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HEIVIAN C. SMITH 



HISTORY 

OF 



DECATUR COUNTY 

IOWA 



AND ITS PEOPLE ^ 



PROF. J. M. HOWELL and HEMAN C. SMITH 

SUPERVISING EDITORS 



ILLUSTRATED 



VOLUME I 



CHICAGO 

THE S. J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1915 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 

731365 

ASTOR, LENOX AND 
TILDEN FOUNDAl IONS 

R 1916 L 



INTRODUCTION 

The history of Decatur County as United States territory reaches 
back to that eventful day in iNIay, 1803, when the treaty was signed 
by which France ceded the vast territory included in the Louisiana 
Purchase to our Federal Government. The hand of Providence 
seems plainly manifest in the course of events which led to its acquisi- 
tion. It is said that the American envoys who conducted the negotia- 
tions on behalf of the United States "spent no small part of their 
time explaining that they only wished a little bit of Louisiana, includ- 
ing Xew Orleans and the east bank of the INIississippi." Livingston 
indeed went so far as to express a veiy positive disinclination to take 
the territory west of the INIississippi at any price, stating that he 
should much prefer to see it remain in the hands of France or Spain, 
and suggesting by way of an apolog}^ for its acquisition, that it might 
be resold to some European power. JNIadison who was at the head of 
the state department at that time "felt a strong disinclination to see 
the national domain extend west of the JNIississippi and he so instructed 
Monroe and Livingston," who were in charge of the matter on our 
I^art. But Napoleon, harassed on every hand by the great powers of 
Europe and fearful that the territory might fall into the hands of the 
English, rapidly abated his demands from the exorbitant sum first 
asked, finally offering to take $15,000,000 and forced Livingston and 
jSIonroe to become reluctant purchasers not merely of Xew Orleans, 
but of all the immense territory stretching vaguely northwestward to 
the Pacific. Another strange thing about the matter is that Jeffer- 
son, in whose administration the purchase was made, "had led his 
party into power as special champion of states' rights and the special 
opponent of national sovereignty. He and they rendered a very 
great service to the nation by acquiring Louisiana; but it was at the 
cost of violating every precept which they had professed to hold dear." 
Thus came into the possession of the United States a territorj^ of vast 
and very ill defined extent. Congress authorized a temporary gov- 
ernment for the newly acquired province on October 31, 1803, but 
its jurisdiction was merely nominal as the French governor retained 

• • • 

in 



iv INTRODUCTION 

his power at the request and by the authority of the United States. 
By further action of Congress the whole of the province north of the 
33d parallel was organized into a court district and formed for gov- 
ernmental and judicial purposes a part of the Territory of Indiana. 
This action was had ^larch 26, 1804, and affected what are now the 
states of Ai'kansas, jMissouri and Iowa, also Southern Minnesota ; it 
was called Upper Louisiana, and in this way the name District of 
Louisiana was originated, by which it was known during the early his- 
tory of the country. 

On ]March 3, 1805, Iowa was included as a part of the Territory 
of Louisiana, with the capital at St. Louis, and that part of the 
Louisiana Purchase now known as Louisiana became Orleans Ter- 
ritory. The Territory of JMissouri was organized June 4, 1812, and 
Iowa was embraced in it. When Missouri became a state in 1820, 
Iowa w^th other territory, was detached and forgotten and "remained 
a country without a government, either political or judicial, until 
June 28, 1834, when the abuses of outlawry and crime became so 
prominent and so serious that, as a means of redress and correction, 
it was included in the Territory of jNIichigan. During all of these 
years, it is probable that the only civil law in force in Iowa was the 
provision of the ^Missouri Act which prohibited slavery and involun- 
tary servitude in the territories of the United States north of thirty- 
six degrees, thirty minutes, north latitude." 

By 1836 the population of this region had so increased that the 
territorial government of Wisconsin was organized, which at first in- 
cluded a part of the upper peninsula of INIichigan, the whole of INIin- 
nesota and Iowa, and that part of Dakota lying east of the INIissouri 
and White Earth rivers. When the Territory of Iowa was organized 
July 12, 1838, it included the present State of Minnesota and parts 
of North and South Dakota. 

By an act of Congress approved INIarch 3, 1845, provision was 
made for the admission of Iowa into the Union as a sovereign state, 
with boundaries extending on the north the parallel of latitude pass- 
ing through the mouth of the Blue Earth River and on the w^est only 
to seventeen degrees, thirty minutes, from Washington, correspond- 
ing very nearly to the existing line between Ringgold and Union 
counties on the one hand and Taylor and Adams counties on the 
other. This reduction of the boundaries laid down by the Constitu- 
tional Convention of 1844 was very distasteful to the people, the 
admission was rejected by a popular election and in 1846 Congress 
proposed new boundary lines, having the State of Minnesota for the 



INTRODUCTIOX v 

north boundary, 3Iissouri for the south, the ]Mississipx)i River on the 
east and the ^lissouri and Sioux rivers on the west. The date of 
admission to the Union was December 28, IS-iC. 

Comparatively few of the counties as at present estabhshcd had 
been organized previous to the convening of the first territorial as- 
sembly. It was not until after Iowa was organized as a state that we 
find Decatur represented in the Legislature. It was the last of twelve 
counties created by the act of the Legislature of the Territory of 
Iowa, api^roved January 13, 184C, and its boundaries as at first de- 
fined have remained permanent. The land included within the liinits 
of the county was ceded to the United States Government by the Sac 
and Fox Indians in a treaty dated October 11, 1842. Decatur was 
west of the line by which this cession was divided into two parts and 
therefore did not have to be vacated by the Indians until three years 
after the date of cession. The three southern tiers of counties in Iowa 
at present were carved from the original territory of the County of 
Des jNIoines. Des JNIoines was the second county established in Iowa, 
Dubuque having been the first. The limits of the County of Des 
]\Ioines were defined in section 2 of an act to lay off and organize 
counties west of the JNIississippi River. In the definition of the boun- 
daries of Des jNIoines County an error was made in that the county 
was not limited, in so many words, to territory' to which the Indian 
title had been extinguished. The intention of the framers of the act 
was to erect the southern part of the Black Hawk Purchase into Des 
jMoines County, but by the omission of a phrase the county was appar- 
ently extended westward to the Missouri River. The territory 
enacted into new counties was only the southern part of the Black 
Hawk Purchase. It did not extend westward to the Missouri River. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER 1 
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DECATUR COUNTY 



,', 



FIRST SETTLEMENTS AN EARLY SCRIBE S DESCRIPTION FRANKLIN 

TOWNSHIP LONG CREEK TOWNSHIP — RICHLAND TOWNSHIP 

GRAND RI^^R DECATUR PRODUCTIONS — EDUCATIONAL 

MANUFACTORIES RAILROADS REAL ESTATE BRIDGES 

CHURCHES — POSTOFFICES — OLD TIME NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS 

IN THE DAYS OF AULD LANG SYNE 1 



CHAPTER II 
ORGANIZATION OF DECATUR COUNTY 

COUNTY ORGANIZATION — FIRST TOWNSHIPS — COUNTY SEAT — IN 
REGARD TO THE COUNTY SEAT C0NTR0\T:RSY — FIRST COURT- 
HOUSE COURTHOUSE BURGLARY THE NEW C0U;RTH0USE 

JAIL POOR FARM THE COUNTY ROAD SYSTEM 16 

CHAPTER III 
SUMMARY OF COUNTY OFFICIALS 

COUNTY JUDGES TREASURERS AND RECORDERS — TREASURERS 

RECORDERS — CLERKS SHERIFFS — COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS 

AUDITORS SUPERVISORS CORONERS — SURVEYORS DIS- 
TRICT JUDGES SENATORS REPRESENTATIVES 30 

" i 

Vll 



viii CONTEXTS 

CHAPTER IV 
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP BEFORE THE WAR 

AX ARTICLE FROM THE PEN OF DUNCAN CAMPBELL 34 

CHAPTER V 
ABOUT NEW BUDA AND THE HUNGARIANS 

WRITTEN BY G. P. ARNOLD, ALSO THE STORY OF FRANCIS VARGA . ... 48 

CHAPTER VI 
DECATUR'S WAR STORY 

FIRST PREPARATIONS ENLISTMENTS GEORGE POMUTZ PROMI- 
NENT SOLDIERS FROM THIS COUNTY SKETCH OF THE THIRD 

IOWA CAVALRY THE HOME COMING OF THE THIRD 54 



CHAPTER VII 

ROSTER OF DECATUR COUNTY SOLDIERS WHO 
SERVED IN THE WAR OF REBELLION 

FOURTH IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY COMPANY D THIRTY- 
FOURTH IOWA INFANTRY COMPANY A COMPANY I THIRTY- 
NINTH IOWA INFANTRY COMPANY K SEVENTEENTH IOWA 

INFANTRY COMPANY A THIRD IOWA VOLUNTEER CAV- 
ALRY COMPANY L COMPANY M UNASSIGNED NINTH IOWA 

CAVALRY COMPANY C FORTY-EIGHTH IOWA VOLUNTEER 

INFANTRY COMPANY C DECATUR COUNTY SOLDIERS IN 

TROOPS OF OTHER STATES COMPANY A, THIRTY-SEVENTH ILLI- 
NOIS INFANTRY COMPANY D, FIFTIETH ILLINOIS TENTH 

KANSAS VOLUNTEER INFANTRY COMPANY K TfllRTY-FIFTH 

MISSOURI INFANTRY COMPANY A COMPANY E FORTY- 
FOURTH MISSOURI INFANTRY MISSOURI STATE MILITIA SEV- 
ENTH CAVALRY SOUTHERN BORDER BRIGADE (iOWA) THIRD 

; BATTALION COMPANY A 63 



CONTENTS ix 

CHAPTER VIII 
PROGRESS OF EDUCATION IN DECATUR COUNTY 

EARLY LEON SCHOOL DAYS ANOTHER SCHOOL REMINISCENCE 

DECATUR SCHOOLS EARLY SCHOOL DAYS IN FRANKLIN TOWN- 
SHIP IN GARDEN GROVE IN EDEN TOWNSHIP SCHOOL STA- 
TISTICS 77 

CHAPTER IX 
GRACELAND COLLEGE 

AN ARTICLE WRITTEN BY MISS INEZ SMITH 96 

CHAPTER X 
THE CITY OF LEON 

EARLY SETTLEMENT AND GROWTH NEWSPAPERS TELEPHONES 

ELECTRICITY WATER IMPROVEMENTS BANKS LODGES, 

SOCIETIES AND CLUBS— CHURCHES THE SWIFT COMPANY 

COMMERCIAL CLUB REMINISCENCES OF LEON BY MAJ. J. L. 

YOUNG THE LEON BOARD OF TRADE LEON AS DESCRIBED IN 

1869 MEMORIES OF LEON BY J. N. MACHLAN 110 

CHAPTER XI 

THE FOUNDING OF LAMONI AND THE WORK OF 

THE ORDER OF ENOCH 

A HISTORY PREPARED BY ASA S. COCHRAN— BANKS NEWSPAPERS 

THE CITY OF LAMONI AND ITS PEOPLE SOCIETIES THE METH- 
ODIST CHURCH 130 

CHAPTER XII 

THE BEGINNING OF THE LATTER DAY 
SAINTS CHURCH 

WRITTEN BY HEMAN C. SMITH THE PRESENT STATUS OF THE 

CHURCH THE SAINTS' HERALD 138 



X CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XIII 
EARLY SETTLEMENT AT GARDEN GROVE 

AX ACCOUNT OF THE MORMOX SETTLEMEXTS THERE IX 1834 WRIT- 
TEN BY HEMAX^ C. SMITH 143 

CHAPTER XIV 
DECATUR COUNTY TOWNS 

DAVIS CITY GARDEX GROVE PLEASAXTOX^— VAX WERT GRAXD 

RIVER DECATUR CITY WELDOX" LEROY NEW BUDA TERRE 

HAUTE — TUSKEEGO HIGH POIXT WESTERVILLE 154 

CHAPTER XV 

POLITICS IN DECATUR COUNTY 

historical and political remixiscex^ces of decatur couxty by 
"ax" old politiciax" 183 

CHAPTER XVI 
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION 

DOCTORS IX DECATUR COUXTY DECATUR COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY 

THE physicians' REGISTER 190 

CHAPTER XVII 
THE LEGAL PROFESSION 

PROMIXEX^T LAWYERS, PAST AX^D PRESEX^T THE PRESEXT BAR — 

THE FIRST COURT 197 

CHAPTER XVIII 
THE NAMES OF DECATUR COUNTY STREAMS 

AX ACCOUX^T OF THE XAMIXG OF THE STREAMS OF THE COUNTY 

WRITTEX BY J. E. VAIL 204 



CONTEXTS xi 

CHAPTER XIX 

MISCELLAXEOUS 

EAKLY FARM METHODS RAILROADS GRAND RIVER OUTLAWS PIO- 
NEER REMINISCENCES CHRISTMAS FIFTY YEARS AGO DECATUR 

COUNTY IMMIGRATION SOCIETY DECATUR COUNTY AGRICUL- 

TUR^U. AND LIVE STOCK ASSOCIATION THE DECATUR COUNTY 

HISTORICAL SOCIETY, BY HEMAN C. SMITH 209 

CHAPTER XX 
GEOLOGY OF DECATUR COUX^TY 

INTRODUCTION PHYSIOGRAPHY TOPOGRAPHY DRAINAGE 

STRATIGRAPHY CARBONIFEROUS DES MOINES SERIES PLEAS- 
ANTON SHALES MISSOURIAN SERIES BETHANY LIMESTONE 

PLEISTOCENE KANSAN AND OLDER DRIFT SHEETS LOESS AND 

GUMBO ALLUVIUM STRUCTURE ECONOMIC PRODUCTS COAL 

CLAYS BUILDING STONES LIME ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

FOREST TREES AND SHRUBS OF DECATUR COUNTY NOMEN- 
CLATURE 228 




PROFESSOR J. M. HOWELL 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 



CHAPTER I 
EARLY SETTLEMENT OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Pioneer history, at its best, is an elusive subject. Records of the 
days when the settlers hewed their homes from the unbroken wilder- 
ness have not been adequately presenxd and consequently the soiu'ces 
of information which have survived are treasures which must be kept 
and immortalized by the present generation and the ones to come, 
lest the tales of the hardships and sturdy deeds be lost to view forever. 
Such is the purpose of history. Pioneer history, as well as any other, 
grows with the telling. There is glamour and interest centering 
around the hard fought battles of the early days, which will bear the 
retelling many times over. What if bits of imagination are intro- 
duced in the retelling? Any life is prosaic in the stern reality — and 
narrative beauty is added by the coloration of the pure facts ; but, of 
course, strict adherence to these same facts is a prime requisite. 

In the beginnino; of Iowa history, and with it that of Decatur 
County, settlements were miles apart and social intercourse was 
difficult. Log rollings, husking bees, barbecues, cabin buildings and 
other entertainments significant to the pioneers supplied the only op- 
])ortunities for the people to congregate together and these periods 
were often months apart. So the pioneer lived alone with his family 
in the silent and mighty forest and on the monotonous level of the 
prairie, sallying out before dawn to shoot the game for the day's food 
or to cast a line in the nearby stream. The clothes were manufac- 
tured by the good housewife who sat for days before the loom and 
spinning wheel, patiently working; linsey-woolsey and homespun, 
adorned with the skins of wild animals, were the popular fabrics. 

An extreme hardiness of body and soul resulted from this life; 
men were cast in steel. Writers of today lament the deterioration of 

Vol. I— 1 



2 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

the twentieth century civihzation, praying for the spirit of the pioneer 
days. This may be true, but the effects of money and luxuries are too 
familiar to merit discussion in a work such as this yolume. It is to 
the first men of the county and their infl^uence in building up old 
Decatur and to the men of the present generation who are stolidly 
retaining this standard, that this work must be dedicated. 

FIRST SETTLEMENTS 

Perhaps the first record of early settlement in the County 
of Decatur proclaims that the very earliest settlements were made in 
the southern part of the county in or about the year 1840. Among 
the men who came to this territory at this time and threw up their 
rude habitations were: William Hamilton, James and Reuben Hat- 
field, Alfred Stanley, John McDaniel, John E. Logan and Allen 
Scott. It is said that some of these pioneers came eyen as early as 
1838, carrying the impression that they were settling in the State of 
jNIissouri. 

It is interesting to note that prior to the settlement of the so- 
called boundary question a number of slayes were held in the southern 
jDart of the county. Among the early records is the following: 

"I, John ]McDaniel, of the County of Decatur and the State of 
Iowa, do hereby release, giye up, and set at liberty as a free man, 
George, a black, a colored man, w^ho has resided in my family since 
boyhood. Said man is about forty-fiye years old at this time, about 
fiye feet eleyen inches hioh. Witness my hand and seal this 25th day 
of February, A. D., 18o2. 

"John McDx^niel." 

This same George died in the southern part of the county, evi- 
dently preferring to spend the rest of his days in the vicinity of his 
former master's home. McDaniel afterward moved to the State of 
Oregon. 

The boundary dispute referred to in the above occurred about 
the time of the Fourth Legislative Assembly in Iowa. There w^as in 
question the boundary line between this territory and the State of 
^Missouri. There was a difference of a strip eight or ten miles wide, 
extending from the oNIississippi to the JNIissouri rivers, which each 
claimed. JNIissouri officers, attempting to collect taxes within the dis- 
puted territory, were arrested by Iowa sheriffs, so the respective gov- 



HISTOKV OF DECATUli COUNTY 3 

ernors called out the militia, fully expecting that there would be 
bloodshed between the two factions. About twelve hundred 
Iowa men enlisted under the colors of their state and ,300 were 
actually armed and equipped and encamped in Van Euren County. 
At this juncture three men were sent to jNlissouri as envoys plenipo- 
tentiary to endeavor to consume a peaceable settlement of the ques- 
tion. Upon their arrival they found that the county commissioners 
of Clark County, Mo., had rescinded their order for the collection of 
taxes and that Governor Boggs had dispatched messengers to the 
governor of Iowa proposing to submit an agreed case to the Supreme 
Court of the United States. This proposition was declined, but after- 
ward, upon petition of Iowa and ^Missouri, Congress authorized a 
suit to settle the controversy. This suit w^as dulv instituted and re- 
suited in the decision that Iowa had the right to the land. Under an 
order from the national Supreme Court commissioners surveyed and 
established the boundary. The expenses of the war, on the part of 
Iowa, were never paid, either by the United States or the territorial 
government. 

Again, owing to the fact that the land in this section of the coun- 
try had not yet been acquired from the Indians, settlers were forbid- 
den by the military authorities from settling thereon. This explains 
the fact that most of the early settlers of Decatur County located in 
the present southern part. They were not in that day in Decatur 
County, but in the State of JNlissouri, hence not trespassers on Indian 
lands. 

In the fall of 1847 a company of INIormons, en route to the State 
of Utah, stopped at a place now^ known as Garden Grove, in the 
northeastern part of the county, to spend the winter. When spring 
came the main body of them moved on westward, but a few others 
remained several more seasons. The last of them left in 1851. 

In the year 1850 L. Ujhazy, who was formerly civil governor of 
the Fortress of Komorn in Hungary, came to this country and set- 
tied on the left bank of Grand River, and occupying the lands on the 
right bank wliere Davis City now stands. A postoffice was estab- 
lished and he gave it the name of New Buda, in honor of Buda-Pesth, 
the capital city of Hungary. He was appointed postmaster. Sev- 
eral other of his countrymen came with him to this place and it became 
known as a Hungarian Settlement. 

iMore will be said in connection wath this interesting event in a 
special article later in this work. 



4 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

AX EARLY scribe's DESCRIPTION 

The following paragraphs relative to Decatur County were pub- 
lished in the Decatur County Journal of August 6, 1868, and in sev- 
eral succeeding issues, which was about two months after the estab- 
lishment of the paper: 

The countj^ is about twenty-four miles square, and contains 576 
square miles, more or less. There is probably not a county in South- 
ern Iowa as well timbered as this and the timber is well interspersed 
among the prairies, which are generally small and rolling, or gently 
undulating, and consequently well adapted to the growth of all the 
grains and grasses of this latitude. 

The principal stream is Thompson's Fork of Grand River, which 
enters the county not far from the northwest corner, and winds its 
way through Richland, Grand River, Decatur, Bloomington, New 
Ruda and Hamilton townships, and leaves the county and enters Mis- 
souri near the south line. This is a beautiful stream, bedded wath 
limestone, which supplies a large portion of the county with a good 
article of lime and also stone suitable for building purposes. It is 
also well timbered through the entire length of the county, wuth an 
excellent quality of white, black, red and spotted oak, together with 
walnut, elm, hickory, hackberry, buckeye, hard and soft maple, mul- 
berry and linn or basswood. It is the best mill stream in the county, 
there being several very good establishments of the kind upon it. The 
first one north is what is usually called the Westervelt ]\Iill, pur- 
chased a few years since by John Polly, and completely reconstructed 
and put in thorough running order. The next one southward is 
Funk's Mill, which has also changed hands, and been refitted in a 
first class manner. Still farther south stands the Davis ]\Iill owned 
by William Davis. These, with several sawmills, make up the mill 
privileges of the Grand River. West of it is Elk Creek, a small 
stream, skirted with timber. Near the center of the county runs 
liittle River, which affords abundance of stock water, and the banks 
of which are well set w^ith the timber of the usual kinds. This stream 
empties into the Weldon Fork of Grand River, which is about half 
as large as the Thompson Fork, and is a fine stream, furnishing abun- 
dance of water for the east side of the county. It enters the county 
near the center of the north side, zigzags through Garden Grove, 
Fligh Point and Woodland to^\aiships and enters JNIissouri not far 
from the southeast corner of the county. Its banks and adjacent 
ridges furnish a large amount of good timber for the small prairies 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 5 

nearby. The tributaries are Little River, Rriish Creek, Jonathan 
Creek, and Steel's Creek. These are also bordered with the usual 
varieties of timber. In addition to these streams there are numerous 
springs scattered over the county. On the prairies good well water 
can be had by digging from fifteen to forty feet. We neglected to 
mention in the proper place Long and Short creeks, tributaries of 
Thompson's Fork of Grand River, the former of which has an abun- 
dance of good limestone for building purposes and both have a large 
quantity of good timber along their banks. The numerous streams, 
springs, etc., together with the smallness of the prairies, and the large 
amount of good timber, well scattered over the county, adapts it to 
a heavier settlement than any other comity in Southern Iowa. 

FRANKLIX TOWNSHIP 

This is second to none as a farming country. It embraces a part 
of the largest prairie in our county, and consequently timber is more 
unhand}^ than in any other part of the county. It has a population 
of 289. The citizens have shown fully that thev were not behind other 
townships in point of energy and enterprise, notwithstanding the 
disadvantages of the remoteness of their timber from their prairie 
land, they have within a very few years brought into cultivation a 
large portion of the township and have erected substantial buildings 
upon the same. The town has three subdistricts, eighty children 
entitled to school privileges, pays an aggregate of $704 to teachers. 
Franklin is the name of the postoffice. 

LONG CREEK TOWNSHIP 

Though it cannot boast of having as large an extent of fine prairie 
as Franklin, can lay claim to having some of the best oak timber in 
the county. It has a population of 350; has eight subdistricts; 252 
children between five and twenty-one years; pays $1,177 annually 
to teachers. It has three prominent stock dealers, William West, 
Stephen Strong and R. G. ^lansfield. Prairieville, located in the 
east side of the township, has one store and one grocery. There are 
two meeting houses in this place, one belonging to the ^lethodist 
Episcopal Church and the other to the Christian. 

RICHLAND TOWNSHIP 

This township, being the northwestern one, lies on Thompson's 
Fork of Grand River, is well watered, prairies small and timber in 
plenty. It has a population of 486, 222 having the privileges of 



6 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

the common schools. Four subdistricts paid in 1867 $396 to their 
teachers. Rehgiously, the people represent the Methodists, Bap- 
tists, United Brethren, Christian and Tunkers, and are peaceable and 
quiet. The postoffice is Westervelt. 

GRAND RIVER 

Located south of Richland, is also on the river, and has equal 
advantages of water, timber and good land, with a population of 
219 and 106 children entitled to school privileges, being at j)resent 
divided into four subdistricts. The aggregate amount given to 
teachers last year was $506.58. Religiously about the same as Rich- 
land. Persons visiting or locating with them will be made to feel 
not entirely beyond civilization. 

DECATUR 

This township has in it some of the oldest settlers of the county, 
among whom are JNIillers, Woodmansee, Boord, Gill and others. 
These, as well as those who liave come in since, brought with them 
cultivation, skill and energy, which have been manifested in the agri- 
cultural development of the township. It has a population of 829, 
312 of whom are enjoying the advantages of the common schools. 
Paid teachers last year a total of $709.50. Decatur City is its chief 
village. It is situated on an elevated dividing ridge between Grand 
and Little rivers, and is therefore free from the miasmatic influence 
of low, wet lands. It has a population of from three to five hundred 
and is an independent school district. The citizens have shown their 
interest in educational matters by erecting a good frame schoolhouse, 
two stories high, in the public square, and since its completion they 
have had an excellent school taught. Decatur City has two dry 
goods stores, one drug store, one groceiy, one blacksmith shop and 
two taverns. The meeting house is owned by the iNIethodist Epis- 
copal Church. It is a neat, frame building, 30 by 40 feet. The 
chiu'ch is under the care of IMr. Baker. The Tunkers also have 
regular services in the place by JNIr. William Stout and Garver. 
Some years since the Adventists, or Soul Sleepers as they were called, 
flourished extensivelv. but like the orator of whom we have read, thev 
have "subsided." Tlie Clnistian Church also eked out. There are 
many honorable members of these societies residing here, but with- 
out a home of Morship. There are three physicians in Decatur City. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 7 

PRODUCTIONS 

On the west and south sides of the county good buihhng stone 
is abundant. A httle coal has been found in several localities, but 
no banks have yet been opened. 

In varietv and beauty of natural scenery this county is unsur- 
passed. JNIany of the views along Grand River are indeed grand, 
as the name suggests. From the prairie highlands the wooded slopes 
and valleys present to the eye the loveliest landscapes. 

This is one of the finest grain-producing counties, and is especially 
ada])ted to winter wheat. No county in the state has produced better 
crops of tame grass and the farmers have engaged largely in its pro- 
duction. Decatur County is well adapted to the raising of fruits, 
and there are already many bearing orchards. Among the citizens 
who are devoting their attention to fruits may be mentioned Amos 
Newman, J. B. Lunbeck, Charles jNIoore, J. S. AVarner, Thomas 
^Valler and Caselton Gibson. The wild fruits which grow abundantly 
are ])lums, grapes, crabapples, blackberries, raspberries and straw- 
berries. The wild cherry, mulberry and the red and black haw are 
also found. Among the shrubs are the sumach, black elder and 
hazel in great profusion, and all indicative of a rich, deep soil. The 
prickly ash and swamp dogwood are also found in places. As a 
stock-raising county Decatur compares favorably with many others. 
The numerous running streams afford water at all seasons, while the 
timber makes a winter shelter. Several leading farmers are largely 
engaged in raising cattle and other fine stock, among whom may be 
mentioned Alexander McNeil, Stei)hen Strong, Adam Johns k. Bros. 

EDUCATIOXAL 

There are in the county seventy-seven sub-districts and three inde- 
pendent districts, Decatur, Garden Grove and Leon. Last year's 
report of the superintendent shows that there were 68 schoolhouses, 
four brick, 30 frame and 34 log. There were 78 schools taught last 
year, with an aggregate of 2,005 j)upils in attendance. There were 60 
male and 46 female teachers reported, the average compensation of the 
males per week being $9.4.5 and females $6.37. Decatur Township 
and the independent district of Decatur City justly paid male and 
female teachers the same wage, while all other toM'nships discriminated 
against the females. 



8 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

MANUFACTORIES 

Grand River, as it passes through this county, furnishes a large 
number of ehgible mill sites, some four or five of which have been im- 
proved. There are in the county two woolen mills, one carding fac- 
tory, three water flouring mills, three steam flouring mills, ten steam 
sawmills and four shingle machines attached to sawmills. Several 
of the sawmills have lath mills attached. 

One of the leading manufacturing establishments of the county is 
the woolen mills of R. ^I. jNIudget & Company, situated at Leon. 
They have a building 40 by 70 feet and three stories high. It 
is suj^plied with the best machinery, consisting in part of two sets of 
manufacturing cards, two sets of roll cards, two jacks of 180 spindles 
each, one broad and three narrow looms, with steam engine and all 
other necessary machinery. The factory has been in operation some- 
thing over a year, but the proprietors have just made additions to the 
property to accommodate the increasing business. 

Four miles east of Pleasant Plain, near the state line, are sit- 
uated the woolen mills of John Clark, which have been in operation 
about twelve vears. The main factorv building is 34 by 70 
feet and three stories high, with two additional buildings. It has two 
sets of roll cards, two full sets of manufacturing cards, two jacks, one 
of 180 and the other 144 spindles, one broad and six narrow looms. 

Stout & Blodgett recently erected at Leon a brick flouring mill, 
the main structure being 30 by 36 feet, and three stories high, with an 
engine room 14 by 16 feet. It is provided with an engine of fifty 
horsepower, has two run of burrs and is fitted up with all the latest 
improved machinery. 

STATISTICS OF AGRICULTURE 

In 1866 there were enclosed 58,141 acres; rods of hedging, 1,649, 
acres of spring wheat, 1,030; bushels harvested, 11,266; acres of 
winter wheat, 630; bushels harvested, 6,860; acres of oats, 3,668 
bushels harvested, 104,382; acres of corn, 25,069; bushels harvested 
299,820 ; acres of rye, 282 ; bushels harvested, 3,686 ; acres of barley 
28; bushels harvested, 271; acres of sorghum, 350; gallons of syrup, 
15,653; acres of Irish potatoes, 352; bushels harvested, 11,124. The 
statistics of last year's crops will show a vast increase over the above 
figures. The crop of wheat for the year 1868 will more than double 
that given above for 1866. The area of land in cultivation is rapidly 
increasing in this, as well as other counties in Southern Iowa. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 9 

RAILROxVDS 

As yet no lines of railroad have been completed within the county. 
The people, however, feel a deep interest in several contemplated 
railroads, promising great advantages to them in the future. One 
project which the people in the west psirt of the county, especially, 
feci interested in, is known as the Iowa & 3Iinnesota Railroad. Some 
two years ago under a former organization called the Fort Des Moines 
& Kansas City Railroad Company, the line was surveyed and located. 
A considerable amount of the grading was also done south of Decatur 
City. There is confidence in the ultimate success of this road. 

Another jDroject is that known as the Chillicothe, Leon & Des 
JMoines Railroad, in which the people of Leon and the eastern part 
of the county felt a particular interest. The JNIissouri counties through 
which the road passes have subscribed $.50,000 worth of stock towards 
its construction to the state line at Pleasant Plain, twelve miles south 
of Leon. About thirty-seven thousand dollars has been subscribed in 
Decatur County. I. H. Sales of Leon is president of the company. 
Both of the above projects have met with great favor in the jNIissouri 
counties through which the lines pass, and one of the lines, if not both, 
will doubtless be constructed at an early day. The contract for grad- 
ing, bridging and tieing the Chillicothe & Des INIoines Railroad from 
Chillicothe to Princeton, a distance of fifty miles, was let on the 10th 
of February and the road is to be ready for the iron by the first of 
August, 1870. As soon as possible the survey w^ill be made through 
this county and put under contract. A county possessing the elements 
of wealth that Decatur does cannot longer afford to wait for a railroad 
to develop her resources. 

REAL ESTATE 

Unimproved lands may be bought in this county at reasonable 
prices ranging from $3 to $6 per acre and some even as low as $2.50. 
Unimproved lots in Leon are held at all prices, from $20 up to $200. 

BRIDGES 

The county has erected good bridges over most of the streams. 
One was completed last spring over Grand River at a cost of $9,000 
and one over Little River this winter at a cost of $o00. Another over 
Long Creek is now in the course of constiiiction and will be finished 
very soon. 



10 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

CHURCHES 

Nearly all the evangelical religious denominations are represented 
in the county. The religious organizations of Leon are ^Methodist 
Episcopal, Christian, Bai^tist and Presbyterian. The jMethodists have 
a neat, new and commodious frame church, with bell, and well linished. 
They have a good membership and a large attending congregation. 
The Christian denomination have a, brick church, 40 by 60 feet in size, 
also provided with a good bell. The other denominations have not 
yet built churches in Leon. Flourishing Sabbath schools are con- 
nected with the above denominations. 

In Decatur City the JNIethodist Episcopal Church has an organiza- 
tion of about forty members. The town is enclosed in what is known 
as Decatur City Circuit. The circuit has ten preaching places and 
has about 250 members. The largest society in the circuit is at Prairie- 
ville, one and a half miles north of Decatur City. On this circuit and 
connected with the church are seven Sabbath schools, that at Decatur 
City having an attendance of about eighty pupils. The Union Sab- 
bath School in Decatur City has about the same number. 

The ^Methodist Church — formerly known as the Protestant JNIeth- 
odist — has two organizations, one at Decatur City and the other at 
Funk's ^lill on Grand River, northwest of Decatur Citv. The soci- 
eties were organized by Rev. F. A. Kirkpatrick within the last year. 

The United Brethren also have an organization at Decatur Citv 
and others in different parts of the county to the number of eight with 
300 members. We believe the Baptists also have a society at this 
place. 

The Decatur County Bible Society was organized in 18oj. James 
P. Layton, G. D. Sellers, Uriah Bobbitt and J. W. Warner are prom- 
inent workers in this society at the present time. 

POSTOFFICES 

The following are the postoffices in Decatur County in 1868: 
Westervelt, Funk's ^lill, Decatur, Elk, Sedgwick, Terre Haute, New 
Buda, Nine Eagles, High Point, Garden Grove, Franklin, Leon. 

OLD TIME NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS 

June 4, 1868 — Our friends of the JNIethodist persuasion received, 
on Thursday evening last, a fine bell for their church, weighing 600 
pounds. It is of regular bell metal and cost delivered about $280. 



HISTOllV OF DECxVTUR COUNTY li 

June 4, 1868 — Everybody who Mants a cheap farm should come 
to Decatur County. Good wild lands can be had at from $2 to .$.3 
per acre and improved lands at $10 to $12. 

June 25, 18()8 — J. AV. Harvey, late of JNIonroe, Jasper County, 
this state, has settled among us and associated himself with J. L. 
Young in the practice of law. 

July 80, 18G8 — W. C. Akers, living three miles east of Leon, killed 
a lynx last Sunday morning in a pasture about 800 yards from his 
house. 

September 12, 1808 — Dan Castello's monster shows exhibited in 
Leon. 

September 10, 1868 — We are pleased to chronicle the return of 
Dr. I. F. Hildreth to his new home in Leon. This gentleman came to 
our town a couple of months ago, and together with Judge Sales, 
bought the stock of goods owned by C. S. Stout & Company. The Dr. 
hails from Belief ontaine, jNIahaska County, and comes recommended 
as a gentleman of ability and high moral character and we have no 
doubt will prove to be a valuable citizen. Here's our 3^^, Doctor, and 
our best wishes for your success. 

October lo, 1868 — Whereas Oscar A. Doolan, aged 12, regularly 
l)ound to me, left my house and control, on October 4, 1868, without 
my consent or knowledge, this is to warn all persons not to trust or 
harbor him on my account as I will pay no debts of his contracting. 
P'ive cents reward will be paid for his return to me without expense. 
Signed, D. Huff. 

INIarch 4, 1869 — Quite a novel scene was witnessed in the circuit 
court last Saturday, in the introduction of a full blooded African upon 
the witness stand, and drew a large crowd to hear the testimony. This, 
we believe, was the first instance of the kind on record in this countv 
and excited no little comment. 

April 9, 1869 — The Leon Woolen INIills will commence operations 
one week from next JNIonday. 

April 29, 1869 — ^Ir. Thomas F. IMarshall, one of the engineers of 
the Chillicothe and Des INIoines Railroad, arrived in Leon on ^londav 
last and commenced the survey of the line of the Leon, Chillicothe 
and Des jNIoines road from the state line to this place. 

May 13, 1869 — The Christian Church hds just been completed 
and the finishing touches added. It will now compare with any edifice 
of the kind in Southern Iowa. 

June 30, 1869— The G. F. Bailey & Co.'s Gigantic Caravan, 
^lenagerie and Circus exhibited in Leon. 



12 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

October 14, 1869 — Die Wage is the title of a paper just started in 
this county, jDrinted in the German language and edited by H. Kompe. 

December 22, 1870 — Ab Waggoner is now running the stage from 
here to Osceola, making connections with the trains going both east 
and west. 

June 11, 1808 — 1.5,000 pounds of wool were received at the R. M. 
JSludgett & Co. woolen factory during the past ten days. 

IN THE DAYS OF AULD LANG SYNE 

The following items were taken from the Decatur County Journal 
in the years 1872-3: 

Trains now leave Garden Grove going east as follows: Atlantic 
express, 11.01 P. M.; mail, 2 P. M.; Chicago express, 4.11 A. M. 

Col. Geo. Burton returned home last week from the south country 
where he had been buying cattle. He has a drove of 500 head on their 
way here. 

^Monday afternoon was a good day for editors. W. J. Wightman 
of the Garden Grove Express was down. G. N. Udell of the Bed- 
ford Southwest, was in town. These two, with the Leon editors, 
ex-editors and sub-editors, met at Q. M. Lindsej^'s and held a little 
convention. 

Jerome Harvey and Prof. Frazier will hold a normal school July 
22d to continue four weeks. 

Superintendent Perkins and Chief Engineer jMallory were in town 
Tuesday on railroad matters intent. They authorized the riffht of 
way committee to locate the depot. The right of way committee con- 
sists of J. W. Harvey, Judge INIiles and Samuel Castor. Xow is the 
time to buttonhole said committee. 

ISlr. Denham, of Grand River township, tried to have a Greeley 
ratification meeting at his house. Four men, including Mr. D. and his 
hired man, were in attendance. 

On the 4th of July a celebration was held in the srrove at the east 
edge of town adjacent Little & Wise's mill and fully 2,000 people 
attended. In the morning there was a procession of "Fantastics," 
while a cannon brought up the rear. Dolly Varden was present during 
the day and presented a graceful figiire. Dr. G. W. Baker was mar- 
shal of the day. JNIusic was furnished by the Leon Cornet Band, and 
the band wagon was drawn by four horses driven by "that superb 
reinsman, Samuel Lindsey." J. W. Harvey acted as president. 
Prof. W. ]VI. Jordan and a company of vocalists sang patriotic songs. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 13 

Addresses were delivered by Prof. Harkness, J. B. JNIorrison, Francis 
^^arga, Samuel Forrey and Elder J. C. Porter. The celebration 
closed with a display of fireworks in the evening in the north part of 
town. 

The peojjle of Prairie City, now called Van Wert, celebrated the 
4th in a grove 2l/> miles west of town. John Gemmell was marshal 
of the day. There was a parade to the gromids where the exercises 
opened with a song by the Sunday schools and prayer by Levi Lewis. 
Rev. Seth Samson made the address of welcome, which was responded 
to by J. C. Lewis. J. C. Roberts delivered an oration, which was 
followed bv a declamation by Miss Nannie Gemmell. After dinner 
Lizzie INIcCann read the Declaration of Independence and Hon. Fred 
Teale delivered an oration. The local chronicler says that "Fred 
seemed full of patriotism." The singing was led by A. Bullard and 
^Irs. Barbara ^IcCormick. 

The 4th was observed at Pleasanton by an old fashioned celebra- 
tion. The Declaration was read by Dr. JNIurphy and A. M. Post 
delivered an oration. 

W. H. Robb addressed a large political meeting at Pleasanton last 
Saturday. 

The Leon public schools opened September 9th with W. S. Domer, 
of Iowa City, as principal; INIrs. M. J. Read, grammar department; 
jNIiss Ella Eaton, intermediate, and INIiss Mollie JNIiles, primary. 
Attendance, 258. 

Jeremiah Hatfield, one of the oldest residents of Decatur County, 
and one of the most influential men we had, was stricken dead while 
working in his field last oNIonday. 

Wood is selling for $2 per cord in Leon. 

Look out for the cars ! The track lavers are only two miles from 
town at this writing, August 22. 

Cooper^s Circus exhibited in Leon August 2d. 

James Goen has the contract to carry the mail from the depot to 
the postofRce. 

The Grant and Wilson Club will be addressed on next Wednesday" 
evening, September 4th, by W. T. Laughlin, candidate for district 
attorney, and Hon. Sam Forrey. Come, everybody. 

The oldest inhabitant never before saw such crops as Iowa can 
justly boast of this season. The county is a perfect ocean of corn, 
some of which has grown so tall that the owners will have to get on a 
ladder to pick the ears off. 



14 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

J. A. Snyder has put an addition to his shop one door east of the 
M. E. Church. 

Died, in Franklin Township, October 6, 1872, of congestive fever, 
Ebenezer Price, in the -lith year of his age. He was a faithful soldier 
three years in the Union army during the late war, and has been for 
several years an excellent member of the Christian Church. 

The hotel now occupied by H. L. Sales passed into the hands of 
that prince of landlords, Capt. L. A. Ray, of Chariton, on Thursday 
of this week. 

Some unprincipled cuss gobbled up a pocketbook belonging to 
Robert E. Dye, on last ^londay, containing about $200 in cash, besides 
some papers and a postoffice order for $3.90. 

The residence of J. R. Bashaw was totally destroyed by fire on 
JNlonday afternoon last, with a large proportion of his household goods, 
furniture and clothing. The fire originated in the roof in the neigh- 
borhood of a flue. — Dec. 5. 

The prairie chickens have the epizootic. 

Day before Christmas the mercury fell to 26 degrees below zero at 
Chariton. It w^as 42 at Minneapolis, 32 at Cedar Rapids and 28 at 
Burlington. 

Died, at his residence near Terre Haute, December 27, 1872, John 
jNIay. His unexpected death will be mourned by a host of friends. 

On Friday evening last 23 cars of hogs were shipped at this point 
for Chicago. 

On last Tuesday the last vestige of democracy w^as swept from our 
courthouse. A. E. Chase commenced his duties of clerk of the courts 
in place of Xathan Perdew, retiring. 

There has been shipped from this point since the finishing of the 
railroad 175 cars of hogs, 49 of cattle, 10 of sheep and 2 of horses, 
making a total of 258 cars of live stock. In December alone 116 cars 
of hogs or 7,000 head were shipped. 

There are over 500 patrons of husbandry or grangers in our county. 

Last week a Ringgold county man brought to town twelve deer 
which he had killed within a few davs. The venison sold readilv at 9 
to 12 cents per pound. 

The following is the grand jury list for 1872 : J. D. Burns, J. R. 
Starr, Newton Spencer, T. Fullerton, D. J. Patterson, INI. T. Shelton, 
James Coover, Thos. Konklin, Sam Thomas, Thos. Pitman, Wm. 
Loving, Jesse Lloyd, C. Osborne, R. Turner, Peter Cartwright. 

Thursday Tom Bradfield was unable to make his mail trip to 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 15 

Corvdon on account of the drifts, but on Fridav the mail ])a.s.sed 
through all right. — February 6, 1873. 

The old Patterson House is being pulled down to give room for a 
new two-story building to be erected by Armstrong & Blind. 

The scholars of Eden Center, under the superintendence of their 
teacher, Mr. G. W. Samson, will give an exhibition on Friday evening, 
February 28, at which several dramas will be presented and lots of 
fun besides. 

A lot of boys attended a dance in the country on Friday evening 
last, and got drunk as a natural consequence. 

J. C. Roberts and T. W. Silvers, after an arduous examination, 
which they passed with great credit to themselves, were admitted to 
the ])ractice of the law by Judge Hewitt, on Friday evening last. 

The town of High Point is still improving. Curt Alexander is 
building a dwelling on the lot east of RufFcorn's store. 



CHAPTER II 

ORGANIZATION OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Decatur County was named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, 
who was born in ^laryland, January 5, 1779, and was killed by Com- 
modore Barron in a duel at Bladensburg, JNIarch 22, 1820. The 
territory was obtained from the Indians by a treaty wliich was rati- 
fied in March, 1843. 

COUNTY ORGANIZATION 

The County of Decatm- was officially organized on the 1st day of 
Ai^ril in the year 1850. 

The first meeting of the Board of County Commissioners was 
held on INIay 6, 1850. The commissioners were: Josiah JNIorgan, 
AVilliam Hamilton and Asa Burrell. Henry B. Noston was the first 
clerk of the board. 

The first order issued by this board was one allowing Andrew 
Still the sum of $30 for his services as organizing sheriff. The com- 
missioners, at this meeting, also ordered that the District Court, Pro- 
bate Court and Commissioners' Court be held at the house of Daniel 
JNIoad until the county seat should be located. 

FIRST TOWNSHIPS 

At another meeting of the board of commissioners in July, 1850, 
the county was divided into four civil townships, namely: Garden 
Grove, JNIorgan, Burrell and Hamilton. It will be noted that the 
last three names were the respective names of the commissioners. 

The following judges and clerks of election were appointed in 
these divisions: Garden Grove. William Davis. Victor Doze and 
Hiram Chase, judges; Joshua R. INIonroe and Enos Davis, clerks. 
Morgan, Reuben Hatfield, William Oney and Christopher Wain- 
scott, judges; Thomas Gilgore and Samuel INIcDowell, clerks. Bur- 
rell, Asa Howard, John jNIcDaniel and John Still, judges; James 

16 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 17 

Woodmaiisee and Andrew Still, clerks. Hamilton, William Katon, 
Jefferson Dimick and William Hamilton, judges; \Vyllis Dickinson 
and Gideon J. Walker, clerks. 

After the first board of commissioners had divided the county 
into four townships, County Judge S. S. Thompson organized the 
townships of Center, Decatur, Richland, Eden and High Point. In 
18.50 Judge Thompson was called to Princeton, ]Mo., on business 
and he left his office in charge of Samuel Forrey, who had been 
employed to act as county attorney. He organized and named the 
following townships: Grand River, Long Creek, Franklin, New 
Buda and Woodland. Long Creek and Grand River were named 
after the streams of the same name, and Woodland because of its 
heavy growth of timber. The names of Franklin and New Buda 
were suggested by villages of the same name, both of which have 
now disappeared. The townshij^s of Fayette and Bloomington were 
called Prairie, but were afterwards divided and given their present 
names. The name of Bloomington was suggested by JNI. ^McDonald, 
who had on<"e resided in Bloomington, 111. 

COUNTY SEAT 

On January 18, 1851, an act of the Legislature was approved, 
appointing commissioners and providing for the location of the county 
seat. The commissioners were Henr}^ Allen and F. N. Sales. On 
July 21, 1851, they reported to the Board of County Commissioners 
that they had selected the east half of the southeast quarter and the 
west half of the southeast quarter of section 27, township 69, range 
26, "being high, gently-rolling prairie, through Avhich runs the main 
road from Fort Des IMoines to Independence, INIo., and in the imme- 
diate vicinity of good timber and stone, with good mill privileges." 
They also reported that they had named the town Decatur. N. 
Westcoat was selected to survey the new town. A sale of lots was 
also ordered to take place in Decatur on August 25, 1851, notice 
being given in the Des ^loines Republican and the Sentinel at Fair- 
fiekl 

There were many people in the county who strenuously claimed 
that the selection of the county seat had been illegal, because, on 
account of the high water prevailing at that time, the commissioners 
liad not been able to reach the site inside the limits of the time fixed 
bv the statute. The General Assembly accordingly ordered an elec- 
tion to take place the first Monday in April, 1853, to decide again on 

Vnl. 1 — 2 



18 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

the location of the county seat. It was urged that the point to which 
it was proposed to take the county seat was very little more in a 
central position than Decatur, which had been selected. Also, that 
the county had gone to the expense in constructing a courthouse at 
Decatur. 

The vote was counted, however, and showed the majority in favor 
of removing the county seat to Independence, afterward called South 
Independence, and now Leon, located on the southwest quarter of the 
southwest quarter of section 28, and northwest quarter of the north- 
west quarter of section 33, township 69, range 2.5. The county sur- 
veyor was employed to survey the new town. 

At the next April term of the County Court a sale of lots was 
directed to take place on the second Tuesday of JNIay, 1853, notice 
to be given by publication in the Des Moines Valley Whig, Fairfield 
Sentinel, Iowa City Reporter and the Pioneer at Trenton, jNIo. 

On the site of the town forty acres of land had been donated 
to the countv as an inducement for the removal of the countv seat, 
and the survey of the town was made in JNIav, 1853. On the 12th of 
the same month a courthouse was ordered constructed and Peter C. 
Stewart was awarded the contract, the price being $1,650. For some 
reason he failed to discharge the contract, and at the June term, 
1854, another order was made for a courthouse, to be built of brick, 
24 by 40 feet, and two stories in height, with three rooms below for 
offices and one above for a courtroom. A contract for the brick 
work and plastering was let to Arnold Childers for the sum of $900 
and the wood work to F. Parsons for the sum of $800. This build- 
ing was in use when burned, with all its contents, on INIarch 31, 1874. 

One of the voting places in the April (1853) election was at the 
store of Switzler, Davis & Co., located half a mile south of the 
residence on the INIarion Oney farm in Eden Township. The store 
was in charge of I. N. Clark. jNIr. Clark recalled the following 
voters as being among those who were present: Reuben, Calvin, 
Stanley, Andrew, Hiram and JNIyers Hatfield, James Hatfield 
(father and son), Hiram, Calvin and Abel Stanley, Alf Stanley 
(father and son), John and Anthony Vanderpool, William Oney, 
Johnny Patterson, P. C. Stewart, Harrison Weldon, Dan and Elisha 
INIoad, Thomas INIann, Oliver Stanley, the INIcIlvaines (three in num- 
ber). Dr. S. C. Thompson, Sam McDowell, Dan Bradley, Thomas 
East and I. N. Clark. 

As soon as it was known that the proposition to move the county 
seat had carried. Doctor Thompson mounted his horse and started 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 19 

for Chariton, where the land office was located. It was his intention 
to enter the land on which to locate the new town and also the sur- 
rouiuling territory. At that time one of the officials in the land 
office was Oliver L. Palmer, who was a son-in-law of Isaac Leffler, 
of Burlington. In some way Palmer heard of the result of the 
election in Decatur County and at once proceeded to take advantage 
of his information. Doctor Thompson called the next morning 
after his arrival and entered the land on which Leon is now located. 
He tlien discovered that Oliver L. Palmer had entered an 80-acre 
tract east of the proposed townsite and Porter W. Earl an 80-acre 
tract on the west side and Samuel Baird 120 acres on the south. Tlie 
IGO-acre tract north of Leon had been entered by Uriah Shaffer in 
18.50, and hence Shaffer's Addition to the Town of Leon. Palmer 
assigned his land to Isaac Leffler, who afterw^ards moved here and 
sold many lots in Leffler's Addition. Mr. Leffler had served several 
terms in Congress from Virginia, and was a man of ability and a 
prominent democratic politician. He lived here some time with his 
family and built a house on the lots now owned by John Holden. 
Earl's land was afterwards sold, and part of it is now known as the 
Stout and Gillham's Addition. Doctor Thompson donated forty acres 
of land to the town, which was surveyed in JNIay, 1853. 

IX REGARD TO THE COUNTY SEAT 

The following article was prepared by "one who knew" in 1906 
during the controversy over the location of the comity seat, and when 
Decatur had presented a petition to have the seat of justice moved 
there from Leon. The article has to do with the controversies in 
former years and mentions many things which are not found in 
strictly formal history: 

"As an early settler in Decatur County, ^larch 12, 18.51, at that 
time there had not been any townsite located for the county seat. 
But in the spring of 18.52 there was a proposition made to take a 
vote at the April election, and a location was to be made as near the 
geographical center of the county as the lay of the ground would 
admit, which was about 1% miles west of the town plat of 
Leon, on what is known as the Tash farm and called Greencastle. 
Another site was at the present Town of Decatur City, located there 
by two men who lived in Garden Grove at tliat time, and had a 
claim on a part of the land where Decatur City now stands. There 
was no legal call for the vote, but it was intended to ascertain the 



20 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

f eelinof of the settlers of the county as to where the county seat should 
be. The April election was to elect the township officers, but the 
general election was the first JNlonday in August for all state and 
national officers. When the yote w^as counted Greencastle had the 
majority of the votes cast, although Garden Grove gave several votes 
for Decatur City. At the August election in 1852, Decatur and 
Wayne counties had to elect a representative to the Legislature. 
O. N. Kellogg, of Garden Grove, w as a candidate, and Harvey Dun- 
can, of Wayne County, was a candidate for the same office. Mr. 
Kellogg was in favor of a commission to be appointed by the Legis- 
lature of Iowa to locate the county seat of Decatur County, while 
]\lr. Duncan was in favor of the voters of the county locating the 
county seat by vote of the electors, and said if he was elected he 
would use his inffiience to have a special act of the Legislature allow- 
ing the voters of the county to locate by vote at the April election in 
1853, and at that election a large majority of the votes were cast 
in favor of Leon. The citizens of Decatur City would not encourage 
the building up of Leon, but discouraged strangers from set- 
tling in the county seat at Leon, with the result that these 
strangers did not settle in either place for more than twenty-five 
years, but went to other counties where there was no factional fight 
over the county seat. As the result of that factional fight there were 
hundreds of men who came to Decatur County and would have set- 
tled here, but did not from that very cause. Do the voters of the 
county want to repeat that factional fight again? I think not. 

"In trying to keep Leon from building up they not only injured 
Decatur City just as bad, but the whole county suffered in the price 
of every acre of land from $5 to $15. That was the condition of our 
county before the railroad came to Leon. As I have stated, the price 
of all land was from $5 to $15 an acre less than in adjoining coun- 
ties until the Chicago, Rurlington & Quincy Railroad was built to 
Leon and the narrow gauge from Des INIoines to Leon, when in a 
year or two the price of land began to raise in value, because there 
was a feeling that the countj^ seat question was settled. There is 
])ut one question for every voter to ask himself, and that is, is there 
one reason why the county seat should be removed to Decatur City 
after being fifty-three years at Leon? I say there is not one single 
reason. But there are many reasons why Leon should remain as 
the county seat, and one reason is Leon is very close to the center of 
the county. But the greatest reason is the price of land w^ould not 
depreciate if it remains the county seat as at present. Another 



HISTORY OF DPXATUR COUNTY 21 

reason is that the people of the east half of the county have spent 
thousands of dollars to secure the two railroads built to Leon, the 
county seat, which was done by jjcrsonal subscription and tax levies 
on Eden, Center and Leon townships to aid the roads in building. 
Now let every voter in the county who is opposed to removing the 
county seat to Decatur City sign the remonstrance. I am satisfied 
that a great many have signed the petition who do not honestly 
believe that the county seat ought to be moved. Now let them sign 
the remonstrance, and their names will count on the remonstrance 
and not on the petition. 

"Now to correct an error in regard to the second term of the Dis- 
trict Court of Decatur County being held in Decatur City. From 
my personal knowledge it was not held in Decatur City, but was 
held in a log cabin some three miles east and south of Decatur City. 
John J. Stanley was sheriff. Judge Townsend, of Albia, was the 
judge, and I was one of the grand jurors at that court. The grand 
jurors were sw^orn and Judge Townsend gave us instructions, and 
we left the room and went out on the grass near the cabin and talked 
for an hour or so, and rejDorted there was no business to do, and w^e 
were discharged, and the judge got through with what business there 
was to do and adjourned court the same afternoon. Judge Town- 
send and I wxre neighbor boys in Indiana, and he made his stopping- 
place at my home at that time." 

The desire of Decatur City to have the county seat there was 
short lived, for in 1906 the County Board of Supervisors turned down 
their petition. 

FIRST COURTHOUSE 

At a meeting of the board of commissioners on October 27, 1851, 
it was determined to erect a courthouse, to be 20 by 22 feet, and 
14 feet in height, and to be constructed of hewed logs. Thi^ 
building was put up according to plans, but of course did not serve 
more than a few years in its proper role. It afterward became a 
hotel. 

John J. Stanley built the structure for $375 on land conveyed to 
the county by Allen Scott. 

The next county building was a large frame structure which 
stood upon the lot where the Varga home was afterward located. 
Court was held therein tw^o terms when the county judge filed objec- 
tions, and finally refused to receive it from the contractors. Another 
building was started, but before it \y{\ 'ompleted it was destroyed 



22 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

by a windstorm. Another was built upon its ruins, but fire swept 
it out of existence. It contained no fireproof vaults, and was long 
considered an unsafe place for the count}^ records. On the morning 
of March 31, 1874, about 3 o'clock, G. P. Knott discovered flames 
issuing from the building. The alarm was quickly given and the 
citizens made every effort to save the building, but all to no purpose. 
The structure was destroyed, together with all of the records of the 
county. One book from the office of the recorder and one from that 
of the clerk were the only records saved outside of the treasurer's 
office. A snowstorm came just in time to keep the flames from 
destroying other portions of the town. The safe in the treasurer's 
office contained over thirty-three thousand dollars in money, but when 
the rubbish had been cleared away and the safe opened the contents 
Mere found to be intact. 

The coiu'thouse, w hich was torn down to make room for the pres- 
ent handsome structure, w^as erected in 1875. This building, which 
had served Decatur County for so many years, was erected in the 
following manner: There had been many sales of lots laid out in 
the forty acres given to the county. The proceeds, together wqth 
the ordinary resources being sufficient, the county judge contracted 
for the brick, which w^as burned in 1874, at a cost of about two thou- 
sand dollars. The board of supervisors had secured plans for the 
building, wliich was estimated to cost about twenty thousand dollars. 
The state had years jDrior donated swamp lands to the county, which 
had been sold from time to time, and from this source the county 
had $10,000 of swamp funds. The board offered to appropriate this 
money if the i)eople would furnish enough money to finish the build- 
ing. A Leon contractor scaled the price down, and the Leon people 
raised $6,600 and completed the building. On the morning of April 
1, 1877, the entire west side of the structure was blown out with 
dynamite. 

COURTHOUSE BURGLARY 

Three years prior to this time the county was ^vild w^ith excite- 
ment, for in March, 1^74, the courthouse had burned to the around 
and no one knew or has ever known just how the fire started. The 
loss to the county, not only in property, was large, but the greatest 
damage was the loss of valuable records. Then the second court- 
house, described in the preceding paragraph, w^as constructed, costing 
about fifteen thousand dollars. Everything seemed to be proceeding 
smoothly and the people felt themselves fortunate in having such a 




OLD DEC ATIK CUUXTY ( UUKTHOUSE 
Blown n]< by burglars, April 1, 187G 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 23 

fine building when, at 5 o'clock on Sunday morning, April 1, 1877, 
the heavens were lighted with a sudden flash and the whole town 
trembled as with an earthquake. 

As this was the 1st day of April, many who heard it were slow to 
go out, thinking it was some one getting up an "April fool." But 
those on the square Mere convinced that something more serious had 
occurred, and they leaped up and went to their windows to see what 
was the matter. Those who could see the west side of the court- 
house were struck with horror at the sight, for nearly the whole west 
side of the building was blown to the ground. 

W. H. Dake, who lives upstairs on the southwest corner of the 
square, saw the house about the first man, and took in the situation 
at a glance. He saw that the fire had just caught, and with great 
presence of mind, snatched up the pail of water in his room and ran 
with all his might to the ruins. When he arrived the blaze was about 
four feet high. He dashed on the water and subdued the fast- 
increasing flames. The wind was blowing a strong gale at the time, 
and in two more minutes the building would have been a blaze. While 
running to the courthouse he saw some men, but did not recognize 
who they were, as it was still too dark to notice who persons were 
unless close at hand. 

jNIr. Dake raised the cry of fire, and when he had time to recover 
from putting out the fire these men were nowhere to be seen. John 
Kling, who keeps a restaurant on the west side of the street, sprang 
up at the sound and saw three men in an alley, and one of them went 
back and looked at the work they had done ; then came back, spoke to 
the others and turned and ran south. In a few minutes people 
gathered at the scene and found that the explosion had been caused 
by a charge of powder within the building. It was soon broad day- 
liglit, and then an inspection began and revealed the fact that it had 
been done by burglars who had entered the building during the night 
witli the intent of robbing the treasurer's office. ^lany were the 
speculations that were advanced as to what would be the result if 
the parties could be found. Even after hours had passed many 
Avould not believe the facts when told. Parties immediately notified 
the sheriff and treasurer, who soon appeared on the scene and began 
to search for the county safe, which contained a large sum of money, 
some twenty thousand dollars. The safe was discovered buried deep 
in the ruins, and it took some time to get it out, but with ropes and 
levers it at last was dragged out in the yard and found to be in 
sound condition. The treasurer, ^Ir. Varga, tried the combination 



24 HISTORY OF DFCATUR COUNTY 

and found it all right, and when he opened it found every dollar of 
money in its proper place, and the people breathed freer. But when 
they turned and beheld the ruined condition of their handsome court- 
house, a frown settled on each face. Each asked the other, "Who 
are the guilty parties?" 

After the first blast of excitement had passed and people began 
to come to their sober senses and think the matter over, suspicion 
was fastened on two of the citizens of Leon, and these two were found 
missing. They had been seen late the night previous. These two 
were W. W. Van Schaick and Howard Reed. The former owned 
a stove and tin store here, and had been in business some six years. 
The other one failed in a hardware store here the preceding summer, 
and had only been here occasionally afterwards himself, but his family 
had remained all the time. The sheriiF visited both of their houses 
early Sunday morning, but they were not at home, and their wives 
said they had not been home the night previous, nor were they to be 
found. 

The officer soon found that Van had been east the first of the 
week, and had returned on Saturday and brought a strange woman 
with him. She stopped at the hotel, and Saturday evening paid her 
bill and was not seen afterwards. A visit to the livery stable 
revealed the fact that Van had hired a livery team and started for 
Osceola just after the explosion, in company with said woman. Pur- 
suit began at once. A telegram was sent to take them in as soon as 
they got there. Sheriff Backus and Deputy Sheriff Lindsey started 
at once for the same point, on horseback, and they got there soon 
after Van and his charmer, and before the dispatch reached there. 
They found them both there and took them in and started back to 
Leon. The woman is a girl about eighteen years of age, and passed 
by the name of Lee, but her real name is Robinson. She is a "fast 
young bird," and her home is in the east part of the state. She 
became frightened and confessed the whole matter, telling the story 
of where they were during the first part of the night, who were the 
parties she saw, where the tools were placed when they left the 
courthouse to await the explosion. Their rendezvous was over Van's 
old store, on the west side of the square, and she was looking out 
of tlie window and saw the explosion. Van then came to her and 
they went up in the north of town, and there they met the bugg>^ 
that took them to Osceola. This she told to several parties on their 
return to Leon. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COT XTY 25 

The officers soon found that Reed had engaged a team to take 
him to Allerton on ^Monday morning, so as to catch the train going- 
south early, and they were certain he was secreted somewhere in town. 
A diligent search and close watch was kept, and about 10 o'clock he 
was found in an upstairs room over Van's old store, asleep. The 
officers kept this to themselves, but put a watch on the premises, and 
waited until the excitement had subsided a little, for there was a pros- 
pect that if he was brought out he would taste the end of a rope. 
About 1 o'clock they went in the room and told the said Reed they 
wanted him. A search revealed the fact that the room was a perfect 
arsenal. Pistols and knives of the finest make were there, quite 
numerous. He was taken to jail to await the arrival of his partners 
in crime, who arrived after dark and were placed under lock and key 
to answer a charge of burglary on the courthouse. 

It is not positively known how they entered the courthouse, but 
the woman says they went in at an upstairs window, pried up the 
floor, drilled through the top of the vault, but made a mistake in the 
distance and got into the recorder's vault, which is separated by a 
heavy wall from the treasurer's vault. They then took off the lock 
of the recorder's vault and came out in the recorder's office. They 
then pried open the side door to the hall, then went to the treasurer's 
office, burst it open and found that he had not locked his vault, for 
he liad intended to come back after supper, but some unseen power 
seemed to keep him at home, and this was the first time he ever left 
things in this shape over night. This had taken the whole night, 
and daylight was coming in the east, and they had but just got to 
the safe in the vault, and what must be done must be done at once. 
The safe is the same one that passed through the fire when tlie court- 
house burned. They found it locked, and resolved to finish up by 
putting several pounds of powder under the safe, putting a fuse to it 
and get out of the way. Their theory was that the powder exploding 
under the safe would spring open the doors. In this they were 
fooled, for instead of throwing open the safe it threw out the whole 
side of the house, including both the treasurer's and the recorder's 
vaults, burying the safe several feet under the debris. 

The treasurer's and the recorder's offices were on the west side 
of the courthouse. The treasurer in the southwest corner, and 
the recorder in the northwest. The vaults for both offices were in the 
center between the two offices. The powder was exploded in tlie 
treasurer's vault, and the force was terrific, tearing out the center of 
the wall from the ground to the roof, and throwing it out and tearing 



26 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTY 

the vaults to pieces and throwing down about half of the partition 
wall on the west side of the hall, at the south end, opposite the treas- 
urer's office. Across the hall from this was the auditor's office, the 
door of which was blown wide oj^en and burst terribly. The office 
in the northeast corner was the clerk's office. This received very 
little damage. The floor over the west half of the lower rooms was 
torn to jDieces, and such was the force that all the supports to the roof 
were blown down, and had there been a stronger wind the roof must 
have fallen in. The forcing up of the floor and joists bulged the 
east wall out some. 

The books of the treasurer and recorder were in a terrible shape 
— all mixed up with the fallen walls and timbers, many of them 
almost entirelv ruined, but not defaced. 

The two culprits spent six years in the prison at Fort ^ladison 
for their work. The courthouse was repaired at considerable expense. 

THE NEW COURTHOUSE 

During the year 1898 t!ie question of a new courthouse for Decatur 
County was first discuss id. It was finally ordered by the board that 
an election be held in the county on November 7, 1899, for the pur- 
pose of deciding on the question. The election was held and resulted 
in a vote of 2,167 to 847 against building the courthouse. Another 
election, held May 27, 1*902, resulted the same way by a vote of 1,7.54 
to 1,280. Finally, at the election held November 7, 190.5, the question 
was carried by 1,.536 to 1,293, and the contract was let to Lauritzen 
Rrothers of Waterloo, Iowa. J. J. Peterson, their representative, 
who erected the courthouse, arrived INIarch 9, 1907, and operations 
were begun on the 20th. 

The cornerstone of the new courthouse was laid on ]Mav 23, 1907. 
The ceremonies w^ere in charge of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, Ancient 
Free and Accepted JNIasons. Judge H. ^I. Towner of Corning deliv- 
ered the address of the afternoon. 

The dedicatory services of the new courthouse were held on July 
4, 1908. The day was a memorable one in the history of Decatur 
County, as Leon was packed with people from all over the county 
and many nearby counties contributed large delegations. The day 
was taken up with band concerts, drills, baseball game, trade parade, 
and dedicatory exercises, the latter directly after dinner. The dedi- 
catory address M^as delivered in a masterful manner by Judge Smith 
]McPherson of the L^nited States District Court. Judge H. ^I. 
Towner of Corning and Judge H. K. Evans of Corydon also spoke. 




DECATUR COUNTY COURTHOUSE, LEON 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 27 

The courthouse is fireproof throughout. The floors are con- 
structed of cement and marble, the floors inside the raihngs and in 
the court room being of oak laid over the cement. Iron, steel, stone, 
tile, brick, marble and granite, with very little hard wood, are the 
materials used in the construction. The fixtures in tlie various offices 
are of steel, the counters are covered with polished granite. The 
building is replete M'ith the most modern conveniences and the various 
offices and rooms are arranged with the idea of most efficiency and 
facility of use. The estimated total cost of the building was $70,000. 

JAIL 

In 18j6, under Judge Kelley, a substantial log jail was erected 
at a cost of $1,800. This was used until 1884-. The present jail is of 
brick and was erected soon after the old one was abandoned. It cost 
$12,000. It stood near the northeast corner of the square, at the 
corner of Eighth and Idaho streets. 

POOR FARM 

For the purpose of housing the county poor a tract of 160 acres 
M'as purchased January 4, 1866, on motion of S. P. JNIcXeil of High 
Point, for $2,700. It is located on section 14, Eden Township, and 
was owned by D. B. Gammon. His residence was enlarged and fitted 
up as an infirmary. In the autumn of 1878 a frame addition was 
built, as an insane hospital, at a cost of $2,000. 

THE COUNTY ROAD SYSTEM 

The county road system comprises 155% miles of road. This is 
to be taken care of by the revenue derived from the automobiles thus : 
In 1913 the automobiles brought into Decatur County $.5,706 and in 
1914 about seven thousand five hundred dollars. This system brings 
an average of about sixty dollars per mile for its entire lengtli. There 
are in the neighborhood of fifteen county road superintendents to look 
after this road. These road superintendents look after the grading of 
the road in preparation for dragging, as well as the dragging itself 
and the repair of the wooden bridges and keeping approaches to 
bridges smooth. For this work, if the superintendent does the work 
himself, he receives the same compensation that he would have to pay 
others to do the same work. If the superintendent does not do the 



28 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

work himself he hires it done and has the supervision over it and 
receives for such services 20 cents per hour for time. For any mileage 
of said system the superintendent is not allowed to spend over an 
average of $60 per mile. If it is necessary to have some few corru- 
gated tubes to take care of small drainage areas temporarily, these 
are taken care of out of the $60 limit also. 

A great portion of the dragging is now contracted for at the rate 
of $10 per mile per year. Concrete work and heavy grading come 
over and above this limit. 

Contracts for steel bridges, for bridge lumber, reinforcing bars 
for concrete work, have been let by bids and not as heretofore. 

Last fall a contract was made with the A. E. Shorthill Co., of 
Des ^loines, for three 50-foot steel spans and one 80-foot span, all 
riveted trusses and designed to carry a heavy traction engine and a 
concrete floor. 

The 80-foot span was to go over Long Creek above De Kalb on a 
proposed new road. One oO-foot span goes over Little River on the 
Cannon Ball, another goes on the Corn Belt west of LeRoy near the 
Alda Roe farm, and the other will go on what is called the Griffith 
cut-off, along the railroad between Davis City and Lamoni, on the 
Inter State and Waubonsie trails. 

The Tacoma Lumber Co., of Tacoma, Wash., received the con- 
tract for bridge lumber for the year 1915, at an average price of 
$25.50, instead of about thirty-odd dollars per thousand as at some 
previous times. 

Reinforcing bars were bought in a carload shipment from the 
jNIonmouth Bridge Co., of JNIonmouth, 111., as they were low bidders. 

Before construction on any concrete culverts is begun the county 
road superintendent is required to file with the auditor plans for the 
same, giving the estimated cost, drainage area and location. After 
the construction he is required to file the actual cost sheets, showing 
the itemized expenditures and to whom paid. These are to be found 
in the auditor's office and are open to public inspection at all times. 
For any new work on which the estimated cost is $300 or over, a resolu- 
tion of necessity is adopted and published in order to give the public 
notice and if they think such expenditure is not necessary, a chance to 
make a kick is given at the time named in the resolution. 

If work is estimated to cost $1,000 or over, it must be advertised 
for sealed bids. And if bids are thought to be too high, all can be 
rejected and the same put in by day labor if done under the lowest 
bid received. 




DECATUR COUNTY HOME, EDEX TOWNSHIP 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 29 

It is quite probable that a plant for the manufacture of reinforced 
concrete pipe for culverts will be established in Leon in the near 
future. These pipes are now being made in one or two counties in 
the state at prices that are below the same sizes in corrugated tubing. 



CHAPTER III 
SUMMARY OF COUXTY OFFICIALS 

COUNTY JUDGES 

Samuel C. Thompson, 1852-7; William F. Kelly, 1858-9; L. H. 
Sales, 1860-1; W. W. Ellis, 1862-3; Lmiian X. Judd, 1865; Robert 
Kimiear, 1866-9. 

TREASURERS AND RECORDERS 

John Brown, 1852; Abner Harbour, 1853; John Jordan, 1854-7; 
Ira B. Ryan, 1858-9; Samuel C. Cummins, 1860-3; J. C. Porter, 1864. 

TREASURERS 

J. C. Porter, 1865; Samuel C. Thompson, 1866-71; Charles B. 
Jordan, 1871; Francis Varga, 1872-7; E. J. Sankey, 1878-9; J. C. 
Gammill, 1880-3; A. E. Chase, 1884-8; M. A. Gammill, 1888-90; 
J. A. Caster, 1890-4; Charles H. Edwards, 1894-8; Asa S. Cochran, 
1898-1902; W. H. Young, 1902-6; E. G. Monroe, 1906-10; W. C. 
Cazad, 1910-12; J. V. Arney, 1912-14; Elba Shewmaker, 1914-. 

RECORDERS 

Luman X. Judd, 1865; W. W. Ellis, 1866-8; W. J. Sullivan, 
1869-76; John W. Leeper, 1876-80; J. H. Garrett, 1881-2; John W. 
Little, 1883-4; C. W. Beck, 1885-9; John X. Grayson, 1889-91; 
James Grindstaff, 1891-5; J. J. Evans, 1895-7; Bryson Bruce, 
1897-9: Charles H. Brown, 1899-1901; Charles E. Lane, 1901-5; 
VV. A. Poush, 1905-9; Ira B. Officer, 1909-13; Will Gardner, 1913-. 

CLERKS 

W. L. Warford, 1852-3; Samuel Dunn, 1854-5; George T. 
Young, 1856-62; Xathan Perdew, 1863-4; Francis Varga, 1865-6; 

30 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 31 

Ed K. Pitman, 1867-70; Xathan Perdew, 1871-2; A. E. Chase, 
1873-8;. Nathan Perdew, 1879-80; Millard F. Stookey, 1881-4; E. J. 
Sankey, 1885-9; Millard F. Stookey, 1889-91; T. II. Schenck, 1891-8; 
John N. Gates, 1893-7; John C. Stockton, 1897-1901; Spencer W. 
Kehler, 1901-5; A. S. Tharp, 1905-9; John Mendenhall, 1909-13; 
E. E. Beck, 1913-. 

SHERIFFS 

John J. Stanley, 1852-5; Joseph R. Parsons, 1855-7; Harrison 
Weldon, 1858-9; George AVoodbnry, 1860-3; Ira 1^ Ryan, 1864-5; 
George Woodbury, 1866-9; E. J. Sankey, 1870-3; \V. II. Fortune, 
1874-5; A. Dilsaver, 1876; J. A. Snyder, 1876; John Backus, 1877; 
W. A. Kilpatrick, 1878-9; A. J. Allen, 1880-3; W. A. Brown, 
1884-5; J. W. Honnold, 1886-90; G. W. Lefollett, 1890-2; G. W. 
Blain, 1892-4; Charles C. Beck, 1894-8; George F. Wolever, 1898- 
1902; R. D. Martin, 1902-4; Thomas Wallace, 1904-9; J. E. 
Andrews, 1909-13; F. L. Lorey, 1913-. 

COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS 

Thomas Johnson, 1858-61; Yincent Wainright, 1862-3; J. C. 
Porter, 1863; J. W. Penney, 1864-7; Samuel Bowman, 1868-9; W. C. 
Jackson, 1870-3; J. L. Harvey, 1874-5; J. C. Roberts, 1876-8; 
Josephine Kellogg, 1878-9; Laura Y. Dye, 1880-1; Emmeline 
^lanney, 1882-3; Lou Armel, 1884-5; ]Mrs. Julia B. Hoadley, 
1886-90; A. A. Roy, 1890-6; Joseph E. Cummins, 1896-1900; J. A. 
Mcintosh, 1900-4; Eli Hutchinson, 1904-7; J. W. Long, 1907-13; 
Mabel Horner, 1913-. 

AUDITORS 

George Burton, 1871; Robert E. Dye, 1872-3; W. C. Jackson, 
1874-9; W. J. Sullivan, 1880-3; J. F. Scott, 1884-5; T. H. Schenck, 
1886-90; Charles ShafFner, 1890-3; John Ledgerwood, 1893-7; 
George Sears, 1897-1901; James F. Gill, 1901-5; H. G. Scott, 
1905-9; J. Y. Lemley, 1909-13; R. E. 3IcLaughHn, 1913-15; Walter 
Osborne, 1915-. 

SUPERVISORS 



A. B. Stearns, R. D. Burnett, Samuel W. Sears, Seth Samson 
G. W. Budibaugh, G. W. Shewmaker, J. D. Brown, W. S 
Ammerman, E. Banta, Hiram Chase, Edward Conwell, W. H. H 



r 



32 ■ HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Clark, D. G. Sears, C. W. Barr, J. D. Strong, J. R. Smith, M. A. 
Wasson, James R. Smith, J. Lentz, John Allbaiigh, J. G. Springer, 
Harvey D. Day, H. D. Dye, W. H. Paris, Charles L. Rudibaugh, 
Fred 13. Xiece,^ W. H. Campbell, T. JNIorris, C. W. Barr, W. L. 
Edmondson, J. F. Hacker, A. B. McClaran, S. H. Covington, S. P. 
]Miley, Patrick Griffin, W. M. Frost, H. L. Xorthrup, J. H. Hill 
and Ij. p. Hastings have all served in the capacity of supervisor. 
The board is made up of three members, one elected each year for a 
term of three years. 

a.' 

CORONERS 

Owing to the fact that the courthouse records prior to 187i5 were 
burned in the fire of the '70s, the list of coroners before that time is 
not obtainable. Following is the summary of the men who have 
served since: 

J. A. Snyder, 1875-6; Q. M. Lindsey, 1876-82; C. A. Gillham, 
1882-4; H. C. Van Werden, 1884-6; W. A. Gardner, 1886-90; 
A. Brown, 1890-4; H. R. Layton, 1894-8; B. R. ^McAllister, 1898- 
1904; F. A. Bowman, 1904-1909; W. G. Jeffries, 1909-11; H. R. 
Lavton, 191 1-. 

SURVEYORS 

H. W. Peck, 1876-80; W. F. Craig, 1880-4; H. W. Peck, 1884-6; 
H. H. Flanagan, 1886-8; W. F. Craig, 1888-90; J. M. Hollinger, 
1890-6; George Barrett, 1896-8; J. M. Hollinger, 1898-1904; Edward 
H. Peck, 1904-7; J. M. Hollinger, 1907-11; Frank Mallette, 1911-. 

DISTRICT JUDGES 

Samuel Forrey, J. W. Hewitt, E. F. Sullivan, ^M. A. ^lills, D. D. 
Gregory, John W. Harvey, W. H. Tedford, H. :M. Towner, R. L. 
Parrish, H. K. Evans, have served in this position. 

SENATORS 

^Amos Harris, 18.52-3; Nathan Udell, 18.54-.5; John W. Warner. 
18.)0-9; William E. Taylor, 1860-1; E. F. Esteb, 1862-3; C. G. 
Bridges, 1804-7; Isaac W. Keller, 1868-71; Ehsha T. Smith, 1872-5; 
Fred A. Teale, 1876-9; Isaac W. Keller, 1880-3; John ^NIcDonough, 
1884-8: J. B. Hurst, 1888-92; W. H. Robb, 1892-6; George S. Allyn, 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 33 

1896-1904; Marion F. Stookey, 1904-9; J. D. Brown, 1909-13; C. H. 
Thomas, 19 13-. 

KEPRESENTATIVES 

Abraham Putnam, 18j2-3; S. P. Yeomans, 1854-5; Thomas iSI. 
Bowen, 1856-7; W. J. Laney, 1858-9; Racine D. Kellogg, 1860-3; 
John R. Andrews, 1864-5; Thomas H. Brown, 1866-7; Henry W. 
Peck, 1868-9; Fred A. Teale, 1870-3; Stanfield P. McXeill, 1874-7; 
W. S. Warnock, 1878-9; J. C. Porter, 1880-1; William F. Kelley, 
1882-3; Elijah Banta, 1884-5; Thomas Teale, 1886-90; Guy P. 
Arnold, 1890-2; Bryson Bruce, 1892-4; Z. H. Gurley, 1894-8; M. 
Wemple, 1898-1900; B. L. Eiker, 1900-4; E. J. Sankey, 1904-7; 
C. C. Dye, 1907-9; E. J. Sankey, 1909-11; J. A. Smith, 1911-13; 
M. F. Thompson, 1913-. 



Vol. 1—3 



CHAPTER IV 
HAMILTON TOWNSHIP BEFORE THE WAR 

By Duncan Campbell 

Hamilton is one of the southern tier of townships of Decatur 
County, Iowa. It is bounded on the east by ^lorgan, on the north 
bv Eden and on the west by New Buda Townships. In a few places 
the west line is indented by the curves of Grand River, and towards 
the northeast it is crossed by Little River, a tributary of the Grand. 
Several creeks and small streams carry their waters into these rivers 
when the flow is not exhausted by dry weather. The surface, gener- 
ally, is an undulating prairie, broken in places by ravines. The river 
bottoms were covered with a large growth of timber at the time of its 
first settlement, but much of it has since fallen before the axe and 
saw of the woodmen. Later, some portions of the prairie became 
covered with a dense growth of shrubs and small timber planted by 
the settlers in order to protect their dwellings, farm buildings and 
fences, and to keep down the running fires which hitherto had 
destroyed the incipient saplings. The soil on the few white oak 
ridges is light, yielding but a meager reward for the toil of the agri- 
culturist, but elsewhere good crops are raised and the people generally 
make a good living, many of them becoming quite wealtliy. 

The first settlers found some bands of Sac and Pottawattomie 
Indians still making the neighboring river bottoms their winter quar- 
ters, but spending the summers on their favorite hunting grounds in 
Kansas. Some of the settlers made considerable money in trading 
with them, on account of the Indians' poor appreciation of compara- 
tive values. These traders frequently managed to get the red man 
much in debt to them and when the Indians repaired to the agencies 
at Fort Des Moines or Council Bluff's to receive their annuities from 
the Government these traders usually appeared with them to collect 
the balance before the Indian had time to spend it otherwise, which 
he was prone to do. 

34 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 35 

The first actual settlers upon the lands now embraced in Hamilton 
Township appear to have arrived in the '40s. Champ Collier, an 
micle of the JNlissoin-i statesman, Champ Clark, who was named after 
him; Allen Scott, Wyllis Dickinson, Aaron and Moses Turpin, Kd 
Winkle, William Conover, Cole Seymour, Alfred I..o<;an, ^Martin 
Casline, John Reid, William Hamilton, William xVcton, Asa Rurrell 
and Gideon P. Walker were among the earliest. As most of these 
came in by way of JNIissouri they naturally held to the view of tluit 
state with reference to the boundary question and supposed they were 
settling within its limits. This view placed a line six miles or more 
farther north than the Iowa claim allowed, which was tliat the SulH- 
van line run in 1816 was the true boundary. The Supreme Court 
of the United States, having decided in favor of the Iowa side of the 
controversy, these settlers found themselves in a different state from 
that in which they intended to settle, and this will to some extent 
account for the mixed politics in the township in the early days. 

The conditions which obtained in JNIorgan, Hamilton and New 
Buda Townships in those times were very much alike; the most primi- 
tive order of things prevailed in all of them. Ox teams were used 
instead of horses and these were of the scrubbiest kind. It required a 
team of six or seven yoke of them to break up the prairie which at 
that time was covered with a growth of blue-stemmed grass, higher 
than a man's head. However, it required but little ground to raise 
the corn needed for family uses. The markets were too distant and 
the price paid too low to make it pay to grow corn for that purpose. 
There was little or none needed for the hogs, because they fatted them- 
selves on the abundant mast which in the little hollows about the trees 
could be shoveled up by the scoopful. One of the early settlers 
informed the writer that one fall he had sold $800 worth of hogs, 
fattened in this way. Hence, about the only corn raised was tliat 
required by oxen and for the family bread. Corn needed but little 
cultivation then, as the famous cockle-burr and other weeds had not 
begun to take possession of the ground as they have in later times. 
In many cases the hogs of the different families ran out in the woods 
together and little discrimination was shown as to which was which. 
When a family got out of meat one of the men took a gun and shot 
the first fat hog that came within range, without very close inquiry 
as to where it belonged. Wild turkey, deer and other game were 
found in great numbers, and this with the hog meat made the flesh 
supplies especially bountiful. 



36 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 



Cattle were raised cheaply and with little trouble. Thus plenty 
of butter could be had at the cost of the labor of making it. There 
was little inducement to manufacture it for sale at the frequent price 
of 3 cents per pound. Eggs were very plentiful and so cheap that 
they were often fed to the hogs by the bucketful. Many times 
there was no market for them at any price. For sweets honey was 
obtained from the bee trees by the barrel and was a source of consid- 
erable revenue, even at the low price of 20 cents a gallon. In 
the way of fruit wild apples, plums, grapes, black haws and many 
kinds of berries made satisfactory relishes. Sorghum was introduced 
in 18.57 or 18.58 by a jNIr. Fields who lived about a mile west of 
Pleasanton. He sent to Washington for the seed. 

A portion of the clothing of the men was made from buckskin, and 
being nicely dressed looked quite well. Woolen clothes were made by 
the women, who carded the w^ool, spun it, wove it and made it into 
clothes of such enduring quality that a new dress did not have to be 
made every other day. 

The first land to be occupied was in the timber or adjacent to it. 
This was because of the facility afforded for getting material for 
dwellings, barns, fences and fuel. The first houses were log cabins 
with puncheon floors and clapboard roofs. The puncheons were logs 
split and dressed or hewed on one side to a flat surface and laid close 
together on log sleepers. The shingles were made from blocks of 
oak about three or four feet in length, quartered and then split into 
clapboards by a froe. These were laid on the rude logs and then 
weighted and held in place by other logs. The doors oftentimes hung 
on wooden hinges and fastened with wooden latches. The windows 
consisted of openings between the logs over which pieces of oil paper 
or muslin were stretched. The stick and clay chimney, with its open 
fireplace and wide hearth, was a distinctive feature of those primitive 
homes and no happier memories cling around the recollection of any 
liearthstones in the world than do in the thoughts connected with 
these lowly cabins. The minds of many of those now in middle age 
liearked back to the times when, if as by chance, the young people of 
the neighborhood gathered in one of those 16 by 18 dweUings of an 
evening and the stove and the table, the beds and the cupboard were 
hustled outdoors to make room for the dance. 

From a short biography of John E. Logan, who settled in INIorgan 
Township in 1844, we take the following: "The Indians had not then 
been removed and the county was then in a primitive state. His post- 
office was at Trenton, Mo., forty miles away, and the postage on 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 37 

each letter was 25 cents, which was invariably demanded wlien 
the letter was taken from the office. ^Nloney was scarce and 
with bnt little silver to make change and beeswax was used as a sub- 
stitute, which was in good demand at 25 cents a pound. A small 
gristmill had been erected about four miles below Princeton, Mo., 
a distance of about twenty-five miles. This was of very small dimen- 
sions, but much better than none and was a blessing for which the 
pioneers were thankful. His dwelling was a cabin of hewed logs, 
18 by 20 feet in size. He had been here the previous autumn and 
had engaged his location and engaged a man to build tlie above men- 
tioned, he returning to Missouri and bringing his family the following 
spring. This cabin forms a part of his present residence, it having 
been clapboarded on the outside and sealed within. This is the oldest 
residence in the township. Here Mr, Logan and wife had lived for a 
period of forty-two years. A generation has passed away since they 
settled here. It was a beautiful timbered country, with no under- 
brush, and deer and other wild game were abundant." 

But there were other wild animals in the woods besides the deer; 
coyotes or prairie wolves roamed about in great numbers and made 
night vocal with the chorus of their prolonged howls. ^lany a calf, 
pig, lamb and chicken fell a victim to their raids on the pens and 
corrals of the settlers. 

When Decatur County was organized April 1, 1850, AVilliam 
Hamilton, Asa Burrell and Josiah Morgan were named as commis- 
sioners and their first meeting as such was held May 6th. Henry B. 
Noston was chosen clerk and Andrew Still was allowed $30 for 
his work as organizing sheriff. The county seat was not yet located 
and it was ordered that until that was done the district covn-ts, 
the probate court and the commissioners' court should be held at the 
home of Daniel Moad about six miles southeast of where Leon now 
stands. In July following the commissioners held a meeting in 
which they organized Garden Grove, Morgan, Hamilton and Burrell 
townships, naming the last three in which they severally lived after 
themselves. In the organization of Hamilton Township ^Villiam 
Hamilton, AVilliam Eaton and Jefferson Dimick were chosen judges 
and Wyllis Dickinson and Gideon P. Walker, clerks. In those days 
the township business was transacted in a most simple and informal 
manner. At the first election held in Woodland Township the ballot 
box was a tin pail with a cover and the tickets wer6 written by one of 
the clerks. 



38 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

With the '50s many new settlers came in. From 1852 to 1857 
more new people came in than in any other equal period since the 
first settlement. David Purden, William Snook, A. W. Moffett, 
Daniel Rartholow, George JNIorey, G. M. Hinkle, John Keown, 
William Loving, Austin Cowles, Robert Booth, James Dunleav^^ 
John Henderson, James Gammill, Dr. David Macy, Dr. Glenden- 
ning. Dr. ]Mullinnix, Fleming, James, Ambrose and JNIeredith Dale, 
Wilson Stone, Ebenezer Robinson, Amasa Bonney, W. S. Warnock, 
William Alden, Roval Richardson, John Park, Isaac Waldrup, Rich- 
ard Holden, Andrew Scott, T. J. Graves, John ^lark, Henry Laney, 
Fields, James Alfrey, Hartman, John ^Mills, with their famihes. No 
doubt there were a number of others whose names have been over- 
looked. 

In the days before grist and sawmills were erected various expe- 
dients were employed to meet the needs of the x^eople. It is said that 
Champ Collier went out to the timber, cut down a large walnut, split 
it up, dressed the boards, and put together a very respectable coffin 
for one of his neighbors who had died. For making corn meal the 
grating method was somethiies used. By this means the corn was 
scraped oiF the cob by hand on a contrivance like a huge nutmeg 
grater. Others used a sweep. On the lower end of a suspended pole 
was a block of wood in which an iron wedge was inserted, with which 
the corn placed in the cavity hollowed out of the top of a stump was 
pounded into meal by working the sweep up and down. 

In the course of time Allen Scott put up a horsemill for grinding 
corn. The patrons usually supplied the power, which was at first 
more frequently by oxen than by horses. In the latter half of the 
'50s several mills were erected, some of them run by steam and others 
by water power. In 1854 D. C. Cowles built a sawmill at Davis 
Citv for William Davis, and two or three years later Royal Richard- 
son, AVilliam Snook, John jNIark and John Clark put up mills in the 
south and east part of the township. 

Calicos, blankets and coffee and such things were sometimes 
obtained from the Indians, who brought them from Council Bluffs 
and Fort Des ^loines, when they went to those agencies to draw their 
allowances from the Government. Allen Scott opened the first 
store, whicli he kept at his farmhouse, and in partnership with him 
for a time was a man named Foster. The first postoffice was also 
kept here, and was named Nine Eagles, of which Governor Ejhazy, 
a Hungarian refugee, was the first postmaster. The mail was 
brought by way of Princeton, ]\Io. 



HISTOKY OF DECxVTUll COUNTY 39 

The first school was taught in a vacated cabin on the Hamilton 
place, about a mile northwest of where Pleasanton is now. Cole Sey- 
mour was perhaps the first teacher, followed by Jim Dunkerson, 
Mr. Tillery and Gideon P. Walker, the latter teacliing several terms. 
The teachers were paid by subscription and the lengtli of the terms 
depended on the amount of money raised in this way. 

The Village of Pleasanton was laid out in the spring of 18.54 by 
Daniel Bartholow, and named Pleasant Plains. One-half of the 
land was given by Bartholow and the other half by AVilliam Snook. 
The first store was kept by G. 31. Hinkle, who lived on a farm now 
occupied by John ^IcCormick about a mile and a half northwest of the 
town. Later there were stores by Greenville Watson, JefF Gardner, 
Isaac Waldrup and James Alfrey, who first served in a store belong- 
ing to Dallou & Pritchard, and afterwards set up for himself. Tom 
JNIajors, afterward candidate for governor of Nebraska on the repub- 
lican ticket, had a large stock of goods in 1859. The goods Mere at 
fu'st brought in by ox teams from Keokuk and Burlington, on the 
Mississippi, and from Brunswick and St. Joe, on the ]Missouri. Later 
they were hauled from Ottmnwa after the main line of the Chicago, 
Burlington & Quincy Railroad reached there. The hauling of the 
goods from those points gave considerable occupation to men and 
teams, helping materially to piece out the means of living and giving 
a start in the acquiring of j^roperty. 

At an early date William Snook entertained travelers, and later 
Joel Painter kept a licensed hotel on the lot where the Pleasanton 
Bank now stands. Royal Richardson opened his hotel in 1861. 

Dr. David 3Iacy was the first physician and located in Pleasanton 
in 1855. Doctor Glendenning was at Pleasanton for a year or more 
when he first entered upon the practice of his profession about 1856. 
Dr. P. E. ]Mullinnix located for practice here in 1859. Dr. W. E. 
Peters also that year. 

When W. S. Warnock, who had been admitted to the Ohio bar 
in 1853, struck Pleasanton in the fall of 1865 on his way to the West 
in the search for health and incidentally looking for an opportunity 
to teach school, there was no school building in the village. Some 
of the public-spirited citizens, learning that he wished to teach, asked 
him to tarrv for a few days while they erected a schoolhouse. He 
did so. The men of the village went to work with a will, repaired 
to the timber, cut logs, hauled them to a site just back of where 
Mr. Richardson's present residence is, and in less than two weeks 
had a building ready for occupancy. True, it hardly came up to the 



40 HISTORr OF DECATUR COUNTY 

standard of a modern city school, with its log walls, j)uncheon floor 
and clax3board roof, its seats of split logs with wooden pegs for legs. 
Nevertheless, it served a good purpose, being used as a meeting house 
for religious services as well as for day school. There were meetings 
for Bible study and later a Simday school. Isaac Waldrup, mer- 
chant of the town, preached there with much acceptance. 

Doctor Forbes had a school in a log cabin on the site of the Inter- 
state Index office. The floor of the cabin had not been laid and the 
log sleepers were used for seats, yet the instruction imparted served 
its purpose in the development of the youthful mind as well as that 
given today on seats of the latest design and mechanism. 

Education was considered of such great importance by the citizens 
that a building known as the College was erected for educational pur- 
poses in the late '50s. It was a 2-story frame building, 40 by 60, 
and was built by private subscription. The attendance of students 
varied from fifty to a hmidred. But little more than the ordinary 
English branches were taught. E. Lewis and wife, George Stanton, 
John W. Crawford, W. S. Warnock and John Sallee were among 
the instructors. Myra Snook, afterwards the wife of Dr. E. C. 
jNIacy, helped in the teaching while attending the school as a student. 
The building was also used for church purposes, and soldiers were 
drilled in it during the war. With thirteen other buildings it was 
destroyed in a fierce tornado which devastated the town in 1864. It 
never was rebuilt, being a more advanced step than the community 
could support at that early time. 

There were no chm'ch buildings erected before the war. The 
]Metliodist Episcopal people began one, but it went no further than 
the erection of part of the frame, which was neglected and destroyed 
in the excitement attending the opening of the war. There was a 
^Methodist organization which struggled along and religious services 
Avere held in the school buildings b}^ Isaac Waldrup, John JNIark, 
Elijah Crawford and Doctor Glendenning. The Latter Day Saints 
people efl'ected an organization in 1859, and preaching services were 
maintained by George INIorey, A. W. ^lofl'ett and Ebenezer Robin- 
son. Their usual place of meeting was at a schoolhouse on the farm 
of A. W. ]Mofl*ett, but services were occasionally held at other places. 

The men carried their arms to the place of meeting and wore moc- 
casins, or more often, when the weather permitted, came barefoot. 
Those from a distance came in ox wagons. 

Tlie legal fraternity was represented by Gideon P. Walker, W. S. 
Warnock and James Alfrey. Walker was reared and educated in 



HISTORY OF DFXATUR COUNTY 41 

New York, where he read law and was admitted to tlie bai-. On 
reaching his majority he located in the southern states, remaining 
there for several years, teaching school and i)racticing law. He came 
to Hamilton in the spring of 1849, and on the organization of the 
township in 1850 he was chosen one of the first clerks. W . S. AVar- 
nock was a native of Ohio, in whicli state he studied law and was 
admitted to the bar. He came to Pleasanton late in 18.3o, where he 
taught school, kept postoffice and practiced his profession. T]i 1872 
he moved to Davis City, and in 1878 was elected to represent the dis- 
trict in the Seventeenth General Assembly of Iowa. James Alfrey, 
a clerk, storekeeper, school teacher and county superintendent, read 
some law and practiced in justice of the peace court, but present 
information does not indicate whether he was ever admitted to the 
bar or not. 

When the postoffice was moved from Allen Scott's place to Pleas- 
anton in 1858 the old name Nine Eagles was retained for several 
years. Early postmasters were Isaac Waldrup and W. S. AVar- 
nock ; some say the one was the first, some say the other. 

In the eastern part of the township Robert Booth settled on a 
farm of several hundred acres in 1854. He had a mill and also a 
store, and was the first postmaster of the Spring Yalley office. The 
little handet M'hich sprang up about his place of business was vari- 
ously known as Boothtow^n or El Dorado. This was on the east side 
of IJttle River. Almost opposite on the west side of the little stream 
settled Austin Cowles, with his two sons, D. C. and H. A. On a 
little hill not far from the river they built one of the first farm 
frame houses in the township, and on the river itself they put up a 
Mater power sawmill, to which was afterwards added grinding facili- 
ties. Before a regular school was established in the neighborliood 
the children used to go to their home of an evening to be instructed 
in the rudiments of reading and writing. Wesley Cowles, another 
son, had a blacksmith shop in Boothtown. 

James ^I. Dale was another of the early Little River pioneers. 
He bought out Jefferson Dimick, who was named one of the town- 
ship election judges at its organization in 1850. Mr. Dale had four 
brothers, Fleming, Ambrose, Dudley and ^Meredith, who all settled 
in the same neighborhood and raised considerable families that exer- 
cised important influence in the development of the community. 

James Gammill arrived in the same neighborhood in 1854, and 
also raised a large family of worth and intelligence. Besides these 
tliere were the Laney, Dunleavy, Sharp, Williams, Rutherford, Rob- 



42 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

ertson, Xewcomer, McDowell, Bayles and Budd families. T. J. 
Graves came in 1859 and kept a blacksmith shop in El Dorado. 

Some distance farther down the river John Clark established 
himself in 1856. His biography, as published in the Decatur County 
Historical Record, gives the following account of him: "Mr. Clark 
entered and purchased in ^lorgan and Hamilton townships about one 
thousand acres of land, one-half of which was heavily timbered, much 
of the timber being of large size and of excellent quality. Here he 
immediately erected a sawmill for the purpose of manufacturing the 
timber into lumber. A small log cabin was already on the place, 
wliich his family occux^ied until he could manufacture lumber with 
which to build a more commodious residence. He purchased his 
machinery at Keokuk and hauled it from that place with ox teams. 
In 1857 ^Ir. Clark added two sets of burrs to his mill propert}^ and 
also carding machinery — combining in the same building sawing, 
milling and wool dressing. In 1859 he added spinning machinery 
and looms, manufacturing all kinds of woolen clothes. During the 
War of the Rebellion the demand for his goods increased to such an 
extent that ten or twelve looms were kept busy. During this period 
his firm handled no less than 75,000 pounds of wool annualh". It 
proved a successful enterprise and the greater part of the abundant 
wealth of J. Clark and sons was acquired in the above mentioned 
manner. Their goods were a source of large revenue to the Govern- 
ment. The surplus funds were turned over to the Government in 
return for bonds, and thus in two ways did thev contribute in a sub- 
stantial way to the support of the Union in its struggle for existence. 
The milling business was discontinued soon after they started the 
woolen factory. In 1869 the First National Bank of Leon was 
organized with a capital of $50,000, of which INIr. Clark supplied 
$20,000, and he was president of the bank during the whole term of 
its existence, or until it became the Farmers and Traders Bank. In 
1876 ]Mr. Clark and his son, William H., purchased the Davis Mill 
property at Davis City, and in 1875 father and two sons built the 
present brick flouring mill at a cost of about twenty thousand dollars. 
The mill had a superior water power, and an important use to which 
this power is applied is pumping water to supply the tank of the 
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company. This work is 
done by contract. Clark k Sons have contributed largely toward 
the building up of Davis City; each has a fine brick residence and 
they have erected and own all the brick business houses in town with 
one exception. Another enterprise of public interest and one highly 



HISTORY OF DECxVTUR COUNTY 43 

creditable to its builder was the erection in 1878 of a fine brick church 
at Davis City. Mr. Clark built this church at his own expense and 
furnished it with a fine town clock. All of its appointments are of 
the best. The cost of the church and furnishings was about five 
thousand dollars. JNlr. Clark has never identified himself with any 
religious denomination, but recognizing the importance of moral and 
religious training, he resolved to construct an edifice that should be 
free to all denominations. It is called the First Union Church of 
Davis City, and is the only church building in town." 

Among the most noted characters of early Hamilton history was 
Wyllis Dickinson. He was born in Kensington, Conn., about 1799; 
came to Hamilton in 1840. He first lived on the bottom land by 
Grand River, but having had an undesirable experience with the over- 
flow of the river he moved farther back to higher ground on the ridge. 
He put up the walls of a log cabin, and needing the shelter before 
he could get the roof on, within these walls he made a tent of muslin 
bouglit at Cincinnati on his way hither, and in this he lived two or 
three years before the cabin roof was put on. In this rude and primi- 
tive dwelling, without a window, he lived mitil his death in 1892, a 
period of fifty-two years from his coming to the township. For the 
sake of exactness it should be said that toward the very last a single 
pane of glass was inserted in the wall near the chimney corner. 
Before indulging in this piece of luxury his reading during daylight 
hours Mas done by sitting with his back toward an opening in the 
wall made by removing a block of the chinking which was replaced 
in cold weather, when his reading was over for the time being. At 
night he read by the light of the lamp suspended by one of the beams 
wliich supported the ceiling. It consisted of a saucerlike vessel of 
metal, with a lip to it, in which lay a strip of cotton immersed in oil 
or melted grease, with which it was partially filled. The part of the 
cotton strip coming up through the lip was lighted, and as it burned 
down was drawn up from time to time with a large pin or other sharp- 
nointed article. 

In this simple way he was accustomed to gratify his love of read- 
ing, which was intense, as he was a man of more than usual education 
for the time and place. He resorted to these simple expedients not 
because he lacked the means to supply himself with better things, but 
because of the simplicity of his tastes and character. Tliere were 
plenty of funds at his command to have provided not only the sub- 
stantial necessaries of life, but to have given him the enjoyment of 
refinements, its luxuries and elegancies as well, if he had craved them. 



44 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

It is said that when he was leaving the Xew England home his father 
wished to invest many thousands in liis interests, but he would have 
none of it, preferring to push his way by natural means in the wilder- 
ness like another Thoreau far from the rush of modern life as it 
developed in the older communities. His relatives were liberal in 
sending him supplies of money so that he never was without the power 
to pay amply for even the simplest service rendered him, and in this 
manner he was very independent. He w^as the owner of 570 acres 
of land in the county, indicating that the simplicity of his life was 
not owing to poverty, but to inherent characteristics which induced 
sympathy with the natural rather than the artificial. That he was 
fond of literature is not to be wondered at, seeing that he was the 
cousin of the poet Percival, born in the same town four years before 
himself, who was a geologist as well, but was known chiefly as a 
writer of dainty and picturesque verse. Mr. Dickinson was a nephew 
of a Mrs. Willard, who maintained a female seminary in the State 
of New York, where she at one time entertained Lafayette, whose 
visit she afterward returned in his home in France. 

He was much interested in young people making a struggle for 
an education, and was ever anxious for an opportunity to furnish 
sucli with books and magazines. A neighbor's son, John Holden, 
though now well advanced in years, has still in his possession a val- 
uable work which was the gift of the old hermit. 

That he was a loyal citizen and patriot is proved by the fact that 
during the War of the Rebellion he offered forty acres of his land to 
a neighbor's son on condition that he would enlist in the army for the 
preservation of the Union. It is a matter of regret that the off*er 
was not accepted. Under his influence a nephew, Sherman Hart, 
who lived with him and whom he intended to make his heir, joined 
the Union army. He was taken sick at Island No. 10, and being 
taken to Cape Girardeau for hospital treatment, died there. This 
was more to be lamented inasmuch as he was engaged to an estimable 
young woman whom he expected to marry at the close of hostilities, 
the dwelling for their occupancy having already been erected. 

He was never married, and though a great recluse was never 
melancholy or downhearted. On the contrary, he was a singularly 
happy disposition. His unusual physical strength was under the 
complete control of dominant will and the serenity of his tempera- 
ment was the leading trait of his character. His coolness of temper 
was strikingly displayed by an incident which occurred in 1855. He 
had just sold some land and was supposed to have had considerable 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 45 

money stowed away somewhere in the cabin, as proceeds of the sale. 
In the course of an evening, as he sat reading, and after young John 
Holden, who was assisting him with his corn gathering, had gone 
to bed behind a curtain stretched across the room, on wliich account 
his presence was unsuspected, there came a knock at the door, and 
not being suspicious of evil intent, Dickinson proceeded to unfasten 
the door by removing a large pin. Upon opening the door a very- 
large man appeared, followed by a smaller one. The large man 
claimed to be an agent of the Government, deputized to gather up 
all of the arms found in the hands of the citizens. JNIr. Dick- 
inson expressed his surprise at this alleged action on the part 
of the Government, especially in his case, as he was well known 
to be a perfectly loyal citizen from whom the Government had noth- 
ing to fear. During the colloquy the old man seemed to be thor- 
ouglily unsuspicious, but to the young man behind the curtain the 
move seemed to be a mere ruse on the part of the intruders to get 
into their own hands a shotgun, rifle and a musket which were kept 
upon the wall in the customary manner, in order that the obvious pur- 
pose of robbery might be more easily carried out. Finding that the 
revolver that he usually carried was not within his reach, he sprang 
from the bed and seized the leader by the throat, who, on account of 
his superior strength was enabled to shake him off, but finding that 
Dickinson was not alone, rushed through the open door and made his 
escape with his fellow burglar. One of the pieces from the wall was 
fired after them, Dickinson the while remaining perfectly cool and 
collected, and after the flight of the parties making the remark that 
he could easily have brained the fellow with the powerful door pin 
which he still held in his hand. 

The hermit w^as very successful in handling bees and he had per- 
haps as many as a hundred sw^arms at one time, and also rendered 
the honey and wax from forty hives, most of which was shipped to 
St. Joseph, Mo., but some went as far as California. Of the honey 
he was accustomed to make considerable quantity of methelgin, a 
strong spirituous liquor which he drank freely as a stimulant, also 
sharing it liberally with his callers, for he was fond of company. 
Doing his own cooking, he became quite an expert in that line, and 
many of the young people of the place liked nothing better than 
to have an opportunity of partaking of the savory viands prepared 
by his hands, and he took great delight in thus catering to their 
tastes. 



46 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

The old gentleman was originally an Episcopalian, but in mature 
life leaned to the JNIethodist persuasion, and gave freely of his means 
to its support, though he never became an actual member of the 
church. He was a great Bible reader. 

Allen Scott, who lived on section 19, one of the very first of the 
jjioneers, was a remarkable character and included in his make-up 
both the virtues and the vices of the class and time of which he 
belonged. He was somewhat of enterprising spirit, having the first 
store, the first postoffice and the first mill in the township. Some 
of the timbers of the framework of the old mill were still to be seen 
standing in a field by Sand Creek bridge as late as in the '80s. 

After My. Scott had lived in the toAvnship some years he was 
visited one winter day by a wife and daughter whom he had aban- 
doned in the old Indiana home. After making the call and receiving 
the blessing in the shape of some silk dress patterns from his store, 
they left his place on foot for the purpose of returning to the home 
of a relative living beyond Davis City. While crossing the prairie, 
bottom land intervening, they were overtaken by a fierce snowstorm 
and blizzard, and being blinded by its force, they became bewildered 
and lost their way. They wandered aimlessly about until benumbed 
by the freezing rain, and overcome by the stupor which affects per- 
sons in such cases, they dropped in the snow, and after the storm was 
over, were found frozen to death. Their bodies were buried in what 
is now the orchard of this writer. 

In those early times horse racing was one of the chief forms of 
recreation and dissipation. Between Scott's house and the river a 
track was laid ovit and his place became the rendezvous of sporting 
men from all parts of the country, in order to test the speed of their 
horses, gaining and losing money. 

Horse thieves abounded in those days and many times the best 
animals of the honest farmers came up missing. The matter finally 
became so grievous that it was found necessary to adopt heroic meas- 
ures in order to put a stop to the serious losses incurred in this way. 
The farmers quietly banded together, and at night visited those 
known to be engaged in this nefarious business, took them out to the 
timber and treated them to a liberal application of hickory switches. 
This method of procedure effectually cured the evil, the parties 
receiving treatment speedily betaking themselves from the country, 
one dose being found quite enough. 

One one occasion it was strongly suspected that Scott knew more 
about such things than he was willing to tell, and it was proposed to 



HISTORY OF DECATUli COUATY 47 

use radical measures to make him willing. One night he was rather 
forcibly invited to an interview under an oak in the road leading to 
Pleasanton. A noose on the end of a rope was placed about his neck, 
the other end was thrown over a limb, and he was shot rapidly sky- 
ward. After dangling in the air for some time he was lowered to 
the ground and given an opportmiity to share the desired information 
with his friends, but he was still unwilling; and a second application 
also failing to elicit any knowledge from him, he was set free, liis 
captors thinking that after all he might be wrongly suspected. The 
tree on which the operation took place was afterwards known as the 
Al Scott tree and remained a prominent landmark in the highway 
until it was cut down a few years ago for firewood, much to the regret 
of the old settlers. 

At one time there was quite an excitement over the alleged dis- 
covery of gold on the Scott place in the bed of Sand Creek. There 
was a considerable amount of gold found, but there is reason to 
believe that the particidar spot where the supposed discovery w^as 
made had been salted for commercial purposes, that the value of the 
land being raised Scott would be able to sell his farm at high price. 
However, the plan did not work, for the gold was sought with such 
avidity tliat the supply gave out before any trade for the farm was 
consummated, and the excitement soon died out. The salting of the 
creek bed was easily accomplished b}^ collusion with one or more of 
the many gold seekers who w^ere constantly passing to and fro on 
the California trail during the days of the gold fever in 1849 and the 
'.50s. The Scott place Avas a noted resort for such parties. The 
farm remained in his possession until 1876, when it was sold to 
Stephen Beach. 

But Scott was not all bad. He had his good points. Like most 
of us, he was a mixtiu'e of the worst and the better elements in the 
human aggregation. He was generous and hospitable. Everybody 
was welcome to his board and no one was refused a bed when occa- 
sion required. The needy were never turned aw^ay empty handed, 
and those in want of accommodation cheerfully received sucli help 
as he could give. But like many another free-hearted soul who failed 
in recognition of the higher aspects of life, he lived long enough to 
become a pensioner on the bounty of his friends. He was misuited 
to the conditions which followed tlie war; his property gradually frit- 
tered away, until he found himself without a home, but not altogetlier 
without friends. 



CHAPTER V 
ABOUT NEW BUDA AND THE HUNGARIANS 

By G. P. Arnold 

The Hungarian Revolution of 1848 was one of many ferments of 
the kind that affected all of Europe at that time. Before this there 
were ties binding Austria and Hungary into one political family, and 
the revolution was Hungary's hunger for freedom. The two figures 
which stand out in the limelight of that time were Louis Kossuth, the 
provisional president of the Hungarian Republic, and Gorgy, the 
man of genius in the field of war. Kossuth was the orator, in some 
respects, without rival in all history. In a Turkish prison, with but 
meager material, he familiarized himself in the use of our English 
speech, to that extent that he held English and American audiences 
spellbound. So great a judge — no greater judge then lived — as 
Ralph Waldo Emerson declared that a part of his Birmingham 
speech reached the highest rung of oratory. His American tour was 
an ovation, and, brilliant as it was, failed to satisfy the fiery Magyar; 
he wanted armed intervention in the affairs of Hungary and felt 
piqued that there was no prospect of armies forthcoming. He was 
irreconcilable to the last; found an asylum at Milan and never 
returned to the home of his youth. 

The struggle over, the flight began. England and especially 
America were the objective points. Turkey was a hospitable station 
on that underground railway. An American war vessel conveyed 
Kossuth to England. His American tour began with a reception in 
New York, a journey to Washington where the orator and his suite 
were entertained, wined and dined at Brown's Hotel at Government 
expense. He addressed the Congress and was given a reception at 
which Secretary of State Webster presided. Besides this Congress 
passed a law allowing each Hungarian to select a quarter section 
from any unappropriated land anywhere, and the same should be held 
from sale for ten years without tax or cost. 

48 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 49 

At the head of the Decatur County colony was Ujhazy, former 
civil governor of Komorn, a fortified island in the Danube which sur- 
rendered to Austria. The governor and party came here about the 
year 18 j1, and at that time the Grand River Valley was unsurveyed. 
The governor gave the name to the township and settlement; was, in 
fact, the first postmaster in the county, at Nine Eragles, on the farm 
of Allen Scott. 

Now Scott was of another era, a contemporary of Thompson, of 
Edinburg, jNlo., and Peter Cain of Cainesville. It is presumed 
that the Cain-Scott wave of immigration came from the South, for 
as late as 1851 and later, the mail accommodations were by way of 
Princeton, INIo., and Decatur County had no east lines of communi- 
cation at that time. 

The governor had a house built, a rambling structure, that was 
the most expensive dwelling of the day. It is related of the governor 
that he was accustomed to ride over the prairies and select the land- 
marks, and fix the confines of the Hungarian reservation, claiming a 
vast tract including the present Davis City and southwest to the 
present site of the original manorial castle, and saw in his mind's eye 
a vast colony of his countrymen living in i^eace under the folds of 
the stars and stripes. This roseate view of the future must have been 
shared with Col. George Pomutz, for later the genial colonel actually 
j)romoted a scheme for a greater New Buda, but that is another story 
and will be deferred for the present. Governor Ujhazy and family 
and George Pomutz in the year 18.53 moved to San Antonio, Tex., 
and the governor remained there until his death, at a ripe old age, 
never returning to his native land. 

Pomutz came back and thereafter was the central figure of New 
Buda, and in connection with a civil engineer by the name of Drahos, 
put on paper his ideas of a greater New Buda. The fine map showed 
a city having a University Square, Boehm St. Kossuth Platz, with 
the accessories of a full fledged city. The colonel sold lots and invited 
immigration upon the merits of his paper town, and not without suc- 
cess, for a few German families fell in with his offer. The colonel 
covered St. Louis and Hoboken in his operations, and had he lived 
in these days would have merited the name of frenzied financier. 
Detractors he had, but his presence and speech appealed to the popular 
taste. The white mare he rode he called Highland jNIary. He used 
the English speech almost as well as Kossuth and freely quoted from 
Byron, the popular poet of the time. His linguistic accomplishments 
were considerable. He spoke besides Hungarian the language of 

Vol. 1—4 



50 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

English, German, French and was familiar with one or two Slavonic 
tongues. In person he was tall, blonde, with a full beard and mus- 
tachios, wavy hair, that suggested a hairdresser when none was at 
hand, a military bearing and a suave and ingratiating presence. This 
was the Col. George Pomutz of the later '50s. 

Now comes his Civil war record — and it was a good one. He 
wrote the history of an army brigade and when the battle ended got 
the appointment of consul to the Czar's dominion. He became consul- 
general and died about 1894 at the post of duty in Petrograd. He 
died in the Greek faith, and according to an American newspaper 
account, sometimes aj^peared at court in the full regimentals of an 
American brigadier-general. 

The Uj hazy- Pomutz dream of a Greater New Buda was not so 
flimsy and airy as one might think. In other hands and other manage- 
ment a 23rosperous community might now occupy the colony's choice 
of a site. 

After the colonel's death the consulate made inquiries at Washing- 
ton as to the deceased consul's relatives, for it was thought that he left 
an inmiense estate judging from the highly colored maps of the metro- 
politan New Buda with accompanying title deeds conveying great 
values in the nascent city. At this time University Place and Kossuth 
Pltaz were waving in corn. 

One has said that Ujhazy went from Texas to Hungary and col- 
laborated with the great Deak in the work for Hungary's betterment, 
a work that is still unfinished, but mightily advanced by Deak's 
statesmanship. Cavour and Deak were contemporaries, but Cavour's 
dream of a united Italy under constitutional rule was realized during 
his life, while the struggle in Hungary is still on. Deak died without 
his heart's wish. The usual theory of Ujhazy's life after leaving New 
Buda is that in Texas he found a home and died by his own hand at 
an advanced age. It is very probable that he was in communication 
with Deak and the Liberals, but that, like Kossuth, never returned to 
the home of his youth, although all obstacles were removed in 1866. 

The New Buda colony is not to be confounded with the Slavonic 
Hungarians ^vhich now flock to our shores to work in the coal and 
iron industries. The elder colony was composed as a rule of men 
who were educated in the schools, had held office, military and civic, 
under the provisional government and now were in a new country 
and under strange conditions. The colony was a failure, measured by 
our standards. Thirty or forty, at high water mark, would complete 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 51 

the census at the breaking out of our Civil war; soon thereafter few 
remained. 

Another, Francis Varga, was long connected with the affairs of 
the county and is remembered by hundreds of citizens; he was inti- 
mately connected with the Kossuth government and after its fall his 
flight was imperative. Disguise and the greatest secrecy were neces- 
sary to elude the minions of Austria ; at last the free City of Hamburg 
was reached and thence to England and America, following the foot- 
stejis of Ujhazy to Decatur County. Here he lived and died. 

The colonists were not empire builders in any sense, few of them 
ever having had any experience as farmers, and their crude attempt 
at tilling the soil is well known. The last log of Ujhazy's manorial 
castle is gone as certainly as his dream of a prosperous and greater 
New Buda has vanished into thin air. The founders are dead and all 
that remains of the unique colony is the name. 

THE STORY OF FRANCIS VARGA 

One of the most prominent of the colony of Hungarians who 
came to Decatur County in the early days was Francis Varga, whose 
death occurred April 5, 1902, at the age of eighty-five years. 

Francis Varga was born at Debreczen, Hungary, on August 8, 
1817, where his father acted as professor in the Protestant college. 
He went to school in his native city and in 1840 was graduated as 
attorney-at-law. Shortly thereafter he went to Nagy-Becskerek, 
where he was appointed as attorney for the Kiss family's estates; 
therefore for Erno Kiss, who was executed October 6, 1849. In 
1840, during the bloody riots of the Serbs and Wallachians, there 
had been a vigilance committee of five members appointed, of which 
he was chairman. This committee during six months of its services 
had convicted twenty-three persons. In 1840, in the month of Jan- 
uary, he was elected chairman of the so-called Danger Committee at 
Szeged, This committee soon finished its work and Francis Varga 
was elected vice lord lieutenant and transferred his place of business 
to Nagy-Becskerek. 

When the southern army was conquered, Francis Varga, with the 
rest of the Torental officers, crossed the river at JNIaross, and on the 
13th of August arrived at Vilagos, where the Hungarian army sur- 
rendered. About two thousand civilians, under Russian escort, were 
sent toward Kis-Jeno. Among these was Francis Varga in a vehicle 
with five of his comrades. Near Gyula the coachman succeeded in 



52 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

getting away with all that were under his charge. Varga then went 
to Gvula, where his relative resided. Here, however, he was not in 
safety, and acting upon his uncle's advice he went to a village; later 
to his mother, who resided at Hadju Boszormemy, whence he was 
coniijelled to flee. After roaming for four months there was nothing 
left for him to do but to leave the country, more so as he was sought 
everywhere. Through his cousin he succeeded in obtaining a j)ass- 
port. 

With chemicals he erased his name and the description of the 
person to whom it was issued and substituted it with the name of 
Frank Wagner and setting forth therein the description of his own 
person. After a hard struggle he arrived at Krakkaw (Cracow). 
AVith the assistance of a worthy Polish physician he succeeded in 
obtaining a passport, and with that he went to Hamburg, where he 
met several of his fleeing countrymen. 

The officials soon grew tired of the hospitality shown to the 
patriots, so they went over to Altona (Schleswig-Holstein), where 
they remained until January 1, 1851. Then, with Ladislaus jNIada- 
rasz, Joseph JNIajtenyi and several others, he went to London. The 
following period is described in the words of Francis Varga himself: 

"Here we spent six months without molestation, free as birds 
of the universe, longing and waiting that something might happen 
whereby we might return to the East. We soon realized that there 
w^as not a ray of hope, however, and we decided to go to America. 
Madarasz and Majthenyi spent five months at Ostend. INIadarasz's 
son also came there (William), as did JNIrs. Majthenyi with her only 
son, Theodore. Before we embarked about forty Hungarians 
arrived at Southampton from Turkey; they were all Bem's army; 
they were under the command of Captain Bissinger, whose real name 
was Erno Drahos. He was at one time attorney-at-law in County 
Torantal and chairman of the vigilance committee at Szeged. The 
unfortunate fellow^ did not have money enough to come in, so I took 
him to my lodging. We spent a few days in London and afterwards 
we bade farewell to Europe. At Liverpool we embarked on the 
steamer INIanchester, jNIajthenyi and INIadarasz with their sons, also 
Drahos and myself. The captain, an English fellow, I should term 
a 'stuck-up' fellow, therefore I could not say that our trip was 
enjoyable. It took us twenty-two days to cross the ocean. During 
that time we had severe storms. Finally, on the 13th of August, we 
reached port. While we greeted our new country with hail, with a 
powerful sigh did we think of the betterment of our own beloved 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 53 

country. We did not fare any better than the average of the immi- 
grants." 

For fifty-two years Francis Varga was away from his fatherland, 
seeing it only once in that time. He was married in 1858 to ^Nlary 
Sanders, of German descent, and to them Avere born seven children, 
one son and six daughters. The son, Stephen, is now a prominent 
business man of Leon, Iowa. 



CHAPTER VI 
DECATUR'S WAR STORY 

The County of Decatur is justly proud of the part played by her 
sons in the great drama of the '60s. Enshrined in the hearts of the 
people, these men who resolutely faced the terrors of the South, risk- 
ing life, home, health and everything that was dear to them, in order 
that the Union might be preserved, truly deserve more than a few 
scattering words to their memorv. It is true that monuments may 
be erected, the deeds of the brave sung in immortal verse and ennobled 
in the national literature, but the true memorial the sanctity of the 
heart will enfold and by world of mouth from generation to genera- 
tion will the courage, fortutude and sublime self-sacrifice of the 
"boys in blue" be transmitted in enduring form. History has a pur- 
pose; it is to preserve, fairly and justlj", the records of the past, so 
that a guide may be rendered to the thoughts and conceptions of 
future men and women who live when these white pages have grown 
sear and yellow. Simple statement of fact is far better than ful- 
some encomium in the narration of the big story of fifty years ago; 
it is by these direct, forceful means that history will serve its true 
purpose. 

Decatur County at the beginning, when the first dark mutterings 
of war were heard, held a very peculiar position. There were about 
eight thousand jDeople in the county at that time. Also there were no 
railroads and no telegraph and news filtered through slowly. Patriot- 
ism in such a position might be said to have existed in spots; large 
spots it is true. Decatur was located on the southern border of the 
state and this fact, did much to divide the sympathies of the people. 
It would not be fair to the present readers to say that this county 
resolved itself into a unit for the support of the North, for it did not. 
There was a very strong southern spirit here and very antagonistic 
to the northern element. The latter was, however, in the majority. 
There existed during tlie opening years of war an organization known 
as the Knights of the Golden Circle and they were strongly repre- 

54 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 55 

sented in Decatur Count3\ ^^^n contemplating enlistment in the 
Union Army were made the recipients of many letters and verhal 
persuasions from these Knights, endeavoring to prevent them from 
fighting for the North. JNIore of this will be related later in this 
chai)ter. 

The general reader of today does not appreciate the scope of the 
word "slavery," what it meant in those days. The true meaning hrs 
been either mercifully expurgated from the pages of modern litera- 
ture ; or, it may be said, it is unfortunate that more has not been writ- 
ten of it, in order that the facts may be common knowledge. The 
term "white slavery" is well known today and the meaning: of the 
phrase brings to us a feeling of loathing and indignation. The slavery 
of the South Mas little better, was even more universal and more 
countenanced. In the ulterior character different in motive, it yet 
embodied deeds and principles exactly similar to the modern slavery. 
This inter-relation of the races meant commercial advancement on the 
auction block, thus the justification. Rome and the Latin countries 
also had their slavery and the literature of these i^eoples does not 
disguise the dreaded institution. 

The outbreak of the Civil war has been attributed to many causes. 
These are all based upon the one thing — slavery. The political dif- 
ferences and the intrigues and enmities rested on this issue alone. In 
reading this deduction, many will disagree, for even at this late day 
there seems to be incontrovertible argument on each side of the ques- 
tion. Slavery was distinctly out of tune with the times ; the attitude 
of the southerners was falsely aristocratic ; all of which tended to their 
inevitable downfall. The stirring times which followed the Mexican 
Territory acquisition, the fugitive slave law, the INIissouri Compro- 
mise, the struggle in Congress, the Lincoln-Douglas debates and Lin- 
coln's election to the Presidency, cannot be detailed in a work of this 
scope, but a discussion is worthy as a preface to the story of the part 
Decatur County played later. 

A greater appreciation of Abraham Lincoln's worth is gained 
when we comprehend the arena into which he stepped in 1800. The 
utter confusion, the threatening war clouds, and the words of the 
people, "Let's see what you can do," were stern tests for the "back- 
woods lawyer." The opportunity was given him and his accom- 
plishments are history. 

War might have been avoided had the North recognized the slaves 
on the same basis as cattle or any other common property, or, on 
the other hand, had the South reverted to the sentiment of the North 



56 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

and pronounced slavery an evil. It is evident, however, when the 
tenor of the day is considered, that these two theories were impos- 
sible. The mass of the people on both sides were eager for the actual 
conflict; mob spirit prevailed in many places; but the greater minds, 
the leaders, entered the struggle with heavy hearts. Lincoln, Grant, 
Lee, Jackson and Longstreet, and other foremost figin-es of the war, 
were sad with the weight of unjust and useless carnage. The four 
years' strife, the early success of the Confederate hosts, the high tide 
at Gettysburg, the slow, merciless pounding of Grant's machine on 
the depleted army of Northern Virginia and the final chapter at Ap- 
pomattox cannot be more than mentioned, but this is appropriate 
and adequate. 

FIRST PREPARATIONS 

Soon after President Lincoln issued his call for volunteers in 1861 
a company was raised in Leon and vicinity. Their services were ten- 
dered to the state, but owing to the plentitude of other companies 
their services were not accepted immediately. They were told to 
hold themselves in readiness, which they did, drilling and training 
themselves regularly. 

In July, 1861, the Decatur company was mustered in as Com- 
pany D, Fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. George Burton was cap- 
tain; Joseph S. Warner, first lieutenant; John B. Springer, second 
lieutenant. Warner resigned his commission in Februarj^ 1862. 
Burton was afterward promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel. 
Howard Brown, once promoted to first lieutenant, later became a cap- 
tain. Frederick Teale was captain during the latter years of the 
war. Samuel Bowman was first lieutenant after the promotion of 
Howard Brown. James W. Finley became second lieutenant and 
later first lieutenant. James D. Gamble Avas second lieutenant for a 
time. 

Soon after this first company was raised in the county a cavalry 
company was organized in Garden Grove and vicinity. In August, 
1861, they became Company L of the Third Cavalry. Gilman C. 
JNIudgett was captain of the company until INIarch, 1864, and was 
succeeded by John D. Brown, who had been promoted from fourth 
sergeant to second lieutenant. Ezra Fitch was fij-st lieutenant, but 
resigned his commission on May 1, 1862, and was succeeded by Dud- 
ley E. Jones of Keokuk. James C. Williams was first lieutenant dur- 
ing the last years of their service. Edward ^ludgett was the last 
second lieutenant of the company. About twenty-five men from 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 57 

Decatur County also entered Company M of the same regiment 
under Captain John W. Warner, who resigned February 6, 18G2. 

In AugList, 1862, another large force of volunteers from this 
county became a part of Company K, Thirty-ninth Infantry. ]Milli- 
gan J. Cain of this county was made first lieutenant and Carrington 
S. Porter second lieutenant. 

In the fall of 1802 two companies of men were raised for the 
Thirty-fourth Infantry, becoming Companies A and I. The former 
went to the front with Eli H. Alexander as captain; Jonathan R. 
Waters, first lieutenant: Rowland T. Sloan, second lieutenant. 
Company I had as captain, John Ward; first lieutenant, Almon S. 
Gardner. 

In August, 1863, Capt. John L. Young raised a body of men for 
the cavalry. They were taken as a part of Company C, Ninth Cav- 
alry, with Young as captain. The latter was afterward promoted to 
the rank of major. 

During the summer months of 1864 a company of men was raised 
in Decatur County for the 100 days' service. It became Company 
C, Forty-eighth Infantry, and was officered as follows: captain, 
James H. Summers; first lieutenant, James Burrows; second lieu- 
tenant, William H. Barnes. 

There were maintained during a part of the war a Southern 
Border quota of companies, one from each county. The Decatur 
company was raised in September, 1862, and was known as Company 
A, Third Battalion. James H. Summers was captain; C. G. Bridges, 
first lieutenant ; and R. G. Mansfield, second lieutenant. 

A few men from Decatiu* County also joined Companies G and 
H, Sixth JNIissouri State JNlilitia. A large number entered Company 
K and a few Company I of the Seventh Cavalry, ^Missouri State 
INIilitia. 

During the War of the Rebellion quite a number of men from 
Decatur County enlisted in INIissouri and Kansas regiments and had 
the county received its proper credit of men no draft would have 
been necessary. As it was, only a few men were drafted from three 
or four townships. Counting enlistments in outside organizations no 
doubt Decatur County supplied the Union army between 900 and 
1,000 men. Six full companies were furnished as follows: Com- 
pany D, Fourth Infantry; Company L, Third Cavalry; Company 
A, Seventeenth Infantry; Companies A and I, Thirty-fourth Infan- 
try; and Company C, Forty-eight Infantry. The following organiza- 
tions were composed largely of men enlisted from this county: Com- 



58 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

pany M, Third Cavalry; Comi3any K, Thirty-ninth Infantry; Com- 
pany C, Ninth Cavahy; and Company K, Seventh Cavahy, Mis- 
souri State JNIilitia. Besides the foregoing quite a nmnber of soldiers 
joined the Fifth Kansas Cavalry, the Sixth Missouri State Militia, 
and other organizations. The highest rank attained by a Decatur 
County soldier was won by George Pomutz who became a brevet 
brigadier general. The next was George Burton, who became lieu- 
tenant-colonel of the Fourth Infantry. Both of these men were born 
under a foreign flag. 

When the war broke Pomutz joined the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry 
and was made adjutant of the regiment. Shiloh was the first battle 
in which the regiment participated and in this engagement Pomutz 
was wounded in the thigh. He became conspicuous for his gallantry 
in action and Mas promoted to the rank of major of his regiment. 
At the Battle of Corinth he rendered efficient aid as assistant adjutant 
general to Gen. T. J. INIcKenan and also as engineer in connecting 
and strengthening forts and in constructing short interior lines. The 
regiment participated in the Vicksburg campaign and belonged to 
Crocker's Iowa Brigade. On INIay 20, 1864, Pomutz was selected and 
served for some time as corps provost marshal on the staff of Gen. 
Frank P. Blair, commander of the Seventeenth Army Corps. 
Pomutz joined his regiment at the beginning of the Atlanta cam- 
paign and bore a gallant part in the long series of battles which fol- 
lowed. Later Pomutz was made lieutenant-colonel and on JNIarch 13, 
1865, was made brevet general of volunteers. He had frequently 
commanded his regiment and sometimes his brigade. Further his- 
tory of this estimable gentleman's life may be read in another por- 
tion of this volume. 

George Burton, who became lieutenant-colonel of the Fifteenth 
Iowa, was born in the City of Dublin. His father was an English- 
man and a wealthy manufacturer of Dubhn. The son served as a 
sailor for several years and then came to the United States and finally 
settled at Bloomington, Illinois. He enlisted in the regular army 
and participated in the Mexican war. At the close of hostilities he 
came to Decatur County and entered what was later known as the 
Soper Farm in Eden Township. At the beginning of the Civil war 
Burton entered the service as captain of Company D, Fourth Iowa 
Infantry. About a month after the Battle of Pea Ridge, Burton was 
made lieutenant-colonel and at the Battle of Arkansas Post on Janu- 
ary 10 and 11, 1863, he led his regiment. At the close of the war 
Burton located in Leon, where he resided for a number of years, and 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 59 

then took up his residence in Kansas. He died several years ago in 
Wellington, Kan. 

Decatur County furnished three soldiers who rose to the rank of 
major — J. L. Young of the Ninth Cavalry, R, D. Kellogg of the 
Thirty-fourth Infantiy, and G. C. INIudgett of the Third Iowa Cav- 
alry. Prior to his service in the Ninth Cavalry jNIajor Young served 
as captain of Company A, Seventeenth Infantry. At the Battle of 
luka Captain Young commanded the regiment hy order of Gen- 
eral Rosecrans, and no officer ever performed his duty more gal- 
lantly. The Seventeenth incurred the unjust censure of General 
Rosecrans at luka, hut the regiment won such high distinction at 
the Battle of Corinth as to elicit the following congratulatory order 
from the commanding general: "The Seventeenth Iowa Infantry, 
hy its gallantry in the Battle of Corinth, on the 4th of Octoher, 
charging the enemy and capturing the flag of the Fortieth jNIissis- 
sippi, has amply atoned for its misfortune at luka and stands among 
the honored regiments of the command." 

In the list of captains supplied hy the county there were included 
the following: John B. Springer and Fred Teale, of the Fourth 
Infantry; John D. Brown, John C. Gammill and John W. Warner, 
of the Third Cavalry; James Stonaker, John F. Landis and Charles 
P. Johnson, of the Seventeenth Infantry; Eli H. Alexander and 
Thomas Ward, of the Thirty-fourth Infantry; and James H. Sum- 
mers, of Company C, Forty-eighth Infantry. 

The Third Iowa Cavalry consisted of 12 companies, 1,000 strong, 
recruited from the counties of Davis, Van Buren, Lee, Appanoose, 
Jefferson, Decatur, Wayne, Clarion, JNIunroe and Lucas. It was 
raised and equipped by Col. Cyrus Bussey at the personal request 
of General Fremont. The first regular battle in wliich the regi- 
ment participated was Pea Ridge on the 6th, 7th and 8th of ^Nlarch, 
1862. Out of the 235 men engaged in the battle the loss was 2.5 
killed, 17 wounded and 9 missing. 

At the Battle of Hartsville, ]Mo., John D. Brown, then a lieuten- 
ant in Company L, was taken prisoner early on the morning of 
January 11, 1863, but was shortly afterwards paroled. On the 10th 
of June, 1864, the regiment bore a conspicuous and gallant part in 
the disastrous fight at Guntown, Miss. In Captain Noble's report 
of this battle the following is said: "Captain Wilson and Lieutenant 
Lynch Avith Company C charged the enemy gallantly and drove the 
enemy's squadrons back. They were reinforced by Companies E 
and F under Captains Spencer and Crail. This was on the 7th. On 



60 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

the 8th and 9th we advanced towards Guntown. On the morning of 
the 7th we left camp and went into the battle at Brice's Cross Roads. 
I placed one battalion on the right of the road and one under JNIajor 
Jones also mounted on the left. Sent two squadrons under Capt. 
John D. Brown a mile to the front as a i)icket. The battalion under 
Jones, Companies F, G, H and I, were under fire from a heavy- 
column of the enemy and held them in check for almost an hour. 
Company I, under Stanton, was the most exposed of my squadrons. 
The enemy was driven back three times. We were ordered to retire 
and were relieved by infantry, but we formed in line immediately in 
their rear. After this the contest lasted but a short time when all 
were retired. The cavalry were ordered to protect the retreating 
colunms. We were fired upon with solid shot and shell, but no dis- 
order was caused. We were then ordered to fall back to Stubbs 
Plantation where we rested until 2 A. M. of the next day and then 
moved towards Ripley, holding the rear. After daylight two squad- 
rons were sent a mile to the rear and a line formed to support them. 
We were then assailed with great fury and only by the energy and 
courage of Companies L, M and A under Captain Brown and B 
under Captain DeHufF did we hold the bridge leading to Ripley." 

General Noble, in his report of the action of July 13th, speaks 
of Captain Brown as follows: "This officer, with his usual coolness, 
seeing the enemy about three hundred strong, between him and the 
column, formed his men on the brow of the hill and calling upon 
every man who could keep in his saddle to follow him, led the charge; 
our men, cheering, firing and thundering down the hill, surprised the 
rebs, who broke and fled in amazement." On the afternoon of the 
next day W. J. Sullivan of Company JNI suffered the loss of an arm 
by a cannon shot. 

Referring to the Battle of Big Blue on the Price Raid, General 
Winslow says, "I was struck in the left leg with a rifle ball and dis- 
able and turned the command of the brigade over to Colonel Benteen. 
I know tliat Captain Brown and Lieutenant Watts were dangerously 
wounded while gallantly leading their men." 

The regiment participated in the Wilson Raid and Colonel Noble 
in his report of the affair at Ebenezer Church, Ala., speaks of Cap- 
tain Brown as follows: "Captain Brown captured a whole company 
with arms yet loaded; they were a color company and outnumbered 
the company that captured them." 

Capt. John C. Gammill enlisted in Company L, Tliird Iowa Cav- 
alry, August 10, 1861, and was made orderly sergeant of his com- 



HISTORY OF DECATUK COUNTY 61 

pany. On oNIay 2, 1864, he was promoted to second lieutenant and on 
July 12th of the same year was made first lieutenant and served in 
that capacity until the close of the war. On July 1, 180.5, he passed 
an examination for a commission in a colored regiment and was 
appointed a captain in the One Hundred and Thirty-seventh Colored 
Infantry. He served in tliat capacity until the regiment was mus- 
tered out January 9, 1866. For three months prior to this date he 
commanded the regiment. Captain Gammill served 4^/2 years and 
participated in more than fiftj- battles and engagements. 

In writing of the home-coming of the Third Iowa Cavalry, W. J. 
Sullivan, a member of Company jNI and who lost an arm in the service 
of his country, writes : 

In the fall of 1863 the Third re-enlisted at Benton, xVrk. On or 
about January 20, 1864, at 9 o'clock at night, the regiment received 
orders to be ready to start for home at 4 o'clock the next morning. 
In my imagination I can almost hear the boys yelling and singing 
"Home, Sweet Home." You may rest assured that one blast of the 
old bugle brought the boys out of their tents, everybody busy rolling 
their blankets and making ready for the trip homeward. 

We marched to Little Rock and crossed the Arkansas River to 
the depot of the Little Rock & Duvall's Bluff Railroad. In a short 
time we boarded flat cars for Duvall's Bluff and arrived there in the 
afternoon. After a few hours' delay we went on board a little old 
stern-wheel boat called the Anna Jacobs. Just before dark we started 
down the White River, which empties into the JNIississippi. Our first 
stop was at the Town of St. Charles. In some Avay information 
reached the regiment that a lot of rebels were located in this town. 
When we got to St. Charles the boat landed, the gang planks were 
placed in position, and we went on shore rebel hunting. We scouted 
around town for a short time, but there was no fighting. I do not 
think that we could have made much of a fight as we were armed 
only with revolvers, having turned our guns over to the Government 
before Me left Little Rock. 

Our next stop was at Helena, Ark., where we landed and went up 
town to procure a few needed supplies. By 9 o'clock at night we 
were all on board and pushed out into the INIississippi and continued 
our journey. Our next stop was at Memphis, Tenn., where we 
stojDped for the night for the purpose of procuring a larger and 
faster boat the next morning. During the night some of the boys 
got ashore, in some way unknow^n to the officers, and undertook to 
paint the town, and in doing so George Retherford, of my comjiany. 



62 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

was killed by the provost guards while trjang to make his way back 
to the boat. 

Xext morning we boarded a fine side-wheel boat called the Mary 
E. Forsvthe and started for Cairo, 111. There we left the boat and 
boarded a train for Decatur, 111., and reached there early in the morn- 
ing. We then boarded a train for Hamilton, 111. I cannot brag on 
this last train, for the reason that it was made up of cattle cars, with 
rough boards for seats. But we were nearing our homes and loved 
ones and thought we could put up with anything which would hasten 
us to our homes and destination. 

On the morning of January 29, 1864, I think, we arrived at Ham- 
ilton, 111., just opposite Keokuk. It was early in the morning that 
we left our stock cars and started for Keokuk by crossing the river 
on the ice. When we reached the river we could see hundreds of 
people on the Iowa side ready to receive us with glad hands. Right 
here, in sight of the homes of many members of the regiment, we 
experienced our greatest peril of the war. For several daj^s before 
our arrival the w^eather had been very warm and had to a great extent 
weakened the ice on the river. In our great anxiety to once more 
step on the soil of beloved Iowa we failed to realize the dangerous 
condition of the ice under our feet. We could see people on the 
wharf waving their hands, hats and handkerchiefs, but we thought, 
of course, that they were manifesting their delight at our return 
home. However, some of the boys took in the situation and gave the 
alarm. We then understood the signals of our friends. We scattered 
into a verv thin skirmish line for the rest of the way across the river 
and were saved to our friends and country. 



CHxVPTER VII 

ROSTER OF UECATLR COUNTY SOEDIERS WHO 
SERVED IX THE CIVIL WAR 

FOURTH IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Company D 

Burton, George, captain. Warner, Joseph S., first lieutenant. 
Springer, John B., second heutenant. 

Akers, George C, wounded severely in leg July 28, 1804; leg 
amputated and died of wounds August 4, 1864. Arnold, John C, 
wounded in head slightly March 7, 1862. Aslihum, James M., 
wounded in head by shell December 28, 1862. Asherwood, John, 
enlisted October 21, 1864. Beck, Clark, reached the rank of eighth 
corporal. Bowman, Samuel, reached the rank of first lieutenant. 
Bozarth, AVilliam, reached the rank of fourth sergeant. Burnett, 
William, reached the rank of first corporal. Burns, Henry, wounded 
in heel JNIarch 7, 1862. Burton, George, appointed captain August 
17, 1861; wounded severely in arm JNIarch 7, 1862; promoted lieu- 
tenant-colonel May 1, 1862. Childers, Edwin D. Collins, Henry M., 
reached rank of fourth sergeant; taken prisoner and died JNIarch 6, 
1864, in the prison at Andersonville. Colwell, Williard, wounded in 
neck JNIarch 7, 1862. Davis, James A., reached rank of second cor- 
poral; died ^lay 7, 1864, in Iowa. Davis, Merrick, wounded severely 
in arm March 7, 1862. Driskill, Elmer R., enlisted INIarch 26, 1864. 
Finley, James W., reached the rank of captain. Finley, John P., 
wounded in arm; arm amputated ^larch 7, 1862; reached the ranks 
of captain and assistant adjutant. Folkner, Elijah J., died Febru- 
ary 25, 1863. Forkner, Squire W. Fortner, Abijah A., died Febru- 
ary 28, 1863. Gamble, James D., reached the rank of first lieutenant. 
Gillham, Charles A., reached rank of fifth sergeant; wounded in leg 
March 7, 1862. Gray, James, reached rank of third sergeant; taken 
prisoner in 1864. Harman, William F., reached rank of second cor- 
es 



64 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

poral; discharged as William F. Hannan. Harrison, William H., 
killed in battle March 7, 1862. Harrow, James ^I., womided in hand 
JNIarch 7, 1862. Hawkins, William, wounded in arm JNlarch 7, 1862. 
Hays, John M., died June 25, 1864, in New Albany, Ind. Hines, 
AVillis, wounded in both thighs March 7, 1863. Hunt, James D., 
wounded June 4, 1864, at Kenesaw Mountain and died of his wounds 
September 5, 1864, at home. Keller, William R. Kennear, Robert 
P., fourth sergeant; died September 4, 1862, at Helena, Ark. Killer, 
Oscar G. Lawrence, JNIatthew G., wounded in shoulder JNIarch 7, 
1862. ^larcum, John, wounded in head JNIarch 7, 1862; reached rank 
of second sergeant. JNIarshall, John, died February 24, 1863, on board 
steamer D. A. January. Martin, Samuel, wounded in arm March 7, 
1862. JNIartin, Silas, reached the rank of first corporal. JNIetz, Rich- 
ard, fourth sergeant; killed in action jNIay 19, 1863, at Vicksburg, 
Miss. ^Milligan, Isaac. Moad, Thomas, died February 2, 1863, at 
Young's Point, La. Paj^ton, James JM. Ross, John. Rumley, An- 
drew J., wounded in hand March 7, 1862; fifth sergeant. Sellers, 
John. Sheeley, Silas. Simons, Henry. Smith, Francis JNL, fourth 
corporal; wounded in back INIarch 7, 1862. Snyder, Henry T., 
wounded by railroad wreck at Parkersburg, Va., June 2, 1865; sec- 
ond lieutenant. Solomon, Lewis, reached rank of fifth corporal. 
Springer, John B., reached rank of captain. Stevens, Charles O. 
Tanner, William T., reached rank of first sergeant. Teale, Frederick 
K., wounded in shoulder March 7, 1862; captain. Tucker, Arnold, 
wounded in hand March 7, 1862. Wamer, Joseph S. Welson, Reu- 
ben S., second sergeant; wounded in arm JNIarch 7, 1862. Wells, 
Benjamin F. Work, Alonzo L., sixth corporal; wounded and died 
of injuries November 17, 1862, at Memphis. 

THIRTY-FOURTH IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Mustered October 15, 1862 

Field and stafF: Kellogg, Racine H., promoted major Septem- 
ber 16, 1862. Golliday, Uri P., chaplain. 

Company A 

Alexander, Eli H., captain. Waters, Jonathan R., first lieuten- 
ant. Sloan, Rowland T., second lieutenant. 

Arnold, Henry L., died INIarch 10, 1863, at St. Louis. Beavers, 
William J. Bennett, William A., sixth corporal; reduced to ranks 
October 30, 1864. Bridges, Martin. Briley, Stephen H. Brown, 



HISTORY OF DFXATUR COUNTY 65 

John M. Billiard, Reuben. BuUard, Royal 13. Carr, William H. 
Carter, Charles ]M. Chandler, Heniy T. Connely, John, lifth ser- 
geant; reduced to ranks October 30, 1864. Curry, Italus JNI., second 
corporal; reduced to ranks October 30, 1804?. Edgington, Asahel, 
fit'er. Edgington, Charles, seventh corporal. Ellas, Albert S., first 
sergeant. Ettleman, Daniel. Farris, James S., died of disease 
.Alarch 18, 1863, at ^lemphis. Field, ^Miller, died January 24, 1863 
at ]Mound City, 111. Gallagher, James. Gillham, Lycurgiis L., died 
June 1.5, 1863, at ^Nlound Citj", 111. Graham, John IT. Hall, Allen 
D., died February 3, 1863, at St. Louis. Hamm, John. Hankins, 
Alexander, died April 2, 1863, at St. Louis. Harding, Hiram. 
Harding, Samuel, died January 21, 1862, on Steamer latan. Hard- 
man, Christian, died January 11, 1863, on Steamer latan. Hardman, 
Moses, died January 12, 1863, on Steamer latan. Harman, Jonas F. 
Hawkins, Alvin G., died at Yazoo City, Miss., July 20, 1863. Heas- 
ton, Eli, died at Helena, Ark., December 24, 1863. Helmick, Isaac. 
Helt, George, third sergeant; reduced to ranks. Henning, Jacob, 
died Xovember 25, 1862, at Burlington, la. Herschberger, Joel, died 
January 14, 1863, on Steamer latan. Hines, Hiram. Hitchcock, 
AVilliam H. Hite, Conrad B. Hite, James J. Huffman, John ]\I. 
Huffman, Jonathan B. Johnson, Abraham, died jNIarch 4, 1863, at 
]\Iound City, 111. Kennett, John W. Kinnaman, Peter. Lillard, 
Henry L., fifth sergeant; died Januarj^ 29, 1863, St. Louis. Lock- 
wood. Asahel C. McCullough, Isaac, deserted October 14, 1862. ]Mc- 
Kinney, Andrew J. ^IcKinney, Lewis. INIcLeod, Josiah, quarter- 
master. McYay, John, eighth corporal. ^lacy, Davis, sixth corporal; 
died July 2.5, 1863, at Vicksburg. Manning, Amos A. ^lelton, James 
C. ]Monk, Jesse. ^lourrer, Phillip W. Norris, ^Milton B. Xutter, 
William. Pace, Elisha L., deserted October 18, 1862. Pearsey, 
Charles. Phelps, Eli W. Rogers, John O., died January 26, 1863, 
at ^lound City, 111. Rogers, Merit S. C. Scott, Peter, second ser- 
geant. Scott, Stephen. Shank, Samuel. Silvers, James INI. Silvers, 
Stephen H., died December 9, 1862, at Helena, Ark. Silvers, Wil- 
liam B., died March 25, 1863, at St. Louis. Sloan, Clinton D. Sloan, 
Rowland T. Smith, John, Jr., died February 14, 1863, at St. Louis. 
Sparling, Silas H., died December 15, 1862, at Helena, Ark. Stan- 
ford, Andrew J. Stiles, Daniel M., died February 7, 1863, at St. 
Louis. Stults, George H., wagoner. Tharp, Zeno. Thornberry, 
William, died February 3, 1863, at St. Louis. Walker, Johnson. 
Walton, Henry, first lieutenant; taken prisoner September 29, 1863, 
Sterlings Plantation, La. Warrington, Xathaniel B., fourth cor- 

Vol. 1—5 



66 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

poral. Walters, Jonathan R., captain. AVilliams, Hiram, fourth 
corporal. Williams, James, lii'st corporal. Winters, Joseph, first 
corporal; died January 22, 1863, on Steamer latan. Wolverton, 
Perry, fourth sergeant. Worden, Jackson M., third corporal; died 
October 13, 1864, St. Louis. 

