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NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 



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HISTORY OF 

FORT DODGE 

AND 

WEBSTER COUNTY 

IOWA 



By H. M. PRATT 



ADVISORY BOARD 



Hon. \V. S. Kenyon 

Emory A. Rolfe 

Mrs. Jonathan P. Dolliver 

Webb Vincent 

Ha! C. Fuller 



Hon.O. :\r. Oleson 
Mrs. John F. Dun combe 
Dr. G. D. Hart 
D. S. Coughlan 
M. F. Healy 
C. P.. Johnson 



C. A. Roberts 
LB. Parks 
C. V. Findlay 
H. O. Baldwin 
Mrs. C. B. Hepler 



VOLUME I 



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::• 



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» * * 

• • * • 
• • » » •• 



CHICAGO 

THE PIONEER PUBLISHING COMPANY 

1913 



SOT 



THE NEW YCBK 
PUBLIC UBRARV 

^S'tlH. tSNOX AND- 
Te.OEW FOUNDATIONS 

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MR. AND MRS. H. M. PRATT 




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CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY OF WEBSTER COUNTY I 

CHAPTER n 

ON THE WAY TO IOWA I3 

CHAPTER HI 

THE MOUND BUILDERS 23 

CHAPTER IV 

THE RED MAN IN IOWA 29 

CHAPTER V 

THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE AND TERRITORIAL IOWA 39 

CHAPTER VI 

THE COMING OF THE WHITE MAN 59 

CHAPTER VII 

ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT OF WEBSTER COUNTY 7I 

CHAPTER VIII 

THE COUNTY ELECTIONS 83 

CHAPTER IX 

WEBSTER COUNTY IN CIVIL WAR 93 

CHAPTER X 

WEBSTER COUNTY IN THE SPANLSH-AMERICAN WAR I39 

iii 



iv CONTEXTS 

CHAPTER X.I 

REGULARS AND MILITIA I5I 

CHAPTER XH 

THE MAYORS OF FORT DODGE 1 55 

CHAPTER XHI 

EARLY TRADES AND TRADERS 165 

CHAPTER XI\^ 

FORT DODGE SCHOOLS 1/5 

CHAPTER X\' 

FORT DODGE CHURCHES • 181 

CHAPTER XVI 

PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PARKS I95 

CHAPTER XMI 

WOMAN AND HER CLUBS 201 

CHAPTER XVHI 

THE SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE AND EXPEDITION 211 

CHAPTER XIX 

BUILDING A RAILROAD 221 

CHAPTER XX 

THE COMING OF THE "CIIARLES ROGERs" 225 

CHAPTER XXI 

HISTORY OF THE RIVER-LAND GRANT 23 1 

CHAPTER XXII 

THE CARDIFF GIANT 239 

CHAPTER XXIII 

BREAKING PRAIRIE AND OTHER SKETCHES 245 



CONTEXTS V 

CHAPTER XXIV 

THE TOWNSHIPS AND TOWXS 259 

CHAPTER XX\' 

LEGISLATIVE, JUDICIAL AND CONGRESSIONAL HISTORY 289 

CHAPTER XX\'I 

ET CETERA 295 



History of Webster County 

CHAPTER I 
GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

BY JAMES H. LEES, ASSISTANT STATE GEOLOGIST 

INTRODUCTORY 

This chapter aims to present briefly the history of the growth and develop- 
ment of Webster county's rock formations and surface features. In order to 
correctly understand the landscape of today we must know the forces which have 
been at work building up massive beds of rock and clay and gravel, those which 
have chiseled out the hills and the vallevs as the artist carves his statue or molds 
his model, those which have made the crooked ways straight and the rough places 
plain, have cut down the hills and filled up the valleys. So we must go back, 
not to the beginning, indeed, but far back to the time when life had its beginnings, 
uncounted ages ago, and we shall find that even then the same forces and agents 
were at work which are today efifective in giving our world its present form. 
The rivers carried to the oceans their burdens washed from the land, the winds 
did their work, mighty volcanoes poured out their floods of molten rock and 
under the seas were being laid down the foundations of the future continents. 
Nothing could be further from the truth than the current conception that the 
forms of nature which we see about us are fixed and unchangeable. Tennyson 
aptly and beautifully expresses the marvelous truth when he says : 

"There rolls the deep where grew the tree, 
O earth what changes hast thou seen ! 
There where the long street roars, hath been 
The stillness of the central sea. 

"The hills are shadows, and they flow 

From form to form and nothing stands ; 
They melt like mists, the solid lands, 
Like clouds they shape themselves and go." 

So all through the centuries the lands have been changing their form while 
from their wastage have been builded new lands on the ocean floors. 



2 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

We know nothing of the results of this early world-building in Iowa. All 
the rocks which were then formed, whether by quiet deposition on ocean bottoms 
or by volcanic eruptions, are deeply buried and have never been revealed by the 
deepest searchings within the state. Since they are known elsewhere we know 
that Iowa must be built upon their ancient pediments. 

GEOLOGY 

Away oft' in the northwestern corner of Iowa there comes to the surface a 
very hard rock known to geologists as the Sioux quartzite, and usually, though 
incorrectly, called Sioux Falls granite. This same rock forms great clififs and 
waterfalls at Sioux Falls, Luverne and Pipestone. It is the oldest rock exposed 
in Iowa and is a sandstone which has been made exceedingly hard by secondary 
cementation. It is known to extend entirely across the state, for it has been 
reached in several deep wells and comes to the surface in Wisconsin. In the off- 
shore waters of the old Algonkian ocean this sandstone gradually accumulated and 
then as the sea floor slowly rose above the water, during long ages this sand- 
stone, now hardened to quartzite, was attacked and eroded by all the powers of 
air and moisture. Again the sea encroached upon the land and buried it under 
a vast accumulation of sands which are known to us now as the Saint Croix 
sandstones. The accompanying diagram will serve to make clear the succession 
of strata as here described. Whether the entire area of the Sioux cjuartzite was 
covered is not known but if it was considerable areas must have been laid bare 
since, for in northwestern Iowa much of the succession as given in the chart is 
absent. For Webster county the succession is fairly complete, with the excep- 
tion of the Upper Devonian, ^Missouri and Cretaceous. This is well shown 
in the record of the deep well at Fort Dodge, which has a depth of 1,827^/^ 
feet and penetrates the sandstones of the Jordan to a depth of 59 feet. 

The Saint Croix sandstones are Iowa's great source of supply for artesian 
waters although many of the deep wells draw their waters from higher beds. 
Another important water-bearing stratum is the Saint Peter sandstone. While 
not so thick as the Saint Croix it is very widespread and constant and therefore 
(|uite reliable. 

It is not necessary to describe here all the succession of rock deposits and 
events in the geological history of our county. Suffice it to say that as age suc- 
ceeded age the rocky foundations of our area were built up beneath the sea, 
now far from shore and in clear quiet waters as when the Silurian limestones 
were formed, now nearer the lands, where the streams carried down their loads 
of silt and clay to form the beds of shale such as the Maquoketa, and occasionally 
the deposits tell of a land nearby whence came santls and gravels to form our 
sandstones. The seas of these days swarmed with life and the abundant fossil 
remains still give mute testimony to the multitude of species which lived and 
died in those far-away times. Just here it may be remarked that it is unsafe to 
judge the relative length of geologic periods by the relative space given in the 
chart, ^^■hile this may serve to some extent as a guide there are too man\- other 
elements which enter to rely on this alone. The rapidity with which deposits 
accumulate varies so greatly with different types of material and under diff'erent 
circumstances and we cannot tell hmv much of the original deposit may have 




O 



irsTCM 



SERIES 






FORMATION NAME 



COLUMNAR 

gECTION 



TM/CANtSS 



CHARACTER OF ROCKS 



PLEIiTOCEMt 



Wisconsin 



Peorian 



lowan 



Sangamon 



lUinoian 
Yarmouth 



Kansan 



Aftonian 



Nebraskan 



0-30 + 



0-30 + 



0-100+ 



0-400+ 



0-40 + 



0-30 + 



eowLDER CLAY, PALE YELLOW 
VERY CALCAREOUS. 



SOI L SAIND 



BOWLDER CLAY. YELLOW, WITH 
VERY LARGE eoWLDESS. 



SOIL. PEAT AND FOREST BEDS 



BOWLDER CLAY, YELLOW. 



bOIL.PEAT AI^ID FOREST BEDS. 



BOWLDER c LAV. BLUE. JOINTED. W/rH 
iNTEPCALATeo 3rRe*l h5 ArvD POCttETS 
OF hANO AND <jRAVtL. 



PEATA^u>ftM eeOi.SO'L BJNCJS.AftUfUUSORAVf L5. 



SOWLDE« CLAyb.DARn, FRIABLt. 




FIGURE II— GEOLOGIC SECTION OF THE STPvATA OF IOWA 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 3 

been carried away. And so it is equally difficult to form any estimate of the length 
of time which has elapsed since the known rocks of Iowa began to be formed. 
The geologic record speaks of times when the sea left Webster county and 
retreated far away, perhaps to the south and west. The soft sandstones, shales 
and limestones were then etched and carved and carried away so that in many 
places deep valleys were cut in them, while in other localities scores and perhaps 
hundreds of feet of strata were removed entirely. Then again the seas over- 
spread the lands and filled up the valleys and covered the hills with their 1)urden 
of sand or clay or limy ooze. 

During the Devonian period the fishes experienced a marvelous development 
and became the masters of the sea. Strange uncouth fellows were these Devon- 
ian fishes. Their modern descendants would probably disown them, unless it 
were some of the e(|ually uncouth creatures which are occasionally dredged from 
the great ocean depths and which probably represent survivals of these ancient 
tribes. The bony fishes did not appear until after the Devonian and these primi- 
tive species had cartilaginous skeletons, like the modern sharks, and- many of 
them were armored with a hard coat of mail. 

While the Devonian and earlier strata are doubtless present beneath the 
prairies of Webster county the oldest rock which is exposed within the county 
is the Saint Louis limestone. After the limestone of the Middle Devonian series 
had been laid down in the quiet waters of the Devonian sea the ocean retreated 
and for a long time much of Iowa was dry land, exposed to all the wearing 
activities of rain and atmosphere. Even while the shales and limestones of the 
Upper Devonian were forming there were probably, large land areas in Iowa. 
But in time the sea again transgressed upon the land and over its floor were 
laid the shales, sandstones and limestones of the Mississippian. After a long 
period of slow piling up of rocky beds the waters again abandoned our county 
and again did the streams and rains and winds do their work. How long these 
periods of land destruction were we can but hazard a guess. We know how 
slowly the elements wear away the solid rocks today, how little change there is 
in the landscape from year to year, even from generation to generation. We have 
no reason to believe that the ])rocesses and agencies of Nature were nnich differ- 
ent in those early days than they are today. Hence, we may feel sure that the 
period during which valleys scores and scores of feet in depth were cut into the 
Saint Louis limestone could not have l:)een a short one. 

It may be noted here that from the time of the Cambrian as shown on the 
chart the shore-line across Iowa had been ])eriodically retreating toward the 
southwest. In general this shore-line b.ad a northwest-southeast extension and 
hence the strata of different ages today outcrop at the surface in long, rather 
narrow belts having a similar direction and exposing successively younger rocks 
toward the southwest. The rocks of Iowa have never been subjected to great 
movements and twistings and warpings as have those of the Rocky Mountain 
region, for instance. Hence, such irregularities as appear in their exposure and 
condition are due chiefly to erosion. As is to be expected the rocks have a slight 
general dip toward the southwest, that is, away from the <~)ld shore-line toward 
the open sea. But in western Iowa this dip is reversed, due largely to the influ- 
ence of the old Sioux island, the mass of tjuartzite centering al)out Sioux Falls. 



4 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Hence Webster county is about at the center of a great trough, although this is 
not evident at the surface. The present topography is due to factors which 
affected the county long after these rocks were formed, as will be explained later. 
After the long period of erosion described in the preceding paragraph there 
was ushered in a different series of events. Our knowledge leads us to believe 
that all the rocks formed before the close of the Saint Louis stage were of marine 
origin. But with the beginning of the next stage in Webster county and in Iowa 
conditions were changed. It seems probable that the surface of the land," in 
central Iowa at least, had been worn down to a low, level plain, only slightly above 
sea level, or else that crustal movements brought large areas into this condition. 
At any rate there were vast stretches of coastal swamps where plant life grew 
luxuriantly. These swamps may be likened to the Great Dismal Swamp of \'ir- 
ginia or the Everglades of Florida. In the former of these especially, trees, 
ferns, and marsh-grasses grow, die and fall into the shallow water which covers 
much of the surface. This water prevents decay and hence the mat of vegetal 
remains grows from year to year and age to age. Just such conditions obtained 
in the times of which we are speaking — the Des Aloines age, the period when 
the coal beds which form such an important part of Webster county's natural 
wealth were formed. We may imagine that after one of these marshes had been 
growing for some time until, possibly, many feet of peaty matter had accumu- 
lated, there was a sliglit change of level and the sea invaded the swamp and cov- 
ered the bed of peat with a layer of silt or perhaps of sand. As soon as this layer 
approached or rose to the surface of the water vegetation would again grow over 
it and there would be a repetition of the process. If long periods passed while 
plants were growing without clay or such earthy matter being brought in, there 
naturally would be formed a thick bed of pure peat. If changes occurred rapidly 
or streams washed in silt and clay the beds would be thin or impure. In this way, 
then, the coal beds of our county, and of other regions as well, were formed. 
The size of the old Carboniferous swamp measures the extent of the coal bed of 
today. Upon the length of time during which the plant remains accumulated 
depends the thickness of these stores of fuel. Several seams of coal occur in 
vertical succession, separated by layers of shale and sandstone. This is nicely 
shown by a composite section through the Lehigh coal seams which is given 
below. 

Feet 

Drift I20 

Shale 20 

Coal, slate, six inches. Harper vein o to 2^4 

Sandstone and shale 15 

Coal, Tyson seam 4 

Sandstone and shale 30 

Coal, Pretty seam 2-3 

Shale 30 

Coal, Big seam, four inches bone in center . .3^ to 4^ 

Near Coalville the coal lies in three horizons the lowest of which is a cannel 
coal. The "P)ig Coal" of this region seems to have been laid down in the deserted 




FIGUPxE III— MAP OF COALVILLE BASIX 
Coal Beds Sbown in Black 



THE NEW YORK I 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOP, fNOX AND 
Tl D N FO; NDATIONS. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 5 

channel of an ancient river, as it is confined to a very narrow strip of which 
the center lies much lower and is thicker than the marginal portions. The can- 
nel coal has a somewhat lower fuel value than good bituminous coal, because it 
contains more gas and less carbon. It is very fine-grained and may have had a 
slightly dift'erent origin than the other coals. 

Elsewhere in Iowa there is a still greater alternation of coal and shale, while 
in some parts of America the number of seams is astonishingly large. Thus in 
the Xova Scotia field there are seventy-six distinct seams, each one of which 
speaks of a repetition of the series of events outlined above. These conditions 
speak to us of a period when plant life flourished on the iXmerican continent, 
and elsewhere also, in such profusion as it had never reached before. Coal 
swamps covered thousands of square miles between Xova Scotia and Oklahoma. 
We need not think of Des Moines time as being a period of tropical climate, for 
the evidence points rather to a climate of moderate temperatures, considerable 
moisture and great uniformity both as regards seasons and areas. This is shown 
bv the similarity of plant life of the period from Greenland to Brazil. 

Although the coal beds form only a small part of the strata of the Des Moines 
stage, or Lower Coal Measures, of \\'ebster county, they are a very important 
part. The mining of the coal from these beds forms one of the county's impor- 
tant industries and indeed forms the basis of much of the industrial life of the 
community. Owing to its strategic position as the most northerly coal produc- 
ing area in the state, mining was early pursued in Webster county. The state 
census of 1862 credits the county with an output of 250 bushels and the federal 
census of 1870 showed that an output of 34,400 tons placed Webster as the 
fourth producing county in the state. The production has risen as high as 
140,000 tons, which figure was reached in 1902. Since then there has been a 
decline due to the working out of the best seams. The output for 1910 was 
49,973 tons valued at $111,720. The early settlers knew of the presence of coal 
and in 1870 Mr. J. L. Piatt, Hon. J. F. Duncombe and others opened the first 
shipping mine in the county. This was located on Holaday creek, and about 
three miles from the Dubuque and Sioux City, now the Illinois Central, railroad, 
with which it was connected by a tramway. Other mines were opened in the 
next few years and the building of other railroads gave an added impetus to 
the industry. Coalville. Kalo and Lehigh have been important districts from 
the beginning of operations until the present. 

Following the deposition of the Des Moines beds came a time when the 
sea seems to have covered southwestern Iowa more continuously and the shales 
and limestones of the iMissouri stage or Upper Coal Measures, were laid down. 
There are one or two thin seams of coal accompanying these beds, but they are 
not so important as are the coals of the Lower Coal Measures. W^e do not 
know that the Missouri sea ever covered Webster county and so this county in 
common with eastern and northern Iowa was doubtless a land surface, and as 
such was subjected to all the changes which the erosive forces of Nature could 
produce. That these forces were active is sliown by the irregularity of the con- 
tact between the Des Moines and the overlying beds as will be described below. 

It has been stated that the shore-lines of the ancient seas across Iowa were 
gradually retreating toward the southwest. The Des IMoines ocean formed an 



6 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

exception to this as it overspread the most easterly known Hmit of the Saint 
Louis beds in Webster county and far to the southeast. The Missouri sea, how- 
ever, seems to have followed the rule, as we know of no beds of this age east of 
a line drawn, say, from Guthrie Center to Corydon. But when the sea again 
invaded Iowa it far surpassed the bounds of the Missouri stage and indeed 
reached nearly to the present limits of the Des ^loines beds. This was the. Per- 
mian ocean and the Permian period is of especial interest to us because only in 
Webster county are its strata known — namely the gypsum beds and their asso- 
ciated shales and sandstones. Permian strata may, of course, underlie the 
younger rocks of the northern and western counties, but their presence there has 
not been positively determined. The nearest known rocks of this age are in 
southeastern Nebraska and Kansas. 

Gypsum beds like salt deposits indicate an arid climate. So we know that 
during Permian times the shallow ocean was very much reduced and that lagoons 
and lakes were formed in which the gypsum beds of Webster county, and of 
Texas and Oklahoma, and the salt and gypsum of Kansas accumulated. We 
may surmise that chmatic conditions in \\^ebster county were quite similar to 
those now existing in southwestern United States with the addition of this bitter 
lake from the waters of which gypsum was being precipitated. The lake 
extended in a northeast-southwest direction across the county, centering at 
Fort T^odge, and in it was formed a bed of remarkably pure gypsum varying 
from ten to thirty feet in thickness. Thin clay seams interbedded with the gyp- 
sum may indicate incursions of the sea, letting in ocean waters, from which were 
precipitated other layers of gypsum. Then finally there came a more extensive 
inundation, accompanied b}' the deposition of red shales and sandstones, which 
overlie the gypsum and are spread over a greater area than that covered by it. 

This was not the first time that such conditions had existed in Iowa, for in 
drilling the deep well at Greenwood Park. Des Moines, thin layers of gypsum 
were found in the Silurian rocks and during the year 191 1 a bed varying 
in thickness up to eighteen feet v.as discovered in the Saint Louis limestone 
at Centerville in southeastern Iowa. 

After the Permian there was another long time when ^^'ebster county was 
dry land. This is represented in the chart by the wavy line above the beds of 
the Fort Dodge stage. So far as now known all of Iowa was dry land during 
this period. Could -we have seen our state during those days it would probably 
have presented a difTerent aspect from that familiar to us today. Although 
tremendous changes were in progress elsewhere, as for instance the forming of 
the A])palachian mountains in the east and the Ouachita mountains of Arkan- 
sas, there was but little movement of the earth's surface in ovir own area — 
simply an elevation sufficient to drain ofif the ocean. It is not likely that our 
present river systems had been developed at that time and so the land was 
drained by a system of streams which is now doubtless largely, if not entirely 
extinct. The j^lant life of the time was similar to that of the coal periods. Gigan- 
tic ferns, cone-bearers, and other allied genera formed the forests. There were 
no flowering plants nor grasses. These did not appear in America until long 
afterwards. The animals of this time resembled in their lower forms the older 
types but there was a gradual transition to more modern forms. One of the 



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l^STOR^' OF WEBSTER CO^NT^' 7 

most notable features of this transition was the great development of true rep- 
tiles. So notalile is this development that the period is known as the Age of Rep- 
tiles. The mammals and birds also began their rise during this time although 
they did not become prominent until later. We have no remains of the life of 
this period in Iowa as there were no deposits formed in which these remains 
might be preserved. But that progress was taking place here as elsewhere 
there can be no doubt and hence the events and life forms mentioned form a 
vital part of Webster county's history. 

In course of time there occurred one of the greatest transgressions of the 
sea over Xorth America that is known in all geologic history. Just prior to 
this incursion the Dakota sandstone had been laid down in a series of extensive 
fresh-water lakes. Then the Great Plains were submerged and western Iowa 
suffered the same fate. The eastern shore-line was somewhere in the region 
of ^Vebster county and probably some of the county formed part of the ocean 
floor. On this floor — the floor of the Upper Cretaceous sea — were laid down 
the chalky limestones and shales of the Colorado stage. Over the great plains 
the Dakota sandstone forms an artesian>reservoir, and the chalks and shales of 
^the Colorado are used in many places for the manufacture of Portland cement and 
clay wares. 

This was the last time that the ocean invaded Iowa and in all the centuries 
upon centuries which have succeeded the Cretaceotis period the state has been a 
part of the constantly growing continental nucleus. Through much, perhaps the 
greater part, of the history which we have outlined, the l)uilding-up processes 
had been busy in Webster county. But- from this time forward the activities 
and changes were to be those which tend, toward the tearing down and carrying 
away of the piled-up masses of rock. To this a partial exception must be made 
of the events of the Pleistocene epoch. During this long gap in the geological 
record of Webster county the climate was mild and pleasant and the life forms 
were approaching gradually those familiar to us today. But with the beginning 
of the Pleistocene there was a change in conditions. For reasons not yet fully 
understood the climate of the northern hemisphere underwent a; gradual change. 
Instead of the long warm sinnmers of preceding epochs there came a time when 
the stimmers were shorter and cooler. In Canada the snow accumulated from 
year to year and finally began to creep, as solid ice-fields, over the sunny plains 
of the northern states. By and by these ice-fields overwhelmed Webster county 
and swept far to the south as the Nebraskan glacier. As this glacier marched 
slowly but irresistibly southward it gathered into itself the loose stones, clay and 
sand and other material which had accumulated from ages of rock weathering. 
With these as its tools it graved and scoured and wore away the underlying rocks. 
It carried along its miscellaneous load in its all-enveloping mass and when at last 
it was melted away this material was left as a great sheet of till or glacial drift 
spread alike over hill and vale. The eft'ect of this sheet of till, added to that o£ 
the cutting down of the higher points in the topography, would be to produce a 
level, even landscape, probably very similar to that which characterizes Webster 
county's prairies today. Upon this landscape, then, the streams began to incise 
their valleys. The Des Moines river had probably been at work liefore the Xe- 
l)raskan glacier came down and the flowing waters again sought and cleared out 



8 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

the old channel. Forests grew and grasses waved where only fields of ice had 
been and Webster county emerged into the pleasant summer-time of the Afton- 
ian interglacial age. The animal life of the time constitutes one of its most 
remarkable features. Elephants, mastodons and sloths roamed the forests and 
plains. The bison, the camel and the horse were familiar neighbors, and the deer, 
the bear and the wolf were then as now hereditary enemies. It has been only 
within the last two or three years that studies in western Iowa have proved the 
presence in abundance of these long-departed wanderers by prairie and stream. 

After a time there came a recurrence of those climatic conditions which had 
caused the first glaciation and once more the ice-sheets crept slowly down from 
the northland. Forest and prairie were again hidden beneath the frozen 
mantle and life of all kinds was wiped out or driven southward. This was the 
Kansan glacier and today the burden it bore forms the surface till over south- 
ern and western Iowa. 

As the years passed the climate again moderated, the ice melted away and 
Webster county again lay open to the smiles of the warm sun. The next glacier 
which entered the Mississippi valley — the Illinoian — came from the east and 
only its fringe crossed the Father of Waters into Iowa, covering a narrow belt 
between Clinton and Keokuk. So during the long, long centuries marked by 
the passage of the Yarmouth inter-glacial interval, the Illinoian glacial stage and 
the Sangamon interval, Webster county was experiencing the maturing of her 
topographic features which always goes on when Nature has a change to set her 
erosive forces in operation. During the long cold winter of the Illinoian. although 
there was no ice-sheet in the county, the heavy snows would cover the land with 
their white mantle and arctic conditions would prevail. These conditions may 
have recurred during the lowan glacial stage also, for it is not very probable 
that the ice-sheet of this age extended so far westward. It seems to have been 
a small lobe of ice covering only the northeast part of the state, east of Clear 
Lake and north of Iowa river. In this case we shall have to extend to the 
end of the Peorian interval the time while Webster county was open to the 
influences of summer sun and winter snows. 

