butler 
Center, and it appearing that a majority of all the votes cast were 
in favor of Butler Center, the point designated in the petition 
asking for a vote upon the question; therefore, in accordance with 
the provisions of chapter 46 of the Acts of the Fifth General 
Assembly of the State of Iowa, Butler Center is hereby declared to 
be the county seat of Butler county, Iowa." 

The joy of the people of Butler Center and of the friends of 
removal in general and the enemies of Clarksville in particular 
was unbounded at this successful tennination of their efforts. 
However, their celebration was temporarily interfered with by a 
writ of injunction, which was sued out by the people of ClarksviUe 
for the purpose of staying the removal until certain legal objec- 
tions which they had to present could be formally heard and 
passed upon. 

In July following the district com-t declared this election void 
because of certain ii-regularities in its conduct. The joy of the 
people of Butler Center was changed to wrath, and the people of 
Clarksville on their part availed themselves of the opportunity 
for what appeared to the others to be a most unseemly exhibition 
of joy. 


Another petition was circulated early in 1860 and presented 
to the board of supervisors asking that the matter again be sub- 
mitted to vote. The petition was granted and the 2d day of April, 

1860, fixed for the election. When the votes cast at this election 
w-ere canvassed it was declared that the result showed a majority 


of over eighty votes in favor of Butler Center over Clarksville. 
This time Butler Center's jollification was not unwarranted. They 
did not aUow any time to pass. On the next day after the canvass 
of the votes, April 5, 18(JU, the books, documents and county records 
were removed to Butler Center. 

The courthouse in Butler Center was a frame structure 20x36 
feet in dimensions and two stories high. The upper story, which 
contained the court room, was reached by an outside wooden stair- 
way. The lower story was divided into three offices which were 
occupied by the county treasurer, county recorder and the clerk 
of the courts. This building was erected at a cost of about $2,000, 
and with about two acres of ground surrounding it, was donated to 
the count.y by Andrew Mullarky, of Cedar Falls, who owned a 
large amount of land in the vicinity of Butler Center, and who 
perhaps was more influential than any other man in securing the 
removal of the coimty seat from Clarksville. 


In January, 1861, a petition signed by D. W. Miller and some 
four hundred others was presented to the board of supervisors 
asking that the matter of changing the county seat from Butler 
Center to Clarksville be resvibmitted to the people. A committee 
was appointed by the board to investigate the matter, which 
reported adversely. One member of the conmiittee offered a 
minority report in favor of the petition. The report of the com- 
mittee was sul)mitted to the board of supervisors and it was 
decided that the petition should be denied. 

The record of the first session of the board of supervisors in 
1862 indicates that C. A. Bannon appeared before the board as 
attorney of certain petitioners who again requested a vote on the 
matter of relocation. The petition was signed by 440 voters. 
Forty-two names were stricken from this list by a committee of 
the board of supervisors appointed to investigate it. The peti- 
tion was followed by a remonstrance signed by about the same 
number of citizens objecting to any further agitation of the ques- 

The relative equality of the number of names on this petition 
and remonstrance indicates that there was much dissatisfaction 
with Butler Center as the county seat. This was due of coiirse in 
part merely to the natural jealousy of Clarksville, but also to the 


difficulty wliicli the citizens of tlie coimty experienced in reacliing 
Butler Center in the late winter and early spring months. As 
was common in those early days there were no adequate high- 
ways. The country surrounding Butler Center to the east and 
south was practically impassable by teams during wet seasons. 
The residents of the county of those days recount many unpleas- 
ant experiences which they and others had in their efforts to 
reach the county capital. Sometimes in the early spring the 
West Fork south of Butler Center was several miles in width 
and could only be crossed by means of boats. 

The committee referred to above, in whose hands this matter 
was placed, reported their investigations to the board without 
any recommendation. The board then listened to the arguments 
of attorneys on both sides, after which James R. Fletcher, super- 
visor from Butler townshij), offered a lengihy resolution setting 
forth the fact that the petition had been signed by one-half of 
the legal voters of the county as shown by the census of 1859, 
and ordering that the matter be submitted to a vote in the April 
election of 1862. To this resolution W. A. Lathroj), supervisor 
from Jefferson townshij), in which Butler Center was situated, 
offered an amendment as follows: "To strike out all of Mr. 
Fletcher's resolution after the word 'Resolved' and insert 'that 
the facts as set forth by the committee on the county seat do not 
show that the petitioners are entitled to a vote.' Therefore the 
prayer be not allowed." This amendment was carried by a vote 
of ten to six. An attempt to rescind this action on the follow- 
ing day w^as defeated by a majority of six. 

The board of supervisors for 1863 was again called upon to 
pass upon the matter of removal by a petition to relocate the 
county seat at Shell Rock. As before, this petition was followed 
by a remonstrance. The whole question was deferred by the 
board until the September session, when it was taken up and the 
petition refused. Thereafter, there were a number of abortive 
attempts to secure the resubmission of the county seat question, 
but Butler Center remained in possession of the county seat of 
justice for about twenty years. 

In the meantime two railroads had penetrated the county, — 
the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern, passing through the 
towns of Shell Rock, Clarksville and Greene along the Shell Rock 
valley, and the Dubuque & Sioux City, throiigh the southern tier 
of townships. The distance of Butler Center from a railway 


came therefore to be a new and persistent cause of dissatisfaction 
in its retention of the county capital. Late in the '70s a new 
railroad was surveyed through the center of the county from 
east to west, called at first the Iowa & Pacific. For reasons which 
will be noted elsewhere Butler Center failed to take advantage 
of the opportimity to secure this railroad. In the end it was 
surve3^ed west from Clarksville, leaving Butler Center four or 
five, miles from its nearest point. A new town on this line of 
railroad was platted as near to the geographical center of the 
count.y as Butler Center and the people of the county realized 
that very soon the county seat question would come wip again for 


In anticipation of this movement and with the hope of pre- 
venting it, the people of Bristow, in the summer of 1880, pub- 
lished a notice and circulated a petition for the removal of the 
county seat to that place. The new town of Allison, however, 
also came into the field with a petition and a fight was on. The 
campaign was a hot one. Newspaper articles, stump speeches 
and mass meetings in the schoolhouses were characterized by 
extreme bitterness of feeling. In the end, however, the Allison 
petition secured a majority of the signers. The board of super- 
visors acted favorably upon this petition and at the November 
election in 1880 the question of the removal of the county seat to 
Allison was carried by a majority of 265 votes, Allison receiving 
1,529 and Butler Center, 1,264. 

In connection with the submission of this question to the peo- 
ple of the county, the Allison Town Company, represented by 
John R. Waller, of Dubuque, filed a bond in the sum of $25,000 
with the county auditor, guaranteeing in consideration of the 
removal of the county seat from Butler Center to Allison, 
the building of the courthouse adequate in size to accommodate the 
business of the county and furnished in an appropriate manner. 
"With this there was also to be made a cession of ten aci'es of 
laud to belong to the county so long as it shoidd continue to be 
used for county purposes. 


When in January, 1881. the board of supervisors ordered the 
county records removed to Allison, there was no building ready 


for their accommodation. The county clerk, recorder and sheriff 
found quarters in the upper story of a building owned by A. M. 
McLeod. The auditor and treasurer were acconunodated tempo- 
rarily in the drug store then owned by Dr. Riggs, and later occu- 
pied by S. W. Burroughs, on the east side of Main street. As soon 
as possible a small office building, which had been occupied by the 
coimty officers at Butler Center was moved over and these officers 
took up their quarters in this. 


The Allison Town Company, which was largely financed by 
H. L. Stout, owner of the Iowa Central Stock Farm, a Dubuqx;e 
lumbeiTnan and capitalist, was ready to fulfill to the letter its 
agi'eement with the people of the coimty regarding the erection 
of the courthouse but it became evident that public opinion 
favored the expenditure of a larger sum than had been agreed 
upon in the preliminary negotiations. In the end a compromise 
was effected between the supervisors and the Allison Town Com- 
pany, by which the latter agreed to deposit to the credit of the 
coimty the sum of $7,000 in cash to be used in the erection of the 
courthouse, the county agreeing to furnish a sum one-third as 
great in addition thereto. 

In the spring of 1881 the contract for the construction of the 
courthouse was let to L. D. Harvey, of Clarksville, for the sum 
of $10,680. The building was completed and ready for occupancy 
by October, 1881. For the time, the building was distinctly a 
creditable one. It was built with wooden frame, with brick 
veneer, 50x55 feet in dimensions, two stories in height. 

In 1903 an addition to the courthouse equal in height to the 
main building and 20x51 feet in dimensions was constructed on 
the north, the contract price being $5,000. This addition furnishes 
space for the heating plant, fnel rooms and jail in the basement. 
The first floor contains vaults for the clerk's office and the audi- 
tor's office and toilet rooms. On the second floor in the addition 
are located the grand and petit jury rooms and a retiring room 
for the district judge. For lack of other quarters, the petit jury 
room has in recent years been given over to the office of the county 
superintendent of schools. This location is an inconvenient one 
for many reasons and eventiaally doubtless it will be found neces- 
sary for other arrangements to be made. 


The county jail in the basement of the courthouse has been 
condemned by a number of grand juries and is unfit for use as 
the habitation even of suspected criminals. In the election of 
1912 the proposition to build a separate jail and sheriif's resi- 
dence was defeated at the polls by a small majority. Such a 
building, however, is a crying necessity and the people of the 
county will sooner or later come to see it. 

The present courthouse stands at the head of Main street 
on the crest of a rise of land which is said to be the highest point 
in Butler county. This situation gives it an imposing appear- 
ance as the laud slopes gently away from it in every direction. 
It is surrounded by ample grounds, beautifully parked and 
planted to a variety of well chosen shade and ornamental trees. 
On either side of the main entrance stand two cannon, a gift to 
the county from the United States Government through the cour- 
tesy of Col. D. B. Henderson at the request of his friend, I. M. 
Fisher. Visitors to Allison frequently comment iipon the court- 
house square as constituting the finest county property in the 

Since the location of the county seat at Allison no serious 
attempt has been made to resubmit the question of removal. It 
is not probable that it will ever again be raised. For some years 
Allison had to struggle against a certain amount of jealousy and 
hard feeling which had been engendered by its choice as the 
county capital. Gradually, however, this feeing has been allayed 
and today the people of Butler county are coming increasingly 
to take pride in their county seat and to desire to assist it in main- 
taining a position of equality with the county seats of surroimd- 
ing counties. 



At the time of its organization, Butler county was a part of 
the Second Congressional District and was represented in Con- 
gi'ess by John B. Cook, of Davenport. Mr. Cook served one term 
in the Thirty-third Congress, from 1853-55. He was elected to 
Congress as a whig but before he took his seat the whig party 
had practically disappeared. Thereafter he affiliated with the 
democratic party. In the Thirty-first Congress, 1855-57, the 
Second District was represented by James P. Thorington, of Dav- 
enport, a republican. The Representative in the Thirty-fifth 
Congress was Timothy Davis, of Dubuque, elected by the Amer- 
ican party. William R. Vandever, of Dubuque, represented the 
district in the Thirty-sixth and Thirty-seventh Congi-esses, from 
1859 to 1863. While serving his second term the Civil war broke 
out. Representative Vandever abandoned his seat, returned to 
the state, and raised a regiment of infantry, of which he was 
made colonel. He was later promoted to brigadier-genernl and 
at the close of the war brevetted major-general. 

In accordance with the new apportionment for the sessions of 
1860, loAva was assigned six representatives in Congress. The 
state was accordingly redistricted, Butler cf)iuity becoming a part 
of the Sixth District. The first representative of this new district 
was Asaliel W. Huljbard, of Sioux City. Mr. Hubbard served 
through the Thirty-eighth, Thirty-ninth and Fortieth Congresses, 
from 1863 to 1869. Charles Pomeroy, of Port Dodge, was elected 
to the Forty-first Congress from the Sixth District. Pomeroy 
was the first farmer to hold this office, his predecessors, all of 
them, having been members of the legal profession. The repre- 
sentative in the Forty-second Congress was Jackson Orr, of Mon- 
tana, Iowa. 



The apportioiimeut fono\Ying the census of 1870 increased the 
Iowa representation to nine. Butler county thereafter became a 
part of the Fourth Congressional District, being represented in 
the Forty-third and Forty-fourth Congresses by Henry O. Pratt, 
of Charles City. His successor was Nathaniel C. Deering, of 
Osage, who served for three terms, from 1877 to 1883. 

In 1882 the state was again redistricted and Butler county be- 
came one of the counties forming the famous Third, or "Monkey 
Wrench" District. Hon. David B. Henderson, of Dubuque, was 
elected to the Forty-eighth Congress from this district and ser^-ed 
it contiuuousl)' in this capacity in all the sessions of Congress from 
the Forty-eighth to the Fifty-seventh, inclusive. Colonel Hender- 
son, or "Dave," as he was better known to most of his constitu- 
ents, counted a multitude of personal friends in Butler county. 
He was a frequent visitor to the county, usually making his head- 
quarters on the Iowa Central Stock Farm. Colonel Henderson 
possessed that rare quality of being able to remember faces and 
names. He never forgot a friend and rarely failed to be alile to 
call by name any man whom he had met. This quality, together 
with his whole souled, genial natm'e, made him a personal friend 
of his constituents. They all rejoiced with him in the honor that 
came to him when he was chosen speaker of the National House of 
Representatives. His voluntary retirement from the office in 1903, 
at the conclusion of his ninth term, was deeply regretted by his 
loyal Butler county friends. Colonel Henderson was succeeded in 
the Fifty-eighth Congress by Benjamin P. Birdsall, of Clarion, who 
served three terms, until 1909, when Charles E. Pickett, of Water- 
loo, succeeded him. Mr. Pickett served through the Sixty-first 
and Sixty-second Congresses but was defeated for re-election in 
the campaign of 1912, by Morris Connolly, of Dubuque. Mr. Con- 
nolly is the first democrat to represent Butler county in Congress 
since the days of John P. Cook, in 1855. 

Of the United States Senators w^ho have represented lown 
in Congress since its admission as a state, Butler county always 
had a particidarly warm place in its heart for Senator William B. 
Allison. Mr. Allison was a personal friend of H. L. Stout and the 
other gentlemen who formed the Allison Town Site Company, and 
the Butler county seat was named in his honor. He was a frequent 
visitor at the farm owned by his friend, Mr. Stout, and on a ninn- 
ber of occasions appeared in public addresses before the people 


of the comity, the last of these being ou the occasion of the dedica- 
tion of the new Butler county fair grounds at Allison in 1887. 

Senators Gear, Dolliver, Cummins and Kenyon have all at vari- 
ous times made public addresses in the county but for none of 
them have the people of the county had the personal feeling that 
they had for Senator Allison. It is gratifying to note that Butler 
county loyally supported the aged Senator in his last campaign 
for the nomination to the senatorship in 1908. 


Butler county takes pride in the fact of having furnished one 
Governor to the State of Iowa. The Hon. Frank D. Jackson, four- 
teenth Governor of Iowa, was born at Arcade, Wyoming county. 
New York, January 26, 1854. In 1867 he came with his parents to 
Jesup, in Buchanan county, Iowa, where he attended the public 
schools. He also attended the State Agricultural College, after- 
ward entering the law department of the State University, where 
he graduated in 1874. He removed to Butler county in 1880, set- 
tling at Greene, where he engaged in the practice of law. He was 
chosen secretary of the State Senate in the winter of 1882 and was 
reelected in 1884. At the Republican State Convention of 1884 
he was nominated for Secretary of State and elected, serving by 
successive elections for three terms. In 1893 he was nominated by 
the Republican State Convention for Governor. For four years 
the democratic party had secured the chief executive in the elec- 
tion of Governor Boies. The campaign was conducted mth great 
vigor on both sides and resulted in the election of Frank D. Jack- 
son by a plurality of more than thirty-two thousand. Governor 
Jackson served but one tenn, declining to be a candidate for reelec- 

Captain W. V. Lucas, auditor of the State of loAva from 1881 
to 1883, was for a munber of years a resident of Butler county and 
at one time editor of the Shell Rock News. His deputy, Ruf us L. 
Chase, was a citizen of Butler county, having served several terms 
as coimty auditor. 

John F. Wade, of Butler coimty, was a member of the State 
Board of Control from 1909 to the date of his death in 1913. He 
is noticed more fully elsewhere. 



Butler county was first represented in the Fifth General As- 
sembly of Iowa, which convened at Iowa City on December 4, 1854. 
As a state senatorial district, it was associated with l)ul)uque, 
Delaware, Buchanan, Blackhawk, Grundy, Bremer, Clayton, 
Fayette, Allamakee, Winneshiek, Howard. Mitchell, Floyd and 
Chickasaw counties and was represented in the Senate by William 
W. Hamilton, Maturin L. F'isher and John J. Shields. Senator 
Fisher was chosen president of the Senate during this session. In 
the House of Representatives, Butler comity was represented by 
Jacob W. Eogers, of West Union, whose district included Fay- 
ette, Chickasaw, Butler, Bremer, Blackhawk, Grundy, Franklin, 
Cerro Gordo, Floyd, Howard, Mitchell and Worth counties, 
forming the Third Representative District. 

In the Sixth and Seventh Assemblies Butler county Avas dis- 
tricted in the Thirty-third Senatorial District, with Fayette, 
Bremer, Franklin, Grundy, Hardin, Wright, Wel)ster, Boone, 
Story, Greene and Hmnboldt comities. This district was repre- 
sented in the Senate by Aaron Brown, of Fayette county. The 
Forty-eighth Representative District, comprising Bremer. Chick- 
asaw, Butler, Floyd, Cerro Gordo, Hancock, Kossuth and Grundy 
counties, sent E. R. Gillett as their representative. His postoffice 
address and home county are both unknown. 

With a number of other counties. Butler was represented in 
the Third Constitutional Convention of 1857 liy Sheldon G. Win- 

The first citizen of Butler county to lie honored with election 
to the House of Representatives was Matthew M. Trumbull, who 
in the Seventh Assemlily represented the Twelfth District, com- 
prising Mitchell, Floyd and Butler counties. He was elected by 
the narrow majority of six (»ver his democratic opponent, J. C. 
Bishop, the vote standing 172 to 166. 

Alfred L. Brown, of Cedar Falls, represented Butler county in 
the Senate during the eighth and ninth sessions of the General 
Assembly, his district consisting of the counties of Grundy, Black- 
hawk, Butler and Franklin for the first two years, and the same 
counties with the exception of Grundy in the last two. Chauncey 
Gillett, of Franklin county, was a member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives in the Eighth Assembly, being elected by the voters of 
Franklin, Wright, Butler and Grundy counties. 


Aloiizo Converse, \\h(> lias already been mentioned in connec- 
tion with the office of comity judge, was elected to the House of 
Representatives for the Ninth Assembly from the Fifty-fifth Dis- 
trict, including Butler, Grundy and Franklin comities. Mr. Con- 
verse served only one term in the House of Representatives, being 
succeeded by W. A. Lathrop, Avho is largel}' identified with the 
early county history and receives detailed mention elsewhere. 
In the Senate of this session, the county was represented by C. F. 
Clarkson, of Grundy Center, Hardin, Franklin and Blackhawk 
counties being associated with Butler in the Thirty-nmth Sena- 
torial District. 

James B. Powers of Cedar Falls, represented Blackhawk and 
Butler counties in the Senate of the Eleventh General Assembly 
and Lorenzo D. Tracy, of New Hartford, Butler and Grundy 
counties in the House. 

^Marcus Tuttle, of Cerro Gordo county, Avas elected to the Sen- 
ate for Franklin, Butler, Grmidy and Cerro Gordo counties in 
1868, serving through the session of the Twelfth Assembly. James 
A. Guthrie, of New Hartford, was State Re]oresentative from But- 
ler and Grundy counties in this session. 

Of the Thirteenth Assembly, R. B. Clark is said to have been 
elected Senator, although the records of the state as to the mem- 
bers of the General Assembly do not include his name. His death 
occurred some time after the election and it is probable that he 
never qualified for the office. Emmons Johnson, of Bremer county, 
was elected to fill the vacancy. S. B. Dumont, of Pittsford town- 
ship, was elected Representative for this session of the assembly 
and served two terms in the office, in one of which he represented 
both Butler and Grundy counties. Beginning with the sessions 
of the Fourteenth General Assembly in 1872 Butler county con- 
stituted a separate representative district. 

Alonzo Converse, of New Hartford, was chosen Senator from 
the Forty-third District, including the counties of Floyd, Butler 
and Mitchell at this time and served until 1876. The list of mem- 
bers of the Senate and House of Representatives from this date 
to the present time is given below: 

Senators:— Arad Hitchcock, 1876-78; W. W. Blaekman, 1878- 
80; W. P. Gaylord. 1880-82; Ahnn M. Wlialey, 1882-88; L. S. 
Hauchett. 1888-92: R. S. Smith, 1892-94; George M. Craig, 1894- 
1904: .Tohn F. Wade, 1904-08; Charles Gates, 1908-12; F. P. Hage- 
mann, 1912 — 


All these since 1882, with the exception of L. S. Hanchett and 
F. P. Hagemann, have been residents of Butler county and have 
represented the Senatorial district comprised of Butler and 
Bremer counties. They are mentioned more at length in connec- 
tion with the history of their particular localities in the comity. 

From 1874 to date the members of the House of Representa- 
tives from Butler covmty have been as follows: 

Charles A. L. Rosze'll, 1870-76; John Pahner, 1876-78; A. M. 
Whaley, 1878-82; H. C. Brown, 1882-86; Elwood Wilson, 1886-90; 
S. W. Soesbe, 1890-92; C. T. Coonley, 1892-96; W. G. Ladd, 1896- 
1900; M. F. Edwards, 1900-02; Stanley Conn, 1902-08; John A. 
Cousins, 1908-12; W. I. Atkinson, 1912— 



Several years after the organization of Butler county, the 
Thirteenth Judicial District, consisting of the counties of Butler, 
Franklin, Crundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Marshall, Story and 
Wright, was created in March, 1857. Judge James D. Thompson 
of Hardin county was elected district judge of this district in 
April, 1857, and held the first term of district court in Butler 
county, in October of the same year, at the Gront schoolhouse in 
Clarksville. Previous to this the only court that had held ses- 
sions in the county was the old county court. The district court 
at this time had approximately the same jurisdiction and organ- 
ization as at present. James E. Walker was clerk of the courts 
and W. H. Bishop sheriff in the first session. The first grand 
jury consisted of John T. Newhard, foreman, J. M. Vincent, 
bailiff, William Hoisington, John Braden, James Wood, L. D. 
Owen, G. T. Root, John Palmer, James Bywater, James McKin- 
ney, John Boggs, L. A. Orvis, Judd Bradley, Peter Riley, M. B. 
Wamsley and A. J. Lewellen. This gi'and jury met on a little 
knoll later occupied by the residence of S. M. Townsend in Clarks- 
ville, and organized in the open air. Their later sessions, how- 
ever, were held in a room which was furnished them. The first 
petit jury consisted of A. Van Dorn, foreman; G. AV. Stoner, 
bailiff"; Felix Landis, Christian Forney, John M. Hart, Charles 
Ensign, Aaron Hardman, George Harlan, Samuel McCrery, John 
Lash, James Blake, J. H. Smith, William Burress. Charles 
Lusted, A. Glenn and Jacob Shaffer. Enough men could not be 
obtained for this jury, so the grand jury was ordered to be in 
attendance on this term of court. At this session, on motion of 
M. M. Trnmbull, James R. Fletcher, C. J. Bannon, W. R. Jami- 
son, John Palmer, Orson Rice and George A. Richmond were 
admitted to practice as attorneys. 



The lirst case to come before the court was that of the iState 
of Iowa vs. William Gasterline, iii which the defeudaiit was ac- 
cused of threateniug to kill some one. He had been i^reviously 
tried in the county court and had been bound over to the district 
court. Before the matter w^as submitted to the jury the charge 
was withdrawn and the case was dismissed. 

The second district judge to hold court in Butler county was 
Samuel Murdock, a judge of the Tenth Judicial District, who pre- 
sided over the June term in 1858. 

The next district judge whose name appears in the records 
is Elias H. Williams. As Judge Williams was a resident of Clay- 
ton coimty and is given in the register of the judiciary of the state 
as judge of the Tenth District, it would appear that Butler county 
had been made a part of this district. Judge Williams presided 
over the district for two full terms, from 1859 to 1866. The name 
of James W. Davis appears as clerk of the courts for the first 
tenii imder Judge Williams. 

William B. Fairfield, of Charles City, in Tloyd county, was 
the next district judge to hold court in Butler county, his term 
extending from 1865 to 1870, when he resigned. During his term 
of office, Butler county was a part of the Twelfth Judicial District. 
He was succeeded on the district bench by George W. Ruddick, 
of Waverly, Bremer coxmty, who held his first term of court in 
the county in 1871. Judge Ruddick remained upon the district 
bench for more than twenty years, his term of service ending 
in 1892. 

Among the amusing incidents connected with the records of 
the district court is found one relating to the prosecution of 
Joseph and William J. Good, which came in May, 1878, before 
Judge Ruddick. This ease had been postponed and deferred 
again and again luitil the costs to the county had amounted to 
rather an alarming figure and exhausted the patience of l^oth 
attorneys and court. Finally, the defendants managed to eseajie 
and left the county. When this was made known. Judge Ruddick 
ordered the case dismissed, with the following oi'der which 
appears on the record: "Satisfactory evidence appealing that 
the defendants have left the county, it is ordered on motion of the 
district attorney that this case be dismissed for fear they may be 
brought back or may voluntarily return." 

After 1887, an additional judge was assigned to the Twelfth 
District. John B. Cleland, of Mitchell covmty, served one year. 


1887-8, as Judge Ruddick's associate. Mr. Clelaud was succeeded 
in 1888 b}^ Judge John C. Sherwiu, of Cerro Gordo county, who 
remained upon the district bench for eleven years. At the con- 
chision of this period he was elected to the supreme court of 
Iowa, where he remained until 1913. 

Judge Ruddick was succeeded by Porter W. Burr, of Floyd 
county, 1893-6. At the conclusion of this period Jefferson F. 
Clyde, of Mitchell county, succeeded him, whose term of service 
covering fifteen years, ending in 1912, is exceeded in length only 
by that of Judge Ruddick. Judge Sherwin, on his elevation to 
the supreme bench, was succeeded by Clifford P. Smith, of Cerro 
Gordo county, who resigned in 1908, to accept a position of 
importance in the Christian Science church at Boston. His suc- 
cessor was Joseph J. Clark, of Cerro Gordo county, who is still 
on the district bench. 

In 1898, a third judge was added to this district and Charles 
H. Kelly, of Floyd county, was elected to the position. Judge 
Kelly is still on the bench. In 1912 Butler coimty was honored by 
the election of one of its foremost citizens, Millard F. Edwards, 
of Parkersburg, to the judicial position previously occupied by 
Judge Clyde. Judge Edwards is the first citizen of Butler county 
to occupy a position on the bench of this district. A detailed 
sketch of his life is given in the second volume of this work. 


At the time of the first organization of Butler county all 
legal matters were in the hands of the county court, consisting of 
the comity judge, the prosecuting attorney, clerk of the courts 
and the sheriff. The jurisdiction of this court was complete. 
In addition, many of the powers now vested in the board of 
supervisors, were exercised by the county judge. He had juris- 
diction in all probate matters, issued marriage licenses and 
attended to the financial affairs of the county except in the dis- 
])osal of the school fund, the supervision of which was in the 
hands of an officer called school fund commissioner. The first 
county judge elected was George W. Poisal, who, however, failed 
to qualify, as noted previously. The first judge who qualified 
was John Palmer, who assumed the duties of this office in 1854. 
Some account of the records of Judge Palmer's first court has 
already been given. The judge was a native of Ohio and for his 


time, possessed au education somewhat above the average. He 
was a niillwi'ight by trade, lu character, while not distinctively 
aggressive, he was iirni in his attitude and handled the manifold 
duties and responsibilities of this office in a manner to meet with 
general approval. He served for one term and was succeeded 
by Aaron Van Dorn, a lawj^er of considerable ability. 

The third election resulted in a controversy which caused 
considerable feeling. Alonzo Converse and Cxeorge W. Poisal 
were the opposing candidates in the August election of 1857, the 
former receiving a majority of eight votes. Under the law as 
in force at that tune, it was provided that in case the judge 
elected did not qualify within twenty days after the election, the 
office was vacant. It appears that Mr. Converse did not qualify 
within the twenty day limit, the last day coming on Sunday. On 
the following Monday he arrived but Judge Van Dorn refused 
to allow him to quahfy and issued a call for a special election to 
fill the vacancy. In this election, D. W. Miller received a ma- 
jority of 51 over Converse. Mr. Converse contested this elec- 
tion and carried his case to the district court, where it was tried 
before Hon. J. I). Thompson, wIk* decided the contest in favor 
of Mr. Converse. The office and all papers and books pertaining 
thereto were turned over to him and he assinned control of the 
position. Judge Converse ser^-ed two teiins as county judge, until 
1861. He occupied the office throughout the trying period already 
referred to, during which the county seat was removed from 
Clarksville to Butler Center. It was inevitable that he would in 
his capacity as chief executive and judicial officer of the county 
incur much enmity, no matter what position he took upon this 
mueli mooted question. However, he came through it with honor 
and left the bench with the respect of even most of his antago- 

C. A. Bannon succeeded to the office of county judge in 1861 
and served for two years. During his term a new system of 
county government, through a board of sixteen supervisors, was 
instituted, thus greatly reducing the importance and the work 
of the office. The county judge, however, retained within his 
jiirisdiction probate matters and the issuance of marriage 
licenses. The immediate successor in this office was J. R. Fletcher, 
1863-5. He was succeeded by Ancel Durand, who served for one 
term, when A. J. Thompkins was elected. During Judge Thomp- 
kins' second term in office the circuit court was established, which 


took control of all probate matters, while the issuance of mar- 
riage licenses was placed in the hands of the clerk of the courts. 
The duties of the office of county judge having thus devolved 
upon other officials, the county judge was made ex-officio county 
auditor, a detailed account of which office is given in connection 
with the account of the county government. 


On the first Monday in January, 1869, Butler county became 
a part of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, embracing the counties of 
Butler, Bremer, Mitchell, Worth, Cerro Gordo and Hancock, with 
boundaries identical with those of the Twelfth Judicial District. 
The first circuit judge was George W. Ruddick, of Waverly, who 
served from 1869 until 1870. He was then, as noted above, elected 
district judge. 

The second circuit judge was Robert G. Reiniger, of Floyd 
county, who served in this capacity for fourteen years. He was 
succeeded by John B. Cleland, of Mitchell county, who served one 
year until the circuit court was abolished by act of the General 
Assembly. Thereafter the duties and functions of this court were 
performed by the district court, an additional judge having been 
provided this court in order to take care of the added duties. 


Perhaps no body of men, not excepting the clergy, may exer- 
cise a greater influence for good in a community than those who 
follow the profession of the law, and it must be admitted that to 
no other body, not even to the so-called criminal classes, are com- 
mitted greater possibilities for an influence for evil. Wliat that 
influence shall be depends upon the character of the men who con- 
stitute the bar of the commimity — not merely on their ability or 
learning but on their character. If the standard of morality 
among the members of the bar is high, the whole community learns 
to look at questions of right and wrong from a higher plane. If 
the bar, consciously or unconsciously, adopts a low standard of 
morality, it almost inevitably contaminates the conscience of the 
community. And this is true not only in the practice of the pro- 
fession itself, not only because of the influence of members of the 
bar as men rather than lawyers, but in the effects upon other pro- 


fessioiis and occupations to which the bar acts as a feeder. The 
members of the Legislature are recruited largely from the legal 
profession. LLiw can legislation, designed solely for the welfare of 
the public, be expected from one whose honor as a lawyer has not 
been above suspicion"? And since lawyers, outside of the Legis- 
lature, have a great influence in shaping the law, how can the peo- 
ple expect that influence to be exerted in their behalf when the 
bar itself is unworthy'? Still more does the character of the bar 
affect the judiciary, which is supplied from its ranks. It is not 
always, perhaps not generally, the case that memljers of the bench 
are chosen from those lawyers who have attained the highest rank 
in their profession. If a judge be industrious and honest but not 
of great ability, or if he be able and iKjnest, though lacking indus- 
try, the rights of the litigants are not likely to suffer seriously at 
his hands. But there have been instances where judicial office 
was bestowed solely as a reward for political service; and while it 
is sometimes realized that one who has been a strenuous and not 
too scrupulous politician up to the moment of his elevation to the 
bench, has thereafter forgotten that there was such a trade as 
politics and has administered justice without fear or favor, the 
experiment is a dangerous one. No one need be surprised if in 
such a case the old maxim holds true: "He Avho buys the office 
of judge, must of necessity sell justice." Let our judges be men 
who are subject to other influences than those of the facts sub- 
mitted to them and the law applicable to those facts, let them lack 
that independence which is an imperative requisite to one who 
holds the scales of justice, let a well founded suspicion arise that 
their decisions are dictated by something outside of their own 
minds and consciences, and the confidence of the people in the 
maintenance of their rights through the agency of the courts is 

It has been the good fortune of the county of Butler that the 
members of the bar here have been, for the most part, men of high 
character as well as of ability and learning, so that its bar has 
won a high and honorable reputation throughout the rest of the 
state, and because of the high character of the bar it has followed 
that those of its members who have been elevated to the bench 
have enjoyed the confidence and respect of the public and have 
been honored not only in their own locality but in many cases, 
throughout the state and in other states. 


Yet the preparation of a history of the bar, so far at least as 
that part of it which lies back of one's own generation is con- 
cerned, is attended with considerable difficulty. Probably few 
men who in their time play important parts in the community or 
even in the state or nation, leave so transient a reputation as law- 
yers do. A writer on this subject who took for his text, ' ' The Law- 
yers of Fifty Years Ago," said: "lu thinking over the names of 
these distinguished men of whom I have been speaking, the 
thought has come to me how evanescent and limited is the law- 
yer's reputation, both in time and space. I doubt very much if a 
lawyer, whatever his standing, is much known to the profession 
outside of his own state." Those who attain high rank in the pro- 
fession must realize that with rare exceptions, their names are 
"writ in water." One may turn over the leaves of old reports 
and find repeated again and again as counsel in different cases the 
name of some lawyer who must have been in his time a power in 
the courts, only to wonder if he has ever seen that name outside 
of the covers of the dusty reports in which it appears. Hamilton, 
in the conventions, in the Federalist and in the treasury, and Web- 
ster, in the senate and in public orations, have perpetuated and 
increased the fame of Lawyers Hamilton and Webster; but were 
it not for their services outside the strict limits of their profession, 
one might come upon their names at this date with much the same 
lack of recognition as that with which one finds in a reported case 
the names of some counsel, great perhaps in his own time, but 
long since forgotten. 

And there is another difficulty in preparing such a history as 
this, brief, and therefore necessarily limited to a few names, and 
that is that some may be omitted who are quite as worthy of men- 
tion as those whose names appear. It is not often that any one 
man stands as a lawyer head and shoulders above the other mem- 
bers of the profession; and the same may be said of any half dozen 
men. In many cases the most careful measurement would fail to 
disclose a difference of more than a fraction of an inch, if any. 
Lives of eminent men who have at some period been practicing 

■ lawyers, have contained the assertion that while they were en- 

■ gaged in the practice of their profession they were the "leaders 
' of the bar." biit there is almost always room for doubt as to 

whether the title is not a brevet bestowed by the biographer alone. 
Therefore the mention in this article of certain lawyers must not 
be taken as any disparagement of those who are not mentioned, 

Vol. 1—7 


and finally, it is to be obserA^ed that this article, so far as the bar 
is concerned, will treat not onh' of those who are past and gone, 
but Avill make mention of some of those now in the flesh. 

The first person to settle in Butler comity and take up the 
practice of law, was MatthcAv ]\I. Trunilndl, a man of great ability 
and acumen. He was a native of England. When a young man 
he crossed the sea, set out westward np'on touching American soil 
and chose Linn county, Iowa, as an abiding place. While here he 
read law and was admitted to the bar in 1852. Two years later 
found him located at Clarksville, Avhere he hung out his modest 
shingle, which notified the people of the pioneer town that a law- 
yer had settled among them. Mr. Trumbull was a man of educa- 
tion, well fortified Avith the princij^les and })ractice of the law and 
ambitious to win a foremost place at the bar. It is needless to 
say his aspirations Avere in a great measure gratified; and during 
the years of his residence here he AA'as the foremost laAvyer in this 
section of loAva. When the CiA'il Avar broke out Mr. Trumbull 
offered his serA'ices to his coimtrv, which Avere accepted and he 
Avent to the front as captain of Company I, Third Iowa Infantry; 
he was mustered out Avith the brcA^et of brigadier-general. LeaA^- 
ing the service General Trumbull returned to Iowa and located 
at Waterloo, where he resumed the practice and held a high place 
at that bar. He then spent a fcAV years at Dul)U(iue, where his 
splendid intellect and legal learning had a AA'ider and more lucrative 
range for their employment. Still a greater an<l more concen- 
trated practice aAvaited hun in the wonderful metropolis of the 
West, Chicago, and to that city he took his Avay and Avith him a 
splendid lil)rary, where he soon gained re(X)gnition at that noted 
bar. General Trmnbull had the distinction of being the first per- 
son returned to the Iowa Legislature from Butler county. 

Capt. C. A. L. Roszell, who engaged in the practice of laAV at 
Clarksville about 1858, came to Clarksville from Independence, 
loAva. A native of New Y^ork, he Avas gradviated from the colle- 
giate and laAv departments of Harvard College. He Avas captain 
of Company G, Thirty-second loAva Vohmteer Infantry, in the 
Civil Avar from 1862 to the close of the Avar. He Avas a brilliant 
scholar and soldier. During his lifetime he Avas considered the 
dean of the bar of northern loAva. His public addresses and argu- 
ments to courts and juries Avere models of scholarly \'ersatility 
and of forensic eloquence. He died at his home in Clai-ksville 
about ten years ago, at the close of a successfiil and honoralile 


career. He devoted the whole of his tmie to the practice of law. 

J. E. Fletcher came to Clarksville, Iowa, in the year 1856. He 
was a native of the state of Pennsylvania. He engaged in the 
practice of law and supplemented his wcn'k at an early day bj' 
public surveying. Mr. Fletcher was well educated and was a man 
of fine attainments. He did not give the whole of his time to the 
practice of law but during many years of his life paid much atten- 
tion to his farming interests. He was an honored member of the 
l)ar during his lifetime and practiced his profession successfully. 
At the time of his death he was the oldest living member of the 
earlier members of the bar of Butler county. He died at his home 
in Clarksville in the year 1913. 

John Palmer, an early resident of Clarksville, was also one of 
the pioneer members of the bar of this county, although not ac- 
tively engaged in the practice of his profession. He was county 
treasurer during one or more temis. He left this comity about 
1884, going to Minnesota, where he established his home and 
where he died. His was an honored career and successful in that 
he merited and received the high esteem of all who knew him. 

J. R. Jamison, now deceased, was one of the pioneer residents 
of the comity and a member of the bar. He did not maintain an 
office in auv town of the county but had his home on his farm at 
Jamison's Grove, west of Bristow, where he lived for a great 
many years and where he died. Mr. Jamison was not active in the 
practice of his profession but gave much of his time for the benefit 
of his neighbors, who called upon him for counsel and advice, and 
handled many of their disputes in the justice courts, and occasion- 
ally appeared in ti'ial cases in the district court and circuit courta 
of the county. He lived a useful and active life. 

Judge Alonzo Converse, an early pioneer resident of Beaver 
township, was also a member of this bar and at one time county 
judge. Judge Converse was a finely educated man and was well 
versed in the literature of law although not active in its practice. 
He, like Mr. Jamison, gave much of his time and efforts for the 
benefit of his neighbors who called upon him for advice and coun- 
sel. He removed from this county many years ago, going to South 
Dakota, where his life closed after a very successful career. 

M. T. Johnson, Mike Downey, John Beemer and W. H. Bur- 
dick were pioneer residents of Parkersburg and members of the 
bar of this county prior to 1883. Hon. O. B. Courtriglit, now of 
Waterloo, succeeded the last of the gentlemen above named. Mr. 


Courtright after a successful career as a lawyer in this county, 
removed to Waterloo, Iowa, ten or twelve years ago, where he 
has since continued in the active practice of his profession. He 
is a lawyer of high standing and merits the reputation which he 
has earned by his earnest efforts and honorable fidelity to his pro- 
fession, the public and his clients. At the time Mr. Courtright 
left this coimty he was a member of the firm of Courtright & 
Arbuckle. The other member of the firm is also a resident of 
Waterloo, Iowa, at the present time. Mr.'Ai'buckle was admitted 
to the practice of the law in this state about the year 1889 and 
has continued in the profession up to the present time. Mr. 
Arbuckle left this county a few years ago and continued his con- 
nection with the firm of Courtright & Arbuckle of Waterloo. 
He is a brilliant attorney and Ms success has been all that an 
attorney can desire. He is now comiected with several of the 
banks of Waterloo as stockholder and officer and has' a large 
clientage among the business men of Waterloo. 

George M. Craig, J. W. Davis and Willis A. Lathrop were 
among the pioneer residents and lawyers of old Butler Center 
and later of Allison. Of the three, George Craig is the only 
one living. Mr. Craig came to this county about the year 1866 
and was soon thereafter elected county recorder. After his term 
of office closed he engaged in the abstract business until he retired 
from business one year ago and removed from tlus county to 
Califoimia, where he hopes to end his days. Mr. Craig was suc- 
cessful as a lawyer in every sense of the word, his career honest 
and honorable. He represented this senatorial district in the 
State Legislature for two successive terms. His work in the 
Legislature was of a high order. Every position of public trust 
committed to him was honored bv him. 

J. W. Davis was a pioneer resident of the county and was 
clerk of the courts of the county for over sixteen years. He was 
not active in the practice of law. His legal learning was exten- 
sive and he was qualified in every way to discharge the duties of 
a successful lawyer. Pages might be written recounting the good 
deeds done by Mr. Davis during his lifetime. He is well remem- 
bered by all of the older citizens of the county and his memory 
is revered by them. Many of his relatives and descendants are 
still living in the community or near-by towns. 

Willis A. Lathrop was a friend and neighbor of Mr. Davis 
and Mr. Craig during their long residence in old Butler Center 


and Allison. Mr. Lathrop was one of the pioneer lawyers of the 
county. His general education was broad. He filled the office of 
county superintendent of schools of this county successfully. 
For many years he was active in the practice of law, held the 
office of county attorney and by his brethren of the bar was known 
to be a lawyer of good attainments, honorable and always faithful 
to his clients. His word was as good as law among his brethren. 
He died at Allison some years ago at the close of a long and suc- 
cessful life. 

John W. Gilger was one of the early lawyers engaging in the 
business at the comparatively new town of Greene in this county. 
After practicing law at Greene for a few years Mr. Gilger 
removed to Hampton, where he remained a while and from there 
went to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he is still engaged in 
practice. Mr. Gilger was a soldier in the Civil war. He is now 
hale and hearty and gives but little evidence of the hardships 
he endured during that struggle. He was in the cavalry service 
and relates that at one time he was on picket duty and riding a 
mule. The mule got scared and instead of having sense enough 
to retreat, went the other way and not only carried Mr. Gilger 
through the rebel lines without accident but got through himself. 
Mr. Gilger says that was the only time he knew a "reb" shot at 
him. He knew that time. Mr. Gilger is a man of fine legal attain- 
ments and was successful in the practice of his profession from 
the beginning. Since moving to Minneapolis he has had among 
his clientage many of the largest firms and corporations of the 
city. At one time he was a member of the firm of Gilger & Har- 
rison, Judge Harrison, his partner, having formerly been a mem- 
ber of the firm of Starr, Patterson & Harrison, of Charles City, 
Iowa. While it is no longer necessary for Mr. Gilger to work to 
live, still he loves his profession and can be found at his office 
regidarly every day. 

S. W. and E. W. Soesbe, brothers, were also pioneer lawyers 
and bankers of Greene. They are both now deceased, the death 
of S. W. preceding that of his brother E. W. They were men 
of good character, energy and ability and did much to build up 
the town of Greene, and many of the improvements now seen are 
due to the efforts of these two men. Soon after engaging in the 
practice of law they engaged in the banking business, which 
necessarily required much of their time and prevented them from 
taking an active part in the practice of law. They were, how- 


ever, recognized as good lawyers, liouorable iu every particular, 
and respected members of the bar. S. W. tSoesbe was a member 
of the (State Legislature from this county and was an honored 
member of that body. 

So far as known, C. R. Failing was the first lawyer to locate 
in Greene and after a few months' residence there he removed 
from the new town. 

F^'rank Lingenfelder, now a i^ractieing attorney of Charles 
City, Iowa, engaged in the jjractice of law at Greene al)()ut the 
year 1883, having come from Allison to Greene. Mr. Lingen- 
felder was one of a family of lawyers and has demonstrated by 
his ability and successful work as a lawyer that he was not the 
runt of the family. He continued in the practice of his profes- 
sion at Greene initil the year 1893. Dui'ing the last year he was 
a memljer of the firm of Lingenfelder & Hartness. Mr. Lingen- 
felder is regarded as one of the strongest niem])ers of the bar in 
this district and his practice has been characterized by ability, 
honesty and the faithful discharge of e\'ery trust committed to 
him. He is the father of one of the present district court report- 
ers of this district, Walter L. Lingenfelder. 

Frank D. Jackson came to Greene from Independence, Iowa, 
ab< »ut the year 1878 and engaged in the practice of law. He con- 
tinued in active practice imtil elected secretary of state of the 
State of Iowa, which office he held for three successive terms and 
later filled the oftice of Governoi' of the State of Iowa. Frank D. 
Jackson's life is as an open book to the people of the State of 
Iowa and nothing can be said here which will add t<i the informa- 
tion the ])ul)lic generally possess. In his home town in Greene 
he Avas held in the highest esteem by those who knew him l^est. 
He was faithful to his friends, a good neighbor and loA'ed l)y all 
who knew him. 

A. I. Smith was in partnership with George Craig in Allison, 
in the law and abstract business for a immber of years, and after 
leaving Allison went to Kansas City, where he resmned the prac- 
tice of his profession. His career there as a lawyer has been 
highly suecessfid. 

Charles A. Bannon was educated in Pennsylvania and 
admitted to practice law, at Bedford, a town in the Keystone 
state. He came to Butler county with J. R. Fletcher, in 1856, 
and they formed a partnershii3 and opened a law office at Clarks- 
ville. Mr. Bannon was of Irish extraction and was not lacking 


in the wit always attributed to sons of the Emerald isle. He was 
also a good lawyer and "with the gift of gab," he made a most 
interesting and delightful orator, especially when on the hustings. 
When the Civil war came on to distract the country, young Ban- 
non enlisted in Company (I, Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, of 
which C. A. L. Roszell was captain, and was coimnissioned first 
lieutenant. He served until the close of hostilities, came back 
to Clarksville with health shattered and in a short while answered 
the last rally call. Thus was cut short the life of one who woidd 
ha\X' made a high place for himself among men, had not death 
overtaken him almost at the beginning of his career. 

Orson Rice was not, per se, a lawyer while a resident of But- 
ler county, but he i^racticed at this bar, with more or less success. 
He was, in a way, what is termed "a character"; but effrontery 
and determinatit)u won him a fair measure of success as a "law- 
yer" and hence, when the bar of Butler county is upon the tapis, 
no one who is familiar with its history fails to mention Orson 
Rice. Thei'efore, his name wall be handed down to the next his- 
torian, in these pages, and to that end it ma}' be well to state that 
Orson Rice came to Butler county from Illinois, in 1854, when 
about twenty-eight years of age and located at Clarksville. If he 
had any schooling at all his manner of speech failed to indicate it. 
He was very illiterate, but notwithstanding this handicap he suc- 
ceeded in being admitted to the bar in 1857 and engaged in the 
practice of law and attracted to himself a no inconsiderable clien- 
tele. Many are the laughable stories told of blunders in his plead- 
ings and the haphazard manner in which he examined a witness. 
Situations often arose in court that were embarrassing to him- 
self, the court and his fellow members of the bar; more often 
they were hilariously amusing to the latter. But these things 
made no difference to Rice. He continued his course serenely, 
at times morosely and desperately, and in the end, he was to be 
found at Spirit Lake, where he located in 1865, enjoying a good 
practice, after having served the county as district attorney. His 
further ambition, to reach the circuit judgeship, seemed to be 
beyond the range of his abilities, but not his yearnings. lie 
sought the office, and to give him his dues it should ))e said he 
came very near being elevated to the position. 

John E. Burke was one of the early lawyers of this county 
and secured a good practice for the times. He removed to Chi- 
cago many j^ears ago and became a promiment law^^er of that 


city. Before moving away, liowever, he served a term as prose- 
cuting attorney for this judicial district. 

George A. Eichmond was a well educated young man, who 
came west from Pennsylvania in 1854, and located at Butler 
Center. He first turned his activities toward speculating in land, 
in the meantime acquiring a smattering of the law. His prac- 
tice never reached a wide extent. He enlisted for the Civil war, 
served gallantly in the army and when the internecine struggle 
between the states was settled by the arbitrament of arms, Rich- 
mond returned to his native state. 

D. J. Marts also located in Greene in the seventies, coming from 
Pennsylvania. He first located on a farm and taught school. His 
admission to the bar followed, but he had little practical knowl- 
edge of law and, as a consequence, reaped but a scant reward 
from the practice. John Jamison also practiced law at Greene. 
He was admitted to the bar at Butler Center and after a year's 
stay at Greene he located in Shell Rock, from whence he removed 
to Belmond and secured a good practice. 

William M. Foote practiced, law at this bar for a numl)er of 
years. He was admitted to the bar at Greenville in 1858 and came 
to Butler county in 1871, establishing an office at Greene. Being 
elected justice of the peace in 1872, most of his time was taken up 
with official duties. 

Other early lawyers worthy of mention follow, namely : L. A. 
Orris, admitted to the Butler county bar in 1858 ; C. M. Greene, 
who came to Greene in 1881 and began the practice ; R. D. Prescott, 
at Shell Rock in the seventies; Colonel Woods, in the pioneer days 
at Butler Center, a town long since extinct; J. H. Boomer and Bur- 
rell, who at one time practiced at Shell Rock ; D. W. Mason, who 
also practiced law in Butler county and was its first superintend- 
ent of schools; W. S. Montgomery, who located at Clarksville in 
1880. and early acquired a large practice and held offices of trust 
in the connty, now living in Allison; J. F. Ellsworth, who located 
at Bristow in 1875 and removed to Dakota in 1881 ; Oscar H. Scott, 
Allison; N. T. Johnson, W. P. Robertson, Sawyer Haswell, B. L. 
Richards, at one time in the practice at Parkersburg. Here fol- 
lows a list of names of the members of the bar now practicing in 
Butler comity: P. V<iogd, A]ilington; W. C. Shepard, Allison; 0. 
F. Missman, Allison; W. S. Montgomery, Allison; C. G. Burling, 
Clarksville; M. Hartness, Greene; C. M. Greene. Greene; R. R. 
Williamson, Parkersburg; W. T. Evans, Parkersburg; George 
A. Mclntvre, Shell Rock ; L. G. Arthurholt, Shell Rock. 


The pioneers of the healing art in Butler comity were the 
guardians of a widely dispersed population. Aside from their 
professional duties, they contributed their full share to the ma- 
terial development of a newly opened country. Some were men of 
culture, who had gained their medical education in college. 
Others were of limited educational attainments, whose profes- 
sional knowledge had been acquired in the offices of established 
practitioners of more or less ability in the sections from which 
they emigrated. Of either class almost without exception, they 
were practical men of great force of character, who gave cheerful 
and efficacious assistance to the suffering, daily journeying on 
horseback scores of miles, over a country almost destitute of 
roads, and encountering swollen unbridged streams, without 
waterproof garments or other now common protection against the 
elements. Out of necessity the pioneer physician developed rare 
quickness of perception and self-reliance. A specialist was then 
tmknown, and the physician was called upon to treat everj' phase 
of bodily ailment, serving as physician, surgeon, oculist and den- 
tist. His books were few and there were no practitioners of more 
ability than himself with whom he might consult. His medicines 
were simple and carried on his person, and every preparation of 
pill or solution was the work of his own hands. 

During the siunmer and autumn of 1854 cases of bilious re- 
mitting fever occurred, which readily }aelded to treatment. The 
winter following several cases of bilious pnemnonia demanded 
prompt attendance and special vigilance in the observance of 
changes indicative of greater danger. These were the diseases and 
the principal ones which called for medical help up to the year 1859. 
Since that year, or from that period, the summer and autumnal 
fevers have ceased to be epidemical and pneumonia has become less 



frequent. It may be well to mention here that the fevers of 1859 
after the third and fourth da}' assumed a typhoid character, the 
remission hardly observable, and the nervous depression occa- 
sioning great anxiety. 

It was proliably Dr. Ensh of Philadelphia, — a great name up 
to about 1825 — who said the lancet was a "sheet anchor" in all 
imflanmiatory diseases, so it might have been said of quinine, 
as used in remittent and intermittent fevers, in both the Missis- 
sippi and Missouri valleys from 1830 up to 1850. During that 
jDcriod 120,000 scpiare miles west of the Mississippi and north of 
St. Louis became populated and all of it was more or less malari- 
ous. In some of these years the demand for quinine was so great 
that the supply in the American market became exhausted. 
"Sappington's pills" were indirectly the power which worked 
steamboats up the river from 1835 to 1813. They were veril}^ the 
"sheet anchor," not only aboard boats but in many households. 
Dr. Sappington was a regular allopathic physician of considerable 
ability, residing up the Missouri river, who thought it would be a 
benefaction to the new civilization of the west to prepare quinine 
ready to be taken in the form of pills. Boxes of his pills contained 
four dozen each and the pellets two grains each. The direction on 
the box was to take from two to twenty as the urgency of the case 
seemed to require, without reference to the stage of the paroxysm. 

In the early days the doctor had a "hard road to travel" in 
Butler county. Everything was in a primitive stage. There were 
no roads, bridges, or other means of travel than by "foot or horse- 
back." He made his own pills, or pellets, compounded needed 
nostrums and when in doubt in a critical case, had only his own na- 
tive wit and ability to consult. Drug stores were unknown in the 
region, hence drugs and surgical instrmnents and appliances were 
scarce, and only to be obtained by a long and tedious journey to 
"the city," wherever that may have happened to be. The settle- 
ments were scattering and far apart, but no matter the distance, 
let the weather be ever so inclement or the going so bad, the 
pioneer doctor strapped his saddlebags to his "critter" and 
mounting the faithful brute, took the trail and kept it to his jour- 
ney's end, M'hich often would be a lone log cabin, tenanted by a 
settler without a dollar in the world. 

The pioneer physician was indeed a martyr to his profession 
and ambition. He was in every way, save and except a moiety 
of skill and unbounded faith and determination, poorly equipped 


for his work; but lie managed to meet the demands upon his abili- 
ties and energies and was generally loved and venerated for his 
many personal (pialities as a ministering angel, a neighbor and 
a man. 

Th(^ charlatan was not wanting in the community, even in the 
days of its incubation. There were quacks and herb doctors, who 
plied their trade to a greater or less extent and, as a matter of fact, 
the first to take up the practice of the healing art in the eommim- 
ity were not "regular" practitioners; that is to say, they were not 
qualified as graduates of a medical institution to diagnose a case 
or prescribe medicine. However, there were persons of the latter 
<'haracter who attended the sick and ailing, who will long be re- 
membered for the good they accomplished. 

To illustrate and accentuate what already has been said of the 
hai'dshi})s and dangers which were the hourly menace of the pio- 
neer physician, the following excerpts from a reminiscent sketch, 
written by Dr. John Scob}', of Shell Rock, for the History of But- 
ler county, published in 1883, are reproduced. The worthy phy- 
sician relates : 

"By the solicitation of friends and former acquaintances I 
visited Shell Rock in the spring of 1856. The village then num- 
bered from fifteen to twenty families. There were two clergymen 
and a justice of the peace. There was one small dry-goods store, 
one sawmill, and a flouring mill being erected. I viewed the Shell 
Eock river at this place, and thought then, as I do now, that it 
was the finest stream of pure water I had ever seen. Its hydraulic 
power at this point Avas sufficient to drive a great amount of 
machinery. Its waters Avere stored with vast numbers of fine 
fish; its lianks crowned with fine timber, and frequently skirted 
with A\aving groves of small timber. After viewing the local ad- 
vantages here, I harnessed my trusty mare, Fanny, and started 
southwest to take a "\-iew of the prairie. Fanny ferried me over 
the Shell Rock, there being no bridge. It was the last of May ; the 
undulating plains were dressed in Nature's gay attire of living 
green. There were but few, if any, laid-out or worked roads or 
bridges in the county. I traveled on, as best I could, avoiding the 
sloughs, which were very miry. Log cabins were occasionally to 
be seen ; but the most of these rich alluvial i)rairies were then per- 
forming their diurnal and revolutionary movements, without a 
human inhabitant. 


"After meaudermg over tlie country, visiting the different 
localities, where villages were being started, I returned to 
Shell Eoek and located here as a physician. I purchased several 
town lots, which, like most of the other lots, were in their wild 
condition, covered with hazel bushes, limbs of trees, decaying 
logs and mudholes. The next summer I erected my present cot- 
tage house, which is enclosed with two-inch plank spiked into 
sills eight inches square. This cottage stands the test of moving 
time, with but few signs of decay. Within a few years I built 
on my lots two more dwelling houses, Avhich have been occupied 
by families for several years. In the meantime I purchased fifty 
acres of land lying contiguous to the town plat, which has been 
cleared of its timber and underbrush, and for years has yielded 
splendid harvests of wheat and corn. 

"My family arrived here from Ohio in September, 1856. They 
had never seen wild uncultivated prairies before. Why wow- 
they brought to such an awful looking place'? There was nut a 
well worked street. The town was full of stumps, logs, bushes, 
underbrush and mudholes. The schoolhouse was but a rude ]og 
shanty, and the meeting house but little better. Soon they dis- 
covered squads of Indians rand^ling up and down the river. Their 
fears were excited. The torch fire, the war club, the hatchet and 
the scalping knife woidd be raised. They would return to friends 
in Ohio. They would not stay here to be murdered by Indians, 
or to be torn to pieces by \vild beasts. This prairie country was 
only fitted for Indians, bears, wolves and ferocious wild lieasts. 
The Indians ^vere peaceable and friendly, and our family fears 
subsided into friendly donations. 

"During the first summer and fall my medical indes extended 
over a large part of this county and into the adjoining counties. 
My long rides vrere fatiguing. Chills and fever were frequent, 
and most of the cabins were increasing their family munbers. 
In the month of November a dangerous type of typhoid fever 
began to rage, Avhich proved fatal in some localities, and continued 
its ravages during the winter. . . . 

"Here in Shell Rock liow changed are the rides and labors of 
practicing physicians. There has long been three or four prac- 
ticing physicians located here, all of whom do not travel over 
more territory in their medical rides than one did between the 
years 1820 and 1830, when there was not a good road or a safe 
bridge in the covmty. Now the}^ can dance their spring buggies 


or sleighs over smooth roads by day or night. No sloughs in which 
to mire; no wolves to growl; no prairie fires to dread or to flee 
from; no deep rivers to wade through in the darkness of the night; 
no drifted sloughs on the lonely, wild prairie, to wallow through 
in the depth of winter. In this incorporated town, for the last 
ten years, there has been but few if any thistle or thorn beds, or 
wiry brush beds filled with wild, stinging nettles and burdock 
burrs to tear the clothes and scratch and bleed the doctor's hands, 
and no filthy mudholes in which to soil his boots and pants. He 
winds his way by night or day over w^ell graded streets and well 
finished sidewalks, calling, as required, at fine brick, stone or 
wood residences, without opening a log cabin door." 

The first physician to locate in Butler county was James E. 
Walker, who selected Clarksville as a place of residence in the 
year 1854. He was well versed in the theory and practice of his 
profession and endeared himself to the settlers of the early days 
by his warmth of heart and the skill displayed in combating the 
ailments that came under his observation and ministrations. In 
1857. Dr. Walker was elected clerk of the courts, serving one term. 
A few years later he returned to Maine, his native home. Other 
early physicians at Clarksville, the first toAvn in the county, were 
Drs. Jeremiah Wilcox and J. F. Logan. Later physicians were 
Drs. A. F. Tichenor, D. S. Byers, M. C. Camp and H. W. Dicken- 

Dr. John Scoby, who is quoted at length in the beginning of 
this chapter, was the pioneer physician of Shell Rock, locating 
there in May, 1856. He was bom in New Hampshire, received 
academic training and attended lectures and clinics at Dartmouth 
Medical College in the year 1824, graduating as a physician and 
surgeon in 1826. For some years Dr. Scoby was in the practice 
in eastern cities and spent tAventy years in his profession at Jack- 
son, Ohio. He came to Shell Rock in 1856 and of his early experi- 
ences in Butler county mention has already been made. An ex- 
cellent physician and skilled surgeon were the professional attri- 
butes of Dr. Scoby, who continued in the practice at Shell Rock 
until 1875, and then retired upon well earned laurels and a com- 

Dr. M. I. Powers came to Parkersburg in 1867 and was the 
first physician to locate there. He was not only an able and con- 
scientious practitionoi- but also progressive and enterprising. He 
at once became one of the leaders in building up Parkersburg and 


his name is frequently mentioned in the histor}- of that splendid 
little city. 

Dr. A. 0. Strout, a native of Portland, ^Nlaine, found his way 
to Chicago in 18G7 and there taught school five years; in the mean- 
time he read medicine and graduated from the Chicago JNIedical 
College with the class of 1875. Dr. fStrout located in Parkersburg 
in 1879 and soon was recognized as a leader in his pi-ofession. 

In speaking of the early physicians at Parkerslnn-g the names 
of Drs. E. B. Ensign and John Wyatt-are deserving of a place 
here. They were of the homeopathic school. 

Dr. E. Leroy Tiu'ner began the practice of medicine at Bristow 
in 1874. He came with his father from Illinois to Shell Eock in 
1856, read medicine in the office of Dr. Boys, at Waverly, and 
graduated from Rush Medical College, Chicago, in 1871. Dr. 
Turner then practiced at Shell Rock a short time and finally lo- 
cated at Biistow, succeeding Dr. Charles McCormack. He built 
up a lucrative practice and Ix'came a leading citizen of the little 

Dr. H. S. Strickland preceded ])r. Turner at Bristow in point 
of time. Botli he and Dr. McCormack remained in the village 
some years and then left for other scenes of professional acti^'ity. 

Dr. Jacol) Krebbs located in Bristow in 1881. He spent a year 
at Notre Dame University, read medicine, graduated from the 
medical department of the Iowa State University and located in 
the practice of his profession at Geneva, Illinois. Upon the re- 
moval of Dr. Strickland he succeeded to that physician's practice. 

In the year 1871 Dr. Nichols opened an office at Greene and 
was the first person to take up the practice of medicine in the 
place. He was of the old school of medics and secured a reinuner-' 
ative practice. However, he finally removed to Rockford. 

Dr. V. C. Birney settled at Greene in 1872. His father w as a 
i:>hysician, who gave the lad good schooling and then sent him to 
Rush Medical College, and the College of Physicians and Sur- 
geons, Keokuk. He graduated from the latter institute in 1873. 

Dr. C. C. Huckins came to Greene in 1873 and opened an office. . 
He w^as a native of Maine; served in the Civil war; attended lec- 
tures at the Maine Medical School; and the College of Physicians 
and Surgeons. He came west thoroughly equipped for the prac- 
tice and made a success of his undertaking at Greene. 

Miss H. D. Cramer came to Greene from Wisconsin in thr 
seventies and opened an office as a regular, practicing physician. 


She met with a fail- measiu-e of success iii her chosen profession. 
She removed to Mason City and there resiuned her practice. 

Dr. William Young was in the practice at Greene but a short 
time when death called him in 1878. He was a graduate and had 
the ability to win a place among his fellows, but the fates decided 
against him. 

A. K. Johnson was a homeopathic physician who located in 
Greene in 1880. Doctor Johnson graduated from Hahnemann 
Medical College in 1878. Another early physician here was Dr. 
John Nevins, who enjoyed a measurably good practice. 

Dr. D. M. Wick located at New Hartford in 1875. He attended 
public schools of Illinois, Mount Morris Seminary and Cornell Col- 
lege, Iowa. One year was spent in the medical department of Ann 
Arbor University and two years at the Chicago Medical College, 
from which he graduated with the class of 1871. He was a mem- 
ber of the Iowa State Medical Association and a charter member 
of the Butler County Medical Society. 

Dr. William H. H. Hagey became prominent in business and 
social circles of New Hartford in the early days. He was a Penn- 
sylvanian by birth ; gained a conunon school education in Illinois ; 
sei'ved his cmmtry in the Civil war; graduated from Rush Medical 
College in 1868; practiced for a while in WTiiteside county, Illi- 
nois and Chicago, and in July. 1881, came to New Hartford, where 
he built u}) a large and remunerative practice. 

Dr. E. L. Thorp first saw the light of day at Bedford, Mass., 
in 1836 ; removed with his parents to Kenosha and there attended 
the ])Tiblic schools and afterwards entered Beloit College. He 
studied medicine and attended lectures and clinics at Rush ]Medi- 
cal College ; began the practice of his profession at Shell Rock in 
1865 ; took a post-graduate course at Eclectic Medical College of 
Cincinnati ; became prominent as a physician and siirgeon and 
together with his practice maintained a drug store twelve years 
at Shell Rock. 

Dr. E. H. Dudley came to Shell Rock in the formative days 
of that lively trading point and opened an office. He was well 
pre]3ared for the vocation chosen, having secured a classical edu- 
cation at Evansville Seminary in Wisconsin from which he gradu- 
ated in 1868. At the age of sixteen, he was a Union soldier in a 
Wisconsin regiment, graduated from Rush Medical College in the 
winter of 1873-4, and spent a few months in the practice at Broad- 
licad. Wis. He came to Shell Rock in 1875 and became an efficient 


and successful physician. Doctor Dudley was a member of the 
State and Butler County Medical Societies and in 1880, was 
appointed United States medical examiner for pensions. 

Another physician who located at Shell Rock in the '70s was 
Dr. W. H. Smith, who was born at Sheboygan, Wis., in 1851. He 
was well educated, attended Wayland Academy, at Beaver Dam, 
Wis., studied medicine in Milwaukee and graduated from Rush 
Medical College in 1878. He practiced medicine at Sheboygan a 
few months and then located at Shell Rock. Doctor Smith was a 
member of the State and Butler County Medical Societies. Dr. 
E. E. Sill established an office and practiced here as a "homeo- 
path" in 1881 and secured a large clientele. 

Dr. E. L. Blaclanore was one of the pioneer physicians at 
Aplington. He was well fortified for his professional duties, hav- 
ing attended a course of lectures at the St. Louis Medical College, 
of which he is a graduate. In 1868 the doctor located at Butler 
Center, from which place he removed to Aplington in 1873. Doctor 
Blackmore was one of the prosperous and influential citizens of 
this place and at one time was owner of the Aplington Mills. 


The Butler County Medical Association was organized April 
2, 1878, with the following members : F. H. Boucher, H. L. Isher- 
wood, Clarksville; J. H. Brower, Butler Center; E. H. Dudley, 
Shell Rock; M. I. Powers, Parkersburg; I. R. Spooner, D. M. 
Wick, New Hartford ; E. Leroy Turner, Bristow. 

The first officers were I. R. Spooner, president ; E. L. Turner, 
vice president ; F. H. Boucher, secretary ; H. L. Isherwood, treas- 
urer; M. I. Powers, J. H. Brower, E. H. Dudley, censors. 

The object of the society is based on and is in conjunction with 
the tenets of the Iowa State Medical Association. No one not a 
graduate of an accredited medical college is eligible to member- 
ship. The first meeting was held at Butler Center and interest in 
the society has been maintained up to the present time, although 
called meetings in some of the years were few and far between. 

The present officers of the society are: P. R. Burroughs, of 
Allison, president: J. L. Scripture, Clarksville, secretary and 



The Twenty-first General Assembly, which met in 1886, passed 
a law requiring all pei'sons desiring to practice medicine in any 
county of the state to have his certificate recorded in the office of 
the county recorder. Since the passage of this law, the following 
physicians who have since removed from the county have regis- 
tered their certificates with the Butler county recorder : 

Allison, T. B. Askew, S. E. Burroughs, Jerome Burbank, P. R. 
Burroughs, E. A. Hazlet, James S. Riggs, D. N. Reeve, Norman 
M. Smith, Willis J. Vaupell. 

Aplington, E. L. Blackmore, Harriet N. Blackmore, John W. 
Cunningham, Thomas A. Hobson, John A. Rolfs, Charles W. 

Aredale, E. J. Thierman, H. J. Wickman. 

Bristow, G. W. Appleby, E. H. Best, H. E. Day, A. J. Hob- 
son, A. E. Rodgers, R. E. Robinson. 

Clarksville, D. S. Byers, J. N. Clemmer, W. P. Gannon, T. D. 
Haner, W. H. William, J. P. Logan, W. E. Patterson, H. C. 
Smith, J. L. Scripture, C. C. Smith. 

Dumont, W. E. Day, M. St. Peter. 

Greene, W. R. Arthur, Varillas Birney, L. S. Boyce, A. H. 
Bruce, V. C. Birney, A. E. Cainey, M. B. Call, H. M. De War, 
C. C. Huckins, John Nevins. 

New Hartford, C. W. Childs, John G. Evans, E. T. Jaynes, 
A. E. Kauffman, I. M. McBride, D. H. Pelletier, Duncan Reed, 
C. P. Soper, D. M. Wick. 

Parkersburg, E. I. Bradley, J. J. Fisher, H. C. Hunter, Leo- 
pold Louis, M. A. Marty, Hugh Mullarky, Jr., W. E. Noble, M. I. 
Powers, W. W. Parker, A. O. Strout. 

Shell Rock, J. F. Auner. E. H. Dudley, Bruce Ensley, J. R. W. 
Kirton, F. N. Mead. W. H. Smith, E. L. Sheldon, E. L. Thorp- 

In addition, the following have practiced for brief intervals 
in the county : 

0. P. Thompson, Allison ; T. A. Dumont, Dumont : E. A. Can- 
tonwine, Parkersburg: W. C. Lathrop, Clarksville; M. A. Taylor, 
Clarksville ; D. W. Battin, Shell Rock ; Classen, Shell Rock. 

The addresses given above are those where the physicians were 
located at the time of the first registration of their certificates in 
Butler county. Since that time in the case of several their loca- 
tions have changed and they are practicing at the present time in 
other towns of the county. 



The press of a community reflects the tone, character and sen- 
timent of its people. It is justly considered among the most 
important institutions of every city, town and village. The peo- 
ple regard their particular newspaper as of peculiar value, nut 
merely on account of the facts already alluded to, but because the 
paper is the repository wherein is stored fact and events, the 
deeds and the sayings that go to make uj) the local history. One 
by one these things are gathered and placed in type ; one by one 
the papers are issued; one by one these papers are gathered 
together and bound, and another volume of local, general and 
individual history is laid away, imperishable. The volumes thus 
collected are the sources of research for the historian and are often 
referred to by the editor himself. The local i^ress, as a rule, 
reflects the business enterprise of a place, and judging from this 
standard, the enterprise of the citizens of Butler county is indeed 
commendable. Its papers are well filled though not overcrowded, 
with advertisements of home merchants and of its business affairs. 
No paper can exist without these advertisements and no connnu- 
nity can flourish as it shoiild that does not use the advertising col- 
umns of its local papers. 


One of the brightest and newsiest papers published in the 
county is the Eclipse, for many years past under the able man- 
agement of E. E. Schrack. The paper was established August 
30, 1872, by C. B. Auyer and S. T. Edwards. It originally was 
an eight-column folio, all home print ; it is now issued in the form 
of a six-column quarto. In September, 1874, the names of Erank 
L. Bodge and E. E. Savage appeared as editors and proprietors, 
and in January, 1877, Frank L. Bodge was in full control and 



presided over the destinies of the Eclipse until 1880, when he 
admitted into partnership his brother, Ered A. Dodge. The paper 
was sold to E. E. Schrack and E. A. Wright, in August, 1887, 
and the publication was continued under the firm name of Schrack 
& Wright until May, 1888, when the partnersliip was dissolved, 
E. A. Wright retiring and E. E. Schrack retaining possession. 
Mr. Schrack still has control of the Eclipse and has a very compe- 
tent assistant in his wife, who is a state official of the Woman's 
Relief Corps. ■" , 


The Press long has been one of the representative newspapers 
of northern Iowa and is today under the capable editorial con- 
trol of George B. Tracey. The paper was founded in Aug-ust, 
1873, by H. C. Hammond, the first issue appearing as a six-column 
folio with "patent insides." Mr. Hammond remained but a short 
time in the editorial chair and was succeeded in 1874 by Editor 
Failing, who was followed by 'Squire Soesbe. In .Tidy, 1874, J. R. 
Wagner and W. W. Riner became the owners and remained in 
possession until May, 1880, at which time Wagner retired from 
the firm and was succeeded by George E. De Lavan. This arrange- 
ment was terminated in July, 1S80, by the withdrawal of Mr. Riner 
from the editorial yoke. Mr. De Lavan was the editor until 1891, 
when he sold to Charles E. Clonkey. Later Mr. Clonkey leased 
the plant to Frank Lingenfelder. The lease expired March 31, 
1893, and then came the Booton brothers. From 1896 to June 5, 
1903, W. L. Booton was sole pi'oprietor. Charles E. Cook was in 
control from June, 1903, until October, 1903, when the paper was 
sold to F. N. Eldridge. The latter retired in July, 1904, in favor 
of F. H. Camp, who was its editor the following seven years. 
Camp sold to Benjamin Boardman in June, 1911, and that gentle- 
man sold the plant — the best equipped in Butler county — to the 
.present o-woier, George B. Tracey, in February, 1914. The same 
month Mr. Boardman was elected coimty superintendent of 
schools to fill a vacancy. 


The Allison Tribune was established by the Dodge brothers, 
Frank L. and Fred A., in December, 1880. At that time Allison 


had been determined on as the county seat, and desirmg to be 
first in the field at this place, a lot was secui-ed by the Dodge boys 
upon which they erected a "print shop." In May, 1881, the 
plant was running and on the 16th of June following the first issue 
of the Tribime was printed. The paper has had many propri- 
etors. Their names follow : Dodge Brothers, E. E. Schrack, C. S. 
Linn, E. W. Wright, Amos Ingalls, L. R. Lynn, Mitchell & 
Mitchell, M. D. Morgan, E. W. Booton, Shepard & Gregory, H. 
Falken, W. J. Hunt. 


Going back to the real beginning of the Clarksville Star sev- 
eral other papers, of which the Star is the outgrowth, must be 
mentioned. First and foremost comes the Butler County Jeffer- 
sonian, the second newspaper established in Butler county and 
of which the Clarksville Star is in a direct line, the only living 
heir. The Jeffersonian was founded in 1860, by William Had- 
dock and in about four months thereafter, Martin Bailey was the 
editor and publisher. He changed the name in 1862 to the Stars 
and Stripes, and under that patriotic title the paper was ably 
edited and published untU 1865. In the month of August of the 
last mentioned year, McCormack & Francis purchased the mate- 
rial and again the name of the paper was discarded. This time it 
came out as the Butler County Argus and continued to be pub- 
lished as the Argus six months, when Judge John Palmer pur- 
chased the property and adopted the fierce and cutting title of The 
Stiletto for the much named sheet. Judge Palmer sold The Stiletto* 
to his son, William Palmer, in the spring of 1866, who moved the 
plant and place of publication to Shell Rock. In the following 
fall the paper was again issued at Clarksville having been con- 
solidated with the Clarksville Gazette, which had been founded 
in 1866, by Van E. Butler, who formed a partnership with William 
Palmer, when the merger was made and the firm name of pub- 
lishers became Butler & Palmer. Under this management the 
paper was named the Star of the West and so continued imtil 
1868, when Frank Case became the owner and changed the name 
to the Clarksville Star, which, happily, for the future historian 
remains to this day at the top of the newsy little publication's 
first page. James O. Stewart was in the editorial chair by the 
year 1872, and each week gave the people of Butler county all the 


local news of importance imtil the uiontli of June, 1882, when he 
sold his interests in the Star to L. O. Hull. The last named ran 
the paper several years and had for his successors Ed Madigan 
and Will Morrison, who sold the property to W. L. and E. W. 
Booton in 1893. Madigan recovered possession within the year. 
He was the publisher mitil 1909. In November of the year just 
mentioned, Jolm M. Ramsey, the i^resent proprietor and editor, 
who had been foreman of the ol!iee twenty years, bought the paper 
and changed it from a six-column quarto to a seven-column 


The paper with the above name in this caption, was estab- 
lished in August, 1872, by J. H. Boomer & Co., and made its first 
appearance on the twenty-third day of the month. The founders 
within four weeks' time sold out to F. M. Barnard & Co., who 
continued the publication until March 5, 3873. That year the 
partnership dissolved and Silas White and Frank Hall, under the 
firm name of White & Hall, took possession. Hall retired in 
August, 1874, and alone White continued as editor and proprietor 
until Jan. 5, 1875, - when he sold a half interest to O. B. 
Courtright. The partnership firm of White & Courtright sold 
out to Dr. E. A. Kittel Feb. 19, 1875, and in a short time Haz- 
let & Thorp were the proprietors. They changed the name to 
the Shell Rock News, published the paper until Nov. 2, 
1876, and then turned it over to Oieorge E. Farrar. The new 
owner, Mr. Farrar, was editor and manager of the News until the 
6th of Se] itember, 1877, when he disposed of his interests therein 
to E. E. Savage. The next known proprietor of the News was 
J. P. Reed, who came into possession at sheriff's sale in Septem- 
ber, 1878. Mr. Reed retained control a luunlier of years and then 
came G. A. Mclntyre, who moved the plant into a handsome new 
two-story brick home. Mr. Mclntyre, who is one of the older mem- 
bers of the Butler comity bar and present mayor of Shell Rock, 
ably edited and managed the News until 1900 when, in the month 
of December of that year F. L. Witt became the owner and editor, 
having associated wath him his son, C. E. Witt, who assumed com- 
plete management of the office in 1906; in February, 1910, he ac- 
quired possession of the plant by purchase. 



The Recorder is issued in the interests of the democracy and 
its owners. It is the only partisan paper in the county with demo- 
cratic leanings and was established by John Passage and Anaos 
Ingalls, at Greene, Aug. 12, 1884. In 1887 a change took place 
in the ownership. That year Mr. Passage retired and Mr. Ingalls 
remained in sole possession and editorship. The concern was 
reorganized in 1904, and formed into a corporation, taking the 
name and title of the Recorder Printing Company. Mr. Ingalls 
retained an interest in the property, and by the change J. Knox 
HaU became manager and editor, retaining the place one year. 
Then came Fred Flack, who remained about four months and 
three or four others succeeded hmi. But, in 1908, Mr. Ingalls 
returned and forming a partnership with A. B. Mahnke, the 
Recorder has prospered and increased its clientele and influence 
with the passing of the years, by united efforts and a firm deter- 
mination to win in a field occupied only by itself. 


The Aplington News is a six-column quarto, four pages home 
print and has a good circulation throughout the county. The 
paper was founded in 1891, by one Keenan, who sold to J. M. 
George. Mr. George held down the editorial chair about three 
years and then gave way to F. M. Coggshall. About the year 1897, 
0. A. and Dick Voogd bought the paper and since 1901 O. A. 
Voogd has been sole proprietor and editor. The News is well 
edited and printed in a workmanlike manner. When first issued 
it was a seven-column folio; since 1909 it has been a six-column 
quarto, patent inside. 


The first issue of the New Hartford Review appeared June 22, 
1896. The editor and owner was E. W. Booton, who brought the 
plant from Monroe. In the latter part of 1901, the paper was 
sold to Hamilton Brothers, of Waterloo. The new firm was in 
possession about six months when the property was purchased by 
J. W. Hartinger. Six months later E. W. Booton assumed con- 
trol and remained in editorial charge until September, 1906. 


Frank Kaley purchased the Review iu the last mentioued year 
and has now practically a new plant, which tui-ns out a nicely 
printed and carefully edited newspaper. 


As far as data indicate, the Vidette was the first paper pub- 
lished at Dumont. After a short and precarious existence it col- 
lapsed in the year 19U5, and iu 1907, H. Z. Babcock founded the 
Journal. He issued a five-column quarto, patent inside. The 
next owner of the Journal was G. A. Griswold, who changed the 
size of the paper to a six-column quarto, four pages home i^rint. 
Succeeding owners were: Prank Gates and L. O. Brewer. The 
latter took possession May 15, 1910. 


The Times is published at Bristow and was established as the 
Enterprise, the plant of wliicli was Itrdiight fioni Readlyu, Bremer 
county, in 1903, by E. F. Ready. As the Enterprise the paper was 
issued for a time and its name was changed to the Butler County 
Times. In course of time S. L. Rherman had the paper, but unable 
to pay for it, he relinquished all control in favor of Mrs. E. P. 
Ready, who, in June, 1906, sold the property to the present owner, 
J. B. Williams. Mr. Williams is receiving gratifying patronage. 