Company I 

Ward, Thomas, captain. Andrews, John R., first lieutenant. 
Maxwell, William K., second lieutenant. 

Arnold Moses. Baley, James. Reals, Daniel N., died February 
10, 1863, at Chicago. Beck, David F., died August 3, 1863, on 
Steamer City of ^lemphis; first sergeant. Riddle, Hugh. Riddle, 
William A. Rond, Thomas F., fifth sergeant; died February 15, 
1864, Xew Orleans. Royd, Allen. Rradley, William R. Rranaman, 
Peter, fifth corporal; reduced to ranks. Rroadbrooks, John jNI. 
Rrownell, Joseph S., died August 11, 1863, at Port Hudson, La. 
Coleman, William R., second lieutenant; died June 9, 1863, Cairo, 
111. Cox, Stephen L. Craft, James, died April 20, 1863, at Renton 
Rarracks, JNIo. Craft, John. Craft, Thomas, died April 20, 1863, 
at St. Louis. Crees, John F. Davidson, John S. Dunbar, John. 
Eaves, Xelson R, Edmiston, James D. H. Eller, Jacob. Fletcher, 
George W., third sergeant. Fuller, Alonzo F., died January 12, 
1863, at Arkansas Post, iVrk. Gabble, George W., died February 4, 
1863, at St. Louis. Gardner, Almon S., first lieutenant. Gardner, 
William A., died January 20, 1863, on Steamer latan. Gercken, 
Henry. Gibler, Albert, died July 27, 1863, at Port Hudson, La. 
Gibson, Adam, sixth corporal. Gibson, John. Gibson, Moses. Gil- 
bert, John R. Gray, Thomas, died in July, 1864, at Xew Orleans. 
Hatfield, James A., died December 6, 1863, at Xew Orleans. Hat- 
field, William R. Hedrick, Andrew J. Hedrick, John D., died Xo- 
vember 27, 1862. Howard, Joseph C. Jackson, Guy. Jenkins, Ren- 
jamin F., wounded July 4, 1863, at Vicksburg and died of wounds 
August 27, 1863, at Jefferson Rarracks, ^lo. Jenkins, Frederick. 
Jones, George W. Jordan, William. Judd, Luman K. Keller, 
Andrew J., fourth sergeant. Kizzier, William, died July 30, 1863, 
at Vicksburg. Laddusaw, William. Lain, Charles W., died March 
19, 1863, at St. Louis. LefFter, Michael, died February 17, 1863, at 
Chicago. Lighthill, Joseph. Lighthill, William. Liming, Joseph 
M., died February 10, 1863, at Chicago. Little, X^ewton C. :Mc- 
Clure, William, died January 27, 1863, at St. Louis. McDonald, 
William, died February 11, 1863, at Alton, 111. Mcllvain, John. 



HISTORY OF DECATUli COUXTV 67 

^IcLaughlin, John W., fourth corporal ; reduced to ranks. ]Manrose, 
Andrew J. oSIathes, Ira, died February 17, 1803, at Benton Bar- 
racks, ^lo. ^laxwell, AVilliani K. fiercer, John, seventh corporal; 
(lied February 9, 1803, St. Louis. Miller, John W. JSIoffett, Fran- 
cis G., first sergeant. Motsinger, Christojiher, deserted February 
10, 1863. ^Murray, Washington E. Norman, Asbury. Xotson, 
Thomas T., second corporal. Osborn, Christopher. Peterson, David 
J. Pitman, Jeremiah V., died November 3, 1863, at Xevv Orleans. 
Kumley, Cyrus. Sawyer, William C, died November 30, 1863, at 
Mustang Island, Tex. Schenck, Daniel II., eighth corporal; died 
April 7, 1863, St. Louis. Sheely, Adnah. Simpson, Lennius. Sly, 
Cornelius, died February 6, 1863, at Chicago. Smith, Robert B., 
died February 16, 1863, at Helena, Ark. Springer, Oliver, third 
sergeant. Stapp, JNIilton. Stout, INIicajah, seventh corporal. Strong, 
T. W. Taylor, James M., died February 4, 1863, at Chicago. Tharp, 
Albert. Tharp, Jacob. Tharp, Osborn C, died September 25, 1863, 
at Carrollton, la. Thompson, Henry, died February 25, 1863, at 
Chicago. Tippie, Lewis. Tullis, John S. Ward, Thoroas. Wiley, 
Abraham, second sergeant. Woodmansee, John. Young, Henry H., 
sixth corporal. 

(Note: JNIost of these two companies were joined with the Thir- 
ty-fourth Consolidated Battalion on November 12, 1864.) 

THIRTY-NINTH IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Mustered November 24, 1862 
Company K 

Bennett, William F., captain. Cain, INIilligan J., first lieutenant. 
Porter, Corrington S., second lieutenant. 

Amack, Robert W., died December 1, 1862, at Davenport, la. 
Asbach, Herman, died February 8, 1863, at Corinth, ^liss. Bales, 
Curtis J. Bales, Joseph A., third corporal; taken prisoner October 
.5, 1864, at Allatoona, Ga. ; paroled. Blakesley, Andrew L., taken 
jirisoner December 30, 1862, at Shady Grove, Tenn.; killed in action 
October .5, 1864, at Allatoona, Ga. Blakesley, Isaac ^I. Bright, 
Henry, wounded October 5, 1864, at Allatoona. Brown, Bird, taken 
prisoner October 5, 1864, at Allatoona. Butts, Jesse D., taken pris- 
oner October 5, 1864, at Allatoona. Carter, John B., third corporal. 
Clark, James A., taken prisoner October .5, 1864, at Allatoona. 
Clark, Joshua. Clear, John W., died January 26, 1863, at Colum- 



68 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTY 

bus, Ky. Cockerham, William D., fourth sergeant. Comstock, 
George W,, died March 4, 1863, at Corinth, ^liss. Coppersmith, 
George. Cozad, Aaron A., fii'st corporal; taken prisoner October 
5, 1864, at Ailatoona. Davis, John. Doan, Isaac S., taken prisoner 
October 5, 1864, at Ailatoona. Doan, ]Milton S., second sergeant. 
Dunn, William. Evans, James E., wounded December 31, 1862, 
Parkers Cross Roads, Tenn.; taken prisoner October 5, 1864, at Aila- 
toona. Fames, William, taken prisoner Parkers Cross Roads, De- 
cember 31, 1862; killed in action October 5, 1864, at Ailatoona. 
Fisher, George W., deserted October 11, 1862. Fugit, Isaac P., died 
Xovember 30, 1862, at Davenport, la. Gabler, Francis, killed in 
action October 5, 1864, at Ailatoona. Green, Xoah, accidentally 
killed while on picket duty at Corinth, JNIiss., July 12, 1863. Grow, 
George W., taken prisoner October 5, 1864, at Ailatoona. Harris, 
Stephen F. Harris, William T., taken prisoner October 5, 1864, at 
Ailatoona. King, John H., killed in action October 5, 1864, at Aila- 
toona. Lighthill, Peter. Lose, Wesley F., sixth corporal. jNIacklin, 
Harvey B., fifth corporal; taken prisoner October 5, 1864, at Aila- 
toona. jNIartin, ISIatthew. JNIercer, George, taken prisoner Decem- 
ber 30, 1862, at Shady Grove, Tenn., and died February 12, 1863, 
at St. Louis. jNIiller, Abraham, killed in action October 5, 1864, at 
Ailatoona. Moad, Elisha B., first lieutenant; captured at Ailatoona. 
Osborn, John R., second lieutenant. Osborn, Samuel L., fourth ser- 
geant; died INIarch 20, 1865, at Savannah, Ga. Parrott, James R. 
Piercy, James W., first corporal. Piercy, William, died January 22, 
1863, at Jackson, Tenn. Purdun, Oliver E., fourth corporal; taken 
prisoner at Ailatoona. Ross, Isaiah. Ross, Jacob. Ross, Thomas, 
deserted September 12, 1862. Ryan, Joseph J. Ryan, Thomas G. 
Sherard, Hiram P., fourth sergeant. Stephens, Robert, taken pris- 
oner at Ailatoona October 5, 1864. Stone, John INI., fifth corporal; 
taken prisoner at Ailatoona. Waddle, James, taken prisoner at Aila- 
toona. Wright, INIartin V., taken prisoner at Shady Grove, Tenn., 
December 30, 1862. 

SEVENTEENTH IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Mustered April 16, 1862 

Company A 

Young, John L., captain. Garrett, Jesse B., first lieutenant. 
Sales, Lorenzo H., second lieutenant. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 69 

Aitkens, James A., first corporal; taken prisoner at Tilton, Ga., 
on October 13, 1864. Aitkens, Joseph :M., first sergeant; taken pris- 
oner at Tilton. Arnold, Daniel S., Mounded slightly at luka, ^Nliss., 

1862. Ashburn, Earnett. Ballard, John, deserted :March 1, 1863. 
Beck, William A., sixth corporal; taken prisoner at Tilton. Bird, 
William, wounded in right arm June 26, 1863, at Vicksburg; died 
of wounds July 12, 1863. Blair, William H. H., first lieutenant. 
Bosarth, Jose]3h S., wounded October 13, 1864, at Tilton and died 
of wounds December 2, 1864. Burnett, Joseph X., fourth sergeant. 
Butts, Peter. Carroll, James, wounded severely; taken prisoner 
and paroled in ^Mississippi. Carroll, Wesley, fourth corporal. Clem- 
ents, Charles W., wounded and taken prisoner at Tilton. Comb, Sam- 
uel P. Davidson, Robert F., wounded and taken prisoner ]May 14, 

1863. at Jackson, ]Miss.; taken prisoner again at Tilton in October, 

1864. Davis Hugh, wounded at Vicksburg; missing November 24, 
1863, at 3Iissionary Ridge, Tenn.; died while a prisoner at Ander- 
sonville, Ga., October 18, 1864. Dunn, Allen, second corporal; re- 
duced to fifth corporal; wounded at Vicksburg and taken prisoner 
at Tilton. Faulkner, Green B. Fishburne, ^lartin S. Fisher, Her- 
schell, died ^Nlarch 14, 1864. Flory, Jacob F., fourth corporal. 
Franklin, Jeret I., captain. Fullerton, John W., fourth sergeant. 
Fullerton, Thomas A., third corporal. Garrett, David J. Garrett, 
Jesse B., wounded severely at Corinth October 4, 1863. Gulliams, 
Samuel. Harris, James. Harris, William D. Hatfield, Thomas, 
taken prisoner at Tilton. Henry, John R., fifth sergeant; prisoner 
at Tilton. Howard, George J., died September 3, 1862, at Farm- 
ington, ]Miss. Jackson, Guy, absent without leave from ]May 4, 1862. 
Johnson, Charles P., captain; wounded and taken prisoner INIay 14, 
1863, at Jackson, Miss. Jones, Abraham. Joseph, Eliphalet, killed 
in action May 14, 1863, at Jackson, Miss. Keller, Rufus L., wounded 
severely and taken prisoner at Jackson. Leffler, Frank, died Novem- 
ber 22, 1862, at St. Louis. Leffler, Martin. Levally, Henry B., died 
May 16, 1862, at Keokuk, la. Lighthill, INIichael. Lumley, Joseph. 
^IcGuire, Charles, deserted JNIarch 4, 1863. JNIacksburg, Samuel, 
third sergeant; wounded at Vicksburg; captured at Tilton. ]Mather, 
George W., fifth sergeant. ^Miller, George, killed in action INIay 14, 
1863, at Jackson. ]\Iiller, JNIonroe, first lieutenant. jNIiller, ^lordecai. 
]\Iusser, Samuel, killed in action November 24, 1863, ^Missionary 
Ridge, Tenn. Norman, James, wounded at Vicksliurg; prisoner at 
Tilton. Norman, Samuel, captured at Tilton. Odell, David D. 
Oldsted, Allen. Platter, George W. Porter, James. Reid, Fred- 



70 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTY 

erick. Relea, Aaron T., wounded and taken prisoner at Jackson. 
Sales, Lorenzo H. Sears, David M. Shafe, Myron W. Simms, 
Samuel X., wounded and captured at Jackson; killed in action No- 
vember 24, 1863. Simpson, Elias H., third corporal; captured at 
Tilton; wounded at Champion Hills; died May 28, 1865. Slaughter, 
Asa M., second corporal; killed in action jNIay 14, 1863, at Jackson, 
Miss. Smith, George W. Smith, Joseph F., died June 7, 1863, at 
JMilliken's Bend, La. Stevens, Warren N., fourth corporal. Stew- 
art, Charles, died April 18, 1862. Suter, John J. Switzer, John, 
taken prisoner at Jackson; wounded and captured at Tilton later. 
Sylvester, John, second corporal. Syh^ester. John, Jr., wounded and 
captured at Jackson. Toney, William R., third corporal; captured 
at Tilton. Turley, Granville X., no record; Green W. died at Keo- 
kuk April 7, 1862. Turley, Jacob, first sergeant; wounded at Jack- 
son; killed in action INIissionary Ridge X^ovember 24, 1863. Wads- 
worth, John C, killed in action May 14, 1863, at Jackson, Miss. 
Wheeler, Joseph F., fifth corporal; wounded and captured at Jack- 
son. Willis, Henry G., wounded September 19, 1862, at luka, IMiss. 
Wilson, INIichael. Wilson, Thomas F., captured at Tilton. Wires, 
James H., captured at Tilton. Wj^coff , Cranmore, wounded. Young, 
William H. Zernes, John J., wounded severely at luka. 

THIRD IOWA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY 

Mustered September 14, 1861 

Field and Staff: Brown, Thomas H., brevet captain. 
X^on-commissioned Staff: Hall, Isaac X., reduced to ranks. 
Brown, Thomas H. 

Company L 

INIudgett, Gilman C, captain. Fitch, Ezra, first lieutenant. 
Baker, Mica j ah, second lieutenant. 

Ammerman, William S. Beaman, William C. Beeler, Joseph. 
Bennett, Roland. Bright, William, died December 29, 1861, St. 
Louis. Brown, John D., taken prisoner at Hartville, ^lo., January 
11. 1863; wounded severely at Big Blue, ^lo.; reached rank of cap- 
tain. Brown, Thomas H., third sergeant. Brown, William, commis- 
sary sergeant. Brown, William W. Bullard, Calvin, deserted Octo- 
ber 13. 1861. Carroll, Hugh. Cary, Edward G. Casey, John, died 
X^ovember ,5, 1861, at Keokuk, la. Casper, Dimick E. Chase, James 
H. Courtney, Jacob. Culver, Orange, fifth sergeant. Curry, Edgar 
W. Custers, INIatthias. Daws, Edward W., third sergeant. Ded- 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 71 

rick, Andrew J., third corporal. Dunn, William. Fitch, Ezra. Gas- 
kill, Harvev. Goven, Thomas. Gray, William A. Hale. Charles 
R. Hale, Isaac X., third sergeant. Hamm, John II. Hammond, 
^Villiam A., died December 23, 1861, at St. Louis. Hand, Charles 
D., died July 1, 18G2, at Indianapolis, Ind. Harrett, Peter, taken 
prisoner at Hartville. Harris, Simeon R., third corporal. Hastings, 
Herbert JSI. Hines, Daniel. Hitchcock, Isaac P. Hitchcock, James 
F. Hitchcock, John F. Honnold, James W., second corporal; 
wounded at INIine Creek, Kan. Houseman, David G. Jewell, ^Vil- 
liam P. Johnson, Robert. Johnston, Richard H. Jordon, John. 
Judd, Oscar. Knapp, Benjamin F. Knapp, Charles ^NI., fourth 
sergeant. Knapp, Edward Y. Knight, Sanuiel G. ^NIcQueary, 
IMilton G., first sergeant: died September 10, 1861. ^Martin, Henry 
H., tliird corporal, fiercer, William G. D. JNIiner, Joseph. ^ludg- 
ett, Edward, second lieutenant. ^ludgett, Gilman C, Jr., first ser- 
geant. ]Mudgett, Gilman C, Jr., major. ^ludgett. Recorder ]SI. 
Newman, Stephen D., died October 15, 1864, at ^lemphis. Xortliup, 
Albert C, taken prisoner at Hartville, ^lo. Pace, William P. Pat- 
ton, John W., died November 7, 1861, Keokuk, la. Pryor, Leroy, 
first corporal. Rains, Jacob, seventh corporal. Riley. James H. 
Rvan. Thomas G. Sankev, E. J., wounded severely and leg ampu- 
tated June 11, 1864, on retreat from Guntown, Miss. Smith, James 
INI., died April 17, 1864, at St. Louis. Space, Nathaniel. Stewart, 
John W. Thompson, Charles W. Thompson, Francis :M. Thomp- 
son, John M., third corporal. Vaughn, William R. Yeatch, Ben- 
jamin F. Warren, John. White, Louis R., third corporal: de- 
serted September 12, 1861. Williams, James C, first lieutenant. 
Williams, Thomas G. Williamson, Henry. Wilson, John W., second 
sergeant. Wilson, Samuel A. Wooley, Abner. Wooley, William, 
sixth sergeant. 

Unassigned 

Fames, James. Orren, George W. Richey, James E. 

Company M 

Warner, John W., captain. Jones, Benjamin S., first lieutenant. 
Walker, Harvey H., second lieutenant. 

Acton, Aaron. Acton, Thomas. Acton, William H. Anderson, 
Solomon S., died January 18, 186.5. Asbach, John, killed in action 
September 25, 1864, at Osage, ^Mo. Bard, Benjamin F., wounded 
severely July 14, 1864, at Tupelo, Miss.; died of wounds July 24, 



72 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

18G4, at MemiDhis. Benton, Richard D. Blades, Robert E. Blades, 
Samuel E. Blades, William J. Blakesley, Abraham, third corporal. 
Bowman, George S., fifth corporal. Bowman, John W. Broad- 
books, Rufus W., died iNIarch 13, 1863, Rolla, Mo. Brown, Burr, 
killed in action AjDril 27, 1863, at Jackson, Mo. Cowles, Henry A., 
fourth sergeant; captured at Pea Ridge. Cowles, Wesley F. Cox, 
James 31. Dale, ^Meredith J. Dunlavy, William H. Farris, Alfred 

L., died Xovember 11, 1861, at Keokuk, la. Faulkner, , 

fifth sergenat. Gammill, James jNI. Gammill, John C, first lieuten- 
ant. Gunter, John F. Gunter, jNIarion. Gunter, JNIonroe. Hamil- 
ton, Francis M. Hatfield, William P., died January 14, 1862. Keys, 
Charles. Lee, Henry. Loe, JNIadison. JNIcBroom, William. jMans- 
field, Asail J., killed in action ^larch 7, 1862, Pea Ridge. JNlartin, 
James B., died October 18, 1862, at Lebanon, 3Io. jNIay, James S., 
fourth corporal, died October 21, 1861. Miller, Abbey, died Febru- 
ary 8, 1862, at St. Louis. JMiller, Jefferson. Miller, William B., 
killed by guerrillas August 17, 1862, in Jackson County, Mo. Newel, 
Elijah F. Xewel, JNlarquis T. C. Nixon, Robert jNL, sixth corporal. 
Schaeff er, John W. Scott, Brison. Sevmour, Willard P. Seymour, 
William A. Shackelford, Howard, first sergeant. Slack, John H. 
Slack, William R. Smith, Francis JM. Snodgrass, William H., 
fourth corporal. Stevens, L^zziel J., fifth corporal. Sullivan, William 
J., wounded and arm amputated July 14, 1864, at Tupelo, Missis- 
sippi. Swander, Harrison, first corporal. Talley, Isaac A. Teeters, 
Thomas. Thrailkill, Scott. Tong, Francis 31. Walker, Harvey H., 
first lieutenant. AValker, Henderson, died February 7, 1862, at 
Rolla, 3Io. "Warner, John W., captain. Weber, Franc. AVhitten, 
Increase S., died September 8, 1864, at 3Iemphis. Whitten, Oscar. 
AVilson, John S. Wilson, Simmeon N., sixth regiment. Wise, Carter 
H. Works, Orville, second sergeant. 

Unassigned 
Fames, Augustus. Fames, James. Richey, James E. 

NINTH IOWA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY 

Clustered November 30, 1863 

Companj^ C 

Young, John L., captain. Reigart, Thomas J., first lieutenant. 
Wood, William H., second lieutenant. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 73 

Allbee, Robert G. Anderson, Joel ^I., second corporal. Arnold, 
^Michael, died Febrnary 17, 18G.3. Atba, John E. Ballinger, James 
E. Barnes, Stephen, died November 9, 1864, at Keokuk, la. Bob- 
bitt, John P., fourth corporal. Bristow, Henry, died September 12, 
186.3, at Lewisburg, Ark. Chennowith, Lemon. Cherry, John, third 
corporal. Cole, David. Crawford, James F. Davis, Jacob, died 
October 21, 1864, at Jefferson Barracks, ^NIo. Dennis, Lee, died 
July 22, 1864, at Benton Barracks, ]Mo. Dunham, James T. Dunn, 
James H. Dunn, John P. Earnest, Elbert. Evans, James J., sec- 
ond corporal. Farris, James H., fifth corporal. Garrett, David J., 
fourth sergeant. Gibson, Thomas J. Hadley, Harlan. Handley, 
Chancey. Hastings, Lewis ^1. Hawkins, James. Houderscheldt, 
James, died September lo, 1864, at Austin, Ark. Hunt, James H. 
Jennings, Alvin, seventh corporal. ^IcCalla, George. jMartin, Jacob 
C. Clayton, John. Mercer, Asbury, sixth corporal. Milligan, Jesse 
A. ^Morrison, Robert W. Rader, ^Michael M., deserted January 16, 
1864. Sears, ^Villiam O. B. Smith, Francis ]M., third sergeant. 
Williams, Daniel 3L Williams, Thomas C. Young, John L. 

rOKTY-EIGHTH IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Clustered July 13, 1864. 100 Days' Service. 

Company C 

Summers, James H., captain. Burrows, James, first lieutenant. 
Barnes, William H., second lieutenant. 

Adair, Jeptha. Adkins, Lewis P. Aikey, Peter. Alexander, 
Curtis L. Allmon, William H. Arnold, Henry L. Baker, Wesley 
C. Barnes, Benjamin O., died October 4, 1864, at Rock Island, 111. 
Barnes, WiUiam H. Bell, Jasper N. Bennett, Hiram. Bover, 
Leander. Brown, AVilliam. Bullard, Albert D. Bunce, George W. 
Bunton, Albert. Chambers, Austin. Chambers, John W. Chew, 
Samuel F. Clark, Levi. Day, Daniel R. Dilsaver, Albert. Doug- 
lass, William H. Downey, Robert T. Endecott, Jacob. Enlow, 
Benjamin A. Enlow, John D. Fierce, William E. Fletcher, Joh.n 
H. Foreman, Arriley. Gates, Rufus A. Gay, Hiram. Hamilton, 
Peter J. Hamm, Robert B. Harrison, Benjamin F. Hitchcock, 
Horace A. Humphries, James. Hutton, Charles A. Kenion, 
James. ^latthews, James. ^Miller, Francis B. ]Moore, William. 
^Morris, Nathan. ]Moss, James. Nigh, George W. Ownby, William 
H. Oxford, Lilbern H. Oxford, William R. Page, Reuben. 



74 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Piburn, Thomas B. Power, Andrew. Rector, Jesse. Renfro, John. 
Robertson, James. Rogers, Edward. Rogers, John. Schaffer,' Rob- 
ert C. Schoonover, Nathan. Seymour, John A. Strong, Solomon 
P. Summers, James H. Thogmartin, Robert. Tliompson, Luther. 
VanCleve, John. Vanderpool, James. Warnock, Wilham S. Whit- 
tecar, Jasper N. ^Vhittecar, Wesley A. Williams, James. Wil- 
liams, John W. Wilson, John. 

DECATUR COUNTY SOLDIERS IX TROOPS OF OTHER STATES 

Company A, Thirty-seventh Illinois 

Gray, William S. 

Company D, Fiftieth Ilhnois 

Waller, Alexander. 

Company K, Tenth Kansas Volunteer Infantry 

Ronowgus, William D. Clibbun, George. Hatfield, Andrews 
Kesecker, Andrew. INIcCoy, Charles B. JMay, John E. INIiller, 
Franklin. :Mory, George W. Pope, Cyrus W. Pope, Virgil. Scott, 
iVllen. Scott, John R. Scott, Peter. Smith, James A. Watson, 
Greenville. Watson, Thomas. White, James W. 

Company A, Thirty-fifth Missouri Infantry 

Benton, Clark L. 

Company E 

French, Robert. Gordon, James L. Guire, Jacob, deserter. 
^Miller, Bryson J., deserter. INIiller, John R. Miller, Nathan, de- 
serter. jNIiller, Reuben. Osborn, Samuel W. Plaintiff, George W. 
Smith, William S. Vincent, Joseph. Wyon, David. Wyon, Fred- 
erick. Wyon, Henry. 

Company D, Forty-fourth Missouri Infantry 
Zimmerman, Jacob. 

Missouri State INIilitia 

Company D, Second Cavalry: Hukill, John H. 
Company H, Fifth Cavalry: Cogsdel, Stephen. 
Company G, Sixth Cavalry: Banks, Henis; Simpson, Gilliard; 
Simpson, James; Vanvallinburg, James. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 75 

Seventh Cavalry 
Company I 
Corrigan, James. Likes, Samuel J. Orr, William H. 

Company K 

Clark, Isaac X. Collyer, Thomas. Combs, Washington F. Con- 
quest, John. Crookshank, Peter. Deck, Isaac. Gardner, Baylis 
D. Gardner, John L. Gardner, Joshua A. Gilbert, Samuel R. 
Gray, John R. Gray, John W. S. Hall, John W. Hall, Samuel 
L. Hatfield, Andrews. Hatfield, James. Hatfield, John M. Hat- 
field, Riley. Hines, Alexander. Horn, Elisha. Johnson, Farmer A. 
Kelly, George B. Kelly, Robert. Kemp, John ]M. Kemp, Phillip. 
Kentch, Lewis F. Kirk, Josiah. Leech, John C. Long, AVilliam L. 
iMcDonald, Barnett. ^McDowell, Samuel. jNIcKern, Thomas H. 
Xixson, Thomas. Oney, Joseph A. Oney, JNIarion. Oney, Thomas 
B. Pavne, William T. Piercv, James T. Piercv, John H. Pitman, 
Ed K. Pitman, John H. Price, Harrison H. Smith, Benjamin F. 
Spellman, Hiram. Stanley, Calvin. Still, Hiram. Still, Jesse. 
Tash, William R. Waldrip, Byron F. Wescoat, Cyrus K. Wheeler, 
AVilliam F. WickofF, X. S. WicufF, John T. AVilson, William D. 
Wisdom, Francis F. 

SOUTHERN BORDER BRIGADE (iOWa) 

Third Battalion 
Company A 

Summers, James H., captain. Bridges, C. G., lieutenant. 

Alfrey, J. P. Alfrey, J. W, Allen, Jacob. Arnold, Alonzo. 
Arnold, Daniel J. Ayers, Alfred. Barickman, C. J. Beck, T. Ij. 
Blades, W. J. Bomer, William. Bovd, Henrv. Bovd, John. 
Branscom, Henry. Bridges, C. G. Brown, James. Brown, Yolney. 
Campbell, J. W. Campbell, Robert. Carlton, S. O. Chance, John. 
Chew', S. F. Cleaver, J. P. Cook, Henderson. Cook, Wilkinson. 
Covington, Smith C. Craft, John. Day, G. S. Dilley, James V. 
Dreese, Reuben. Fierce, E. W. Poland, INIichael. Gardner, J. A. 
Gatlin, Cornelius. Gibson, Jasper. Gibson, William B. Gordon, 
J. jNI. Harnor, John S. Hazen, Joseph S. Higby, Hiram. Hisey, 
James. Hisey, John. Hoover, George. Houston, Robert L. Hou- 
derscheldt, Wesley. Jackson, Jesse L. Kingen, James. Kromer, O. 



76 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

W. Kumley, Lewis. Lane, George. Lee, Clarence. Lennox, Rich- 
ard. Lovd, Jesse. ]McCroskey, Samuel. ^NIcGuire, jNlichael. ^Ic- 

Kee, Clark. ^NIcKee, William L. ]Mc]Murtney, . INLans- 

field, R. G. fiercer, James A. Millsaps, Robert. INIillsaps, Samuel 
A. Xotson, R. P. S. Page, Samuel. Parmer, Samuel. Paschal, 
William. Pierce, Ess. Robbins, Wilham S. Roberts, Jesse. Roop, 
AVilkinson. Rowell, Columbus B. Rumley, William. Scott, John. 
Sheets, Christian. Smith, Robert. Suavely, Abraham Y. Snook, 
William. Stanle\% John. Stanley, Benjamin. Stanley, JNlatchet. 
Stanley, O. L. Stephenson, Craig. Strong, John D. Strong, 
Linens. Strong, Solomon. Summers, James H. Lapscott, John K. 
Thompson, F. M. Turpon, Brison. Utterback, Willis. Vandever, 
Edward. Vaughn, Hiram S. Vaughn, J. D. Vaughn, J. S. Wal- 
dron, Enoch. Walters, Madison. Welmon, James LI. West, Wil- 
liam. Whitecar, Diamond. Whitecar, G. W. Whitecar, Josiah. 
Whitecar, William. Whittecar, James. Whittecar, Wesley. Wian, 
Jacob. Wian, John. Williams, J. T. Williams, J. W. Williams, 
Walker. Witter, David F. Witter, William L. Woodard, E. P. 
^Vurtenbee, John. Zin, Abraham. 



CHAPTER VllI 

PROGRESS OF EDUCATION IN DECATUR COUNTY 

The prosperity, the progress, the spirit and the character of a 
county is largely measured by the condition of its schools. The intel- 
lectual qualities of the people, their culture and regard of life may 
also be summed up by this means. Decatur County began her life 
under the usual hardships, privations and sacrifices and her first 
schools were consequently crude and inefficient, but through the 
years of upbuilding in other lines, the county has perfected a com- 
mendable school sj^stem, one that will jDossibly bear more improve- 
ment, such as school consolidation, but nevertheless one which deserves 
credit. Competent teachers are employed and the schools, so far as 
possible, are equipped as the modern school should be. Every pupil 
has the opportunity to receive a splendid education in Decatur County 
and has entrance to just as many courses and as great a variety of 
subjects as can be had in any county in the state. 

The government has, almost without exception, been in the hands 
of capable educators. The money of the county has been extended 
freely upon request for the betterment of the schools, and it is safe 
to predict that within the next decade the advance will be even greater 
than it has been in the last decade. 

The following paragraphs deal largely with the early history of 
the schools in the countv and many of them are written by men and 
women who attended the classes in the los^ houses and who firmly be- 
lieve that they acquired as good or better education than the pupils 
who sit in steam-heated, ventilated rooms, with the maximmn of light. 

EAKLY LEON SCHOOL DxVYS 

A former Decatur County woman wrote the following of her girl- 
hood days in the schools of Leon: 

"In a room upstairs on INIain Street possibly, the old, old court 
room, Howard Shackleford and I stood beside Miss Jones' knee and 



78 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

learned our A B C's. To me she seemed queenly as she was tall, 
stately and grand. 

"3Iy next remembrance is of attending school in the old JNIeth- 
odist Church ere it was finished inside, being seated with rough boards. 
There were three teachers, I. P. INIartin, Sarah Kirkpatrick and 
Elizabeth Simmons, of Garden Grove, each reigning over a corner 
of the room, a most trying time for both teachers and pupils. Two 
incidents were vividly impressed on my mind, one being when jNIr. A. 
Gillham's large j^ellow dog was loosed one morning and came to the 
church, causing us children to scamper into the room with fear and 
trembling. 3Iiss Simmons thought to teach us a lesson in kindness to 
animals and put out her lily white hand to pat the dog, saying, as she 
did so, 'O, the poor dog won't hurt you,' whereujjon he snapped her 
hand, biting it quite severely. With tears and sobs she informed us 
that she had a friend (?) in Garden Grove who would avenge her in- 
jmy. The other was how chagrined we were when JNlr. Martin had 
several of us distributed around the platform to learn the eights in 
multiplication, and County Superintendent Wainwright came to 
visit the school. 

"Afterwards came L. jNI. Hastings, who remained with us more 
than three years, moving with us to the first brick school building on 
tlie site of the present north building. It contained four rooms, halls, 
bell, home-made seats, desks and recitation seats, and a good long 
blackboard. For the first time we began to call the teacher 'Pro- 
fessor,' and he could not have been happier had he owned the whole 
building, as he sang, 'There's INIusic in the Air' with far more fervor 
than usual, and bade us 'goodby' and 'good morning or afternoon' 
every time he left the room or entered for several days. A few of 
us, ]Myra Gardner, Hila Fishburn, Emma Dawson and, I believe, 
Lily Berger were not eligible to the high room, but he graciously took 
us, saying that he had us started his way of teaching and Avanted to 
keep us. The thorough mental arithmetic drill he gave us has ever 
been beneficial to me, although our parents thought him severe because 
we 'talked it in our sleep.' 

"Politics raged high in school during the Civil war and fights, of 
words and fists, Avith an occasional hair-pulling, were not uncommon. 
'Re])el,' 'Secesh,' 'Copperhead,' 'Abolitionist' and 'A nigger is as 
good as you are,' were epithets hurled back and forth. The ardor of 
the repul)lican girls was dampened by the other girls saying, 'You 
are glad to get a democrat for a beau,' as there were more boys of 
tliat party than the other. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 79 

"Soon came A. J. Abbott, a nice man, and Professor Newcomb, 
who was awfully in love, spending most of his time walking the Moor, 
planning how he could get to Humeston and back from Friday even- 
ing until ^londay morning. ]Mr. Tip Dilsaver, that prince of good 
fellows, taught us to sing 'The Poor Swiss Girl of Lucerne,' and 
seated the boys and girls together. Cal Hoffman was my seatmate 
and I remember how shy he w as, clad in brown overalls and occupying 
tlie few inches on the farthest end of the seat from me. 

"The school was graded about the year 18G7, beginning in the 
fall of 18C8 to have a three-year high school course of nine months 
each. How eager we were to finish that course. Comparing it now 
with the course pursued in small towns of today I find the latter only 
excel it in more difficult texts and the addition of Latin and German. 

"A. F. Woodruff was about two days smarter than the rest of 
the class and w^as proud, timid and wreaked under criticism. He was 
standing at the blackboard one morning, arm extended from the shoul- 
der, drawing a perfect circle, a feat w'e all envied, and as usual I 
was making merry with a group in the rear of the room, but he thought 
tliat I was making fun of his lavender pants, which were shrunken 
from much washing. So, with darkened visage, knitted brow and 
gritted teeth, he dashed off the following and passed it to me : 

" 'In Pluto's dark domain below 
Where some are forced to go 
They wear petticoats and switches; 
But while on earth's domain we dwell, 
Some nmst be content as well, 
To wear short breeches.' 

"Being so verdant as not to know^ whether 'pegged topped' or 
'tight,' long or short trousers were the latest, I had to seek an inter- 
preter. Again, though not provoked to it, he wrote: 

" 'Of all the men who wisely wrote. 
Be he saint or cuss. 
The one who wrote most strangely. 
Was this Anonymous.' 

"Besides several longer poems, 'The Rabbi's Daughter,' and '^ly 
Former Lover.' 

"One of the text-books piu'sued was one, floral Science, contain- 
ing a chapter on marriage laws. Belle Thompson was reciting and 
ventured the suggestion that peojile should marry on six months' pro- 



80 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

bation, and if contracting parties were not congenial said contract 
to be null and void. A suppressed giggle passed through the audience 
and she was excused from further recitation. 

"T. W. Silvers was fluent and logical, mapping out a career, fol- 
lowing it closely and, of course, attaining success. 

"S. A. Gates, always amiable, had little use for monosyllables in 
his vocabulary. He did not 'fall' out of the hay mow, but 'was pre- 
cipitated.' Belle Bobbitt used that for 'a saying' until Josephine Kel- 
lo"i>\ when secretary of the institute, wrote: 

" 'The multiplicity of matters to be attended to at the beginning 
of the term precluded the possibility of a carefully prepared literary 
program.' 

"I frequently contrast the commencements then and now. Now 
we have showers and flowers and bowers, decorations, ovations and 
collations; but we marched in two by two. Woodruff*, with his bor- 
rowed clothes, which we knew not of until his days of ^jrosperity; 
Gates, with his whiskers; Silvers, with his boyish appearance, and I, 
with mv white dimity dress trimmed in a yard of val lace, and deliv- 
ered our essays and orations, replete with figures of speech and flights 
of oratory, we thought. We had neither flowers, motto nor decora- 
tions. The subjects were heavy enough, mine being 'Lights and 
Shadows of Life.' It makes me want to shrink out of existence to 
think of it. I opine I might do better on both the lights and shadows 
but on the mystery of life not any." 

•''V •■ 

ANOTHER SCHOOL EEMIXISCENCE 

The following paragraphs are written by another woman, wliose 
memories of the early schools include the years from 18.56 to 1877: 

"The first school ever held in Leon was in the courthouse and the 
teacher, George T. Young, forever endeared himself to all parents, 
by saving the lives of his pupils at the risk of his own in a cyclone that 
blew the building down behind him as he carried out the last two tots. 
This was in June or July, 18.55. 

"When a wee girl I went to school with my big brother Lemuel, 
to J. C. Porter (a better preacher than teacher), in the first school- 
house Leon ever owned, a little frame building out in the east part 
of town, where long recesses, carrying and passing the water, singing 
the states and capitals and the multiplication tables Mere the main 
attractions. On Friday afternoon the speakin' was great. John S. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 81 

Gardner 'Timber' — Aunt Ann's, Al (there was a 'Prairie' Aunt 
Ann's, Al also) and Hattie RaifF were the prize speakers, and when Al 
Gardner started out once a month on 'Rienzi's Address to the Romans' 
^ye sat with bated breath until he resonantly closed the declamation. 
Lou Weldon taught us little girls to knit at recess. John Bowman 
gave us riddles to guess. Later another preacher, George Adams, 
taught school over a store, being succeeded in turn by Samuel Sears, 
Carr Porter, Sarah Patterson, Mr. Judd, Emily Higbee and others. 
The new ^Methodist Episcopal Church was used by Professor Lewis, 
J. C. Porter and later by that fiery tempered, but best educator Leon 
ever had up to that time, L. INI. Hastings, a man who was a genera- 
tion ahead of his day, who really sowed ambition's earnest seed in 
student minds and gave the new schools a new impetus. 

"The boys of those old school davs were Jack and Reuben AVel- 
don, Bob and Billy Boone, Bill Kirkpatrick and several others that 
I do not recall at present. JNIy school attendance closed here for ]Mr. 
Hastings being county superintendent, as well as teacher, issued to 
four conceited pert little girls of fifteen to seventeen years, a teacher's 
certificate each, as special rewards of merit for greatest scholastic 
attainments in briefest time. They were Ella Adams, ^Martha Jor- 
dan, Fannie RaifF and the writer. At once we secured schools and 
launched into careers poorly prepared, but bravely determined. 

"How well I remember that sketch of Henry Lunbeck's on the 
blackboard of the old north end brick, where jNIarv INIiles, Emma 
Dawson, Marv Hutchinson and yours truly assisted Aaron Frazier 
in his school work. The three Belles (Bobbitt, Thompson and Burns) 
made his life something wretched to carry, and he in turn took it 
out of his under teachers. ]My school days in 1861 to 1865 are eventful 
ones. When Ann Wharton and INIartha Jordan tore a Lincoln and 
Hamlin button oif my dress, political excitement, even among the 
children was high ; I got JNIary Knapp and we promptly relieved those 
two girls of Douglas badges. The war was carried further next day 
by the democrat girls annexing to their ranks, jNIary and Edith Pat- 
terson, Sarah Kirkpatrick and Nancy Sales; on our side we had Hat- 
tie Raiff, Nancy Freeman, INIinerva Bobbitt and all our little sis- 
ters. While the war waged it was earnest. When we went home for 
repairs most of us had a threshing thrown in, though our parents all 
were in secret sympathy with the children's waj^ of settling matters of 
national importance Mhile our big brothers were 'in the war.' " 

\ol. I- B 



82 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

DECATUR SCHOOLS 

The following article on the schools of the county was prej)ared 
in the schools of Leon by a pupil and contains an interesting and 
instructive story of the progress of education in this locality. 

The fii-st school in Leon, la., was conducted in 1854 by H. V. 
Waignright in a log schoolhouse located on Gospel Ridge and East 
Leon. He taught one term and was succeeded by Satah Patterson 
Bashaw, who conducted a school in the same schoolhouse for two 
terms. 

When the time for the next term of school came the old log school- 
house was too small to accommodate the number of pupils, so that 
the lower floor of a two-story building, used as a courthouse, and 
standing where the Varga residence now is, was pressed into service 
and George T. Young hired as teacher. While ]Mr. Young was teach- 
ing in the year 1857 a storm occurred which blew down the building, 
from which, fortunately, all escaped with their lives. 

The courthouse having been blown down, a couple of buildings, 
one back of where the Kraft, Grimes & Co.'s clothing store now 
stands and the other across the street east of the present town square, 
were used for school purposes. About 1864 school was held in the 
old iSlethodist Church, which stood where the Carnegie Library is 
now located. 

J. C. Porter, Sarah Kirkpatrick, Professor Hastings, C. S. Porter 
and ^Ir. Caldwell were some of the teachers between 1860 and 1868, 
when tlie first building was constructed for school purposes. This 
building, which stood on the site now occupied by the Xorth school 
building and premises, was a four-roomed brick building. The first 
teacher in the new building was Aaron Frazier, who initiated a course 
of study requiring twelve years to complete. Under him the first 
graduating exercises ever held in Leon were given in 1871 by the class 
composed of A. F. AVoodrufF, ^Matilda Jordan, S. A. Gates, T. W. 
Silvers. 

Professor Frazier taught until 1876, when a second brick building 
of eight rooms was erected on the present site at a cost of $11,000, the 
first brick building being retained for several years as a janitor's 
residence. 

In the '80s Profs. A. B. Cornell, B. F. Miller, and S. ^I. 
^Nlowatt, who had charge of the school for seven years. Next came 
Professors Lyon and V. R. :McGinnis, who served for two years each, 
followed by Samuel L. Darrah, who w^as principal of the school for 




CARXKdIE LIBRARY, LEOX 




HIGH SCHOOL ]UILJnX(;, LK(L\ 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 83 

four years. During this time, in the summer of 189.5, the present 
South school building was erected, S. H. Lorey being the contractor. 

Professors Drake, Pierce, Volker and Gass followed. During 
the year 1903 the building which w^as erected in 1876 was torn down 
and a new one built in its place, whicli, with the addition annexed in 
1913, forms the present modern and commodious North school 
building. 

There is now the normal training course, with domestic science, a 
corp of nineteen teachers and an enrollment in 1913 of 610 scholars. 

The first school in Decatur County was taught in Garden Grove 
in the year 1849 by ]Mrs. Enos Davis, a relative of Susan B. Anthony, 
school being conducted in her home^ as there was no building. Her 
house was known as the Old California House and so named by gold 
seekers on their way to California. 

About 1853 a frame school building was erected and Reverend 
Carey, a jNIethodist preacher, was hired to teach in the new building, 
but it burned on the first day of school. In 1856 a brick school build- 
ing was erected of octagon shape, which was the best in Southern 
low^a, and Professor Hastings hired to teach the first class. In 186'1 
the school began rising in prominence under the supervision of R. A. 
Harkness, of Delaware County, N. Y. During the sixteen years that 
he taught the school was called the Athens of Iowa. Since then tlie 
octagonal brick has been torn down and a frame building erected, 
which lasted for several years, but it was recently razed and the pres- 
ent handsome structure erected. 

The school at the present time, with its normal, domestic science 
and manual training, is considered one of the best in the county. They 
have an enrollment of about two hundred and fifty students and 
employ about ten school teachers. 

In the year 1879, when the Humeston, Shenandoah Railroad was 
extended westward, the little Village of Weldon sprang up and grew 
with great rapidity. In the fall of 1880 Emma De Selm taught a 
subscription school in the I. O. Cr."T. Hall. Tlie next spring the chil- 
dren were sent to a country school located one mile south of town. 
That fall William ]Morren was hired to teach in towii, the expenses 
of this school being paid from the township school funds. October 1, 
1882, the town was set off as an independent school district and W. C. 
AVliitmarsh employed to teach the school, which was conducted on tlie 
second floor of the town hall. The members of the first school board 
were Geo. E. ^Mitchell, S. INI. Prowell and L. T. Greenlee. Dr. Enos 
^Mitchell was hired to teach the school during the months of jNIay and 



84 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

June, 1883, at a salary of $25 per month. He was often obliged to 
leave the school in charge of one of the older pupils while he attended 
his practice. 

The next fall ]Mrs. M. A. Critchfield took charge of the school. 
She had an enrollment of about seventy pupils. The next year she 
hired JNIiss INIillie Grimes to assist her for a few months. In 188.5 the 
first schoolhouse was erected at a cost of $2,000, grounds included. 
Joseph Coffee was the contractor. 

The first year in the new building Mrs. Critchfield was assisted in 
the primary department by Miss Nora Brown. 

In 1886-87, J. H. Jamison, now known as ex-Senator Jamison, 
was principal, preceding I. S. Condit, now professor of mathematics 
in the Iowa State Teachers' College. Next came A. A. Roy, who 
took the first steps in arranging a graded system. Next came J. C. 
^Vingett, Charles Fisher, and J. W. Cozad, who held the first gradu- 
ating exercises in the spring of 1893. The members of this class 
were INIaitland Maxwell, Joe Lane, Frank Durnal, Jessie JNIarshall, 
Anna Kline and Ella Tallman. 

The school having outgrown the building the grades were continued 
in the building while the high school was moved to the opera house 
until the new building was completed early in the year 189.5. Since 
then an addition has been added to the building, now valued at $6,000. 
The school has continued to grow. They now have five teachers be- 
sides the music teacher, and last year's report gave an enrollment of 
130 pupils. Among the later principals were A. N. Smith, J. A. 
Mcintosh, J. M. Howell and H. J. O'Neil. 

When sub-district No. ,5 of Richland Township was made 
an independent district in 1874, a school building was erected in the 
Tawn of Grand River, la. Here Nora Gassett-Eiker, Ellen Gam- 
mon-Long and Hannah Hutchinson were employed as teachers for 
the first terms in this building. By 1886 this building became inade- 
quate and a new building 28 by 40 was erected and a short distance 
from the first one, and for a time school was carried on in both build- 
ings. Afterwards both buildings were sold; one is now used for a 
residence and the other for a church. Chas. JNIatsler and Bert Emer- 
son were among the first teachers. Following Emerson came V. R. 
^IcGinnis. 

In 1890 Jolm ^Vaterman made the first attempt toward a graded 
school. He formulated a course of study from which there was prac- 
tically no change from 1890 to 1896. He held the first graduating 
exercises in the year 189.5, the class being composed of Frank Bone, 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 85 

Robert Snyder, John Burkhart, Xora Boyd, Xora Overholtzer and 
Nellie Brennaman. 

In 1897 the present school building was erected. It consists of four 
rooms, including the recitation room and library. Four teachers are 
emj^loyed to teach the eleven grades. 

Following ;Mr. Waterman came R. E. Porter, R. \V. Boeger, J. 
L. Latta, and H. L. Cosner, who was the first principal to have an 
assistant in the high room. Next came V. S. AYebber, John Burkhart, 
and the jDresent principal, Charles H. Tedford. The school has con- 
tinued to grow in size, until last year an enrollment of 167 students 
was reported. 

During the years of 1879, 1880 and 1881 the children of Lamoni 
attended the district school of Fayette Township No. 1, the school- 
house being a small frame structure east of town across the road from 
the Banta farm where Samuel Keown now resides. 

Among the early teachers in this school were Earl D. Bailey, A. L. 
Ferguson, Inas Peck, Julia Hoadley, and JNIiss Fuller. 

Some of the early students were jNIiss Graham, now jNIrs. Poush, of 
Leon, C. F., T. J., and E. H. Smith, Tom and Nellie Riggs, Letha 
Barr and Alex. Hopkins, now of Lamoni. 

In 1882 a carpenter shop was rented in the business part of town, 
which provided an additional schoolroom until 1883, when the main 
part of the old East Side building, containing three rooms, was erected. 
Prof. A. A. Roy was the first teacher in this schoolhouse, he teaching 
from 1883 to 1886. Professor Andrews then taught two terms, he 
23receding Prof. D. F. Lambert, w^ho taught from the spring term 
of 1887 to the spring term of 1889, when he resigned this position. 

Under Professor Lambert the first class that ever graduated in 
Lamoni held its exercises in the year 1888. This class was composed 
of Frank Stoddard, Andie Smith, Cora Bailey, jNIartha Robinson, 
Frances Walker and JNIary Evans. 

Professor Gunsolly, who is now in Graceland College, was hired to 
teach the next term of school, he teaching till the fall of 1894. During 
this time the old East Side building had become so congested that out- 
side rooms were again pressed into use until 1891, when the north 
wing of the old East Side schoolhouse was erected. The town grew so 
rapidly that in 1894 a four-roomed brick building was built in West 
Lamoni. It was then that Prof. D. F. Lambert again took charge of 
the schools until 1897. 

In 1896 the school board iiurchased the old lumber yard lot and 
shed, which was quickly converted into a schoolhouse, today known 



86 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

as the Red Central. Since 1897 Lamoni has had the following pro- 
fessors: G. N. Briggs, ]Mr. BufFman, who is now in the North Dakota 
University, JNlr. Griffiths, Mr. Hannum, O. H. Hollen, JNIr. Fisher 
and the present superintendent, Mr. Neveln. 

Lamoni is now building a fine modern building just south of the 
Herald Publishing House, which is to cost around forty-two thousand 

dollars. 

The first school in Pleasanton was j^robably conducted in 1855-56, 
in a log house not built for school purposes on ^lain Street west of 
the square. The first teacher was Perry Bailey. A few of his pupils 
were Henry, Louis and JNIary Anne JNIills, William and John Craw- 
ford, Almira Snook, Lucy Anne and ^lonroe Willis. 

The first building erected for a schoolhouse was a large log house 
built in northeast Pleasanton. It is now used as an icehouse. W. S. 
Warnock and Louis Hastings were two of the early teachers in this 
building. Among the early students of this school are W. J. Sullivan, 
Doctor Foxworthy, now of Leon; John Painter, of Pleasanton; Dr. 
E. C. ]Macy, of Pleasanton, now deceased; JNIrs. E. C. Macey, Mrs. 
Gardner, and Rev. G. P. Campbell, now of Davis City. 

In the later '50s or early '60s, the people of Pleasanton decided to 
establish a college. The building was to be a large two-story one, 40 
by 80 feet. For financial reasons only two rooms were finished. These 
were used by the little town for a public school. Among the early 
teachers were W. S. Warnock, deceased, A. W. Lewis, and W. W. 
jNIurphey, now a prominent physician in Los Angeles, Cal. Later 
teachers were Mrs. Dr. Mace}^ Sr., Gideon P. Walker, Doctor Fox- 
W'orthv and J. INI. Sallee, of Bethany, now deceased. 

In the year 1886 the building blew down before a severe hurricane. 
In its place was erected a one-story brick building occupying the same 
site. This brick building was torn down in 1898 and the present one 
erected. Among the teachers in the present building were Erven 
Spencer, Mrs. Vena Edwards, Ralph Shelton, and at present INIiss 
Silvia Vandel. 

For many years Pleasanton claimed to have one of the best schools 
to be found in the country. It now has a good school of ten grades, 
it being graded about 1904. 

The first schoolhouse in Decatur was a log one, located about 
where Lew Brown's residence now stands. Mr. James taught in the 
year 1855, a later teacher being John Finley, Jr., of Leon. Anion 
the early pupils were Sarah McCroskey-Springer, Delia Huston 
Teale, Jane Huston-Day, and Anna Ownby-Rowell. 






HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 87 

During early times when no school building was to be had, school 
was conducted in a store room, JNIethodist Chinch and hotel, succes- 
sively, until a building was erected in the center of what is now their 
town imvk. 

In the years 1871 and 1872, Ed Sampson, of Van Wert, was ])rin- 
cipal and ]Mrs. Ownby was primary teacher. Among her pupils were 
Eelle Shelton-Horner, ]Mrs. Emma Horner-TuUis, Arthur and Gene 
Moore, and ^Nlollie Moore-Little. 

The schoolhouse which stood in the center of the x^ark burned and 
the present building erected about 1882. 

Henry and Sarah Alden were the first teachers in the present 
building. Succeeding the Aldens came I. N. W. Cooper. During the 
'80s Col. H. W. Peck taught several terms. Since then a great num- 
ber of men have been principals, among whom are Profs. W. H. 
Kalkofen, D. W. Greenslate, Arthur JNIoore, J. W. Long, Ed Con- 
well, J. M. Howell, Erven Spencer, J. C. Cozad, and the present 
superintendent, F. H. Riggle, who is now in his fourth year. 

The first school building in Davis City was located in S. W. Davis' 
pasture in the southwest part of town. JNIr. Samuel Bowman was 
teacher in the year 1863. Mr. N. C. Piercv taught in 1807. INIr. 
Piercy preceded JNIr. S. A. Gates, who taught the year of 1868, and 
then returned to Davis City in 1874 and conducted school in the same 
old building. He had an average of seventy-two scholars and forty- 
two recitations daily. For teaching the schools he received $40 per 
month. 

The brick building which is now used as an opera house was erected 
in 187.5, and William Poland hired as principal, with jNIrs. Lloyd 
Severe as primary teacher. From 187.5 to 1880 William Poland, A. 
jNI. JVIorgan, E. J. Hainer, W. P. Davidson and J. C. Hainer were 
employed as teachers. iSIr. J. C. Hainer upon leaving Davis City 
was employed in the State Agricultural College at Ames. INIr. E. J. 
Hainer was later a United States congressman. Since 1882 up to 
the present time J. INI. Howell has alternated with many principals, 

among whom are J. C. Knott, JNIcGhee, Owen, J. W. 

Long and James Dutton. 

Principal Darrah taught the first term in the present schoolliouse 
which was erected in 1890. The members of the first graduating class 
were: Lew Horner, IMaude ToplifF, Grace Horner, Pearl Xorman 
and Anna Shirley. 

The first Van Wert schoolhouse was built about one-fourth of a 
mile north of Van Wert or Prairie City, as it was then called, in 1858. 



88 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 



This building was a log structure about 16 by 20 feet, with one door 
and two or three windows. It was provided with puncheon slats long 
enough for eight or ten pupils to sit on, for seats. An undressed board 
placed upon pegs driven into the wall served as a writing desk. 

Among the early teachers in this school were : Miss Powell, Lewis 
Holt, James Blair and Newton Piercy. Some of their pupils were: 
Charles L. Spencer, Guy and George Jackson, John, WiUiam and 
INIinerva Barrackman, 6. H. and E. J. Blair, W. A. Irving, the 
Misses Taylor, Jake and John Flora, and.Leora and LeRoy Kelsey. 

In the winter of 1871-72, Mrs. Belle Burns-Hai'\^ey, who was 
teaching there at the time, held the first Christmas exercises ever given 
in the town. While she was teaching the name of Prairie City was 
changed to Van Wert. 

In the year 1872 a frame building 22 by 28 feet was erected and 
equipped with desks in keeping with the time. It was a one-room 
building and seated during the winter of 1887-88, seventy-seven pupils. 

In 1888 a high school or graded school building of three rooms was 
erected and a two-roomed school started. Some of the early prin- 
cipals in this school were: ^Ir. Rhodes, V. R. McGinnis, A. A. Roy 
and ]Mr. McVey. 

A few years back an addition of two rooms was built to the school- 
house, the result being the present building. Some of the later prin- 
cipals have been F. P. Reed, O. H. Hollen, Mr. Davis and Miss Poi- 
teaux Halstead, who is the present principal. 

EARLY SCHOOL DAYS IN FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP 

By J. N. JVIachlan 

The schoolhouse at which the writer first attended school was 
located one-half mile north and one-fourth mile west of Fairview 
Cliurch on what was then called the Leon and Osceola road, which 
angled across a beautiful stretch of prairie from where Fairview 
schoolhouse now stands to what was formerly Green Bay, over which 
the old buckboard, drawn by pair of tiny steeds, assisted LTncle Sam 
in distributing the mails. Well, the little school ship weighed anchor 
and launched out with Hannah Smith, later Lorey but at present 
Evans, of Leon, at the helm, with a small band of urchins at her 
side, prominent among whom was the writer of this article, who at 
that time still donned the dress such as was worn by the fair sex of 
our country and which became a source of no little grievance to the 
wearer from the fact that mv brothers, who were bad bovs and were 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 89 

a little older than mj^self, persisted in calling me "sis," a name w hicli 
I abhorred from the beginning. 

Perhaps some of my readers will say, "For land sake, why didn't 
the mothers dress their young men in pantaloons?" Well, let me tell 
you some reasons for doing as they did. 

1st. Fashions have changed somewhat over in Paris during the 
past few decades. 

•2d. Cloth from ^^ hich to make garments at that time was very 
high and we must of necessity economize by wearing our garments 
as long as they were any good. 

3d. Self pride had not yet overrun this country. 

4th. This country was not yet rid of the army greyback and the 
seven-year itch. 

So you see the mothers were quite busy preparing food, looking 
after sanitary regulations, etc., and could not devote much time to 
making wearing apparel as at the present day. The little school ship 
glided peacefully along and ^Ve pupils were learning quite rapidly. 
]Miss Smith was painstaking and her methods of teaching about as 
follows: Twice two was four; two times four are eight; twice five 
ought to be ten, and so on. About the same as they teach mathematics 
now. The school fixtures consisted of benches, a blackboard and a 
gad. The books were princi])ally of the old elementary type of 
readers and spellers ; not so costly as at present. A good lead pencil 
cost 10 cents, a slate, 2.5 to 30 cents. The pupils had to walk pretty 
straight or get a licking, the writer excepted, who was a very obedient 
lad of a few summers. Our teacher was a good singer and used to 
entertain us with such songs as, "We'll Hang Jeff Davis to a Sour 
Apple Tree," "Glory Hallalujah," etc. Our hats were home-made, 
of rj'e straw braided by our mothers. 

In course of time it was deemed best to move the schoolhouse to 
a location more convenient to the pupils, who were few and scattered. 
At an appointed time when the ground was covered with snow the 
building was placed on skids, several teams hooked on and tlie build- 
ing was moved one-half mile north and one-fourth mile west where it 
remained on the prairie until it was sold and torn down. After the 
schoolhouse was moved a term of school commenced, and at the close 
of the term a summer term was taught. A big fellow who stood six 
feet tall was employed to teach the m inter term. When the day ar- 
rived he appeared with a gad some six feet long, and at the sight of 
that six foot salamander the chills chased each other up and down my 
spine and I believe my schoolmates felt similar to myself, as we knew 



90 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

he had whipped a boy at another place so hard that the boy was con- 
fined to his bed for a time. This teacher, although very strict, proved 
to be a good instructor. 

There was a class in mathematics that was far advanced, also some 
good readers. Among those who attended this school who have be- 
come prominent were: One missionary to India, one lawyer of no 
little prominence, one college professor who has the reputation of 
being one of the best educators in Iowa, besides several successful 
school teachers, farmers, merchants, etc. We now jump a period of 
time to the time when Lee Harvey, of Leon, was employed to teach 
a winter's term of school. INIr. Harvey was equal to the occasion. 
He was a veiy intelligent and promising young man. Well, Lee, as 
we called him, taught a very successful term of school. He taught 
four winter temis in succession. INIr. Harvey was a kind hearted 
man and was held in high esteem by the majority if not all the 
pupils. 

EARLY SCHOOLS IN GARDEN GROVE 

This article was written bv one who attended the earlv schools 
of Garden Grove and lived there during the first years of that town's 
existence : 

"Thirty-one years ago our little colony, consisting of Ozro N. 
Kellogg and his family and the Davis family arrived at Garden 
Grove. There were about a hundred families of Mormons making a 
transient stav, but not a house for a distance of fortv miles, either 
east or west; the nearest settlers being along the southern border of 
our county. There were no counties organized adjoining this, in Iowa, 
and no land surveyed, excepting six townships that were put in 
market to induce immigrants to buy the improvements, for the 
alleged reason that the saints were destroying the timber, thereby 
diminishing in value the timber land. 

"We cannot proceed without honorable mention of the lamented 
father of our county superintendent, who was the first to awaken an 
interest in the cause of education in this goodly land, not by teaching, 
as he did formerly, but recommending the writer to our neighbors, 
many of whom were glad of an opportunity to have their children at 
school. 

"This school commenced in December, or as soon as a puncheon 
floor could be made for our rude log cabin, and continued three 
months. Tuition, $1.2.5 per scholar. In the winter of 18.51-52 Mr. 
Hiram Chase resumed the work. He had been a successful educator 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 91 

in years gone by. They vacated their kitchen, and a profita])le term 
was taught not kept. 

"Those good spelhng schools will always be remembered by those 
who attended, and almost every person in our sparsely settled com- 
munity was included in the number. 

"The summer of '52 still found us dependent on our own resources 
for a teacher. A district had been organized and the writer was em- 
ployed. Some pupils came five miles, and frequently were obliged 
to leave their horses across Weldon and come over on a foot log. ]Mr. 
Kellogg proffered the use of one of his rooms. The teacher went a 
mile and carried two children on horseback. 

"Our first teachers re-entered the schoolroom from the necessity. 
They brought with them years of study and practice, and knew no 
education that meant an exemption from labor, in whatever depart- 
ment. They had no advantages of convenient school buildings or 
fixtures. The seats were made of logs split in two with legs put in 
them. The kitchen tables (not extensions) were the desks, and they 
used what books happened to be brought., ]Much of the instruction 
was necessarily oral. They took great pride in correct sj^elling, good 
reading and wanting." 

The following list is of the first pupils who attended the normal 
school at Garden Grove in 1881: Till Jordan, Eva Chase, jNIettie 
Pitman, Leola Haywood, Amanda Kier, Mina INIadarasz, Jessie 
JVIadarasz, Kate Detrick, Esther Sanger, Kittie Stone, Emma Butts, 
Ijizzie Martan, Cyrena Kausler, Belle Wise, Addie Hainer, ]Mary J. 
Ryan, ^lary Campbell, ^landa Rogers, Ada Kirkpatrick, Kate 
Rvan, Sallie Coover, Allie Gardner, Allie Porter, Ida Genree, IMary 
Davis, Xora Gassett, INIary Shinn, Eva Shinn, Sallie Walton, H. 
Hutchinson, Delia Lunbeck, Ellen Gammon, Anna Gammon, JNIat- 
tie Post, and J. A. Beevers, W. A. ^lachlin, A. J. Law, Dan West, 
Elza Osborn, E. D. Samson, T. J. Hasty, W. W. Hamilton, Chas. 
JMatsler, Stev. Varga. 

EARLY EDEN TOW^NSHIP SCHOOLS 

The first school in Eden Township was taught in 18o3 in a log 
building, 16 by 24, covered with clapboards and punclieons. David 
Shinn was the teacher. Robert Dye taught in the same building in 
1855-56. The next school was held near the Judge Kelley farm. 
The first regular schoolhouse was built in 1856 on the Richard ]Meeks 
fai-m, built of frame, the timber saw^ed by Billy Davis, of Davis City. 



92 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Robert Dye taught the first term in this new school. In 18j6-o7 the 
townshij) organized and divided into school districts. Aunt ]Mary 
A^^'alton was another of the pioneer teachers of this township. The 
present Eden School was built in 1868. It was built of brick by 
\Villiam Jenkins, of Leon. Calvin JVIorris was the first teacher here. 

SCHOOL STATISTICS 

In the Davis City District there are two teachers, one male and 
one female; there are 2.50 pupils enrolled; and one schoolhouse is 
used, which cost $9,000. 

In the Decatur City District there is one male and four female 
teachers; 118 pupils enrolled; and one school, cost $4o0. 

In the Garden Grove City District there are two male and nine 
female teachers; there is one schoolhouse worth $15,000. This school 
was built in 1903. The enrollment is 245. 

In the Grand River Town District there is one male and three 
female teachers; 156 pupils are enrolled; and there is one school worth 
$2,500. 

In the Lamoni District there are two male and twelve female 
teachers emploj^ed; the enrollment is 466; and there are four school- 
houses, worth together $10,000. 

In the Leon District there are two male and seventeen female 
teachers; 631 enrolled; and two schools with a combined value of 
$35,000. 

In the Leroy District there is one male and two female teachers ; 
eighty pupils enrolled; and one school used, which is worth $4,500. 

In the Pleasanton District there are three female teachers; 124 
enrolled; and one $2,000 schoolhouse. 

In the Van Wert District there is one male and five female teach- 
ers; 117 enrolled; and one school, cost $4,500. 

In the Weldon District there is one male and five female teachers ; 
132 enrolled; one $6,000 school. 

The total in independent city, town and village districts is as 
follows: twelve male and sixty-five female teachers; 2,319 enrolled; 
and fourteen schoolhouses, costing together $88,950. 

COUNTY DISTRICTS 

In Eloomington District there are two male and nine female teach- 
ers; 207 are enrolled; and there are eight schoolhouses, costing $6,050. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 93 

In the Burrell District there is one male and eight female teach- 
ers; 171 enrolled; seven schools worth $4,200. 

In the Center District there are eight female teachers: 100 en- 
rolled; seven schoolhouses, worth $J3,60(). 

In Eden District there are one male and seven female teachers; 
183 enrolled; eight schoolhonses, worth $4<,0.)0. 

In the Franklin District there is one male and seven female 
teachers; 120 enrolled; six schoolhonses worth $2,300. 

In the High Point District there is one male and eight female 
teachers; 131 enrolled; eight schoolhonses, costing $3,300. 

In the JNIorgan District there are two male and six female teach- 
ers; 183 enrolled; six schoolhonses which cost $2,2.50. 

In the Woodland District there is one male and eight female 
teachers; 189 enrolled; nine schools which cost $3,72.5. 

In the Decatur District there are the following: No. 2, Wood- 
mansee, there is one male teacher, eighteen enrolled, and one school 
which cost $634; No. 3, Pleasant Hill, there is one female teacher, 
twenty-eight enrolled, and one $.500 school; in No. 4, Stone, there is 
one female teacher, thirteen enrolled, and one $400 school; in No. ,5, 
Washington, there is one female teacher, fifteen enrolled, and one 
$300 school; in No. 6, Wells, there is one female teacher, twenty-nine 
enrolled, and one $300 school; in No. 7, Hickory Grove, there is one 
female teacher, seventeen enrolled, and one $300 school; in No. 8, 
Lone Star, there is one female teacher, twenty-six enrolled, and one 
$400 school. 

In the Fayette District there are the following: In No. 2, Spur- 
rier, there are three female teachers, nineteen enrolled, and one $300 
school; in No. 3, Black, there is one female teacher, twenty-six en- 
rolled, and one $.500 school; in No. 4, Evergreen, there are two fe- 
male teachers, twenty-two enrolled, and one school which cost $1,17.5; 
in No. 5, Athens, there is one female teacher, fourteen enrolled, and 
one $300 school ; in No. 6, Brenizer, there is one female teacher, twen- 
ty-three enrolled, and one $500 school. 

In the Garden Grove Rural Independent District there are the 
following: In No. 2, White Oak, there is one female teacher, twenty 
enrolled, and one $500 school; in No. 3, Gospel Ridge, there is one 
male teacher, thirteen enrolled, and one $300 school; in No. 4, Tick 
Ridge, there are two female teachers, fifteen enrolled, and one $800 
school; in No. 5, Pleasant Ridge, there is one female teacher, eighteen 
enrolled, and one $800 school. 



T 



94 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

In the Grand River Rural Independent District there are the 
following: m Xo. 1, Jefferson, there is one male and one female 
teacher, seven enrolled, and one $100 school; in No. 2, West Elk, there 
is one female teacher, sixteen enrolled, and one $600 school ; in No. 3, 
Centennial, there is one female teacher, twenty-one enrolled, and one 
$500 school ; in No. 4, Union, there are two female teachers, twenty- 
three enrolled, and one $450 school; in No. 5, Elk, there is one male 
and one female teacher, twenty-five enrolled, and one $400 school; in 
No. 6, Center, there are two female teachers, nineteen enrolled; and 
one $500 school; in No. 7, Diamond, there are two female teachers, 
sixteen enrolled, and one $600 school; in No. 8, Welcome, there is 
no school. 

In Long Creek District there are the following: In No. 1, Wood- 
ard, there are three female teachers, twenty-seven enrolled, and one 
$800 school ; in No. 3, Good Hope, there is one male and one female 
teacher, fourteen enrolled, and one $350 school; in No. 4, there is one 
female teacher, twenty-three enrolled, and one $400 school; in No. 5, 
there is one female teacher, twenty-six enrolled, and one $300 school ; 
in No. 6, Hawkeye, there is one female teacher, eleven enrolled, and 
one $500 school; in No. 7, Hazel College, there is one female teacher, 
twenty-nine enrolled, and one $400 school; in No. 8, Elm Grove, 
there are two female teachers, forty-one enrolled, and one $200 school ; 
in No. 9, Spring Valley, there is one female teacher, seventeen en- 
rolled, and one $300 school. 

In the New Buda District there are the following: In No. 2, 
Stringtown, there are two female teachers, tw^enty-nine enrolled, and 
one $450 school; in No. 3, New Buda, there is one female teacher, 
twenty-four enrolled, and one $500 school; in No. 4, Togo, there is 
one female teacher, twelve enrolled, and one $500 school; in No. 5, 
Bennett, there is one female teacher, thirty-one enrolled, and one 
$60 house; in No. 6, Liberty, there is one female teacher, twenty en- 
rolled, and one $300 school. 

In Richland District there are the following: In No. 1, Brick, 
there is one female teacher, forty-three enrolled, and one $600 school ; 
in No. 2, Glenwood, there is one male and one female teacher, nine- 
teen enrolled, and one $250 school; in No. 3, Dunham, there is one 
male teacher, thirty-three enrolled, and one $500 school; in No. 4, 
Daughton, there is one female teacher, sixteen enrolled, and one $400 
school; in No. 6, Comstock, there is one female teacher, twenty-one 
enrolled, and one $800 school; in No. 7, Liberty, there is one male 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 95 

teacher, fifty-six enrolled, and one $700 school; in No. 8, Westerville, 
there is one male teacher, twenty-seven enrolled, and one $600 school. 

The total for the rural districts is as follows: There are nine- 
teen male and one hundred eighteen female teachers, there are 2,4.37 
pupils enrolled, and 110 schoolhouses, costing a total of $.5.5,494. 

The grand total is as follows: there are thirty-one male and 183 
female teachers, there are 4,776 pupils enrolled in the county, and 
there are 124 schools, costing an aggregate of $144,444. In the 
county there are 2,68G male and 2,600 female children between the 
ages of five and twenty-one. The average monthly wage for men 
teachers is $67.66 and for women, $49.4.5. 



CHAPTER IX 

GRACELAND COLLEGE 

By Inez Smith 

For righteous masters seized my youth, 
And purged its faith, and trimmed its fire; 

Showed me the high, white star of truth 
That bade me gaze and then aspire. 

— Matthew Arnold. 

Ahnost as old as the church itself is the dream of its wise men for 
the establishment of a house of learning. Graceland is the crystalliza- 
tion of that dream. They were not all — in fact, few of them were — 
educated men, who built the church and sustained it in the olden days — 
they were not educated men who kept the sacred gospel message pure 
through the "dark and cloudy day," but all were men who, even while 
they felt the Spirit's power, still knew that an organized, systematic 
course of study and discipline would make them bigger men. Had not 
the Almighty himself spoken and urged this duty upon them? The 
Seer of Palmyra — an unlettered farmer boy, during the brief years 
of his activity in the world, in the midst of church — and city building, 
and in the midst of turmoil and confusion, still found time as he rested 
from flight by the dusty roadside, or in the home of a friend, to study 
his Greek or Hebrew lexicon. And our fathers who built the little 
city on the river shore had dreams that did not concern the boisterous 
Gentile hordes that stormed their gates and made defense first thought. 
In those dreams a university crowned the hill, and a learned people 
populated the little City of Nauvoo. In all those days, through sedi- 
tion within and pressure without, the people were rallied and sup- 
ported by a love and trust in one man, for they said that God was 
with him. Why need they fear, when this one man, a man of almost 
unparalleled moral and physical courage, saw nothing to fear? 

But there came a dark day when that one was gone; there were 
brave men left, there were true men left, but the blessing of God had 
gone from the little city forever, and it m ith all its dreams lay in 

96 




GRACELAND COLLEGE, LAMONI 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 97 

ruins. No, not that ; for dreams are built of stronger stuff than stone 
and mortar, and they were still as substantial in the hearts of the 
strong men of Israel as thej^ had been in the days of Nauvoo's greatest 
glory. 

The day came again when true men and strong gathered to the 
old standard, and still in the hearts of these were the potential possi- 
bilities that would have clothed the hills round old Nauvoo with Gothic 
spires. 

In 1869 at a conference at St. Louis, INIissouri, after a lengthy 
preamble the following resolution was adopted; 

"Resolved, That this conference recommend for consideration 
of the twelve and general church authorities, the feasibility and the 
advisability of establishing a school for the education of our own 
young men, with a view to the ministry; and that the question be 
brought up at the next sitting of the general conference." 

This was adopted. Accordingly it was called up at the semi- 
annual conference at Gallands Grove, Iowa, October 7, 1869, and 
after some discussion was deferred until the annual conference of 
1870. April 8, 1870, at Piano, Illinois, the resolution was again 
taken up, and after much discussion, and efforts to amend, it was lost. 
The conference evidently thought that the School of the Prophets 
provided for in the law would meet the requirements sought, for 
immediately after the rejection of the resolution mentioned above 
the following was adopted: "Resolved that the School of the 
Prophets be organized at as early a time as i^racticable." The con- 
ference therefore did not intend to discourage the desire for educa- 
tion, but sought to provide for it in another way. 

Nothing more was done for some time. The next attempt was 

an effort made by the formation of a joint stock company. At a 

regular meeting of the "Board of Trade of Lamoni, Iowa," held on 

the 31st day of December, 1888, Articles of Incorporation for a 

college in Lamoni were presented and read, and upon motion ordered 

printed; also Joseph Smith, David Dancer, George A. Blakeslee, 

William W. Blair, and Delos F. Nicholson were requested to act as 

a committee to secure subscriptions for the purpose of erecting the 

college. Another committee, David Dancer, of Lamoni, Iowa, and 

Edmund L. Kelley, of Kirtland, Ohio, and Robert Winning, of 

St. Joseph, Missouri, were appointed April 18, 1889, to "solicit 

stock, arrange and devise to put in operation the plan of the college." 

On ]May 2.5th the committee met and reported subscriptions received. 