We have but scant means of judging the length of these glacial and inter- 
glacial ages. We know from present-day studies how slowly the glaciers of the 
world move and how slightly they change from century to century. So we may 
know that centuries and milleniums unnumbered have rolled by since first the 
great continental ice-sheet swept down from its northern home. It has been 
estimated from studies of the dififerent drift sheets of the Mississippi valley that 
if the time since the retreat of the last ice-sheet be considered as unity the length 
of time since the close of the Kansan invasion must be reckoned as fifteen to 
seventeen. To this must be added again the length of Kansan time itself as 
well as that of the Aftonian interglacial age and of the Nebraskan invasion. We 
know so little of this latter that we are not yet in a position to place any estimate 
upon its duration or antiquity. 

The streams and rains and winds had worked for countless years upon the 
rocks and soils of Webster county when again the climate changed and another 
period of intense cold ensued. The drift sheets of former invasions seem to 
have been very largely worn away during this interval and deep valleys had 




FIGURE V— OUTCROPPIXG LEDGES OF GYPSUM 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 9 

been cut in the sandstones and shales and gypsum beds so that wherever the loose 
mantle rock is removed the surface of these underlying rocks is rough and irregu- 
lar. When the Wisconsin glacier came into our county it plowed over the rem- 
nants of old till, gathered up such rock fragments as it found loose on the 
surface or could pluck from their parent ledges and mixed and ground all this 
load in its mighty mills and finally left it spread out as the rich productive soils 
which make Webster county's farms a veritable treasure-house. All the ele- 
ments of soil fertility and plant food are found in these glacial clays and, 
enriched by generations of vegetable growths, they are unexcelled among the 
soils of the state. It is a common saying, though none the less a true one, that 
our soils are the basis of our wealth and our social welfare. Upon this founda- 
tion we may rear the superstructure of great manufactures and extensive com- 
merce ; but where the foundation is poor or lacking the superstructure is impos- 
sible. It should require but little urging to show the intelligent farmer how 
carefully he should guard his priceless heritage, with what appreciation he 
should receive Nature's bountiful gifts. 

Since the departure of the Wisconsin ice there have been no other advances 
of continental glaciers. The ice-fields of Canada have dwindled and gone ; only 
in Greenland is there any accumulation of ice in the northern hemisphere 
that is at all comparable to the glaciers of the Pleistocene. Whether we are 
living today in true post-glacial times or merely in an interglacial interval only 
the future can reveal. It seems incredible to us that the monuments of our 
civilization should ever be destroyed by the relentless push and grind of a con- 
tinental glacier, but we cannot well measure the mighty sweep of world-building 
by our tiny span of human achievement. 

In addition to the coal mining industry there are two others in Webster 
county which are dependent upon the mineral resources of the county. These are 
the gypsum plaster and the clay-ware industries. In the first of these, as already 
indicated, this county is unique among the counties of Iowa. It has developed 
since the building of the first mill in 1872 until at the present time it places Iowa 
among the leaders in this industry. In 1910 there were mined 322,713 tons of 
crude gypsum and the various products made from this were valued at $943,849. 
The history and development of this industry will be traced elsewhere and need 
not be recounted here. 

The great clay-shale deposits of the Coal Measures furnish the basis of 
another industry in which Webster takes high rank among the counties of the 
state. Drain tile, hollow building block, common and pressed brick, all of excel- 
lent quality, are made from these shales. The necessity for artificial drainage 
over much of the county has given an impetus to the manufacture of drain tile 
which makes it the most important branch of a large and growing industry. 
This is shown by the fact that during 1910 to the valuation of $976,266 placed 
upon the clay wares produced in the county, the drain tile makers contributed 
a quota of $668,445. ^Vith the development of scientific agriculture, and of 
scientific building it may be added, when greater care shall be taken in building 
homes and industrial structures of fireproof materials, there is certain to be a 
still larger growth of Webster county's clay industry. 



10 HISTORY OF A\'EBSTER COLXTY 

TOPOGRAPHV 

It doubtless has been made clear in the preceding paragraphs that the topog- 
raphy of a region is dependent upon its geological structure in combination with 
the history of the forces which have been acting upon it. In a district which 
is so heavily blanketed with glacial debris as is Webster county the structure 
of the underlying bedded rocks is entirely masked except where these are exposed 
by stream erosion. Tiien too. the time which has passed since the Wisconsin 
ice spread out its sheet of till has been so short that, if we except the immediate 
valleys of Des 'Moines river and its tributaries, the erosive agencies have scarcely 
begun to be effective in carving relief forms in the level Wisconsin plains. And 
so the result is that Webster county has what may l)e called a glacial topography 
as contrasted with an erosional topography, that is. one produced by the action 
of running water, frost and heat. There are two types of glacial topography, 
the flat even plain, and the irregular jumbled hills which rise from the surround- 
ing plain but usually bear no close relation to the natural drainage lines. Both 
of these types are represented in Webster county, although the plains type is 
by far the more important. As the glacier melted away the natural tendency 
was for the load it carried to be spread out quite evenly, but at the edge of the 
ice, where the forward movement was balanced by melting, the clay, stones, 
gravel and such material carried or pushed along would be dumped in great 
mounds. So here and there over the glaciated region we find these mounds and 
ridges, here arranged in long series, there without any arrangement whatever. 
Such ridges are quite common in the northwest part of the county, most of them 
west of the Des Moines and north of South Lizard creek, although some are 
found elsewhere, and one. Coon ]^Iound. east of Cowrie, is miles from any simi- 
lar hills. Some of these piled-up hills are built largely of sand and gravel since 
the finer cla)' was washed away by water from the melting ice. These form 
today almost exhaustless supplies for all the purposes for which such materials 
are used. 

The traveler along the ]^Iinneapolis and Saint Louis railroad from Tara 
southward ma}- gain an excellent idea of the typical ^^'isconsin plain topography. 
While Lizard creek has a fairly deep valley the landscape for the most part is so 
level that one village may be seen from the next, and from ^Moorland and Cal- 
lender the great gypsum mills east of Fort Dodge are plainly visible. Railroads 
are a good index of topography and the long straight line of the ^linneapolis 
and Saint Louis, with scarcely a curve between Tara and Cowrie, bespeaks a 
surface that is flat almost to monotony. Except where they follow drainage lines 
for convenience of access or to avoid heavy grades in crossing the deep valleys, the 
other railroads of the county reveal the same conditions. Web.ster county's 
topography is immature, it is in its youth and except for the rich harvests and 
prosperous homes one might almost believe that the great ice-cap had but yester- 
day vanished and left behind its rich legacy of fertile soils. 

But across this broad expanse there is incised the deep gash of the Des ]^Ioines 
valley. It is a marvel that such rugged blufifs and steep canyon-like walls shoukl 
be found in the midst of such level plains and indeed apparently cut right into 
them. Oftentimes as one climbs up to the brink of the valley the illimitable 
expanse of the prairies stretches away from his very feet, and indeed these 



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FIGURE VI— STRUCTURE OF THE GYPSUM 



THE NEW YORK \ 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, LENOX AND 

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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 11 

prairies nia}- be drained azcay from the river. \\'hile as before indicated, the 
Des Moines valley may be pre-Pleistocene in age. it has been filled by each of 
the glaciers which have covered the region and the river has been obliged each 
time to re-excavate its channel. This gives rise to picturesque and beautiful 
scenery, both along the main stream and along the lower valleys of its tributaries. 
The Lizard forks. Two Mile creek, and numerous others, large and small, are 
examples. \\'here the covering of drift material has been cut through and the 
solid rocks are exposed the beauty and charm of the scenery are increased. Mural 
escarpments, miniature gorges and canyons, such as Wild Cat's Cave, give a 
delightful variety in a land of level prairies and monotonous landscapes. But 
the character of these creeks, and indeed all these features of rugged beauty, are 
indicative of the youth and immaturity of the topography and the drainage. Fol- 
lowed back a few* miles even Lizard creek vallev assumes the broad shallow sag- 
like features of the typical young prairie stream. In the ages to come the creeks 
will cut more definite valleys in their upper courses, the lower reaches of the 
valleys wall widen out and the steep walls will be gradually worn down until they 
become low and gentle. The scenes which are today so pleasing will have dis- 
appeared and the peaceful quiet of the smooth, flowing contours of maturity 
and old age will rest upon the entire landscape. 

The difference between the drainage of a region of youthful topography and 
that of one which has reached the mature stage is well shown in the accompany- 
ing sketches. Ringgold county lies in the area which has not been glaciated 
since the Kansas invasion and its streams have been long at work cutting back 
and lengthening their valleys. Moreover, a feature which could not be repre- 
sented on these maps is the abundance of short lateral ravines and gullies which 
cut up nearly every section of land in Ringgold county, while in Webster there 
are miles and miles without any drainage whatever, save that initiated by the 
farmer himself. 

The geological history of \\'ebster county has been long and varied. 
Uncounted centuries have passed away while that history has been in the writing 
and today the book is not yet closed. It lies open before us and w^e read therein 
the stories of the mighty forces of the past and see the tireless servants of Nature 
as with unobtrusive, persistent hands they inscribe their record upon its out- 
spread pages. If these pages bear any message it is surely that of a marvelous 
past and of hope and promise for the days still to come. 



Vol 1—2 



CHAPTER II 
ON THE WAY TO IOWA 

LAENAS GIFFORD WELD 

American history is today being largely written, and is being writ large, here 
in the Mississippi valley. We may say indeed, not boastfully but in truth, that 
world history is making here — not the history of battles and of dynasties, but of 
industry and public policy and finance and education — of all that makes, for the 
uplift, the generation and the regeneration of the world's people. 

The territory included in the Mississippi valley is, from the standpoint of 
physical geography, the most remarkable on the face of the earth. Stretching 
from the Alleghanies on the east fifteen hundred miles to the foothills of the 
Rocky mountains on the west and from the Gulf of Mexico four thousand miles 
northward to the Arctic ocean, it presents a vast plain, unbroken by high moun- 
tain ranges, unmarred by desert wastes, but diversified in its climate and its prod- 
ucts, fertile beyond comparison, abounding mineral wealth, watered by count- 
less streams, and comprising the most magnificent system of fresh water seas 
in the world. Toward this region the tide of world empire has been setting 
for three quarters of a century and is not even yet at its height. The financier 
may turn his eyes toward Wall street or Threadneedle street, the student may 
plan his pilgrimage to Cambridge or Leipzig, the artist may long for the inspira- 
tion afl:'orded by the Louvre or the galleries of Florence, but the teeming millions 
of the over-crowded places of the world, with hands restless to do and hearts 
ready to dare, turn eager faces toward this great central basin of North America. 
In the center of this vast tract, midway between the mountain barriers to the 
east and to the west, midway between the tropic sea to the south and the frozen 
sea to the north, stands Iowa. And the way thither — will it interest you for a 
few moments? 

Ever since our school days, Columbus and De Soto have been names to con- 
jure with. The one found the way to the new world, the other made known 
something of its vast extent. But the significance of De Soto's discovery of the 
Mississippi in 1541 was quite unheeded and his expedition was remembered only 
on account of its disastrous ending. So far as authentic records indicate, a 
century and a quarter passed by before any white man again looked upon the 
"father of waters." Meantime our Atlantic seaboard was dotted with Enghsh, 
French, and Dutch settlements — Catholic or Huguenot, Puritans or Cavalier. 
Meantime too, the armed merchantmen of Europe "poked their noses," as it 
were, into every bay and up every navigable stream opening to the Atlantic, from 

13 



U HISTORY OF \\J-:i;STER COL'XTY 

Tierra del Fuego to Greenland, in search of a passage through to the Pacific, 
which should shorten the route to southeastern Asia — to ''Far Cathay." But 
for ten thousand miles the American continent presented an impassable barrier. 
To penetrate this barrier was. indeed, the great geographical problem of the two 
centuries following the landfall of Columbus. Hudson ascended the river which 
bears his name in the hope of finding an easy portage to some tributary of the 
Pacific. The same quest lured Captain John Smith up the James river and 
Cartier up the St. Lawrence. 

The crude astrolabes used by the early navigators enabled them to determine 
latitudes with reasonable accuracy, but the determination of longitude at sea 
requires some form of chronometer, and timepieces had not yet been brought to 
any degree of perfection. And so, even after Sir Francis Drake had sailed far 
up the Pacific coast of North America, there was no adequate conception of the 
breadth of the continent. Hence it was but natural that, hearmg from the 
Indians of a "great water" to which the streams over the western slopes of the 
Alleghanies made their way, the colonists on the Atlantic seaboard should identify 
this "great water" with the Pacific or South Sea and imagine that upon reaching 
it the way to Cathay would be much easier than by way of the Straits of ^lagel- 
lan or round the Cape of Good Hope. The "great water" to the west was, of 
course, the Mississippi, but all this was for many years understood but vaguely, 
if at all. The real extent of the hinterland of the American colonies was but 
dimly comprehended and not at all appreciated until long after these colonies had 
achieved their national independence. But a far dift'erent situation prevailed 
among the French colonies to the north as we shall presently see. 

Singularly enough the history of the Mississippi valley began with Jacques 
Cartier's voyage up the St. Lawrence. Fishing fleets were now frequenting the 
waters about Newfoundland, occasionally ascending the river for the winter 
and carrying on a profitable fur trade with the Indians. It soon became evident 
that this trade was well worth developing. The supply seemed inexhaustible and 
furs soon came to be sought by the French in the north as eagerly if not as 
rapaciously as was gold by the Spaniards in the south. Champlain came up the 
river, bringing colonists who founded Quebec, in the same year that the English 
founded Jamestown. Whence came this supply of furs? And whence came this 
great river, mightier tenfold than any of the rivers of Europe? The first of 
these problems appealed to Champlain's superiors, the latter to Champlain him- 
self. He took but little interest in his colony except as it served him as a base 
for his explorations. He heard of a great sea to the west and would reach it 
and find thereby the way to Far Cathay. The St. Lawrence itself was blocked 
by the Iroquois Indians of northern New York, whose hostility to the French, 
and particularly to Champlain, was fierce and unrelenting. So he pushed his 
canoes up the Ottawa until its waters enmeshed with those of a lake called Nipis- 
sing. From this lake he followed a river, now known as French river, down to 
the Georgian Bay of Lake Huron. The Great Lakes lay before him, but it was 
not his to explore them. Indeed he had been preceded thus far by Franciscan 
missionaries who were already established among the Huron Indians at the head 
of this same bay. 

Then followed two decades of confusion and reorganization of the French 




FIGURE VII— MORAINIC KNOBS IN WISCONSIN DRIFT, NORTHERN 

WEBSTER COUNTY 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 15 

colonies. The great Richelieu next assumed their management and, though 
Champlain was reappointed governor, commerce and trade were monopolized by 
a company known as the Hundred Associates ; while the Jesuits were virtually in 
charge of all other interests, temporal as well as spiritual. The Franciscan mis- 
sionaries were peremptorily excluded from the country — their work, represent- 
ing a quarter of a century of intense devotion, being ignored and even discredited. 
Forthwith began the publication of that remarkable and invaluable series of 
documents known as the Jesuit Relations. In these we find recorded from 
vear to year in the language of the devoted fathers themselves, the principal 
events and items of interest in connection with the various missions esablished, 
not only in the \icinity of the settlements along the St. Lawrence, but in the 
far Northwest on the remotest borders of the Great Lakes as well. 

Champlain seems merely to have been in charge of the garrisons stationed 
at Quebec and Three Rivers, but was at the same time free to promote further 
explorations. This he did, though now too old to again set out upon the wilder- 
ness trail himself. He dispatched Jean Nicollet on a voyage Avestward through 
the waters of Lake Huron to obtain more definite information regarding those 
countries which, through current rumors, were identified as the Asiatic Orient. 

It is recorded that Nicollet took with him upon this journey, carefully sewed 
up in an oilskin bag. a handsomely embroidered mandarin's cape or cloak, in 
order that, when he should appear at the Ghinese colirt. he might be respectably 
attired. The enterprise was one for which Nicollet was w-ell prepared. For 
fifteen years he had lived among various Algonquin tribes, acquiring their lan- 
guages and inuring himself to the hardships of the wilderness. 

The Jesuits had arranged to reestablish the mission to the Huron Indians at 
the head of Georgian bay, from which the Franciscans had been so summarily 
recalled. Each year the canoe fleet of the Hurons came down the Ottawa laden 
with furs for trade with the French on the St. Lawrence. In July of 1634 it 
was that the missionaries Brebeuf Daniel, and Davost embarked with this annual 
canoe fleet on its return journey to the Huron country. Nicollet w-as one of 
this motley company, but the situation was far less novel to him than to his fel- 
low countrymen of the black robes. The journey up the Ottawa was both diffi- 
cult and dangerous. This was "on the way to Iowa," so let me quote to you what 
the Jesuit Relations say of it. 

"Of the ordinary difficulties/' writes Brebeuf in his report (J. R. 1635), "the 
chief is that of the rapids and portages. Your reverence"' (addressing Le Jeune, 
the superior at Quebec) "has already seen enough of the rapids at Kebec to 
know what they are. All the rivers of this country are full of them notably 
(this river. It runs not over) "a smooth bed. but is continually broken up, roll- 
ing and leaping in a frightful way, like an impetuous torrent ; and even, in some 
places, it falls down suddenly from a height of several fathoms. * * * Now 
when these rapids or torrents are reached it is necessary to land and carry on 
the shoulders through woods and over high and jagged rocks all the baggage and 
the canoes themselves." This narrative, continued in Brebeuf 's own words for 
the most part literally translated, aft'ords a fair sample of the style and spirit of 
the Jesuit Relations. 'Tn some places where the current is " * * strong 
* * * the savages get into the water and haul and guide * * * their 



15 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COL'XTY 

canoes with great difficulty and danger; for they sometimes get in up to the neck 
and are compelled to let go * * * saving themselves as best they can from 
the rapidity of the water which snatches the canoe from them and bears it away. 
This happened to one of our Frenchmen who remained alone in the canoe, all the 
savages having left it to the mercy of the torrent. (He was in a sorry plight, but 
at last his life was saved) and the canoe also with all that was in it." Xo w^ond**'- 
that Nicollet had sewn up his mandarin's cloak in an oilskin bag! 

"I kept count of the number of portages," continues Brebeuf, "and found that 
we carried our canoes thirty-five times and dragged them at least fifty. '■' * * 
Another difficulty is in regard to provisions. Frequently one has to fast, if he 
misses the catches that were made (by the savages when on their way down), and 
even if the}- are found one still has a good appetite even after indulging in them ; 
for the ordinary food is only a little Indian corn coarsely broken between stones 
and sometimes taken whole in pure w^ater. It is no great treat. * * * \c],! 
to these difficulties that one must sleep on the bare earth, or even on the hard 
rock, * * * and must walk in the water or mud and in the frightful entan- 
glement of the forest, where the stings of an infinite number of mosquitoes and 
gnats are a (continual torment) * * * But * * * we all had to begin 
by these experiences to bear the cross that our Lord presents to us for his honor 
and for the salvation of these poor barbarians. In truth I was sometimes so weary 
that the body could do no more, but at the same time my soul experienced very 
deep peace, considering that I w'as sufifering for God. No one knows it if lie ha- 
not experienced it." 

It was under such difficulties as these that Nicollet's journey was begun ; but 
Brebeuf speaks admiringly of him as being "equal to all the hardships endured 
by the most robust savages." But their tiresome ascent of the Ottawa was finally 
accomplished and the canoes glided out tipon the waters of Lake Nipissing then 
down French river to Georgian bay and on to its head, wdiere the Jesuits imme- 
diately established themselves in the place formerly occupied by the Franciscans. 
They w^ere soon joined by Nicollet, who had tarried for a time with the Indians 
on an island in the Ottaw^a (Isle des Allumetts). After procuring a suitable outfit 
and engaging seven Hurons to act as guides, Nicollet bade adieu to Father Brebeuf 
and his associates and set out on his voyage westward. His commission required 
him to explore such countries as he might be able to reach and to make commer- 
cial treaties with the people dwelling therein. The party coasted along the eastern 
and northern shores of Lake Huron, passing through the dangerous channel to 
the north of the Manitoulins, until they found themselves tossing about in the 
eddies below the Sault Ste. Marie in water through which now floats a commerce 
whose tonnage is three times that which passes Port Said and Suez. 

But for Nicollet the scene seems to have had no special interest. He must 
have heard from the Indians of Lake Superior, but makes no mention of having 
visited it. The water coursing past his camp at the foot of the rapids was fresh 
and gave no promise that the "salt sea" of which he was in search lay beyond. Thus 
did he miss discovering the greatest of all the Great Lakes. Dropping down St. 
Mary's strait, he rounded the upper peninsula of Michigan and passed on through 
the Straits of Mackinac. The "second lake of the Hurons," as Lake Michigan 
was for a time called, lay before jiim. Boldly following the northern shore of this 




FIGURE VIII— MAP OF EINGGOLD COUNTY 
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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUXTY 17 

new-found sea Nicollet entered Green bay, land-locked by the present state of Wis- 
consin. He pushed on to its head, where he for the first time encountered tribes 
of Indians with whom he could not converse. He believed himself upon the out- 
skirts of the vast Chinese empire. Being invited to a council with the chiefs, he 
donned his mandarin's cloak and approached, discharging his pistols into the air. 
The impression was all that could be desired, but he soon discovered that he had 
not yet reached China, nor even its outskirts. He was well received, however, and' 
passed on up the Fox river. 

After traversing Lake W'innebago, he found himself once more among Indians, 
of the Algonquin stock, whose language was quite intelligible. From them he 
heard of a ''great water" which could be reached in three days by a short port- 
age from the Upper Fox river. The portage referred to was, of course, that 
into the Wisconsin river at what is now Portage City. Had he taken this "three 
day's journey," he would have debouched, not upon a new sea as he supposed, 
but upon the upper course of the Mississippi at Prairie du Chien, opposite AIc- 
Grcgor. in Clayton county, Iowa. The "way to Iowa" had been pointed out, 
but was not to be followed up until forty years later. Why Nicollet missed this 
opportunity, as he had already missed that at Lake Superior, is not in the least 
clear. What he did do was to travel overland to the south to visit and estab- 
lish friendly relations with the great nation of Illinois Indians, obtaining at the 
same time some general notion of the extent of Lake ]Michigan. He was at 
Three Rivers (on the St. Lawrence), again in July, 1635. How the "great 
water'' of which he had heard was regarded by his contemporaries, is evident 
from this passage quoted from the Jesuit Relation of Vimont for the year 1640. 
"Sieur Nicollet, who has advanced farthest into these distant countries has 
assured me that had he gone three days' journey farther from a river which 
issues from this lake'' (the second lake of the Hurons, or Lake Michigan), 
"he would have found the sea. Now I have strong suspicions" (that through 
this sea there would be a passage toward Japan and China.) 

But the discoveries of. Nicollet were not soon to be followed up. Scarcely 
had he returned when Champlain died. Then came a succession of incompe- 
tent governors. The Iroquois took advantage of the situation and devastated 
the country, utterly destroying the Huron nation (1649). Such of the Jesuit 
missionaries as had escaped death were hastily recalled. The fugitive Hurons 
and Ottawas betook themselves to the remotest shores of the Great Lakes, or 
sought refuge at Quebec, while others became amalgamated with the Iroquois 
themselves. Even the fortified settlements on the St. Lawrence were in danger. 
Trade was, of course, completely demoralized. Many of the wood-rangers 
(Coureurs de bois). cut off from the settlements, found their only safety in 
plunging deeper into the great interior wilderness. 

As soon as some degree of order had been restored explorations were pushed 
farther than ever to the northw^est for the purpose of reestablishing the fur 
trade, which had almost entirely fallen away with the destruction of the Huron 
and Ottawa nations. In 1660 Radisson and his brother-in-law, Grosseilliers, 
launched their canoes upon Lake Superior and followed the south shore to the 
end of the lake. Here they located the remnants of the Hurons and Ottawa 
tribes, secure in these distant regions from the fury of the Iroquois. It is claimed 



18 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

that the brothers in their overland explorations, came upon the Mississippi; but, 
while it may be reasonably inferred, this is not definitely confirmed by Radisson's 
journal. 

However, one thing in this journal is of special interest to us as lowans. 
At the close of the narrative of his explorations, Radisson gives a list of the 
various Indian tribes of which he had knowledge and many of wdiom he had 
personally visited. Among these we find mentioned the Maingonis. These were 
probably the Moingonas, who at this period dwelt along the Illinois river, though 
they were found in Iowa not many years later. Our capital is named from the 
river Des ^loines i. e.. La riviere des Moingonas. I believe this to be the earliest 
appearance of the name in history. 

Among other missions soon established in the far northwest, was one at 
La Pointe, near Bayfield, on Lake Superior, in northern Wisconsin, near the 
trading station occupied eight or nine years before by Radisson. This was 
the direct successor of the old Huron mission at the head of Georgian bay ; 
for, as just explained, it was to this region that the Hurons and Ottawas had 
fled in their terror of the Iroquois. Here was stationed Father Jacques Mar- 
quette, a young man of thirty years and one of the most picturesque characters 
among the Jesuits in North America. 

Indians from far and near resorted to these mission stations to meet the 
French fur traders on their yearly visits. Marquette, at La Pointe, heard repeat- 
edly from members of the Illinois tribes of the "great river" by which they 
came thither to trade — the same "great river," he had no doubt, which was 
]:)elieved by some geographers to flow into the Vermilion Sea (Gulf of Cali- 
fornia), by others into the Gulf of Mexico. He would explore it; but, before 
the opportunity presented itself, the Sioux Indians, the 'Troquois of the West," 
became openly hostile and the dispirited Hurons and Ottawas fled again — the 
Hurons to Machillimackinac (Mackinac), and the Ottawas to the Manitoulin 
islands. ]\Iarquette v.'ent with the Hurons and established his new mission at 
St. Ignace, at the head of Lake IMichigan, on the main land of the northern 
peninsula of Alichigan just opposite Mackinac island. At about the same time 
another important missionary and trading station was established at the head 
of Green bay, in Wisconsin. 