The first newspaper published in Butler county, was the But- 
ler Transcript, established at Clarks\dlle in 1858 by Palmer & 
James, the senior member of the firm. Judge John Palmer, 
being a man of aifairs and a practicing attorney the while. The 
innovation was most too soon to be properly supjDorted b.v the 
few settlers in the community and this necessitated the suspension 
of the publication, in 1860, and removal of the material to Win- 
terset, the capital city of Madison comity. The Parkersbiirg 
Times was a venture into the local newspaper world, by W. L. 
Palmer in 1870, which had "rough sledding" from the start. Its 
downfall was inevitable, but this calamity ( ?) did not occur until 
several venturesome aspirants for the immortal shoes of Horace 
Greeley tried their hand at editorial work and collapsed. Tn 


1871, C. G. Bundy took over tlie property, and early in 1872, gave 
up in despair of success at Parkersburg. He moved the plant to 
Maud\dlle, a name given the Iowa Central Stock Farm, and before 
the expiration of the year 1873, the sheet faded from sight, never 
more to be seen of man. The New Hartford Bugle was only heard 
during part of the year 1873 and the Butler County Standard, 
established by J. B. Adams in 1876, at Greene, lived precariously 
about four years and was then moved to Rockford, Iowa. Bris- 
tow had a paper in 1878, known as the Bristow Dial. A Mr. Mor- 
gan was the founder. He sold to J. 0. Stewart. In 1880 the 
plant was taken to Sumner, in Bremer county. 



In matters of education, Butler county ranks as one of the 
most progressive coimties of the state. The school laws of Iowa 
have imdergone so many changes that it would be impossible here 
to go into details regarding the various foi-ms of government and 
organization wliich have characterized the educational history of 
Butler and the other counties of the state. Originally the schools 
of the county were organized upon the township district basis. 
The electors of each township met in annual meeting in March 
of each year to determine the amount of tax levy for school pur- 
poses, elect the members of the school board and transact such 
other business as might properly come before them. The district 
townships were divided into sub-districts of such number and size 
as seemed best to serve the interests of the people. A more or 
less detailed account of these district township organizations is 
given in connection with the separate history of the townships. 


Later provision was made by the State Legislature for the 
organization of rural independent districts. It was left to the 
discretion of the electors as to which of the forms of organization 
for the rural schools they should adopt. 


The two systems are markedly different and each possesses 
its advantages and disadvantages. Under the district township 
organization all of the sub-districts are a part of the whole and 
the business affairs of the entire district are managed by one 
board of directors made up of a sub-director elected from each 
district. No one sub-district may levy a tax for any purpose, 



either that of buiklmg a sehoolhouse or increasing the compensa- 
tion of its teachers, without the consent of the wliole townsliip. In 
some instances this form has operated to prevent progressive rural 
communities from doing for theii* school what they wish. However, 
in a business way, it is possible through the township organ- 
ization to manage affaii's much more expeditiously and economic- 
ally than is possible under the independent district organization. 
The trend of the times educationally appears to be toward this 
form of organization. In the last session of the Legislature, a bill 
making the township the sole unit of rural school organization 
was defeated by a small majority. It is not miprobable that some 
such action will eventually become a statutory provision in this 


In the independent district organization, each district man- 
ages its own affairs through a board of three directors wdio are 
chosen at the annual election in March. Each independent dis- 
trict is a corporate body, with the same powders within its limits as 
are exercised by the board of dii'ectors of the district township. 
At present five of the sixteen townships of Butler county are 
organized on the independent district basis. These are Fremont, 
Butler, Shell Rock, Ripley and West Point. 

The remaining eleven civil townships are organized as town- 
ship school districts. The boundaries of the school districts do 
not in every instance coincide with those of the civil township. 
The school township of Jackson, for example, has attached to it 
portions of Butler and Jefferson townships for school purposes. 


In addition to these two forms of rural school districts there 
exist in the county also ten town or village independent districts. 
This form of district may be organized under the law upon the 
written petition of any ten voters of a city, town or village of over 
one hundred residents, pro-vdded a majority of the electors resid- 
ing within the boimdaries of the district vote in favor of the 
proposition. It is not necessary that the village be actually incor- 
porated under the laws of the states in order to secure the benefits 
of this form of organization. Township and county lines need not 


be considered in forming such districts. The school affairs of 
these districts are in the hands of a board of five directors. 


An attempt was made by the last Legislature to abolish the 
office of treasurer of all school corporations and place the handling 
of school funds with the county- treasurer. This attempt was 
imsuccessful. Plowever, it was provided by law that the school 
treasurer must serve without compensation and that all monies 
belonging to school districts coming into his hands must be de- 
posited in an approved bank and draw interest. This enactment 
of the Legislature has proved somewhat unpopular and it is prob- 
able that it will be still further amended in the coming Legisla- 
ture. The proposal to place the handling of all the school funds 
of all the districts, both town and rural, in the hands of the county 
treasurer, while it has met with considerable opposition so far, 
would seem a very reasonable one. There is little question but 
that some such solution of the present unsatisfactory and unbusi- 
nesslike methods of handling these funds will eventually be made. 

Iowa has for a number of years had a compulsory school law 
upon its statute books. By the terms of this law the attendance 
of all children between the ages of seven and sixteen years is 
required for a minimum of twenty-four consecutive weeks in 
each school year. Children between the ages of fourteen and six- 
teen who are regularly employed ma}' be excused from compul- 
sory school attendance. The enforcement of this law is provided 
for by penalties, to be attached on the failure of school directors 
to enforce it, and by fines for each offense to be assessed against 
the parent or g\iardian of the child whose non-attendance is 

The purchase of library books by the rural districts is also 
made compulsory; not less than five cents for each person of 
school age in the district being required to be appropriated each 
year by each district for the purchase of library books. 

Another school law of general application and widespread 
influence is that of a recent Legislature, providing for free high 
school tuition for pupils of the rural districts. By the terms 
of this law, the pupils who have passed the eighth grade exam- 
inations, under the direction of the county superintendent, and 
have received a certificate of proficiency in the connnon branches, 


may be atlniitted to any approved liigli school iu tlie state that 
will receive them, and have their tuition paid by the districts 
of their residence. While this law has resulted iu some instances 
to a certain extent in a sort of double taxation, there is little or 
no question but that its results are wholly good. Sooner or later 
it is to be hoped that provision for liigli school education may be 
made by the rural districts themselves and that the boys and 
girls of the farmers of Butler and the other counties of Iowa may 
not have to leave their homes in order to secure an education that 
is their right and their desire. 


At the time of the organization of the coimty the laws of the 
state provided for the acbninistratiou of the school funds by 
an officer known as the school fund commissioner. As the title 
indicates, this officer had jurisdiction only over the school funds. 
He had no authority or connection with the administration of the 
schools, either in matters of discipline or instrviction. These 
school fimds were deri^'cd in addition to the sums raised by the 
tax levy in the various school districts from the sale of school 
lands (for which purpose section 16 -of each township was set 
aside by the state) and from all estates escheating to the state 
as a residt of the lack of heirs. The school fund commissioner 
had authority to loan the funds under liis control to private par- 
ties, on good security, at a reasonable rate of interest. As a mat- 
ter of fact, the records show that in an early day most of the 
money that was borrowed on fann mortgages came from these 

James Griffith, of Coldwater township, was the tirst school 
fund commissioner in Butler coimty. He was elected in the fall 
of 1854. His administration of the funds was eminently con- 
servative and efficient. The first mortgage loan recorded on the 
books of the county was made by him. This indenture was made 
on the 8th of January, 1855, between Robert T. Crowell and 
Lucretia Crowell, his wife, and James Griffith, school fund com- 
missioner. In consideration of $298.14, a mortgage on the south- 
east quarter of the northeast quarter, and the northeast quarter 
of the southeast quarter of section 18, 92-15, was given as the 
security for the loan. This mortgage was released on the 22nd 
day of April, 1857. 


On the same day and date a similar indenture records the 
mortgage of the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of 
section 36, and the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter 
of section 25, in township 93, range 16, for a loan of $300, made 
by James Griffith to William and Susan Gough. The interest 
rate named in these instruments is ten per cent per annum. 

James Griffith was succeeded as school fund commissioner 
by John H. Morton in 1856. Before the expiration of Mr. Mor- 
ton's term, the duties connected with this office were by law 
placed in the hands of the county judge, and the office of school 
fund commissioner abolished. Under this law the county court 
had supervision of the school funds and so continued until the 
adoption of the system of coiinty government by a board of super- 
visors in whose hands the disposition and management of the 
school funds have remained to the present time. 


The funds set aside for the maintenance of normal institutes 
for the instruction of teachers were later placed under the super- 
vision of the county superintendent of schools. This office of 
county superintendent of schools was created by an act of the 
Legislature in 1858. D. W. Mason was the first incumbent of 
this office, elected in the spring of 1858. A complete list of the 
county superintendents is given at the close of this chapter. 

Butler county has been peculiarly fortunate in the character 
of the men and women who have so ably filled this office, a number 
of them haA'ing, subsequent to their occupation of this office, filled 
positions of responsibility and importance elsewhere. 

Ida F. Leydig, who was elected to this office in the election of 
1900, was the first woman to be elected to this office by the voters 
of Butler county. 

From the creation of the office imtil 1914, the election of county 
superintendents was made in the same manner as the other offices 
were filled. N'ominations for the office were made by the political 
parties in conventions or later by the primary system. In some 
places this resulted in making the office of county superintend- 
ent a mere political plaything, and at times unworthy and incom- 
petent persons were, as a result of the exigencies of j^olitics, chosen 
to this position. This, however, was never true in Butler county. 
Although in form a political office, practically it was non-partisan. 


The Tliirty-tiftli General Assembly changed entirely the man- 
ner of choice of the county superintendent, providing for the 
election of this officer by a convention consisting of the presidents 
of the district townships and town independent districts, and one 
representative of each township divided into rural independent 
districts. This law went into effect July 1, 1913. The first regu- 
lar meeting of this convention was provided for April, 1915. 
However, the resignation of Irving H..Hart, in February, 1914, 
led to the calling of this convention in special session, at which 
time the present incumbent of the office, Mr. Benjamin Board- 
man, was chosen. 


Normal institutes, to be held annually by the county super- 
intendents of each county in Iowa, were provided for by act of 
the General Assembly in 1873. The object of these institutes 
was at first in part to provide an opportunity for review in the 
branches required for examination for certificates, and in part 
to present to the teachers of the county such improved methods 
of teaching and opportunities for self-improvement as would 
serve to make them more efficient teachers. The expenses inci- 
dent to holding these institutes were to be provided from what 
was known as the institute fund, consisting of an appropriation 
of $50 fi'om the state, the $1.00 examination fee paid by each 
candidate for a teacher's certificate, and the enrollment fee of 
$1.00 paid by each member of the institute. This fund was under 
the exclusive control of the county superintendent, subject to the 
supervision of the state superintendent of public instruction. 

In 1906, a law providing for uniform coimty certificates in 
the State of Iowa was passed by the Legislature and thereafter 
the matter of certification of teachers was taken out of the hands 
of the county superintendents and placed with a board known 
as the board of educational examiners. The examination fee 
was from this date divided equally between the state and the 
county. A provision was also made for the payment of a regis- 
tration fee to validate the imiform county certificates as licenses 
to teach in a particular coTmty. These re.gistration foes were also 
paid into the institute fund. At a subsequent legislative session, 
the institute enrollment fee was abolished, thus materially reduc- 
ing the eountv institute fimds. 


Among the many school laws passed by the Thirty-fifth Gen- 
eral Assembly was one which decidedly changed the system of 
maintenance and control of the normal institute. Beginning July 
1, 1914, normal institutes are to be held when schools are gener- 
aUy in session. The registration fee for certificates is to be 
abolished and the institute fund recompensed for the loss by an 
appropriation of not less than one hundred and fifty dollars from 
the general coimty fund. Attendance at these institutes is made 
practically compulsory. The teachers in actual service are to 
receive full pay while in attendance. Absence is to be excused 
only for physical disability or other valid reasons. The success 
of this plan is as yet a matter to be determined by experience. 

The first institute held in Butler county was in August, 1874, 
imder the superintendency of John W. Stewart. These early 
institutes were usually held either at Shell Rock or Clarksville. 
Since the removal of the county seat to Allison, practically all 
of the institutes have been held here vsdth possibly three excep- 
tions, when Clarksville was the location of the institute. The last 
of these occasions was during the summer of 1912, when the con- 
struction of a new school building at Allison left the town with- 
out a satisfactory place for holding the institute. 


From the last annual report of the county superintendent the 
following items are taken : 

Number of town and village districts 10 

Number of school townships 11 

Number of rural independent districts. . . 39 

Number of sub-districts 96 

Number of teachers employed 296 

Average number of months taught 87 

Average compensation per month — males. .$ 67.46 
Average compensation per month — females $ 47.80 
Niimber of persons of school age — males. . 2,662 
Number of persons of school age — females. 2,570 

Total enrollment 4,506 

Average daily attendance 3,263 

Average cost of tuition per pnpil $ 2.83 

Number of schoolhouses 148 

Total valuation of schoolhouses $195,690.00 

Tol. 1— » 


Total amount paid teacliers — males.... $ llj-iSS.iS 
Total amount paid teachers — females . . $ 70,413.42 


A number of years ago the Iowa Legislature authorized the 
electors of the coimties to adopt uniform series of text-books for 
use in the rural schools. Butler county was among the first of 
the Iowa counties to adopt this system, which it has adhered to 
ever since. The adoptions occur at intervals of five years, the 
last one having been made in January, 1911. This system has a 
distinct advantage for the patrons and taxpayers, inasmuch as it 
provides for securing the text-books used, at a special price, and 
makes it possible for children to pass from one school to another 
in rurals districts vsdthout the necessity of a change of texts. 


There are ten graded schools in Butler county, four of which 
maintain accredited four-year high schools. These are Clarks- 
vllle, Greene, Parkersburg and Shell Rock. The Shell Rock high 
school in addition has been designated as a normal training high 
school under the law passed by the Thirty-fourth General Assem- 
bly. Four-year courses apjiroved by the department of public 
instruction are also maintained in the Allison and Aplingtou 
high schools. Dimiont has a three-year high school course, 
approved in like manner. New Hartford and Bristow also main- 
tain three-year high-school courses. Kesley maintains a graded 
school, with two teachers. They have no high scIk m )1 department. 


Among the prominent educators who have been at one time 
and another identified with the schools of Butler county, may be 
mentioned E. C. Bellows, who served as county superintendent 
from 1885 to 1889. Mr. Bellows later removed to the Pacific 
coast and was appointed consul general of the United States in 

George H. Betts served as principal of schools in the towns 
of Bristow, Clarksville and Allison. Later he entered Cornell 
College at Mount Yernon, Towa. and after his .graduation from 


this institution, was given a position on its faculty. He is now 
head of the department of education of his alma mater and is 
widely and favorably known as an author of educational works. 
His book, "The Mind and Its Education," is a standard text in 
elementary psychology. Professor Betts occupies a foremost 
place among the educational thinkers and writers of the present 
day. He is a native of Butler county, having been born and 
raised in Shell Rock township. 

W. F. Barr, dean of the College of Liberal Arts of Drake Uni- 
versity, at Des Moines, is a former superintendent of schools in 
Greene and Parkersburg. No man in educational circles in Iowa 
is more widely and favorably known than Professor Barr. But- 
ler county is proud to recall his connection with her educational 

Prank E. Howard, former county superintendent of schools, 
is at present at the head of the department of education in the 
Idaho State Normal, at Albion. 

Professor C. L. Pullerton of the department of music in the 
State Teachers College at Cedar Falls is another former super- 
intendent of schools in Parkersburg whose present prominence 
in the educational world reflects credit upon his connection with 
Butler county. 

These are but a few of the more prominent men in an edu- 
cational way who have been connected with the schools of Butler 
county. Space would not allow us to mention the large number- 
of prominent men and women who have gone out from Butler- 
county's rural schools to positions of leadership and efficiency,, 
both in the educational world and in other avenues of life. 

Butler county has reason to be proud of the record made by 
her sons and daughters and of the efficient work which has been 
done by the schools of the county in training and educating these' 
boys and girls to become men and women of power and ability. 
However, progress is the law of life, and while present conditions 
in no way justify an unduly critical attitude toward school con- 
ditions in the county, yet a careful and comparative study of the 
schools and the other activities of the county justify one in ex- 
pressing a doubt as to whether in all instances the schools have 
kept pace with progress in other lines. With all just pride in the 
records of the past, the people of Butler county should look for- 
ward with full faith to a future of magnificent achievement for 


her schools, keeping ever in miud as their motto the slogan "Bet- 
ter Schools for Butler County." 


1854, James Griffith; 1856, John H. Morton. 


In the year 1858 the office of school fund commissioner was 
abolished and that of county superintendent of schools was cre- 
ated. The names of the incumbents of the office just named ap- 
pear below: 

1858, D. W. Mason; 1859, 1. R. Dean, resigned, M. D. L. Niece 
(to fiU vacancy) ; 1861, R. Merrill; 1865, W. H. Gue; 1867, W. A. 
Lathrop; 1871, J. W. Stewart; 1881, John D. Anderson; 1885, E. 
C. Bellows; 1889, George F. Wood; 1893, Frank E. Howard; 1897, 
H. B. Aikin; 1901, Ida F. Leydig; 1907, Mary A. Paint; 1913, Irv- 
ing H. Hart, resigned; 1914, BenjaminBoardman (to fill vacancy). 



The following quotation from a former historian of Butler 
county gives in a very satisfactory manner the summary of the 
agricultural conditions up to that time : 


"Butler county is acknowledged as being among the best and 
most prosperous agricultural counties in Iowa. Its people are 
awake and keep step with the progressive march of the times in 
all that pertains to a civilization of happiness, industry and cul- 
ture. Its future possibilities may be set high among the cluster 
of its hundred sisters, a star of pride to the noble state. The early 
pioneers did not come loaded with wealth, and in fact few had 
more than enough to barely get settled upon their lands, but they 
came with that which in those days was equal to it — training in 
agricultural pursuits, brawny hands that were able and not 
ashamed to do hard work, and in connection with industrious 
habits, the energy and determination to win success. The coun- 
try was new, and there was no alternative but that success must 
be wrought from the soil, which was their only wealth and their 
only hope. And, in spite of all the obstacles and inconveniences 
to be encoimtered, success has attended their efforts, and the 
transformation from the primitive to the present comfortable con- 
dition of things was accomplished. Nor is the end yet reached, 
but the county still has a mine of agricultural wealth yet undevel- 
oped, which, as years roll on, will grow more and more valuable, 
and when years of cultivated maturity shall dawn to transform 
the yet imsubdued prairie to waving fields of growing grain, But- 
ler county will occupy a place among the foremost ranks of Iowa 's 
banner counties. 



•'Early in the development of this country, wheat was the 
main product, and for a niunber of years excellent crops were 
raised with scarcely a failure. At the present time it has partially 
given up its former place to other cereals, while the farmers find 
many other avenues in which to devote their time and energies. 
The general theory, or it might be more properly said, it is known 
in a general way, that the wheat belt has been traveling westward 
ever since it was first started at Plymouth, Massachusetts, when 
the Pilgrim fathers landed there over twolumdred and sixty years 
ago. At first it moved on its westward march, not in a very rapid 
way, until fifty years ago the valley of the Genesee, in New York, 
was the great wheat raising region. But when Michigan, Illinois 
and Iowa were opened up for cultivation, the wheat-growing cen- 
ter began its kangaroo jumps toward the setting smi, and Iowa 
was for years its resting place, but how long it will be before its 
now^ receding line will pass clear beyond the confines of Iowa and 
land in Dakota and Nebraska, time alone can determine. The 
gradual increase in stock-raising has placed corn in the front rank 
at present. Flax of late years has been raised quite extensively. 
Rye, barley and all the cereals common to this latitude do well, and 
vegetables and small fruits grow abundantly where well culti- 
vated. It was formerly taught that apples could not be success- 
fully raised here, but the county now has many fine and thrifty 
orchards which have proven the matter quite to the contrary and 
have punctured this fallacy. About one-half of the area of the 
county is under a good state of cultivation." 

The quotation above is interesting for the purposes of com- 
parison, and in connection with the comparative statistics given 
below will furnish striking evidence of the progress of Biitler 
count}^ in an agricultural way in the years that have lapsed since 
the publication of the work from which this quotation was taken. 

iowa's primacy in agriculture 

Iowa easily holds a foremost place among the agi'icultural 
states. Statistics of its soil products and the live-stock industry 
justify this claim and a careful study of climatic records and the 
vast resources of soil fertility will reveal the cause of this primacy 
in agriculture. Its location within the greatest corn producing 
area in this country, or in the world, is especially favorable. In 
fact it may be claimed without exaggeration that Iowa consti- 


tutes tlie most productive section of the famous corn belt area and 
the statistical records will sustain this claim. The distinctive 
feature of the state is the fact that about 95 per cent of its area 
may be made to ])roduce something of value. 

In crop production the prime factors are the fertility of soil 
and a congenial climate, and the latter is the chief feature. There 
are millions of acres in this country comparatively worthless, 
although containing abundant supplies of fertility, the one thing 
lacking being a favorable climate. The lack of moisture in the 
gi-owing season or the prevalence of low temperature or frequent 
occurrences of frosts render the possession of the most fertile 
soil of little or no use. 


Situated near the geographical center of the United States, 
too far inland to be affected by the ocean winds, the climate of 
Iowa is strictly continental in type. This naturally involves a 
wide range of temperature, winters of considerable severity and 
summers of almost tropical heat and a larger percentage of sun- 
shine than may be found in regions nearer the coast. What is 
true of Iowa as a whole is true of Butler county in partioidar, 
there being comparatively little variation in clmiatic and soil 
conditions and productivity in the various sections of the state. 
Howevei-, the absence of great variations in altitude, the gen- 
erally level character of the country in Butler county, the fa(?t 
that its river valleys have in the process of the ages reached a 
stage which is known as that of maturity, that its swamp lands 
which doubtless formerly existed in vast areas have been drained 
largely by natural causes, although in part by the agency of man 
in recent years, all have resulted in reducing the amount of waste 
land in Butler county to a minimum, and entitle it to a place in 
possibility as a leader in crop production in the State of Iowa. 


There has never been a permanent meteorological station in 
Butlei^ county. However, for about fifteen years, beginning with 
1<S97. a station was maintained at Greene, under the control of 
J. Ij. Cole, who made regular annual reports to the Iowa Weather 
and Crop Service Bureau. A summary of these reports indicates 


a total average annual precipitation of about 29 inches of rain- 
fall. This is very close to the average for the north central dis- 
trict. The mean annual temperature for the same period is about 
47 degrees above zero. The highest recorded temperature is 111 
degrees above zero, and the lowest, 29 degrees below. From an 
agricultural point of view the most important feature of the 
climate of Iowa and Butler county is the fact that its maximum 
rainfall comes in the crop season from April to 8epteml)er. inclu- 
sive. The monthly averages of precipitation show that the aver- 
age winter precipitation is less than 2 inches. In the four most 
critical crop months, from the 1st of Ma}^ to the 1st of Septem- 
ber, more than 50 per cent of the bidk of the precipitation is 
received. In the balance of the year the climate is relatively dry. 

Naturally there are great variations in the amount of rain- 
fall from year to year but an actual stud}^ of the statistics will 
prove that there is no just basis for the claim that great changes 
are taking place in the amount of rainfall. In Butler county this 
variation ranges from about 9 inches in the four crop-growing 
months to 29 inches as a maximum, the average being in the neigh- 
borhood of 15 inches. 

Killing frosts rarely occur at so late a date in the spring as 
to be destructive to crops. Occasionally the earliest killing frost 
in autumn, as the farmers say, "catches" the late corn, but this 
is not frequent. 


Corn is the chief product of Butler county farmers, the total 
number of bushels raised in 191o being 3,744,000. The average 
yield per acre in this yeai' was 36 bushels. The state average was 
34.9 bushels. Of the ninety-nine counties in Iowa, Butler ranked 
forty-first in the total niunber of bushels produced, and forty- 
seventh in the average yield per acre. Iowa leads the world in 
corn production, not because it grows more bushels per acre but 
because it possesses the largest area of fann land adapted to the 
production of this great cereal. 

The hay crop which ranks second in the state is relatively less 
important in Bi;tler county, if we are to leave out the considera- 
tion of the acreage of farm lands devoted to pasturage. The pro- 
duction of hay in the county in 1913 was 40,500 tons of tame hay 
and 14,700 tons of wild hav. 


The oat crop fills a very important place in the agriculture of 
the county, the total production in 1913 having been 2,465,000 
bushels, an average of 29 bushels per acre. In the total produc- 
tion Iowa ranks eighteenth among the counties of the state but in 
the average production per acre it ranks ninetieth. Evidently too 
many Butler county farmers consider the oat crop as merely a 
convenient means of resting the land between the years when 
they can raise corn thereon. The state average for 1913 in the 
bushels of oats per acre was 34.2. 


The agricultural statistics show that in 1860 there were 379 
farms in Butler county. This number increased steadily to 1905, 
when there were 2,209. In 1912 the number had decreased to 
1,976. Since 1880 the number of acres in farms in Butler county 
has increased from 290,728 to 334,769. 

The following taken from the crop and farm statistics for 1912 
indicate accurately the present productiveness of Butler county 
soil : Total number of farms, 1,976 ; total acreage in farms, 334,769. 

Total Acreage Total Yield 

Corn 105,458 Bushels 4,915,284 

Oats 83,339 " 3,060,996 

Spring wheat 601 " 10,398 

Winter Wheat 881 " 14,969 

Barley 1,532 " 41,495 

Rye 3,095 " 57,089 

Tame hay 22,457 Tons 25,385 

Wild hav 11,042 " 11,842 

Alfalfa ' 14 " 28 

Potatoes l-,483 Bushels 149,945 

In pasture 90,404 Ap]iles total }aeld 7,303 bushels 

In orchards 499i/j 

Total number silos .... 81 


Total number horses, 15,015 ; mules. 271 ; hogs, 88,987 ; cattle, 
44.368; sheep, 1,693; poimds of wool clipped, 21,043; poiiltry, 
383,319; total dozen eggs, 1,108,343, est. 




The first definite agricultural association in tlie county was 
laiown as the Butler County Agricultural Society which held its 
first meeting at Butler Center, on March 15, 1866. Previous to 
this date, the society had existed under a system of annual mem- 
berships. Fairs had been held at different points in the county 
for a number of years previous but under this system the grounds 
were but temporarily fitted up, the interest of the members but 
temporary and there could be no permanent basis for success. 

There is some question as to where the first fair in Butler 
county was held. An early historian says: "The first fair held 
in Butler county was held at Willoughby village about 1856 or 
1857. It was a small affair but a good time was had. The village 
at which the fair was held has long since been counted a thing 
of the past." Thomas Hunt, of Clarksville, at the date of the 
present wi'iting perhaps the oldest citizen of the county both in 
years and in point of residence, says: "To the best of my knowl- 
edge the first fair in Butler county was held at Clarksville in 
1856. Another fair was held here in 1857. Thereafter fairs were 
held at Butler Center, Willoughby, New Hartford and Shell 
Rock, approximately in this order. Later the fairs came to be 
held regularly at Shell Rock." Martin Bailey, the first secre- 
tary of the permanent organization says in his report to the 
Auditor of State in 1866: "Fairs have been held at different 
times in the county for the last seven years, no one place having 
it for two successive years." 

At the meeting at Butler Center referred to above, plans for 
organization on a more permanent basis were discussed and 
it was finally decided to appoint a committee to secure as many 
as fifty life members, who would agree to subscribe the sum of 
$]0 to the association. This committee consisted of James W. 
Davis, Martin Bailey, J. H. Hale and John Palmer. This com- 
mittee also was to prepare articles of incorporation. 

On the 2nd of Jime another meeting was held at the court- 
house in Butler Center, at which time it was rejiorted that fifty 
subscribers for life membership had been secured. Articles of 
incorporation were reported and adopted. The names of the 
incorporators were as follows: A. Converse, M. Hollenbeck, J. 


il. Hale, James Collar, W, A. Latlirop, E. Landpliier, J. A. Wood, 
B. Leavens, M. Bailey, S. Rice, J. G. Scoby, J. Bishop, E. W. 
Metzger, J. H. Carter, E. Town, P. Leavens, J. Palmer, J. P. 
Wright, R. R. Parriott, C. B. Simons, W. Adair and O. S. New- 

The name chosen for the association was the Butler County 
Agricultural and Horticultural Society. The location of fairs 
to be held by the society was fixed at Shell Rock. Tlie incorpora- 
tion was for a period of twenty years. According to the 
terms and articles of incorporation, the business and object of 
"the society was to hold fairs and offer suitable premiums for 
the encouragement of agricultural, horticultural and mechanical 
pursuits, and the improvements of the stock and productions of 
the county. 

Thirteen directors were provided for the first board con- 
sisting of the following named persons: A. Converse, R. R. 
Parriott, J. P. Wright, John Hiekle, J. H. Hale, M. Ilollenbeck, 
James Collar, C. B. Simons, James Wood, Charles Ensign, M. 
Bailey, B. Leavens and J. H. Carter. These articles of incorpora- 
tion were filed for record June 2, 1866. 

The first officers chosen were: James Collar, president; C. B. 
Simons, vice president; S. Rice, treasurer; and M. Bailey, secre- 
tary. Ln consideration of publishing done for the society William 
M. Palmer, editor of The Stiletto, was elected to membership in 
the association. At this first meeting of the permanent organiza- 
tion thirty-foiu' members paid $10 each to the association. The 
dates of the fair were fixed for Oct. 2 and 3, 1866. 

During this year a committee of the board of directors pre- 
pared and adopted a set of by-laws to govern the society and pur- 
chased a site for the fair grounds of James W. McCague for the 
sum of $200. This site stood west of the present town of Shell 

The sum of $600 was appropriated for fencing the fair grounds. 

At the close of this first year the secretary, Martin Bailey, 
made a report to the Secretary of State, from which we quote 
the following: "The premium list was published in our county 
paper. The Stiletto on August 2d. The fair, held on October 2d 
and 3d, was a decided success. The list of horses entered was ex- 
tensive and embraced several excellent stallions of different 
breeds from the ponderous Samson to the stylish Black Hawk. 
There were several fine thoroughbred Durham cattle, a few very 


good sheep and several choice blooded swine upon exhil)iti(in. 
The display of farm products was not very extensive, Init grass 
seed, wheat, oats, etc., Avere represented. Garden vegetables 
were fine and there were two entries of apples that weve credit- 

The report of the treasurer on this first year is as follows: 
"Receipts: Fimds of the old society, $50; membership, $460; 
entrance fees, $91.55; gate fees, $215j total, $816.55. Disburse- 
ments: Fences and buildings, $522.50;' printing and stationery, 
$58.75 ; expenses of fair, $54.35 ; total, $635.55 ; balance, $181. In- 
debtedness: Premiums, $191.50; Due on grounds, $200, showing 
an excess of indebtedness over the balance on hand of $210. 

In the annual meeting in Juno, 1867, the premiums awarded in 
1866 were ordered paid in full. The receipts of the fair held in 
1868 were not sufficient to pay the i^remiums, expenses and other 
indebtedness, the Aveather having been extremely unfavorable. 
A tax of $2 was therefore levied upon each life mem])er at a special 
meeting held on September 24th. 

The Clarksville baiid was hired for the fair in 1870. 

At a special meeting lield Jan. 28, 1871, the question of sell- 
ing a right of way through the fair grounds to the Burlington, 
Cedar Rapids & Minnesota railway was discussed. It was agreed 
to adjourn to meet later to decide this question. At a meeting 
held the last of April this railroad was given the right of way 
through the groimds. Inasmuch as this would result in rendering 
the grounds unfit for use for fair purposes an arrangement was 
made with Sylvester Rice to lease a tract of land belonging to hun 
and lying immediately south of the former site for the purpose of 
holding the succeeding fairs. Mr. Rice gave this lease free of 
charge on condition that he be allowed to pasture^ the lands at 
times when the fair was not being held. 

At the regular annual meeting in 1871 the old fair grounds 
site was sold to Sylvester Rice outright and twenty acres south 
of the former site were leased from ]iin\ for twenty years. 

As early as 1867 a substantial premium was offered 1)y the 
society for the best artificial grove planted and cultivated under 
conditions set foi'th in the premium list. In 1872 a committee of 
the board of directors was appointed to investigate the condition 
of groves planted in accordance with the requirements. There is, 
however, no record of a report by this committee until the annual 
meeting of 1874, at which time on recommendation of a committee 


the premium for the best artificial grove planted and cultivated 
under the premiiun ofiev of 1867 was awarded to Amos Ressler, 
of Shell Rock township. The grove for which this premium was 
awarded consisted largely of soft maple, with some black ash and 
white elm trees. The trees were said to average twelve feet in 
height and to be in excellent condition. There are records also 
of premimn awards for the best acre of wheat, the best acre of 
oats and the best half acre of potatoes, showing clearly that the 
society was endeavoring to the best of its ability to carry out the 
aim and object of its organization — improvement of farm crops 
and production in Butler county. 

At the annual meeting in 1877 the president reported that the 
grounds had been removed without expense, to a new site north- 
east of Shell Rock, on what was known as the WilKams place. 
This is the location of the present race track southeast of the 
Great Western depot. 

The original term of incorporation for twenty years expii'ed 
in 1886. In preparation for reorganization, a meeting was called 
in August, 1885, at which general plans for reorganization were 
discussed. On Oct. 17, 1885, it was voted to renew the articles of 
incorporation for twenty years and new articles of incorporation 
were adopted. 

The question of reorganization, however, was not yet settled. 
The location of Shell Rock at the extreme eastern side of the 
coimty was unsatisfactory to a large majority of the people of 
the county. So much dissatisfaction with the location had been 
expressed that even the people of Shell Rock reached a point 
where they were willing to consider a relocation of the site of the 
annual eount}^ fair. In the meantime, as will be noticed later, an 
agricultural organization had been formed at Clarksville which 
had been holding annual fairs for a number of years. 

The question of reorganization and relocation was discussed at 
a number of adjourned meetings in the early part of 1886. Fin- 
ally at a meeting held in Shell Rock in May, J. R. Jones, Jeremiah 
Perrin and Cyrus Doty, representing the Clarksville Agricultural 
Association, appeared and pi'oposed to consolidate the two socie- 
ties and to provide for annual fairs to be held in alternate years 
at Clarksville and Shell Rock. This proposition was first voted 
upon at a meeting in August, 1886, with the result that thirty- 
four votes were cast in the affirmative and thirty-two in the 
negative. Inasmuch, however, as this consolidation involved an 


amendment to the constitution and required a two-third vote of 
the members present, it was declared lost. 

At a meeting held in October, the proposition of the Clarksville 
Society was agam presented and again lost on the lack of a two- 
third vote, the vote this time being forty-one for to twenty-six 
against. At the same meeting the proposition to secure the 
removal of the fair to Allison was presented and was defeated for 
the same reason by a vote of twentj^-one to seventeen, the Clarks- 
ville members of the association not voting. 

It became evident, however, that it would be impossible to con- 
tinue the location of the fail's at Shell Rock and it was equally 
evident that the Clarksville location would not be any more satis- 
factory to the majority of the members. As a result, on the 30th of 
October, 1886, at a meeting of the stockholders, article 1 of the 
constitution was amended by substituting the name "Allison" for 
"Shell Rock" as the place of holding the fairs, the vote being sixty- 
five to nine — a decisive majority. It was voted to tear down the 
buildings on the Shell Rock fair grounds and pile the lumber pre- 
paratory to moving it to Allison. 

A committee consisting of Jeremiah Perriu, S. Rice, R. Stanley, 
L. J. Rogers, I. M. Fisher. G. M. Craig, J. W. Wright, James Collar, 
S. M. Baldwin. S. B. Dumoiit and N. 0. Olmstead was appointed 
to secure a new location near Allison. This conmiittee secm'ed 
twenty-three acres of ground, partly within and partly out of the 
corporate limits of the town of Allis(in. the land being purchased 
from H. L. Stout and the Allison Town Company, for a considera- 
tion of something over one thousand dollars. 

The annual meeting of 1887 was held in the court room at 
Allison. At that time the by-laws were amended so as to have one 
director from each township and the date of the annual meeting 
changed fi'om the first Saturday in June to the first Wednesday 
after the first Monday in January. The first board of directors 
representing the sixteen townships was: N. H. Larkin, Fremont? 
Levi Baker, Dayton; Samuel McRoberts, Coldwater; M. Wilson, 
Bennezette; W." R. Nichols, Pittsford; J. H. Neal, West Point; 
Cyrus Doty, Jackson; J. Perrin, Butler; G. W. Adair, Shell Rock; 
S. M. Baldwin. Jefferson; F. A. Randolph, Ripley ; W. Watson, Sr,, 
Madison; J. J. Burnhani, Washington; Joseph Linn, Monroe; 
James Collar, Beaver. 

The first fair at Allison was held in the fall of 1887, by which 
time a half mile track had been laid out and graded and a covered 


amphitheatre and floral hall completed, and barns for the accom- 
modation of horses and cattle constructed from the material hauled 
from the old site at Shell Rock. Senator William B. Allison was 
present on the dedication of the new grounds and delivered an 

In 1895 the system of electing one director from each township 
in the coimty was abandoned and thereafter seven directors were 
chosen. As a rule these have been chosen, two from each super- 
visor district in the county and one elector at large. Before this 
date several of the townships had ceased to have reiDresentatives 
upon the board of directors, especially Fremont township, which is 
territoriallj^ contiguous to Nashua, where the Big Four fair is 
annually held; and Washington township, which is nearer to the 
Hardin county fair. 

In June, 1895, a special meeting for the board of directors Avas 
held to arrange for repairing buildings on the fair grounds, which 
had been wrecked by a wind storm. It was found necessary to 
reconstruct the stalls, the amphitheatre and the floral hall, and 
an assessment v;pon the stockholders was made to cover the cost 
of repairs. 

The changing character of the fair begins to be shown from 
the records as early as 1896. At that titne apparently it had ceased 
to be so largely agricultural and horticultural as it was an amuse- 
ment proposition. At the annual meeting in 1896 provision was 
made for bicycle races, football games and a balloon ascension. 
The total amomit appropriated for amusements at that time, 
however, did not exceed $200. The comparison with the amount 
paid for amusement purposes in recent fairs is a striking one. In 
1899 the amount appropriated for amusements was $250. In 1900 
an appropriation was made for building a hog house on the fair 
grounds. In 1901 the weather was so unfavorable the fair was held 
for only one day. In 1902 so rapidly had the character of the fair 
changed that Ave find record to the effect that the committee on 
amusements was to be limited to the expenditure of $1,000. 

The second period of incorporation having expired in 1906, the 
articles were revised and the corporation renewed for another 
twenty-year period. Important changes in the articles were made 
at that time. 

In 1907 the date of the annual meeting was changed to the 
second Saturday in October. In July, 1907, at a special meeting 
of the organization it was announced that the board of super- 


visors of Butler comity liad iii aecordauee with the provision of 
section 1660 in the code of 1897, appropriated the sum of $1,000 
for the use of the society. This appropriation was exjieuded and 
the money used for building a new stock pavilion, the construc- 
tion of which was awarded to F. F. Jimkins. The final cost of this 
building was $1,310. At the same time provision was made for the 
construction of a new tight board fence along the main road on 
the west side of the fair grounds and for the sale of advertising 
space thereon. ' • 

The progress of the times is indicated by the fact that in the 
fail" of 1907, provision was made for automobile races. At the 
fair this year. Gov. Albert B. Cuimnins was present and addressed 
the people. In 1910 provision was made for holding a corn- 
growing and corn- judging contest for the boys and girls of But- 
ler county. Great interest was aroused in this contest in this and 
the succeeding year, large prizes being offered and a number of 
contestants competing. Sen. Jonathan P. Dolliver was present 
at the fair in 1911, only a few months before his death. 

The fair has now maintained a continuous existence as a cor- 
poration for nearly a half century. Its maintenance has always 
been at the cost of a continued struggle. Mention has been 
made of the changing character of the fair in more recent years. 
While this is somewhat perhaps to be regretted, it is api^arently 
unavoidable that the chief features of the fair should be of the 
amusement nature; yet it is difficult for a fair located near a 
small town to compete as an amusement proposition with the 
larger fairs and parks of nearby cities. Means of transporta- 
tion in these days when automobiles are so generally owned are 
so well adajDted for covering long distances that the directors of 
the Butler County Fair Association are confronted by an eternal 
problem of securing the attendance, upon which the siiccess of 
the fair in a financial way must always depend. 

A list of the presidents and secretaries of the association from 
the beginning to the present time follows : 

Presidents— James Collar, 1866-7.3 ; M. Bailey, 1873-75 ; Rich- 
ard Hughes, 1875-78 ; James Collar, 1878-80 ; J. H. Carter. 1881- 
85; M. Bailey, 1885-86; J. H. Carter, 1886-93; A. O. Strout, 
1893-94; J. H. Carter, 1894-95; G. M. Craig. 1895-97; H. C. 
Brown, 1897-1901; K. S. Green, 1901-02; A. F. Yarcho, 1902-04; 
John Coster, 1904-12; Frank Fishel, 1912-13; John Coster, 1913 
to date. 


Secretaries— M. Bailey, 1866-70 ; J. W. Davis, 1870-71 ; O. W 
Mcintosh, 1871-72; J. O. Stewart, 1872-75; J. W. Davis, 1875-76 
M. Bailey, 1877-79; R. Hughes, 1879-85; E. Wilson, 1885-86; W 
J. Hunt, 1886-87; G. M. Craig, 1887-88; C. W. Levis, 1888-90 
H. F. Wnd, 1890-91; R. Gonzales, 1891-92; H. F. Wild, 1892-93; 
S. E. Burroughs, 1893-96; G. Hazlet, 1896-97; L. J. Rogers, 1897- 
1901; R. Gonzales, 1901-02; Garfield Merner, 1902-03, resigned, 
S. E. Burroaighs appointed; H. ¥. Wild, 1903-04, resigned, Paul 
R. Burroughs appointed; J. W. Ray, 1904-05; L. J. Rogers, 
1905-06 ; J. V. Gregory, 1906-07 ; M. B. Speedy, 1907-08 ; N. W. 
Scovel, 1908; W. C. Shepard, 1908-12; 0. F. Missman, 1912-13; 
W. C. Shepard, 1913. 


The Clarksville Agricultural Association was organized in 
1875, and during the same year the fair grounds were purchased 
of John Hicks and others, containing twenty-five acres. The 
incorporators were as follows: E. A. Glenn, G. R. Peet, Ike E. 
Lucas, L. Bartlett, George Barber, S. McRoberts, Jr., David 
Crosby, Benjamin Crosby, J. R. Fletcher and J. 0. Stewart. 
The first officers were : Samuel McRoberts, Sr., president ; Ike 
E. Lucas, secretary; Cyrus Doty, treasurer; J. R. Jones, James 
R. Fletcher, E. A. Glenn, Lorenzo Bartlett and George R. Peet, 

The first fair was held in October, 1876, and proved a splendid 

This association continued to hold annual fairs for some years 
on its fair grounds situated just west of the Rock Island tracks. 
Later the annual fairs were abandoned for some time. Of recent 
years an annual summer fiesta has been held on the association 
groimds with considerable degree of success. 


The Butler County Farmers Institute was first organized 
about fifteen years ago and has held annual meetings since that 
time at different places in the county. The first officers of the 
Farmers Institute were George Adair, Shell Rock, president ; John 
Ressler. Shell Rock, secretary. The institutes have resulted in 
great benefit to the farmers and townspeople in Butler county. 



The movement is one of increasing tuiportance and is securing 
the substantial support of the more progressive citizens of the 


At the Iowa State Fair in 1913, Mrs. Fannie Klinck, of Clarks- 
ville, was awarded first premium for exhibit from a farm of forty 
acres or less. This farm, known as the Oak Glen Farm, is sit- 
uated about two and a half miles north of Clarksville. A photo- 
graph of this exhibit is given in connection with this article. 


'■' ^ ' Number 
' of 


Fremont 23,451 

Dayton 23,100 

Coldwater 22,460 

Bennezette 22,204 

Pittsford 21,904 

West Point 21,788 

Jackson 22,232 

Butler 22,624 

Shell Rock 22,140 

Jefferson 23,019 

Ripley 22.691 

Madison 23,193 

Washington 22,923 

Monroe 22,366 

Albion 22,471 

Beaver 21,725 

Greene 66 

Dumont 878 

Bristow 425 

Allison 583 

Clarksville 376 

Shell Rock 868 




as equal- 



ized by 






$ 1,627,464 

$ 1,597,204 

$ 399,301 

































































Won first premium in 80-acre class and grand champion sweepstake over nil classes at 
Iowa State Fair, Des Moines, 1913 


Aplington 203,277 289,540 72,385 

Parkersburg 474,595 773,960 193,490 

New Hartford .... 97 158,320 262,692 65,673 

Total 363,084 $26,742,077 $26,464,388 $6,511,287 



When the war between the states began in 1861, Butler county 
was yet in its infancy. Hardly ten years had elapsed since the 
first permanent settlement within the borders of the county. The 
increase of the population in these ten years had been relatively 
very rapid. The census of 1860 showed the presence of 3,724 
people in the county. Of these it may be ascribed that not more 
than one-fifth were men of military age. The exact number of 
soldiers enlisted from Butler county cannot be definitely given. 
There were 293 volunteer enlistments during the years 1861 and 
1862. During the entire period of the war there were some five 
hundred and four enlistments and reenlistments. These figures 
would indicate that practically all the able bodied male citizens of 
Butler county who were not exempt from military service at one 
time or another answered the call of their country and served in 
its armies in the war for the preservation of the Union. 

The story of the Ci\al war, its causes, events and results need 
not be retold here. If we could, we would recreate that period 
for the benefit of the present generation, to most of whom those 
bitter days of warfare are but an abstraction. Such an achicA^e- 
ment is beyond our power. We must therefore be satisfied with 
a brief statement of the part which Butler county played in thc' 
war and a brief summary of some of the services rendered the 
common country by citizens of Butler county, and supplement 
this by as complete a list as is possible to secure of the volunteer 
soldiers who enlisted from Butler county. These lists will of 
necessity be inaccurate and incomplete. For years the adjutant 
general's office has been engaged in the revision and correction 
of the records of the soldiers of the War of the Rebellion. How- 
ever, imavoidable errors and omissions have been made. The 
records here given are as complete and as accurate as the time- 
and material at our disposal will allow. 




The lirst official reference to the Civil war occurs in the min- 
utes of the board of supervisors at a special session in April, 18G2. 
At this meeting, W. A. Lathi-op offered a resolution granting a 
bounty of $20 "to all volunteers under the call for 300,000 men, 
which shall be accepted and mustered into the service of the 
United States, upon sufficient evidence being lodged with the 
clerk." This resolution was laid over till the September term. 
In September, Supervisor Lathrop again moved the adoption of 
this resolution. 

As a substitute for this resolution, W. R. Jamison offered the 
following: "Whereas, large numbers of our fellow citizens of 
this county have most probably volunteered their service in 
defense of the Constitution and the Union in order to ciiush this 
most unholy rebellion, and whereas, the time for recruiting for 
the volunteer service has now, for the present at least, expired, 
and whereas, some of the families of those persons who have vol- 
unteered and who are in the actual military service of the United 
States and whose families still continue to reside in tliis coimty, 
may be in destitute circumstances, therefore, be it resolved that 
we hereby pledge the faith of the county that those families left 
in destitute circumstances by the enlistment of the heads thereof, 
shall be looked after and properly cared for by the county dur- 
ing their absence. That the supervisors from the several town- 
ships act as a relief committee, each f(U' the township he represents, 
which service shall be performed gratuitously by said committee, 
and we reconunend to each member of said committee that they 
look well to the interests of the county and yet be faithful in 
attending to the necessities of those left behind by the brave men 
who have so nobly gone forth to fight the battles of their country 
in defense of the Union." 

Supervisor J. R. Fletcher offered an amendment to the reso- 
lution of W. A. Lathrop, "offering a boimty of $25 to each single 
man and $50 to each married man who had volunteered from 
Butler county since the call for 300,000 men." 

After several attempts further to amend or substitute these 
resolutions, the board by a vote of six to eight defeated both the 
resolution of W. R. Jamison and the substitute of W. A. Tjathrop. 

A committee consisting of Supervisors Fletcher, Lathrop, M. 
"Wilson, Hoffman and Criswell, was appointed to report a resolu- 


tioB providing ways and means to support the families of volun- 
teers in accordance with Chapter 38 of the Acts of the Extra 
Session of the Iowa Legislature of May, 1862. This committee 
reported that in order to carry out the true spirit and intent of 
this act of the Legislature, each township supervisor "be espe- 
cially charged that families of all volunteers that have gone, or 
may go, from his township, be supplied with necessary food, cloth- 
ing and fuel and to this end that they be empowered to have the 
clerk draw orders on the county treasury from time to time as 
they shall judge that causes may demand immediate relief, and 
in all cases to report at the succeeding meeting of the board." 
In accordance with this resolution, from time to time relief was 
furnished to the families of volunteers, as is shown by the records 
of the board. 

At the first regular meeting of the board in 1864, Supervisor 
Allen of Jefferson township, offered a resolution providing that 
a bounty of $100 be paid to each volunteer that had gone from 
Butler county under all the calls for volunteers made by the Presi- 
dent of the United States, or who might go under such calls, the 
same bounty to be paid to the families of those who have been 
killed or died of disease in the sei'vice. Provision was made for 
a separate fund for the pa\Tnent of these sums to be known as 
the Volunteer Bounty Fund, to be raised by a levy upon the taxable 
property of the county. Persons who had deserted the service 
(if the LTnited States were not to be entitled to the benefits of 
this resolution. After full discussion and debate this resolution 
was adopted by a yea and nay vote, eleven members voting yea 
and four nay. 

Tliis resolution was later restricted at the June meeting by 
providing that bounties paid under it should be so construed as 
not to include commissioned officers or any A^olunteers dishonor- 
ably discharged from the service. Further, only those soldiers 
who had volunteered for a term of three years, or during the war, 
were to receive the benefit of this bounty. An attempt to provide 
a bounty of $100 for veterans who reenlisted was defeated. 

In January, 1865, those volunteers who had enlisted under the 
call for one hundred days' service were made eligible to receive 
the $50 bounty from the county. At the same session Supervisor 
Allen proposed raising the boimty to be paid to three-year volun- 
teers to $300. This resolution was referred to a committee and 
reported back with the recommendation that the amount be raised 


to $500. The committee's report .was adopted by a vote of uiiie 
to seven. A bounty of $100 was unanimously voted in favor of all 
who had reenlisted in the service of the United States as veteran 

This summary of the official actions of the board of supervisors 
in relation to issuing bounties to volunteer soldiers of the county 
speaks for itself and indicates more plainly than could be shown 
in any other way how nobly Butler count}- did its part in sup- 
porting the families of the volunteers alid in compensating the 
individual soldiers who had offered their lives in defense of the 
country. Under these various bounty acts something over forty 
thousand dollars was appropriated by the count}^ In addition to 
this, a smn of approximately thirteen thousand dollars was paid 
for the relief of the families of absent and deceased soldiers. 


The first hostile shot was fired from a Confederate battery upon 
Fort Svimter in Charleston harbor, on the morning of April 12, 
1861. Three days later. President Lincoln issued his first procla- 
mation calling for 75,000 men for the suppression of armed rebel- 
lion against the Government of the United States. In response 
to this call the first regiment of Iowa Vokmteers went forth as 
the vanguard of the mighty host that followed from the state under 
subsequent calls of the President. This regiment was made up 
of the organized military companies of the state, which had 
already offered their services to Governor Kirkwood. The ten 
companies which comprised this regiment were rendezvoused at 
Keokuk, in May, 1861, where they were soon afterward mustered 
into the service of the ITnited States. The companies comprising 
this regiment were all from the eastern and central portions of 
the state, then nnicli more thickly settled. The lack of means of 
transportation and eonmuuiication, as well as the limited nmiiber 
of men needed to complete the Iowa quota prevented the organiza- 
tion of an_v companies in this section of the state, and equally the 
enlistment of any nimiber of men from this section. So far as is 
known, Butler county was. represented in this first regiment by 
one man only — George C. Miller, of Clarksville, who enlisted in 
Company K on the 24th of April, 1861. He later reenlisted in 
Company B of the Twentieth Infantry. To George C. Miller, 
therefore, is due the honor of being the first volunteer soldier from 


Butler county. The first regiment was enlisted for a term of three 
months. During that short time its service was utilized to the 
utmost. On the 13th of June the regiment left Keokuk, was trans- 
ported down the river by boat to Hannibal, Mo., thence by rail 
to Macon, Mo., and from this point marched across country to' 
Boouville — a distance of fifty-eight miles. This march is an extra- 
ordinary one for men fresh from civil life and not inured to the 
hardships of military service. At Boonville, the reghnent joined 
General Lyon's command on the 21st of June, where it remained 
until July 13th. On the 10th of August, General Lyon gave up his 
life on the battlefield at Sprmgfield, or Wilson's Creek. The 
First Iowa Infantry rendered important service on this occasion. 
Inmiediately thereafter the regiment was ordered to St. Louis, 
where it was mustered out on the 21st of August. Practically all 
of the members of this regiment reenlisted for three years under 
subsequent call. 


In the Second Iowa Infantry, the first regiment mustered into 
the service of the United States under call for three years, were, 
so far as is known, no representatives from Butler county. Most 
of the men from this regiment came from the southeastern part of 
the state. 


The Second Veteran Infantry, which was formed at the con- 
clusion of the term of service of the former regiment, however, 
had several representatives from Butler county. As these volun- 
teers had all of them a record of previous service in other regi- 
ments, their names will be f oxmd in eonuection with the history of 
those regiments. 


Most of the companies comprising the second and third regi- 
ments of Iowa Infantry were formed and had responded to the 
first call of President Lincoln for volunteers, but as only one regi- 
ment from Iowa could be accepted imder that call, these com- 
]»aiiies were compelled to wait during the brief time before the 


second call was issued. On the ITtli of May, 1861, Groveruor Kirk- 
wood received telegraphic commuiiicatioii iiiforiiiiug hini that two 
more regtnieuts of volunteers were required from this state. He 
immediately ordered the ten companies, designated as the second 
regunent, to rendezvous at Keokidv on the 25th of May, and the 
companies in the third regiment at the same point on the 3d of 
June. So promptly were these orders ol^eyed that there was but 
little difference in the dates when they assembled at Keokuk. On 
the 10th of June the members of the Third Iowa Infantry were 
mustered into the service of the United States. 

Butler county was represented in this regiment by a company 
under command of Capt. Matthew M. Trumbull. This company 
was mustered into service as Company I. On the 27th of June, 
seventeen days after the last company was mustered into service, 
the regiment was conveyed by steamer to Hannibal, Mo., whence 
it was transported by rail to Utica, Mo., where it went into camp. 
Here the regiment suffered much from sickness and up to the time 
when it first encountered the enemy in battle, its greatest loss had 
been by deaths from disease and the discharge of men who proved 
physically incapacitated to stand the hardships and exposure inci- 
dent to a soldier's life. 

The most important of tlie expeditions undertaken during the 
smimier of 1861 Avas that against Kirksville. In comparison with 
later engagements of the war these were mere skirmishes but 
they served to satisfy the desire of these ardent young soldiers to 
meet the enemy in a general engagement. Lieutenant-Colonel 
Scott, who commanded the detachment consisting of about five 
hundred of the Third Iowa, which marched u])on Kirksville, in 
his report of the battle states that he came upon the enemy's 
pickets at 2 A. M. on the morning of the 17th of July. Aljout three 
o'clock in the afternoon he discovered the enemy in force, con- 
cealed upon both sides of the road. The enemy opened a heavy 
fire which drove back Union skirmishers and in the attack which 
followed the Federal artillery suffered so heavily that their only 
piece — a brass six-pounder — was left without sufficient force to 
man it. Some of the gunners abandoned the positif)n and could 
not be rallied. The enemy kept up a heavy fire and as the artillery 
was useless and many of the officers and men disabled, it was 
deemed advisable to fall liack, which was done slo\\ly. and the six- 
pounder was brought off l)y hand, through the gallantry of Captain 


Trumbull and other officers and men of the Third Iowa after it had 
been entirely abandoned by the artillerists. 

The heaviest loss was sustained by Company I, which lost four 
killed and twenty womided — one-fourth of the total loss. This 
company was the one referred to above as having been very largely 
recruited from Butler county, which was commanded by Captain 
Trmnbull, who was mentioned for gallantry in the report of the 
battle. Lieut. John P. Knight, fii'st lieutenant of this company, 
although not a resident of Butler county, was wounded three times 
but refused to retire from the field, and remained with his men 
until the close of the engagement. 

That this battle ended in defeat does not detract from the 
bravery of its officers and men. They were greatly outnumbered 
and it is greatly to the credit of the commander and the best 
possible evidence of the coolness and corn-age of the men that the 
regiment was able to extricate itself from its perilous position and 
retire from the field in good order. A few days after this battle 
this detachment of the Third Iowa rejoined General Stiu-gis at 
Kansas City. Here the Third Iowa was again reunited but on 
account of the large number of men on the sick list it was deemed 
best to give it a change of location and an opportunity to rest and 
recrmt. It was therefore ordered to Quincy, 111., where it went into 
camp and enjoyed a season of rest. In November, 1861, the regi- 
ment was transported to St. Louis, Mo., and went into quarters 
at Benton Barracks. From here it was sent to guard the line of 
the Northern Missouri Bailroad, where it remained luitil the 3d 
of March, 1862, much to the regret of its officers and men who 
chafed from the lack of opportunity to take part in the campaign 
which General Grant had waged against Forts Henry and Donel- 
sou. The regiment was ordered to Cairo, 111., from which point 
it proceeded up the Ohio and Tennessee and joined General Grant's 
army at Pittsburg Landing on the 17th of March, 1862. Here 
the regiment was assigned to the first brigade of the fourth divi- 
sion of the Army of the Tenuessee, under command of Gen. S. A. 
Hurlbut. The brigade was commanded by Colonel Williams of 
the Third Iowa, while Maj. W. ]\I. Stone was in command of the 
regiment in the absence of Lieut(uiant-Colonel Scott, who was sick. 

On the morning of April 6, 1862, the great battle of Shiloh was 
begim. The Third Iowa, with the other troops of its brigade and 
division, moved rapidly to the front and was soon engaged with 
the enemv. Colonel "Williams had his horse shot from under him 


early iu battle and was entirely disabled for further duty. Late 
in the afternoon, Major Stone, the regimental commander, had Ms 
horse shot from under him and was stunned by the fall. Capt. 
M. M. Trumbull, commander of the Butler county companj*, then 
took command of the regiment, which had become sei)arated from 
its brigade. Upon reaching its own camp ground, the regiment 
again faced the enemy but found itself in the desperate situation of 
being nearh' surrounded. It again retired, fighting its way through 
its own camp in which many of its men were killed and wounded, 
one of the latter being the gallant Captain Trmnbull. The casual- 
ties among the officers was so great that only seven lieutenants 
remained upon duty, First Lieut. G. W. Crosley being the rank- 
ing officer in connnand of the regiment, which continued to fight 
its way to the rear until about 5.30 in the evening it formed on the 
right of the Thirteenth Iowa in the line of last resistance. After 
dark the regiment rejoined its brigade and on the morning of 
the 7th again went into action and fought until the close of tlie 
battle that da}'. 

The next day the dead were collected from the field where they 
had fallen and were buried near the regimental camp with the 
honors of war. Among these martyrs in the cause of liberty was 
Stephen De Witt, a resident of Clarksville, a private of Company 
I, who was killed on the battlefield on the afternoon of April 6th. 
He is biu'ied in the Shiloh National Cemetery at Pittsburg Land- 
ing. Capt. M. M. Trumbull, though still suffering from his wound, 
took command of the regiment shortly after the battle and wrote 
the official report, including a list of the wounded and missing. 
In sunmiary it is as follows: "Killed, 2.3; wounded, 134; cap- 
tured by the enemy, 30; total, 187 out of 560 engaged. Of the 
captured, nearly all Avere wounded. Sixteen of the wounded who 
were not captured died of their womids in the hospital, inci-easing 
the death list of the total to 39. The total loss was one-third 
of the mnnber engaged." 

Captain Trumbull in his report says: "The regiment went into 
battle on the second day under the connnand of First Lieut, (i. W. 
Crosley, of Company E, and as I am well assured, nobly main- 
tained the honor of the flag. Should I designate meritorious 
officers I shoidd have to name nearly every officer in the regiment. 
I think, however, none will feel envious if I especially mention 
Tjieutenant Crosley. I desire to call the attention of the general 
commanding the division to the gallantry and good conduct of 


Sei'gt. James F. Lakin, of Company F, who carried the colors on 
the first clay, and of Corp. Anderson Edwards, of Company I, who 
carried the colors on the second day of the battle." 

Anderson Edwards was a resident of Clarksville and had 
eiilisted on May 20, ]861. He was slightly wounded in the first 
day's battle, bnt as indicated aboA'e, acted as color sergeant in 
the second day's fight. He was later promoted fourth sergeant in 
July. 1863. At the expiration of his term of service he reenlisted 
in the Third Veteran Infantry, and still later in the Second and 
Third Veteran Infantry Consolidated. He was promoted second 
lieutenant Jan. 6, 1865, and mustered out July 12th at Louis- 
ville, Ky. 

Of the part of the division to which the Third Iowa belonged, 
played in this battle, Gen. Stephen A. Hurlbut says in his order, 
thanking the survivors for their good conduct during the battle: 
"Let this division remember that for five hours on Sunday it 
held under the most terrific fire, the key point of the left of the 
army and only fell back when flanked by overwhelming masses 
of the enemy, pressing through points abandoned by our supports. 
Let them remember that when they fell back it was in good order 
and that the last line of resistance in the rear of the heavy guns 
was formed by this division. Let them remember that on the 
morning of Monday, -without food and without sleep, they were 
ordei'ed forward to reinforce the right and that wherever either 
brigade of this division appeared upon the field, they were in time 
to support broken flanks and hold the line. Keep these facts 
before your memories to hand down to your children when we 
conquer a peace and let it be the chief pride of every man of this 
conmiand, as it is of your general, that he was at Shiloh with the 
fighting fourth division." 

More space has been given to the account of this battle than 
wiU be possible to be devoted to other engagements of the Civil 
war. This has been done, however, not only because the battle of 
Shiloh was one of the most important of the wdiole Civil war, but 
chiefly because of the glorious part which was played in it by the 
men of Company I. who came from Butler county. 

Following the battle of Shiloh the regiment performed its 
share of the service in the advance upon Corinth and was later 
quartered at Memphis. In the fall of 1862, with the other regi- 
ments of the fourth division, it entered upon another long and 
arduous campaign. A munber of battles were fought, in which 


the Third Infantry bore a most conspicuous part. During this 
time the regmient was under command of the brave and intrepid 
Captain Trrmibull. In the battle at the bridge over the Hatchie 
river, the regiment crossed the bridge under heav}^ fire, formed 
in line of battle under the fire of the enemy and charged up a 
steep hill and drove the enemy from a strong position on its crest. 
In this battle Lieut. John G. Scoby, of Shell Rock, who had been 
promoted from first sergeant, received s^iecial mention for bravery 
and efficiency. Corji. Anderson Edwards again bravely bore the 
colors of the regiment and seemed gifted with a charmed life, 
receiving special mention. 

In October, 1862, Capt. M. M. Trumbull was promoted to lieu- 
tenant colonel. He served in this position only until November 
20th, when he resigned to accept promotion as colonel of the Ninth 
Cavalry. During the winter of 1863 the regiment remained sta- 
tioned at Moscow, Tenn. In the following year they took part in 
the Vicksburg campaign, following the surrender of Vicksburg 
were ordered to Jackson, Miss., and took a most important part in 
the siege of that city. 

Here the Third Infantry suffered a most disastrous loss. It 
is the saddest chapter in the history of the regiment, which may 
be well compared with the charge of the Light Brigade which 
Tennyson has immortalized in verse. Like the soldiers of the 
noble sixteen hundred at Balaklava, they knew "that some one 
had blundered," but "theirs not to reason why; theirs but to do 
or die." The regiment went into this battle with 223 enlisted 
men. Of this number it lost 114 — fifty per cent of the number 
engaged. No official investigation was ever made. The division 
commander, J. G. Lauman, gave the command for its disastrous 
charge as it was received by him from the corps connnander, Maj.- 
Geu. E. O. C. Ord. The men of the brigade had implicit faith in 
General Lauman and believed he gave the order as it was given 
him. On the evening of that fatal day, only a little more than a 
full company of effective men answered the roll call. The regi- 
ment now retui-ned to Vicksbm'g, whence it was ordered to 
Natchez, Miss., where it remained until early in December. It was 
then reorganized as the Third Iowa Veteran Infantry. 

A list of the officers and men of this regiment who eidisted 
from Butler county follows : 



Lieutenant Colonel 
Matthew M. Trumbull, Clarksville 

Quartermaster Sergeant 
Edward H. Mix, Shell Rock 


Matthew M. Trumbull, Clarksville 

First Lieutenant 
John G. Scoby, Shell Rock 


Anderson Edwards, Clarksville; E. H. Mix, Shell Rock 

Isaac M. Henderson, Shell Rock 


John Booram, Butler County; William Burdick, Clarksville 

James Buel, ClarksviUe; Charles E. Turner, Shell Rock 


Bishop, Alfred H., Clarksville Merrifield, Willis H., Clarksville 

Clousky, Joseph S., Clarksville Mix, Thomas M., Clarksville 

Colton, or Cotton, Charles M., Myers, Campbell, Shell Rock 

Shell Rock Parks, G. W., Shell Rock 

Cotton, Gaylord M., Shell Rock Pauly, Charles, Clarksville 

Crosby, Spencer S., Shell Rock Robinson, Albert, Clarksville 

DeWitt, Stephen, Clarksville Trobridge, Samuel, Clarksville 

Filkins, William, Willoughby Warner, Asa H., Clarksville 

Forney, Abraham, Clarksville Warner, William E., Clarksville 

Gitchell, William, Clarksville Wilcox, Alfred M., Shell Rock 

Gilbert, T. G., Clarksville Wilcox, Jesse B., Shell Rock 

McElvaney, J. R., Butler Center Wilcox, John, Shell Rock 

Martin, Henry, Clarksville Winship, James W., Shell Rock 


There appear to have been no enlistments in the Fourth, Fifth 
or Sixth Iowa Infantry Regiments from Butler county. The 


Seventh Infantiy, however, had one company, B, in which a 
number of Shell Rock boys enlisted. This regiment assembled at 
Burlington and was mustered into service of the United States 
between July 23 and August 2, 1861. Col. Jacob G. Lauman, who 
has been mentioned in connection Avith the history of the third 
regiment above, was its first colonel. Company B, in which the 
Butler county soldiers enlisted, was largely recruited in Chick- 
asaw county. Its officers were: Captahi, Gideon Gardner, Nev.' 
Hampton; fii-st lieutenant, Robert G. Reinigar, Charles City; and 
second lieutenant, George W. S. Dodge, Bradford. 

Four days after the last company had been mustered, the regi- 
ment was ordered to St. Louis. After remaining in Jefferson 
Barracks for a short time they went to Pilot Knob and thence to 
Ironton, where it remained in quarters about two weeks. About 
the first of September it began its first campaign. On November 
6th the regiment, with others under the command of Gen. U. S. 
Grant, took part in the battle of Belmont. In this engagement 
the Confederate troojjs were driven from their camp. Later, hav- 
ing been reinforced, they returned and attacking the Union troops, 
subjected them to a heavy fire which forced them to retire. Dur- 
ing this retreat Lieutenant Dodge, of Company B, was killed. 

In his official report, Gen. U. S. Grant says: "The Seventh 
Iowa behaved with great gallantry and suffered more severely 
than any other of the troops." Of the total loss sustained by the 
two brigades in battle, the Seventh Iowa sustained nearly one- 
half. Of this battle another writer has said: "It seems almost 
incredible that these untrained troops fighting their first battle 
and led by regimental and company officers, without military 
training or experience, should have acquitted themselves when 
imder fire for the first time as well as in any of the subsequent 
battles in which they were engaged and in all of which they nobly 
maintained the honor of the state which sent them into the field." 

Another notable featiu"e of the battle of Belmont was the fact 
that it was the fii'st in which General Grant had command of the 
Union troops and his first opportunity to demonstrate his fitness 
and capacity to conunand. After this battle the regiment was 
sent to Benton Barracks near St. Louis, where it enjoyed a brief 
season of rest and made up some of its losses b}' recruiting. On 
the 30th of Jaimary, 1862, the regiment left St. Louis t(» join the 
army under General Grant and took part in the capture of Forts 
Henry and Donelson. The Second Iowa was given the post of 


honor in leading the final charge on Fort Donelson but was 
gallantly supported by the Seventh Regiment. The loss of the regi- 
ment in this battle was not as severe as in many other engage- 
ments, owing to this fact. The regiment took part in the battle 
of Shiloh and in the advance upon Corinth, bearing its full share 
of duties, dangers and hardships. On the 3d and 4th of October 
the Confederate force made a desperate attempt to recapture 
Corinth. In this battle the Seventh Iowa Regiment took a promi- 
nent part. Company B was in the thick of the fight. Captam 
Reinigar, who had been promoted from lieutenant on Sept. 1, 
1862, on the resignation of Captain Gardner, was mentioned in 
the report of the battle made by Colonel Rice, who was in com- 
mand of the regiment in this engagement. More than one-third 
of the regiment were killed or womided in this battle. So many 
of the officers and men had been killed or had died of disease, 
the total loss to Oct. 4, 1862, being 422 officers and men, that an 
order was issued withdrawing the regiment for the time being 
from active service mitil the spring of 1863. The regiment saw 
some active service during this year and finally went into winter 
quarters at Pulaski, Tenn., November, 1863. In December, thi-ee- 
foui'ths of the men reenlisted and were given a furlough of thirty 
days, furnished transportation to Keokuk, Iowa, and from that 
place to their respective homes. In February, the regiment was 
reassembled, together with a large munber of recruits. During 
this year they took part in Sherman's campaign against Atlanta, 
Ga., and later in the famous march to the sea. From Savannah 
they marched northward with Sherman's troops to Washington 
and on the 24th day of May, 1865, the Seventh Iowa Infantry 
wheeled into its place in the line of the grand army that marched 
down that broad avenue of the nation's capital and passed in 
review for the last time. Its days of fighting were over. It was 
later sent to Louisville, Ky., where on the 12th day of July, 1865, 
it was mustered out of service. 

Butler county members of this regiment were as follows : 


William L. Palmer, Shell Rock 

John Adair, Shell Rock 



Campbell, James, Shell Rock Myers, Joseph R., Shell Rock 

Cotton, Theodore L., Shell Rock Porter, Abel U., Shell Rock 

Dunham, Alfred G., Shell Rock Senior, Charles V., Shell Rock 

Mason, William H., Shell Rock Wilson, Alvin M., Shell Rock 


The Eighth Iowa was organized in accordance with a procla- 
mation of the President, dated July 23, 1861. The companies 
assembled at Davenport, where they were mustered into the ser- 
vice of the United States by Sept. 4, 1861. The regiment 
experienced some desultory campaigning in the earlier part of 
its term of service, operating in Missouri and Kansas. In March, 
1862, the regiment was ordered to St. Louis and from there con- 
veyed by boat to Pittsburg Landing, Tenn. On its arrival 
there it was assigned to the Third Brigade of the Second Division 
of the Ai'my of the Tennessee. Under command of Brig.-Gen. 
W. H. L. Wallace in this great battle, the Eighth Iowa rendered 
conspicuous and important service and suffered a correspond- 
ingly great loss. 

Col. J. L. Greddes, of Vinton, Benton county, was in eonunand 
of the regiment in this battle. After a desperate and terrific con- 
flict, during which the fire of the enemy's artillery was concen- 
trated upon this regiment, the Eighth Iowa with other regiments 
of the division, was forced to retire. About 6 p. m. of the first 
day the major portion of this regiment was captured. There 
were six regiments in the biigade. Of the total loss in this battle 
the Eighth Iowa lost 493. 

Of its action on this occasion the following quotation speaks: 
"The truth of history demands that the credit of saving the day 
for the Union army at Shiloh be given its gallant regiments, three 
of them from Iowa, who stood their gi'ound without hope of rein- 
forcement and with the full knowledge that it was only a question 
of time when they would be comj^letely surrounded by overwhelm- 
ing numbers and compelled to surrender. To concede this honor 
is no discredit to the gallant men who, profiting by the delay 
thus afforded, rallied behind the concentrated Union artillery and 
hurled death and destruction upon the advancing columns of the 
enemy and at last turned what seemed certain defeat into vic- 


Almost the entiie number of tlie Eighth iowa Infantry who 
had escaped being killed, were captured and entered upon a long 
and weary term of imprisonment, during wliich many of them 
died. The surviving prisoners were paroled on the 18th of Octo- 
ber and exchanged on the lUth of November, 1862. During the 
winter of 1862-3 the regiment was reorganized at St. Louis and 
assigned to the Fifteenth Army Corps commanded by Gen. W. T. 
Sherman. They participated in the Vicksburg campaign and in 
the campaign against General Johnston around Jackson, Miss. 

Of this period of regimental operations Colonel Geddes says 
in his official report: "From the 2d of May to the 25th of July 
we marched without tents or transportation over three hundred 
miles, engaged the enemy at Vicksburg, twice at Jackson and at 
Brandon, and though during the operations of this ever memora- 
ble campaigTi, both officers and men of the regiment suffered much 
exposure and hardship- of a very trying character, they endured 
it all without a murmur and with a fortitude which elicited the 
unreserved commendations of the commanding general." 

Following this campaign, the division to which the Eighth 
Iowa belonged was engaged in guarding a line of railroad until 
January, 1864. The term of service having expired, about three- 
foiirths of the men reenlisted as veterans. In February, 1864, 
the regiment participated in the Meridian campaign. Thereafter 
the regiment was divided, the veterans being permitted to go home 
on furlough and the non-veterans taking part in the Red River 
campaign. Later the regiment was reorganized as the Eighth 
Veteran Volunteers. The remainder of its ser^^dce was doing gar- 
rison and giiard duty at different points in the south. The regi- 
ment was finally mustered out, April 20, 1866, having served a 
little over four years and eight months. It was the last Iowa 
regiment to be mustered out of the service. Most of the Butler 
coimty members of this regiment enlisted in the latter years of 
the war. A number of them were transferred from companies 
in the Thirty-second, in which they had previously enlisted. Fol- 
lowing are the names of the Butler county soldiers who were 
members of this regiment: 

Thomas, Butler 


Bonwoll, Shadrach, 

Butler Cnstlow. 





Albright, Elias D., Butler Jones, Heury O., Shell Rock. 

coTintv. Mix, William N., Shell Rock. 

Campbell, James E., Butler Olmstead, O. P., New Hartford. 

county. Peek, Josiah, New Hartford. 

Copeland, George R., Shell Williams, William H., Shell 

Rock. R'^ck- 


Dobbins, George W., Butler Goodhue, James M., Butler 

county. county. 


Needham, Edward E., Butler county. 


Bishop, Harvey A., Olarksville. Muffley, William, Butler coimty. 

Lenhart, Washington, Butler Murray, Daniel, Butler county. 

county. Whitted, Lewis J., Butler 

Maynard, Curtis, Butler county. county. 
Miller, James M., Butler 



Beecher, Albert R., New Hartford. ■ 


Bpurquin, Louis, New Hartford. 


Beebe, Eli H., Butler county. 


A few Butler county volunteers enlisted in the Ninth Regi- 
ment Iowa Infantry. They are as follows: 


Manwarin, Emery, Butler county. 



Hanstad or Hemstad, Herman, Butler Center. 


Larue, Francis, Butler county. M.yers, John M., Shell Rock. 
Leverich, Willard, Shell Rock. 


Considine, Patrick, Butler Gen- Innian, Frank E., Butler Cen- 
ter ter 

Inman, Chester W., Butler Cen- Porcupile, James H., Butler 
ter Center 

Inman, Daniel W.. Butler Cen- 
So far as is known there were no Butler county soldiers in 

the Tenth and Eleventh Regiments of Infantry. 


One company of the Twelfth Infantry, Company E, was raised 
by William Haddock, of Waterloo, who recruited a number of 
members for this company in and around Butler Center. This 
regiment was mustered into the United States service at Dubuque, 
between October 17th and November 25th, 1861. Three days after 
the last company was mustered, the regiment left Dubuque and 
proceeded to St. Louis, Mo. It was then ordered to proceed to 
Cairo, 111., where it was placed imder the orders of General Grant. 
It took part in the Fort Henry and Fort Donelson campaign, in 
which on the 15th of February it suffered its greatest loss. 

In his official report Col. J. J. Wood says: "Every commis- 
sioned officer of the regiment performed Ms duty without flinch- 
ing. The same may be said of the non-commissioned officers and 
privates, with a few exceptions." 

In the battle of Shiloh this regiment formed a part of the 
division of Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, the division composed of the 
Second, Seventh, Twelfth and Fourteenth Regiments of Iowa 
Infantry, which was destined to save the day for the ITnion 
army on Sunday, April 6. 1862. In the report of this battle par- 
ticular mention is made of Captain Haddock as having performed 
well his part. The colonel says: "Non-commissioned officers 
and men stood bravely up to their work and never did men behave 


better. At the close of this tirst clay's fight the regunent had 
lost many officers by being either killed or wounded, the com- 
mand devolving on a captain. The enemy so closely surroimded 
the regiment that to have held out longer would have been to 
suffer complete annihilation. It was therefore compelled to sur- 
render. It is no disparagement to any of the other regiments 
who participated in this extreme battle to say that the service 
rendered by the brigade, to which the Twelfth belonged, which 
included also the Eighth and Fourteenth Iowa, which stemmed 
the tide of battle at the front, with the victorious enemy on both 
flanks pushing the remainder of General Grant's army to its last 
line of resistance, was of transcendent importance in deciding 
the fortune of that first day's battle." 

Afterward the remnants of the brigade were consolidated into 
an organization known as the Union Brigade. The Twelfth 
Iowa had an aggi'egate of only seventy-five men — three commis- 
sioned officers and seventy-two men — when it was assigned to the 
Union Brigade. This detachment of the Twelfth was under com- 
mand of Lieut. David B. Henderson, who rendered important 
service during the advance upon and siege of Corinth. Among 
the wounded were D. B. Henderson, who lost his left leg. 
Lieutenant Henderson was later promoted colonel of another 
infantry regiment and subsequent to the Civil war served the 
people of the third congressional district of Iowa as its represen- 
tative in Congi'ess. 

About half of the regiment who had been captured at Shiloh 
were paroled and sent to St. Louis, Mo., to await the exchange. 
The rest remained in prison during the summer and fall. Many 
died in prison and many were incapacitated for further service. 
They were finally sent to Libby prison, in Richmond, Va., and 
finally paroled on the 20th of November, 1862. Among the soldiers 
of the Twelfth who were confined in Libby prison was G. Hazlet, 
a member of Company C, from Fayette county, who, subsequent 
to the Civil war, was' for nearly forty years a resident of Butler 

In the winter of 1862-3 the regiment was reorganized and in 
the following year took part in the Vicksburg campaign and later 
still in the Red River campaign. In 1864 the regiment took 
part in the campaign against the Confederate General Price in 
Arkansas and in the latter part of that year it repeated its splen- 
did fighting record in the battle of Nashville. In the spring of 


1865 it took part in the operations against Mobile. During the 
remainder of that year it did garrison duty in the south and was 
not mustered out of the service of the United States until the 
20th of January, 1866, at Memphis, Tenn. Butler county soldiers 
in this regiment were as follows : 



Jeremiah Margretz, Butler Harvey Smith, Jr., Willoughby 

C. V. Surf us, Boylan's Grove 

E. R. Bird, Butler Center; J. C. Stewart, Butler Center 


Ahrens, John, Boylan's Grove Hoisiug-ton, Hiram, Butler 

Beckwith, William H., Butler Center 

Center Hoisington, John, Butler Cen- 

Bird, R. L., Butler Center ter 

Bird, W. O., Shell Rock Hubbard, George, Butler Cen- 

Boylan, Thomas, Boylan's \^^ 

n Johnson, Charles, Biitler Cen- 

Grove , 

Carter, John B.. Clarksville ^^^^^^^ ^.^^^^^^ -g^^^^^^. (.^^^^^^. 

Davis, Samuel, Shell Rock ^j^,^^.^^ Alexander, Shell Rock 

DeMoss, James, Boylan's Pomoroy, William L., Butler 

^rove county 

DeMoss, Thomas, Boylan's Spears, William, Butler county 

Grrove Strong, Nelson, Boylan's Grove 

Early, T. M., Boylan's Grove Williams, Philo, Butler county 


De Witt, Reuben A., Shell Rock 


The organization of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry was attended 
by circumstances which were somewhat peculiar. Three of the 


ten cx^mpanies assigned to it by Goveriior Kivkwood. — Companies 
A, B and C — Avere ordered to go into qnarters at Iowa City on 
dates ranging from the 1st to the 7th of Octol)er, 1861, and they 
were there mustered into the service of tlie United States hj the 
25th of October. Seven companies, D to K, inchisive, were 
ordered into cjnarters at Davenport and were nmstered into the 
service by the 6th of November, 1861. By order of the Avar depart- 
ment, Companies A, B and C were traiisferred to the Forty-first 
Regiment of Iowa Infantry and sent to Fort Randall, Dakota 
territory, to operate against the Indians. To fill the vacancy thns 
occasioned three new companies were organized, which were later 
known as A, B and C. The new Companies A and B did not join 
the regiment nntil the end of its first year's service and the new 
Company C did not become a part of the regiment nntil Jnue, 

1863. The original Company A of the Fonrteenth contained a 
number of Butler county recruits. They are commonly given as 
members of the Forty-first Infantry, to which these companies 
were transferred. HoAvever, as their first enlistment A\as in the 
Fourteenth, their names are given below in connection Avith this 
regiment. The neAv Company C Avas recruited in this section of 
the state, and as Avill be noted in the list beloAv, contained a large 
number of Butler county soldiers. 