In and around Lamoni $4,300. Foreign list reported $62,5. Israel 

A-ol. I— 7 



98 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

L. Rogers, Sandwich, Illinois, $5,000, Edmund L. Kelley, Kirtland, 
Ohio, $50, Robert Winning, St. Joseph, Missouri, $1,000. The 
committee was continued, with the exce^Dtion of David Dancer, who 
by his own request w^as released, and Asa S. Cochran was chosen in 

his place. 

During the April conference, the following action was had by 

the conference: 

"Resolved, That in the opinion of this conference, the time has 
arrived when it may be expedient to establish an institution of learn- 
ing under the control or influence of our church oi-ganization, and to 
this end there shall be a committee appointed (bj^ the body) to receive 
propositions for a location and take such other preliminary measures 
as may be necessary; and said committee empowered after receiving 
such proposals to make all necessary arrangements for the establish- 
ment of such institution." 

A committee consisting of seven, viz. : George A. Blakeslee, Israel 
L. Rogers, Edmund L. Kelley, David Dancer, Robers Winning, 
Frederick G. Pitt, and John A. Robinson was appointed. 

Upon the next day the committee reported in part as follows : 

"Resolved, That the committee take measures to secure a proper 
fund for the carrjdng into effect the resolution relative to the estab- 
lishment of an institution of learning passed by the conference on 
yesterday, and to this end we open proper subscription books and 
arrange for a special fund to be known as the College Fund, for 
this purpose. 

"That E. L. Kelley and Robert Winning be a committee to pre- 
pare the necessary subscription list and books. 

"That the personal canvass be under the direction of the bishop- 
ric, they appointing suitable persons to solicit subscriptions. 

"That all authorized canvassers be instructed to report monthly 
to the secretary, whose duty it is to collect all moneys and to turn 
over same to treasurer, taking his receipt therefor. 

******* *** ***** 

"That the secretary communicate with Lamoni College Commit- 
tee and subscribers, and if possible secure the turning over to his com- 
mittee of all cash and other subscriptions made. * * *" 

The joint stock plan failed, but the agitation of the college prop- 
osition still continued. In 1894 at a joint counsel of the twelve and 
the bishopric held in the editorial room of the Herald office on Fri- 
day, April 20th the following action was had: 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTY 99 

"Resolved, That we look witli favor upon the effort to build a 
college at Lamoni to be controlled by the cliurcli. Resolved further, 
That we believe that it should be a purely educational institution and 
free from sectarian influence or bias. Resolved further, That we 
give our hearty sujjport to the present movement looking in tlie above 
direction." 

Those present were Joseph Smith, William W. Rlair of the 
presidency, Alexander H. Smith, Edmund C. Rriggs, James Caff all, 
William H. Kelley, John H. Lake, Joseph R. Lambert, Heman C. 
Smitli, Joseph Luff and Gomer T. Grifhths, of the twelve; Edmund 
L. Kelley, George H. Ililliard and Edwin A. Rlakeslee, of the 
bishopric. The resolution was adopted without a dissenting vote. 

By the time of the next conference, 189.3, the college committee 
was ready to report. Land had been donated by Sisters ^Marietta 
Walker and ^linnie Wickes, and Bro. W. A. Hopkins for college 
purposes; also twenty-six acres had been purchased from ]Mr. Hop- 
kins, making sixty-six acres in all. 

The conference ordered the college committee to incorporate as 
provided under the laws of Iowa, and a board of directors was sub- 
sequently chosen. The former board was known as a board of trus- 
tees and was composed of the following: Edmund L. Kelley, Daniel 
Anderson, Robert Winning, Joseph Smith, William Anderson, Ellis 
Short, Edmund A. Blakeslee. The board of directors consisted of 
Joseph Smith, Daniel F. Lambert, Parley P. Kelley, Edmund L. 
Kelley, John H. Hansen, James R. Smith, Alexander H. Smith, 
William W. Blair, and Edwin A. Blakeslee. 

The board of trustees started the erection of the college building 
and its equipment. By them it was christened Graceland College 
and the grounds the Graceland Addition to Lamoni. The streets 
were named — articles of incorporation filed and adopted. Along the 
platted streets of the grounds the committee set out about eight hun- 
dred shade trees. 

On November 12, 1895, the cornerstone of the building was laid 
with elaborate ceremonies. 

The procession formed at the east side public school and led by 
Lamoni's junior band, marched to the college, carrying the stars 

and stripes. 

Services were in charge of Bishop Edmund L. Kelley. Prayer 
was offered by Elder Henry A. Stebbins. Directed by President 
Joseph Smith, the cornerstone was lowered into place by L. J. Frink, »^ 
L. B. JNIitchell and John Weedmark, and President Smith officiall^*^^ 



100 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

laid the cornerstone. Speeches were made by William W. Scott, 
mayor of Lamoni; Joseph Smith; Zenos H. Gurley; Daniel F. Lam- 
bert, superintendent of public schools, and Alexander H. Smith, 
president of the quorum of twelve. 

During President Smith's speech he announced that the follow- 
ing articles were placed in the cornerstone: Copies of the Chicago 
Chronicle, Chicago Times-Herald, Chicago Inter-Ocean, Chicago 
Tribune, Saints' Herald, Autumn Leaves, Independent Patriot, Col- 
lege City Chronicle, Zion's Ensign, Holy Scriptures, Book of Mor- 
mon, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and church articles of 
incorporation. 

Before the w^inter of 1895-96 closed the basement was completed 
and the walls up about as high as the second floor. The building 
was estimated to cost about ten thousand dollars, and some lots in 
Graceland Addition were sold with the hope of meeting the expense. 

The first faculty consisted of Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, Joseph T. 
Pence, Jeremiah A. Gunsolley and Nellie Davis. The first enroll- 
ment was thirty-five, and they began work September 17, 1895, in 
a rented building in the business part of Lamoni, known as the 
"France Block." 

The college building itself was ready for dedication on January 
1, 1897. 

The dedication service w^as under the direction of the program 
committee, consisting of Edmund L. Kelley, Daniel Anderson and 
Daniel F. Lambert. The opening prayer was by Rev. George 
JVIitchell, of Davis City, la. The dedicatory address was delivered 
by President Joseph Smith. Speeches were made by Judge H. M. 
Towner, judge of the Third Judicial District of Iowa, and by Elder 
Joseph R. Lambert. The dedicatory prayer was oiFered by Prof. 
JNIark H. Forscutt, dean of the faculty, and the dismissal prayer was 
offered by Elder Columbus Scott. An entertainment was given in 
the evening, and the day's exercises closed with a benediction by 
Elder Alexander H. Smith. 

The fifty students in attendance were immediately transferred to 
the new building. In 1898 the trustees and directors were united in 
one board, to perform the duties of both. 

Mr. Joseph T. Pence, first president, acted in that capacity until 
1898, when Prof. Ernest Ritson Dewsnup, of Manchester, England, 
was secured. Professor Dewsnup acted until the end of the college 
year 1899, when he was succeeded by Prof. R. A. Harkness. In 
1901 Prof. Herbert Spencer Salisbury, of Illinois, became ]Dresident; 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY lOi 

following him C. O. Taylor acting president from 1902 to January, 
1903; Charles Marr Barber, January, 1903, to June, 1903; Professor 
Dewsnup resumed the chair in 1903 and acted until June, 190.3, when 
Prof. Holland ^IcLaren Stewart, of the University of Iowa, was 
called to the position. When Professor Stewart resigned, in 1908, 
Prof. David Allen Anderson, of Iowa University, became head of 
the college for one year, since which time, in the absence of an elec- 
tion to that office. Prof. Jeremiah Alden Gunsollev has acted in that 
capacity. 

iSIany good and capable men and women have served on the 
faculty of Graceland in her history, and it is impossible in limited 
space to name them all. Almost without exception they have had the 
college and her interests at heart, and have helped in making Grace- 
land what she is today — contributing not only in their official capacity 
to the life of the college, but sacrificing of their time and talents 
outside of their work to the college and community, and even at 
times giving material aid financially. 

The library of the college early became an important factor. 
Mrs. Mina Cook Hart w^as the fo-st to attempt getting it in con- 
dition and properly classified. She arranged the books according to 
the Dewey Decimal System. A few years later, however, the library 
lapsed into a condition of haphazard growth, and by the fall of 1908 
w^as in a condition of decided chaos so far as library law and order 
were concerned. Prof. Thomas J. Fitzpatrick, who had been that 
year elected to the head of the Department of :Mathematics, being 
himself a private librarian and collector of some note, took the library 
work in charge, since which the library has assumed a rather phe- 
nomenal growth. He has been helped in his work as librarian by 
donations from individuals, faculty members, funds donated by the 
Athenian Literary Society, Zion's Religio-Literary Society and the 
General Sunday School Association. The library at its present rate 
of progress will soon comply with state requirements. 

The museum, also an early attraction to college visitors, is now 
being well cared for, and will become more and more interesting 
and instructive. Professor Fitzpatrick is also in charge of the 

museum. 

But in financial matters, in common with many other schools of 
her class, Graceland came near being grounded. There were those 
who expected to see her able to make her own way in the world, and 
there were those in the church who began to feel the support of this 
child of their own adoption becoming a burden to them; so in the 



102 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

year 1904, in about the seventh year of her age, Graceland received 
what was at the time considered her deathblow, when at Kirtland, 
O., the church in conference assembled, passed, after a lengthy dis- 
cussion, by a yea and nay vote of 851 for and 826 against, the follow- 
ing preambles and resolution : 

"Whereas, The maintenance of Graceland College is proving to 
be a serious burden in a financial waj^ and is likely to so continue ; and, 

"Whereas, There seems to be but a minority of the members of 
the church who favor its continuance; and, 

"Whereas, The operation of a college of its character does not lie 
within the direct line of our appointed work as a church ; therefore, 

"Resolved, That we favor a discontinuance of Graceland College 
after the close of its present term, and recommend that the property 
be turned over to other uses such as may be agreed upon by the 
bishopric of the church and such other councils or persons as may be 
chosen by the general conference until such time as the general con- 
ference decides to reopen the college." 

On ]May 12th the bishopric and board of trustees took under advise- 
ment the carrying out of the resolution and decided upon the follow- 
ing action, which, whatever may be said about its legitimacy, we 
believe has proved a blessing to many of us, who had it not been for 
the open doors of Graceland College, would never have had the 
privilege of the little learning we have had. The report of the 
council was as follows: 

On ^lay 12, 1904, the bishopric of the church and the Board of 
Trustees of Graceland College, to whom was referred the matter 
of the use and disposition of the property of Graceland College by 
resolution of the general conference at Kirtland, held a joint meet- 
ing in the rooms of the Herald Publishing House, Lamoni, la., and 
after due and careful consideration of their powers and duties in 
the premises adopted the following as a basis of work : 

"First: That the Board of Trustees of Graceland College was 
by the general conference at its last session appointed a committee 
to act with the bishopric in caring for the property of Graceland 
College as shown by minutes of said conference, pages 705 and 706, 
and following the passage of a resolution of said conference, page 
698 of minutes, to-wit: 

"Resolved, That we favor a discontinuance of Graceland College 
after the close of its present term, and recommend that the property 
be turned over to other uses such as may be agreed upon bj^ the bish- 
opric of the church and such other councils or persons as may be 



HISTOllY OF DECATUR COUNTY 103 

chosen by the general conference until such a time as the general 
conference decides to reopen the college. 

"Second: That the resolution favoring the discontinuance of 
Graceland College was acted upon without any notice whatever hav- 
ing been given that the same would be presented for action, as is 
required by the articles of incorporation of Graceland College, which 
reads as follows : 

"These articles may be amended at any general conference of 
said Reorganized Church, or at any meeting of the board of trus- 
tees lierein named, providing sixty days' publislied notice of said 
amendment and the nature of the same be given through the Saints' 
Herald prior to the time of such annual conference or meeting." — 
Article 1.5 of incorporation act. 

"Third: That the resolution referred to of the general confer- 
ence cannot properly be considered an order for the closing of Grace- 
land College, for the same would be contrary to the articles of incor- 
poration, and the former action of general conference requiring 
sixty days' published notice before action upon such a resolution, 
and therefore absolutely void; but, that it was simply the expression 
of the sentiment of those present at the conference upon the ques- 
tion, without the authority of an action to close the college. 

"Fourth: That this council, after due consideration of the ques- 
tion of closing the college and diverting the property to other uses 
than that of a college, which is duly provided for in the articles of 
incorporation, believe that it will actually cost less to run the college 
the ensuing year than to discontinue the running of the same; besides, 
it will so disturb the educational work, already in operation at great 
sacrifice and expense, as to make it doubtful if the college could ever 
recover from the effects of so stopping it. 

"Therefore, after a full and respectful consideration of the feel- 
ing and sentiment expressed in the resolution by the general con- 
ference, it is the sense of this council that its members in their 
respective capacities and duties as members of the bishopric of the 
Reorganized Church, and as trustees of Graceland College, use every 
legitimate effort practicable to solicit and collect the means to liqui- 
date the full indebtedness now against the college, and, should the 
means be furnished, continue the running of the college according 
to its articles of incorporation, and the trust reposed by the church." 

The board of trustees also took action as follows: 

"Whereas, The conference in session at Kirtland, O., took action 
favoring tlie closing of the college without regard to a provision in 



104 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

the articles of incorporation requiring sixty days' notice in case of 
change of said articles, thereby doing injustice to a number of stu- 
dents and to parties who had purchased scholarships and made dona- 
tions, when a year's notice would seem none too long to take such 
action in a matter so important ; and, 

"Whereas, The sacrifice made in closing the college at this time is 
entirely too great, both by losing the services of President Dewsnup 
bj'- reason of his educational standing, together with the extra expense 
of securing a president, who, if his equal, would cost us several thou- 
sand dollars more for the term which he was engaged, and the dis- 
couragement it may cost to the many who have given their aid in 
many ways and who have cause to fear the stability of the institution 
which may be closed with scarcely a moment's notice; and, 

"Whereas, A resolution w^as presented later in the conference 
than the foregoing, by the quorum of twelve, favoring the running 
of the college as soon as the debt was jDaid, the board believing such 
to be the sentiment of the church membership generally, and that 
the closing of the college at the end of this year will present almost 
insurmountable obstacles to its reopening, and having an assurance 
from the bishopric that active measures will be taken at once looking 
to the immediate liquidation of the debt ; therefore, be it 

"Resolved, by the Board of Trustees of Graceland College, in 
special session assembled on this 12th day of May, 1904, That we 
immediatelj^ proceed with the work of procuring and electing mem- 
bers of the faculty, the distribution of catalogues, and the performing 
of such other duties as are prescribed by the articles of incorporation 
to continue the college in session for the next year; it is understood, 
however, that such action is to be contingent upon the debt against 
the college being j^aid." 

The bishopric also took action regarding the financial phase of 
the affair, and the whole was embodied in the report of the trustees 
to the general conference of 1905. At the same time a minority 
report was brought in, and the subject of the legahty of the action 
was discussed at length on the conference floor. As a good way out 
of tlie dilemma the conference finally decided to receive both reports 
and indorse neither. At the same conference the question of con- 
tinuing the college was again broached, and the following resolutions 
relative to the matter, after having been adopted by a joint council 
of the twelve, presidency and bishopric, were presented to the body 
and eventually adopted: 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 105 

"To the General Conference, Greeting — At a joint council of 
the first presidency, twelve and the bishopric held this morning, the 
following was adopted and presented to the conference: 

"First. That after due consideration of the question of con- 
tinuing the running of the college, and the importance of the same in 
giving proper training and educational facilities to the youth of the 
church, and such others as may care to avail themselves of its bene- 
fits, together with the present status of the financial condition of the 
same, we are of the opinion that the college should continue; and 
whatever minor changes as to courses of study and methods of devel- 
opment, if any, be left as provided by its articles of incorporation 
with the board of trustees, and such changes as may be made directly 
by the conference. 

"Second. We favor recommending to the conference that the 
expenses of running the college be met by voluntary contributions 
for the purpose, and that one day in each year be set apart, to be 
known as College Day, upon which offerings, in the manner of col- 
lections, shall be taken up in all districts and branches of the church, 
to aid the college work, the same to be forwarded to the bishop of the 
church to be devoted to such purposes. 

"Respectfully submitted, 
"Heman C. Smith, 
"Fkederick M. Smith, 

"Secretaries of Joint Council. 

"Lamoni, la., April 7, 190o." 

The school had opened the previous fall as usual, but with the 
tremendous handicap of public opinion throughout the church against 
it. A fair number of students enrolled from various localities, rang- 
ing from :Massachusetts on the east to Ai-izona on the west, 
Saskatchewan on the north and Texas on the south. It was at 
this perilous time that the advent of President Rolland ^I. Stewart 
found college affairs in a dubious condition. In all Graceland his- 
tory perhaps there never was a better loved, respected and capable 
president than Professor Stewart. It is enough to say for him that, 
laboring under the prejudices above mentioned, he doubled the enroll- 
ment during two years of his presidency. The year 190.5 brought 
the first agitation for dormitories and industrial work. The first 
Sunday in each September was set apart as Graceland Day through- 
out the church for the taking of collections for the support of Grace- 
land. The next vear this was changed to first Sunday in October. 



106 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

The refunding of railway fare brought the college nearer to the 
door of the prospective students. The action of the 1905 confer- 
ence brought new lease of life, and once more Graceland faced her 
problems ^\'ith renewed determination to make good. 

In 1907 the Industrial Department, much planned and talked of, 
was begun in a small way. A dormitory for girls was built at a cost 
of $3,100, and given the name of Marietta Hall, in honor of JNIrs. 
iNIarietta Walker, a pioneer in church and college work. ^Irs. Bettie 
B. Smith, a kind-hearted, motherly saint, w^as put in charge of the 
dormitory, and kitchen and dining room in the basement of the col- 
lege. It was a large family to cook for, and no one but "Aunt Bet- 
tie" could have done it. It was a small beginning, but by no means 
meager in memory to those who w^ere there and visited there. The 
precious "first things" are always best, and the first days of dormi- 
tory life at Graceland were no exception. The boys and girls of 
those days could tell you the most interesting part of this history, for 
like most history, the best parts must forever be the unwritten ones. 
But who has forgotten the strolls on the college campus, the informal 
"sings" in the chapel, the quarrelings and makings-up of college life 
in those days? If that crowd were once more gathered on the cam- 
pus, I am sure that none would have forgotten how to play "three 
deep," or if they met in the basement kitchen would any fail to 
remember the right projDortions of sugar and milk that would result 
in "dandy fudge." Even dish-washing had a charm undreamed of in 
mother's kitchen. But the Industrial School has grown older, more 
staid and more sober now, and things move in a more dignified way 
than at first; but perhaps some of the students of later years can 
testify that none of the good times have been lost on the road. 

The future of the Industrial School devolved upon Prof. Charles 
B. Woodstock, of Kenosha, Wis., who has made a success of that 
phase of his work by his untiring effort. By this means many have 
gained an education who, had it been otherwise, might never have 
had it. The kitchen and dining room work and part of the laundry 
work is done by student help. The farm and all outdoor work is 
carried on by the men who are studying at the institution, as is also 
the janitor work, and in fact everything that student labor can do. 
The Graceland boys of several years ago, some of whom are now in 
the missionar}^ field, ^\'ho used to canvass the town in search of wood 
to saw, can best appreciate the better facilities for the man who wants 
to help liimself. Professor Woodstock is the head of the manual 
training course, a department of the industrial work, which is deserv- 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 107 

edly very popular, and needs no argument to prove its merits. The 
revival of interest in the arts and crafts has never needed a recom- 
mendation. We are heginning to realize that our "ten fingers are 
our hest friends." Some very interesting work has been designed 
and put out by the Graceland shops. We expect Graceland to keep 
in the van of this movement. 

In point of numbers of its devotees perhaps the Business School 
exceeds all other departments in popularity, with a close second of 
the Normal School. The short time that some students have to 
devote to college, limited finance and tlie desire to get to work in the 
M'orld and feel the joy of earning are some of the causes that crowd 
the Business Department. The Normal Department also has a de- 
serving popularity, for the work of educating for the art of teaching 
has become more and more imperative. There was a time when 
almost anyone could "teach school;" but that time has passed, and 
Graceland realizes with her contemporaries the true worth of the title 
"Teacher," and is making skillful the hand and the heart that must 
in some sense control the future citizenship. The Children's Home 
should in time furnish the students of the Normal Department the 
necessary "training school," and prove an advantage both to the 
home and the Normal Department. Too often the entrance of com- 
mercial and industrial courses side by side with the higher liberal 
studies results in the deterioration in interest of the latter. We hope 
that this has not been the case with Graceland. The desire expressed 
by some to make a commercial school of Graceland has never met 
M'ith favor from those who rate a life higher than a living. The mad 
commercial spirit which insists on knowledge that "pays" and even 
philosophizes on the truth that all knowledge is useful, and distorts it 
into the idea that useful knowledge consists only in those obvious 
and visible parts of truth that mean dollars and cents. The spirit 
has reached us, as it has others, and the School of Liberal Arts cannot 
])e said to be as popular as others in the past. Tlie time will come 
when the demands of the young people w^ho come to Graceland will 
require the beginning of a movement for a greater Graceland in the 
things that count for true scholarship. We must comply with tlie 
weio-hts and measures of education that have been selected as 
standard, and then a "degree" from Graceland will be worthy of 
lionor in the world of men. But in the meantime, while we are wait- 
ing to grow, Graceland is one of the small colleges which has not 
and will not refuse to do wliat she can for those who cling to the 
time-honored ideal of a liberal education. 



108 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

The jNIusic Department has been a prominent feature from the 
inception of the college until now. JMiss Nellie Davis was the first 
head of this department, and she has been followed by the best help 
available to the trustees from time to time. 

The School of Oratory was originally conducted by Mrs. Ruth 
Lyman Smith, and has since been x^resided over by Mrs. Evelyn 
Gurlev Kane, JNIiss Alice Heathcote McElrath, Miss Zaida Gaines 
and the present director, JNIiss Lena Lambert. There was a time 
when the School of Oratory suffered a sort of decline, but it was 
brought into prominence again by Miss McElrath, whose own inter- 
est inspired everybody else, and soon made her the idol of the student 
bod3\ It was JMiss McElrath who planned, coached and helped in 
the execution of the first annual Athenian play, in 1907. It was 
the old favorite, "Esmeralda," and it was such a signal triumph for 
the Athenians that the Athenian play has become an annual event. 

The school has one literary society — the Athenian — it was organ- 
ized almost at the beginning of the college and has been thriving ever 
since. The Athenian Society, besides their own literary improve- 
ment, have done things. The evidences of Athenian liberality in the 
matter of gifts to the college is not hard to find, and the list of them 
would be too long to enumerate. The Athenian Society has met 
representatives of other schools and colleges in several interschool 
debates and won her share of them. 

The Athletic Associations have held wavering prominence in 
Graceland's history, but since the appearance in the faculty of Prof. 
Roy V. Hopkins, who is director of athletics, in addition to being 
professor of ancient languages in the college, athletics seem to have 
come into prominence to stay, and have created a college spirit that 
the old Graceland never knew — that spirit of loyalty to the gold and 
blue, the college and the team, that lives always. 

The first dormitory descended to the boys, and the girls occupy 
a new one, built in 1909, and named Patroness Hall, after a society 
of loyal Lamoni matrons formed several years ago for the purpose 
of helping Graceland. And they did help her, and helped the new 
dormitory so substantially that when it was finished there was no 
choice but to name it Patroness Hall. There is a sunny, spacious 
dining hall in Patroness, and three times a day the people from both 
dormitories meet there around the long tables. 

The students take pride in improving the school. Out of their 
private funds they have donated liberally for certain school projects, 
and the latest improvement was the decorating of the dining hall. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 109 

which was achieved by a box social given by the girls after a week 
full of excited planning, crepe paper, ribbon and all sorts of wonder- 
ful things. 

Blair Hall is the farm house and has at different times sheltered 
some of the students. 

Eivery year the Booster Club furnishes to the public a lecture 
course which makes a small profit for the college, and also helps the 
college in its work, with other college recitals, plays and entertain- 
ments, the college calendar is quite full. 

There is one honor scholarship conferred each year for the best 
oration. For the time the donor of the scholarslii]) (hd not wish his 
name revealed, but somehow the scholarship has become universally 
spoken of as the Pitt scholarship and everybody knows that the ben- 
efactor is William Pitt, of Independence, ]Mo. 

The history of Graceland is a little bit of a misnomer, for as vet 
she has not had a score of years in which to make history ; the longest 
and best part of her history is in the future, still Graceland has lived 
lono- enouoh to earn many lifelong friends in the students whom her 
old brick walls have sheltered. That indefinable something that ties 
a man to his school has bound us Gracelanders forever to Grace- 
land days and Graceland ways, however conmionplace they may 
seem to others. There are some of us whom the memory of a violet- 
dotted campus and the songs of the meadow lark on the Graceland 
hills will follow all our lives; then how can we forswear allegiance? 
Like Goldwin Smith, who by the way was no sentimentalist, said of 
]Magdalen College when at fourscore he wrote, "]My heart has often 
turned to its beauty, and often the sound of its sweet bells have come 
to me across the ocean — a little Eden in a world where there are none 
too many of them;" so will many of us say in the eventide of our 
lives, when we look back to our Graceland. 

There are people — even of our own church — who doubt Grace- 
land and her mission; that prejudice must be laid aside by those wlio 
go out from her walls. We will show them that Graceland does not 
send into the world mere intellectual deformities, but men and women 
ready for the world's struggles and triumphs, with broad, generou;^ 
views of life, that will tend to make life better worth living — fitted 
intellectually, spiritually, and physically to cope witli the world's 
problems. 



CHAPTER X 
THE CITY OF LEON 

EARLY SETTLEMENT AND GROWTH 

Leon is now a city of 1,800 inhabitants. When the town was 
first surveyed it was given the name of Independence, but as tlie 
county seat of Buchanan County, la., bore the same name the 
postal authorities objected, so the new town was given the name 
South Independence. In the winter of 18.54-5 the Legislature of 
the state changed the name to Leon in compliance with a petition 
drawn by a committee consisting of S. C. Thompson, Dr. J. P. Fin- 
ley and G. L. ^loore. It is said that the name Leon was suggested 
by W. H. Cheevers who became attracted by it while serving as a 
soldier in the Mexican war. 

Thomas H. East built the first residence in Leon. It was a log 
cabin located in the rear of the present opera house. After the town 
was surveyed Dr. S. C. Thompson built a log house sixteen feet 
square where the opera house now stands and occupied the same for 
a residence. He also put a small building up for use as an office. 
I. X. Clark put up a store building for Cleveland & Winn on the 
site later occupied by Clark & JMcClelland's store. Into this building 
the goods from the store on the Oney farm were moved and INIr. Clark 
sold the first dollar's worth of goods to Reuben Hatfield. The build- 
ing was 20 by 40 feet in dimensions and constructed of rough logs. 
One of the firm, Winn, in recent years conducted a store at Higgins- 
ville, Mo. 

Soon a sufficient number of settlers arrived to justify the estab- 
lishment of a postoffice and Joshua Davis was the first postmaster. 
He was a brother-in-law of Johnny Patterson and had his office on 
the north side of the square. Among other pioneer business men 
were: Dr. Frank Warford, ]Moore & Richards, Samuel Harrow & 
Son, W. W. Ellis, Dr. J. P. Finley, Stillwell & Stevens, Ira B. 
Ryan, and Reuben Shackleford. The latter kept the first hotel then 

110 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY ill 

located on the site of Mrs. Konkle's residence. Ishani Fuqua also 
kept an hotel in an early day. John M. Richardson conducted the 
first flouring mill. The first attorneys were John Warner, George 
A. Hawley, P. H. Binkley, Judge Samuel Forrey and "Timher" 
Wood. 

In 18o4j the first school building was erected in Leon. At the 
close of that year the town had four stores and about forty residences. 
From tliis time until the commencement of the Civ^il war the growth 
in population was quite raj^id and the town enjoyed a lucrative trade. 
Xew stores multiplied rapidly and bj'^ 1800 the town had GOO inhab- 
itants. In 1870 the town numbered 820 people; in 1880 there were 
1,367; in 1890, 1,.56.5; in 1900, 1,620; and in 1910 there were 1,800 
people living here. The town in the last five years has grown pro- 
portionately. 

Among the old settlers here was W. T. Fishburn. He came from 
Van Buren County in 1856. By trade he was a millwright and con- 
tractor. That year he built a grist mill for Uncle Billy Davis, the 
founder of Davis City. He built a grist mill in Terre Haute in 
18.58 for himself and managed it for nearly three years. The mill 
was partially destroyed in 1860 and so he returned to Leon, where he 
owned and occupied a residence on the present site of the Advent 
Church. He was an accomplished mechanic and put the machinery 
in the Little grist mill in the east part of Leon. He supervised the 
placing of the town clock in the church at Davis City. 

Leon was incorporated as a city in 18.58. The early records of 
the city have been lost, so it is not possible to ascertain just who the 
first officers were: however, in 1874 the office of mayor was held bj^ 
M. A. Mills. 

The office of postmaster has been held successively by Joshua 
Davis, Alexander UpdegrafF, ]Mr. Snyder, P. O. James, John P. 
Finley, Jr., W. H. Robb, J. L. Harvey, W. J. Sullivan, E. K. Pit- 
man, J. R. Conrey, John Ledgerwood, JNIillard F. Stookey. The 
office is in the third class, with no city delivery, but with five rural 
route carriers. In the near future, however, the Leon office will be 
changed to the second class. 

. NEWSPAPERS 

The Leon Pioneer was published by Binckley Brothers, P. H. 
and George, in the autumn of 18.55. It was a seven-column folio, 
issued on Thursday. It was democratic in politics. Binckley Brothers 



112 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

sold out to Joe Parsons and he to Sam Caster. The next proprietor 
was John Finley who changed the name to the Democratic Reporter. 
Jackson & Howard finally succeeded Finley and in 1866 the paper 
came into the hands of Detrick & Penniwell. A INIr. Garrett after- 
wards bought the interest of Penniwell and then the whole was sold 
to G. N. Udell. Frazier & Jackson were the next in the list of owners 
and they restored the name of Pioneer to the sheet and during the 
last of 1870 sold to Ed D. Pitman who published the paper in 1871-2. 
He then disposed of the office material to Shinn Brothers and the 
latter moved it to Hutchinson, Kan. 

The Democrat was started in January, 1879, by O. JNI. Howard 
and W. C. Jackson and was a few months later consolidated with the 
Reporter, another young sheet, the new paper being called the Dem- 
ocrat-Reporter. On February 26, 1880, the Decatur County Press 
was issued for the first time by the Press Printing Company with J. 
C. Stockton as editor and publisher. On October 26, 1881, this paper 
was united with the Democrat-Reporter. jNIr. Stockton was editor 
of the new combination and J. A. Ray was business manager until 
August, 1884, when a company was formed. Lon H. Boydston was 
then editor. Up until this time it had been a greenback paper, but 
now it changed to the democratic color. 

On January 1, 1887, Boydston sold to J. D. and O. E. Hull. 
The new owners dropped the name used and called the paper The 
Reporter, which title has been used continuously ever since. On 
October 1, 1887, J. D. Hull sold his interest to E. W. Curry and the 
firm name was then Curry & Hull. This lasted until May, 1889, 
when L. H. Boydston purchased Curry's interest. On December 1, 
1890, O. E. Hull bought out Boydston and came into full owner- 
ship which he has retained until the present time. The paper is 
democratic, six columns, weekly issue running from twelve to sixteen 
pages. The circulation is about two thousand seven hundred. 

The Leon Plain Talk was first issued April 3, 1886, as an inde- 
pendent sheet, and was the successor of the Voice and Echo which 
was published from September to December, 1885, by Brannon & 
Flanders. This paper ran but a few months, then died. 

Die Wage was a German paper printed for a few weeks in 1869, 
to encourage German settlers to come to this county. 

The Decatur County Advocate was started in the spring of 1873 
by D. Frank Knapp. He published it one year as an anti-monopoly 
paper. In 1876 he returned and started the L^on Clipper, a repub- 
lican paper. This he published for a period of three months. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 113 

The Fact was started in Leon in 1887 by the firm of Stockton & 
Watsebaugh. This paper, independent in pohtics, continued to run 
successfully until 1897, when it was abandoned. 

Forty-eight years ago the Journal was first issued in Leon by 
P. O. James, a practical printer and an experienced newspaper man. 
It has since been published continuously and thus is the oldest pai)er 
in the county. The old Washington hand press and other material 
was hauled to town in a wagon by the late R. E. Dye. At that time 
the population of the town was about seven hundred and the county 
not over nine thousand. 

Peter Orlando James had been an employe of the Des INIoines 
Register, where he formed the acquaintance of Frank W. Palmer 
who had an ambition to serve the people of this district in Congress. 
It is said that Palmer bought the press and type and presented them 
to JNIr. James. At any rate the paper was started in the interests of 
Mr. Palmer and successfullv so. JNIr. James had served during the 
Civil war in the Fourth Iowa Infantry and was an excellent soldier. 
He was a prominent Odd Fellow and took great interest in the order. 
He filled in succession all of the offices of the lodge and was chosen 
several times as a representative to the grand lodge. Mr. James 
became postmaster in 1871. JMrs. jNI. E. James continued the pub- 
lication of the Journal and also served as postmistress. In 1875 
Mrs. James sold the paper to W. T. Robinson, now deceased. He 
conducted the paper for ten years, during which time he improved 
the mechanical department and increased the patronage and circula- 
tion. He was assisted in the local work by S. C. Mitchell and J. A. 
Keaton. jNIr. Robinson w^as an experienced printer and newspaper 
man and was held in high esteem by all who knew him. In August, 
188.5, ]Mr. Robinson sold the paper to JNIarion F. Stookey, ^Millard 
F. Stookey and W. S. Johnson, with the latter in control as editor. 
On January 1, 1893, the paper became the joint property of the two 
Stookeys, and on January 1, 1904, a joint stock comi:)any was organ- 
ized, composed of the following stockholders: jNIarion F. and ^lil- 
lard F. Stookey, James F. Harvey, Thomas Teale, Capt. J. D. 
Brown, Stephen Varga. The stock held by these men has been grad- 
ually taken over by Will F. Lindsey and James F. Harvey, these 
two men now owning the entire paper, the former acting as editor. 
The paper is published weekly, is republican, six columns, and gen- 
erally runs from twelve to sixteen pages each issue. The office and 
plant is equipped with the latest machinery, including a modern lino- 
type. 

Vol. 1—8 



114 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

TELEPHONES 

The Leon Telephone Company estabHshed an exchange in Jan- 
uary, 1896, in the building now occuj)ied by the Exchange National 
Bank. Miss Lou Craigo was the operator. The exchange remained 
in the above location until February 22, 1898, when it was removed 
to the Caster Building at the corner of JNIain and Commercial streets. 
The Leon Telephone Company was the property of C. A. Hawkins 
of Chicago and W. R. Ellinwood of Leon. Leon now has the service 
of both the Bell and JMutual companies. 

ELECTRICITY 

The Leon light plant was constructed in 1888 by the City of Leon 
and managed by the city until November, 1904, when the plant was 
sold to Curtis & Chase, the consideration being $5,000. This deal 
was closed on November 15th and the new proprietors began operat- 
ing the plant under the title of the Leon Electric Light, Heat and 
Power Company, with George W. Sears as superintendent and treas- 
urer. Lewis Nies of Oskaloosa was secured as electrician. In jNIarch, 
1909, J. F. Smith and Sam C. Johnston of Omaha, Neb., bought 
out the company and changed the title to the Leon Electric Com- 
pany. This company now supplies Decatur City and Garden Grove 
with electricity. 

WATER 

The question of a municipal water supply first came before the 
people of Leon in 1909. On June 10th of that year a special election 
was held on the proposition of issuing $35,000 in bonds for the con- 
struction of a system of water works. This proposition was defeated 
by a majority of 195 votes. 

On December 14, 1909, the question was again submitted to a 
general vote. By a vote of 626 to 253 the people declared in favor 
of issuing bonds to the extent of $35,000 and by a vote of 336 to 130 
in favor of establishing a system of water works. 

IMPROVEMENTS 

Within the last decade a start has been made in equipping the City 
of Leon with adequate paving, sewerage and other improvements 
necessary to a growing town. In the years 1913-4 fully three miles 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 115 

of good brick paving was laid. In 1909 the sanitary sewerage sj'stem 
was installed under the main streets, the sewage being disposed of 
by artificial means. There are six miles of water mains in the city, 
all municipally owned. In the summer of 1915 there will be nine 
miles more sewerage laid in the city. 

The new Burlington depot at Leon was opened to the public Jan- 
uary 23, 1911. 

The AVaubonsie Trail was put through Leon in the spring of 
1911. 

The first meeting to consider a Young Glen's Christian xVssocia- 
tion in Leon was held December 16, 1879. 

BANKS 

The Farmers and Traders State Bank of Leon was organized in 
1894 as a private bank by J. E. Thomas of Davis City, A. H. Teale 
of Kellerton. They bought the bank building of L. P. Sigler. In 
the same year Thomas Teale bought their interests in the bank and 
it was incorporated as a state bank January 1, 1895, Judge John W. 
Harvey being a partner and stockholder and later becoming presi- 
dent. There has been no change in ownership as the estate of Judge 
Harvey still retains a half interest. The present officers are : Thomas 
Teale, president ; jNIrs. John W. Harvey, vice president ; Fred Teale, 
cashier; T. S. Arnold, S. G. Mitchell and C. E. Stuber, assistant 
cashiers. The bank started with a capital of $25,000, increased to 
$50,000 in 1903, and to $100,000 in 1913. It is the largest capitalized 
bank in the county at the present time. 

The Exchange National Bank of Leon was started as the Ex- 
change Bank in February, 1885, with the following first officers: S. 
W. Hurst, president; I. N. Clark, vice president; C. E. Gardner, 
cashier. The present officers are: A. L. Ackerly, president; O. E. 
Hull, vice president; E. G. Monroe, cashier; Carl ^Monroe, assistant 
cashier. The capital stock is $35,000; and the deposits are $190,000. 

The Farmers and Traders Bank mentioned above was originally 
started in 1869 as the First National Bank and five j^ears later was 
purchased by the Decatur County Banking Association, namely, D. 
and A. B. Stearn and L. P. Sigler, who named it the Farmers and 
Traders Bank. Sigler was president and T. S. Arnold cashier. 

There is in process of organization a new bank in Leon to be 
known as the Leon Savings Bank. It is to be located in the Sigler 
Building at the corner of ]Main and Ninth streets. The articles of 



116 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

incorporation are at this date filed. Marion F. Stookej^ will be presi- 
dent; Frank N. Hansell and G. W. Baker, vice presidents; and 
George T. Ogilvie, casliier. 

LODGES, SOCIETIES AND CLUBS 

Grand River Lodge No. 78, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, 
was organized under dispensation November 30, 1855, with the fol- 
lowing charter members: Samuel C. Thompson, worshipful master; 
George T. Young, senior warden; J. R. McClelland, junior warden; 
D. O. Ball and Thomas Silver. John P. Finley, Peter C. Stewart 
and Samuel Forrey were the first initiates and were received January 
15, 1856. The charter was granted June 5, 1856, and Samuel C. 
Thompson was named as worshipful master; George T. Young, senior 
warden; F. M. Wafford, junior warden. 

Leon Chapter No. 33, Royal Arch JNIasons, was organized Octo- 
ber 25, 1866, with the following officers: C. S. Stout, high priest; 
S. C. Thompson, king; John P. Finley, scribe; H. W. Peck, captain 
of hosts; C. G. Bridges, principal sojourner; John E. Chancy, royal 
arch captain; William M. Duncan, master third vail; George T. 
Young, master second vail; W. B. Montgomery, master first vail; 
J. H. Woodbury, secretary; Thomas Johnson, guard. George 
Woodbury was the first man elected to membership. 

Independence Chapter No. 28, Order of Eastern Star, was organ- 
ized in November, 1884, with a membership of about twenty- five. 

Hesperia Lodge No. 33, Knights of Pythias, existed several years 
before the fire of 1879, when the records were all destroyed with the 
exception of the charter which was returned to the grand lodge. 
The lodge was reorganized June 21, 1886, under the former name. 
The lodge was reorganized with eight of the original members, namely : 
A. E. Chase, W. A. Brown, E. W. Curry, W. T. Cartwright, S. A. 
Gates, L. W. Forgraves, G. L. Harvey, C. W. Hoffman. The fol- 
lowing also became charter members at this time: J. L. Young, H. 
C. Van Werden, C. M. INIurray, L. Van Werden, Albert GafFord, 
W. J. Sullivan and John F. Hamilton. 

Leon Lodge No. 84, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was 
organized by dispensation February 7, 1856, and chartered October 
8th of the same year. The charter members were: John F. Finley, 
Sr., W. H. Cheever, J. H. Clark, Arnold Childers and C. R. Lap- 
ham. The lodge flourished until 1861 when, by reason of numerous 
enlistments in the army, meetings were discontinued. The last meet- 



?0 



^ 




HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 117 

ing was on ^larch 9th of that year and the next recorded meeting was 
held on July 27, 1868. 

Leon Post No. 251, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized 
November 22, 1883, by W. T. Wilkinson, mustering officer. Tho 
following were the first officers: J. A. Ray, commander; S. P. Nott, 
senior vice commander; C. W. Beck, junior vice commander; W. J. 
Sullivan, quartermaster; Ed K. Pitman, adjutant; W. L. Kelly, 
surgeon; I. P.-jNlorton, cliaplain; John P. Finley, officer of the guard; 
E. W. Curry, officer of the day; J. M. Sylvester, sergeant-major; 
J. B. Garrett, quartermaster-sergeant. 

Leon Lodge No. 88, I. O. G. T., was organized in the autumn 
of 188.5 with forty-six charter members. The charter was received 
December 12th, following. 

CHURCHES 

In the fall of 1850 John Patterson, Pamela Patterson, John Jor- 
dan, Artemesia Jordan, William Burt, an exhorter, Cynthia Burt, 
Lou Annie JNIcIlvaine, Abner Harber, Ishmael Barnes, Levi Clark, 
ten in number, organized a Methodist class, and in September, 1850, 
Decatur County was organized. In March, 1851, the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church was to be organized at John Patterson's cabin, the 
original chapel of JNIethodism in Decatur County, size 11 by 11 by 6, 
center to comb, but the preacher. Brother Klepper, from Missouri, 
was sick and could not get nearer than John Jordan's on Eden 
Prairie, near the Richard JNIeek place, so John Patterson walked 
dow^n there that day in a snow storm from his home where the Leon 
cemetery now is, and they organized the church. 

In the fall of 1851 the low^a Conference sent a missionary by 
the name of Lyman Briggs to Decatur County. Three sermons were 
preached and on week days, but every Sabbath the class met at Pat- 
terson's. 

John Parker was the next one; he came in the fall of 1852. 
Barnes and family came and lived where W. A. Boone lives. iNIcIl- 
vaines came and lived on the Doctor Baker farm. Doctor Thompson 
came in the fall of 1851. Quarterly meeting was at Albia and Uncle 
John Patterson went on horseback, as it was the onlv wav to travel, 
as there was no road with the exception of the Indian trail and no 
bridges. This year Thomas Smith and family came and added five 
more to the church. Others who came w^ere: Stanleys, Vanderpools, 
Hatfields, I. N. Clark, Thomas Winn, James Garrett, Frank Smith. 



118 HISTORY OF DECATUK COUNTY 

Brother Swim came to preach, but not often, as there were five 
counties to be supphed. The first quarterly meeting was held at 
Decatur City in a house built for a courthouse. John Hayden was 
the first presiding elder; John Parker, pastor; John Patterson, class 
leader; John Jordan, steward. 

The first Sunday school in Decatur County was organized in 
18.33, in John Patterson's cabin, by Williams, a Presbyterian, and 
John Patterson as superintendent. In 1854 the Decatur mission was 
formed and D. L. Swim appointed pastor in charge. In the same 
year it became Leon Circuit, which was composed of the counties of 
Decatur, Kinggold, Clarke and Union. Owing to the increase in 
population it was thought best to divide the circuit so Decatur Cir- 
cuit was established. There being a substantial church in Decatur 
City the minister aroused the people of Leon to build a large church. 
Services were held at Patterson's and other members' homes and 
later they were held in a school where Mrs. Landis now lives. In 
1850 preaching and Sunday school were held in an old courthouse in 
the east of town, where the Varga residence now stands. Then in the 
old brick courthouse in the southwest corner of the square. The Pres- 
byterian and Methodist societies plastered this building to obtain its 
use, each society occupying the building on alternate Sabbaths. The 
bell now used by the public schools once called the worshippers to tliis 
church. 

On January 13, 1859, a committee was appointed to estimate the 
cost of a new church and shortly afterward the lot where the public 
library now stands was taken over and work begun on the building. 
The committee named was composed of: George Hawley, John 
Jordan, John Patterson, John Tharp, Daniel Shaffer, Rev. J. D. 
De Lay. It was through great effort that the building was enclosed, 
floored and one coat of plaster put on in the fall of 1859. For seats 
slab benches were made with no backs. The threatenings of the Civil 
war and later the war itself stopped all work upon the church. In 
1860 the trustees were ordered to buy or build a parsonage. In 1863 
])art of the pastor's salary of $400 was paid in produce. In 1876 
the church building was renovated. W. P. Wood and L. P. Sigler 
gave the church its first organ in 1877. On July 5, 1888, the church 
was incorporated. 

The cornerstone for the new church structure was laid August 
23, 1888, and completed at a cost of $9,000. 

The following are tlie names of the pastors who have served this 
society: Lyman Briggs, John Parker, Swim, J. B. Rawls, David 




METHODIST CHURCH. LEOX 




CHKIS'l 1A.\ C 111 lU 11. \.\'A)S 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 119 

Dickinson, Erasmus T. Coiner, Jacob De Lay, Benjamin Williams, 
Samuel Farlow, J. E. Caiy, Benjamin Sliinn, D. O. Stuart, William 
F. Hertwood, G. P. Bennett, R. ^V. Thornburg, J. C. R. Layton, 
Simpson Guyer, Amos AVilson, A. P. Hull, D. JNlcIntyre, AN'illiam 
Plested, A. Brown, W. H. Shipman, C. L. Nye, C. H. Newell, 
James Boreman, A. T. Jeffrey, W. C. Hohansbelt, George :M. 
Hughes, George Winterbourn, John Gibson, Joseph Stephen, I. N. 
Woodward, A. M. Pilcher, Ray Shipman, James L. Boyd, E. M. 
Hoff, Guy J. Fansher. 

The Christian Church was an aggressive force among the early 
pioneers of Decatur County. An organization was established in 
good season in Leon, and the efforts of the pastor and visiting evan- 
gelists exercised a material influence toward the moral and educa- 
tional advancement of the people. 

The first regular organization of the Christian Church was 
effected the first Sunday in June, 1854, by Elder Josephus C. Por- 
ter, who served as preacher in charge for nearly twenty years. Names 
that are now mentioned with respect and affection as members of 
this devoted band of pioneer Christians are : John Gardner and wife, 
Christina A. Gardner, Franklin Gardner, J. C. Porter and wife, 
Anna Bradfield, Catherine Gardner, Wilson I. Gardner, Anna 
Thatcher, Jacob Witter and wife, Reuben Shackleford and wife, 
Andrew McElvain, J. JNIcElvain and wife, John AV. Gardner and 
wife, W. W. Ellis and wife. Dr. J. R. jNIcClelland and wife, Daniel 
Bradley and wife, and Nancy Weldon. Among those who assisted 
in evangelistic work during the early days were Elders John Polly, 
W. B. Fisk, O. E. Brown, J. C. Levey and T. V. Berry. 

In 1867 the congregation had increased in numbers to such an 
extent that a church building became a necessity. Accordingly a 
brick structure was erected which cost $4,000 and was used as a 
house of worship until the spring of 1902. It was 40 by 60 feet in 
size and for many years was the best church building in the county. 
The new building was dedicated on Sunday, February 14, 1903. 

The list of pastors who have served this church in Leon is as fol- 
lows: Revs. J. C. Porter, James Gaston, T. V. Berry, A. B. Cor- 
nell, S. H. Hedrix, H. A. Lemon, W. E. Jones, O. Elbert, A. E. 
Major, John P. Jesse, C. F. Stevens, H. T. Clark, R. J. Castor, 
H. H. Hubbell. 

The Cimiberland Presbyterian Church was organized in 18.57. 
Among the leading members were John W. Warner, ^Ir. Gillam, 
W. P. Blair, Robert Patterson and George T. Young, with their 



120 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

families. They met in the courthouse on alternate Sunday mornings 
for four years and then discontinued services. Reverend Post was 
their only pastor during this time. 

The Presbyterian Church was formed June 2, 1866, in the Metho- 
dist Church. The fii'st members were Francis and Mary Varga, 
W. H. Smith, Thomas and Mary Baldwin, Fidelia F. Thompson, 
Robert and Jveturak Kinnear, Margaret Stone, W. W. and Rebecca 
J. ]Moore, W. P. Blair, Mary A. Blair, Mary E. Young and Martha 
E. Avery. The meetings were first held every month in the old 
schoolhouse. After 1869 they were held on alternate Sundays, one 
preacher serving this and the Grand River Church. In 1871 a house 
of worship Avas erected on Commercial Street, two blocks east of 
JNIain, costing $7,000. The pastors who have served here are: 
Revs. D. S. Hughes, R. J. Burt, A. A. Mathes, F. Rea, C. :M. Des 
Islets, Cj^rus Johnson, W. C. Cort. 

The Baptist Church first held services four miles southeast of 
Leon, some years before the war. The meeting place was shortly 
removed to town. Among the early members were: ]Mr. and JNIrs. 
Burns, Mrs. Hammer, Samuel C. ThomiDson, Robert E. Dye and 
wife. Rev. John Woodard preached for the congregation for some 
years just before the war and then the organization went down. 
About 1867 Reverend Cake preached for one year. Then came 
Revs. INIorton, Tillbury, Freeland Edwards. The new organization 
was effected November 1, 1879. Among the members who helped 
in this revival were: Robert E. Dye and wife, Mrs. Hammer, ]Mr. 
and ]Mrs. Burns, Warren Cole and wife, N. P. Bullock and wife, 
C. ]M. JMurray and S. P. Nott and wife. The society rented a hall 
over Bowman's harness shop until the church was constructed in 1883 
on the second block east of the square. It was a frame structure and 
cost $3,500. 

The Seventh Day Adventists formed a society in Leon in 1888 
under F. C. Watkins. A house of worshiji was constructed soon 
after the organization of the society. The society has now but 
twenty-three members and hold meetings every other Sunday. 
There is also an Adventist Church at Woodland, nine miles south- 
east of Leon, and one at Tuskeego. Both of these congregations 
are small. 

The United Brethren Society began their work in the county in 
18.56, when Elder Abraham Replogle, of Appanoose County, gath- 
ered the members at Franklin and organized them into a chin-ch with 
William J. Stout, Sam A. Gurber and Harry Spurlock as ministers. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 121 

The charter members of this society were: Susan Hendricks, Jacob 
Sears and wife, Christ Heaston and wife, Jacob Heaston and wife, 
Samuel Sears, William Stout and wife, Harvey Spurlock and wife, 
Samuel Garber and wife, and James Owensby and wife. The first 
communion was held at the Owensby home. The first church was 
constructed in the county in 1874, six miles northeast of Leon, and 
was known as Franklin Church. In 1883 came the unfortunate 
division of the church over the question of uniformity in religious 
garb. The liberal conference joined with the Presbyterians in build- 
ing a union chapel at Crown. The following preacliers have served 
there: Revs. S. H. Bashor, INIrs. Clara Flora, Noali Flora, Isaac 
Thomas, Sadie Gibbons, W. A. Witty, S. J. AVood, F. Rawlinson, 
J. F. and F. A. Garber, G. T. Ronk. The church at Union Chapel 
was organized in October, 1912. The church building in Leon was 
begun May 28, 1914, the lot having been purchased in October, 1913, 
and the church was dedicated October 25, 1914. 

THE SWIFT COMPANY 

The j)lant of Swift & Company in Leon was completed in Sep- 
tember, 1904, and opened for business the same month with T. D. 
Watson as resident manager. He w^as manager of the Chariton 
plant before coming to Leon, and after the big fire that destroyed 
the former Swift plant in this city he had charge of both the houses 
of the company, here and at Chariton. The first plant was built and 
opened in 1902, and was completely destroj^ed by fire in the winter 
of 1904. The cost of the second structure was $5,000. This second 
plant burned to the ground on Saturday, October 24, 1914. The 
loss amounted to $100,000. 

COMMERCIAL CLUB 

The Leon Commercial Club was established April 2G, 1907. The 
object of the club is to promote the civic and industrial interests of 
the city and to place Leon on equal footing with similarly sized cities 
in the state. The present officers are: James F. Harvey, presi- 
dent; A. L. Ackerley, vice president; William J. S^Jringer, secre- 
tary; C. W. Robinson, treasurer. 

REMINISCENCES OF LEON 

By IMaj. J. L. Young 

In November, 1859, when I first saw Leon there was not a foot 
of sidewalk in the town. The men engaged in the mercantile busi- 



122 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

ness were Richards & Hale, who had a nice stock of goods in an old 
frame shack at the northwest corner of the square. Bradley & Gard- 
ner were doing business in the frame building that stood on the opj)o- 
site corner of the square, where the Evans Block now stands. J. D. 
Harrow & Co. were in a still smaller frame building that stood 
where the Park Hotel now stands. Stevens & Stillwell were in a 
frame building on the west side of the square near the Hurst store. 
I am not certain whether John R. Wharton or Wharton & Rich- 
ardson were then in business, but I think they were in a 2-story 
frame building standing on the alley where Stempel's drug store 
stood. That was the first imposing business building in the town 
and had an outside stairway on the south side leading to the second 
story, where the Bincklej'-s printed the Pioneer, the only paper then 
published in the county. Alexander UpdegrafF and Ab Gillham 
had a harness shop just south of Farquhar Brothers' hardware store. 

The legal guessing on points of law and equity at that time was 
done by Judge Sears, w^hile Bob Parrott, of Osceola, was prosecuting 
attorney for the district. George T. Young was clerk; Harrison 
Weldon, sheriff; John Jordan, treasurer, and L. H. Sales, county 
judge. The jail was a log structure and had iron bars in the win- 
dows which we thought awfully secure in those days. I guess it was, 
for nobody broke jail then as they have since the cage system was 
introduced. The jail then stood one block west of the northwest 
corner of the square. 

At that time I. N. Clark was the only retired merchant in Leon. 
]\I. H. Wood made and mended our shoes, and Uriah Bobbitt filled 
the same office for the horse and mule population. Judge Samuel 
Forrey was the leading lawyer of the place, while Joe and John 
AVarner dropped in the procession next, and P. H. Binkley, George 
A. Hawley and George S. Adams brought up the rear, with V. Wain- 
wright just newly admitted, looking out for a good place in which to 
drop. 

John Warner and George A. Hawley were the Presbyterian 
preachers for the town and vicinity. John concluded to give all of 
his time to the church and sold his practice and good will to Young 
& Wainw^'ight and quit the jDractice for six or eight months, and then 
went into the firm for active practice again. 

The hotel accommodations then were fully up to the present con- 
sidering the town size. The Patterson House, kept by Robert Pat- 
terson and his estimable family, was a 2l/4-story structure, of wood, 
that stood on the south side of the square just east of the site of the 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 123 

Varga Block, where a nice, cheerful wood fire in the old-fashioned 
fii-e-place gave such a comfortable greeting to the traveler that he 
was prepared to partake heartily of the substantial and well cooked 
meal he was always sure of having placed before him. The Free- 
man House, a clean, comfortable place to stay, was kept by ]Mrs. 
Rhoda Hawkins, Billy Boone's mother. Billy was then a bare- 
footed boy, usually with his big toe tied up or a stone bruise on his 
heel. John Warner and Old Man Shackleford had been engaged in 
the hotel business, but they retired and gave way to more pretentious 
hostelries. Shortly before this Karl Hoffman completed the build- 
insr known for vears as the Sales House. Hoffman traded the 
buildina' for ei"htv acres of land north of Leon, where his son Cal 
now resides. 

The frame JNIethodist Church was not completed in 18.57, but they 
held meetings every Sunday at 11 o'clock, and at "early candle 
lightin' " when they could get a preacher. When they could not. 
Uncle Johnny Patterson w^ould hold class or Jimmie Garrett would 
"exhort" for an hour or two. 

John Lee, an importation from Illinois, started a saloon in a pho- 
tographer's car on the west side of the square in 1861, but a committee 
composed of the best women of the town visited the place one fine 
day with axes, hatchets and matches, and John did not keep a saloon 
in Leon after that. 

In 18.56 the population of Leon had increased to 600. In 1871 
it was only 8o0, but the arrival of the railroad during that year 
brought many people to the place so that the population had increased 
to 1,367 in 1880. The greater portion of the main line of the Chi- 
cago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad through Iowa and also the 
branch from Chariton to Leon was constructed during the year 1871. 
Eight years later the road was extended to Bethany, JNIo. In order 
to procure the branch line Garden Grove Township donated $25,000, 
while Center gave $50,000 and the right of way from Garden Grove 
to Leon. The advent of the railroad stimulated immigration, pro- 
moted business activity and increased the value of real estate through- 
out the country. 

Among the members of the Leon bar in 1871 were John W. Har- 
vey, Warner & Post, N. P. Bullock, J. B. Morrison, E. W. Curry, 
W. M. Porter, W. E. Dawson and Albert Hale. The i^hysicians 
w^ere J. P. Finley, H. C. Sanford and J. R. INIcClelland. A. S. 
UpdegrafF conducted a harness shop, and Q. IM. Lindsey officiated 
as landlord at the Sales House. The First National Bank had a 



124 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

capital of $60,000 and was officered as follows: President, John 
Clark; vice president, William Davis; cashier, L. P. Sigler; directors, 
J. D. Wasson, A. M. Hilton, R. E. Hutchinson, William Loving, 
J. H. Garrett, J. E. Logan and S. C. Thompson. The druggists 
were Hildreth & Woodbury, Thompson & Gillham and Hammer & 
Finley. Among the prominent merchants were S. W. Hurst, Rich- 
ards & Close and W. D. Coventry. S. V. Walton & Brothers adver- 
tised themselves as breeders and shippers of Poland China hogs. 
Shorthorn cattle and Spanish fowls. Phillip Blind was the barber, 
and A. C. Davis the dentist. L. S. Lunbeck was the painter and 
paperhanger. The woolen factory was owned and operated by CM. 
Knapp, and Jordan & Robb owned the abstract books and conducted 
a land agency. Sinclair & Jenks were the restaurant people, and 
S. A. Miller supplied bread for the public at his bakery located south 
of the square. P. O. James had established the Journal in 1868 and 
in his issue of August 24, 1871, occurred the following: "We learn 
that work commenced on the B. & M. Branch at Garden Grove on 
Monday. This is glorious news to our people and gives us room to 
hope that we will soon have a railroad in Decatur County." 

THE LEON BOARD OF TRADE 

This organization has been superseded by the Commercial Club, 
but nevertheless, the history of the same is interesting. On January 
15, 1888, a meeting of the business men of Leon was held at the 
courthouse at which steps were taken towards organizing a business 
men's association. At this meeting a committee was appointed for 
the purpose of drawing up a plan of organization. At a second 
meeting held on Friday evening, January 13th, the committee 
reported, recommending that an association be formed at once under 
the name of the Leon Board of Trade. The shares of stock were 
fixed at $5 each, and each member of the board was required to take 
not less than one share of the stock. The constitution and by-laws 
were at once circulated for signatures, and within fifteen minutes 
thirty of the business men of the town had signified their intention of 
becoming members of the board. The board of trade existed suc- 
cessfully and helpfully for a number of years. The purposes of the 
organization, of course, were largely the same as the present Com- 
mercial Club. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 125 

LEON AS DESCRIBED IN 18G9 

The Decatur County Jom-nal, issue of Tuesday, INIarch 4, 18G9, 
has the following to say of Leon : 

This is the county seat and is situated about two miles northeast 
of the geographical center of the county. Thomas H. East had 
built a house on the townsite before the town was laid out. Judire 
S. C. Thompson built the first after the location of the town. Clark, 
Winn & Co. built the first business house, and I. X. Clark sold the 
first goods in September, 1853. 

It now contains six general stores, two family groceries, two drug 
stores, two stove and tinware stores, thi'ee shoe shops, two printing 
offices, two harness shops, two jewelers, two milliners, three hotels, 
one livery stable, three blacksmiths, three wagonmakers, one cabinet 
dealer, two land agencies, eight lawj^ers, six physicians, two churches, 
one schoolhouse, two flouring mills, one woolen factory, witli the 
usual proportion of mechanics of diff*erent kinds. 

Among the substantial business men are Richards & Close, J. D. 
Harrow and G. D. Sellers, general dealers; Hildreth & Sales and 
T. W. Hammer, druggists; S. Farquhar and J. W. ShaefFer, dealers 
in stoves and tinware; J. L. Simms, boots and shoes; A. S. UpdegraiF 
and Patterson & Darr, saddles and harness; Jacob Warner, jeweler; 
Mills & Cross, Uriah Bobbitt, blacksmiths; G. Irelan, wagonmaker. 
J. O. Johnson keeps the Sales House; this is known as the best hotel 
in Southern Iowa, Among our prominent lawyers are Young & 
Harvey, S. Forrey and J. B. IVIorrison. The physicians are J. P. 
Finley, Sr., B. F. Raiff", R. D. Gardner, H. Clay Sanford, J. R. 
McClelland and C. P. INIullinnix. 

A ]\Iasonic lodge, known as Grand River Lodge No. 73 and Leon 
Chapter No. 32, located in Leon, are in a flourishing condition. Leon 
Lodge No. 84, I. O. O. F., is also in flourishing condition. A 
Chapter of Temperance was organized during the past winter and is 
doing good work. 

Considerable attention has been given by the citizens to tlie ])lant- 
ing of shade and ornamental trees and shrubbery. The Public 
Square, a block of ground 216 feet square, has been enclosed and 
planted in forest trees, mostly maple, yet of small size. Half a mile 
north of town there is a large and well-stocked nursery of fruit and 
ornamental shrubbery of almost every variety. The nursery has been 
in operation twelve or more years, and is owned and operated by the 
practical horticulturist, J. B. Lunbeck. 



126 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Wood is the principal fuel used and is delivered in Leon during 
the winter season at $2 per cord. 

There are forty-four arrivals and departures of the mails each 
week to and from different directions. The postoffice here is a money- 
order office. 

The population of Leon is about one thousand. During the past 
season about thirty good buildings were erected. 

MEMORIES OF LEON 

The following items were prepared by J. N. Machlan. The 
writer makes the items doubly interesting by using the historical 
present tense: 

As Abraham Lincoln is now running for President of the United 
States it is fitting that some demonstration in honor of the occasion be 
given at Leon. It is useless to state that there is no little interest 
shown by both political parties on the occasion. Prominent among 
the Lincolnites that are among those that are parading the streets of 
Leon are Jesse Roberts and George ^lachlan, who with a string of 
teams hitched to a wagon loaded with logs are j)laying an important 
part as they pass through the streets of young Leon, one of them 
driving and the other splitting rails with a mall and wedge. 

News has reached us that El. Curry, son of William Curry and 
brother of E. W. Currv, has returned home from the war on a fur- 
lough. 

That Grandma Taylor, mother of Uncle Ben Taylor, living in 
the northeast part of Franklin Township, had disappeared from the 
homestead of her son, Ben, where she made her home. The news 
was heralded from place to place over the sj^arsely settled country, 
and a searching party, consisting of John Lillard, George Machlan 
and others, have searched diligently for the missing woman and have 
found no traces of her whereabouts except some small bits of her 
clothing. 

News has also reached us that Denver Curry, youngest son of 
WilHam Curry, met with a sad accident while watching his father 
bore holes in a stick of timber to be used in making a bob sled. The 
little fellow became anxious to ascertain if the auger point was about 
to come through the lower side of the timber, and in doing so thrust 
his front finger into the hole that was just being completed, when it 
was instantly seized by the crude jaws of the auger and cut off. The 
severed piece was preserved in alcohol. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 127 

We are informed that the young daughter of ]Mr. Clinkinbeard, 
near Prairie City (now Yan Wert), who, with her parents, was visit- 
ing at the JNIachlan homestead, became anxious to eat some home- 
made soap from a kettle near the house. The cliild was attracted by 
the looks of the soap, and thinking it was sorgiuim molasses, ate 
quite a mouthful before she learned it was hurting her. Presently 
she began to suffer, and as soon as it was learned what she had eaten 
she was given raw egg and cream, which relieved her somewliat. 

We are informed that a dance will take place at Jesse Roberts' 
one night next week. All are invited. 

There will be a spelling school at the Walker sclioolhouse next 
Friday night. A cordial invitation is extended to all. 

Strange, isn't it, that we have just learned that the little round 
yellow and red varieties of Jerusalem cherries that some people call 
tomatoes, such as our mothers raise in their gardens for ornaments, 
are said to be relished by some people as edible. 

Horrible Accident. — INIrs. Day, wife of Joshua Day, living in 
central Franklin Township, was killed by a runaway team M'hile 
returning home from Leon with her son, Joe Jackson. When al)out 
41/4 miles north of town the team became frightened, and running 
for some distance when ^Irs. Day was thrown from tlie carriage, 
her clothing catching about the vehicle. She was dragged near the 
horses' heels for some distance, when Joe became unable to hold 
the team. They kept on running, the carriage upsetting, and becom- 
ing loosened, they continued on toward home, leaving the corpse in 
a badly mutilated condition in the little muddy creek 41/9 miles north 
of town. 

The Eclipse of the Sun.— The other day. while we were busily 
engaged stacking wheat and had a stack almost finished at about 3 
o'clock in the afternoon, we observed first a hazy atmosphere, then a 
smoky appearance, then in a few minutes a yellowish tint, then dark- 
ness was coming on and peculiar sensations were chasing each other 
up and down our spine as it grew darker and darker. We climbed 
down from the stack, as it was too dark to work, and went to the 
house. The fowls had gone to roost. But ere long Old Sol began 
to show his shining face as if nothing extraordinary had taken place, 
and before his face disappeared beneath the western horizon we had 
our wheat stack finished and climbed down for supper. 

J. S. Ryan's daughters look quite well in their new dresses made 
of wool yarn spun and wove into cloth by their mother, ]Mrs. John 



128 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Ryan, of North Central Township. The flannel was made from 
red and blue wove in cheeks. 

The hum of the spinning wheel may be heard in the land these 
days. Mrs. John Delk and Mrs. George ^lachlan enjoy treading 
the wheel and singing as they spin. 

The sad news has just reached us that Chicago is burning and that 
horses and cattle are rushing to the lake and j)lunging into the water 
to escape the flames. 

J. S. Ryan, J. M. Gardner and Alma Jackson have each pm*- 
chased new organs. Organs have been so reduced in price that a 
l^retty good instrument can be had for from $250 to $300, and the 
price of pianos has also dropped until a fairly good one can be had 
for from $600 to $800. 

A Narrow Escape. — Ebenezer Price, while assisting with the 
threshing at his near neighbor's, was standing near the tumbling 
rod of the thresher when his clothes caught on the revolving shaft 
and was fast winding them up, when, with great presence of mind, 
he seized the shaft, called out "Whoa!" to the teams and, being a 
powerful man, was enabled to bring the revolving shaft to a stand- 
still and saved meeting a horrible death. 

There will be a spelling contest at the White Oak schoolhouse 
Friday night. Some good spellers are expected to be present. Come 
everybody. 

Theodore Delk, living in Center Township, has become quite pro- 
ficient in handling the violin. 

Sherman Abbott, a bright young fellow, is doing some spying for 
Uncle Sam in the northeast part of the county. 

INIr. Vannostrand is making some good hard monej^ on his fine 
farm on the north county line. ]Mr. Van knows how to till the soil 
for what's in it. 

Frank Samson, a bright 3'^oung son of Reverend Seth, of near 
Prairieville, fell twenty feet through a ha}'- mow at George JSIachlan's, 
lighting on a hard floor and temporarily injuring his spine. 

Denver Curry, brother of School Teacher E. W. Curry, stopped 
growing at a height of 6 feet 4 inches. 

A party of four young couple boarded a lumber wagon a few 
evenings ago and started to church northwest of Greenbay, stopping 
at Mr. Johnson's store in Greenbay and procuring all the candy 
Mr. Johnson had, which w^as about three pounds, and started on their 
way munching at the candy as they went. It was not long until they 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 129 

began to feel sick and not one of the entire posse escaped the effect 
of the candy. They all returned home a little worse for the wear. 

There will be a corn-shucking at ^Ir. Donover's stable tomorrow 
night. Oysters will be served after the shucking. Come early and 
bring your sweethearts. 

Ebenezer Price, on going to his barn yesterday as usual to feed 
his horses, was picking up some haj' and uncovered a man dead drunk. 
The man was almost frozen to death, and would have been beyond 
recovery had not JNIr. Price taken him to the house and warmed him 
up and gave him some food to eat. 

Amusing, wasn't it, to see young George W. Samson ])lushing 
crimson the other day during school hours at the Roberts sclioolhouse 
when young pretty JNIiss Smith (teacher) caught him napping? 

There will be a taffy pulling at Frank Bedier's Saturday night. 
Come and bring vour 'lasses and your lassies. 

INIr. Henry Gribble has purchased a recently invented self-binding 
harvester for about three hundred and seventy-five dollars. The 
machine binds grain with wire and is attracting people from far and 
near to see the wonder of the age. 

It is reported in Decatur County that a line of wire called a tele- 
phone line has been constructed between Indianola, in Warren 
County, and Afton, in Union County, and that people in said towns 
can talk over the line of wire by talking into a queer-looking appara- 
tus called a telephone. The ]3eople in adjoining counties are quite a 
little excited over the affair, as many of them never heard of such a 
thing before in their lives. 



\ol. I— 9 



CHAPTER XI 

THE FOUNDIXG OF LAMONI AND THE WORK OF 

THE ORDER OF ENOCH 

By Asa S. Cochran 

The name Lamoni, as apphed to the locality which is now known 
thereby, had its origin with the First United Order of Enoch, a cor- 
poration composed of a number of men of means connected with the 
Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 

The stockholders of this organization held their first meeting at 
Council Bluffs, la., September 19, 1870, at which meeting Elijah 
Banta, Israel L. Rogers, David Dancer, David ^I. Garnet, Alex- 
ander ^IcCord, Calvin A. Beebe and Phineas Cadwell were chosen a 
board of directors. These men further organized by choosing Elijah 
Banta, president, Israel L. Rogers, treasurer, and Henry A. Steb- 
bins, secretary. The purpose of this organization is clearly set forth 
in section 2 of the constitution, which reads as follow^s: 

"Section 2. The general business and object of this corporation 
shall be the associating together of men and capital and those skilled 
in labor and mechanics, * * * for the purpose of settling, devel- 
oping and improving new tracts of land which tracts of land shall be 
selected and purchased by a committee to be appointed by the board 
of directors * * * to take cognizance of the w^ants of the worthy 
and industrious poor men who shall apply therefor, and provide them 
with labor and the means for securing homes and a livelihood and to 
develop energies and resources of the people who may seek their 
respective localities for settlement." 

At the first meeting of the board Elijah Banta, David Dancer, 
Israel L. Rogers and Phineas Cadwell were appointed a committee 
to seek a suitable location for the purchase of land and the operation 
of said company. The stock certificates of this corporation were 
issued from Lamoni, la. The committee visited several localities 
in the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, finalty locat- 

130 




LATTEE DAY SAIXTS (HrRCH, LA:\in\T 




SAINTS' HOME FOll THE AGED, LAMONI 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 131 

ing in the Township of Fayette, Decatur County, la.; the post- 
ottice being Sedgwick; the nearest store being at Davis City, seven 
miles distant; and Leon, eighteen miles away, being the nearest rail- 
road station. The first report of the secretary, dated September 1, 
1871, showed that the capital stock amounted to $44,.)00 and that 
2,680 acres of land had been purchased at a cost of $21,708.84. Sub- 
sequent reports show that the capital stock had been increased $100 
more and a total of 3,330 acres of land had been purchased at a c(jst 
of $30,073.94. Twelve new houses had been built costing $7,078.40 
and about sixteen himdred acres of prairie land had been broken at 
a cost of $4,040, a nursery planted and various other improvements 
made. The shares in the company were $100 each. Tliose holding 
the largest amounts of stock were: David Dancer, $9,000; Elijali 
Banta, $.5,000; Israel L. Rogers, $5,000; Phineas Cadwell, $3,400; 
Moses A. Meder, $3,000; William Hopkins, Simeon Stivers and 
family, T. J. Andrews and family, Ephraim Rowland, JNIarietta 
Walker, Alexander McCord, and Calvin A. Beebe, $1,000 each; the 
remaining stock being divided up among about sixty different indi- 
viduals. 

The organization continued about twenty years, paying 90 per 
cent in dividends and returning the original stock also. 

A resolution passed by the board in 1874 shows one thing had in 
view by them which concerns our subject. It is as follows: "Resolved 
that we proceed to locate a town site upon or near the land belonging 
to the association as soon as it is found practicable." 

The elders of the Decatur District, principally of the Little River, 
now Pleasanton branch, had been busy preaching in Fayette Town- 
ship and several had been baptized, so that on November 12, 1871, in 
pursuance of a resolution passed by the Decatur District conference, 
the district president, A. W. Moffett, organized the Lamoni branch 
which was composed of fifteen members who had formerly been mem- 
bers of the Little River branch, namely: Charles, Harriett and 
James R. Walker, William and Eliza Bunt, Robert L. Simpson; 
Adam, Angeline, Francis jM., and Susan Dennis, Andrew J. Green, 
James D. and George R. Dillon and John E. Ackerly, also Charles 
H. and JNIargaret Jones, Z. H. Gurley and James P. Dillon. Charles 
H. Jones was chosen president. During the next year, 1872, tlie 
membership of the branch was increased considerably. Samuel Ack- 
erly, George Ross from Wisconsin, George Braby, Peter B. Johnson, 
and Andrew K. Anderson from Illinois, I. N. W. Cooper from Penn- 
sylvania, William Hopkins from California, James Shaw, Robert 



132 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

and John Johnson from Canada, who with their families and numer- 
ous baptisms by the elders had increased the membershij) of the branch 
to nearly seventy. In the year 1873 the members were still further 
increased by the arrival of O. J. Bailey from ^lichigan, George W. 
Bird who had been with Lyman Wight in Texas, Richard Elliker 
from Canada, Daniel P., David D., and Alburn B. Young, George 
Adams and E. J. Robinson from California, each with one exception 
having families, a companion at least. 

By this time they were in need of a place of meeting. When the 
writer came here in the fall of 1875 Daniel P. Young had succeeded 
Brother Jones as president of the branch. Meetings were held in two 
schoolhouses at the same hour. One of the houses was a part of the 
one near the Evergreen Church and the other was 4^/0 miles east. 
In the following spring the president called a union meeting on 
Sunday and appointed the meeting on the following Sunday in the 
new church. 