Talon, the capable intendent of New France, was now devoting his best 
energies to establishing the claim of the mother country to that region in the 
west, the real extent of which w-as beginning to unfold itself with the simul- 
taneous advance of missionary and fur trader. He meant to occupy this region 
and secure control of its great water-ways. Little recked he of Far Cathay. 
He dreamed of a vast new empire for France. The English, mere grubbers of 
the soil, were to be confined to the region l)etween the Atlantic coast and the 
Alleghanies, while Spanish influence was to be thwarted by the establishment 
of French colonies on the Gulf of JMexico. 

A splendid expedition was organized under Saint Lusson, acting as lieuten- 
ant, and sent to Sault Ste. ]\Iarie to take formal possession of the whole interior 
of North America in the name of the French King, Louis XIV. But Talon 
was determined to give the claim made in behalf of his sovereign a more sub- 
stantial foundation. He resolved to discover and map the course of that mys- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 19 

terious "great river" concerning which such conflicting but insistent rumors 
had been current ever since the days of Champlain. To execute his purpose 
he chose Louis JoHet. 

At this juncture, however. Talon disagreed with the governor and both were 
recalled. The new governor, Comte de Frontenac, at once adopted the ideas of 
Talon and proceeded to their execution. Joliet was confirmed in his appoint- 
ment. 

The way to Mackinac, to which place Joliet now journeyed, was not new 
to him. He was already a path-finder, having only recently demonstrated the 
continuity of Lake Ontario and Lake Erie with the other lakes of the system. 
At Mackinac he was joined by Father Marc|uette, still in charge of the Huron 
mission at St. Ignace. It was early spring. The ice had just left the straits. 
They made instant haste to prepare for the journey. Five companions were 
chosen — all Frenchmen and experienced wood-rangers. Their two canoes were 
selected with unusual care. They were of birch bark, stiflrened with cedar 
splints. Though large enough to carry safely the seven voyageurs and their 
provisions of smoked meat and maize, besides blankets, camp utensils, guns, 
instruments and a quantity of trinkets to serve as presents to the Indians, they 
were still light enough to be easily portable. Joliet and the five wood-rangers 
were dressed in the buckskin suits then worn by frontiersmen ; but Marquette 
retained his long black Jesuit's cassock and cumbered himself with no weapon 
save his rosary. 

On the seventeenth of May, 1673, they pushed off their canoes into tlie 
crescent-shaped bay at St. Ignace, rounded the point to the south, and headed 
westward along the northern shore of Lake Michigan. The voyageurs must 
have felt the quickening influence of the changing season. They paddled all 
day, relieving one another by turns. Trolling lines were set to catch fish. At 
twilight they landed to prepare for the night. The sand of the beach still 
retained the heat of the midday sun. Each canoe was hauled up beyond the 
reach of the waves, turned over and propped up by one edge to serve as shelter. 
One of the party collected dry drift wood for the fire. Another cut forked sticks 
and set them up in the sand to hold a cross bar upon which the kettle was hung. 
Hulled corn was cooked ; the fish were broiled in the embers ; and Marquette 
blessed the simple meal. Then, sitting 'round the camp fire, the tired explorers 
smoked their pipes and rested. Such was the routine of their voyage on Lake 
Michigan. 

Pushing on day after day, along the route followed by Xicollet thirty-nine 
years before, the party soon entered the Baie des Puans, later known as Grande 
Baye, now Green bay. They turned into the Menominee river and visited 
the village of the Indian tribe of the same name, which name signifies wild 
rice. Here they heard dreadful tales of the country and the river which they 
were about to visit and were urged to go no farther. A few days later they 
were welcomed at the mission at the head of the bay, still conducted, as it had 
been founded, by Father Claude Allouez. After making some final arrange- 
ments here they ascended Fox river, crossed Lake Winnebago, and entered the 
devious upper course of the same stream. On the seventh of June, they had 



20 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COLNTV 

reached the neighborhood of the portage to the \Msconsin river, first made 
known by Nicohet. 

Guides were secured to conduct them to the point to which the portage 
was easiest reached, they carried their canoes and baggage a mile and a half 
over a marshy prairie and, parting with their guides, launched upon the Mescon- 
sing (Wisconsin), whose current might bear them to the South Sea, the Gulf of 
California or the Gulf of Mexico, they knew not which. 

The navigation of the Wisconsin presented no serious difficulties, and ten 
days later, on the seventeenth of June, the explorers floated out upon the broad 
surface of a mighty river, which they must have recognized at once as the 
"great water" which they had been sent to find out and explore. They were in 
the shadow of the almost mountainous blufif at the foot of which lies the quaint 
little town of South AIcGregor, the Bingen of the Mississippi. Beyond lay the 
rolling prairies of Iowa ; but little did they, or their successors for a century and 
a half to come, dream of such a commonwealth as ours. The depth and breadth 
of the channel and the swiftness of the current gave them some notion of the 
extent of the territory to which they had gained access. 

The canoes were turned down stream and, as they floated on, the voyageurs 
justly marvelled at the grandeur of the prospect, which developed new features 
at every turn of the great river. For days the easy voyage along the eastern 
border of Iowa was continued without meeting the slightest trace of human 
habitation. Late each afternoon they landed to stretch their cramped limbs and 
do their simple cooking; then carefully extinguishing the fire they floated some 
miles farther on and anchored after dark at a distance from the shore, leaving 
one of the party on guard while the others slept. At sunrise they were under 
way again. Once those in Marquettes canoe were frightened by a huge cat- 
fish that threatened to damage their frail craft. The great sturgeon that "rushed 
through the water like hungry sharks" also excited their wonder and apprehen- 
sion. Buffalo and deer came down to the water's edge and vvild turkeys w^ere 
often seen. Such was the routine of their voyage upon the Mississippi. 

Not a canoe, but a hut or a landing place, not a sign of human habitation 
was seen until the twenty-fifth of June, when they discovered human footprints 
at the water's edge on the west bank. Leaving their companions to guard the 
canoes, the two leaders landed, quite unarmed. A trail was found conducting 
up the bank and into the interior. They followed it for five or six miles over a 
fine rolling prairie to a village, or rather a group of three villages, situated near 
a considerable stream. Their reception was ceremonious, but cordial. The 
Indians were of the Illinois nation and had crossed the Mississippi to escape the 
prowling bands of Iroquois whose devastating raids were feared even as far west 
as this. The villages were called Peouaria, after the tribe which occupied them. 
Another village called Moingouena is also set down upon Marquette's map at 
some distance, though he makes no mention of it in his narrative. The first of 
these names survives as Peoria, the now populous district of which this city is 
the center, being the proper country of the Illinois tribes. The second name. 
Moingouena, has, as we have already explained, been corrupted into Des ]\Ioines 
and applied to the stream supposed to be the one upon whose banks the vil- 
lages visited by Marquette were located. Careful study of his map and a com- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUXT^' 21 

parison of latitudes, however, indicate beyond reasonable doubt that the site in 
question was near the mouth of our own Iowa (or Cedar) river. Such being 
the case, the town of Wapello, in Louisa county, cannot be far from the point 
at which was held this tirst conference on Iowa soil, if not in the Mississippi 
valley, between the white man and the Indian. 

I'he Indians begged the Frenchmen to remain with them, assuring them 
that the sun had never shone so brightly nor their tobacco had so rich a flavor 
as since their arrival. An elaborate banquet was served, the four courses being 
in order hulled corn, hsh, dog. and buffalo marrow bones. Presents were 
exchanged. 'The calmnet was smoked with due formalities and given to i\Iar- 
quette as a peace token to be displayed as occasion might require. 

So hospitable was their entertainment that it was the end of June, before 
the explorers felt that they could with propriety return to their canoes and resume 
their voyage. Some days later they passed the mouth of the Illinois, then that 
of the Missouri. This last stream must have been at high water for it is 
described as a "torrent of yellow mud sweeping in its course logs, branches 
and uprooted trees." They seem to have been duly impressed by the vastness 
of a continent that could send forth two such mighty rivers. The mouth of 
the Ohio was next passed and still they allow^ed themselves to be borne along 
by the swift current day after day. However the Indians became less friendly. 
Strange tribes were encountered with' whom not even Marquette could con- 
verse. They were regarded with suspicion and, at times, were even in peril ; 
but the peace calumet never failed to secure them safe passage in the end. The 
long voyage back, against the current of' the fiver, was becoming a matter for 
serious consideration. Finally, at the mouth of the Arkansas river they deter- 
mined to turn back. They rightly regarded the problem of the Mississippi as 
solved. To go on would avail them nothing and might, they thought, lead to 
their capture by Spaniards and the consequent sacrifice of the results of their 
expedition. 

On the seventeenth of July, just two months after leaving St. Ignace, and 
one month after the discovery of the river, they began the tedious journey 
home. Week in and week out they toiled on, the midsummer sun beating fiercely 
upon their backs as they plied the paddles. Marcjuette was seized with a pain- 
ful illness f'om which he never wholly recovered. Upon reaching the mouth 
of the Illinois river they were assured that the easiest route to Mackinac lay 
up this river and by portage into Lake Michigan (Lac des Illinois). Their toil- 
some journey now became, relatively, a triumphal pageant under the escort of 
the friendly Kaskaskias. a tribe of the great Illinois nation. 

The route took them up the Des Plaines river, past an isolated bluff' which 
traders later named Mont Joliet and which marks the site of the modern town 
of Joliet. Forty miles farther on they made the Chicago portage. Even then 
Joliet noted the strategic importance of this portage and later indicated, in his 
report to Frontenac, the ease with which the Mississippi valley could be opened 
to commerce by means of a canal connecting the Chicago and the Des Plaines 
rivers. Ijidding adieu to their escort, they once more launched their canoes 
upon Lake Michigan and made their way along its western shore to the post at 



22 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

the head of Green bay, where they were again in touch with civiHzation — such 
as the New World then afforded. 

The way to Iowa — to the whole Middle West, as well — had been discovered. 
But between this discovery of Iowa and the beginning of its proper . history, 
there is an interval of a century or more. During this interval the region was 
frequently and even continuously visited by white men. Its broad prairies, the 
^Mesopotamia of the New World, were doubtless well known to the French 
and American traders who by turns coursed up and down the [Mississippi and 
the Missouri in quest of buffalo skins. 

But the men who have made Iowa and our Middle \\'est what it is today 
came, not by way of the Great Lakes from Canada, nor up stream from the 
French colonies of Louisiana ; not in canoes laden with baubles, such as cheat 
the savage, but in emigrant wagons with wives and children and bringing imple- 
ments of agriculture. They came swarming through the passes of the Alle- 
ghanies and brought with them into this land the spirit of the American Revolu- 
tion — the spirit of the free state founded upon the Christian home. 



CHAPTER III 
THE MOL'XD BUILDERS. 

THE GLACIER MAX EXCLOSURE MUUXDS ALTAR AND BURIAL MOUNDS 

SIGNAL MOUNDS CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MOUND BUILDERS COMMERCE AND 

INDUSTRIES FIRE AND SUN WORSHIPERS DRIVEN FROM THEIR HOMES UV 

THE RED -ALVN MAJOR WILLIAMS' ACCOUNT "bONE YARD HOLLOW/' 

Along the fronts of the great glaciers, which centuries ago came from the 
north and covered a large part of the state of Iowa, there lived a race of people 
not unlike the present Eskimos. As the glaciers receded these people moved 
northward. They were short of stature, stout, flat-featured men and women. 
^^'e know very little about them, except the accepted belief of their existence. 
They were succeeded by another race of people, whom for sake of a better 
name we call Mound Builders. We know more of the Mound Builders than 
of the race which preceded them. The mound builder was superior both in 
intelligence and civilization to the glacier man. All over the American continent 
are scattered the alluvial mounds of this extinct and prehistoric people. They are 
countless in number, often vast in extent, and varied in character. The mounds 
are of tv,"o general classes, enclosures and mounds proper. 

The chief purpose of the enclosures was defense. Many of them are of 
vast extent. One at Aztalan. \\ isconsin, covers seventeen acres. Its shape is 
that of an irregular parallelogram, with embankments twenty-two feet wide and 
from one to five feet in height. At Xewark, Ohio, is a very intricate series of 
earthworks covering an area of two square miles. It consists of circles, octagons, 
and avenues with parallel walls nearly 5,000 feet in length. In places the 
parapets rise to a height of sixteen feet, with a ditch thirteen feet deep, making 
the altitude in the interior about thirty feet. Within this enclosure is the race 
course of the fair association of the present day, the banks of earth making 
grand stands, from which another civilization may view the contests of speed. 
These banks are todav covered with gigantic hardwood trees, manv of them 
black walnut. 

A striking form of the sacred enclosure is th.at known as the "Animal Mound." 
These are particularly numerous in Wisconsin. The outlines of these works show 
the bas-reliefs of sacred animals: probably the totem of the different tribes, as 
the turtle, lizard, serpent, alligator, eagle, night-hawk and buff'alo. The one 
representing the turtle has a bod\' fifty-six feet long, with a tail two hundred 
and fifty feet long, and with the general height of the body about six feet. The 
"(ireat Serpent" in Adams counlw Ohio, is 700 feet in length, and the "Alligator'* 
in Licking county, of the same state, is 250 feet in length. In Dane county. 

23 



24 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Wisconsin, there is a mound showing the figure of a man driving his dog team 
hitched to a sleigh. The fortified enclosures extend in a line from western New 
York to the Ohio river. 

The mounds proper are most numerous in Ohio and extend southward into 
Kentucky and westward to the Des Moines valley in Iowa. In the latter state 
they are most numerous in the counties of Jackson, Louisa, Qayton, Scott, Boone 
and Webster. This class of mounds may be subdivided, according to the pur- 
pose for which they were used, into altar or sacrificial, temple, sepulchral and 
observation. The altar or sacrificial mounds occur only near the sacred enclosure. 
They are stratified in structure and contain symmetrical altars or hearts of burned 
clay or stone, on which were deposited various remains, which in all cases have 
been subjected to the action of fire. They contain charred bones, charcoal, 
carved pipes and small trinkets, indicating that they were used for cremating 
dead bodies and it may be for human sacrifice. Temple mounds are chiefly in 
the form of truncated pyramids, with graded avenues to their top, which are 
always level. In Kentucky there is one fifty feet in height. The Teocallis struc- 
tures in Alexico and Central America were faced with flights of steps and sur- 
mounted by temples of stone. The sepulchral mounds are the most numerous. 
They contain the remains of one or more bodies, together with trinkets, cups, 
and vases. The vessels were probably filled with food for the use of the dead 
upon their long journey. In general this class of mounds are not large. Where 
they are of any considerable size they are the burial place of a chief. One near 
Wheeling is seventy feet in height and nine hundred feet in circumference. There 
were found in this three bodies and over 3.000 shell beads. Sometimes urns are 
found containing charred human remains suggesting a possible cremation. The 
observation mounds are so called because of the belief that they were used for 
signal towers. Their site, however, may have been chosen simply because of 
the beauty of the spot for sacrificial or sepulchral purposes. They are found 
on points of land overlooking the river valleys and commanding an extensive 
view. Here a smoke by day and a fire by night could carry its message of war 
or peace. 

The Mound Builders must have been a very populous and comparatively 
civilized agricultural people or they could not have created the vast structures 
which they did. It is estimated that in the state of Ohio alone there are 10,000 
of these mounds. They were a people with settled habitations, dwellers, and not 
wandering nomads. They had a government, so far centralized as to have an 
executive head, with power sufficient to maintain order and discipline, and 
direct intelligently the building of such large public works. An examination 
of the crania show them to have been a homogeneous people, but differing from 
the Indian. Their cranial development was of low order. They were of a 
mild disposition, inofifensive and unwarlike in their habits, and content to toil 
like Egyptian serfs in the vast and profitless labors of mound building. If 
unmolested, they would have in time developed a partial civilization of an 
agricultural type, in the favorable environment of the Mississippi and Ohio 
valleys. Their disposition however made them an easy prey to warlike tribes, 
even if of an inferior civilization. Dr. Foster, in his book on the "Prehistoric 
Races of America," considers that these earliest inhabitants were in their cranial 
conformation and civilization closely linked to the people of Mexico, Central 




FIRST N-ATIO^^AL BANK BlTILDIXCx. FORT DODGE. 
Opened for Business, April. 1908 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 25 

America and Peru. Their long occupancy of the Mississippi valley developed 
a domestic economy and civil relationship, that widely distinguished them from 
the Indian races. They were probably sun or fire worshipers, and may have 
even sometimes offered human sacrifice. The gigantic structures, which they 
built, could only have been erected by a people among whom food was cheap. 
That food was undoubtedly maize, the most prolific cereal in the world. 

The remains found in the mounds show an advanced knowledge of both 
art and manufacturing. There are arrow heads, stone axes, fleashers and 
scrapers for stripping hide from slaughtered animals and cleaning it, pestles 
and mortars for grinding corn, and pipes. ]^Iany of these pipes are elaborately 
carved and fashioned in the shape of animals and the human form. The best 
examples of these, thus far found, have been in Scott county, Iowa. They were 
made in the image of elephants and other animals now unknown to Iowa, thus 
indicating that these people may have lived in Iowa at the time when the mastadon 
existed. In some of the mounds have been found discs of hard quartz, the 
circumferences of which are perfect circles. These were probably used in games 
of chance.. There have also been found implements used in the spinning of thread 
and manufacture of cloth. The cloth found in the mounds is closely woven. 
A specimen, now in the museum of the Davenport Academy of Science, shows 
great advance in textile art. The warp is composed of four cords, that is, of 
two double and twisted cords, while the woof is composed j3f one such double and 
twisted cord, which passes between the twQ:-;pa:rts. dfl'thfiWarp, the latter being 
twisted at each change, allowing the cords 'to be. brought close together, so as to 
cover the woof almost entirely. The pottery ware exhibits graceful forms and 
elegant ornamentation, besides displaying much skill-in its, manufacture. On some 
the human face and form have been delineated w^ith much fidelity and grace. The 
features, as pictured upon this ware, differ greatly from that of the Indian. The 
native Indian seldom made pottery. At Saline Springs, Illinois, there is found 
evidence of the manufacture of salt by evaporation. These people were also 
skilled basket makers. 

The most important domestic industry of the Mound Builders was the 
making of copper implements, such as knives, chisels, axes, awls, spears, arrow- 
heads and copper bracelets. The softness of the metal made it impossible to use 
in cutting stone, and consequently they did not erect structures of stone like the 
peoples of the south in IVIexico and Central America. They had no tin to use 
as an alloy in making bronze. However, they had some knowledge of the art of 
reducing metals. 

The copper mines of the Mound Builders were in the Lake Superior region, 
where they mined the native copper. At Ontanagon and Kewanee Point on the 
south shore of the lake, and at Isle Royal on the north shore, are found the remains 
of their mining operations. Here w^as found a mass of native copper lying upon 
oaken sleepers and raised over five feet above its matrix. This mass of copper 
weighed six tons. Strewn about the place were the tools of the miners, their 
stone mauls and hammers, props, levers and ladders. These were not used by 
the present race of Indians, for when the Jesuits first visited them they had no 
knowledge or use of copper except occasional fragments. On the rubbish of one 
mine refuse heap early investigators found growing a hemlock tree, which showed 
395 annular rings. 



26 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The commerce of the Mound Builders was extensive and in some degree well 
organized. In their mounds are found copper from Lake Superior, mica from 
North Carolina, iron from Missouri, obsidian from Mexico, and ornamental shells 
from the Gulf Coast. Their commerce and exchange must have covered a large 
portion of the LTiited States and Mexico. The same mica quarries, in North 
Carolina, which supplied these earlier races, is today the chief source of supply 
for the United States. 

After the Mound Builders had been in possession of the countr\- for some 
time, savage races from the east and west came down upon them. The Algon- 
quins, pushing westward by way of the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, met 
in the Mississippi valley the vSioux or Dakotahs, who had come down the Missouri 
from the Rocky Mountains. The Sioux were even more warlike than the Algon- 
quins. Between the two the ^lound Builders were crushed. In vain they oppose^l. 
Their resistance may have been slight, or they may have fought long and 
valiantly, and behind their mounds made many a brave defense. Iowa was tl:e 
battle ground, but the records are lost. The mounds alone bear mute testimony 
to the deeds of the races that were. It is possible that the IVIound Builders may 
have fled to the southwest and there became the Cliff Dwellers of Arizona and 
New Alexico. 

The mounds of Webster county consist of the two classes, observation and 
burial mounds. They are found on both sides of the Des Moines river and along 
the banks of the Lizard creek. They are especially numerous in the neighbor- 
hood of Lehigh and ]\IcGuire's Bend. Mrs. George Marsh and a number of 
others living in that vicinity have fine collections gathered from these mounds 
and about them. Numerous skeletons have also been found in the Webster 
county mounds, and one recently opened in Boone county, a few miles north 
of Boone, contained many fine specimens. In 1876 an exceptional find was 
made on the Marshall farm near the southern boundary of Humboldt county. 
A nvmiber of people had gathered here to celebrate the Fourth of July and 
as part of the ceremony decided to erect a flag pole upon a large mound near 
the house. In excavating for the pole they unsuspectingly opened a burial place 
of the ancient Mound Builders. In it they found the skeletons of thirteen people. 
The bodies had been buried in a sitting posture, and were arranged in a circle 
facing outward. 

]\Iajor \\'illiams, writing to the 'Towa Northwest"' in 1866. says: "We found 
many remains of ancient fortifications and mounds, which had evidently, from 
their location and construction, been at some remote period raised for defense, 
and positions of observation, giving evidence that this northern country was 
inhabited by a race of people living before the present race of Indians inhabited 
it. On viewing the location and tracing the lines, we found them arranged with 
some judgment. Others evidently were burial places. On directing the attention 
of the Indians to them, we were unable to find any, even among the oldest Sioux, 
who had any knowledge of them, either by traditions or otherwise. They all 
asserted that they were here when their people first came into the country. The 
most distinct of these ancient works will be found in the forks of the Boone, 
on and in the neighborhood of L. Mericle's place, on the west side of the Des 
Moines near where AFr. Beam lives, also on Indian creek about twelve miles 
north of Fort Dodge, on Lizard river and at Fort Dodge. Some of the mounds 




WAHKONSA HOTEL LOBBY, OPENED SEPTEMBEE 19, 1910 



PUBLl 



I 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 27 

at Fort Dodge have been removed, and in digging into them they were found to 
contain the remains of human beings ; such as parts of skulls, teeth, thigh-bones, 
etc., and along with them pieces of burnt or charred wood and coals. From their 
location on high and dry ground, covered with sand and gravel, together with the 
appearance of the bones, their color, etc., physicians and all who examined them 
were of the opinion that a great length of time had elapsed since they had been 
deposited there, perhaps two hundred years or more. The ancient mound builders 
were in the habit of burning their dead, which is not the custom of any of the 
Indians of whom we have knowledge." 

Some three or four miles north of the town of Lehigh is what is known as 
''Boneyard Hollow." There a little wet weather stream enters the Des Moines 
river from the adjacent bluff, making a terrace. This terrace is flat-topped, eight 
or ten rods wide and five to ten feet above the normal stage of water in the river. 
The river is here bounded by bluffs fifteen to thirty feet in height, and extending 
some distance back from the river. It is a picturesque gorge cut in the carbon- 
iferous sandstone. The age of the terrace is probably that of the Wisconsin 
glaciers. Whether or not the terrace is later than the deposit of bones, which 
have been found in connection with it, is difficult to tell. Intermingled with the 
bones are found arrow points. This would indicate that man and the animals 
were contemporaneous. It looks as if there had been no disturbance of the ter- 
race or addition to its materials since they were first deposited there. Forest 
trees have grown to maturity upon the earth covering the bones. The bone 
deposits occur upon both sides of the stream, which has evidently cut its way 
through the deposit. The bones that have been discovered resemble those of the 
deer, elk and buffalo. Upon exposure to the air they immediately crumble. The 
teeth, Ijeing of a harder substance, are still fairly well preserved, and have been 
gathered by various collectors. Scattered among the bones there have been found, 
besides the arrow heads, numerous flint and stone implements. Some of the imple- 
ments were made of native copper, which must have been brought from some 
distance. It is the opinion of some people, who have visited the "Hollow," that 
this deposit was the kitchen refuse from a settlement of Mound Builders, and 
that afterwards they were covered with silt from the Wisconsin drift. Professor 
Samuel Calvin visited this locality a number of years ago, but was unwilling to 
give an opinion as to the origin of the deposit, except that it was old as compared 
with the historic period of Iowa. He however thought it was highly improbable 
that the deposit was either preglacial or interglacial. 

Another interesting find, which, however, is not connected with the Mound 
Builders, was a deposit of bones found by Mr. Henry Engholm upon his farm 
in Deer Creek township. These bones were the skeletons of the American bison. 
They were found in a slough where they had evidently mired down while in 
search of water, or where they were driven to escape from some pursuing enemy. 
Mrs. C. B. Hepler has a very fine specimen of a skull of one of these bisons. 