At first the serAdce of the Fourteenth Infantry refers t( > that 
of Companies D to K, inclusive. The regiment comprising these 
companies took part in the Fort Henry and Fort Donelson cam- 
paign, formed a part of the division of Gen. W. H. L. Wallace at 
Shiloh, and Avere with the other regiment of the division Avhen it 
sui'rendered as prisoners of Avar the evening after the first day's 
fight. The total loss of the seven companies engaged in the battle 
of Shiloh Avere 273 killed, Avounded and captured. It can justly 
be claimed by its heroic commander. Colonel ShaAv, that no more 
efficient and important service Avas performed by Union troops 
than upon that heroic battlefield. The survivors of the regiment 
AA'ere consolidated into the Union Brigade, Avhich they served Avith 
credit until the regiment Avas exchanged and reorganized. 

The service of the reorganized regiment Avas in connection 
Avith General Bank's Red river campaign. On the lOtli of March, 

1864, the regiment left Vicksljurg for the mouth of the Red river. 
The capture of Fort DeRussey Avas a brilliant and remarkable 
military exploit. Special mention is made in the report of the 
conduct of the Fourteenth loAva Avhich led the advance in attack 


upon this fort. From F^ort DeRussey the brigade proceeded to 
Alexandria and thence it proceeded to Pleasant Hill, La. Of the 
total loss of 753 sustained in the battle of Pleasant Hill by the 
five brigades which took part in the engagement, the brigade com- 
manded by Colonel Shaw of the Fourteenth Iowa, lost 484. 

After returning to Vicksburg the regiment enjoyed a brief 
rest, then moved up the river where it took an important part in 
the expedition, participating in the battles of Tupelo and Town 
Creek, Miss. Its subsequent service was largely by detachments 
but in every instance the service was performed with honor. In 
November, 1864, the regiment was conveyed to Davenport, Iowa, 
where it was mustered out. A number of reenlisted men and 
recruits fomied what was known as the Residuary Battalion of 
the Fourteenth Iowa, but before it could be sent to the front its 
service was no longer required for active duty. 

It has been said of this regiment: "The record of service of 
the Fourteenth Regiment of Iowa Volunteers is one of the best. 
Its survivors can justly claim that during the long years in which 
they marched and fought and suffered, they never wavered in 
their devotion to their Grovernmeut and its flag. Their children 
and children's children may well be proud of the legacy of heroism 
they have inherited. The writer extends a soldier's greeting to 
the survivors of the old Fourteenth Iowa and on behalf of the 
state which has made provision for the preservation of this record 
extends greeting to the families and relatives of those whose 
memory they cherish and honor and who will ever be commended 
as an example and inspiration to all loyal and liberty loving people 
of the state." 

A list of soldiers in the Fourteenth follows : 


E. C. Bristol, New Hartford 


Barker, Albert C, Swanton McClane, Campbell, New Hart- 

Dailey, Anthony, Butler county ford 

Gilbert, James M., Clarksville Mann. Isaac B., New Hartford 
Leffler, Godfrej^, Parkersburg 


8inith, Benjamin F., Boylan's Smith, Orrin C, Boylan's Grove 

f^rove Wemple, Philip, Parkersburg 

Smith, Isaac A., Willoughby 

This company was later transferred to the Forty-first Infantry. 


First Lieutenant 
John Braden, Butler Center 

Second Lieutenant 
William Stoughton, Shell Rock 


Henry Beckwith, Shell Rock; A. A. Cook, Butler Center 
Valentine Spaur, Clarksville 


Miles Chitester, Butler county Thomas L. Cotton, Shell Rock 
Henry P. Considine, Butler Frank E. Inman, Butler Center 

county John H. Margretz, Butler 

D. B. Henderson. Butler county Center 

Thomas C. Wetsel, Butler county 


Bird, Eli, Butler Center Halstad, William R., Butler 

Boylan, Cornelius, Clarksville county 

Boylan, William H., West Point McAllester, Asahel P., Shell 

Butger, George, Butler comity Rock 

Couch, Manderville, Butler Myers, Uriah, Butler county 

county Stuart, Charles, Butler county 

Cummins, John R., Butler Wetsel, James T., Butler county 

coimty Winchell, Lyford H., Shell Rock 
Dawson, Martin, Butler covmty 


Allen, David C, Union Ridge Park, John M., Boylan's Grove 

Allen, James W., Union Ridge Webster, Wlieeler R., ITnion 

Bartholomew, Ezra, Boylan's Ridge 



E. B. Brown 


Daniel Haine, Aaron Moss 

Ransom H. Gile 


Hall, William Moss, Jacob 

Hart, Francis Sturtz, Jacob 

Inman, Walter 


Two fnll companies of the Thirty-second Infantry were 
recrnited in Bntler county. These were Companies E and G, cap- 
tained by John R. Jones, of Shell Rock, and C. A. L. Roszell, of 
Clarksville. The companies comprisine,- this regiment were 
recruited in the summer and early fall of 1862. They rendezA'oused 
at Dubi;que, where on the 6th of October they were mustered into 
the service of the United States. John Scott, of Story county, 
was colonel and E. H. Mix. of Shell Rock, lieutenant colonel. 

In November, 1862, the regiment left for St. Louis, where they 
remained a few days, when six companies under Colonel Scott 
proceeded to New Madrid, Mo., and the remaining four com- 
panies under Maj. G. A. Eberhart, of Blackhawk county, went 
down the river to Cape Girardeau. This separation of the regi- 
ment continued until the spring of 1864 and was the prolific 
cause of anno3^anee and extra labor. Of the Butler county com- 
panies, E remained with the detachment under Colonel Scott 
and G with that of Major Eberhart. 

In the spring of 186r5 Major Eberhart 's detachment operated 
against the Confedei-ate General IMannaduke in and around Cape 


Girardeau. Here on the 24th of April they were with the other 
trooj^s, comprising General McNeil's commandinvested by a force 
of 10,000 Confederate troops under Marniaduke. A flag of t''v;ce 
with a demand for unconditional surrender was sent to the Union 
conmiander and he was given thirty minutes for decision. General 
McNeil sent back a flat refusal in one minute and requested a 
credit of twenty-nine minutes from the Confederate general. The 
attack, however, did not commence until the morning of the 26th, 
when reinforcements under General ^^an•dever ran down the river, 
forcing the Confederates to retire. 

In July the detachment was joined to the Reserve Brigade of 
the First Cavalry Division, Department of ^Missouri, and partici- 
pated in the memorable march which terminated in the capture 
of Little Rock, Ark. In August they took ])art in the expedition 
up the White river, marching and fighting through scorching heat, 
marching over parched ground with the air at times filled \^'itll 
flying dust. Reaching a stagnant lake, called Dead Man's lake, 
the men plunged into it and draidc greedily of the filthy water, 
although it was covered with a green scmn. 

Hard marching, bad water and the intense heat of suninier 
caused a great amount of sickness. When they reached Duval's 
Bluff, a small side-wheeled steamer came up the river and took on 
board a load of sick and wounded men. "Not a spot on that boat 
from the border deck to the hurricane deck Init was covered with 
a sick man. Sick men were piled away on that hurricane deck 
in the broiling sun, wherever a man <'onld be laid. Is it any 
wonder that on that run of about four hours, twenty-six men died 
on that boat — one of them a corporal of Compan\' G — James H. 

The rest of the month was spent in marching tluMugh the 
bvu-ning heat and torrential rain. The command had little or no 
rations except such as they managed to forage from tlic surround- 
ing country. No sanitary or sutler supplies reached them and 
much of the ordinary soldier's fare was unfit for use. As one of 
the soldiers expressed it, "Much of the hard tack had too much 

Later the detachment was sent to Little Rock, where it was 
relieved for a time except of the care of its own sick. A number of 
the men died there. Yet Little Rock proved to be a very healthy 
place, and while there the company, considering its reduced con- 
dition, improved very rapidly. This Arkansas expedition was 


one of the most destructive of life of any campaign in tlie war. 
General McPlierson, medical director, afterwards said at Vicks- 
burg that the sending of the four companies through on that 
campaign to keep up with the cavalry was a burning shame, one 
of the outrages of the war. 

They remained at Little Rock imtil the middle of October and 
then removed to Benton, twenty-five miles distant. They then 
returned to Little Rock, where they remained until January, 1864, 
when they were ordered to report to Brig.-Gen. A. J. Smith, at 

In the meantime, the six companies under Colonel Scott had 
proceeded from N'ew Madrid to Fort Pillow, where they remained 
on garrison duty for nearly six months. The command embarked 
for Columbus, Ky., went into camp and there the regimental 
headquarters remained for seven months. Colonel Scott being com- 
mander of the post most of the time. In Jul_y this portion of the 
regiment was divided into detachments, Companj^ E being placed 
at Fort Quimby, not far from Columbus. The other companies 
located at scattering points in the vicinity. From this on until 
January, 1864, the history of most of these detachments is devoid 
of particular interest. In January, 1864, the six companies again 
assembled and embarked for Vicksburg. Later they were assigned 
to the second brigade, having seen practically no active service 
and none whatever as a command. 

It is probable there was not a smgle organization in the whole 
army under Major-General Sherman that welcomed the oppor- 
timity of active service as gladly as did these companies of the 
Thirty-second. On their return from Vicksburg they found Major 
Eberhart and his four companies, and the whole regiment was 
joined, the first tune since the 1st of November, 1862. 

Shortly thereafter the regiment was ordered to the Depart- 
ment of the Gulf and took part in the disastrous Red river 
campaign. In this campaign the Thirty-second suffered more 
severely perhaps than any of the other regiments. It formed a part 
of Gen. A. J. Smith's command, which left Vicksburg on March 9th, 
on transports, accompanied by gun boats. At the mouth of the Red 
river this fleet was joined by Admiral Porter with a large fleet, 
including several ironclads. The fleet disembarked from the trans- 
ports at Semmesport and immediately commenced the march on 
Fort BeRuRsey. In the assault the Thirty-second was on the right 


and it was the meu on the right who took the fort, as the Con- 
federate prisoners afterwards said. 

From Fort DeRussey they embarked for Alexandria, at which 
point General Smith formed a junction with the column that had 
marched vip from New Orleans. On the 7th of April it took part 
in the battle of Pleasant Hill, where the brigade to which it 
belonged, commanded by Colonel Shaw, belonging to the Four- 
teenth Iowa, stood the brunt of the fight, being longer in battle 
and fighting longer than any other in^the hardest of the contest, 
the last to leave the field, and losing three times as many officers 
and meu as any brigade engaged. 

In his report of the battle, Gen. A. J. Smith says: "Of Colonel 
Scott, Thirty-second Iowa, it is sufficient to say that he showed 
himself worthy to command the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry — a 
regiment which, after having been entirely surroimded and cut 
off from the rest of the command, with nearly one-half its nimibcr 
killed or wounded, among them many of the best and prominent 
officers, forced its way through the enemy's lines and was again 
in line, ready and anxious to meet the foe, in less than thirty 
minutes." No regimeut ever fought with a sublimer coiu-age 
than did the Thirty-second on the battlefield of Pleasant Hill. Its 
heroism and sacrifices were worthy of a better fate than a retreat 
from the scene of its splendid daring and glory. 

In this engagement the regimeut suffered the loss of its lieu- 
tenant colonel, E. H. Mix, a Butler county soldier, and many other 
officers and men were either killed or wounded. In all 210 officers 
and men were reported killed, wounded and missing after this 

As mentioned above, in connection with the history of the 
Fourteenth Iowa, Colonel Shaw's brigade, including the Thirty- 
second, covered the retreat of the army to Grand 'Ecore. Of the 
rear guard action at Bayou de Glaize, Colonel Shaw says: "To 
Colonel Gilbert, of the Twenty-seventh Iowa, Major Eberhart of 
the Thirty-second Iowa, Captain Crane of the Fourteenth Iowa, 
and their commands, is due the safety of the army. Had they 
failed to move in the position assigned them with less celerity or 
failed to hold it after taking it, our left in the rear would have 
been overwhelmed and never could have saved us, not even the 
fighting qualities of the Sixteenth Corps." 

On the ]Oth of June the regiment reached Memphis, from 
which point it marched with General Smith's forces on the 


Tupelo campaign. Returning to Mempliis, it joined in the Oxford 
expedition and tlien took part in the pursuit of General Price 
thi'ough Missouri. This was a campaign of severe marching but 
not of battle. The regiment marched at least six hundred and 
fifty miles, averaging twenty miles a day across the state and back 
again. After halting a few days at St. Louis, it marched to 
Cairo, where it arrived November 27th. From here it was moved 
to Nashville, where it took part in the battle brought on by Gen- 
eral Hood on December 15th and 16th. In this engagement the 
Thirty-second was warmly engaged and won credit for daring 
and efficient behavior. It captured five gims and many prisoners 
and lost about twenty-five killed and wounded. This closed the 
campaign for 1864. 

In 1865, after doing some garrison duty, it took part in its 
last campaign under the command of Gen. E. R. S. Canby against 
Mobile. After the fall of Mobile it remained for some time in 
Alabama and was finally moved to Clinton, Iowa, where it was 
mustered out August 24, 1865. Following is a list of the Butler 
county members of this famous regiment: 

Lieutenant Colonel 
E. H. Mix 



Falsom, Jacob G. McDonald, Archibald 

Needham, Edward E. 


Gilbert, MiUs B. 


Bourquin, Louis 


John R. Jones 



Marsliall Kelley 
Samuel German 
Edward A. Gleim 

William M. Martin 
Wesley H. Long 
Robert Stanley 
Robert Inman 

William H. Burham 

Ackerman, Lawrence 
Asijrey, Joseph 
Albright, Elias D 
Broqiie, Mordecai B. 
Blackman, Anson 
Blass, John W. 
Blackman, E. W. 
Bolton, George 
Brookman, Albert H. 
Burgess, Eli S. 
Brannic, Francis 
Billhimer, Henry 
Kimmel, Bacheus F. 
Ketchem, William H. 
Leverieh, James P. 
T/angdon. John B. 
T;Owis, Charles 

First Lieutenant 
Alonzo Converse 

Second Lieutenant 
John F. Wright 


William H. Guy 
Ovid .Hare 
Samuel E. Hayden 


Alexander March 
Clark Speedy 
Albert O. Royce 
Jacob Hinkle 


John Burham 

Nathan Ohustead 


Lewis, Wilbert L. 
March, William 
Mead, Rollins P. 
Mix, William N. 
Mix, Charles E. 
Newcomb, Orlando S. 
Needham, Edward E. 
Copelaud, George R. 
Conner, John N. 
Codner, Oliver 
Codner, George G. 
Churchill, James N. 
Collins, Henry C. 
Clayton, Dow 
Dunning, Abram 
Dunuiug, William H. 
Dodge, Mordecai 



Dickisou, John 
Ede, Richard T. 
Ferris, Theodore H. 
Foster, Francis G. 
Flood, William 
Griffith, John W. 
Hartmau, Matthew 
Henderson, David M. 
Hedrick, Moses 
Hannant, Robert 
Howard, James N. 
Hall, Calvin 
Hites, Elijah 
Houck, Thomas 
Hinkle, Jacob 
High, Isaac 
Hongh, Nehemiah R. 
Jones, Nathan 
Jones, Henry O. 
Knight, Hinkley 
Kunniel, George W. 
Needham, Perrin O. 
Olmstead, Robert L. 
Orvis, Franklin E. 
Olmstead, Wallace W. 
Olmstead, Theodore 

Olmstead, Oren P. 
Putnam, Fletcher C. 
Plummer, Daniel C. 
Parriott, Jasper 
Peck, Josiah 
Q nimby, John 
Quinn, James W. 
Roberts, Benjamin 
Rockwell, Myron 
Royce, Amos O. 
Smnner, John C. 
Sperry, James N. 
Sowash, George 
tStockdale, William 
Sperry, John 
Smith, James 
Thomas, Henry 
Turner, Jesse 
Whitney, Samuel B. 
Williams, William H. 
Wilson, Ezra S. 
Wilcox, Austin 
Wheeler, Solomon 
Waters, Julius A. 
Williams, George H. 
Zelmer, George E. 


Champlin, William R. Pierce, Moses 

Yaw, Marcellus 


Charles A. L. Roszell 

First Lieutenant 
Charles A. Bannon 

Vol. 1—12 



Second Lieutenant 
Daniel Haine 

William Poisal 

John McCain 
Daniel W. Kinsley 
Emanuel Surfus 


Roselie Kane 
Uriali Farlow 
George H. Burton 
James Butler 

Archison Wilson 

Anderson, Benjamin 
Allen, Sylvester 
Allen, William V. 
Allen, George L. 
Bishoj:), Harvey A. 
Boon, Sylvester M. 
Boon, Warren 
Boon, Sidney W. 
Boon, James H. 
Burton, George H. 
Bisliop. William G. 
Boggs, Albert 
Babcoek, Joseph 
Brooks. Henry 
Beetles. David 
Clawson. Phineas 
Gavo. William R. 
Garter, James H. 
Gline, Michael 
Gosson. Wilbur G. 
Clark, Mortimer O. 

J. Rush Brown 


Clark, Daniel N. 
Doty, Aaron 
Harter, Aaron M. 
Hardman, James L. 
Kane, Roselie 
Keller. Richard 
Leuhart, John 
Martin. John 
Maffit, Apollos W. 
Miller, Francis M. 
Miller, Elias 
Miller. James M. 
Muffler. William 
McGlellan, George 
Miller, George G. 
Modlin, Isaac N. 
Phillipi, Jehu 
Phillipi. James M. 
Poisal. George C. 
Poisal, Hiram 
Phillips, Joel 



Smitli, Heury 
Straum, Jabez 
Stui'tz, Soloiiiou 
Stui'tz, iVJicliael 
Davis, Natliauiel W. 
Dockstader, Josiali 
Ellis, Andrew 
Forney, Jolm C. 
F'arlow, George 
Farlow, Leauder 
Goodliue, James M. 
Goodhue, S. Newell 

Graver, Setli H. 
Harrison, DeWitt 0. 
Sturtz, Adam 
Straum, Mcliolas 
ISwim, Jolm D. 
Slieffer, James M. 
Thomas, Charles N. 
Upps, John 
Warner, Daniel D. 
Wamsley, Martin V. 
Whitted, Oliver P. 
Whitter, Baltzer 


James H. Hall 

Beecher, Albert R. 
Considine, Peter 


Hesse, Stephen 
Robinson, Solomon 
Yost, Josiah W. 


Cassius P. Inman 


Mention has been made of the Butler county enlistments in 
this regiment, in connection with the history of Company A 
of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry. In addition to the names given 
there, one, that of Adam C. Pattee, a private, is given in connec- 
tion with the Forty-first. 


In the Forty-fourth Infantry, a regiment of one hundred day 
men which was mustered into the service of the United States at 
Davenport, June 1, 1864, with Stephen H. Henderson as colonel, 



Company E was recruited in Butler county and consisted largely 
of Butler county men. It was captained by H. F. L. Burton, of 
Clarksville. A list of its members is given below: 

Hiram W. Babcock 
Edward Nutting 

Amos G. Waters 
William Farlow 
Eliplialet W. Ensign 

Henry F. Blakenship 

Ackerson. Joseph 
Alexander, Frank E. 
Colver, Walter J. 
Dobbins, George P. 
Edson, William 
Failsom, Lewis L. 
Fague, Calvin J. 
Goodluxe, James M. 
Guthrie, Thomas E. 
Gilmore, Samuel 
Hilton, Seth 
Harmon, Charles R. 
Hopkins, Harvey H. 
Hunt. Hiram T. 
Kenison, George 


H. F. L. Burton 


Orin F. Shaw 
George A. Mead 


John C. Jerome 
Milo E. Mather 
Ezra Winship 
Willet A. Willis 


George Adair 

John L. Eddy 


Kenison, Solvin S. 
Low, Walter W. 
Maxwell, John E. 
Mather, Milo E. 
Mills, Adrian D. 
Orvis, Fletcher L. 
Overacker, Ransom P. 
Parthemer, Arthur A. 
Porter, George L. 
Spawn, Marion 
Smith, Oliver J. 
Scribner, John W. 
Sturdevant. Harvey B. 
Tibbies. James 
Voltz, Ferdinand 



Wright, Eugene A. 
Wieser, Andrew 
Wheeler, John 

Walter, John W. 
WiUett, Aaron B. 
Wilcox, Jacob 


Leonidas L. Lush 


In August, 1861, the Third Battery, more generally known 
as the Dubuque Battery, was organized in the city of Dubuque, 
with Capt. M. M. Hayden in command. The command distin- 
guished itself at Pea Ridge. Afterward its principal battle was 
at Helena, where it won high praise. It was subsequently in the 
Arkansas campaign. Enlistments from Butler coimty were as 
follows : 

Seymour Brookman 


Harvey Quinn 

Joseph Waters 

Zni- H. Graves 


Orvell O. WUliams 


William H. Bisbee 


Baker, John jST. 
Brooksland. Albert 
Brown, Andrew H. 
Clark, William H. H. 
Daniels, Samuel A. 
Davis, William W. 
Dawson. William 
Dockstader, L. F. 
Folsom, Daniel 

Hyde, Charles B. 
Hall, Lewis G. 
Kelly, John F. 
Martin. Charles S. 
Maxwell, George W. 
Owens, John D, 
Owens, Ludlow D. 
Owens, Chaimcey F. 
Overacker, Henry D. 


Richardson, William H. Wells, Sidney H. 

Wright, Samuel J. Yoetim, Christopher 


Charles S. Martin Hilaud H. Weaver 

Nathan W. Aplington William H. Main 

Joseph H. Waters 


Brooksland, Albert Hall, Lewis G. 

Bisbee, William H. Owen, John D. 

Folsom, Daniel ■ ■ Quinn. Harvey 

"dead on the field of fame" 

The following list includes so far as possible all soldiers from 
Butler county who gave up their lives for their country on the 
battlefields, in prison pens, in hospitals, or in their homes, as a 
result of wounds or disease contracted in service. Words are 
empty things when l)y their use it is attempted to olfer such 
heroes their just meed of praise and honor. It should be enough 
here to emblazon their names upon the roll of honor and to say of 
them all they are "dead on the field of fame." 

Mix, Lieutenant Colonel Edward H.. killed in battle, April 9, 
1864, at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Braden, Lieutenant John, died of womids at Rolla, Missouri, 
October 31, 1864. 

Ahrens, John, died at Macon, Georgia, September 25, 1862. 

Allen, Sylvester E., died September 26, 1863, at Brownsvill(\ 

Blackman, Anson, died March 3, 1865, at Nashville, Tennessee,' 

Boylan, Cornelii;s. died in Andersonville prison, September 
21, 1864. 

Burgess, Eli S.. died March 7, 1863, at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, 

Bird, William O., died at Macon, Georgia, September 29, 1862, | 

Booram, John, died June 29, 1862, at Corinth, ^Mississippi. 


Blass, John W., killed iu battle, April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, 

Burton, George H., killed April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, 

Boon, Sylvester M., died January 3, 1863, at Cape Girardeau, 

Boon, James H., died September 26, 1863, at Little Rock, 

Babcock, Joseph, died June 5, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Brooksland, Albert, died September 5, 1865, at Port Smith. 

Champlain, William R., died May 21, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, 
Louisiana, of wounds. 

Clawson, Phineas, died June 5, 1864, at Memphis, Tennessee. 

Considine, Peter, died at Keokuk, December 5, 1862, of typhoid 

Cook, H. D., died at Butler Center while home on furlough, 
January 12, 1864. 

Cummins John R. died of wounds received in action at Pilot 
Knob, Missouri, October 25, 1864. 

Cotton, Charles M., died in hospital. 

DeWitt Stephen, killed April 6, 1862, at Shiloh, Tennessee, in 

Dodge, Mordeeai, died March 5, 1864, at Cohmibus, Kentucky. 

Daniels, Alfred, died March 2, 1864, at Benton Barracks, Mis- 

DeMoss, James, died October 10, 1862, at Corinth, Mississippi, 
of wounds. 

Davis, William W., killed July 14, 1863. 

Dockstader, Leonard T., died August 24, 1865, at Little Rock, 

Ferris, Theodore H., died April 26, 1863, at Fort Pillow, Ten- 

Farlow, Uriah, died July 1, 1864, at Cedar Falls. 

Hoisington, Hiram, died in prison at Atlanta, Georgia, June 
30, 1862. 

Hodgson, Samuel, died May 7, 1865, at St. Louis, Missouri. 

Hopkins, Harvev W., died at Memphis, Tennessee, September 
19, 1864. 

Halstead, William R., died July 8, 1864, at Memphis, Ten- 

Henderson, David M., died March 12, 1865, at Davenport. 


Hites, Elijah, killed April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Hough, Nehemiah R., died June 4, 1864, at Vicksburg, Missis- 

Hesse, Stephen, died February 9, 1863, at Fort Pillow , Ten- 

Hubbai'd, George, died at Butler Center, May 12, 1862. 

Trnnan, Cassius, died September 13, 1863, at New Orleans, 

Tnman, Frank E., died at Memphis, Tennessee, June 24, 1864. 

Johnson, Charles, died of woimds received in battle of Shiloh, 
AprH 21, 1862. 

Kelley, Marshall, died at New Madrid, December 21, 1862. 

Kimmel, George W., died March 8, 1863, at Fort Pillow, Ten- 

Kimmel, Zacheus F., died April 5, 1863, at Fort Pillow, Ten- 

Leverich, Willard, killed March 7, 1862, at Pea Ridge. 

Long, Wesley H., died April 27, 1864, at New Orleans, 

Lewis, Charles, died September 16, 1864, at Tyler, Texas, while 
prisoner of war. 

Lewis, Wilbert L., killed April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, in 

Mason, George, died at St. Louis, January 25, 1862. 

Martin, Henry, killed June 23, 1863, at Vicksburg, Mississippi. 

Mix, Thomas M., killed September 17, 1861, at Blue Mills, Mis- 

Myers, John M., killed March 7, 1862, at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, 
in action. 

Myers, Joseph R.. killed in battle of Corinth, Mississippi, 
October, 1862. 

Myers, Philip B., died of wounds received at Atlanta, Georgia, 
August 1, 1864. 

McCain, John, died September 12, 1863, at Brownsville, Ar- 

Miller, Elias G., died December 12, 1863, at Benton, Arkansas. 

Miller, Francis M., died January 20, 1863, at Cape Girardeau, 

Nutting, Edmond, died at Memphis, June 29, 1864. 

Ohnstead, Robert L., died April 20, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, 
Louisiana, of wounds. 


Parks, George, died of wounds received at Matamora, Ten- 
nessee, October 18, 1862. 

Parriott, Jasper, killed April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, 

Phillipi, Jehu, killed April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Paul}', Charles, died of typhoid fever, Huntsville, Missouri, 
February 16, 1862. 

Pierce Moses, died July 14, 1864, at Cairo, Illinois. 

Spears, William, died of chronic diarrhoea, November 10, 1864, 
at Sedalia, Missouri. 

Surfus, Emanuel, died at Camp Franklin, November 6, 1862. 

Shefter, James M., died July 8, 1864, at Memphis, Tennessee. 

Smith, Isaac A., died March 10, 1865, at Spirit Lake. 

Stockdale William, died March 4, 1864, at Momid City, Illinois. 

Smith, James, died July 24, 1863, at Columbus, Kentiicky. 

Sperry, James TJ., died February 8, 1864, at Vicksburg, Mis- 

Swim, John B., killed April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Sturtz, Solomon, died June 6, 1864, at Vicksburg, Mississippi. 

Sturtz, Michael, died November 3, 1864, at Little Rock, Ar- 

Stvirtz, Adam, died May 22, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Sturdevant, Harvey B., died August 30, 1864, at Keokuk. 

Thomas, Henry, died March 4, 1863, at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. 

Winchell, Lyford, died at Shell Rock, Butler county, Iowa, 
November 12, 1863. 

Wilson Ezra S., died May 19, 1863, at Fort Pillow, Tennessee. 

Waters, Julius A., killed April 9, 1864, at Pleasant Hill, 

Wamsley, Martin V., died June 26, 1864, at Tyler, Texas, while 
prisoner of war. 



A very few settlers of the fifties are now living in Butler 
county ; most of them have gone to their final rest. To meet the 
men and. women who came here when the land was given over to 
wild beasts and scarcely less wild red men, and hear them by word 
of mouth describe the new country and detail their varied and 
remarkable experiences, is an event out of the usual course and 
one that never fails of interest to the historian. Of the sraall rem- 
nant of this band of hardy pioneers still remaining are Thomas 
Hunt and wife, of Clarksville, H. C. Brown, of Dumont, who came 
in 1867, and Mrs. Charlotte E. Levis and her sister, Miss Caroline 
Monroe, now living in Allison. These men and women were here 
when Butler county was in its infancy and have lived to witness 
the metamorphosis of the wild prairies into highly cultivated 
fields of grain, dotted hither and yon with beautiful residences 
and spacious outbuildings. They have lived to see busy little 
villages and towns grow up as if by magic, and the building of 
the first railroad in the county comes within the period of their 
residence here. They have told a part of the great story of the 
birth and growth of Butler county and the details are submitted 
to the reader of this volume. 


I came to Butler county from my old home in Trumbull coimty, 
Ohio, in 1854, locating on a quartei- section of land in section 32, 
Butler townshi]), which I had entered. I boarded with the Far- 
low family, which liad located on section 17, and two years after 
my arrival I led to tlic altar Nancy, the daughter of Abner arid 
Nancy Farlow, with whom I had made my home. I at once built 
a one-story frame house on my quarter section and began hoiise- 
keeping with my bride, who is still at my side. 



The Farlows arrived in Butler tuwnsliip soou after I came and 
begau tlieir prairie life in a cabin already built on the land, whicli 
they purchased of John Bay. In this log house we were married. 

When I located in the township already established in their 
humble and primitive homes were Alfred Elam and family, who 
came from Indiana in 1853. Also Harlan Beard an old time friend 
from Kentucky and unmarried; he rose to the rank of colonel in 
the Civil war. There were also Malon and William Wamsley, 
of Ohio, Samuel McCreery, Walker Bishop and John Modlin from 
Indiana. About this time also located in the toAvnship Thomas 
Clark, Jeremiah Clark, Seth Hilton, Peter Spoor, John Arm- 
strong, John Hicks and G. W. Poisal, all of whom had families. 
My brother, H. D. Hunt, also came in 1853 and I very much 
desired to come with him, but I didn't have enough money. When 
my brother returned to Ohio and then back to Iowa in 1854, I 
came with him. I should say here, however, that Morrison, Wil- 
liam and Roby Taylor and Clement Burton Avere in the township 
and located as early as 1852. 

There were only a few settlers Avho located in Butler tow-nship 
in 1855 and many of those who were here left through fear of 
the Indians. 

John Heery, whom I knew well, entered the first land in But- 
ler township. This was a cjuarter section on the edge of Clarks- 
ville and was taken up by Heer}^ in 1852. John Heery was a native 
of Ireland and on coming to the United States first located in Wis- 
consin. He subsequently found himself in Dubuque, from which 
place he A\alked to this locality, carrying provisions on his ))ack. 
He first stopped at Newells, wdio gave him so glowing a descrip- 
tion of the country that he staked out a claim and a year there- 
after, upon going to the land office at Dubuque, he found his pat- 
ent already made out for him. On this land he built a log cabin 
and lived there four or five j-ears. He then put up a more preten- 
tious residence, which was his home until he passed away twenty 
or twenty-five years ago. Two sons still live on the old home- 
stead; John, the eldest son, is a resident of Clarksville. 

The Indian scare is treated in a rather facetious manner by 
Mr. Hunt. Of that widespread alarm, which culminated as a 
frontier will o' the wisp, he says: 

I was working in Shell Rock at the time of the Indian scare 
in 1854. One evening my friend, Henry Sweitzer, and myself 
were spending the time with a couple of village belles, when a 


man came to the door of the room in which we were sitting and 
caused a fearful coimnotion among the women, by exclaiming that 
the Indians had broken out at Clear Lake, were torturing and 
butcherinji every pale face they could find and were coming our 
way thirsting for more scalps. At the time there were three trap- 
pers at Clear Lake with families and they sent in a cry for help. 
Sweitzer and I vokmteered our services with some eighteen or 
twenty otliers. Bullets were moulded and with our squirrel rifles 
we marched as far as Nora Junction, where we found an old trap- 
per, Dan Whetsel, in his cabin. Here we stayed all night, most 
of which was passed in dancing. The next day the band of Indian 
slayers reached Clear Lake. Here the motley band was aug- 
mented l)y the arrival of men from Clarksville, Shell Rock and 
along the road. Superintendent of Schools Eads was made colonel 
of the Indian fighters, M. M. Trumbull, captain, and I was given 
the responsible duties of sergeant. The day was July 4th. Eads 
made a speech and the men fired the national salute. There being 
plenty of whisky in the crowd, some of the men got drunk and 
fired indiscriminately into the crowd. They had to be squelched. 

The night of July -Itli, guards were placed where most needed. 
Along toward morning a terrible thunder storm came on and the 
lightning was extremely ^dvid. This wakened everybody, and 
when the lightning flashed particularly brilliant, many imagined 
they could distinguish the "red devils" skidking behind trees and 
bushes. This made us all vigilant and kept us on the alert until 
morning. But daylight showed no sign of the expected savages 
and after we had taken a swim in the lake the troops were marched 
to Clarksville, and upon our arrival, we found the men of the vil- 
lage busily and frantically engaged in building a fort. They 
wanted mv'self and others to assist but I told them I was a warrior, 
and that warriors did not work. 

The fort was never flnished. It stood on the second block east 
of Main street and A\-as made of logs. At this time there were 
only two or three families in Clarksville. One of them belonged 
to G. W. Poisal. who lived in a log cabin covered with sod. How- 
ever, the great Indian scare, while it resulted from a canard, has 
lived all these years in the history of Butler and other counties, 
and no detailed story of the county is considered complete without 
some mention of the incident. Knowing the present historian will 
not neglect his duty in this regard, it is superfluous for me to 
continue anv farther. 



The Monroe sisters were both little girls when their parents 
came to Bntler county. Since the year 1883, they have been resi- 
dents of tlie county seat and the pioneer milliners of that place. 
Both are now advanced in years, but their memories of the early 
days of this western country are clear and vi\id, fortunately for 
the presciit aiid coming generations wh«> will have been edified 
and benefited by the preservation of their story in this volume. 
At times in the interview graciously accorded the writer hy them, 
fii'st one and then the other of these intelligent and charming 
ladies, was the relator. Hence, as a convenient mode of transi^os- 
iug their recital of events to these pages, the personal pronoun in 
the first person will be observed in these remembrances. 

My father, George W. Monroe, was a native of the State of 
New York. He was a manufacturer of woolen cloth and having 
confined himself too closely to his business affairs, his health gave 
way. An outdoor life was prescnibed for him. He at once got 
the Western fever. Getting together household goods and other 
necessaries, ^\■hi(•ll were packed in a big wagon and with a load of 
woolen cloth in another wagon, father with his family and chattels 
headed for Rock Island, Illinois. But one night while on our way 
to what was to us an unknown country, inhal)ited by nnu'derous 
Indians and wild beasts, we fell in with a traveler, who in the 
midst of his conversation told father he had relatives in Butler 
county, Iowa, who had entered land there. His descri])tion of the 
country A\-as a glowing one and this decided my father to go to this 
fertile spot and Imild him a prairie home. He knew nothing 
about farming, l)nt he was willing and eager to try his hand at 
that noble industry. So we reached Willoughliy. The night was 
dark and the prairie grass having lieen burned intensified the 
impenetralde 1)lackness of the sky. There was no road, no timl)er, 
nothing l)ut the open prairie like a vast inland sea, and on its 
unknown sm-face we began to realize that we were lost. There 
in the darkness of the night we wandered around on the prairie 
and at last, Avhen almost ready to despair of relief from our quan- 
dery, we noticed sparks of fire flying ahead of us. These became 
our beacon liglit, and following them, we were led to a cabin. 
Hearing our "halloo" the door of the cabin was opened and the 
hospitable host, who proved to be Dan Peterson, took us in and 
gave us every comfort his humble home afforded. This pioneer 


family we soon learned was composed of seven persons : the hus- 
band and wife and five children. The structure in which they 
lived was built of logs. It was 11x14 feet in dimensions. The 
absence of a floor was at once noticeable. The door and roof were 
made of "shakes." In this diminutive habitation, the Peterson 
family of seven, and the Monroe family of five, twelve human 
beings in all, dwelt together in mutual helpfulness and hannony 
five long wrecks. In the meanwhile, father went to Dubuque to file 
his claim and under his instructions Peterson and Nathan Linn 
cut out logs for our cabin and laid them. While they Avere doing 
this, upon his retm-n from Dubuque, father went to Cedar Falls 
and brought back a stove which he set up in the unfinished cabin, 
on which he melted frozen earth to make plaster with which to 
close up the interstices between the logs. Before the cabin was 
finished, we moved into it, late in November. This Avas quite a 
change from our eastern home — a three-story brick house. 

The nearest strip of timber was three miles from our home in 
Monroe township, and on this we depended for firewood. From 
the sawmill twelve miles distant, father hauled lumber, made 
from logs he had cut, with which he laid a floor in our home. In 
this respect we were ahead of our neighbors, for ours was the 
only family in the township having a floor in the house. 

I well remember that there was an abundance of wild fruit 
near the present village of Kesley, particidarly plmns, grapes, 
(.-rabapples and berries. The locality was known in early days as 
Bear Grove, or Island Grove, and aboimded with these primitive 
luxuries of the table. Soon after we had become established in 
oui' cabin home, father plowed a furrow around his claim, and in 
the following spring traded his horses for five yoke of oxen, with 
which he broke forty acres of the prairie, which jdelded a good 
crop of sod corn, potatoes, and the finest watermelons I think I 
ever ate. About this time two Hopley families located in the 
settlement. The Petersons and Linns sold their claims to one 
Criswell and "Doc" Loveland, and moved away. Loveland 
remained a short time and then removed to Janesville, in Bremer 

The first school we girls attended in Monroe township was 
taught by Thomas Conn in the bedroom of his home, which stood 
on the southeast qnarter of section I. As pupils he had four of 
the Criswell children — Robert, -Tames, Nettie and John; Louise 
Perry and brother, Caroline Monroe, Stanley Conn, a grandson 


of the teacher. The next summer a schoolhouse was built on the 
section west of us and the building was boarded up and down. 
Loose boards were laid on the roof and on the floor at the rear of 
the room, for the teacher's table and chair. Rough hewn boards 
were used for benches and there was a standing desk made by 
fastening a board on posts. There were no doors or windows 
and when it rained I tell you we caught it! Any old book was 
used and we were taught readin', 'ritin' and 'rithmetic. 

The winter of 1857 was a very sevi're one and there was more 
or less suffering, both by man and beast. The snow drifted as 
high as a horse's back and on the level the snow froze over and 
formed a crust, thick and strong enough to l)ear the stock. How- 
ever, deer would break through in places and become helpless. 
While in this condition they were easy prey to the severe cold 
and the settler who came upon them, so that they were almost 
exterminated before the weather moderated. 

The first sermon preached to the settlers in this neighborhood 
was delivered at the home of Joe Embody by Preacher Brown, 
an exhorter, who lived at the time at Horse Neck, later known 
as New Albion. 

Tt was in the month of October, 1855, that we arrived in Butler 
county, and located on a claim in the southwest quarter of section 
1. In this humble home the family lived for five years and then 
we moved to Ripley township and made our home there for 
another five years, having traded the quarter section in Monroe 
township for a tract of two hundred and forty acres in Ripley. 
Father built a log house on this latter place, which borders on the 
West Fork and later he erected a comfortable frame house. In 
1865 we again packed up our chattels and set out for Illinois, 
retaining the Ripley township farm, however. After a short 
stay in the "Sucker" state, father decided to return to Butler 
county. This time he located on a fann in Jackson township, one 
and one-half miles southeast of Allison, where Thomas Curtis 
now lives. We remained there imtil 1883, when we became resi- 
dents of Allison. 

The Monroe family besides my parents consisted of two girls, 
Caroline and Charlotte, both little lassies in short dresses at the 
time of our arrival here, and a boy, (reorge W., Jr., who died when 
quite young. While we lived in Monroe township our nearest 
postofifice was Cedar Falls, twenty-five miles away; and it was 
here we got our groceries, for part of which we bartered butter 


and eggs. For the butter we were paid 3 cents a pound, and 
in return got salt that cost us 5 cents a pound. At the time of 
our settlement here there were only three other families in the 
township — Joe Embody 's, Nathan Linn's and Dan Peterson's. 

The only family we found in Ripley township at the time 
of our location there were the James Hunters, Joe Embodys, 
who had moved from Monroe, and George McConnell, an old bach- 
elor. Two miles up the river was Daniel Considine ; John Moore- 
head lived one and one-half miles northwest. The place where we 
bunt our cabin in Ripley had been an Indian camping ground for 
fifty years and at the time wigwams were still standing on the 
farm. Here my brother gathered many stone uteusUs and weapons 
of the aborigines. Of a morning we often saw deer running across 
the prairies and many a time they would come close to our cabin 

As I have before said, we moved to Allison in 1883, at which 
time there Avere about one hundred and fifty inhabitants. George 
Martin's livery stable, the first in Allison, had been built; he 
retired from the business several years ago in favor of his son, 
Bert, who is running the business at the original barn, the first 
building erected in Allison. The first Allison House stood on the 
site of the present Arnold store building and was destroyed by 
fire a few years ago. The first landlord of the hostelry was 
Charles Coi*win. The structure was a three-story frame. James 
Winsett's hardware store was in the building now occupied by 
Hill's clothing establishment. The first grocer was Fletcher 
Moore. His place of business was in a building that stood on the 
site of the sash factory. Mike Weire's blacksmith shop was in 
operation at the time and is still under the management of that 
pioneer artisan at the old stand. A man by the name of Bishop 
had a furniture store, and our millinery shop was in the building 
now occupied by Walt Dickman. The building stood on the site 
of Missman's law and abstract offices. C. W. Williams catered 
to the general trade ; Dr. Riggs was the druggist and was estab- 
lished in a building he had erected, now the home of the Racket 
store. Next door was Turner Birkbeck's building in which he 
had a store. Levi Baker had a restaurant in Mawby's store room. 
In a building erected by Dr. Burl)ank was a drug store and Har- 
bert & Anderson's dry- goods emporium. The present postoffice 
building was first occupied by the Ray Bank and then by the Citi- 
zens Bank. North of this was Anna Myer's millinery store and 


adjoining was Combellick's meat market. Aside the track tlie 
town site company put up an elevator and not far away was Bar- 
low's lumberyard. The barber shop building was occupied by a 
saloon. In 1883 Frank Dodge was editor of the Tribune. The 
plant was in the second story of a building, the first floor of which 
was occupied by George Stockwell's general store. This house 
stood on the corner south of the telephone exchange. Next to this 
was W. A. Lathrop's law office, which, was on the gToxmd floor. 
His family was installed in the second story. 


Henry C. Brown has lived at Dumont since the year 1867 and 
has seen Pittsford township grow from a sparsely settled com- 
munity to one now generously peopled and containing many 
farms not to be surpassed by any other section of northern Iowa. 
Mr. Brown is a man of education and discernment. Well informed 
in local affairs he takes a great intei-est in the history of Biitler 
county and while this work was in preparation ver.y kindly con- 
sented to contribute his recollections of the salient events which 
have come under his notice since residing here. He sa3"s : 

I came to Iowa from New Hampshire in the year 1856, shortly 
after my discharge from the army, and first stopped at Waterloo, 
where I remained about three weeks and while there I ran across 
a man by the name of Burr, who had a farm in Pittsford town- 
ship, on the southwest quarter of section 27, and about three- 
fourths of a mile east of Dmnont. F'rom his descriptions of this 
part of the country I was induced to come here and on the 13tli 
day of March, 3867, I arrived with my family. 

I found liviug in Pittsford township in 1867 William P. Jami- 
son, on section 29; just west of him, on section 30, was James J. 
Harlan, and Nathan Harlan, with their widowed mother and her 
daughter, now Mrs. Samuel De Armoun, who has been a widow 
many years and is now in the eighty-fifth year of her age. James 
Woods lived a little west. John Jamison, a son of William P. 
Jamison, lived on section 29; east of Dumont were W. R. Nichols 
and J. M. Nichols, on section 26 ; and just south of them, on sec- 
tion 35, were Elias Friek and family; all settled near the timl)e]". 

From Frick's, as we came a little east of north, we reached 
S. W. Ferris' place, but he had not built at that time; near him 
was 0. C. Smith 's. Arriving at what was one time known as ' ' Pill- 


town", there was one Linebaeli, wliu had located there; just west 
of hkn was James Boyh\n ; west of Boylan lived a man whose place 
I purchased, but his name has escaped me. North of this land 
lived Silas Needham and a little northwest of him lived his 
brother, C. B. Needham. On the township line, but in Pittsford, 
there was a Titus family, who lived in a little log house. 

About Boylan 's grove was quite a settlement. Just at the 
outskirts of the grove on the northwest, was a Civil war veteran, 
Bennie Anderson. From thence north was Alexander Cline, on 
section 1 ; between this section and Bristow, lived Joseph Merrill, 
on section 13 ; and west of him was James McKinney, also on sec- 
tion 13 ; his daughter became Mrs. Joseph Merrill. 

A little south of McKinney 's on section 13, James Logan 
located with his family. Where Bristow now stands and south of 
Merrill's, on section 13, lived George Trindle. EiDhraim McKin- 
ney settled on section 14; also one Parmenter. 

When I came into Pittsford township the Boylans lived around 
the grove of their name ; the Jamisons had been residents sixteen 
years; Dr. Tiehenor lived at "Pillto^vn" and probably was 
responsible for the name; James Boylan lived on section 23; on 
the west side of the road, going farther west to Boylan 's grove, 
Levi Hewitt was to be found. H. A. Early, father of "Mace" 
Early, of Allison, lived close to Hewitt in the grove ; on section 12 
resided a w^dow named Mrs. Rush, the mother of J. M. Nichols. 
The okl lady practiced medicine and was quite noted for her 
cures ani(»ng the settlers of her day. 

South of Eai-ly's and Hewitt's was the home of W. R. Nichols, 
a brother of J. M. Nichols; on section 35 T. M. Early, a son of H. 
A. Early, made his residence. 

In the days soon after the war, or i-athei", when I came, the 
county was still young and the settlers were all "hard up." Pub- 
lic improvements had been abated during the years of rebellion 
and traveling was not only tedious, but at times dangerous. There 
were no bridges and when the streams were swollen by rains or- 
quick thaws I often had to get out of my wagon and get things 
across the West Fork as best I could. Frick had a little 1)oat, 
which often was brought into play when transporting our things, 
over the stream to our team and wagon on the other side. At one^ 
time the Methodists were holding quarterly meeting. The pastor- 
supplying the pulpit at Dumont lived at Aplington and stayed 
at my house. That night came a big thaw, which caused the,- 


streams to fill and overflow tlieir banks. The bottoms were cov- 
ered with water. Suddenly, the weather changed to bitter cold 
and it began to freeze. The Reverend Hall and Elder Lee started 
for home behind a pair of colts, which, breaking through the ice, 
became immanageable. Fearing for their lives and safety of the 
horses, the good men of the church were reluctantly persuaded by 
the situation to get out into the water, and make back to the 
cheery home of their host. Upon entering my sitting room the 
men jDresented a sorry appearance and were almost frozen. I at 
once supplied Elder Lee with dry clothes, but the clergyman would 
have none of them, preferring to sit by the hot stove and let them 
dry on his body. The Dumonts came over to my house before 
the night was over, and it seems the minister and the elder vied 
with each other to see who could best tell the story of their mishap 
to my callers. 

There was no village or town in Butler county in 1867, the 
year of my arrival. S. B. Dumont lived on the hill at the end of 
the street going north, and had been there about three or four 
years. His son, Dr. T. A. Dumont, now a druggist in Dumont, 
was then fourteen years of age. When the town was incorporated 
I think there were about two hundred inhabitants. I lived on 
section 27, just east of town, sixteen years, and then moved on 
section 29, inside the corporation limits. The founder of the town, 
S. B. Dumont, has been gone to his reward a number of years; 
Ms good wife preceded him to the grave some five or six years. 


After the organizatiou of the county no steps were immedi- 
atel.y taken for its division into townships. As the number of 
settlers in various parts of the county increased it became evi- 
dent that some further provision must be made for local sub- 
division of government. Accordingly, on Feb. 6, 1855, County 
Judge John Palmer made the following division of the county 
into four townships: 

''The township of Butler, to consist of congressional town- 
ships 92 and 93, range 15, and township 92 and the east half of 93, 
range 16; the township of Coldwater, of congressional township 
93, range 17, and the east half of township 93, range 16 ; the town- 
ship of Ripley, to consist of congressional townships 90, 91 and 
92, range 17, and townships 90, 91, 92 and 93, range 18 ; the town- 
ship of Beaver, to consist of congressional townships 90 and 91, 
range 15, and townships 90 and 91, range 16." 

By this division the four townships comprised territory now 
organized as follows : 

Butler township then included all of Fi-emont, Butler and 
Jackson townships, and the east half of Dayton. Coldwater 
included in addition to its present area, the west half of Dayton. 
Ripley township consisted of what are now the townships of 
Bennezette, Pittsford, Madison, Washingion, Monroe, Ripley 
and West Point. Beaver township included Jefferson, Shell Rock 
and Albion, in addition to what is now known as Beaver town- 

On the 15th of February of the same year Lyman Norton was 
authorized by warrant to organize the township of Beaver. On 
February 26th, W. R. Jamison was appointed to organize Ri])ley 
township, and Aaron Hardman, Coldwater township. 

On the 3d of March, 1856, the second division of the county 
into townships was made. By order of the county court seven 



tuwusliips were uow formed as follows : Butler township, with the 
same boundaries as before; Coldwater township to constitute its 
present limits with the addition of what is now Bennezette town- 
ship and the west half of Dayton township ; West Point township 
to include with its present limits that of Pittsford as well ; Riple)' 
townshiij was reduced to inclnde only its present limits and what 
is now Madison township. Shell Rock township was formed and 
included Shell Rock and Jefferson. Beaver township was cut in 
half and the to'UTishij) of Monroe formed of the two cont2,ressional 
townshi])s on the west, now Monroe and Washingion. 

Thei'c is no record of the persons appointed to organize these 
new townships. The names of the township officers elected at the 
first election held within the new limits prescribed liy this order 
of the county court are given so far as they are al^le to be fomid 
in connection with the separate histories of the townships. 

At the Mai-ch term of the county court in 1857, A. Van Dorn, 
county .iudge. on the i)etition of George A. Richmond and other 
citizens of Shell Rock township, ordered that congressional town- 
ship 91 north, range 16 west, be separated from Shell Rock town- 
ship and oi'ganized as a judicial township under the name of Jef- 
ferson. George A. Richmond was commissioned to organize this 
township. At the same time on petition of Nathan Olmstead and 
other citizens of Beaver township, this township was divided and 
the township of Albion formed from its western half. Alonzo 
Olmstead was authorized to organize the judicial township. 

Bennezette township was se})arat('d from Goldwatei' and given 
a separate organization in accordance with an order of the county 
court, dated ]\Iarch 14, 1858. At this time a warrant was issued 
to Samuel Ovei-furf to call the first election in this township to be 
held on Monday, April 5, 1858, at the dwelling house of Samuel 

On the lltli of Mareh. 18,58, Judge Comerse authorized the 
organization of the township of Jackson, consisting of congres- 
sional township 92 noi'th, range 16 west. A warrant was issued 
to E. D. Mai-quand directing him to call the first election in the 
township, Ai)ril 5, 1858, at the dwelling house of John H. Van 

The organization of Pittsford township was ordered Ijy the 
coimty court on March 13. 1858, with its present boundaries. A. 
C. Needham was directed by warrant to call an election in the 
township for the 5th of April, 1858, at the home of Silas T. Need- 


liam, at whicli time the official orgauization of the township was to 
be completed. By this act West Poiut was reduced to its present 
limits and John Lash was ordered to call an election on the same 
date as above for the final organization of the township in its pres- 
ent form. 

On the 5th day of September, 1859, the township of Fremont 
was organized by the county court of Butler county, comprising 
congressional township 93 north, range 15 west. This towoiship 
had hitherto been attached to Butler. A warrant was issxied to 
William R. Phillips to call the first election to be held at his house 
on the 11th of October. 

No further change was made in the township organization until 
the September term of the county court in 1860. On the 3d day 
of September, 1860, W. H. Long presented a petition asking that 
congressional township No. 90 north, range 18 west, be organized 
into a township for civil purposes. It was therefore ordered by 
the couuty court that this township be organized under the name 
of Washington, and William H. Long was directed to call the 
first election in this township on Tuesday, the 6th day of Novem- 
ber, 1860, at the home of R. R. Parriott, for the purpose of electing 
said county and township officers. On the same day C. Forney 
presented a petition asking that the township of Dayton be organ- 
ized with its present boundaries. C Forney was directed by the 
coimty court to call the first election on Nov. 6, 1860, at the 
house of Richard Challew. 

Madison township at the same time was set off from Ripley 
on petition of Peter Coyle and others and a warrant was issued 
to the said Coyle to call the first election in the township, Novem- 
ber 1st, at the house of Jacob Yost. This completed the final 
organization of Butler county into sixteen townships with the 
present boundaries. 


The civil township of Albion coincides in its limits with the 
congressional township numbered 90 north and range 16 west of 
the fifth principal meridian. It is in the southern tier of town- 
ships of the county contiguous to Grundy county on the south, 
Monroe township on the west, Jefferson on the north and Beaver 
on the east. 

The major portion of the township is drained by Beaver creek 
which flows through it from west to east, traversing the south 
central portion. The west fork of the Cedar passes through a 
portion of section 1 near the northeast corner of the townsliip. 
In an earlj^ day the Beaver was bordered b.y a belt of natural tim- 
ber of considerable width. Some of this still remains but the 
major portion was burned out and killed by a prairie fire, which 
has been mentioned in an earlier chapter. 

The surface is somewhat more irregular and broken than that 
of the townships in the central part of the county and in some 
parts the soil has a larger proportion of sand in its make-up. 
However, the entire township is so constituted as to be capable 
of intensive cultivation. All the staple cereal crops are success- 
fully raised here, and dairying and the raising of both cattle and 
hogs and all the other incidental products of the farms are carried 
on with success and profit. 

Two lines of railroad traverse the southern and southwestern 
portions of the township, the Illinois Central passing through it 
from west to east, and the Northwestern entering from the south 
in section 33 and turning westward through Parkersburg. 

The Hawkeye Highway, a dragged i-oad across Iowa from 
Dubuque to Sioux City passes through the township, entei'ing 
along the line of the Illinois Central from the east and following 
this line of road to the section line between sections 27 and 34. 
From tliis point on. it follows the section lines until it reaches 



the limits of Parkersburg. Tliis highway is in charge of a com- 
missioner Ivuowu as the Hawlveye Highway Conmiissiouer and 
owes its origin to the enthusiastic efforts of W. F. Parrott of the 
Waterloo Reporter, to secure a satisfactory automobile road 
through the state from east to west in northern Iowa. 

The railroad crossing at the point where the Hawkeye High- 
way crosses the line of the Northwestern, about a half mile west 
of the Sinclair school, has achieved an unenviable notoiiety, from 
the fact that within the limit of about six weeks in the suimner of 
1913, thi-ee persons were killed on this crossing. These deaths 
may in part, at least, be attributable to the fact that the approach 
of a railway train from the south is concealed by a cut and by 
cornfields on either side of the track. It is to be hoped that such 
tragic events as those occurring here in 1913 may not be further 
necessary to call the attention of the people and the legislators 
to the necessity of providing ample means for safeguarding the 
lives of people who traverse our country highways. 


The earliest settlers in Albion township pushed up along the 
valley of the Beaver, hence the date of its first settlement is later 
by several years than that of Beaver township to the east. In 
common with other sections of the county, there were a nnmber 
of transient or nomadic inhabitants in the period, which, for the 
purposes of this history, may be termed pre-historic— earlier 
than 1850. No record has been or need be made of the sojourns 
of these persons, as they affected in no way whatsoever the sub- 
sequent histor}^ of the township or county. 

The first man to locate in Allnon township vnth the intention 
of making it his permanent home, was one Walter Clayton, who 
in the spring of 1853 staked out a claim on the southeast quarter 
of section 30, just east of the corporate limits of what is now the 
town of Parkersburg. Cla>i:on came from Wisconsin, driving 
through with an ox team. After about three weeks travel he 
reached Butler county and finding a location to his liking, pro- 
ceeded to erect a log cabin thereon. Here he lived alone for six 
months, his family having remained behind him in Wisconsin. 
Not understanding the law governing the formal entry of land 
claims, he failed to comply with its provisions. In the mean- 
time, a man in Cedar Falls, named Thomas Mullarky, made for- 


inal entry of this land in the Government land office and notified 
Clayton that he would be compelled to surrender possession of 
the premises. He paid Clayton $150 for his cabin and the other 
improvements which he had made on the claim, and in April, 
1854, Clayton moved on to the west and located in Monroe town- 
ship, where also he was the first settler. He will be noted in con- 
nection with the history of that township. 

In the fall of 1853 Pireell 8. Turner and his son Abel settled in 
Albion township, locating a claim on section 14. It is learned 
from the records of the land office that the elder Turner at least 
had made an earlier visit to this locality, for on the 22d of March, 
1853, he made the first formal entry of land in Albion township, 
the entry being for a claim in section 14, upon which they located 
in the fall following. Pireell C. Turner was a native of England. 
He lived here with his son for a time and was later killed by the 
cars while on his way to Ohio, the place of his former residence. 
Abel Turner, the son, continued his residence on the farm where 
they had located, for a number of years. Portions of this claim 
are still in possession of the family. 

The second entry of land in the township was made by J. J. 
Bieknell, on April 27, 1853, and was also on section 14. The third 
entry by George Greene, on Jidy 1, 1853, was for land on section 24. 

The fourth entry in the township was made July 6, 1853, by 
TT. S. Peck, in section 25. 

On the 6th of October, 1853, W. J. Barney, a Dubuque cap- 
italist, Avhose name appears very frequently in the early records 
of land entries in Butler county, made the fifth entry — two claims 
on sections 30 and 14. 

The claim of Thomas Mullarky to the land upon which Walter 
Clayton had settled, as referred to above, was recorded on the 
12th of November, 1853. 

It would appear that the entries made by Turner and Bieknell 
in section 14 were the first original entries of land in any of the 
older settled townships to be made away from the timber or a 
stream of I'unning water. Whether or not these men were farther 
sighted than many of their contemporaries and saw the magnifi- 
cent possibilities of the future in this open prairie countrj^, or 
whether this was mci'cly an incidental circumstance, must forever 
remain unknown. 

Although this relatively large number of land entries was 
made in 1853, there were no further settlements in the township 


that year; 1854 saw the arrival of a number of settlers. In the 
spring of this year Wilniont Wilbur, the third settler in the town- 
ship, arrived from Canada and settled ui)()n the old Clayton place 
on section 30, apparently a peculiarly attractive location. He 
made no attempt to contest the prior rights of MuUarky to this 
land but lived here about six months and then left for St. Louis. 
Some time later while his wife was on her way to St. Louis to join 
him, she heard in some way that her husband had been murdered, 
whereupon she became insane and conunittecl suicide by jumping 
from the car window. 

In Jurie, 1854, George Younker, W. F. Younker and Jacob 
Kemmerer took up claims in Albion township. The Youidcers 
were brothers and were natives of Pennsylvania. Mrs. George 
Yomiker was a daughter of Henry B. Wemplc, who also located in 
the township in 1854. Mr. Wemple settled on section 28. Jacob 
Kenmierer's first home in the township was on section 3.3 — land 
which still remains in possession of the family. 

Richaixl Daniels, Pascal P. Parker, Sanmel Cramer, Michael 
Niece, Orlin Royee, Jacob Hall, Charles W. McEwen, Joseph Cod- 
ner, August Coon, Isaac Waters and Jacoli Prown were among 
the pioneers of 1854 in Albion township. P. P. Parker is the 
pioneer for Avliom the town of Parkersbiu'g was named. Joseph 
Codner located on section 27, bringing his family from Wisconsin, 
with an ox team. Later several other members of the Codner 
family settled in the same neighborhood, \vliere some members of 
the family still reside. Among these was H. P. Codner, whose son 
Walter is at present a prominent resident of Allison. 

Most of the settlers mentioned al)ove located in the southern 
part of the township. Jacob Brown was the first settler in the 
northern part of Albion. He came from Illinois with his family 
and purchased over one thousand acres lying in Beaver and Albion 
townships. Mr. Brown was a Methodist preacher and after liv- 
ing on his original holdings for about a year he sold a i>art of it to 
Elder Bicknell, a Baptist preacher. 

Henry Owen is another pioneer settler of the northern part of 
the township, locating on section 8. L. J). Owen, an uncle of Henry 
Owen, came to the township at the same time and settled on an 
adjoining farm. 

Moses J. Conn came from Canada in 1855 with his family and 
located in the northern part of the township. He later moved to 


Monroe township, with the history of which his family has been 
connected from the earliest days to the present time. 

Nathaniel Chesley, John Parker, Marshall Kelley, Asa Over- 
acker, E. W. Babcock, Mrs. Anna Jaqms, Solomon Lashbrook, 
William Waters, Peter Riley, Lorenzo Perry, Adam Leffler, 
Edward Dawson and Elijah Brown are remembered as among the 
settlers of 1855 and 1856. Edward Dawson was the father of 
William and E. A. Dawson, the former of whom has in recent years 
been supervisor of the county from the southern district, and the 
latter a leading attorney in Waverly. 

Another prominent settler in the townshij) in 1856 was Daniel 
Downey, who purchased his first land of Edward Dawson in sec- 
tion 9, Albion township. He eventually became one of the largest 
landowners in the township. His son Daniel is at the present time 
a prominent landowner and capitalist, with large interests in 
various parts of the county. 

Fi'om 1855 on settlement iti the township was very rapid, the 
record of entries and transfers of land within the limits of Albion 
in these and the succeeding years being too numerous to make 
it possible to make any detailed mention of the various settlers 
who located here at that time. In recent years large numbers of 
famihes of German nationality have settled upon farms in the 
township, especially in the northwestern portion. At the present 
time C. A. Wolf, of Parkersburg, is probably the largest landowner 
in the township. Among the prominent residents of the town- 
ship in later years may be mentioned LTarm and Okke Van Hauen, 
L. P. Hersey, the Reints and DeVries families, the Taimiiens and 
the Leerhoffs. 


By the order of the county court, Feb. 5, 1855, which first 
divided Butler county into civil townships, the territory now com- 
prised Avithin the limits of Albion township was made a part of 
Beaver, which then consisted of four congressional townships. In 
1856 this township was divided, Beaver thereafter being restricted 
to the southern half, or the two congressional townships, numbered 
15 and 16 west and 90 north. On March 2, 1857, Albion was 
organized with its present boundaries. P. P. Parker was author- 
ized to call the first election which was held at the house of Stephen 
Morse, a little over one mile east of the present site of Parkers- 


biu'g. The first officers elected Avere: Stephen Morse and Jesse 
Owen, justices of the peace; J. L. Kennnerer, E. H. Babcock and 
Asa Overaeker, trustees; P. P. Parker, clerk; Joseph Codner. con- 
stable; Abel Turner, assessor. 

proctor's pond 

This small body of water, situated in Beaver township, is with- 
out especial historic interest other than the occasion Avhich gave 
it its name. 

The people of Albion township were a union loving, law- 
abiding class, yet in 1864 there were a few who preferred the 
success of rebel arms and were outspoken in their denunciation 
of "Lincoln hirelings." A nimiber of these "brave boys in blue" 
chanced to be at home on a fui'loiigh — and these expressions of 
dislike towards the Union cause came to their ears. They soon 
traced out the source, and repairing to a wheat lield, found Jonas 
Proctor, the man they had business with, and demanded at once 
that he "hurrah for Lincoln and the Union." He positively 
refused, whereupon he was taken and given free transportation 
on a rail to this pond near New Hartford. On the way, a man 
by the name of Smith, of like tendency, was persuaded to join 
the interesting procession. Upon arriving at the water. Smith 
not desiring a bath, shouted lustily for the Union. Proctor, how- 
ever, remained sullen and silent, and was ducked. Still refusing 
to comply, the ducking was continued until he was unable to 
express himself otherwise than by grunts, which he did, indicat- 
ing also by motion of the hand his willingness. After thus 
expressing himself he was released. This body of water has been 
known from that day to this as "Proctor's Pond." 


The first mail route through the township was established in 
1855. Mail was carried on horseback from Cedar Falls to Iowa 
Falls and Fort Dodge until 1857, when a stage line under the con- 
trol of Fink & Walker was established. P. P. Parker's house was 
a regular stopping place on this stage route and remained such 
until the construction of the line of railroad. 

The first birth in the township occurred in August, 1854, when 
twin babies christened Alonzo and Melissa were born to Augustus 
and Catherine Coon. 


The first marriage of residents of Albion township took place 
on the 7th of January, 1856, the contracting parties bemg P. P. 
Parker and Miss Martha McEwen. The cerenionj- ^Yas performed 
by the Rev. Samuel Wright at the home of Adna Thomas, in 
Beaver townshii^. 

The first marriage within the limits of the township joined 
Abel Turner and Harriet Waters in the bonds of matrimony. 
This marriage was celebrated at the home of William S. Waters 
bv the Rev. John Conuell in 1857. 

The first death was that of a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wil- 
mont Wilbur, in July, 1854. 

The first religious services in the township were held by Rev. 
Mr. Burleigh at the home of W. F. Younker, in December, 1854. 


The first school in Albion township was taught by John Bick- 
nell in the winter of 1855-56, in a log schoolhouse at New Albion. 
The building in which this school was held was the first erected 
for school purposes in the township. It had been constructed in 
the fall of 1855. In the summer of 1856 the first frame school- 
house was erected in district No. 1. For school purposes, Albion 
is organized as a district township, there being at present eight 

No. 1 is knoM^i as the Sinclair school and the building stands 
at the southeast corner of section 28, a little over a quarter of a 
mile south of the railroad station at Sinclair. Miss Clarice Savage, 
a teacher in this school, was killed by a Northwestern railway 
train at the crossing west of the schoolhouse on Sept. 12, 1913. 

District No. 2, the New Albion school, has its schoolhouse on 
the township line at the northeast corner of section 4. For school 
purposes section 34, in Jefferson township, and the eastern half of 
section 33, south of the West Fork, are included within the New 
Albion district. 

The schoolhouse in district No. 3 is located midway on the 
western side of section 8. It is known as the Fleschner school. 

No. 4 is less than a mile east of the corporate limits of Par- 
kersburg on the Hawkeye Highway. 

The DeGroote schoolhouse, in sub-district No. 5, is located on 
the western side of section 24. 


Sclioolhouse No. 6 is tlie center school of the township, located 
a quarter of a mile from the southeastern corner of section 16. 

Swantou school No. 7 stands on the eastern side of section 11. 

School No. 8 is in the extreme southeastern portion of the 
township on the Grmidy county line. Considerable difficulty was 
experienced for some years in regard to the collection of tuition 
from Grundy comity pupils who attended this school. Recently 
this has been adjusted satisfactorily. J'here are usually a larger 
number of Grmidy county pupils than those from Albion township 
in attendance here. 


1860, .339; 1863, 419; 1865, 465; 1867, 615; 1869, 769; 1870, 
1,039; 1873, 961; 1875, 1,014; 1880, 1,349; 1890, 1,440; 1900, 1,689; 
1910, 1,433. 


A village by the name of New Albion was platted about 1856. 
It was situated in the north central portion of the township, lying 
partly in sections 3 and 4, Albion, and 33 and 34, of Jefferson. 
The parties interested in the project were Jacob Brown, Clifford 
Dawson, N. Chesley, John Barker, Dr. Wright and others. At 
one time it had a number of residences, with a sawmill, store, 
postoffice and other business enterprises. The postoffice was 
established as early as 1857, when Mrs. Lorenzo Perry returned 
from Cedar Falls with the official documents establishing a post- 
office at New Albion under the name of Swanton, and a commis- 
sion for Jacob Brown as postmaster. This office was continued 
until the establishment of the rural mail routes in this section of 
the county. A complete list of the postmasters is not available. 


Parkersburg lies in the Beaver valley and is located on sec- 
tion 30, in Albion township, and section 25, in Monroe. The 
greater portion, however, lies in Albion township and the cor- 
poration is mainly treated as properly belonging to the latter. 
The town is one of the most importai^t and enterprising trading 
points in Butler county and its growth is steady and substantial. 


The site upou wliicli Parkersburg stands, while in its prim- 
itive state, was covered with a heavy growth of brush, that was 
almost impenetrable to man or beast, and this condition led the 
pioneers of the locality to call it "the brush bed of the Beaver." 
But these impedimenta soon disappeared, after the surveyors had 
laid out a town upon the laud and platted it. This land was pur- 
chased from the United States by a speculator in 1854, who gave 
it no further attention other than to dispose of the property in 
1857 to John Conn-ell and his son, William H. Gonnell, who 
erected a small cabin a short distance south of the future village. 

In making its prelimiuarj^ survey in the early '60s, the 
Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad Company had overlooked the 
importance of the coming town of Parkersburg and while New 
Hartford and Aplingtou had been considered, the line was so iim 
to those points as to leave Parkersburg "out in the cold." But 
the builders of the road changed their plans, to the lasting ben- 
efit of Parkersburg; made of it a station and, in 1866, together 
with Augaistus S. Smith, caused two hiuidred and forty acres to. 
be surveyed and platted by one of their engineers, and named the 
place Parkersburg in honor of P. P. Parker, an early settler of 
the locality. The plat was filed for record February 5, 1866, by 
Piatt Smith, vice president of the Dubuque & Sioux City Rail- 
road Company; Louis Boisot, its secretary, and Augustus S. 
Smith, into whose hands the land had been diverted. 

Before the year 1865 had closed the railroad was operating 
its trains through the new town and had completed a depot. 
Thomas Williams had erected a house by that time, opened it as 
a tavern and named the hostelry the Williams House. The Wil- 
liams House later became known as the Commercial, which had 
many landlords. 

Benjamin Needham built the first store building and was the 
first merchant in Parkersburg. In the summer of 1865 he put 
up near the depot a large frame building, 30x40 feet, in which 
he placed a stock of general merchandise and served his patrons 
until the time of his death. For many years after the building 
was used as a tenement house. 

One R. T. Jackson, late in 1865 or early in the following year, 
put up a store building in the place, a frame structure, two stories 
in height, with ground dimensions of 20x30 feet. In this build- 
ing Jackson placed a stock of general merchandise, but before 
the building was finished he began selling goods temporarily in 


the Williams House. About the time Jackson got his store run- 
ning N. T. Manley & Son put up a building on Depot street and 
installed the most complete line of general merchandise attempted 
up to that period. The building was j-ears after moved to Main 

The depot was completed in 1865 and Joseph Demmick occu- 
pied an office here as agent for the railroad company. He was 
commissioned postmaster and, erecting a little building across the 
track from the depot, he put in a small stock of goods, kept a 
meat market, sold paints and several other things; at the same 
time he bought grain and attended to his duties as postmaster 
and railroad agent. The reader of the present day might imagine 
that Demmick had a pretty strenuous time of it. But in the 
'60s the population of the county was small, Parkersburg was in 
her swaddling clothes, mail was received at infrequent intervals, 
money was scarce; the Civil war was on and the country new. 
The present agent or postmaster of Parkersburg has more duties 
to perform in one day than Mr. Demmick, with his multifarious 
lines of business, had in a week. In the grain trade B. V. White 
was a close second to Demmick. 

Jacob Young and Frank Shaffer put up the second hotel l)uild- 
ing here, a structure 28x30 feet. Mr. Stone opened the building as 
the Eagle Hotel and continued as the landlord for many years, 
giving great satisfaction to his guests. Jacob Young erected a 
small building near the hotel soon after, where he kept a res- 
taurant and saloon. In 1868, Edward Bigalow bought the Inuld- 
ing and moved it on to Depot street. 

Jonathan Goodale, who located in Parkersburg in 1868, put 
up a store building in the spring of 1869 and became one of the 
local merchants. Some time afterwards he built a home adjoin- 
ing the store and both his properties were destroyed by fire in 
1878, by which he sustained a loss of $10,000. Mr. Goodale was 
not discouraged, but rebuilt store and residence. He became one 
of the prosperous, sul)stantial and influential citizens of the 

The first lumberyard in Parkersburg was started in 1869 by 
Charles Charnock and M. Howenstein. Retiring soon after, Mr. 
Howenstein and Dr. M. I. Powers opened a drug store. Char- 
nock sold the lumberyard to E. W. Babcock in 1880, who sold to 
John Voogd about a year later. 


The tirst liardware store was established iu 1866 by James 
Parker, who put up a frame buildiug for the purpose ou Depot 
street. Mr. Parker had as a business associate in this enterprise 
Melvin Dees. 

The firm of J. Kennedy & Ohnstead established a hardware 
and shoe business here in the late '60s and sold their interests to 
Joseph Kellogg. The latter disposed of the stock to the firm of 
Parris Brothers in 1875 ; George and Fred Parris had located in 
Parkersburg in 1872 and engaged in the grocery trade. In 1881 
they sold the grocery to Samuel Norris. Henry Parris, another 
brother, located on a farm in Monroe township in 1875. 

The hardware firm of Mott & Foote was formed in 1878. C. 
L. Mott located in the town in 1869 and S. A. I'oote came in 1877, 
taking up the live stock business as a vocation. 

Charles Gleason opened the first shoe store, in 1865, and was 
the town's first cobbler. He began operations in a little build- 
ing near the Commercial House. From there he moved to Main 
street and continued in the trade until 1876, when he sold out to 
Henry Perry. W. IS". Perry was the next shoe dealer. He became 
prominent in this line of business and for years had one of the 
largest establishments in the place. Henry Ballhousen was also 
early in the field with a shoe store, connnenciug lousiness in 1877. 

Henry Franke was Parkersburg 's first harness maker, opening 
a shop in 1867, with Val. Lahr as an employe. In 1868 the latter 
started a shop in competition with Franke. 

The Babcock furniture store was the first in Parkersburg, Imt 
was not a success. The successor to this was the store of A. S. 
Burnham, who began selling furniture in 1868. Another general 
mercantile establishment was started by Clark Mott in 1870. 

The first lilacksmith shop in the town was opened by Charles 
Dunham in the '60s and ran about two years, when Dunham 
removed to Illinois. His immediate successor was named Rollo. 
He soon left. 

A stationery store was opened iu 1869 l)y a Mr. Benedict, which 
lasted but a short time. Then W. W. (^artner opened a stock of 
confectionery in the store room. 

William Wallace, in 1869, had a meat market in a building he 
erected for the purpose. He finally sold the market to Martin 

Charles Re\Tiolds was the first person to engage in the livery 
business, opening a stable near the Eagle House in 1867. ]\Iax- 


well & Downs was the next and both concerns were in existence 
but a short while. The most successfnl of the early liverymen 
was J. T. Burt, who opened a large stable in 1869. Otis Baker 
bought Frank Shaver's livery stable in 1870 and became suc- 

John Beemer came to Parkersluirg from Floyd county in 1868 
and engaged in the practice of law. He remained a member of 
the Butler county bar until his death, which occurred in 1878. 

Of the medical profession Dr. M. I. Powers was the first to 
establish an office here. Other early practitioners were Drs. 
Strout, Parker and Ensign. 

R. G. Renken and Fritz Tammen, imder the firm name of 
Renken & Tammen, established a general store here in 1878. In 
1882 the members of the firm erected one of the leading brick 
business hoiLses on INIaiu street and lioth were men of fine )iusi- 
ness sagacity and rectitude. 

John D. Cramer, a native of Canada, located on section 33, 
Albion township, in 1869, where he kept a hotel for some time, 
lie moved into Parkersburg in 1867 and opened the first meat 
market in the town. 

In 1879 E. Hiller erected the Parkersburg Mills on the liank 
of the Beaver river, where good water power was secured. The 
}>uilding's gi'ound dimensions are 50x60 feet; it was originally 
equip]-)ed with one set of rollers and three rmi of stone, giving a 
capacity of seventy-five barrels per day. The mill is still in 
operation, grinding meal and feed for the farmers and dealers. 


By the year 1874 Parkersburg had become one of the leading 
trading points in Butler county and her citizens were anxious to 
have a separate government from the township. To further this 
desire preliminary steps were taken, a petition was signed by a 
large list of the electors, which was presented to the district court 
and in the year 1874 Parkersburg was granted a charter as an 
incorporated town. 

Soon after the tovm received aiithority to act as a munici]iality 
an election was held and the follo^dng officers were the choice of 
a majority of the voters: Mayor, C. S. Lobdell; recorder, M. T. 
Johnson ; treasurer, J. F. Parker ; marshal, W. I. McLean ; street 
commissioner, D. "W. Sclioolcraft: trustees, N". T. Manley, Joseph 





5 riU|-^ 

THE ;\ 


T!i D^.-- :-:.\r..TiL'. 


Jvellogg, Jurgen Renken and F. L. Dodge. From that time until 
the present, the following named persons have filled the offices of 
mayor and clerk : 

Mayors— C. S. Lobdell, 1874-7; N. T. Johnson, 1877-80; C. S. 
Lobdell, 1880-1; William H. Burdick, 1881-2; C. S. Lobdell, 
1882-9; W. H. Owens, 1889-92; J. W. Arbuckle, 1892-1; M. F. 
Edwards, 1894-7; W. H. Owens, 1897-8; M. F. Edwards, 1898- 
1900; Robert F. Camp, 1900-02; C. J. Fitzpatrick, 1902-03; F. 

F. Voeltz, appointed to fill vacancy by reason of resignation of 
Fitzpatrick; F. F. Voeltz, 1903-08; R. S. Blair, 1908-14. 

Clerks— N. T. Johnson, 1874-7; F. H. Rix, 1877-8; M. J. Dow- 
ney, 1878-80; Wilke A. Smith, 1880-1; A. N. Ferris, 1881-2; R. 

G. Renken, 1882-90; M. F. Edwards, 1890-94; J. W. Arbuckle, 
1894-7; S. C. Mangans, 1897-8; C. F. Franke, 1898-1900; S. R. 
Bird, 1900-01; J. G. Irwin, 1901-02; W. T. Evans, 1902-14. 



Prior to the year 1913 the mayor and city council held official 
meetings in various places. But in the year named a handsome 
one-story, vitrified brick building was erected on the main street, 
at a cost of $5,000, on a lot which cost the town $633. The interior 
arrangements make the city hall convenient for the council, vot- 
ing booths and apparatus of the fire department. 


The character and proclivities of Parkersburg's own people 
are of that excellence as not to require espionage or regulation 
by the jDolice department. The tramp, burglar, sneak thief and 
housebreaker are given little countenance here, and one police offi- 
cer — the city marshal — can very well look after and maintain the 
peace and quietude of the town. Ro, little, if an;\rthing, is to be 
said of the police department, which is a one-man bureau of the 
city's government. The marshal's duties are to police the streets 
during the later hours of the day and patrol the business district 
up to midnight. 

Since the establishment of waterworks the citizens rest com- 
paratively fearless of conflagrations. Fire plugs are within con- 
venient distances of the business and residence districts. A 
volunteer fire company has a supply of apparatus, consisting of 


1,200 feet of hose, a hose cart, hose wag'on, and a hook and ladde 
wagon, and with every able-bodied man ready to respond to ai 
emergency call, the town's property is comparatively safe. 


Since the year 1894 Parkersburg and her citizens have enjoyed 
the blessings of a good and efficient waterworks system. In the 
year mentioned the question of bnilding waterworks and issuingi 
$6,500 in bonds was submitted to a vote of the citij^ens at a spe- 
cial election. The approval of a large majority of the voters in 
the undertaking was made manifest when the poll was counted; 
in the autumn of that year the improvement was completed and 
in operation. A sufficient supply of pure water is obtained from i 
a well 80 feet in depth and 6 inches in diameter. The water is 
pumped into a tank twenty- four feet in height, having a capacity 
of 40,000 gallons. The tank rests upon a steel tower sixty feet 
in height, which assures ample pressure for ordinary purposes. 
A power house and two and one-half miles of mains add to the 
cost of the improvement, the total amount of which was about 
ten thousand dollars. 


A sewerage system was inaugurated in the year 1908. The 
main drains are laid with vitrified pipe, 18-inch, 12-inch and 
8-inch ill diameter. Something over three miles of mains and 
laterals have been laid and the refuse finds an outlet at Beaver 
creek. Up to the year 1914 about fifteen thousand dollars had 
been spent on this work. 