The following week was a busy one. No lumber nearer than 
Leon, twenty miles away. JNIonday and Tuesday lumber was hauled 
from Leon and blocks for foundation from the timber. Wednesday 
and Thursday, carpenters, of whom I remember Alexander H. Smith, 
who had moved that spring from Nauvoo and settled near where 
Aiidover, Mo., now is, and H. R. Harder and Hiram Dougherty, 
who came from Kansas, and perhaps others, framed the building and 
laid the foundation. Friday and Saturday anyone who could wield 
a hammer or saw was invited and before the sun set for the last time 
of the week, the building was up, shingled, inclosed, windows in, and 
door hung. Meeting was held the next day according to appoint- 
ment. No floor, no seats, except lumber, wagon seats, or chairs 
brought in for temporary use. The building was located near the 
center of the township on land furnished by E. J. Robinson. In the 
fall, as the cool weather came on, a floor was laid, walls plastered, 
and it was made comfortable for the winter. The size was probably 
about twenty-four by thirtj^-six, about ten feet to the eaves. It was 
never painted and was abandoned as a church and sold after the 
church was erected in town. 

In 1875, I think, Samuel H. Gurley started a small store in what 
had been a schoolhouse, keeping a limited supply of goods as he 
deemed suitable. There were no other stores or wagon or blacksmith 
shops nearer than Davis City until about 1877, when Peter Harris 
arrived from Wisconsin and erected a blacksmith shop not far from 
the church building. This was afterwards moved to town, also the 




HKiH St HOOl. JU II>1)1XG, LAMOXl 




WEST SI OK S( H'toL. L A:\rn\T 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 133 

dwelling he constructed. Conditions remained the same, being only 
a farming community, until the year 1879. A company was formed 
somewhere east, known as the Leon, ^It. Ayr & Southwestern Rail- 
road Company, formed principally of men connected with tlie Clii- 
cago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company, their purpose being 
to extend the railroad from Leon through ]Mt. Ayr. Work was 
pushed forward to Davis City and w^est to wluit was afterwards 
known as Bethany Junction, now called Togo. From there they 
designed to take a northwesterly course and commenced tlie work of 
grading and would have passed about two or three miles north of 
where Lamoni now stands, when Samuel Y. Bailey chanced to meet 
some of the leading men of the company and conversed with them in 
regard to changing their course'so as to reach "The Colony," as the 
locality was then named. This proposition was favorably received 
by them in case sufficient aid was guaranteed to justify them in chang- 
ing their course. Several individuals almost immediately entered into 
an agreement to obligate themselves each in proportion to the value 
the assessor had placed upon their property to furnish the aid to the 
company required. They w-ere David Dancer, Elijah Banta, the 
First Order of Enoch, S. Y. Bailey, J. R. Smith, and I think X. H. 
Riggs, George Adams and W. Hudson. jNIeeting with the railroad 
men they obligated themselves to furnish them 200 acres of land for 
a town site, also the right of way through the township, also the right 
of way to the state line, provided they should wish to make a junc- 
tion at Lamoni at some future time. The railroad men were to build 
and operate a railroad, establish and maintain a depot on the land 
supplied them, and pay $15 per acre for the land, also deed them 100 
average lots when the town was laid out and platted. The Order of 
Enoch supplied 120 acres of land which lies on the south side of ]Main 
Street and bought eighty acres of Frank Drummond which lies on 
the north side of jNIain Street. The land purchased of Drummond 
cost them $600 more than the railroad men allowed them. They also 
furnished three miles of right of way. But eventually the 100 lots 
sold for enough to reimburse them' for the outlay. 

There was one dwelling on the land furnished by the Order of 
Enoch which stood where the W. A. Hopkins home now is located, 
and was occupied by I. P. Baggerly. He had the land now north of 
the railroad planted in corn which was ready to cut up when trains 
commenced running and the building of tlie town commenced. On 
tlie other side of 3Iain Street on the eighty acres were two houses. 
One stood on the block immediately south of the one afterwards 



134 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

occupied by the Herald office, and was occupied by INIr. Drummond, 
who maintained a bachelor's hall therein. The other house, a much 
older one, stood very near where the Barr Hotel now stands. INIuch 
of this land was planted in corn. The first dwelling house erected 
was by Volentine White, later owned by James Jennings and now 
by Doctor Hill. 

Among the early comers to the new town were William Ofi&cer 
and J. T. Dixon, L. A. Fowler and B. L. Merritt. The first busi- 
ness houses were erected by Thomas Teale and Samuel H. Gurley; 
the first where D. C. White and Sons have their store and the latter 
one where the Lamoni Hardware Company is now located. There 
was an effort made by some people to have the new town named 
Sedgwick, as that had been the name of the postoffice here up until 
this time, but Lamoni was kept finally as the name of the new town. 
Lamoni was a busy place in the fall of 1879. Over ten thousand 
bushels of corn were sold and shipped. Carpenters were busy in all 
directions. A lumber yard was started by David Dancer, Albert P. 
Dancer and A. S. Cochran. In the fall of 1880 Henry A. Stebbins 
became a resident of Lamoni and succeeded Albert P. Dancer in the 
lumber business. 

The first person born in the new town, that is, after the town was 
established, was Bertie Lamoni White, the son of Volentine and JSIary 
A. White. The first ones to be married were Earl D. Bailey and 
Katie Harris. The first person that died was Nehemiah D. Smith, 
whose death occurred Februarv 7, 1880. 

BANKS 

The Farmers State Bank of Lamoni was established in 1898. The 
officers at the present time are: Fred Teale, president; J. R. Smith, 
vice president; Orra Teale, cashier; and T. B. Nicholson, assistant 
cashier. The capital stock is $25,000 and the deposits amount to 
$160,000. 

The State Savings Bank of Lamoni was organized and begun 
business in 1898. W. A. Hopkins is the president; Anna A. Dancer, 
vice president; and Oscar Anderson, cashier. The capital stock is 
$50,000 and the deposits $438,000. 

NEWSPAPERS 

The Lamoni Gazette was given to the public in November, 1885, 
by Sumner E. King, from INIissouri. Three months later he disposed 
of the paper to Walker and Hansen. Several owners followed this 




LlJiERTY HO:\IK FOR THE AtJKD, LA.^[()^■1 




C'HILDREN'8 HO.AIE. l^A.MUXI 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 135 

firm and it finally fell into the hands of the Lambert Riuthers who 
changed the name to the Independent Patriot and under tliis name 
it was a success and a great aid in the moral uplift of the conimuuitv. 
It was discontinued in 1910. 

The Lamoni Chronicle, the present newspaper at Lamoni, was 
first established in June, 1894, by W. H. Deam. Deam kept tlie 
paper for a time and then sold out. Several owners followed until 
April 1, 1913, when W. H. Blair, H. E. Gelatt and G. \V. Blair pur- 
chased the plant. They have made a distinct success of the paper and 
have one of the most modern plants ;to be found in the state among 
the smaller papers. The paper runs from eiglit pages up, is six 
columns, and is issued on Thursday of each week to about thirteen 
hundred paid-up subscribers. „- t--- - -- 

THE CITY OF LAMONI AND ITS PEOPLE 

Among the many active agencies for the building of Lamoni is 
the Lamoni Commercial Club, organized to promote the general wel- 
f ace of the community. The business of the town has been very pros- 
jierous due to this spirit. The club was organized in 1907 and its 
first officers were: W. A. Hopkins, president; C. E. Blair, vice presi- 
dent; F. B. Blair, secretary; O. E. Teale, treasurer. 

At the present time Lamoni has upwards of eighteen hundred in- 
habitants and is located in the heart of a rich agricultural, gently 
rolling and fertile prairie country, well settled and improved by 
])rosperous and substantial farmers. 

Lamoni has a modern system of water works installed in 1910, 
with an abundance of good water, supplied from a large lake cover- 
ing over ten acres of ground and thirty feet deep in places, located 
three quarters of a mile from the business section of the town. 

Electricity for the town is supplied by the plant at the Herald 
office, which also supplies current for Davis City and Kellerton. 

In 1914 an extensive sewerage system was laid beneath the jirin- 
cipal streets, the sewage being disposed of by means of a septic tank 
located on the outskirts of the city. 

Among the other things which cause Lamoni to be justly proud 
of herself are: two municipally owned parks; a modern, pressed brick 
coliseum building, completed in 1911; an efficient fire company; 
beautiful homes; two banks; charitable homes; two fine church build- 
ings; a splendid telephone system; no saloons, gambling rooms or 
13ool halls; a second class postofl^ce; and above all a spirit of progres- 
sive citizenship. 



136 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Lamoni has for years had a modernly equipi^ed grain elevator, 
inchiding cleaning and shelling stations on the Burlington Railway 
hetween St. Joseph, IMo., and Des jNIoines and Chariton, la. The 
second elevator is owned by the Farmers Grain and Seed Company. 

Lamoni is the headquarters of the Inter- State Trail, which is an 
organized, improved and well marked highway extending from St. 
Paul to Kansas City, via Des Moines, Lamoni and St. Joseph. The 
AVaubonsie Trail, running east and west, also passes through Lamoni, 
forming a junction of the two trails at this point. In the movements 
for good roads the citizens of Lamoni have always taken an active 
interest. 

One of the finest high school buildings in the state is located here. 
This building was started first in 1913-4 and completed. In Novem- 
ber, 1914, fire destroyed the interior and roof, without damaging the 
side walls to any extent, however. The work of rebuilding was imme- 
diately begun and now is about completed. The original cost of this 
magnificent building was $50,000. The equipment is of the latest 
and every care has been taken to comply with the laws of hygiene and 
efiiciency relative to a perfect schoolhouse. 

SOCIETIES 

The fraternal spirit in Lamoni has been developed to a very high 
degree in the past years. Besides the men's clubs there are numerous 
clubs composed of women, all of them organized with a worthy pur- 
pose in view, whether for the intellectual improvement of the mem- 
bers or the co-operative effort to better the city. Perhaps the leading 
club among the women is the Patronesses, more of which is said in 
the history of Graceland College by Inez Smith. 

The Ancient Free and Accepted JNIasons, the Independent Order 
of Odd Fellows, the JNIodern Woodmen of America, all have chapters 
in Lamoni and are prosperous and with strong membership. The 
Grand Army of the Republic Post and the Women's Relief Corps 
hold a strong position in the organized life of the city and have a 
building devoted to their especial use. 

John Anderson Post No. 487, Grand Army of the Republic, at 
Lamoni, la., was organized there in February, 1891. Among the 
twenty charter members were: E. B. Teale, S. A. Ferguson, G. H. 
Teale, J. M. Ashburn, Henry Stoddard, D. F. Crave, Robert Turner 
and David Ennis. They continued as a working body for several 
years, but deaths and removals then caused a discontinuance of the 




Herald I'lihlisliiii"' House 




I In 






^ 



The Coliseum 




Main Street 




Linden Street 



VIEWS IN LAMONI 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 137 

post. Later other old soldiers moved to Lainoni and the post was 
reorganized in October, 1909, with the following as charter members: 
El. A. Stedman, John McElroy, John Smith, Robert Turner, H. A. 
Stebbins, Frank Hackett, John Spaulding and others. The post has 
remained active ever since and every year observes ^Memorial Sundav 
and Decoration Day with befitting ceremonies. 

THE METHODIST CHURCH 

• - . ., ' 

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Lamoni was originally built 
on a farm near Lamoni and was removed to town in 1884. The 
membership in Lamoni is not very strong at the present time, but the 
church itself is well housed and practically free from debt, thus insur- 
ing life though small in membership. 



CHAPTER XII 

THE BEGINNING OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS 

CHURCH 

By Heman C. Smith 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, sometimes 
called the "JNIormon Church," was organized in Fayette, N. Y., on 
the 6th of April, 1830. Joseph Smith Mas chosen its first presiding 
officer, which position he held until his death in 1844. 

In the autumn of 1830 missionaries were sent from headquarters 
in New York to the western country, principally to preach to the 
Indians, but to also preach to others by the way. These missionaries 
were Oliyer Cowdery, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba 
Peterson. 

Pratt had previously been associated with the Disciples, in what 
was known as the Western Reserve, Ohio, and was personally 
acquainted with one Sidney Rigdon, the pastor at ^Mentor, Ohio, so 
called upon Mr. Rigdon en route. After a few weeks spent in that 
vicinity they baptized ]Mr. Rigdon and many others and organized 
a flourishing church in the vicinity of ^Mentor and Kirtland. 

In 1831 Joseph Smith and a large part of the church in New 
York moved to Ohio, and Kirtland became the headquarters of the 
church. 

The missionaries before mentioned moved on to Western JNIis- 
souri, and a portion of the church soon followed them there, locating 
at Independence, in Jackson County, from whence they were expelled 
by a religious persecution in the autumn of 1833. The body of the 
church located in Clay County, but subsequently the County of Cald- 
well was set apart or organized with the understanding that the Latter 
Day Saints were to have control. Consequently they bought out 
the few settlers there, entered the land, and rapidly settled up the 
county, and founded the City of Far West, which soon became quite 
a flourishing place. 

138 




THE ORIGINAL HERALD OFEK IC AT LAMONI 
ConstriK-ted in 1881 




THE I'RESEXT HERALD i;rilJ)ING 
Ercc-tcd ill 1907 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 139 

All this time the organization at Kirtland Avas maintained. 

Joseph Smith removed to ^lissouri in 1838, and the settlement 
at Far West was then considered the central church or headcjuarters. 

Soon after this friction again arose which resulted in the chui-cli 
again heing driven hy mob force from their homes. (I am not enter- 
ing into the causes of these disturbances, real or supposed, as I sup- 
pose that is not the subject in which you are interested.) 

In the winter of 1838 and 1839 the great body of the Latter Day 
Saints left the State of Missouri and found a temporary asylum 
near Quincy, 111. 

Soon after they purchased two large farms in the vicinity of 
Commerce, subsequently called Nauvoo, in Hancock County, and 
there enjoyed a season of great prosperity, the City of Xauvoo at 
one time having a population of about thirty thousand, and was 
said at the time to have been the largest city in the State of Illinois. 

Large portions of the surrounding country were also possessed 
by members of the church and extensive settlements made on the 
Iowa side of the river. 

Their former enemies in INIissouri were industrious in stirring up 
their new neighbors against them and after a few years of compara- 
tive ])rosperity they were again beset by violent opposition. 

This culminated in the murder of Joseph Smith and his brother, 
Hvrum, bv a mob of ruffians at Carthage, 111., on June 27, 1844. 
The church then broke up into many factions, following different 
leaders. One of the most bold and unscrupulous was Brigham 
Young, who with his faction afterwards settled in Utah and has been 
a continual source of trouble to the Government on account of the 
practice of polygamy and other questionable things. This practice, 
by the way, was not taught, nor indulged in during the lifetime of 
Joseph Smith, as the evidence abundantly shows, though Young and 
his followers have dated the practice back to 1843, doubtless to give 
this criminal practice the prestige of Joseph Smith's name among 
those who believed in his claims. It was this faction under Brigham 
Young who first settled at INIount Pisgah in Jones Township. 

The Latter Day Saints, , with headquarters at Lamoni, have 
always strongly advocated the original faith on the marriage ques- 
tion, and ever since 1862 have maintained a mission in Salt Lake 
City, Ut., protesting earnestly against the doctrine of polygamy 
practiced there. One of the articles of faith of the Latter Day 
Saints reads: "We believe that marriage is ordained of God and 
tliat the law of God provides for but one conqianion in wedlock for 



140 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

■ 

either man or woman, except in case of death or where the marriage 
contract is broken by transgression." 

THE PRESENT STATUS OF THE CHURCH 

The little City of Lamoni, la., is the headqnarters, the center, of 
the Latter Day Saints Church in the ^^orld. Here are located the 
general offices, the main church and the official publications. Besides 
the church at Lamoni there are in Decatur County branches of the 
church at the following places: Six miles southwest of Lamoni, 
four miles north of Lamoni, seven miles east of Lamoni, one at Davis 
City, one at Pleasanton and one at Leon. 

Among the general church officers at Lamoni are: Elbert A. 
Smith, one of the presidency of three men; R. S. Salyards, secretary; 
Heman C. Smith, historian, and Claude I. Carpenter, recorder. 
These officers are located in the Herald Building. The present 
church building, a handsome and commodious structure, was built in 
1882-83. 

The church in Lamoni maintains two homes for old folks and 
one home for homeless or unfortunate children. The old folks' 
homes are under the charge of a board of control, consisting of Joseph 
Roberts, Richard J. Lambert and Lorenzo Haver. The Children's 
Home is incorporated as such, approved by the state authorities, 
and is under the control of a board of trustees. Heman C. Smith 
is president of this board; Oscar Anderson is secretary; Joseph Rob- 
erts, treasurer; Richard Bullard, ^Irs. L. L. Resseguie, ^Irs. C. B. 
Stebbins and ]Mrs. ^Minnie Xicholson. There are forty acres of 
land in connection with this latter home, and over one hundred acres 
connected with the homes for the aged. 

THE saints' herald 

At the semi-annual conference of the Church of Latter Day Saints 
of 1859, October 6th to 10th, it was resolved that the church publish a 
monthly church paper and continue it six months, called the True 
Latter Day Saints' Herald. 

This publication was inaugurated at Cincinnati, Ohio, where it 
was continued as a monthlv until ]March, 1863. At this time the 
office was removed to Piano, Kendall County, 111., and the first issue 
from this place was in April, 1863. Beginning in July of the same 
year the Herald Mas issued as a semi-monthly and continued so until 



X 









o 
a 






00 
CO 




HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 141 

the end of the year 1882. Then, beginning with tlie first week in 
January, 1883, it was issued weekly. 

In the latter part of the year 1881 the plant was removed from 
Piano to Lamoni, Decatur County, la., and the first issue from this 
place was run off the in-esses November 1, 1881. 

The first editor of this paper was Isaac Sheen, and he served 
until JNIay 1, 1865. Then Joseph Smith took charge of the editorial 
department of the paper. Associated with liim at different times 
as assistant editors have been: JNI. H. Forscutt, ^I. B. Ohver, H. A. 
Stebbins, Daniel F. Lambert, W. W. Blair, R. S. Salyards, F. :M. 
Smith, Leon A. Gould and E. A. Smith; in April, 1803, the office 
of corresponding secretary was created and Joseph Luff took the 
position, to be succeeded by Heman C. Smith, and later by David A\\ 
Wight and T. M. Sheehy. Joseph Smith came to his death on 
December 10, 1914. The board of publication consists of Edwin A. 
Blakeslee, president; Albert Carmichael, business manager; Thomas 
A. Hougas, Oscar Anderson and Frederick B. Blair; J. A. Gunsal- 
ley, secretary. Elbert A. Smith and John F. Garver are editors 
of the Herald; Heman C. Smith is editor of the Journal of Historv; 
E. A. Smith is editor of Autumn Leaves; ^Irs. Estella AVight is 
editor of Stepping Stones, a juvenile paper; Ethel I. Skank and 
Miss Wight are editors of Zion's Hope. 

The first Herald monthly was a 24-page paper, 4 by 7 inches; 
then was reduced to sixteen pages. In 1876 it was made a 32-page 
paper, and the next year again reverted to sixteen pages. The name 
has now been changed to the Saints' Herald, and each issue com- 
prises twenty-four pages, 8 by IQl/^ inches. 

The Herald office as first erected in Lamoni during the summer 
of 1881 was built of bricks burned in Lamoni. During tlie years 
1891-92 a wing was added on the west, consisting of two stories and 
a basement. On the morning of January 5, 1907, this building was 
completely destroyed by fii-e, but before the day was done steps were 
taken toward rebuilding. At a citizens' meeting in Lamoni the fol- 
lowing Sunday $17,000 was subscribed tow^ard a new structure. The 
work of rebuilding began during the last week in INIay, considerable 
work in excavating and cleaning away debris having been prior to 
that date. The new building consists of two stories and basement. 
The top floor is used by the editors, proofreaders, church library and 
offices of general church officers; the ground floor contains the man- 
ager's office, composing room, mailing room and bindery; in the 
basement are the presses, repair shops and storerooms. Tlie power, 



142 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

heating and lighting plant is in a separate building. This plant not 
only supijlies Lanioni with electricity, but also Kellerton and Davis 
City. The new building was dedicated in November, 1907. 

The present circulation of the Herald is about ten thousand, these 
papers going all over the world. 

In the Herald Building there is located the general church library. 
This library is controlled by a library commission and is open to the 
public. The number of volumes in the institution is small, owing 
to the fact that the most of the valuable books were destroyed by the 
fire of January, 1907, when the whole Herald Building was con- 
sumed. 



'X 



•y 



o 
^1 




CHAPTER XIII 
EARLY SETTLEMENT AT GARDEN GROVE 

By Heman C. Smith 

I 
I 

It appears that what is -now known as Decatur County, la., has 
had attraction for the oppressed, not only of other nations, but of 
our own. Five years prior to the advent of the Hungarians a settle- 
ment was made at Garden Grove by exiles from a sister state. To 
enter into the merits of the controversy which caused them to be 
expelled from their homes is not our province. It is the old story of 
long-established organizations objecting to the formation of new 
ones, and of protesting to the point of violence. Without entering 
into discussion of the issues, it will be sufficient to present the con- 
dition of this people as they left their former homes and arrived 
within the precincts of what is now Decatur County. In doing this 
we cannot do better than to quote from an address delivered by 
Col. Thomas L. Kane before the Pennsylvania Historical Society, 
on the 26th of INIarch, 1850: 

"A few years ago, ascending the Upper Mississippi in the autumn 
when its w^aters were low, I was compelled to travel by land past the 
region of the rapids. IMy road lay through the half-breed tract, a 
fine section of Iowa, which the unsettled state of its land titles had 
appropriated as a sanctuary for coiners, horse thieves and other out- 
laws. I had left my steamer at Keokuk, at the foot of the lower 
fall, to hire a carriage, and to contend for some fragments of a dirty 
meal with the swarming flies, the only scavengers of the locality. 
From this place to where the deep water of the river returns, my 
eye wearied to see everywhere sordid, vagabond and idle settlers; 
and a country marred, without being improved, by tlieir careless 

hands. 

"I was descending the last hillside upon my journey, when a land- 
scape in delightful contrast broke upon my view. Half encircled by a 
bend of the river, a beautiful city lay glittering in the fresh morning 

143 



144 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

sun; its bright, new dwellings, set in cool, green gardens, ranging up 
around a stately dome-shaped hill, which was crowned by a noble 
marble edifice, whose high, tapering spire was radiant with white and 
gold. The cit}'' aj^peared to cover several miles; and beyond it, in 
the background there rolled off a fair country, chequered by the care- 
ful lines of fruitful husbandry. The unmistakable marks of industry, 
enterprise, and educated wealth everywhere, made the scene one of 
singular and most striking beauty. 

"It was a natural impulse to visit this inviting region. I procured 
a skiff, and rowing across the river, landed at the chief wharf of the 
city. No one met me there, I looked, and saw no one. I could hear 
no one move ; though the quiet everywhere was such that I heard the 
flies buzz, and the water-ripples break against the shallow of the 
beach. I walked through the solitary streets. The town lay as in a 
dream, under some deadening spell of loneliness, from which I almost 
feared to wake it; for plainly it had not slept long. There was no 
grass growing up in the paved ways; rains had not entirely washed 
away the prints of dusty footsteps. 

"Yet I went unchecked. I went into empty workshops, ropewalks, 
and smithies. The spinner's wheel was idle; the carpenter had gone 
from his work-bench and shavings, his unfinished sash and casing. 
Fresh bark was in the tanner's vat, and the fresh-chopped light wood 
stood piled against the baker's oven. The blacksmith's shop was cold ; 
but his coal heap, and ladling pool, and crooked watering horn, were 
all there, as if he had gone for a holiday. No work people anywhere 
looked to know my errand. If I went into the gardens, clinking the 
witcket-latch loudly after me, to pull the marigolds, heart's-ease, and 
lady-slippers, and draw a drink with the water-sodden well-bucket 
and its noisy chain; or, knocking^ off with mv stick the tall, heavy- 
headed dahlias and sunflowers, hunted over the beds for cucumbers 
and loveapples — no one called out to me from any opened window, 
or dog sprang forward to bark and alarm. I could have supposed the 
people hidden in the houses, but the doors were unfastened ; and when 
at last I timidly entered them, I found dead ashes white upon the 
hearths, and had to tread a-tiptoe, as if walking down the aisle of a 
country church, to avoid rousing irreverent echoes from the naked 
floors. 

"On the outskirts of the town was the city graveyard; but there 
was no record of plague there, nor did it in any wise differ much from 
other Protestant American cemeteries. Some of the mounds were 
not long sodded ; some of the stones were newly set, their dates recent, 




STREET SCENE. GARDEN DRDVE 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY U5 

and their black inscriptions glossy in the mason's hardly dried letter- 
ing ink. Beyond the graveyard, out in the fields, 1 saw, in one spot 
hard by where the fruited boughs of a young orchard had been rouglily 
torn down, the still smouldering remains of a barbecue lire tliat had 
been constructed of rails from the fencing around it. It was the 
latest sign of life there. Fields upon fields of heavy iieaded yellow 
grain lay rotting ungathered upon the ground. Xo one was at liand 
to take in their rich harvest. As far as the eve could reach, tliev 
stretched away — they sleeping too in the hazy air of autumn. 

"On\v two portions of the city seemed to suggest the import of 
this mvsterious solitude. On the southern suburb, the houses lookiim- 
out upon the country showed, by their splintered woodwork and walls 
])attered to the foundation, that thev had latelv l)een the mark of a 
destructive cannonade. And in and around the splendid temple, 
wliich had been the chief object of my admiration, armed men were 
barracked, surrounded by their stacks of musketry and pieces of heavy 
ordnance. These challenged me to render an account of myself, and 
why I had the temerity to cross the water without a written permit 
from a leader of their band. 

"Though these men were generally more or less under~nie in- 
fluence of ardent spirits, after I had explained myself as a passing- 
stranger, they seemed anxious to gain my good o])inion. They told 
the story of the dead city; that it had been a notable manufacturing 
and commercial mart, sheltering over twenty thousand persons; that 
they had waged war with its inhabitants for several years and had 
finallv been successful onlv a few davs before mv visit, in an action 
fought in front of the ruined suburb; after which they had driven 
them forth at the point of the sword. The defense, they said, had 
been obstinate, but gave way on the third day's bombardment. They 
])oasted greatly of their prowess, especially in this battle, as they 
called it; but I discovered that they were not of one mind as to cer- 
tain of the exploits that had distinguished it; one of which, as I re- 
member, was, that they had slain a father and his son, a boy of fifteen, 
not louff residents of the fated citv, whom thev admitted to have 
borne a character without reproach. 

"It was after nightfall M'hen I was ready to cross the river on 
my return. The wind had freshened since the sunset, and the water 
))eatinff roughlv into mv little boat, I hedged higher up the stream 
than the point I had left in the morning and lighted to where a faint 
glimmering invited me to steer. Here, among the dock and ruslies, 
slieltered onlv by the darkness, without roof between them and tlie 

Vnl. I —10 



146 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

sky, I came upon a crowd of several hundred human creatures, whom 
my movements roused from uneasy slumber upon the ground. Pass- 
ing these on my way to the light I found that it came from a tallow 
candle in a paper funnel shade, such as is used by street venders, 
and wliich, flaming and guttering away in the bleak air off the water, 
shone fiickeringly on the emaciated features of a man in the last stage 
of a bilious remittent fever. The}" had done their best for him. Over 
his head was something like a tent, made of a sheet or two, and he 
rested on a partially torn straw mattress, with a hair sofa cushion 
under his head. His gaping jaw and glazing eye told how short a 
time he used these luxuries; though a seemingly excited and bewild- 
ered person, who miglit have been his wife, seemed to find hope in 
occasionaih" forcing him to swallow awkwardly, sips of the tepid river 
water, from a burned and battered bitter-smelling tin coffee-pot. 
Those who knew better had furnished the apothecary he needed; a 
toothless old bald-head, whose manner had the repulsive dullness 
of a man familiar with death scenes. He, so long as I remained, 
mumbled in his patient's ear a monotonous and melancholy prayer, 
between the pauses of which I heard the hiccup and sobbing of two 
little girls, who were sitting up on a piece of driftwood outside. 

"Dreadful, indeed, was the suffering of these forsaken beings; 
bowed and cramped by cold and sunburn, alternating as each weary 
day and night dragged on, they were, almost all of them, the crippled 
victims of disease. They were there because they had no homes, nor 
hospital, nor poorhouse, nor friends to offer them any. They could 
not satisf'v the feeble cravings of their sick: thev had not bread to 
quiet the fractious hunger-cries of their children. ^Mothers and babes, 
daughters and grandparents, all of them alike, were bivouacked in 
tatters, wanting even covering to comfort those whom the sick shiver 
of fever was searching to the marrow. 

"These were JNlormons, in Lee County, la., in the fourth week 
of the month of September, in the year of our Lord 1846. The city 
--it was Xauvoo, 111. The oNIormons were the owners of that city, 
and the smiling country around. And those who had stopped their 
plows, who had silenced their hammers, their axes, their shuttles, 
and their workshop wheels; those who had put out their fires, who 
had eaten their food, spoiled their orchards, and trampled under foot 
their thousands of acres of unharvested bread; these were the keepers 
of their dwellings, the carousers in their temple, whose drunken riot 
insulted the ears of the dvinff. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 147 

"I think it was as I turned from the wretched night-watch of 
whicli 1 have spoken, that 1 first listened to the sounds of revel of a 
party of tlie guard within the city. Above the (hstant liuni of tlie 
voices of many, occasionally rose disinct the loud oatli-tainted ex- 
clamation, and the falsely intonated scrap of vulgar song; but lest 
this requiem should go unheeded, every now and then, wlien their 
boisterous orgies strove to attain a sort of ecstatic climax, a cruel 
spirit of insulting frolic carried some of them up into the liigh belfry 
of the temple steeple, and there, with the wicked chihhsliness of in- 
ebriates, they whooped, and shrieked, and beat the (hum tliat 1 had 
seen, and rang in charivaric unison their loud-tongued steamboat 
bell. 

"They were, all told, not more than six hundred and forty persons 
who were thus lying on the river flats. But tlie ^lormons in Xauvoo 
and its dependencies had been numbered the year before at over 
twenty thousand. AVhere were they? They had last been seen, carry- 
ing in mournful train their sick and w^ounded, halt and blind, to dis- 
appear behind the western horizon, pursuing the phantom of another 
home. Hardly anything else was known of them: and people asked 
wn'th curiosity, 'What had been their fate — what their fortunes?' " 

As stated by Colonel Kane, these people whom he visited on the 
banks of the ]Mississippi were but the remnant of the people wlio 
had inhabited the city described by him, most of whom had already 
departed for the West. 

Iowa, with her magnificent resources, was then but little known. 
In December, 1853, George William Curtis wrote to a friend in the 
East from ^Milwaukee, Wis., saying: "I have seen a prairie, I have 
darted all day across a prairie, I have been near the INIississippi, I 
have been invited to Iowa, which lies somewdiere over the western 
horizon." 

It was into this almost unknown region that this unfortunate 
people launched in those early days to find a resting place where they 
could again build their homes and enjoy the freedom of which their 
country boasted. Several companies had left the City of Xauvoo, 
taking a westward course into this unknown region. The particular 
company of which we speak left Xauvoo in the early part of Feb- 
ruary, 1846. It was composed of several hundred families. They 
made their first camp on Sugar Creek, a few miles west of the river, 
where they remained for nearly a month, during which time they liad 
great diflSculty in getting sustenance for themselves and then- cattle 
and horses. Orson Pratt who was a leading spirit in the movement, 



148 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

in his private journal, remarks concerning this time that they required 
many hundreds of bushels of grain daily; but as they had not yet 
launclied into regions altogether uninhabited, they were enabled to 
buy large quantities of Indian corn from time to time with money 
and labor. 

On JNlarch 1st the comjiany moved on. The following day they 
camped on the banks of the Des JNIoines River, four miles below the 
Village of Farmington. Then tliey proceeded up the east bank of 
the river until they reached Bonaparte's JNIills, where they crossed 
the river on JNIarch 5th. The weather was cold ; and it being too early 
in the spring for grass, their teams subsisted upon the limbs and bark 
of trees. Heavy rains and snows impeded their progress, while frosty 
nights rendered the situation very uncomfortable. Their camp was 
organized thoroughly, with captains of hundreds, of fifties, and of 
tens ; and all other necessary officers. Their condition was made more 
tolerable by the hunters finding game; and jNIr. Pratt says they 
brought into camp more or less deer, wild turkeys and prairie hens 
every day. 

The real condition of this company can be best described by 
quoting again from the address of Colonel Kane: 

"Under the most favorable circumstances, an expedition of this 
sort, undertaken at such a season of the vear, can scarcelv fail to be 
disastrous. But the pioneer company had set out in haste, and w^ere 
very imperfectly supplied with necessities. The cold Avas intense. 
They moved in the teeth of keen-edged northwest winds, such as 
sweep down the Iowa peninsula from the ice bound regions of the 
timber-shaded Slave Lake and Lake of the Woods ; on the bald prai- 
rie tliere, nothing above the dead grass breaks their free course over 
the hard rolled hills. Even along the scattered Avater courses, where 
they broke the thick ice to give their cattle drink, the annual autumn 
fires had left little wood of any value. The party, therefore, often 
wanted for good camp fires, the first luxuries of all travelers; but, 
to men insufficiently furnished with tents and other shelters, almost 
an essential to life. After days of fatigue, their nights were often 
passed in restless efforts to save themselves from freezing. The 
stock of food proved inadequate ; and as their systems became impov- 
erished, their suffering from cold increased. 

"Sickened with catarrhal affections, manacled bv the fetters of 
dreadfully acute rheumatism, some contrived for a while to get over 
the shortening day's march and drag along some others. But the 
sign of an impaired circulation soon began to show itself in the liabil- 




:HETH0DI8T EPISCOPAL ( HIRCH. 
GARDEN GROVE 




PRESRVTERIAX CHFRGH. GARDEN" (;i;o\E 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY U9 

ity of all to be dreadfully frost-bitten. The hardiest and strongest 
became helplessly crippled. About tlie same time the strength of 
their beasts of draft began to fail. The small supply of provender 
that they could carry with them had given out. The winter-])leached 
prairie straw proved devoid of nourishment, and they could only keep 
them from starving by seeking for the browse, as it is called, a green 
bark, and tender buds, and branches of the cotton wood, and other 
stinted growths of the hollows. 

"To return to Xauvoo was apparently tlie only escape; but this 
would have been to give occasion for fresh mistrust, and so to bring 
new troubles to those they had left there behind them. They resolved 
at least to hold their ground, and to advance as they miglit, were it 
only by limping through the deep snows a few slow miles a day. They 
found a sort of comfort in comparing themselves to the exiles of 
Siberia, and sought cheerfulness in earnest prayers for the spring — 
longed for as morning by the tossing sick. 

"The spring came at last. It overtook them in the Sac and Fox 
country, still on the naked prairie, not yet half way over the trail they 
were following between the ^lississippi and ^lissouri rivers. But it 
brought its own share of troubles with it. The months with which it 
opened proved nearly as trying as the worst of winter. 

"The snow and sleet and rain which fell, as it appeared to them 
without intermission, made the road over the rich prairie soil as im- 
passable as one vast bog of heavy black mud. Sometimes they would 
fasten the horses and oxen of four or five wagons to one, and attempt 
to get ahead in this w^ay, taking turns; but at the close of a day of 
hard toil for themselves and their cattle, they would find themselves 
a quarter or a half mile from the place they left in the morning. The 
heavy rains raised all the watercourses ; the most trifiing streams were 
impassable. Wood fit for bridging was often not to be had, and in 
such cases the only recourse was to halt for the freshets to subside— a 
matter in the case of the headwaters of the Chariton, for instance, of 
over three weeks' delay. 

"These were dreary waitings upon Providence. The most spirited 
and sturdy murmured most at their forced inactivity. And even the 
women, whose heroic spirits had been proof against the lowest ther- 
mometric fall, confessed their tempers fluctuated with the ceaseless 
variations of the barometer. They complained, too, that the health 
of their children suffered more. It was the fact, that the open winds 
of IMarch and April brouglit with them more mortal sickness than the 
sharpest freezing weather. 



150 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTY 

"The frequent burials made the hardiest sicken. On the soldier's 
march it is matter of discipline, that after the rattle of musketry over 
his comrade's grave, he shall tramp it to the music of some careless 
tune in a lively quickstep. But, in the JNIormon Camp, the companion 
who lay ill and gave up the ghost within view of all, all saw as he 
stretched a corpse, and all attended to his last resting place. It was 
a sorrow, too, of itself to simple hearted people, the deficient pomp of 
their imperfect style of funeral. The general hopefulness of human 
— including JNIormon — nature, was well illustrated by the fact, that 
the most provident were found unfurnished with undertaker's articles ; 
so that bereaved affection was driven to the most melancholy make- 
shifts. 

"The best expedient generally was to cut down a log of some eight 
or nine feet long, and slitting it longitudinally, strip off its bark in 
two half cylinders. These, placed aromid the body of the deceased 
and bound firmly together with withes made of the alburnum, formed 
a rough sort of tubular coffin which surviving relations and friends, 
with a little show of black crape, could follow with its inclosure to the 
hole, a bit of ditch, dug to receive it in the wet grounds of the prairie. 
They grieved to lower it down so poorly clad, and in such an unheeded 
grave. It was hard — was it right, thus hurriedly to j^lunge it in one 
of the undistinguishable waves of the great land sea, and leave it 
behind them there, under the cold north rain, abandoned to be for- 
gotten? They had no tombstones; nor could they find rocks to pile 
the monumental cairn. So, when they had filled up the grave, and 
over it prayed a miserere prayer, and tried to sing a hopeful psalm, 
their last office was to seek out landmarks, or call in the surveyor to 
help them to determine the bearings of valley bends, headlands, or 
forks and angles of constant streams, by which its position should 
in the future, be remembered and recognized. The name of the be- 
loved person, his age, the date of his death, and these marks were all 
registered with care. The party was then ready to move on. Such 
graves mark all the line of the first year of the JNIormon travel — dis- 
piriting milestones to failing stragglers in the rear. 

"It is an eri,'or to estimate largely the number of jNIormons dead 
of starvation, strictly speaking. Want developed disease, and made 
them sick under fatigue, and maladies that would otherwise have 
proved trifling. But only those died of it outright who fell in out-of- 
the-way places, that the hand of brotherhood could not reach. Among 
the rest no such thing as plenty was known, while any went an 
hungered. If but a part of a group was supplied with provision, the 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 151 

only result was, that the a\ hole went on the half or quarter ration, 
according to the sutiiciency that there was among them; and this so 
ungrudgingly and contentedly, that, till some crisis of trial to tlieir 
strength, they were themselves unaware that their health was sink- 
ing, and their vital force impaired. Hale young men gave up tlieir 
own provided food and shelter to the old and helpless, and walked 
their way back to parts of the frontier states, chiefly ^Missouri and 
Iowa, where they were not recognized, and hired themselves out for 
wages, to purchase more. Others were sent there to exchange for 
meal and flour, or wheat and corn, the table and bed furniture, and 
other last resources of personal property which a few had still retained. 
"In a kindred spirit of paternal forecast, others laid out great 
farms in the wilds, and planted in them the grain saved for their own 
bread, that there might be harvests for those mIio should follow them. 
Two of these, in the Sac and Fox country, and beyond it, Garden 
Grove and Blount Pisgah, included within their fences above two 
miles of land apiece, carefully planted in grain, witli a hamlet of 
comfortable log cabins in the neighborhood of each. 

"Through all this, the pioneers found redeeming comfort in the 
thought, that their own suffering was the price of humanity to their 
friends at home. But the arrival of spring proved this a delusion. 
Before the warm weather had made the earth dry enough for easy 
travel, messengers came in from Nauvoo to overtake the party, with 
fear-exaggerated tales of outrage, and to urge the chief men to hurry 
back to the city, that they might give counsel and assistance there. 
The enemy had only ^^aited till the emigrants were supposed to be 
gone on their road too far to return to interfere with them, and then 
renewed their aggressions." 

Notwithstanding this suffering, however, they seemed to have 
been cheerful and devoted to their convictions. Under date of xVpril 

5, Elder Pratt says: 

"It being Sunday, a portion of our camp met together, to offer 
up our sacrament to the JNIost High. After a few remarks by myself 
and Bishop Miller, we proceeded to break bread, and administer in 
the holy ordinance of the Lord's supper. At 6 o'clock in the evening 
we met with the captains of companies to make arrangements for 
sending twelve or fourteen miles to the settlements for corn to sus- 
tain our animals." 

The next day, April 6th, his journal records the following: 
"This morning, at the usual hour of prayer, we bowed before the 
Uord with thankful hearts, it being just sixteen years since the or- 



152 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

ganization of this church, and we were truly grateful for the many 
manifestations of the goodness of God towards us as a people." 

On the same day they sent nine or ten wagons with four yoke of 
oxen on each wagon to the settlements to obtain corn. These teams 
were gone two days, returning on the 8th, most of them empty. Great 
difficulty was found in finding sustenance for teams as they moved 
slowly westward. 

On April 16th they arrived at a grove, which is described by Elder 
Pratt as "a very pleasant grove which we called Paradise; and about 
a mile to the south found the grass very good." Here they stopped 
several days and recruited their teams. Resuming their journey on 
the 22d they arrived at their temporary resting place on April 24t, 
1846. Under that date Elder Pratt records the following: 

"Yesterday we traveled about eight miles, today six miles. We 
came to a place which we named Garden Grove. At this point we 
determined to form a small settlement and open farms for the benefit 
of the poor, and such as were unable, for the present, to pursue their 
journey farther, and also for the benefit of the poor who were yet 
behind." 

On the 27th he records that at the sound of the horn they gathered 
together to organize for labor. One hundred men were appointed for 
cutting trees, splitting rails, and making fence; forty-eight to cut 
logs for the building of log houses ; several were appointed to build a 
bridge ; a number more for the digging of wells ; some to make wood 
for plows; and several more to watch the flocks and keep them from 
straying; while others were sent several days' journey into the Mis- 
souri settlements to exchange horses, feather beds, and other prop- 
erty, for cows, provisions, etc. 

On jNIay 10th Elder Pratt's jom*nal records the following: 

"A large amount of labor has been done since arriving in this 
grove; indeed the whole camp are very industrious. INIany houses 
have been built, wells dug, extensive farms fenced, and the whole 
place assumed the appearance of having been occupied for years, 
and clearly shows what can be accomplished by union, industry, and 
perseverance." 

The recognized leader of this movement was Brigham Young; 
but Elder Orson Pratt, and his brother Parley P. Pratt, seemed to 
come more clearly into the limelight of history during the movement 
than did Elder Young. They were apparently the leading spirits. 
Elder Orson Pratt was a scholar of no mean attainments; and dur- 
ing their travels from TsTauvoo to Garden Grove, frequently took ob- 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 153 

sei-vations from the sun by the use of instruments in his possession 
by which he ascertained the latitude of their camp and corrected 
their time. He ascertained that Garden Grove was in latitude fortv 
degrees and fifty-two minutes. How nearly this agree:> vvitli later 
observations we are not able to say, but it is approximately correct. 

Among the leading spirits was also Bishop George JNliller, who 
was not always in harmony with others of the leaders, in conse(iucnce 
of which he finally left them at Winter Quarters on JNlissouri River. 

Their meeting-house was located on what is now the northeast 
one quarter of the northeast one quarter of section 33, 70, 24, now a 
part of the farm of \Villiani AVaters, and within the present cor- 
porate limits of the Town of Garden Grove. 

Two farms were fenced and cultivated with an area respectively 
of 1,500 acres; a mill was erected for grinding corn on the south line 
of section 28, midway of the section. 

The cemetery was located in the southeast part of the southeast 
quarter of section 28. There are now more than one hundred o^vners 
of the realty that w^as originally contained within the confines of tliese 
two fields mentioned above. 

The leading men remained at Garden Grove but a short time, 
resuming their journey on j\Iay 11th, to pursue their western pilgrim- 
age and form other settlements for like purposes at what they called 
Blount Pisgah, in Union County, and at Kanesville (Coimcil 
Bluffs), la. Such were the people, and such were the circumstances 
under which the first town was founded in Decatur County. Leav- 
ing this place these leading men left behind them a sufficient company 
to cultivate these fields and raise grain for the sustenance of other 
parties who were to follow them in the exodus. 

The colony was maintained until the spring of 18.52, some going 
and others coming from time to time, and it is estimated that at times 
there were as many as 300 families at Garden Grove. 

Finally they all disappeared, leaving their temporary homes to be 
occupied by the later emigrants who came to that fruitful land, until 
now there is no vestige left of the early settlement except the name 
Garden Grove, which is appropriately perpetuated. During the time 
of the settlement Garden Grove was a recmiting station for emi- 
o-rants coming from Em-ope and the eastern states en route for Utah. 



CHAPTER XIV 
DECATUR COUNTY TOWNS 

DAVIS CITY 

The Town of Davis City is located on the west bank of Grand 
River, on section 33, Burrell Township. The town was laid out in 
18.55 by W. H. Cheever. The autumn before, however, William 
Davis had constructed a log residence and a sawmill, the latter ope- 
rated by water power. In the spring of 18.55 he built a frame dwell- 
ing and in the autumn of 1856 he erected the first store in the town. 
In this store the first stock of goods was placed on sale by G. W. 
Jenre, who later sold out to Arnold & Davis, which firm was in turn 
succeeded by Davis & Bowman. Henry Bowman built a hardware 
store in 1872, the same year in which J. R. Frisbie put up the second 
store building in the town. At this time there were no more than 
fifty people in Davis City. Oscar Severe's harness shop w^as opened 
soon after, and then came Archibald Rankin's drug store. Young & 
Wren's "Chicago Store" and INIorris & Clark's store, the latter being 
the first brick structure here. 

The original Town of Davis City contained just four blocks, each 
60 bv 124 feet, and about the vear 1870 Clark's Addition was laid out. 
Other additions have since been made. The j^ostoffice was first at the 
house of W. F. Craig, the first postmaster. Henry Bowman, James 
Teale, Carter Scott were other early incumbents. The railroad was 
constructed through the town in 1879. 

The first school was taught in 1857 by JNIrs. J. S. Warner. A 
brick schoolhouse, with three rooms, was constructed soon after, cost- 
ing $2,200. 

A church was constructed in 1878 by John Clark at a cost of 
$4,500. The INIethodists and United Brethren held alternate meet- 
ings in this building, and it was occasionally used by the Latter Day 
Saints, Christians, Baptists and Adventists. 

15-1 




\U-:\\ IN TH1-: I'AKK. I)A\ IS ( ITY 




MAIN STHKKT LOOKING SOl'lll. I)A\ IS ( I lA 



HISTORY OF DECxVTUR COUNTY 155 

LODGES 

Davis City Post No. 306, Grand Army of the Repu))lic, was 
organized March 31, 1884, with twenty-two nienihers, and was mus- 
tered in by Hugh White, of JNlt. Ayr, under tlie direction of the 
department mustering officer, W. T. Wilkinson. In the spring of 
1885 the post purchased a building for meeting purposes. 

Davis City Lodge No. 375, Ancient Free and Accepted ]Masons, 
was organized in 187^^. Davis City Lodge No. 314, Independent 
Order of Odd Fellows, was organized in 1876 and \\'illiain Asbacli 
was the first noble grand. Davis City Lodge No. 89, I. O. G. T., 
was organized in December, 1885, with fourteen members. 

BANKS 

The Citizens Bank was established here in 1879 by the Decatur 
County Banking Association. 

The Farmers Bank, a private institution, was established first in 
1894 with S. Radnich as president, and A. C. Dorn as cashier. The 
bank commenced business under the present name August 1, 1902. 
J. A. Frazier is president; O. L. Frazier is cashier. The capital 
stock is $10,000 and the deposits amount to $94,000. 

The Valley Bank began business JNIay 15, 1900. J. N. Gates is 
])resident and ow^ner. It is a private bank. The capital is $10,000 
and the deposits amount to $90,000. 

NEW^SPAPERS 

The first paper to be started at Davis City w^as the Clipper and 
was started in 1876 by D. Frank Knapp. Its life expired after 
eighteen months. J. C. Stockton started the Commercial in 1879 
and sold to C. W. Lillie. The last proprietor was C. C. Bartlett. 
He moved away and the paper was taken to Kansas. The Press was 
established in March, 1884, by J. W. ]Mather and discontinued in 
June, 1885. The office material was taken to Weldon and used by 
the Hornet at that place. The Tidings was established in October, 
1885, by Adams Brothers, as an independent paper. The Davis City 
News, the present weekly paper published here, was started in 1910 
by Grant Mallory. The paper has a good circulation and is a four 
page, five column sheet. 

The location of Davis City has many natural advantages. Good 
building stone can be found in abundance, lumber in plenty, one of 
the finest water powers in the county, plenty of good limestone water 
under the town, sand in abundance, brick clay, and excellent farming 



156 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

and grazing country surrounding. It is thought that the wheat lands 
on the bottom lands near and south of the city are as good as any in 
the state; they are also splendid for corn. 

The town is situated on what is called and known as the second 
bottom land, partly level and partly undulating, and above the high 
water mark of Grand River by twenty or thirty feet. 

Xear the western limits of the city there was once located a 
famous spring, where in the early days the Indians came from all 
directions, claiming for it great medical properties. In later days 
the spring was neglected, and the surrounding timber having been 
burnt and scarred to a great extent, while sand has covered all traces 
of the spring. The water then issued forth from under the edge of 
a limestone rock and it is now over a half century since the Indian 
trails led to this place from every direction. 

Another legend is that about three miles southeast of Davis City, 
on section 13, township 67, range 26, stood an oak tree, near ten feet 
in circumference at the surface of the ground and not more than 
thirty feet to the topmost limbs, and spreading out fully twenty-five 
feet each way, while a person could step from the ground up the limbs 
like stair steps. This tree stood out alone, with no forest nor brush 
near. It has been said that the Indians claimed this as their sacred 
tree and brought the sick for many miles, hanging them in hammocks 
at the top of this tree and claiming that they would not die while in 
the tree. Some of the old settlers have claimed to have visited the 
sick in this tree. 

About the year 1832 this point became know7i as the Falls of 
Grand River, and for many years was a noted point. During this 
time the falls became famous, an enterprising citizen of JNIissouri, 
one of the Jackson County INIormons, under the laws of Missouri, 
having pre-empted the Grand River Falls by commencing to improve 
the same for mill power. This power was held until the state 
boundary line question was settled, and when the line passed south 
of the falls several miles, the pre-emption and claim became 
void and the claimant never appeared again in the vicinity. Allen 
Scott, seeing immediately the value of this water power, at once pre- 
empted the same under the territorial laws of Iowa, and held the 
same, entering the adjoining land with the expectation of improving 
the power at some future time. In the year 1855 William Davis 
heard of the falls and their value and, wishing to erect a mill, came 
from the East, examined the property and entered into a partner- 
ship with Scott in erecting a mill. This was in the spring of 1856 




PUBLIC StMOOL BUILDINCi, DAVIS CITY 




RESIDENCE STREET SCENE, 1)A\IS CITY 



HISTOKY OF DECATUR COUNTY 157 

and within three months the mill was running. Davis purchased 
Scott's interest in the mill, also eighty acres of land, and at once laid 
out four blocks of lots, with the intention of bettering the jirospects 
of those who would work for him. 



A GERMAN VILLAGE 

In the early days of the town and vicinity a colony of Gennan 
immigrants settled on land about one mile northwest of Davis City. 
The colony contained mechanics, merchants, physicians and lal)orers. 
They seemed to be in a flourishing condition for a time, but the change 
of climate and manner of living soon had a disastrous effect. Fevers 
broke out among them. The physicians did not understand the nature 
of the disease and nearly all of those attacked died. Their remains 
were buried in a grove near the site of the community. The few sur- 
vivors became scattered and the very location of the village lost. 

GARDEN GROVE 

Newspapers published in 1869 have this to say of Garden Grove: 

This is a handsome village, located in the toAvnship of the same 
name, in the northeast part of the county, and on the road from 
Chariton to Leon. It is on a fine, rolling prairie, adjacent to a splen- 
did grove of timber, on the Weldon Fork of Grand River. It was 
first settled by the ^Mormons in the spring of 1848. but the town plat 
was not recorded until within the last year (1808). The land was 
sold off in parcels by metes and bounds. iNIany of the early ^Mormon 
settlers remained until 1851. The place now contains two general 
stores, one drug store, two hotels, one harness shop, two blacksmith 
shops, one wagon shop, one flouring mill and four physicians. There 
are flourishing lodges of Masons and Odd Fellows here. 

A minute and interesting account of the ^lormon settlement at 
Garden Grove may be read in the article by G. P. Arnold, entitled 
"Early Days," to be found elsewhere in this volume. 

Among the early and actual settlers in this town were Enos Davis, 
O. N. Kellogg, William Davis, Amasa J. Davis and probably a few 
others. Prior to 18o6 there also came to this town the following: 
S. F. Baker, C. R. Lampman, Ben Wooley, G. W. Piper, Hiram 
Chase, Edward Dawes, R. D. Kellogg, D. Stearn, A. B. Stearn. J. 
R. Cary, Hugh Brown, J. H. Woodbury. Thomas Chambei'liu, 
Nathaniel Shaw, Dan Bowen, Svlvanus Arnold, J. D. Burns, S. 



r 



158 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

]Metier, Hiram Chase, Thomas Lilhard, John Vail, S. P. McNeil, 
Robert ^IcBroom. A mmiber of these men brought their families. 
The village never had a sudden growth and, in fact, did not appear 
at all promising until the construction of the railroad in 1871. The 
first shipping into this town by railroad occurred on January 10, 
1872. By the year 188.5 the population had increased to 62.5. G. W. 
Piper was the first postmaster, and A. B. Stearn was the second. 
Other early men in this office were J. S. Brown, Hiram Chase, F. D. 

C. Shaw, J. W. Boyle, J. O. Parrish and John D. Burns. 

Garden Grove was incorporated in the fall of 1879 and John 

D. Burns was the first maj^or. 

SCHOOLS 

The first school in Decatur County w^as taught here in the winter 
of 1848-49. No building for school purposes was erected for several 
years. A frame structure was then built and was soon after de- 
stroyed by fire. In 18.56 a brick building was put up and was then 
considered the finest school in Southern Iowa. In 1873 a new frame 
building was erected, costing $7,000. 

The Garden Grove Normal School was started in 1881, under 
Prof. R. A. Harkness, with two assistants. A building, costing 
$.5,000, was erected on grounds west of the depot. The school had 
good attendance from this and surrounding counties until Harkness 
was called to the professorship in Parsons College, Fairfield, la., 
and then the school was discontinued. 

CHURCHES 

The Presbyterian Church was organized July 9, 1856, at Stephen 
Carrither's, six miles west of Garden Grove, by a committee ap- 
pointed by the Des INIoines presbytery, consisting of Rev. J. M. 
Batchelor and Elder Wills. Calvin Johnson and Thomas Cham- 
berlin were chosen elders. The first members were Calvin and Sarah 
Johnson, Thomas and Elizabeth Chamberlin, James and Sarah J. 
Irven, Joseph and Eliza Johnson, INIaria L. Brengle, Anna A. 
iNIoore, Elizabeth Carrithers, Harriet Brown and JNIary Burns. This 
was then called the Leon Church and preaching was by turns at 
I^eon, Calvin Johnson's place, Prairie City and Garden Grove. 
Afterward the name was changed to the Garden Grove Church. The 
pastors have been Revs. James P. Brengle, Craig Van Emmon, 




METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH. DAMS t ITV 




UNION CHURCH, DAVIS CITY 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 150 

Reuben Halm, Fred Rea, George Ensley, Robert Beer. During 
tlie war a frame church was built at a cost of $1,300. A fine brick 
church was constructed in 1882 and cost $4,000. 

The ^Methodist Episcopal Church was organized at an early day 
in the house of Sylvanus xVrnold, a mile west of the village. Reverend 
Carey formed the first class, among the meni])ers being iVrnold. his 
wife and daughter, and Carey and wife. Charlotte Sliaw and her 
father were received soon after. Until 18()8 the society held their 
meetings in the Presbyterian house of worship. In the spring of 
that vear plans were made for the erection of a chuich of their own, 
and the cornerstone was laid on July 26th. , The property cost $4,000. 

LODGES 

Temple Lodge Xo. 170, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, 
was chartered June 7, 186.5, with B. ^V. Richards as the first worship- 
ful master, E. H. Alexander as senior warden, and A. Culver as 
junior warden. A hall was built in 1869 which cost the lodge the 
sum of $1,600. 

An order of Independent Order of Odd Fellows was maintained 
from 1864 to 1872 and then removed to Humeston. 

Henry Walton Post No. 312, Grand Army of the Republic, was 
nmstered April 8, 1883, with about twelve members. Bryson Bruce, 
S. L. Wood, W. H. Kehler, C. D. Wheeland, V. L. Chester, Willis 
Hine, C. R. Hall, C. E. Mater and Michael Sullivan held the first 
offices. 

BANKS 

The Garden Grove Bank was established in July, 1880, by the 
Decatur County Banking Association (D. and A. B. Stearns and 
L. P. Sigler). G. J. Woodbury was the cashier. C. S. Stearns & 
Brothers began in the banking business in November, 1883. The 
Stearns family were probably the most influential people in the de- 
velopment of Garden Grove. The elder members of the family, 
D. and A. B., came here in 18.54 from Ohio and in July of that year 
A. B. was hired to G. W. Piper, the only mercliant in the town, 
Sylvanus Arnold making the contract in favor of :Mr. Stearns. At 
that time whiskev was freely sold and Sunday was the big day for 
disposing of the liquor. :Mr. Arnold stipulated that Stearns woulid 
not sell whiskey on Sunday, an agreement which Piper acce]ited. 
This had the effect of breaking up the Sunday wliiskey traffic. Dan 



160 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTY 

Stearns at this time was breaking prairie for the wage of $12 per 
month. In two months A. B. Stearns bought out Piper's store and 
the two brothers went into partnership. 

In 1900 the First National Bank was estabhshed with C. S. 
Stearns as president and F. E. Stearns as vice president. This bank 
has been merged into the institution now known as the C. S. Stearns 
Commercial Bank, with C. S. Stearns as president; H. J. Culver, 
vice president. The capital stock is $2.5,000; and the deposits are 
$200,000. 

NOTES 

William Davis is said to have bought the entire ]Mormon claim for 
$400. The JNIormons also sold 400 head of sheep to the settlers at an 
average price of 45 cents per head. 

About two hundred Pottawattomie Indians encamped on the 
creek west of Young's farm in the winter of 1851-52. 

The first trees planted in the village were two willows. They 
were cut in Davis County, la., by Tom Knapp and O. X. Kellogg 
and after being used for more than three days for riding switches 
they were j)lanted. 

The nearest settlement to Garden Grove in 1850 was at Didge's 
Point, now in Appanoose County, forty miles away. 

The first meadow of tame grass cut in the county was a twenty 
acre lot of which Professor Harkness' home later occupied the south- 
west corner. 

Josephine Kellogg, daughter of O. X. Kellogg, was the first 
child born in the village. 

In the winter of 1848-49 the nearest postoffice was at Priceton, 
Mo., and for three months there was no communication between the 
settlers and the outside world. At the end of these three months a 
couple of strangers passed through from Princeton and A. J. Davis 
and John Brown took advantage of their tracks in the snow and vis- 
ited the postoffice, forty miles distant. 

The first sawmill was drawn from Keokuk by Tom Knapp with 
an outfit of sixteen yoke of cattle, a pair of horses and two wagons 
built in Keokuk for the purpose. The mill was set on the banks of 
the Weldon, west of town, and the freight bill paid by Knapp was 
$560. 

In February, 1884, fire destroyed a solid block in Garden Grove, 
from the corner of Main and Jefferson east, including Jenning's 
general store, Woodbury's drug store, Craig's barber shop, Knapp's 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 161 

meat market, Brown's grocery, F. E. Stearns & Co's. general store, 
McCaull's boot and shoe shop, Rideway's harness shop and the post- 
office. 

NEAVSPAPERS 

The Garden Grove Bnlletin was an advertising sheet issued from 
1S54> until 1809 at irregular dates by D. and A. B. Stearns. 

The Garden Grove Enterprise was established in 18G9 by IT. :M. 
Belvel. He sold to W. J. AVhiteman, who discontinued tlie paper 
in 1873. It was a republican paper. 

The Garden Grove Express first came into existence on ]\Iay 
5, 187.3, but was called The Iowa Express until December, 1882. 
J. O. Parrish was editor and proprietor until JNIarch 1, 1881, when he 
disposed of the property to Bryson Bruce. 

EARLY DAYS 

The following is from the pen of G. P. Arnold: 

The words that follow do not purport to reveal new subject mat- 
ter, or to contain anything heretofore unknown, but rather to attempt 
to fix the location of certain landmarks in the earlv history of the 
Township of Garden Grove, to correct a somewhat hazy conception 
of the whereabouts of the temple and other matters allied to the early 
times of this locality. Whenever numbers are used for land sub-divi- 
sion it is understood to apply to the township mentioned above. 

The writer first saw Decatur County in June, 18,53, and cannot, 
therefore, claim that he came here with the first installment of the 
Gentile invasion. The temple I saw, of course, but when it had fallen 
into a prosaic and practical state. "To what base uses we may de- 
scend, Horatio." It was used to stable horses and at this time, to 
make it respectable, would have required the services of a pocket edi- 
tion of Hercules in the original Augean stable act. 

I^ater on this narrative will give location and uses to which this 
temple was dedicated. It is the regret of good men, peace men, like 
Tolstoi, Quakers, Dunkhobers and the like, that to install great re- 
forms or to set up a new religion, streams of innocent blood must be 
shed. The list is long, but the mind readily recalls Calvary, the Roman 
Martyrs, Smithfield and the Tower, Reign of Terror, and but yes- 
terday in ^Moscow and Petrograd, the snow was reddened with the 
blood of working men. The followers of Jose])]i Smith, known as 
the Latter Day Saints or INIormons, had their tragedy, too. When 

Vol.1 — n 



162 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed by a mob at the window of 
Carthage Jail, then the doom of Nauvoo as chief city of the faithful, 
a manufacturing center, utilizing the waters of the great river near 
at hand, was sealed. 

The exodus began in the early months of the year 1847. Small 
parties crossed the river on the ice, driving westward. The presi- 
dency now developed on Brigham Young and about this time the 
idea must have been conceived of pushing on to Salt Lake, as it was 
called upon the maps, for Young and party arrived there in the lat- 
ter part of the same year 1847. One party of refugees came to 
Decatur County, arrived in this township in 1847, named the place 
Garden Grove and established a "Stake in Zion" or perhaps it was a 
"Stake of Zion." The establishment of the stake was to utilize the 
forces of the people and found a kind of theocratic-communal life. 

When called together under a tree in that Aj)ril day, in the year 
1847, some were tolled off as bridge builders, others were to cut the 
logs for cabins, others were set to prepare the ground for planting. 
For the most part they were poor folk and the work animals were 
thin and unequal to the task of breaking prairie. This is usually 
given as the rejison why the settlement was made in or near the timber 
skirting the streams. Although substantial cabins and a few minor 
industries were built it never was the intention to make the stay 
permanent. After Nauvoo, all other than Salt Lake were resting 
places only. 

Practically all left here during 1853. I have alluded to the the- 
ocratic-communal character of the settlement. At one time a little 
less than three sections were fenced in one field. This was subdivided 
into plots of arable land eighteen acres in extent. The farmer paid 
in kind tithings to the church. Those otherwise employed tithed 
themselves in like manner. It is believed that no white man lived in 
the township when the IMormons came; no courts, no law, and the 
land had not been sectionized. It is a matter of fact that they grew 
hemp and being a peaceful people, one is in doubt for what purpose, 
until he remembers the great cable for the great trek in May, 1851. 
No murders are of record or within the memory of any remaining 
Gentile, although rumor is to the effect that a body was found hang- 
ing to a tree in a secluded spot. It may have been a case of suicide; 
at least there was no investigation or attempt thereto made. 

As a rule the INIormons and Gentile neighbors lived in peace to- 
gether, and the exceptional case was that of a man who sought his plow 
shortly after the departure of a delegation for Salt Lake and found 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 163 

only the woodwork in the brush while the share, mouldboard and all 
other iron x^arts presumably were journeying to the Promised Land. 
He, the possessor, argued, perhaps, that it was a sight easier for his 
neighbor to get another from Jolin Deere than he far away in the wilds 
to find one there. The mill, too, where the community ground their 
corn, merits description. The motive power was oxen or cows and the 
burrs turned by reason of the specific gravity of the animals. It was a 
treadmill of a peculiar type. Imagine a wheel with an axle ten feet 
in length, having spokes mortised into the axle in an irregular maimer. 
When the axle alread}" spoked, and a gudgeon in each end was raised 
perpendicularly, the spokes covered with plank, the result was an in- 
clined plane upon which the animals walked, thereby driving the 
burrs. Belts and cogwheels were of wood and rawhide and except 
a few bolts and bits of iron around the stand of burrs, there was little 
besides. Evidently the iron age had not yet arrived. 

Before this mill was made and set up near the south line of sec- 
tion 28, they tried to make out of a hard granite glacial boulder a 
millstone. The work progressed so far as to face the boulder for the 
nether stone and there the work ceased. It is said that the local 
blacksmiths could not temper the steel hard enough to cut the granite. 
The "Big Field," so called, comprised major parts of sections 32, 
33 and 34. There were cabins and improvements scattered along 
the smaller streams, called branches. The temple was located near 
the west line of the northeast of the northeast of section 33, about 
thirty rods south of the town residence of the late Sam INIetier. This 
structure was built of logs and had a puncheon floor. The logs form- 
ing the sides of the building ^\ere pinned together, forming a solid 
side without side brace, and the roof was of clapboards. It was three 
or four stories, all on the ground, as was the current witticism, used in 
describing the Paris mercantile establishment at High Point. The 
temple was used for secular as well as sacred purposes. With tliese 
people dancing was held to be very near a means of grace. 

I am not apprised whether authority for the practice or the art 
terpsichorean was found in the new revelation delivered by Joseph 
Smith, or rested on the Old Testament text. Evidently the New of 
the authorized version did not sanction it. It mattered little to the 
young saints, I imagine, where lay the authority if the local fiddler 
was proficient in scraping the Arkansas Traveller, Fisher's horn pipe 
or Money Musk. Conservative Gentile opinion is, that the popula- 
tion at its height was about two thousand souls. The industries were 
a rope walk, wagon and blacksmith shops and the mill. Critchlow, 



164 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Doctor Roberts and Blanchard were leading lights. Orson Pratt, 
also, as the records in Salt Lake show, tarried here for a season. It is 
mooted whether President Brigham Young was ever here; if he was 
it was while passing through on the first trip to the Salt Lake Basin. 
It is said that Lee, of the JMountain JNIeadows episode, abode here, 
too. Xo credit for that. Brigham Yomig is usually credited with 
having received the revelation concerning polygamy. This new light 
must have come to Young about the time of the dispersion from Nau- 
voo, because two or three of the leaders practiced it while living here. 
This is Gentile testimony. With a short account of what I am pleased 
to call the great trek I will close this part of the early township his- 
torv. On jNIav 20, 1851, the start was made from Garden Grove 
with a train of 120 wagons, all made in shops here out of white oak, 
whip sawed, near at hand. One outfit of two wagons, one of which 
was a trailer, drawn by eight yoke of oxen, carried 1,000 feet of hemp 
rope, 2l/) inches in diameter. The hemp was grown here and worked 
in a local rope walk. The cable was intended for ferrj^ing unbridged 
streams. Pontoons were also a part of the luggage. Accompanying 
the wagon train was a battalion of 500 uniformed, armed men, 
mounted and commanded by a colonel and other officers. It is notice- 
able that whenever these people tarried for a short or longer period 
they began the building of temples. Witness the Ohio Station, Nau- 
voo. Garden Grove, perhaps Pisgah and Council Bluffs, and at last 
Salt Lake where very early, maybe the first year, it is recorded that 
Young drove his walking stick in the ground and declared "that 
here sliall a temj^le be built;" and after many years the pretentious, 
many-pinnacled structure fulfilled the prophecy. 

This closes the short account of the JVIormon phase of the early 
settlement. The Gentiles came here as early as 1848 and later. The 
w^ell known names Kellogg, Davis, Chase, Knapp, Baker, Piper, 
Bowen and others are recalled. O. N. Kellogg built a hotel out of 
JNIormon cabins and added another story atop. It is this ancient hos- 
telry that departed this life twenty-five years ago which by many was 
supposed to have been the ancient temple. At this time good feeling 
existed between the Hungarian colonists of New Buda and the people 
here. I remember that July 4, 1854, witnessed a great out-pouring 
of colonists joining with the people here in honor of the day. Seats 
were used in the peach orchard adjoining the Kellogg Hotel. It 
seems as if New Buda had appeared in force. I recall the presence 
of Pomutz, Varga, oNIitani, JNIadarasz and many others whose names 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTV 165 

have slipped through the meshes of the years. The peacli orcliard 
bore fruit that year to the extent of fifty bushels, it is said. 

Jonathan Creek was named after a pioneer swine-herd who drove 
his half wild, mast fed hogs to the ^lissouri River to find a market. 
His eabin was in Center Township near the stream wjiich l)cars his 
name. Weldon, although the ancestral acres of this family were in 
Burrell Township, was probably named in like manner. Maybe it 
was Cherry Creek, too, after a person, as one of the name lived here. 
It was almost the universal rule to hear, in those days. Grand River 
spoken of as plain Thompson, Thompson's Fork of (iraiid ]?iver, 
never Grand River. Personality counted for much in those days. 
One who has lived in a gold mining camp has been impressed with the 
imaginative, optimistic nature of man}^ of the gold hunters. A story 
spreads quietly that Crazy Dick, or a drunken sailor, was seen with a 
big sack of dust and the dust never came from this camp; then Dick 
or the sailor is followed and in a short time a stampede is under head- 
way. Almost every camp has its old-time story of stam})edes and 
stampeders. Stories are floated about, oftentimes with a basic deal 
of truth, how Lucky Bill took a chance in his claim at I>ast Chance. 
Struck it rich. It was the merest chance that Bill went mining there 
at first. This desire to "strike it" is ingrained in human nature and 
no nationality or race is exempt. The manifestations are the same 
whether at ^Nloosehead in the far North, Gold Lake of the California 
Sierras, Cool-gardie or the Rand of South America. One would not 
expect to find mystery and even a bit of stampede here in Decatur 
County. First as to the mystery. Artillery Grove, in the early days, 
was a prominent landmark situated in Clay Township, Wayne 
County; a high bluff covered with oak trees near Steele Creek could 
be seen from afar. The legend is that troops on their way from the 
fort at Raccoon Forks to Fort Leavenworth buried here two ])ieces 
of artillery to save them from falling into the hands of the Indians. 
This story is at least sixty years old and moss-])acked. Another is 
that a paymaster buried his trunk somewhere in Long Creek Town- 
ship to save his wealth from the savages. This, too, is as old as the 
former and hoary with years. The real stampede occurred liefore 
the Avar during the late '50s when men flocked to the gold mines on 
Steele Creek in High Point Township. Less than twenty years 
ago there remained at the said mines the rotting side of a long torn 
as evidence of the rush. 

It is a fair presumption that th.e artillery were not 16-inch 
pieces and the mines of the Steele Creek basin were not Cri])i)le Creek 



166 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

claims of the first water. Here ends the chapter. This is, the writer 
beheves, a fair account of the early days, not complete and perhaps 
not entirely free from error, but undertaken with the hope that the 
great field, temple and cognate matters of interest, as to location, at 
least might be fixed in the minds of the rising generation ere the last 
living witness had passed in his checks. Sometimes it is necessary to 
jog the memories of the old-timer, "Lest we forget, lest we forget." 

MISCELLANEOUS 

During the winter of 1848 William Davis bought the church j^rop- 
erty at a very small jDrice per acre and resold the land in eighty-acre 
lots at $50 for first choice and down to $30 for the last choice. He 
also formed a partnership with Don C. Roberts and furnished a few 
hundred dollars, which his partner invested in staple commodities, 
mostly groceries, which ^vas quite a convenience, but proved a loss to 
the senior member of the firm as the groceries were partly stolen from 
the cabin fitted up for their occupancy. 

JNIrs. Enos Davis kept a school in their cabin at $1.2o per scholar, 
for a term of three months, the pay mostly in provisions. 

O. N. Kellogg bought the first choice of lots and in the spring 
of 1849, in company with Enos Davis, bought the gardens and the 
use of two cabins of a couple of families living on the tract, and moved 
into them. In September of that year Hiram Chase and his family 
came to ioin the little colony- They w^ere the first to come direct from 
Dodge's Point over the new road just staked out. About that time 
Daniel Winters and JNIordecai Smith, with their families, came from 
Lee County and went about four miles northwest. Winters moved 
to land that he had entered and as he was the first settler there and a 
minister of the ]\Iissionary Baptist Church the settlers named it Gos- 
pel Ridge. In the spring before O. N. Kellogg had entered a quarter 
section there, the first entered in the county. The citizens were formed 
into a society for mutual protection, as many of the claims had val- 
uable improvements. Josiah ^Morgan and a few others, with their 
families, reached the grove in the fall. The latter settled on Jonathan 
Creek, a few miles southwest, where Jonathan Stanley, from Ten- 
nessee, had lived a hermit life for several years, dressing in buckskin 
and living by hunting and trapping. INIorgan bought a claim just 
west of the town and the JNIormon Mill which had failed. He fixed 
the mill and it became a great convenience to the people of the com- 
munity. He built a good, hewed log house adjoining his cabin in 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 167 

in 18o3 and soon after sold and settled on Gospel Ridge. The place 
was afterwards owned and occupied by Sylvanus Arnold and called 
White Oak. 

During the winter of 1849 and 1850 a gentleman named Gwimi, 
from Virginia, visited the place, looking for locations for his chil- 
dren, three of whom, two sons and a daughter, made homes her(i the 
following year. 

Henry B. Notson came and brought a stock of goods, opened a 
store in an extra cabin moved up for the purpose by Enos Davis, with 
whom he boarded. Jehu Blades also sold goods in tlie lower part of 
town, near the creek. 

There w^ere many Indians, chieflv Pottawattomies, in the vicinity 
during the early days, under the control of Chief John Kish Kosh. 

At the time the ^Mormons left the grove the weather was very 
inclement, roads almost impassable; and groceries, flour, meat and 
clothing were sold for small prices in order to lighten the weight of 
the wagons. Along at this time, also, came the need of accommoda- 
tions for travelers. Accordingly O. N. Kellogg added another log 
house to the one he occupied with space between, and an additional 
story over all, the upper part in one room when used for a hall and 
divided by curtains when used for sleeping rooms. A sign told the 
seekers for shelter that this was the California House and a little 
board nailed to the fence marked Entertainment, showed that E. 
Davis' cabin, a little east, might hold a limited number. The flrst 
hotel stood where Doolittle's home later w^as erected. The jNlormon 
young people assembled in the hall sometimes, as their church had been 
taken for a stable. The lumber was whipsawed for doors and floors. 

In the summer of 1849 John JNI. Whitekar of Van Buren County 
made this place his headquarters, being one of the three appointed to 
select the 500,000 acres of school land. He also located the ninety- 
six sections of university land. There was some saline land here, but 
it finally Avent back to the Government. 