Vol. 1—3 



CHAPTER IV 
THE RED MAN IN IOWA 

COMING OF THE ALGONOUINS AND DAKOTAS — THE ILLINOIS THE MASCOUTINES 

LOCATION OF MUSCATINE — THE lOWAS — MEANING OF THE WORD IOWA THE 

SACS AND FOXES SAUKENUK BLACK HAWK'S WATCH TOWER THE WINNE- 

BAGOES ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NEUTRAL GROUND — THE SIOUX — "LAKE-OF- 

THE-SPIRITS" SIDOMINADOTAH — BATTLE BETWEEN SIOUX AND POTTAWAT- 

TAMiES — AT Mclaughlin's grove — wahkonsa — how the Indians lost iowa. 

THE red MAN IN IOWA 

The Mound Builders, it appears, were an agricultural or shepherd race, rather 
than hunters, hence, during their occupation of this territory, game became very- 
plentiful. The Indians who relied on the chase of a livelihood, upon learning 
of this delightful hunting ground began to press upon them from the north and 
west. 

On the Atlantic coast lived the Algonquins. This had been their ancient 
home for generations. The Norsemen found them here in the year looo. The 
prospect of better hunting grounds caused them to push westward by way of 
the St. Lawrence river and the Great Lakes, overflowing the countrv to the 
south and into the Mississippi valley. These Algonquins embraced the Delawares 
(sometimes called Lenni Lenapi), the Chippewas, Shawnees, Ottawas, Potta- 
wattamies, Narragansetts, Illinois, Powhatans (a confederacy of thirty-three 
tribes), Sac and Fox and other Indian tribes to the number of thirty or forty. 
All of these spoke dialects of the same language. 

From the Rocky Mountain region and the Northwest came the savage horde 
known as the Sioux or Dakota, including the Dakotas proper, the Assiniboian, 
the Winnebagoes who were the parent stock of the lowas, Kansas, Ouappas, 
Omahas, Osages and other tribes of the lower Missouri district and others. 

These two great streams of savages first came against each other in the 
valley of the upper Mississippi and then turned southward. The Algonquins 
from the east seem to have outflanked the Sioux, and began to occupy that part 
of Iowa that lies south of a line extending from the mouth of the Big Sioux 
near Sioux City, and the Sioux occupied the territory north of this line and in 
Minnesota besides penetrating into Wisconsin. 

The first Indians seen in what is now Iowa by a white man, were of the Illini 
or Illinois tribe. When the French explorers, Marquette and Joliet, in 1673, 
coming down the Mississippi, landed in southeastern Iowa, they encountered 
Indians, who called themselves Illini, meaning "men." This apparently meant 

29 



30 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

they were very brave and superior to all other people. This name seemed to 
have embraced five sub-tribes, Peorias, Cahokias, Kaskaskias, Michigamies and 
Tamaroas. These being of the Algonquin race were hereditary enemies of the 
warlike Iroquois, or Six Nations, whose seat of government was in the Mohawk 
valley in New York. During the generations through which their wars had 
extended the Illinois had been gradually driven into the region between Lake 
Michigan and the Wabash river, and extending thence west across the Missis- 
sippi river. More than two hundred years ago, when visited by Marquette, 
they had become greatly reduced in numbers and strength from wars with the 
Iroquois on the east and the Chickasaws on the south. When Iowa was next 
visited by white men the once powerful Illinois Indians had been nearly extermi- 
nated by the Sacs and Foxes. 

THE MASCOUTINES 

The records of Father Allouez, written in 1670, mention a tribe called Mas- 
cout-ines, who had migrated from the Wisconsin river valley into Iowa. These 
Indians were on friendly terms with the Illinois and occupied a portion of Iowa 
west of Muscatine island. The Algonquin word "Mascoutenck" means a "place 
having no woods," or "prairie." The Mascoutines built a village on the island 
of that name, which was a level prairie embracing about twenty thousand acres. 

Fierce, cruel and treacherous, the Mascoutines were, and generally at war 
with some other nation. They were bitter enemies of the Sacs and Foxes, whom 
they defeated in a great conflict near the mouth of the Iowa river. 

When La Salle descended the Mississippi valley in 1680, he found this tribe 
still in that vicinity. The Mascoutines, displeased with the advent of the white 
men, sent emissaries to the Illinois to influence them to join in resistance. Ninety- 
eight years later they are mentioned as attending a council, when Colonel George 
Rogers Clark led a party into that region. Little more is known of them in 
later times, except that they lived near where Muscatine now stands, and that 
the city derives its name from them. 

THE lOWAS 

In the midst of the Algonquins, dwelt for many years, a Dakota tribe, the 
lowas. who under their noted chief Man-haw-gaw, migrated westward from the 
vicinity of the Great Lakes. They crossed the Mississippi and occupied the ter- 
ritory about the lower valley of the Iowa river, giving to that stream its present 
name, although it was for a long time called the Ayouas by the earliest French 
•explorers. Early records show this name spelled in various ways, Ayouas, 
Ayouways, Ayoas and Aiouex. Lewis and Clark, in the journal of their explora- 
tions in 1804, refer to this tribe as the Ayouways. In later years the spelling 
became changed to loway and finally the y was dropped, and we have the name 
Iowa, with the accent on the I. 

A half-breed of French and Indian parentage, Antoine Le Claire, who was 
familiar with several of the Indian languages, defines the word Iowa as "This 
is the place." Theodore S. Parvin, a high authority, relates an Indian legend 
as follows: 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 31 

''This tribe separated from the Sacs and Foxes and wandered off westward 
in search of a new home. Crossing the Mississippi river, they turned southward, 
reaching a high bkiff near the mouth of the Iowa river. Looking off over the 
beautiful valley spread out before them they halted, exclaiming Toway !' or 'This 
is the place !' " 

The lowas were worshipers of a Great Spirit, the creator and ruler of the 
universe. They had a tradition that a very long time ago a month's rain came, 
drowning all living animals and people, excepting a few, who escaped in a great 
canoe. The Great Spirit then made from red clay another man and woman and 
from them all Indians descended. They regarded rattlesnakes and a certain 
species of hawks with veneration. 

Among themselves the lowas were called Pa-hu-cha, which in English means 
"dusty nose." Their tradition is that they once dwelt on a sandbar from which 
dust and sand were blown into their faces, giving them dusty noses, and hence 
their name Pa-hu-chas. Their language was that of the Dakota group of which 
they were a part. They were, however, enemies of the other Dakotas, because 
an Iowa chief had been treacherously slain by a band of Sioux. They were 
divided into eight clans, designated as Eagle, Wolf, Bear, Pigeon, Elk, Beaver, 
Buffalo and Snake; each clan having a totem of the bird or animal they repre- 
sented. These clans were also distinguished, one from another, by the fashion 
in which the hair was cut. 

During the Civil war, the lowas were loyal to the Union, many of them 
enlisting in the northern army, and making good soldiers. The name of the 
greatest of the Iowa war chiefs, ^Mahaska, has been given to one of the counties 
in the Des Moines valley, embracing a portion of our state over which this 
once powerful tribe held domain. 

This tribe was so reduced by pestilence and war that it ceased to play an 
important part in the state's history after 1823. 

SACS AND FOXES 

The Sacs and Foxes, who probably held the most prominent place in the 
story of the Algonquin family in Iowa, had migrated from the country along 
the Atlantic coast now embraced in the state of Rhode Island. They moved 
along the valley of the St. Lawrence river and thence to the vicinity of Green 
bay, where they were found by Jean Nicollet in 1634. It is reported, that in 
1667, Claude Allouez, a French Jesuit, found on the Wolf river in Wisconsin, 
a village of ^lusquakies, as the Sacs and Foxes were sometimes called, which 
contained a thousand warriors and nearly five thousand persons. 

These Indians appeared to realize that the invasion of French trappers and 
missionaries threatened the eventual occupation of their lands by the whites, 
and from the first they waged war against the intruders, and were nearly the 
only tribe with whom the French could not live in peace. 

About 1 712 the Sacs and the Foxes became close allies. Each tribe, however, 
reserved the right to make war or peace, without the consent of the other. The 
Foxes had villages on the west side of the Mississippi, while the Sacs remained 
on the east side. The Sacs could muster about three hundred warriors, and the 
Foxes about three hundred and twenty. The Sacs had long before occupied the 



32 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

region about Saginaw, in Michigan, calling it Sauk-i-nong. They called them- 
selves Saukies, meaning "man-\vith-a-red-badge." Red was the favorite color 
used by them in personal adornment, and it is said that the Sac covered his 
head with red clay when he mourned. The Indian name of the Foxes was 
Mus-qua-kies, signifying "man-with-a-yellow-badge." The French gave to this 
tribe the name Reynors or Foxes because of their thieving habits. The river in 
Wisconsin, along which these Indians had their home, was called by the French 
''Rio Reynor." When the English obtained the country from France, they gave 
the river its English translation Fox. 

The Sac village on Rock river was one of the oldest in the upper Mississippi 
valley. Black Hawk, in his autobiography, says it was built in 173 1. It was 
named Saukenuk. This was for fifty years the largest village of the Sacs, and 
contained in 1825 a population of about eight thousand. The houses were sub- 
stantially built, and were made with a frame of poles covered with sheathing 
of elm bark, fastened on with thongs of buckskin. Half a mile east of the town 
is a bold promontory rising two hundred feet from the bed of Rock river. This 
was known as "Black Hawk's Watch Tower," and was a favorite resort of that 
great Sac chieftain. Here he would sit smoking his pipe and enjoying the grand 
scenery spread out before him, the land which he clung to and fought so 
desperately to hold. 

THE WINNEBAGOES 



The Winnebagoes, too, belonged to the Dakota group ; and are mentioned 
by the French writers as early as 1669. Early in the seventeenth century the 
tribes of the Northwest formed an alliance against the Winnebagoes, and in a 
battle five hundred of the latter were slain. It is thought that they and the 
lowas were the only Dakotas that migrated to the east. After meeting the 
Algonquin tribes of Pottawattamies, Chippewas, Sacs, Foxes, Mascoutines and 
Ottawas, they finally formed an alliance, which lasted for more than one hun- 
dred and fifty years. They were reluctant to come under English rule, after 
the French were expelled ; but finally became reconciled, and fought with the 
British through the American Revolution. In 18 16, they entered into a treaty 
of peace with the United States; but in 1832 they joined Black Hawk in his 
war; and at its termination were required to relinquish their lands in Wisconsin 
in exchange for a tract in Iowa known as the "Neutral Ground." They were 
not, however, compelled to remove to their new home until 1841. By the terms 
of the treaty the Winnebagoes were to be paid $10,000 annually for twenty-seven 
years, beginning in 1833. The government agreed also to supply them with 
certain farm implements and teams, to establish schools for the Indian children 
and to maintain these schools for twenty-seven years. The Winnebagoes dis- 
liked to go to the "Neutral Ground," because on the south were the Sacs and 
Foxes, and on the north were the hostile Sioux. However, they grew to love 
the Iowa reservation; and after they had removed to Minnesota in 1846, they 
often returned to hunt and fish along the Iowa rivers. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY . 33 

THE SIOUX 

Of the three great Indian nations, occupying the upper Mississippi valley in 
the sixteenth century, the most powerful and populous was the Dakota nation. 
They were nomadic, wandering northward to latitude 55 degrees in the Rocky 
mountains, and eastward to the shores of Green bay. Thus it will be seen that 
this great Indian nation early in the sixteenth century occupied a large portion 
of British America, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, more than half of Iowa, 
Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska, the greater part of Minnesota, and 
the north half of Wisconsin. 

The Sioux, who belonged to the Dakota nation, were first known to the 
French in 1640. In 1680, w^hen Hennepin was sent to explore the valley of the 
upper Mississippi and was encamped with his party on the bank of one of the 
tributaries of the river, he was captured by a band of Sioux. They took him 
with them in their wanderings over Minnesota, from April until September, 
when he and his companions were rescued by Greysolon Du Luth. 

When the French took possession of that country in 1685, the Dakotas 
were divided into seven eastern and nine western tribes. During the wars be- 
tween the French and the Indians, the Sioux were forced southward into north- 
ern Iowa about the head waters of the Des Moines river and Okoboji and 
Spirit lakes. 

When in 1804, Lewis and Clark explored along the Missouri valley, the 
Yankton division of the Sioux occupied the country along the .upper Des Moines 
and Little Sioux valleys and about the group of lakes in northern low^a and 
southern ^Minnesota. While roaming about in these regions they had named 
the rivers and lakes. Their principal villages were along the shores of Okoboji 
and Spirit Lake. Their name for the latter was Minne-Mecoehe-Waukon, mean- 
ing "Lake of the Spirits." It was so named according to a tradition among the 
Sioux, because a very long time ago there was an island in the lake, that the 
first Indians who sailed to it in their canoes, were seized and drowned by demons. 
No Indian again ventured near its shores and it finally disappeared beneath the 
waters. Lizard creek they called, "Was-sa-ka-pom-pa," the river with lizards. 
The propriety of this name appears at once, when one views the many wind- 
ings' of the little stream, like the tortuous trail of a lizard. The Des Moines 
river was originally named "Moingonan" by the Algonquins, "Moingona" by 
Charlevoix, and "Eah-sha-wa-pa-ta" or "Red Stone" river by the Sioux, 

In 1805, Lieutenant Pike estimated the number of Sioux at more than 
twenty-one thousand. One of their most noted chiefs in the first half of the 
nineteenth century was Wa-na-ta of the Yanktons. When but eighteen years 
old, he distinguished himself in the War of 1812, fighting with his tribe for 
the British at the battle of Sandusky. He was instrumental in organizing a 
union of all of the Sioux tribes and became the chief ot the confederacy of 
Sioux, often leading them in battle against the lowas and Chippewas. The 
Sioux were always more or less hostile to the Americans, and were only re- 
strained from open hostilities by the fear of troops stationed in the frontier forts. 
They were enemies of the Sac and Fox tribes. 

"Si-dom-i-na-do-tah," or "Two Fingers" was the head of a band of renegade 



34 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Sioux, that hunted and fished along the upper Des Aloines valley. He belonged 
to the Sisseton tribe or clan. He was short of stature and of a squatty build, 
while his features were coarse and irregular. His name was due to the fact 
that on one hand he had but two fingers. Through petty thieving and plunder 
he and his band caused the early settlers of Webster county much annoyance. 
His first followers were four or five desperadoes who had been exiled from their 
own people. Then other joined them, until the party contained five hundred. 

Major Williams, in his reminscences of pioneer days, mentions the fact, that 
with Sidominadotah's band there was a very stout negro, who was always 
reported as the most insolent and daring of the band. He also says, "Every 
efifort was made to catch him, but he always managed to keep out of the way. 
Whenever any outrage was committed, we could always hear of him, but could 
never catch him. He still remains one of the mysteries of the pioneer days of 
northern Iowa." This band of Sioux increased their number very much by 
gathering in renegades and allies from other bands of Sioux to aid them in 
fighting and pillaging their common enemies, the Sacs and Foxes and Pottawat- 
tamies. 

The Sioux Indians would make expeditions, and invade the territory of the 
Pottawattamies, who inhabited the southern part of the state, and in turn the 
Pottawattamies would attack the Sioux. These two tribes fought two desperate 
battles in the vicinity of Fort Dodge. One was fought near Twin Lakes in Cal- 
houn county and the other on the South Lizard, near McLaughlin's Grove in 
Webster county. The Sioux were victorious in both. These were the last 
Indian battles in Iowa, as the various tribes soon after left for their western 
reservations. The Sioux were the most warlike and treacherous of all the 
tribes, which at any time had homes in Iowa. It was a band of this tribe, who 
massacred nearly the entire settlement at Spirit Lake and Okoboji in March, 
1857; and in 1862, murdered nearly two thousand people in Minnesota. 

One of the two Indian names, retained in Webster county, is that of Wah- 
konsa. It is the name of a township and of various societies and organizations. 
The pioneer inn bore this name, as does also the present fine hotel. One of the 
early societies, the "Wahkonsa Library Club," organized in 1859, bore this 
name. Mr. George W. Brizee, at one time editor of the Fort Dodge Sentinel, 
says that Major Williams told him that Wahkonsa was the son of Umpashota 
(Smoky Day), that he was very intelligent and useful to the first settlers; that 
he would map out the whole country northwest of the fort, in the sand or dirt, 
with a stick. Those who best knew Ink-a-pa-do-ta, say he had but one son, — - 
a short stout Indian, who was presumed to be above twenty-two years old at 
the time of the massacre at Spirit Lake. His name was Com-a-do-ca, and he 
was killed near Fort Ridgley, Minnesota, during the summer of 1857. He died 
fighting. When the massacre at Spirit Lake occurred, Wahkonsa went to Fort 
Ridgley and delivered himself up, a thing very unlikely for him to do if he had 
been Ink-a-pa-do-ta's son. Mrs. Marble, in an interview with Mr. Brizee, soon 
after her release from captivity, declared most emphatically, that Ink-a-pa-do-ta 
had but one son in the band, and that son was Com-a-do-ca. During the winter 
of 1854-55, Wahkonsa and his sister accompanied by others of their tribe visited 
Fort Dodge and at night slept on the ground floor of the old hotel, which bore 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 85 

the name of the young chief. In the morning, Cyrus C. Carpenter, than a young 
surveyor and school teacher came into the office, and immediately the Indian 
belle broke out into laughter. Those present tried to ascertain the cause of her 
mirth. For answer, she pointed at the head of Iowa's future governor, and 
exclaimed: "Hedgehog! Hedgehog!" Mr. Carpenter at the time wore his 
hair quite short, and it stood pompadour over the entire top of his head. It 
was this that had provoked her laughter and caused the not entirely compli- 
mentary comparison. Governor Carpenter enjoyed the laugh, however, with 
the rest of the crowd. Wahkonsa was a handsome and attractive young Indian, 
and was always 'kindly disposed towards the whites. He was a very close friend 
of Mr. Tames B. Williams, who was of about same age. Mr. Williams is 
quoted as saying, that the name Wahkonsa meant "fleet-of-foot." Fulton in his 
"Red Men of Iowa" however, gives the meaning as "One-Who-Will-Be-Heard- 
From." 

HOW THE INDIANS LOST JOWA 

For many years the flood of immigrants that followed the Ohio valley were 
prevented from occupying Iowa soil because of the reverence of the Indians 
for the "Father of Waters." As early as 1804 the. Sacs and Foxes ceded to 
the United States their land east of the ^Mississippi, but it was not until after 
the defeat of Black Hawk in 1832, that the most desirable portion of Iowa came 
into the possession of the United States. After the Black Hawk Purchase 
was acquired by the government, for use by the settlers, not many years passed 
before the Indians had lost every acre of the woodlands, hills and prairies they 
had once owned. 

The transfers of land were made through treaties, agreed upon at council 
meetings, at which were representatives of the United States and of the Indian 
tribes interested. The government paid for the territory, and the amount and 
all other details were put in writing. 

It is likely that in many cases the promises made by the whites were not 
carried out and the redmen were defrauded as a result of the shrewdness of 
the whites. The Indians were partly to blame for any cheating, however, because 
whisky proved too fascinating, and the price of many an acre of land was paid in 
this commodity. 

The exact amount paid the Indians for the lands of Iowa cannot be deter- 
mined. The treaties state the purchase price in terms of money, annuities, mer- 
chandise and domestic animals. Upon the merchandise it is impossible to fix 
a value at the present time. Sometimes the government promised to lay out 
farms, establish shops, and bear the expenses of removal to new reservations. 
Another element of uncertainty lies in the overlapping areas of some of the 
cessions and the extension of several tracts beyond the present confines of the 
state. 

Owing to the murderous warfare kept up between the Sac and Fox tribes 
and the Sioux, the government interfered in 1825, and arranged for a confer- 
ence at Prairie du Chien. Here the chiefs representing their respective tribes 
assembled, all arrayed in paint and feathers and each trying to outdo the others. 
A boundary line, to which all agreed, was fixed. The hunting grounds of the 



36 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Sioux were to be north of a line passing from the mouth of the upper Iowa 
river through the upper fork of the Des Moines river to the fork of the Big 
Sioux and down the Big Sioux to the Missouri. The Sacs and Foxes were to 
hunt south of this Hne. Permission was given to*the lowas and the Otoes, both 
of the Dakota family to live in this territory with them. 

The Indians did not, however, recognize these boundary lines, w'hen send- 
ing out hunting parties, and in 1830 the United States government established 
the so-called Neutral Strip. At the same time, the tribes of the Sacs and Foxes, 
ceded to the United States that portion of the territory lying west of the water- 
shed dividing the Missouri and Des Moines rivers, eastward to the Neutral 
Strip, northward to the present state of Minnesota, and westward to the Alis- 
souri river, with the exception of a portion of Lyon county which the Sioux 
were to possess. This vast tract of land was granted with the understanding, 
that it should be used for Indian purposes. The Neutral Strip might be hunted 
upon by either of the tribal parties, and the United States was at liberty to 
settle, upon any of the lands acquired at this date, such other tribes as it might 
see fit. In accordance with this, the Winnebagoes, after selling their land east 
of the Mississippi, were settled upon that portion of the Neutral Strip to the 
east of the Cedar river in its course through Butler and Floyd counties, and the 
Pottawattamies, were given 5,000,000 acres in the southwestern part of Iowa. 

Then followed the Black Hawk Purchase, which went into effect June i, 
1833. The noted warrior Black Hawk had vigorously refused to recognize the 
treaty of 1804, and although in 1816 he "touched the goose quill," as he expressed 
it, to the instrument affirming the treaty, his reluctance to give up the land in 
cjuestion led to the conflict of 1832. He was. however, defeated and compelled 
to sell the land now known as the Black Hawk Purchase. This was a tract 
about fifty miles in width, extending along the Mississippi river from the Neu- 
tral Strip to the Missouri line, w^ith the exception of the Keokuk Reserve of 
four hundred square miles along the Iowa river in Louisa county. Thus the 
government secured the eastern portion of the state, with the exception of a 
small tract lying between the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers and south of a 
line drawn west from Fort Madison, reserved under the treaty of 1825, for 
the half breeds of the Sacs and Foxes of ^Missouri and known as the Half Breed 
Tract. As a result of the Black Hawk Purchase, immigration to Iowa was 
greatly increased. The fame of her beautiful valleys, groves and rivers, her 
fertile prairies and rich soil had reached the distant east. Thousands of people 
were impatiently waiting for the removal of the red men from such a land of 
promise. White top emigrant wagons quickly sought the paths, and homeseekers 
soon crowded in searching for the best timber and farm locations. 

In 1836 the four hundred square acres reserved for the Sacs and Foxes was 
secured by the whites; and by a treaty made in October, 1837, the two tribes 
were induced to part with a tract adjoining the Black Hawk Purchase on the 
west. Still the whites wanted more land, and finally in 1842, the confederated 
tribes of the Sacs and Foxes ceded to the United States all other land east of 
the Missouri. They fiu-ther agreed to move west of the Missouri, wnthin three 
years from the ratification of the treaty. The remaining rights of the Indians 
to the state were relinquished, when the Winnebagoes in 1846, ceded their in- 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 37 

terest in the Neutral Strip; and the Sioux, in 1851, gave up the northern portion 
of the state. 

It is estimated that the state of Iowa cost the United States government to 
extinguish the Indian title approximately $2,377,547.87, a little over eight cents 
an acre. 



CHAPTER V 
THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE AND TERRITORIAL IOWA 

It was over a hundred years from the time that the -black robed missionaries, 
Marquette and Johet, first found "the way to Iowa," until the first white man 
made a settlement within its borders. During the time it was a French posses- 
sion, Iowa remained a savage wilderness. A few names, as that of the Des 
Moines river and Tete des Morts in Dubuque county, are the only marks left 
of the French rule. During all this time no grant of land was made. - 

Louis XIV, in whose honor Louisiana was named, cherished great hopes 
for the prosperity of his American possessions. He gave them much personal 
attention. No English sovereign ever took such interest in the English colonies 
as this French king did in his. But the upper part of the Louisiana territory 
seemed a hard field to colonize. In 1699 D'Iberville, a distinguished French 
naval officer, and his brother Bienville founded a prosperous colony near 
the present site of New Orleans. In 1764 St. Louis was platted and named 
for Louis XV. During the time that Iowa was under French dominion, no 
town was laid out within its territory or permanent colony established. 
The difficulties of colonization, as they appeared at that time, were described 
by the French writer Du Pratz, who in his history of Louisiana, published in 
1763, says: "many ages must pass before we can penetrate into the northern 
part of Louisiana." 

During much of this time, France, England and Spain were at war with 
each other. There was a continual jealousy over their respective possessions. 
From 1754 to 1763, the French and Indian war raged. The fall of Quebec 
closed the long series of struggles between France and England for supremacy 
in America. France was humiliated. She lost Canada and the territory east of 
the Mississippi. By the treaty of Paris in 1763, England secured all the French 
territory east of the Mississippi, except a region east of New Orleans. A year 
previous, Louis XV, a corrupt great-grandson of Louis XltV, had ceded by 
secret treaty the territory of Louisiana lying west of the Mississippi, to its 
remotest tributaries, including Iowa, and all north of the source of the river, 
to Charles III of Spain, another great-grandson of Louis XIV, but a man of 
strong character. Louis XV gave as his reason for ceding this territory to Spain, 
the afifection and friendship existing between these two royal persons. The 
truth of the matter was that Louis XV was in dire straits, and France was 
heavily in debt to Spain for the assistance given during the French and Indian 
war. 