Parkersburg is the best lighted town in Butler county, hav- 
ing during the holidays of 1913-14 installed a series of five- globe 
electroliers, fourteen in number. This system illuminates the 
business district so that it is as light as day. The lamps were 
placed and paid for by the merchants. Electric light and power 
are furnished by the Parkersburg Electric Light & Power Com- 
pany, composed of local capitalists, who built n plant in 1898, at 


a cost of $10,000. Tlie chief promoter of the industry was W. 
S. Meade. Continuous service is furnished. 


A postoffice was established here in August, 1855, and P. P. 
Parker, after whom the to^^^2 was named, was placed in charge 
by the Washington authorities. Mr. Parker distributed the mail 
from his residence on section 13, which at first was not an onerous 
task, as he received scarcely a dozen letters a week, which came 
to him by carrier on horseback by way of Cedar Palls and Fort 
Dodge. Mr. Parker was the postmaster until some time during 
the Civil war, when he resigned, and was succeeded by Stephen 
Morse, who removed the office to his log cabin, one-half mile east 
of the Parker residence. This was inconvenient for those living 
in Parkersburg and rather than move into town, Mr. Morse 
resigned his jiosition. Thomas Russell was then appointed and 
failed to improve matters when he established the office at his 
home a half mile still farther east. P. P. Parker again took the 
office to ease the situation. After a few years liis son, James 
Parker, received the appointment and kei)t his office in the Beaver 
Valley Bank building until 1883. The names of his successors 
follow: W. J. Baker, O. B. Courtright, John Knapp, John Bird 
and the present incmnbent, E. E. Schrack. 


In 1904 C. C. Wolf, one of Parkersburg 's wealthy, influential 
and generous-hearted citizens, donated a large sum of money 
toward a fund for the building of a new Methodist Episcopal 
church edifice. To this beneficence he added the sum of $2,000, 
the same to be applied to a library fund, on condition that the 
library be pennanently established in rooms to be specially 
arranged for its reception in the proposed church building. The 
wishes of Mr. Wolf were fully carried out in the premises and 
when the magnificent house of worship was planned, the north 
half of the ground floor was set apart for the library. Here 
spacious rooms, shelves and other appurtenances were prepared 
and when the building was finished the library, now containing 
some three thousand volumes, was installed by the Parkersburg 
Library Association, organized in !N'ovember, 1905. The library 


is under the supervision and management of a board of trustees, 
consisting of nine members selected by the citizens of the town. 
Mrs. Luhi Slight is the librarian. The institution is supported 
by popular siibscriptions and is open two days in the week. The 
headquarters of the library cost nothing for rent; heat and light 
are furnished by the church authorities at a nominal price. 


The first effort at banking in Parkersburg was by the firm 
of Gibbs Brothers, who opened a private bank in 1868. In 1869 
the interests of the Gibbs Brothers were turned over to J. B. and 
M. I. Powers, who did a general banking business until 1873, when 
Aaron Wolf and sons became their associates. In 1892 Aaron 
Wolf, C. C. Wolf and others incorporated the institution under 
the state banking laws, assuming the name of the State Exchange 
Bank. The capital stock was $50,000 and surplus $50,000. Aaron 
Wolf was the first president; S. A. Poote, vice president; C. C. 
Wolf, cashier. In 1899 Aaron Wolf died and by reason thereof 
S. A. Poote succeeded to tlie presidency. Several years later, 
upon the resignation of Mr. Poote, his jilace was filled by the 
election of R. G. Renken. The present officials are: President, 
R. G. Renken ; vice president, George Prey ; cashier. C. 0. Wolf. 
Several years ago the capital was increased to $100,000. The last 
official report showed deposits amounting to $400,000. 

The home of the State Exchange Bank was first in a little 
frame building that stood on the site of a one-story brick build- 
ing that took its place, and where the bank continued in business 
mitil 1895. Since then this building has been in use by the post- 
office department. In the year last mentioned a new bank build- 
ing was erected on the opiDosite side of the street from the old 
one. The structure is built of brown stone and brick and cost 
$15,000. As being worthy of note the statement may be here 
added that C. 0. Wolf has been cashier of this bank for forty 
years. He is one of the substantial and most generous citizens 
of this splendid little city. 

Citizens of Parkersburg refer to their banks with consider- 
able pride, for they are upon a sound basis and hold the full con- 
fidence of the people. The Beaver Valley Bank is especially 
strong in the sterling character of its officials, its resources and 
the confidence of a host of friends and patrons. It was organized 


in 1882, with a paid-up capital of $50,000. B. B. Richards, of 
Dubuque, was the first president, and James F. Parker, cashier. 
The bank was the outgrowth of a private bank, started by Rich- 
ards & Parker in 1877. 

In December, 1892, upon the resignation of James F. Parker, 
S. S. Striker was elected to fill the vacancy. Striker remained 
two years and then made way for John A^oogd, who retained the 
position until Jan. 10, 1899, when he was succeeded by H. W. 
Wilhelms. Upon the latter 's elevation to the presidency in 1907 
T. R. Tammen became cashier. 

B. B. Richards continued in the office of president from the 
establishment of the bank until 1899. From that year until Jan- 
uary, 1907, H. J. Merlien held the responsible position. From 
the latter date to the present time H. W. Wilhelms has been chief 
executive officer of the bank. 

The parent bank of Parker & Richards was kept in a small 
frame building that stood on the site of the handsome new Tem- 
ple building and was destroyed by fire about 1904. After the 
fire the present home of the bank, a large, two-story brick build- 
ing, was erected on one of the most prominent corners of the 
business center. Capital, $50,000 ; surplus and undivided profits, 
$67,504; deposits, $524,204. 

The First National Bank was organized in 1910 by C. F. 
Franlce, E. V. Franke, G. N. Clark, Sander Ludeman and others, 
with a capital of $50,000, and is the outgrowth of the Farmers 
& Merchants State Bank, established and incorporated by H. J. 
Merlien, G. Ludeman, A. K. Smith, Mrs. H. J. Merlien and others. 
The i^irst National's initial officers were: Sander Ludeman, 
president ; C. F. Franke, vice president ; H. E. W. Kaiser, cashier. 
Kaiser resigned in October, 1912, and was succeeded by R. A. 
Ludeman. The bank is doing business on the main street of the 
town in a brick building and recently increased its capital stock. 
The last statement showed the following figures: Capital, $60,- 
000 ; surplus and undivided profits, $4,300 ; deposits, $90,000. 


Parkersburg became an independent school district in the 
spring of 387L M. I. Powers was selected as president of the 
school board, R. L. Chase, secretary, and William Howenstein, 
treasurer. The other members of the board were J. Goodale, W. 


A. Alleu and L. D. Davis, lu 1872 the question of expending 
$2,500 was voted upon favorably and a frame building 24x24 feet 
and tvpo stories in height was erected on the south side. Pupils 
increasing made the addition of a wing necessary in the year 1878. 
This building disappeared in flames in 1893 and in the following 
year a modern, three-story brick structure, costing $16,000, arose 
under the hands of skilful workmen, and is a structure convenient 
in arrangement and imposing in appearance. It contains nine 
or ten rooms, including the superintendent's office and high school 
assembly room, and has a corps of eight instructors, including 
the city superintendent. 


In the early days of Albion township there were quite a num- 
ber of families whose religious tenets were those of the Roman 
Catholic church. To them were first offered the sacrament of the 
mass, at the pioneer homes of Daniel Downey and James Ken- 
nedy in 1861, and at other places in the future jiarivsh. Father 
John Shields was the first priest to minister to this people; in 
fact, he traveled hundreds of miles in those early days laboring 
for his church and its members. He remained about six years 
and then gave way to Father T. F. Gunn, whose pastorate cov- 
ered a period of f(UU' years. Following him was Rev. Peter 
O'Dowd. Father Mahoney came next and was followed by Father 
Lynch who. while living in the old priest's house, built the present 
residence, in 1897, which stands on the hill near the church. 
Father Molloy was next to be placed in charge and stayed two 
years. His successor was Father Baxter, whose administration 
covered a ]>eriod of two years. The next pastor. Father Quinn, 
was here six years. The present priest is Father O. Leary, who 
took charge late in 1913 shortly after his arrival from his native 
country, Ireland. The church edifice was built in 1874. 


The history of the Methodist church of Parkersburg was pre- 
pared for the dedication exercises of the new church edifice and 
published, together with a description of the beautiful building, 
in the Eclipse. The article cannot in any way be improved upon, 
hence it is reproduced here verhatim et literatim: 


The pioneer Methodist preacher foimd his way occasionally 
to the scattered neighborhood of what is now the city of Parkers- 
burg as early as the year 1851 or 1852, preaching in the log cabin 
of a Methodist family, the first of which we now have record being 
held in the log house, the dimensions of which were 14x16 feet, 
belonging to W. F. Younker, who resided four miles east and 
one mile south of Parkersburg. 

The first services were conducted by Rev. Elijah Kendall in 
in the fall of 1854. The Methodist class was organized, consist- 
ing of the following persons : Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Kemmerer, Mr. 
and Mrs. Richard Daniels, Mr. and Mrs. W. F. Younker and 
Michael Niece. 

The Methodist Simday school was soon after organized. About 
a year later, in the fall of 1855, J. L. Kemmerer, having built a 
log house somewhat larger than that owned by Mr. Younker, the 
preaching service and Sabbath school was carried on at his place, 
where thej^ were continued imtil the schoolhouse was erected 
near by. 

According to the Beaver valley circuit record, Rev. John Cou- 
nell seems to have been one of the first regular preachers on the 
charge. In the winter of 1855 and 1856, Father Connell, as he 
was familiarly called, held a revival meeting in the home of Rich- 
ard Daniels, which proved to be a gi'eat blessing. Rev. George 
Murphy, a local preacher who lived at Swanton, often preached 
in various homes and sehoolliouses in that early day. In 1857 
Richard Daniels was ordained as a local deacon in the Methodist 
church and from that time imtil near the close of his life fre- 
quently preached the gospel. Rev. John Dawson is remembered 
as one of the pioneer local preachers in Beaver valley circuit. 

For some years this was a three weeks circuit and extended 
from West Union, Fayette county, to Hampton and Maysville, 
Fi'ankliu county. This was the beginning of the work of God 
among- the people called Methodists, and many a season of rejoic- 
ing can he remembered by the few still living, who attended those 
early services. 


According to the quarterly conference record found at New 
Hartford, recorded by C. Spieer, recording steward for several 
years, the regularly appointed pastors of Beaver valley circuit in 


their order are: Rev. J. Counell, who served two years, then 
Rev. William Sibley, followed by Rev. B. F. Taylor, who served 
one year; Rev. George Mnrphy, one year. In the fall of 1862 
came Elijah Kendall and during the fall of the following year 
the name of the circuit was changed to the New Hartford circuit 
and the territory was enlarged to include the coimtry about Par- 
kersburg. Elijah Kendall was continued as preacher in charge 
for another year. In 1864 Rev. William Fawcett came on the 
charge and remained two years. Then. came Rev. J. G. Wilkin- 


About this time, Oct. 13, 1866, it was planned to have the New 
Hartford circuit include Parkersburg as one of the regular preach- 
ing places. They had Methodist preaching once in four weeks. 
This plan was contimied in the Illinois Central railroad depot 
and in the schoolhouse until tlie church was built in 1870. Rev. 
J. G. Wilkinson was pastor one year. 


On the 3d day of December, 1866, articles of incorporation of 
the First Methodist Episcopal church of Parkersburg, Iowa, were 
didy made, and the following persons were elected as first trustees: 
of the society : J. L. Johnson, J. Dimmick, Cyrus Spicer, Josej^h 
Hopley and J. L. Kemmerer. At this time there were eight 
appointments on the New Hartford circuit with preaching by 
the regular pastor only once in four weeks, but the local preacher . 
often preached in these various places. 

According to official records, the first quarterly conference of 
the Methodist Episcopal church ever held in Parkersburg. was on 
June 8, 1868. Rev. E. Smith acted as chairman of the meeting. 
At that time Rev. E. Skiimer, of Waterloo, was then presiding 
elder of the Cedar Falls district. 

In the fall of 1868 Rev. W. A. Glassner was appointed to the 
charge, and the county history records show that in March, 1869, 
he organized the Methodist Episcopal class of Parkersburg, with 
the following members: J. L. Johnson, James Gillard, D. Jay, 
Cyrus Spicer, O. O. Spicer, E. B. Lamb, R. Daniels, C. Kemmerer, 
B. Bentley, F. C. Burdick, Jesse Owens, J. Goodale and others. 


The first officers were F. G. Burdick, James Gillarcl, J. L. John- 
son, C. Spicer and J. Goodale. 

At the annual conference of the fall of 1869, which was held 
at Independence, Parkersburg and Aplington were constituted a 
separate charge, with Buck Grove and Daniels schoolhouse 
appointments. Rev. J. A. Kerr was appointed as pastor. At the 
beginning of the year the membership of the circuit numbered 


The first Methodist Episcopal church was built in Parkers- 
burg during the summer of 1870 at a cost of $3,000. It was a 
good substantial frame building 56 feet in length and 36 feet wide. 
Tlie Methodist Sunday school was organized in the summer of 
1870 with J. Goodale as superintendent. 


The pastors who served the Parkersburg charge from the tmie 
of liuilding the first church until the present in regular succession 
are : J. A. Kerr, one year ; J. N". Platte, one year ; W. J. Mitchell, 
one year; H. S. Bargelt, one year; George Elliott, one year; S. 
Sherrin, one year ; A. H. Sproul, one year ; J. G. Wilkinson, two 
years ; J. M. Hedger, two years ; W. F. Barclay, two years ; G. W. 
Ballon, one year; J. S. Mclntyre, two years; H. B. Long, two 
years; W. H. Doner, three years; J. H. Hoskin, one year; J. G. 
Eberhart. one year; Walter Piper, three years; W. M. Lemen, 
four years; S. R. Ferguson, three years; IST. F. N"orton, three 
years"; E. G. Hunt, 1906-11; Dr. A." M. Mcintosh, 1911 to the 
l^resent time. 

During these thirty-five years since the erection of the first 
church building, the Methodist society has had a reasonable degree 
of prosperity. In 1871 Parkersburg was made a station with 
only one out appointment at Daniels' schoolhouse, since which 
time tliei-e has been regular preaching morning and evening. 
After two years the Aplington appointment was again added to 
the charge as an afternoon appointment and continued in this 
way until 1899, when it was dropped. Since that time Parkers- 
burg has been a single station. In 1875 a small frame parsonage 
was built at a cost of about four hundred dollars, which with 
improvements continued to be the pastor's home until 1894. 



While Rev. W. M. Lemen was pastor tlie old parsonage was 
sold and a new one built at a cost of about two thousand dollars. 
The church building was repaired and remodeled from time to 
time, but although it was made of good material and very well 
built, the society felt the need of a new churcli. During the pas- 
to]-ate of W. S. Piper, from 1896 to 1899, an effort was made 
toward the erection of a new church. It failed because of the 
lack of funds. Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Wolf in 1901 realized that 
Parkersburg was greatly in need of a new Methodist church, as 
well as a public library. They were especially friendly to the 
Methodist church from the fact that Mr. Wolf was the son of a 
Methodist preacher. Accordingly, Mr. Wolf made the following 
proposition to the pastor and congregation: 


"We, C. C. Wolf and Mary Wolf, agree to pay to the ^Sleth- 
odist Episcctpal church of Parkersburg, Iowa, through its trustees 
the sum of $8,500 when the citizens of Iowa shall have subscribed 
and paid to the said trustees a like amomit for the purpose of 
building a church and library as herein set forth, and further 
conditioned that no mortgage or encumbrance of any kind shall 
ever be placed on said property, and when site is selected and 
deed given, the said deed is to contain the said mortgage and 
encumbrance clause named above. 

"(Signed) C. C. Wolf and Mary Wolf." 

REV. N. F. Norton's ooon work 

Rev. S. R. Ferguson met with some eue(-)uragement, but on 
account of ill health and for other reasons the project was aban- 
doned. In the fall of 1902 Rev. N. F. Norton was appointed to 
the Parkersbui'g charge with the expectation on the part of the 
presiding elder and conference that a new church would be built. 
Soon after the ai-ri^-al of the new preacher a new church l^uilding 
was talked by some of the members, but for several months the 
pastor said but little. It was felt by all, however, that something 
must be done soon. The old church was cold and leaked liadly. It 
was evident that the old building must be repaired at considerable 
cost or a new one erected. 


Upon consultation with Mr. Wolf it was learned that his propo- 
sition held good for another j^ear. In March, 1903, a meeting of 
the trustees was called at the parsonage and by unanimous vote 
it was decided to accept the generous offer made by Mr. and Mrs. 
Wolf. A committee composed of the pastor, J. Knipe, and M. 
F. Edwards was appointed to secure the necessary subscriptions 
on the part of the church. The work was commenced at once, 
although the weather Avas inclement and the roads muddy. At 
the end of two months it was found that the amoimt subscribed 
exceeded $8,500, and steps were taken at once to secure plans and 
specifications for the bidlding, including $2,000 for books and 
reading matter for the Library. 


Several architects submitted plans and finally the ones pre- 
sented by J. H. Prescott, of Marshalltown, Iowa, met with the 
approval of the building committee, consisting of Jacob Knipe, 
S. A. Foote, C. C. Wolf, M. F. Edwards and the pastor, N. F. 

A notice for bids was published and on the 23d of September, 
1903, the contract was awarded to ( Uiarles W. Skemp & Son, 
of Dubuque, to construct the building for $12,720. The work of 
excavation was commenced in October, 1903. About the 15th of 
that month workmen began tearing down the old temple, much 
to the sorrow of the many Avho had long Avorshipped there. 

The foundation walls of the new church were laid during the 
fall of 1903 and in March, 1904, Avnrk was resumed and the build- 
ing nearly completed December 14th of that year. About this 
time the building committee were informed that the church Avas 
to have a fine pipe organ and in January, 1905, this Avas put in 
place. The cost of the building, including the furniture, is about 
twenty-three thousand dollars, and about two thousand dollars 
was expended for books for the free public library connected with 
the church. This makes a complete cost in round figures of 
$25,000. Thousands of people attended the dedicatory services 
which took place April 16, 1905. 


The church building is a fine modern, up-to-date temple and 
probably is not excelled in beauty or convenience in this section 


of the state. The outside dimensions are 68x93 feet. The first 
floor contains a library, consisting of one large reading room 
and two private reading rooms, with stack room for books back 
of the library office. The first floor also has large prayer meet- 
ing rooms, ladies' parlor, dining room, kitchen, boiler and coal 
rooms. The second floor has an auditorium, lecture or Sunday 
school room, several class rooms, hallways, choir and organ rooms, 
pastor's study and a gallery. The seating ca]iacity in sight of 
the pulpit is about seven hundred. Music is furnished from a 
fine pipe organ worth $2,500, which was donated to the church. 

Nearly all the floors above are of white maple with white pine 
in the library. The frescoing decorations are very fine and were 
made by j\Ir. Peters, of Chicago. The art glass was furnished by 
Giles & Company, of Minneapolis, and cannot be surpassed in 
beauty. One needs to see this beautiful building to fully realize 
its grandeur. 


The Congregational clnu'ch of Parkersburg was organized in 
1869 by Rev. I. N. Williams. Its first religious services were 
held at the depot of the Illinois Central Railroad, and subsequently 
in the old schoolhouse. In 1870 the present church edifice was 
erected at cost of $3,.500. The building has since been remodeled. 
The church was organized by Rev. I. N". Williams, ^vho became 
the temporary pastor. 

The first regidar pastor, Rev. R. S. D. Boynton, accepted a 
call April 25, 1870. The following ministers successively accepted 
calls to the pastorate: H. H. Robins, H. M. Amsden, Alexander 
Parker, G. W. Dorsey, John Gray, H. M. Slv, J. P. Richards, 
W. B. Sanford, .1. P. Clyde, C. A. Chambers, "j. J. Jones. A. S. 
Hock, W. P. Begg, W. B. Pardun, and Rev. J. W. Bounell, the 
present pastor, accepted a call November 1, 1911. 

The first officers of the church were : Deacons, Edwin Fisher, 
Ensign Baker; trustees, N. T. Manly, J. Beemer. E. Fisher, C. K. 
Tanner, R. R. Horr; clerk, N. T. Manly. 

The church is free from debt and in a prosperous condition. 
The membership is fifty; Sunday school attendance, fifty. 


The Ba])tist people of this community organized a church on 
the 27th of October, 1870, with the following members : A. Prigry 


and Avife, M. S. Miller and wife, Samuel Conu and wife, James 
Hall and wife, John Hall, H. Twining, George M. Cooper and 
wife, Ruth Cooper, Mrs. S. Lynn, Mary Coryell, W. L. Laurence. 
The first pastor was Rev. T. H. Hudson, who remained one year, 
I and was succeeded by Revs. E. P. Baker, C. Spragg, F. H. Judsou, 
' A. E. Simons, J. B. Edmonson and others. Services were first 
held in the Congregational church, in a hall near the depot and 
schoolhouse. Then Union hall was used until the completion of 
the church building in October, 1880. A Smiday school was 
organized in 1870 and for a number of years the church pros- 
pered, but for the past several years the society has not been in 
evidence and has practically ceased to exist. 


On the 27th day of April, 1895, John Muntinga and wife, John 
Arends and wife, John A. Smith and wife, Kort Smith and wife, 
William Reichenburg and wife, Ibling Ibliugs and wife, Mrs. 0. 
Voogd, Okke Van Hauen and wife, Mr. Vosburg, M. G. Brungers, 
Pete DeNene and wife, and Junke Polderboer and wife met at 
one of their homes and organized the German Baptist church. 
Unfortunately the name of the first minister could not be obtained 
for this article. Meetings were first held at the schoolhouse and 
finally, in 1901, a church building was erected, at a cost of $4,000. 
About two years later a parsonage was built, costing $2,000. The 
names of pastors since and including 1901 follow: Reverend 
Johnson, 1901 ; Reverend Engelman, 1901-03 ; Rev. Jacob Pf effer, 
1903-07; Rev. John Miller, 1907-11; Rev. G. R. May hack, 1911-13. 
The church now has a membership of fifty-seven, but at present 
it is without a pastor. 


^^nong the Germans a Christian Reformed church was 
organized April 6, 1891, with fourteen families, among whom were 
Fritz Tammeu, Geert Orends, Haite Roelfs and Harm Sap. The 
members of this society first met in their homes and for some 
time held services in the Methodist church. In 1892 a house of 
worship was erected and in the following year a parsonage close 
by. Both buildings are substantial frame structures. The mem- 
bership had increased to thirty-six families by the month of 


February, 1914. Pastors who have served this charge: Rev. 
H. Portgeter, October, 1892 to May, 1896; Rev. H. C. Bgote, candi- 
date, June, 1896 tu March, 1897; J. Plesseher, July, 1897 to May, 
1912; Rev. H. Ahins, November, 1913. 


The Masonic Lodge began its fii'st worlv under a dispensation 
from the Grand Lodge, May 26, 1868, and during the year Harley 
Day was worshiped master. June 2, lB69, Compass Lodge, No. 
239, A. F. & A. M., received its charter, and at the first meeting 
the permanent organization was compk'ted, and Hark^y Day was 
chosen worthy master; M. I. Powers, senior warden; G. W. East- 
man, junior warden. There were eight other charter members. 
The lodge is now one of ihe best in the county and in November, 
1913, moved into beautiful quarters, specially arranged and pre- 
pared, in the pretentious new Tem})le building. The lodge has 
a membership of sixty. 

Compass Chapter, No. 159, Order of the Eastern Star, was 
organized Oct. 3, 1894. There are now sixty members. Those 
whose names appear on the charter are: Lillie Scherling, C. 
May, Rose Archer, Hattie Byerly, N. G. Baker, Clara Courtright, 
S. Foote, Jennie G. Heartl, C. Howenstein, May Morgan, Sarah 
Meade, M. Parker, Essie Parker, Carrie Porcupile, Julia Striker, 
Wealthy Strout, M. Smith and Brothers, A. 0. Strout, Charles 
Archer, C. B. Byerly, O. B. Courtright, George Meade, James Ray 
and John Scherling. 


John Braden Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, was 
organized at Parkersburg, November 28, 1894, and at one time had 
a large membership. Death has menaced the old veterans of the 
Civil war and decimated their ranks yearly, until now they are 
becoming conspicuous by their inability, in many places to muster 
a quorum at their meetings. Many of the posts throughout the 
United States have gone out of existence and yearly charters are 
being surrendered by reason of diminishing numbers in member- 
ship. This is the condition of Braden Post. No longer do the old 
soldiers here meet in regular muster. There are not enough of 
them to make it interesting and those who remain are daily and 


hoiu-ly being renmided of Time 's passing and the results of hard- 
ships endiu'ed while in the service of their country. Names of the 
charter members are here given: J. M. Groat, Phil Wemple, F, 
M. Perkins, N. Goodale, Alex Christie, E. Wood, L. Stevens, S. W. 
Shipman, L. E. Crosby, Thomas Hauck, J. M. Kennedy, H. W. 
Babcock, E. A. Gihnan, W. W. Parker, I. W. Camp, G. W. Bill- 
ings, W. H. Coggins, P. S. Bass, W. N. Hund, G. G. Codner, G. L. 
Barnard, John ELnapp, Joseph Burroughs, G. W. Archer, Oscar 
Lawrence, J. H. Porcupile, Thomas Wendby, F. F. Voeltz, 

John Braden Eelief Corps, G. A. R., No. 14, w^as organized 
December 2, 1884, with the following charter members : Phoebe A. 
Wade, Leila Ow^en, Emma Younker, Hattie Byerly, Barbara Kem- 
merer, Nora Kjiapp, Nellie Parker, Lena Kennedy, Josephine 
Barnes, Matilda Charles, Mary Franke, Carrie Porcupile, Wealthy 
A. Strout, Nellie Wood, Maggie Wilson, Mary Truesdale, Melissa 
E. Lawrence, Sarah Perkins, Annie M. Filer and Mercy Bass. 

Lodge of Yeomen, Beaver Homestead, No. 214, was organized 
October 25, 1899, with forty-one charter members. 




Beaver township is located at the southeastern corner of the 
county. It is bounded on the east by Blackhawk county, on the 
south by Grundy, on the west and north by Albion and Shell 
Rock townships. 

Its surface is considerably more uneven than that of most 
of the other townships of the county, due to the fact in part, at 
least, that it is traversed by two streams — the West Fork and 
the Beaver creek — both of which have bj^ the time they reach 
the borders of this township attained respectable size. The West 
Fork traverses the northern portion of the township, entering on 
the western side of section 6 and flowing eastward to the point 
where it passes into Blackhawk coimty on the eastern side of 
section 12. Its valley is a broad, alluvial plain, with sandy loam. 
In the spring of the year this portion of the township is subject 
to frequent overflows, making it difficult to cross the West Fork 
valley. The Beaver creek flows through the southern portion of 
the township from east to west, paralleling in its main course 
that of the West Fork to the northward. This stream received its 
name from the fact that in early days its waters were the home 
of large niunbers of beavers. 

The timbered area of Beaver township probably exceeds that 
of any other township in the county, both streams being bordered 
by tracts of standing timber, and in addition there being a large 
grove known as Beaver grove, which extends from section 28 
westward into Albion township. This grove follows in the main 
the rise of land known as Beaver ridge, which rises more or less 
abruptly on the northern side of the Beaver valley and stretches 
in a westerly direction for three or four miles. The land to the 



north and east of Beaver ridge is extremely hilly. Practically all 
of it, however, is at the preesnt time either under actual cultiva- 
tion or being utilized for grazing purposes. 

The Illinois Central Raih-oad crosses the township from east 
to west, its entire coiirse being within less than a mile of the 
southern line of the township. The "Hawkeye Highway," an 
interstate automobile road, passes through the township, entering 
from Grrundy county on the south side of section 35 and passing 
thi'ough New Hartford and thence along the line of the Illi- 
nois Central Railroad west to Parkersbui*g. The territory north 
of the West Fork is largely tributary to Shell Rock in a conmier- 
cial and industrial way. The rest of the township is served as a 
market center by the town of New Hartford, which is the only 
town or village within its limits. 


The earliest settlements in Beaver township antedate by 
several years those in any other township of the county except 
Shell Rock and Butler. As in the case of the latter townships, 
hunters and trappers at a very early date pushed up along the 
creek from the Cedar valley and established themselves tem})o- 
rarily at points along its banks. Its proximity to the settlements 
established at an earlier date in Blackhawk county account for 
the fact that as early as 1851 permanent settlement of this section 
of the county began. 

In 1850, on December 21st, George Kittle made an entry on 
a claim in section 31, of Beaver township, in the general land 
office at Dubuque. In point of time this is second only to the 
entry made by John Heery in November of the same year. It 
ranks therefore as the second entry of land in Butler county. 

The third man in the county to make a Government entry also 
located his claim in Beaver township. This was Jesse Morgan, 
who on April 10, 3851, recorded his location of a claim on section 
36. Neither Kittle nor Morgan, however, appear to have located 
permanently within the township limits. 

The honor of being the first permanent settler in Beaver town- 
ship is by common consent ascribed to Barnett Grandon. Mr. 
Grandon came to Butler county from Linn county in the fall of 
1851. He settled on a farm in section 30, which remained in 
possession of his family about forty years. His entry of this 


land was made on the 4th of October, 1851, and was the third to 
be made in Beaver township. 

On the 19th of December, 1851, Adna Thomas recorded a claim 
on section 29. In the spring of 1852, C'linton Thomas came and 
also settled on section 29. Adna Thomas made a permanent settle- 
ment on his claim in the fall of 1852. 

In 1853, Nicholas Hartgraves, who is mentioned as a pioneer 
settler of Madison township, located on section 30, where he 
remained for several j^ears. 

Rev. Nathan Olmstead was another settler in the year 1853. 
Mr. Olmstead came from DeKalb county. 111., and settled on sec- 
tion 18, Beaver township, in 1853. He had acted as a local preacher 
of the Methodist Episcopal clnu'ch before leaving Illinois and 
had also been ordained a deacon. In 1858 he was ordained an 
elder. He preached the first sermon in Beaver township on the 
Sunday following his arrival, and soon afterward organized a 

The year 1854 saw the arrival of a number of men who were 
thenceforward leaders in the activities of the township. Among 
these were S. Hazleton, Aaron Olmstead, Peter Rude and J. F. 
Bolton. Other settlers came in rapidly, among them the follow- 
ing: James Collar, George E. Pitch, Charles Knight, John Hart- 
graves, Titus Ensign, Charles Ensign, Sanuiel Fetters, T. G. 
Copeland, C. R. Harmon, E. S. Maxwell, Baldwin D. Lewis, Jacob 
M. Knight, L. L. Smith, Nelson H. Whipple, S. S. Conrtright 
and August Critzman. 

Among other early settlers were Alonzo Converse, Patrick 
Flinn, Daniel Martin, David Twohig, Michael Rude, H. T. Mor- 
ris, William Rosebrough, L. B. Corwin, Peter Gunnison, Cassell 
Churchill, C. S. Root, J. B. Hare, Ash Cornwall, Lorin Cornwall, 
H. H. Weaver, Nelson Dowd, George Daniels, Robert Stanley 
and James Williams. 


The first marriage ceremony performed in the townshiji was 
between William Dodd and a Miss Dowd, which occurred in 1857. 

The first death was that of the wife of Joseph Casto, in 1856. 

The first postmaster was S. B. Ensign, the office being located 
on the present site of New Hartford. Shortly thereafter another 
post office was established at Taylor's Hill, in Grimdy county. 


about a mile and a quarter south, and for a time the New Hart- 
ford postoffiee was discontinued and its citizens Avere compelled 
to go to Taylor's Hill for their mail, or provide for its transporta- 
tion from Cedar. Falls by private conveyance. 

The first religious services were held at the house of Adna 
Thomas, Ma.y 29, 1859, by Nathan Olmstead. An organization 
of the Protestant Methodist church was effected at this time, the 
first members being Jacob Brown, Mrs. Adna Thomas and 
Alonzo Olmstead. ►Services were continued at the house of ^fr. 
Thomas until the establishment of a chiireh of the same denom- 
ination at New Hartford, when this organization was merged 
wuth the New Hartford church. 

The first manufacturing plant in Bearer towship was ])Ut up 
in 1855 by a man named ]\Iarsliu. This mill occupied a site on 
section 29. It was finally torn down. The second saAvmill was 
erected by the Ensign brothers on section 28. A steam sawmill 
was erected in an early day on section 30, by Alonzo Norris. An- 
other steam sawmill was erected on section 29 by James Williams. 
It was moved a nmnber of times to different points in the town- 
ship and finally was trans] )orted to Webster City. 


The term Beaver townshij) at first inchuk'd within its limits 
what are now Shell Rock, Jefferson, Albion and Beaver town- 
ships. At the first election held in April, 1855, Lyman Norton 
was appointed judge. At this election John H. Smith and M. 
Hollenbeck were chosen justices of the peace; Marshall Kelley 
and Asa Chance, constables; George Dewey, assessor. 

In MaiX'h, 1856, the upper half (»f Axhat constituted Beaver 
township was organized as Shell Rock township and thereafter 
Beaver included the present townslii]) of Albion within its limits 
until the 5tli of October, 1857, when it was again sul)dividi'd and 
Albion and Beaver townships both given their present limits. 
The first election in the township with its present boundaries 
was held iii the village of Willoughby. At this election Charles 
Ensign, James B. Hare and Lewis Hannnond were chosen 
trustees; Alonzo Converse, clei'k. 



1856, 430; 1860, 546: 1863, 606; 1865, 754; 1867, 868; 1869, 934; 
1870, 1084 ; 1873, 989 ; 1875, 101 7 ; 1880, 975 ; 1890, 1074 ; 1900, 1349 ; 
1910, 1223. 


The first school in the township was taught in the summer of 
1855 in a log house belonging to Baldwin Lewis, on section 38. 
The teacher AA'as Miss America Taylor. 

The second school was taught by Charles Ensign in NeA\- Hart- 
ford, in the winter of 1856-7. 

The first schoolhouse was erected in New Hartford and used 
for both school and church purposes. Its erection occurred in 1859. 

At Y)resent the school affairs are in the hands of nine directors, 
one elected from each sub-district. Sub-districts Nos. 6 and 10 
include most of the territory north of tlie West Fork and east of 
the central part of section 4. Sub-districts Nos. 4 and 9 include 
the territory in the northwestern part of the township. District 
No. 7 includes the major portion of the Beaver Grove territory. 
It is the largest school in attendance in the township. District No. 
2 is known as the Grady district. Sub-district No. 3 is the largest 
in extent, containing nearly six sections. The schoolhouse stands 
on section 15. District No. 5, the "Corwin district," consists of 
five sections in the extreme southeastern portion of the town- 
ship, and No. 8 the southwestern portion. The independent dis- 
trict of New Hartford occupies a central position on the south 
side of the township. A project is being agitated looking toward 
the consolidation of the districts whose territor}' lies between the 
rivers. It is probable that such action will be taken at an early 
date, as the conditions for the establishment of such a district 
seem unusually favorable. 


On April 7, 1858, a plat of the town called Butler Rapids was 
filed with the county judge, A. Converse, and placed upon rec^ord. 
This projected town was located on what is now called Jerusa- 
lem Hill situated in section 7, Beaver township, just east of the 
West Fork. The land is now known as the Bolton place. The 


land on which Butler Rapids stood was entered by Thomas Mars- 
lin and transferred by him to Moses Chapman, or Chapin, of 
Blaekhawk county, by whom Butler Rapids was platted. A 
dam was constructed across the West Pork just west of the town 
site and a sawmill built on the western bank. This town was 
first known as New Jerusalem. It made a very promising be- 
ginning and at one time contained a store and a numlier of resi- 
dences. The establishment of Willoughby, alxiut a half mile west 
across the river, sapped the vitality of Butler Rapids and eventu- 
ally lirought about its extinction. The greater part of its popu- 
lation removed to Willoughby or elsewhere, its houses were torn 
down or moved away, or left to rot on their sites. Twenty-five 
years ago, as the writer is informed by an old resident of the 
comity, nothing remained to mark the site of Butler Rapids but 
the empty cellar excavations garnished by an assortment of old 
tin cans to mark the site of this village. At this time cottonwood 
trees eighteen and twenty inches in thickness were growing from 
the cellars, showing that the decay of the town dated back a 
niamber of years. The very fact of its existence has lieen for- 
gotten or is unknown to the vast majority of the citizens of But- 
ler county. 


The village of Willoughby was laid out in the spring of 1855. 
Its plat occupied the southwest quartei' of the northwest quarter 
of section 9. This plat was recorded on the minute book of the 
county court, Septemlx'r 9, 1856. The proprietors were two men 
named Cameron and McClure. 

The first house in Willoughby was built by Cameron and 
McClure in 1855 and was occupied as a dwelling by G. W. Daniels. 
This building stood until 1862. when it was torn down. 

In the fall of 1855 a store was opened in Willoughby by Corn- 
well Brothers, who carried a stock of general merchandise. They 
remained here until 1864, when they sold the stoelc of goods to a 
man in Clear Lake, who moved it to that place. The building was 
divided and part of it sold to O. W. Mcintosh, who used it for a 
hotel, and the remainder to B. Haskins, who occupied it for some 
time as a residence. This portion was afterward burned. Corn- 
well Bi'others also started a blacksmith sho]) here in 1856. 

The first school in Willougiil)y was taught by Miss Hannah 
Ensign in the winter of 1857-8 at the residence of Mr. King. The 


first school building was erected in 1861 and continued to be used 
for about a quarter of a century. 

In the fall of 1870 an organization of the Methodist church 
was effected. Two years later this church was disbanded. 

In the summer of 1856 a hotel was built by the Cornwell Broth- 
ers, which continued under their control until 1860, when it passed 
into the hands of J. B. Gordon. Subseqnent to this date it was 
managed in turn by Robert Ohnstead, O. W. Mcintosh and H. D. 
Burnett. The latter gentleman continued its management until 
1872, when it was finally closed. This hotel was a regular stopping 
place on the route from Cedar Falls to Algona and enjoyed a lib- 
eral patronage in the years before the railroads penetrated the 

A postofl&ce at Willoughby was established in 1855. The list 
of postmasters include the names G. W. Daniels, A. Cornwell, 
B. Haskins, O. D. Ohnstead. R. Stanley, George Burnett, David 
Diltz, Samuel Fetters and H. D. Burnett. In its later years the 
office received mail twice a week from Butler Center. It was dis- 
continued some years before the establishment of the rural mail 

There is one honse still standing on the Willoughby town site, 
a portion of a store building, which was the last place of business 
here. A schoolhouse also stands on the village site but it is now a 
sub-district schoolhouse. It is called the Willoughby schoolhouse, 
thus perpetuating the name of the town that once stood here. 


The village of New Hartford is located on section 33. Beaver 
township. Beaver creek wends its sinuous way on the north. The 
country surrounding this bustling little town is peopled by well- 
to-do, energetic farmers, who have become prosperous, by cultivat- 
ing some of the most fertile land in the state and contributing to 
the world's production of live stock no inconsiderable portion. 
The town has witnessed a steady and substantial growth and holds 
a place of prominence in the coimty. 

The land upon which New Hartford is so pleasantly located 
was preempted by a Mr. Chapman, in the spring of 1854, and in 
the early autumn of the year he built a log cabin on a spot now 
within the corporate limits. Titus Ensign and S. B. Ensign came 
on from the state of New York and upon looking over the imme- 


diate couutry, were greatly im]3ressecl with the beauty of the land- 
scape, fertility of soil and healthful climate. They made arrange- 
ments to build a mill here, and before returning to their eastern 
home bought the east half of section 33 and received permission 
from Chairman to make entry of their purchase, which gave them 
precedence and ultimate title t<» that part of Chapman's claim. 
In January, 1855, the Ensigns returned to Butler comity, and in 
conformit,y with their previous plans, built a mill on the bank 
of BeaA'er creek ; near the present school building they also put 
up a log house for a habitation. That same summer Titus Ensign 
caused the land on section 33 to be surveyed into town lots, com- 
posing twelve blocks including a ])ublic square, and on the 4th day 
of June, 1856, the plat of N'ew Hartford was tiled for record. 

The Ensigns built the first house in the village of New Hart- 
ford in the autumn of 1855. This was a log cabin, already men- 
tioned.' It was occupied hy the pioneers as a l)achelors' hall until 
early in the following year, when Titus Ensign lirought his family 
from Waverly and installed the members thereof in their new 
prairie home. The followdng spring S. B. Ensign erected a resi- 
dence on lots 1 and 3, block 11. G. W. Ensign came with Titus and 

5. B. Ensign and in the s]U'ing of 1857 put up a building on block 

6. Here he installed machinery and ran a shingle mill five or six 
years. The building was then moved to lot 8,. block 12, and con- 
A^rted into a stable for Dr. W. H. H. Hagey. 

R. Shaw arrived in the village in 1857 and built a house on lots 
2 and 4, block 11. About the same time, E. L. Shaw built on lots 
2 and 4, block 10; E. M. Shaw on lots 6 and 8, block 10; Xelson 
Childs on lots 5 and 7, block 8; Dr. Joseph Casto on lots 2 and 4, 
block 8. E. M. Shaw also put up a blacksmith shop on lot 7, block 
11. E. O. Stevens bought the S. B. Ensign house and moved into 
it. Shortly after William Jones occupied the propei'ty. Early 
in the fall he erected a building, in which he conducted a saloon 
for a while. 

The first store in Xew Hartfoi'd was estalilished in August, 
1856, by Martin Bailey, who came from Cedar Falls and had a new 
building ready for occupancy at the time above mentioned. ^Ir. 
Bailey and family were prominent in business and social circles 
of the place until 1860, when they removed to a farm near Butler 

D. IST. Root and Elijah Root, of Xew York state, located here in 
1856. They purchased the west half of the northeast quarter of 


section 33 of Solomon Lashbrook, which was surveyed and platted 
as Root's addition to New Hartford. Having purchased the build- 
ing erected by E. L. Shaw, on lots 2 and 4, block 10, D. N. Root 
enlarged and arranged the stiuicture suitably to a hotel, and he 
conducted the first "stopj)iug j^lace" for travelers in the township. 

The advent of the Root brothers proved a great benefit to the 
town. They were energetic, enterprising citizens. After giving 
the town an addition in territory, D. N. Root spent some time in 
the east, where he disposed of a considerable number of lots, and 
it is presumed, directed some innnigration to this locality. 

E. Bourquin, of Dubuque, located in New Hartford in August, 
1860. and ojoened a general store. He was the only merchant in 
the place at that time, Martin Bailey, the pioneer storekeeper, 
having closed his business in the sj)ring and taken up farming. 
Bourquin became the first permanent merchant in New Hartford, 
although he almost lost the distinction by selling his store to a 
Mr. Welsh in 1861. But the new man became dissatisfied and in 
the fall of the year Bourquin was again back of the counter, sell- 
ing goods at the old stand. He became one of the most prominent 
business men in the southern part of Butler county and the splen- 
did Bourquin brick business building, on the main thoroughfare, 
is a monument to Ms industry and thrift. He was the local post- 
master for a period of eighteen years. 

Several attempts have been made to jiermanently establish the 
liquor traffic at this place, but the sentiment of the community 
was not, collectively, sufficiently strong to encourage the traffic. 
H. S. Burch was rudely awakened from his dream of an easy life 
as a saloon man, when he was disturbed by a deputy sheriff in 
1857. He destroyed his stock of liquor and left the town. So did 
M. J. Coon, who was an ostensible guest of the Root hotel in 1859. 
He was discovered "boot legging" and his arrest followed. Had 
he been left to the frenzied citizens, most likely his career would 
have been prematurely brought to an abrupt ending. He was prac- 
tically run out of town. It is needless to add that New Hartford 
is still a "dr}'" town. 

A creamery was started in New Hartford in 1877, by a stock 
company. In the spring of 1880 Eugene Bourquin purchased the 

A gi'ain elevator was built on the line of the Illinois Central 
Railroad in 1876, and was managed by the grain dealers, J. Paul- 
ger & Son. Pre\dous to this the grain firm of Root & Beckwith 


had erected a grain warehouse and after running it about six 
years, sold out the business to Eugene Bourquin. Eventually it 
drifted into the hands of E. Paulger & Son. 

The Wick Brothers' firm established the first dinig store at New 
Hartford in the fall of 1880 ; the lumber firm and hardware busi- 
ness of J. Paulger & Son were established in 1882 ; and J. R. Fi- 
field's furniture store was first opened in 1873. Early in the '60s. 
L. L. Smith became proprietor and landlord of the Exchange Hotel 
and in January, 1868, was inducted into the office of sheriff. 


The first postoffice established here was named Beaver Grove,, 
in 1855. S. B. Ensign was appointed postmaster. About this time 
an office was established at Taylor's Hill, a little over a mile south 
of the callage and in view of this fact, supplies were discon- 
tinued and the Beaver Gi'ovo (office was practically abandoned by 
the authorities. Mail was then brought to the office from Cedar 
Falls by private conveyance. 

The New Hartford office was established in 1858. Dr. Joseph 
Casto was the first comnnssioned postmaster, but the office was 
left in charge of a deputy, D. N. Root, who kept the office at his 
hotel. This was made a money order office August 15, 1881. The 
first money order was issued to David Diltz, and the one cashed 
had been issued in favor of Dr. William H. H. Hagey. The names 
of postmasters succeeding Dr. Casto are here given : C. H. Cham- 
berlin. Dr. J. A. Guthrie, J. P. Wood, E. Bom-quin, J. S. McEl- 
wain, Thomas Houlihan, H. G. King, Lee Caulfield, H. G. King 
and Clarence Sprague. 


The town of New Hartford was incorporated and became a 
separate organization from the township in 1884. An election 
was held and officials elected, but the minute book of the recorder 
is missing and no detailed account can be given by the writer of 
the early proceedings of the town trustees. It is known, how- 
ever, that John Paulger was mayor in 1884, and M. J. Pierce, 
recorder. The names of successors to these offices follow: Mayor 
— L. L. Smith, 1891-2; F. W. Paulger, 1892-5; J. W. Phumner, 
1895-6; G. M. Bronson, 1896-9; L. L. Smith, 1899-1904; L. E. 


Bourquin, 1904-12; E. H. Will, 1912-13; by appointment to fill 
vacancy, Dr. J. G. Evans, February, 1913-14. Clerks— M. J. 
Pierce, 1884-99; Charles L. Booton, 1899-1904; N. P. Elwell, 19U4- 
12; C R. Harmon, 1912-14. 


The little city of New Hartford owns a system of waterworks 
that meets all the requirements of her citizens. The water is of 
a splendid qualit_y, there is plenty of it and the pressure through 
the mains is amply sufficient to throw a stream of water over any 
bviilding in the town. The question of building waterworks and 
issuing $3,000 in bonds, was submitted to the decision of the elect- 
orate and was most favorably passed upon by that ruling body in 
1896. In the same year the works were built and completed. 
Driven wells furnish an almost inexhaustible supply of water, 
which is pumped into a tank elevated on a steel tower 80 feet in 
height. This reservoir has a capacity of about 40,000 gallons. 


In the fall of the year 1913 Ray Dodd and Ceorge Courtright, 
two energetic and progressive citizens, built a small electric light 
plant, more as an experiment and for their own convenience than 
as a business venture. They builded better than they knew and 
as a consequence are receiving numerous applications for service. 
Several of the business hovises and residences are using the elec- 
tric lights and it is now anticipated that the plant will be enlarged 
in the spring of 1914. 


About the year 1889, Eugene Bourquin, F. W. Paulger, E. C. 
Bellows, J. A. Cousins and A. E. Bourquin organized a private 
banking company, taking the name of the New Hartford Bank, 
and began business in a brick biiilding which they had previously 
erected for the purpose. In 1900 the bank was incor])orated as 
the New Hartford State Bank, with a capital of $35,000, by the 
original owners. The first officers of the State Bank were : Eugene 
Bourqiiin, president: J. A. Cousins, vice president; P. W. Paul- 
ger, cashier. P. W. Paulger resigned his position in 1906 and L. 


E. Bour(|uiii assimied tlu' duties of the offiee left ^•aeallt; at the 
same time A. F. Perriu was elected vice president. Eugene Bour- 
quin died in 1908. This brought about other eliauges. A. F. Per- 
rin became president and August Critzmau, vice president. L. E. 
Bourquin left the offiee of cashier vacant in 1911 and K. L. Farns- 
Avorth since then has filled the position A'ery acceptably. The 
bank's last official statement shows the following: Capital, $35,- 
000; undivided profits, $17,500; deposits, $187,500. 

In 1911 F. B. Miller, Roger Leavitt and H. S. Ciilky incorpo- 
rated the Farmers ' Savings Bank, with a capital stock of $25,000. 
The ofiicers were: F. B. Miller, president; R. E. Wick, vice presi- 
dent; G. M. Bronson, vice president; R. A. Gage, cashier. The 
institution ran along for two years with indifferent success and 
little encouragement for its CQutinuance, so that in the fall of 
1913, all the stock was secured by the New Hartford State Bank 
and the two banks combined are much stronger and give more 
efficient service than two could render in a town the size of New 
Hartford, whose population is now al)out 500. 


Charles Ensign, one of the pioneer settlers at New Hartford, 
taught the first school in the place. This was held at his home 
in January, 1857. Being unable to finish the term plaimed, Mr. 
Ensign turned over his pupils to ^Nlrs. Sarah Dean, who taught 
the little class of boys and girls at her hunil:)le home. 

Before the close of the year 1857 a modest schoolhouse was 
erected and answered all purposes measurably well until 1867, 
when a two-story frame structure Avas built, to meet the increas- 
ing demands for more room. Later, a one-story frame school- 
house was built, to accommodate children in the first four grades. 
The larger building remained in use until 1897, when it was 
moved on to another lot and recently converted into an automo- 
bile garage. On the old site a modern two-story brick school 
building was erected the same year, at a cost of $4,000. In this 
latter building are four teachers ; in the little frame, two instruct- 
ors are employed. 


The first religious service held in New Hartford was by Rev. 
Nathan Olmstead and Harvev Smith, at the home of Charles En- 


sign, who at tlie time had also converted his home into a school- 
house. The settlers who at this time formed a class, were of the 
Protestant Methodist faith and chose for their class leader Nel- 
son Childs. The class was a small one, composed of E. M. and 
Robert Shaw, with their wives, Nelson Childs and wife and 
Charles Ensign and wife. The societ}- existed until 1870, but 
never erected a house of \vorshii>. 


The Baptist church was organized in 1857 and among the names 
of the first members the following are remembered: Joseph Col- 
lins and wdfe, E. H. Collins and wife, Eber Dunham, Lois Dun- 
ham, Josejih Casto, Norman Devoe, S. B. Ensign and wife, Lewis 
Hammond and wife and Daniel Pickett. The first minister was 
Rev. I. R. Dean. 

In May, 1857, the Sunday school was established in the school 
room at the home of Charles Ensign and the premier school teacher 
was chosen superintendent. A church building was erected in 
1866, at a cost of $5,500, and was the most pretentious building 
belonging to any chui'ch society in Butler county. It stood the 
Baptist people in good stead for many years, but eventually be- 
came inadequate and was superseded in the year 1903, b}' a hand- 
some buff pressed brick structure, erected at a cost of $8,000. 
The society is prosperous, has one hundred members' and an aver- 
age attendance at the Sunday school. The names of all the pastors 
follow: Revs. I. R. Dean, Gibbs, A. Orcutt, William Wood, E. 

C. O. Grout, D. P. Maryatt, Rev. Cox, Judson, H. D. Weaver, L. 

D. Lamldn, William M." Simmons, William C. Pratt, 1882-5 ; Ar- 
thur F. Howell, 1887-91; W. E. Adams, 1894-7; C. W. Heady, 
1897-1904; J. F. Wood, 1904-06; C. H. H. Moore, 1907-09; Harry 
A. Essex, 1909-14. 


There being deemed a sufficient number of the ]\rethodist faith 
to associate themselves formally into a class, an organization was 
effected in 1857, by E. S. Maxwell, as class leader, and his wife, 
Robert Shaw and wife, and a Mr. Childs and wife. Meetings were 
held every two weeks in an old log schoolhousc, but the first ser- 
mon heard in the towTi was delivered by an itinerant preacher. 


at the home of Charles Ensign in 1856. In 1871 a neat and com- 
modious church building was erected at a cost of $3,0U0 and in 
1907-8 the building was remodeled to comply with present day 
demands. The lirst regular pastor was Rev. Taylor and those 
who have followed him are herein mentioned, namely: Revs. 
George Murphy, Glassner, Ward, McCee, Burgett, McKim, Mc- 
Gee, W. Ward Smith, J. R. Cameron, 1885-87; E. R. Leamen, 
1887-89 ; B. H. Flemming, 1889-90 ; Horace Foote, 1890-93 ; W. N. 
Brown, 1893-95; W. E. Ross, 1895-98; J. D. Perry, 1898-1900; 
J. H. Hayward, 1900-02 ; Stuart C. Bretnafl, 1903-05 ; Jesse Smith, 
1905-06; P. X. Miller, 1906-07; H. W. Halter, three months; E. E. 
Clements, 1908-09; Thomas Maxwell, 1909-10; Henry Allshouse, 
1910-11; J. C. Davis, 1911-12; W. A. Faris, 1912-14. 

The membership now numbers one hundred and thirteen. 


For some time previous to the year 1897 the ordinance of mass 
was formally observed in New Hartford, by visiting priests in 
a non-sectarian building. But in the year mentioned Father 
Lynch built a church edifice for the mission established here and 
since that time this people have been attended by clergjanen of the 
church resident at Parkersburg. Father O. Leary is the present 
pastor ; a young man but lately arrived from Ireland. 


The fraternal bodies established in New Hartford have af- 
forded the good people an outlet for their surplus energies and 
afforded a means of whiling away many pleasant and profitable 
hours of an evening. Oswegatehie Lodge, No. 20, I. O. O. F. was 
the first one organized, coming into existence October 23, 1884. 
The woman's auxiliary. Banquet Lodge, No. 343, Daughters of 
Rebekah, was organized October 23, 1896. 

Beaver Lodge, No. 472, A. F. & A. M., was organized June 2, 
1886, by F. B. Bolton, August Critzman and L. L. Smith. The 
membership now nmnbers ninety-three. 

New Hartford Camp, No. 838, Modern Woodmen of America, 
was organized February 16, 1889, with eleven members. Robin- 
son Camp, No. 3786, Royal Neighbors, was organized some years 
later, with twenty-four charter members. 


Some time in the '80s the veterans of New Hartford and 
vicinity organized a post of the Grand Army of the Republic, but 
owing to the rapid passing away of their comrades the surviving 
members have become too few in numbers to give them any fur- 
ther interest in holding stated meetings. The Woman's Relief 
Corps, No. 228, organized February 18, 1891, still keeps up its 
organization and regular meetings. 


The township of Beuuezette occupies a position in the north- 
western corner of the eonnty. It is bounded on the north by 
Floyd county, on the west by Franklin county and corners on 
the northwest with Cerro Gordo county. According to the con- 
gressional survey it is township 93 north, range 18 west of the 
fifth principal meridian. The land in general is more level than 
in many other sections of the county. There are fewer marked 
elevations of land and less natural drainage. As a result, the soil 
is a rich black loam. Originally a considerable portion of the 
township was so lacking in facilities for natural drainage as at 
times to be too wet for cultivation. Of recent years the establish- 
ment of several drainage districts and the construction of a 
nimiber of large drainage ditches, together with the tiling of 
the land by indi^-idual owners, has rendered this one of the most 
fertile and productive portions of Butler countj\ 

Coldwater creek enters the to^ATiship from the north in sec- 
tion 5 and flows eastward through the northei'u tier of sections. 
The extreme southwest portion is drained by the North Branch 
of the West Fork, and another small stream has its origin in the 
south central portion of tlie township. None of these streams are 
of any size and during the dry seasons they practically cease to. 

For a number of years after the organization of the township 
it had no town within its borders. In 1900, however, the con- 
struction of the line of the Northwestern Railroad through the 
western portion of the township led to the establishment of the 
town of Aredale, an unincorporated village, situated at the center 
of sections 29, 30, 31 and 32. Dougherty, a village in Cerro Gordo> 
county, is the trading point for farmers of the northwestern por- 
tion of the township, and Greene for those of the northeastern 
section. The southeastern portion is served as a trading point by 



the town of Bristow. The township is now thickly settled by a 
progressive class of farmers whose industry and energy are sec- 
ond to none in the state. The township takes its name from the 
town of Benuezette, Pennsylvania, the native home of William 
P. Woodworth and Samuel Overturf, who were pioneers here. 


In conmion with other western townships of the county the 
early settlement in Bennezette did not take place until several 
years following the settlement of the eastern townships of the 
comity. The first settler is said to have been William A. Keister, 
who in 1854 settled on a claim in section 1. In the following year 
John J. Chase came from Waverly and located a claim on section 
4. He is said to have remained here but a short time. The names 
of these two settlers are the only ones recorded for the years 1854 
and 1855. 

The records of the land office showing the original entries of 
land in this township reveal the fact that the first entry of land 
was made by one David Miller, on April 17, 1854, in section 12. 
On January 15, 1855, the second entry was made by J. S. Easly, 
in section 2. The third entry was made by W. H. Ennis, on sec- 
tion 1, on June 28, 1855. As the names of none of these gentlemen 
appear in the lists of early settlers, it may be concluded that these 
claims were simply taken up to be sold later. 

In 1856 William Kingery, a native of Indiana, purchased the 
claim which had been taken up by W. A. Keister, in section 1, and 
lived upon it until 1865, when he moved to section 13, in Cold- 
water township. About the same time, two other settlers named 
Hamlin and Murphy located in the to'wnship. Hamlin came from 
Ohio and took up a claim on the southeast quarter of section 30, 
where he lived until 1863. He then removed to Butler Center 
and his later history is unknown. Murpli}' was from New York 
and settled on the northwest quarter of section 1. He later re- 
moved to Osage. 

One of the most prominent of the early settlers was ]\Iilton 
Wilson, who was born in New York, in 1826. With his family he 
came west in the spring of 1857, taking passage from Buffalo to 
Milwaukee by boat. Prom the latter point they traveled over- 
land to Butler comity and located a claim on section 15, Benne- 
zette township. Mr. Wilson was prominently identified with the 


history of the county from the time of his arrival. He was one 
of the county supervisors, elected first under the old system, 
representing Bennezette township on the county board in the 
years 1859 and 1860. He was later a member of the board of 
supervisors under the present law, serving during the years 1879, 
1880, 1881, 1891, 1892 and 1893. At the time Mr. Wilson raised 
his first crop of wheat, Cedar Rapids was the nearest market — ■ 
one hundred and ten miles distant. To this town Mr. Wilson 
hauled his first crop and received for it the sum of sixty cents a 

The year 1857 saw a large increase in the number of settlers 
in the township. Among these were Ira A. and Cyrus D. Cham- 
berlin, brothers, who came from Vermont and located claims in 
section 3i ; Oliver Evans, who settled on the southwest quarter of 
section 17; W. P. Woodworth and Samuel Overturf, later resi- 
dents of Pittsf ord township, settled in section 35 ; Orrin C. Smith 
and John A. Smith, natives of Michigan, who settled in sections 
27 and 34; George O'Brien and three McKinney brothers, Philip, 
John and Michael, John and Patrick Kelly, John P. Mills, James 
S. Morris, Augaistus Clukey, Peter Galipo, Warren Caswell and 
a man named Ward. This so far as is known is a complete list 
of the settlers in the township for 1857. 

In the years immediately following 1857 the number of settlers 
is so great as to render a detailed list almost impossible. Among 
the later settlers without regard to the date of their settlement 
may be mentioned Benjamin H. Barnett, William Lovell, Francis 
and John Maxwell, John E. Downing, Adam Kvle and Michael 

The Maxwells purchased land in sections 3, 10 and 11, together 
owning something over one thousand acres in this section of the 
township. They are survived by several sons and daughters who 
are still residents of the township and cormty. 

John E. Downing located on section 26 and later became the 
owner of the northwest quarter of section 25. The family is still 
re]U'esented in the coimty, the present members of the family 
being located principally in Coldwater township. 

John H. Kyle, the present treasurer of the school township of 
Bennezette, is a sou of Adam Kyle, mentioned above. 

No family in the history of the county has been more promi- 
nently identified with affairs state and national than that of Mich- 
ael Wade. Detailed mention of his son. John F., is given below. 


Another sou, Martin J. Wade, was born in Burlington, Vt., Octo- 
ber 20, 1861. He came to Iowa with bis father and settled in 
Bennezette township in 1871, the family home being located on 
section 7. He received liis education in the rural schools of Butler 
county, St. Joseph's College in Dubuque and the Iowa State Uni- 
versity. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1886. 
From the first he was eminently successful as a practitioner and 
his knowledge of the law led to his selection in 1892 as professor 
of the law department of the State University. In 1889 he was 
elected president of the State Bar Association. From 1893 until 
1902 Mr. Wade presided as judge over the courts of the eighth 
judicial district. In the latter year he was elected Representative 
in Congress for the second district on the democratic ticket. Since 
the expiration of this term he has been a member of the demo- 
cratic national committee and has been one of the most prominent 
leaders in the coimcils of this party. He has been mentioned a 
number of times as a possible candidate for national honors. 

John F. Wade served the county as a member of the board of 
supervisors from 1897 to 1903. He was state senator from the 
district including Butler and Bremer counties, during the ses- 
sions of the Thirtieth, Thirty-first and Thirty-second Ceneral 
Assemblies. In October, 1909, he was appointed to a position on 
the Board of Control of State Institutions, which he lield to the 
date of his death, in 1913. Mr. Wade was a democrat in ])olitics 
and no testimony to the degree of trust which he possessed in the 
minds of the citizens of Butler county is more convincing than the 
fact that although different in political faith from the great major- 
ity of the voters of Butler county, he was so long and so signally 
honored with ])ositions at their gift. 


Bennezette township is organized as a district township for 
school purposes and maintains nine schools. 

The first schoolhouse was built in the northeast part of section 
1, in 1861. Mrs. Mary A. Briggs taught the first term of school 
in the township, in a frame building built for this purpose. The 
wages were $14 a month and she was to board herself. 

In 1873, a second schoolhouse to take the place of this one was 
erected on section 11. Later the present school building, situated 
in the southeast quarter of section 2, was built. 


In 1864, a second school district was set off for No. 2 and a 
schoolhouse erected on section 9. In 1882 this schoolhouse was 
sold at auction, and for a time the district was without a building. 
At the present time a schoolhouse is located in section 4. 

Miss Eliza J. Logan, who taught in district No. 2 during the 
winter of 1864-5, was one of the first teachers, if not the first 
teacher, in this district. 

District No. 3 was set off in 1872 and a school building was 
located in the southeast corner of section 6. The first teacher was 
Ai'villa Niece. 

District No. 4 was formed soon after but was for a time with- 
out a schoolhouse. The children of this district are now accom- 
modated in a building located on the northeast corner of section 

The Center school, district No. 5, erected its first building in 
1882 in the northeast part of section 21. Dave McKinney was the teacher. 

The first schoolhouse iu district No. 6, erected in 1874, at the 
northeast corner of section 23, was destroyed by the tornado of 
1878. The building was inunediately replaced and still stands 
upon the same location. Miss Annie Ward was the first teacher 
in this district. 

Miss Florence White taught the first school in district No. 7, 
in a schoolhouse erected in 1882, on section 35. Later the site of 
this schoolhouse was moved to the northwest corner of section 36. 

In 1863 a schoolhouse for what is now^ district No. 8 was located 
on section 34. The first school in this building was taught by 
Addle B. Fay. This was used until 1882, when it was abandoned. 
For some years pupils attended school in other districts. Later, 
however, the present building in section 34 was erected. 

In 1868 a school building for district No. 9 was located on 
section 32. In 1873 the building was moved to section 29. The 
first school in this district, however, was taught in the house of 
Sylvanus Hamlin, in 1862, by a Mrs. Mary Smith. The school- 
house iu district No. 9 continued to serve the pupils of the town 
of Aredale. Soon thereafter the number of pupils became too 
large to be afconnnodated in any one building. Tempoi'arv quar- 
ters were secured for a part of the ehiJdren in a room over the bank 
and an additional teacher seci;red for the instruction of these chil- 
dren comprising the primar}' department. 


In 1911 tlie township voted to raise the sum of $5,000, through 
two annual tax levies to be used for the construction of a modern 
schoolhouse for the children of Aredale. At the tune of the pres- 
ent writing the plans and specifications for this building have 
been agreed upon and advertisements for bids for its construction 
have been made. Within the course of less than a year it is prob- 
able that Aredale Avill be the possessor of a modern school ])uild- 
ing, adequate for the needs of the comnnniity for some years to 
come. This action on the part of the people of Bennezette town- 
ship is indicative of their progressive spirit in educational affairs. 


Inasmuch as the township was situated so far from any mar- 
ket point in the days before free rural mail delivery, it was neces- 
sary in order to accommodate thi' people of this section of the 
county that several local postoffices be established for their benefit. 
The first of these was moved from Franklin county to the house 
of John H. Lockwood, on section 6, about 1875. Mail arrived here 
twice each week from Sheffield, in Franklin county, and Marble 
Eock, in Floyd county. This office remained in existence for a 
number of years. 

Another postoffice was established in April, 1878, at Wilson's 
Grove, on section 15. Milton Wilson was the postmaster and 
received mail here once a week from Greene during the first year, 
and after that, twice a week from Sheffield. This office was dis- 
continued in the fall of 1880. The postoffice at Aredale was estab- 
lished in 1901, and is at present the only postoffice in the town- 
ship. Rural mail routes from Aredale, Dougherty, Bristow and 
Greene now acconmiodate the people of this township. 


The first division of the county into townships came in Fel)- 
ruarj^, 1855. Bennezette w^as then made a part of the township 
of Ripley. On the 3d of March, 1856, another division occurred 
by which Bennezette was made a part of Coldwater. It was 
finally set off from Coldwatei' and given separate organization 
on the 4th of March, 1858, Samuel Overturf being authorized 
to call the first election. This gentleman has been mentioned 


above as having named the tovpnship for his own home town in 
Elk county, Pennsylvania. 

The first election held under the orders of Judge Converse 
was held at Samuel Overturf's house on the 5th day of April, 
1858. The following officers were elected : Wilham P. Woodworth, 
clerk ; Ira A. Chamberlin, Milton Wilson, Samuel Overturf , trus- 
tees; Cyrus D. Chamberlin, road supervisor; Thomas Overturf 
and Orrin C. Smith, constables. The first assessor was William 
A. Keister, elected in October, 1858. 

The records of the township in the early days are relatively 
unimportant. It may be interesting to note, however, the atti- 
tude of the people of Bennezette township on the removal of the 
county seat, which has been treated elsewhere. In the elec- 
tion of April 5, 1858, for the removal from Clarksville to George- 
town, twelve votes were east, all in favor of the removal. At 
the election April 4, 1859, for the removal from Clarksville to 
Butler Center, thirteen votes were cast, twelve for removal and 
one against. On the 2d day of November, 1880, when the ques- 
tion of removal of the county seat from Butler Center to Allison 
came up, of the seventy-eight ballots cast, seventy-two were for 
Allison and six for Butler Center. 

The population of the township as shoAvn by the various cen- 
sus reports, state and national, is as follows: 1860, 54; 1863, 72; 
1865, 61; 1867, 110; 1869, 156; 1870, 206; 1873, 220; 1875, 302; 
1880, 527; 1890, 580; 1900, 689; 1905, 708; 1910, 681. 


The first birth known to have occurred in Bennezette town- 
ship was that of a daughter of William A. and Mary Keister, 
named, born December 29, 1855. 

The first marriage in the township was that of John Bartlett 
Moffat and Adelia Mufley, which occurred in 1859, at the home 
of the bride's parents. Elder Philip Moss, of Coldwater town- 
ship, was the officiating clergyman. 

The first deaths occurred in the fall of 1857, when a son and 
daughter of William Kingery died and were buried in the Ger- 
man cemetery in Coldwater township. Elder Philip Moss offici- 
ated at the funeral. 

The first religious services in Bennezette township were held 
by the same Rev. Philip Moss, in 1858, in the home of William 



Kiiigery, on section 1. Rev. Mr. Moss was of the (Jernuin Baptist 
or Dunkard churcli. He is mentioned more at length in connec- 
tion with the liistory of Coldwater township. 

The first Sunday school in the township was organized in the 
schoolhouse ui district No. 1, in 1868, with WilHam Keister as the 


The village of Aredale is located on sections 29 and 32, in the 
southwest part of Bennezette township, and is a station on the 
Chicago & Northwestern railroad. It was laid out and platted by 
the Iowa & Minnesota Town Site Company, of Mason City, Iowa, 
in 1900, and the plat was recorded June 28, 1900, by W. E. Brice' 
president. In the few years of its existence the village has grown 
until it now has a population of about 150. There is a township 
schoolhouse, in which is employed one teacher. To take care of 
the. overflow of school children a I'oom is occupied over the Aredale 
Savings Bank, by an instructor and her pupils. The business 
interests consist of general stores, shops, a grain elevator and 

The Aredale Savings Bank was organized in 1901. with the fol- 
lowing officers: C. EI. xMcNider, president; W. J. Christians, vice 
president; H. J. Ehlers, cashier. The present officers are: R. L. 
Miller, president ; ^^^ J. Christians, cashier ; E. R. Worley. assist- 
ant cashier. Capital, $10,000; surplus and undivided profits, 
$4,700; deposits, $141,718. 


In 1899 before the town of Aredale was started or even tlie C. 
N. W. Railroad had gone through this section of the ecMuitrv, Rev. 
B. R. Wiener and Rev. L. E. Smith of the Evangelical Church 
began to ])reacli in a schoolhouse wliicli u(iw stands on the edge 
of the towm of Aredale. Their efforts were crowned with success 
and in 1901 a connnodious modern churcli was erected and dedi- 
cated to the woi'sliip of God free from del)t. 

Rev. J. H. Engel and Rev. C. F. Hillman in turn serv<'d this 
field in connection with Dumont until 1910, wdien Aredale was 
made a separate mission and Rev. J. V. Knoll was appointed as 
pastor. The project of building a parsonage was taken u]) that 

I. g g ^■■ *' 




year and the next year witnessed the completion of a fine modern 
building which is a credit to the congregation and comml^nit3^ 

In 1912 Rev. O. M. Yaggy was appointed as pastor and during 
his pastorate the church has continued to enjoy continued pros- 
perity under the signal blessing of God. The communicants now 
number eighty-one with a live Sunday school wliich has an enroll- 
ment of 175. During the past year many new methods and some 
modern equipment have been introduced putting the church and 
Sunday school work on a par with that of nnieh larger towns. 

The most important achievement of the past year, however, is 
the action of the official board in putting the field on a self-sup- 
porting basis, a step which reflect;^ great credit on the progressive 
spirit and loyalty of the congregation. 



Butler township coincides with the geograpliical limits of 
township 92 north, range 15 west of the fifth principal meridian. 
It is on the eastern side of the county and contains 23,040 acres, 
the greater part of which is tillable farm land. The Shell Rock 
river flows through this township, entering about the middle of 
the western side and merging into Shell Rock township near the 
line between sections 34 and 35. The land bordering the river is 
more or less heavily timbered and some of it is too rough to be 
utilized for farming purposes. However, there is practically no 
waste land within the township. Two lines of railroad parallel 
the course of the river, the Chicago Great Western traversing the 
territory to the northeast, and the Cedar Rapids & Minnesota 
division of the Rock Island, that to the southwest of the river 
valley. There are two bridges across the Shell Rock in the town- 
ship — a wagon bridge and railway bridge for the Rock Island, 
both south of Clarksville. Except in the river -^'alley, the surface 
is rolling and well adapted to all purposes of farming. The soil 
is for the most part a black loam, with clay sub-soil. Along the 
river the soil is lighter and in places rather sandy. The farms 
are occupied for the most part by actual owners. The homes and 
farm buildings are modern, well kept and convenient. The popu- 
lation according to the census of 1910, including Clarksville, was 
1,471. Many nationalities are represented in the population of this 
township. There are, however, perhaps fewer persons of foreign 
birth than in any other township in the county, with the possible 
exception of Shell Rock. 

As has been noted earlier in this work, this section of the 
county was the site of the first settlements. The Hicks and the 
Wamsley families, who have been mentioned as the earliest set- 



tiers, however, located their first homes just across the towuship 
line in what is now Jackson township, although they were identi- 
fied from the beginning with the history of the town of Clarks- 
ville and Butler township in general. 

Jeremiah Perrin, Morrison A. Tajdor and E. Ensley were 
probably the first permanent settlers of the towuship. These 
gentlemen settled on land located in sections 16 and 17, of Butler 
towushijD, during the summer of 1851. 

Seth Hilton, Sr., first came to Butler towuship in December, 
1851, from his home in southern Illinois,- where he had also been 
a j)ioneer settler. He erected a small log ea1)iu on a spot about 
fifty rods southwest of the Rock Island depot, in which he moved 
his family in March, 1852. In the following year he built another 
cabin on what afterwards became the town site of Clarksville. 
It is said that he never saw a locomotive or train of cars nutil the 
first train along the line of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & North- 
ern, now the Rock Island, was run across his farm. In his later 
years he was a resident of Jackson township, surviving and con- 
tinuing his activities as a farmer until lie had passed his eightietli 
milestone. He died many years ago. 

In the spring of 1852 John Heery, wlio has beeii mentioned 
before as haA'ing made the first entry of land in Butler county, 
brought his family and located upon the claim which he had taken 
in November. 1850. He died some twenty or twenty-five years 
ago. Two of his sons still reside ou the home farm near Clarks- 
ville, while the oldest son, John, lives in Clarksville. 

Alfred Elam, Hiram Beard, John Armstrong and C. N. Bur- 
ton are also named among the settlers who located on farms in the 
western part of Butler towuship in the years before 1852. Alfred 
Elam was one of the earliest justices of the peace in the township 
and is remembered as having celebrated the first marriage cere- 
monies in the county. Hiram Beard was a veteran of the Mexi- 
can war. His claim afterward formed a part of the Mix estate. 
John Annstrong settled on section 29 and C. N. Burton on section 
8. The exact dates of these settlements are imknown. It is diffi- 
cult to establish definitely the time when these various early set- 
tlers became finally identified with Butler township. 

As has been noted before, most of the early claims in this 
county were entered for speculatiAT purposes by men who ]iad no 
intention of settling upon them. The date of filing upon these 
claims was often several vears later than the actual location of 


the claim, and in many instances, even where these claims were 
purchased by actual settlers, the transfer was not recorded for 
some years thereafter. 

The second claim to be taken in Butler township was entered 
by W. H. Knapj), on September 1, 1851, and consisted of one hun- 
di'ed and sixty acres of land in sections 8 and 17. On the same 
date W. M. Fulton entered a claim to a similar amount of land in 
sections 17 and 20, and A. C. Gale made an entry on section 21. 
J. F. Ballier, on October 21, 1851, entered claims on sections 21 
and 28. 

On July 5, 1852. George W. Poisal, with his wife and four 
children, Thomas Clark and family, Jeremiah Clark and family, 
and Mrs. Cynthia Clark and family, arrived in Butler township. 
They all came from the same i^art of Indiana. Mr. Poisal and the 
Clarks entered land in section 18, erected log cabins and com- 
menced their pioneer life. As the supply of provisions which 
they brought with them was insufficient to carry them through 
the rest of the season, Mr. Poisal, in August, drove overland to 
the vicinity of Cedar Rapids and purchased a load of corn, 
paying 25 cents a bushel. On his way home he busied hmiself 
shelling the corn and when he arrived at Cedar Falls he had it 
ground. This with a crop of potatoes, which they succeeded in 
raising, and game and fish, which they were able to secure during 
the winter, supplied them with the necessary food. Mr. Poisal 
later sold this first claim to Daniel Mather and purchased the north- 
east quarter of section 18, which in 1855 he laid out as an addi- 
tion to the village of Clarksville. Here he resided until the date 
of his death. He always occupied a high place in the esteem of 
his friends and associates and was honored with election to the 
office of coimty judge of Butler county in the first election held. 
He did not qualify for the office for the reason that he would have 
had to go to Independence to do so and he considered the distance 
too gi'eat for this purpose. He continued throughout his active 
life to take a prominent part in local affairs. His wife was a sister 
of Thomas and Jeremiah Clark, for whom the town of Clarksville 
was named. 

Thomas and Jeremiah Clark were among the original owners 
of the town site of Clarksville and after its formal platting, the 
entry of which was made on the records of the county on October 
27, 1854. they were honored by the naming of the "^-illage for them. 
Abner G. Clark, who had been appointed postmaster at Coon's 


Grove, just west of Clarksville, in 1853, was the first mercliaut of 
the new town. He was a brother of Thomas and Jeremiah Clark. 

Daniel Mather, another of the original proprietors of the land 
upon which Clarksville is situated, arrived in Butler county in 
October, 1854, and purchased the land in section 18, which had 
been owned by G. W. Poisal. Mr. Mather was a carpenter by 
trade and later was the contractor for the wood work in the new 
courthouse. Mr. Mather left a family of several children, of 
whom Charles is still a resident of the county. A daughter, Mary, 
later married Captain C. A. Roszell, and' is still living in Clarks- 

D. C. Hilton, the other of the proprietors of the town site men- 
tioned in the record, was a son of Seth Hilton. He was afterward 
one of the first treasurers of Butler county. 

During 1854-55 settlers came in rapid succession. The limits 
of this work make it impossible to give detailed mention of all 
these but among those who are remembered as belonging to this 
group of settlers are : O. A. Strong, John H. Morton, John Palmer, 
David Blakely, Aaron Van Dorn, J. J. Eichar, T. T. Rawson, M. 
M. Trmnbull, William Brandon, R. Hardy, Abner Farlow, J. M. 
Vincent, R. W. Butler, W. E. Burton, John Ray and R. T. 
Crowell. Of these Aaron Van Doru is noted in connection with 
the county officers, having been elected county judge in 1855. M. 
^I. Trumbull is mentioned at length in connection with the chapter 
on the history of Butler county in the Civil war. William Bran- 
don is said to have been a genuine backwoodsman, "reared on the 
rifle, ax, deer and 'bar's' meat." 

Henry Atkinson settled at Clarksville in 1855, entering the 
employ first of Daniel Mather and later R. T. Crowell. He is 
noticed at lengih in the biographical chapter of this work, as are 
also John Hifklc, W. A. Ridcn. Tliomas Hmit and W. H. Moore. 


The first election in Butler township was held in a log cabin 
owned by George W. Poisal, situated on the corner where the 
Butler Covmty Bank now stands. The first township officers 
elected were : trustee, Jeremiah Perrin ; justice of the peace, Alfred 
Elam. At this time Butler township was practically coextensive 
in its boundaries with the county, no definite sul)-division of the 
townships in the county having been made. In 1855 County Judge 


Juhu Palmer divided the county into four townships and set the 
limits and bounds of Butler township as consisting of congres- 
sional townships 92 and 93, range 15, and township 92 and east 
half of 93, range 16. Butler township by this act comprised the 
territory later forming Fremont, Butler, Jackson and the east 
half of Dayton township. This territory remained a part of But- 
ler township until 1858, Jackson township having ttrst been set 
off on the 11th of March, and the others soon after that date. The 
first constable whose name is found on the records is Joseph V. 
Hicks, and the first township clerk, Benjamin H. Shafer. 


The first school in the township and in the county was taught 
in a little log cabin in Clarksville, in 1855, by Miss Malinda Searles. 

As the township became more thickly populated provision was 
made for the education of the children by the organization of the 
district township of Butler. No records are available showing 
the date of the establishment of the diiferent schools. However, 
by 1865 the township was divided into seven sub-districts. 

Provision was made at the annual meeting for electors of the 
district township of Butler in 1860 for the sale of the schoolhouse 
in sub-district No. 4, now the Lowell district, to the highest bidder 
and the lioard of directors were empowered to dispose of the prop- 
erty within six months from date. This motion was later rescinded 
and it was voted to repair the schoolhouse in this district. 

In the meeting of 1867 it was voted to build a schoolhouse in 
sub-district No. 3, now the Riden district. It was voted to hold 
eight months' school in the entire township — four months' sum- 
mer term and four months' winter term. 

Provision was made in 1869 for building a schoolhouse in dis- 
trict No. 7, now" known as the Shell Rock Valley district. 

In 1870 an aj)propriation was made foi" the erection of a school- 
house in district No. 5, directly north of Clarksville. This eon- 
tract was let to J. R. Jones, and specifications are given in full in 
the records of the district township. This was built of stone 
22x28 feet in dimensions, walls one foot thick and nine feet high 
between floor and ceiling, with six windows and one door. Black- 
board 10 feet long, extending from the top of the windows to a 
point three feet from the floor, to be placed in one end. It was to 
be seated wdth walnut double seats and desks securelv fastened to 


tlie floor. Tlie seats were to have two coats of ochre colored paint. 
These specifications are carefully drawn and indicate the electors 
of Butler township at that time desired to give their children the 
benefits of the best j^ossible instruction. This building, if con- 
structed according to specifications, would form a better school- 
house structure than many in which the children of Butler county 
are still in attendance. 

The school building in district No. 2, now the Union district, 
south of Clarksville, was first provided for at the annual meeting 
in March, 1870. This, however, was not built immediately, as at 
the November meeting of 1871 a committee " was appointed to 
locate a site for this building and erect a building on said site. 
Henry Atldnson and W. J. Gregg were apjiointed as a committee. 
In the end it was found necessary to resort to condemnation pro- 
ceedings in order to secure the site for this school. The records 
contain the formal notice of condemnation and assessment dam- 
age at $15 as compensation for the acre of land taken for this pur- 
pose. Provision made at this meeting for repairs and repainting 
in districts No. 4 and No. 6 indicate that the Ijuildings in these dis- 
tricts had been in use for some time. The contract for the build- 
ing of the schoolliouse in sub-district No. 2 was let to W. S. Smith, 
who is still a resident of the district and has served as its secre- 
tary for a number of years. 