R. ]M. ]McBroom settled here in 18.50. 

The first election was held in 18.50. AVilliam Davis, Victor Doze 
and Hiram Chase were the judges. Hiram Chase was elected justice 
of the peace and served twenty years. 

Daniel Hankins came and was the first settler at High Point, 
also brought a hand mill to grind corn. For a number of years it was 
at least forty miles to a good flouring mill. INIost of the goods, flour 
included, came from Keokuk — Cleghorn & Harrison, Bridgeman & 
Reed, Cox & Shelley were among the principal houses dealt with. 



168 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

The Des 3Ioines Valley Whig was the fii'st paper taken after a post- 
office was secured. 

S. F. Baker and wife came in 1851 on their bridal tour. Z. W. 
Knapp and family joined their friends, Chase and Kellogg, and many 
others also came in 1852. The next year brought an even greater 
number, many of them locating around Gospel Ridge, most of them 
from Illinois. A school district had been organized and JNIrs. Enos 
Davis taught in the east room of the California House. Hiram Chase 
had a school in their kitchen the preceding winter. 

The year 1854 brought a great influx of valuable settlers. Wil- 
liam Davis and Hiram Chase built a two-story frame schoolhouse and 
Rev. J. R. Cary began school there. While soldering some tin on 
the cupola a workman dropj)ed a coal which ignited the shavings and 
the building was consumed. Sylvanus Arnold replaced it with an 
octagonal brick, which in turn was supplanted by another frame 
structure. 

E. W. Dawes purchased the first hotel property and it w^as then 
called the Dawes House. The Ohio House and the Amos House 
were later hotels. 

Garden Grove was incorporated in 1879. 

D. L. Bowen and George Douglass built the first flouring mill. 
John Avis, an Englishman, and his wife walked from Keokuk, carry- 
ing their small child and luggage and built the first frame house in 
Garden Grove. This home was later improved and became the resi- 
dence of A. C. Shaw. The first sawmill was built by a company and 
operated by John ^larshall, west of town, on Weldon, in 1855-56. 

PLEASANTON 

The Town of Pleasanton is situated on the divide between Grand 
River and Little River on the south line of Decatur County. The 
surrounding country is a rolling prairie, fertile and in a good state 
of preservation. 

One account states that the town was laid out in the spring of 
1854 by Daniel Bartholow and called Pleasant Plain. Another 
authority states that the town was founded in 1854 by William Snook 
and William Loving. The town was first know^n as Pleasant Plain. 
There was a postoffice 2l/4 miles northwest of the place called Nine 
Eagles, which was subsequently moved here and the name changed 
to Pleasanton. 

The first business house erected for use as a general store was 
owned by a Mr. Hinkle. It was located on the lot where the Painter 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 169 

store later stood. The next building was constructed on the present 
site of the Tye Building, by Green Watson. The \illage liad a very 
slow growth until 188^3 when the Des Moines & Kansas City Rail- 
road was built through the jDlace. This is now a part of the Hui ling- 
ton. When the railroad first reached Pleasanton the town was 
christened Harding, but this name did not remain very long. 

The first hotel or public house 'was conducted by .Joel I'ainter 
and in 1800 the second hotel was erected by Royal Richardson, wliieli 
he managed for twenty-two years. The first postmaster was Captain 
W^arnock. The first schoolhouse, which also served as a meeting 
house, was a log building erected in the early days of the town, Tiie 
loos are still in use in the framework of a })arn erected bv H. A. 
Cowles. 

The college, a building 30x60 feet, two stories high, was next 
erected, but was destroyed by a tornado in ISO.). After this a ])rick 
schoolliouse was built and in 1898 after being pronounced dangerous 
gave wa}' to a frame school of two stories, costing $1,.>00. 

The first paper was the Index, established in 1900 by J. R. Ben- 
nett. 

The Bank of Pleasanton was opened for business on ^larch 0, 
190o. It is now^ known as the Farmers and ^lerchants Bank. Wil- 
ham Woodard is president and J. W. Chew cashier. The capital is 
$20,000 and the deposits $112,000. 

Several times in the history of the town tliere liave been destructive 
fires. The south side w^as burned at one time and tlie north side has 
suffered twice. 

In an issue published in 1868 the Decatur County Journal has 
this to say of Pleasant Plains, now Pleasanton: 

"This village is situated on the divide between Grand River and 
Little River, on the south line of the county in Hamilton Townshi]). 
An addition to the village is situated in JNIissouri. The surrounding 
country is a rolling prairie, fertile and in a good state of cultivation, 
w^ith timber about a mile distant, both east and west. Some years ago 
a building was erected liere for a college. An institution of learning 
was duly organized with flattering prospects, but in June, 18.5.5, the 
building was blown down and has not yet been rebuilt. 

"The town was laid out in the spring of 1854 by Daniel Bartholow. 
It now^ contains four general stories, one drug store, two blacksnutli 
shops, one wagon shop, two hotels, one shoemaker, three physicians, 
and one attorney. Its population is about two hundred and fifty. 
One of its substantial and enterprising citizens is Royal Richardson, 



170 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

proprietor of the Richardson House, and also the owner of a fine 
farm, on which he this year cut sixty-five tons of timothy hay and 
harvested 1,000 bushels of oats. There is a good brick schoolhouse 
and a Masonic lodge known as Emblem Lodge No. 189. There is 
an organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church with a Sabbath 
school in connection. The place is tw^elve miles south of Leon and 
twenty miles northwest of Princeton, the county seat of Mercer 
County, Mo. It has a daily mail north and south and semi-weekly 
east and west. The postoffice here is called Nine Eagles, for the 
reason that mail matter directed to Pleasant Plains often miscarried, 
there being a place of that same name in Jefi"erson County, la." 

PLEASANTON AND ITS PAST 

By Royal Richardson 

I was born in Phillipston, Worcester County, INIass., February 
12, 1827, and my parents were natives of the same state. I was 
reared on a farm, and received my education in my native town. I 
was married to Martha Johnson and in 18.54 I came to Batavia, 111., 
where I worked at the carj^enter's trade for two years. We located 
at Pleasanton, Decatur, County, la., in May, 18.56. 

The town was then called Pleasant Plains, had been laid out in 
tlie spring of 1854 by Daniel Bartholow and contained about fifty 
inliabitants. At that time the towns in Decatur County were 
Decatur, Garden Grove, Leon and Westerville. Allen Scott was 
postmaster at Nine Eagles, 2^4 niiles northwest of Pleasanton. In 
1859 the postoffice was moved to Pleasanton and W. S. Warnock 
became the first postmaster. The writer held the same office for 
eighteen years. Among the early settlers of Pleasanton and vicinity 
I recall the names of Patrick Willis, Joseph Tong, A. W. Moff ett, 
William Hamilton, William Acton, William Loving, George JNIorey, 
Ebenezer Robinson, William Alden, John Clark, Elijah Crawford, 
W^yllis Dickinson, G. P. Walker and Abner INIarks. 

Dr. George Hinkle started the first store and conducted it for 
three years. Greenville Watson started the second store and after- 
wards moved to California. Jeff Gardner started the third store. 
He died after the war in Mercer County, INIo. A. Works after- 
wards had a store and Joel Painter kept the first hotel. The village 
blacksmith was William Snook whose daughter afterAvards married 
Dr. E. C. INIacy. A. W. MofFett mended shoes. Tom JNIajors, after- 



HISTORY OF DECATUK COUNTY 171 

wards candidate for governor of Nebraska on the republican ticket, 
had a large stock of goods in 18.59. 

Some time during the war a two story frame building was built 
by private subscription for educational purposes. It was generally 
known as the College. In June, 18(5.5, it was destroyed by a cyclone 
which blew down and unroofed thirteen buildings. 

Several persons have lost their lives by violence in Pleasanton and 
vicinity. The first was Edward Purcell who was shot and killed on 
the street in 18G4 by Dike's Missouri militia. Turcell was required 
to hurrah for Lincoln but he refused to do so and ^^•as fired on with 
fatal result. 

Dr. Parmentus Mullinnix was killed in 18G6 at a dance seven 
miles southeast of Pleasanton in fiercer County, Mo. .John 
Crawford was charged with the deed, but was tried at Pi-inceton and 
acquitted. At the preliminary Joe Warner of Leon represented the 
prosecution and Judge Orton of Princeton and Judge Porrey of 
Leon the defense. Crawford afterwards moved to Kansas and 
became a county treasurer. 

James AUfrey, a school teacher and lawyer, was shot and killed 
in 1867 by Jake Williams, about three miles southwest of Pleasan- 
ton. Williams immediately disa])peared and never was tried. He is 
now dead. Allfrey was a dead shot and had two Colt's revolvers 
with him when killed, but was taken unawares. 

At the breaking out of the Civil war the spirit of patriotism per- 
vaded the entire community. JNIuch of the spring of 1861 was occu- 
])ied in drilling and prej^aring for war. The drill master was Cai)t. 
Jeff JNIiller, a veteran of the INIexican war, and who was afterwards 
wounded at the battle of Pea Ridge. There was no draft in Hamil- 
ton Township and the people responded patriotically to every call 
for troops. Pleasanton and vicinity supplied soldiers to the Federal 
Army and the following is the roll of honor: 

J. W. Allfrey, Thomas Acton, W. H. Acton, Jesse Ratchel- 
der, Alfred Brant. B. F. Bard, IManson Bird, C;. W. Blakesley, 
Burr Brown, Bird Brown, AA''esley Cavanaugh, Stephen Crouse, 
Henry Collins, James Crawford, James Dnnleavy, ISl. J. Dale, .1. .M. 
Gammill, I^ieut. E. Horn, David Horn, John Holden. Peter J. Ham- 
ilton, W. H. Harrison, M. V. Helton, Hemy Ilouk, Jr., J. 1?. Har- 
ris, George B. Kelley, IMarion Marks, Benjamin ^larks, David ^lonk, 
W. H. iSIills, George W. INIills, Lieutenant IMaxwell, James May, 
John ]McIntosh, William JNIcIntosh, Elijah Newell, Dan Ockerman, 
F. ]M. Peterson, George W. Rutherford, Seth Roe, C. H. Sullivan, 



172 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

David Snook, Ira Steward, Ross Scott, T. D. Scott, Ed Seymour, 
John Seymour, Robert Snodgrass, Frank Turpen, Byron Waldrup, 
Leslie Works, J. S. Wilson, James Wakefield, Burr Watson, Abe 
Vandel, John Alexander, James Acton, Aaron Acton, Asa Bur- 
rell, W. H. Barnes, Abe Blakesley, Jerry Blakesley, Howard Brown, 
J. M. Broadbrook, T. J. Brant, Henry A. Cowles, W. J. Clark, John 
W. Crawford, Henry Craig, W. H. Dunleavy, Fleming Dale, James 
Dunham, Capt. J. C. Gammill, T. J. Graves, George Hedrick, F. 
M. Hamilton, James Holden, W. H. Hatfield, James Humphress, 
Henry Houk, John H. Helton, John Hutchinson, John ^lay, John 
]\Iarks, Ezra ^Nlarks, C. E. Macy, Lewis Mills, Capt. J. F. 3Iiller, 
William ^lav, Henrv ^lorris, Aaron Mcintosh, M. C. T. Newell, 
Pompa Niles, Eph Pardun, Thomas Perkins, James Reynolds, W. 
J. Sullivan, John Snook, William Snook, Brison Scott, Allen Scott, 
John D. Scott, Willard Seymour, W. H. Snodgrass, Harrison 
Swander, W. D. Wilson, Orville Works, Gardner Works, W. S. 
Warnock, Green Watson, Joe Vandel. 

VAN WERT 

Van Wert is an old town on the Humeston & Shenandoah, now 
the Burlington, and is located on section 12, Long Creek Township. 
It was first settled about 1853 and was called Florence. On June 
29, 1855, the town lots were sold at public auction. George W. Big- 
ford built the first store about the same time. A steam mill was con- 
structed by George Douglass. Tlie original town contained fourteen 
blocks and additions have been added from time to time. The name 
was afterward changed to Prairie City, then to Prairieville and on 
April 1, 1880, to Van Wert. 

The village possessed but one store, that of John Gimmel, until 
1880, when the Missouri, Iowa & Nebraska Railroad was built to 
that point. The western portion of that road was sold to the Humes- 
ton & Shenandoah, and they extended the line westward to Shenan- 
doah. This gave the town an impetus and stores were erected by W. 
E. Stone & Company, D. Tharp & Company and M. R. Sanger. 
The Des JNIoines & Kansas City Railroad was built to this town in 
1882. 

This was made an indeioendent school district in 1872 and a frame 
building, 22 by 28 feet in size, was erected at a cost of $465. The 
building soon proved too small for the needs of the district and it 
was sold in 1885 and a fine two-story frame costing $2,700 was built. 
It contained three rooms. 




.A 



METHODIST KIMSCOPAL CHIRCH. \'A\ W KRT 




CHLrRCH OF CHRIST, VAX WKRT 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY' 173 

The Methodist Church was built in the summer of 1801 hv the 
members. The Christian Church was first built in 188G at a cost 
of $1,700. 

The town was incorporated fifteen years ago witli P. K. Hall as 
the first mayor. 

Several newspapers have been published in Van Wert with in(hf- 
ferent success. C. S. Fulmer establislied the Van Wert Record in 
190.5 and made of it an excellent publication. There are no papeis 
published here at the present time. 

Another authority on the earlv history of Van Wert states that 
the first store was opened by J. Irving in the east end of his own 
dwelling house, in the year 18.53. The second venture was claimed 
to have fallen to the lot of Paul Ord and the next to George liick- 
ford, followed by Jehu Blades. W. E. Stone was in business for 
himself for about a year and a half, after which he took J. C. Eletclier 
into partnership. They continued in business for two years when 
they dissolved partnership. Stone continuing alone until 188G and 
then selling out to Tallman & Blair. This latter partnersliip broke 
up after six months, Tallman retaining the business and entering into 
another partnership later with Ed Hall. 

In 1875 a novel and unsuccessful attempt was made to operate 
a gristmill by wind. By the application of steam this mill was after- 
wards made a success. 

THE PRESENT TOW^N 

The Town of Van Wert, with the latest improvements neces- 
sary to a town of its size, such as telephones, railroads, good mail 
service, etc., has grown into a prosperous and enterprising community. 
The citizens of the town have used every effort to make the commun- 
ity a substantial one and have formed several organizations with this 
purpose in view. The lodges and clubs are also engaged in the work 
of civic betterment. The railroad is the means of making Van AVert 
an excellent trading point, quite an amount of grain and stock being 
shipped to the markets from here. 

The first bank was organized in 1898. It was called The Farmers 
& T^Ierchants Bank. Mark M. Shaw was the cashier. In 1900 the 
Bank of Van Wert purchased this institution and on December 10. 
1900, organized with W. F. Blair as president, E. O. Stearns as 
cashier and IMrs. Ada L. Stearns as assistant cashier. The ca])ital 
was first $10,000. Those interested in its organization were: AV. F. 



174 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Blair, JNIorris Brown, G. S. Barr, G. A. Hamilton, F. L. Hall, J. 
Stearns, M. F. Thompson, E. O. Stearns, William Goodman, Lester 
Gould. 

The capital stock at present is $10,000 and the deposits $100,000. 
Ij. Gould is vice president and A. E. Blair, assistant cashier. 

Van Wert, like many other towns in the county, has been the 
victim of destructive fires at different times. In September, 1903, 
a fire consumed everj^thing on the west side of INIain Street and north 
of the tracks. In February, 1915, another bad fire occurred in the 
business section of the town, practically a whole block being consumed. 

Van Wert Post No. 205, Grand Army of the Republic, was 
mustered in July, 1883, with thirty members. 

GRAND RIVER 

Grand River is located about a half mile from the west bank of 
Grand River, on section 33, in Richland Township, on the Burling- 
ton Railroad which was formerly known as the Humeston & Shenan- 
doah Railroad. It is in the heart of a fine agricultural district, in- 
habited by the most substantial and progressive farmers of Southern 
Iowa. The soil in this district is very rich. Also, as a trading point, 
Grand River is of considerable importance. 

This town was laid out in 1881 by E. C. Perkins for a corpora- 
tion then known as the Town Lot Company, a company organized 
for the purpose of laying out towns along the route of the Humeston 
& Shenandoah Railroad. The first business house was constructed 
by the firm of Bosworth & INIilligan and was known as the Blue 
Front. It was used continuously as a general store until the build- 
ing was destroyed by fire in the spring of 1905. G. W. Bradshaw 
started the first store, according to account, and later entered partner- 
ship with ]Mr. Lamb. S. C. Jennings started a general store in 1886. 
A school building was constructed in the town in 1876 and a union 
church building in 1881. 

Some of the first residents of the town were Schuyler Jennings, 
C. H. Chapman, A. R. Taylor, John Burham, Dr. H. C. Bone, 
Doctor Landes, W. J. Beck, H. C. Jennings. Several of the above 
assisted in selecting a name for the new town in its early daj^s. At 
a public meeting held in 1881, Beulah, Westerville and other names 
were proposed and rejected in turn. A motion made by C. H. 
Chapman, later proprietor of the Chapman House, to call the town 
Grand River prevailed and so the town was named. 






HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 175 

Soon after the town was started lots were offered for sale and 
were taken very rapidly. Dwellings, store rooms, hotels, ete., were 
at once erected and soon the community had the appearance of a 
fast growing city. During the iirst year the presence (jf the liaiids 
who were at work on the extension of the Humeston & Shcnaiidoali 
Railroad from that place westward across the state, heli)cd to give 
the merchants of the place a good trade until the husincss of the 
town could be built up from the surrounding country. 'JMie new 
town, however, had a good trade from the very start. One thiii< 
which at first very materially retarded the growth of (J rand l{i\( i 
was the difficulty in crossing Grand River at that i)oiMt, there being 
no bridge and the river having to be forded. This tended to cut off 
a large part of her legitimate trade. In the summer of 1887, tliough, 
an iron bridge was constructed across the river one-half mile east of 
the town, and the difficulty was removed. 

Among the early improvements was a fine church buihUng, 
erected by the Presbyterians, but which was open to other denomi- 
nations when not in use by the builders. 

The State Savings Bank at Grand River was originallv estab- 
lished in 1889 by Patrick Griffin who conducted it as a private insti- 
tution under the name of Bank of Grand River. Ten years later 
]Mr. Griffin disposed of the business to A. L. Ackerly who conducted 
it as a private bank under the same name until July 1, 1900, wlien it 
Mas incorporated under the title of State Savings Bank of Grand 
River. This is now known as the First National Bank. A. L. Ack- 
erly is president; Patrick Griffin, vice president; J. C. Brotliers, 
cashier; and Charles Kelley, assistant cashier. The capital stock is 
$2.5,000 and the deposits amount to $118,000. 

The Farmers Bank was established in 1903. J. Switzer is the 
])resident and A. R. Switzer is cashier. The capital is $10,000 and 
the deposits amount to $128,000. 

DECATUR CITY 

Decatur Citv, another of the county's substantial towns, is lo- 
cated very nearly in the center of the county. As a trading point it 
is an important one with many natural advantages. Decatur City 
is one of the oldest settlements in the county and was first designated 
as the county seat. Two years later, in 1853, the county seat was 
moved to Leon. 

A common school district was maintained at a very early day. 
In 1864 it was made an independent district and a frame bnihlinu-. 



176 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

32 by 40 feet, was built at a cost of $3,000. This building was burned 
in 1885. The structure was insured for $1,000. The next building 
was erected in 1885 and cost $3,200. It was 30 by 60 feet and was 
divided into two rooms. 

Several newspaj^ers have been published in Decatur City at dif- 
ferent times. The Commoner was published from 1859 to 1861 by 
F. A. C. Foreman; the Decatur Enteri^rise in 1866-7 by C. S. Wil- 
son. Foreman went to Chicago from here and later died at Marengo, 
la. Wilson afterwards became editor of the Des Moines Daily 
News. 

The Des Moines, Osceola & Southern Railroad was built to De- 
catur City in 1882 and then on to Leon and thence south. The name 
of the road was afterwards changed to the Des JNIoines & Kansas 
City, under which it operated until acquired by the Keokuk & West- 
ern and made a standard gauge road. The road is now owned by 
the Burlington Route Sj^stem. 

The first church built in the town was in 1856 and was dedicated 
by the JNIethodists. Later there were four societies here and all used 
this one church for their services. 

AN EARLY DESCRIPTION 

The following description of this town was published in the 
Decatur County Journal of March 4, 1869, and gives a correct idea 
of the town at that time : 

This place is situated on a high prairie in Decatur Township, 
2^4 miles east of Grand River, and on the line of the Leavenworth 
& Des JNIoines Railroad. It contains three general stores, one drug 
and grocery store, one family grocer, one stove and tinware store, 
three hotels, one milliner, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, 
one chair maker, two cabinet makers, one wheelwright, one harness 
maker, two shoemakers, and three physicians. 

The following are prominent and leading citizens of the place: 
Dicken & Mechem, S. W. Johnston & Company, P. S. Dicken and 
A. Miles & Son, general merchants; A. Gill, dealer in drugs and gro- 
ceries and also proprietor of the Decatur House ; Hogue & Caldwell, 
dealers in stoves and tinware; Sam Schenck, wagon maker and post- 
master; J. H. Horner, harness maker; Thomas Waller, military and 
general claim agent; C. Schenck and J. W. Laney, physicians; Wil- 
liam Kew, shoemaker; Col. H. W. Peck, chief engineer, I. & ^I. 
Railroad. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 177 

Decatur City being on the main road east and west, enjoys the 
advantages of a daily mail, M'ith a semi- weekly mail soutli via Kagle- 
ville, Bethany and Gallatin to Cameron on the Ilannihal & St. Joe 
Railroad. 

There is a Masonic Lodge and a lodge and encam})mcnt of Odd 
Fellows. 

BANKS 

The Citizens State Savings Rank of Decatur City was organized 
in the year 1892. At the present time James Creswe is i)resi(lent; 
H. T. Ranch, vice president; E. \V. Townsend, casliier; and O. F. 
Walker, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $2(),()00; tlie de- 
posits are $173,000. 

The Decatur State Savings Bank was esta])lislied in 1908 and 
at the present time has a capital stock of $2.), 000 and in deposits the 
sum of $180,000. W. H. Loyd is president; F. .T. Euritt, vice presi- 
dent; James C. Cozad, cashier; and L. D. Shoemaker, assistant 
cashier. 

Both of these banks are doing an excellent business in that sec- 
tion of the county and both have a reputation for strength and in- 
tegrity. 

This is another town whose existence was begun by the advent 
of the Humeston & Shenandoah Railroad. In the summer of 1880 
about July the railroad company purchased of J. P. Kline seventy 
acres of fine farm land adjacent to and south of the railroad for a 
town site. On August 3d it was laid out in streets and lots which 
Mere rapidly purchased. The proprietors of the town were formed 
into a company composed of L. P. Sigler, J. L. Young, of Leon, 
Drake and Hill of Centerville. Doctor ^Mitchell built the first house 
in the town; ^lerritt French and family were the first to begin house- 
keeping. Doctor Wall also constructed a house about the same time. 
A railroad depot was soon put up and became headcpiarters for many 
of the tow^n people. L. G. and F. M. Jamison moved their store 
building and stock of goods from Smyrna and were the first business 
firm in the town. After some delay a postoffice was established, the 
delay being over the name of the town. L. G. Jamison was appointed 
postmaster and to accommodate the office he constructed an addition 
to his store. This building, with all its goods, was destroyed by fire 
several years later. The second general store was that of Ledger- 



rol. 1—12 



178 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

wood & Hodges. The first lumber yard was that of Baldwin and 
Williamson. Tlie former member of the firm soon sold to John Bul- 
lard of Fort Madison. Mrs. Wolever who had kept a boarding 
house at Greenbay for several years soon built a hotel near the depot 
and did a good business. Weldon was incorporated in 1902. 

BANK 

The Bank of Weldon was organized in the sj)ring of 1881 by the 
Decatur County Banking Association and conducted by it until 
January 1, 1886, when it was sold to a company consisting of Thomas 
J. Eals, Cyril C. Wood, A. E. Chase, S. O. Hingston, Oscar Judd, 
J. Z. McAllister, E. L. Chase. 

The Weldon Savings Bank was organized in 1901. H. E. 
Stevens is president; W. R. Warren, vice president; F. L. Hall, 
cashier; C. T. Newell, assistant cashier. The capital is $20,000 and 
the deposits amount to $127,000. 

OTHER EARLY BUSINESS 

JNI. Hughes, before the first holiday season came, had put up a 
two story business house on the east side of Main Street, using the 
upper story for living rooms and the ground floor for hardware and 
agricultural implements. A. L. Dilsaver was the first on the ground 
with an exclusive stock of groceries. His family living rooms -were 
back of the store. Doctor Wall soon saw that a drug store was a 
necessity and set one going under the firm name of Wall & Fippin, 
but soon sold out to C. B. Chase & Company. Dr. George A. Stuart 
who had located here for practice had his office in this store. John 
]\Ietier owned the first livery barn, selling out to Howard & Rudd, 
and with Lee Matheny went into the hardware and implement busi- 
ness. In the early spring of 1881 John Barnard moved his shop from 
Smyrna and became a blacksmith of Weldon. William Baker con- 
structed a large store room at that time and stocked it with general 
merchandise. The Rogers sisters opened a millinery establishment. 
T. L. McVay and Ol Mayer had charge of the market ; Frank Doo- 
little, jeweler; Dick JNIurphy, furniture; Dick jNIurphy, G. W. 
Hester, M. French and Joseph Coffey, carpenters. 

NEWSPAPERS 

On May 26, 1881, the first newspaper in the Town of Weldon 
was issued. It was called the Weldon Witness and was edited by 




:methuuist Ki-iseurAi. (Hikch wki.dox 




CHKLSTIAX (Hn;( 11. WKLDOX 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY ii'j 

Ed Rurleigh. The paper was a newsy little slieet, but was short 
lived, passing into the hands of S. L. Daily of Ilmnestoii in March, 
1883. The paper was printed in a store ijuilding uliidi then stood 
on the present site of the Christian Cliurch, })iit which was moved 
later. Three terms of school Mere taught in the same huilding hcfore 
a schoolhouse was constructed. 

After the demise of the Witness the \Veld()n ITonict was puh- 
lished and edited by J. R. Crichfield. Then came the Wcldon Mes- 
senger, edited by G. M. Smith. F. ^V. Durnal next |)nl)lisli((l a 
sheet, also called the Hornet. The next 2)aper was the Expositor 
by W. R. Boardman. He left town in 1893 under a cloud. Next 
was the Weldon News by E. E. Graham. The Weldon Huilctin 
was then started by H. J. Reger, assisted by his daughter, lihuiche. 

SCHOOLS 

W. E. ^lorrow taught the first term of the above mentioned 
school; Doctor ^litchell taught one term, as also did ^Ir. \Vitmarsh. 
In 1883 the first schoolhouse was built in East Weldon. J. H. Jami- 
son probably taught the first term in the new building. Ira Condit, 
Roy, Wingett, Cozad, Palmer, Ratcliff, Latta and Hill were other 
teachers. As the years passed and the number of school children 
increased a new building, an elegant two story modern structure, was 
built. 

CHURCHES 

Until the beginning of the second year of the town's existence 
Sunday school and all religious services were held sometimes in the 
waiting room of the depot, sometimes in the bank ])arlor, or MJierever 
a room large enough could be' had. Early in 1882 both the Methodist 
and Christian Church peoples united their efforts and built the 
INIethodist Episcopal Church which was dedicated in August of the 
same year, the dedicatory sermon being preached by President Park 
of Simpson College, Indianola. Rev. D. O. Stuart was the first 
pastor of the new church. The members of the Christian Church 
decided after a time that thej^ were strong enough in numbers, as 
well as financially, to build a chapel. Consequently, in ^Nlay. 188(>, 
they dedicated their church building, L. L. Carpenter ])reaching tlic 
dedicatory sermon. In 1902 an annex was built to the structure. A 
heating and lighting plant was also added. Roth of these churclics 
noAv have a substantial membership. 



180 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

LODGES 

At one time Weldon was called the city of lodges. Some of 
them flourished for a day and then died. Jacinth Lodge No. 443, 
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons was chartered June 5, 1884. 
Weldon Lodge No. 441, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was 
organized in December, 1881. Doctor Greenlee who came here in 
the spring of 1882 was instrumental in oi'ganizing a Grand Army of 
the Republic Post in 1883. Other lodges Avhich have existed here 
are the Knights of Pythias, ]\Iodern Woodmen of America, Good 
Templars, W. C. T. U., W. R. C, and Rebekahs. 

FIRST VITAL STATISTICS 

The first child born was John Lewis INIitchell, son of Rev. G. E. 
JMitchell and wife. The first marriage was that of C. B. Chase and 
Blanche Roach. 

LEROY 

Another of Decatur's prosperous towns is Leroy. It is located 
on section 11, Garden Grove Township, and is but 4I4 miles from 
Garden Grove. The town lies in the center of a good agricultural 
district. 

Leroy was laid out in 1880 upon the building of the Humeston 
& Shenandoah Railroad, now the Burlington, as were several other 
towns in the county. INIaj. J. L. Young, L. P. Sigler and E. S. 
Buffum established the town on land owned by BufFum. Some time 
later they disposed of their interests, or a part of them, to ex-Gov- 
ernor Drake and his business associates. JNIr. BufFum still owns 
considerable of the town site. 

Tlie first business house erected in Leroy was built by Flannigan 
& Perrin, who conducted a general store therein. Other business 
houses followed, residences were built and the little town began to 
show sturdiness and progress. The town has made much gain during 
the past few years and is one of the best trading points in the county. 
As a shipping point it is also excellent. The country surrounding 
this town is well adapted for stock raising of all kinds. 

A modern schoolhouse was erected in the summer of 1904. 

Tlie Leroy Exchange Bank was founded in 1896 by F. E. and 
C. S. Stearns of Garden Grove with B. D. Barger as cashier and 
Mrs. Barger as assistant cashier. C. S. Stearns acted as president 



HISTORY OF DECATUK COUNTY 181 

and F. E. as vice president. On tlie first of ]Marcli, li)();j. J. \V. 
Stearns of Garden Grove succeeded Barger as cashier. E. II. IJlair 
is president at this time; H. E. Stevens, vice president; D. C. Thur- 
low, cashier; and Edna Tliurlow, assistant cashier. The ca[)itai st(jck 
is $.),()()() and the deposits amount to $.50,()()(). 

NEW liUDA 

The following descrii)ti()n of this extinct town a})peare(l in a 
county newspaper in 18G8: 

This place is located on the west side of Grand River, on a heau- 
tiful second hottom, ahout a half mile from the rivei'. It was laid 
out in November, 18.5.5, bv Ernest Drahos. It was the center of a 
settlement of Hungarian exiles, who landed in this country in the 
year 18.52, under the leadership of General Ujhazy, one of the com- 
panions of Kossuth. Seeking a refuge and asylum in this far land 
of the West, they coidd not forget the associations of the land of the 
INIagyar and so called their adopted prairie home New Ruda and gave 
to the public park in their village the name of Kossuth Square, while 
one of their streets they christened INIagyar Street. The village con- 
tains sixteen blocks of eight lots each. There are two general stores, 
one blacksmith shop, one hotel and a good schoolhouse. The popula- 
tion is about one hundred. 

TERRE HAUTE 

This is another village which has disappeared. An early account 
describes it thus: 

This is a primitive looking village on the west bank of Grand 
River, some five miles southwest of Decatur City, at the point where 
the survey of the I. & M. Railroad crosses, and on the road leading 
to Eagleville and Bethany, Mo. It has two stores, one black- 
smith shop, one hotel, one shoe shop, one cooper shop, schoolhouse 
and postoflfice. Its population is abut seventy-five. 

TUSKEEGO 

This is only a station on the Burlington Railroad. It was laid 
out in 1879 on section 20, Bloomington Townshi]), the land being 
owned by A. M. Jackson. The town was laid out in business and 
residence lots. The first building was erected in 1870 and the first 



182 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

merchant was S. W. Hurst. A postoffice was established there in 
1879. 

HIGH POINT 

This is an old postoffice village in High Point Township. At 
one time there were several stores there, but now there is little left 
excei^t the name. 

WESTERVILLE 

Westerville is an old town situated on Grand River, on section 
28, in Richland Township. A postoffice was established at this place 
in 18.53 and Theron Westervelt was appointed postmaster. He 
named the town. In the following year a village was laid out by 
William Henshaw and named Milford. This name ^\'as afterwards 
discarded. 

Richland Township was settled early by such men as Alexander 
Brammer, INIichael Foland, Theron Westervelt and others. In 1852 
a colony from Tennessee settled in the northeast corner of the town- 
ship, in what was afterward known as Little Tennessee. 

Another authority on the early history of this section states that 
the Town of Westerville was ffi'st settled by Henshaw, and was known 
by the name of IVIilford until 1855, when Theron Westervelt came 
from Ohio and built a gristmill and changed the name to Wester- 
ville. I. P. Lamj) was another early settler, also Samuel Landis. 



CHAPTER XV 

POLITICS IX DECATUR COUNTY 

When the County of Decatur first became a definitely organized 
territory of the State of Iowa, there were but two great parties in 
power in the country — the democratic and the whig. Decatin- County 
generally favored the former of these. This obtained especial! \' in 
state and national issues, but, however, in the affairs of the county 
there was a different status. Until the year 1858, or until the oi)cn- 
ing of the Civil war, a political candidate for a county office depended 
largely upon his personal popularity and known ability rather than 
upon his particular party affiliation. The people willingly sup])orted 
the man whom they thought best, although the majority were pos- 
sibly adherents of the opposite faith. With the opening of the war, 
though, it became necessary for each man to be either a supporter of 
the Government or a secessionist; there was no middle ground. A 
man claiming to be strictly neutral would be considered doubtfully 
and very probably hostilely. After the struggle with the South the 
personal side of county campaigns again became evident, although 
in not such a pronounced manner as before. It is today that a worthy 
man may be successful in his home county politics even if his party is 
not the party of the majority of the people. 

HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL REMINISCENCES OF DECATUR COUNTY 

By An Old Politician 

Possibly the political history of Decatur County does not differ 
materially from that of the other counties of the state, but it will not 
be denied that our political campaigns have been more of the strenu- 
ous variety, mainly because the two parties have always been very 
nearly even in numbers. The democratic organization has ever been 
under the strictest discipline and led by shrewd and in many instances 
unscrupulous leaders. In no other county in the state is the opposi- 
tion more alert and aggressive, and under such circumstances republi- 
can victories are only won by united effort and under a wise general- 

183 



184 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

ship. Both xjarties have always charged the other with machine rule, 
and bandying back and forth the epithets "boss" and "ring" are 
prominent features of every campaign. 

Part}^ lines were not closely drawn in our county prior to the 
presidential campaign of 1856. The pioneer settlers were too busy 
building homes and cultivating fields to attend the caucus and conven- 
tion, and candidates for office were selected almost solely with refer- 
ence to their personal popularity. A county seat fight which over- 
shadowed every other issue, prevailed for several years prior to the 
location of the county seat in Leon in the spring of the year 1853. 
Voters divided into the east and west sides and candidates on the 
east side ticket were generally successful as the members of that 
faction were more numerous. 

Quite a number of pioneers settled in the southern part of Decatur 
County prior to 1840. Among them were the Hamiltons, Harfields, 
Stanleys, ^IcDaniels, Logans, Scotts, ^lillers and Burrells. Allen 
and Andrew Scott arrived in the year 1836. Immigrants settled in 
the southern portion of the county because the boundary line had 
not been located and that section was supposed to have been in jNIis- 
souri. Allen Scott, who then resided near the present site of Davis 
City, was indicted by the grand jury of Buchanan County, Mo., for 
selling whiskey to the Indians. The prosecution was not pushed, 
however, for the settlement of the boundary line question followed 
very soon after. Prior to this settlement which occurred in 1853, 
a number of slaves were held in the southern part of the county. In 
1852 John McDaniel owned George, a colored man, and Mr. Dun- 
can who lived near Lineville, owned a number of slaves. George 
died in slavery and was buried in the Pleasanton cemeter}^ where a 
neat monument has been erected to his memory. 

The first court case (mentioned elsewhere) was tried by Judge 
William McKay. Judge JNIcKay's knowledge of law was limited and 
he was strongly addicted to the use of intoxicants. 

Samuel Forrey came to our county in 1855 and began to practice 
law in Leon. He organized the republican party in this section and 
was the first person who made republican speeches over the county. 
Up until the time he was appointed judge he was influential in the 
selection of county candidates and practically dictated the platforms 
of the party organization. Judge Forrey was born in Columbia, 
Penn., in 1825. 

Party lines on sectional issues were more closely drawn in 1856 
than ever before. The republican party that 3^ear conducted its first 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 185 

national campaign with its fii'st national standard bearer, COl. Jolm 
C. Fremont, popularly known as the pathfinder. Tlie repiihliean 
party was in process of formation and practieall\- absorbed the 
strength of the old whig organization. The main issue was, of course, 
the slavery question. At the election in 18.5G Decatur Counly polled 
6.50 votes and Buchanan received 240 ])luralitv. There was a strontr 
know nothing sentiment in Hamilton Township and it cast a major- 
itv of its votes for INlillard Fillmore. The countv continued sti-ouulv 
democratic for many years, although in ISC)^ tlie republicans carried 
the most of the county ticket by small majorities. It may not be 
out of place in this connection to venture the oi)inion that the county 
always has been really democratic from the commencinu; of its his- 
tory down to the present time. 

The campaign of 18.50 brought into the limelight of publicity a 
younff man of more than ordinary ability who afterwards became a 
successful soldier, an able lawyer and jurist, a millionaire and a 
member of the United States Senate. When nominated for the 
Legislature by the district composed of the counties of Decatur and 
Wayne, Thomas JNI. Bowen had not obtained his majority, though 
he has commenced the practice of law at Corydon. He was a native 
of Iowa, gifted as a speaker, a handsome, well-forme'd young man. 
After serving one term hi the Legislature he lived successively at 
Bedford and Clarinda. On the breaking out of the Civil war he 
entered the Union army and was promoted rapidly on account of his 
soldierly qualities. He was the friend and protege of (icn. James 
Lane of Kansas and at the close of the war he was a brigadier gen- 
eral commanding. Having been mustered out of the military service 
he began the practice of his profession at Little Rock, Ark., and ^vas 
soon afterwards made one of the judges of the Supreme Court. At 
the expiration of his term of office he was appointed governor of a 
western territory where he served several years and then located in 
New York City. Having lost all he possessed in speculation he 
returned to Arkansas, but finding the republican party out of power 
he remained but a short time, and finally located in Colorado. He 
began to practice and soon became a district judge. He made some 
remarkably lucky ventures in mining property and was soon reckoned 
among the wealthy men of that state. His election to the United 
States Senate is within the memory of all. 

The democratic ticket in 1856 was constituted as follows: senator, 
John W. Warner; representative, Thomas INI. Bowen: clerk, George 
T. Young. The republican candidates were: Uv. Duncan, senator: 



186 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

George A. Hawley, representative; Samuel Forrey, clerk. Dr. Sam- 
uel Dunn was an independent candidate for clerk. A series of joint 
discussions were arranged between the opposing candidates and in 
pursuance of said arrangement meetings were held at Garden Grove, 
High Point, Funk's sawmill, Decatur City, Leon and Pleasanton. 
The meetings were well attended and all of the candidates partici- 
j)ated in the discussion except Doctor Dunn. At the Garden Grove 
joint debate R. D. Kellogg, afterwards a major in the Thirty-foui'th 
Iowa Infantry, made an attack on Mr. Duncan and charged him with 
bringing slaves into the state. Samuel Forrey replied that Mr. Dun- 
can's course showed that he was a good anti-slavery man inasmuch 
as he had set his slaves free by bringing them into the State of Iowa. 
]Mr. Bowen usually paid special attention to his dress, but during this 
campaign his attire was so seedy that it attracted attention. Before 
the Decatur joint debate occurred I. N. Clark and other democrats 
went to Bowen and suggested that he improve his dress, as it hardly 
comported with the dignity of his jjosition and to the one to which 
he aspired. Bowen replied that the clothes he wore were the best he 
had and intimated that if they were not satisfactory he w as willing to 
accept a donation. So the democrats chipped in and bought a new 
coat for Bowen in order that he might present a creditable appear- 
ance for his joint debates. 

The candidates traveled from one meeting to another on horse- 
back. The joint debate in Leon was held in a building on the lot on 
which is now located the Advent Church. The entire democratic ticket 
was elected that fall by a good majority. The campaign was an edu- 
cational one, free from personalities and charges of rings and bossism. 

In the olden times the duties of the county treasurer and recorder 
were performed by the same person. The two offices, however, were 
separated in I860 by provisions of law. The first treasurer and 
recorder was John Brown who served in 1852. Abner Harbour 
served in the same capacity in 1853 and his successors in office were 
John Jordan, Rev. Ira B. Ryan, Samuel C. Cunmiins, and J. C. 
Porter. John Jordan served from 1854 to and including the year 
1857. He was the father of Charles Jordan later of Enid, 
Okla., who served as deputy treasurer under Doctor Thompson. 
John Jordan was a man of more than average ability and accomplished 
in business matters. He became a prominent member of the Meth- 
odist Church and was always a zealous democrat. He was a fair 
representative of a large class of democrats in the county who never 
ceased work for their j)arty. Mr. Jordan was considered quite 



HISTOllY OF DECATUR COUNTY l«7 

wealthy at one time, but lost his wealth during the hard times of 18.57. 
He owned the Reed farm north of Davis City. 

The first recorder of Decatur County was Luman X. .judd who 
served in 1865 and was elected as a repul)lican. He also served as 
county judge. He was a brother of Norman B. Judd, one of the 
founders of tlie republican party and who probably (hd as nuicli as 
anyone to insure the nomination of Lincoln for the presidency. Lu- 
man N. Judd was a fine looking man whose abilities were marred liy 
his eccentric conduct. He served in the Union armv durino' tiie Ci\ il 
war. 

J. C. Porter served the county as treasurer during the years 
1864 and 186.5. He was succeeded by S. C. Thompson wlio served 
from 1866 to 1871. W. W. Ellis was recorder from 186() to 1S68 
and W. J. Sullivan from 1869 to 1876. George T. Young was clerk 
of courts from 1856 to 1862; Nathan Perdew during the years 18(>:j 
and 1864; Francis Varga during 1865 and 1866; and Ed K. Pit- 
man from 1867 to 1870. George Woodbury was sheriff from 18(;() 
to 1863; Ira B. Ryan in 1864 and 1865; and then Woodbury was 
re-elected and served from 1866 to 1869. ^lajor Kellogg was rep- 
resentative in 1860, Capt. John Andrews in 1864, T. H. Brown in 
1866 and Colonel Peck in 1868. C. G. Bridges of Decatur City 
served as state senator from 1864 to 1868. Bridges could make a 
fair speech and was recognized as a man of ability. He was ad- 
mitted to the bar and practiced law for a time at Decatur City. He 
was prominently identified with a railroad project which was to have 
been built from Duluth to Des JNIoines, then to Kansas City via 
Decatvn* and then on to Galveston. Considerable grading was done 
on the line between Decatur and Terre Haute. Bridges died several 
j^ears ago in Kansas, having left the county shortly after his term 
of office expired. 

In the pioneer days the republican party had but a slender fol- 
lowing in the county and no conventions were held until the Civil 
war, when the party received many accessions. In the old days the 
re])ublican party was controlled by Samuel Forrey, Dr. John P. Fin- 
lev and George W. Hale and year after year these three men met 
together and selected the candidates for the county ticket. Gener- 
ally the tickets were very shrewdly made up and tlie party grew 
stronger until victorious at the polls in 1864. In 1862 ^Mr. Hale 
caused to be selected as republican candidate for clerk of the courts 
I. P. JNIartin, who was at home fresh from the battlefield of Shiloh 
where he was severely wounded. jMr. ^lartin had always been a 



188 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

democrat and went to the polls that fall and cast a straight democratic 
ticket. Not long afterwards, however, he experienced a change of 
heart and was always afterwards known as a stamich republican. 

The political campaign of 1871, though not commencing until 
September, was one of the most acrimonious ever known in the his- 
tory of the county. For the first time the existence of a courthouse 
ring was claimed and that the democratic party was dominated by a 
machine used for the benefit of an office-holding faction of the party. 
The democrats held their county convention September 2d and nomi- 
nated the following ticket : Auditor, George Burton ; representative, 
Dr. S. C. Thompson; treasurer, George Woodbury; sheriff, C. T. 
Frazee; county superintendent, E. S. Buffum; supervisor, Jacob 
Hiner ; and Mr. Jennings for surveyor. John W. Warner and Doctor 
Thompson delivered addresses which elicited much enthusiasm among 
the faithful. 

The republicans held their convention a week later and there 
was a good attendance, every township being represented in full 
except High Point. Candidates had previously announced them- 
selves in the columns of the Journal. The ticket selected was as 
follows: F. Teale, representative; Francis Varga, treasurer; R. E. 
Dye, auditor; E. J. Sankey, sheriff; J. L. Harvey, superintendent 
of schools; A. B. Stearns, supervisor; L. H. Northrup, surveyor; J. 
S. Horner, coroner. A County Central Committee was then selected 
as follows: P. O. James, Albert FTale, H. G. Stiles, A. M. Post 
and E. W. Curry. 

In the campaign which followed both parties made desperate 
efforts to win the victory. ' The democratic organ, called The Pioneer, 
was edited bj^ the late Ed Pitman and he made a vigorous defense of 
his party. The democrats had control of the offices and their officials 
were charged with incompetence and boodling. Acting in the capac- 
ity of county attorney at this time was J. B. Morrison, a lawyer of 
more than ordinary ability and a lifelong democrat. He joined the 
republican party and threw the weight of his influence against the 
democratic ticket. The following is an extract from a letter written 
by Mr. Morrison shortly before the election: "I have no quarrel 
with Colonel Burton, but as the attorney of the county, I say to the 
people that I believe that there is some mismanagement. The taxes 
have been too heavy. I believe that illegal taxes have been placed 
on the books and collected off of a confiding public. The yoke has 
become so heavy that it cannot be borne longer. No official shall 
dodge responsibility and secure another election by calling 'mad 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 189 

dog' and then distracting attention in another direction. Our county 
has lost a thousand dollars or more by his mismanagement of road 
matters. Any man that will deny that will make a certiticate that is 
untrue or scratch a record. I do not oppose the auditor (jn pers(jnal 
grounds, but because in common witli others 1 want an investiga- 
tion of the aft'airs of the county, as conducted in this otHce. He 
admits the accounts of the school funds were not correctly kej)t, 
because he could not deny it. The auditor of state sent a man liere 
who straightened him and his books both out. Couldn't come that 
game with the Des ]Moines chaps. If the school fund has been 
wrongfully kept, may there not be something else wrong?" 

The election occurred on the 10th of Octo])er and resulted in the 
success of the entire republican ticket. 

It must be acknowledged in the light of subsequent events that 
the republican charges were entirely justifiable. There existed a 
political machine, with official incompetence and peculation, and 
the pu])lic interests demanded an entire change of officers. For- 
tunately the people acted none too promptly. Tlie logical outcome 
a continuously organized ring is invariably prejudicial to tlie inter- 
ests of the people. It means official incompetency and graft. 

Rings have existed more or less ever since these days described 
above. Where there is politics there will be factions in either party, 
one undergoing the accusations and criticisms of the other. The 
solution and remedy is not yet in sight. 



CHAPTER XVI 
THE MEDICAL PROFESSION 

There is no j)rofession, no trade, no enterprise, which did not 
have a beginning in darkness; there is no effort to which the forces 
and energies of mankind have been directed but that did not first 
combat the obscurity of ignorance, pardonable ignorance, it is true. 

In this enhghtened age of medical science one regards the early 
doctor as a person with little knowledge of the profession, one who 
apjDlied the home remedies of calomel, castor oil and blue pill with 
the abandon of a solicitous grandmother and one who wielded the 
lancet with artistic indiscrimination. However one regards the early 
physician, there must be taken into account the times in which he 
worked, in other words the knowledge of medicine and surgery which 
then existed in the world. Secondly, there are the physical conditions 
under which the earlv doctor worked. Thirdly, there was distinct 
character of disease among the early settlers, and, lastly, the remedies 
with which the doctor had to work were scarce and manv times not 
the best antidote for the ailment. 

In the matter of world knowledge of medicine at that time it can 
safely be said that little or nothing was known in comparison with 
the present status of the science. In fact, medicine has made more 
rapid strides in the past decade than in the past century. In the 
earlv days of this state and county the doctors had strong faith in 
the use of the lancet, believing that by letting a copious amount of 
blood from the patient, the object of which was to destroy the tene- 
jiient of the disease, a cure could be effected. Then there was the 
Spanish Fly blister which was applied for all sorts of ills; there 
were calomel and blue pills as the universal internal remedies. Dur- 
ing the convalescent period of the patient, if such a period w^ere ever 
reached, gamboge, castor oil and senna were administered in generous 
portions to work out of the system the effects of the first course of 
treatment. 

It would be difficult to describe in limited space just how far the 
step has been taken from those early theories to the present day 

190 



HISTORY OF DECxVTUR COUNTY 191 

theories. A glance at the daily newspapers and magazines will in- 
variably prove by concrete instance the wonderfnl cures being eifected 
today, both in medicine and surgery. Operations upon the heart, 
upon the brain, upon the other delicate and vital organs of tiie body 
are becoming of daily occurrence, whereas a (piarter century ago 
they ^vould have been ridiculed. The day of serums has arrived and 
the disease is thus throttled in its inception. The present day doctor 
assists nature to repair the break and is a man of thought and in- 
itiative. 

The physical conditions under which the early doctor woikcd is 
another point in his favor. There were no roads, bridges and in many 
places there was not even a marked place of travel. His trips were 
made on horseback through intense blizzards, soaking rains, bitter 
cold and in the face of the high winds which swe])t across the prairie. 
Ofttimes his sleep was snatched while in the saddle. In reward for 
this torturous service he received a very meagre fee and the fact is 
known today that in the majority of cases he received nothing, for 
the settlers as a class were too poor to pay for his aid. Then again, 
he would receive his fee in potatoes, apples, flour or whatever com- 
modity the settler could best give him. These facts have placed the 
doctor of the early times on the pedestal of fame, for it is upon his 
sturdiness and vitality that the whole medical profession is built. 

The diseases common to the early settlers were distinctive. The 
j-ough life they led and the exposures they endured did not permit 
entrance to the many ills and pains attendant upon civilization and 
large city communities. Fevers and ague, with an occasional stomacli 
ache, were nearlv all the ills thev bore. Accidents there were which 
required the use of splints of wood and bandages and also the early 
doctor needed a good knowledge of obstetrics, although the latter 
wisdom was not alwavs called into nse. The hardv ])ioncer motlier 
many times endured the ])irth of her child without assistance. AVhen 
sickness broke in the family the doctor was called if within distance, 
but if not, the stock of simple remedies in every cabin was ]nit into 
use. If it were nothing more than a cold among the children the 
application of hot lard and bacon rind and the internal use of quinine 
and onion juice completed the treatment. 

DOCTORS IN DECATUR COUNTY 

One of the first physicians in the county and one of the most 
respected was Samuel C. Thompson. He was a very prominent 



r 



192 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

figure in the early development of the county. The year 1851 
brought him here from Davis County, la., although he was a 
native of Ohio. For twenty years he resided in this county, prac- 
ticing his profession, and at diiferent times serving as county judge 
and also county treasurer. Doctor Thompson was not a graduate of 
a medical college, but he possessed enough native ability to offset 
this disadvantage. He is now deceased. 

In 1853 J. R. McClelland located at Leon and practiced con- 
tinuously until his death. 

W. J. Laney, a very intelligent physician, came to Leon in the 
earlj^ days and j^racticed here for two years, then moved to Decatur 
City. He served one term in the legislature as representative of 
Decatur County. He has been dead several years. 

L. H. Sales, one of the best known of Decatur County pioneers, 
l^racticed to some extent in the early days, but gave the majority of 
his attention to other hues of business. For about twenty-five years 
he was the proprietor of the Sales House and also traded to some 
extent. At one time he filled the position of county judge. He has 
long since passed to his death. 

John P. Finley was a native of the State of Ohio, but came to 
Leon from Galena, 111., in the spring of 1854. He was an able 
physician and won considerable reputation during his long sojourn 
in Decatur County. He served as examining surgeon at Des JNIoines 
during the war. His death occurred in IMarch, 1883. 

C. P. jMullinnix practiced for over thirty years in the county. 
Robert D. Gardner, known as a botanic physician and now de- 
ceased, practiced for several decades in or near Leon. 

G. W. Baker located at Decatur City about the year 1858, but 
later moved to a place a mile north of Leon. Here he largely gave 
up the practice of medicine and devoted himself to agricultural pur- 
suits. He is now dead. 

B. F. Raiff, an eclectic, came to Leon before the beginning of the 
Civil war. During the latter struggle he served in the Union ranks 
as assistant surgeon. About 1869 he moved his business to Osceola, 
where he practiced until his death. 

Harry R. Layton, a native of Lee County, la., came here in 1874 
and entered the practice of his profession, which he still continues in 
Leon with a high mark of success. He is well known not onlv as a 
doctor, but as a surgeon of ability and courage. 

H. C. Van Werden, of Dutch parentage, and a native of Keokuk 
County, la., located at High Point in 1878 where he practiced for 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COT XTV 193 

two years, then moved to Garden Grove, staying there two years 
also. Then he located at Leon and formed a partnership with J. P. 
Feenly, which continued a year, then practiced ahnie until entering 
partnership with his brother William. H. C. Van \Ver(len is now 
deceased, but his brother William is yet living and engaged in piac- 
tice. 

A Doctor Macey practiced medicine for a number of years in 
the early times. After the Civil war he removed to jNlissouri and tliere 
died. He had a son to practice in Pleasanton later. 

Another early physician of Pleasanton was Doctor Rnrns, wlio 
died there after a few^ years. Elijah Glendenning, a prominent phy- 
sician of Pleasanton and afterwards of Wayne County, studied witli 
Burns. He is now dead. Doctor ^Nlullinnix, a brother of C. P. ]Mul- 
linnix of Leon, was killed at Pleasanton during the war by sliooting. 

The first physician at Garden Grove was a Doctor Smith. He 
settled there in the early day, but did not remain long. In saying 
that he was the first physician on the spot wdiere is now located Gar- 
den Grove mav give rise to some doubt. When the jNIormon in- 
vasion came there were in all probability several doctors accomi)any- 
ing tliem. The names of these men have been lost. 

Doctor Johnson came to Garden Grove about 1857 and after 
several years work here went to Corning where he died. He had one 
son, Richard, who continued the practice at Pleasanton until liis 
death. 

John Sigler came to the Grove shortly before the outbreak of 
hostilites in 1861. He practiced a few years and tlien retired. His 
death occurred in 1883. 

W. A. Todd came to Garden Grove in 1866, after completing 
a very excellent course in medicine at the L^niversity of ]Micliigan 
and the Indiana JNIedical College at Indianapolis. He practiced in 
this vicinity for fifteen years, then moved to Chariton. He is now 
deceased. 

John Carder practiced in partnership with Todd for some time, 
and then practiced alone. He then removed to Central Iowa, where 

he died. 

V. L. Chester began the practice of medicine at Garden Grove 

in 187o, but later moved away. 

E. W. Doolittle graduated at the University of Iowa and came 
to Decatur County in 1879 and was in partnershi]) with Doctor Todd 
until the latter removed to Chariton. He remained in the practice 
alone until his death at Cainesville, Mo. 

Vol . I— 11 



19i HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

\V. D. DufF came to Garden Grove in the spring of the year 
18G6. He has been dead for several years. 

At Decatur City W. J. Laney is credited as having been the first 

physician. 

O. A. Day practiced there for several years, or from 1856 to 
186.5. He then moved to Kansas, where he died. 

Samuel Dav, a brother of the above, was here from I860 to 1868 
and then moved to Tennessee. Doctor Stringer was in Decatur City 
from 1868 to 1870. H. C. Bone came here in 1875 and practiced here 
one year and is now still in the practice at Grand River. E. JMeacham 
was here from 1868 to 1882, and then moved to Kansas, where he 
died in 188.5. Joseph Puckett practiced from 1856 to 1879, when 
he died. J. R. Teller was here in 1876-77 and then moved away. H. 
Parrish came to the town in 1877 and practiced continually until his 
death. David R. Springsteen began medical work here in 1883 and 
continued all of his life. 

At Van Wert there was a Doctor Darmeille in 1855 and 1856 
and a Doctor Powell after him for a short time. Both of these early 
doctors are, of course, deceased. B. R. Walker practiced at this 
point for over thirty-five years. Doctor Pugh came here from Green 
Bay Township, Clarke County, remained a short time and left in 
the autumn of 1882. N. J. Hyatt came in 1882, also W. H. Todd. 

At Weldon T. ^I. Wall was among the first. He did not stay 
long, nor did he stay long in any place. David R. Springsteen was 
at Weldon during 1884 and then went to Decatur City. George A. 
Stuart was here from 1880 to 1883 and then went to Greene County, 
la., where he practiced until his death. O. W. Foxworthy came in 
1884. Enos Mitchell came to Weldon in 1880, but has now departed 
from the county. L. P. Greenlee, from Promise City, Wayne 
County, located here in 1882 and practiced, also sold drugs. 

The first physician at Davis City was I. O. Day, and he remained 
for about two years. His son-in-law, jNIurphy, practiced here one 
year. X. ]M. Smith was here for two or three years, then went to 
Kansas. J. B. Plorner came here in 1873 and is now practicing at 
Lamoni. J. H. Barber was also here many years ago, then went 
to Kansas. In the fall of 1885 he returned to Davis City and re- 
sumed his practice, which he continued until his death several years 
ago. W. C. Wheeler, from Pleasanton, practiced in Davis City for 
several years. 

At Lamoni the first physician was Doctor Bissell. J. W. De- 
Xoon came there in 1880; J. J. Stafford in 1882; J. H. Hansen in 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 195 

1884 and D. D. Steiner in 1886. xVll of these men are either dead 
or removed to some other locality. 



DECxVTUR COUNTY MEDIC.VL SOCIETY 

This society was organized June 8, 1875, for the first time. Tlic 
iiKii present at tliat time who became members were: Doctors 
Chester, Stuart and Todd of Garden Grove; Sanford, Finley, Mc- 
Clelland, and Layton of Leon. Doctor Todd was chosen temporary 
president and Doctor Finley the first permanent president. Doctor 
jNEcClelland was vice president and Doctor Lavton secretary. Doctors 
Lanev and Rone of Decatur City became members at the second 

• « 

meeting, when a constitution and by-laws were adopted and a fee 
bill selected. 

Regular meetings of this society have been held ever since the 
day of organization and a great amount of interest has been taken 
in the work of the society. The society is automatically affiliated 
with the Iowa State JNIedical Association and occupies a high rank 
among the societies of the different counties in the state. 

THE physicians' REGISTER 

In the pliysicians' register at the county courthouse there are the 
following doctors registered, which undoubtedly comprise about 
all who ever practiced in this county. 

A. J. Ayres, 1888; H. C. Rone, 1880; M. L. Royer, 1880: Thomas 
Rrenizer, 1880; G. W. Raker, 1880; I. N. Rarber, 1880; T. R. Rul- 
lock, A. Rrown, C. S. Rishop; Fred A. Rowen, 1898; William Oliver 
Rye, 1899; T. L. Chester, 1880; A. R. Hornell; J. W. CrofFord, 
188.); Renjamin D. DeKalb, 1880; Emmett W. Doolittle, 1880; 
J. W. DeNoon, 1880; A. S. Davison; W. D. Duff; W. P. Emerick; 
Thomas Emley; J. P. Finley; O. W. Foxworthy; R. F. Fellows; 
R. D. Gardner; Calvin Grim; L. T. Greenlee; T. W. Grace, 1891; 
J. W. Greenman, 1898; J. R. Horner, 1880; I. F. Hildreth, 1880; H. 
Higgins, 1881; A. Hamilton; N. J. Hyatt; John H. Hansell, 1884; 
L. R. Hinsdell, 1897; J. W. Helton, 1907; G. C. Jewett. 1888; 
W. G. Jeffries, 1906; William T. Kelley, 1881; W. J. Laney, 1880: 
Q. M. Lindsey, 1880; H. R. Layton, 1880; C. W. Lillie, 1881; 
L. J. Landes, 1892; C. T. Mullinnix, 1880, J. X. :McClelland. 1880; 
E. C. Macey, 1880; R. Miller, 1880; Enos INIitchell, 1880: W. L. 
Minton, 1880; J. E. Minton, 1880; J. ^Maxwell, 1881; X. :McXicho- 



196 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

las, 1883; E. X. Mullinnix, 1884.; R. M. Miller, 1886; John O. Mote, 
1896; B. R. McAllaster, 1896; Otto E. Macy, 1899; H. Parrish, 
1880; William Plested; John W. Pugh; A. C. Reynolds, 1885; James 
J. Stafford, 1880; John W. Shell, 1880; George A. Stuart, 1881; 
D. R. Springsteen, 1883; A. Scott, 1890; A. W. Sherman, 1892; 
William A. Todd, 1880; O. G. Tremaine, 1881; W. H. Todd; H. C. 
Van Werden, 1880; W. Van Werden, 1880; B. R. Walker, 1880; 
A. Wilson, 1880; W. C. Wheeler; T. M. Wall; S. J. Wright; W. H. 
Wilson; J. W. Wailes, 1891; R. A. Wilson, 1892; W. F. Wright, 
1896; T. J. Wilkins, 1906; G. W. Youdin, 1915; W. H. Zieber, 1890. 



CHAPTER XVII 
HISTORY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSIOX 

The Decatur County bar has ever been a reputable one. Law- 
j^ers who have practiced their calling in this county, have, with pos- 
sibly a few exceptions, been of a higii class and of recognized ability 
and integrity. There has not been so many of the practitioners here 
as in larger counties, but there has been a sufficient number to keep 
the legal wheels of the county running smoothly. 

In the early '40s there settled in the southeastern part of the 
countv a man bv the name of Henry Berge. He was an active man 
and was known to be very eccentric. He styled himself an attorney, 
but it is said that his business was confined to a justice's court. Grant- 
ing that he was a lawyer, even after a fashion, he will have to be given 
the honor of having been the first in Decatur County. His death 
occurred before the opening of the Civil war. 

Another man, by the name of Tucker, settled in the county some 
time between 1840 and 18.50. He lived in a log cabin two miles 
southwest of the later site of Leon. He possessed some ability in 
the legal trade, but was considered as much or more eccentric than 
Berge, and his legal practice was as much limited. He left tlie county 
very soon and moved to Trinidad, Colorado, where he lived until 
quite old. 

Gideon P. Walker came to Decatur County in the late '40s and 
lived alone on the southern border of the county. He was excellently 
educated for the day and was noted as a fine penman. He, too, is 
said to have been very eccentric and odd in his habits. His practice 
of law was probably confined to the four walls of his cabin, but never- 
theless he was known as an attorney and a good one. 

The first lawyer to practice at Leon was George A. Hawley, who 
located here in 1854 and practiced for a period of eight years. He 
had quite an amount of a])ility and was well liked on account of his 
affable disposition. He was active in the politics of the county. Dur- 
ing the early years of the war he moved to Chillicothe, ]Mo.. after- 
ward to Atchison, Kan., and then Hamilton-^ 111. He is now deceased. 

197 



198 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Andrew J. Baker came to the county early and practiced a short 
time in partnership with Hawley. During the Civil war he served 
as lieutenant and when hostilities ceased he located in Putnam County, 
;Mo. He took a prominent part in the Liberal movement which 
carried that state in 1870 and became attorney-general, which posi- 
tion he held for four years. He afterwards removed to Centerville,. 
la., and formed a partnership with General Drake and in 1884 was 
elected attorney-general of Iowa. 

The three Warner brothers came to Leon from Ohio about 1856, 
together with several other lawyers. John W. Warner was perhaps 
the leader of the party. Soon after coming here he erected a cheap 
structure for the care of travelers and for several years he alter- 
nated the practice of law with the duties of a host. He was an excel- 
lent speaker and very popular, but his success in dollars and cents 
was not very great. He moved to Colorado finally and engaged in 
mining. 

Joseph S. Warner was at first simply known as a carpenter. 
Wliile working with his brother, John W., on the building afterwards 
called the Sales House he accidentally fell from the top to a scaffold- 
ing below. He was not hurt as much as he was disgusted and he 
immediately declared that he would never do another day's work as 
long as he lived. He studied law, entered the practice and was very 
successful. At the height of his career he was stricken by death at 
his home in Leon. Politically, he was a democrat. 

A. J. Warner started to practice law as his life's work, but soon 
grew tired of it. He became of a peculiar turn of mind and soon 
became an agnostic, which made him very unpopular. Soon after 
the war he started farming in Knox County, 111. He is now deceased 
as are all the Warner brothers. 

George S. Adams was an attorney for a short time in Decatur 
County, then became a Presbyterian preacher and then went to Colo- 
rado. He is now deceased. 

P. H. Binckley came to Leon with the purpose of starting the 
Leon Pioneer, the first newspaper in the county, in partnership with 
his brother, George. He also practiced law. He was a well edu- 
cated man and equally well versed in the law, but he was not success- 
ful. However, as a man he was popular and took a very active part 
in politics. During the administration of President Johnson he was 
appointed to a clerkship in Washington, D. C. and afterward moved 
to Dayton, Ohio, where he died. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 199 

Samuel Forre}^ one of the best known of the men of Decatur 
County in the early days, came to Leon in I800. lie immediately 
began to i^ractice law and continued until his death. Eight years 
of this time he ^^•as on the bench as district judge and for several 
years served as justice of the peace. He was at first a republican, 
but finally changed to the democratic party while led })y Cleveland. 

Fred Teale was at one time a lawyer, but soon retired from that 
profession, and now is in the banking bushiess. 

Vincent AVainright began practice in Leon about I80G or 18.37. 
He was considered a splendid lawyer. He held the office of county 
superintendent for one term, having been elected on the democratic 
ticket. At the beginning of the Civil war a company was formed in 
Leon under the captaincy of George Burton. This company soon 
became enlisted to full strength and consequently there were many 
men left. These were kept at regular drill. Wainright was captain 
of this body of men until he removed to Winterset. He is now de- 
ceased. 

W. S. Warnock settled in Leon about the same time as AVain- 
right and practiced for about fifteen years, earning a reputation for 
ability. He subsequently went into business at Davis City and then 
into the pursuit of farming. He served one term in the Iowa General 
Assembly. During his life he was affiliated with both the democratic 
and the republican parties. 

James S. Alfrey came also about the same date and practiced 
irregularly for ten years. He served one term as county superin- 
tendent. He was enlisted in the army for a short time during the war 
and after the war taught school. He was murdered by a man named 
Williams on ]May 20, 1866. 

Jesse W. Penny came to Leon during the early years of the Civil 
war and practiced for five or six years, or until his death. He was 
an excellent scholar and was successful during the short time he was 
permitted to work. He was democratic in politics and served one term 
as county superintendent. 

About 18.50 A. J. Evans settled in the southeastern part of the 
county, near Lineville, on a farm. In 18.54 or 18.5.5 he was elected 
prosecuting attorney, when the district including Decatur Comity 
extended to the ^Missouri River, and took in about one-fiftli of the 
State of Iowa. JNIr. Evans assisted in holding court in Decatur 
County before the erection of the first courthouse, but did not remove 
his residence to the county seat until 186,5, when he devoted himself 
entirely to the legal practice, gaining a good reputation in the same. 



200 HISTORY OF DFCATUR COUNTY 

He removed to Alabama in 1871 and afterwards decided to go to 
Kansas. While en route to the latter state he was seized with small- 
2^ox and died. 

John W. Harvey came to Leon from Jasj)er County, la., in 
1868 and was in partnership with Major Yomig until 1882, when he 
was elected judge of the District Court. He was a republican. He 
is now deceased. 

R. L. Parrish was a school teacher before he was admitted to 
the bar. He graduated at Iowa City and was admitted to the bar at 
Leon. He was first in partnership with C. W. Hoffman, then with 
E. W. Haskett and in 1883 with JNIajor Young. He is still living, 
and is practicing in Des Moines, la. 

E. W. Haskett began the practice of law in Leon in 1874. Dur- 
ing the administration of President Arthur in 1883 he was appointed 
United States district attorney to Alaska. He held this position 
for two years, until relieved by Cleveland's administration, and on 
his way home A^as accidentally killed at Needles, Cal. 

C. W. Hoffman was born and raised in Decatur County and 
was admitted to the practice here in 1876. He is very prominent 
in democratic politics. He is still living, and practicing his profes- 
sion in Leon. 

N. P. Bullock located here in 1867 and w^as in partnership at dif- 
ferent times with John W. Warner, Joseph S. Warner and C. W. 
Hoffman. He belonged to the republican party. 

W. H. Albaugh read law w^ith Harvey & Young and was after- 
ward admitted to the bar. He w^as mayor for two terms and justice 
of the peace several years. Mr. Albaugh is still living. 

]Marion F. Stookev and his cousin, jNIillard F. Stookev, came, at 
the same time from jNIarion, la. The former was in partnership with 
E. W. Haskett for a time. He was chairman of the Republican 
Central Committee for several years and was one of the proprietors 
of the Decatur County Journal for many years. He is now practic- 
ing law in Leon. jNIillard F. Stookey was in partnership for a 
time with W. H. Robb, but separated when elected clerk of tlie 
courts. He held this office two terms and then was a deputy in the 
same office. jNIr. Stookey has been postmaster at Leon for the last 
nine years. 

W. H. Robb was reared in this county and was admitted to the 
practice in 1868. He engaged also in the abstract business with his 
son-in-law, Charles Jordan, until 1874, when the books and busi- 
ness were sold to the Leon Loan and Abstract Company. JNIr. Robb 



HISTORY OF DECATT^R COUNTY 201 

was for several years postmaster at Leon, and was succeeded by W. J. 
Sullivan. He ^\ as then given an appointment by the Interior Depart- 
ment of tlie United States and given duties in the ^Vest with the 
Indian bureau. He held this office until Cleveland's administration. 
He then removed to Kansas. ]Mr. Robb is now deceased. 

In the '70s a man named Black settled in the western part of the 
county and practiced law with good success. He died just a few 
years after comino' here. 

^I. A. ^lills came to Leon about 1868 from Indiana. He grad- 
uated at the Iowa Law School and practiced successfully for several 
years. In 1878 he removed to Nebraska and afterwards served 
a term in the Senate of that state. Politically he was a democrat. 

Albert Hale, a young attorney, practiced at Leon for several 
years, then moved away. He is now dead. 

Another prominent lawyer of Decatur County was E. W. Curry, 
M lio practiced for many years. 

J. B. ^lorrison came about 1868 from Indiana, resided and prac- 
ticed law in Leon for about ten years, was mayor two terms and then 
moved to a farm west of Grand River. He is now deceased. 

S. A. Gates and John X. Gates were among tlie early lawyers of 
Leon. S. A. Gates began the study of law in 1872 with J. ^V. 
Penny, of Leon, who died in the spring of 187-i. He then continued 
his studies with A. ]M. Post, who was sent as consul to the Cape Yerde 
Islands. He completed his studies with X. P. Bullock. After being 
admitted to the bar Mr. Gates opened an office, and in June, 1884, 
was joined by his brother, John X. John X. Gates is not in active 
practice at present, but S. A. Gates still retains an office in Leon and 
is continuing a lucrative practice in the county, also is engaged in the 
real estate business to some extent. 

]Maj. John L. Young settled in the county in the fall of 18.59. 
In the previous year he had been admitted to the bar in the Supreme 
Court at Des ]Moines. He practiced at Bloomfield until he came to 
Leon. After coming here he immediately began the practice of his 
profession with Yictor Wainright. This partnership w^as formed in 
February, 1860. During the Civil war he won a great deal of promi- 
nence and for gallantry readied the rank of maior. He then 
returned to Leon and resumed the practice of his profession, and 
later formed a partnership with John W. Harvey, which continued 
until 1869. Through his efforts at this time a national bank was 
secured and he was made cashier. He retained this position until 
1871. He then organized the Peoples Bank at Leon, wdiich was not 



202 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

successful. He was then engaged for a time as traveling attorney 
for Dood, Brown & Co., of St. Louis. In 1877 he came back 
and reformed a partnership with Judge Harvey, which continued 
until the latter was nominated for judge in 1882, when Stephen 
Varga became associated with him. ]Mr. Young is now deceased. 

W. S. Shepherd located at Garden Grove during the '50s and 
lived there for several years. He went to California to settle up the 
estate of his father-in-law and there died in 1871. 

W. W. INIiller located at Garden Grove in 1880 and practiced 
two years, when he was appointed a pension clerk in Washington. 

S. H. Amos came to Garden Grove in 1877 from Wayne County, 
where he had been teaching school. He taught a term in Decatur 
County and kept a hotel for a time. In the meantime he was study- 
ing law and completed his course under Judge John W. Harvey, 
of Leon. In 1878 he was admitted to the bar and located at the 
Grove. 

Marion Woodard began the practice of the profession in 1883 at 
Decatur City. He is now engaged in the practice at Leon. C. W. 
Bridges also practiced here for a time. 

R. J. Critchfield began the practice at Weldon in 1883. 

W. W. Peasley, from Eagleville, Mo., practiced in Davis City 
from 1875 to 1885 and later became a banker at Kellerton, Ring- 
gold County. He is now deceased. J. H. Kling was in practice 
at Davis City for three years. W. A. Williams also practiced at 
Weldon for a time. 

THE PRESENT BAR 

The following is the present bar in Decatur County: S. H. 
Amos, Garden Grove; R. B. Hawkins, Van Wert; B. JNI. Russell, 
Lamoni; George W. Baker, S. A. Gates, J. F. Harvey, C. W. Hoff- 
man, V. R. McGinnis, A. P. Olsen, J. S. Parrish, Clarion F. Stookey, 
E. H. Sharp, W. J. Springer, Stephen Varga, Francis Varga and 
Marion Woodard, all of Leon. The total is sixteen members. 

THE FIRST COURT 

The first District Court in the county convened at the house of 
Daniel ^Moad, as ordered by the Board of County Commissioners, on 
May 19, 1851. This home was about six miles southeast of the pres- 
ent location of Leon. William McKay presided as judge, and 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 203 

Daniel Moad served in the capacity of clerk. John J. Stanley was 
the sheriff. The following were the first grand jurors: ^lordeeai 
Smith, Anthony Vander^jool, Elijah R. Hole, Oliver Hoskins, Alfred 
Stanley, Hiram J. Stanley, John Price, A\''illiam Oney, John Jordan, 
Charles Jordan, Simon H. Harmon, John Vanderpool, Stanley Hat- 
field, Isaac Craig, Andrew Hatfield, Andi'ew J. Randolph. JNIor- 
decai Smith was foreman; Thomas Kilgore w^as bailiff. William H. 
Bramfield was appointed as prosecuting attorney for the term. 