The colonists at New Orleans were exasperated over the king's disgraceful 
act, and pleaded with him to retract. It is said that Bienville, one of the founders 

39 



40 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

of the colony, then an old man living in Paris, went to the prime minister, and 
upon bended knees, with tears streaming down his cheek, begged that the king 
reconsider. But it availed nothing, for this was the answer: "I'he colony can- 
not continue its precarious existence without an enormous expense, of which 
France is incapable. Is it not better that Louisiana should be given awav to a 
friend than be wrested from us by a hereditary foe?" 

The French colonists did not take kindly to either the British or the Spanish 
rule. The French population of the Illinois country, at the time it passed under 
English rule was about five thousand. Nearly one-half of this number refused 
to become British subjects, and to escape it moved to the west side of the Mis- 
sissippi. At New Orleans the Acadians and Creoles refused to subject them- 
selves to Spanish authority, and drove the officials sent to rule them from tiie 
country. It was not until 1768 that the western portion was brought under 
Spanish subjection. In that year. Governor Don O'Reilly, the new Spanish 
ruler, landed at New Orleans, suppressed the insurrection and inaugurated Span- 
ish rule. No representative of Spain, however, came to upper Louisiana until 
1769 when a captain arrived at St. Louis with twenty-five soldiers. By uni- 
versal consent the last French commandant, a man highly respected and of fine 
character, remained in authority. The Spanish Lieutenant-Governor, Don Pedro 
Piernas, arrived and took formal possession of the province May 10, 1770. Thus 
what is now Iowa came under Spanish rule. 

From the first, the navigation of the Alississippi river was a bone of con- 
tention. At the close of the revolution in 1783, England recognized the Alis- 
sissippi as the west boundary of the United States. Spain had been friendly 
to the colonies during the revolution, and had aided them in many ways. With 
the coming of peace, however, it soon became evident that as the price for these 
courtesies, Spain aimed at gaining a large portion of the land just east of the 
Mississippi. Therefore she guarded the navigation of the Mississippi jealously 
and felt that to allow the free navigation of the Mississippi was to lose her 
vantage ground; and might even ultimately cause her to lose her possessions 
on the west side of the river. On the other hand the free navigation of the 
river to its mouth became of vital importance to the United States. It was 
the only commercial outlet for her western territory. Finally Spain closed the 
river, and vowed that she would keep it closed, until she secured a more satis- 
factory boundary line for her possessions, in the south. A Kentucky flatboat- 
man, disregarding the Spanish decree, started boldly down the river with a lot 
of hardware. The Spanish authorities at Natchez stopped him, seized his boat 
and cargo, and left him to get back home on foot through the forest as best he 
could. The impetuous spirit of the Kentucky settlers was aroused. They swore 
that if the Spaniards did not open the river to them, they would raise an army 
of backwoods men, open it by force and drive the Spaniards into the sea. So 
intense was the feeling, that a small sized revolution in the western part of the 
United States was almost brought on by John Jay's proposed treaty with Spain 
in 1786. As the American minister to Spain, he had failed to secure any con- 
cessions as to the free navigation of the Mississippi, and had almost consented 
that the United States should waive this right for twenty years, if Spain would 
concede it at the expiration of that period. This proposition set the whole west- 




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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 41 

ern country in a blaze. The settlers in the upper valley determined to take things 
in their own hands, and enforce their right, unless the government would do 
something for them. They proposed to organize an army, seize the Spanish 
forts, capture New Orleans, and compel Spain to yield the free navigation of 
the river. The Spanish governor finally realized that some concession must 
be made. Even the thought of the backwoods men with their rifles, struck terror 
to the hearts of the Spaniards. As a compromise, he therefore granted the 
privilege of free navigation to James Wilkinson and certain other American 
traders in tobacco, flour and other products. 

In 1788 after fruitless negotiation with Spain, congress declared, "that the 
free navigation of the Mississippi river is a clear and essential right of the 
United States, and that it ought to be enforced." Congress and V\'ashington 
began to prepare for the conflict which seemed to be at hand. Spain still delayed. 
The W^hiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania and an Indian war in the west gave 
Spain courage to put off the day of concession. Finally the American minister 
at Madrid proposed to the Spanish government, "that if Spain would cede the 
United States her possessions east of the Mississippi river, that the United 
States would make no claims to the territory west of the river, as her real inter- 
est would then require that Spain should retain her possessions west of it. 
Since the free navigation of the riyer was of such absolute necessit\- to the 
United States, it must sooner or later be conceded." The minister said: "this 
is the decree of Providence, written on every map of the continent, and it can- 
not be prevented by any agency. Would it not be the part of wisdom to anticipate 
an irresistible event peaceably and cement a lasting friendship with the United 
States on the basis of mutual interest and benefits." But for twelve years the 
matter hung fire. Spain realized that in granting the free navigation of the 
river, she was giving up the only means of checking the onward march of the 
American pioneer, who was only too anxious to wrest away all of her western 
territory. Reuben Gold Thwaites says, "a river is no adequate boundary be- 
tween nations, if on one bank be a people feverish to cross, and on the other a 
lethargic folk. The valley itself is a geographical unit." Already the Americans 
had settled the eastern part of the valley in numbers sufficient to dominate. 
Many had not waited for a change in political ownership before crossing to the 
western part. Spain had now become deeply involved in the Napoleonic wars. 
She feared an invasion of her American territory from the long suffering pioneers 
of the western part of the United States. Spain finally sought a settlement, 
and by a treaty made, October 20, 1795, the middle of the Mississippi river was 
made the western boundary of the United States, from the thirty-first degree of 
latitude to its source, and navigation to be free to its mouth. 

The French had never become fully reconciled to the loss of their Ameri- 
can possessions. Napoleon, therefore, resolved to restore Louisiana to France. 
vSpain, weakened and heavily in debt, was easily induced to recede the territory 
of Louisiana to France. The treaty ratifying this agreement was made October 
I, 1801. But before France could take possession of the province, the political 
chess board of Europe had again changed. The power of Napoleon had begun 
to weaken. The armies of England and her allies were pressing hard. He was 
fearful that his arch enemy might seize his American possessions. He needed 



42 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

money to replenish his treasury. There had always been a natural friendship 
between France and the Young Republic. Napoleon felt that he would rather 
give Louisiana to a friendly power than have it go to the hereditary foe of the 
French. He foresaw that the only way to checkmate England's power in America 
was to allow the United States to expand its boundaries. Accordingly confiden- 
tial negotiations were opened with the American minister to France, Robert R. 
Livingston. The scheme was at once communicated to President Jefferson who 
was quick to grasp the opportunity. James Monroe was sent to aid in the 
negotiations but before his arrival, Livingston had practically "made the bargain." 

Even before Napoleon offered Louisiana to the United States, the question 
of ownership of Louisiana had been of deep concern to American statesmen. 
In 1790 Jeff'erson wrote to President Washington "of the magnitude of the 
danger which will attend our government if Louisiana and the Floridas be 
added to the British Empire." The United States really disliked the. idea, of 
having France for a neighbor on the west, as much as Spain. In fact the time 
had come when they desired New Orleans, the key to the whole situation, for 
themselves. But Napoleon would not sell New Orleans without the rest of the 
province. Livingston and IMonroe were without instructions from President 
Jefferson as to the country west of the Mississippi. But they accepted the oft'er 
and made the purchase. The treaty of cession was signed x\pril 30, 1803. Iowa 
for the last time changed ownership. Hitherto her existence had been under 
two flags. Henceforth she was to have but one, "the Flag of the Free." Napo- 
leon said concerning the treaty, "you asked me for a city, I have given you an 
empire." 

The treaty came before the senate for ratification. Constitutional objections 
were made. But the national and commercial benefits were soon seen, and 
opposition disappeared. Probably the letter written by Livingston to Madison, 
June 25, 1803, hastened the action of congress. In this letter he says, "I hope 
nothing will prevent your immediate ratification without altering a syllable of 
the terms. Be persuaded that France is sick of the bargain, that Spain is much 
dissatisfied, and that the slightest pretense will lose you the treaty." Congress 
ratified the treaty the 19th of October. President Jeff'erson was authorized to 
take possession and occupy the "promised land," October 31, 1803. Salter says: 
"The triumphs of diplomacy are more honorable than those of war. The peace- 
makers are of superior dignity to the war-makers. It is note-worthy that the 
author of the Declaration of Independence was the director of the Louisiana 
Purchase, and that Livingston, the chief agent in making the treaty, was one of 
the committee to draw up the Declaration. Their fame was as statesmen, not as 
soldiers. Monroe had a similar honor." 

In the extent of the purchase, Jefferson saw, "a widespread field for free- 
dom and equal laws." After signing the treaty Livingston rose and shook hands 
with Monroe and with Marbois, the French Minister of Finance, and said, "we 
have lived long but this is the noblest work of our li\es. This treaty will change 
vast solitudes into flourishing districts, and prepare ages of happiness for innu- 
merable generations." Jefferson wrote to Livingston that he was well pleased, 
that the negotiations were conducted with a frankess and a sincerity honorable 
to both nations and comfortable to a man of honest heart to review. In writ- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 43 

ing to Livingston he called the transaction "your treaty" giving him full credit 
for his part in it. 

Even with their Yankee shrewdness, the United States little dreamed of the 
bargain they were making. In fact none of the previous owners of Louisiana 
had ever appreciated its worth. The purchase price $15,000,000 at that time 
seemed a huge sum. Some said it would make such a large national debt 
that it could never be paid. The national debt is now a billion and a quarter 
dollars, and yet it causes no particular concern. Today \\'ebster county less 
than a thousandth part of the Louisiana territory could not be bought for its 
purchase price. Today less than a century from that time, one American citizen 
has in his life time made from the raw resources of this land a fortune of over 
$265,000,000. 

During the forty years that Spain owned Iowa, there were but three grants 
of land within its territory. In 1788, Julien Dubuque, a French Canadian, 
secured a permit from the Fox Chiefs to work the lead mines in a tract extend- 
ing along the Mississippi river, from the mouth of the Little Alaquoketa to the 
Tete des Morts. These lead mines had been discovered in 1780 by the wife of 
Peosta, a prominent Fox Chief. Dubuque brought from Prairie du Chien ten 
Canadians to assist him as smelters, wood choppers and boatmen. A smelting 
furnace was erected on a point of land now known as Dubuque Bluff. At that 
time there was a Fox village called Kettle Chief on the present site of Dubuque. 
Since Dubuque and most of his companions had taken squaw wives, the Indians 
allowed them to live in this village. Many of the old men and women of the 
tribe worked in the mines. Dubuque built up a good trade in lead with the 
merchants of St. Louis, and in furs with the dift'erent tribes.^ It was a rule of 
Spain that none but Spaniards could hold mines so he became a Spaniard and 
named his mines "Spanish Mines." Dubuque representing to Carondelet, the 
governor of Louisiana, that he had bought the land from the Indians, secured 
a grant in 1796. The truth was that Dubuque had never bought the land, but 
had secured only a permit from the Indians to work the mines. Dubuque was 
not a successful business man and he became heavily in debt to Auguste Chou- 
teau a prominent merchant of St. Louis. In settlement of this indebtedness 
Dubuque conveyed to Chouteau an undivided seven-sixteenths interest of his 
land estimated to consist of 73,324 acres. It was also provided that at the death 
of Dubuque the remainder should become the property of Chouteau or his heirs. 
In 1805 Dubuque and Chouteau filed a claim with the United States asking to 
have t'leir title confirmed to all of the land which Dubuque had originally leased 
of the Indians. For nearly fifty years thjs claim was pending in various tribu- 
nals. Both the original claimants died long before the matter was finally set- 
tled by a decision of the supreme court of the United States rendered in March, 
1853. The case was one of the most important and closely contested law-cases 
in Iowa litigation. Able attorneys were employed on both sides. The title to 
a large tract of land, including the city of Dubuque and its valuable lead mines, 
was involved. The final decision of the court was based upon the legal con- 
struction to be given to the original grant made by the Indian council to Dubuque 
in 1788, and also upon the nature of the grant received by him from Governor 

Carondelet in 1796. The court held that both these grants were but in the nature 
Vol. 1—4 



44 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

of permits or leases to mine lead, and were not intended to convey actual title. 
During the time Dubuque lived in Iowa, three flags had floated over him, the 
red and yellow of Spain, the tricolor of France, and the Stars and Stripes of the 
United States. A monument erected to his memory bears this inscription : 
"Julien Dubuque, Miner of the Mines of Spain, the founder of our city, died 
March 24th, 18 10, aged 45 years and six months." The other two grants were, 
one to Basil Girard of the land where the city of McGregor now stands, the other 
to Louis Tesson, called by some Honore or Honori, of the land on which Mont- 
rose in Lee county is situated. These two grants were later confirmed by the 
United States. 

Before the Louisiana territory could be transferred to the United States, it 
was necessary that France should first formally receive it from Spain. Accord- 
ingly the French appointed M. Laussat to receive the government of the prov- 
ince. He arrived at New Orleans November 30, 1803, and presented the Span- 
ish authorities his credentials with the order for the transfer of the province. 
Laussat remained in authority until the twentieth of December when the United 
States commissioners, Governor Claiborne, and Governor James Wilkinson 
arrived and formally received the province from the French, Salter gives this 
description of the ceremony : "The day was fine. A large crowd assembled. 
The treaty and the credentials of the commissioners were read. Laussat then 
gave the keys of the city to Claiborne and proclaimed the transfer of Louisiana 
to the United States. The French flag came down and the American flag went 
up. As they met in midair, cannon and guns resounded with salutes to both 
flags. On the same day Governor Claiborne issued a proclamation declaring 
the authority of Spain and France at an end, and the establishment of that of 
the United States of America." The transfer of Upper Louisiana the same 
writer describes thus : "The following spring similar ceremonies took place 
at St. Louis. Captain Amos Stoddard, of the United States Artillery, was com- 
missioned to act for both the French Republic and the United States. On the 
ninth of March, 1804, he received for France the government of Upper Louisiana 
from Don Carlos de Hault De Lassus, the Spanish lieutenant governor, a 
man of high character, French by birth, but long in the Spanish service, and a 
personal friend of General William Henry Harrison, then governor of the adjoin- 
ing Indiana territory. On the next day, the tenth of March, Captain Stoddard, 
acting for both countries, transferred the government from France, and received 
it for the United States. On one day the flag of Spain gave way to that of 
France, on the next day the flag of France gave way to that of the United 
States." 

Iowa has two inheritances, geographical and political. Dr. Shambaugh says : 
"As a geographical area, the Iowa country became a part of the United States 
through the purchase of the province of Louisiana in 1803; and so her territorial 
descent is traced through the district of Louisiana, the territory of Louisiana, 
and the territory of Missouri. On the other hand the political inheritances of 
Iowa, which are Anglo-American, were transmitted through the territories of 
the Old Northwest, especially the Northwest territory, the Indiana territorv, 
the territory of Michigan, and the original territory of Wisconsin. 

On March 26, 1804, congress passed an act extending the constitution and 




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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 45 

laws of the United States to Louisiana. The territory of Louisiana was divided 
into two parts, and the thirty-third degree of north latitude, or about the north 
line of Arkansas was fixed as the dividing line. The southern part was called 
the territory of Orleans, and was given government similar to that of the adjoin- 
ing territory of Mississippi. The northern part was called the district of 
Louisiana, and its government was vested in the governor and judges of 
Indiana. The district of Louisiana had an existence of nine months as a part 
of the Indiana territory. During this time the district of St. Charles was 
formed. This included the inhabited portion north of the Missouri river, — the 
settlements of Tesson, Dubuque and Girard in what is now Iowa. 

Even at this early day, the question of slavery had entered into National 
legislation. Indiana was a free territory. It had been organized under the 
"Ordinance of 1787," which had forever prohibited the introduction of slavery 
within its limits. This ordinance had been applied to the Mississippi territory 
excepting, however, the clause prohibiting slavery. On October i, 1804, General 
\\'illiam Henry Harrison, then governor of Indiana, assumed the office of gov- 
ernor of the territory of Louisiana also. But the people of St. Louis were dis- 
satisfied with the government of Indiana. Remonstrances were sent to Wash- 
ington. They said, "that placing the district under the territory where slavery 
is proscribed is calculated to alarm the people, and create the presumption of a 
disposition in congress to abolish slavery in the district at a future day." They 
claimed, "that in view of the treaty, the people were entitled to their slaves and 
to the right of importing slaves." But John Randolph, to whom the petition of 
remonstrance had been referred stood firm, and reported, "that the prohibition 
of the importation of foreign slaves was a wise .and salutary restriction equally 
dictated by humanity and policy." A year previous some Indiana citizens had 
petitioned to have the articles of the ordinace which prohibited slavery sus- 
pended claiming that it tended to prevent the immigration of persons Avho would 
come if they could bring their slaves with them. Randolph had then replied, 
"that it was inexpedient to impair a provision wisely calculated to promote the 
happiness and prosperity of the northwestern country." Congress denied the peti- 
tion of the citizens of Indiana, but yielded to the demands of those on the west 
side of the Mississippi river. Governor Harrison and the judges associated with 
him were instructed to enact "a law respecting slaves," that would be pleasing 
to the citizens of the district of Louisiana. Thus in spite of the fact that the 
district of Louisiana had been organized under the Ordinance of 1787, and 
with the clause prohibiting slavery in full force, slavery was fastened upon it 
from the southern boundary to the British line. 

Another important event which occurred in the district during Harrison's 
governorship was the Lewis and Clark expedition. Even before the Louisiana 
Purchase, President Jefferson had sent a confidential message to congress ask- 
ing an appropriation of twenty-five hundred dollars for the exploration of the 
Missouri river, and the discovery of a passage from its head waters to the Pacific 
ocean. Congress voted the appropriation as asked. An exploring party was 
organized under the command of Captain Lewis and Clark. Arriving at St. 
Louis in December, 1803, the party planned to spend the winter with Daniel 
Boone, on the Missouri river. But the Spanish governor, not yet having received 



46 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

the official notice of the transfer of the province would not allow them to 
remain. They therefore wintered on the east side of the Mississippi opposite 
the mouth of the Missouri. From here they started out on their long journey, 
May 14th, 1804. They ascended the Missouri river, and on the eighteenth of 
July, they reached the western boundary of Iowa. They continued their course 
up the boundary river until they came to the mouth of the Big Sioux river, 
August 21. Here occurred the only tragic event of the whole voyage, — the 
death of Sergeant Charles Floyd. He was buried on the top of the bluff over- 
looking the river. His comrades marked this pot with a cedar post inscribed 
with his name and the date of his death, and in his memory called it "Floyd's 
Bluff." Here, in 190 1, another generation erected a lofty obelisk to his memory. 
The exploring party continued their course up the Missouri to its source in 
the Rocky mountains, then crossing the divide to the Columbia, they reached 
the shores of the Pacific ocean, November 16, 1805. Their long journey was 
at an end. 

On July 4, 1805, the district of Louisiana became the territory of Louisiana, 
and President Jefferson appointed General James Wilkinson governor. The 
most important events in his administration were the exploration by Lieutenant 
Zebulon Pike, of the upper valley of the Mississippi river, and the estab- 
lishment of Fort Madison in Iowa. The next change was when the people of 
Orleans territory, having organized a state government and named it Louisi- 
ana, and the state being admitted into the Union in April 1812, congress gave 
another name to the territory of Louisiana and called it the territory of Mis- 
souri. William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition was appointed gov- 
ernor and continued in office during the nine years of the existence of the 
territory of Missouri. Edwin Hempstead, a native of Connecticut and a man 
of high character, was chosen delegate to congress. He was especially inter- 
ested in securing legislation for the support of schools. 

On the eighteenth of July, 1812, congress declared war against England. 
The valley of the Mississippi was the scene of incessant warfare. England 
made a desperate effort to keep the Indian trade and the Indian country in the 
West in the hands of the British fur companies. Red men fought against 
each other, now the ally of the British, now the ally of the American. During 
the year 1816, peace was generally established throughout the West. With the 
coming of peace, a great influx of immigration into the territory of Missouri 
followed. The population doubled in five years. 

Illinois became a state, December 3, 1818, much to the dissatisfaction of 
the people of the Missouri territory who had long desired statehood for them- 
selves. They therefore presented a memorial to congress, stating: "That their 
population was but little less than one hundred thousand, was daily increasing 
with a rapidity almost unequalled, and that the territorial limits were too exten- 
sive to admit of a convenient government." They therefore asked that the 
boundaries of the territory be reduced, and that within such new boundaries 
they be allowed to establish a new state. One reason which the people of the 
JNIissouri territory advanced for the reduction of their northern boundary was 
as follows : "The districts of the country that are fertile and susceptible of 
cultivation are small, and separated from each other at great distances by 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 47 

immense plains and barren tracts which must for ages remain waste and 
uninhabited. These frontier settlements can only become important and respect- 
able by being united, and one great object is the formation of an effectual 
barrier against Indian excursions by pushing a strong settlement on the Little 
Platte to the west, and on the Des Moines to the north." Today there is scarcely 
an acre of this land that is not under cultivation and improvement. 

Soon after the presentation of his memorial to congress, a bill authorizing 
the people of Missouri to form a state government was introduced in the house 
of representatives. On February 13, 1819, the bill being under discussion, 
James Tallmadge, Jr., of New York made a motion to prohibit the further 
introduction of slaves into the proposed state, and give freedom to all children 
of slaves born there after the admission of the state into the Union, at the age 
of twenty-five. Heated debates followed. Prohibition of slavery was declared 
unconstitutional. In the senate, Rufus King of New York maintained the con- 
stitutional right and the duty of congress to prohibit slavery in Missouri, 
Having been a member of the convention which framed the coiistitution his 
words carried force and weight. Thomas H. Benton calls them, "the signal 
guns of the controvers)% which was to follow." Yet they were spoken with no 
heat or passion. The house of representatives passed the bill authorizing the 
people of ^Missouri to form a state government but with a provision prohibiting 
further introduction of slavery in its boundary. But the senate refused to con- 
cur in the prohibition of slavery clause, and the whole bill came to naught. 

The territory of Arkansas was formed out of the southern part of the ter- 
ritory of Missouri, and a motion to prohibit slavery in its boundaries, was 
lost in both houses of congress. The whole country became aroused over the 
question. The dark shadows of the Civil war had even now begun to fall. The 
North and the South had begun to take sides against each other. The North 
claimed that the territory of the Louisiana Purchase should be free. The 
South insisted that it shauld be slave, if the people of the territory so desired. 
The question was resumed the next congress. On one side was Charles Pinck- 
ney of South Carolina. Opposed to him was Rufus King of New York. Both 
had been members of the convention that framed the constitution of the United 
States, and now from opposing sides sought to interpret its provisions. The 
Alissouri Compromise with its temporizing measures was passed; and ^lis- 
souri became a state August 12, 1821. 

Upon the admission of the ■" .e of Missouri into the Union, the country 
to the north of that state, and the rest of the Louisiana Purchase was left with- 
out law or government, except the prohibition of slavery and laws to regulate 
the Indian trade. Traders and army officers, however, still carried slaves into 
the territory. 

Iowa at that time, was the home of a few Indian tribes, living in villages 
on the banks of the rivers and streams. All told they were not more than ten 
thousand in number. In the eastern and central part of the state were the 
Sacs and Foxes and lowas. In the western part of the state were the Otoes, 
Pawnees and Omahas. In the north were roving bands of Sioux, ^^'ar and 
the hunt were the chief occupations of the various tribes, although some agri- 



48 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

culture was carried on by the women and old men of the tribes. At Dubuque 
the Indians mined small quantities of lead. 

The Indian trade was monopolized by the American Fur Company, who 
reaped enormous profits therefrom. In spite of the law prohibiting the sale 
of intoxicating liquors in the Indian country, it was smuggled in, to be 
exchanged, together with gaudy trinkets for valuable furs and lead ore. The 
foundations of the Astor millions were made from the profits of this Indian 
trade. 

Congress fostering the rich fur trade of the far west paid little attention 
to the country between the Mississippi and the Missouri. Both President Mon- 
roe and President Jackson in their annual messages to congress suggested that 
this country be made a home for the northern Indians, and recommended the 
removal thereto of the Indian tribes east of the Mississippi, with the estab- - 
lishment of industrial schools for their education. Had these suggestions been 
carried out Iowa would have been a reservation for the Indians of the North, 
similar to what- Indian Territory later became for the Indians of the South. 

But the Indians did not readily take to either civilization or industry. They 
preferred war and the hunt. As their hunting grounds were more or less 
restricted, they often came in conflict. The Sacs and Foxes were the hereditary 
foes of the Sioux and these tribes were in constant warfare. Had the tribes 
remained at peace with each other and with the United States they might have 
for a long time retained their Iowa homes. There was no disposition on the part 
of the United States at that time to acquire their possessions. Large tracts 
of lands east of the Mississippi were still unsettled. There seemed no necessity, 
as there was no demand, for more land to be thrown open to settlement. The 
constant warfare between the tribes, and their general condition, however, made 
it seem best for the United States to intervene. Hoping to promote peace 
between the various tribes and to establish permanent boundaries, Governor 
Clark sent invitations to the various tribes from the Lakes to the Missouri to 
send their chief men to a great council to be held at Prairie du Chien in the sum- 
mer of 1825. 