Another entry of interest in these early records is as follows : 
"On motion, the books recommended by the county convention for 
general use in the district schools were adopted towit : Independ- 
ent Series Readers and Speller, Monteith and McNally Geog- 
raphy, Ray's Arithmetic, Burt's Grammar, Swinton's U. S. 

Among the names of teachers in these schools of the township 
of the early days appear those of H. F. L. Burton, I. E. Lucas, 
Eliza Fasset, W. H. Moore, Thomas F. Heery and S. E. Bement. 

The change of the boundaries of the sub-districts of the town- 
ship was made November 16, 1872, by which the Ijoundaries of the 
independent district of Clarksville were determined as at present 
and a section and a half of land lying directly noi'th of this was 
set over for school purposes into Jackson township, to which it has 
been attached ever since. The boiuidaries of the other districts 
were at this time fixed as at present with the exception of the 
districts on the east side of the tow^nship at that time divided 


between sub-districts Nos. 6 and 7 instead of in three districts as 
at present. 

These sub-districts were divided and a new district, No. 9, 
created in 1873. A contract for building a schoolhouse was let 
in the same year. The schoolhouse site in district No. 7 was 
moved to its jjreseut locatiou at the same time. 

The school buildings in this township so far as the records 
show, were erected at a uniform cost of $700. 

At a meeting held in the schoolhouse in district No. 8, now the 
Central school, on September 21. 1874, the affairs of the district 
township were closed up, the funds of the district distributed and 
school property equalized and divided so far as possible among 
the eight independent districts, which had been formed in accord- 
ance with the vote of the people of the township at a previous 
election. Having transacted this business the board adjourned 
sine die and the district township of Butler ceased be a corporate 

The independent districts formed at this time had substan- 
tially the same boundaries and names as at present with the 
exception of No. 7, which is now called Shell Rock Valley school 
and was then called the Leavens district. Since this date new 
school buildings have been constructed in prairie Valley district 
and the school site has been changed and a new building con- 
structed in Burr Oak district. The other Iniildings remain suli- 
stantially as they were at that time, among the few remaining 
relics of the departed generation. 

In the list of officers of the district township of Butler there 
are a number of names frequently met with in the history of 
Butler county. Among the presidents may be noted Jeremiah 
Perrin, J. R. Jones, W. A. Riden; among the secretaries, Asa 
Lowe, W. E. Burton and Henry Atkinson. Thomas Hunt served 
as treasurer throughout the greater part of this period. 


18.56. 722; 1860, 963; 1863, 996; 1865, 871; 1867, 941; 1869, 
1.274; 1870, 1,329; 1873, 1,387; 1875, 1,506; 1880, 1,532; 1890. 
1,496; 1900, 1,-527; 1910, 1,471. 


As before related, Thomas and Jeremiah Clark, with others, 
were the original owners of the land upon which Clarksville now 


stands. That portit)U of the hiiid uu sectiuu 18 selected for the 
town site was survej^ed and phitted in the mouth of August, 1853, 
and soon tliereafter additions were laid out, one on the east by 
Daniel Mather and one on the south by Seth Hilton. All in all, 
the plat consisted of seventeen blocks. As originalh' laid out and 
with the additions it was filed for record with the county recorder. 

Clarks'V'ille is the premier town of Butler county and the 
only one in the township. As a trading point it i)robably 
has no superior in the bailiwick, being set down upon a 
beautiful prairie, witli a scope of farnr lands encircling it for 
iiuuiy miles, all di'awn u]iou by the )»usy and enterprising mer- 
chants, who make the place a Aantage point for their business 
activities. Two railroads add vei'v nmch to the natui'al advan- 
tages of Clarksville, giving the surrounding farms a ready market 
for their large contributions of cereals and live stock, and the 
merchants access to the great marts of the world, thus enabling 
them to procure merchandise readily and at a mininnmi cost for 
transportation. It is needless to add that these two lines of rail- 
i-oad, one belonging to the great Rock Island system and the other 
a trunk line known as the Chicago Great Western, afford quite 
satisfactory accoimnodations to the traveling pul)lic, to which 
Clarksville contributes no insignificant shai'e. 

To Seth Hilton, one of the original owners of the town of 
Clarksville, is given the di.stinetion of being the first person to 
start things moving in the eml)ryo town. He it was who built the 
first structure, a log affair, and it is presumed the first house was 
])nt up in 18oP), although no record is extant giving authority for 
the statement. 

On the site of the Ti-emont House Abner Clark erected a build- 
ing in ISoo, in which he placed a stock of general merchandise. 
Here Al)ner Clark, the first merchant of Clarksville, held forth in 
Imrter and trade the next two years, and then sold his stock of 
goods to John Palmer, who removed his purchase into another 
l)uilding on the Avest side of the courthouse square, where the 
second store opened its doors under the management and proprie- 
torshi]) of Palmer & Moneton. The Clark store Iniilding was 
converted by the propi'ietor into a hotel and for some years gaxe 
shelter and liodily comfort to many a traveler. Then one "Billy" 
Brandon was "mine host," and was followed by his son, Henry, 
who, in the year 1874, tore down the old structure and in its stead 
erected the present Tremont House, a square frame building. 



TV :■ 



almost, if not quite, ready for the scrap pile. lu this building 
Henry Brandon remained as landlord one year and at its expira- 
tion turned it over to a renter, one Ravenscroft, who finally pur- 
chased the property and rented it to a Mr. Younger. But why 
give in detail the various managers of this old hostelry? Let it 
suffice to say that the building has stood still, while the town has 
been making steady, onward strides, so that a more modern cara- 
vansary is justly due a trading point ha^-ing the size and impor- 
tance of Clarksville. 

The third lousiness house in Clarksville was that of the firm of 
Eichar & Dollison, located on Main street. This firm was in exist- 
ence about six years and then disposed of its stock of goods in the 
lump. In the building vacated by Eichar & Dollison the firm of 
Davis & Gi'iffiu opened the first hardware store in the town. 

Tlie first blacksmith was John Hardy, who opened a shoji in a 
log house, which stood on the corner formerly occupied by the old 
Peet House and now the site of the handsome Auditorium build- 
ing. Mr. Hard}^, being of an enterprising turn of mind, also kept 
a hotel on the same lot. 

Clarksville has the distinction of being the home of the first 
newspaper established in Butler county. This happy consumma- 
tion took place in 1858 and the paper was named the Butler 
Transcript by its foimders, Messrs. Palmer & James. 

On the corner opposite Hardy's blacksmith shop J. Gilbert 
opened a drug store in 1858 in a one-story frame building. He 
remained in the trade a long term of years. 

The first physician to locate in Clarksville was Jeremiah Clark, 
coming to the place in 1853. He was followed in 1854 by Dr. 
James E. Walker. 

One of the most energetic and progressive business men of the 
early days was Henry Newman. He came here in 1856, opened 
a very pretentious general store and remained in the business 
many years. He also dealt extensively as a cattle buyer and before 
removing to the state of Oregon built several houses in the town. 
His removal was considered a serious public loss. 

James Hazlet was another settler in Clarksville of an early 
day. who for a number of years ran a large grocery establishment. 
He subsequently took iip his residence in Boone. 

The Central House was a landmark in Clarksville for many 
years. The building superseded the Peet House, already men- 
tioned, and was presided over by Ceorge "Riley Peet. who came 


here iu 1856, purchased the Peet House aud eventually tme it 
down and erected the Central House. jMi'. Peet became a leading 
man iu the conmiuuity and was the popular landlord of the Cen- 
tral until 1879, when he met an untimely death in a railroad acci- 

John Bartlett started the tirst lumberyard here iu 1870 and 
conducted the business three years, when he sold his stock to 
Samuel McRoberts aud C. H. Il^enfritz. The enterprise was con- 
tinued two years luider the firm name of McRoberts & Company, 
when McRoberts withdrew and A. J. Ilgenfritz became a member 
of the firm, which took the title of Ilgenfritz Brothers. 

Among other early business men of Clarksville may be men- 
tioned Charles Bulcken, who started a creamery iu 1881 ; Henry 
Ilgenfritz, furniture, in the '60s ; T. E. and J. E. Kephart, black- 
smiths, 1875; John Hartness, carpenter, 1857; M. B. "Wamsley, 
live stock, 1878 ; Jeremiah Perrin, capitalist, settled near Clarks- 
ville in section 17, in 1851 ; M. M. Trumbull, attorney at law. early 
in the '50s; W. A. Riden, blacksmith. 1855; C. G. Schellinger, 
hardware, 1868; Wamsley & Hortou, merchants, 1877; Jerome 
Shadbolt, carpenter, 1855; J. M. Houston, grocer, 1861: Elias 
Walter, mason, 1853. 


The Clarksville postoffice was established in 1853 aud was 
kept by A. G. Clark, the first postmaster, in a small log cabin 
that stood just south of the public square. At that time mail was 
received irregularly from Clear Lake by carrier, who made his 
trips back aud forth by horseback. The second postmaster was 
A. J. Lewellen, who gave way to J. R. Fletcher. His successor 
was A. J. Thompkins ; then came C. W. AYheelock, Webster Bart- 
lett, and in 1872, Mrs. C. M. Mitchell, widow of Wellington 
Mitchell, who lost his life while serving his country iu the Civil 
war. She continued in the position under several administra- 
tions. The present incuml)ent is Ed ^ladigan, a former editor 
and propriett)r of the Clarksville Star. 


Clarksville always has had good schools and today the Clarks- 
ville school building is one of the finest and most commodious in 


. ": Nl-.' YORK 

ryiili: LIBRARY 

-D.-rl .- njMOAriONS 


the coimty. Miss Malinda ISearles taught the tirst school iu the 
town, begiuning her duties iii tlie spring of 1855 in a little log 
cabin. Her immediate successor was Miss Jane Clark. The log 
house was used for school purposes four or five years and then 
abandoned for a more modern and convenient building, which was 
constructed of concrete and stood noi'tli of the Dubuque & Dakota 
(Chicago Great Western) railroad track. When the county seat 
was taken from Clarksville the courthouse was prepared for 
pupils and teachers and used as a school building until the present 
handsome structure was built on the spot, which confidentl}' had 
been exxiected would always be the site of the county's capitol. 
But the old courthouse was torn down in 1903 and in its place a 
modern brick building was erected at a cost of $12,500. 

Since the opening of the l)ig farms in the northwest section of 
this great country and the establishment of innnense elevators and 
flouring mills in the cities contiguous thereto, the mills of the 
Middle West gradually have been going into, to use the expres- 
sion of Grover Cleveland, innocuous desuetude. Untold numbers 
of them are standing idle, their machinery rusted and worthless, 
and their foundations and walls decaying. But in the pioneer 
days a local mill was a stern necessity. The settler was in abso- 
lute need of corn and flour for the household and it was the rule 
to set up a mill of some description in a new community as soon 
as possible. This condition and consununation obtained in Clarks- 
ville as early as 1856. It was in that year that J. J. Eichar and 
George Dollison, pioneer merchants heretofore mentioned, formed 
a copartnership with C. A. Strong mider the firm name of Eichar, 
Dollison & Strong, and erected what was long known as the 
Clarksville Mill, the first industrial concern of its kind in Butler 
county. The mill was built for three nm of stone, which wei'e 
rim by water power. The building, a frame 42x32 feet and three 
stories in height excluding the basement, stood on the east bank 
of the Shell Rock river, in section 19. 


The village of Clarksville continued to grow slowly, but in a 
measure, satisfactorily, to all concerned, and upon the approach 
of the year 1875 had approximately seven hundred in popidation. 
In 1874 the long nurtured hope of her citizens reached a gracious 
fruition, when the district court acted favorably upon a petition 


for incorporation and on the 21st day of September, ISTl, the first 
municipal election was held, which completed tlie organization of 
Clarksville as an incorporated t(»wu. The offices filled at this 
initial election and names of incumbents follow: Mayor, John 
Palmer; clerk, E. A. Glenn; trustees, S. M. Townsend, H. Ilgen- 
fritz, H. F. L. Burton, T. Shafer and Edwin Fowle. The coun- 
cil met in the private office of Mayor Palmer and qualified, with 
the exception of E. A. Glenn, who had declined to accept the office 
of recorder. Thereupon the council appointed H. F. L. Burton 
recorder pro tem. Hiram Newman was appointed marshal, but 
failing to qualify, E. F. Duncan was chosen for the position. 


The building erected here for town purposes is not an iuipos- 
ing affair and it is highly probable that not many years will be 
permitted to pass before a modern city hall takes its place. Pos- 
sibly three decades ago the town hall was built, a two-story frame, 
and this has been the meeting place of the council. The ground 
floor has been devoted to the fire department and its apparatus. 


In 1896 the question of constructing a system of waterworks 
and issuing $7,000 in bonds to cover the cost of the proposed 
improvement was sulmiitted to a vote of the citizens, and was car- 
ried by a substantial majority. Before the exi)iration of the year 
the work of drilling wells, erecting a tower and tank and laying 
mains was completed, the outlay overreaching the bond issue only 
by $500. Since then probably $20,000 additional has been 
expended, in the extension of mains, building of a steel tower and 
tank and repairs. Power for pumping is furnished by the elec- 
tric light plant. Clarksville is now blessed with a good supply of 
pure water and the citizens feel comparatively safe from any 
serious conflagrations. 


The town of Clarksville does not owm or control the lighting 
plant established there. This is a private concern, built in 1895 
bv William Buchholz and later sold to H. S. Boutin. Tn the 


3'ear 1913 the utility went iuto the hands of local capitalists, chief 
among whom is A. D. Van Meter. The industrj' gives a fair 
measure of satisfaction, although the service is not continuous. 


The oldest hnaneial institution in Clarksville is the Butler 
County State Bank which, from its inception, has had the confi- 
dence and support of the communit.v and contiguous country to the 
present time. The bank was started in 1871 as a private concern 
by M. B. Wamsley, Jeremiah Perrin, James Butler, A. Slimmer, 
N. B. Ridgeway and Samuel McRoberts as principal stock- 
holders, having a capital of $50,000. The first officials were: 
Malon B. Wamsley, president; Jeremiah Perrin, vice president; 
Louis Slimmer, cashier. This new departure in Clarksville 's 
make-ui? began l)usiness under the name of the Butler County 
Bank and so contiinied until 1881, when Louis and A. Slimmer 
secured full control of the stock and for a number of years the 
Butler County Bank of Louis Slinnner & Company was the depos- 
itory for funds of the community. In 1891 a building was erected 
on the corner of Main and Poisal streets, which was the home of 
the bank nntil 1882, when the present headquarters, a two-story 
brick, was erected and occupied on the corner of Main and Supe- 
rior streets. On the first day of November. 1909, under a charter 
secured according to the Iowa banking laws, this financial concern 
was reorganized and took the name and title of the Butler County 
State Bank, being capitalized at $40,000. The incorporators were 
Louis Slimmer, Bascom Wamsle_y, C. G. Burling, W. F. Ray, O. 
C. Perrin, A. L. Aslier, C. H. Ilgenfritz, A. J. Ilgenfritz, Fred 
Seitz and others. First officials: Louis Slimmer, i^resident; C. 
H. Ilgenfritz, vice president; O. C Perrin, vice president; Fred 
Seitz, cashier; W. L. Asher, assistant cashier. Directors: Louis 
Slimmer, C. H. Ilgenfritz, B. Wamsley, Fred Seitz, C. G. Bur- 
ling, W. L. Asher, W. F. Ray, O. C. Perrin. The last report, at 
the close of business on January 28, 1914, shows a capital stock of 
$40,000; undivided profits, $3,324; deposits, $395,834. 

Believing Clarksville a good point for a second bank, J. H. 
Hickle, George A. Stewart and others incorporated the State Sav- 
ings Bank July 6, 1908, with a capital stock of $25,000. A one- 
story brick building was erected the same year, in which the bank 
is now conducting its affairs. The first officials were: J. H. 


Hickle, president; F. H. Brockmaini, vice president; Cieorge A.. 
Stewart, cashier. Mr. Hickle retired I'l'oni the presidency in Jan- 
uary, 191i, and to till the vacancy F. H. Brockmann was elected 
by the directorate. In December, 1912, by reason of Mr. Stew- 
art's retirement, William M. Roberts was elected cashier. Cap- 
ital, $25,000 ; deposits, $50,000. 


In the same year that Butler county became an integral part 
of the state as a separate organization, or in other words, in 1853,. 
Thomas Clark and wife, George Poisal and wife and Jeremiah 
Clark and wife assembled in the comfortable home of Thomas 
Clark and formed a Methodist Episcopal society. Before this 
diminutive gathering of the faithful, Reverend Ingham preached 
the tirst sermon in the town of Clarksville. Thereafter services 
were held at the homes of members and the organization grew 
apace. With j^rosperity and strength in membership came the 
need and desire for a suitable house of worship, so in the year 
1864 a church editice was erected, a frame 24x48 feet, at a cost 
of $2,000. In connection with the society a Sunday school was 
organized soon after the church was established, which has grown 
to no little importance with the passage of time. The attendance 
has now reached an average of seventy, while the membership of 
the church is 160. 

Recognizing the need of a more modern and ('oiiiuiodi(tus build- 
ing, the board of trustees caused to be built in 1905 a new house 
of worship. This is a frame structure and was dedicated Decem- 
ber 17. 1905. On the lot adjoining the church stands the parson- 
age. The names of pastors serving this charge is hereto 
appended : 

Reverends Ross, Ingham, Gough, Burleigh, Holbrook, Swear- 
ingen, Henderson, Thompson, Larkiu. Waterbury Smith, ^b^ore, 
Gould, Sherman, Murphy, We])ster, Smedley, Littler, W. W. 
Smith, Wolf. Shumaker, McKee, John W. Handier, 1883-84; A. 
S. Cochran. 1884-87; J. R. Cameron, 1887-89; E. R. Leamon, 1889- 
90; J. K. Shifter, 1890-91; T. O. Kent, 1891-93; B. C. Barnes, 
1893-95; Daniel Sheffer, 1895-97; W. N. Brown, 1897-99; E. B. 
Downs, 1899-1900; F. T. Heatly, 1900-02; T. A. Trimble, 1902-05; 
H. H. Barton, 1905-07; W. E. Ross, 1907-12; A. W. Smith, 1912—. 

Christian Chureli 

Presbyterian Clnirfh 

Metliodist Episcopal Churt-li German Lutheran Church 


Ir !, -, '■■ 

THE NEV; ':\,.- : 


Reverend Smith also preaches every Sunday afternoon at the 
Methodist church at Packard, where there is but a small member- 
ship, although they own a church building. 


The Presbyterian church of Clarksville was organized at the 
home of David Blakely, who was the first pastor, in September, 
1854, the initial members being Samuel McCreery and wife, Mrs. 
Emily A. Strong and Da^dd Blakely and wife. Soon thereafter 
additions were made to the society in the persons of William 
Pringle and wife, John M. Moulton and wife, James Ford, Matilda 
Hilton, W. H. Van Dyke, John Stevenson and Samuel McRob- 
erts. Services were held in the schoolhouse until 1867, when 
under the pastorate of Rev. George Graham, a house of 
worship was erected. The building was a frame, 28x44 
feet, had a seating capacity of 160 and cost $2,500. The 
same year witnessed the establishment of a Sunday school. 
Reverend Graham's pastorate here was a remarkable one, extend- 
ing throughout a period of thirty-three years. Honored by years 
of faithful service and the love and veneration of his people, this 
noble character was called to his final reward October 28, 1900, and 
five years later the partner of his joys and sorrows followed him. 
The Graham children are still residents of Clarksville and mem- 
bers of the church, which has prospered with the years and now 
has a handsome house of worship, which took the j^lace of the 
old one in 1911. The new temple was dedicated July 28, 1912. 
The cost was $9,000. The manse was built in 1903, at a cost of 
$2,000. Present membership, 130; attendance at Sunday school, 
sixty-fiA^e. Successors to Reverend Graham in the pulpit : James 
T. Wiley, several years; Charles Ticknor, two years; E. O. Tick- 
nor. a brother of the former pastor, four or five years; H. W. 
Fi-ench, eleven months; the present incumbent, W. H. Sinclair, 
since 1907. 


The Christian church of Clarksville, organized in the late '80s, 
is an outgrowth of the church established at Antioch on the 5th 
day of July, 1857. At the time of the organization of the society 
at Antioch William Barnard. P. Barnard, James Hodgson, Eliza- 
beth Hodgson. Hannah P. Davis. Clement X. Burton, T. A. 


Taylor, ISarah Taylor, Mary Kinsley and Mary P. Burton 
became members. Many of these people moved to town. 
To these names were added during the first year the 
following: -lohn Kimmins, Cynthia Ivimmins, Francis Pro- 
basco, Malinda Hodgson, Christopher Billhuuer, Barbara Bill- 
himer, Mary Barnard, Lydia G. Barnard, Alex March, 
Charles S. Martin, Samuel March, Abram March, Eliza 
March, Thomas Houck, Elizabeth Houck. Sarah P. March, Rachel 
Burton, James M. Burton, Esther A. Taylor, John F^arlow, Eliza- 
beth Brown, Mary H. Brown, James R. Taylor, George H. Bur- 
ton, Alfred Brown, William R. Taylor, Nancy M. Taylor, Mary 
Rothrock. The organizing minister was T. R. Hansberry. who 
remained in charge one year. F^or some time following the church 
was su2)plied and among those who occupied this pidpit may be 
mentioned John Kane, N. E. Corey and N. A. McGonnell. J. W. 
Moore came in 1865 as the regular pastor and remained four and 
one-half years. Then IT. H. Watson accei)ted a call and worked 
in his field until 1870; during this time he also attended the 
churches at Shell Rock, Coldwater and Pinchford. The year 
1870 found J. W. Moore again presiding over this charge. This 
time his pastorate extended up to 1881, with the exception of one 
year sjient in the cause in Linn county. Diuing the interval 
Doctor Hunt had charge. A church building in Clarksville 
became necessary in the course of time, so many of the members 
having moved to town, and in 1889 the present house of worship 
was comideted and occupied. Since then the building has mider- 
gone alteration and to the west end of it an additional room has 
been attaclied. In this Iniilding Rev. George Devol was the first 
to preach as resident pastor. The names of his success(n's fol- 
low: Reverends Hodkinson, Piatt, Rich, Rama, Johnson. Adams, 
Hollett. Nieols, America Sea (now Mrs. Holzsclndi ) and the pres- 
ent minister, T. H. Smithers, who came in the fall (d" 3913. All 
these clerg_saiien have administered to large congregations at this 
place. At one time the church was one of the strongest in the 
coiuity, having at times from four Imndred to five hundred mem- 
bers. Even now the membership is in the neighborhood of three 


The United Brethren church was organized at Clarksville in 
1887 by H. M. Galer, Mrs. William Warner and others, and was 


the outgrowth of a society formed in the couutry, wliich held serv- 
ices in the Excelsior schoolhouse, six miles north of Clarksville. 
Some time after the church was organized here the society bought 
the old Christian Union church, a frame building, where the mem- 
bers, now numbering twenty-six, have since attended services. 
Rev. H. M. Galer w^as the first pastor and ended his ministra- 
tion in one year. The names of his successors follow : Reverends 
Branson, one year ; Job Baskerville, one year ; A. King, two years. 
The first year of Reverend King's ministrations is notable from 
the fact that during a series of revival meetings held in the 
church, forty-seven members were added to the rolls. M. A. 
Moffett followed Reverend King as pastor, who remained two 
years. Then came Reverends Benson, one year; S. T. Beatty, 
one year; S. E. Long, one year; Blackburn, one year; W. M. 
Bundy, two years; W. M. Stice, two years; Rev. Mrs. Talbott, 
six months; Rev. Mrs. Nudigate; Varse, six mouths; Jennings, 
one year; F. J. Zike, one and one-half years; W. M. Hutchins; 
and A. F. Polk, in the fall of 1913. 


The data necessary to prepare a sketch of the Lutheran 
church could not be secured in time for preparation for this work. 
However, it is known that the members are of the best citizens in 
Clarksville and some years ago erected a handsome house of wor- 
ship. At this tune there is no regular pastor and the spiritual 
needs are being ministered to by a clergyman of the faith from 


A beautiful burial spot is that of Lynwood cemetery, situate 
just over the line in Jackson township. The lots and drives are 
laid out on a plan consistent with uniformity and the grounds are 
kept up in a manner satisfactoiy to the community at large. This 
sacred, silent city was dedicated for cemetery purposes according 
to an ordinance made and provided by the town council, which is 
recorded in its archives. The first body to be interred here was 
that of Daniel, a son of Dr. A. F. Tichnor, April 3, 1878. Ljoi- 
wood cemetery covers a space of forty-three acres and was pur- 
chased of Louis Slimmer for the nominal sum of $L000. 



The library now patronized by the people of Clarksville came 
into existence in a small way many years ago and was taken over 
by the Library Association of Clarksville, organized in 1877. 
The first officials were: President, J. R. Jones; vice president, 
Mrs. C. M. Mitchell; secretary, J. P. Reed; financial secretary, 
Mrs. E. A. Glenn; treasurer. Hettie Laus. At first the books 
were only accessible to members, who paid a certain initiation 
fee and annual dues. The institution is ix)W conducted on a more 
liberal basis and maintains a large collection of standard and 
popular books. The patronage is gratifyingly large, which means 
that the people of Clarksville have inclinations for litei-ary 
pabulum that must be liberally served. 


Butler Lodge, No. 94, A. F. & A. M.. was organized June 3, 
1857, and is the oldest association of men in the county. The 
lodge has held together all these years and its history woidd make 
interesting reading if given in detail, as many of the prominent 
men of Clarksville have been initiated into the mysteries of its 
tenets and work. Names of the chartei- memljers and first offi- 
cials follow: A. J. Lewellen, W. M.; Thomas Clark, R. W. ; 
Robert T. Criswell, J. W. ; J. F. Newhard, Treas. ; John Palmer, 
Sec. ; G. W. Poisal, S. D. : J. R. Taylor. J. J). ; A. Brown, steward ; 
A. G. Clark, tyler. 

In the history of Butler county published in 1883 mention is 
made of an Order of the Eastern Star having been organized 
December 27, 1873. and gave the following initial officers: 
John Pahuer, W. P.; Mrs. Sue R. Caswell. W. M. ; Mrs. 
E. C. Nev^nan, A. M. ; Mrs. Margaret S. Butler, treasurer ; 
Mrs. M. E. Burton, secretary; Mrs. M. S. (flenn conductress; 
Mrs. A. B. Jones, associate conductress; Mrs. L. E. Roberts, 
warden; E. A. Glenn, sentinel; Mrs. Anna A. Ilgenfritz, 
Adah; Mrs. M. J. Burress, Ruth; Mrs. True J. Neal, Esther; 
Mrs. Estha Baker, Martha; Mrs. Charlotte T. Baker, Electa. 
However, on the lodge room walls hangs a chartei', which 
indicates that the chapter must have lapsed at a certain 
period and was compelled to secure a new charter in order 
to revive its activities. The new lodge is Clarksville Chapter, No. 


144, and was organized October 3, 1894, by Mrs. H. Newman, Mrs. 
Nellie Shaw, Mrs. Hattie Copeland, F. J. Carr, Mrs. G. W. 
DeGraw, Lydia A. Hickle, J. P. Martin, Rosa Rhoades, L. Schel- 
linger, E. E. Tennyson, Ada B. Warren ; Messrs. A. Newman, H. 
E. Copeland, Clark Carr, G. W. DeGraw, Thomas J. Hickle, J. 
P. Martin, G. G. Schellinger, J. W. Shaw, William Tennyson, 
Fred W. Warren. 

Clarksville Lodge, No. 351, Independent Order of Odd Fellow- 
ship, was organized October 19, 1876, and is one of the strongest 
fraternal bodies in Butler county. The charter members were: 
J. P. Reed, Thomas Hunt, Charles Fitch, Dan McDonald, Albert 
Burtch, Peter Poisal and John Palmer. The first officers were: 
Charles Fitch, N. G. ; Thomas Hunt, V. G. ; J. P. Reed, P. S. ; 
Albert Burtch, secretary; John Palmer, treasurer; Peter Poisal, 
warden ; Dan McDonald, conductoi'. The lodge is prosperous and 
has a membership of eighty. An auxiliary code, the Daughters 
of Rebekah, was organized in February, 1914, with thirty charter 

Clarksville Camp, No. 1976, Modern Woodmen of America, 
was organized May 8, 1893, and at one time was one of the largest 
and most progressive fraternal bodies in Butler county. But 
dissensions have arisen, mainly caused by the policy of the grand 
lodge, and at this time the Modern Woodmen of America stand 
upon uncertain gi'ound as an organization. Names of the char- 
ter members follow: Hugh A. Boyd, George H. Clark, Charles 
S. Ford, R. Poisal, Byron L. Poisal, Charles E. Phillips, Willis 
E. Riden, William C. Smith, Allen G. Smith, Cyrus S. Vance. 

Some time in the '80s a post of the Grand Army of the Repub- 
lic was organized in Clarksville, with a healthy list of members. 
But death has thinned the ranks of the Civil war veterans until 
they now can barely muster a corporal's guard. Their number 
has dwindled away to that extent, that for some years past the 
post has ceased to meet as a body. The Woman's Relief Corps, 
however, meets regularly at stated intervals in the lodge room of 
the Masons, and its members are quite active in looking after the 
interests of the surviving members of the post. 



Coldwater township is in the northern tier of townships in 
Butler connty, bordering on Floyd county on the north. It is 
township 93 north, range 17 west, under the congressional survey. 

It is drained by Coldwater creek, which flows through the 
township from west to east, and by the Shell Rock river, which 
crosses the extreme northeastern corner. Both Coldwater creek 
and Shell Rock river are bordered by timber and there are sev- 
eral other natural groves within the limits of the township. 

Outcroppings of lime rock in the northern and eastern parts 
of the township give the soil a somewhat different character from 
that of other sections of the county. There is, however, prac- 
tically no waste land within its limits. Its farms are in a high 
state of cultivation and its production of crops is second to none. 

From a scenic point of view the portion of the Shell Rock 
valley, which is included within the limits of Coldwater and Day- 
ton townships, is the most strikingly beautiful of any portion of 
the county. The river is in some places bordered by ledges of 
rock and hr.iavily wooded bluffs, giving to -it a natural beauty 
that is unknown at other portions of its course where it 
flows through comparatively level prairie country. In the west- 
ern part of Coldwater township there is a range of hills, the 
highest point of which is called Mount Nebo. This rises rather 
abruptly abov(! the surroimding country and although not the 
highest point in the county, is the most striking elevation of land 
within its bor-lers. Tradition tells of the existence of a cave 
underneath Mount Nebo, of which a local Avriter has given a 
rather circumstantial description. The attempt to explore this 
cave is said to have been made in 1875. The account is as fol- 



"This cave lias beeu known for several years, and there are 
some legends connected with it. One is that it was once used as 
a place of habitation ; another is that a mysterious well of great 
depth exists somewhere within its bounds. A few days ago a 
party went down to explore it, but all backed out but J. Dexter 
and Mr. Barker, whose curiosity Avas greater than their cajution. 
The place of entrance was small, but they soon found rooms in 
which they could stand erect, and some from eight to twelve feet 
high. Passages from one room to another were usually small, 
some so small that the explorers found dltticulty in passing from 
one to another. After visiting numerous rooms in search of the 
well and proceeding three or four hundred feet from the entrance, 
they returned without finding it. In several places thei-e were 
supporting pillars, and along the walls resemblances to stalac- 
tites. The limits were not reached, and there is still room for 
adventurers to gratify their curiosity." 

The only line of railroad penetrating Coldwater township is 
the Rock Island, which jiasses through the city of Greene, run- 
ning almost exactly diagonally through section 1 from southeast 
to northwest. The southern portion of the township is reached 
by rural mail routes from Bristow and Allison. For the rest of 
the township Greene is the only market and commercial outlet. 


For the accounts of the earliest settlements made in Coldwater 
township the historian is almost wholly dependent upon pure 
tradition. It is said that in the fall of 1852 two brothers-in-law 
named Lacon, or Laken, and Bennett settled on the banks of 
Coldwater creek, on section 13. Like many other nomadic pion- 
eers, these men remained in this location for only a year or so. 
All of them sold their claims to John Hardman and J. H. Miller 
and moved on to regions unlcnown. 

In the spring of 1852 John Fox and his bi'other-in-law, Lum 
Coleston, located with their families in the vicinity of section 12. 
These claims were later sold to John M. Hart and John Y. Boggs. 
John M. Hart was the first permanent settler of the townhip. 
locating on a farm in section 11, in 1853. On July 1st, 1854, Mr. 
Hart made the first entry of land in the township. On the same 
day John Y. Boggs made an entry of land adjoining the farm of 
Mr. Hart which he held until Januarv, 1856. when he sold it for 


THE NEW ■:>"'■ 




what was then the remarkable price of $16 an acre. Mr. Boggs 
purchased a farm in Dayton towusliip, upon which he resided 
for a number of years. 

James Griffith came to this section of tlie county in 1852, set- 
tling on claims in section 13, Coldwater, and 18, of Dayton. His 
cabin, however, was built just across the township line in Dayton 
township, so he missed by a few rods the privilege of being 
accounted the first permanent settler of Coldwater township. Mr. 
Griffith was the first county school fund commissioner. His son, 
W. A. Griffith, was a well known newspaper man in the earl}^ his- 
tory of the county. The latter has given the following account 
of the Indian scare of 1854 in this section of the county: 


"One stormy night in the month of June, 1854, when the rain 
was pouring in torrents and the thunder shaking the very earth, 
James Griffith, in Coldwater township, was aroused by a cry of 
distress, warning himself and family to flee for their lives, as the 
cruel Sioux were rushing on toward him, massacreing and scalp- 
ing his neighbors as they advanced. William Choate, his inform- 
ant, told him that he had no time to lose or his scalp, with those of 
his family, would soon be dangling from the belt of the savage 
warrior. Mr. Griffith, having no team by which to save his fam- 
ily, concluded to take them to the cabin of John H. Miller, who, 
being absent from home that night, had left his folks in Mr. Grif- 
fith's charge. On getting to Mrs. Miller's he found his neighbors 
all gathered there, preparatory to fleeing the country: but Mr. 
Griffith, having two families on his hands, persuaded them to halt, 
and there those ])rave men decided to face death, defend their 
wives and little ones, and sell their lives as dearly as possible. 

"They stood guard all night, hourly expecting to hear the 
hideous yells of the unmerciful demons and the breaking in upon 
them, until at length, after a night of deathly terror, the welcome 
dawn appeared, when, still as the silent grave, the men gathered 
their loved ones, ready to flee a country where every bush 
apjDeared to hide a lurking enemy, to a place of safety. John 
M. Hart, John V. Boggs and James Griffith decided to stand 
their ground and not run, but their neighbors told them if they 
wanted to expose themselves to certain death, they did not, and 
the greater part of the residents of Coldwater left — some of them 


uever stopping this side of the Mississippi line, and some of them, 
I fear, are running yet, for they never came back. In the morn- 
ing Joliu H. Miller, having returned home in the meantime, and 
James (iriffith determined to risk their lives, ascertain the dan- 
ger and see to what extent tlie savages liad devastated the country. 
They went up the river as far as 'Beelar's grove' — now Marble 
Rock — and found the citizens still in bed, unconscious of their 
danger ; so they came back home and went down the river as far 
as 'Coon's grove' — now the village of Clarksville — for the pur- 
pose of organizing a band for self-protection, and just as they 
were about to return home M. M. Trumbull, now Colonel Trum- 
bull, of Dubuque, arrived from the frontier, greatly excited, and 
on being interrogated about the locality of the Indians he could 
not tell the exact locality, but that they were not far off. Some 
one asked, 'Are they at Rock grove?' His reply was, 'Nearer 
than that.' 'At Beelar's grove?' 'Nearer than that!' 'At Cold- 
water?' And his reply was, 'Gentlemen, I was on an Indian 
trail and saw their fires this side of there!' Horror! Think of 
our Coldwater friends! What agony arose in their breasts, to 
think that their homes were destroyed and all they held near and 
dear cruelly butchered or carried away captive. They accord- 
ingly mounted their horses and ran them home. Wlieu north of 
Flood creek they discovered the fires and marched straight to 
them; they proved to have been buiit by Mrs. Levi Burress and 
girls, who were washing on the banks of the Shell Rock river. 
They then came home and found everybody alive and well, wliich 
greatly relieved our heroes. 

"The basis of the scare proved to be that a couple of Sioux 
and Winnebago Indians had got into a quarrel, which terminated 
in one of them being sent to the 'happy hunting grounds.' and 
the whites had no part whatever in the fight. Such was the great 
Indian scare of 1854." 


John H. Miller and Aaron Hardman. with their families, set- 
tled in the township in 1853. Mr. Miller's death in 1856 was one 
of the first in the township. William Choate, who is mentioned 
in the account of the Indian scare above, and David W. Miller 
were also settlers in the township about this time. Elias G. Mil- 
ler was another pioneer of this period. His name is mentioned 
among the soldier martyrs of the rebellion. 


Solomon Sturtz and Rev. Pliilip Moss came in the year 1855. 
The latter was a Baptist minister. A son of his, Capt. Aaron 
Moss, is noticed ia the biographical volume of this work. 

Felix Landis came with his family in 1856 and located on sec- 
tion 14. Following this date the land began to be taken up very 
rapidly. It is impossible to give in detail the names of all these 
settlers, but among the pioneers who helped settle this township 
and to whose efforts is due its pi-esent position may be mentioned 
the following: Joseph Miller, Samuel McRoberts, Emanuel 
Leidig, William Hesalroad and E. S. Tracy. 


The first town platted in the township was laid out, surveyed 
and recorded just south of the present location of Greene. T. T. 
Rawson was the owner of this town site and it was called Elm 
Springs. A postoffice was established there under that name, at 
which point the residents of this section of the county received 
their mail imtil its location was changed to Greene. 


The township takes its name from Coldwater creek which 
Hows through it. It was one of the four original townships into 
which the county was di^dded in 1855, comprising at that time in 
addition to its present area the west half of Dayton. A warrant 
was issued on the 15th of February to Aaron Hardmau to effect 
the organization of Goldwater townt^hip. Tlie early official rec- 
ords of the township have been lost but it is fairly well estab- 
lished that at the first election held in April, 1855, at the house 
of John V. Boggs, on section 12, the following officers were 
elected: James Griffith, justice of the peace; A. Hardman and 
H. P. Balm, constables. Charles Wood was elected assessor but 
did not qualify. Coldwater township assumed its present limits 
in 1858 when Dayton tovmship was organized on the east. 


The records of the school township of Coldwater are more 
complete than those of many of the other townships of the county, 
so that it is possible to give somewhat in detail the educational 


history of the township. Originally the township consisted of u 
single school district. About 1854, through the influence of 
James Griffith, the township was divided into two school districts, 
No. 1 comi^rising the eastei'n half of Coldwater and a portion of 
Dayton, and No. 2, the western half of Coldwater. The first 
sehoolhouse was erected in district No. 1 on section 13, and built 
of logs by the patrons of the district. The first school in the town- 
ship was taught in this building "as soon as it would hold water," 
by Edward Goheen. The attendance was about six. This log 
sehoolhouse stood near the site of the present sehoolhouse in said 
district No. 1. It was used for school purposes until the summer 
of 1865, when a frame building, 22x30 feet, Avas erected at a cost 
of $700. 

In 1855 a log house was built for school j^urposes on section 8 
to accommodate the pupils of district No. 2. The first school here 
was taught by Joseph Miller. In 1868 this was dispensed with 
and a frame building erected to take its place. 

In 1866 a third district Avas created in the southeastern ])art 
of the township. About the same tune district No. 4, including 
within its limits the town of Greene, was set ofL" and a log school- 
house built. In 1871 a frame building, erected at a cost of $800, 
took the place of this log sehoolhouse. and this continued to be 
used until 1873, when the independent school district of Greene 
was organized. The first teacher in district No. 3 was Miss Mary 
Clark, and in district No. 4, Rudolph Landis. 

District No. 5 was established in 1870 and a selioolhouse erected 
on the southeast corner of section 3. This building continued to 
be used for school purposes until the erection of the present school- 
house which stands across the road from its former site. Miss 
Kate Ornhert taught the first school here. 

District No. 6 Avas set oft' in 1874 and a sehoolhouse built near 
the corner of section 22. Miss Ella Clark was the first teacher. 
The district now known as Mount Nebo district was first set off 
in 1877. A sehoolhouse was erected in 1878 at a cost of $600. 
John Wilson was the first teacher at this school, with an attend- 
ance of nine scholars. 

In 1880 district No. 7 was established. A sehoolhouse was 
built at the northeast corner of section 33, in which Miss Sarah 
Williams taiught the first school. 

Since that date two additional districts haA^e been set off and 
schoolhouses erected. The school building which stands at the 










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Taken about 1004 


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southwest corner of section 29 is located in one of tliese. The 
other is what is known as (Jlark scliool, in section 23. The dis- 
tricts have also been renumbered from 1 to 9, inclusive. 

Coldwater township now has thi'ee comparatively modern 
rui-al school buildings and there is httle doubt but that in the 
course of a very few years all of the older buildings will be 
replaced by more modern structures. The interests of the chil- 
dren in this township are well looked after by an efficient board 
of directors. The township is accounted one of the most pro- 
gressive of the county in all matters relating to the efficiency and 
welfare of the schools. 


The first recorded birth in Coldwater township was that of 
Margaret Hardman, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Hardman. 
This birth occurred in 1854. 

The first wedding in the township was that of Frances J. 
Griffith to Martin Van Buren Wamsley. This was performed 
by Coimty Judge Van Dorn on the 4th of September, 1856, at 
the residence of the bride 's parents. Mr. Wamsley died in prison 
at Tyler, Texas, in 1864. Mrs. Wamsley later married Clark 
Carr, of Jackson township. 

The first death in the township was that of John Hardman, 
Jr., who died of apoplexy in 1853, at the age of thirty years. 


1856, 165; 1860, 264; 1863, 225; 1865, 240; 1867, 333; 1869, 
376; 1870, 461; 1873, 796; 1875, 980; 1880, 1,325; 1890, 1,508; 
1900, 1,967; 1910, 1,836. 


The present town of Greene stands upon land which was pur- 
chased in the summer of 1854 by John W. Miller, Avho died two 
years thereafter. After securing the property. Miller put up a 
small log cabin, near a group of springs, which gushed out from 
the bases of elm trees. The diminutive habitation was thrown 
open to the traveler and "mine host" gave to the hostelry the 
name of "Home for Travelers." This was the first hotel in 


(jrreeue. The pioneer was appoiutecl postmaster of an ot!ice estab- 
lished under the name of "Elm Springs," the original name of 
Clarks\dlle, and served the small community until his death, 
which occurred in 1856, both as postmaster and liotel keeper. 
Soon after Miller's death his land passed into the possession of 
Benjamin and J. E. Eikenberry, upon which Benjamin Eiken- 
berry erected a farm house on the site of which was ei'ected some 
years later the Ball hardware building. In the latter part of 
1871, when the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Minnesota Railroad 
was completed throiigh Greene, the proper authorities of the road 
purchased the interests of the Eikenberrys in one hundred and 
sixty acres of this land, which was laid out and jjlatted into town 
lots by the railroad officials. The new trading point, in honor of 
Judge George Greene, of Duliuque. president of the road, was 
named Greene, and in September, J 871, the plat of Greene was 
tiled with the recorder of the county for preservation. The rail- 
road comj)any also secured a large tract of land on the west side of 
the river, anticipating that some day the town would grow in that 

G. L. Mills purchased of the company the first lot sold in the 
embrj^o town and O. D. Barnum secured the second one. On the 
22d day of September, 1871, G. L. Mills commenced excavating 
a cellar, preparatory to erecting a business house. The first build- 
ing, however, that st< lod on the town site and was used for mercan- 
tile purposes, was a frame structure, which was moved from near 
district No. 1 schoolhouse in Lower grove. This was fitted up 
with shelves and countei'S and converted into a general store by 
the firm of Moss & Sturtz. Before all preliminaries had been 
completed by Moss & Sturtz, however, the firm of Thomas Broth- 
ers had gotten on display to patrons a stock of hardware, installed 
in an unfinished Imilding, so that as a matter of fact the Thomas 
Brothers may be considered to have been the first merchants in 
Greene. The reader will have noticed that the distinction is 
finely drawn, as the interval between the opening of the two stores 
was a very short one. 

The first store building erected for the purpose and finished 
was that of G. L. Mills, and shortly after the two initial stores 
had opened their doors, in fact, in the same month, a combined 
grocery and drug store was established here by the firm of Trim- 
ble & Spaulding. Also, on the first of the last month mentioned, 
a stock of groceries and dry goods was shipped from Waterloo to 


Oreene for the McClure Brothers aucl in a week thereafter this 
concern had its doors open to the public and was selling goods 
over its counters. So, as a matter of fact, the month after the 
town had been platted, Greene was amply supplied with business 
establishments, when one considers that there were not fifty souls 
in the place. 

The lumber for a grain elevator was hauled from Clarksville 
and on the ground before the completion of the railroad, and as 
soon as the railroad was running trains, G. T. Sampson had the 
elevator ready for grain. While waiting for the warehouse, the 
firm of Barnum & Case had bought considerable grain and stored 
it in a barn jDnrchased of J. E. Eikenberry and were the first to 
engage in the traffic. 

The first woman resident of Grreene was the wife of A. H. 
Bell. The latter bought the Eikenberry residence from the rail- 
road and Mrs. Bell converted it into a boarding house. 

The first lumberyard was established here by F. W. Smith in 
1871 and that same year a wagon bridge was built over the Shell 
Rock river. This was a much needed improvement and was paid 
for by the county appropriating $5,000. The railroad contrib- 
uted an additional $1,000 and the citizens $1,000. 

The Gault House was the successor to the "Travelers Home" 
and was ready for its guests about the time trains were running 
through the place. The doors of this hostelry were first opened 
by Bradle}' & Farrell. Later the name was changed to the 
DeGra^v Hotel, which finally terminated its existence by going 
up in flames. At present Greene has two hotel buildings — the 
Commercial, a substantial frame, and the Kessler. To monop- 
olize the traffic the proprietor of the Kessler secured the Com- 
mercial property and closed its doors, so that the traveling public 
is compelled to patronize the former, willy nilly. 

Shortly after traffic on the railroad had commenced a branch 
of a bank at Cedar Falls, known as the Bank of Greene, was estab- 
lislied and continued in operation until 1875, when its doors were 
sunnnarily closed and the institution went into liquidation. The 
cashier, J. L. Spaulding, left for parts unknown. 

The opening of a harness shop by J. H. Cooksey is reckoned 
by the coming of the railroad; also a grocery and fruit store by 
the Baughman brothers; a blacksmith shop by one Gould; a boot 
and shoe store by John Reed ; and a saloon by a man named Rob- 
erts. The character of the settlers not being libations or ribald, 


soon clisgi;sted the ruin seller, and in a few sliurt weeks Greene 
was purged of its infection and Roberts sought a more congenial 
sphere for his chosen vocation. 

No town in Butler county grew so rapidly from the beginning 
as did Greene. The town hardl}' had been platted before material 
was on the ground for buildings and within thirty days after the 
town site was platted there were four business concerns selling 
goods to the farmers of the surrounding country, which has no 
superior, from an agricultural viewpoint, in the state of Iowa. 
And Greene continued to advance in '"its building operations, 
increase of mercantile establishments and population, until, in 
1873, two years after its birth, the Butler County Press, estab- 
lished at Greene in the month of Augaist of that year, was led to 
publish the following interesting facts: In 1873 Greene has a 
population of 500, one church, a good schdolhouse, one drug store, 
one shoe store, one planing mill, one wagon factory, four dry 
goods and grocery stores, two harness shops, two hotels, two mil- 
linery stores, two banks, two agricultuial warehouses, two black- 
smith shops, three grain warehouses, two lumberyards, two saloons 
and one restaurant, a town library. The Press apparently was 
well patronized in 1874,- as the following advertisers indicate: 
Physicians, C. C. Huckins, V. C. Birney and W. H. Nichols; A. 
Hardman, draAanan ; R. P. Graupner, barber ; John Collins, boots 
and shoes ; J. L. Cole, druggist ; Charles Northfoss, door and sash 
manufacturer; C. H. Bauglunan, arcliitect; E. Wilson, county 
recorder ; Tlieodore Coley, blacksmith ; Henry Feyereiseu, 
Dubuque Hotel; Mrs. M. Ball, millinery; AVilliam M. Foote, 
lawyer; J. W. Gilger, lawyer; George W. Long, New Hotel; A. 
Bradley, (Jault House; vS. W. Soesbe, real estate; J. M. Wegand, 
jjainter; E. W. Soesbe, machines; S. T. Hotchkiss, general mer- 
chandise; Morris Ball, hardware; Bank of Greene, J. L. S])auld- 
ing, cashier; Barnum, Case & Compan}-, lumber; Young & Pope, 
furniture ; A. W. Collins, architect ; W. R. McClure, general mer- 
chandise; J. Pennock, boots and shoes; S. Thomas & Company, 
hardware; L. A. Boiler & Brother, jewelrv; N. W. Thomas & 
Company, agricultural warehouse ; Johnston & Hill, wagon and 
carriage works; Trimble & Stranahan, drugs; D. E. Shook, 
machinery; C. Snyder, harness; F. D. Mabee, restaiirant; Trim- 
ble & Barney, livery; Charles V. McClure, land office; E. Jordan, 
real estate; George L. Mills, general merchandise; T. F. Heery, 
lumber; F. M. Root & Company, general merchandise. 



The settlers of Coldwater towusliip secured a distributing and 
Teceiving point for their mail in the year 1855, which was called 
Elm Springs postoffice and John Miller, who kept the office at 
his residence, just south of the town which was later named 
Grreeue, was appointed postmaster, and retained the position until 
in the '60s, when Samuel Earnest was made his successor; the 
office was then moved to Mr. Earnest's home, which stood south 
of the old roundhouse. There have been several worthy citizens 
incumbents of this office, but their names are not readj^ to hand. 
However, W. A. McClure is the present Federal official and the 
postoffice is in commodious rooms on Main street. 


In the autuimi of 1874 the frame of the mill which stood on 
the east bank of the Shell Rock river at the entrance to the bridge 
was raised and in 1875 the structure was completed by the owner, 
E. Ililler, and the machinery started. The original l:)uilding was 
40x50 feet with an office 20x20. With the stone basement it was 
two stories in height. The mill was equipped with four run of 
stone and had a grinding capacity of 100 barrels a day. The 
cost was $18,000. By repeated disasters, occasioned by continued 
wasliing aAvay of the dam, Mr. Hiller lost the property. George 
W. Bellinger, of Ripon, Wisconsin, was the next owner. The 
dam was reinforced and the Bellingers — P. N". and Burt — sons 
of the purchaser, managed the industry for many years and up 
to the time it was destroyed by fire. In 1884 the property came 
into the hands of the Greene Water Power & Mill Company, 
composed of John Earnest, S. W. Soesbe, Henry Feyereisen, Br. 
J. Xevins, R. Miner and others, who built the present mill. About 
1890 the Greene Manufacturing Company became the owners and 
operated the mill until 1908, when it passed into the hands of the 
prcsfut ()'w^^ers, the Greene Electric Light & Power Company. 


The town of Greene was incorporated in 1879 and had a pop- 
ulation at the time of 700. The district court had gi-anted articles 
of incorporation on a generously signed petition of the citizens, 


and soon thereafter au election was held, at which the following- 
mnnicipal officers were chosen: Mayor, C. T. Lamson; trnstees, 
J. L. Cole, S. W. Soesbe, G. L. Mills, Henry Peyereisen, W. II. 
Rupert, R. Miner. On the 20th of September, and immediately 
following the election, the officials met in their tirst regular ses- 
sion and qualified under oath administered b}- Justice Riuer. 
Ul^on completion of the council's organization, on motion, O. D. 
Barnum was appointed recorder ; C. Crocker, marshal and street 
commissioner. G. L. Mills acted as clerk and took the minutes 
of the proceedings. At the second meeting of council, William 
Soesbe was selected as treasui'er and C. AV. Gilger, solicitor. 

At a meeting of council held in October, 1879, The Butler 
County Press volunteered to publish the proceedings of the coun- 
cil free of charge and all ordinances at fifty cents per square inch. 
The offer was accepted, in the same month Councilmen Riner, 
Mills and Peyereisen comprised a committee which built the city 
"lockup." The building was a frame and had two cells. A front 
room was used as the council chamber. This sufficed for a while 
and then another was built on the site of the present city hall. 


It may not be generally known that Greene at one time main- 
tained a ferry, for the convenience of the citizens who desired 
to cross from one bank of the usually placid Shell Rock river to 
the other, while the bridge was in course of erection across that 
stream. It is true, however, that a committee of council was 
api^ointed Januarj' 8, 1880, composed of Mayor C. T. Lamson, 
and Councilmen Mills and Rupert, to build a ferry boat, to be 
used in crossing the river, and while the records are not explicit 
on the point, it is to be jDresumed that the ferry was built and 
operated during the emergency period herein mentioned. These 
improvements all took place under the administration of Mayor 
C. T. Lamson. The names of his successors in the office of 
chief executive, and that of the clerks follow in their (U'der: 
Mayors— A^ C. Birney, H. H. Barnett. C. T. Lamson, C. AY. 
Soesbe, Andrew Glodery, Charles Gates, A. Glodery, Oliver 
McGee, L. K. Reid, Ldwin Morrill, AY. H. Buchholz, Edwin Alor- 
rill, Paul Deveraux, AYilliam P. N(.lteriek. H. H. Barnett, E. AY. 
Parno, John Hessalroad; clerks — O. C. Barnum, C. AY. Lyford, 
M. Hartness, Dan Carney, C. E. Mabee, R. L. Doore, P. L. Stober. 
LeRov Niles. 

lilll _ if! 

iiiii m 111 

WW a 






The schools at Greene were identitied and set apart in 1866 
as comprising district No. 4, but in 1873 the territory was reor- 
ganized as an independent district. Prior to this, however, the 
district had two frame schoolhouses, which acconunodated the one 
himdred and fifty pupils. But the number of children of school 
age increased quite rapidly and by 1877 outgrew the capacities of 
the buildings. Hence, in the year just mentioned, a large frame 
structure was erected on the hill overlooking the town and on the 
site of the present high school building. This was of frame, 
veneered with brick, two stories in height and cost $6,000, and 
continued in use until 1896, when it was destroyed by fire. A new 
and more modern structure immediately took its place. It is of 
brick material, contains six rooms and an assembly room, the 
latter having a capacity of one hundred pupils. The grades nmn- 
ber twelve, with a high school having an accredited rating. This 
school is presided over by six teachers, exclusive of the city super- 
intendent, and all concerned are now provided with most of the 
conveniences to be found in the schools of modern times. The 
building and equipment cost about $15,000 when first erected. 
In 1911 an addition to the building brought the cost up to $20,000. 
On the west side of the town is another school building, a brick- 
veneered frame, having four rooms and erected at a cost of prob- 
ably $8,000. There are four teachers who preside over the 
elementary educational destinies of the children in that locality. 


Early in February, 1873, when Greene was still in short 
dresses, so to speak, a library association was formed by certain 
of the village's progressive men and women. The name and title 
of the organization is the "Library Association of Greene, But- 
ler County, Iowa," and by means of contributions of books and 
receipts from entertainments a sum was gathered which formed 
a fund for the purchase of books, which became the nucleus of 
the present library. Further, through the lieneficence of Judge 
George Greene, an endowment fund of $1,200 was seoui-ed for the 
purchase of books, the interest from the fund only being avail- 
able for that purpose. As the years have gone by the association 
has kept its course in a conservative manner and today has a 


valuable and splendid collection of books which now numbers 
about 2,500 volumes, 500 vohmies of which were selected for 
juvenile readers and their jjossible edification. The first president 
of the association was C. T. Lamson, and C. S. Stranahan assumed 
the duties of secretary. The personnel of the present official list 
follows: President, Benjamin Boardman; vice president, Mrs. 
F. D. Mabee; treasurer, O. C. Perrin; secretary, F. L. Stober; 
librarian. Miss Marion Hodgdou. 

For years the library's headquarters were first in one law 
office and then in another. But when the new city hall was com- 
pleted and occupied pressure was brought to bear upon the 
council and that body was prevailed upon to give the library a 
permanent home. Hence, since 1910, the library has been com- 
fortably and convenienth' located on the second floor of the citv 


While comparisons are more or less obnoxious, still it will not 
be going too far to say that Greene has the best and most pre- 
tentious municipal building in Butler county. This utility was 
made possible by an appropriation of council in 1910 and before 
the year had expired a handsome two -story brick structure was 
built on Second street, at a cost of $3,600. The first floor is de- 
voted to the fire department and apparatus : also the rear part of 
it contains the steel cages of the city bastile. The upper floor is 
given over to the council, mayor, city clerk and library. 


Peeling the need of a sufficient supply of water for pu1>lie and 
domestic uses, a movement gained headway in 1900, for the estab- 
lishment of a system of municipal waterworks. The question of 
building waterworks and issuing $9,500 in bonds for their con- 
struction, was submitted to the electorate of (rreene on the 23d 
of July, 1900, and was carried by a generous majority. Work 
was at once commenced on the construction of the improvement. 
One well, five feet in diameter and twenty-five feet in depth, was 
drilled and an excellent quality of aqna ptira obtained. Mains 
were laid throughout the main thoroughfares and a steel tower. 
upon which rests a wooden tank with a capacity of 50.000 gal- 


Ions, was erected, and today Greene has a splendid waterworks 
system, obtained at an original cost of $12,000. By an arrange- 
ment with the electric light company, power for pimiping the 
water was secured. 


No town of the importance and size of Greene can consider 
itself safe, from a sanitary standpoint, and have a completed 
system of waterworks without sewerage. This proposition has 
been realized as being the only tenable one in the premises, by 
the leading minds of the place and at this writing preliminary 
proceedings of the town council have reached a stage which make 
it a certainty that in the spring of the present year a system of 
sewerage wUl be inaugurated. 


There are no saloons in Butler county, consequently no nui- 
sance of the kind has an abiding place in Greene. This prefatory 
remark serves to bolster the assertion that the people of this place 
are quiet and orderly in their daily walks and have but little use 
for a police force. The office of marshal is a creation of law, 
however, and the authorities following the mandates of the law, 
at regular intervals make provisions for the selection of a compe- 
tent and eligible man to fill the position. Practically, he is a 
mere figurehead and his duties chiefly consist in parading the 
streets and drawing a monthly salary. The fire department is of 
the volunteer order. But when an alarm of fire shatters the nor- 
mal placidity of the citizens every one becomes a member of the 
department and, if possible, will be found at the scene of con- 
flagration, doing a neighborly turn, by working valiantly and oft- 
times furiously, in subdv;ing and annihilating the fiery foe. The 
city is well equipped with 1,500 feet of hose, two hose carts, a 
hook and ladder wagon and twenty-one fire hydrants. 


The lighting system in Greene belongs to a private corpora- 
tion, known as the Greene Electric Light & Power Company, 
whose officers are: President. W. H. Buchholz; vice president, 


M. Blumer; secretary, R. Miner; treasurer, F. L. Stober. The 
company was incorporated July 1, 1906, and has two separate 
plants, one on the west side, the motive power of which is steam, 
and the other on the east side, which is run by water power. The 
first named plant was built by Charles Callender. Eventually, 
he sold the property to his father, John Callender, and T. B. 
Bowman, both deceased. The latter had disposed of their inter- 
ests in the utility to F. J. Fift'ner, who sold out to the present 
proprietors. This plant is used only in cases of emergency. The 
East Side plant was started in 1909. by the Greene Electric Light 
& Power Company, who also own the mill property and dam. 
South of and adjoining the mill the power house, constructed of 
concrete, was biiilt, and equipped with machinery to serve a direct 
current to its patrons. 


The early histoi'y of banking in (rreene probably should remain 
untold, as the end of the first institution of the kind established 
here, was in the nature of a disaster. The Bank of Greene, a 
branch of a Cedar Falls concern, opened its doors for business 
in the latter part of 1871 or early in 1872. But in 1875 the bank 
collapsed ; the cashier, J. L. Spaulding, left under a cloud. 

The First State Bank was organized December 15, 1887, with 
a capital stock of $50,000. This institution is the outgrowth of 
the Shell Rock AT'alley Bank, which began business the 20th day 
of January, 1875, with a capital stock of $50,000. The promoters 
of the enterprise were N. B. Ridgeway, A. Slimmer, Joe Rosen- 
baum, M. B. Wamsley and Jeremiah Perrin. A reorganization 
took place December 11, 1883, and under a charter secured under 
the national banking act the institution continued operations as 
the First National Bank, capitalized at $55,000. A. Slimmer, 
C. H. Wilcox, Jeremiah Perrin, Andrew Glodery, Lewis Porthun, 
Samuel McRoberts, Sr. and IST. B. Ridgeway were the incorpora- 
tors. The management continued imder the Federal jurisdiction 
three years and on November 8, 188(i, reorgauized as the State 
Bank, reducing the capital stock to $50,000. December 15, 1887, 
the name and title were changed to the First State Bank, having 
for its list of officials the following named persons: President. 
Jeremiah Perrin; vice president, A. Glodery; cashier, M. Hart- 
ness. In January, 1892, upon the resignation of Mr. Hartuess. 


O. C. Perrin was elected to fill the vacancy, and retained the 
position until January 13, 1903. From that time to the present 
the followiug officers have served the bank : O. 0. Perrin, presi- 
dent; M. J. Perrin, vice president; F. L. Stober, cashier; D. H. 
Ellis and G. K. Watterson, assistants. The home of the bank 
is in a two-story brick building, which it erected in 1887. Capi- 
tal, $50,000; surplus and undivided profits, $100,000; deposits, 

There is no record of any other bank in Greene until 1883, 
when E. W. Soesbe, S, W. Soesbe and J. B. Shepardson started 
a private banking house. In 1892, S. W. Soesbe died, but the 
business continued on under the direction of E. W. Soesbe and 
J. B. Shepardson until 1903. In the year last named, E. W. 
Soesbe, J. B. Shepardson, C. H. Williams, W. W. Thorpe and 
Edwin Morrill incorporated the Merchants National Bank, with 
a capital stock of $50,000. The board of directors elected the fol- 
lowing officers: President, E. W. Soesbe; vice president, J. B. 
Shepardson ; cashier, C. W. Soesbe. In 1904, E. W. Soesbe passed 
away and J. B. Shepardson was elected his successor to the presi- 
dency. For two years Edwin Morrill filled the office of vice 
jjresident and retired in 1908, C. W. Soesbe succeeding him. D. 
H. Ellis followed Soesbe in the cashier's office and remained in 
the position two years, when he was followed by B. N. Mead. Mr. 
Mead served in this capacity two yea]-s and then gave way to the 
present cashier, G. A. Carney. The home of the bank was built 
by the Soesbes in 1883. Capital, $50,000; surplus, $10,000; 
deposits $225,000. 


The town of Greene has a theatre building that is certainly 
no discredit to the community. The structure was erected on 
Traer street in 1913 by Frank Phillips, of Clarksville, at a cost 
of $8,500. The front shows an arched entresol and the interior 
has a stage and opera chairs elevated from front to rear of the 
room. Tlie place is given over to the ''Movies," or picture shows, 
which are selected and conducted upon a high moral plane. The 
town also has an opera house, Avhere a good class of traveling 
thespians often display their talents to admiring audiences. 


Rev. S. W. Ingham, in the early territorial days of Iowa, was 
a Methodist circuit rider and while traversing his district of 


sometliiiig near four liimdred miles, he arl■i^"ed uu iiorseback at 
the home of James (iriffith, in Coldwater township, ou tlie ISth 
day of Jime, 1853. He stopped over-uight at the hospitable 
cabiu home and for breakfast the next morning he feasted on 
deliciously cooked venison, corn cakes and coffee. The informa- 
tion that he was a clergyman gladdened the hearts of his hosts 
and immediately they called in a few neighbors and to them the 
man of God preached the (iospel, which was the first sermon ever 
heard in Coldwater township. The visit of Rev. Ingham and his 
sermon was an incentive to liis auditors to form a Methodist 
class and this might be considered the nucleus of the Methodist 
church in Greene. In 1854, Rev. William Gough was a preacher 
on this circuit. He was followed in 1855 by Rev. William P. Hol- 
brook and meetings were held at irregular periods in the homes 
of the settlers and in schoolhouses until in the spring of 1872, 
when Rev. Phili]:) W. Gould formally organized "the Class of 
Greene" with the following named members: James Griffith and 
wife, Mrs. Ella Soesbe. Mrs. Mary Spaulding and Mrs. Court- 
right and daughter. J. H. Cooksey, class leader ; James Griffith, 
steward. The year succeeding Rev. Z. R. Ward was in charge. 
Rev. James H. Gilruth ministered to the spiritual needs com- 
mencing his labors in 1874. Since then men of worth and soimd 
intellect have followed in the footsteps of the early pastors. Their 
names follow: Revs. Enoch Holland. 1875-6-7: George B. Shoe- 
maker. 1878-9; David E. Skinner, who soon resigned on account 
of ill health and was succeeded by John A. Brown, who was fol- 
lowed by B. A. Wright. T. M. Anderson. W. A. Gibbons. P. J. 
Leonard, T. E. Taylor. C. R. Alderson, R. D. Black. George E. 
Shearer, C. S. Cole". F. Bindenberger, B. W. Soper, R. H. Puckett 
and L. S. Lockard, now in charge. 

The Methodists built a church in 1877. which cost them $3,000. 
It was dedicated by a son of the circuit rider. Rev. S. W. Ingham, 
twenty-four years after his father preached to a small gathering 
of pioneers in the humble cabin home of James Griffith. In 1897 
a wing was added to each side of the church and with interior 
decorations the sum of $1,500 was expended to cover the cost of 
improvements. Interior decorations in 1912 cost $1,000. A Sun- 
day school was established in 1877. with forty members; the 
attendance has grown to two hundred. The membership of the 
church is two hundred and ten. 



1\ V 

I'-- 1.''. LENOX 


r "tKF new rrio; 



Rev. Richard Morrill organized the Presbyterian church in 
June, 1863, at the Hart schoolhouse on section 13. The charter 
members were Solomon Sturtz, Rebecca Sturtz, Henry McNabb, 
John Sturtz, Emanuel Leidig, Susan Sturtz, Elizabeth Sturtz, 
Anna E. McNabb, Rebecca Leidig, Sarah C. Sturtz and John Mc- 
Nabb. The society reorganized in 1872, as the First Presbyterian 
Church of Greene, through the offices of a committee from Water- 
loo, consisting of Revs. George Graham and W. R. Smith ; Elders 
A. D. Barnum and Seman Armstrong. The charter members 
were Henry McNabb, Solomon Sturtz, Mrs. Rebecca Earnest, 
Mrs. Sarah C. Hart, Mrs. Ellen Paulsey, Emanuel Leidig, Mrs. 
Rebecca Leidig, Mrs. Jennie Bentley. The organization took place 
at the Moore schoolhouse and the first pastor was Rev. George 
Graham, of Clarksville, who presided at Greene alternate Sun- 
days for five years. His successors follow: Revs. David James, 
September, 1877 — September, 1878; C. Gaston, intervals from 
November. 1878— May, 1881; W. H. McKee, May, 1881— Janu- 
ary. 1882; E. J. Marshall, May, 1882— August, 1882; J. P. Curtis, 
February, 1883— February, 1886; D. A. Murray, May, 1887— 
September, 1887; N. C. Green, March, 1888— February, 1890; 
Charles H. Wissner. May, 1890— November. 1890 ; Rev. McClade, 
April, 1891— April, 1892; U. G. Schell, May, 1892— October, 1892; 
J. M. Smith, January, 1893— February, 1895; J. S. Phillips, May, 
1895— February, 1897; P. S. Davies. March, 1897— March, 1898; 
S. D. McFadden, May. 1898— October, 1904; R. S. Weinland, 
October, 1904— April. 1906; W. E. Fisher, August, 1906— May, 
1913; John W. Chase, from June 20, 1913, as stated supply, and 
installed as pastor October 30, 1913. 

The present membership of the church is one hundred and 

A note of sadness entered the history of this church when, in 
the month of August, 1882, the pastor. Rev. E. J. Marshall, lost 
his life in the Shell Rock river, while bathing. He was a young 
Englishman and only had been in this country a year. His death 
caused a gloom to settle over the whole community and was greatly 
deplored by his parishioners. 


Elder Philip Moss with his family arrived in Coldwater town- 
ship from Indiana in October, 1855, and located on a claim near 


tiie present town of Greene. He began preaching at liis home and 
the homes of his neighbors. As soon as schoolhoiise No. 1 was 
completed services were held there and in June, 1857, a formal 
organization of the Brethren church was effected, with mem- 
bers whose names follow : John Hartman and wife, Jacob Keprogle 
and wife, Felix Landis and wife, Benjamin Eikenberry and wife, 
Jacob Harter and wife and a few others. Rev. Philip Moss was 
the pastor about five years. He was called to Ms final reward 
and his successor. Rev. John H. FillmorCj filled the pulpit for a 
period of three years. Others in charge were, namely: Revs. 
John F. Eikenberry, who at times was assisted by Revs. Ben- 
jamin Ellis, John E. Eikenberry, Humphrey Tallhehu, N. Trapp, 
E. Moore and J. B. Shank. In the regular pastorate Harvey 
Eikenberry followed J. F. Eilienberry. Next came William H. 
Hood, whose assistant ministers were W. H. Pyle and Edward 
Eikenberry. Hood's successor is the present pastor. Rev. J. F. 
Butler. The membership of the church is one hundred and eight ; 
attendance at the Suudav school averages one hundred and fortv. 
A house of worship was built by this church in 1873, costing 
$4,000, and at the time was the finest building of its kind in Butler 
county. It is built of stone and the ground dimensions are 40x60 


This denomination effected an organization in Coldwater 
township in the year 1859, Revs. John Buckmaster and Israel 
Shafer assisting. The first services were held at the home of 
Widow Hall and the first pastor was Rev. James Murjihy, who 
has had a number of successors. 

ST. Mary's catholic church 

The members of the Roman Catholic faith living in and near 
Greene attended mass, held by Father Flavin, early in the begin- 
ning of the town, in a church south of the place, which had been 
erected before Greene came into existence. Father Coyle and 
others also preached to this congregation. The first resident 
pastor was Father S. McNulty, who was offered two lots for build- 
ing purposes, by Judge George Greene, president of the local 
railroad. But the offer was not accepted. After the town began 


to grow, Father McNulty's flock luet for a tiuie at Feyereiseu's 
hall and soon they had a small church building of theii' own. This 
was succeeded by a large and more conunodious structure, which 
is now in use. Rev. Father J. L. Kirby was the second pastor. 
He was succeeded by Father Patrick Smith and in 1898, the pres- 
ent resident priest. Father James Sheehy, was placed in charge 
of the parish. The church has grown vastly in strength and pros- 
perity, having at the present time a membership of four hundred 
and property valued at $25,000. This consists of a substantial 
frame church building, a priest's residence and a magnificent 
two-story school building trimmed with stone, which cost $12,000. 
This henceforth will be known as St. Mary's Academy and will 
be in charge of Franciscan Sisters, whose residence is opposite 
the academy. 


The Masonic lodge at Greene has one of the finest and best 
equipped temples in northern Iowa, in a new building the upper 
story of which belongs to the organization. This body is strong 
in numbers and has a treasure chest well filled. Alpha Lodge, No. 
326, A. F. & A. M. was organized June 5, 1873. The charter mem- 
bers were E. S. Thomas, G. L. Mills, C S. Stranahan, E. S. Case, 
W. H. Nichols, E. Jordan, F. D. Mabee, Frank Beals, Charles 
Klobe, S. T. Hotchkiss, C. C. Huckins, W. H. Smith, A. Glodery, 
Hugh Johnson. First officers : E. S. Thomas, W. M. ; G. L. Mills, 
S. W.; C. S. Stranahan, J. W.; W. H. Smith, Treas.; C. C. Huck- 
ins, Sec. ; E. S. Case, S. D. ; W. H. Nichols, J. T>. ; Hugh Johnson, 

May Day Chapter, No. 287. Order Eastern Star, an auxiliary 
of the Masonic lodge, was organized on the 24th day of October, 
1900. with twenty-six charter members. The chapter is mainly 
composed of the wives and sisters of the main bod}'. 

Elm Springs Lodge, No. 318, L 0. 0. F., was organized Octo- 
ber 21, 1875, and now has a membership of one hundred and fif- 
teen. The lodge is in good condition financially and joined the 
Masons and Knights of Pythias in building a handsome hall, 
where the three lodges meet. This hall is also the headquarters 
for other fraternal bodies. 

There is also an auxiliary body, Greene Lodge, No. 381, Daugh- 
ters of Rebekah, which was established October 22, 1897. 


Butler Lodge, JSTo. 155, Kuights of Pythias, was established 
October 7, 1885, by C. H. Wilcox, J. W. Osier, Louis Hushburg, 
C. M. Greene, Charles W. Lyford, G. E. Delavan, F. B. Cheney, 
J. Nevins, O. D. Barnuna, John Montgomery, G. W. Burbank, G. 
W. Wilson, S. A. Van Sann, J. E. Miller, A. M. Trent, Joseph T. 
Stokely, Fred MorriU, C. A. Witzel, E. J. Moyer, F. W. Huckins, 
H. W. Johnson, Will D. Grace, W. H. Morrill, G. C. Thomas. 
The lodge has a membership of one hundred and sixty. 

The Pythian Sisters, Charlton Temple, No. 146, was organized 
October 9, 1902, by Allie Greene, Elsie Doore, Floy McRoberts, 
Emma Baker, Jennie M. Baker, Lulu Shaffer, Louise Yates, And 
Rosburg and Carrie Carney. They meet in Knights of Pvthias 


Greene Post, No. 22, G. A. R., organized November 18, 1898, 
with the following charter members: Ed Morrill, W. W. West, 
Jacob Hoffman, F. G. Etter, C. B. Weston, W. H. Rupert, J. 
Blanden, J. J. Winterbum, W. J. CroxTse, Levi Sheets, James 
Mettler. W. H. Fleak, C. Crabtree, James Beardorf. D. R. Free- 
man, Albert Boggs, J. Adams, W. A. Keister, A. E. Austin, Rich- 
ard H. Brooks. 

The Modem Woodmen of America and their auxiliary, the 
Royal Neighbors, have lodges here. 


Dayton townsMp is bordered on the north by Floyd county, 
on the west by Coldwater, on the south by Jackson and on the 
east by Fremont township. Its surface is broken by three streams 
— the Shell Rock river, which traverses it from northwest to south- 
east; Coldwater creek, which flows diagonally through sections 
19, 20 and 29 to its junction with the Shell Rock ; and Flood creek, 
which flows south through sections 2, 3, 11, 14, 23, 26 and 27. The 
Minnesota branch of the Chieauo, Rock Island & Pacific railroad 
passes through the township, with a railway station at Packard, 
althoiigh the settlement there consists of but little more than a 
few houses. The land along the streams is more or less hea^dly 
timbered but in general the character of the surface of the town- 
ship is such as to render it particularly adaptable for the purposes 
of agriculture. 

The first settler in Dayton township of whom any record is 
left, was William Goheen, who on November 8, 1851, entered one 
hundred and twenty acres of land on section 19. In the spring of 

1852, Mr. Goheen settled here with his family. On his claim he 
built a hewn log house, where with his family he lived until June, 

1853. His death on this date was the first in the township. He 
was buried on the banks of Coldwater creek in section 19. Later 
his body was removed to the Hardman cemetery. A copy of the 
will by which his holdings in the township were disposed of to 
his sons has been given in an earlier chapter. These sons, E. R. 
and J. W. Goheen, are also mentioned somewhat in detail in con- 
nection with the early history of the county. They were hunters 
and do not seem to have remained in the county for many years 
after the death of their father. 

James Griffith, who has been treated at length in the history 
of Coldwater township, settled on section 18, Dayton township, 
in 1852. He remained here only a short time before taking up 
his abode in the township to the west. 

R. W. Bntler was another early settler in this township. 



Levi Burress came in 1852. He built a cabiu on section 27, 
on the west bank of the Shell Rock river. Mr. Burress came from 
Kentucky and his cabin was always open to the traveler and 
became a stopping place for many of the emigrants on their way 
to new homes in the county. Mr. Butler achieved considerable 
fame as a hunter and was numbered by his contemporaries as a 
man of imposing presence and of hearty good will. He died on 
his home farm in the fall of 1882. 

Other cai'Iy settlers were James Blake, Philip J. Ebersold, 
William Gough, Hugh Thomas, Delano McCain and others. 

John F. Eikenberry, jDioneer preacher of the Baptist church, 
located here and is remembered as one of the early ministers of 
the gospel in this section of the county. 

Tobias Miller, an associate of the Goheen brothers in their 
hunting operations, located in June, 1853, on section 20. 


The territory now comprising Dayton township was originally 
divided equally between Butlei' and Coldwater townships. It was 
finally given separate organization in September, 1860. An elec- 
tion was ordered November 6, 1860, at the house of Richard 
Chellew. The first township officers were: Hugh Thomas and 
Levi Burress, justices of the peace; Richard Chellew, Reuben 
Strohecker, constables; Thomas Haggarty, supervisor; John F. 
Eikenberry, clerk; Phineas Clawson, assessor; John V. Boggs, 
Philip J. Ebersold and Lemuel Carter, trustees. 


The early records of the district township of Dayton are 
apparently lost. It has retained this form of organization to the 
present time. There are now ten sub-districts in the township 
and its schools are maintained in a manner in keeping with the 
prosperity of the communities which they serve. 

A proposition for the consolidation of the schools of the town- 
ship and the establishment of the consolidated school at Packard 
was defeated by the electors in a school election held a few years 
ago. Inasmuch, however, as the tovsmship has no town within its 
limits, it would seem probable that Avithin a comparatively few 
years such a step would ultimately be taken. There are a large 


number of progi-essive school patrons of the township who favor 
some action of this kind. In the meantime, however, they are 
in favor of supporting- the schools as they are and of raising 
them to the highest possible degree of efficiency. 

The schools of the township are at present presided over by an 
exceptionally capable and earnest body of rural teachers. The 
board of directors is a representative body of the best citizens of 
the township. The affairs of the school may be left in their hands 
without fear that they will do anything but the best for the inter- 
ests entrusted to them. 

THE farmers' club 

The Clarksville Star, in its issue of the 20th of May, 1875, con- 
tains the following remarks from the pen of Van E. Butler : 

"Among the odui^ational institutions of Dayton township is 
the 'Farmers' Club,' which was organized in 1864, the object being 
to increase the interest in agriculture, horticulture and floricul- 
ture. How nuich influcneo it has exerted withm a period of ten 
years is seen l)y the superior thrift, the intelligence, improved 
stjde of fai-ming, and the general neatness of the homesteads of its 
members. Mutual intercourse and interchange of ideas on farm- 
ing and other topics have kept its members posted on the issues 
of the day; and if a stranger should step in when the club is in 
session he would no doubt conclude that the farmers kept their 
best stock at home and sent the poorer material to the Senate or 
Legislature, on the same principle that they select their best seeds 
for propagation and send the inferior article to market." 


1863, 239; 1865, 213; 1867, 275; 1869, 339; 1870, 383; 1873, 425; 
1875, 513; 1880, 636; 1890, 667; 1900, 641; 1910, 633. 


Fremont township lies in the extreme northeastern comer of 
Butler county, bordered on the east by Bremer county, on the 
north by Floyd county and cornering with Chickasaw county on 
the northeast. On the south and west lie Butler and Dayton town- 
ships. The surface is a gently undulating plain, broken by no 


marked variations uf contour. Tlicre are no streams of any size 
within the township limits. It is the only township of the comity 
wliich has a road on every section line. Every point of the town- 
ship is thus accessible and every foot of its soil is today in a high 
state of cultivation. 

The character of the soil is somewhat different from that in 
the central portions of the county by being somewhat lighter, 
rather a sandy, than a clayey loam. Portions of the township are 
underlain by limestone which renders . it peculiarly adaptable 
to the raising of cereal crops. The center of the township is 
traversed by a broad and shallow valley, known as Pleasant val- 
ley, which slopes to the southeastAvard toward Cedar river. 

The township has no towns and no railroads. It is served for 
market and other conmiercial purposes by the towns of Nashua, 
in Chickasaw, Plainfield, in Bremer county, and Clarksville, in 
Butler county. The farms are in a high state of cultivation and 
the farm homes and buildings evidence the prosperity and energy 
of their owners. 

The only natural timber in the township is a tract in the 
extreme northwestern portion, about five acres in extent, but 
the farm homes are so universally surrounded by large groves of 
artificial tindx'r as to give it the ai)pearance almost of a timbered 

No farming section of the state may be considered superior 
in its genei'al features to Fremont township For the purposes of 
diversified agriculture. The traveler through this township is 
impiessed witli the large number of silos, which have been built 
in recent years on the farms. No better evidence may be given 
than this of the progressive character of the residents of the 


Fremont townsliip was one of the later regions of the county 
tf) be settled. As has been suggested, elsewhere, the first settlers 
all located as near the streams as possible, and inasmuch as Fre- 
mont towmship has no running water and comparatively few 
natural springs, it was not imtil the locations which were then 
considered more favorable had practically all been occupied that 
the attention of the early settlers of the county was turned to the 
fertile acres of this township. The first settlements within its 


limits may be considered as extensions of tlie settlements previ- 
ously made aroimd Nashua, Plainfield and Clarksville. The first 
entries of land in Fremont township were made in 1854, and for 
the most part were made merely for commercial purposes. 