The first case to come up before this court was a suit foi* divorce, 
entitled John Blades vs. JNIaria Blades. The case was continued 
until the next term and the plaintiff was finally successful. Perhaps 
the second case to come before the court was also a divorce proceeding, 
Ann Knapp vs. Zelatus W. Knapp. Ann w^on, according to record. 

The first marriage license was issued on INIay 18, 18.50, to Henry 
Hall and Eliza Ann Ewing. On the same day also a license was 
given to Thomas Ewang and INIary Ann Carson. No return of the 
marriage certificate was made in either case. The first marriage 
certificate on record is that of John Zimmerman and Harriet L. 
Lamb, married by William Cutchlow, justice of the peace, on Sep- 
tember 22, 1850. 



\ 



CHAPTER XVIII 

THE NAMES OF DECATUR COUNTY STREAMS 

By J. E. Vail 

This, which I opine may consistently be called our county, is very 
near the great 3Iississippi-iMissouri water shed, and according to 
the best geological evidence, has its formation both from glacial drift 
and from the wind-blown soils. The former with the tendency to 
level oiF, the latter to irregularly deposit immense strata of variable 
fine dust like silt, this as time passed on, became subject to great 
erosions and has left our section of the state generally rough and 
broken in topograph}^ and crossed by numerous streams, sloughs 
and branches. 

These prevailing conditions are the more apparent when a care- 
fully drawn map of Decatur County is compared with that of Poco- 
hontas, or any of the counties which lie in the later Wisconsin glacial 
formation, and which were not subject to the wind-blown, or Loess 
drifts and the subsequent great erosions. These conditions therefore, 
being the geologically attributed cause of the numerous streams 
which traverse our county, the origin of the names of these may 
worthily be the subject of a sketch. 

It is a matter of regret that the wandering folk who possessed 
the land while the aborigines remained, left so little upon w-hich to 
build. Tlie very name of a stream or settlement — and all is said. 
The stream name continues long after advancing civilization has 
swept away the rude huts called "settlement." To preserve the 
vestiges which remain, to compare w^ith others the available data that 
at this late day must be sought in the memories of men, is the excuse 
offered for this writing. 

Decatur County's principal system of water courses comprise, 
Thompson's Fork of Grand River, Weldon Creek, Little Creek, Elk 
Creek and Steel's Creek, all of which are constantly augmented at 
nearly every mile of their meandering course by some branch feeder, 
and as most of these have at some time received a name to designate 

204 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 205 



the one from the other, and as many of these names were given in 
the early pioneer days and were generally taken from those of the 
early settlers who were attracted to their bottoms because of the 
natural necessity of all pioneers — wood and water — and as these 
early settlers by common instinct, almost invariably soon pushed on 
to the unexplored, and because of the age of the county, their memory 
now forgotten, the meagre date to be obtained, nnist be taken witli 
at least certain doubts, and it is more than likely that the true facts 
mav be in a large measure forgotten. 

As to Grand River, this stream traverses the west prat of the 
county. In an early day it was not thus called, but went by the 
nam eof Thompson's Fork, which was later on contracted to Grand, 
unquestionably because of its being a prominent branch of the river 
so named. There are those today of the early settlers who in refer- 
ring to it, always call it Thompson's Fork. 

Thompson settled at Edinburg, ]Mo., about the year 1840 and 
gave his name to the stream. He was a contemporary of Peter Cain 
and probably the two made settlement at about the same i:)eriod. He 
appears, by the way, to have been one of the class of hardy hunters, 
trappers and traders who have ever been immediately in the rear of 
the vanishing Indian. By reports, he led a strenuous life, making 
various excursions of discovery, mingling with the distant settlements, 
hunting, trapping and trading and at times acting as guide, well 
known over a wide area of country and especially well acquainted 
with the river as he is reported to have often been met with in the 
vicinity of Afton, la. 

Likewise, Weldon Creek, or River as it is sometimes called, was 
named after one Weldon who came into the county in the early '40s 
and is reported to have first settled in or near Burrell Township. 
He, too, was constantly mingling with the settlements and probal)ly 
made various excursions into the country tributary to the stream and 
traded with and had much association with the jNIormons who passed 
through Iowa about 1846, and most likely from these associations, 
and knowing the country and the different trails and fords thor- 
oughh^ the creek was called after him. 

Steel Creek, which has its rise in the northwest part of Richman 
Township, Wayne County, and which enters Decatur County, at 
Section 13, High Point Township, and joins with AVeldon at Sandy 
Point on the land commonly known as the Beaumont farm, was 
named after one Steel. 



206 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

The site of his cabin is iDlaced as being located in the bend of the 
creek about a quarter mile north of the bridge on the state road and 
on the farm now known as the Captain Alexander estate. Little if 
anything is remembered of him and he probably left the county at 
a very early period. It might be added in connection with this stream 
that many years ago there was no small excitement of the finding 
of gold on some of the deep slough branches and that colors were 
quite readily shown in the pans, and indeed it is reported that one 
particular day there were more than one hundred men congregated 
and engaged in the quest, and that a rough sluice box was constructed 
and all preparations of an extent indicating permanency, but the 
excitement was short lived. 

Likewise, Artillery Grove, a high wooded point of ground near 
this creek, was for many years a landmark and there are many legends 
of buried cannon, of a battle between emigrants and Indians and of 
a skirmish between INIissouri jNIilitia and JNIormons, and last and most 
reasonable, that the point was on or near the old trail leading to 
Fort Des ^loines and that passing troops being encumbered, buried 
two pieces of small cannon here. It is certain that these have never 
been found, though on several occasions treasure hunters have vainly 
sought them. On the whole, the various stories lack corroboration. 

Jonathan Creek, which rises just southeast of Van Wert, and 
joins with Weldon about the Gardner farm in High Point Township, 
was named after one Jonathan who settled at a point just east of 
the Capt. J. D. Brown homestead. T. J. Knapp, who came to Iowa 
about 1851, states that he distinctly remembers the site of the log 
cabin, which was a few rods north of the Leon-Garden Grove road 
wliere the same winds up the hill after crossing the creek. Here he 
lived and made a small clearing and was engaged in raising and 
feeding hogs. His last drive to Brunswick, ]\Io., was made in the fall 
of the year 1851. 

Just north of his ranch and near the present Scott farm lived 
one Cherry, likewise an early settler and neighbor, and from him 
was named Cherry Creek, which branch traverses along the line of 
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. 

Kilgore Branch, named from the Kilgores, early settlers and who 
are referred to by early settlers as being "hoss-traders" and of whose 
various exploits alone a volume might be written, but is passed ^or 
want of space. Mormon-Pool or Brush Creek, north of Garden 
Grove, probably took its name after having been used for baptismal 
purposes. The old trail to Chariton passed at a rocky ford just 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 207 

above which was a deep pool of water, probably seven or eight feet 
deep in places in an early day, the west bank of same being a long, 
gradual and gravelly slope naturally made it a favorite x^oint for 
these ceremonies. 

While there are many other branches in tlie county, at this late 
day it is difficult to get the information and to select the true from 
the legendary stories. In obtaining data as to names of our county 
streams, one is surprised even in our comparatively recent settlement, 
in the meagerness of the actual or authentic facts to be obtained. 
Very frequently, after interviewing a half dozen old settlers, one 
only learns that "Old Jim So-and-So lived down there on the bot- 
toms when he came to the county and as he was the only fellow near, 
we just called the creek Jim Creek after him — he left just about 
the time we landed here. He was a sort of reticent cuss, anyway, 
and they saj^ he had mighty good reasons for living away from white 
folks" — and so it goes. 

Aside from Grand River, which is merely an overgrown creek, 
the remainder of the drainage streams of the county, while numerous, 
comprise small branches and sloughs, many of them unnamed, and of 
the named not a few are self-descriptive of local conditions through 
their course, such as Sand Creek, of which there are several so-called, 
all of which that I have crossed being with sandy bottoms; Brush 
Creek, very suggestive from the name; Big Creek; Long Creek; Short 
Creek; Spring Branch and Turkey Run and a host of similarly des- 
ignated branches, some of w^hich w^ould hardly bear witness to lieing 
other than a dry arroyo unless caught in the very act of caring for 
a three or four-inch rainfall. I have committed from the more com- 
monly called, a little stream in Center and High Point toM'nships 
called Granny Branch. An inquiry as to the reason for the name 
brought forth tlie following: "Well, all I know about it is tliat wlien 
we came here there was about the biggest lot of old women living in 
tliat settlement of anywhere else in these parts; there was Granny 
Smitli and some five or six other women whose names I don't now 
exactly recollect wlio used to go out nursing and doctoring — mighty 
liandy those days to have them — and just as far back as I can remem- 
])er we called the creek Granny after the wdiole buncli of them." 

As to Elk Creek, the very name is suggestive. This stream was 
unquestionably named after the animal long extinct in our county. 
I have never been able to meet with anyone who remembered seeing 
a herd of elk in our section. There are, however, various reports 
passed around of straggling elk having been killed along Grand 



208 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

River. The early settlers of the western townships very vividly 
describe of the early '50s "that the country was a great expanse of 
prairie with luxurious growth of grass, and timbered along the rivers 
and most of the branches— no underbrush — thanks to the yearly fires 
which swept the plains, and possible to drive almost any place with 
team and wagon ;v the creeks and prairie sloughs abounded in small 
fish, with comparatively clear water and deep holes, many good hard 
bottom fords, and last of all, the western prairies marked with horns 
and teeth of elk, these remaining vestiges of this noble creature being 
plentifully found near the timber line along the creeks and frequently 
quite far out on the prairies, thus showing that there was a period 
when they were here in numbers, as the life of the horns and teeth, 
exposed to existing conditions, is variously estimated from twenty 
to thirty years, we may assume that the elk quit this range some time 
in the '30s or early '40s, as our early settlements hardly date further 
back than 1847." The stream probably took its name, not from some 
stray specimen, but from the remains of a herd. 

Dickinson Branch in Burrell Township took its name from a 
hermit settler, WyHs Dickinson. I am not informed as to when he 
came to the county, but probably during the 'oOs. He was a peculiar 
character, a Xew Englander by birth I believe, reported to have been 
disappointed in a love affair. He settled in the then glades, later to 
be quite heavily timbered land not far from Davis City and on the 
upland east of Grand River. He was a quiet, mild-mannered man. 
He lived in a small cabin surrounded, when I first became acquainted 
with the man and the place, by native trees and quite hidden from 
view from the road. There were only two small fields of four or five 
acres each in culture at the time, one of which he allowed to lie fallow 
each alternate year, the other cultivated. There were many squirrels 
and birds in the trees, for he killed nothing himself and permitted no 
hunting on his premises, nor did he clear any more of his land than 
the two little fields before mentioned. The decayed and fallen trees 
sup])lied him with wood and the water supply was from the branch 
which bears his name. He was very affable with his neighbors and 
might never have been called hermit except for the fact that he 
shunned the villages and society, and so he lived — almost unknown 
personally except to a very few, surrounded by his trees and with 
his stock and the squirrels and the birds as company. 



CHAPTER XIX 
MISCELLANEOUS 

EARLY FAR:M METHODS 

The following description of agriculture in the early days of the 
county was prejjared by J. X. JNIachlan. 

jNIy parents erected a little cabin in the brush near the present 
site of the county bridge, on Little River, west from the Fairview 
schoolhouse, and called it home; before long my father with a good 
team of horses and an old-fashioned sod plow began to cut and turn 
the virgin soil preparatory to raising a crop. The plowman's nec- 
essary equipment for success were as follows: Plentj^ of patience, 
a whip, a plow file, a heavy hammer and a hunk of iron, to use as an 
anvil to cold hammer the plowshare occasionally; the file with which 
to put the finishing touch on; and the patience came into good play 
when he encountered a stone, a root, or some other obstacle that j erked 
the plow, plowman and all clear out of the furrow. There were also 
numerous snakes to contend with, the rattlesnakes, the bull snake, 
the hissing viper, the blue racer, the house snake, the garter snake, 
the horn snake, the yellow joint snake, the green joint snake, the blue- 
black joint snake and a few other species, besides the nasty lizzards 
which could be seen by the hundreds. 

Xow, as the virgin soil had been turned bottom side up and time 
had arrived for corn planting, we proceeded to plant corn by one of 
the following methods : By axing it in, hoeing it in, healing it in or 
di-opping by hand following the plow every third round and dropping 
the grain on top of the furrow^ at such a place that the next furrow 
would barely cover it with its upper edge. This would produce what 
we called a crop of sod corn, either good or bad, according to the 
season and condition of the sod. Plenty of rain was essential to a 
good crop. It was also essential for the sod to be well rotted. Scores 
of snakes would be cut in twain by the plow every season, among them 
a great many rattlesnakes. The early settlers did not have implement 

Vol. J— 14 

209 



210 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

stores to which they could go and purchase farming tools, but were 
compelled of necessity to make them. When the ground was in con- 
dition for harrowing we set to work with three sticks of timber some 
four or five inches square and perhaps six feet in length and frame 
or bolt them together, which when joined would be a good representa- 
tion of the letter A. Next with an inch and a half or two-inch auger 
we bored holes in the side pieces and cross section, into which we 
inserted huge pegs made from oak or hickory, then sharpened the 
lower ends of the pegs and our harrow was completed. Our wooden 
harrow rotted down in the fence corner after many years of good 
service. A few^ years later the sod tearer was invented. It was 
such a peculiarly constructed instrument that to the writer it baffles 
description. 

Much of the virgin soil contained so many tough roots that it was 
not uncommon to see a furrow of sod one-half mile long without 
a break in it. Some of the toughest roots were the wild indigo, shoe- 
string, blue stem, rosin weed and sometimes a patch of hazel or buck 
brush. The rosin weed produced a white gum which was used as 
chewing gum by the lads of the early day. 

After a few months spent in the little cabin in the brush we 
decided to venture out on the broad, bleak prairie and erect another 
log cabin. A well was dug, which supplied w ater for the house, but 
for years our stock had to be taken across the prairie to some creek 
or spring to quench their thirst and as for ourselves when working in 
the fields or on the prairie making hay we have many times drunk 
from a puddle containing many angle worms, crawfish and bugs, and 
the water would often be warm enough for dish water. Time rolled 
on and it became necessary to fence our farm ; father proceeded to the 
timber some eleven miles distant and split rails and hauled them, and 
a worm fence built, which when completed was from seven to ten 
rails in height, but soon a new difficulty arose. IMore settlers were 
coming in, fires were started in the prairie grass, some were started 
by accident, some purj)osely, and on quite a few occasions campers 
have left fire where they had stopped for the night; the wind w^ould 
rise and the fire would be scattered. Soon a conflagration would be 
raging across the prairies and perhaps hundreds or even thousands 
of acres would be burned over before the fire went out. In many cases 
the fires w^ould burn all night. It was at such times that our rail 
fences would suffer destruction. Then an idea came to us how to 
prevent this loss. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 2li 

The fires, of course, would do most of the mischief in the spring, 
and at some convenient time we would plow a few furrows around 
the farm near the fence, then perhaps two or three rods farther from 
tlie fence we would plow a few more, the strip between called the 
fire land. At a favorable time, when the wind was not blowing, gen- 
erally of an evening, father would say, "Well, boys, this is a good 
time to burn out those fire lands." This pleased the boys and after 
the day's work was done we equipped ourselves with small boards 
and brush to fight fire and on some occasions we would take along 
from one to three barrels of water, in case fire should get into the 
fence, we were fixed for it. All things ready, we commenced firing 
along the side, so the fire would have to burn against the wind, but 
it matters not how calm it was when the fire was started, the hot air 
rising creates a vacuum and the cool air rushing in to take its place 
would cause a breeze and sometimes the fire would get beyond control 
despite our best efforts and sometimes we would not reach home until 
a very late hour in the night. A weed well known to early settlers 
called the tumbleweed or careless weed which grew in great numbers 
on these new cultivated lands, the tops of which were almost spherical 
in shape and ranging in diameter from twelve to thirty-six inches, 
when assisted bv the breeze, would carrv fire for some distance. They 
were so near round they would roll for miles without stopping when 
a stiff wind was blowing. 

When the soil had become well rotted and the corn big enough 
to need attention we plowed it with a cultivator having but one shovel, 
which was made from a triangular-shaped piece of iron, witli which 
it was necessary to plow two rounds to each row of corn. The culti- 
vator was used in the field more or less until the silk made its appear- 
ance on the voung ears of corn. The worst weed we had to contend 
with in the cornfield in those days was a species of smart weed, rarely 
seen except on new land. It grew down close to the ground and had 
a firm grip upon it. Hoes were extensively used in those days in the 
cornfield. Another advanced step was taken in the method of plant- 
ing corn. The cultivator referred to was used to draw a shallow 
furrow for each row of corn, the corn is then dropped into the fin-- 
row, about every three feet, then covered either with a hoe or by cross 
harrowing, three of us dropping and one furrowing off, planting as 
much as seven acres in one day. 

The time came when we were raising a little spring wheat, oats 
and flax. The method of threshing grain, after it had been harvested 
with the cradling scythe and was well cured, was to prepare a circular 



212 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

l)iece of ground, usually from sixteen to twent}^ feet in diameter, by 
taking a sharp spade and shaving off the surface until it was quite 
smooth and level; after this was done a pole some eight or ten feet 
high was set upright in a hole dug in the center of the circular patch 
of ground. To this pole usually two horses were tied with long ropes 
and a lad mounted on one of the horses with a small gad. The grain 
liad been evenly spread upon the prepared ground and the horses were 
started on a long tramp, tramping out the grain on the ground, a 
process which was very monotonous to the horses and, speaking from 
experience, the writer was very glad when the noon hour or nightfall 
had an-ived. The grain, during the tramping process, was turned 
over with a forked stick, and as soon as the grain was tramped out 
the straw was removed and the grain gathered up and winnowed out. 
A fresh supply was spread upon the floor and the tramping process 
was continued. 

The snowfall during some of the winters was very heavy. I 
believe that it was in the winter of 1866 that we arose and discovered 
that the snow had drifted to the eaves of the little cabin. Our fences 
were all snowed under and our stock scattered hither and thither and 
our enclosures for stock were all under snow. After the snow fell 
the weather turned colder and the snow froze hard. We could drive 
in any direction across the prairie over high fences. We had just put 
out a washing before the snow and it was six weeks before we were 
enabled to find all of it. Heavy snows were common, but this one 
M as the heaviest that I ever saw. Our cabin was covered with clap- 
boards, as was the custom in those days, and the snow would blow 
between them and sift down through the loft into our faces as we 
lay in bed during the snowstorm. The last thing the good mother 
would do before retiring was to see if the five children were in bed, 
covered up head and all so that the snow would not lodge in their 
faces. It was a common occurrence after a snowstorm had subsided 
for some one of the family to ascend to the loft and scoop the snow 
out before it melted. 

As we pass along it might be well to describe the bedsteads 
installed in some of the cabins. One method of constructing a bed- 
stead was to place a log in the walls angling across a corner of the 
cabin at a convenient height, into which pegs were set about six inches 
a])art. A small rope Avas then procured and strung back and forth 
from the pegs in the logs to corresponding pegs in the cabin. A later 
metliod of construction was to procure two round poles to serve as 
side rails, set the pegs into them, fasten them to corner posts, nail on 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 213 

end rails, then string the pegs with the rope, and the bedstead was 
completed. 

No cabin was complete without the fireplace. Tlie hearth was 
laid with brick or stone and the chininey usually built of the same 
materials, or wooden slats built up in nmd or lime mortar. In our 
cabin the hearth was made of flat limestone under which the rats 
burrowed and made nests and reared their young, and as their dis- 
gusting habits are nocturnal, the saucy little rodents would emerge 
from underneath the hearth during the night, especially in the winter, 
and skip about the fire, evidently warming themselves and eating 
such things as suited their taste. Thev would sometimes bite some 
of the family or anyone who chanced to be there during the night. 
INIy brother, who resides in Des ^loines, was bitten on the great toe 
while asleep. A servant girl who was employed to assist in the house- 
hold duties was also bitten, whereupon she cried "JNIurder!" But 
as that was a common expression with some people in those days 
when they were frightened, hurt or alarmed, the family thought 
nothing, but someone proceeded to make a light to ascertain how 
badly she was bitten. 

The various kinds of lights used in those days were first the grease 
light, then the grease lamp and then the tallow candle. 

When the sod had become well rotted, watermelons, pumpkins and 
potatoes did quite well. Among the various kinds of potatoes grown 
were the calico, white meshanic, California peachblow, long red, and 
ladyfinger, the long red being the most prolific. 

For several years after Iowa became a state apples were hauled 
in from :Missouri, many of them coming from what was known as 
the famous crab orchard, so called because the apple scion were grafted 
into the root of the wild crab. The first apples the writer ever saw 
grown were in a small orchard of young trees planted on the old 
homestead. I think there were less than a dozen of them, which 
were guarded very closely, lest something befall them before they 

were matured. 

After the chaff-piling threshing machine was introduced the 
threshing of grain was not so great a task as it was formerly, but 
as the straw carrier had not yet been invented it became necessary 
to remove the straw and chaff from the rear end of the machine, either 
with horses or by some other method, any of which were very dis- 
agreeable, as the chaff and dust would fill the eyes, nose, ears and 
mouth; but being as it was, it was quite an improvement. 



2U HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Thinking there might be profit in sheep raising, we purchased 
a ilock of two or three hundred, with a guarantee from the owner 
that none of them were more than four years old, but soon tliey 
])eoan to die of old age and we discovered that we were beaten in the 
deal; however, we kept on trying. We had plenty of range, but they 
must have a shepherd, which lot usually fell upon the writer, and per- 
mit me to say that it was a very monotonous, lonesome occupation, 
watching sheep on the broad prairie and not a human being in sight 
for hours at a time. For years we were compelled to lot the sheep 
at night near the cabin, to prevent the wolves from killing them, but 
e\'en then they would get among them and kill the lambs. One day 
Nvliile the writer was tending his sheep a short distance from the 
cabin a wolf came into the flock and seizing a lamb by the back of 
tlie neck, trotted off with it. I waved my stick, which I usually 
carried, vigorously in the air and yelled with all the force I could 
summons. The wolf dropped the lamb and I took it to the cabin, 
but it was so badly injured that it only lived a few days. Our flock 
increased and the extremely old ones died off and we had better success 
for a time. In our flock was a large fellow with curled horns; he 
liad been teased quite a little and had become quite mischievous. On a 
certain occasion by accident the sheep became imprisoned in the 
smokehouse; some member of the family had closed the door, not 
knowing that he was in there. The servant of the kitchen, who was 
commonly called an old maid, went to the smokehouse for something 
to serve for the dinner meal and on opening the door the sheep made 
a dive for her, running between her feet, carrying her for a short 
distance and bleating as if in great agony, while the maid was scream- 
ing and trying to alight from his back. The situation seemed to be 
a critical one, as the sheep did not know how to unload his burden and 
the maid feared trying to let loose for fear of getting hurt in the 
attempt, but finally by some kind of maneuvers they came out of the 
fracas none the worse for wear. 

Another advance had been made in the corn cultivator, which 
then had two shovels instead of one, and a row of corn was plowed 
every round of the horse and plowman, which was quite gratifying 
to the farmers, but while this was true new and additional weeds were 
added to the farmer's list of pests, among which were the milkweed 
and the black-eyed swan, both of which are with us unto the present 
day. The latter was introduced into this country as a garden flower 
l)y some English i^eople. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 215 

Time rolls on and the rats under the hearth having inereased in 
numbers and boldness, they became almost unbearable and lather 
set trails and caught quite a number of them. The cabin all being 
in one room, we could watch them by the light of the fireplace from 
all quarters of the room, and I must say that it was amusing to see 
father spring out of bed on hearing the trap spring and kill the 
rat, set the trap again, and retire, sometimes only remaining in bed 
but a short time, when he would repeat the ox^eration. Someone 
prescribed a remedy. It was as follows: Catch a rat, singe it over 
the fire and turn it loose and the rats would all take a leave of absence. 
Father caught the rat, but his heart failed him when it came to the 
singeing process and the rat never got singed. So much for rat- 
trajDping around the old fireside. 

Other improvements had been made to facilitate corn planting. 
A farmer a few miles distant had purchased a two-horse planter for 
about seventy-five dollars, and we could hire it for about fifteen cents 
per acre. The ground when ready to plant was first marked off with 
a kind of sled; the first one to appear made two marks at once and 
in a few j^ears someone made an improvement on the marker and it 
made three marks. About this time we thought we ^^'ould cap the 
climax. We made two wooden axles that would fit our wagon wheels, 
one short and one long one, coupled them together and made tour 
marks at a time, which was easy on the team and by this improvement 
forty acres could be marked off in a few hours. The ground being 
marked, two persons, a driver and a dro^^per, a team of horses and 
the new corn planter, would plant from ten to fifteen acres per day. 
The most common variety of corn planted during those days was the 
bloody butcher, although more or less Avhite corn was grown. 

A threshing machine had been introduced with a short straw 
carrier attachment known as the buffalo pitts, which was quite an 
imi^rovement over the old chaff piler. In connection with this 
thresher was introduced a system of tallying the number of bushels 
of grain threshed. It consisted mainly of a board attached to the side 
of the machine where the grain came out. It had a number of one- 
fourth-inch holes in it, arranged in rows, into which pegs were moved 
for each bushel of grain threshed. The board would tally up to 
1,000 bushels, when it became necessary to begin again at the first. 

By this time Osceola had a railroad. The Leon merchants had 
their goods shipped to Osceola and hired them hauled in wagons 
across the country. Engaged in the hauling of goods was a 
^fr. Hughes, Islw Goins, ^Ir. Lindsey and others, all of whom were 



216 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUXTY 

residents of Leon. Hughes was engaged at a certain time in hauling 
sliinoles. One day while en route to Leon with a load of shingles his 
horses became frightened and ran away, scattering shingles along 
tjie hiffhwav for some distance. 31r. Hughes received the name of 
"Shingle sower." 

Another step forward was taken and the two-horse cultivator was 
introduced to the farmers. We bargained for a Black Hawk walking 
cultivator with the firm of Richards & Close, whose advertisement 
api^eared in the Decatur County Journal of that time. The plow 
was delivered at our gate at the old homestead by the Mr. Hughes 
above referred to, while en route to Leon. The plow cost $35 and was 
the first two-horse cultivator the writer ever saw. 

In the early days of Decatur County considerable hay and grain 
were stolen. Movers and travelers going across the country would 
often steal their horse feed and take rails from the fences with which 
to make fuel. One farmer, however, got even with a mover. He had 
missed some rails from his fence and mounting a horse, went after 
them, and overtaking the mover before he reached Osceola, made 
him pay fifty cents each for the rails he had burned. The farmers 
would often see them in the act. The writer on one occasion caught 
some young, well-dressed fellows stealing hay. I asked what they 
did that for and they asked me to set a price, which I did. They said 
that it was not any too much and paid and drove on. 

Good-blooded horses were very scarce, but at the same time 
there were a good many serviceable horses on the farms, among which 
were the Canadian horses as they were called. 

The first hogs were the well-known hazel-splitters or razor-backs 
that were allowed to rove the prairies at will, and j^ou might imagine 
yourself among the brush or in the tall prairie grass with a salamander 
in your hand searching for a hog to butcher or one that might have 
a family of pigs to care for. It was not uncommon to fail in finding 
a young litter of swine until they were several days old. As to cattle 
there were just cattle and a conglomeration of colors and kinds. They 
all had horns and most of them good long ones. There were some 
excellent milkers and some expert kickers among them. 

RAILROADS 

In the year 1870 the Burlington & :Missouri River Railroad Com- 
pany was organized to build a railroad from Burlington Mest. The 
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company soon took over a 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 217 

controlling interest in this road, and since this time has been under 
this ownership. The greater part of the line east and west through 
Iowa was built in 1871 and at the same time a line was built from 
Chariton to Leon, under the name of the Chariton Branch. To 
obtain this branch line the localities through which it passed had to 
raise considerable money. Over eighty thousand dollars ^^■as raised 
in Decatur County. Garden Grove Township gave $2.5,000, while 
Center gave $50,000 and the right of way between Garden Grove 
and Leon. At Leon the road stopped for eight years. In 1879 it 
was extended south as far as Bethany, jNIo., and in the following 
year a branch was built from a point in New Buda To^^•nship, now 
called Togo, through Blount Ayr, in Ringgold County, to Grant 
City, ]Mo. This was done under the name of the Leon, ^Nlount Ayr 
& Southwestern, but really by the Burlington company. Xew Buda 
voted a 5 per cent tax, which yielded $27,000, and Davis City also 
voted a tax, besides the private subscriptions which were obtained. 
The Bethany Branch has been extended to St. Joseph, 3Io., and 
farther southward since. 

The Humeston & Shenandoah Railroad was built in 1879 and 
1880. The ^Missouri, Iowa & Nebraska Line extended its road to 
Van Wert, in Decatur County, and then turned over the line from 
Humeston to Van Wert to the Humeston & Shenandoah Company, 
which company then built on to Shenandoah. Franklin and Long 
Creek townships voted aid in the form of taxes, with the understand- 
ing that the road should be built through the center of the townships. 
However, the road extended along the northern border and the 
townships which had voted the money opposed the collection of it. 
Franklin won out, while Long Creek paid only enough to cover court 
costs. This line is now owned by the Burlington System. 

The Des ^Nloines, Osceola & Southern Railroad, which was at first 
known as the narrow gauge, was projected and constructed by Osceola 
parties, aided by subscriptions along the line. The company was 
organized at Osceola in 1880 and the actual work of construction 
was begun in the spring of 1881. In 1882 the road was built south 
from Osceola to Decatur City, in Decatur County. There it stopped 
for some months, the officers of the company apparently undecided 
Avhich way to go. Decatur Township contributed over twenty thou- 
sand dollars in tax, besides the subscriptions. The following year 
the road turned at a right angle and came to Leon, arriving October 
1, 1883. Leon gave $30,000 and also the right of way to the south 
line of Eden Township. In the spring of 1884 the line was started 



218 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

south again and completed to Cainesville, Mo. Eden Township 
gave $6,000 and Hamilton Township $11,000 and the right of way. 
This line later passed into the hands of a receiver and then was taken 
over by the Burlington System, which owns all the railroads in Deca- 
tur County at present. 

GRAND RIVER OUTLAAVS 

In all the realms of human fancy it is impossible to conceive of a 
more desperate band of incendiaries, cattle thieves and insurance 
fraud promoters than that which for years infested the regions adja- 
cent to the little Town of Grand River, in Decatur County, la. 

Even the Cantril band of grave robbers was not more daring in 
its movements, more diabolical in its plans and more devilishly shrewd 
in putting those plans into action than what were called Frank Green- 
land's barn-burners and horse-killers who held sway for perhaps ten 
years until finally run to earth by men who represented insurance 
companies in Iowa and other states. Now the band is broken up. 
Greenland is under indictment for shooting two horses and has also 
been convicted of cattle stealing and is now serving a term at Fort 
JNIadison. Other members of the gang, among them Dick Pray, 
the chief lieutenant, confessed after awaiting until the statute of 
limitations made them immune from prosecution. The terrorism 
which hovered over Grand River in a cloud has been dispelled, and 
the frauds, unique and cunning, have ended. Here in brief is the 
system employed by the gang: 

^lembers would purchase horses for a couple of dollars each. 
They would remove good animals from their barns and place within 
the iDlugs. The barn would be mysteriously destroyed by fire, the 
insurance companies would be forced to pay for the barn and for the 
destroyed animals, and the good horses would then be sold at the 
highest market value in some distant point. Still further it devel- 
oped, when Dick Pray took the witness stand, that these men would 
knock horses in the head, singe the hair on the neck and faces with 
matches, place the carcasses near barbed wire fences and collect insur- 
ance for the supposed lightning struck animals. 

In one case, it came to view, two horses were tied to a tree, 
knocked in the head, dynamite was exploded in the branches, and the 
insvu-ance companies paid $190 on the alleged victims of lightning. 
And that on horses which cost less than $5 apiece. 

In the territory around Grand River, the gang numbering per- 
haps a dozen, ruled with absolute power. No one dared oppose or 



i 



HlSTOllY OF DECATUR COUNTV 219 

speak against the methods enipJoyed. AVhenever a resident had the 
courage to say what he tliought, his barn or other property would 
mysteriously catch fire. The power of the gang was endless. And 
thus for several years it pursued its course of burning, destroying 
and collecting until hundreds of dollars were filched from the treas- 
uries of the insurance companies. Within the year 1901 alone thirty- 
three horses were destroyed by the fire or lightning and the insurance 
was collected for them, notwithstanding the fact that suspicion pointed 
an accusing finger at some of the owners. 

To I. N. Corbett, of Des Moines, the claim adjuster of the State 
Insurance Company, more than to any other is due the credit for 
unveiling the mystery and dispersing the band. In 1901 Green- 
land's barn burned and with it nineteen head of horses. The State 
Insurance Company claimed that fraud had been used. It refused 
to pay the $4,000 insurance. The case was taken into District Court 
and judgment was given Greenland for that amount. INIr. Corbett 
redoubled his labors. For three years he searched for evidence against 
what he believed to be the gang at the bottom of the work. Finally 
the statute of limitations having intervened, members of the gang 
confessed, and in October, 1904, Judge Towner set aside the judg- 
ment. Judge Towner's decision in setting aside the judgment was 
a masterpiece. It scored members of the band in a manner delightful 
to the residents of Grand River district. 

After the night of September 8, 1901, when Greenland's barn 
burned with the nineteen head of horses, Mr. Corbett was sent to the 
scene to look over the situation before the money for insurance was 
paid. The first suspicious sign that struck Corbett was the fact 
that the horses had been buried before being examined. He secured 
a veterinarian and went to the spot where the horses were interred, 
with the intention of digging up the carcasses and inspecting them. 
By looking at their teeth the veterinarian was expected to tell the age 
and sex of the animals. Fancy the surprise when out of the nine- 
teen horses exhumed but one had teeth. The other eighteen were 
headless. This looked like fraud to Corbett, and after a little further 
investigation he recommended that the claim not be allowed and thus 
resulted the law suit. Since then it has developed that the highest 
price paid for any animal in that barn was $11 and the lowest $1. 
That was the value of the $120 horses. Later it became known that 
the night before the fire Greenland had taken all of his good stock 
out of the barn and had hidden them nearby. In their places he put 
nineteen j^lugs. 



220 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

The number of other fires convinced the insurance companies that 
crime was afoot, so Corbett was ke^it on the trail for the next few 
years. He was known to the gang and his way was not replete with 
success by any means. In his search for evidence he traveled con- 
siderably over the ^liddle West. Finally, in October, 1904, the men 
confessed. 

The change wrought by the elimination of the criminals was 
remarkable. Before Grand River and vicinity had been in a state 
of lawless disorder, saloons ran without license, and shooting scrapes 
and destruction of projDcrty passed without trial because there could 
be found no witnesses who had the temerity to speak what they knew. 
In natural order, the country around settled down after the appre- 
hending of the desperadoes and has been peaceful ever since. 

PIONEER REMINISCENCES 

The article following is from the pen of C. B. Jordan, now a resi- 
dent of Oklahoma. In this story he finds exception to many things 
which have heretofore been legion in the history of the county: 

Speaking of the first term of court, of which Daniel oNIoad was 
clerk, I will never forget seeing him use the county seal for the first 
time. There was no frame or lever about the seal, simply the brass 
circle. He smoothed a piece of a log in the woodpile with an axe 
and placed the paper thereon, then placed the brass piece only con- 
taining the letters thereon, then struck it with the axe to make the 



impression. 



]Much of the election of relocation of the county seat I remember 
distinctly. The general advertised understanding up to within forty- 
eight hours of the date of the election was that two points only were 
to be voted on; one was the point at Decatur City, then there was a 
strong element who were going to vote for a point at the center of 
the county; and about forty-eight hours prior to election day John 
Vanderpool, AVilliam Oney, Hiram J. Stanley, Doctor Thompson 
and my father, John Jordan, all being interested east of Little River, 
counted noses and they beheved that they could defeat both the other 
places by a little quick work, and locate the county seat on the high 
prairie east of Little River, so they selected three of their number 
with good horses and saddles and ordered them to see every voter 
east of Little River and east of range 25, south of Little River, 
between that and election morning and tell them about this game, 
and swear them not to let anvone west of the same lines know a thins^ 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 221 

about it, but to go up early the morning of the election and vote for a 
point named Independence. Decatur City did not hear of it until 
the next day. JNIy memory is that it carried by eight votes over all 
others. 

Now to Lamoni. 1 left that countrv in the vear 187.5, and ^Ir. 
Banta, as president of the colony, accompanied by Mr. Dancer, as 
vice president, purchased the first land of me, as agent of the land 
that the church bought, they having made purchases of other agents 
who had no authority to sell, and returned to Leon expecting some 
deeds to have been there, but not one deed had arrived. Tlien they 
came to my office, and I assured them if they bought land of me that 
the deed would come, except in case the owner had died since my 
authority. The third day after they gave me some money two deeds 
arrived by mail, and they were so well pleased they made my office 
their headquarters until I had sold them something over one hundred 
and ten thousand dollars worth. I found them a nice set of men. I 
think the Joe Smith of JMormon reputation has been in my office 
several times. j\Ir. Banta delighted in being called a JNIormon. 

Now as to changing the name from Independence and from South 
Independence to Leon. I was at that meeting, and George L. ^loore, 
at that time a merchant in partnership with Seth Richards, was 
empowered fully by the meeting to select some suitable short name, 
and he selected Leon. The present generation do not know how 
awkward that name seemed to be at first. The first house, built bv 
Thomas H. East, was built before the toAvn was located and was 
just immediately soutli of the present ^Methodist Church, between 
that and the alley, if there is an alley there. The sclioolliouse that 
INIrs. Delilah Loe thinks was a mile east of town, in 18,53, was in the 
east edge of Leffler's Addition; if my memory is right, the teacher's 
name was Hastings. Along about those years there ^\as a school 
taught in what was known as the old Blair courtliouse building, by 
Josephus C. Porter, who nearly scared me to death for whispering 
to my girl. But the first school was taught in a loghouse on what 
was known later as Hurst's Store Corner, by Humphrey Fullerton, 
a brother of INIrs. F. F. Thompson, and one term by Carrington S. 
Porter. 

It has been stated that Charles B. Jordan, of Enid, Okla., started 
the abstract books, and the clerical work was performed by Albert 
Hale. I wish to state that the real blank books that were up to date 
Mere bought and commenced at a date (which I have forgotten) by 
Georsre Burton and J. Barr INIorrison. About the same date and 



222 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

unknown to either party Albert Hale and W. E. Dawson x^urchased 
a set of blanks of another book firm, all of the blank books arriving 
in Leon at about the same time. If either had known of the other's 
action there w^ould have been but one set purchased. Soon the former 
fii-m disagreed and quit work; soon thereafter I bought Burton's 
interest, without consulting ]Mr. jNIorrison. About the same day 
William H. Robb bought Mr. ^Morrison's interest, without consulting 
]Mr. Burton, so unknown to each other the firm of Jordan & Robb 
was established. Later I purchased Mr. Robb's interest. I worked 
steadily along for three years in my books, employing Albert Hale 
to complete the last record book. I paid him $5 per day. It took 
twenty days in which to complete them up to date. You will find that 
set of books mainly in my handwriting. After a time Dawson and 
Hale did not hitch good, and Mr. Dawson coaxed me to buy ^Ir. Hale 
out, which I did, and later I bought ^Ir. Dawson out. This set of 
books were mainly in INIr. Hale's handwriting, but I never used them, 
as they were not up to date. 

CHRISTMAS FIFTY YExVRS AGO 

By an Old Timer 

The Christmas spirit is doubtless the same today that it was forty 
years ago, though manifested in different ways of feasting and 
serving. 

One of the first Christmas entertainments within my recollection 
was held in the old INIethodist Episcopal Church, where the Carnegie 
Library now stands. The tree was not a graceful evergreen, but a 
wild crabapple from the backyard of Ira B. Ryan's home on West 
Commercial Street. The children covered its branches with bright- 
colored paper and strands of popcorn. 

Aunty Patterson made tissue paper snowballs with which to 
adorn it. 

The teachers made silver paper baskets, which w^ere filled with 
nuts and candy for each scholar. Of the program I remember that 
Jennie Blodgett directed the music; I. P. jNIartin made a speech 
about the use of profane language. Uzz Tharp and Heck Sanford 
sang a comic song. Pretty little Alice Dilsaver recited in trumpet 
tones, "Hang Up the Baby's Stocking." Dan Portor picked a fan- 
dangle (I think that w^as w^hat he called it) on a guitar. Rosy- 
cheeked, blue-eyed Emma and Ollie Gillham, looking like big 
"chainy" dolls, sang a song about a lost kitten. Then J. L. Young, 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 223 

representing Santa Claus, distributed the i^resents. The most popu- 
lar little girls received sugar apples and china dollheads ( dolls had 
no bodies in those days) . 

The larger girls received bottles of choice perfumery, such as 
musk and bergamot. The big boys received bear-sliaped bottles of 
hair oil and candy hearts bearing sentiments of affection, the latter 
creating much merriment, being read by Santa Claus before they 
reached their owners. 

On the top of the tree was a huge turkey for Rev. G. P. Bennett. 

But the crowning event of the holiday week was the annual "festi- 
ble" held in the old brick schoolhouse. Every man, woman and child 
that could raise the necessary four bits attended. Lon"- before dark 
the crowd began to arrive. The tables extended the entire length of 
the room and were filled with every product the village and country- 
side afforded. In those days we had no smothered or fricasseed 
chicken, but great platters of fried and roasted fowls; no veal loaf 
or jellied beef, but stacks of old-fashioned roast beef, home-cured 
ham and plenty of crisp, juicy turkey. No salads, olives or celery, 
but pickles galore, cucumbers, beets, mango, pickled eggs, piccililli 
and cold slaw. No patties, but each plate was supplied with a little 
jelly tart. 

For dessert we could boast no sherbet, ices or frappe, but oceans 
of preserves, pies and cakes. Stem glass dishes were passed back 
and forth containing crabapple, tomato, ground cherry, plum, wild 
strawberry, watermelon and citron preserves. 

The pies were equally as varied, gooseberry, blackberry, elder- 
berry, squash, pmnpkin, grape and vinegar. 

Beside each plate was a goblet filled with float, ornamented with 
a bit of currant jelly. Conspicuous among the viands were ]Mrs. 
Uriah Bobbit's and ^Nlrs. S. C. Thompson's sugar-coated rusks, 
Mrs. J. B. Lunbeck's and Mrs. S. H. Gates' golden crulls, ]\Irs. S. "\V. 
Hurst's . white mountain cake adorned with a bouquet of artificial 
flowers, ]Mrs. L. H. Sales' big fruit cake, ^Nlrs. I. N. Clark's cake 
trimmed with red gum-drops, 3Irs. Udell's pyramid cake formed of 
forty-two small cakes, 3Irs. Craigo's fine marble cake, 3Irs. Hil- 
dreth's white-frosted cake w4th the date, "1869," outlined in red sand 
sugar. 

In place of carnations and roses the center of each table was 
decked with baskets of Aunt Rhoda Hawkins' feather flowers of bril- 
liant hues. 



224 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

The baskets were made of crystallized alum and glittered and 
sparkled under the blinking candles, making a veritable Jack Frost 
scene. How merry everyone seemed as they marched around vie^v- 
ing the tables. There was no changing of plates; everything to eat 
in"si"'ht. How "smelly" the coiFee and the baked beans and mashed 
potatoes when the lids were lifted from the big tureens ! 

Hettie Rogers, Ada Kirk, Anna Gardner, Ester Sanger, "Doc" 
Warner and Wesley Silvers poured the coffee — not in little china 
shells, but in big heavy cups that held nearly a pint, and that com- 
pleted the serving. After supper we had some singing led by Jabez 
Dawson; then the young folks played "Needle's Eye;" Billy 
Boone, Wade AVood, Billy Smith and Cass Sales got "choosed" the 
oftenest. While Kittie Givens, Hattie Lindsey, Emma Vaughn and 
Hila Fishburn were the belles of the evening — perhaps on account 
of their beautiful curls, the kind that curled naturally — around a hot 
poker. Among the little misses that caused much envy by the pretti- 
ness of their dresses were Katie Finley, in bright Scotch plaid ; Emma 
Elsworth, in flowered ^Marseillaise; Helen Dawson, in red alpaca, and 
Etta ^IcClelland, in blue wool delaine trimmed with cloverleaf tettin'. 
There were many little boys present, but none attracted more atten- 
tion than little Harry and Orra Long, in velveteen sailor suits, with 
red sashes tied military fashion. 

Next came Aunt Jane JNIiller's big cake containing a gold ring. 
The cake was cut in many pieces, each piece selling at 10 cents. Sam 
Ellis drew the ring and gave it to ^lollie ^liles or Emma Schaifer — 
I have now forgotten which. Then a cane was voted to the laziest 
man, and a cake to the handsomest ladv. Albert Hale carried off 
the cane, and Mrs. E. J. Close won the cake. The big "festible" 
netted over one hundred dollars for the schoolhouse organ, and thus 
closed the holiday season of 1869, which probably for good fellow- 
ship and real enjoyment is not far surpassed by the more elaborate 
festivities of the present day. 

DECATUR COUNTY IMMIGRATION SOCIETY 

In September, 1869, an organization was effected which was 
called the Decatin- Countv Immio-ration Societv. The officers of this 
association were: President, H. C. Bechtold; vice president, G. W. 
Baker; treasurer, S. C. Thompson; secretary, H. Kompe; assistant 
secretary, W. W. Ellis. A constitution and by-laws were adopted 
and quite a sum of money was subscribed towards paying the expenses 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 225 

of the association. One of the principal objects of the association 
Mas the pubhcation of a newspaper called Die AVage, to be printed in 
the German language, to induce Germans to settle in the county. 
The editor, H. Kompe, guaranteed that it would bring 200 Germans 
into Decatur County. Although the association did not, through 
lack of means, accomplish all it desired, yet it proved that the pro- 
jectors of the plan were enterprising and liad the interests of the 
county at heart. 

DECATUR COUNTY AGRICULTUR.VL AXD lAXY. STOCK ASSOCIATION 

The first two or three fairs in Decatur County were held in the 
years before the war, but none were held during the progress of the 
struggle. After the war was over the society was revived and fairs 
were held regularly. In 1875 a reorganization resulted in the forma- 
tion of the Decatur County Agricultural and Live Stock Associa- 
tion as a stock comjDany. The capital stock was fixed at $6,000, with 
$10 shares. The property owned by the association consisted of 
eighty acres, finely improved for fair and racing purposes. It was 
located one mile north of Leon and was purchased from U. L. Shafer 
and J. B. Lunbeck. 

THE DECATUR COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

By Heman C. Smith 

The Decatur County Historical Society enjoys the distinction of 
being the second county society in the State of Iowa to be organized, 
and hence has been spoken of by the Iowa Journal of History and 
Politics as being "a pioneer among local organizations." (Iowa 
Journal of History and Politics, Vol, V, Xo. 3, July, 1907, page 
433.) 

The society was organized in 1901, only a few weeks after the 
organization of the Lucas County Historical Society at Chariton, la., 
which Mas the first organized in the state. 

The organization of the Decatur County society M-as due, to an 
extent, to the influence of the Hon. Charles Aldrich, deceased, in this 
May: As mc remember it, it M'as early in the spring of 1901, Mhile 
on a visit to Des ^loines, that m'c paid our usual visit to this grand 
old man in loMa history, as M^as our M'ont Mhile in the City of Des 
^loines. And in talking over matters pertaining to the preservation 
of things historical. Me asked him M'hy it M^ould not be a good plan to 



Vol. I— 1 5 



226 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

organize county societies to work in conjunction with the state depart- 
ment. He at once told us of the organization of the Washington 
County Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and gave us a copy of 
the constitution adopted by that society, and he further urged us, at 
as early a date as possible, to perfect the organization of Decatur 

County. 

Acting upon his suggestion, but delaying the matter somewhat, 
we organized, but, as before said, shortly after Col. Warren S. Dun- 
gan, now also deceased, had called together some of his friends and 
organized the Lucas County Historical Society. We called in four 
of our friends whom we thought would be interested in historical 
work, and organized ourselves by adopting the constitution of which 
you are all more or less familiar. It is a noteworthy fact that the 
entire membership, as represented at the first meeting, was given 
office. The writer was elected president; E. L. Kelley, Jr., secre- 
tary; Miss Carrie Judd, assistant secretarj^; R. C. Kelley and Israel 
A. Smith, curators. At meetings held subsequent to this there were 
admitted to membership ]Mrs. F. M. Smith, Miss ^label Horner and 
Dr. J. B. Horner. 

Unfortunately for the cause of accuracy in getting the history of 
our early organization, our records have become lost or destroyed, 
we fear having been destroyed in the fire which destroyed the Herald 
office in Lamoni. The few organizers of the society were earnest, 
and they organized with the full intention of doing systematic and 
earnest work in the way of interviewing early settlers in the county, 
and getting a record of events which live only in the memoiy of the 
older settlers, and which are lost to us as these settlers pass away 
without being interviewed or enabled to write. But unfortunately 
for the work of the society, fate ruled that the membership was to be 
widely scattered, and at one time while the president was doing church 
work "on the far eastern coast of INIaine, the assistant secretary was 
teaching in the far-away Philippine Islands, while the secretary and 
one of the curators were doing educational work in Iowa City, and the 
otlier officer at work in Nebraska. 

It was early appreciated that for the society to do its best work 
the organization must be countj^ wide, and hence, a meeting held at 
the home of Doctor Horner, the president was authorized to enrolL 
as members any whom he deemed proper to become members. This 
autliority was given him with a view to his making visits to Leon, 
Decatur City, Pleasanton and other places in the county to extend 
the organization. It was while acting under this authority that the 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 227 

president called a meeting in Leon of June 1, 1907, to arouse interest 
in Leon, and at which some thirty-odd memhers were enrolled, the 
newly enrolled members at once entering into business session and 
electing a new corps of officers. 

After the society had been oi-ganized some three years, at the 
invitation of Dr. Benjamin F. Shambaugh, editor of tlie Iowa State 
Historical Society, the Decatur County Historical Society became 
affiliated with the state society, its certificate of auxiliary membership 
being dated August 3, 1904, we believe. 



CHAPTER XX 

GEOLOGY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

> 

The following detailed description of the geology of Decatur 
County is taken from the Iowa Geological Survey, Vol. VIII, annual 
report 1897, pages 255 to 314. The survey was made by H. F. Bain. 

INTRODUCTION 

Decatur County lies in the southern tier of counties, almost mid- 
way between the Mississi^Dpi and Missouri rivers. Ringgold bounds 
it on the west, Clarke on the north, Wayne on the east, and Harrison 
and JNIercer counties, of Missouri, on the south. In area it includes 
528 square miles, with some fractional pieces of land, the total being 
343,910 acres. The townships run from 67 to 70 north, the southern 
tier being fractional, and the ranges from 24 to 27 west. The county 
is, as usual, divided into sixteen civil townships. 

To the geologist Decatur County is of especial interest, because 
of the fact that running through it is the heavy limestone which forms 
the base of the Missourian series and which derives its interest to the 
economist from the fact that it divides the productive from the unpro- 
ductive coal measures. This limestone, or assemblage of separate 
limestones, is known as the Bethany or Bethany Falls limestone, a 
name first used by Broadhead. In Iowa the exposures have been 
mainly studied are in the vicinity of Winterset, and to the strata at 
that point White gave the name of Winterset limestone. The beds 
outcrop])ing at Bethany, Mo., and Winterset, la., have for some time 
been believed to be identical, and the actual continuity of the two has, 
in fact, been recently proven. Between the two points mentioned, 
liowever, no detailed sections have been published, and it was mainly 
to sui)ply tliis lack that the study of Decatur County was taken up 
at this time. 

Previous to the present survey White seems to have been the only 
geologist who had worked in the county. His notes ^ include sec- 

1 First and Second Ann. Repts. State Geologist, pp. 42-43. 1868. Also Geology of Iowa, 
Vol. I, pp. 818-327. 1870. 

228 



HISTORY OF DECATUli COUXTV 229 

tions at a few points along Grand River and its tributaries, but the 
short time allowed for the work preehided anything like a detailed 
study of the area. The adjoining eounties of Iowa were also 
described by him in the report cited. In ^lissouri, Harrison and 
Mercer counties, which adjoin Decatur on the south, have been visited 
by various members of the JNIissouri (Geological Survey. The earliest 
notes are those of Swallow, descriptive of certain fossils collected in 
Harrison County." The coal beds of both counties are noted by 
Winslow.'^ The character of the surface deposits are noted by Todd,* 
and the altitudes and topograpliy discussed by jNIarbut. " Rroadhead 
has also published notes on the coal measures of the region, which 
will be more particularly referred to in the body of this report. 

Physiography 

topography 

Decatur County lies well up on the ]Mississippi-Missouri divide. 
The streams belong to the ^Missouri River system, but the country 
belongs rather to the high land between the rivers than to the JNIis- 
souri Valley proper. It is a broad, even, but much dissected plain, 
with little or no slope, and includes the northern continuations of the 
Warrensburgh platform and the Lathrop plain, defined by jNIarbut.*' 
In the country under discussion the two physiographic areas are not 
very distinct. The influence of the drift seems to have been such as 
to obscure the divisions which here may perhaps never have been so 
sharj^ly defined as farther south. In a general way it is true that 
as one passes west from the Des INIoines to the jMissouri River the 
ascent is made by a series of steps. This is shown by the profile of 
the main line of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway. This 
road runs across the drainage lines of the region and accordingly 
crosses a series of intermediate upland stretches. These bits of upland 
are approximately level, but stand successively higher toward the 
west. The divide between the Des Moines and the Chariton runs 
from INIaxon to Albia at 959 A. T. and is about three hundred feet 
above Ottumwa. The second u])land is almost level from Russell, 
1,037, to Chariton, 1,042; being ninety feet above the plain just men- 

2Trans-St. Louis Acad. Sci., Vol. U, pp. 81-101. 18G3. 

3 Missouri Geol. Surv., Vol. I, p. 99. 1896. 

4 Missouri Geol. Surv., Vol. X, pp. U.'MHl. 1890. 

5 Missouri Geol. Surv., Vol. VII, pp. 22.5-316. 1895. Ibid., Vol. X, pp. 4.5-19. 1896. 

6 Missouri Geol. Surv., Vol. X, pi. ii. 1896. 



230 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

tioned. The third upland, from near Brush to INIurray, has a shght 
rise to the west, being at Osceola, 1,132, and at Murray, 1,21(5. West 
of ^lurray the railway dips down into the Valley of Grand River, 
just touching the level of the top of the Bethany limestone (1,0.51) 
at Afton Junction. At Creston, 1,312, it is again on an upland 
which extends with slight slope to Hillsdale, 1,189, not far below the 
crest of the ^Missouri River bluffs. Into this latter plain the Nish- 
nabotna and Nodaway rivers have cut 200 to 250 feet, while the ^lis- 
souri bottom land at Pacific Junction lies at 962 A. T. 

From Creston west to the edge of the INIissouri Valley there is a 
long gentle slope not broken by marked escarpments. To the east 
the country first drops down to the Osceola platform, 1,132 A. T., 
and then by a further drop of about one hundred feet to the Chariton 
platform. The Albia platform lies about one hundred and twenty- 
five feet still lower and from there the slope to the Des JNIoines is gen- 
tle. At Chariton, Osceola and Creston there is a great thickness of 
drift. At Chariton, as shown bv drill holes, the rock is found at 882 
to 897 A. T. At Osceola the top of the limestone quarried northwest 
of town lies 140 feet below the railway station. At Creston there are 
no exposures and the drift is known to be very thick. The nearest 
exposures lie 260 feet below the level of the town. The rock then 
rises between Chariton and Osceola from 882 to 1,092 feet, while from 
Osceola west present evidence seems to indicate that it maintains an 
a^Jproximately even surface. This would apparently indicate that in 
preglacial time the Bethany limestone formed in Iowa, as it does now 
in ^Missouri, a marked escarpment. The distribution of the drift, 
however, is such that this escarpment is almost wholly concealed. 

The major portion of Decatur County, being underlain by the 
JNIissourian, would belong to JNIarbut's Lathrop plain. The portions 
of the Warrensburgh platform penetrating the county are confined 
to the river valleys, and hence form but an insignificant fraction of 
the whole. It is the general upland plain which is most obvious as 
one travels through the county. The valleys are all clearly erosional 
and the roughness encountered when one descends from the upland 
is indicative of the completeness with which the streams have dissected 
the area. 

The major streams of the county have a north-south direction. 
Their tributaries follow the main streams and do not usually travel 
from far to the east or west. The result is that the original upland 
plain has been cut by a series of long, relatively narrow river valleys 
with high narrow ridges between. The resulting topography was 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 231 

quite fittingly described by the early settlers who spoke of the region 
as the "devil's washboard." An east-west traveler must cross a series 
of alternating ridges and valleys. The north-soutli traveler may 
usually find a ridge road. From the latter, looking off over the 
country, the to])s of the successive flat-topped ridges appear rising 
to an even surface and restoring the old phiin in wliich the valleys 
have been carved. 

By examining the following table of elevations the position of this 
plain can be understood. Weldon and Van Wert, 1,147, are upon 
the upland. Leroy, 1,107, and Garden Grove, 1,114, occupy similar 
l^ositions. Lamoni, 1,126, and Tuskeego, 1,175, in the southwest are 
on divides which form a portion of the plain. Decatur City, near 
the center of the county, at 1,111, is also on the plain. De Kalb, 947, 
Grand River, 957, and Davis City, 914, are all on flood plains. 
Blockley, 1,042, and Leon, 1,025, are on partially dissected land. 
Pleasanton, 1,173, on the extreme southern line of the county, again 
marks the upland. The differences in these upland levels are not 
important and may be to a limited extent due to errors arising from 
comparing different surveys. On the whole they indicate a very even 
surface with little, if any, slope. 

For convenience of reference these elevations are put in tabular 
form. 

TABLE OF ELEVATIONS 

Station Authority Feet 

Blockley D. M. & K. C. Ry. . . 1,042 

Cainsviile (Mo.) D. M. & K. C. Ry. . . 936 

Davis City C, B. & Q. Ry 914 

Decatur Citv D. M. & K. C. Ry. . . 1,111 

De Kalb . . ! H. & S. Ry 947 

Garden Grove C, B. & Q. Ry 1,115 

Grand River H. & S. Ry 957 

Lamoni C, B. & Q. Ry 1,126 

Leon D. M. & K. C. Ry. . . 1,025 

Le Roy K. & W. Ry ....... . 1,107 

Pleasanton D. ]M. & K. C. Ry. . . 1,173 

Tuskeego C, B. & Q. Ry 1,175 

Van Wert K. & W. Ry 1,147 

Weldon K.k W. Ry 1,147 

Westerville K. & W. Ry 987 



232 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

DllAINAGE 

The streams of Decatur County are all tributary to Grand River, 
which flows into the JSIissouri in Chariton County, Mo. Grand River 
itself has two main branches coming together near Chillicothe. The 
eastern fork alone penetrates Decatur County, though certain of the 
tributaries of Big Creek, which is independent of this eastern fork, 
tap the southwestern portion. It is the eastern branch of Grand 
River proper wliich is known in Iowa as Grand River. In ^lissouri, 
when the term is used without qualification, the western or the united 
stream is usually referred to. Grand River in Iowa is an important 
stream having its headwaters in Adair County and crossing Madison, 
Union, a corner of Ringgold and the western part of Decatur County. 
As far south as Afton Junction in Union County there is no reason 
to believe that the stream is preglacial. Throughout its course in 
Decatur County it is quite certainly older than the Kansan drift, 
since the latter is found undisturbed in its valley, while the rocks rise 
in the hillsides a considerable distance above the flood plain. It has 
a broad valley whose width is suggested by the outline of the Des 
JNIoines formation where the river has cut through the Bethany. 
From Terre Haute to Davis City the Des INIoines area shown on the 
map outlines the bottom land. It will be noted that the river runs 
close along the south blufl", where it has an east-west trend. On the 
north the slope is long and gentle and the bottom land is broad. The 
soutli blufl" is abrupt, rising in section 28 of Burrell Township, 140 
feet above low water. This is true again north of Westerville, where 
the south bank of the river is a sharp bluff, while the north side of 
the valley shows a long, gentle slope. Where the stream runs from 
north to south it shows no especial predilection towards either bank. 

This tendency of east-west streams in Iowa to run along their 
southern bank has been noted by McGee,^ Tilton ^ and Calvin." The 
latter has suggested that it is due to the greater activity of M^eathering 
agencies upon a southward facing slope. McGee was evidently 
inclined to consider the phenomena as due to structural agencies. In 
Decatur County, however, there is no evidence of structural peculiari- 
ties adequate to account for the phenomena, and its almost universal 
presence throughout Southern Iowa, regardless of the character of 
the rocks, which the stream may be eroding, seems warrant for the 

7 Eleventh Ann. Kept. U. S. Geol. Surv., Pleistocene Hist. N. E. Iowa, p. 412. 1891. 

8 Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. V, p. 307. 1896. 

« Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. VII, pp. 49-50. 1897. 



HISTORY OF DECxVTUR COUNTY 233 

conclusion that the chniatic cause suggested by Calvin is a true one. 
The phenomena cannot be due to individual tilted ])locks of strata, 
as suggested by 31cGee, and any other structural agency competent 
to the task could only be a prolonged uplift to the north, wliicli would 
induce a migragation of the divides toward the uplift, as has been 
shown by Campbell.^" This would account for the larger number 
and longer course of the tributaries flowing from the north into an 
east-west stream, but would hardly account for the marked difference 
in the slopes of the valley sides proper. It is probable that while 
uplift to the north has been a potent factor in providing the phe- 
nomena, the climate factor is also to be taken into account. 

That Grand River in this portion of its course is an old stream will 
be readily believed by anyone familiar wuth this valley. The size of 
the latter, and the fact that much of it is cut in rock, is alone con- 
vincing. The distribution and character of its tributary drainage 
lines afford additional proof. Still further evidence tending to prove 
its great age may be adduced from the great bend in the river in the 
northwest portion of Burrell Township. (See Fig. 1, Plate xxi.) 
This has originated as an upland meander and has been cvit through 
the Bethany down to the Fragmental limestone. It is characteris- 
tically developed, but the tongue of rock running out into the bend has 
been very largely cut away. Only a low spur protrudes from a high 
bluff at the base of the bend. Such a spur would, in any case, be 
short lived, as it is exposed to vigorous erosion on three sides, but the 
fact that it has here been almost completely cut away seems to be of 
more than usual significance. Upon jNIiddle River, iii jNIadison 
County, and Raccoon River, in Guthrie County, as w'cll as on other 
rivers which cross the Bethany escarpment, upland meanders are well 
developed,^ ^ but in no case is the rock tongue so much eroded as in 
the Decatur County example. Here it has been so nearly cut awaj^ 
that at first it w as thought to be absent. Upland meanders are devel- 
oped by a long and slow process,^^ and where they have not only been 
developed, but almost destroyed, they indicate a considerable lapse 
of time. The meander and the stream valley are, of course, of later 
age than the peneplain, and they indicate tliat the time of stream 
cutting anterior to the drift was long, and that the pene])lain is, rela- 
tive to the drift, old. Further than that it seems impossible, at pres- 
ent, to fix its age. 

10 Jour. Geol., Vol. IV, pp. 567. 657. 1896. 

11 Geol. Madison County, Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. VII, pp. 500-501. 1897. 

12 Marbut: Mo. Geol. Surv., Vol. X, p. 98. 1896. 



234 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Within the county the most important tributaries of Grand River 
are Elk Creek from the west, and Long Branch from the east. Both 
are important streams, cutting through the drift and into the rock. 
Exposures of Carboniferous are found along the branches of Elk 
Creek from sections 21 and 22 of Grand River Township to the mouth, 
and along Sweet Creek, a tributary, from section 23 of Bloomington 
Township to the main stream. The minor tributaries show exposures 
for corresponding distances. Elk Creek with its branches drains 
most of Bloomington and Grand River townships, but in addition to 
it Grand River receives from the west Sand Creek near Westerville, 
Bad Run near Grand River, Roaring Branch and Russell's Branch 
between there and the north of Elk Creek, Pot Hole Creek or Pot- 
ter's Branch near Terre Haute, Dickerson Creek near Davis City, 
and some minor streams between that place and the ^Missouri State 
line. These streams with their tributaries reach out into all that 
portion of the county west of Grand River, except portions of Bloom- 
ington and New Buda townships and all of Fayette, which are drained 
by Shane and Seven Mile creeks, streams having courses through Big 
Creek to the main branch of Grand River near Pattonsburg, Mo. 

Long Creek, with its tributaries. Bee and Wolf creeks, is the most 
important stream flowing into Grand River from the east. It receives 
Short Creek near De Kalb, and at the latter place has cut 200 feet 
below the upland at Van Wert. There are rock exposures along the 
lower portion of its course. 

Aside from Grand River there are two important rivers in the 
county, Weldon and Little rivers. Weldon River has its source in 
Franklin Township and flows east through Garden Grove, and thence 
almost due south to the state line, receiving Jonathan, Brush and 
Steel creeks with Turkey Run and List Branch. Little River has 
its source near Van Wert and a course from there south past Leon, 
Blockley and Spring Valley. 

The streams of the county are almost entirely preloessial in age. 
Only the minor tributaries have had a later origin. The major 
streams. Grand River, Weldon River, and probably Little River, 
are preglacial, or at least pre-Kansan. Some of the tributaries are 
])erhaps as old as the main streams ; but most of them are merely pre- 
loessial. 

It seems probable that the preglacial drainage of the county was 
in outline quite similar to the present. In contrast with most of 
Iowa the ])resent streams seem to be working on a lower level than 
that which obtained in preglacial times. They are cutting in the 



HISTORY OF DECATUK COUNTY 235 

rock and iisualh' show no important drift filling below low water. 
The bridges over Weldon River and Steel Creek in INIorgan, ^Vood- 
land, and even sections 13 and 25 of High Point Township, rest on 
rock or shale foundations. The same is true of the I^ittle River 
bridges in Hamilton Township and of the Grand River bridges as 
well as those over Long and Klk creeks. Yet in the valleys of Wel- 
don, Little and Grand rivers there are places showing undistvu-bed 
drift down to low water level. The entire absence of great drift- 
filled channels in this region as compare^l with that farther east ' ' 
would indicate that in later glacial times, and perhaps in the present, 
the surface of Iowa has been warped, the west rising more than that 
to the east. This is in accord with other observed phenomena. 

The effect of the varjdng hardness of the underlying rocks upon 
present valleys is shown in the alternate widening and closing of 
their valleys, though the latter is probably also due in part to other 
agencies, as already suggested. The effect is also shown in the pond- 
ing of the streams as each of the members of the Bethanv is crossed; 
])henomena first observed and described by White. ^^ 

Stratigraphy 
general relations of strata 

The geological formations occurring in Decatur County fair into 
two series, differing widely in character, origin and age. The under- 
Iving rocks are indurated. They include principally shales and lime- 
stones, and record the time w^hen what is now a portion of a beautiful 
prairie plain lay beneath the waters of the Carboniferous Sea. They 
are the products of the destruction of an older land and were laid 
down by the action of marine agencies. Partially at that time and 
partially since, under the influence of (Circulating waters and slight 
pressure, they have been changed from relatively loose, unconsoli- 
dated sea deposits to the firm, hard rock now found. 

Over these older rocks are the loose and unconsolidated gravels, 
sands and clays which form so common and conspicuous a feature of 
the surface. These are of very much later age than the indurated 
rocks, belonging indeed to the Pleistocene period, and have been in 
part deposited in present time. They are the product not of the 
sea, but of ice; an incursion of immense glaciers or a sheet of land 
ice. which spread over much of the northern hemisphere. In part 

13 Proc. Iowa Acad. Sci., Vol. IT, pp. 23-26. 1895. 
i-i Geol. Iowa., Vol. I, pp. 318-320. 1870. 



236 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

these deposits were made by the ice itself, and in part by the waters 
from its melting. Some of the beds present were formed by the' 
present rivers by ordinary processes, such as may even now be seen 
?n operation. Some were laid down by waters of uncertain age and 
extent, and some perhaps by winds. The relations and ages of these 
beds are indicated in the subjoined table. Their distribution and 
character will be described later. 



Group. 



System. 



Series. 



Cenozoic. 



Recent. 



Pleistocene. 



Paleozoic. 



Glacial. 



Carboniferous. 



Missourian. 



Stage. 



Kansan 



Pre-Kansan( ?). 



Betliany. 



Des Moines. 



Pleasanton. 



Sub-Stage. 



Alluvium. 



Loess. 



Gumbo. 



Drift. 



Drift!?). 



Westerville(?). 



De Kalb. 



Winterset. 



Earlham. 



Fragmental. 



CARBONIFEROUS 



The Carboniferous of the INIississippi Valley is divided into two 
major divisions long known respectively as the upper and lower. 
The latter does not occur within the county and its onh^ importance 
in this connection arises from the fact that the St. Louis limestone, 
one of its members, forms the floor upon which the coal measures 
rest. In any future deep drilling for coal the St. Louis will indicate 
the horizon below which it is inadvisable to prospect. 



HISTORY OF DECATLK COUNTY 237 

The upper Carboniferous is commonly known as the coal meas- 
ures, and the term Pennsylvanian series has been proposed to cover 
the same beds. In this immediate region it consists of two major 
members, known as the Des Moines and the ^lissourian, each divisible 
into subordinate groups. These correspond respectively to the lower 
or i^roductive and to the upper or unproductive coal measures. Keyes 
has proposed ''' to consider each of these divisions as independent 
series; dividing the Carboniferous of the interior into the ^lississip- 
inan, Des Moines, JNIissourian, and Oklahoman. ^Vhile it is not cer- 
tain that these different divisions are of strictly equivalent rank, and 
probably some include more than others, it is a great convenience in 
discussion and in mai^ping to use the terms in the sense proposed, and 
for these reasons they are adopted here, leaving to future critical 
paleontologic studies the adjudication of the rank of the divisions. 

DES MOIXES SERIES 

PLEASANTON SHALES 

The Des JNIoines formation is but sparingly exposed within 
Decatur County. The best exposures are on Weldon River. Imme- 
diately south of the state line (township 67 north, range 24 west, 
section 28), at the wagon bridge over the Weldon, a thin sandy lime- 
stone is exposed about four feet above the water. The rock carries 
Productus costatus, but seems to show no specimens of Chonetes 
mesoloba which is usually found in the Des JNIoines strata. In 
physical characteristics it very closely resembles a bed found at the 
corresponding horizon in INIadison and adjoining counties and it is 
confidently referred to the Des JNIoines formation. 

At the bridge in section 15 of Morgan Township there is an expos- 
ure sliowin"' tw elve feet of blue sandy shale of Des JNIoines character 
and differing from anything found in the JNIissourian of the region. 
The basal portion of the Bethany outcrops high in the hills on the 
west side of the river, and beds probably representing the Earlham 
horizon have been opened up in a small quarry. In the first ravine 
west of Little River (section 16, southeast southeast) a sandy lime- 
stone corresponding in character to that found on Weldon River, 
near the state line, outcrops. It is here fourteen inches thick, and, 
as usual, non-fossiliferous. About six inches above it are traces of 
a three-inch black shale, an unusual member of the section and per- 
haps only locally developed. The arenaceous limestone outcrops again 

15 Am. Geol., Vol. XVIII, pp. 22-28. 1896. 



238 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

about two miles west of Weldon River on Lick Branch (southwest 
of southeast, section 17, ^Morgan Township), at which point it has 
more of the shaly character. 

Along Grand River there are few exposures of the Des 3Ioines, 
the fragmental hmestone of the Bethany, or the Earlham, outcrop- 
ping usually at the edge of the flood plain. Near Davis City, how- 
ever, the upper portion of the lower beds may be seen. Along the 
small ravine leading down past the old hme kilns north of town 
(northwest of southeast, section 3.5, Burrell Township) below the 
base of the Bethany is the following exposure : 

FEET 

.5. Shale ^ 

4. Shale, black, "slate" 1 

3. Shale, drab, sandy 4 

Farther down and near the mouth of the ravine is the following: 

2. Shale, sandy, yellow 6 

On the main stream near the mill, and accordingly below^ the above, 
the following beds are exposed : 

1. Shale, drab, clayey, with several thin bands of blue- 
black non-fossiliferous limestone 4 

It is stated that before the dam was put in, limestone used to show 
in the bottom of the river below these beds, and it is known to extend 
below the bottom land as far across the valley as the trestle opposite 
town extends. Limestone has also been encountered in wells north 
of Davis City under the low platform reaching out from the hills to 
the west and under the bottom land ( northw^est of southwest, section 
7, and northwest of northwest, section 12, New Buda Township). 
Since the fragmental limestone is exposed on Dickenson Creek at a 
level above this bottom land (southwest, section 3) this lower lime- 
stone would correspond to the arenaceous limestone exposed on Wel- 
don River. No. 1 of the section as given would correspond to the same 
number in White's section ^" at this point. The other numbers give 
details of the beds comprised under No. 2 in his section. He mentions 
finding here specimens of Beyrichia americana, which he also collected 

i« Geol. Iowa, Vol. I, pp. 321-322. 1870. 



I 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 239 

from corresponding beds in Guthrie County. This would strengthen 
the reference of the beds to the Des jNIoines. 

The beds here referred to the Des ^loines form the top of that 
formation. AVith the exception of the arenaceous limestone already 
ip.entioned they are predominantly shales. They are usually arena- 
ceous to a noticeable degree. They correspond in general facies and 
in stratigraj^hical j^osition to the Pleasanton shales of Kansas.'" While 
the actual equivalent has not been proven, it has been suggested "" and 
it seems quite likely to prove the correct correlation. In the interests 
of simplicity of nomenclature the name applied by the Ivansan geol- 
ogists may be used for these beds. They are not extensively exposed in 
Iowa, though they have been described in Guthrie/" Dallas -" and 
JNIadison-^ counties, and are known at other points. It is, perhaps, 
significant that to the east of the Bethany limestone one finds in 
Waj^ne, Lucas and Clarke counties a broad, open prairie, such as 
would readily be formed over the area of outcrop of these shales by 
step and platform erosion.-- The actual surface is, of course, due to 
the drift, and the underlying step and platform is correspondingly 
obscured. The topography, nevertheless, serves to outline the prob- 
able outcrop of these beds and would suggest that they are of greater 
im])ortance than knowledge derived from their outcrops alone would 
indicate. Their probable thickness and the character of the underly- 
ing beds is discussed in connection with the subject of coal. 

MISSOURIAN SERIES 

As will be seen by the maps, the major portion of the county 
is underlain by the JNIissourian, or upper coal measures. This forma- 
tion, as here developed, consists of several beds of limestone separated 
by shales of various types. This assemblage of shales and limestones 
taken together constitutes the Bethany limestone, the lowermost of the 
several subdivisions of the JNIissourian. The ^lissourian as a whole has 
not yet been much studied, thougli the Bethany limestone and its 
ecjuivalents have received considerable attention in Kansas, ^lissouri 
and Iowa. 