It was a great gathering. Three thousand were in attendance. The summer 
was s'pent in feasts and councils. At last after many discussions the. warring 
tribes buried the tomahawk; and in the smoke of the peace pipe, one hundred 
and thirty-four chiefs made their mark approving the treaty. The treaty fixed 
the boundaries betfveen the various tribes. No tribe was to hunt upon the ter- 
ritory of another without their assent. 

The dividing line between the Sacs and Foxes and the Sioux, as established 
by the treaty, began at the mouth of the Upper Iowa thence up the river to the 
source of its left fork, thence crossing the Red Cedar in a direct line to the 
upper fork of the Des Moines, near Dakota City in Humboldt county, thence 
in a direct line to the lower fork of the Calumet or Big Sioux, and down that 
river to the Missouri. This line was called the "Neutral Line." 

The Indians, however, could not keep their agreement. "Touching the 
goose quill," as they styled it, meant nothing to them. On the slightest provoca- 
tion they were at war again. The Sioux still made war on the Sacs and Foxes. 

Finallv another council of their chiefs was convened at Prairie du Chien, 




HON. WILLIAM S. KEN YON 
United States Senator from Iowa, elected April 12. 1911 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



AS' C", L- "JOX AND 
TILD rJ FOUNDATIONS. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 49 

July, 1830, and it was decided to erect a barrier between them. On the north 
of the "Neutral Line" the Sioux ceded to the United States a strip twenty miles 
wide, and on the south the Sacs and Foxes ceded a similar strip. This was 
known as "Neutral Grounds" or the "Neutral Strip." The southwest corner 
of this "Neutral Strip" was about four miles below the present city of Fort 
Dodge. Later, in 1833, the "Neutral Strip" was granted by the United States 
to the Winnebagoes in exchange for their lands in Illinois and Wisconsin. Under 
the terms of the same treaty, the Sacs and Foxes together with the lowas, Mis- 
sourias, Omahas, Otoes and bands of Sioux, joined in ceding to the United 
States all their lands lying west of the watershed between the Des Moines and 
Missouri rivers, eastward to the "Neutral Strip" and northward to the present 
state of Minnesota. This was the first cession of Indian land in Iowa. Twenty- 
one years later the Sioux made the last cession, and the Indian title of the land 
of Iowa was extinguished, except the small reservation which is still held by 
the Musquakie in Tama county. Yet Governor Clark, at the Prairie du Chien 
council of 1825, had assured the Indian chiefs, that the "Great Father" wanted 
nothing, "not the smallest piece" of their land. For this title the United States 
paid the Indians a little over eight cents per acre. 

In the popular mind Iowa was still looked upon as barren and uninhabitable. 
The few white men who had "squatted" along its eastern portion were driven 
off by the soldiers and their cabins burned. They were not even permitted to 
work the lead mines at Dubuque. The Black Hawk war, however, was the 
immediate cause of immigration turning to Iowa. At the close of this war the 
Indians were compelled to sell to the United States a large tract of land along 
the Mississippi known as the "Black Hawk Purchase of 1832." On the first 
<lay of June, 1833. the United States troops were withdrawn. Immigration 
rapidly spread over the territory. The settler outran the government surveyor, 
and without law or license staked his claim and awaited the official opening. 
Already the Iowa idea, of "get more land, to raise more corn, to feed more hogs, 
to buy more land," had taken hold of the Iowa farmer. It was the pioneer of 
the highest type that came. Lieutenant Albert Lea, in 1836, writes thus of 
the early Iowa pioneers, "the character of this population is such as is rarely 
found in our newly acquired territories. With very few exceptions, there is 
not a more orderly, industrious, active, painstaking population west of the 
Alleghanies than is this of the Iowa district." Up to this time the white men, 
who had come, w'ere merely adventurers whose sole aim was making money. 
These pioneers came for the purpose of biiilding homes. They brought with 
them American institutions. No sooner had they arrived than they began the 
erection of schools and churches. These pioneers of the thirties had no legis- 
lative-made law in this new country. However, they obeyed the higher law of 
God and applied the precepts of the Golden Rule to their dealings with their 
fellowmen. There were some instances of strife and contention among these 
early settlers for town sites, mill sites, choice belts of timber and best land. 
There was the occasional claim jumper. There was the man, who would have 
completely confirmed Calhoun's idea that the new Iowa country was peopled 
with rascals. These were the exceptions. Good feeling generally prevailed. 
Rules and regulations as to claims were agreed upon in the interest of fair 



50 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY " 

dealings and mutual protection. Moreover, with but few exceptions, these regu- 
lations were kept. As yet, the United States had given these pioneers no title 
to their land. They had simply "squatted" beside stream, or in grove, or 
wherever a pleasant homestead site appeared. In a strict interpretation of the 
law, these "squatters" might be called trespassers. Yet no class of men were 
more law respecting. Since there was no national protection for the claims 
they had staked out, they formed organizations for mutual protection. These 
organizations were called land clubs or claim associations. In all there were 
perhaps about one hundred of these during the time Iowa was in the different 
stages of territorial development. 

Crime was punished and justice was meted out as surely and quickly as 
though there had been regularly appointed courts. The fact that Iowa was a 
sort of "no man's land" did not deter the cause of right from prevailing. An 
instance of this is shown in the trial and execution of Patrick O'Connor for 
the murder of George O'Keefe in Dubuque. The citizens of Dubuque county 
appealed in vain to the governor of Missouri and to the judge of the western 
district of Michigan territory ; but they each claimed it was without their juris- 
diction. A citizen court conducted the trial with deliberation and solemnity. 
A jury was empaneled. All judicial forms were observed. Sentence was pro- 
nounced and the death penalty imposed within a month after the commission 
of the crime — an example of speedy execution of justice. 

In 1834, the territory was attached to the territory of Michigan for tem- 
porary government. The citizens of the Iowa country were given the same 
privileges and immunities and subjected to the same laws as the other citizens 
of Michigan territory. Iowa for the first time became in reality a free terri- 
tory. By the terms of the Missouri Compromise, slavery had been prohibited 
within its borders, yet this prohibition had been a dead letter for fourteen years. 
Slaves had been carried into the territory at will. But this transfer of the Iowa 
country to a free territory caused the importation of slaves to cease. The 
pioneers in Iowa gladly welcomed the change in government. To show their 
appreciation, they made the Fourth of July, 1834, a double holiday. It was in 
honor of this occasion that Nicholas Carroll, an Irishman, who lived in the 
vicinity of Dubuque, first unfurled the Stars and Stripes in Iowa. It is said 
that a black woman, who v;as a slave, superintended the making of this flag. 

Governor Mason called an extra session of the legislative council of Mich- 
igan territory in 1834. At this session the council established the two counties 
of Dubuque and Demoines, and constituted each a township, one Julien, and 
the other Flint Hills (afterwards called Burlington). A county court was pro- 
vided for each county and the laws then in force in Iowa county were extended to 
them. Iowa county at that time, was the nearest organized portion of Michi- 
gan Territory to the new counties. The same judge presided over the three 
counties ; and together they formed what was known as the Iowa District. Later 
the name Iowa was applied to the new territory. The first officers of Dubuque 
county were appointed September 6, 1834. It is said they were men of fine 
character and ability. John King, who was appointed chief justice of the 
county courts, in 1836, established the first newspaper in Iowa, "The Dubuque 
Visitor." The officers of Demoines county were appointed in December, 1834. 




j 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 51 

Like the officers of Dubuque county they were men of ability and strong char- 
acter. WiUiam R. Ross, the county clerk, built in the city of Burlington, a 
Methodist church, which he said, "was free for every order to preach in." This 
was afterward called "Old Zion Church." In it was held the first, second and 
third Legislative Assemblies of the Territory of Iowa. 

Michigan was admitted as a state in 1836 and the Iowa country was again 
without government. For a while there existed a Michigan State and a Mich- 
isran Territorv, due to the fact that the state had a smaller territorial extent 
than the territory. Andrew Jackson appointed John S. Horner, governor of 
the territorv. However, he proved unworthy of the office. A council was 
organized with William Schuyler Hamilton, son of Alexander Hamilton, as 
president. This council by a vote of eight to one, asked President Jackson to 
revoke the commission of Governor Horner. This he declined to do. The 
following plaintive petition was then sent to congress: "Thrown off by Michi- 
gan in the formation of her new state, without an acting governor to enforce 
the laws, without a competent civil jurisdiction to give security to our lives 
and property, we ask the intervention of national aid to give us a new efficient 
political existence. It has been decided by the Federal court, that the popula- 
tion west of the Mississippi are not under its jurisdiction; and the monstrous 
anomaly is presented, that citizens of the United States living in its territory 
should be unprotected by its courts of civil and criminal jurisprudence." 
Congress delayed action. Finally through the persistent efforts of the dele- 
gates of the Michigan Territory, congress at last created the Territorial govern- 
ment of Wisconsin, April 30, 1836. 

The Territory of W^isconsin included the country between Lake Michigan 
and the Missouri and White Earth rivers, north of the state of Illinois and 
Missouri. Provision was made for a legislative body of two houses. Henry 
Dodge was appointed Governor of the new territory. He took the oath of 
office the Fourth of July, 1836 at Mineral Point, at a big celebration, which 
also celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of American independence. A similar 
celebration was held at Dubuque. Here one of the speakers said of Governor 
Dodge, "he has been our leader through two Indian wars, and is now governor 
of the Territory and superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northwest. His 
experience as a frontier man and Indian fighter has pointed him out for these 
responsible positions." 

George W. Jones was chosen the first territorial delegate to congress, and 
continued in office until the formation of Iowa Territory. The first legislative 
assembly fixed upon ]\Iadison as the capital of the new Territory with a proviso 
that a second session and also a special session were to be held at Burlington in 
Des Moines county. At this session Demoines was divided into the counties 
of Lee, Van Buren, Des Moines, Henry, Louisa, Muscatine and Cook, — the 
last named was afterwards changed to Scott. 

The first legislative assembly ever held on what is now Iowa soil was in 
Burlington in the year 1837. At this session the county of Dubuque was divided 
into the counties of Clayton, Fayette, Dubuque, Delaware, Buchanan, Jack- 
son, Jones, Linn, Benton, Clinton, Scott, Cedar, Johnson and Keokuk. But 
the people of the Iowa country were not long satisfied to be a part of the Wis- 



52 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

cousin Territory. They had an inherent longing for a government of their 
own. The very first day, that the legislative assembly convened, a convention 
also met to approve a petition to congress demanding the organization of a 
separate territory. The petition was approved by both the convention and the 
legislative assembly. It was sent to General George W. Jones the delegate in 
congress. He at once began to work for the establishment of a territorial gov- 
ernment for the Iowa people, although he lived on the east side of the Missis- 
sippi river, and if successful in his efforts would remain a citizen of Wiscon- 
sin. At this time there was considerable dispute over what the new territory 
should be named. The names Washington, Jefferson and Iowa were most 
strongly advocated. After much discussion in the convention the name Iowa 
w-as decided upon. It is also interesting to note how the people of Iowa came 
to be called "Hawkeyes." "The Fort Madison Patriot," in the year 1836, 
published the following: "If a division of the territory is effected we propose 
that the lowans take the cognomen of "Hawkeyes :" — our etymology can thus 
be more definitely traced than that of 'Wolverines,' 'Suckers,' and 'Hoosiers' 
and we can rescue from oblivion at least a memento of the old chief." Through 
the diplomacy of George W. Jones, a bill establishing Iowa Territory passed 
both houses of congress and was signed by President Van Buren to take effect 
July 4, 1838. A census taken May of that year gave Iowa Territory a popula- 
tion of 21,859. President Van Buren selected Brigadier-General Henry Atkin- 
son to be the first governor of Iowa Territory. This choice was made because 
of his intimate acquaintance with Indian Affairs in the Mississippi valley. But 
General Atkinson preferred to retain his position as commander of the west- 
ern division of the army and declined the oftice. The president then appointed 
Robert Lucas. His commission was dated, July 17, 1838. 

Robert Lucas seemed to have a genius for pioneering. He was born and 
brought up in a pioneer settlement in A^rginia. Wlien a young man he moved 
to a frontier settlement in Ohio. In his fifty-seventh year he had the courage 
to go forth again into a new country. Robert Lucas had been twnce governor 
of Ohio and was well fitted for moulding the government of a new territory. 
On his way to Iowa, Governor Lucas stopped at Cincinnati, to purchase a 
library for the new territory, for which purpose five thousand dollars had been 
appropriated by the Organic Act of the Territory of Iowa. "• It was here that 
he made the acquaintance of Theodore S. Parvin, who came west with him, 
and for a while acted as his private secretary. Parvin was one of the founders 
of the Masonic order of Iowa, and was Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge 
of the state for many years. He was largely instrumental in the founding of 
the Masonic Library at Cedar Rapids the largest of its kind in the world. 
The first official act of Governor Lucas w'as the choosing of Burlington as the 
capital of the Territory. The election to choose members to the First Legis- 
lative Assembly was held September 10, 1838. This Assembly consisting of 
thirty-nine members convened in the "Old Zion Church" at Burlington, Novem- 
ber 12, 1838. 

On the first day of the session. Governor Lucas read his message to the 
legislature, a message which was in many respects in advance of his time. In 
it, he declared that the rights and immunities of the Ordinance of 1787 belonged 




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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 53 

to Iowa. He urged the compilation of a complete code of laws for the Terri- 
tory, the establishment of a system of common schools, the necessity of a code 
of criminal law, the organization of an efficient militia for defense against pos- 
sible Indian attacks and the appointment of three commissioners to choose a 
permanent seat of government. He arranged the two vices, gambling and 
intemperance, in the severest terms. He said, "Could you in your wisdom 
devise w^ays to check the progress of gambling and intemperance in this terri- 
tory, you will perform an act which would immortalize your names and entitle 
3'ou to the gratitude of posterity." In speaking of appointments he said, "I shall 
at all time pay a due respect to recommendations but cannot conscien- 
tiously nominate to office any individual of bad moral character or that may be 
addicted to intemperance or gambling if known to me." This w^as a bold doc- 
trine to preach to a body of men, many of whom w^ere themselves addicted to 
these vices. "Strict economy but not parsimony" was the financial policy of 
Governor Lucas. 

The members of the first legislative assembly were for the -most part young 
men. Over a third of them were under thirty years of age. Governor Lucas 
was past the prime of life. The disparity in the ages of Governor Lucas and 
the members of the legislature was the cause of many disagreements. Governor 
Lucas felt that on account of their youth the judgment of the legislators could 
not be trusted. This circumstance coupled with the fact that the Organic Act 
of Iowa had put an absolute veto into the hands of- the governor, — a veto, 
which sometimes was used too arbitrarily — made a wide breach between the 
legislators and the chief executive. So intense did the dissatisfaction become, 
that at one time, the legislature sent a petition to the President of the United 
States, asking the removal of Governor Lucas. Their petition however, was 
refused and Governor Lucas remained in office until a change in the politics 
of the national administration made necessary the appointment of a whig. 

The first legislative assembly for the most part adopted the recommenda- 
tions of Governor Lucas. A commission was appointed to select a new site 
for the capital, somewhere nearer the center of population than Burlington. 
This commission later chose Iowa City. The code prepared by the assembly 
covered all the ordinary subjects of legislation. Considering their lack of experi- 
ence, their work was remarkably well done. The only discreditable act was the 
one concerning the rights of the negro to settle in the territory. In this law 
the prevailing prejudice against the negro is shown. No free negro could 
move into Iowa without giving bond of five hundred dollars for his good 
behavior. If he failed to do this, his service could be sold to the highest bidder. 
It also provided that an escaped slave should not be harbored but should be 
returned to his owner. Any slave holder was authorized to come into Iowa 
Territory to procure the arrest and the surrender to him, by an Iowa officer, 
of any slave who had escaped from bondage and sought freedom on the Iowa 
soil. 

In pleasing contrast to this, however, is the attitude shown by the supreme 
court of Iowa in the case of Ralph, a colored man. Ralph had been a slave in 
Missouri, and had belonged to a man named Montgomery. His master had 
made a written contract with him to sell him his freedom for five hundred and 



54 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

fifty dollars, and to permit him to go to the Dubuque lead mines to earn the 
money. Ralph worked industriously for several years, but was unable to earn 
enough to pay the price of his freedom. Two Virginians, who knew of this 
agreement, volunteered to deliver Ralph to his former owner for one hundred 
dollars. Montgomery accepted the offer. Ralph was seized and taken to Belle- 
vue to be sent by steamer to jMissouri. Alexander Butterworth, who had seen 
the kidnapping, hastened to the office of Thomas S. Wilson, one of the judges 
of the supreme court, and demanded a writ of habeas corpus, which Judge 
Wilson promptly granted. By this nieans, Ralph was returned to Dubuque. 
The case was brought before the first supreme court of Iowa for trial. The 
members of this tribunal were Judge Charles Alason, chief justice, and Judge 
Joseph Williams and Judge Thomas S. Wilson, associate justices. After a 
full hearing, the court unanimously decided, that Montgomery's contract with 
Ralph, whereby he was permitted to become a citizen of a free territory, liber- 
ated him, as slavery did not, and could not exist in Iowa. This opinion was 
just the reverse of the famous Dred Scott Decision given by the United States 
supreme court eighteen years later. 

In his message to the second legislative assembly, which met November 4, 
1839, at Burlington, Governor Lucas recommended the passage of an act pro- 
viding for the calling of a convention to form a state constitution. The legis- 
lature adopted this recommendation, and a proposition calling a constitutional 
convention, was submitted to the vote of the people at the next election. But 
the people of Iowa Territory did not feel quite ready to shoulder the expenses 
and burdens of statehood and the proposition was defeated, by a vote of 937 
for and 2,907 against. 

At the third legislative assembly, which convened in Burlington, November 
2, 1840, several new offices of importance were created, one of them being the 
ofifice of superintendent of public instruction. William Reynolds was the first 
appointee to this office. 

The election of President Harrison, the first national whig victory, was 
followed in Iowa by rapid changes in federal appointments. Governor Lucas, 
who was a democrat, was succeeded by a whig, John Chambers of Kentucky. 
Governor Chambers was a native of New Jersey. During his childhood, his 
parents moved to Kentucky. Here he grew to manhood, and served several 
terms in the Kentucky legislature. Later he represented that state in congress. 
He was a warm personal friend of William Henry Harrison. Governor Cham- 
bers brought to the governorship of the Territory of Iowa, the mature judg- 
ment of a man past three score years, together with a wide experience in state 
and national affairs. As superintendent of Indian Affairs of Iowa Territory, 
an office held in connection with his governorship, he was most successful in 
conducting the aff'airs of the office and negotiated a number of notable treaties 
with the Indians. During his administration the Sacs and Foxes ceded all their 
lands in central Iowa, and agreed to remove to Kansas. This cession was made 
September, 1842, and with the throwing open to settlement of this large tract, 
immigration to the Des Moines valley began. 

Iowa was fortunate in the selection of her territorial delegates. Like the 
governors they proved men of ability. William A. Chapman, the first delegate 



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THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 55 

to congress, was elected in 1838. Through his efforts Iowa territory secured 
a grant of 500,000 acres as an appropriation for improvements. The income 
from this was afterwards devoted to school purposes. In the controversy with 
the state of Missouri over the southern boundary line, he ably defended the 
claims of Iowa Territory against the encroachment of her southern neighbor. 
His successor, Augustus Caesar Dodge, was the first man, born in the Louisiana 
Purchase, to sit in congress. His services were of great value in securing pre- 
emption rights of settlers, extending surveys of the public lands, establishing 
mail routes, postoffices, and a land ofifice at Iowa City, and in obtaining a land 
grant for the purpose of aiding the territory to improve the navigation of the 
Des ]\Ioines river ; a grant which afterwards caused the river land troubles. 
It was largely through his etTorts that the difficulties, over the admission of 
Iowa Territory to statehood, were adjusted. The city of Fort Dodge received 
its name from Augustus Caesar Dodge and his father Henry Dodge, who respec- 
tively at the same time represented in congress the territory of Iowa and the 
territory of Wisconsin. 

Governor Chambers in his message to the fourth legislative assembly, which 
convened in Iowa City in 1841, renewed the recommendations of Governor Lucas 
concerning statehood. Upon submission to the people in 1847, the proposition 
was again defeated. Two years later it was submitted for the third time, and 
this time carried by a vote of nearly two to one'. The constitutional conven- 
tion met at Iowa City, October 7, 1844, and continued in session until November 
r. The general sentiment of the convention was an favor of creating a large 
state with the Missouri river as the western boundary and St. Peter's river 
as the northern. An extension to include the Falls of St. Anthony was also 
advocated. "The State of Iowa," it was said, "could not have too much water 
power." The boundaries as finally settled upon were the Mississippi river on 
the east, the state of Missouri on the south, the ^Missouri river to the mouth of 
the Sioux river on the west, and thence in a direct line from the mouth of the 
Sioux river to the mouth of the Blue Earth river, thence down the St. Peter's 
river to the Mississippi on the northwest and north. 

Unexpectedly the question of boundaries became the bone of contention, 
first in congress and afterwards in Iowa. In haste for admission into the Union, 
the constitution, accompanied by a memorial asking admission, were presented 
to congress in December, 1844, nearly three months before the vote was to be 
taken. Congress objected to the boundaries as prescribed by the constitution 
as creating too large a state. The annexation of Texas, with a proviso for 
forming four additional states out of it, was then pending. The northern 
members felt that more free states should be created to keep the balance of 
power between the North and the South. In the house of representatives the 
larger boundaries were supported by the delegate from the territory, A. C. 
Dodge. The delegates from Ohio advocated keeping Iowa about the size of 
their state. Samuel F. Vinton in a speech declared that, "it was the true inter- 
est of the people of the JNIississippi valley, that new states should be of rea- 
sonable dimensions." He appealed to the western members "'to check that legis- 
lation, which had heretofore deprived the West of its due representation in 
the senate." The result of these debates was to reduce the proposed bound- 



56 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

aries. The bill for statehood as finally passed fixed the western boundary at 
about the present site of the city of Des jMoines, while the northern boundary 
extended to the Blue Earth river. Assent to this reduction of boundaries was 
made a condition of the admission of the state into the Union. When that 
assent was given, the president was to announce the fact, and the admission 
of Iowa into the Union was to be considered complete. It was arranged that 
Florida should be admitted at the same time as Iowa. Florida, a slave state, 
had been waiting seven years to have a free state ready to come into the Union 
with it; and now that Iowa applied for admission, it was arranged that^he 
two states should come into the Union together under the same act. Iowa 
rejected the condition imposed by congress and remained a territory. Even 
Texas was annexed before Iowa came in. Strong as was their desire to come 
into the Union, the desire for large boundaries conquered. It was in vain that 
Augustus Caesar Dodge, fearing the predominance of the slave states in con- 
gress, plead with them to accept the restricted boundaries and thus add another 
free state to the Union. As a vote for the constitution would involve assent 
to the boundaries enacted by congress, the people voted against the constitu- 
tion by a majority of 996 votes, and the governor by proclamation announced 
its rejection. 

In his message to the seventh legislative assembly Governor Chambers, advised 
the calling of another constitutional convention. The assembly, however, in 
chagrin and vexation, passed a law, over the governor's veto, to submit the rejected 
constitution to another election, with a sophistical proviso, that, "its ratification 
was not to be construed as an adoption of the boundaries proposed by congress." 
The people were still confused over the issue and rather than go wrong, again 
rejected the constitution, this time by a vote of 7,235 for and 7,656 against. 

On the eighteenth of November, 1845, by the appointment of President Polk, 
James Clarke succeeded John Chambers as governor of the territory. Clarke 
was a native of Pennsylvania, but had come to Burlington in 1837 and established 
the "Iowa Territorial Gazette."' The paper continues to the present day, the 
oldest newspaper now published in Iowa. The eighth legislative assembly of 
Iowa Territory convened December i, 1845. It submitted to the people the 
question of another convention to frame a constitution. The people voted in 
favor of holding such a convention ; and the convention met ]\Iay 4, 1846. A com- 
promise as to boundaries was agreed upon. Congress repealed its former action, 
and in lieu of the boundaries it had prescribed, gave Iowa the Missouri and Big 
Sioux rivers as her western boundary, and the parallel of forty-three degrees 
and thirty minutes as the northern boundary. These constitute the boundaries 
of the present state of Iowa. The constitutional convention in defining bound- 
aries used the identical wording of the act of congress. Upon submission to 
the vote of the people the constitution was adopted by a vote of 9,492 for and 
9,036 against. The election, under the new state constitution, was held October 
26, 1846. Ansel Briggs, a Vermont Yankee, a stage driver, a democrat, and a 
hater of banks and banking was elected the first governor of the state of Iowa. 
The first general assembly convened November 30, 1846, and on December 3, the 
territorial organization gave way to that of the state. 

December 15, 1846, the delegates from the territory of Iowa presented the 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 57 

constitution of the new state to congress, and on the twenty-eighth of the same 
month, President Polk signed the bill by which "The state of Iowa was admitted 
and received into the Union." Thus Iowa, the twenty-ninth state in the Union 
and the fourth state created out of the Louisiana Purchase, became the "First 
free state in the Louisiana Purchase." 



CHAPTER VI 
THE COMING OF THE WHITE MAN 

"the dragoons' trail" THROUGH WEBSTER COUNTY IN 1848 THE LOTT TRAGEDY 

GOVERNMENT SURVEYS THE FIRST SETTLERS REV. JOHN JOHNS THE FIRST 

MARRIAGE, BIRTH AND DEATH MARKING THE GRAVE OF MRS. LOTT 

POPULATION IN 1853. 