In June, 1854, William Pringle, George Foster and W. J. 
Barney made entries of land in sections 31 and 32. Elwood Mod- 
lin and Jacob Schaffer also made entries of land in this year. 
All these entries were made in the southeast corner of the 

The first actual settler in the township is believed to have 
been McCarty Bement, who came here in 1855 and located upon a 
farm in the eastern part of the township. In the same year Shad- 
rach Bonwell, Samuel Lenhart, James Trobaugh and Jackson J. 
Cross settled in the township. 

The year following this, Nelson Bement, a brother of McCai-ty 
Bement, the first settler mentioned above, James G. Temple and 
Robert Renfrew came. William Gilmore, William R. Phillips 
and John Saddler are also mentioned as among the early settlers. 

J. J. Cross came to Butler coimty from Kane county, Illinois, 
in 1855, and in August of the same year settled upon one hundred 
and sixty acres in section 1. Frederick W. Cross, a sketch of 
whom is given in the biographical volume of this work, is a son 
of J. J. Cross. 

On the 27th of September, 1855, S. Bonwell and family took 
up their sojourn on a farm on section 19. In an early history of 
Butler county Mr. Bonwell relates a typical incident of pioneer 
life to illustrate some of the hardships which some of the early 
settlers of this county had to undergo. On the 6th day of Janu- 
ary, 1856, he, with his family, attended the funeral of Eliza J. 
Newhard, at ClarksviUe. The weather was cold and the ground 
frozen so hard that the grave could hardly be dug. It was there- 
fore almost dark before the sei'Adces were over, and Mr. Bonwell 
prepared to start homeward. When he arrived at Mr. Lenhart 's, 
a storm was raging furiously and the folks tried to persuade him 
to remain all night ; but Mr. Bonwell thought it his duty to return 
and attend to his stock. It was only a half mile to his hoine but 
there beiiig no road, he missed his house, and soon found that 
he was lost on the prairie. To remain all night would be death. 
He therefore turned his team about so as to dinft with the wind, 
which was blowing from the northwest, and concluded that in 
this wav he would reach the timber east of Clarksville, which he 


succeeded in doing just as the storm passed over. After driving 
a short distance farther he found himself at tlie cabin of Daniel 
Kinsley, vphere he remained aU night with his family, and in the 
morning again set out for home. After leaving Mr. Lenhart's 
the previous evening and finding that he had lost his course, he 
called for aid, which was heard by the neighbors and they replied 
by tiring guns, etc. ; but the wind was blowing such a gale that 
their answers could not be heard. The next morning the neigh- 
bors assembled, and not finding him at home, started in search, 
following his track over the entire circuit, and were glad to find 
upon arriving at Mr. Kinsley's that all were still alive, as they 
thought they certainly had perished, or, as one old fellow of the 
]3arty remarked, "They have evidently struck one of the sink- 
holes on the prairie and all went to h — together." 

Among other comparatively early settlers of Fremont town- 
ship were John M. Wamsley, who, as already stated, came first 
to Iowa with his brother W. S. Wamsley and lived with Aaron 
Moore until 1853. Mr. Wamsley settled in Fremont township in 
1865. The best evidence that the settlements of Fremont town- 
ship were the outgrowths of previous settlements in the county 
is found in the fact that in a number of instances among the 
Fremont pioneers are numbered members of the second genel'a- 
tion of Butler county families. Of these Charles N. Thomas, 
Alexander Forney and Frank L. Wamsley may be mentioned. 
Charles N. Thomas was a son of Hugh Thomas, a pioneer settler 
of Dayton township. Charles Thomas settled in Fremont in 1869. 
Alexander Forney, a son of Christian H. Forney, is another pio- 
neer settler of Dayton tovsmship. Aftei' serving through the Civil 
war Mr. Forney mai'ried a daughter of James Blake and settled 
on a fami on section 16, Fremont township. 

The southern and central parts of the township have in more 
recent years been largely settled by people of German parentage. 
A Lutheran church, situated on the southeastern corner of sec- 
tion 28, is the center of the I'eligious life of this community. 
Among the prominent German families of this district may be 
mentioned the Wedekings, the Buschings and the Buchholtzs. 

The choice of the name of the townshi]3 was suggested by Wil- 
liam R. Phillips, in honor of Gen. John C. Fremont, who was in 
1856 the first candidate of the republican party for the presi- 
dency. A local writer in the Clarksville Star of 1875 said : "Fre- 
mont, free speech and free press, was what one would hear in the 


days of 1856, when Horace Greeley, Charles Sumner and others 
were rolling the great stoue that was eventually to crush out 
African slavery in the American states. So it was given to this 
territory of thirty-six square miles. ' ' 


Originally Fremont township was a part of Butler. In 1858 
it was given a separate organization. The first election was held 
October 11, 1859, at the house of William R. Phillips, which was 
then in process of erection. On the day of the election when the 
voters came to cast their ballots they found that Phillips had no 
part of his house completed except the cellar. The ballot box 
was accordingly lowered into the cellar and the voters dropped 
their ballots into it from above. This first election was held with 
no roof over their heads except the blue canopy of Heaven. The 
day, however, was a pleasant one and everything passed off 
quietly. The record of the officers chosen at this election has 
been lost even to memory, except for the fact that J. J. Cross 
was chosen township clerk. Sixteen votes were cast, the names 
of the voters being as follows: James G. Temple, John Boorom, 
James Trobaugh, William Pringle, M. Bennett, Robert Slaight, 
John H. Vosler, D. W. Tunsley, S. Bonwell, S. Lenhart, Henry 
Lenhart, John Lenhart, G. W. Ellis, Nelson Bement, S. J. Boorom 
and J. J. Cross. 


The first school in Fremont township was taught b.y Miss 
Lucy Ballard at the home of James G. Temple. 

The first schoolhouse was built at the northeast corner of sec- 
tion 11, where the Cedar schoolhouse now stands. 

The township at present is divided into nine independent dis- 
tricts, each containing exactly four sections. 

District No. 1. known as the Cedar district, is at the northeast 
corner of the township. 

District No. 2, Excelsior district, lies just to the south of this. 
A portion of the Plainfield independent district in Bremer county 
extends over into the eastern part of section 24, thus somewhat 
reducing the size of Excelsior district. 


The Pleasant Prairie district, No. 4, comprises sections 29, 
30, 31 and 32 in the extreme southwestern portion of the township. 

No. 5, Pleasant Valley Center is the central district of the 

No. 6, Beaver creek, occupies a position on the north central 
portion of the township. 

The Pleasant Valley district, No. 7, includes sections 27, 28, 
33 and 34, in the south central portion of the township. The 
schoolhouse stands just adjoining the site of the German Lutheran 
church and cemetery. ' . 

No. 8, the Pleasant Grove district, is in the northwestern part 
of the township. 

No. 9, Harmony school, is in the central western portion. The 
schoolhouse in each of these districts stands at the exact geograph- 
ical center of the district. 


1860, 90; 1863. 108; 1865, 164: 1867, 250; 1869. 379: 1870, 655; 
1873. 650; 1875. 723; 1880, 791; 1890, 778; 1900, 757; 1910, 757. 


Jackson township is surrounded l)y the townships of Dayton. 
Butler, .Teft'erson and West Point on the north, east, south and 
west respectively. Its surface is foi' the most part a gently undu- 
lating prairie, varied in the extreme northeastern part b_v the 
presence of the valley of the Shell Rock river, Avhich crosses the 
township from northwest to southeast. Originally there was 
practically no natural timber in the township except that along 
this stream. Although the rest of the township has no running 
streams its natural drainage was sufficient to prevent the pres- 
ence of any waste land. Dry Run which crosses the township 
from east to west about midway, serves to drain off the surplus 
storm water and empties into Shell Rock river a little southwest 
of ClarksA'ille. At certain seasons of the year this stream has a 
constant flow but in mid-summer it is almost always dry. 

The township is traversed from east to west by the main line 
of the Chicago Great Western railroad and in the extreme north- 
eastern portion, by the Rock Island. It has no town within its 
limits, although both Clarksville and Allisou include a portion 


of the township witliiii their ))ouii(Uiries. These two towns fur- 
nish the trading points for the entire township. The soil is of a 
quality second to none in fertility and productiveness and the 
farms are at the present time in the hands of a progressive class 
of agriculturists who utilize the natural fertility of the soil to its 
fullest extent. 


As has been indicated in connection with the history of Butler 
township, the first permanent settlements within the limits of 
Butler county were made near the east bank of the Shell Rock 
river, within the borders of what was later set off as Jackson 
township. These settlements and the early settlers were so 
cl()sely identified with the early history of Biitler township as to 
have been named in the se])arate history of that township, many 
of them at a comparatively early day having actually moved either 
to the village of Clarksville or to farms in Butler township. 
However, as they belong properly to the history of Jackson town- 
ship, a repetition of some names may be pardoned. 

The first actual settler in the township was Joseph B. Hicks, 
who located a claim on section 12, in the spring of 1850. He was 
followed soon after by his father, Henry J. Hicks, and his brother 
John. Joseph Hicks remained a resident of the township imtil 
1867, when he went to Kansas, remaining there a few years and 
then returned to his former home in Butler county. Later still 
he moved to Kansas and took up his permanent abode there. 

His father, Henry J. Hicks, made the second entry of land in 
this township as shown l)y the records of the Dubuque land office. 
The date of this entry is Jime 24, 1851, and the land thus 
entered was located in sections 12 and 13. 

This entry is preceded in date by one made b}^ John Heery, 
who at tlie same time that he entered land, which has been pre- 
viously mentioned in Butler township, also made an entry of 
claims in sections 13 and 24 of Jackson. This is dated November 
22, 1850, the earliest date of land entry in Butler county. John 
Heery, however, was never a resident of Jackson township so far 
as is known. 

The next settlers after the Hicks family were the Wamsleys — 
Malon B. and W. S. — a full account of whose settlement is found 
in the history of Butler township. 


The third entry of land in Jackson township was made in 
the name of Melissa J. Wamsley on September 6, 1851, on section 1, 
and on the same date a claim in section 12 was entered by W. S. 

Martin Van Buren Wamsley was also an early settler of Jack- 
son township, and made a claim on section 12 in 1851, which was 
not entered at the land office, however, until several years later. 
"Van" Wamsle.y, as he was generally known, first came to the 
count}' with his brother, W. S., but remained here only a short 
time. Several years afterward he return'ed, and in 1857 married 
Miss Frances Griffith, daughter of James Griffith, a pioneer settler 
of Coldwater township. In 1861 he enlisted in the Thirty-second 
Iowa, was wounded at Pleasant Hill, captured and imprisoned 
at Tyler, Texas, where he died. 

In the year 1852 Seth Hilton and John Baughman came from 
Illinois and located on section 13, just west of the town of Clarks- 
ville. Hilton has been mentioned in connection with the history 
of Clarksville as having built the first log house on the present 
site of the town. 

John Stephenson, John Boyd and Ed Marquand arrived in 
the year 1853, all of them coming from the state of Ohio. 
Stephenson and Boyd, his son-in-law, settled on section 36, and 
Marquand on section 25. 

Other settlers of this earh^ period in the township were Elisha 
Doty, John Klinetob, Eli Bel)ee, J( ihn H. Van Dyke, Henry New- 
man, George Allen, A. E. Ensley, Richard Keller, George Flark- 
ness and John Bonwell. 

Among other early settlers without regard to the date of 
settlement were Benjamin Priest, S. W. Cheever, Clark Carr, E. 
E. Mott, C. P. Klinetol), William Tennyson, Gyrus Doty, J. B. 
Hickman and A. C. Wilcox. 

Benjamin Priest was one of the first to build a home in the 
western part of the toAvnship, where he at one time owned about 
six hundred acres of land. 

S. W. Cheever was the father of Frank M. Cheever, at the 
present time president of the district township of Jackson. 
Frank Cheever still lives on the home place on the southwest 
quarter of section 8. 

John Mott, for a numlier of years a member of the county 
board of supervisors, is a son of E. E. Mott, mentioned above. 

C. W. Klinetob, for more than twenty years secretary of school 


township of Jackson, is a son of G. P. Klinetob, and has resided 
in tlie township since 1866. Cyrus Doty, a son of Elisha Doty, 
settled on the southwest qviarter of section 11 in Jackson town- 
ship in 1860. BQs natural qualities of leadership and his long life 
in the county have given him a prominence that is recognized 
by all his associates. A full accoimt of his life is given in the 
l)iographical volume of this work. 


Jackson township was at first organized as a part of the town- 
ship of Butler and so continued xmtil given separate organization 
on the 4th of March, 1858. E. D. Marguand was commissioned 
to call the first election for the organization of the township, 
which election was held at the house of John H. Van Dyke, 
on the 5th of April, 1858. The first officers elected were: John 
Klinetob, John H. Van Dyke and John Stephenson, trustees; 
John Boyd, clerk; Josiah Stephenson and Henry Newman, con- 
stables; Samuel Lister, supervisor of roads; John Klinetob, asses- 
sor; E. D. Marquand and John Klinetob, justices of the peace. 

On the 22d day of March, 1858, the county court made an 
alteration in the boundaries of Jackson township by attaching 
that part of congressional township northeast of the Shell Rock 
river to Butler township. This is the portion of the township to 
which reference was made above as havmg been the site of the 
earliest settlement and belonged by nature to Butler township. 
At a later date, June 4, 1861, the boundaries of Jackson town- 
ship W'Cre again rectified to include the full limits of the con- 
gressional township. 


The records of the district township of Jackson are very 
incomplete. Detailed information regarding the educational his- 
tory of the township therefore cannot be given. It is known that 
the first schoolhouse in the township was a log house, located on 
section 1, with U. G. Lawrence as the first teacher. After serv- 
ing its purpose for a number of years this structure was torn 
down and the materials from which it had been built were cut 
up in fire wood. 


The tirst frame schoolliuuse iu the township was built in 
1855 on section 14. George MeClellan was the first teacher. This 
stood on the site of the present Doty schoolhouse. 

The second frame schoolhouse in the township was liuilt in 
1855 on section 25, near where the Wilcox school now stands. It 
was afterwards sold and the present building erected in its 

As the township became more and more thickly settled, new 
school districts were created and new schoolhouses built. There 
are at present eleven school buildings within the limits of the 
township: No. 1, knoA\n as the Woodward school, situated in 
the southeast quarter of section 23; No. 2, the Wilcox school, on 
the southwest cpiarter of section 25. 

No. 3 has been for the last few years unoccupied. It stands 
just east of the Rock Island railroad tracks near the township 
line between Jackson and Butler, on section 12. All of section 
6 and the north half of section 7. Butler township, were for school 
purposes set over into Jackson and form a part of this sub-dis- 
trict. However, the proxnnity of the town of ClarksA'ille, with 
its superior school facilities, has iu recent years led to the send- 
ing of the children of this district to school in Clarksville and the 
payment of their tuition by the township of Jackson. 

School No. 4 is situated in section 22; No. 5, known as the 
Dry Run school, is located on the east side of section 18; No. 
6 is in section 3; No. 7, formerly called the Priest school, is at the 
northeast corner of section 7; No. 8, the Doty school, is on the 
main road from Clarksville to Allison, in the north part of sec- 
tion 14; No. 9. the Poor Fann school, is located about a quarter 
of a mile south of the county farm, on section 34; No. 10, the 
Curtis school, is located on the southwest corner of section 29. 

At a comparatively recent date a new sub-district, No. 11, 
was set off near the center of the township and a schoolhouse 
built across the road from the Cheever farm. This school is 
known as the Cheever school and its building is the most modern 
and commodions of the rural schools of Jackson township. 

Most of the schoolhouses of the township have at present been 
standing on their sites for a number of years. It is recognized 
that within a comparatiA^ely short time some further provision 
for the housing of the school children of the township must be 
made. Whatever provision is made for this purpose will doubt- 


less be made after due eousideratiou and iu accordance with the 
needs and rights of the children. 


The fii'st marriage in the to^^■nsllip is said to have been that 
of John Rains and Elizabeth Allen. 

The first birth was a son born to Mr. and Mrs. Malon B. 
Wamsley, July 30, 1852. 

The first death was that of a man named Joseph Kirker, who 
died at the house of W. S. Wamsley, in the fall of 1851. He was 
buried on section 12, without services of any character. 

The first religious service was held in the cabin of Malon B. 
Wamsley, in the fall of 1851, by Eev. S. W. Ingham, of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church. In 1852 a Baptist clergyman held serv- 
ices in the eabm of Seth Hilton. No religious organizations are 
known to have existed in the eavlj history of the township. 


1860, 78: 1863, 184; 1865, 240; 1867, 330; 1869, 435; 1870, 569; 
1873, 566; 1875, 594; 1880, 746; 1890, 704; 1900, 811; 1910, 781. 


The minute book of the board of supervisors during the period' 
of the Civil war contains frequent reference to provision for the 
care of such persons as had by reasf)ii of poverty or other cause 
become county charges. Bids Avere regularly received for the 
board and keep of these persons. In other words, the system of 
fanning out the poor was followed. 

This system of care for the indigent and unfortunate citizens 
of the county continued until 1876, when provision was made 
for the establishment of a county home for these dependents. 
The northeast quarter of section 34, in Jackson township, was 
purchased by the c()unt_y and plans laid for the erection of suit- 
able buildings. 

Sealed proposals for the erection of a county poor house were 
received until June 29, 1876, in the office of county auditor. The 
contract was let to Wilkinson & Harvey for the sum of $4,000, 
and the building was completed the 1st of June, 1877. The main 


building was 28xJ:4 feet and the wing 28x32, two stories high. 
This house was opened to the poor on February 15, 1877, at wliich 
time one person appeared to make this his home. There were 
some forty county charges at this time but the remainder pre- 
ferred evidently to care for themselves. 

The number of occupants of the county home has varied at 
different periods. At present there is an average of about twenty- 

This county building was burned in the winter of 1891-2. A 
contract for rebuilding was let to Vincent Franke, on April 18, 
1892, for the sum of $3,900. A number of improvements in the 
fann buildings and equipment have been made in receut years 
and it may today well be considered a model farm. The farm 
has been so managed under the care of capable, efficient stewards 
as to be self-supporting and yield a margin of income over the 
cost of maintenance. 

The first superintendent of the county fann was Joseph Sco- 
field. In January, 1914, Mr. Lafe Belden, who for a number of 
years had l^een managing the county fai-m offered his resigna- 
tion and the present incumbent, Mr. J. C. Hammond was chosen 
to the position. 




Township 91 north, range 16 west, in Butler county is known 
as the township of Jefferson. It is purely a rural township, 
having no town either wholly or in part within its borders. It 
is traversed by no lines of railroad and in this respect occupies 
a position similar to those of Fremont and Ripley townships in 
the coimty. Its territory is tributary commercially to fonr of 
the towns of the county, Shell Rock on the east, Clarksville on 
the northeast, Allison on the northwest, and Parkersburg on the 

Of its topography no better account may be given than the 
one below from the pen of Van E. Butler, a former newspaper 
man of the county : 

"This townshij) corners with the center of the county. The 
land is rolling, sloping as a whole to the south and east. Only 
one stream of importance passes through it — the West Pork — 
entering on section 36. All the timber in this township lies along 
the stream, and this is not of much importance, except the many 
artificial groves that have sprung up about the pleasant farm 
houses that dot the uplands and valleys. Twenty years ago the 
major portion of Jefferson township was a splendid specimen of 
Iowa sloughs. Then a man would hardly have dared to cross it 
without first making his last will and testament and bidding a 
kind adieu to his family. How the first settlers ever conceived 
the idea of founding a city, and the manner of construction of 
the primitive abodes, will come to light when, like Herculaneum 
and Pompeii, future generations will exhume from their deep 
sepulchre all the evidence necessary to a correct conclusion. But 
what we looked upon as an almost irredeemable portion of the 
eountv has become one of the most productive. It takes a longer 
time to subdue the rich, dark, loam soil, but it makes returns for 



the extra labor. Mxich of the land is now under subjection, and 
the Iowa slough sends its thousands of bushels of cereals to the 
market towns. No trouble is now experienced in traversing any 
portion of it. The township is well adapted to stock-raising, yet 
the rich, dark loam, when once subdued, is equal to any locality 
in the county in the production of cereals." 


When Butler county was first divided i«to townships, the four 
congressional townships in the southeastern part of the county — 
Shell Rock, Jefferson, Albion and Beaver — were organized as 
one civil township under the name of Beaver. In March, 1856, 
this civil township was divided in lialf by the organization 
of Shell Rock township, which then included the present limits 
of Shell Rock and Jefferson. On the 2d of March, 38.57, Shell 
Rock township as it then existed, was divided and the two town- 
ships of Shell Rock and Jefferson were given their present limits. 



Jefferson township had been settled from the east following 
the settlement of Shell Rock township. No land in the township 
was entered before 1853. In that year Hugh Midlarky, of Cedar 
Falls, made a claun on section 19, on the 5th oi October. The 
Mullarkys were among the pioneer settlers in Blackhawk county. 
Andrew Mullarky having opened a store in his log cabin, known 
as the Black Hawk store, in 1851. This was the first store in 
Blackhawk comity and was the beginning of the settlement of 
the town of Cedar Falls. Hugh IMullarky was a brother of this 
Andrew Midlarky. As will be noted in the course of the history 
of this toMaiship, the members of this family occupied a prom- 
inent place in its early history and down through its formative 

On the 30th of November, 1853, five entries of land in Jeffer- 
son township were made. These were made by the following 
persons: Frederic Feddeke, sections 32 and 35; Frederick and 
Louis Kothe, section 33; Au.gust Meyer, section 34; and William 
Pewestorf. Several of these men later became prominent set- 
tlers and farmers in the township. Of others nothing is known 


but the fact of tlie eutry of land referred to and its subsequent 
transfer by sale to other parties. 

John H. Nagle and Frederic Berlin entered land in sections 
35 and 36 on December 9, 1853. It will be noted by reference to 
the map that all of these claims above were situated in reasonably 
close proximity to the West Fork river. The land to the north 
of the river in the township was at that time considered too wet 
to be available for agricultural purposes. 

Dr. John Scoby, the pioneer physician of Shell Rock, in a 
reminiscent article covering the early days of his practice in But- 
ler county, gives several vivid descriptions of jDrairie scenery, 
which are directly applicable and which probably referred in part 
at least to Jefferson township. He says in part : ' ' The undulat- 
ing plains were dressed in Nature's gay attire of living green. 
There were but few, if an}^ laid out or worked roads or bridges 
in this county. I traveled as best I could, avoiding the sloughs 
which were very mii'y. Log cabins were occasionally to be seen, 
generally near to the groves or timber land, where a few acres 
were plowed and a few domestic animals to be seen. But the 
most of those rich alluvial prairies were then performing their 
diui'nal and revolutionar}^ movements without a human inhab- 

'*For seven years my profession called me over these wild 
l)rairies, frequently in midnight darkness. Often the dwellings 
were miles apart, with naught but a dim trail to follow. Some- 
times I was sloughed down and the wolves howling not far distant 
and the rattlesnakes hissing. During these seven years the march 
of impi'ovement in this county was slow. The wild prairie eA'erv 
season produced a vast amount of grass which was interspersed 
with several species of gay roses, pinks and violets which crowded 
their footholds among the roots of the high grass and waved their 
shining flowered plumes on the zephyr's breeze to the passer-by, 
filling the air with sweet perfiune and arresting the monotony of 

It was some years after the beginning of the settlement of the 
township before the value of the open prairie lands was realized 
and before settlement began to be made in the northern and cen- 
tral sections of the township. The first settler in the township 
was H. C Dawson, who in the fall of 1854 located on section 33. 
About the same time James D. Taylor settled on section 31. Daw- 
son later mover! to Marshalltown : Tavlor liA-erl on hi"^ farm until 


the outbreak of the war, when, being strongly opposed to the war 
and suspicious of the ultimate redemption of the pajjer currency 
of the period, he sold his property, converted his possessions so 
far as possible into gold, and moved to Illinois. Nothing further 
is known of him. 

In October, 1854, William Hays settled on section 36. He 
was accompanied by his wife and four children, Nathan Olmstead 
and family, Marshall Kelley and family, James Hair aud family, 
Myron Hair and Gilbert Knights. This party, with the excep- 
tion of Knights, who joined them at Cedar Falls, all came from 
Illinois, principally from La Salle county. All of them located 
in Butler county. 

In 1855 Wilham Mason, A. J. Case, Robert Armstrong, Samuel 
Williams and a Mr. Whitehead ail settled in the township. Wil- 
liam Mason located on section 28, where he remained six years, 
finally removing to Charles City. A. J. Case settled on section 
30 near the river and Whitehead near the location of the pro- 
jected town of New Albion, on the townsliip line between Albion 
and Jefferson. New Albion was located on sections 33 and 34 of 
Jelferson, and 3 and 4 of Albion. The town plat was located 
chiefly in the latter township and will be mentioned at length in 
connection with the history of Albion. 

The year 1856 saw a large increase in the number of settlers. 
It is probable that the list of these is incomplete. However, all 
names are given of whom mention has been foimd in connection 
with the settlement at this time. Joe Santee, afterward a resi- 
dent of Ripley township, settled in Jefferson in 1856. He assisted 
in building the first schoolhouse in Butler Center. O. S. Levis, 
H. H. Marsh, Hugh Mullarky, H. H. Margretz and a Mr. Pen- 
nock were included in the settlers of this year, biit as they were 
later residents of the village of Butler Center, they will be noted 
in connection with the sketch of that community. 

John Braden located in the spring of 1856 on a farm near 
Butler Center. He was one of the soldier martyrs of Butler 
coimty in the Civil war. His body was brought back and buried 
in the grove west of the house on the farm where he had lived. 

P. E. Bunson, one of the best known of the early settlers, came 
to the pounty February 7, 1856, and took up one hundred and 
sixty a pros of land in section 29. 

Among the settlers of a later date other than those in Butler 
Center were James Hall, D. A. McGregor, Frederick Toll. John 


Coster, Thomas Thompson, jST. C. Thompson and Xoble C. Thomp- 
son; the last three named natives of Ireland, all settled in the 
township at various dates from 1855 to 1863. Others were Albert 
Cook, Henry Trotter and James Trotter, his son; S. M. Baldwin, 
M. B. Speedy and William Van Vlaek. 


The first house on the road between Butler Center and Shell 
Rock was erected in 1856 on section 14 by Henry Trotter. In 
1857 the only settlers between Butler Center and Shell Rock were 
N. A. Thompson and Henry Trotter. 

The first marriage celebrated in the township was that of 
Noble A. Thompson to Christina McGregor. The ceremony was 
performed by Justice M. Bailey, and the couple settled on sec- 
tion 13. 

The first township officers in Jefferson were : Hugh Mullarky 
and Albert Cook, trustees; H. A. Shaw, clerk; H. H. Margretz, 
justice of the peace. 

In the biographical volume of this work will be found the 
sketches of a number of these men and others who were identified 
with the history of Jefferson tovmship in later days. 


For school purposes Jefferson township was at an early date 
organized on the district township basis, divided into seven sub- 
districts. No. 1. known as the South Butler Center school, is sit- 
uated in the southeastern corner of section 18. No. 2, the Wilson 
school, is in the southwest quarter of section 22. The Hall school. 
No. 3, is on land belonging to Charles Hall on the east side of 
section 26. 

School No. 4 stands on the tovmship line near the southeast 
quarter of section 31. The school population has in recent years 
been so small that this school has been closed and the few pupils 
in the district have been accommodated in the schools of Albion 
and Monroe townships. It is the only school in the township 
south of the river. 

School No. 5, the McCregor school, is located in section 11; 
No. 6. in section 9 : and No. 7, the North Butler Center school, in 
section 6. The school affairs of the township are in the hands of 


a board consisting of a body of progressive citizens, and the schools 
rank witli the best in the county. 


1860, 241; 1863, 262; 1865, 339; 1867, 454; 1869, 516; 1870^ 
613; 1873, 629; 1875, 677; 1880, 774; 1890, 642; 1900, 657; 1910, 


A person driving across country at the present time from Alli- 
son to Parkersbiu'g will note some live or six mUes south of Allison 
a number of rather abrupt turns in the road, and the fact that 
there are an unusually large number of fai'm homes rather close 
together along the road. A little closer observation would reveal 
the presence of several squares grown up to weeds and rank grass, 
in the midst of which perhaps might be seen a few rotting tim- 
bers and a stone or two that might once have formed part of a 
foundation of a house. Not far away you might discern a little 
cemeter^y. These facts would probably suggest to even the casual 
passer-by that this was once the site of a village. This is all that 
remains today to mark the site of Butler Center, at one time the 
county seat of Butler county and one of its most progressive and 
]iromising communities. 

Iicferencc has l)eeii made elsewhere to the fact that there was 
considerable dissatisfaction, after the county began to be settled 
in the central and western portions, with the location of the 
county seat so far to the east of the topographical center of the 
county. In another chapter the various ]ihases of the county seat 
struggle are traced in detail. Mention is made there of the 
attempt to secure the location of the county seat at Georgetown, 
a town platted in the exact topographical center of the county at 
the junction of Jefferson, RiY)ley, West Point and Jaclvson town- 
ships. Although the attempt reached the point of being su])mitted 
to the voters of the county, the result struck a death blow to the 
hopes of the Georgetown supporters. Clarksville was reindorsed 
as the location of the county seat by a substantial majority. 

Previous to the initiative of the Georgetown project, AndrcAv 
Mullarky and Colonel Thomas platted a town located in the north 
half of section 18, of Jefferson township, just two miles south of 
the proposed location of Georgetown. This plat was made in 


the year 1855. It was recorded on the niiiuite book of the county 
court, June 20, 1856. 

In an election called for the purpose, on April 4, 1859, to 
determine the questio)i of the relocation of the county seat at 
Butler Center instead of Clarksville, the former village secured 
a majority of twenty one. Before the actual transfer of the 
county seat could be effected, however, the people of Clarksville 
secured an injunction preventing the removal of the county seat 
until certain irregularities in the election might be passed upon 
by the district court. In July following this court adjudged the 
election void and on April 4, 1860, another election on the same 
question resulted in a victory fur Butler Center by a majority 
of eighty votes. Butler Center was thereupon declared to be the 
official <M)unty seat of Butler county, and all the county offices 
and officers as soon as practicable were moved to the new town 
and took up quarters in a frame building, which, with the two 
acres of land surrounding it, was donated to the county for this 
piu-pose by Mr. Mullarky. 

As noted elsewhere, the county judge failed to make the 
removal of his office and the records pertaining thereto as soon 
as was deemed fitting by the board of supervisors. He was there- 
upon ordered to make the move at the earliest possible date. His 
compliance with this order completed the removal of the county 
seat from Clarksville to Butler Center. 

An early county historian says: "Attracted by the probable 
permanency of the county seat, and the flattering prospects for the 
future, lawyers, doctors, editors, dentists, representatives of the 
difterent professions, exponents of A-arious religious creeds, and 
other necessary elements of civilization, came together and 
foi-med a settlement and it seemed for a time that Butler Cen- 
ter was certainlv destined t(» become the 'future great' of Butler 
county, but now (1883) how changed. The deserted streets, 
empty houses, vacant lots, dilapidated fences, signs of dissolution 
and decay, present themselves on every hand, speaking of things 
that were, suggesting things that 'might have l)een.' " Today, as 
suggested above, few even of these signs of its departed greatness 

For more than twenty years, from 1860 to 1881, Butler Center 
remained the seat of justice of Butler county. 

The first store in Butler Center was built by 0. S. Levis, who 
on the 4th of July, 1856, opened his doors to the public, presenting 


for their approval a stock of general merchandise. Mr. Levis 
managed liis business alone for a few years and then took in a 
partner, Dan Mason, to whom he afterward sold. 

In 1857 Thomas Bird arri\-ed, built a store and opened ui) a 
stock of general merchandise. 

The first hotel in Butler Center was Imilt by H. H. Margretz 
in 1856. Mv. Margretz conducted this hotel until the date of 
his enlistment in the army. He was killed in battle, and the 
building in which his hotel had been conducted was later torn 

The second hotel was ])uilt by George A. Richmond and was 
first used as a residence. Mr. Richmond was the first lawyer in 
the town of Butler Center. He arrived in 1857 and purchased a 
half interest in the town site. He was for a number of years an 
influential citizen of the town and county. He later removed to 

The third hotel was built by F. Digman, who first settled in 
the town in 1857. He purchased a building from Joe Santee and 
opened a shoe shop. To this he afterwards made additions and 
put in a general assortment of dry goods and groceries. The 
hotel which he built later, a substantial, two-story frame struc- 
ture, Avas conducted for the accommodation of the general pub- 
lic mitil the county seat was moved to Allison, when the build- 
ing was moved with it. It still stands on Main street in Allison 
and was until the erection of the present fine hostelry used as 
a hotel, under the name of the Digman House. Mr. Digman died 
in Butler Center in 1879 and thereafter the hotel was conducted 
both in Butler Center and later in Allison by his worthy wife. 

The first jtracticing physician in Butler Center was Doctor 
Shaw, who arrived in 1857. 

Joe Santee and Enoch George were carpenters and builders 
who were located in the town. 

The first dentist was H. H. Marsh, who arrived in 1856, his 
residence being the third built in the place. Mr. Marsh later 
removed to Cedar Palls. 

The first house was built b.y Joe Santee, the second by a Mr. 

Hugh Mullarky, who has been mentioned in connection with 
the township history as one of the pioneer settlers, located in 
Butler Center in January, 1855. The Mul larky s were the first 
owners of the town site. 


Thomas Thompson came to Butler Center in 1857, opening a 
shoemaker's shop. One of his daughters became Mrs. Henry 
Trotter, and another Mrs. James Trotter. Noble A. Thompson, 
mentioned elsewhere, was a son of Thomas Thompson. 

Orson Rice was the first lawyer to locate in Butler Center. He 
is mentioned at some length in connection with the history of 
the bar. 

Julius Hale, later county treasurer, also located in Butler 
Center early in its history. 

After the establislunent of the county seat at Butler Center 
there was naturally a large increase in the population, a num- 
ber of county officers and professional men settling there. Most 
of these were identified with other sections of the comity and 
receive detailed mention in connection with these localities. 

In its palmy days Butler Center had several saloons. Before 
the removal of the coimty seat, however, the township and the 
town abolished the saloon and none has been opened there since 
that time. 

The first blacksmith in the town was one William Wright. 

The Butler Center steam sawmill was erected by Charles 
Stewart in 1856. Andrew Mullarky was the proprietor. The mill 
was managed for a number of years by Mr. Stewart, who later 
sold it to some jDarties who moved the machinery to Cerro Gordo 
county. The building was later used by Sam Williams for a 
stable and eventually sold for taxes, I. W. Camp being the pur- 


Butler Center postoffice was established in 1856, mail being 
received by carrier from Cedar Falls, once each week. The first 
postmaster was H. H. Margretz. He was followed in order by 
Hugh Mullarky, W. A. Lathrop, J. Fl. Playter and H. N. Walker, 
who continued in office until Butler Center ceased to have a post- 
office. Mr. Walker purchased the stock of goods owned by H. 
C. Playter in 1871 and was appointed postmaster in the same 
year. He continued to conduct his store for some years after the 
county seat was moved to Allison. Later his family moved to 
Dubuque, where they still live. 



Religious services by niiinsters (if different denominations 
were held in Butler C^enter from the l)e.i>'inning. Among these 
Rev. Richard Merrill, who is mentioned elsewhere, was an active 
and earnest worker. Mr. Merrill served for some time as county 
superintendent of schools during the period while Butler Center 
was the county seat. He is more nearly identilied, however, with 
the history of Pittsford township. 

About 1864 the first organized Sabbath sch(»ol was established 
in Butler Center. The first superintendent was (ieorge M. Craig. 
This Sabl)ath school continued for several years after the town 
had begun to decay. 

The first church organized was that of the Presbyterian 
denomination and was formed in 1873 by the Rev. William Smith. 
The first members of this church were James Barlow and wife, 
James Hunter and wife, W. C. Thompson and wife, ^[rs. I). J. 
Merrill, Miss Ennna Thompkins, James Robbins and wife, Dun- 
can McGregor and wife and Duncan Stewart and wife. In 1875 
Rev. John Conrley succeeded to the pastorate. The society never 
had a church Imilding, meetings being held in the court room. 
At the period of its largest membership the number of members 
\Aas aljout twenty -five. 

The Methodist society held meetings in Butler Center at inter- 
vals for a number of years before thev secured a regular appoint- 
ment. Later a regular resident pastor was assigned to Butler 
Center and additional services were also held at Hopley school- 
house. The records of the Methodist society in Butler Center are 
not obtainaWe at the present time but among the resident pastors 
may be mentioned Reverends Faucett, Cooley, Robinson and 
Rowan. Presiding Elder Ingham also is mentioned among the 
Butler Center pastors of the Methodist church. 


The first school in Butler Center was taught by Alzina 
Waters in the Levis building. Later Martha Meee taught in the 
house built by Enoch Ceorge, who boarded round among his 
patrons. After Butler Center became the county seat a two-story 
frame school building was erected with two rooms. The average 
enrollment in this school during the period of the town's pros- 


perity was about sixty. This schoolhouse was one of the last 
buildings to be demolished in Butler Center. It was finally torn 
down and removed from its site a few years ago. 


The fii'st sermon was delivered in Butler Center by Nathan 
Ohnstead in the sawmiU in 1856. 

The first birth was a son to Martin Bailey. 

The first death was a daughter of Charles Stewart, who died 
and was buried in the cemetery a mile east of town in the sum- 
mer of 1857. This was the first interment in the Butler Center 


For a nmnber of years mail was regularly received at Coster, 
where Isaac Hall conducted a store in connection with his resi- 
dence. Mr. Hall was postmaster. This office was abolished on 
the establishment of the rural mail routes. Coster at the present 
time has a creamery and general store conducted by 0. F. Cour- 
bat. There are also two church buildings in the vicinity, one 
belonging to the Methodist denomination and the other to the 
German EvangeKcal. The latter is situated a little over a mile 

Vol. 1—21 


Madison is oue of the four townships forming the western tier 
of Butler county. It is bordered by Franklin county on the west 
and by Pittsf ord, Ripley and Washington townships on the north, 
east and south, respectively. The West Fork passes through the 
extreme northeastern portion of the township. Mayne's creek 
flows through its central portion from west to east. 

The soil in the valleys of these streams and for some distance 
on either side has a tendency to be sandy. The surface of the 
rest of the township is a rolling plain, with a rich, dark, loamy soil, 
which is especially adapted to the raising of the cereal crops that 
make this section of Iowa one of the richest agricultural regions 
of the world. 

The only extensive timbered tract in the townshij) is what is 
known as Bear grove, which has been referred to in an earlier 
chapter. This grove covered originally a tract of land about two 
miles in length from east to west and a mile in width from north 
to south. It is situated chiefly in sections 26 and 27 and portions 
of 34 and 35 north of the creek, which drains the southern por- 
tion of the township. 

Kesley is the only village within the limits of the township. 
Until 1900, when the line of the Northwestern Railroad was con- 
structed through the eastern portion of the township, it had been 
entirely without railroad facilities. Kesley forms the market 
point for the southeastern portion of the township. Dumont on 
the noi'th, Ackley on the southwest, and Austinville also consti- 
tute commercial outlets for the products of the township. 


The settlement of Madison towushi]i began in 1854. The first 
entry of land was made by Adam H. Sarber on October 2, 1854^ 



consisting of claims in sections 1 and 2. On October 27tli James 
M. Caldwell and Thomas Nash entered a claim on section 26. 
These were the only entries of land made in 1854. 

In this same year occurred the earliest settlements in Madison 
township, which was made, according to the best information 
obtainable, by Nicholas Hartgraves, a native of North Carolina, 
who came to Iowa from Indiana in 1844. His settlement in But- 
ler county dates from 1852, when he located at Beaver grove. 
Two years later he pushed his way farther westward and settled 
on section 17, of what is now Madison township. In the follow- 
ing year his brother, Noah Hartgraves, arrived in Madison and 
located a claim on section 18. These claims were not entered in 
the government land office mitil some time later. 

Several other pioneer settlers located in the township in 1855. 
Among them were Ephraim Hizenton and his son William, from 
Illinois. They located on sections 14 and 15. The son died in 
1858 of hydrophobia. The father did not prove up on his claim. 
He lived on his son's place for a few years and then moved out of 
the township after his son's death. 

William Mason and Fred Moffatt. natives of England, settled 
in the township in the same year. Abijah Stacy, a native of 
Indiana, located here in the spring of 1855. He died in the fol- 
lowing November, his death lieing the first recorded in the town- 

In 1856 James WiU^ierson, an Englishman, settled upon a farm 
in section 16. He remained here for about two years and then 
moved to Hancock county. 

Jacob Yost first settled in Madison township in 1857, his claim 
being located on section 16. He lived here for a few years and 
then moved across the line into Ripley township, with the history 
of which township he and his family were prominently identified. 

Peter Coyle, for a number of years a member of the board of 
snper\asors from Madison township and its chairman for the 
most of the period of his service, settled in the township in 1858, 
coming from Illinois. He was accompanied by Thomas Gral- 
lagher and wife. Mrs. Gallagher was a daughter of Mr. Coyle. 
They made the journey from Illinois with ox teams, taking about 
two weeks for the trip. Peter Coyle lived on a farm in section 
10 imtil 1875, when he moved to Ackley. His repeated election 
as supervisor from the township and the honor conferred upon 
Mm by his choice as chairman of the board indicate better than 


any mere words of praise could do the character and ability of 
the man. His son, Edward Coyle, succeeded him in the manage- 
ment of the home place. 

Elisha Scott is also mentioned as a settler of the township at 
an early date. Detailed information regarding the date or loca- 
tion of his settlement is lacking. 

The distance of Madison township in early days from market 
prevented its rapid settlement. In the years immediately pre- 
ceding the Civil war, and during its progress, few additions were 
made to the list of settlers. After the war the township tilled up 

Among the settlers subsequent to the Civil war were Amos E. 
Hartson, Samuel B. Gordon, Solomon Harvey and Walcott Wat- 
son. The Watsons are among the most prominent citizens of the 
township and are still identified with its progress and develop- 

Kesley Green, for a number of years the largest land owner in 
the township, settled here in 1865. The village of Kesley was 
platted on his land and is named for him. 

Thomas Faint, a native of England, settled in Bear grove in 
the early '70s. Mr. Faint's family of four daughters and three 
sons were all raised in the township. The daughters have all 
been prominent in educational work in this and other parts of the 
state, Mary A. Faint having served two terms as county superin- 
tendent of schools. 

The settlement of the township was finally completed very 
largely by people of the German nationality, who came in the 
late '70s and early '80s and took up by purchase unoccupied land 
in the western and southern part. Among these may be men- 
tioned Charles Borneman, John Rewerts, Arend and J. S. Essman, 
Paul J. Gerdes. The Ludermann, Baumgartner, Rademacher 
and Stock families also are nmnbered in this list. 

W. S. Austin, of the family of Austins, prominently connected 
with the early history of Washingion township, purchased land 
in section 10, Madison township, in recent years, where he now 
conducts the Oak Glen Stock Farm. 

James P. Bannon is a native son of Madison township, his 
father, James Bannon, having settled upon'the farm where James 
P. now lives, in 1866. 

George Lupkes and G. D. R. Kramer are also large landown- 
ers in the township at the present time. 



Madison township was originally a part of the township of 
Ripley, being so organized February 5, 1855. It continued to con- 
stitute a i^art of the civil, township of Ripley through the series of 
changes that took place in the towTiship organization down to Sep- 
tember 3, I860, when 1)y order of the county court it was given a 
separate organization. The name Madison was proposed by Peter 
Coyle and was ratified b\^ a meeting of the board of supervisors. 

The first election was held at the house of Jacob Yost on sec- 
tion 16. The following officers wei'c chosen: Dr. (xcorge Sprague, 
Peter Coyle, trustees ; Peter Coyle, justice of the peace ; and Peter 
Coyle, assessor. Jacob Y''ost was elected to some office Init exactly 
what it was is not recorded. 

Madison township is the only township in the county which 
-has a town hall, in which its elections and official meetings of the 
l)oard and other official liusiness ai'e carried on. Its town hall is 
located on the sclidolliousc grounds in sub-district No. 5, at the 
geographical center of tlie township, on the northwest corner of 
section 22. 



The first birth in Madison township occurred ]\Iarch 1, 1855, 
when a son, Marvin, was born to Nicholas and Sophia Hartgraves. 

The first death was that of Abijah Stacy in Novem])er, 1855. 
TI(> was bui-ied withoiit any funeral service. 

The first marriage ceremony in the township after its separate 
organization was celebrated at the house of Peter Coyle, at which 
time Elisha Scott and Miss Sallie Taylor were united in marriage. 
It is said that the wedding had been arranged and dinner pre- 
pared, guests ariived and everything in order for a good time. 
When the hour for the ceremony arrived, however, the bride did 
not put in an appearance. The guests who were present, together 
with the minister, ])roceeded to make way with the feast which 
had been provided and the party then dispersed. It later devel- 
oped that the sister of the bride, who was oj^posed to the marriage, 
had persuaded her not to go to the wedding. One of the friends 
of the contracting parties visited the Inide and succeeded in get- 
ting her to change her mind again. The next afternoon, with the 
prospective bridegroom, she proceeded to Justice Coyle 's, where 


a eeremouy was finally perfoimed. Mrs. Scott was drowned nine 
years later in West Fork, while attempting to cross it at the time 
of high water. Her husband was with her, but escaped. This 
was undoubtedly the first marriage ceremony performed in Madi- 
son township. The records of the office of county clerk, however, 
record an earlier marriage between residents of this township 
when it was a part of Ripley. The contracting parties were 
Jacob Yost and Evaline Scott. The date of this marriage was 
February 28, 1857. 

The first religious services of the township were held at the 
house of Peter Ooyle, and presided over by a Catholic clergyman, 
Father Shields, of Waverly. A child, John Cunningham, was 
baptized at this time. 

The Methodists held services in the township as early as 1867 
in the schoolhouse in district No. 4. A Rev. Mr. Williams, of 
Ackley, was the first clergyman of this denomination to hold 
service in the township. So far as is known, no definite organiza- 
tion was eifected. 

The first blacksmith shop was started in a building which had 
formerly Ijcen used as a schoolhouse. Albert Sehmitz purchased 
this building and moved it and started a blacksmith shop which 
he conducted for about a year. Later he moved to Dumont. 


The first schoolhouse in the township was erected in 1860 on 
section 14. This was used for school purposes until 1870, when 
it was moved away. In 1872 a board shanty was erected and used 
for several terms for school purposes and its place was taken by 
a schoolhovise binlt in 1873 in the southeast corner of section 13. 
This district was then known as No. 1. A Miss Carpenter was 
the first teacher in the township. 

A second sub-district was organized in 1868. Helen Slaid was 
one of the first teachers in this district. 

The second schoolhouse in the township was erected in the 
southeast part of the township in the early '60s. In 1881 this 
building was sold to T\. S. Creen and was thereafter used by him 
as a tenant house. Its place was taken by a school building erected 
on section 26, in 1881. 

In 1875 another district was created. A schoolhouse was 
erected on section 8. in 1876. for the pupils of this district. Mary 


Jolinson, Alice Hiirlej' and George Palmer were among the iirst 
teachers in this schoolhouse. 

The third schoolhouse erected in the township was con- 
structed in 1865 on section 16. In 1868 this building was moved 
to the southwest corner of section 17 — its present location — and 
a new building was erected on the southeast corner of section 16. 
The latter school site was changed at a later date to the northwest 
corner of section 22. 

Thomas W. Smith was the first teacher in the Clutterville 
schoolhouse. In 1870 a frame schoolhouse was erected on sec- 
tion 32. Thomas Butler was one of the first teachers. 

Since that date three additional schoolhouses have l)een 
erected in the township, which now has nine school bTuldings 
within its limits. 

When the Northwestern Railroad was constructed through the 
township it was surveyed through the schoolhouse site in school 
district No. 1, necessitating its remo^-al. Considerable difficulty 
was experienced in securing a satisfactory site for this school 
building and some litigation resulted. In the end the schoolhc)use 
was located about a mile north of its first site. In recent years 
the population of this sub-district has been so small that no 
school has been held there. The district still <)\\'ns tlic former 
schoolhouse site. 

The schoolhouse in sul)-district No. 2, known as the Eisen- 
trager school, stands on the northwest corner of section 10, just 
two miles south of Dmiiont. Borneman school, in district No. 3, 
is located in the southeastern corner of section 6. Sii))-districts 
Nos. 4 and 5 are known as the West and East Clutterville schools 
respectively. No. 5 is the central school of the township. Sub- 
district No! 6 is located about a mile and a half north of Kesley. 
The schoolhouse in district No. 7 stands in Bear groAc and is 
known as the Bear ({rove school. Schoolhouse No. 8 is in the 
northeastern corner of section 33 and that in No. 9 in the south- 
western corner of section 29. 


The first ijostofficc established in the townshi]) was called the 
Island Grove postoffice and was located at the residence of Dr. 
George Sprague, on section 35. This postoffice was continued 
from 1858 until 1868. It was on the mail route between Cedar 


Falls aud Hampton first and later on the route from Aplington. 
A postoffice was also located at Clutterville near the southwest- 
em corner of section 17 at an early date. The exact dates of its 
establishment and discontinuance as w^ell as the names of the 
postmasters are unknown at present. 


1863, 66; 1865, 55; 1867, 157; 1869, 211; 1870, 293; 1873, 386; 
1875, 401; 1880, 475; 1890, 604; 1900, 679; 1910, 755. 


In the '50s a stock company was formed in Ohio, known as 
the Ohio Stock Breeding Association, the members of the associ- 
ation being John K. Oreen, of Cincinnati; R. W. Musgrave and 
Luther A. Hall, of Tiffin city; Doctor Sprague and others. 
Through Doctor Sprague, the originator of the plan, the company 
pm'chased some six thousand acres of land, mostly in Madison 
and Ripley townships. Doctor Sprague was made the manager 
of the farm and came to Butler county about 1858, bringing a 
splendid herd of shorthorn cattle with him. He located on sec- 
tion 35, in Madison township, and commenced the construction 
of buildings for the acconnuodation of the stock and a house for 
the men connected with the enterprise. For various reasons the 
attempt was unsuccessful. 

After several years Doctor Sprague gave up the struggle, the 
company was dissolved aud the land divided among the stock- 
holders. Doctor Sprague obtained some of the land, which 
remained in possession of his family for a good many years. John 
K. Green secured the largest part of the real-estate holdings — 
some three thousand seven hundred acres. 

Subsequent to this thne Doctor Sprague Avent to Des Moines 
and started the Iowa Homestead, a fann journal of wide reputa- 
tion and success, Avhich he continued with the help of his sons 
for a number of years. 

Kesley S. Green, a son of John K. Green, came to Madison 
township in 1865 to take charge of his father's land there. From 
that time to the present he has been the largest landowner in 
that section of the country. Of late years he has retired from 
active participation in business affairs and his son, John K. Green, 
has taken his ])lace. 


Wlieu in 1900 the line of the Northwestern Railroad was pro- 
jected through this section of the county, a plat of land was 
secured by the Iowa & Minnesota Town Site Company, upon 
which a town was platted and named Kesley for Mr. Green. 
Although still unincorporated, the village at present is an 
important trading center for the farmers of this section of Butler 

The plat of the town of Kesley was filed for record on June 
15, 1900, by AV. E. Brice, representing the Iowa & Minnesota Town 
Site Company. This was just before the* completion of the line 
of railroad which was then l)eing built from Belle Plaine, Iowa, 
to Fox Lake, Miiuiesota. The name of the railway line during 
contsruction was the Iowa, Minnesota & Northwestern. The pro- 
moters were the same men who were interested in the Town Site 
Company. This railroad was later sold to the Chicago & North- 
western Kailway Company. 

Before the town was organized a postoffice had been main- 
tained for a immber of years at Hitesville, several miles to the 
east. After the town of Kesley came into l)eing this \\'as dis- 
continued and a postoffice was established at Kesley. The post- 
masters here have been as follows: John Bode, Henry Tie Vries 
and John Wessels. 

Soon aftt'r the platting of the town an auction was held by the 
Town Site Company, at which a sale of lots in Kesley was made. 
The opening of a lumberyard ))y Reints & De Buhr, who later 
organized the Bank of Kesley, marked the beginning of the actual 
transaction of business in Kesley. Bode Brothers of Austinville, 
and F. Traisman of Aplington, immediately opened general stores 
and the Northern Grain Company and the Nye-Schneider- 
Powler Company built elevators along the right of way. H. E. 
Perry, of Swanton, opened a blacksmith shop; Bode Brothers, of 
Parkersburg, a drug store, and Lndeman and De Vries a hard- 
ware and furniture store. J. H. Brandenburg built a two-story 
brick hotel, Avhich he operated for some time. A creamery had 
been in operation about a half mile north of the site of Kesley 
for some time previous to its founding. This may now be con- 
sidered one of the industries of the town of Kesley. Mr. H. Pat- 
terson succeeded James P. Johnston in the creamery business 

Kesley now has about one hundred and twenty inhabitants, has 
two general stores, drug store, a hardware and furniture store, an 


iinploniont cstablislimeiit, lumberyard, l^ank, two elevators, meat 
market, hotel, barber shop and pool hall, harness shop, milk depot 
and two blacksmith shops. 

An independent school district was formed by Kesley and the 
immediate contignons territorj^ some years ago. There are at 
present two departments in the school, with an attendance of 
a])out forty children. The school building is a substantial two- 
.story frame structure. 


The Gennan Baptists organized a church here through G. C. 
Engelmann. This society was later disbanded. 

The ^lonroe Eeformed Church was organized June 14, 1885, 
with a membership of thirty-four families, and built a neat church 
liuilding which is used by this organization. This church is 
located three miles south and a half mile east of Kesley. The 
first pastor called to the charge was Rev. Fr. Sehaefer, who after 
a service covering twenty-three years abandoned his work here, 
August 2, 1908. Since Novem))er, 1909, Rev. E. K. Russmann has 
had charge and the congregation no\\- numbers seventy-three 

This denomination has a church building in Kesley, in which 
regular services are held. A Union Christian Endeavor Society 
also holds its meetings here. 


The Bank of Kesle}^ is managed Ijy Herman N. Reints, cashier, 
and is owned by Reints & De Buhr, of Aplingion. Its capital 
stock is $20,000; siu-plus, $7,500. Its location in an excellent 
farming and dairying comitry makes this financial institution an 
im])ortant one, as the community which it represents in a finan- 
cial way enjoys a splendid trade from the surrounding territory 
and has come to be one of the most important shipping points for 
hogs and poultry in the county. 


Monroe township lies in the southern tier of the townships of 
Butler county, just west of Albion. It is bounded on the north 
by Ripley, on the west b.y Washington, and on the south by Grundy 
county. In its general characteristics it is very similar to the 
townships to the west and east. It is drained by the same stream, 
Beaver creek, and several minor branches. The surface in gen- 
eral is rolling with a rich, loamy soil wliich is highly productive. 

There is comparatively little natural timber and this is chiefly 
along the Beaver. At an early date the water power of this stream 
was sufficient to be utilized for manufactui'ing purposes. Of 
recent years, however, the flow of the stream has been so reduced 
and the cost of steam jDower has become so essentially cheaper 
and more satisfactory as to render the use of this stream for com- 
mercial purposes needless. The Illinois Central Railroad furnishes 
the only means of transportation of persons and commodities of 
the townshij:). 

The town of Aplington is situated wholly within the limits of 
the township and a portion of Parkersburg also. These two 
towns are the central trading points, tirade extending well beyond 
the limits of the township in every direction. The Hawkeye 
Higliway. wliich lias been mentioned previovisly, connects Parkers- 
burg and Aplington, furnishing a satisfactory route for automo- 
biles and other wheeled vehicles. 

In an early day wheat was the principal product of this 
township, the yield often reaching forty bushels per acre. 
This wheat was principally marketed at Cedar Falls, at that time 
the nearest milling point. Comparatively little wheat is raised 
at the present time, corn, oats and hay constituting the chief 
crops. The township is particularly adapted to dairying and the 
growing of beef cattle and hogs. The farms are well improved 
and many of them are occupied and farmed by their owners — a 



conditiuu wliicli operates tu maiutaiu tlie natural fertility of the 
soil aud develop its resources to the fullest extent. 

The central portion of the township was formerly considered, 
too wet to be of value for farming purposes. The undoubted 
change in climatic conditions as well as the introduction of tile 
draining and a greater absorption of moisture by the tilled lands, 
all have resulted in removing to a large extent this condition. 
At present there is jjractically no waste land in Monroe township. 


Walter Clayton, who has l)een mentioned as the first settler 
in Albion township, also has the honor of being enrolled as the 
pioneer of Monroe. j\fr. Clayton was a native of New York, com- 
ing to All)i()u township from Wisconsin. The claim wliich he took 
up there was, to use the language of the period, "jumped" by 
Thomas Mullarky of Cedar Falls, owing to Mr. Clayton's ig-nor- 
ance of or neglect to comply with the jjrovisions governing the 
formal entry of land in the western states. 

In April, 1854, Mr. Clayton moved west across the Albion line 
and located a new home on sections 21 aud 28, Monroe township, 
about a mile east of where Aplington now stands. Here he 
erected a log house in the northwest quarter of section 28, cover- 
ing the roof with shakes. These shakes were made from hewn 
oak timbers, abo^lt sixteen inches long, from wdiicli shakes, in 
form somewhat similar to the modern shingle, were split with a 
tool designed for this purpose. They were very frequently used 
in the construction of buildings in pioneer days. The floor was 
laid with Ijasswood boards hewn from the native logs. 

In this cabin the first wliite child in Monroe township was born. 
It was also the first hotel in this part of the county. It was called 
the Half -Way House, being so named because of its location mid- 
way between Cedar .Falls and Iowa Falls. A basswood l)oard, 
with the name Half -Way House written iipou it mth red chalk 
was nailed to a stake in front of the house. It is said that often 
as many as twenty travelers were accommodated in the one room 
of this little shanty, where on account of the low ceiling the guests 
were obliged to kneel while dressing. 

In 1856 he built another log house with two rooms on the 
ground floor and two above. The same year a stage route was 
established past his hotel and this became a regular station on the 


route. It was known thereafter as Elk Horn Tavern, from an 
elk horn which he had procured and suspended OA'er the approach 
at the entrance. This tavern was in continuous use until after 
the railway Avas constructed through the township. 

Clayton made considerable money in the management of this 
hotel. In 1868 he built a large frame house where he lived until 
his death in 1870. 

It is said that the money which he received for the imj^rove- 
ments on his Albion township claim, amoimting to about one 
hundred and fifty dollars, he entrusted to the care of a young 
man to take to Des j\loines to secure the entry to his new claim 
in Monroe township. The man, however, ran away with the 
money. Mr. .Clayton then managed to save up the sum of $353 
by keeping travelers and this was stolen from him. He still per- 
severed, however, and in the end achieved a high degree of pros- 

No entries of land in Monroe township were made until 1854. 
The first of these is dated July 29, 1851, when J. V. Hogaboom 
entered a claim on section 19. L. L. Pease the same year entered 
a claim on section 23, and on the 11th of October Walter Clayton, 
mentioned above, entered his claim on section 21. During this 
year of 1854 claims were also entered by P. M. Casady and R. L. 
Tidrick, on sections 19 and 29, respectively. 

The year 1854 is marked by the addition of Solomon Cinna- 
mon to the settlers of Monroe township. Cinnamon took a claim 
on section 36 but lived there only a few years and later removed 
to Nebraska. J. M. Caldwell and Thomas Nash also belonged to 
the list of settlers in the township this year. Mr. Caldwell was a 
native of Georgia. He came to Iowa from Illinois in September, 
1854, and located a claim in section 30, Monroe to-uTashiji. Thomas 
Nash took up portions of sections 19, 29 and 30. 

In October Messrs. Caldwell and Nash returned to Illinois, 
disposed of their real estate there, bought stock and in 1855 
returned to Butler county with their families. With them came 
quite a colony of pioneers, among them Anthony Howard and his 
son Robert, J. G. and George W. Caldwell, Silas Beebe and 
Jonathan Geo. The party made the journey with three horses 
and five ox teams. The trip took about sixteen days. These all 
settled in Monroe and Washing-ton townships. 

The number of pioneer settlers was largely increased in the 
year 1855. Among the first of these was Nathan Linn. He 


located first at what was then called Carpenter's grove, in Shell 
Rock townsliij), in the fall of 1854, where he spent the winter. 
The following spring he pushed his way westward into Ripley 
township, whence, after a brief sojourn, he came to Monroe, locat- 
ing on section 2. In 1879 he sold his farm in Monroe townsliip 
and removed to Jefferson township, where he resided for a num- 
ber of years. Daniel Peterson, like Nathan Linn a native of 
Maryland, located a short time afterward on section 1. 

Peter McMahon, who settled in the township this year, came 
from Pennsylvania. From Chicago they came overland by team. 
When they reached the vicinity of Butler Center they endeavored 
to find a place where they could be accommodated over night. 
They were at first unable to find a place to staj' .until they by 
chance heard that Nathan Linn, at that time hardly settled in the 
township, sometimes kept travelers. Puslnng on from Butler 
Center they arrived at Linn's claim, where they found the family 
living in a little log house without a floor. In the absence of a 
door, a blanlcet was hung to keep out the wolves. Here they were 
heartily welcomed. Mr. McMahon located a claim on section 4, 
and rented a cn]>in in Butler Center where his family lived until 
he was able to complete a cabin on his own farm. Among other 
arrivals about this time were Lycurgus Hazen. R. R. H(n'r, Wells 
A. Curtis, Joseph Embody, M. S. Wrightman and James Gillard. 

This year also is marked by the settlement of Thomas Conn 
and his three sons, Joseph, Moses and Samuel, together with 
Joseph, William and Alexander Hopley. Thomas Conn located 
a claim on the southwest quarter of section 1, which he later sold 
to his son Joseph. Samuel located on section ]2 and Joseph and 
William HojJey on sections 2 and 3. Moses Conn is mentioned 
in connection with the history of Albion townslnp. 

Among the settlers in the township in 185(5 were Benjamin 
Inman, Samuel Gillard and J. H. Kerns. In the years subse- 
quent to the Civil war the township was rapidly settled. As is 
the case with most of the other townships of the coimty, Monroe 
township in the early '80s became the home of large numbers of 
German emigrants who themselves and their children today are 
foimd among the leading citizens of their commimities. 


The first birth in the township was Winfield Scott Clayton, a 
son of Walter and Rachel Clavton, who was born June 10, 1855. 


The first mariiage was that of Richard Parriott aucl Lilly M. 
Caldwell, who on the 10th day of July, 1856, plighted their faith. 
The bridegroom was later killed iii the l)attle of Miirfreesboro iu 

Two deaths occurred on the 14th of October, 1859 — Catherine, 
the wife of Samuel Bisbee, aged twenty-two ; and Sarah, the wife 
of Anthony Howard, aged seventy-two. They were both buried 
on the same day in Aplington cemetery. 


Monroe township was at first a portion of the township of 
Ripley, being so assigned by order of the county court, February 
5, 1855. On March 3. 1856, Monroe township was organized of 
the two congressional townships, now Monroe and Washington. 
Washing-ton township was separated from Monroe on the 3d of 
September, 1860, since which date both townships have had their 
present boundaries. The township name was suggested by J. M. 
Caldwell, whose middle initial stands for ^Monroe. Whether he 
had his own name or that of the president of the United States 
is unknown. 

The first election in the township was held at the home of J. 
M. Caldwell in April, 1856. At this election an oyster can was 
used for a ballot box, and the following officers were elected: 
Thomas Nash and J. M. Caldwell, trustees ; Jonathan Gree, clerk ; 
L. P. Hazen, assessor; Daniel Peterson, constable; and Joseph 
Embody, justice of the peace. 


Monroe is one of the eleven townships of Butler count}' enjoy- 
ing township district organization for school purposes. It was 
so organized from the beginning in 1856. 

The first school was held during the winter of 1856-7 in a log 
shanty belonging to J. M. Caldwell, on section 19, with L. P. 
Hazen as teacher. 

The second school, held in the following winter at the resi- 
dence of Walter Clayton, w^as taught by Morris F. Whitney. 

In 1859 there were two schoolhonses erected, one in Pari-iott's 
grove on section 30, and the other in tlie eastern part of the vil- 
lage of Aplington. The latter was not completed until about 
1861. W. C. Carrisdii was the first teacher here. 


By 1883 the township had been divided into six sub-districts. 
The first school in district No. 1 was taught in Joseph Conn's 
house on section 1, Thomas Conn being the teacher. A school- 
house was erected aliout 1863 on section 2. In 1865 a schoolhouse 
was erected at the northwest corner of section 15, at what was 
then known as sub-district No. 2. This schoolhouse stood on the 
present station of Eleanor. A schoolhouse was erected in 1872 
in the western part of section 8 for district No. 3. About 1872 a 
schoolhouse w^as erected near the southwest corner of section 27. 
School was first held in this part of the township in section 34. 
The first school in the southeastern portion of the township was 
taught l)y Wells A. Curtis at his house on section 25, in the winter! 
of 1858-9. The following winter the school was taught at M. S. 
Wrightnian's house ])y George Russell. In 1861 a schoolhouse 
was located in the northeastern part of section 26, where M. F. 
Whitney taught the first school. 

At the present time the townshij) is divided into seven sub- 
districts. In educational matters the township is one of the most 
progressive and enlightened in Butler county. They have adopted 
a definite plan of relniilding their rural schoolhouses, construct- 
ing one each year, beginning in 1911. In this year a new- building- 
was erected in sub-district No. 1. In 1912 a new school building was 
erected on the southwest corner of section 5 for sub-district No. 
3. This building is the first rural school in Butler county to be 
furnished with a basement and a furnace for heating purposes. 

In 1913 a school building was erected in district No. 7, a mile 
and a half east of A])lington, wduch in all respects is the finest 
rural school building in the county. A new site for the school was 
purchased at the southeast corner of section 28. Tlie Ituilding is 
heated by a basement furnace, is unilaterally lighted and has an 
adeqiuite system of ventilation. It is seated with the best desks 
obtainable, is provided with slate blackboards and has practically 
every essential of modern schoolhoiise construction. The cost 
of this building was in the neighborhood of $2,100. It is planned 
to continue the r('l)uilding of the schools of the townshi]i in the 
futiu-e, one being constructed each year. If this plan is adhered 
to, within a com])ai'atively short time Monroe township will be 
equipped with a set of rural school buildings that wall be second 
to none in the state of Iowa. 



The early religions services were held in a building put up 
for a stable. The quarterly meetings were held in Mr. Cald- 
well's barn. The first, or one of the first sermons ever delivered 
in the neighborhood is a reminder of the old dissenters who posted 
theii" sentinels among the rocks. The good women of the neigh- 
borhood, having long been denied the privilege of hearing the 
-Nvord of (iod, proposed to their husl)ands to have a sermon from 
some source. The religious enthusiasm of the men had been over- 
come by a pressing necessity for active physical labor. A min- 
ister to perform regular service every Sab])ath could not be 
supported, consequently a discourse from a minister from Hardin 
county, who could come no other time than through the week, 
was agreed upon. Mr. Parriott mounted a horse and hied him- 
self oif for Rev. Mr. Crippin. The signal for his return on the 
following day was to be a Idast from the dinner horn of Mrs. Par- 
riott 's, in order to call in the hands, busy at work in the fields. 
The sound of the horn on the following afternoon apprised the 
settlers that their messenger had appeared in sight. Oxen and 
horses were turned to graze and rest, while the barefooted, ragged 
and dusty yeomanry assembled to hear the word of the Holy One 
expounded. Such a luxury could not often be indulged in, conse- 
quently the more appreciated. It is merely a single instance 
among thousands of a similar character which occur in the first 
settlement of a country. 


1856, 135; 1860, 20.3; 1863, 151; 1865, 190; 1867, 407; 1869, 516; 
1870, 64-1; 1873. 645; 1875, 692; 1880, 891; 1890, 1,088; 1900, 1,388; 
1910, 1,362. 


In the summer of 1857 the A'illage of Aplington was laid out 
and platted by the proprietors, Thomas Nash, R. R. Parriott, 
Zenas Aplington and Theodore A. Wilson, on section 29. At the 
time one house stood on the tract of land, which had been erected 
and occupied by Charles Savage, a New Euglander, a settler of 
short duration. The town was incorporated in the '80s and has 


grown to ho a lively and thriving trading point of five hundred 
people. No better soil or liner farms lie out of doors than those 
contributing to the wealth of this eoinmunity and with the Iowa 
division of the Illinois Central Railroad good transportation facili- 
ties appreciably add to the desirability of Aplington as a place for 
business actiA'ity and easy comnninication with the outside world. 
The town Avas named by its promoters in honor of one of their 
numljer, Zenas Aplington, a resident «tf Illinois, who never lived 
liere. He owned part of the land, however, and t(K>k a li\ely inter- 
est in the town's welfare until his death* which occurred while 
serving his country in the AVar of the Rebellion. 

The first building erected in Aplington was built by Zenas 
Aplington in 1856. He also furnished a stock of general mer- 
chandise. Till' building stood on the south side of Parriott street, 
and the first Aplington merchant, George W. Hunter, sold goods 
over the counters here al)out one year for Mr. Aplington. He 
A\as su(-ceeded by Chester 8tilson, who ran the store eighteen 
months; then it closed its doors. However, in 18G-1, Isaac Hall 
opened a general store in this building. He sold his stock to C. 
S. Price, who a year later closed out at auction. 

The father of Charles Savage was an early settler in this part 
of the county and set uj) a blacksmith forge in a roofless sod house. 
This was the first smithy in the southern part of Butler county. 
William Bisbee came here in 1857 and opened a blacksmith shop 
for Zenas Ajilington and managed it one year for that enterpris- 
ing non-resident. He then engaged in the trade for himself and 
continued therein for many years. 

Mrs. Rachel Quimi built and presided over the first hotel in 
j858. E. Y. Royce bought the pro])erty in ISfifi and sold it to 
Edward Bourns in 1867, who continued tlie hotel a few years. 
The building was then piu'chased by Henry Kei'us and used as a 
residence. The present hotel is an old frame structure showing 
the weai- and tear of the elements. Yet the traveler is well taken 
care of and gi\H'n a good, generous meal l)y the proprietor. 

The first grain elevator in Aplington was built by Alonzo 
McKey, at the time of the coming of the Illinois Central Railroad 
in 1865. Among the several managers was C. M. Mead. The 
next was built hy the firm of Wright Brothers and run l)y the 
firm until 1877. Several persons have been in charge of the busi- 
ness since then. The third elevator was built l)y S. L. Kemmerer 
in 1872. He sold the i-ropei'ty to A. M. Whaley in 1876. In 1879, 


a fourth elevator was built. The hrm of Chrystie ik Prince, pro- 
prietors, disposed of their interests to Mr. Willis. 

Aplington was early noted for its mills and creamery. Edward 
Hiller would have built a mill in the '60s, but being miable to 
secure on reasonable terms the right of way for a tail race, he 
gave up the project. However, John Matthews & Son, of Jack- 
sou county formed a stock company, with a capital of $14,000, in 
187:^. A mill was Innlt, but before its completion certam of the 
stockholders refused to meet their obligations on stock issued 
them, which retarded the industry for a while. The Matthews 
linally turned over their interests to William Dobbins and the 
latter disposed of a controlling amount of the stock to A. L. 
Morris & Son, who had the mill running in September, 1877. 
After this the mill had several owners. 

Spring Hill Creamery began operations in the spring of 1881, 
on section 20. The proprietors at that time, Markley & Dodswell 
gave employment to a numl)er of men and consumed vast quanti- 
ties of milk, which were deli^^ered from the surrounding farms. 
One of the largest and most lucrative industries of this section 
of the county is dairying. 


The Aplington postoffice was established in 1858 and the first 
postmaster was Chester Stilson, who kept the office at his store. 
Harvey Quinn was the next appointee. He removed the office 
to his hotel and while in the army his sister, Maria Quinn, distrib- 
uted the mail. Others who have held the position of postmaster 
here are: Alexander Chrystie, E. A. Oilman, C. J. Fitzpatrick, 
A. M. Whaley, C. (i. Whaley, Dick Voogd. 

Charles S. Prince located in Aplington in 1865, where he 
engaged in mercantile pursuits of a varied nature. 

Mention has been made of the building of the Illinois Central 
Railroad through Aplington in 1865; it also should be added that 
a depot was not built until two years later. In the meantime A. 
^fcKey, agent for the railroad company, maintained an office in 
his store room. 

A. McKey, the first station agent, came to Aplington in 1865. 
He not only opened a general store, but also erected a warehouse 
and bought grain. 


Alexander Clnystie was early iu the field of business at this 
point. In 1868 he opened a general store, his stock consisting of 
groceries, dry goods, l)oots, shoes, etc. Mr. Chrystie became one 
of the prosperous and influential men of the place. 

The firm of Lynd & Wright started a general mercantile busi- 
ness in 1868, having for headquarters a Ijuilding on Parriott 
street. In 1869 these busy men built a business house on Tenth 
street where they installed a stock of goods, which was sold out 
in a lump within a year and moved away. 

Doctor Whitfield opened the first drug store in 1868. Within 
a few months thereafter he sold out to Charles Prince and formed 
a partnership with Doctor Waterbury, which lasted but a short 
tune. Lynd & Wright were the next proprietors of the stock of 
goods, then A. M. Whaley got hold of it and in 1873 disposed of his 
bargain to L. M. Swan. 

In J 869 A. S. Burnham entered the furniture trade and at 
the expiration of a year's time took into partnership his brother, 
J. J. Burnham. 

A wagon shop was established in Aplington in 1877, by George 
Lefever; Joseph Kellogg had a hardware store in 1875; E. Y. 
Roj^ce opened a real-estate agency in 1868. Arcnds & Rans, hard- 
ware, 1878; H. Reints & Company, groceries, 1880; Dreyer 
Brothers opened up a grain and kmiber business. 


Aplmgton long has been an incorporated town, l)ut the exact 
date of its separation from the township was not obtainable for 
this article. After diligent search among the records in the court- 
house nothing was found pertaining to the court proceedings nec- 
essary and antecedent to incorporation. Further, the early 
minute books of the recorder of Aplington are missing, so that, 
with these handicaps a connected history of the municipality is 
not possible at this time. However, the town held its initial elec- 
tion, the officials were properly indiicted into office and the busi- 
ness of Aplington as an incorporated town has gone steadily 
onward wdthout any sei'ious interruptions. It is true the central 
part of the town was practically wiped out by fire in 1891. But 
the community surviA'cd the heavy loss entailed and the business 
pai't was rebuilt in a move substantial and expensive maimer than 
ever. As a matter of fact, the ])usiness hoiises of Aplington rank 


Avell with other Butler comity towDs and as a tradhig point there 
is none better, when size and facilities are considered. The 
community is one of the wealthiest in the county as the highly 
improved farms and town residences plainly attest. 


Aplington stands well forward in the ranks of incorporated 
towns of its class, and is gradually acquiring the utilities found 
in her larger competitors. On the 26th day of July, 1913, the 
question of l)uilding an electric light plant and issuing $7,000 in 
])onds for the purpose was presented to the electorate at a special 
election, and was carried by a very generous majority of all the 
votes cast; in fact, the local sentiment Avas almost unanimous for 
the improvement. By the end of the year, this useful and con- 
venient utility was completed. A cement power house was 
erected, in which were installed a kerosene engine and large alter- 
nating-current djaiamos. The merchants erected ten five-globe 
electroliers and now the business houses and many of the resi- 
dences are supi)]i('d with the modern and mysterious lights pro- 
duced by electricity. This plant also supplies the current for 
the public and private lights at Austinville, about five milfes west 
of Aplington, in Washington township, a village named in honor 
of ITenry Austin, a pioneer of Butler county. Henry Austin and 
his ])rother located in AVashington township in 1867, where from 
time to time they purchased tracts of land, until their holdings 
amounted to two thousand acres. Henry, while driving his auto- 
mol)ilc on the 22d day of February, 1912, sustained injuries which 
caused his death. William is now retired and makes his home 
with a daughter, Mrs. Dick Voogd. He is now in his sixty-eighth 


The forerunner of the Exchange Bank was a private bank- 
ing concern, established by A. M. Whaley in 187S. This pioneer 
merchant was one of Aplington 's busy and energetic town build- 
ers, engaging in several lines of industry, notably a flax elevator, 
which he often filled to its capacity of seven thousand bushels. 
In 1896, Mr. Whaley sold his bank to ¥. H. Eeints and H. J. 
r)e Buhr, Avho still conduct the business and have a large clien- 


tele. Ill 1902, they opened a bank in Kesle}- and placed Herman 
N. Reiiits, a son of N. H. Reints, in cliarge. The tirin of Reints & 
De Buhr also maintain lumberyards at Aplington and Kesley 
and the homes of both banks are substantial brick structures of 
modern designs. The Aplington building Avas erected by Mr. 
Reints in 1900 and the Kesley building in 1909. 

The Farmers Savings Bank was organized mider the laws of 
Iowa in 1906. The incorporators were Fred Weiss, A. Ontges, J. 
Jerdens, John Spieker, 0. Prmius, H. H. Dreyer and William 
Klingenborg. Capital stock, $15,000. First officials: A. Ontges, 
president; C. Primus, vice itresideiit; Dick Spieker, cashier. The 
latter resigned his position in 1909 and was succeeded by Albert 
Dreyer. The last statement of the l)ank shows the capital is 
$15,000; surplus and undivided profits, $7,500; deposits, $125,000. 
The bank's home is in the east half of a large modern brick build- 
ing recently purchased, which was erected for P. Arends' hard- 
ware store. 


The oldest church building in Aplington belonged to the Meth- 
odist society, the first religious organization to be established in 
the town. The forerunner of this society was a series of meet- 
ings held at the home of R. R. Parriott in 1855 by Reverend Mr. 
Crippin, a circuit rider. Later meetings were held at the home 
of Thomas Nash on section 30. The society was formally organ- 
ized at the Parriott home and in 1860 the schoolhouse at Apling- 
ton was secured for holding regulai' services. Father John Connell 
presiding. In 1870 a church building was erected on lots donated 
by E. Y. Royce and dedicated by Elder Kendig, December 18, 1870. 
Reverend Piatt was the first regular pastor. For many years this 
congregation held together, but in later years the German element 
became predominant in the community, acquiring the land and 
establishing churches of their own. As the Germans increased 
those of American birth decreased, the latter giving way to the 
newcomers and removing to other parts of the coimtry. This 
militated against the Methodist organization to the extent that it 
was finally disbanded and the church property was sold. 


The settlers affiliating with the Presbyterian church effected 
an organization at Aplington July 25, 1869, and held their first 


V^i' . 



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El» « ^!.<qs 6 

/■ -•: 



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meetings at the schoolhuuse aud the Methodist church. Rev. R. 
Boag was the organizing minister and the first members were: 
G-eorge B. Smith, Eliza Smith, Lydia F. Smith, Margaret Stock- 
dale, James Stockdale, James S. Montgomery, Jane Montgomery, 
Mrs. T. Johnson, Mrs. Rachel Quinn, Alfred Burnham, Joseph 
Montgomery, Alexander McMullen. 

In 1889 the church edifice was erected and on the last Sabbath 
day in December of tliat year the dedicatory exercises and sermon 
were discussed by a large assemblage of members and visitors. 
The parsonage was built during the administration of Reverend 
Beebe and since the beginning the church has prospered and now 
has a membership of sixty. Names of its pastors are given below : 

Miles Smith, J. W. Van Emman, C. H. Gravenstein, W. A. 
McMinn, Q. M. Tourtellot, David P. Williams, George Earhart, 
Wilson Ardale, L. M. Beebe, T. N. Buchanan, Elmer Ankerman, 
H. W. Stillman, S. F. Rederus, George Ballinger and T. N. 


The membership of the Baptist faith of Geraian nationality 
organized the German Baptist church at tlie schoolhouse in dis- 
trict No. 3, Washington township, in 1874, under the guidance of 
Elder Schroeder. In a little while the society began attending 
the church at Pleasant valley, but in the year 1881, or thereabouts, 
a church building was erected in Apling-ton by the society, which 
prospered and grew so rapidly that in 1904 a larger building 
became necessary. To this end a handsome structure was built 
in the last mentioned year at a cost of $7,000, which was destroyed 
by fire in 1912. This was replaced by a larger and handsomer 
edifice which cost $9,000. 

The first members of the local German Baptist church were 
H. Dreyer, Sr., and family, Henry Dallman, David Meyer, Lidtert 
Luberts, Garbrand Roos, Amos Beckhoff, Herman Reints, O. 
Althoff, J. Muntinga and several others. Rev. J. Engelmann was 
the first pastor. He was succeeded by William Paul, C. Tietge, 
William Pheift'er, Louis Wiesle and the present pastor, Detmar 
Koester. The membership is one hundred and seventy. 


The Reformed church was organized at Aplington April 23, 
1908, with the following charter members: Mr. and Mrs. K. 