17 Haworth: Kansas Univ. Quart., Vol. II, p. 2T4. 1895; Univ. Geol. Surv. Kansas, Vol. I, 
pp. 1.54-15.5. 1896. 

18 Keyes: Proc. Iowa Acad. Sci., Vol. IV, p]). 22-25. 1897. 

19 Bain: Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. VII, 443-44i. 1897. 

20 Leonard: Ibid., Vol. VIII, pp. 78-82. 

21 Tilton and Bain: Ibid., Vol. VII, 504-.509. 1897. 

22 Marbut: Mo. Geol. Surv., Vol. X, p. 29. 189(). 



2i0 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

BETHANY LIMESTONE 

At Bethany, JNIo., where the limestone was first studied by Broad- 
head," ' the beds as now exposed yield the following sequence as shown 
along a small tributary of Big Creek running through the town. 
The first exposure, which shows the top of the Bethany, is near the 
railway bridge north of the depot, the top of the limestone being at 
about 888 A. T. 

FEET 

6. Limestone, fragmental, loosely cemented, with many 

specimens of JNleekella striato-costata, Chonetes 
verneuilanus, Productus costatus, Athyris sub- 
tilita, Productus longispinus, Spirifer cameratus 
and Dielasma bovidens 6 

5. Shale, clayey, green to drab, with thin bands of lime- 

stone 2 

4. Shale, clayey, drab to black 2 

3. Limestone, dark blue, two ledges, 9 and 3 inches 

thick respectively 1 

2. Shale, black 1 

1. Shale, black to drab, with irregular nodular and thin 
layers of impure black limestone, carrying large, 
well-formed Productus cora, Productus nebrascen- 
sis, Athyris subtilita, Myalina subquadrata ( ?), 
Schizodus sp? In the shale itself are Myalina sub- 
quadrata, Productus nebrascensis, Athyris sub- 
tilita, Rhombopora lepidendroides and plates of 
Euj^achycrinus verrucosus 6 

Below this exposure for some distance there are no outcrops, but 
in the western part of town there are some small quarries which show 
the following beds : 

FEET INCHES 

7. Shale, clayey, drab 6 

6. Shale, calcareous, transition beds, with 

Spirifer cameratus, Meekella striato-, 
costata, Productus cora, Productus cos- 



23Trans.-St. Louis Acad. Sci., Vol. II, 311, 1862; Mo. Geol. Surv., "Iron Ore and Coal 
Fields," pt. ii, p. 77 et seq. 1873. 



HISTORY OF DECxVTUR COUNTY 241 

FEET INCHES 

tatiis, Prodiictus iiebrascensis, Rhoinbop- 
ora lepidodeiidroides, Fistulii^ora nodiili- 
fera, jNIyalina suhquadrata, Athyris sub- 
tilita, Derbya crassa 1 G 

5. Limestone, heavy ledge, nuuiy Fiisuliiia 

sylindrica 2 10 

4. Limestone, thin bedded, with manj'' of the 
fossils collected above, particularly 
Athyris siibtiHta, Prodiictiis cora, Pro- 
ductus costatus, Spirifer cameratus and 
JNIeekella striato-costata 10 

2. Unexposed 8 

1. Limestone, thin bedded, with Prodnctus 
costatus, Productus cora, Productus 
longispinus, Athyris su])tilita, Spirifer 
lineatus, Spirifer cameratus, Spiriferina 
kentuckensis, Chonetes verneuilanus, 
Hustedia mormoni, Dielasma bovidens 
and Fusulina cylindrica 12-15 

Not far from here is the mouth of the stream which enters just 
above the falls of Big Creek. The rock forming the falls lies prob- 
ably six to eight feet below the base of the limestone just described. 
It is about twenty feet thick, the upper eighteen feet being made up 
of a coarse but finely cemented limestone breccia, such as is shown in 
Fig. 2, Plate xxi. It is marked by long dark streaks which suggest 
corals, but which fail to show structure. The only fossil collected 
from it was Productus cora. Below the breccia is about two feet of 
fine-grained gray limestone, carrying large, well-formed Spirifer 
cameratus with Productus cora. The brecciated character of the lime- 
stone and the absence of marked sedimentation planes has yielded, 
under water action, rounded forms and knob and pot hole surfaces. 
(See Plate xxii.) 

The general sequence found here with the four bodies of limestone, 
separated by shales, is the same as has already been found in central 
Iowa. The exposures in the latter region were first studied by 
White "^ and have been more recently reviewed by the ])resent sur- 



24 First and Second Ann. Repts. State Geol., i)p. 71-72. Des Moines, 1868. Geol. Iowa, 
Vol. I, pp. 24.5-2.50. Des Moines, 1870. 

Vol.1 —16 ! ■ 



242 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY- 

vey."' In many of the minute details even there is a close correspond- 
ence between the Bethany section and that of JNIadison and adjacent 
comities. The latter may be summarized as follows : 

FEET 

8. Limestone, thick and thin bedded, characterized 
by a particular abundance of Fusulina cylin- 
drica, and hence called the Fusulina limestone. . 15-30 

7. Shales, predominantly dark colored and argilla- 
ceous, containing several thin bands of bitumi- 
nous limestone, which are usually quite fossilif- 
erous. About midway of the shales is a horizon 
which is i^articularly fossiliferous. The more 
usual forms, including Athyris, Productus and 
Spirifer, occur in great abundance and perfec- 
tion. With these forms are vast numbers of 
Derbya crassa with Mj^alina subquadrata, 
JSIyalina kansasensis, JNIyalina swallowi, Avi- 
culpecten ocidentalis, Productus nebrascensis, 
etc. Not far above this horizon is usually a thin 
band of limestone literally made up of Chonetes 
verneuilanus. The whole thickness of the shale 
is 10-20 

6. Limestone, medium grained, thin to thick bedded 
quarry rock, with Atl^ris subtilita, Productus 
cora and Meekella striato-cosata. Best exposed 
near Winterset, and hence called the Winterset 
limestone 12-15 

5. Shale, usually dark and including a black bitumi- 
nous horizon 8-12 

4. Limestone, well shown near Earlham, and hence 
called the Earlham limestone. Carries an abun- 
dant fauna, w hich will be noted later 20 

3. Shale, with bituminous horizon, and at many points 

a thin, black limestone 3-8 

2. Shales, sandy, light colored, very variable thickness 2-16 

1. Limestone, fragmental, made up of irregular bits 
of lime rock, filled in with calcareous clay. In 
places the rock can be picked to pieces with the 



25Proc. Iowa Acad. Sci., Vol. I, pi. iii, pp. 26-271, 893; Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. Ill, p. 137, 
1895; Ibid., Vol. VII, pp. 446-451, 1897. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 243 

FEET 

fingers, elsewhere it hardens up into massive, 
thick-bedded layers. Along a small tributary 
of Deer Creek, in Guthrie County, it is quite 
fossiliferous, yielding Spirifer lineatus, Spirifer 
cameratus, Athyris subtilita, Hustedia mor- 
moni, Productus longispinus, Naticopsis alto- 
nensis, Lopophyllumn proliferum, Ortliis 
23ecosi, Bellerophon sp., Straparollus sp., Arch- 
seocidaris sp lO-lo 

As the Earlham limestone is particularly well shown in Decatur 
County and presents there many analogies to the beds at the type 
locality, the following details regarding the latter may' be quoted.-'^' 
The typical section is given below; 

FEET INCHES 

11. Bed of soft, yellowish, magnesian, earthy lime- 
stone, decomposing readily when exposed to 

weather 4 

10. Limestone in three heavy ledges at west end 

of quarry 4 

9. EufF shale with Chonetes verneuilanus 4 

8. Limestone, like No. 4 2 

7. Ashen shale with very few fragments of brachi- 

opod shells 6 

6. Earthy limestone, decomposing readily, yel- 
lowish, carrying large individuals of Athyris 

subtilita 3 

5. Drab shale, with Productus longispinus, P. 
costatus, crinoid stems and fragments of 

other fossils 6 

4. Quarry limestone, in thin layers, irregularly 

bedded 8 

3. Unexposed 20 

2. Sandstone, in heavy layers 7 

1. Base of sandstone to creek, unexposed 17 

At one point the quarrymen had worked down in the bottom of 
the quarry and exposed, below No. 4, drab and black shales to the 

20 Geol. Madison County, Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. VII, pp. 514-515. 1897. 



244 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

depth of three feet, and below the shales a ledge of Imiestone six 
inches in thickness. 

Distributed through the limestone beds No. 4 are the following: 

Lophophyllum proliferum, McChesney. 

Meekella striato-costata, Cox. 

Productus punctatus, ^lartin. 

P. costatus, Sowerby. 

P. longispinus, Sowerby. 

P. cora D'Orbigny — P. prattenianus of authors. 

Athyris (Seminula) subtilitia, Hall. 

Hustedia niornioni, Marcou. 

Spirifer cameratus, Morton. 

Spiriferina kentuckensis, Shum. 

Allorisma subcuneatum, M. & H. 

Stem segments and body plates of crinoids. 

Various sj)ecies of Bryozoa. 

Chonetes verneuilanus N. & P. is somewhat common in No. 9, but 
is very rare in tlie other members of the section. Spirifer cameratus 
and Productus longispinus are most abundant near the base of No. 4, 
while Productus costatus and Athyris subtilita are more common in 
the upper layers. All the species enumerated, however, with the 
exception of Allorisma subcuneatum, range through all the beds 
making up No. 4. 

The best exposures of the Bethany limestone in Southern Iowa 
are found along Grand River and its tributaries. From the out- 
crops found here a complete section can be made from the Frag- 
mental limestone at the base up to and above beds which farther 
north have been called the Fusulina limestone, but which, from their 
excellent development in that vicinity, may now perhaps be best 
called the De Kalb limestone. 

In Union County there is an important bed of limestone which, 
from tlie fact that it is well shown on Sand Creek near Westerville, 
may be called the Westerville limestone. It lies some little distance 
above the De Kalb horizon. In Jones Township of Union County 
(section 28 and farther south along the river) the beds are exposed, 
showing the following section: 

.5. Uimestone, ash gray, fine grained, thin bedded, 
becoming almost shaly at the top, with Productus 
cora, Productus costatus, Spirifer cameratus, 
Athyris subtilita, Chonetes verneuilanus cf. gla- 



HISTORY OF DECxVTUR COUNTY 245 

FEET 

bra, Lophophylkmi 2)rolif'cri]iii, Straparollus 
subquadratus and Fenestelloid bryozoa 10 

4. Shale, gray, calcareous, with thin nodular bands 

of Ihnestone 4 

3. Shale, drab to black 10 

2. Limestone, impure, nodular, hi two bands 21^ 

1. Shale, drab to black, well exposed at Westerville 8 

These beds extend into Decatur County, being- seen near Wester- 
ville, on Sand Creek, and on Grand River. It seems probable that 
the shale (Xo. 1) extends down to the top of the De Kalb or Fusuhna 
limestone which is exposed near Grand River and was at one time 
quarried at the old Madarasz quarry. (Section 36, township 70 
north, range 27 west.) The best exposures of the latter limestone, 
and the ones which may be taken as typical, are found a short dis- 
tance east of De Kalb station. (Section 28, township 70 north, range 
26 west.) The section at this point is given below: 

INCHES 

5. Limestone, irregularly water worn 6 

4. Shale, hard, drab 6 

3. Limestone, irregularly bedded 8 

2. Shale, calcareous, becoming in places a poor 

grade of limerock 2 

1. Limestone, in thick to thin ledges 48 

The limestone is quite fossiliferous, the forms collected including 
Productus costatus, Productus longispinus, Athyris subtilita, Sj)irifer 
camerata, Spirifer kentuckensis, Dielasma bovidens, Derbya crassa, 
Lophopliyllum proliferum and Fusulina cylindrica. This fauna is 
more abundant than is usually found in the same beds farther north, 
though no exhaustive collections have been made in jNIadison and 
adjoining counties, and many of the species collected at De Kalb are 
known to be present, sparingly at least, in the former regions. The 
marked predominance of Fusulina sylindrica wliich is so striking a 
characteristic of these beds in INIadison County, is not so noticeable 
at De Kalb. This is probably due as much to the greater abundance 
at the latter point of the other forms mentioned as to any real decrease 
in the numbers of the Fusulina. It is, nevertheless, true that in the 
earlier advent, or at least culmination, of Fusulina the Decatur County 



246 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

outcrops show much closer relations to the rocks as developed at 
Bethany, than to the Winterset section. It is for this reason, in part, 
that the term, De Kalb limestone, is to be preferred to Fusulina lime- 
stone, since neither the jiresence nor the abundance of the latter form 
is found to be consonant with a constant stratigrapliical horizon. 

The beds below the De Kalb limestone are shown near the wagon 
bridge just north of the railway station. The section exposed is as 
follows : 

FEET 

5. Limestone, De Kalb, thin bedded, very fossiliferous 2 

4. Shale, soft, gray 2 

3. Shale, fine black "slate" 1 

2. Shale, black, soft 21/2 

1. Shale, drab 4 

These shales are not particularly fossiliferous, as the section does 
not extend down to the MyaHna horizon already noted. The latter 
is well shown on Grand River at the bridge about three miles west of 
Decatur (township 69 north, range 26 west, section 30, southwest, 
southwest). The section at this point is as given below. Fig. 1, 
Plate xxiv. 

FEET 

5. Limestone (De Kalb) lower ledges only 3 

4. Shales, drab to black, carrying Derby a crassa, 

INIyallina subquadrata, Athyris subtilita, Pro- 
ductus nebrascensis, Lophophyllum lepiden- 
droides and plates of Eupachycrinus verrucosus, 
^ exposed as a slope. Thin ledges of limestone 
found on the slope made up of Chonetes verneu- 
ilanus 15 

3. Limestone, blue to black, with Productus cora, 

Productus nebrascensis and Athyris subtilita. . 3 

2. Shale, drab, clayey 12 

1. Limestone (Winterset), coarse bedded, with Athy- 
ris subtilita, Productus costatus and Meekella 
striata-costata 10 

The Winterset limestone dips north here about five feet per hun- 
dred and its maximum thickness is not exposed. The dip seems to be 
local only. The Winterset is exposed south from the bridge as far 
as the abrupt turn of the river in the southeast corner of section 36, 



HISTORY OF DECATr^R COUNTY 247 

Grand River Township. \\'itliin a mile the Earlhaiii rock aiJ^jears, 
and at the ford in section 7, of Burrell Township, the Fragmental 
rock is seen in the bed of the river. 

The AVinterset rock at the Decatur bridge is quite similar to the 
tyi^ical beds at AVinterset, both in physical characteristics and the 
character and relative meagreness of its fauna. 

The shales between the W^interset and the De Kalb limestone form 
one of the most marked stratigraphic horizons in the section, and their 
close resemblance in all particulars to the corresponding beds at both 
Winterset and Bethany will be at once seen. The same fossils occur 
and in the same perfection and abundance. 

The shales below the Winterset and extending down to the Earl- 
ham limestone are not well shown on Grand River. Elsewhere they 
are usually about ten feet thick and carry about their middle a one- 
foot black slate horizon. The Earlham limestone is quite well shown 
near the bridge in northeast of northwest of section 5, Burrell T(5wn- 
ship. The exposure, which is on the east side of the river just south 
of the bridge, shows the following beds : 

FEET INCHES 

6. Limestone, coarse grained, with Fusulina 

cylindrica and Athvris subtilita 2 

5. Shale, clayey, carrying Athyris subtihta and 

Chonetes verneuilanus 6 

4. Limestone, quarry rock, 4 to 12-inch ledges, 
with Productus cora, Athyris subtilita, Hus- 

tedia mormoni, etc 8 

3. Shale, argillaceous, drab 1 

2. Shale, black "slate" 1 6 

1. Shale, drab, soft 4 

The very strong resemblance of this section to the typical Earl- 
ham section as already given will be noticed at once. The partings 
in each case are of the same character and carry the same fossils. 
Ilustedia mormoni, which is abundant wherever the Earlham is ex- 
posed, has not been collected from any of the higher beds along Grand 
River, although at Bethany it is found frequently at higher horizons. 

The fragmental rock is not shown at the exposure just described 
though it is exposed a short distance below at water level. On Pot 
Hole branch, south of Terre Haute (township 08 north, range 
26 west, section 29, southeast of northwest), it is present about ten 



248 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

feet below the base of the Earlham, being firmly cemented and non- 
fossiliferous. A thickness of four feet is shown in the bed of the 
creek and more may be present. The Fragmental rock is also below 
the base of the quarries opened up southwest of Davis City (town- 
ship 67 north, range 26 west, section 3, southeast of southwest) . 
Here it is also non-fossiliferous. 

The exposures in and near Davis City show the Earlham beds 
excellently. They are the ones which have been much opened up, 
though the Winterset and the De Kalb are present high in the hills. 
From the Earlham limestone on Dickenson Creek, southwest of Davis 
City, the following forms were obtained: Productus longispinus, 
Productus costatus, Athyris subtilita, Spirifer cameratus, Chonetes 
verneuilanu8, Fusulina cylindrica, Hustedia mormoni and j^lates of 
Archteocidaris and Zeocrinus. 

In the eastern portion of the county, on Weldon and Little rivers, 
it is apparently the Earlham which is exposed, though the rock has 
not been opened up enough to make the determination sure. The 
Fragmental does not show, being concealed bj^ talus and drift, but 
has been encountered in bridge excavations. A short distance south 
of Spring Valle}^ limestone, apparently the Earlham, is exj^osed 
along a small stream running into Little River from the east (south- 
east of southeast section 13). The stone is fine-grained, ash gray, 
breaks with irregular fracture and weathers white. One ledge as 
much as eighteen inches in thickness is indicated by the blocks found 
on the surface. The rock is said to be underlain by shales. The 
fossils found included Athyris subtilita, Productus longispinus, 
Productus costatus, Chonetes verneuilanus, and Spirifer cameratus. 

Beds corresponding to those just described outcrop about a mile 
north (northwest of northeast section 13) along a tributary of Little 
River, and have been in fact opened up at several jDoints in the 
vicinity. At the old Cole mill (northwest of northeast section 14) 
tlie section given below is exposed in the west bank of the river. The 
limestone is probably the Earlham. 

FEET 

4. Limestone, thick bedded, with Athyris subtilita, very 
abundant corals, and plates and spines of 

ArchcTocidaris 5 

3. Shale, gray to drab 4 

Shale, black "slate" 1 



9 



1. Shale, gray, sandy 6 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 249 

The limestone found on VVeldon River (southeast section 1.5, 
jNIorgan Township) is i^robably also the Earlham. The only fossils 
collected were Athyris subtilita and Archa^oeidaris. The outcrops 
indicate that higher limestones occur. 

In the western portion of the county there are a number of excel- 
lent exposures of the various members of the formation, ^lanj- of 
them will be referred to in the notes on the quarries. The exposures 
in the eastern portion of the county are rare and with the thick drift 
present it is difficult exactly to locate the eastern limits of the forma- 
tion. As laid down ujjon the accompanying map the line is subject 
to some correction. The limit in the southeastern corner of the county 
is probably quite correct, though there may be an outlier east of 
Caleb Creek. Farther north it is fixed by some exposures on White- 
breast Creek in Clarke County. Between these points it may be 
found to extend a little farther to the east or west than is indicated. 

PLEISTOCENE 

In recent years the unconsolidated materials which so generally 
form the surface formations have attracted considerable attention. 
This is particularly true of those beds which were laid down by, or in 
connection with, the great glaciers or ice sheets which, in tlie period 
inmiediately preceding historic times, spread over much of North 
America as well as certain portions of the Old World. The deposits 
made by the ice sheets are well displayed in Iowa and have been found 
to be of peculiar interest. Within the last year or two it has been 
shown that the drift deposits of this state have had a much more com- 
plex history than has been heretofore ascribed to them. Near Afton 
in Union County to the north, and again in Harrison County, ]Mo., 
to the south, certain phenomena of more than local interest have been 
observed. When the study of Decatur County was taken up it was 
hoped that in the exposures along its deep cut valleys decisive evi- 
dence on certain mooted questions would be obtained. Tlie result 
of the investigations are neither altogether satisfactory or altogether 
disappointing. Their value and bearing upon general questions may, 
however, be better estimated after a review of the evidence. 

The drift deposits of Decatur County include the Kansan bowlder 
clay, with certain possibly older beds, the gumbo, the loess and the 
alluvium. The latter is the most recent deposit and is found along 
all tlie streams, occupying the lowlands. Tlie loess is the surface 
formation over the upland and runs over the divides and down into 



250 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

the valleys in the form of a mantle. The gmiibo is under it and has 
the same stratigraphic relations as the loess. The drift deposits 
jH'oper are under the gumbo and often under the alluvium. They 
cover the whole of the upland region to a variable depth, averaging 
l^robably 150 to 200 feet. The drift also runs down into the i^re- 
glacial valleys. 

KANSAN AND OLDER DRIFT SHEETS 

The drift sheet left by the major advance of the Keewatin ice 
sheet and extending out from under the later loAvan and Wisconsin 
tills is known as the Kansan drift. It is believed to hsLve extended 
on the south to the Missouri River and on the southwest across that 
stream into Kansas. When named ^' it w^as thought to be the oldest 
drift sheet in North America. Daw^son ^^ has since shown that in 
Canada there is an older drift, named by him the Albertan, and the 
evidence of two drifts in Southern Iowa, long since noted by Cham- 
berlin ^^ and McGee, has been interpreted as indicating a pre-Kansan 
drift ^" in that region. 

The interpretation accords with the results obtained from a study 
of the Alps '^^ to the extent that it postulates two old drift sheets. In 
the latter region there is, outside the moraine of the last glacial period, 
evidence of two older and widely separated invasions of the ice, the 
younger of the two apparently representing our Kansan. The inter- 
pretation here offered is also in harmony wath numerous other phe- 
nomena. In a word it may be stated that under the Kansan drift 
there are traces of a still older drift, though the limits of this older 
drift are not known, nor is the evidence with regard to its existence 
everywhere as satisfactory as could be desired. 

The surface drift throughout Decatur County is old. This is 
shoA\'n not only in the topography, but in the condition of the drift 
itself. Where the surface of the bowlder clay has not suffered recent 



27Chaiiil)crlin: Gekie's "Great Ice Age," pp. 773-774. 1894. Jour. Geol., Vol. Ill, pp. 
270-277. 1895. 

28 Dawson: Jour. Geologj-, Vol. Ill, pp. 507-511. 1895. 

snChanihrrlin: I.oc. Cit. McGee: Pleistocene Hist. N. E. Iowa, Eleventh Ann. Rep. U. S. 
Geol. Surv., ]>]>. 493-499. 1891. 

soChamherlin: Jour. Geol., Vol. ly, pp. 872-876. 1896. Calvin: "Annals of Iowa" (3), 
Vol. Ill, No. 1, pp. 1-22. 1897. Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. VII, pp. 18, 19. 1897. Amer. Geol., 
Vol. XIX, pp. 270-272. 1897. Bain: Trans. Iowa Hort. Soc. 1896. Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. VI, 
pp. 4(;.3-467. 1897. Ibid., Vol. VII, pp. 335-338. 1897. 

31 See "Le Systems Glaciaire des Alpes, guide public, a de occasion du Congres geologique 
International, 6 m Session, Zurich, 1894, par M M. Penck, Bruckner et du Pasquier. (W^ith 
references.) 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 251 

erosion it is uniforinily liighly colored. The iron content has been 
oxidized until a reddish-brown surface corresponding to the "fer- 
retto" of Italian geologists has been x^i'oduced. This reddish-brown 
grades through orange to yellow below, and the yellow in turn gi\'es 
place to blue, which is the fundamental color of the Kansan bowlder 
clay. Often the yellow is seen following down into the blue along 
cracks and fading out from their edges. All the evidences indicate 
that here, as elsewhere, the blue and yellow clays belong together. 
The change in color is a matter of oxidation, and is most marked when 
the oxidation has been most active. 

The blue bowlder clay and much of the yellow contains a large 
amount of calcium carbonate, fine limestone dust. This causes it to 
give a vigorous reaction when tested with acid. The upper surface 
of the bowlder clay gives no reaction, and the strength of the reac- 
tion, increasing from nothing at the surface to full vigor at a depth 
of 7 to 9 feet, is proportional to the amount of leaching which 
the clay has suffered, which in turn is approximately proportional 
to the depth below the surface. The bowlder clay contains a con- 
siderable variety of pebbles and bowlders, they being in most cases 
flattened and planed, and often showing striations. 

In a cut on the Humeston & Shenandoah Railway, near De Kalb, 
the following kinds of rock were observed in the till : Gray and red 
granite, red porphyry, Sioux quartzite coarse and fine-grained, 
quartzite with pebbles of clean quartz and red jasper, gabbro, fine- 
grained greenstones, iron concretions, bits of clear, wliite quartz, 
small pieces of limestone, chert and very small bits of sandstone. The 
sandstone and limestone doubtless come from the coal measures of the 
adjacent region. The quartzite, including that with the quartz and 
jasper pebbles, probably came from the Sioux Falls region. The 
granites and greenstones came from farther north. ^lany of the 
granite cobbles, both large and small, are so badly weathered that 
they may be easily picked to pieces with the fingers. This is par- 
ticularly true of those near the top of the formation and becomes less 
noticeable toward the bottom. It is not confined to particular kinds 
of rock which might be supposed to weather easily, such, for example, 
as coarse-grained granites with large feldspars, but is true of a wide 
variety of stones. 

It is believed that the weathering of the granites, the oxidation 
of the iron and the decalcification of the bowlder clay, in view of their 
obvious relationships to the original surface of the latter, are to be 
interpreted as evidence of a long period of subsrial decay after the 



252 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

bowlder clay was deposited. The ferretto surface maintains itself 
under the loess and outlines the present topography, so that this 
period of exposure, which the advanced stage of the topography indi- 
cates, must have been a long one, occurred after the bowlder clay was 
laid down, and before the overlying gumbo and loess were deposited. 
It is this drift which forms the bulk of the Pleistocene deposits of the 
county and which has been called the Kansan. Relative to the ques- 
tion of a possible pre-Ivansan there are certain exposures of interest. 
In section 36, Pleasant Township of Union County, the following 
exi50sure is seen in the bank of Grand River near the ford. This is 
within a mile of the northwest corner of Decatur County: 

FEET 

4. Loess-like top soil 1 

3. Sand, fine to coarse, with some gravel below 6 

2. Gravel, sandy, much weathered material'. 10 

1. Bowlder clay, blue-black, in physical character 
resembling the older bowlder clay at Afton 

Junction 12 

The sand and gravel are evidently waterlaid beds and belong 
together. They graduate laterally into a reddish clay and these into 
a drab to blue bowlder clay. This shading off of the gravels into a 
bowlder clay is true as well of the gravels at Afton Junction. The 
gravel found at this exposure is similar in every regard to that foimd 
farther up the river. It wants only the bowlder clay over the gravel 
fo make the exposure complete, and as the exposure is some distance 
below tlie high land, there can be little doubt of a higher bowlder 
clay. Between the two exjiosures there are traces of the same beds, 
and it is evident that what explains one exposure must serve also to 
explain the other. 

About three miles northwest of Davis City (center of section 28, 
Burrell Township) a bluff at another ford across Grand River shows 
an interesting drift exjiosure. The hills here on the south are close 
to the river. A spur runs out a little from the bluffs, as indicated 
on the sketch map. 

The nose of this spur has been cut across by the river, making the 
exposure. At the water's edge stratified sands are exposed. Fifteen 
feet above the water is a well marked soil horizon buried beneath thirty 
feet of yellow bowlder clay sloping up to the bluff 150 feet high. The 
bowlder clay is evidently Kansan. From the fact, however, that it 



IIISTOKY OF DECATLli COUNTY 253 

shows a certain amount of rude stratification, as well as the fact that 
the soil horizon is ahout on a level with the present flood plain, the 
exposure may jierhaps he thout^ht to represent side filling- in over the 
bottom land. The absence of direct evidence favoring- this, and the 
fact that so large an amount of bowlder clay could haidly slip down 
without leaving direct evidence of the fact except by a rcmai'kal)ly 
slow and uniform movement, while the bottom land is evidently 
young, seems sufficient reason for rejecting this hypothesis. 

There is another exposure of interest found in the east bluff of 
the river near the bridge, about four miles southeast of Davis City 
(southwest of northwest section 18, Hamilton Township). iVbove 
the bridge there is a small ravine coming in from the east and cutting 
in two what was once apparently a continuous exposure. The portion 
of this exposure south of the ravine shows at the base a blue black 
bowlder clay with many pebbles. This clay has the typical character- 
istics of the pre-Kansan. Its blackness here is quite noticeable and 
leads one on first view to expect a Carboniferous shale. It does not 
extend along the entire base of the exposure and seems to be sep- 
arated from the remainder of the latter by a zone of weathering. 
Over it where first seen are beds of stratified sand, gravel, and loess 
with at least one pretty well marked zone of weathering. North 
of the ravine is a blue bowlder clay, not so dark in color, breaking 
cubically rather than in flakes, and passing upward into a yellow 
bowlder clay containing masses of highly weathered gravels of 
Aftonian aspect. Then yellowing, resultant on oxidation, here fol- 
lows the cracks well down into the blue clay. In the adjoining region 
the usual succession of loess, gumbo, 3'ellow and blue bowlder clay 
is seen. The compact black flaky bowlder clay is unusual. At the 
exposure itself the facts are not altogether clear, but this much may 
be stated definitely, that there is here a bowlder clay of a type uncom- 
mon for this region but of physical character very like that of the 
older drift at Afton Junction. 

Directly west of Leon, on the main road to Decatur City (south 
west southwest section 29, Center Township), a long westward facing- 
slope shows the exposure sketched below. 

On the top of the hill is the usual upland loess (1) running down 
over the edge of the rather steep slope. Below it is the normal gumbo 
deposit (2) eight to ten feet thick. Under this is a yellow bowlder 
clay (3) with all the usual characteristics. So far the section is ex- 
actly the same as occurs throughout tlie county. The bowlder clay 
is, however, only about fifteen feet thick, and below it is found a 



254 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

second gumbo about twelve feet tbick. This is a dark blue- 
drab clay. At its upper limit it contains humus and a distinct 
soil three to five inches thick. The soil is quite black and well marked, 
though thin. It contains some roots which do not seem to come down 
from the bowlder clay. The latter shows slight evidence of water 
action for as much as a foot above the gumbo, but above that is the 
normal unstratified bowlder clay. Under the gumbo is a second 
yellow bowlder clay (6) not differing in any known particular from 
that above. It carries cherts, red and gray granites, limestones, 
greenstones, iron concretions and quartzites. The same sorts of rocks 
are found in the clay above. Both show evidence of age and carry 
much weathered material. At the foot of the slope is the alluvium of 
the bottomland. 

The ravines at the side of the road have cut back far enough to 
show that the beds lie directly under each other as indicated. The 
upper bowlder clay (3) where it rests upon the lower gumbo (4) is 
not the hillside wash or the result of creep. The material brought 
down by these processes is shown at 5 and is quite distinct. It includes 
smaller pebbles, is sandier, very gravelly, and distinctly waterlaid. 
It can be distinguished at a glance. No hypothesis of slipping seems 
able to account for the arrangement of the beds and they seem to indi- 
cate true and original superposition. This is the more probable from 
the fact that exactly similar exposures, except that the relations are 
even clearer, mav be seen about one and a half miles east of Osceola 
in Clarke County. At several points in the ravines north of AYeldon 
the same plienomena seem to be present though the exposures are 
not good. Only at the Leon exposure was the soil on top the lower 
gumbo noted. It has here the appearance of a buried soil with the 
upper portion removed, leaving only a little of the soil proper over 
the subsoil. There is no sufficient evidence of erosion at any point 
in the section lower than the top of the upper bowlder clay. 

In regions where the superimposed drift sheets occur, buried 
forests are not uncommonly encountered. This is particularly true 
in regions near the edge of an upper drift, where, probably as a 
result of the fact that but little ice passed over the forest, it is better 
preserved. Buried forests are not of equal significance. They may 
readily occur as a result of temporary retreats and advances of the 
ice where only one drift sheet is present. It is only when they throw 
light upon the climate or physical conditions obtaining during the 
interrum that they have important bearing. It should always be 
remembered, however, that the simplest explanation is not neces- 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 255 

sarih' the true one, and that where the facts are capable of exi)lana- 
tion equally well by the hypothesis of one or of two ice sheets, it is 
by no means necessarily true that the former hypothesis is t(j be 
preferred. 

There are evidences of a buried forest in Decatur County, and in 
the adjoining region. Indeed, such evidence is found at a number 
of points in Southern Iowa, and has been reviewed at another place. '- 
In Decatur Countv the forest bed is best known in the vicinitv of 
Lamoni, where it has been encountered in several wells. In the eleva- 
tor well at that place it was struck at a depth of eighty-five feet, and 
below it there was a thickness of 100 feet of bo^^■l(ler clay. It is clear 
that this forest bed is far below the base of the loess and is in the 
bowlder clay. There are no specimens of wood at hand, though the 
material examined by Prof. T. J. Fitzpatrick was found to be conif- 
erous. The climatic bearing of the find is unimportant. The signifi- 
cant facts are that the bed is of some thickness, occurs commonly in 
the deep wells over quite a wide region, and is in the bowlder clay. 
It evidently neither represents adventitious wood in the latter, nor 
any pose-Kansan accumulations. 

In Harrison County, 3Io., Dr. C. R. Keyes "^ reports a nine-foot 
forest bed struck at a depth of about one hundred and twenty feet 
and in the drift. The evidence here would seem to be of the same 
nature as at Lamoni, but the thickness of the bed makes more impos- 
sible any reference of the deposits to adventitious sources, and indi- 
cates some little time of accumulation. 

These two cases represent the better examples of buried forests 
in Decatur and its immediate vicinity. Other cases are reported, 
but do not seem so reliable. In Union County good specimens of peat 
have been obtained from Avells near Afton, but the horizon is not 
well fixed and may be of later age. Setting aside for the present the 
buried gumbo near Leon, it will be noted that there are in this county 
or its immediate vicinity the following evidences of two drifts. 

1. Waterlaid deposits between tills. 

2. Buried forests and soil horizons. 

3. Traces of an underlying till of peculiar and marked physical 
character. 

In considering the first of these it will at once suggest itself that 
the large amount of ice necessitates considerable water-action (though 
not necessarily "great floods"), and that accordingly waterlaid beds 



32 Proc. Iowa Acad. Sci., Vol. V. 

33 Private communication. 



256 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

may be expected to occur at various horizons in and about the drift. 
It is possible, however, that the deposits should be of such a nature 
as clearly interdict any reference to ice-derived floods in their forma- 
tion, or their distribution might be such as to show that they followed 
a considerable period of erosion. Neither is exactly true in this case, 
but it is true that the gravels found above Westerville are of the same 
character and occupy the same position as those found at Afton, and 
there are some reasons for believing that the latter accumulated dur- 
ing a considerable period of erosion. 

Regarding the evidence derived from buried soils and forest beds 
but little can be added to what has already been said. It is mani- 
festly uncertain and of slight independent value. 

The third point is one hard to estimate. It is true, however, that 
whatever one may think of correlations based upon the color and 
physical characteristics of bowlder clays, there is certainly some sig- 
nificance in the fact that at every known exposure in Iowa, of bowlder 
clays which for various reasons are considered as probably older than 
the Kansan, the physical character of the bowlder clay is the same, 
and that it is markedlv different from that of the Kansan. 

This is true not only of such clays in southwestern Iowa but of 
the exposures at Albion in Marshall County, Oehvein in Fayette, and 
at jNIuscatine. It is certainly a fact of some significance. Probably 
none of these classes of evidence at this point would independently 
prove the presence of a pre-Kansan drift, but it must be remembered 
the facts have a cumulative value. If, for example, a single exposure 
showed a forest bed, a soil and waterlaid deposits betw^een drift sheets 
of markedly different physical characters, and there w^ere no opposing 
phenomena in the surrounding region, but one inference could be 
drawn. In the same way when the three classes of phenomena occur 
not in the same, but in contiguous exposures, they gather weight 
from the association. For this reason it is believed that the evidence 
from Decatur County, meager though it admittedly is, supports the 
hypothesis that there are traces of a pre-Kansan drift sheet in the 
region, separated from the Kansan by an unknown but probably 
important interval. 

The exposures near Leon, it is believed, are best interpreted as 
results of changes in the front of the Kansan ice sheet. The gumbo 
alone proves only that there was a period when fine sedimentation 
such as is characteristic of still waters could go on for some time. 
The soil has been so nearlv removed that its original thickness can 
only be guessed, and it is recognized that soils alone do not necessarily 



HISTORY OF DECATLU COLM V 257 

iiiaicate an especially long lapse of time. The thickness of the 
overlying till and the total lack of distinguishing marks between it 
and that below the gumbo throws the exposure out of harmony with 
those of the Aftonian and pre-Kansan beds. The apparently local 
nature of the phenomena, confined as they are to a relative narrow 
belt stretching from Osceola to Leon, suggests a local cause. 

In the recent railway cuts of the D. ^I. & K. C. Kailwav there 
are, at a few points, gravels suggestive of the Buchanan. The gravel 
consists of small well rounded pebbles, is highly stained, carries 
eathered material, and occurs apparently in pockets in tlie top of 
the Kansan and under the gumbo. It has the appearance at times 
of local hillside wash; but its occurrence at such ^idelv scattered 
) oints as Leon, New Virginia, and Truro, together with the fact 
that in Eastern Iowa the Buchanan gravels often occur some miles 
out from the edge of the later lowan drift, suggests the advisability 
of keeping in mind the alternative hypothesis. 

Glacial strife. — The limestone on Pot Hole Creek at one point 
shows stria as indicated in Plate xxiii. As measured by Prof. T. J. 
Fitzpatrick these have a direction of s. 1° w. magnetic. They are 
upon the Winterset limestone and below the Kansan drift. 

LOESS AND GUMBO 

The only general deposits occurring throughout the county and 
later than the drift are the loess and the gumbo clay. They arc 
of the general type familiar throughout Southern Iowa and Northern 
JNIissouri. The loess is of the older or white clay phase, and as com- 
pared with that found along the iMississippi and ^lissouri rivers as 
well as inland farther north, is less porous, more plastic, and non- 
■^ossiliferous. It carries lime nodules but is free from pebbles. It 
graduates upward into the black loam which forms the prairie soil. 

The gumbo belongs stratigraphically with the loess. It occurs 
below the latter, and has a blue to drab color. It is even more plastic 
and less porous than the loess. When damp but not wet. it has a 
mealy appearance which is quite deceptive as to its real character. 
It rarely carries pebbles though a few have been found in it. It often 
contains small lime balls but these are neitlier so large nor so numer- 
ous as in the loess. It has the appearance of being finer grained 
than the latter and suggests a quiet water deposit which has since 
been compacted or puddled by water. In general the giunlio is about 
ten feet thick and rests on the ferretto horizon of the Kansan. The 

Vol. T.— 17 



258 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

loess is from ten to as much as twenty feet thick. Both deposits 
passed down the flanks of the hills into the larger valleys. 

ALLUVIUM 

The alluvial deposits of Decatur County while extensive have 
little that is j)eculiar. They cover the broad bottoms of Grand, Wel- 
don and Little rivers, and occur along many of the minor streams. As 
a rule the alluvium is not of any remarkable thickness. x\long Grand 
River the flood plain is usually about flfteen feet above ordinary water 
stages. The alluvium is necessarily made up in the main of material 
derived from the loess and gumbo. South of Davis City, however, 
along Dickerson Creek, it contains large bodies of sand and gravel, 
derived apparently from beds of the same age as the gravels above 
AVesterville. Inasmuch as the river does not show this material in the 
region between Westerville and Davis City, it is highly probable that 
the beds which formed the source of the Dickerson Creek deposits 
are concealed below the drift in the hills west of Davis City. 

STRUCTUKE 

The rocks of the county have been subject to very little disturb- 
ance. The dip noted west of Decatur (see Plate xxiv) is the most 
pronounced in the county. It is entirely local and throughout the 
area the rocks lie very nearly horizontal. Apparently the general 
dip to the southwest which characterizes the rocks of so much of the 
state is here almost entirely absent. There are no data which war- 
rant considering it here to be more than one or two feet per mile. 
The base of the Bethany, so far as Decatur County is concerned, 
seems to occuj^y a practically horizontal plane. 

ECONOMIC PRODUCTS 

Coal 

That Decatur County lies within the limits of the coal measures 
has long been known. The exposures of black shale outcropping 
along the streams in various portions of the county, and already dis- 
cussed, have led to considerable exploration in a small way, and 
have been the basis of various local coal excitements. As has already 
been stated the shale seen along the ravines belongs almost exclusively 
to the upper or barren coal measures. In a few cases it carries with 



HISTOKV OF DECATUR COUNTY 259 

it a little coal. Along Weldon River in early days some coal was 
taken from the horizon below the Earlliam limestone. Near the 
Cole ^Nlill (section 14, Hamilton Townsliip), in excavating for the 
bridge, it is stated that as much as eight inches of coal was found 
at this horizon. This thickness is quite exceptional. At no phicc in 
the county does coal of workable thickness outcrop. Any supplies 
which may be obtained must come from lower horizons. As has 
already been stated the Des Moines formation extends under the 
jNIissourian. The dip is such as to bring the various coal horizons 
worked in the counties northeast of Decatur some distance below 
the base of the limestone here. 

The Des JNIoines formation in Southern Iowa is composed of three 
members. (1) The lowermost beds of shales, sandstones and coal 
exposed along the Des Moines River, and from there west to the 
Chariton, and probably the equivalent of the Cherokee shales of 
Kansas; ^^ (2) the Appanoose formation consisting of a series of 
limestones and shales, and carrying the JNIystic coal outcropping 
west of the Chariton River in Appanoose County '^^ and extending 
under the eastern portion, at least, of Wayne County; (3) a shale 
sequence, as yet but little studied and infrequently exposed, extend- 
ing over Western Wayne County, and outcropping immediately 
below the base of the Bethany in Decatur and adjoining counties. It 
is probable, but as yet unproven, tliat this formation is to be cor- 
related with the Pleasanton shales of Kansas.""' The Pleasanton 
shales in this region, at least, are not coal-bearing. Their thickness 
is not certainly known, but is probably not less than seventy-five 
feet. 

The Appanoose formation carries a much w^orked and valuable 
coal bed, thirty inches thick. This coal thins, however, to the west; 
beino- at Harvard in Wavne County but twentv-two inches in thick- 
ness. The dip of the bed if persistent is such as to bring the Mystic 
coal horizon about 100-1.50 below the base of the Bethany limestone 
in Decatur County. It is not certain, however, that the Appanoose 
formation maintains itself so far to the west. Toward the north in 
Lucas, Warren, Madison, Guthrie and Dallas counties, its equivalents 
take on a character somewhat different from that of the typical expo- 



34Haworth and Kirk: Kansas Univ. Quart., Vol. II, p, 10.5. 1894. Haworth: I'niv. Geo]. 
Surv., Kansas, Vol. I, pp. 150-1.51. 189G. 

35 Geol. Appanoose County, Iowa Geol. Surv., Vol. V, 3T8, et scq. 1896. 

soHaworth: Kansas Univ. Quart., Ill, 274, 189.5; Univ. Geol. Surv., Kansas, I, 152-153. 
1896. Keves: Proc Iowa .\cad. Sci., Vol. IV, 24-25. 1897. 



260 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

SLires. The general facies, however, of the formation remains the 
same; i. e., it consists of argillaceous shales, thin limestones and thin 
but jjersitent coal beds. Its normal thickness is uually about eighty 
feet. It base should be about one hundred and sixty feet below the 

Bethany. 

The coal output of Iowa, with the exception of that derived from 
the ^lystic bed, comes almost entirely from thick coal beds of the 
Cherokee shales. The workable coal occurs in this formation along 
certain fairly persistent horizons marked in general by the presence 
of bituminous matter in some form, but varying much and rapidly 
in the thickness of actual coal. The better horizons are uniformly 
near the base of the formation. The best, perhaps, may be called the 
AVapello horizon from its considerable development in the county 
of that name. 

The Wapello horizon has been proven through much of Keokuk, 
JNIahaska, ^Marion, Wapello, Monroe and Lucas counties. The old 
Whitebreast mines at Cleveland in the last county mentioned, were 
the farthest west of any mines which have worked this horizon. From 
its proven extent and general richness it is the horizon most likely to 
yield returns to prospectors. Near Chariton, it occurs at about 675- 
700 feet above sea level and approximately 200 feet below the base 
of the beds corresponding to the Appanoose formation. At Center- 
ville it should be at approximately 525 feet above sea level or 400 
feet below the base of the Appanoose. JNIaking the proper allowance 
for dip, the horizon should occur at a depth of approximately 500 
feet below the base of the Bethany in Decatur County. 

Wliether or not it would carry workable coal so far to the west 
can not be foretold and can only be determined by careful work with 
the diamond drill. In the region where the horizon has so far been 
oi)ened up it has been found to be generally rich but to be often 
entirely or i)ractically barren. Even where the field is best known 
and has been most largely developed it requires careful and extensive 
drilling to locate the coal accurately enough to warrant opening a 
mine. The coal is not evenly distributed along this horizon but lies 
in a series of partially or wholly disconnected basins. Within the 
limits of a single square mile it varies in thickness from nothing to 
seven feet. In a recent set of twenty diamond drill holes through 
this horizon only ten showed coal of more than three feet in thick- 
ness and seven showed no coal at all. 

The attempts so far made to locate coal, in or near Decatur 
County, have not been tirely successful. At Davis City a borina- was 



HISTORY OF DECATLK COLXTV 261 

put down about twenty years ago. Starting near the base of the Beth- 
any limestone it was carried to a depth of 212 feet and is said to have 
shown only two seams of coal four inches and six inches thick respec- 
tively. Near De Kalb a hole was sometime since put down without 
success. This started at the base of the De Kalb limestone and ended 
apparently in the Pleasanton shales. An examination of such of 
the drillings as have been preserved shows the usual limestone and 
shale sequence. 

At Bethany, ]Mo., a hole was drilled in 189.3, starting at the base 
of the Bethany limestone. It was carried down to GoO feet and should 
accordingly ha^e reached the Wapello horizon. No coal more than 
nine inches thick was reported. W'inslow ^' who reports the drillings, 
casts some doubts on its accuracy. 

In 1897 Mr. C. Woodruff of High Point, in drilling for water 
reported three beds of coal respectively one foot, three feet and 
four inches in thickness. The hole was located upon the highland 
and started accordingly approximately 1,125 feet above sea level. 
It was carried to a depth of 412 feet and seems to have stopped in 
the Cherokee shales. 

So far as known all drilling mentioned was done with the churn 
or jump drill. In the last case at least, coal was not sought, so that 
no special jDreparations were made for the accurate determination of 
its thickness. As is easily understood, results, particularly at such 
depths, based upon churn drill records have very small value. The 
method does not permit, except under the most favorable circum- 
stances of fine discrimination. Results of real value are only to be 
obtained by means of the core drill. 

There has been some recent discussion in the county as to the 
advisability of direct prospecting for coal, and because of this fact, 
as well as the further facts that the conditions here are very similar 
to those obtaining over a considerable portion of Soutliwestern Iowa, 
it may be advisable to say a little as to the cost of such work. From 
what has been said it will be readily understood tliat there is no coal 
to be obtained in the surface formations. Also that below tliese is 
a thickness of seventy feet of shales which are practically, if not 
entirely, barren. Below these in turn is a thickness of 1.50-200 feet 
which from all previous experience may be expected to carry thin 
coal, Init no thick seams; probably no coal as much as two feet thick. 
There is accordingly a thickness of at least 200 feet under the low- 
land or 400 feet under the high table land which for practical pur- 

37 Mo. Geol. Surv., Vol. I, p. 99. 1891. 



262 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

poses may be expected to prove barren. Below this is a thickness 
of 300-400 feet in which coal may be found; the chances of thick 
coal increasing toward the bottom. To explore the strata thoroughly 
a hole running from 500 to GOO feet in depth would have to be drilled 
even if one could so locate the work as always to drill from the low- 
land. If the prospecting compam^ owned its own drill and were not 
unfortunate in the loss of diamonds, the cost would probal)ly average 
$1 to $1.25 per foot provided 5,000 to 10,000 feet were drilled. To 
locate 400 to 600 acres of workable coal, provided the strata prove 
as rich as farther east, a matter unproven, once could hardly count 
on less than twenty and might need 100 drill holes. The work would 
accordingly cost $10,000 to $40,000 or more. In the end it might 
})rove that the money would be lost, though on the whole it seems 
probable that some coal at least would be located, tliough perhaps not 
enougli to warrant a large mine. In some exploratory work in Iowa 
where the holes are about half as deep as they would need to be here 
about seven thousand dollars was spent and work was carried on for 
nearly two years before a good coal basin was located. If a suitable 
coal basin were located the cost of working it would probably not be 
prohibitive. It would depend more upon the amount of railway 
track necessary than the depth to the coal, and if it should chance 
that the shaft could be located near a present railway the mine might 
even cost less than some now operated. The amount of capital 
invested would depend largely upon whether the mineral rights were 
leased or jiurchased, and upon the equipment of the mine. It might 
perha])s be as low as $60,000 under very favorable circumstances, or 
as much as $150,000. A large percentage of this would necessarily 
be invested before any return could be expected. 

It will hardly be seriously thought that the present local market, 
or any probable local market of the immediate future, would war- 
rant such an investment. It remains to examine the chance for a 
shi])])ing mine, A mine in Decatur County would have the theoretical 
advantage in competition of nearness to Missouri River points. Prac- 
tically this advantage would not be entirely realized. The C, B. & 
Q. Railway would furnish a direct line to St. Joseph and when the 
D. ]M. & K. C. Railway is extended, a short line to Kansas City would 
be open. Both of these markets are, however, well supplied, and 
competition is so keen as to offer few attractions to prospective 
investors. Coal would not, of course, be sold north or east to advan- 
tage. In reaching the Omaha, Sioux City and Nebraska markets, a 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 263 

local railway tariff would always tend to destroy any sliulit ad\antaL^e 
which the location giyes. 

Under present circumstances it will be seen that tlie opening of 
the Decatur County coal field would be too hazardous to be a leuiti- 
mate business yenture. One niiglit put down one hole and strike 
workable coal, and open up on such slender prospects. Such things 
haye been done occasionally with profit, often with loss; but the 
undertaking would be a gambler's chance, not a business proposition. 
For the present it is probably better not even to put down random 
search holes. If good coal were found in such a hole it pi'ol)a))ly 
would not serye to interest capital and if no coal were found it would 
discourage future work, eyen though such a result is entireh^ unwar- 
ranted by the conditions of the field. Some time in the years to come 
when the demand for coal is greater. Southwestern Io^^•a will be pros- 
pected and then the Grand Riyer Valley will prove the most inviting 
field, not so much because of any better prospect of coal occurring 
there rather than under the hills or in other valleys, l)ut because the 
depth to which the river has cut will make the prospecting cheaper 
and easier. Until that time Decatur County's wealth must come, 
as in the present and past from its other resources. 

Clays 

The clays so far developed in Decatur County have come entirely 
from the surface formations. The loess present throughout the 
county, is of the older type common in Southern Iowa. It has become 
somewhat changed for a depth of twelve to eighteen inches from the 
surface, losing some of the finer and more soluble constituents and 
acquiring a considerable proportion of humus. The soil resulting is 
admirably adapted to the production of hand brick, having all the 
usual characteristics of alluvium. It is now used at Garden Grove 
and Leon. The main body of the loess below the soil, and the gumbo 
clavs below the loess have not so far been Morked. The gumbo 
clays are not of any value for manufacturing except in the produc- 
tion of clay ballast. For this purpose they are unexcelled, their 
plasticity and high tensile strength causing them to shrink consid- 
erably in burning and so by cracking, open up the pieces of clay to 
thorough interior burning. These very properties make them unavail- 
able for use in ordinary clay works. The gumbo clavs are widely dis- 
tributed throu^^hout the county and their ready accessibility makes 
them a valuable source of burned clay. So far they have been used 
only by the C, B. & Q. Railway, for which several kilns have been 



264 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

burned at Davis City. The material here is obtained from lowland 
forming a long gentle slope on the west side of Grand River. It may 
represent, in part at least, redeposited gmnbo worked over by the 
river. The earliest kilns here were burned by hand and required a 
large force of men. Ballast is now being hauled out which, however, 
was burned about five years ago with the aid of machines. 

The material is light, porous and yet strong. It seems probable 
that in the future it will become an important source of road metal 
and be applied to the improvement of the wagon roads. The wide 
(Hstribution of the clays, the ease with which it can be obtained and 
the cheapness with which it can be burned, all render it worthy of 
serious investigation. 

The shale clays occurring in the county have never been utilized. 
From the point of view of accessibility the shales at Davis City and 
De Kalb are the only ones at present worthy of consideration. In 
eacli case the thickness is not great, and the shales carry limestone 
nodules. At De Kalb an important portion of the section (page 
278) consists of bituminous shale or slate, which would need to be 
thrown aside. The clays would in all probability yield a good hard 
brick, and possibly pavers could also be made. They could not, how- 
ever, be worked by open pits, but would need to be mined. This 
"vvould impose no especial burdens at De Kalb as there is a good lime- 
stone roof and a fair thickness of clay above water level. It would, 
however, make the work more expensive than at many competing 
plants. 

The brick made at present are the common salmon brick, bring- 
ing al)out six dollars per thousand. The Foster INIullinix yard is 
located in tlie northeastern portion of Leon. The brick are hand 
made from the surface loam and burned with wood in a cased kiln. 
South of Leon (township 68 north, range 25 west, section 9, south- 
west of southeast) W. H. ^lills has burned brick of the same char- 
acter. None were burned here in 1897. W. H. Jenkins runs 
two kilns having a capacity of 100,000 each, in the northern part 
of Leon, and Mr. G. C. Dilsaber burns brick of the usual character 
at Garden Grove. Mr. Dilsaber has recently installed a brick machine 
and intends to work the loess under the surface loam. The loess here 
should make a good hard brick of cherry red color if properly handled. 
It will doubtless, as usual, require extra care in drying, but there is 
IK) reason to doubt that here, as at other upland points in the county, 
a considerable and profitable industry in the manufacture of stand- 
ard building brick can be built up. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTV 265 

liuildiim' Stunes 



'O 



The great limestone foriiuitioii which uiiderhes so consideraljle 
a portion of the county has been opened up and quarried at a num- 
ber of widely distributed points. In the main, the quarries are 
located in the western half of the county. In the soutlieastern town- 
ships a little stone has been taken out, but none of the openings there 
are extensive enough to be called quarries in a commercial sense. 
Indeed nowhere in the county is stone quarried upon an extensive 
scale. A majority of the openings are for local and temporary pur- 
poses. Few enjoy a regular trade and all are worked intermittently. 
Nevertheless the aggregate amount of stone taken out in any one 
year is fairly considerable. For the most part it is used rough for 
fomidations and for well rock. A considerable amount is used in 
the county bridge work. Some is sold as dimension stone and some 
has been dressed and used for monumental purposes. 

The quarry appliances are of the simplest. In general the strip- 
ping is removed by hand and wheelbarrow; occasionally scrapers are 
employed. The rock is pried loose by w^edges and crow-bars, or 
where these means are ineffectual, the jump drill and blasting powder 
are called into requisition. In most instances perhaps, the (juarries 
are worked on short leases; royalties being paid to the fee holder, 
and the quarryman deserting the opening so soon as the strip])ing 
becomes heavy or the bedding too massive for his tools. For these 
reasons the stone has not been opened up enough to allow its real 
value and character to be positively determined. That whicli has so 
far been placed upon the market has been almost entirely obtained 
from the croppings. 

So far as sliown by the natural outcrops and the quarries now- 
open, the stone is predominantly thin-bedded. Ledges of over twelve 
inches are rare, though stone of fourteen and eighteen inches may be 
found. The majority of courses, how^ever, sliow four, six and eight 
inch stone. In this particular there seems to be but little difference 
between the various members of the formation, except that in gen- 
eral the Winterset seems to include heavier courses than either tlie 
De Kalb or the Earlhani, which are the main quarry rocks. In 
physical characteristics there is considerable uniformity. The rock 
is fine-grained and usually ash-gray to buff in color. It breaks with 
a conchoidal fracture showing smooth surfaces set witli inclosures of 
clear calcite. It is a non-magnesian stone of great purity and con- 
tains little or no pyrites. So far as its mineralogical constitution is 



266 HISTORY OF DErATUR COUNTY 

concerned it is well adapted to withstand weathering agencies. As 
a matter of fact the stone so far quarried does not usually withstand 
weathering so well as its general appearance would lead one to expect. 
It splits and cracks under frost action, the fault apparently being in 
the physical structure of the rock. It is cut by minute cracks which 
allow the absorption of water, while the close texture x^revents this 
from freezing out, so that the full force of the expansion, which has 
been calculated to be as much as 138 tons i^er square foot, is expended 
upon the rock. Since this rock has a crushing strength only of about 
four thousand, five hundred pounds per square inch, a good deal of it 
gives way before this strain. Some of the ledges naturally withstand 
frost action better than others, but it is doubtful whether it would be 
practicable to quarry them separately with a profit. For the purposes 
to which the stone is now applied it answers well enough, but its use 
in large and important structures or in bridge work, except after 
careful selection, can not be recommended. 

It is quite probable that the Winterset rock would yield an average 
stone of better quality than that now marketed; but so far it has 
been but little quarried. 

The Westerville limestone occurring in the hills along Sand Creek, 
has not been quarried to any great extent. In general it is very 
similar to the De Kalb in character. A thickness of about ten feet 
is present and the stone is readily accessible. The rock showing near 
the water at the mill is the same as is exposed at Reynold's ford. It 
is a thin bed of impure nodular rock and has only a slight value. 

In the vicinity of Grand River Station there are numerous quar- 
ries working the De Kalb limestone. Among them are the quarries 
of S. C. Jennings, Blair Brenneman and C. Miles. The Miles quarry 
is east of the town near the railway bridge over Grand River. The 
total thickness of the stone is about three feet, the ledge yielding rock 
six and eight inches thick. It is a hard blue stone somewhat similar 
to the Reynolds' Ford rock and may represent the same horizon, 
though apparently at Grand River it is not far above the De Kalb 
proper. The most pretentious attempt to quarry the De Kalb lime- 
stone was at the old Madarasz quarry, now abandoned. This quarry 
is located on the river about three miles northeast of town, in section 
36. It was opened near the Humeston & Shenandoah Railway and 
at one time had a switch from that road. It is said that considerable 
rock was taken from the quarry for railway construction. Nothing 
can now be seen of the quarry face, which is said to have shown ten 
feet of stone with tlie base five feet above the river. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 267 

East of De Kalb station are the tyi)ieal exposures of the De 
Kalb rock. A section has ah-eady been given but the following details 
from a neighboring quarry will show the thiekness of the individual 
ledges. 

TEET INCHES 

6. Stripping, bowlder clay 

0. Limestone, irregidar and waterworn 6 

4. Shale, hard 6 

3. Limestone, irregularly bedded 8 

2. Shale or bastard rock 2 

1. Limestone in five ledges that are respectively 

9, 12, G, 13 and 8 inches in thickness 4 

The upper courses yield little of value and the main output is of 
stone from the lower ledges. There are two quarries here, the south 
one being owned by ^Ir. E. U. De Kalb and the north one bv ^lartha 
Fry. A short distance w^est of De Kalb station the stone has also 
been opened up on Short Creek (northeast of northwest section 32, 
Long Creek Township). In the quarries here the following section 
Avas observed. 

TEET INCHES 

10. Shale, gray to green 2 6 

9. Limestone, shalv 6 

8. Limestone, solid 9 

7. Shale, drab to yellow 2 

6. Limestone, thin, shaly 4 

5. Clay parting 2 

4. Limestone 1 

3. Limestone 5 

2. Limestone 4 

1. Limestone 6 

The rock is the usual character and carries Productus nebrascensis, 
Productus cora, Productus costatus, INIeekella striato-costata and 
Chonetes verneuilanus. 

Along Hall Run and Elk Creek, in Grand River and Blooming- 
ton townships, there are numerous exposures of the De Kalb and 
Winterset, and, near the mouth of Elk Creek, the Earlham lime- 
stones. The exposure shown in Fig. 2, Plate xxiv, is one of the 
best and shows the Winterset limestone to a thickness of fifteen feet 
with the shales below^ it and extending down to the Earlham. This 



268 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

exposure is almost five miles northeast of Lamoni on Pot Hole or 
Potters' branch. The section at this point includes the following beds. 

FEET INCHES 

6. Limestone (Winterset) with Spirifer came- 
rata, Productus punctatus, Productus 

costatus, Athyris subtilita, etc 15 

5. Shale, gray to drab 3 6 

4. Shale bituminous 2 6 

3. Coal , . ll/o 

2. Shale, gray 6 

1. Limestone (Earlham) in bed of creek. 

A few miles north of here at the Millsap quarries (section 34, 
Gi'and River Township) the base of the De Kalb limestone shows 
again with some ledges of rock thirty-six inches thick. Below the 
limestone is a drab to gray shale carrying Athyris subtilita and 
Productus longispinus. About five feet below the base of the lime- 
stone, and in the shale, is a third band of limestone very full of 
Chonetes verneuilanus and overlying an irregular ledge of nodular 
blue limestone carrying large well formed Productus cora. The 
exposure does not seem deep enough to expose the JNIyalina horizon 
thougli Derbya crassa is present. In the southeast corner of the same 
section the blue limestone shows again and a short distance farther 
down the Winterset is exposed. 

In tlie northwestern portion of Burrell Township the Fragmental, 
Earlham and Winterset limestones and associated shales are exposed 
on the west side of the river (section 7, west half northeast quarter). 
On the east side of the river the Earlham has been quarried on the 
Anton Ranch land. This quarry has not recently been worked but 
the stock pile shows some excellent eighteen-inch rock. The stone 
from the quarry has been dressed and sold for monumental work. 

Soutli of Terre Haute on Pot Hole Branch, near the exposure 
of AVinterset figured above, there are the S. A. Ferguson, N. N. 
Hazelton, and Isaac Toney quarries, all in the Earlham rock. The 
section here is as follows: . 

FEET 

3. I^imestone, ash gray to brown, fine-grained, thin- 

bedded, M'ith courses up to 1 foot in thickness 

and shale partings 6-10 



HISTORY OF DKCATUR COUNTY 269 

FEET 

2. Shale, drab, imperfectly exposed, but showing 1 

foot of black slate 10 

1. Limestone, brecciated or fragmental type, firmly 

cemented and apj^arently non-fossiliferous. . 4 

It is the upper rock Mhich is quarried and which carries Athyris 
subtilita (abundant) Productus cora, Productus cameratus, Pro- 
ductus costatus, Rhynchonella uta, Hustedia mormoni (rare) and 
the usual stems and spines of crinoids. The rock dips to the west, 
and the \\^interset present in the hills above is exposed farther up 
the stream. 

Near Davis City there are quarries both north and southwest of 
town. The main (piarry north of town is the S. Radnick, which is 
opened in the Earlham. The (juarries southwest of town are along 
Dickerson branch and include the W. Rickards, Hugh Sutherland, 
Jos. Boswell, and C. Noble openings. These are all small openings 
in the Earlham. 

As seen at the Boswell quarry the section is as given below. 

FEET INCHES 

6. Stripping, loess-loam 2-4 

5. Limestone 1 

4. Rotten stone and shale 2 

3. Limestone, 14-inch ledge carrying a 3-inch 

ledge below 1 5 

2. Shale and rotten stone 1 

1. Limestone, with wavy bedding, ledges run- 
ning from 3 to 16 inches o 

The bedding in the lower stone is quite irregular. The courses 
are persistent but vary rapidly in thickness so that the surface lines 
are w^avy. In the roadway, about ten feet below the stone, are traces 
of a black slate; and in the stream, about twenty feet below the quarry, 
the Fragmental rock outcrops. It is unfossiliferous except for the 
jDresence of Productus cora, is loosely cemented and crumbles so 
readily that it does not form a ledge. The Winterset limestone is 
jiresent higher in the hills and possibly also the De Kalb. 

The location of the various outcrops in the southeastern portion 
of the county and the character of the stone has already been suffi- 
cientlv indicated. 



270 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Lime 

In the earlier years of the settlement of the county lime was 
burned at several points. The rock is not, however, adapted to the 
manufacture of the best grade of lime, owing to its non-magnesian 
character, and with the better transportation facilities now enjoyed 
by the region the trade has passed into the hands of producers in 
other sections of the country. The non-magnesian rocks burn to a 
clear white lime of good aj)pearance, but which really affords a 
weaker bond than that furnished by the magnesian lime. It is also 
difficult to handle and can only be worked by exercising great care in 
slacking and by using an abundance of water. For these reasons it 
would compete upon unequal terms with the lime now on the mar- 
ket, and except in especial instances the old industry is not aj^t to 
be revived. The purity of the stone suggests that it would be an 
excellent source of lime for cement production w^henever it becomes 
economical to grind limestone for that purpose. For the present the 
chalks and marls shut it out of that field. 

A partial analysis made for the survey by Dr. J. B. Weenis gave 
the following results. 

Ca COo 91.96 

Mg CO3 1.99 

H.O 07 

This sample was from the De Kalb limestone as shown at the 
type locality. It emphasizes the fact of the purity of the stone which 
Is essentially calcium carbonate and would yield 51.2,5 per cent of 
lime (Ca O). While, as has been stated, this would be a non-mag- 
nesian lime, it may be remembered that the St. Louis and other Mis- 
souri limes, which enjoy a large trade, are of this character. Analyses 
of several of these are given below.-^^ 

Carbonate of lime 99.815 

Magnesia Tr. 

Oxide of magnesia Tr. 

Alumna .054 

Oxide of Iron .011 

Silicic and insoi .12 

Phosphoric acid None. 

Sulphuric acid Tr. 

Calcium sulphate 

Water 

Alkalis and loss . . . 



II. 

92.75 
3.26 


III. 
97.76 
.12 


IV. 

98.80 

.02 


■ ■ ■ '.48 
.40 
.495 


.20 S 
.26 


.40 
.08 


' Tr.' ' 
.675 
1.94 







Total 100.00 100.00 98.34 99.30 

I. Ash Grove white lime. 

II. Champion white limestone, Ash Grove, Mo. 

III. Limestone from St. Louis County. 

1\ . Limestone from Marion County, Mo. 



••^ Minn. Ros. U. S., 1889-90, pp. 1.06-407. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 271 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

In the preparation of this report the author lias received informa- 
tion and other courtesies from a hirge number of persons both williin 
and without the county. It is impossible to mention everyone l)ut 
especial reference must be made to Prof. T. J. Fit/patrick of Grace- 
kind College who furnished the list of forest trees appended and to 
]Mr. F. M. Smith with him for the photographs from which Plate xxiii 
and Figvn'e 2, Plate xxiv, were prepared. To Professor Calvin is 
due the determination of the fossils and to jNlr. \Villiam Haven of 
Ottumwa, is due certain valuable suggestions used in discussmg the 
coal. To ]Mr. ^Morgan G. Thomas, state mine inspector, the author 
is particularly indebted for reviewing the latter section of the report 
and checking the cost estimates there made. 

FOREST TREES AND SHRUDS OF DECATUR COUNTY 

By T. J. Fitzpatrick 

Decatur County is essentially an expanse of prairie with narrow 
sinuous belts of timber stretched along Grand River and its tribu- 
taries. Unbroken prairie is being slowly occupied by forests. In 
such places the hazelnut, ground oak, laurel oak, red oak, bur oak, 
white oak, and the elms are slowly establishing themselves. INIany 
of these embryo forests exist and are annually drawn upon for fenc- 
ing material and firewood. While perhaps the larger number of such 
forests are being reduced in size or destroyed, in order to increase the 
area of tillable soil or of pasture, yet these forests, if carefully hus- 
banded, would be sufficient for future needs. The older forests are 
confined to the main water courses and are of limited extent. Here 
the soft timber predominates. The white oak, hard majilc and other 
trees of like character are too few in number to be of conseciuence in 
the manufacture of lumber. A few sawmills are located in the county 
and produce annually a small amount chiefly of soft lumber which 
is used locally. 

The nomenclature of the following list of trees and shrubs is that 
of the sixth edition of Gray's oNIanual. 

TILIACE.E 

Tilia americana L. Basswood, Linden or Linn. Common in 
river bottoms and frequent in rich uplands. 



272 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

Xaiithoxylum aniericana 31111. Northern Prickly Ash. Frequent 
in woods. 

CELASTRACE^ 

Celastrus scandens L. Climbing Bitter Sweet. Frequent in 
upland woods. 

Euonvmus atropurpureus Jacq. Burning-Bush. Rich woods,' 
infrequent. 

RHAMXACE/E 

Rhaninus lanceolata Pursh. Buckthorn. Common along fence 
rows bordering woods; frequent in thickets along highways. 

Oeanothus americanus L. New Jersey Tea. Prairies and upland 
woods, rather rare. 

C. ovatus Desf. Prairies and roadsides, common. 

VITACE^E 

Vitis riparia jNIx. Wild Grape. Rich woods, common. 
V. cinerea Englm. Downy Grape. Waste places, rare. 
Ampelopsis quinquefolia INIx. Virginian Creeper. Rich woods, 
frequent. 

SAPINDxVCE.E 

iEsculusglabra Willd. Ohio or Fetid Buckeye. Rich woods, com- 
mon but less so than formerly. 

Acer saccharinum Wang. Hard or Sugar INIaple. Frequent 
along Grand River ])ut disappearing. Frequent in cultivation. 

A. dasycarpum Ehrh. Soft INIaple. Common in river bottoms, a 
frequent grove tree. 

Negundo aceroides INIoench. Box-Elder. Rich woods, common. 
Frequent in cultivation. 

AXACARDIACE.^5 

Rhus glabra L. Smooth Sumach. Upland open woods, common. 
R. toxicodendron L. Poison Ivy. Fence rows, woods: frequent. 



HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 273 

LEGUMINOS.E 

Aiiiorpha canescens Xutt. Lead-Plant. Prairies and open 
woods, common. 

A. fruticosa L. False Indigo. Rich soil in sloughs and low 
places, common. 

Robinia pseudacacia L. Common Locust. A frequent tree along 
roadsides and in waste places. 

Cercis canadensis L. Red-bud. AVooded bluffs. Frequent along 
Grand River below Woodmansee bridge. 

Gvmnocladus canadensis Lam. Kentucky Coffee-tree. A few 
in low woods below Woodmansee bridge. 

Gleditschia triacanthos L. Honey-Locust. River bottoms and 
rich uplands, frequent. 

ROSACE^E 

Prunus americana JNIarsh. Wild Plum. Upland woods, common. 

P. serotina Ehrh. Wild Black Cherry. Upland woods, fre- 
quent. 

P. virginiana L. Choke-cherr3\ Rich woods, common. 

Physocarpus opulifolius INIax. Nine-bark. Rocky banks; infre- 
quent. 

Rubus occidentalis L. Raspberry. Fence rows, thickets, not 
common. 

R. villosus Ait. Blackberry. Uplands, not common. 

Rosa arkansana Porter. Common Wild Rose. Prairies, com- 
mon. Determined by Mo. Bot. Gar. 

Pyrus coronaria L. Crab- Apple. Thickets, common. 

P. malus L. Apple. A frequent escape into fields and waste 
places. 

Crataegus coccinea L. Red Hawthorn. Thickets, common. 

C. tomentosa L. Scarlet Thorn. Thickets, frequent. 

C. crus-galli L. Cockspur Thorn. Thickets, common. 

Amelanchier canadensis T. & G. Service-berry. Wooded bluffs, 
frequent. 

SAXIFRAGACE^ 

Ribes gracile Mx. Missouri Gooseberry. Open low woods, fre- 
quent. 

Vol. 1—18 



274 HISTORY OF DECATUR COUNTY 

COIINACE.E 

Cornus sericea L. Silky Cornel. Rich soil, frequent. This 
and the following were determined by the Mo. Bot. Gar. 

C. paniculata L'Her. Panicled Cornel. Waysides, thickets, 
frequent. 

CAPRIFOLIACE^E 

Sanibucus canadensis L. Elder. Rich soil, frequent. 
Syniphoricarpos vulgaris JNIx. Coral-berry. Rich open woods, 
common. 

EUBIACE^ 

Cephalanthus occidentalis L. Button-bush. Swampy soil, fre- 
quent. 

OLEACE^ 

Fraxinus viridis Mx. Green Ash. A frequent tree in low or rich 
upland woods. Determined by the Mo. Bot. Gar. 

F. americana L. This sj)ecies is vmdoubtedly present but has 
not been observed. 

BIGNONIACE.E 

Catalpa speciosa Warder. Catalpa. A frequent tree in cultiva- 
tion, rarely an escape. 

URTICACE^ 

Ulmus fulva ^Ix. Red or Slippery Elm. Rich woods, frequent. 

U. americana L. White Elm. Rich woods, common. 

Celtis occidentalis L. Hackberry. Low woods, frequent. 

Madura aurantiaca Xutt. Osage Orange. Formerly cultivated 
for hedge fences, frequently spontaneous. 

]\Iorus rubra L. Red ^Mulberry. Wooded bluffs and low w^oods, 
frequent. 

TLATANACE^ 

Platanus occidentalis L. Sycamore, Buttonwood. An infre- 
quent tree along Grand River and its tributaries. 



HISTOllY OF DECATUK COUNTY 275 

JUGLAXDACE.E 

Juylans nigra L. Black AValnut. Rich woods, frequent. 

Carya alba Xutt. White Iliekorv. Upland woods, common. 

C. sulcata Xutt. Shell-bark Hickory. Low woods alou"- Grand 
River, once frequent but disappearing. 

C. amara Xutt. Ritter-nut or Pignut Hickory. Rich woods, 
common. 

CUPULIFEK.1: 

Corylus americana Walt. Hazelnut. Uplands, common. 

Ostrya virginica Willd. Ironwood, Hop-hornbeam. Wooded 
blufl^s, frequent. 

Carpinus caroliniana Walt. Ironwood, American Hornbeam. 
VVooded bluffs, frequent. 

Quercus alba L. ^Vllite Oak. Uplands, frequent. 

Q. macrocarpa ^Ix. Bur Oak. A large tree in rich woods, shrub- 
by on the prairies; common. 

Q. bicolor A\''illd. Swamp White Oak. Bottom woods, com- 
mon near Woodmansee bridge and elsewhere. 

Q. muhlenbergii Englm. Chestnut Oak. Upland w^oods, infre- 
quent. 

Q. prinoides Willd. Ground Oak. Uplands, common. 

Q. rubra L. Red Oak. Upland woods, frequent. 

Q. coccinea Wang. Scarlet Oak. Upland woods, common. 

Q. ]:»alustris Du Roi. Pin Oak. Low woods, frequent. 

Q. imbricaria ^Ix. Laurel Oak, Shingle Oak. Upland woods, 
common. 

Q. nigra I^. Black Jack or Barren Oak. LTplands, frequent. 

SALICACE.T; 

Populus tremuloides jNIx. Quaking xVsp. Upland woods. 

P. monilifera Ait. Cottonwood. Low woods, frequent. 

P. alba L. Wliite Poplar. A cultivated variety of this is becom- 
ing a frequent escape. 

Salix humilis ^larsh. Prairie Willow. Prairies, common. 
Determined by the ]Mo. Bot. Gar. 









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