The first white men upon the soil of Webster county, — at least so far as we 
have any historic records, — were an exploring party of the First United States 
Dragoons, who passed through the country in 1835. The Dragoons were a mil- 
itary organization created by Congress in March, 1833. They were enlisted from 
nearly every state in the Union. Their commanding officer was Colonel Henry 
Dodge. The Lieutenant Colonel was Stephen W. Kearney. One of the captains 
was Nathan Boone, and Albert M. Lea w^as a lieutenant. The rendezvous w^as 
Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis. Four distinct exploring expeditions were 
made by the dragoons. The first was from Jeft'erson Barracks to Fort Gibson. 
The second was from Fort Gibson to the Pawnee village on the Red river and 
back. The third was from Fort Gibson to Fort Des ']Moines in Lee county, Iowa ; 
and the fourth was from Fort Des ]\Ioines to Wabashaw's village in ]\Iinnesota 
and back. It was this last expedition in the year 1835 that passed through what 
is now \\'ebster county on its return trip. It was a march of 1,100 miles by 
Companies "B," "H" and "I," under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Kearney. 
On June 7, 1835, this detachment left Fort Des Moines and marched between the 
Des !\Ioines and Skunk rivers to near the mouth of Boone river. Then taking 
a northeasterly course they arrived at Wabashaw's village on the Mississippi 
river in [Minnesota. After remaining here about a week the company marched 
westw^ardly. Then taking a southerly course they reentered Iowa in Kossuth 
county and reached the Des Moines river. Here at the close of the day's march, 
Monday, August 3, 1835, they camped near the present site of Rutland in Hum- 
boldt county. The next day they marched some twenty miles and this time made 
camp on the North Lizard creek in Webster county. Descending the river on its 
western side the dragoons reached Fort Des jNIoines August 19, 1835, without a 
case of sickness or the loss of a single horse or man. 

Fifteen years later this same route was followed by another body of United 
States soldiers on their way north to establish a fort at the mouth of the Lizard 
creek, and which afterwards became the fort and city of Fort Dodge. A few 
years more and tne stage line followed the same path, which by this time had 
become known among the early settlers as the "Dragoons' Trail." 

Records of this expedition of the First United States Dragoons have survived 

Vol. 1—5 

59 



60 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

in several geographical names in Iowa. Lieutenant Lea afterwards published 
an account of his observations under the title of "Notes on Wisconsin Territory." 
In this work he christened that part of the country lying west of the Mississippi 
river the "Iowa District." His account of the richness and beauty of the upper 
Des jMoines country no. doubt had much to do with turning the attention of the 
immisfrant and settler toward Iowa. 



*t>' 



THROUGH W^EBSTER COUNTY IN 1848 

Among the papers of the late Edwin Goddard of Keosauqua, Iowa, there was 
found a part of a journal descriptive of a journey along the Upper Des Moines 
valley in the year 1848. The author is unknown, yet the journal is valuable for 
the minute description which it gives of the country at that early date. 

The opening lines of the journal give January 28, 1848, at nine o'clock in the 
morning as the time of leaving Fort Des Moines. The party consisted of three, 
the unknown author, A. Randall, and a man by the name of Lott. They 
followed the river very closely in their journey. The journal mentions the party 
as having reached Mineral Ridge in Boone county, and then makes the first men- 
tion of Webster county, which they entered one mile north of the Ridge, at the 
township corners of townships 85 and 86, ranges 26 and 27. The trip through 
Webster county is best described in the language of the writer, who says : 

"One mile north of the Ridge the prairie again stretches several miles west 
toward the Des Moines river. It is flat and has a great number of ponds, and the 
rout is many times circuatous, at about 4 miles from the Ridge past an elevated 
mound 2^2 or 3 miles east in the flat prairie at 5 miles prairie runs up to bluff 
150 feet high generally not so abrupt as to prevent the growth of timber on it. 
The prairie bear a N. E. course from this bluff', the river here lunning S. S. W. 
fine looking prairie both bottom and bottom and upland on the opposite side 
interspersed with groves of good timber fine spring along the Bluffs one mile 
north of this place is the mouth of the East fork, or Boons, or as called on some 
maps Cottonwood, River, not so large as Racoon river probably makes I/4 of the 
Des Moines below it. On the Bottom above the mouth of this stream are two 
considerable mounds supposed to be artificial one of an oblong shape the Bottoms 
are from one half to one mile in wedth then the bluff rising to the level of the 
prairie so steep that it is not convenient to ride up them. About one half mile 
above the East fork on the E. side of the desMoines is the furthes up that any 
settlement has been made. Henry Lott settled here in the spring of 46 and was 
robbed by the Sioux Indians in the latter part of that year and has abandoned 
it for the present. On the top of the ridge east of the house where Lott lived is 
a level prairie. I think it is one of the prettyest I have seen on the river, it is 
dry so what (lower) in the middle and has the best quality of timber around it. 
North after crossing a narrow belt of timber the prairie stretches of N. E. between 
a small creek and the East fork. The prairie appear to be good with fewer ponds. 
Above Lotts 2 miles is the mouth of a creek 20 feet wide falling into the Des 
Moines, on the creek near the mouth the Sioux Indians robbed Henry Nothing- 
ton and Boman last fall. On mile farther up the river at the foot of a steep 
hill 175 feet high is the line of the Neutral Land the present location of the 
Winebago tribe of Indians. The course of River south on west side from ^ to ^ 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 61 

wide but little timber on the bottom — back from river said to be of first rat 
quality extending 3 or 4 miles west, one and a half miles further north the 
River make a great bend to the west. Prairie bears N. E. up brushy creek. This 
prairie is of better quality than any I have seen above the fork of Coon and Des 
Moines considering its extent, though it would generally be thought to wet in 
many places for cultivation. 

"There are many desirable locations around this prairie for making farms the 
best quality of oak timber around the head of the ravines, all of which are 
abundently supplied with springs. At a point 9 or 10 miles above the Neutral 
line the prairie bears off N. W. where we presume the mouth of Lizard to be we 
will see however when we reach it. All the points round this prairie with but few 
exceptions present fair prospects for settlements The only thing objectionable is 
the number of little ponds met with the moment yoti leave the timber in many 
parts of the country. The River timber here is from 2 to 5 miles wide in most 
places and of good quality. After leaving the point last spoken of we come some 
5 or 6 miles N. W. to this point and camped at the hed of ravine at the timber, 
quite a handsome location for a farm provided a man wished to make one here. 
"July 1st, 1848. This morning we visited the river from which we are now 
about one mile. The bottom on this side is not more than y^ of a mile wide blufif 
on the west side washed by the river. Here on a small Brook at an elevation of 
80 feet above the river is deposits of Plaster Paris to the depth of 18 or 20 feet 
which appear to be of good quality it is found in abundance on both sides of the 
river and appears to be inexhaustible. The place may be known by a bluff on the 
west side that has been nearly cut away by a brook the lower end is elevated from 
the river about 30 feet, and up the river it rises abruptly present an appearance 
of coal and Iron (bank) on that point is the (nearest plaster) that is found to 
the river. The river at this point runs S. S. E. is about 250 or 300 feet wide from 
on to 2 feet deep brisk current, handsom banks and bottom, by a more minute 
exanrination the Gypsum is found to extend farther up the brook on the East said 
(side) and compose quite bluffs on each side of the same som places to the 
height of 20 feet. A strata of soft sandstone lies a few feet below. The ridge 
between the Brook & the river is flat and rich covered with a growth of hickory 
Lind Black Walnut red oak & about the bluff's Lind white walnut sugar tree Iron- 
wood. On top of flat white oak and near prairie bur oak & hickory. The Soil is 
better here than general in timber and is mostly covered with pea vine and other 
vegetation denoting good soil. 

"July 2nd. After making more thorough examination of the Plaster Paris 
this morning which we find more abundant than had been anticipated, we travel 
N. W'. 3 miles and passing two points of timber on our left a high grove on the 
right, we strike the Des Moines bearing S. 30° E. this we suppose to be the 
point at which the centre line of the Neutral Ground crosses the river, on its 
continuation towards Lake Boyer. Round the points and the curves in the timber 
are some of the most desirable locations for farms that I have met with on the 
DesMoines. The prairie rises buti fully from the timber Surface undulating but 
very few of those basins or ponds so commonly met with farther South. The 
soil is dry and rich and the timber adjoining of the quality of white Bur and Red 
oak, some hickory, good water is found in all the points of timber. 



62 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

"The prairie here runs up on both sides to the margin of the river, where 
it slopes down to the waters edge making a bank of from i8 to 25 feet high to 
the level of the bottom, the bottom are from 3 to 600 yards wide generally rising 
back towards the hills dry & suitable for cultivation, the hills back of this rise 
from 75 to 90 or 100 feet but not so abruptly as to prevent travelling any direc- 
tion over them. 

"The scenery at this place is the finest I have seen on the river from the hills 
the Des Moines is to be seen for 3 miles winding its course through the green 
prairie, with a stripe of a deeper hue immeat the edge of the water. The current 
is brisk but not rapid width 250 to 300 feet, opposite where we touched the river 
is a bluff of dark courled slat or shale w'ith a small grove of timber extending a 
short distance back, the prairie here bears N. W. we north to point one mile The 
prairie here bears west to river which makes a considerable bend west. N. 
some West over rolling dry prairie strike the river from north one mile along 
prairie bottom on both sides reach a rocky Branch 12 or 15 feet wide not much 
water, above this a low bluff sets in on the side for ^ mile limestone from 20 to 
30 feet high, west side prairie timber between the bluff and creek back some dis- 
tance, here prairie comes again to the river for ^ mile cours N. to a point of 
timber into prairie Timber on west side of river running out some distance, 
from description must be the place where the Sioux Indians murdered the Dela- 
wares in 1841. one mile strike river at the head of prairie bottom at a rapid where 
the river fall probably 2 feet in 100 yards over a bed of limestone, open prairie 
on the west and a sandstone bluff timber as far as we can se upon this side. 
Think the East fork must be within a few miles. 

"From here we followed a north west cours struck timber at the distance 
of }i. of a mile and a Brook 8 or 10 feet wide from N. E. and one half mile 
travel north brought us to the mouth of Lizard creek a small stream from the west* 
from 30 to 50 feet wnde near the or at the mouth surrounded wath high hills and 
limestone bed and banks to the height of several feet. This is a good mill stream 
and in the afternoon as we traveled over the hills considerable bodies of timber 
were perceptible on and about in vally. 

"Cours from here N. E. at i/4 mile bluff' approaches river at 130 feet high 
sand stone shale, and here the plaster paris again makes it appearance though not 
in such quantities as below. After ascending the bluff' and passing 14 ^^^^ over a 
flat rich soil well timbered wnth Bur and red oak. Elm, Lind hackberry & some 
sugar tree a butiful prairie of small extent streches of East rich dry and level 
surrended except the S. E. end with the kind of timber spoken of of all the 
desirable places I have seen this I think excels We passed the west end and con- 
tinuing our course through the woods one mile struck the open prairie, con- 
siderable timber off east on the head of brook passt below the mouth of Lizard. 
"July 3d 1848. Start at 10 o'clock persue a N. E. course over the bluff through 
timber the bluff is some 40 feet high the lind (land) running back level as far 
as we could se for the thick growth of timber, good soil, covered with a 
tolerable growth of Red & Bur oak Elm hickory some lind & Ironwood small 
brook from the East rocky bottom but little water. 2 miles cross river and leave 
bottom course north over dry rolling prairie Timljer at points on E side of river 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 63 

and at 3 miles appear to be a small creek falling in from east, could not tell the 
size. About 5 miles reach the Moingonan or Brother fork it is difficult to tell 
at the junction which is the larger of the two rivers." 

So far as Webster county is concerned, there is nothing further in the journal. 



THE LOTT TRAGEDY 

By C. L. Lucas 

Of all the men who acted a part in the early settlement of the Des Aloines 
valley, there is no name around wdiich clusters so much thrilling history as that 
of Henry Lott. Much has been said and written about him and his troubles 
and conflicts with the Sioux Indians, and the death of his wife and son, that are 
more or less conflicting, and as time goes on these divergent stories seem to become 
more numerous. 

• In writing up a sketch of history, great care should be taken to get the facts 
just as they occurred, without additions or subtractions. If this were done there 
would be but few conflicting stories going the rounds, and disputes about them 
would be seldom heard. 

Henry Lott was born in the state of Pennsylvania and grew to manhood and 
was married there. His wife was a widow named, Huntingdon, and was the 
mother of a son by her first husband, who acted a very prominent part in the 
subsequent history of the Lott family. By the second marriage another son was 
born whose untimely death, and the facts that surround it, make up the chief theme 
of this story. 

We first heard of Lott in Iowa, in the spring of 1843, ^^ which time he 
was acting the role of an Indian trader at Red Rock, in what is now Alarion 
county, Iowa. At that place, it is said, he did a thriving business until the nth 
of October, 1845, ^^ which date, according to the treaty of 1842, the Sac and 
Fox Indians bid adieu to Iowa, and moved beyond the Missouri river. 

So well pleased was Lott with his success as an Indian trader that in the 
summer of 1846 he moved north from Red Rock, and located on the North bank 
of Boone river, near its mouth. Here he expected to carry on a thriving business 
in traffic with the Sioux Indians, but for some reason he did not get along so 
smoothly with them as he did with the Sacs and Foxes at Red Rock. There are 
no less than three reasons set forth as the origin of the trouble between Lott and 
Si-dom-i-na-do-tah and his band of Sioux Indians. 

The author of the Historic Atlas, in his sketch of Humboldt county, states 
that the Sioux chief informed Lott that he was an intruder; that he had settled 
on the Sioux hunting grounds, and that he gave Lott a certain time to get ofT. 
That his refusal to go by the time set brought on the raid upon his family and 
stock. The Union Historical company, in their sketch of the Indian chiefs of 
Iowa, make the same statement. 

If the Sioux chief made this statement to Lott, he either uttered a falsehood, or 
else he did not know what he w^as talking about. Lott may have been a bad man, 
but he was not an intruder, nor had he located upon the Sioux hunting grounds. 



64 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

According to W. S. Tanner's map, published in 1838, the Sioux hunting grounds 
did not extend farther than the upper forks of the Des Moines river, at least 
thirty miles north of where Lott had located. 

Ex-Lieutenant Governor B. F. Gue, in his "Historic Sketch of Iowa," says 
that Lett's cabin was the headquarters of a band of horse thieves, who stole 
horses from the settlers in the valley below the mouth of Boone river, and ponies 
from the Indians above it. and that they ran them across the state east to the 
Mississippi river, and sold them. Mr. Gue seems to think that it was this wrong- 
ful taking of the Indian ponies that brought the wrath of Si-dom-i-na-do-tah and 
his painted warriors upon the Lott family. There is still another traditional story 
to the effect that Lott had sold the Indians whiskey, upon which they became 
intoxicated and while in that state the destruction of the property and the death 
of two innocent members of the family was the result of their acts of cruelty. 

Amid these conflicting statements it is next to impossible to get at the exact 
cause which brought about the trouble, but it is certain that the horrible attack was 
made, and that, too, by a band of Sioux Indians who were miles beyond the 
borders of their hunting grounds, and intruders upon territory already ceded to 
the United States by the Sac and Fox Indians, and open for settlement. 

No statement has been made as to the manner in which the attack was made, 
but it is safe to conclude that the savage warriors were painted in their usual 
hideous style, and that as they approached the cabin the stillness of the moment 
was broken by their piercing yells which never fail to send terror to the hearts of 
their defenseless victims. Lott told Doras Eslick, who settled near the scene 
of this horror a few years later, that he concealed himself across the river and 
watched the Indians destroy his property for a while, but as he could do nothing 
in the way of defending his family or property against a whole band of Indians, 
he and his stepson, a youth about sixteen years old. fled to the nearest settlement to 
obtain help. This left the wife and twelve year old son alone. The Indians 
ordered this twelve year old boy to catch all the horses on the place and deliver 
them over, on the penalty of death. This so frightened the. poor boy that he 
fled terror stricken down the Des Moines river and was never seen alive again. 
The poor wife and mother was now left alone to the mercy of the savage war- 
riors. Some say she fled into the thick timber to escape the tomahawk, while 
others say she remained in the cabin and piteously offered her plea for mercy. 
Be this as it may, her life for some reason was spared by the Indians, so far as 
actual violence was concerned, but the shock upon her nervous system, and the 
grief and exposure she suffered, carried her off within a week or so later. 

It was three days before Lott returned from the settlements below with 
twenty-six friendly Indians belonging to Johnny Green's tribe of Musquawkies 
and Pottawattamies, then camped on the river below Elk Rapids, and seven of the 
white settlers. The names of those settlers were Dr. Spears, who lived on a claim 
near where the Rees coal shaft is situated, and John Pea and Jacob Pea, his son, 
James Hull and William Hull of Pea's Point, and John M. Crooks and W^illiam 
Crooks, who lived on the Myers farm south of Boone. 

When these settlers and the twenty-six friendly Indians reached the mouth 
of the Boone river they found that Si-dom-i-na-do-tah, after plundering the 
cabin and killing and wounding some of Lott's cattle, had retreated up the valley 
with his plunder and all the horses he could lay hands on, and was now at a safe 




MR8. HENRY LOTT MONUMENT 

First white woman settler in Webster Connty. Died from exposnre iu 

Indian raid — Buried Vegor's cemetery, Webster township. 

Erected by Old Settlers Picnic Ass-ociation of Bell's 

Mill, September 9, 1911 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 65 

distance. Thev found ]Mrs. Lott in a sorrowful condition, more dead than alive. 
She liad been left alone nearly three days in that wild country, not knowing what 
had become of the rest of the family, nor what moment the Indians would return 
to the cabin. We can never know how crushing was the grief and sorrow that 
fell to the lot of this poor w^oman during those three lonely days and nights, with 
no one to administer to her wants, or speak to her a word of cheer. In a short 
time death came to her relief, and she was laid to rest on the Boone river bluff 
and her grave is pointed out unto this day. 

Finding that their services were not needed, the twenty-six friendly Indians 
and all of the settlers except John Pea returned home. He remained behind to 
assist Lott and his stepson in caring for the sick wife and mother, and in finding 
Milton Lott. the twelve year old son, who had fled down the river. 

It was the middle of December, 1846, when the raid was made upon the 
family ; the weather was cold and the river was frozen over. There was snow 
both upon the ice and on the ground and they followed the boy's tracks. He was 
thinlv clad when he left home and without doubt suffered with cold from the 
start. Henry Lott. the father, and John Pea followed his tracks until they 
reached a point about forty rods below the mouth of a little creek which comes 
into the Des Moines river a short distance below the village of Centerville, where 
they found the dead body of the unfortunate boy, stiff" and still in the embrace 
of the piercing frost. At this place he had attempted to climb the bench that 
separates the lower and upper bottoms, but was so benumbed with cold that he fell 
backward and was unable to rise again. Xot having any way to convey the body 
to any of the settlements, they decided to place it in a hollow log which they 
found near by and close the entrance with timbers so as to prevent the wild 
animals from molesting it until such time as a burial in the proper way could take 
place. The date on which the body was found was December 18, 1846. 

The body remained in the log until the 14th of January, 1847, almost a month 
from the time it was placed there. Henry Lott, the father, came down from 
Boone river to Pea's Point on the 13th to attend the burial of his son. The 
14th was Sunday; the weather had moderated and the day was warm and beau- 
tiful ; warmer by many degrees than the day on which the poor boy met his death. 
At this date the county was not organized and there was not an established 
road in its borders. With axes, spades and guns, the men set out from Pea's 
Point afoot for the place of burial, a distance of eight miles. The names of 
those making up the number who attended the funeral were John Pea, Sr., John 
,Pea, Jr., Jacob Pea, Thomas Sparks, John V^. Crooks. William Crooks and Henry 
Lott, the father of the boy. On arriving at the place where the body had been 
left, a part of the men were detailed to dig the grave, while the rest of them felled 
a tree, out of which they hewed enough of small pieces to construct a rude coffin. 
The body was then taken from the hollow log, a sheet was wrapped around it, 
and it was then lowered into the grave ; dirt was then thrown in, the grave was 
filled and the little mound was rounded up. It was a funeral without ceremonial 
word. There was no scripture read ; there was no prayer uttered and no hymn 
sung ; but there were tears in the eyes of those pioneers who stood around the 
grave of Milton Lott and paid their last tribute of respect to him. 

The tree near the grave on wdiich the boy's name was cut has long since 
yielded to the woodman's axe. No stone was set or stake driven to preserve the 



66 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUXTY 

identity of the spot. As time passed on the little mound was brought to a level 
with the surrounding surface and the identity of the grave was lost and forgotten. 

After the death of his wife and son, Lott gathered up what property the 
Indians had left him and moved south to the settlements. He built a cabin on 
O. D. Smalley's claim in Dallas county, Iowa, about five miles southwest of 
Madrid, where he and his stepson lived during the spring and summer of 1847. 
In the spring of that year the first assessment of Dallas county was made. In the 
list of property owners appears the name of Henry Lott, to whom were assessed 
thirteen head of cattle. The records show that he was the largest cattle owner 
in the county at that time, owning one more than any other man. These were 
the cattle that the Sioux Indians tried to kill at the mouth of Boone river by 
shooting them with arrows. During the spring and summer these cattle grew 
fat upon the range and in the fall were sold for beef. A man named Ramsey 
bought one of these beeves and butchered it. Mr. Smalley bought a front cjuarter 
of this beef and while carving it found one of the arrow heads which the Indians 
had shot into it. 

While living here Lott often spoke of his dead wife in a very sympathetic 
way, but would usually wind up his talk by declaring that he would some day 
wreak vengeance on the old Sioux chief who caused her death. In the fall of 
1847 he moved to Fort Des Moines and remained there over a year, during which 
time he was married to a woman named McGuire. In the spring of 1849 he 
moved north and located at the mouth of Boone river again, occupying the same 
log cabin in which his first wife died, and from which his twelve year old son 
had fled from the Indians never more to be seen alive. It was a place around 
which the gloomiest recollections hovered. While living here three children were 
born to him and his second wife, the two oldest being girls and the youngest a 
boy. At the birth of the boy the wife died, making it necessary for him to find 
homes for the children. Her death occurred December 10, 1851, and she was 
buried on section 27, in Otho township, but all trace of her grave is now oblit- 
erated. The infant boy was adopted by a family named White, in whose care he 
grew to manhood and is now the head of a family, and is a citizen of Boone, 
Iowa. The two girls were raised by a family named Dickerson in Boone county, 
where they grew to womanhood and were married. 

After finding homes for his children Lott sold his possessions at the mouth 
of Boone river, and, with his stepson, in the fall of 1853, moved north forty-five 
miles and located on a creek which still bears his name. Whether by purpose or 
by accident he was once more a neighbor to Si-dom-i-na-do-tah, the old chief he so 
much hated. By the terms of the treaty with the Sioux Indians their stay upon 
the territory then occupied by them would expire the following spring, at which 
time they would have to take up their line of march for regions farther west. If 
Lott was bent on having revenge, the time was growing short in which to get it. 
Numerous times he visited the chief in disguise and made himself agreeable by 
giving him presents. During one of these visits to the wigwam of Si-dom-i-na- 
do-tah, the old chief unsuspectingly exhibited to him the silverware which he 
took from Mrs. Lott at the mouth of Boone river. By his actions and expressions 
it was plain that he regarded them as a trophy of a great victory. The sight of 
this silverware brought vividly back to Lott's mind the memory of his dead 
wife and immediately his thirst for vengeance was aroused. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 67 

This silverware consisted of a set of silver spoons and a set of silver knives 
and forks, which were a present to Mrs. Lott by Mr. Huntington, her first hus- 
band. Mrs. Lott had always prized them very highly. 

It is not known whether the killing of Si-dom-i-na-do-tah and his family 
took place then ^nd there or not, but it is known that Lott got possession of the 
silverware, for he exhibited it, when he reached the settlement, to John Pea, 
William Dickerson and O. D. Smalley. He also told each of these men that the 
old Sioux chief would never rob another house or cause the death of another 
innocent woman. 

There are two stories told as to the manner in which Lott committed this 
crime of murder, for murder it must be called. Some people have tried to 
palliate this act by calling it justifiable killing, which may be true so far as the 
killing of Si-dom-i-na-do-tah is concerned, but there is no justification in the 
killing of his family. 

One story is that the killing was done on the evening the chief displayed the 
stolen silverware. The other one is that early one moriiing he went to the wig- 
wam of the old chief and reported to him that he had just seen in a beautiful 
valley not far away a large flock of elk and urged the chief to go with him in 
pursuit of them. This proposition so aroused his love for the chase that in a 
short time he was astride his pony and on the way to the beautiful valley where 
the flock of elk was to be found. But this story was only a ruse to get the chief 
a short distance from the wigwam, where his life was taken and the pony upon 
which he rode passed into the hands of a new owner. Lott then went back to the 
-wigwam and killed the chief's family and he and his stepson made their escape 
to the settlements without being detected by the other Indians camped near by. 

So wily was the manner in which this crime was committed that it took 
several weeks to find out who the perpetrators were, but in time the facts 
developed that Lott and his stepson were the parties who did the killing. The 
chief's pony was found in their possession and finally they were indicted by a 
grand jury at Des Moines. Before the ofificers could take them in charge they left 
for regions farther west and what became of them is not definitely known. 