Erouwer, Mr. and Mis. A. Beiigeii, Mr. and Mrs. J. Haan, Mrs. 
H. O. Muller, 0. Grouinga, Mr. and Mrs. T. Busemann, Miss R. 
Busemaun, Mrs. R. Busemann, Mr. and Mrs. H. Ebens, Jacob 
Busemann, Mr. and Mrs. J. Gersema, C. M. Janssen, Miss P. 
Jansseu, J. Tjabrings, Mr. and Mrs. Klingenborg, Ecko Mennen, 
Mrs. E. Mennen, Rieke Busemann, Mrs. R. Busemann, Mrs. A. 

The first services were held in the Methodist Episcopal church 
and in October, 1910, this society bought the property and placed 
some needed improvements. There has bt?en but one pastor, Rev. 
G. Zindler, who is still attending to the spiritual needs of a pros- 
perous and worthy congregation. 


Pittsford township consists of wliat is known as township 92 
north, range 18 west. It is situated in the west central part of 
the county, being bordered on the west by Franklin county. Its 
surface is rolling prairie, varied by the presence of the valleys 
of several streams, most of which are bordered by some natural 
timber. The valleys of these streams are none of them of great 
width but are of sufficient depth to render the surface of some 
portions of the township rather irregular. The main branch of 
the West Fork traverses the townshij:) from northwest to south- 
east, entering on the west near the line between sections 17 and 
18 and flowing out into Madison township near the southern end 
of the line joining sections 34 and 35. Boylau's creek flows 
through the township from north to south, principally in the 
eastern part of the township. This stream west of Bristow is 
bordered by lime stone bluffs wliieh were formerly quarried and 
the stone burned for lime in several kilns which have now been 

Two lines of railroad pass through the township — the Chicago 
Great Western and the Minnesota division of the Northwestern. 
These roads cross at Dumont, which is the most important trad- 
ing point of the township. Bristow is situated on the Ijorder 
between Pittsford and West Point townships. 

The farm land of the township is all in a high state of cultiA'a- 
tion. The farms for the most part are occupied by resident land- 
owners and the improvements are such as to make this township 
rank as one of the best farming regions of the state. 


The township was first settled in the fall of 1852 when the 
families of John Boylan and James M. Parks came from Bureau 
county, Illinois, and settled on portions of sections 13 and 24. 



The next settler was Samuel Moots, who came with his family 
aud settled iu the eastern part of the township, some time in the 
winter of 1852-3. 

No entries of government land were made at this time in the 
township, as the land here was under the control of the Des Moines 
land office and most of the settlers had come from the eastern 
states and considered a journe}' to Des Moines too difficult to 
make at that time, instead, most of them took up what was 
called "settlers' claims," which were made generally by laying 
the foundation for a cabin, constructed of four logs, with some- 
times an addition of the claimant's name cut in a tree. A num- 
ber of such claims were made soon after the arrival of Boylau 
aud Parks but they were made b}^ men who were merely tran- 
sients and who made no later attempt to render the basis of their 
claims permanent by entry in the government land office. 

Reference has been made elsewhere to the large nnml^er of 
buffalo, deer and elk that were foimd iu the township at the time 
of this first settlement and also to the conditions which led to the 
practical extermination of wild game. 

These three families — the Boylans, Parks and Moots — were 
all of them interrelated by marriage, James M. Parks ])eing mar- 
ried to Eliza Boylan, a sister of John Boylan, and a daughter of 
Sanuiel Moots having married James W. Boylan. Another of 
the Boylan family, Isaac, came with his family and settled in the 
townsliip in the summer of 1853. This family was prominently 
identihed with the history of the eastern portion of this townshi]) 
throughout the early period and a number of descendants are still 
residing in the township. The first settlement to be given a name 
was Boylan 's Grove, later known by the uneuphonious name of 
Pilltown, situated in the center of sections 14 and 23, about a mile 
and a half west of Bristow. A sehoolhouse and cemetery still 
mark the site of this village. 

W. R. Jamison and family came to the township in the sum- 
mer of 1853, seeking a location for a home. They came fii'st to 
Bojdan's grove, a tract of timber land containing at that time 
about a thousand acres. Mr. Jamison was anxious to secure some 
of this timber land and knew that inasmuch as no legal entries 
of laud had been made he was privileged to select any site which 
he chose. However, he recognized the fact that the settlers 
already on the ground would consider it a decided intrusion if 
he should fail to recognize the validity of their settlers' claims. 


Beiug auxious to avoid auy trouble with his future neighbors, 
Mr. Jamison took Mr. Bojdan's advice, and under his guidance 
set out to look at a grove of timber near by. This grove, which 
was later known as Jamison's grove, was situated in sections 19 
and 20. Being satisfied with the location and the quality of the 
laud which he found. INIr. Jamison selected three hundred and 
twenty aeios. (nic liuudred and twenty in section 19, and two hun- 
dred acj-es in section 20. On the 11th day of August, 1853, Mr. 
Jamison made entry of this half section of land in the land office 
at Des ^[oines, Iowa, thus making the first original entry of land 
in the towushi}), and so far as the records show, the first in the 
western half of the county. 

To this new home JNfr. Jamison l)rouglit his family in vSeptem- 
her, 1853, bringing them from Buchanan county, where they had 
l)een living. Mr. Jamison brought into the township the first 
sjian of horses and covered carriage that was known in the town- 
ship. He also lirought with him a fine herd of Berkshire hogs. 
The other early settlers were rather inclined to ridicule him for 
taking the troul^le to bring hogs into this new country on the 
ground that meat was so much more easily procured from the 
wild game, A\hii-li was still plentiful. However, during the win- 
ter of 1853-4 the deer and elk began to be less numerous than 
they had been and it Avas not long before the wisdom of Mr. 
Jamison, in providing a somewhat more stable supplj^ of meat for 
the future, became very evident. This first year Mr. Jamison 
sold his carriage and traded his span of horses for several yoke 
of oxen and in the following spring he ])roke the first prairie sod 
for a crop. 

The other settlers folhtwed Mr. Jamison's example in making 
lu'oper entry of their land. On May 2, 1854, Alexander Frazer, 
John Boylan, H. A. Early and Seth Strong are recorded as having 
made entries on claims which they had previously taken up, and 
on the 11th day of May, 1854, James and Ephraim McKinney 
^Iso entered land in this township. These constitiite the first land 
entries as shown by the records of the general land office. 

Other settlers who located in the township in 1854 were the 
Rev. Richard Merrill and his brother, Joseph; James Woods, 
two Germans by the name of Kniphals and Peterson, Comfort 
"Williams, James W., William H. and Asa Boylan and Thomas 


Rev. Richard llerrill, a Pirslntei'iaii minister, preached the 
first sermon in the township at tlie house of John Boylan. 

A (Jernian, Kniphals, was tho first lih^cksnnth in the town- 
shi|). Comfort Williams has heen mentioned in connection with 
one of the earliest marriage ceremonies celebrated in the county. 
The marriage of his daughter to Oreenbury Luck is the first in 
oi'der recorded on the records of the county court, although two 
other marriage licenses bear earlier dates than this. 

At the time of the Indian scare, in the summer of 1854, the 
panic caused by fear of an Indian outbreak reached the settlers 
of this township, and all of them, except the families of W. R. 
Jamison and James Wood, fled for refug(^ to Janesville, in Bremer 
county, where a fort was erected for the protection of the settlers. 
When it was learned that there was no cause for alarm, the refu- 
gees gradually returned to their homes. They were delayed, 
howevei', for some days fr(»m the fact that the water in Shell Rock 
river had risen to such a height that it could not be forded. As 
there were no bridges in this section of the countrv at that time, 
these people had to wait until the waters liad subsided sufficiently 
to enable them to cross the stream and retui-n to their abandoned 

With these settlers, as they returned to the township, came 
Orson Rice, who made several entries of land in the township, on 
one of which he built a cabin and lived for a short time before 
going to Clarksville and taking up the profession of law. Mr. 
Rice was a native of Ohio. He was very illitei'ate and at the 
Time he commenced to practice had abs(dutely no knowledge 
whatsoever of the law. He depended entii-ely upon his energy 
and a rude sort of elocpience, which consisted (diiefly of verl)osity. 
It is said that his nnu'dering of "the King's English," his utter 
disregard of the rules of grannnar and his total ignorance of the 
correct forms of speech often made him a laughing stock. How- 
ever, in spite of these handicaps, he remained in the county as a 
practicing lawyei' for ten or twelve years, later removing to 
Spirit Lake, where he practiced his profession, served one term 
as district attorney and came very near being selected as district 
judge. A number of rather laughable incidents connected with 
Mr. Rice are told by those who were couvei'sant with his actions 
before the early comity courts. 

The McKinney brothers came to the county from Indiana. 
They were natives of the state of Ohio. They located land in 


sections 11, 13 and 14, some of which still remains in possession 
of the family. The family is of Irish descent. The grandfathei- 
of the brothers is said to have assisted in bnilding the first house 
where Cincinnati, Ohio, now stands. He was a soldier in the War 
of 1812. 

The Boylans and De Mosses were related by marriage and 
all of them settled ui the vicinity of Boylan's Grove. 

Henry A. Early was a native of Kentucky, who located on land 
near where the village of Bristow now stands. A son, T. M. Early, 
who came to the county at that time, has served as county sheriff 
and county auditor and is still a resident of the county, now liv- 
ing in the town of Allison. 

Other settlers who came in the latter part of 1854 and early 
part of 1855 are David Rush, Thomas Jackson, a Mr. Calkins, and 
Hiram Brotherton. In 1855 George W. Parker and family, Les- 
ter and Abisha Wickham, Charles L. Kleever, John M. Nichols, 
B. C. Needham, John Harlan, Sr., and S. R. De Armoun are 
given as among those who settled in the township. Among the 
more prominent settlers who came in 1855 were Ancel Durand 
and M. D. L. Niece. Both of these gentlenuni held comity offices, 
Mr. Durand having been elected to the office of county .judge, and 
Mr. Niece that of comity superintendent and county surveyor. 

Other settlers who came in dui-ing an early day were Silas 
Needham, Henry Ahrens, James Logan, Albert Austin, S. W. 
Ferris, Samuel Overturf and William P. Woodworth, mentioned 
in connection with Bennezette township; S. B. Dumont, H. C. 
Brown and Philip Pfaltzgraff. These latter three gentlemen ai-e 
noted more at length in comiection with the history of Dumont. 


Pittsford township was a part of Ripley according to the first 
division of the county into townships made hy Judge Palmer in 
February, 1855. W. R. Jamison was appointed to call an election 
to organize Ripley township. This was done in April of that year, 
the election lieing held at the house of Henry A. Early. In J 858 
the township was finally given a separate organization of the name 
of Pittsford by order of Judge Converse, the name being sug- 
gested liy Azariah Needham and other Venuonters, in commem- 
oration of a town of the same name in their native state. A 
complete list of the townshi]-* officei's chosen at this election is 


not available at tlie present time but it is known that Henry R. 
Early and W. R. Jamison were the first justices of the peace of 
this township, and Isaac Boylan, eonstal»le. 


The first schools in Pittsford to^^■nship were provided for by 
the formation of two sub-districts, made through the provision of 
the school fund commissioner of Butler and Franklin counties, and 
consisting of the east half of Pittsford to^\nsliip and the west half 
of West Point township, called sub-district No. 1; and the east 
half of Ingham townshi}) in Franklin county, and the west half 
of Pittsford townshi}) in Butler county, called sub-district No. 
2. Log schoolliousos were erected in these sub-districts in the 
spring of 18n6. Martha J. Niece was the first teacher in No. 1 
and ]\Ielissa M. Overturf in district No. 2. Tlie exact locatiou of 
these schoolhouses is at present unknoAvn. 

After the organization of the townshi}) several sul)-districts 
were formed in accordance with the changing needs of the peo- 
ple, and in September, 1866, P. 0. Needham and W. R. Jamison 
Avere ap})ointed a committee to report a jdat and ]ilan for redis- 
tricting the township, which they did, and the boai'd immediately 
confiimed and adopted the report. By this report they divided 
the township into ti\-c sul)-districts. This form of organization 
remained in effect with only one change for approximately twenty 
years. One change made Avas the formation of a sub-district 
knoAvn as No. 6, out of territory formerly attached to No. 2. Li 
March of 1875 the board voted to form two new sub-districts, to 
be known as Nos. 7 and 8; No. 8 to l)e formed from sub-districts 2, 
3 and 5, and No. 7 from terrifoiy taken from 1, 2, 4 and 6 . 

W. R. Jamison filed formal protest against this action of the 
board with the county snjjerintendent, John \V. Stewart, Avho, 
after due consideration, made his decision reversing the action 
of the board. This decision of the comity superintendent Avas 
based in part upon the fact that the formation of these ncAV sub- 
districts would leave certain of the older districts without a suffi- 
cient school population to maintain a good school. In part, also, 
his decision was l)ased upon the facts contained in the following 
quotation from the record of appeal: 

"Tile e\'idence also shows that a considerable portii>n of the 
lands in said sub-districts are what is known as wet lands, and for 


that reason eaiiuut bccuiue veiy densely populated. But it is 
claimed by the appellees that there is a town platted on section 
28, within the boundaries of said sub-district No. 7 on the line 
of the Iowa Pacific Railroad, which road is now graded and ready 
for the ties and iron, and for tliat reason said sub-district should 
Ite formed. But as the building up of said town depends on the 
completion of said railroad and as a number of the pupils, taken 
to fonn the fifteen 2)upils in said district No. 7, can as Avell be, if 
not better, acconunodated in the su))-districts from which they 
were taken, we are forced to the conclusion that the board erred 
in forming said sub-district No. 7 at the jiresent time. It is exceed- 
ingly mipleasant for us to set aside the action of the board, but 
in this case the law requires it to be done. Therefore, the decision 
of the board in changing the su])-district ))oiuidaries and in forni- 
iijg sub-districts Nos. 7 and 8 in the district township of Pittsford 
is hereby reversed. Dated March 23, 1875. John W. Stewart, 
County Superintendent. ' ' 

A furthei- notation on the case is as follows: "The above case 
was taken on ajipcal to the state superintendent, who affirmed the 

The latter l)asis of this decision, that of the probability that 
there would never be a very dense popiilation on the "wet lands" 
of these ])roposed sub-districts, is rather interesting at the present 
time, as these lands referred to now form some of the best farming 
land in the township. At a later date the change contemplated 
by this action of the board was actuallj^ made and the town- 
shi]) was redistricted in nine school districts, district No. 1 having 
a school house located near the southeast corner of section 1; No. 
2 in section 9; No. 3 in section 5; No. 4 in section 20; No. 5 in sec- 
tion 16; No. G in section 14; No. 7 in section 26; No. 8, now the 
independent district of Duniont ; and No. 9 on section 31. 


At the time of the first settlement of Pittsford township most 
of the settlers received their mail in Janesville, in Bremer county. 
Later, as the settlers had more lousiness at Cedar Palls than at 
Janesville, most of them had their mail sent to Cedar Falls, wdiich 
was about thirty-five or thirty-six miles distant. Even after the 
establishment of a postoffice at Coon's Grove, later Clarksville, 
the settlers at Pittsford township continued to receive their mail 


from Cedar Falls, as the mail at Clarksville was only received once 
a week, when received at all — and there were two streams to cross 
ill order to get there — a coiisideratiou which was decidedly dis- 
advantageous in those days of no bridges and no roads. 

About 1856, through the influence of George A. Richmond, of 
Butler Center, who had some influence vsdth the postoflice depart- 
ment at Washingion, Heni'y A. Early was appointed the flrst 
postmaster in Pittsford township. Mr. Early resided, as has 
already been stated, in the extreme eastern part of the township 
near Bristow, which was then called West Point. As there was 
already one postoflice in the state called West Point, W. R. Jami- 
son suggested that the new postoffice be called Boylan's Grove. 
This was agreed to and Mr. Early acted as postmaster here for 
some time. Later the location of this postoffice was changed to 

Shortly after the appointment of Mr. Early as postmaster in 
the eastern part of the townshi]), Isaac Stover, a resident of the 
eastern edge of Franklin county, applied through the same George 
A. Richmond to the postoffice department and succeeded in secur- 
ing the establishment of a postoffice at a town named Union Ridge. 
Tins was located about four miles northwest of Uumont. The 
Union Ridge postoffice was not located on any mail route, so the 
postmaster was obliged to carry the mail himself, sometimes on 
foot, and other times the patrons of the office would hire some 
one to carry the mail once a week. The LTnion Ridge office was 
supplied from the village of Geneva, in Franklin county. 

A few years later Mr. Stover informed the postoffice depart- 
ment that he desired to remove to some other i^lace and requested 
the appointment of another postmaster. He was directed to 
inform the patrons of the office to select a postmaster by ballot. 
An election was called and held at the house of Mr. Stover. There 
were two candidates, James Hai'lan and W. R. Jamison. The 
contest was quite an exciting one and would haA^e resulted in a 
tie had it not been that Mrs. Stover decided the matter by casting 
a ballot for Mr. Jamison, who was declared duly elected post- 
master at Union Ridge. This may be considered the first instance 
of woman's suffrage in Butler county. Mr. Jamison held the 
position of postmaster at Union Ridge for some time, carrying 
the mail, or having it done, at his own expense. Later Samuel 
Jamison, Isaac Stover and James Harlan were in turn postmas- 
ters at Union Ridge. James Harlan was appointed in 1862 and 


held the office until 1868. At that time a regular mail route had 
beeu established and mail was delivered at Union Ridge twice 
each week. 

In 1868 a general store was established by J. H. Playter at 
Jamison's Grove, in section 20. Mr. Harlan resigned the post- 
mastership and secured the appointment of Mr. Playter, who held 
the office until about 1870. Ross Jamison was then appointed 
postmaster and held the position until April 28, 1875, when he 
was succeeded by W. R. Jamison, who served his second term as 
postmaster imtil some time in 1877, when he resigned in favor of 
James Harlan. There were other aspirants for the office, how- 
ever, and A. L. Bickford was appointed postmaster and removed 
the postoffice to the town of Dumont, about four miles to the 
southeast of Union Ridge. 

The population of the township, as shown by the records of 
the census, is as follows: 1860, 246; 1863, 272; 1865, 341; 1867, 
349; 1869, 385; 1870, 512; 1873, 479; 1875, 528; 1880, 730; 1890, 
782; 1900, 1,202; 1905, 1,183; 1910, 1,286. 


Hannah Boylan, a daughtei- of Isaac Boylan, was the first 
child born in Pittsford township. This birth occurred in the fall 
of 1853. 

The first death was that of a man by the name of Calkins. 

The first sermon in the township was preached by Rev. Rich- 
ard Merrill, a Presbyterian minister. 


In the southern part of Pittsford township, on section 28, a 
village was laid out and platted in 1879 for Samuel Beekman 
Dumont, a prosperous business man of Dubuque who had with 
his family come here in 1864. The land originally had been 
entered by a man named Young, in 1856, but no effort had been 
made to improve it. Mr. Dumont, upon taking up his residence 
on the property at once began putting the soil in order for plant- 
ing and employed his time and that of his son, T. A. Dumont, in 
farming until 1879, when he engaged in handling lumber in the 
town which he had established. 


The plat of Duinoiit contamed eightj^ acres of land, lying upon 
a beautiful knoll, between the West Fork of the Cedar river and 
a tributary. The outlying country, blessed with soil of the high- 
est fertility, presaged a flattering future for the new trading 
point which, in a measure, has l)een realized by its pioneer citi- 
zens. The new city was named iii honor of its founder, Samuel 
B. Dumont, who became its leading citizen, always to be remem- 
bered as a man of the utmost lirobity and of sterling virtues. 

Shortlj' after his arrival on section 2^3, Mr. Dumont built a 
pretentious residence on a spot which now faces the northern 
terminus of the town's main thoroughfare and here he passed a 
life of activity and enterprise. About the year 1899, all that 
remained of the foTuider of Dumont was taken to the local burial 
groimd for interment. Some six or eight years later his wife's 
body was laid in a grave beside him. 

It was in the year 1879 that the Dubuque & Dakota Railroad, 
now the Chicago Great Western, reached the town site of Dumont, 
and no little credit must be given Mr. Dumont for making this 
happy consiunmation possible. He also was first in the local field 
as a business man, Ijuilding that fall an elevator and making the 
initial move in buying and storing grain. This first elevator was 
sold to A. A. Robertson, of Iowa Falls, in 1882, who managed its 
affairs for many years and then handed the property down to 
•several successors. 

Samuel B. Dumont, it seems, was determined that his infant 
town should grow and secure a place on the map, even though it 
became necessary that he should engage in a multifarious line of 
industries. To further his purpose, he also secured a stock of 
lumber and in the fall of 1879 sold one hundred carloads of the 
material to his neighbors, who were constantly accumulating in 

At the close of the year that brought Dumont into existence 
the village consisted of a group of thirteen buildings, the founder 
having furnished a major portion of the means and material for 
their construction. Among them was one in which a stock of 
drugs Avas installed by yoimg Dumont, now Dr. T. A. Dumont, a 
practicing physician of the place. 

In the late fall of 1879 or early in the year following, the firm 
of Smith Brothei's opened the first store with a stock of general 


The earliest hardware establishment was opened for business 
by Samuel B. Dumont, in a building erected by Martin Griffith. 

S. McMannes built a small store room in the fall of 1879, and 
here O. A. Chambers had the hrst grocery in Dumont. That same 
autumn Mr. Chambers put up for himself and family a dwelling 
house. Later, he removed to his farm in Franklin county. 

Others who were active in town building in the fall of 1879 
were William Schulenborg, a carpenter; John Ryan, J. Kruse, 
A. N. Arnold and James Stewart, all of whom erected residences 
for themselves. 

One Nicholas Huss put up a building for saloon purposes, 
and A. L. Bickford, son-in-law of S. B. Dumont. erected a house 
to be used as a store. 

The year 1880 was a notable one for the growing town, the 
advance being very gratifying to all concerned. In the early 
spring, William Franeher moved to the place from Waterloo an 
elevator and presided over its destinies several years. S. Mc- 
Mannes opened a furniture store. S. B. Dumont erected the first 
brick building, two stories in height and having a frontage on 
the main street of eighty feet. This he arranged for a hotel and 
public hall and it is still known and designated as the Dumont 
block. All during the year carpenters and masons were busy 
and the establishment of another important trading point in But- 
ler county was assured. 

By the year 1882 there were permanently engaged in business 
the following : Patterson & Cole ; Dr. T. A. Dumont, drugs ; Smith 
Brothers, general merchandise; S. B. Dumont, hunber; S. Mc- 
Mannes, furniture ; W. T. Scott, meat market ; A. A. Robertson, 
grain and live stock; D. W. Williamson and Philip Pfaltzgraff, 
hardware; I. M. Nichols, farm implements; A. L. Bickford, live 
stock ; D. Richmond, shoes ; Moses Barnes and S. E. Allen, black- 
smiths; Charles Coryell, livery; Robert Schmitz, collection agent 
and justice of the peace; M. S. Needham, hotel; Nicholas Huss 
and William Schulenborg, saloons. 

The first lawyer to locate in Dumont was W. R. Jamison, 
but when he came to the town the records do not show. That is 
not the case of the first physician, T. A. Dumont. for he made 
his entry M'ith his father, foimder of Dumont. in 1864. ;iud was 
then a lad of fourteen years. 


The first birth to occur in Dumont was that of a child, of which 
Nick Huss, the saloon keeper, was the father. This addition to 
the population was in the year 1880. 

The first death in the village took place January 3, 1880. On 
the day mentioned, Mrs. Sarah F. Townsend passed away, at the 
age of eighty-nine years. 


While the onward move of Dumont was not in any way rapid 
or sensational, the growth was steady and substantial, so that by 
the year 1891 the population was estimated to have reached 350. 
Then it was that certain of the leading citizens determined on a 
movement to separate the village from the township organization 
and to further the new departure circulated a petition, to be pre- 
sented to the district court, asking for articles of incorporation 
of the town of Dumont. The petition was quite generously signed 
and in the year 1896 the prayer of the petitioners was granted. 
An election for municipal officers thereupon was held and John 
Barlow chosen by the electors as the first mayor, and Richard 
Pecht, clerk. However, doubts soon arose as to the legality of 
the incorporation of the town and in order to avoid uncertainty 
and troublous litigation the matter was taken to the State Legis- 
lature, which august tribunal passed the following act: 

Chapter 187. H. F. 227. — An Act to legalize the incorpora- 
tion of the Town of Dumont, Butler County, Iowa; the election 
of its officers and all acts done, and Ordinances passed, by the 
Council of said Town, from March 27, 1896, to January 1st. 1898. 

Whereas, Doubts have arisen as to the legality of the incor- 
poration of the Town of Dumont, Butler County, Iowa, the elec- 
tion of its officers and the Ordinances passed by the said Council 
of said Town; therefore 

Be it enacted by the (reneral Assembly of the State of Iowa : 

Section 1. — Valid and binding. — That the incorporation of 
the Town of Dumont, Butler Coimty, Iowa; the election of its 
officers, and all official acts done, and Ordinances passed by the 
coTuicil of said Town up to Jamiary 1st, 1898, are hereby legalized, 
and are hei'eby declared to be valid and binding, the same as 
though the law had in all respects been strictly complied with in 
the incorporation of said Town, and in the election of its officers ; 


provided that nothing in this act shall in any manner affect pend- 
ing litigation. 

Sec. 2. — In effect. — This act, being deemed of immediate 
importance, shall be in force and take effect from and after its 
publication in the Iowa State Register, and the Butler County 
Tribune, newspapers published respectively at DesMoines, and 
Allison, Iowa, without expense to the state. 

Approved March 19, 1898. 

I hereby certify that the foregoing act was published in the 
Iowa State Register March 22, 1898, and the Butler County 
Tribune March 24, 1898. 


Secretary of State. 

Unfortunately, for the town of Duniont and the continuity of 
its corporate history, the ordinances which the above legislative 
measure purported to legalize, w^ere destroyed by fire in 1901, 
together with the first minute book recoi-ding the official acts of 
the council and the several elections held up to that period of time. 
However, a list of the mayors and clerks since the year 1901 is 
available and is as follows : 

1901-02, mayor, C. R. Martin; clerk, A. L. Gillett; 1902-03, 
mayor, M. St. Peter; clerk, D. Pecht; 1903-04, mayor, M. St. Peter; 
clerk, D. Pecht; 1904-05, mayor, D. W. Williamson; clerk, D. 
Pecht: 1905-06, mayor, C. R. Martin; clerk. F. J. McGreevy; 
1906-07, mayor, H.'z. Babcock; clerk, F. J. McGreevy; 1908-09, 
mayor, F. P. Finn; clerk. W. E. Thomas; 1910-11, mayor, Fred 
Linde; clerk, J. A. Barlow; 1912-13, mayor, Fred Linde; clerk, J. 
A. Barlow. 

The town of Dumont does not, as yet, own what is usually 
r-alled a city hall. It has, however, a good waterworks building 
Avhere the cmmcil holds its meetings. The fire department is of 
the volunteer order and practically every able-bodied man in the 
place is a member and as a rule there is no shirking of duty when 
an emergency call is sounded. One police officer, termed the city 
marshal, is sufficient, for the people are of an orderly class and 


Recognizing the virtues of pure water and plenty of it, from 
a standpoint of sanitation and convenience, the council made pro- 


visions for a special election, which was held October 12, 1911, 
when the electors decided, by a large majority, that a system of 
waterworks should be bnilt. To meet the cost of the improve- 
ment the legislative l)ody was also granted authority t(t issue 
bonds in the sum of $7,000. To be more exact the vote for water- 
works was 147; against, 25. Before the year expired the citizens 
of Dumont were being served with a splendid quality of water, 
pmnped from a group of six wcdls having an average dei)th of 
twenty-two feet. These wells have six-inch casings and are prac- 
tically inexhaustible. The watei' is conveyi^d to two underground 
tanks, whence it is forced through the mains ))y an aii' pressure 
system. The pmnping station is constructed of cement blocks and 
here is installed a double-stroke Union pimip. The suction pipe 
is 4 inches; discharge pipe, 3 inches in diameter. Two tanks as 
reservoirs liaA'e been constructed, each 8 feet in diameter and 36 
feet in length. One is used for domestic pin-jioses and the other in 
cases of emergency. Their condiinc'd capacity is 22,000 gallons; 
7,000 feet of 4-incli street mains, 13 doiible fire hydrants, complete 
the system. The domestic pressure is 60 poiuids ; fire pressure, 80 
pounds. It might be wvU to state in this connection that a very 
disastrous fire overtook Dumont in 1901, which wiped out almost 
every liusiness house in the ])lace. The fire started in a livery 
stable in the night time and liy morning the main street was a scene 
of ruins and confusion. Nothing daunted, every man who had lost 
his business place and stock of goods — grocer}' man, hai-dware. 
dry-goods merchant, druggist, Imnber dealer, banker and others^ 
began at once removing del)ris left by the confiagration and it 
was but a short time until Dumont arose, phoenix-like, from its 
ashes and presented a newer and thrice ))etter town than before. 
The loss by the fire was probalily >j^60,()()(): more than that amount 
of money was expended in new buildings alone. Today Dumont 
is a well set up little trading point, with a whole ])lock of new and 
modern brick biiildings and several frame Inisiness houses that 
have some claim to [)retentiousness. Transportation facilities are 
excellent, as there are two lines of railroad, the Chicago (Ireat 
Western and the Chicago & Ncn-thwestern. 

The hotel, or Dumont ])uilding, esca])ed the ravages of the 
big fire. Its south room on the ground fioor was remodeled in 
February, 1914, and became the home of the Farmers Trust & 
Savings Bank, but recently oi-ganized. 



The school binldinj>', a frame affaii', was built early in the his- 
tory of Diimoiit and within its walls many chikliTn have been 
taught l)y able and ponsciontious insti'uetors. In IDOo the build- 
ing Avas enlarged hy the addition of a high school room and another 
room, which necessitated the employment of two additional teach- 
ers, making the corps munber six. The structure was also remod- 
eled and the entire improvement brought the expense accoimt up 
to the sum of $7,000. 


,The farming disti'ict contributing to the business activity and 
prosperit}" of Duniont is not surpassed by any in Butler count_v, 
and the bank reports support this statement. The State Bank of 
Dumont was established in 1896 as a private institution, by John 
Barlow and Ion Atkinson, and dui'ing a period of five years gained 
the confidence and support of a large and widely distriliuted 
clientele. Aboiit the year 1901, Mr. Barlow secured the Atkinson 
interest and alone managed the business until 1905, when E. O. 
and D. C. Slaid entered the fii'm as associate partners. In the year 
1908 John Barlow, E. 0. Hlaid, A. Austin, A. E. Hartson, H. C. 
Brown and W. W. iVhrens incorporated the State Bank of Du- 
mont, with a capital stock of $30,000. A board of directors was 
selected and that body elected the following officers of the bank: 
President, E. O. Slaid; vice president, A. E. Hartson; cashier, 
John Barlow. The directors were: W. W. Ahrens, E. O. Slaid, A. 
Austin, A. E. Hartson and H. G. Brown. 

In 1901 Mr. Barlow erected a handsome two-story l)rick home 
for the bank, on the main street, joining six others, who all con- 
formed to plans drawn for a continuous row or block of buildings 
having the same design, to take the place of the business houses 
destroyed by the big fire. In this Ijuilding the bank has its count- 
ing rooms, modern vault, safes and other appointments demanded 
by patrons of the present day. The original cai)ital of $30,000 is 
still maintained, and in its last statement, called for by the state 
bankmg laws, deposits to the amount of $293,983 were reported. 

The Farmers Trust & Savings Bank is a new financial con- 
cern that has yet to prove its worth and the necessity of its being 
in the field of loeal finanee. This establishment was organized 


January 15, 1914, and capitalized at $20,000. The incorporators 
are O. J. Irwin, of Omaha, and Dr. J. W. Cuiniingham, of Dumont. 
Charles Bornenian. a well known farmer and large landowner of 
the vicinity, is the president ; Dr. J. W. Cunningham, vice presi- 
dent; 0. J. Irwin, cashier; Fred Armburst, assistant cashier. The 
])ank commenced business in March, 1914, in a room specially 
fitted and arranged for its purposes in the Dumont building, now 
owned by a member of the concern, and started out into the finan- 
cial wt»rld under very favorable auspices., 


The first services of the Methodist society of this place were 
held in a little schoolhouse by "the Willows," back of the German 
Evangelical church, by Rev. Siu'oul, in the winter of 1871-2. This 
minister Avas employed by Sauuiel B. Dumont and J. N. McMan- 
nes on their own motion, who ]iaid him $50 for his services. The 
first pastor sent by the conference to this charge was Rev. W. A. 
Pottle. At one time this appointment and Allison were yoked 
together and Rev. F. E. Day presided over its spiritual needs and 
desires. Prior to the erection of the church building, about the 
year 1892, Rev. James A. Clulow, then pastor, called the congre- 
gation together for services in the German Evangelical Associa- 
tion church. At this time the appointment consisted of fovu' 
societies — Union Ridge, Hansell, Four Mile Grove and Dumont. 
The parsonage was at Hansell, but becoming unfit as a habitation, 
the residence of the pastor was changed to Dumont, where a com- 
fortable rectory Avas built in the fall of 1898, at a cost of $1,200. 
and paid for l)y sTibscriptions of members residing in the various 
places mentioned. As has been stated, the church edifice Avas 
built during the pastorate of Rev. CIuIoav, a frame structure cost- 
ing $8,000. The plans for the building were designed by Mrs. 
Cai'oline F. Dumont and her son. Dr. T. A. Dumont, and the site 
Avas a gift from the Minnesota Loan & Debenture Company, 
Charles Nichols, ]u-esident; Roliert Wriglit, secretary. There 
were then forty members; now the membership has reached one 
hundred and forty. In the Simday school an aA^erage attendance 
of seventy-fiA'e is rej^orted. A list of pastors of this church 
follows : 

Revs. J. R. A. Hauuer, October, 1883-October, 1884; S. M. 
Davis, October, 1884-October, 1885; William E. Ross, October, 




I' "OX 


UJjf°-'' -'^: 


1885-October, 1886; Edward Lee, October, 1886-October, 1887; 
Horace Foote, October, 1887-October, 1890; James Clulow, Octo- 
ber, 1890-Oetober, 1892; O. W. Weeks, October, 1892-October, 
1893; W. W. Robinson, October, 1893-October, 1895; R. M. Acker- 
man, October, 1895-October, 1897; J. G. S. Meyers, October, 1897- 
December, 1898; F. T. Heatly, January, 1899-October, 1900; E. B. 
Downs, October, 1900- June, 1901; W. C. Keeler, June, 1901-Octo- 
ber, 1903; W. F. Albright, October, 1903-October, 1901; M. A. 
Goodell, October, 1904-October, 1906; W. N. Chafeee, October, 
1906-October, 1908; W. A. Gibbons, October, 1908-October, 1911; 
J. B. Metcalf, Octobei-, 1911-October, 1913; M. L. Hill, October, 


The history of this church is reproduced from a sketch appear- 
ing in the report of the Iowa Conference, April 7, 1910 : 

In the early '70s several of our members, H. Ahrens, J. J. 
Bamngartner and others, settled in the neighborhood of Dumont. 
Brother H. Kleinsorgii commenced to preach at the home of the 
first named in 1876. but soon transferred the appointment to a 
schoolhouse south of town. In 1878 Brother Kleinsorgn organized 
a class. He was followed by Rev. F. Berner, whom Rev. O. Ball 
succeeded. In 1882 this class was added to Hampton circuit. Then 
came Rev. W. Kolb, who was followed by Rev. L. Scheurer, who 
conmaenced his labors at Dumont in 1884. A revival resulted in 
more than twenty conversions, among which were many of the 
chm-eh's present leaders. This established the north class, and 
in 1886 Rev. V. Griese found it possible to build a spacious house 
of worship and consolidate the two classes. The following clergy- 
men continued the work: Revs. H. Butz, H. Sassman, P. Benz, L. 
F. Smith, H. Schmidt, G. P. Cawelti, J. H. Engel, C. Hillman, and 
in 1911, the present pastor took charge. The church is in a very 
prosperous condition, both physically and spiritually. A mem- 
bership of one hundred and twenty communicants composes its 
present strength in numbers and an average attendance of sixty 
in the Sunday school is the gratifying report. The church build- 
ing, a frame structure, cost $2.500 ; the parsonage, $2,000. 


In the year 1893 John Boots, Lyman Hall, J. H. Marken, Will- 
iam Titus and W. R. Straight, gathered together and organized 


the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and had f«»r their 
first pastor Rev. A. King. Tlic first meetings were held in the 
Evangelical church. 

In the fall of 1895 — on September 7th — the board of trustees 
met and let the contract to William Schuleuburg for the construc- 
tion of a church building, which was finished late in the year 
and dedicated January 13, 1869, at a cost of $3,000. The par- 
sonage was built in 1900, the outlay being $1,-100. The church 
society is in good shape financially and- in point of membership, 
having on its rolls at the present time eighty names. Attendance 
at the Sunday school will average sixty. The pastors who have 
served this church follow^ by name: Revs. A. King, W. Fawcett, 
W. P. Taylor, William Stice, W. A. Snuth, Sweezy, D. F. 
Dickensheets, M. L. Tiljbetts, G. W. Emerson, Eugene Richard- 
son, Harper Krieser, I. E. Hartman, H. S. Cooper, Ernest L. 


St. Francis Catholic church was binlt during the pastorate of 
Father Kelley, then stationed at Parkersburg, and had for its 
earliest conmumicants the Bauuons, Doyles, Augstmaus and 
others, whose names are not obtainable at this time. For many 
years prior to the erection of the church building in 1890. the 
people here were attended from Ackley, mass being said at inter- 
vals in the prairie homes of stanch defenders of the faith, many 
of whom hailed from Canada, some from the banks of the Rhine, 
and others from the land of destiny, the beautiful green isle of 
the sea, "aidd Erin." Two of the most worthy members have 
passed to a well merited reward — James Bannon and Joseph 
Augstman. The names of the priests from Ackley who came 
here to hold mass were Revs. Fathers O. Poud, Murphy (deceased). 
Burns, McCormack and Meagher. For some time past the church 
has been served by pastors from Hampton; for the past six years 
by Father J. C. Wieneke, or his assistant, Frederick W. Mc- 


There is quite a sprinkling of the natives of Holland and of 
what is known as "platt Deutsch" in Pumont and vicinity and 


tliey deteriniiied to have a cliurcli of their own. To this end the 
Dutch Reformed church was organized in 1912 and the society 
now has a membership of thirty-five. A fine piece of property 
was secured, including a residence, which is now the pastor's 
home. On a lot to the rear of the parsonage and facing the south, 
a fine church building was immediately erected and dedicated in 



Dumont Lodge, No. 52, I. O. O. F., was organized in 1885, and 
now has a membership of seventy-five. The lodge has a taste- 
fully furnished hall and appropriate paraphernalia. An auxiliary 
body, the Daughters of Rebekah, organized October 18, 1893, tak- 
ing the name of Columbus Lodge, ISTo. 178. 

West Fork Camp, Modern Woodmen of America, No. 1416, 
was established some 3^ears ago, with the following named char- 
ter members: W. H. Bannon, Len Baudy, John Hogan, Herbert 
J. Homer, William Jamison, J. D. Leroy, Norman Long, M. H. 
Perry, George B. Sutton, Moses St. Peter, Jr. 

A lodge of Mystic Workers of the World was organized at 
Dumont September 2, 1903. It is known as Dumont Lodge, No. 

The Fraternal Bankers Reserve Society came into existence 
at this place as a local lodge, December 21, 1901. 


The township of Ripley is one of the four central townships 
of Butler county, situated south of West Point. It is bounded 
on the east by Jefferson, south by Albion, on the west by Madison 
township. The township is divided almost equally from east to 
west by the West Fork river, which enters in section 7 and flows 
in a southeasterly direction across the township, emerging on the 
east side of section 24 and then doubling back and reentering the 
township and emerging again near the northeastern corner of 
section 25. This portion of the West Fork is bordered by a belt 
of natui'al timber, varying in width from a few rods to a mile 
or more. The valley is bordered on the north side by steep bluffs. 
On the south side, however, the banks of the stream are compara- 
tively low and there is some land which is still liable to annual 
immdation. The two branches of the West Fork also flow through 
the townshiY-); Mayne's creek flows into the West Fork almost 
in the center of section 7 and Kilson's creek in section 23. The 
land is sandy in the neighborhood of the river but the rest of the 
township has the same rich alluvial soil that is characteristic of 
the best farming land of this section of the state. 

The township is without any town or village. Allison, Bris- 
tow, Kesley and Parkersburg are the market points which serve 
the interests of the people of the township. Rural mail routes 
from these points reach practically every farm home. 

Thirty years ago a considerable portion of farming land of 
the township was held by non-resident owners and remained in 
its wild state without any improvements whatsoever. At the 
present time, however, practically all of the land is farmed by 
resident owners. The township plat shows a number of these 
lands of relatively small acreage along the West Fork, especially 
in sections 23 and 24. 




Tlie first laud entry in Ripley township was made by Hugh 
Mullarky, October 13, 1853. He made entries to sections 23 
and 24 adjacent to his holdings in Jefferson township, already 
mentioned. The second entry on the records of the government 
land office of Ripley t(»wnship indicate that on May 12, 1854, 
Richard Merrill entered land in sections 15, 23 and 24. D. H. 
McCormack, June 26, 1854, also made an entry of land in section 
15. All these entries were witliin the 'timbered area. Other 
entries in 1854 were made by Samuel Harsh, May 13; George Mc- 
Connell, October 2; Henry Gray, J. C. and F. G. Walker, Novem- 
ber 3 ; and James Hunter, November 21. These entries likewise 
were located in close proximity to the river. 

The honor of the first settlement in the township belongs to 
George McConnell, who in the May ])re^•ious to the entry men- 
tioned above staked out a claim on section 15. After living on his 
claim for some years he removed temporarily from the county 
but returned later. He died in 1862 or 1863 at the home of Nathan 
Linn, in Monroe township. The land which he entered was later 
a part of the Henrj^ C. Mead estate. Mr. McConnell was unmar- 
ried and was known among his associates as the "old bach." His 
house was a sort of wayside inn, as it always furnished shelter 
for the traveler or the land seeker. 

James Hunter, whose name is mentioned in the land entries 
above, was the second settler in the township, coming in Novem- 
ber, 1854. He spent the first winter with Mr. jMcConnell. In the 
following spring he took up his residence upon the land which he 
had previously entered. 

J. C. and Christian Hites settled in the township in July, 1855, 
J. C. Hites making a claim on section 20, and Christian on sec- 
tion 28. These brothers were the fomiders of families that are 
still residents of Ripley to\Aaiship and have occuined a prominent 
place in its history and develoiDment. Other farms were chiefly 
located in the southwestern portion of the township around what 
afterwards came to be known as Hitesville. 

Nathan Linn preceded the Hites by a short time and was 
the third settler in the township. He located on section 14 but 
later removed to Monroe township and still later to Jefferson 


Andrew Hesse came iu August, 1855, and settled on section 
20. About the same time Michael Considine with his family 
came from Nova Scotia and settled in section 9. In the same 
year a Mr. Ulery came from Illinois and settled in the township. 
George W. Stoner also settled in the township in 1855. 

Among the settlers of 1855 were John G. Moorehead, who 
settled on section 4, and George Monroe, Sr. About the same 
time Mr. Elmore sent a brother-in-law, Mr. Fortner, to develop 
a tract of land in the township. Fortner was the pioneer manu- 
facturer of the township, engaged in the production of a limited 
amount of Imiburger cheese. The factory did not prove to be 
wholly successful, whether due to the inferior strength of the 
product or not is unknown. However, Fortner proved to be a 
financier of some ability, as he sold his brother-in-law's team and 
pocketing the proceeds, departed for the far west. 

In the follomng years the township settled up with compara- 
tive rapidity. Daniel Haynes, Edwin Kincaid, Henry Trotter, 
Joseph L. Santee, Jacob Yost and J. S. Margretz may be men- 
tioned as among the later settlers who by their ability and influ- 
ence helped the township to take its place among the corporate 
sub-divisions of Butler county. 


As originally constituted, Ripley township was organized on 
the 5th of February, 1855, and included what is now comprised 
in Madison, Monroe, Washington, West Point, Pittsford and Ben- 
nezette townships — almost one-half of the county. In March, 
1856, .these limits were restricted by the formation from this ter- 
ritory of the townships of West Point and Monroe. At the same 
time Bennezette township was added to Coldwater. Ripley there- 
after included only what is now Madison township in addition to 
its ovm present limits. Madison was given separate organiza- 
tion in September, 1860, thus reducing the civil township of Rip- 
ley to the limits of the congressional township numbered 91 north, 
range 17 west of the fifth principal meridian. 

A complete list of the first township officers cannot be given. 
In the April election of 1855, John Lash was elected clerk; 
Isaac Boylan, constable; and H. A. Early, justice of the peace. 
These men were all of them residents of the portion of the then 
township in the neighborhood of Boylan's grove. 


Of the township with its present limits John Hites was the 
tirst clerk. The first election was held in a sod house owned and 
built by Moffatt and Mason, two factory men from New York. It 
is said that at the time of this election there were not enough 
settlers to till all the offices and one man was required to bear 
the honors of two or three. 


In 1871 a postofiice was established at Hitesville, with J. S. 
Margretz as the first postmaster, the office being located at his 
house on section 19. This office was served by a mail carrier on 
the route from Aplington to Bristow. Later the route was 
changed to run from Aplingion to Hitesville. This office was 
later superseded by the office at Kesley. 


The first birth in the township was that of a son, Allen, to Mr. 
and Mrs. James Hunter, on the 2d of August, 1856. 

The first death was a child of Samuel Kimmel, in the fall of 
1855. The burial took place in a cemetery located on the north- 
west corner of the northeast quarter of section 29, being the first 
interment in this cemetery. 

The first marriage was that of Richard Davenport and Miss 
Susanna Kimmel at the home of the bride 's parents, the ceremony 
being performed bv Justice J. J. Criswell. The marriage took 
place in the fall of 1859. 


The first school in the township was taught by Miss Susanna 
Kimmel, in the summer of 1858, in a building erected for the pur- 
pose on section 20. The second school taught in the following 
summer by i\Iiss Charlotte Levis was in a building located on sec- 
tion 15. James Hunter donated an acre of land for this school 

After the township became more thickly settled it was organ- 
ized as a district township and divided into seven sub-districts. 
At that time district No. 1 included six sections, Nos. 1, 2, 11 and 
12, and 13 and 14, with schoolhouse in the eastern part of section 


11 ; district No. 2, composed of sections 3, 4, 9 and 10, 15 and 16, 
with its school building on the north side of section 10; district 
No. 3 consisted of section 5 and a portion of sections 6, 7 and 8, 
north of the river; No. 4 comprised sections 29, 30, 31 and 32 and 
the south half of sections 19 and 20; No. 5 comprised six sections, 
Nos. 21, 22, 27, 28, 33 and 34. The schoolhouse is located on sec- 
tion 28. No. 6 contained sections 23, 24, 25 and 26, 35 and 36, with 
its schoolhouse on section 36; district No. 7 embraced those por- 
tions of sections 7 and 8 south of the river and sections 17 and 18, 
and the north half of sections 19 and 20. 

This form of organization was retained for some years. In 
1874 the system was changed and the township was divided into 
independent districts, with the same boundaries as those pre- 
scribed for the sub-districts above, except that district No. 3 was 
made to include all of sections 7 and 8. District No. 1 was there- 
after known as the McEachron district; No. 2, Fairview; No. 3, 
Fort Sumpter ; No. 4, Melrose ; No. 5, Glendale ; No. 6, Excelsior ; 
No. 7, Spring Garden. 

In 1911 a new district in the center of the township comprised 
of sections 15, 16, 21 and 22, known as the Mead independent dis- 
trict, was formed, and a new schoolhouse erected on the south side 
of section 15. The McEachron, Excelsior and Fairview districts 
all have erected new school buildings within the past few years. 


1856, 86; 1860, 151; 1863, 121; 1865, 148; 1867, 200; 1869, 255; 
1870, 299; 1873, 376; 1875; 377; 1880, 453; 1890, 493; 1900, 621; 
1910, 602. 


The township of Washington occupies a position at the ex- 
treme southwestern corner of the county. Its general character- 
istics are different in no essential respects from the neighboring 
townships in Butler county, its surface being rolling prairie, 
broken in the southern part by the valley of Beaver creek. The 
northern branch of Beaver creek flows through the central portion 
of the township, entering into the main stream near the east line 
of section 23. The Beaver in its course through this township has 
a considerablv smaller flow than in its course further to the east. 


Except in extremely dry weather, however, its flow is constant. 
It is bordered b}^ timber, much of which has been cut away. In 
the eastern part of the township there is a large natural grove, 
w^hich originally covered an extent of approximately one thou- 
sand acres. Another grove in the southeastern part of sections 
31 and 32 is called Island grove. 

There are a luunber of natural springs in the toAvnship, the 
largest of these, known as Big Spring, in an early day being a 
favorite camping groiuid for emigrants in their way westward. 

The settlement of Washington township, although it began at 
a date approxunately as early as that of other townships similarly 
located in the county, progressed very slowly until some years 
after the war. This is explained chiefly by the fact that nuich of 
the land was taken up by speculators and was not put upon the 
market until a coni2)aratively late date. 

The real development of the township did not begin until after 
1870. For fifteen years thereafter much of the land of the town- 
slii]) remained wild, ;ml)roken prairie. Today, however, the land 
is all occupied by farmers and nmch of it is fai"med by residents. 

Tlic (juality of the soil is second to none in the county and the 
products of the farms are equal both in quality and in quantity 
to those of other farms in this garden spot of the great agricul- 
tural west. A study of the list of landowners in Washington 
township reveals the fact that by far the greater part of the farans 
of this to\Anship are owned by Germans. This to any one who is 
familiar Avith the histoi-y of rural comnumities which have been 
settled liy the German people, indicates without necessity of 
further conunent, that the land is being cultivated intensively and 
rapidly Iteiug Itrought to the highest degree of ^iroductiveness. 
Land values in Washington t<twnsliip reach practically the highest 
limit received for farming land in Butler county. Rental prices, 
too, are higher here than in most other sections of the county. 
These facts also indicate the progressive character of the farnnng 
population in this section. 

The Illinois Central Railroad traA'ei'ses the township from east 
to west in its southern portion, having been constructed in 1865. 
For a quarter of a century thereafter, however, there was neither 
store, postoffice or railway station within the limits of the town- 
ship. Since then a railway station and postoffice have been estab- 
lished at ^VustiuAille, which now is the only village within the 
toAvnship limits. Kesley to the northeast, Aplington to the south- 


east and Ackley to the southwest, form the trading points for the 
farmers of Washington township. 


The fu'st settlement in Washington township was made in the 
spring of 1853 by E. M. and E. Purcell, two brothers, who made 
a business of keeping just ahead of the line of settlement and 
selecting the most valuable claims in the new territory. When the 
pioneers in search of peiinanent homes reached them, they would 
sell these clauns at a good figure and move on again to repeat the 
venture in other localities farther west. B. E. Purcell located a 
claim on section 24 and his brother Ellery on section 25. The 
latter erected a log house and broke about eight acres of prairie 
sod, on which he raised a first crop of corn. This was in the year 
1853 and may be taken as the beginning of the agricultural devel- 
opment of Washington township. 

In the spring of 1851 R. R. Parriott located in the township 
and purchased Ellery Purcell 's land in section 25. Mr. Parriott 's 
first visit to the township must have been not later than the fall 
of 1853, as on the 2d of January, 1851, he made entry in the gen- 
eral land office of two claims in Washington township, located on 
sections 11 and 32. Reuben Purcell made the second entry on the 
22d of April, 1851. The early history of Washington township 
would )>e like Handet with Hamlet left out, if an attempt were 
to be made to Avrite it without mention of R. R. Parriott. 

Mr. Parriott was a native of Virginia and came to Washington 
township from Stephenson county, Illinois. He returned in June, 
1851, to Illinois, and on the 4th of July started back for his new 
home, accompanied by his family. They came overland with 
seven yoke of oxen, three horses, three wagons and a carriage, and' 
wei'c one month on the way. 

On his arrival he found that the log house previously built by 
Elleiy Purcell was too small to accoimnodate his family, which 
nimibered thirteen. He therefore erected another log house 16x24 
feet, with a lean-to 12x24 feet in dimensions. This was the first 
house in the township to be used as a hotel. After the establish- 
ment of the stage line from Cedar Palls to Fort Dodge, the Par- 
riott house became a regular stopping place for the stage. 

Mr. Parriott was the first postmaster in this part of the coimty.. 
He was the owner of the present site of the city of Ackley in 


Hardiii cuuiily aud conveyed to the Dubuque & Sioux City Rail- 
road Company oue-lialf of tlie town site, or every alternate town 
lot. The company conveyed their interest in turn to William J. 
Ackley, of Waterloo, from whom the town derived its name. 

Mr. Parriott w^as at one time the owner of more than twenty- 
live hundred acres of land in this part of the county. He gave the 
Dubuque & iSioux City railroad a right of wa}^ through his tract 
of land and worked for its establishment. He was also liberal in 
contributing to the Illinois Central Company, which constructed a 
line north of Ackley through Hampton about this time. Of his 
family of nine sons and two daughters, six sons served their coun- 
try in the Union army during the Civil war. Two of these were 
killed in battle. Mr. Parriott lived on his land here imtil his death 
ill 1871. 

On the same date as the entry of laud by Mr. Parriott, Sarah 
E. Craw entered a elaun on the same section, 24, and on July 29, 
1854, Lewis Craw entered a claim on section 25. ' ' Doc ' ' Craw, as 
he Avas generally called, sold the improvements on his claim in 
185.J to Robert Howard, one of the company of settlers who came 
from Hardin county to Iowa in company with J. M. Caldwell, of 
Monroe township. Land was also entered in 1854 by Nathan 
Pussy on October 2d, in section 24, and J. M. Caldwell, who is 
noticed at length in connection with the history of Monroe town- 
ship, in section 22. These were all of the land entries in the town- 
ship in the year 1854. 

In 1855 William Stockdale built a log house, which he had 
taken up on section 2:>. In 1862 he enlisted in the army and died 
in the ser^-ice. His remains were brought liack and buried in 
Aplington cemetery. His father, Charles Stockdale, came to the 
township in 1856 and made his home with his son William until 
the tune of his death, which occurred in December, 1859. Several 
other children were at various times residents of the township. 

Jonathan (iee, one of the early township officers of Monroe 
township, when it included AVashington within its limits, came 
also in the spring of 1855 from Henderson county, Illinois, with 
a C()m]>any, most of whom settled in Monroe townshi]i. He located 
on sections 23 and 24 and erected a log hoTise and made other im- 
provements. A year or so later he sold his claim and returned to 

Morris F. Whitney was another settler of 1855. He has been 
mentioned as an early school teacher in the old township of Mon- 


roe. His fanii was on section 24. He divided his time between 
teaching and farming. 

Wesley H. Long, a native of Ohio, settled on section 23. He 
was the man to whom was entrusted the organization of the town- 
ship when Washington was given a separate corporate existence. 
Long later enlisted in the volunteer army and died in the service 
in New Orleans, Louisiana, in April, 1864. Previous to the date 
of his enlistment he had served as a member of the board of super- 
visors of Washington township. 

James Gray in 1856 came from Illinois and purchased the farm 
of Jonathan Gee. Mrs. Rachel Quinn settled in the township in 
1856. Her husband, John Quinn, died of cholera while on his way 
to California during the gold fever of 1850. He was buried on the 
plains. Ln 1856 Mrs. Quinn took her family of ten children and 
started west to seek a new home, purchasing land in Washington 
township, where she lived until 1858, when she moved to Apling- 
ton and built the first hotel. 

Alfred Munson, a southerner, came to Washington township 
in 1858 and boarded for a time with R. R. Parriott. He purchased 
a large tract of land in the western part of the township and built 
a house on section 31. When the war broke out he returned to 
his old home and enlisted in the southern army. He never 
returned for residence to Washington township. This is the only 
record known at present of an enlistment from Butler coimty in 
the army of the Confederate states. 

This practically completes the list of settlers in the township 
before the close of the Civil war. Among the representative set- 
tlers in the years immediately succeeding the war may be men- 
tioned Patrick Kenefick, Henry and William Austin and Hugh 
G. Seal! on. 

Patrick Kenefick settled in the township in 1868, coming from 
Wisconsin. His home was on section 19, where in 1869 he built 
a house. Mr. Kenefick was supervisor from Washington town- 
ship during the latter period of the county government by a board 
of sixteen supervisors. 

The Austin brothers, Henry and William, were natives of Eng- 
land. They emigrated to America with their parents when very 
young and settled in Michigan. Later they moved to Wisconsin. 
In 1868 they came to Iowa and purchased land in Washington 
township. Henry Austin located on section 21. In the spring of 
1869 he broke ninety acres of land and planted his first crop. His 


brother Williaui located on sections 21 and 22. Henry Austin was 
killed in 1912 in an automobile accident in Waterloo. William is 
still a resident of Washington township. A nmnber of children 
of the two families are resident landowners of Butler count3\ As 
a family, the Austins unquestionably rank among the most exten- 
sive landowners in Butler country. The town of Austinville is 
named for these brothers. 

Hugh C. Scallou was born in the Province of Quebec, Canada, 
came' to the United States in 1855 with his parents, and settled 
in Wisconsin. Here he made his home until 1869, when he came 
to Washington township and settled on section 20. 

Other settlers in the period following the Civil war, without 
regard to the date of settlement, were: Elisha Tobey, Thomas 
Clark, James Keenan, Daniel Beninga, J. Winne, Patrick Parker, 
J. J. Burnham, Samuel Croot, E. Wiechman, P. De Vries, Frank 
Parker, M. D. Eustis. Lafayette Le Valley, Harrison Combs and 
Robert Martin. 


Proliably the first V)irth in the township was that of Geneva, 
a daughter of Anthony and Melinda Parriott, May 19, 1857. 

The first marriage in the township was Anthony J. Parriott 
and Melinda Spangler, August 7, 1856. 

The first death in the township Avas in 1853, when an infant 
child of Ellerv Pnrcell died and was buried on his farm. 

The first religious services in the township were held at the 
hotel of R. R. Parriott, in the winter of 1854-5, Elder Crippin, of 
Hardin county, being the presiding clergyman. 

A Methodist Episcopal Society was organized in 1855 by Elder 
Stewart, of Hazel Green, Hardin county. Robert Howard was 
class leader. They afterward held meetings in Anthony Howard's 
log stable. Later this organization was moved to Aplingtou. 

The first postoffice established in the township was called Al- 
goiKjuin. R. R. Parriott was appointed postmaster here in 1855. 
The office was kept at his hotel mitil 1857, when it was moved to 
Aplington. In recent year's an office was established at Austin- 
ville, now the only postoffice in the township. The residents of 
the township are now served by rural routes from Ackley and 
Aplington in addition to Austinville. 

The first blacksmith shop in the township was opened by a man 
bv the name of Shaw from Waterloo, in 1857. R. R. Parriott fui-- 


iiislied biiii the logs with which to build a shop and he erected it on 
the northwestern part of section 25. Mr. ShaM' did not long- 
remain. After his departure the building was used for school pur- 


Washington township was originally part of the civil township 
of Ripley according to the organization of the county into town- 
ships in 1855. In 1857 the county court redistricted the county 
into townshii:)s, making Washington township a part of the civil 
township of Monroe. The records of the county court during the 
September term of 1860 contain the following entry which is self- 

"Septembers, 1860. 

"Now on this 3d day of September, 1860, W. H. Long pre- 
sented a petition asking that congressional township No. 90 N., of 
range 18 W^est, be organized into a township for civil purposes. 
It is therefore ordered by the court that Washington township 
be and hereby is organized and bounded as follows, to-wit: By 
congressional lines of township 90 North, range 18 West of the 
fifth principal meridian, in Butler coimty, Iowa, and a warrant 
issued permitting Wm. LI. Long to call the first election in said 
townshi}) on Tuesday, the 6th day of November, A. D., 1860, to 
be holden at the house of R. R. Parriott in said township for the 
jiurpose of electing the county and several township officers to 
1)6 chosen at the election in 1860. 

"A. Converse, County Judge 
James W. Davis, County Clerk." 

Among the first officers elected at this election were Robert 
Howard, justice of the peace, and Silas Beebe. constable. 


The first school in the township was taught by Mrs. Chiches- 
ter, at Morris Whitney's house, in the summer of 1857. It Avas 
a select school- In the winter of 1857-8 school was kept in 
Anthony Parriott 's log stable. S. B. Decker was the teacher. 
After the departure of a blacksmith named Shaw, who is men- 
tioned above, the building which he used for a shop was used for 
school purposes, and Saujucl Burke and August Arnold, of Iowa 


Falls, were among the first teachers iu it. The first schoolhouse 
erected in the township was built in 1863 at the northwest corner 
of section 25. David Washburn was the first teacher in this 

in 1868 a board shanty was erected on section 7, which was 
used for school purposes until 1873. This stood on section 4 in 
what is now sub-district No. 2. The first school in the southwest- 
ern portion of the township was held in a private house on section 
31. In 1869 a schoolhouse was erected in tlie same section. Mary 
McGill was the first teacher in this schoolhouse. In this same 
year the citizens of the northeastern part of the township built a 
small board shanty on the line of sections 11 and 12, where Miss 
Martha Clark taught the first term of school. In 1870 a school was 
organized in AVilliam Kenefick's granary, with his daughter Nellie 
as the first teacher. 

A schoolhouse was erected on section 19, in 1872, with Miss 
Cynthia Bird as the first teacher. In 1876 a schoolhouse was 
erected on section 27, wdth Miss Enmia Wright as the first 
instructor. In 1878 a board shanty was erected on the hill just 
south of the present location of the schoolhouse in district No. 
2. Miss Aima Ford was the first teacher. A schoolhouse was 
erected on section 36 in 1880, with Bertha Brace as the first 

At the present time the township is organized into nine sub- 
districts, nmnbered consecutively from the northeastern part. 
The schoolhouse in district No. 1 stands in the northwestern cor- 
ner of section 11. No. 2 is sunilarly located in section 9, and No. 3 
in section 7. The residents of the western and central portions 
of the township are accommodated b,y school No. 4, situated on 
the south line of section 19, and No. 5 at the southwestern corner 
of section 15. Schoolhouse No. 6 is at the southwest corner of sec- 
tion 13; No. 1, the northwest eornei' of section 36. 

The school in siili-district No. 8 is known as Austinville school 
and stands a half mile south of the station. This building is the 
same one that was erected in 1876 and has outlived its usefiilness. 
There is considerable agitation toward the establishment of a 
township high school at Austinville. Certainly some more satis- 
factory and adequate provision must be made for the accommo- 
dation of the school children of Austinville and vicinity. 

A new school building has been erected in sub-district No. 9 
known as the Island Grove school, which stands almost exactly 


in the middle of section 32, at the southern edge of Island grove. 
The building, although small, is neat and satisfactorily serves the 
interests of the community to wliich it belongs. There is also a 
movement on foot looking seriously toward the consolidation of 
the schools of Washington township. Its situation as a purely 
rural township, with the larger towns of Ackley and Aplington 
on either side and at some distance, renders it peculiarly adapted 
for such a step. The friends of educational progress in the county 
will watch with interest the further development of this move- 


1863, 67; 1865, 134; 1867, 146; 1869, 296; 1870, 402; 1873, 456; 
1875, 486; 1880, 765; 1890, 735; 1900, 925; 1910, 756. 


Shell Rock was the scene of the earliest known settlements 
in the township. Here, as has been earlier recounted, about 1850 
or 1851, a temporary settlement was made by Harrison and Volney 
Carpenter and I). C. Finch. These men were hunters and trappers 
and made their first sojourn in a log cabin which they erected near 
the banks of the Shell Rock on the present site of the town of 
Shell Rock. Later Volney Carpenter, who was a married man, 
brought his family to his new home and staked out a claim on 
section 1 of this township. This claim was later sold to Alexander 
Glenn, by whom the original entry was made in 1852. 

The township constitutes No. 91 north, range 15 west. It is 
for the most part rolling prairie land but is traversed in the 
extreme northeastern part by tlio Shell Rock river, which follows 
a winding course from northwest to southeast through sections 2, 
11, 12 and 13. The central portion of the township is drained by a 
creek kno'wn as Drj^ Run, Avhich empties into the West Fork just 
a little below the southern line of the township. In the northeast- 
ern poi'tion of the toAvuship and the strip along Dr}^ Run in sec- 
tions 32 and 33, it is covered with natural timber. The rest of the 
township, however, was originally open prairie land. The Chicago 
Great Western & Rock Island railroads traverse the north- 
eastern part of the township. 

Originally the greater yjart of the faiins of the township were 
occupied by the owners. Of recent years, however, many of these 
have retired from their faniis and moved to town, and as a result 
at the present time there is a large portion of land which is being 
farmed by renters. For this reason perhaps there are fewer 
modern fann homes in Shell Rock township than in some of the 
other townships where there is a larger portion of fann owners 
living upon their own land. There are, however, a large number 
of beautifid farm homes in this township, some of which are now 



occupied by a third generation. The soil of the township away 
from the river bottoms is a rich loam and produces crops of all 
the staple cereals that are surpassed by no section of this dis- 
tinctly agricultui'al county. 


The lirst entry of laud in Shell Rock township was made by 
Michael Curry, on October 18, 1851, in section 2. The other 
earliest entries in order of date were 'Willoughby Flanagan, 
December 1, 1851, section 11; Letitia Wilkins, December 1, 1851, 
section 12; Jonathan Hook and John Reynolds, January 26, 1852, 
in section 2. 

Other entries in 1852 were made by Frederick E. Bissell, Alex- 
ander Glenn, Joseph Thornsbrue, Henry P. Moore, George C. 
Moon, Asbury Leverich and W. J. Barney. 

Among the early settlers of this township was Aaron Moore, 
known to all his friends and neighbors as "Uncle Aaron." It 
does not appear that Aaron Moore obtained any land by original 
entry nor has it been possible to establish definitely the date 
of his settlement in the township. There is little doubt, however, 
that he is to be numbered among the earliest actual settlers, as he 
is mentioned incidentally in connection with the accounts of a 
mnnber of the pioneers, some of whom came to the county because 
of his glowing descriptions of the fertility of its soil and many 
of whom made his home their first stopping place. Among these 
may be mentioned the Wamsley brothers, who were pioneer set- 
tlers of Butler and Jackson townships. Aaron Moore early 
became, by the purchase of the claims of other settlers, one of 
the largest landowners in the county. He was a resident of the 
township for a number of years and died in the late '70s. Before 
pa&sing away, Mr. Moore disposed of most of his property by 
distribution among liis heirs. 

Alexander Glenn became a resident of the township in 1852. 
He, too, purchased a considerable amoimt of land in the north- 
eastern part of the township. Another settler during this period 
was Daniel Myers, who in 1852 purchased Harrison Carpenter's 
claim on section 1. Myers remained a resident of the towniship 
for a number of years. He is mentioned in connection with the 
first lawsuit in Butler county, a writ of injunction having been 
issued against him by one Solomon W. Ingham, restraining him 


from selling a portion of Ms holdings in section 2, Shell Rock 
township. A full account of this is given in connection with the 
county court. 

In the spring of 1853 George W. Adair, founder of the town 
of Shell Rock, and one of the most prominent of the early citi- 
zens of the coimty, purchased Alexander Glenn's forty acres in 
section 1], through which the rivers runs diagonally. This tract of 
laud at that time was heavily timbered. As soon as possible, Mr. 
Adair brought his family to his new home, moving into their log 
cabin on the east side of the river the 1st day of June, 1853, thus 
becoming the lirst peiinanent settlers of the town site of Shell 
Rock. Here, soon after, Mr. Adair began the erection of a saw- 
mill and in 1854 he laid out the village of Shell Rock upon the 
land which he had purchased. This town plat was not filed for 
record until the 29th of March, 1855. In the entry on the minute 
book of the county court, George W. Adair and Elizabeth Adair, 
his wife, are given as the sole owners of the town site. Mr. Adair 
was one of those pioneers who clearly foresaw the magnificent 
possibilities of the future and he labored to lay the foundations 
broadly and deeply for a community which would be an honor to 
him and to the state and county. In this he was successful. He 
lived to see the town of Shell Rock thoroughly established as one 
of the leading communities of the county. He died on the 4th day 
of September, 1879, leaving a large family of children, of whom 
George Adair is noted at length in the biograpMcal volume of 
this work. 

In the fall of 1853 Heman D. Hunt came to Shell Rock and 
commenced working in the Adair sawmill. Later Mr. Hunt pur- 
chased several hundred acres of land in Butler township, upon 
which he lived imtil his death in 1912. Several of Mr. Hunt's 
children have been prominent citizens of the county, William J. 
being at present editor of the Butler County Tribime at Allison ; 
John H., former county recorder and postmaster at Allison; and 
Charles, a resident of Clarksville. 

About the same time with other settlers there arrived Messrs. 
Walters, Hawker, Compton, Dewey and Smith, and two brothers, 
Cliarles and Henry Sweitzer. In 1854 Hiram Ross, who is still 
a resident of Shell Rock, came and began work in the planing 
mill. In 1855 the Newcomb brothers came. All these gentlemen 
settled in and around Shell Rock. During the same years the 
country to the west and south gradually filled up. Among the 


pioneers in this part of the township were Michael Holleubeck, 
D. White, R. L. Town, D. Shannon, T. Marslin and Lyman iSTor- 
ton. Shannon became converted to Mormonism through the 
efforts of a Mormon preacher wlio stopped for some time at his 
house. He proposed to buikl a Moimon tabernacle in the coimty 
but before his plans were completed his wife eloped with the 
preacher to Salt Lake City and it is supposed that he was awak- 
ened rather rudely from his delusion. 

Among the representative settlers of the township without 
particular regard to the order of their s'ettlement, the following 
may be mentioned: Amos Ressler, who came to Butler county in 
1856, first working in the steam mill at Butler Center and later 
purchasing a farm in Shell Rock township, ujDon which he lived 
for a number of years; Sylvester Rice, who was for many years 
a resident of Shell Rock, coming to this place from Waverly, in 
the spring of 18G1 ; L. W. Howard, who settled on a farm in sec- 
tion 14. Shell Rock township in 1865, and who was the father of 
Frank E. Howard, former county superintendent of schools of 
Butler county, and Samuel W. Howard, now a resident fanner 
of the township. Mr. Howard died at an advanced age in 1912. 

John Bowen located in the township in 1866. Col. Huston 
Green settled in the township in 1873. Washington Tharp came 
to Iowa in 1853, locating first in Bremer county. After serving 
with honor as a member of the Eighth Iowa Cavalry in the Civil 
war, he settled in the fall of 1866 on a farm in section 13, Shell 
Rock township. John Christy became a resident of Butler county, 
settling on section 7, in Shell Rock township, in 1868. John H. 
Mead, in May, 1870, came to Butler county, first settliug on sec- 
tion ]8 and later moving to section 8. Several of his children 
are still residents of the county. 

Among other later residents of the township may be men- 
tioned A. P. Dilger, W. H. Dryer, W. R. and G. E. Stanley, 
Judson Lake, J. F. Auner, F. B. Miner, G. P. Soash and J. W. 


When the county was first divided into townships Shell Rock 
township was included in the township of Beaver, which was 
then made up of the four congressional tovmships in the south- 
eastern quarter of the county. In March, 1856, Shell Rock town- 


ship was set off from Beaver and made to include together with 
its present limits the township of Jefferson as well. In March, 
1857, Jefferson township was given a separate organization and 
set off from Shell Rock. Thereafter the township had the same 
limits as at present. 


In the simamer of 1853, George W. Adair erected a sawmill 
and built the first dam at Shell Rock. Hiram Ross was his mill- 
wright. The sawmill was kept busy by the settlers for many 
years and served its purposes faithfully and well until the year 
1878, when it was torn down, being unfit for further use. The 
dam was partially washed out by a freshet in 1855, when a new 
and better dam took its place, built by George W. and William 

George W. Adair erected the first grist mill, on the west side 
of the river, in 1856, and had it running early in 1857. This 
became known as the Shell Rock mill and is still in operation, 
although it has long since ceased to make flour, only corn meal 
and ground feed for cattle now being the pi'oduct. This struc- 
ture was built at a cost of $10,000. Its original dimensions were 
30x40 feet, and three stories in height. The property was trans- 
ferred to John F. Wright in 1857 through purchase and shortly 
thereafter Mr. Wright sold a one-third interest to the Overman 
brothers; another one-third was bought by Sheldon Fox. Sev- 
eral changes later took place in the ownership of the mill, Mr. 
Wright always retaining his interest until 1891, when W. F. 
Brown, the present owner and a nephew of Wright, came into 
full possession. 

The Rockland, or east side mill, was built by George W. Adair 
and Emanuel Metzger in the winter of 1867-8, at a cost of $18,000. 
This originally was a two-run mill, four stories in height and 
propelled by water power. The property was sold to Robert 
McDonald in 1872 and in 1879 Haynes brothers were the owners. 
In 1903, W. F. Brown bought the mill of T. W. Mclnroy and is 
now running both industrial concerns, being steadily and profit- 
ably employed grinding feed for the farmers living within a wide 
and contiguotis territory. 



In conmion with other townships of the county, the schools 
of Shell Rock township were originally organized as sub-districts 
of the school township. There were in the beginning eight of 
these sub-districts, corresponding in general in their boundaries 
to the present sub-divisions. As the town of Shell Rock devel- 
oped, it was set off as an independent district, maintaining for 
a number of years two schools — one on either side of the river. 
The rest of the township continued the sub-district organization 
until late in the '70s, when by vote of the electors the sub-district 
plan was abandoned and an independent district form of organ- 
ization adopted. There are at present seven independent dis- 
tricts in the township — Norton's Corners, Dryer, Salem, Central 
Valley, Excelsior, Prairie Mound and Christy. For the most 
part the school buildings in these districts are somewhat above 
the average in character and equipment. Probably the best of 
the rural school buildings is that in the Dryer school district. 
The Norton's Corners school has the largest enrollment of any 
school in the township and has for a number of years been in 
the hands of exceptionally well equipped and well trained teach- 
ers. There is considerable agitation toward the erection of a new 
building to accommodate the children of this disti-iet and donlit- 
less within a comparatively short time this step will be taken 
and the Norton's Corners district will be eqiiipped with a school 
building which will correspond in its appointments with the excel- 
lence of the school in other ways. 

The patrons and taxpayers of the schools in Shell Rock town- 
ship have never been niggardly in their expenditures for school 
purposes. As a result they have a corps of teachers whose ability 
and efficiency is of a high degree. The records of the school town- 
ship of Shell Rock have disappeared and the limits of this work 
do not allow us to go into detail as t(j the history of the individual 
districts. There is no doubt that if the people of this township 
continue to maintain their schools upon the same })]ane that 
they have in the past and to show the same progressive spii'it in 
dealing with the problems that have confronted them, the future 
of the schools in this township will assuredly be a brilliant one. 



1856, 373; 1860, 438; 1863, 523; 1865, 626; 1867, 952; 1869, 
1,063; 1870, 1,142; 1873, 1,358; 1875, 1,408; 1880, 1,524; 1890, 
1,482; 1900, 1,547; 1910, 1,461. 


The laud oiigiually platted for the town of Shell Rock con- 
sisted of forty acres, which was purchased of Alexander Glenn 
by George W. Adair iu the spring of 1853. Early iu the year 1855 
Adair caused the land to be platted into town lots, which made 
up twelve blocks. The plat was filed in the recorder's office and 
reads as follows, to- wit: 

"March 29, A. D., 1855. 

"On this day George W. Adair and Elizabeth Adair presented 
the plat of the town of Shell Rock, in the county of Butler, situ- 
ated on the northwest quarter of section 11, in township 91, range 
15, west of the fifth principal meridian, and having acknowledged 
the same as required by law, it was ordered that the whole be 
recorded as the law directs. 

"John Palmer, County Judge." 

When George W. Adair set up his little log cabin on the 
"Forty" now comprising the principal part of the town of Shell 
Kock, the land was covered by an almost impenetrable growth of 
timber and underbrush. But the irrepressible pioneer and home- 
seeker with axe and torch made all this disappear in a compara- 
tively short space of time and as the years passed rapidly by, 
where once stood the giant oak, a settler's residence or merchant's 
store building took its place, and gave evidence of the march of 
civilization, that was inevitable in a country magnificently 
endowed with fertile soil, abundauco of clear, i-unuiug water and 
other resources, the gift of kind Nature, ready for the many seek- 
ing them. 

The first settlers in this beautiful locality were Harrison and 
Volney Carpenter, as already mentioned. They came in 1851. 
The following year Alexander Glenn appeared, also Daniel Myers. 
George W. Adair, founder of the town of Shell Rock, arrived in 
the settlement in the spring of 1853. Not long thereafter came 
the Newcombs, the Sweitzers, Cram, Eastman, Hitchcock, Hiram 
Ross, John Leveridge and John L. Stewart. The latter was an 


Illiiioisan by birth and removed with his parents to Iowa in 1839, 
tinally locating in Jolmson coimty. Mr. Stewart remained here 
until 1848, when he removed to Linn county. The year 1853 foimd 
him in Shell Rock, working in the Adair sawnnll, where he con- 
tinued employed until 1870. In the latter year Mr. Stewart 
opened a wagon shop, in Avhich his activities continued for many 

0. L. Eastman, above referred to, was born in the State of New 
York and moved with his parents to Will county, Illinois, in 1838, 
where he became apprenticed to a blacksmith. In October, 1855, 
he removed to Cedar Palls, Iowa, and in the spring of 1856 to 
Shell Rock. Here Mr. Eastman as soon as possible took up the 
tools of his trade and probably opened the first blacksmith shop 
in the ambitious and growing little town. In 1867 he added a 
stock of farm implements to his growing business and became one 
of the prosperous and influential men of the community. 

The lirst hotel erected in Shell Rock was put up by a man 
named R. I). Cram, who not only entertained the traveler, but also 
kept a stock of merchandise. He should, therefore, be considered 
as the first merchant in Shell Rock. 

It is highly probable that 0. S. Newcomb Avas the next settler 
who elected to go into business at Shell Rock. He in an early day 
had on display a stock of goods in a building on the east side of 
the river which he erected in October, 1855. Mr. Newcomb con- 
ducted a general store in this Iniilding until the spring of 1859, 
when he removed to the west side of the river and opened a general 
store in a log schoolhouse. In the fall of the same year he moved 
into more conmiodious quarters and had for a partner T. G. Cope- 
land until 1860, when J. H. Carter purchased the Copeland inter 
ests and the business was then and for many years afterward 
conducted under the firm name of Newcomb & Carter. 


CJeorge W. Adair built the first house — a log cabin — the first 
dam and the first mill in Shell Rock. Elias Walter erected the 
first frame liuilding in the town. 

R. D. Cram was Shell Rock's first merchant, opening a general 
store in the fall of 1855. Prank Walter, son of Elias Walter, was 
the first white child born in Shell Rock. The event took place in 
January, 1855. 



The first marriage was that of Elias Walter and Miss Rachel 

John L. Stewart was the first wagon maker. He opened a shop 
in 1854. 

tFolm S. iiobbins located in Shell Rock in the fall of 1854 and 
opened the first blacksmith shop. He sold out to George Hawker 
in 1855. The latter died in 1863. T. G. Copeland is given credit 
for being Shell Rock's premier shoemaker. He commenced work 
at his trade in Newcomb & Copeland 's store in 1859, remaining 
one year. ]\lr. Copeland then removed to Willoughby, a hamlet in 
Butler county. 

L. F. Bristow established the first furniture store in Shell Rock 
and the first drug store was opened by Dr. E. L. Thorp. The first 
hardware store in Shell Rock was opened by Philip Bender. Mr. 
Bender remained here two years and then removed to Cedar Falls. 

The growing town was without a photograph gallery until 1875, 
when Henry Apfel set up a gallery here and established a good 
business. He became an important personage in the town's list of 

0. L. Eastman, one of the early blacksmiths, established an 
agricultural implement concern in 1867. A harness shop was 
opened here in 1868 by T. S. Walter. Fairfield & Phillips opened 
a lumber yard in 1871, and the same year erected an elevator, with 
a capacity of 10,000 bushels of grain. In 1872 J. P. Bement went 
into the market and bought grain. W. E. Eastman ojDened a boot 
and shoe shop in 1872 and soon became one of the leading mer- 
chants of the town. D. J. Gould commenced making and repair- 
ing shoes in a little shop in September, 1874. That same year J. R. 
Clawson entered the hardware trade and his business soon grew 
to large dimensions. A drug store was opened in 1875 by E. H. 
Dudley and A. G. Sheaker under the firm name of Dudley & 
Sheaker. In 1876 J. H. Carson opened a general store and event- 
ually became one of the town 's leading merchants. C. W. Bishop 's 
jewelry store came into existence in 1876, and in the spring of 
1878 Mrs. H. Apfel opened a millinery store. J. H. Paley's boot 
and shoe store was opened in 1878, and in 1880 J. E. Patten began 
making harness for the trade. That same year Graham and Jero- 
laman formed a partnership and began buying live stock. In 1881 
E. J. Young's furniture store was opened, also J. B. Kelsey's 
grocery store. The following year J. M. Longfellow had a hard- 


ware store here and Graham & Jones a general merchandise estab- 
lishment, also W. F. Stoddard. 

The Hawkeye Creamery was built and began operations in the 
winter of 1878 l:)y W. W. Murray and Charles Austin, under the 
firm name of Murray & Austin. In July, 1881, Austin retired 
from the firm Imt came back in November of the same year, hav- 
ing secured W. W. Murray's interests therein. In April, 1882, 
Samuel Kennedy purchased a half interest and the firm became 
Austin & Keimedy. This creamery was run for many years, then 
came a new one in its place, which was built in 1896 by a stock 
company, of which George Adair is president, Robert Hmiter vice 
president, Ed Holland, secretary, and Fraidv Rice, treasurer. The 
capital stock is $3,000. This concern manufactures butter alone 
and during the year ending December 21, 1913, 4,017,478 pounds 
of milk, and 10,000 pounds of cream were received. The concern 
is on a paying basis and absorbs the dairy products of the farmers 
of a territory comprising several miles. 

Shell Rock has had several hotels. The first was built hy R. 
D. Cram in the spring of 1856 and conducted by him in connec- 
tion with his store. The property later went into the hands of 
W. R. Cotton, who called the hostelry the Butler House. George 
W. Adair opened the second hotel in 1867 and named it the Shell 
Rock House. He was the host to many travelers for about thir- 
teen years, when health failing hun, he went to Kansas, Avhere he 
died in the early '80s. 

The Central House was erected in 1878 by Boomer Brothers 
& J. W. Phillips. Phillips finally became sole owner, and sold 
to John Speaker. The latter was the landlord for many years. 

The Wabeek, a low two-story brick, standing on a prominent 
corner of Main street on the east side, has gained considerable 
favorable notoriet}' in the past two years through its excellent 
cuisine and luxui'ious l>eds. The landlord is a Swiss, John TTohl 
by name. 

Shell Rdck as early as 1855 had its lawyer in the person of 
Orson Rice, who remained about five years. Soon after his 
departirre came William Norville, and since his advent there have 
been intermittently lawyers who have located in the town. For 
a number of years past George A. Mclntyre has been a member 
of the Butler county Imr located here. Mr. Mclntyre is the pres- 
ent chief executive of Shell Rock. 




lf ••cx 

. , ;■. r.ATiONS, 


Dr. Jolui Seoby is the first person mentioned in the History of 
Butler County, published in 1883, as having located in Shell Rock. 
According to that publication he came in May, 1856, and practiced 
here until 1875, when he retired from all business activities. He 
has had a number of successors in the field of medicine. 


The town of Shell Rock has always had good schools. The 
first was taught by Mrs. Nancy McAllister, in a room at the home 
of Ebenezer Walter, in the summer of 1855. The children to 
receive instruction afterwards assembled in the Methodist church, 
where Ozro R. Newcomb taught them the elements of an educa- 
tion. In 1899 a new and modern school building of brick and 
stone material was erected, at a cost of $15,000. The structure 
is three stories and basement, and has every appointment to be 
found in a modern building of this character. The high school and 
grammar rooms are on the third floor. On the fourth are the 
laboratory, domestic science and manual training rooms. On the 
second floor are located the primary and intermediate depart- 
ments and on the first, the primary department and toilet rooms. 


A postoffice was established in the town of Shell Rock in the 

summer of 1855, with George Hawker as the first appointee by the 

Government as postmaster. He kept the offic(> in a building later 

owned and occupied by J. W. Stewart as a residence. At that time 

mail matter was not receiAcd regularly; probably at first about 

every two weeks, then weekly, and later semi-weekly, and when 

the railroad began operations mail came daily. The first mail was 

brought overland by carrier, who made his trips on horseback 

from Janesville. Afterwards it was received at Cedar Falls and 

brought overland to Shell Rock. Postage stamps were then not 

in vogue and the recipients of letters were compelled to pay as 

high as twenty-five cents in advance before letters were placed 

in their hands. 0. S. Newcomb was appointed postmaster in 1856 

and some of his successors follow by name: John Smith, James 

Leverich, William C. Cotton, J. H. Carter, William Mullen, James 

Leverich. E. L. Thorp, A. G. Stouebreaker. James W. Stewart, 

James Jerolaman, L. E. Sherwood. Following the death of Mr. 


Sherwood, his widow, Mrs. Belle Sherwood was appointed. She 
was succeeded by the present incumbent, Frauk L. Witt. This 
office began to issue money orders July 2, 1877. The first order 
was drawu July 2, 1877, for Dr. E. H. Dudley and the iirst order 
paid was to Minerva Welhuau. 


The municipality of Shell Rock became separate from the 
towusliip of like name and was incorporated as a town under the 
special laws of Iowa of 1873. The first election under the new 
dispensation was held in 1875, when the following officers were 
elected: Mayor, Ephraim Town; recorder, R. D. Prescott; treas- 
urer, J. W. Phillips; trustees, R. McDonald, J. G. Rockwell, C. 
Sweitzer, Orville Jones and A. G. Stonebreaker. As this manu- 
script is being prepared for the press, the intelligence has reached 
the writer of the death of Mr. Town, the first chief executive of 
Shell Rock. His death occm-red February 2, 1911. A complete 
sketch of this old pioneer will be found in the second volume of 
this work. In 1880, five years after Shell Rock was incorporated, 
the census for that decade gave the population as 719. The census 
of 1910, thirty years later, shows Imt a small growth. The figures 
for that year are 741. However, the community has progressed 
in other respects to a most gratifying degree. The character of 
the buildings has changed for the better, many beautiful resi- 
dences have sprung up here and there in different sections of the 
town. Brick business structures have taken the place of primi- 
tive frame affairs. Steel biidges now sjian the streams wliere 
formerly old wooden structures crossed them. The main business 
thoroughfares have been vastly improved and several miles of 
cement sidewalks have taken the place of the old l)oard walks. 
A beautiful city hall adorns the main street and adds very nmch 
to the convenience of the city's legislators and officials. It also 
adds largely to the safety of public records. A good hotel enter- 
tains and provides for the comfort of the traveling public, and a 
handsome modern brick school building adorns the east side of 
the town. All in all, Shell Rock takes a place in the front rank 
of Butler's many little mimicipalities. 



Shell Rock's city bmlding is a two-story structure, built of 
concrete blocks, and was erected in the fall of 1910. The first 
floor is devoted to offices for the mayor and as a council chamber, 
also for the use of the fire department. The second story was 
paid for and is owned by the Masonic lodge. This building stands 
on the main street of the town and is an important addition to 
the general make-up of that thoroughfare. 

Shell Rock has a municipal system of waterworks, which was 
built in the smnmer of 1898. The question of issuing $5,000 in 
bonds for the purpose of building waterworks was presented to 
the voters of the town in 1908 and was carried by a generous 
majority. The water is secured from the Shell Rock river and is 
pumped into a tank which stands upon a steel tower, 100 feet in 
height. This tank has a capacity of 50,000 gallons of water. The 
pumps are operated by power secured from the electric light com- 
pany, and the water flows through about one and one-half miles 
of mains, and is used only for emergency purposes. None of it 
goes into the homes of the residents for domestic uses. The plant, 
however, cannot be surpassed by any other of similar size in the 
State of Iowa and answers its purposes to the utmost satisfaction 
of all. The cost was about eight thousand dollars. 


There is also a system of sewerage in this well put up little 
trading community consisting of eight-inch and six-inch sewer 
pipes. The oiatlet is below the intake of the waterworks, or in 
other words, below the dam. The sewers were built about the 
same time as the waterworks and make for complete sanitation 
in the territory drained. 


An electric light plant was built here in 1901 by W. C. Wilson, 
and in 1902 the utility was in complete operation. The power 
house was built on the site of the old woolen mill at the rear of 
the west side mill. This improvement with the water rights 
cost about fifteen thousand dollars. Mr. Wilson operated the 
plant for some time and then sold it to William Toll and Ray 


Betts in 1910. The firm of Toll & Betts disposed of the property 
to Uri and W. W. Richards, March 1, 1912. Uri Richards, father 
of W. W. Richards, died in the fall of 1913. Smee then W. W. 
Richards has been in charge of the utility and is giving his patrons 
good service, which, by the way, is not continuous. 


Shell Rock has two strong banks, which are conservative in 
their methods and give to the patrons ample security of their 
funds. The Shell Rock Banking Company is the oldest institu- 
tion of its kind in the town. It was cstal)lished in 1888 by F. M. 
Mansfield, J. H. Carter and O. S. Newcomb, Avith a capital of 
$15,000. Jim Carter was also one of the initial meml:)ers of the 
concern and first filled the position of assistant cashier. This 
concern does a general banking business and now is capitalized 
at $25,000. Its president is Jim Carter; cashier, R. S. Stoddard; 
assistant cashiers, Carl Hunnnel and Carl Mansfield. The three 
senior members of this bank have died since it was first organ- 
ized, and 0. S. Newcomb retired as an official. The present owners 
are Jim Carter, ]\Irs. Carrie Mansfield, Mrs. Kate J. Carter and 
R. S. Stoddard. 

The Fai'mers State Bank was organized in 1907, capitalized 
at $25,000. The promoters of the enterprise were J. A. Graham, 
0. L. Mead, A. F. Yarcho, and J. B. Kelsey. The first officials 
Avere: J. A. Graham, president; J. H. Hutehins, vice president; 
M. F. Green, cashier. Mr. Hutehins died in the winter of 1912-13 
and was succeeded in the vice presidency by 0. L. Mead. In 1909 
Mr. Green resigned as first cashier and was succeeded by F. C. 
Harmon. In the winter of 1909 the bank erected its present home 
— a two-story brick structure. It does a general commercial bank- 
ing business and is strong in the confidence of its patrons. The 
p.-'pital stock is $25,000: deposits. $105,000. 


As soon as three or four families could be gathered together 
at Shell Rock, religious meetings were held at the homes of the 
settlers. The first services were administered at the home of G. 
W. Adair, in the fall of 1854, by Reverend Mr. Biirley. A sec- 
ond religious meeting was attended by the pioneers of this local- 


ity at the home of Hiram Ross iu 1855. Reverend Mr. Burley 
delivered an interesting discourse on this occasion. 

The Methodists organized the first religious society in Butler 
county, filing articles of incorporation June 26, 1855. This society 
held its first meeting at the home of Hiram Ross in 1855, and in 
February of that year Reverend Burley conducted a series of 
revival meetings, assisted by Reverends Kendall and Abram 
Myers, which resulted in the society acquiring thirty more mem- 
bers. A church building was erected in 1856 on the east side of 
the river on the site of the present structure. Meetings were 
held by the people of this faith as a class until 1871, when the 
society was reorganized. 

Rev. J. W. Gould, who came in 1869 and remained two years, 
was the first regular pastor. He was succeeded in 1871 by Rev. 
L. S. Cooley, whose term of service covered two yeai's. His suc- 
cessors in the pastorate were: Revs. Evigene Sherman, one year; 
Timothy Anderson, six months; A. Critchfield, one year; W. S. 
Skinner, two years; S. Knickerbocker, one year; G. L. Garrison, 
two years; S. Sharon; J. O. Dobson, 1883-85; C. H. Taylor, 1885- 
89; J. H. Davis, 1889-92; G. H. Brindell, 1892-95; W. H. Slinger- 
land, 1895-98; Daniel Sheffer, 1898-99; Walter Piper, 1899-1904; 
D. S. Stabler and J. E. Johnson, 1904-06 ; George B. Shoemaker, 
1906-10; John Dawson, 1910-13; and Thomas Carson, the present 
pastor, who took charge in 1913. 

The old church building was destroyed by fire in June, 1898. 
Immediately thereafter work on a new edifice was begun, and the 
same was dedicated in the following November by Rev. J. C. 
Magee, presiding elder, assisted by the pastor of the church. Rev. 
Daniel Sheffer. The church binlding is valued at $10,000. The 
present membership is three hundred and seventy-five, while the 
enrollment in the Sunday school is three himdred and fifty. 



The Baptist Church was organized in Shell Rock, January 18, 
1864, by Rev. Samuel Sill, assisted by Rev. William Wood. The 
first members were Mary E. Sill, Menzo Best, Emily 1j. Best, 
Roxy Couch, Minerva Couch, James Chaffin, Deborah Chaffin, J. 
W. Whittaker, Nancy Whittaker, Serepta Copeland and Fannie 
Helason. The first regular pastor of the local Baptist church 
was Rev. Samuel Sill and services were first held in the stone 


building ou Main street, now the property of O. L. Eastman, by 
Rev. I. R. Dean, who was the second county superintendent of 
schools for Butler county. Mi*. Dean came from Kalamazoo, 
Michigan, and went from here to Pike's Peak, and while on liis 
way back lost his life. The successor to Reverend Sill as regular 
pastor was Dr. J. Hall, founder of the Kalamazoo Baptist Col- 
lege, and afterwards president of Granville (Ohio) College. 

After the society had been fully organized and during the win- 
ter of 1868-9, very interesting and enthusiastic revival meetings 
were held, which meant forty-two additions to the church enroll- 
ment. The lots upon which the church stands and most of the 
labor for its construction were secured l)y the Ladies' Mite Societ}% 
in the numerous ways they had of obtaining money for church 
purposes. A church edifice was built at a cost of $5,500, a frame 
structure, 35x60 feet in dimensions. The present membership of 
the church is one hundred and thirteen, with an enrollment in the 
Sunday school of one hundred. 

Those who have served in the pastorate from 1882 to the pres- 
ent time are as follows: 

Revs. J. J. Mclntire, November, 1882— May, 1884; J. B. 
Edmonson, April, 1884 — February, 1886; A. Whitman, December, 
1886— November, 1889; D. L. Clouse, November, 1890— July, 1892; 
C. H. Hands, July, 1892— July, 1893 ; N. E. Chapman, December, 
1893— March, 1895; J. G. Johnson, June, 1895— October, 1897; 
0. P. Sonner, October, ] 897— October, 1898; Fletcher E. Fludson, 
December, 1898 — May, 1903; George Frederick Reinking, July, 
1903— September, 1904; C. H. H. Moore, December, 1904— Sep- 
tember, 1905; Russell D. Robertson, December, 1905 — December, 
1906; A. B. Bush, September, 1907— June, 1910; N. H. Daily, 
September, 1910, until his death, November 22, 1912; D. E. Kil- 
loren, August, 1913. 


The Congregational Society was organized in the spring of 
1892 and before the close of the year a good substantial frame 
church building had been erected and dedicated. Among the 
first members of this society are remembered H. K. Porter and 
wife and W. H. Dryer, Charles Austin and wife, S. J. Gould and 
wife and Mrs. F. W. Remington. In all there were about forty 
charter members. At first services were held in the opera house 


and the first pastor was Rev. J. D. Wells, who remained three 
years. It was Reverend Wells who planned and assisted largely 
in building the house of worship. The Congregational church 
now has about sixty conununicauts and a good attendance in the 
Sunday school. The present pastor is Rev. P. H. Fisk. 

ST. Mary's catholic church 

In the territories contigiious to the town of Shell Rock there 
has been for many years qaiite a sprinkling of people of the Roman 
Catholic faith. In 1891, through the instrumentality of F'ather 
Coyle, a church was established here and a building erected for 
the convenience of its members. Among those who first assisted 
in the formation of St. Mary's parish were Mr. and Mrs. James 
Heery, the John Driunms, Michael McCormiclvS, Patrick Drumms, 
Peter Heery, John Heery, Albert Heerys, Dennis Hollands, Wil- 
liam Leary, Martin Gleason, Thomas McCarty, Joseph Walker, 
William Rafferty, Patrick McNamara, Nicholas Pray, John 
Flynn, Joseph Cantwell and Dennis Evans. 

Father Shields held the first mass in the home of Michael 
McComiick, and for some time thereafter the meml^ers were 
unable to secure the services of a priest but about once a year. 
This was during and immediately after the Civil war. Then came 
Father Flavin, who held mass at the homes of his parishioners 
mitil 1891, when a priest was supplied regularly from Waverly. 
Since 1891 the following priests have attended this church: 
Fathers Murphy, Seanlon, McMahon, Smith, Ryan, O'Farrell, 
Comerford, Murphy, Coyle, O'Reilly, Sullivan, McCauley, Gil- 
christ, Grady, Doherty, Fitzpatrick, Mulligan and Dennis Lun- 
don. Services are held here about once a month and there are 
about twenty-three families in the parish. 


In January, 1914, a Yoiing Men's Christian Association was 
organized at Shell Rock by Vernon Neal and Earl Johnson. The 
new society has secured rooms in the old News block and later 
on will complete its organization by the election of officers. 



Shell Rock Post, No. 262, Grand Army of the Republic, was 
orgauized at Shell Rock in 1883, with twenty-eight charter mem- 
bers. The old veterans held meetings for some years but, by rea- 
son of death in the rank and file, removals and other causes the 
membership dwindled away until scarcely a corporal's guard 
could be gathered together. This led to the disintegration of the 
society and about twenty years ago regular meetings were dis- 
continued. The first officers of the society were: J. F. Wright, 
commander; E. M. Dudley, vice commander; J. \V. Walter, Jr., 
V. C; W. W. Murray, Surg.; B. Pierce, Chap.; L. H. Meade, Q. 
M.; W. J. Re, Officer of the Day; George Adair, Officer of the 
Guard; J. R. Gibson, Serg. Maj.; J. A. Morrison, Q. M. S.; L. T. 
Bristol, Adjt. 


Escallop Lodge, No. 261, A. F. & A. M., was organized April 
22, 1869. The first officers were: Asa Lowe, W. M.; Julius 
Preston, S. W^; G. G. Hawley, J. W.; E. W. Metzger, Treas.; J. 
G. Scoby, Sec; 0. S. Eastman, S. D.; Charles Hitchcock, J. D.; 
Alonzo Coastes, Tyler. This is one of the strong lodges of the 
town and has a good working membership. Its hall is nicely 
located and well appointed and the paraphernalia is quite an 
expensive one. 


Shell Rock Lodge, No. 270, I. 0. 0. P., was organized January 
26, 1874, with the following officers: F. Mason, N. G.; R. D. 
Preseott, V. G.; L. F. Bristol, Sec; J. D. Powers, Treas.; J. Mul- 
len, 0. G. ; J. H. Meade, I. G. This lodge is also in good condition 
as to its finances and membership. 


Lnperial Lodge, No. 283, Knights of Pythias, was organized 
August 13, 1891, with the following charter members: F. O. New^- 
comb, William Ross, William H. iVIcGregor, George E. Tabor, 
Will F. Brown, Jim Carter, F. M. Mansfield, E. L. Jones, H. E. 


Fuurtiier, 0. C. Miner, all of whom were the first officials: T. L. 
AMlliauis, E. J. Moyer, George A. Melutyre, I. W. Morris, E. E. 
Thurp, W. H. Smith, (Jeorge E, Hauimonds, Wilham H. Jeuks, 
T. S. DeWitt, W. C. Thompson, J. H. Carter, Phil Pray, George E. 
Meade, J. W. Wheat, V. L. Olney, Robert Richardson. 

Harmony Temple, No. 3U, Pythian Sisters, was organized 
Angust 10, 1893. The first officials were: Carrie Mansfield, Hat- 
tie Tabor, Ella Smith, Sadie Nelson, Parthena Hammonds, Lil- 
lian Carson, Kate Jenks, Mary Bement, Kate J. Carter, and in 
addition to these, other charter members were: Minnie Jones, 
Minnie Wilcox, Celesta Carson, Julia Cam, Lillian Wheat, Nettie 
Meade, Enmia Miner, Baldwin Cain, C. M. Carson, J. H. Carter, 
W. E. Brown, W. H. Jenks, George W. Jones, C. P. Bement, 
George Hammonds, E. D. Wilcox, Jim Carter, F. M. Mansfield, 
George Meade, William Wheat, W. H. McGregor, W. H. Smith, 
W. L. Nelson. 


White Oak Camp, No. 2118, ^Modern Woodmen of America, 
was organized July 28, 1894, with the following charter members: 
Robert S. Connor, Mayrand R. Farr, Abb Medders, Pat McCoy, 
Francis K. McCague, John H. Poorman, Emil Sebastian, William 
A. Willis, De Witt C. Fyler, Wilhelm Vosburg, William C. Wil- 
son, Charles Winchell. 


West Point township is one of the four central townships of 
the county and contains the present covuity seat. From an agri- 
cultural point of view, it is one of the most desirable portions of 
the county, there being no marked differences in the elevation of 
land. Its surface is rolluag and there is practically not a foot of 
soil that is not available for cultivation. A small stream known 
as Kilson's creek, rises just a little north of the center of the 
township and flows south into the West Fork. Another small 
creek rises in section 23 and drains the extreme southeastern part 
of the township. 

Near the southern line of section 36 in this township along the 
l)anks of this creek there are several mineral springs, situated in 
a sort of peat bog. The water of these springs has been analyzed 
and is said by experts to be of a quality equal to that of the famous 
Colfax springs. The land on which these springs is located was 
formerly a pai't of tlie Iowa Central Stock Farm and at one time 
the Messrs. Stout, of Dubuque, owners of this farm, seriously con- 
sidered the advisability of developing the resources of these min- 
eral springs. Nothing, however, came of that project. These 
sju'lngs were discovered by accident through the miring down of 
a horse, ridden by an employe of the stock farm. Later these 
springs were boxed in and the water was piped to several large 
tanks, which were used for watering cattle in the pasture in which 
they were located. Since that time no further effort has been 
made to utilize the water of these springs and at the present 
time nothing remains to mark their location, except the rotted 
tanks and enclosures of the springs. They are easily located, 
liowever, by the sulphurate deposits which are found in the 
stream near at hand. It is possible that at some time advantage 
will be taken of the presence of these mineral springs. 

Vril. I— 2G 



The soil of West Point township is a rich black loam, with a 
clay sub-soil. Originally there was no native tim1)er within the 
limits of the township. At present, however, the township is 
dotted with artificial groves in such numbers and profusion as to 
make it appear ahiu)st like a naturally timbered country. Refer- 
ence has already l>een made to the grove of artificial timber on 
the Iowa Central Stock Farm. There is also a fine artificial grove 
known as Walnut grove on sections 21 and 22. 

A person traveling through West Point township will be 
impressed by the large number of magnificent farm homes, evi- 
dencing better than anything else could the excellent quality of 
the soil of this section of the county. The towns of Allison and 
Bristow are both situated partly within the lunits of this town- 
ship. They are connected by the Chicago Great Western rail- 
road, which fiu'nishes a commercial outlet for the products of the 
township. The western side of the township approaches within a 
short distance of what was formerly known as Boylan's gi'ove. 
This was, as has already been stated, the location of the first 
settlement in this part of the county. As a result, the earliest set- 
tlement of West Point township commenced in this district in 
the western part. 


The first entry of land in the township was made by H. P. 
Early, on May 2, 1854. Other early entries were as follows: 
Samuel Moots* August 21, 1854; W. W. Willingham, August 21, 
1854; W. H. SarbeT and Adam H. Sarber, October 2, 1854; and 
Elizabeth Rush, November 1, 1854. All these entries were made 
in sections 18 and 19. 

Philip Miller and George Lash were the earliest settlers of 
West Point township. They were brothers-in-law and came to 
the county in the fall of 1854. Mr. Miller preempted eighty acres 
of land on section 20. He is the father of W. P. Miller, at present 
a resident of Allison, and owner of the Pilot Rock Stock Farm, in 
section 22. 

Samuel Moots fii-st located on section 19. Later he became 
a resident of Pittsfoi'd township. John Lash, William and Adam 
Sarber, mentioned above, and Setli Strong were among the set- 
tlers in the township in the year 1854. 

In 1855 Lewis Kilson and John Hewitt located in the town- 
ship. Mr. Kilson Avas a native of Norway and came to America in 


1838, landing in New York city on the tirst day of September. 
He came west by way of the Hudson river to Albany, Erie canal 
to Buffalo and by boat across Lake Erie to Cleveland, by the Ohio 
canal to Portsmouth, and on the Ohio river thence to Cincinnati 
on a tlatboat. From Cincinnati he went after some months to 
Quincy, Illinois, by water and settled in Adams county, Hlinois, 
where he remained for about twelve years. After a short resi- 
dence in Wisconsin, he returned to Illinois and in 1855 came to 
Butler county. He entered two hundred and forty acres of land 
in West Point township, upon which he lived to the time of his 
death. Several children, among them Frank S. and Charles G., 
are still residents of the county. 

John Hewitt settled on section 19. He had several children 
and was related by marriage with the Moots, Boylan and Early 
families, all of them early settlers. 

In 1856 Charles V. Surf us came to the township from Indiana. 
He first settled on section 18 and later removed to section 30, on 
a farm which still remains in possession of the family. 

Among other early settlers were Eobert Smith, WiUiam 
Gough, George Trindle, Hiram Bell, Charles Thompson and 
Joseph N. Neal. 

William Gough first settled on a farm in Dayton township 
in 1853. Later he removed to a farm on section 4, in West Point 
township. Mr. Gough was a native of England and was well 
known as an early preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church. 
Two sons, Joseph J. and Thomas A., are still residents of the 
township and are noted at length in the biographical volume. 

Hiram Bell is the father of Walter S., John A. and George H. 
Bell, all of them still residents of the township. 

Charles Thompsf)n, a native of England, was for several years 
the superintendent of the Iowa Central Stock Farm. Later he 
purchased a fann on section 33, where he resided to the time of 
his death. His sons. Charles H. and R. E., are at present residents 
of Allison. Another son. Will, resides on a farm in the town- 

Joseph N. Neal was at one time the owner of over one thou- 
sand acres of land situated on and near section 16. 


West Point township was originally a part of Ripley, which at 
the time of its formation included the greater part of the western 


half of the coimty. Iii 1856 West Point township was organized 
including at first the present boundary of Pittsford township. In 
1858 Pittsford was given separate organization and West Point 
assumed its present limits. John Lash was duly authorized to 
call an election in West Point township, as now bounded, on the 
5th day of April, 1858. The name of Seth Strong appears as 
judge of election at this time. John Hewitt was elected township 
clerk, C. L. Jones, constable, and Seth Strong, justice of the 



The first birth recorded in the township was that of Orrin 
Lash, son of George and Mary Lash, born in November, 1855. 

The first marriage occurred in January, 1856, bet^\'een Seth 
Strong and Miss Mary Cannon. Justice of the Peace W. R. Jami- 
son officiated on this occasion. The death of Mrs. Strong was the 
first recorded in the township. 

The first hotel was kept by John Lash, in a log house built by 
him in 1854. This was near the present site of Bristow. 


This stock farm, which at one time comprised more than two 
thousand acres of land and was one of the best known farms in 
the state, was originally owned by R. A. Babbage, of Dubuque. 
It included all of sections 35 and 36, West Point township, and 
section 1, Ripley, and portions of a munber of adjoining sections. 
This land was purchased originally as a matter of speculation by 
Mr. Babbage, who sent Charles Thompson out to open it up and 
put the land on the market. Later Mr. Babbage decided to make 
a stock farm of it. 

Mr. Thompson remained as superintendent of the farm until 
]871, when he was STiceeeded by Ira Stimson. About this time 
a A'illage called iMaudville, in honor of a daughter of ^Nlr. Babbage, 
was platted on sections 35 and 36. A store and blacksmith shop 
were built here and sold to M. B. Hendricks, of Butler Center, 
who commenced building on it but never finished. The build- 
ing was later removed to Butler Center and finally to Allison. A 
newspaper, the Maudville Times, was published here for about 
a year, having been moved to this location from Parkersburg, 


where it was conducted under the name of the Butler County 

Later Mr. Babbage failed in business and the Iowa Central 
Stock Farm passed into the hands of H. L. Stout, a Dubuque 
capitalist and lumberman. Mr. Stout, in January, 1875, secured 
the services of Irving M. Fisher as superintendent. Mr. Fisher 
remained as superintendent of this farm until it was finaUy sold 
in 1891, at which time he pvirchased the half section, upon which 
most of the farm Iniildings were located. Mr. Fisher is still resid- 
ing upon this farm. 

Dm-ing the period of the ownership of the farm by H. L. Stout 
and his son Frank D., who was associated with his father in busi- 
ness, the farm became famous as the home of the fuiest strains of 
blooded stock. It has sometimes been termed the "Lexington of 
the Northwest," for upon this farm there were developed a num- 
ber of famous trotting horses that were known throughout the 

For many years before the establishment of the town of 
Allison this farm furnished a market for much of the grain that 
was raised by surrounding farmers. One of the most interesting 
features of the farm was a deer park, consisting of a nmnber of 
acres of artificial woodland, in which a nmnber of deer were kept. 
This was for a number of years a favorite resort for sightseeing 
])arties and picnics. This herd of deer was sold after the disposal 
of the farm to Austm Corbin, a New York banker, and by him 
transported to his preserve in Vermont. 


Originally the western half of West Point township was united 
with the eastern half of Pittsford tow^nship in a single school 
district. The schoolhouse was located in Boylan's grove. There 
were at that time no settlers in the eastern part of the township 
and no necessity of providing school facilities. Later when the 
township was given separate organization the whole township 
constituted a school district. The first school in the township 
was taught during the winter of 1859-60 at the house of Thomas 
Hewitt, by Miss Mary A. Rich, with an attendance of about fif- 
teen scholars. The schoolhouse at that time stood about a mile 
east of what is now Bristow. 


The tirst divisiuii of the township was made ou September 16, 
1867, when it was resolved by the board to divide the township 
east and west into three equal parts, making them two miles wide 
and the whole length of the township and mmibering them in 
order from north to south. During the succeeding winter, how- 
ever, oidy one school was maintained — that in district No. 2 in 
the building already in use for that purpose. The proposition to 
ai)pi()priate $8(JU for Iniilding a schoolhouse in district No. 3 was 
defeated by the lioard in .March, 1868. ly May, 1868, the first 
term of school in district No. 1 was held, with M. A. Park as 
teacher. The sum of $16 a month was paid for teacher's service. 
This school was held in a rented room for the purpose. 

In ]March, 1869, the electors voted at the annual meeting to tax 
the township for the purpose of building a schoolhouse in district 
No. 1. A schoolhouse for district No. 3 had previously been pro- 
vided by action of the board in September, 1868. The contract was 
let to Isaac Boylan and the building was constructed on one- 
fourth (if an acre secured from C. L. Jones, on section 30. The 
first school in this district was taught in January, 1869, by Ed P. 
Jones. In February, 1869, sub-district No. 3 was divided and a 
new district known as su])-distriet No. 4 was formed from sections 
25, 26, 27, 34, 35 and 36. This action was taken in accordance 
with a petition signed by Charles Thompson and others. The 
first school in this sub-district No. 4 was taught by Richard Gon- 
zales, in the winter of 1870-71. 

In September, 1869, a site for a schoolhouse in sub-district 
No. 1 was obtained from Robert Smith on section 7. At the same 
time sub-district No. 2 was divided and a new sub-disti'ict, No. 5, 
fornled of the eight sections of the eastern end of the former dis- 
trict. The annual meeting, however, in the spring of 1870, 
defeated the proposition to build a schoolhouse in sub-district No. 

5. They, however, approj^riated the sum of $600 for erecting a 
schoolhouse in district No. 4, previously formed. 

In Ai^ril. 1870, a contract for erecting a schoolhouse in dis- 
trict No. 1 was let to Ancel Durand for the sum of $530. This 
building was completed and accepted August 22, 1870. 

In September. 1870. sub-district No. 1 was di\dded by setting, 
off the four sections on the west to be known as No. 1 and the 
balance- — eight sections — forming a new sub-district known as No. 

6. The first school in district No. 6 was opened on the 24th of 
April. 1871, with Carrie A. GoTigh as teacher. 


The records of the annual meetings would seem to indicate 
that the electors were loath to tax themselves for school building 
purposes. As a result no school was held in sub-district No. 5 
until November, 1872, when H. R. Burtch was employed as 
teacher. District No. 4, being without a school building, was 
without a session of school from July, 1871, to December, 1874. 

On September 16, 1872, a new sub-district known as No. 7 was 
formed between districts Nos. 3 and 4, consisting of four sections. 
The first school in this district was taught by Susie Trindle, in the 
winter of 1874-5. 

On September 21, 1874, the four sections of the eastern end of 
sub-district No. 5 — sections 13, 14, 23 and 24 — were set oft' and 
numbered as sub-district No. 8. The first teacher in district No. 8 
was Frank A. Turner. 

A final sub-division of the township into nine districts, each 
consisting of four townships, was made on the 20th of September, 
1875. At that time the sub-districts were renumbered in order, 
beginning with No. 1 in the northwestern part of the township, 
and numbering south. According to this former district No. 7 
became No. 4 ; No. 4 became No. 9 ; and a new district formed of 
sections 1 and 2, and 11 and 12, was numbered 7. The name of 
the first teacher in the new sub-district No. 7 is not given. The 
organization of the township into independent sub-districts was 
continued until 1877, when by vote of the electors of the township 
the sub-district system was abandoned and nine independent dis- 
tricts, with the same boundaries as the sub-districts, were formed 
under the following names: District No. 1, Pleasant View: No. 
2, Bristow; No. 3, Pleasant Grove; No. 4, Pleasant Valley; No. 
5, Wahmt Grove; No. 6, Brushy Mound; No. 7, German; No. 8, 
Richland; No. 9, Maudville. 

Tlie last entries in the record book of the secretary of the 
district township were made on the 17th of February, 1877, at 
which time he reported the final distribution of the fimds of the 
school township among the independent districts into which it 
had been divided. 

At a later date the Bristow district was expanded to include 
a portion of Pittsford township. After the establishment of the 
town of Allison, the Maudville district was incorporated in the 
independent district of Allison. The other independent districts 
of the township remained without change in their boundaries to 
the present time. 



1856, 230; 1860, 111; 1863, 131; 1865, 155; 1867, 155; 1869, 
235; 1870, 320; 1873, 437; 1875, 516; 1880, 800; 1890, 1,033; 1900, 
1,506; 1910, 1,439. 


A tract of land contaiuiiig teu acres was laid out aud platted 
in 1855 by Henry Early and George Lash. ' The name chosen for 
the coming village was West Point. The name was subsequently 
changed to Bristow. 

Bristow is located on the south part of section 18 and the 
north part of section 19. The town is very pleasantly situated, 
being in the midst of a fertile farming section and has two rail- 
roads, the Chicago Great Western and the Chicago & Northwest- 
ern. The population is 550, about sixty of whom live in that part 
(small) of the town lying in Pittsford township. 

Julius Huffman erected a small frame and log building in the 
new town in the year 1860, in which he placed a small stock of 
genei'al merchandise. He was Bristow 's pioneer merchant. Mr. 
Huffman, after a two years' experience, concluded the place was 
too slow in a business way, which led him to pack up his chattels 
and move to Cedar Falls. 

James Butler was the successor to Julius Huft'man in the 
business activities of Bristow, embarking in the sale of groceries, 
dry goods and other necessaries which he displayed in a small 
residence building purchased in 1866. He also remained but a 
short time, selling his stock of goods to H. J. Playter in June, 
1868. Playter conducted the store until 1871 and then removed 
to Butler Center, at one time the county seat, a town planned and 
platted for a metropolis, but now extinct. After his hopes failed 
of fruition at Butler Center and at Aplington, Mr. Playter 
returned to Bristow in 1875 and again engaged in business. But 
the fates seemed to be antagonistic, for in 1877 he made a final deal 
which terminated for all time his business career at this point. 
Eventually, H. J. Playter became station agent for the Dubuque 
& Dakota (now Chicago Great Western) railroad, and continued 
as such several years. 

The firm of Colvin & Arnold opened a general store in 1872. 
Mr. Colvin withdrew his interests in the venture in 1874 and 


started a similar establishment for himself. He sold out in 1880 
and removed to Plainlield, in Bremer comity. His former part- 
ner became associated with L. L. Hatch and the hrm of Ai'nold 
& Hatch soon acquired a large and remunerative trade from the 
surrounding country, which was then becoming quite thickly set- 

Hoboys Brothers was the name of a general merchandising 
tlrm which began business in 1878, but could not make arrange- 
ments with its creditors. The stock of goods was placed in the 
hands of an assignee and sold to satisfy a moiety of debts 

E. M. Havens opened a store with a variegated stock of goods 
and made a success of the undertaking. He remained in busi- 
ness many years and became an important factor in the affairs 
of Bristow; so did H. A. Wheeler, in 1882. He was for a long 
while engaged here as a general merchant and attained a fair 
degree of success in the business. 

The first persons to engage in the manufacture and sale of 
harness comprised the firm of Kot-liei' & Lichty. The business 
was started in 1878, when Mr. Lichty retired and Mr. Holz took 
his place as a member of the firm ; another harness and saddlery 
concern about this time was that of Hoffman & Laster, which 
came from Waverly and remained two years; then the firm of 
Hultz & Connelly was formed in 1880, which carried on a harness 
shop until C. L. Jones superseded Hultz, when the firm name was 
changed to Jones & Connelly. 

The hardware firm of Kocher & Kocher, father and son, came 
into existence in 1879: D. F. Ellsworth opened a drug store in 
1880 ; a Mr. Hepner opened the first blacksmith shop and remained 
until 1865, being followed by Barnett Neal, who remained one 
year ; one Wagoner was here a short time ; then came James Con- 
nelly from Canada in 1869, who plyed his forge until 1882, when 
he sold his shop to G. G. Coonley, who had been kept busy in 
another shop since 1876; Henry Underkafer opened a shop in 
1879. The two last named artisans became permanent fixtures. 

W. P. Smith was the pioneer lumber dealer here. He sold 
his stock of lumber to the firm of Dubois & Kenison in the fall 
of 1881. Horace A. Wheeler was a general merchant of 1882. 

The "Farmers Home" was opened in the fall of 1863 and the 
host, George Trindle. entertained the traveler until 1870, selling 


his property that year to Joseph Merrill aud removing to a build- 
iBg on section 31. 

John Weeks opened a tavern in 1865, in a log building erected 
by George Lash in 1856. Weeks disposed of the property to F. 
A. Jones in 1869, who catered to his patrons until 1878. In the 
latter year Jones put up a better and more commodious building, 
which took the name of the Jones House. The hostelry was 
rented to E. A. Newberry, who was its landlord for many years. 

The Eagle House was built and opened by E. J. Stoddard in 
the autumn of 1878. In 1880 William Befsnider became pro- 
prietor. Stoddard took back the hotel in 1880 and in 1882 closed 
its doors to the public. 


The district court issued an order on the 16th day of Novem- 
ber, 1881, appointing and directing a commission composed of 
H. J. Playter, S. B. Wyrick, R. B. Lockwood, James Connelly 
and L. L. Hatch, to call an election in which the voters of the 
village of Bristow should decide by their ballots the question of 
incorporation. Pursuant to instructions the commissioner called 
the election for December 15, 1881, at which time a majority of 
the local electorate cast their ballots for the innovation. On the 
10th day of January the first regular municipal election was held 
for the selection of officers of the new legal government and the 
choice of the voters fell upon the following named persons: T. 
E. Newberry, mayor ; W. P. Early, recorder ; J. N. Kocher, treas- 
urer; S. KenisoB. mai'shal ; John Boston, street commissioner; 
William Arnold, J. W. Kocher, James Connelly. A. W. Hitch- 
cock and S. Gibson, trustees. It is said a tie developed in the 
vote for mayor, the contestants being Mr. Newberry and Mr. 
Durand. The unusual problem was solved by a mutual agree- 
ment between the interested persons in the following manner: 
An unknown number of apples was placed in a box and, as decided 
upon, the last apple remaining and taken therefrom settled the 
matter; so it may be said that an apple decided the election of 
Bristow's first chief executive. 

Wlion B^isto^Y was incorporated it had a population of 200 
and in 1910 the number of inhabitants was given in the census 
returns as 291 . These figures show a slow and not very important 
or encouraging growth. The reason for this condition may justly 


be ascribed to its contiguity to Dumont on the west and AlKson 
on the east, both of which are but a few miles away; however, 
Bristow is a busy little trading point, has a number of well built 
business houses, churches, a school building and many fine resi- 
dences. But it has not reached the stage, in the estimation of 
the leading citizens, that demands a town hall, waterworks, sewer- 
age, electric lights and paving. These utilities will come in time, 
it is anticipated by those optimisticall}^ inclined, and an effort is 
now in a formative state, to secure an electric current from Hamp- 
ton for an electric light system. 


Bristow was included in the territory comprising West Point 
township when the system of school districts was adopted. But 
in Jime, 1876, it became an independent district, which took in 
four sections of land — ^17, 18, 19, 20. To this were annexed in the 
winter of 1881-2 section 13 and the northeast quarter of section 
24, in Pittsford township. A small frame school building was 
erected on section 19 in West Point township, on land owned by 
P. E. Newberry and on section 14 in Pittsford. Here the chil- 
dren of the town and vicinity received instruction for some years; 
the school on section 19 was al>andoned about six years ago. 

In 1880, a two-story frame schoolhouse was erected in Bristow, 
containing four rooms, at a cost of $2,200. The first teacher was 
O. H. Scott; his assistant was Mrs. Ella Gibson. For some years 
past this school has given employment to five instructors, a princi- 
pal, an assistant principal and three grade teachers. But the 
building itself has become inadequate, insanitary and inconveni- 
ent. This condition Avas realized by many of the advocates for a 
new structure, and by their eiforts they caused a special elec- 
tion to be called in the year 1913, for the puipose of submitting 
the question of building a new schoolhouse, and issuing bonds in 
the sum of $15,000 for the purpose. Unfortunately for the 
project, the iimovation failed by the narrow majority against it 
of four votes. The project will again be brought to the attention 
of the electoi'ate in March, 1914. 


The first postoflfice established in this vicinity was located on 
section 24, Pittsfcn-d township and named Boylan's Orove. H. 


A. Early was the lii'st appointee of the office and received his 
coiimiission about 1856. In a few years the office was moved 
to West Point, uow Bristow, and Julius Hoffman was placed in 
charge. He was succeeded by G. L. Jones, October 10, 1862, and 
A. Durand followed as postmaster iii 1862, when the office was 
removed back into Pittsford township and there remained until 
the appointment of James Butler, when the office again became 
a part of West Point. Mr. Butler was the postmaster until 1868, 
in which year he was succeeded by H. J. Playter. The last named 
was in office but a few months, when J. C. Underwood was 
appointed and took charge of the mails. In 1876 the name of the 
office was changed from West Point to Bristow. Before Ms death, 
which occurred in 1912, C. L. Jones was the postmaster at Bris- 
tow about twenty successive years. A daughter, Miss Anna 
Jones, has been the incmnbent since then. 


By a glance at the deposit of the Citizens State Bank, the 
reader will appreciate the fact that this financial concern is one 
of no little importance to the comnumity and that it flourishes by 
reason of a grounded confidence of a large list of patrons in its 
integrity and stanchne'ss. This bauk was organized under the 
laws of Iowa, ^Vpri] 11, 1907, and was the outgrowth of the private 
Ijanking house of J. W. Ray and H. A. Foote, established in 1897. 
The present bank was capitalized at $25,000 and had for its 
first officers J. W. Pay, president; W. F. Ray, vice president; and 
H. A. Foote, cashier. Mr. Foote died in the year 1908 and since 
then J. F. Jungking has been cashier. The present staff of officers 
is composed of W. F. Ray, president; F. T. AVells, vice presi- 
dent; F. J. Ray, vice president; J. F. Jungking, cashier. Capital, 
$25,000; deposits, $180,000. The bank's home is a fine two-story 
brick building, erected in 1903. 


A Methodist Episcopal Society was organized at Bristow in 
the summer of 1855, by Rev. Swearingen, of Clai'ks^dlle, who 
came into the neighborhood for the occasion, and remained as 
the pastor imtil 1857. Among the first members were John Lash 
and wife, P. Miller and wife and Mrs. George Lash. A church 


l)iiildiug was soon erected and a parsonage, where Rev. Alva 
Freeman, who came in 1857, was the first pastor to reside. This 
church continued on with resident pastors at micertahi intervals, 
but for mam^ years past the church was attended from Allison. 
Since 1913 the pastor at Dumont has been in charge of the Bris- 
tow church, which now has a membershiji of probably sixty souls. 
The church was erected in the summer of 1896, at a cost of $2,500, 
and dedicated free of debt July 12, 1896. 

The United Brethren Church has been established at Bristow 
for many years and the writei- was promised the necessary data 
rclatint^' to its history, which has failed to materialize. Conse- 
(pif^ntly all that can hv said of it in this work already has been 


The Presljyterians at one time had a strong organization at 
this place. The church was established at Jamison's Grove, Octo- 
ber 31, 1857, taking the name of the Pisgah Church. On this 
occasion Rev. Williston Jones officiated. The names of the origi- 
nal members follow : Samuel Armstrong and wife, John A. Staley 
and wife, Mrs. Susannah Harlan, Henry Meyer, wife and two 
sons, Henry and Frederick; Mrs. Brotherton, Mrs. Hannah 
Moore, Mrs. Isabella Jamison and Mrs. Diantha Wickham. In 
June, 1872, the Pisgah and Butler Center churches consolidated 
and were incorporated as the Pisgah Presbyterian Church. The 
following year a house of worship was erected, 42x60 feet, at a 
cost of $2,400, for which the people of Bristow donated a bell. 
About this time there were seventy members, but in the '80s the 
number had dwindled to one-half and eventually the members 
became so few that regular meetings ceased. For years past there 
has been no resident minister. 


The Episcopal Church established a society of that faith in 
Bristow a number of years ago, and l)uilt a tastefully designed 
and comf(n'table little chamber, where the members held regular 
services under the ministration of a resident pastor. But his 
people were so weakened in numbers that many years ago the 
church was abandoned and the building converted into a hall for 
the variotis frntei'nal lodges of the town. 



Garfield Lodge, No. 436, I. 0. 0. F., was organized November 
17, 1881, with the following charter members: Peter Ebling, 
Jacob Krebbs, C. H. Wilbur, C. W. Smith, John C. Kline. First 
officials: Peter Ebling, N. G.; C. H. Wilbm-, V. G.; J. Krebbs, 
recording secretary; W. R. Nichols, treasurer; T. M. Early^ 
permanent secretary. 

Snowball Lodge, No. 299, Daughters of Rebekah, was organ- 
ized in Octol)er, 1895, with the following charter members: Frank 
S. Kilson, Francis E. Newberry, Charles T. Coonley, William 
Arnold, D. C. Graham, John W. Koeher, M. H. Barnes, A. E. 
Barnes, George G. Smith, Sarah Kilson, Sophia Newberry, Emma 
F. Coonley, Sarah E. Arnold, Bertha J. Graham, Ida Koeher, Eva 
R. Barnes, Cornelia B. Barnes and Alfred Meese. 

Vulcan Lodge, No. 198, A. F. & A. M., was organized Jime 
4, 1889, with fifteen charter members. A. F. Hobson was inducted 
into the office of W. M.; C. C. Shattuck, S. W.; and C. L. Jones, 

Bristow Camp, No. 825, "SI. W. A., was organized February 
4, 1889, with the following members: D. M. Anderson, George L. 
Arnold, E. H. Best, Henry C. Bentroth, 0. J. Early, D. C. Graham, 
E. L. Hewitt, T. J. Hart, C. G. Kilson, William McAdoo, F. K. 
Spaidding, N. W. True, Amos Vogt. The lodge meets in the old 
Episcopal church. 


The town of Allison, the present county seat of Butler county, 
is situated on the east half of section 25 of West Point township, 
aliout one and one-half miles north of the geographical center of 
the county. The plat was drawn with the idea of providing for 
the location of the county seat here, hence it centers around a 
Court House Square ten acres in extent with broad streets lead- 
ing out from this center in all directions. The growth of the town 
has been chiefly to the west and south. It comprises at the pres- 
ent time an area of approximately fifty city blocks north of the 
railroad, most of which are improved by the construction of sub- 
stantial residences and business buildings. The principal busi- 
ness street extends from the railway station to the Court House 
Square a distance of five blocks which are bordered on either side 
by buildings occupied by the various firms engaged in commerce 
and trade in the town. These comprise at the date of present 
Avriting one bank, one hotel, two restaurants, three general stores, 
two drug stores, two hardware stoi'cs, two millinery establish- 
ments, one furniture store, one meat market, one clothing store, 
one photograph gallery, two harness and shoe repairing shops, 
two blacksmith shops, one livery stable, one printing office, two 
barber shops and pool halls combined, one sash and door factory, 
one steel evener factory, two lumber yards, two elevators, one 
cooperative creamery, and several other buildings used for tele- 
phone, law and abstract, physician's and dentist's offices. There 
are two automobile garages and one auto livery. 

Allison lies in the heart of one of the best and most prosperous 
fanning sections of this rich agricultural county. Its prosperity is 
based upon the most stable of foundations, that of the necessity 
of the surrounding community for an outlet for their surplus 
products and a trading place where they may obtain the neces- 
sities and luxuries of life. Land values in country and town show 



a steady increase that bespeaks a continuance of the present 
l^rosperous conditions. 


This town is the youngest incorporated town in the county, 
having been laid out and platted on the land belonging to the 
Iowa Central Stock Farm in 1879. Previous to this time, this 
farm had passed from the hands of its first owner, Mr. R. A. Bab- 
bage. into those of Mr. H. L. Stout of the Ivnapp, Stout Lumber 
(Company of Dubuque. As early as 1875 a line of railroad, first 
known as the Iowa & Pacific railroad, had been surveyed 
through the county from east to west passing through the present 
site of Allison. Before this in 1871 on the 11th of February, West 
Point township had by a majority of nine votes refused to vote a 
special tax for the benefit of this road. The road was, however, 
actually graded before the project was abandoned. H. L. Stout 
was one of the backers of this project and was active in securing 
the reorganization of the company for the construction of this line 
of road under the name of the Dubuque & Dakota. 

In 1877, the rails were laid as far as Shell Rock. Later con- 
struction was completed to Clarksville. In the spring of 1879 a 
special election was held in West Point township and a five mill 
tax was voted for the aid of the new railroad on condition that 
the road be completed through the township by the following 
fall. The company fully lived up to its agreement and the first 
train of cars was nni into AUison on July 4, 1879, and into 
Bi'istow on July 12. 

On April llth, 1879, Messrs. F. D. Stout, John R. Waller, and 
Mr. Knowlton of Dubuque surveyed the town plat of Allison. 
On August 19th. Hany Daggett, the first station agent arrived 
and took charge of the interests of the railroad and the traveling 
and shipping public at this point. In the fall of this same year, 
a three-story frame hotel was coni]iloted b}- the town company, 
the members of which were John R. Waller, Gen. C H. Booth, 
R. B. Graves. Frank D. Stout and James Stout, all of Dubuque. 
The hotel building was constructed by M. M. Flick of Dubuque 
in accordance with plans and specifications prepared by F. D. 
Hyde of the same city. Its size was originally 32x36 feet, three 
stories high and cost approximately five thousand dollars. On 
the 2nd day of January, 1880, the new hostelry opened its doors 

The Hotel 
Main Street, looking north 

Scene on JIain Street 

A Resilience Street 

; th: 

j «.STOf<, LENO.X 


tu the public by Manager C. W. Corwiu. lu August, 1881, an 
addition 32x50 feet in extent and three stories high was con- 
structed, thus more tlian doubling the capacity of the building. 
At the same time a kitr-hen 20x28 one and one-half stories high 
was built on the rear. The total cost of the building and equip- 
ment was in excess of thirteen thousand dollars. When com- 
pleted it gave Allison the most commodious and best equij)ped 
liotel between Dubuque and the western tenninus of this line of 
railroad. This building stood and under various managements 
continued to serve the traveling public until the winter of 1909- 
10 when it was burned to the ground. At the time, this disaster 
was considered as ahnost a death blow to the prospects of the 
town. Later, however, through the enterprise of the Ray 
brothei's, W. F. and F. J., the present magnificent structure was 
erected for hotel purposes, niodei'nly equipped throughout and 
again Allison enjoyed the distinction of possessing the finest hotel 
on the line of the (Ireat Western railroad l)et\veen Dubuque and 
Fort Dodge. 

The town comi)auy also erected an elevator in 1879 which com- 
menced operations in January, 1880, under the management of 
Cieorge Woodward, who came for the purpose from Minnesota. 

The first settler in the new town was (leorge E. Martin, who 
had been living on a farm in the vicinity. In Septemljer, 1879. 
he moved his family into a house which he had built on the new 
town site and opened a livery business whicdi he continued to 
carry on until his retirement in favor of his son, A. T. Martin, 
some years ago. Mr. Martin is still a resident of Allison, serv- 
ing at the present time as deputy sheriff. 

The second settler was Charles Waters who opened the first 
hunber yard and erected a number of the first buildings in the 

Frank Elliott, J. J. Cleaver and L. E. Lincoln, respectively a 
mason, a painter and a carpenter and builder were the other 
arrivals in the town during the remaining months of 1879. 

In 1880 the settlement continued with a reasonable degree 
of rapidity. C. B. Bishop, J. K. Winsett, Michael Wieres, Louis 
Pharo, James Gillan and Sweeley being among the settlers at 
this time. 

As noted fully elsewhere in the fall of 1880 by decisive vote of 
the people of the county the county seat was located here. This 
naturally was the cause of a marked business boom and eventu- 

Vol. 1—27 


ally resulted in the practical mo^'ement of all tlie poi^ulation aud 
the most of the bviildings from Butler Center, the former county 
seat, to Allison. Among those Avho came here from Butler Center 
were C M. Craig, W. A. Lathrop, James W. Davis, John Barlow 
and Mrs. F. Digman. George M. Dopking came from Shell Rock 
to Allison in 1880 to engage in the livery Imsiness Avith George 
E. Martin. He is still a resident of the town although for several 
yeai's the state of his health has been such that he has not been 
able to engage actively in affairs. 

Fletcher Moore opened the iirst mercafitile establishment in 
Allison in January, 1880. J. K. Winsett, J. A. Riggs & Company, 
C. J). Williams and Bii'kbeck Brothers were other pioneer mer- 
chants. Dr. J. S. Riggs was the iirst physician here. He later sold 
his interest in tlie drug store conducted by his brother John A. 
Riggs to Dr. S. E. Burroughs, whose period of active practice in 
this connnunity closed only a few months ago Avith his removal to 
Holland, Iowa. Dr. Jerome Burbank Avas the second ijhysician to 
locate in the village and opened the second drug store on the cor- 
ner where the Allison Furniture Company is now located. 

The first blacksmith in the town, Michael Wieres, is still at 
Avork with forge and auAdl. Of recent years he has been chiefly 
engaged in the manufacture of the Wieres Steel Safety Evener, 
an article of his own invention and patenting. A stock comjjany 
composed of Allison citizens are associated with Mr. Wieres in 
this enterprise. 

In the fall of 1881, the Digman Hotel was moved from its 
former location in Butler Center to Allison and was relocated 
on its present site of Main street. For many years it continued 
to be used for hotel purposes, ceasing to serve the public in this 
capacity only after the opening of the Xew Hotel Allison in Feb- 
ruary, 1912. 


The toAvn of Allison was incorporated in 1881, the first elec- 
tion being held on August 13, 1881, when the following officers 
were elected to manage the affairs of the community: W. A. 
Lathrop, mayor; George A. Mclntyre, recorder, and W. W. Pat- 
tee, George E. Woodward, Louis Pharo, J. K. Winsett, G. M. 
Craig, and D. K. Harbert, trustees. Fifty-seven A'otes were cast 
in this first election. W. A. Lathrop received forty-nine A'otes 


aud I. E. Lucas eight votes for mayor. George A. Mclntyre 
received au unanimous vote for the office of recorder. Twenty- 
one candidates received from one to forty-four votes for trustee. 
G. M. Craig receiving the highest number. 

I. E. Lucas was appointed the first town treasurer, S. S. Bur- 
roughs, street eonunissioner, and James W. Davis, assessor. 

The first case in the mayor's court was that of John Huss, who 
was fined the siun of $10 on January 2, 1882, for violating the 
ordinance on saloon licenses by keeping his saloon open and sell- 
ing beer on Sunday. 

The first telephone line into Allison was constructed by the 
Iowa and Minnesota Telephone Company in accordance with per- 
mission from the town council in June, 1882. 

The matter of fire protection engaged the attention of the 
mayor and council from an early date. In the summer of 1883 
three wells were dug on Main street for the purposes of supply- 
ing water for fire protection. In May, 1884, a hand fire engine 
was iDurchased together with 400 feet of fire hose at an agreed 
cost of $900. At a meeting of the volunteer fire company this 
engine was named "W. B. Allison" and the hose cart "Mam- 
brino Boy." 

In May, 1884, Dr. S. E. Burroughs was appointed the first 
health physician. 

Plans and specifications for an engine house were drawn up 
in the summer of 1884, and the contract for its construction let 
to L. E. Lincoln for the smn of $439. The building was erected 
on a lot leased free of charge by M. Wieres for ten years just west 
of his shoj). The building was completed and accepted on Sep- 
tember 1. The first fire alarm was a piece of railroad iron which 
was used as a gong. M. Wieres was the first fire chief. 

In April, 1885, the present Allison cemetery site was purchased 
from E. W. Kester for $325 cash and other considerations. 

The town possessed at its outset no adequate highways leading 
out into the surrounding country. On June 1, 1885, H. L. Stout 
deeded to the town a highway leading south from Main street 
to the southern line of section 25. In the following year the road 
leading west from the courthouse square was secured from the 
town company, and Elm street was extended north to the north 
line of the section. This gave the town its present excellent sys- 
tem of highway avenues of tran.sportation. 


The minutes of tlie meeting of the council on December 6, 
1886, contain resolutions of respect in memory of the life and 
services of James W. Davis. Mr. Davis has been noticed at length 
in connection with the history of the county which he served long 
and faithfully in various capacities. His death was felt as a j)er- 
sonal loss to every citizen of the town with which his later years 
had been identified. 


The question of a city water system began to be agitated as 
early as 1887. No definite steps were taken to secure such a sys- 
tem, however, until December 5, 1898, when a petition signed by 
ninety-eight citizens was presented to the council calling for a 
special election to decide the question of issuing waterworks 
bonds. This election was held on January 9, 1899, and resulted 
in seventy-one votes for and five votes against the issuance of 
these bonds. In February an agreement was arranged with the 
county board of supervisors whereby they were to allow the pump- 
ing station to be located on the courthouse scjuare, were to sink 
the well and pay the cost of the pump from the coimty funds on 
condition of being allowed the use of the water in and around 
the courthouse. The contract for the construction of the system 
of waterworks was let to Fremont Tui'uer for the sum of $3,911.50. 
Michael Wiercs was the first superintendent of the waterworks. 

The work was comiDleted with dispatch, accepted and put into 
operation at once. It was found, however, that a mistake had 
been made in the quality of mains used. After an infinite amount 
of tinkering and repairing and troul)le of various sorts a contract 
for the laying of new mains was made with the National Con- 
struction Company of South Bend, Indiana. This contract was 
ratified by the voters in a special election in April, 1904, when by 
a vote of sixty-four to fcnir. bonds in the sum of $2,500 were voted 
to be issued by the town for this purpose. 

Since that date the well has been redrilled and at present the 
system is giving satisfactory service both for purposes of ordi- 
nary use and fire protection. 


The first provision for lighting the streets of Allison was made 
by the purchase and erection of a number of kerosene lamps on 


posts in 1891. In 1896 lifteeu gasoline street lamps were pur- 
chased from Albert Lea, Minnesota. These failed to give satis- 
factory service and, after several other experiments, the present 
lights were installed. They in turn are about to give way to a 
modern system of municipal electric lighting, the installation of 
which will place Allison on a jjar with any town of its size in the 
state in the matter of conveniences. 

In 1892 a lot was purchased on Main street and the engine 
house moved to its present location. At the same time the con- 
tract for the ei'ecticm of a calaboose was let to L. E. Lincoln. 

In the spring of 1900 the community suffered the loss of one 
of its most prominent citizens in the person of W. A. Lathrop. 
Mr. Lathrop was one of the first citizens to move to Allison from 
Butler Center, was its first mayor and continued to occupy this 
office with honor for a number of years. The town council hon- 
ored itself and the community which they represented by causing 
resolutions of resjDect to be entered on their minutes in conunemo- 
ration of the services which Mr. Lathrop had rendered this town 
and the surrounding community. 

Permanent cement sidewalks were ]n'ovided for by act of the 
council in 1901. Since that date practically every foot of side- 
walk in the town has been reconstructed on a permanent basis. 
Today these sidewalks form one of the chief evidences of tlic pro- 
gressive spirit of this conmmnity. 

In ]904 Ct. Hazlet, who was then serving as mayor, resigned his 
office. The town council filled the vacancy by the choice of S. W. 
Burroughs to the position. At the same time they filled several 
vacancies existing in the comicil itself. It having appeared that 
the action of the council was somewhat iri-egular and in excess of 
its powers, action was brought in the district court for the removal 
of the officers so appointed. By decision of the court in the May 
term of 1905 these offices were declared vacant and N. W. Scovel 
was appointed mayor in the place of Mr. Burroughs. Some little 
feeling was engendered over the occurrence at the time, but it 
soon died away. 

At different times projects looking toward the construction of 
a north and south railroad through Allison have been put foi'wai'd. 
Most of them have never progressed l)eyond the stage of discus- 
sion. In December, 1903, though, a franchise w^as granted to a 
corporation known as the Marshalltown Street and Intern rbau 
Railway Company for the construetion of its lines tlii'imgli this 


town. The road was uot coustructecl, however. It is altogether 
probable that such a line of road will eventually be constructed 
through this section. It would undoubtedly greatly facilitate the 
means of reaching Allison at present rather inconvenient for 
many residents of the outlying parts of the county. 

Allison has no public system of sewers. However, the con- 
struction of several private lines with the privilege of allowing 
other ijroperty owners to make connections therewith has pro- 
vided so far for the needs of the conmmnity in this line. There 
are a number of these private lines now in operation. 


Allison has witnessed a remarkable growth iu a material way 
in the last five years. In this time two tires destroyed the Alli- 
son House, a three-story frame l)iulding, built by the town com- 
pany for hotel purjDoses in 1879, and the west side elevator.- On 
the sites of these buildings new structiu-es have ])een erected, the 
new elevator amjaly tilling the place actually and commercially 
occupied by its predecessor, and that of the old hotel having been 
taken by the commodious two-story double brick block erected by 
Arnold Brothers to house their large stock of general merchan- 
dise. In addition to these there have recently been built a new 
modern schoolliouse, costing $15,000; a new hotel building, 
erected at a cost of approximately ten thousand dollars; a sash 
and door factory; a brick drug store, and a new church l^uilding 
for the German Lutheran denomination. These with a large 
number of private residences, ranging in cost from fifteen hun- 
dred to twenty-five thousand dollars, aggregate an amount of 
investment in pei'manent improvements that in i)roportion to 
the actual value of real estate in the town is a remarkable and 
most convincing evidence of the firm basis of prosperity under- 
lying the business of this community. 

The list of the mayors of Allison from 1881 to date is as fol- 
lows: W. A. Lathrop," 1881-1886; G. M. Craig, 1886-1890; W. A. 
Lathrop, 1890-1895; W. F. Ray, 1895-1899, i-esigned; G. M. Craig, 
to fill vacancy ; G . M. Craig, 1900-1904 ; G. Hazlet. 1904, resigned ; 
S. W. Burroughs, to fill vacancy, removed by order of district 
court; N. W. Scovel, to fill vacancy, 1905-1906; W. C. Shepard, 
1906-1908, resigned; N. W. Scovel,' to fill vacancy, 1908-1910; E. 
C. Trager, 1930-1912; Z. Elliott, 1912, resigned: O. F. Missmau, 
to fill vacancy, 1912-. 

Methodist Episcopal Church 
New Public School 

OM I'ulilic School 
High School 





When Allisou was incorporated the nearest school was that 
in the Maudville district of West Point townsliij) with a school 
building located about one mile southwest of the corporate limits 
of the town. Here the children of the town were accommodated 
for several years until the growth in population made it neces- 
sary to make some more convenient provision for their educa- 
tion. Accordingly in 1883, what was then a commodious brick 
veneered building two stories in height, was erected in the western 
part of town, which continued to be used for school purposes 
until 1912. 

At first only two departments were maintained, the upper 
story being left unfinished. Later a third department was estab- 
lished and the upper floor fitted up for school purposes. The edu- 
cational ideals of the commimity grew with its growth and while 
the increase in population was inconsiderable, new and better 
facilities for the training of the children were constantly added. 
A high school department was organized with an assistant, and 
later a new grade room pro^dded by partitioning off a portion of 
the high school assembly room. 

With these rather inconvenient conditions the school was car- 
ried on for a number of years imtil in 1912 the people of the dis- 
trict by a decisive vote decided to tear down the old structure and 
erect a modern building in its place. The contract was let to E. 
Burbridge. who removed the old building and built the present 
one in the summer and fall of 1932. During the period of con- 
struction, school was held in the old Digman House and in the 
Congregational church. 

The new building was first occupied and used for school pur- 
poses immediately after Thanksgiving in 1912. The structiire is 
two stories in height with a full basement. It is constructed of 
brick with slate roof. The basement contains manual training 
and domestic science rooms, together with furnace and fuel rooms 
and toilets. The first floor contains three grade I'ooms and the 
upper floor one grade room, high school assembly room, I'cvita- 
tion room, library and superintendent's office. The Imilding ij« 
unilaterally lighted, is heated by steam and ventilated ])y the 
gravity system. It is unquestionably the finest building erected 
for school purposes to date in Butler county. 



The Methodists of Allison and Aicinit}' met at McCleod's Hall 
on the 15th of August, 1880, and organized a class under the lead- 
ership of Rev. Lallan Winsett. The meuibers at this time were 
D. Bruce, Flora Bruce, F. Moore, C. B. Bishop, Hattie Bishop, 
Catherine McCleod, Christian McWilliams and Mary Cleaver. 
For some time services were held at JNIcCleod's Hall by Reverend 
Mr. Winsett, who was followed after a period of three months by 
Rev. W. H. Records. The latter remained orte year. Then came 
Rev. J. M. Hedes. During tlu> administration of Reverend Mr. 
Hedes in 1881 the pi'csent church building was erected by the 
people of the community without regard to church affiliation at 
a cost of $2,200. 

At a later date the l)ui]ding was remodeled and an addition 
built on the south to furnish an extra room for the Sunday school. 
The Methodist Sunday school was the first organization of this 
character in the town, having been established in May, 1880. with 
C. B. Bishop as superintendent. 

The church building was originally dedicated on INfay 14. 1882, 
Rev. L. I). Parscms officiating. 

A complete list of the early pastors of this church is not avail- 
able for publication. Since 1890 the following have served this 
church in the capacity of pastor: J. M. Hartley, W. Ward Smith, 
L. D. Stubbs, C. A. Peddicord, J. W. Bacheller, Edward A. Lang, 
C. A. Thompson, J. A. Bearing, J. T). Perry, Will A. Piper, A. A. 
Hallett, C. R. Disney, E. H. Free. 


The clmrcli with the al).ovc name was established in Allison in 
June, 1884, Father Bernard Coyle officiating at the first ordinance 
of mass, which was celebrated in the dining room of the Digman 
House. Services continued to be held until the year 1891 and 
were attended l)y the Digman, Mullarky, McManus, Doyle, McGee, 
Marlow, Wieres, Pranke, Hyde, Huss and Lee families. 

The first resident priest was Father Shields, who came in 1891. 
LTnder his administration the church edifice was built. The dedi- 
cation took place December 8. 1891, Dean McGrath delivering the 
address. Mass was held for the first time in this building by 
Father Lewis Kirbv of Greene, now of Sioux City. About this 


period of its existence the church had a membership of about 
thirty families. Through removals, deaths and other unforeseen 
causes, this number has dwindled to about fifteen families. 

Father Shields remained here about one year and was fol- 
lowed by Father James Ryan, whose pastorate covered a period 
of eight years, during which time the parsonage was built. This 
house was sold by Father Ryan against the protests of some of 
his parishoners, which caused some ill feeling to arise. Father 
Ryan retired from the service of this parish and took up the work 
at Hampton, from which place the church has been supj)lied since 
1902. The present priest at Hani])ton, Father J. C. Wieneke, 
holds mass in the Allison church every alternate Sunday. 


In the spring of 1884, Rev. A. D. Keinzer, pastor of the Con- 
gregational church at Hampton, was invited to spend a Sabbath 
here and occupy the pulpit of the Methodist church, as their minis- 
ter did not have services every Sabbath. Reverend Mr. Keinzer 
accepted the invitation and pi-eached the first sermon deliv- 
ered in Allison by a Congregational minister on April 24, 1884. 
In the summer of 1885, Rev. T. O. Douglass, state home mis- 
sionary, sent Mr. W. H. Dmnm, a student in Yale Theological 
Seminary, to preach for the suuuner here and at Parkersburg. 
Mr. Dunmi's first sermon was on June 7 and his farewell on 
AugTist 30, 1885. 

After this there were no more Congregational services held 
here until the fall of 1886 when Rev. John Gray came to take 
charge of the church at Parkersburg and arranged to preach at 
Allison once every four weeks. He urged the organization of a 
church and on July 21, 1887, Rev. T. O. Douglass and other pas- 
tors of neighboring towns joined with the few Congregationalists 
in a council for the organization of the church. Seventeen per- 
sons were enrolled on the list of ehai'ter members. 

The Methodists deciding that they desired to use their build- 
ing every Sabbath, the Congregational Society found it necessary 
to find another place for their meetings. A hall was rented over 
the Dodge building, which was thenceforward used as a meeting 
place for Sunday school and preaching services. A church choir 
was organized with W. A. Lathrop as leader and Mrs. Ethel A. 
Levis as organist. 


lu various ways, by managing an eating tent at the county 
fair and by holding an old fashioned "Deestrict Skule" money was 
raised to purchase an organ and provide the begiiming of a fund 
for a church building. The gentlemen of the Allison Town Com- 
pany donated a desirable lot for the site of the church on Main 
street. By the spring of 1889 enough had l)een raised and pledged 
to justify the building of a church edifice. The men of the society 
hauled the stone for the foundation and the contracts for mason 
work and carpentry were let to Messrs. Frank Elliott and Vince 

On December 8, 1889, dedicatory services were held by Kev. 
T. 0. Douglass. At the same time the load of indebtedness rest- 
ing upon the organization was largely lifted through the munifi- 
cence of certain of its members who pledged large sxuns for the 
payment of the cost of construction still unpaid. 

Later it was decided to pur(?hase the lots adjoining the church 
propert}" on the south and erect a parsonage thereon. The lots 
were purchased through the instrumentalit.y and partly with the 
assistance of I. M. Fisher. The present parsonage was built 
in 1900 at a cost of something oAer one thousand dollars. The 
several pastors who have occupied this charge are: Revs. John 
Gray, C. H. Calhoun, J. S. Norris, AV. B. Sandford, H. C. Brown, 
W. G. Little, W. D. King, F. A. Slyfield, V. B. Hill, W. H. Hotze, 
W. H. Walcott, and W. U. Parks. The last named has served the 
congregation as pastor since 1909 in a manner so entirely accept- 
able to the people that in 1912 they extended him an indefinite 

In 1911-12 the church was raised and a 1)asement constructed 
beneath it to furnish rooms for Sunday school and other purposes. 
These improvements in all aggregated an expense of about two 
thousand dollars. 


St. Jacobus Lutheran congregation was organized in 1892. 
The organizing pastor was C. Weltner of Vilmar, who has 
since served this church. The first members were: Chr. Hilmer, 
Paul De Bower, L. Hunmiel, H. Pleis, John Buerkle, John Drnege- 
mueller. For over twenty years the congregation held their serv- 
ices every two weeks in the Methodist Episcopal church. In the 
summer of 1913, the congregation built their own chui-ch — a fine 




? ^ A.5T0R, LE^oX 


frame building on the main street. The dimensions are 34x60x16 
with a steeple 12x12x86 and a basement for a heating plant. In 
the steeple is a well-sounding bell. The interior of the church 
is furnished with a Gothic altar, pulpit, reed organ and very com- 
fortable pews. The value of the church is about $6,000. The 
congregation at present munbers twenty-three members or ninety- 
seven souls. 


The St. John's Lutheran congregation was organized in 1876. 
The organizing pastor was the Rev. H. Schlutz, an old mission- 
ary-pioneer of Iowa. The names of the first members were: H. 
Maass, William Martzahn, William Heuer, Pr. Kramer, Fr. 
Debner, Fr. Edeker, Fr. Kroemer, H. Voigts, William Kam- 
meyer, Fr. Nichaus, H. Vahlsing, H. Reinking, William Folkers, 
D. Kramer, G. Harms, William Koellmann, H. Busse. During 
the first six years the services were held in a district schoolhouse. 
In the smnmer of 1883, the congregation bought five acres of laud 
and built their first church and parsonage on it, both frame build- 
ings — the church 30x48x18 with a small steeple upon it, and the 
parsonage 16x24x14 and 16x20x10. At the same time the con- 
gregation resolved to call a pastor, and when Rev. H. Schlutz, 
the organizing pastor refused the call, they sent it to C. Weltner, 
a yoimg pastor at Glenville, Minnesota, who accepted it. On the 
third Sunday of Advent, 1883, he was installed in the congrega- 
tion of Vilmar and has since worked in their midst. The new 
pastoi-, when he entered into his duties, recognized immediately 
that a good parochial school was a necessity for his growing con- 
gregation. So he taught, beside his pastoral duties, about forty 
children for nine years, five days weekly, from fall to Easter, 
in a small schoolroom 16x20x10 — a task that later was an 
impossibility. Consequently the congregation erected in 1892, a 
new schoolhouse 20x36x16 — again a step in the right direction, 
for a good parochial school is the nursery of an active congrega- 
tional life. Ten years later, when the church was too small, the 
congi-egation enlarged their original church edifice with an addi- 
tion of 30x48, an apsis of 12x30 and a steeple of 10x10x86. In the 
steeple was placed a bell, weighing 2,000 pounds. The interior 
of the church was furnished with a Gothic altar, pulpit and pipe 


organ. In 1906, the parsonage was enlarged and the latest im- 
provement is a roomy basement under the church for a heating 

Besides the church property the congregation owns two ceme- 
teries. The whole property of the congregation represents a value 
of $14,000. At ijresent the congregation of Vihnar numbers one 
hundred eighteen members and six himdred souls. 


Opal Lodge, No. 417, A. F. & A. M., was instituted under dis- 
pensation September ], 18S1. Tlie charter members comprised 
H. Fannun, James Scofield, A. I. Snnth, A. (i. Fellows, I. E. 
Lucas, J. W. Spencer, (!. M. Craig, together with the following 
officers: W. W. Pattee, W. M.; E. S. Thomas, S. W.; J. W. Ray, 
J. W. ; C. H. Ilgenf ritz, treasurer ; J. M. Daggett, secretary ; Levi 
Baker, S. D. ; J. W. Davis, J. D. ; G. M. Dopkiug, tyler. 

At the first regular meeting held October 6, 1881, the follow- 
ing became members: J. K. Winsett, J. S. Riggs, George "A. 
Mclntyre, John A. Riggs, <i. E. P^-ankliu, W. A. Lathrop, Frank 
Baker, C. W. Levis and E. Burnliani. In June, 188l>, the 
lodge received its (diarter and the memliers were called together 
by A. I. Smith who was appointed by the Grand Lodge D. G. M. 
July (i, 1882. This meeting completed the organization and the 
following named officers were elected: W. W. Pattee, W. M.; E. 
S. Thomas, S. W.; J. W. Ray, J. W. ; C. H. Ilgenfritz, tieasurer; 
J. M. Daggett, secretary ; L. Baker, S. D. ; J. A. Riggs. J. D. ; 
J. K. Winsett and C. W. Levis, stew^ards; Frank Baker, tyler. 

This lodge has had a ("(tutinuous existence from that date to 
the present. Its lodge I'oom is still in the Lathrop l)uilding where 
its meetings are held at regular intervals. 


A i^ost of the (Jrand Army of the Ke[)ublic was organized in 
Allison in the late '80s and was named in honor of Lieut. John 
Braden. The post has kept up its organization and its member- 
ship in the state department to the present time although in 
recent years so many of the members have answered to the last 
roll call as finally to make it impossible to muster a sufficient 
uum})er at the post headquarters to enable them to hold regular 

ST. .TOHX'S LrTHKKAX (■Hri;( II. V1L.\I.\1; 

T^i-: !sE''' V^'"^v 

S 4STOR.. LfNC« 


meetings. No regular meetings have been held for a number of 
years past. The present nieuibership is about ten. The com- 
mander is Greorge M. Dopking; adjutant, L. J. Rogers. 


The only other active fraternal organization in Allison is that 
of the Modern Woodmen. This organization was first formed in 
June, 1894, and has since that date maintained a continuous 

The present of&eers are: Geo. A. Bfuerkle, V. C. ; F. J. Ray, 


The first bank in Allison was a private concern, organized by 
X. B. Ridgeway, Jeremiah Perrin and A. Slimmer, in 1881. Isaac 
E. Lucas Avas the first cashier, and continued in this position until 
the spring of 1882. At that time W. A. Lathrop and John W. 
Ray, whose term as county treasurer had just expired, became 
associated with the institution. The firm name was changed to 
Lathrop, Perrin & Company. R. E. Lucas retired as cashier and 
J. W. Ray took up the duties of that position. The Bank of 
Allison, when it first started in business, was cajntalized at 
$15,000. Under the change last mentioned the capitalization was 

This partnership continued until the death of N. B. Ridge- 
way, at which time his interests were acquired from the estate by 
the surviving partner. A few years later W. A. Lathrop Avith- 
drew from the firm and started a private bank in the building 
now occupied by Lincoln's liarl)er shop. Later the home of the 
bank was removed to the Iniilding now occupied by the postoffice. 
This was in 1892. Associat(^d with Mr. Lathrop were S. X. Good- 
hue, George W. Wild and 1. M. Fisher, who assmned the name of 
the Citizens Bank for the institution, and the firm name of 
Lathro]), Goodhue & Company. This concern continued in opera- 
tion about three years, when it was sold to the Ray Banking 
Company. It should here be mentioned that during the exist- 
ence of the Citizens Bank Herman F. Wild was its cashier. 

After the retirement of ^Ir. Latlu-oj) from the Bank of Allison, 
the firm name became Slimmer. Perrin & Company. J. W. Ray 


I'emaiiied as cashier and aetive manager until new arrangements 
became necessarj- b}' the dissolution of the partnership, when 
the finn name was changed to that of J. W. Ray & Sons. This 
partnership continued initil the year 1901, when the members of 
the firm incorporated as the State Bank of Allison, with a paid-up 
capital of $50,000 and a surplus of $10,000. The first officijils 
were: J. W. Ray, president; W. F. Ray, vice president; F. J. Ray, 
cashier; H. F. Wild, assistant cashier. Upon the death of J. \V. 
Ray, on September 7, 1907, W. F. Ray was elected his successor 
as president; II. F. Wild, vice president; antl F. J. Ray, cashier. 
This is the present personnel of the official staff, with the excep- 
tion of the addition to it of Ernest Speedy, who was appointed 
assistant cashier in November, 1912. The capital stock is $50,000; 
surplus and undivided profits, $12,0()n; deposits as shown by the 
last statement, $450,000. 

When the parent bank first began doing business m Allison 
it made its home in a little frame liTiilding, afterwards used by 
the Citizens l^ank, and now occupied liy the ])ostoffice. From 
this building the liank moved into another little frame structure, 
which stands immediately north of the New Allison Hotel. This 
was the home of the institution until 1892, when the present 
bank building, a two-story brick structure, was built and occu- 

The Farmers Savings Bank was organized in 1902, with a 
paid-up capital of $25,000. It had for its first officials: N. B. 
Baldwin, president; J. C. Carter, vice president; L. E. Bourquin, 
cashier; A. L. Peterson, assistant cashier. The latter retired in 
1904, and was succeeded by H. Folken. Mr. Baldwin was super- 
seded in the smnmer of 1904 in the presidency by J. C. Carter, at 
which time W. R. Jamison was elected vice president. Mr. Bour- 
quin continued as cashier until the spring of 1906, when H. 
Folken assumed the duties of that i)Osition and Edward Marlow 
became his assistant. Marlow was succeeded by Ernest Speedy 
in 1907. In October, 1912, the stockholders voted in favor of 
going into voluntary liquidation. The assets of the bank, includ- 
ing a modern, two-story, brick building, were taken over by the 
State Bank of Allison. Subsequently, the building was sold to 
Leo A. Spengler, who now occupies the business room as a drug 



The i^ostoffice was established here in the winter of 1879-80, 
and was kept at the depot. J. M. Daggett, father of the station 
agent, Harry Daggett, was the postmaster. The office was 
I'emoved to the Williams building, diagonally opposite to Bur- 
bank's corner building, in May, 1881. On the 1st of NoA^ember, 
of that year, E. S. Thomas was ap]3ointed to preside over the office 
and removed it into the old office of the clerk of the court. 

With the advent of a democratic administration, in 1885, S. 
W. Burroughs was aj^pointed postmaster and the office moved to 
his drug store on the east side of Main street. Mr. Burroughs also 
served as postmaster during Cleveland's second term. W. J. Bur- 
bank was postmaster during the Harrison administration. At 
the conclusion of S. W. Burroughs' second term of office, G. Haz- 
let succeeded him. His successors in order are: L. J. Rogers, J. 
H. Hunt and the present incmnbent, Andrew MuUarky, who was 
appointed by President Woodrow Wilson, and is the second demo- 
crat to hold this office in Allison. Since the appointment of L. J. 
Rogers the postoffice has been located in the old bank building on 
the east side of Main street.