Granvilk Berkeley, pioneer lawyer of Webster City and also of the earlier town 
of Homer, the first county seat of Webster county, secured the skull of Si-dom-i- 
na-do-tah and kept it several years in his ofiice. This skull showed many fractures, 
as though the head had been banged with a heavy club. Mr. Berkeley stated that 
he kept this ghastly relic because the murdered man had been his friend. 

In September, 1903, almost fifty-seven years after the death of ]vIilton Lott, 
Mr. C. L. Lucas started an inquiry through the press seeking to gain some 
information as to the location of the grave of the son of Henry Lott. This 
inquiry developed the fact that two men, John Pea and Thomas Sparks, who 
had been present and assisted in the burial of the body of the dead boy, were 
still living in the city of Boone. Independent of each other these men visited the 
locality where the grave was supposed to be and agreed as to its location. The 
Madrid Historical Society then decided to permanently mark the spot and Decem- 
ber 18, 1905, erected a monument thereon. 

The grave of Mrs. Lott in Otho township still remains unmarked. 



68 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

THE "NEUTRAL LINe" AND OTHER SURVEYS 

The "Neutral Line," which was to separate the warring Sacs and Foxes and 
the Sioux Indians, was surveyed by Captain Nathan Boone, who l)egan the survey 
April 19, 1832. The line commenced at the mouth of Trout Run on the Iowa 
river, about six miles below Decorah. His next point was in or near section 
23-97-7, ^i^cl thence to the Des ]\Ioines river. The latter point was doul)tless 
at the confluence of the east and west forks of the Des 'Moines, some three miles 
below Dakota City. The remainder of the treaty line to the Missouri river was 
never run. At the second Prairie du Chien council of July 15, 1830, the neutral 
strip was established, being a tract twenty miles in width each side of the "Neutral 
Line." The mere "line" had not been sufficient to keep the Indian tribes apart. 
The survey of the southern boundary of this strip was begun by Captain Boone. 
June 19, 1832. He. however, had proceeded but a short distance when he was 
forced to stop because of the hostility of the Indians. September 8, 1833, James 
Craig resumed the survey from where Captain Boone left ofY, and completed it to 
the Des Moines river. The southwest corner of the neutral strip was in section 
15-87-27. at McGuire's Bend. 

In 1848 government surveys of the land purchased north- of the Raccoon 
Forks was commenced. James ]\farsh of Dubuciue set out from that place to 
run the correction line from a point on the Mississippi near Dubuque west to 
the Missouri river. He progressed with his work without molestation until he 
and his company crossed the Sioux, or Des ]\Ioines river, when they were met 
by the Sioux Indians, led by a chief named Si-dom-i-na-do-tah (generally known 
afterwards by the name. "Two Fingers"), who ordered him to "pucachee," 
(clear out. be off), and gave him to understand that the land belonged to them and 
that he should proceed no farther. The Indians then left the surveying squad on 
the west bank of the river. 

After some hesitation Mr. Marsh concluded to proceed. He and his company 
had not proceeded a mile from the river, at a point at the head of a large ravine 
south of the section line of section 30, when they were surrounded by the Indians 
in force. The Sioux robbed them of everything, taking their horses, breaking 
their wagons and surveying instruments. The savages pulled up the stakes set 
by the party, tone down the mounds, and forced the party back across the river 
to find their way home as best they could. This surveying party under Marsh 
was not provided with firearms to make any resistance. The whole party 
had with them, it is said, but one or two guns for the purpose of shooting game ; 
consequently they surrendered at discretion. When the Indians surrounded them, 
Mrs. Marsh, who accompanied her husband, was the only one of the party who 
urged resistance, or wanted to fight the savages. She protested against sub- 
mission to the last. 

THE FIRST SETTLERS 

The first settlers in Webster county located in the neighborhood of the mouth 
of the Boone river. At that time, there was no other settlement beyond in the 
entire northwest. It was on the frontier of civilization. Henry Lott. who was the 
first, came in the summer of 1846. He was followed b}' Isaac Bell, L. Mericle, 
Jacob Mericle, D. B. Spaulding, Osborn Brannon, John Tolman, Frank McGuire, 



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THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



AS''Or', L'"MOX AND 
TIlD N FOl-NDA' ions. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 69 

S(juire McGuire. William Pierce, Tolman Woolsey, Samuel Eslick, Thomas 
Holliday, E. Gatchell and Philemon Johnson. These settlers came principally from 
Missouri, North Carolina and Indiana. Three or four came from New York. 

\'ery soon after the settlement was begun at the mouth of the Boone a unique 
character came and made his home among- them. He was the Rev. John Johns, 
an itinerant Baptist preacher, and at one time coroner of Webster county. He was 
a hunter and a trapper. He could preach a sermon or locate a bee tree with 
equal success. He was a strong Abolitionist. As a delegate to the Republican 
state convention which met in Des Moines, in 18565 his speech was the ""hit" 
of the convention. He was dressed in his hunter's garb, and this furnished some 
amusement for the rest of the delegates, an amusement which, however, changed 
to admiration before his speech ended. He had a tiery eloquence that compelled 
attention, and he was talking upon a theme which he felt deeply. Although not 
a regular delegate to the national convention, yet so great was his desire to 
attend that he walked from Border Plains to Dubuque, as he had no money to 
pay for a ride on the stage. He still wore his coon skin cap and carried his rifle, 
for he had hunted as he tramped his way across the state. At Dubuque he secured 
a passage to Chicago. As a delegate at large, he was a member of the Iowa dele- 
gation, and as such took part in the business of the convention. 

The first child born in the county was Jackson Mericle, son of Jacob Mericle. 
The first recorded marriage was that of John Jacob Holmes, hospital steward at 
the fort, and Miss Emily Lyons, housekeeper for the officers, on ]\Iay 14, 1853. 
The issuing of the licen.se was the first official act of Judge W illiam Pierce. The 
first death was that of the first wife of Henry Lott, who died January i, 1847, 
and was buried on the summit of the bluff overlooking the junction of the Boone 
and Des IMoines rivers. In 1852 the spot was used as a public burying ground and 
became known as Yegor's cemetery. The grave was marked by a grape vine, 
which it is said Lott himself planted, and which was afterwards kept growing 
by people, who knew the location of the grave. For sixty years the grave was 
unmarked, except in this way. At the meeting of the Old Settlers' Picnic Asso- 
ciation of Bell's Mill, held in 1908, a subscription was started to raise funds for 
the purpose of erecting a monument over her grave. These plans, however, 
were not completed until three years later, when the formal dedication took 
place, September 9, 191 1. The monument is an obelisk of solid concrete, bearing 
upon one side an iron marker. 

Fort Dodge, or as first named Fort Clarke, was established in 1850, chiefly 
because of the annoyance which the Indians had caused the early settlers and 
the fear that they might do worse. Outside of the troops at the fort the popu- 
lation of the county in August. 1853. was but 150; and the election returns for the 
first election, held the same month, show but sixtv-three voters. 



CHAPTER VII 
ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

FIRST COUXTY ORGANIZATIONS — ^DUBUQUE AND DEMOINE COUNTIES — ACT OF JAN- 
UARY 15, 185I ESTABLISHES FIFTY COUNTIES IN IOWA YELL AND RISLEY — 

WEBSTER BECOMES LARGEST COUNTY IN STATE — DUNCOMBE VS. PRINDLE — CLAIM 

CLUBS WHAT CONSTITUTES A CLAIM — FIRST COUNTY OFFICERS COUNTY SEAT 

LOCATED AT HOMER — FORT DODGE SECURES COUNTY SEAT ORGANIZATION OF 

TOWNSHIPS — POLITICAL DIVISIONS. 

ORGANIZATION AND GOVERNMENT OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The first counties in the present state of Iowa were estabhshed before there 
was any state or even territory of that name. While the history of the forma- 
tion of Webster county does not extend back this far, yet in order to get a clear 
understanding of the history of how Webster county came to be, it is necessary 
to go back to this early time. 

In the ''Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States 
northwest of the river Ohio," the governor of the territory was given power to 
lav out into counties and townships those parts of the districts to which the Indian 
titles had been extinguished. This right was also given them under the acts of 
congress which established the territories of Indiana and Michigan. The last 
use of this authority was by Governor Cass in his proclamation issued Septem- 
ber 10, 1822. The next counties established in the territory were created in 
1826 and 1829 by acts of the legislative council. 

Upon the admission of Missouri to the Union as a state in 1821 the country 
included within the present bounds of Iowa was left without any established 
local government. Following the Black Hawk war a treaty was made on Sep- 
tember 21, 1832, with the Sac and Fox Indians by the terms of which there was 
ceded to the United States government a strip of territory in eastern Iowa. This 
district was vacated by the Indians and officially thrown open to settlement June 
I, 1833. Immediately a large number of prospective settlers entered the new 
purchase ; indeed, many had not waited for the date of the official opening. 
This new population found itself "beyond the pale of constitutional govern- 
ment.'' Some violence occurred. Out of the violence grew a petition to con- 
gress asking for the protection of the federal laws. The result was an act of 
congress approved on June 28, 1834, by which the area of the present state of 
Iowa was, "for the purpose of temporary government, attached to, and made a 
part of. the territory of Michigan." 

71 



72 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

September i, 1834, the legislative council met in extra session at Detroit, 
where it had been convened by proclamation of the governor. In the message, 
which the governor sent the council on the second day of the session, the attention 
of the council was called to the needs of the people west of the Mississippi, in the 
territory recently attached to Michigan. The reference was clearly to the inhab- 
itants of the Black Hawk Purchase, since no other territory west of the Mis- 
sissippi had, as yet, been thrown open to settlement. In this district, the gov- 
ernor recommended the establishment of counties, townships, and courts. In 
response to the recommendation of the governor, the legislative council passed 
an act entitled, "An act tO' lay off and organize c'ounties west of the Mississippi 
river." This act which constitutes the first step in the formation of counties in 
the Iowa country, was approved on September 6, 1834, to take effect on the 
first day of October of the same year. It applied only to that part of the present 
state of Iowa, "to which the Indian title had been extinguished." This refers 
to the "Iowa District," or the "Black. Hawk Purchase," or "Scott's Purchase," 
as the Sac and Fox cession of September 21, 1832, was variously called. This 
act divided the district into two counties Dubuque and Demoine. W^ith the 
admission of part of the territory of Michigan to the Union as a state, the 
remainder was by act of congress, approved on April 20, 1836, erected into the 
new Territory of Wisconsin. The area of the present state of Iowa, with its 
two counties, was included in the new jurisdiction. The first session of the 
legislature of the Territory of Wisconsin met at Belmont on October 25, 1836. 
In the following December the legislature passed a law entitled "An act dividing 
the county of Des Moines, into several new counties." This act was approved 
December 7, 1836, and went into force immediately. This created out of the 
former county of Demoine seven new counties. 

By the terms of a treaty made on October 21, 1837, the Sac and Fox Indians 
made a new cession of Iowa lands to the United States government. The ter- 
ritory ceded comprised a triangular strip of 1,500,000 acres lying immediately 
west of .the Black Hawk Purchase. 

During the second annual session of the legislative assembly of the Territory- 
of Wisconsin, which convened at Burlington in the county of Des Moines, on 
November 6, 1837, two very important acts were passed relative to the forma- 
tion of counties in Iowa. The first of these laws, which was approved on Decem- 
ber 21, 1837, subdivided the former county of Dubuque into a number of new 
counties. The boundaries of these counties were very irregular and not definitely 
defined. Even the wording of the act, which created the counties, was capable 
of different constructions. Benton county extended entirely across the state 
of Iowa, while Buchanan did the same and also reached into South Dakota. 
Fayette county extended so far north and west that it included all of Wisconsin 
Territory west of the Mississippi river and north of the southern part of Clay- 
ton county, exclusive of the area of Clayton county. It included most of the 
territory of the two Dakotas and Minnesota together with a part of Iowa. Its 
area was upward of 140,000 square miles. Included in its area was the present 
county of Webster. Subsequent sessions of the legislature passed various acts, 
seeking to more clearly define the boundaries of existing counties. 

By an act of congress approved on June 12. 1838, the original Territory of 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 73 

Wisconsin was divided. The part west of the Mississippi river, and west of a 
Hne drawn due north from the source of the Mississippi, received the name of 
the Territory of Iowa. It included not only the area of the present state of Iowa, 
but also that of the western part of Minnesota and of the eastern part of the 
two Dakotas. Its area was about three times that of the present state of Iowa. 
The Organic Act of the Territory of Iowa was to be in force from and after 
July 3, 1838. From this date the territory continued in existence until December 
28, 1846, when the state of Iowa was finally admitted into the Union. 

The first session of the legislature of the Territory of Iowa passed several 
acts in January, 1839, relative to counties. Some of these dealt with the organ-_- 
ization of counties, others relocated seats of justice, provided for the sale of 
public lands, and similar matters. Four acts created new counties or altered 
the boundaries of counties already created. 

After the minor acts of January, 1839, "o more new counties were created 
in Iowa for four years. In the meantime the Sac and Fox Indians had ceded 
to the United States a vast region in the central aiid south central part of the 
state of Iowa. Under various acts of the legislature, this territory was divided 
into counties. These acts also sought to define the boundaries of existing counties. 

The first act of the federal congress authorizing the admission of Iowa into 
the Union was approved on March 3, 1845. Then followed nearly two years 
spent in the adoption of a constitution and in the adjustment of boundaries. The 
act which finally admitted the state was not passed and approved until Decem- 
ber 28, 1846. 

At this time Iowa contained forty-four counties covering a little less than 
one-half of the state. On January 15, 185 1. the general assembly of the state 
of Iowa passed the most important act in the whole history of the formation 
of counties in Iowa. At least it was the most comprehensive and created the 
largest number of counties. By this measure fifty counties were established 
embracing fully one-half of the state. Among the counties created by this act 
were the counties, of Risley and Yell, the former constituting the present county 
of Hamilton, and the latter the present county of Webster, with the exception 
of the northern tier of four townships. These townships w-ere included in the 
confines of the county of Humboldt. The name Yell was in honor of Colonel 
Yell, who was killed in the Mexican war. While the majority of the counties 
as established under this act remained permanent, sixteen of them were changed 
by subsequent legislation. Four of them. Yell, Humboldt and Bancroft were 
subsequently blotted out. Before this occurred the name Risley had been changed 
to Webster; and Humboldt, after having been blotted out, was restored. 

On the whole, the law^ of January 15, 1851, is noticeable for the superior 
manner in which the boundaries of counties are defined. Compared with earlier 
laws its language is clear and simple. It is comparatively free from errors. 
This act fully completed the subdivision of the state of Iowa into counties. Sub- 
seqvient acts only changed the names, or readjusted boundaries already estab- 
lished. 

The fourth general assembly of the state of Iowa passed a law, which was 
approved January 12, 1853, and which changed the name of Risley to Webster; 
and attached the county for revenue and election purposes to Boone countv. On 



74 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

January 22, 1853, the same assembly passed an act entitled "An act to create the 
county of Webster." The act of January 12, 1853, which changed the name 
from Risley to Webster was to go into effect upon publication in certain papers. 
A certification signed by the secretary of state accompanies the law to the effect 
that the act was published in the required newspapers on January 22, 1853. This 
date is the same as that of the approval of the new law to "create Webster 
county by uniting Risley and Yell into one new county to be called Webster." 
The latter act was "to take effect from and after its publication in the Iowa 
Star ; Provided the state shall incur no expense for such publications." No ac- 
companying note tells when the act was so published. It was usual in such cases 
for a few days to elapse between the approval of an act and its publication. 

The fifth general assembly passed two laws affecting county boundaries. 
One of these laws was passed by the legislature January 21, 1855 and was 
approved on the same day. It bore the title of "An act to extend the boundaries 
of Kossuth county, and to locate the seat of justice thereof ;" but this title was 
not adequate to the contents of the measure. By the terms of this act the counties 
of Bancroft and Humboldt were blotted out. Bancroft and the northern half 
of Humboldt were, added to Kossuth; while the southern half of Humboldt was 
added to the already overlarge county of Webster, making it the largest county 
in the state, having an area of forty townships or 921,600 acres. Thus the 
boundaries of Kossuth and Webster were enlarged. But these boundaries were 
not to be permanent as will be seen later. 

The sixth general assembly, like the fifth, passed two laws, bearing upon the 
subject of this chapter. The first of these was approved on December 22, 1856, 
and went into force on January 8, 1857. This act created a new county, to be 
called Hamilton, out of that part of \Vebster county which lay east of range 
27 west. In size it was four townships square, having exactly the same bound- 
aries as the former county of Risley. Its boundaries, as thus established, have 
remained permanent. 

The other act passed at this session was approved on January 28, 1857, and 
went into force on February 26. It created the county of Humboldt between 
Wright and Pocahontas. To do this eight townships were taken from Kossuth 
and four from Webster county. The new Humboldt, as its boundaries were 
defined in the law, was four townships smaller than its predecessor of the same 
name. It was also smaller than ^^'right and Pocahontas counties, its neighbors 
on the east and west. 

During the next session of the legislature an act explanatory of the one 
under discussion was passed. In a preamble of two paragraphs it was claimed 
that the act of January 28, 1857, had originally created Humboldt county of a 
larger size, that is, four townships square. The preamble claimed, further, that 
a mistake had been made when the act was printed in the public laws, whereby 
township 90 had been omitted, and also that the original of the bill had been 
lost. This being the situation the legislature passed a new act construing that 
of January 28, 1857, in such a way as to include township 90, ranges 27, 28, 
29, and 30 in Humboldt county. The act even went further and defined the 
boundaries of the county anew in such a way as clearly to include the territory in 
dispute. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 75 

Between the passage of the two laws just discussed the present constitution 
of Iowa was declared in force. It contained a provision to the effect that future 
laws altering county boundaries should be submitted to a vote of the people of 
the counties concerned and must be approved by them before going into effect. 
The amendatory law of IMarch ii, 1858, had not been submitted to the people for 
ratification. Consequently the supreme court of the state, by a decision handed 
down on December 4, i860, in the case of Buncombe vs. Prindle, 12 Iowa i, 
which had been appealed from the district court of Webster county, declared the 
act of March 11, 1858, unconstitutional. 

The case which was a test case, was based upon a suit instituted in Webster 
county, upon a promissory note for one hundred and twenty-five dollars, dated 
October, 1858, and payable at thirty days. The defendant set out by way of 
answer, that he resided in township 90, range 28, west of the 5th P. M., which 
township was situated within the boundaries of Humboldt county, as he claimed 
would more fully appear by an act approved January 28, 1857, entitled, "An Act 
to create the County of Humboldt :"' and "An Act explanatory of the act, entitled, 
'An Act to create the County of Humboldt,'" approved jMarch 11, 1858, which 
act set forth, that in the first named act, townships 90, 91, 92 and 93 in ranges 
2^], 28, 29 and 30, were erected into the county of Humboldt, according to the 
language of the original bill as passed, but that in the printing and publication 
of this act, township 90, in the ranges of 27 to 30 inclusive, were omitted. The 
defendant claimed, that this omission was afterwards supplied by the explana- 
tory act aforesaid (of March ii, 1858), and, therefore, not having been sued 
in his own proper county, he demanded a change of venue to Humboldt county. 

The plaintiff', in his replication, controverted the afifirmative statements in the 
answer, proffered a certified copy of the original manuscript act, approved Jan- 
uary 28, 1857, as found enrolled in the secretary's offfce, and averred that there 
was in fact no conflict or discrepancy between the original manuscript of the 
act and the same act as published. The plaintiff insisted that the facts set out 
in the preamble of the supposed explanatory act of 1858 were untrue. He alleged, 
that if by this last act the defendant insisted that township 90, of the ranges 
aforesaid, had been made a part of Humboldt county, that still said law was 
inoperative, and could have no binding effect, until it had been submitted to the 
people of Webster and Humboldt counties, to be voted upon at a general election, 
and approved by a majority of the votes of each county. Such vote, the plaintiff 
claimed, as a matter of fact had never been taken. 

To this replication the defendant interposed a demurrer which was overruled 
by the court. Judgment was then rendered for the plaintiff on the note, and the 
defendant appealed. 

The appellant was represented in court by Messrs. Kasson, Cole and Garaghty, 
while the appellee was represented by Alessrs. John F. Buncombe and G. H. 
Bassett. The decision, which afffrmed that of the district court, was given by 
Chief Justice Lowe. The court held, that this act did not relate back to the act 
of which it was amendatory ; and as an independent act it was invalid because it 
had never been submitted to a vote of the people of the comities concerned. In 
the closing words of his opinion the court says, "We are compelled to conclude 
that township 90, in ranges 2"] to 3®, west of the 5th principal meridian, is still 

Vol. I— 6 



76 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

in and forms a part of Webster county. Of course we can pay no attention to 
conjectural surmises and vague suspicions, which have been made and entertained 
in relation to some unfairness which may have been practiced in the final passage 
of the act of 1857, creating the county of Humboldt. If such was the case, no 
evidence of the fact has been presented to us. We have had to deal with the 
case as made ; and the record as spread before us." 

The result of this decision was to reduce Humboldt county in size to the 
dimensions which the act of January 28, 1857, had given it, whether as approved 
this act expressed the real intention of its framers or not. The county, however, 
should be considered as containing sixteen townships from March 11, 1858, the 
date of the approval of the amendatory act, until the same was declared uncon- 
stitutional on December 4, i860. 

It may seem strange to class the customs of the pioneers among the early 
laws of Iowa; but as Dr. B. F. Shambaugh in his book, "History of the Con- 
stitutions of Iowa," says, "constitutions are not made in a single day, but have 
evolved by slow degrees from customs, so the rules and regulations .of the 
claim clubs of early Iowa may be said to be the beginning of its civil govern- 
ment." The early settlers of Iowa were not a lawless body of men. The cus- 
toms governing the holding of claims were well and honestly ol)served. These 
customs codified into resolutions and by-laws, became the first written laws of 
the pioneers of Iowa. Squatter constitutions they were, but they were law. 
These claim clubs were the product of necessity. By cession and purchase the 
United States held legal title to all lands in Iowa, but the Indians occupied the 
land, and their right to possession was not denied, until extinguished by formal 
agreement. Until this was done, legal settlement could not be made by the white 
citizen. United States statutes at large prohibited settlement upon lands to which 
the Indian title had not yet been extinguished, and upon lands which were not 
surveyed. But the tide of immigration could not be stopped. The pioneers 
pressed ever westward. Claims were staked. Homes were built and farms 
began. All of these claims were beyond the pale of constitutional law. Yet 
10,000 of them were in Iowa before the public surveys began. In law these 
squatters were trespassers, — in fact they were honest farmers. It was to meet 
these conditions and to protect what they termed their rights to their claims 
that the early settlers formed land clubs or claim associations. 

The claim club of Fort Dodge was organized and active after Iowa became 
a state. The records of this association and that of the claim association of 
Johnson county are the only complete records in existence. 

The manuscript records of the claim club of Fort Dodge, discovered sev- 
eral years ago among the papers of Governor Carpenter, are now carefully 
preserved by the historical department at Des Moines. From these records 
it appears, that the first meeting of the claim club of Fort Dodge was held on 
the 22(1 of July, 1854. William R. Miller was chosen chairman, and W. A. 
Young, secretary. According to the minutes of the meeting, the "citizens met 
pursuant to a call for the purpose of forming a claim law." At this meeting a 
committee, consisting of \^olney Knight and W. A. Young, was chosen to draft 
a "code of laws," and to report at the next meeting. After some discussion the 
following motions were passed: 




PIOXEEES' DAY, AUGUST 19, 1908, OLESOX PARK. FOET DODGE 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 77 

"First, that 320 acres shall constitute a claim. Second, a claim may be held 
one month by sticking stakes and after that 10 dollars monthly improvements 
is necessary in order to hold a claim. Also that a cabin 16x16 feet, shingled 
and enclosed so as to live in it, is valued at $30." The meeting then adjourned 
to meet at Alajor Williams store, Monday, July 24, at 7.00 P. M. At the 
meeting the following by-laws and resolutions were adopted : 

"Whereas the land in this vicinity is not in market and may not be soon. 
We the undersigned claimants deem it necessary in order to secure our lands 
to form ourselves into a club for the purpose of assisting each other in holding 
claims, do, hereby form and adopt the following by-laws : 

Resolved tirst. That every person that is an actual "claimant is entitled to 
hold 320 acres of land until such time as it comes into market. 

Resolved second. That any person who lives on their claim, or is continually 
improving the same is an actual claimant. 

Resolved third. That staking out a claim and entering the same on our 
claim book shall hold for one month. 

Resolved fourth. That Sio monthly shall hold a claim thereafter. 

Resolved fifth. That no man's claim is valid unless he is an actual settler 
here, or, has a family and has gone after them, in which case he can have one 
month to go and back. 

Resolved sixth. That any person not living up to the requirements of these 
laws shall forfeit their claim, and, any actual settler who has no claim may 
settle on the same. 

Resolved seventh. That any person going on another's claim that is valid, 
shall be visited by a commission of three from our club and informed of ihe 
facts and if such person persist in their pursuits regardless of the commission 
or claimant they shall be put off the claim by this club. 

Resolved eighth. That the boundaries of these laws shall be 12 miles each 
way from this place. 

Resolved ninth. That this club shall hold its meetings at least once in eacli 
month. 

Resolved tenth. That the officers of this club shall consist of a chairman 
and secretary. 

Resolved eleventh. That the duty of the chairman is to call to order, put 
all questions, give the casting vote when there is a tie, etc., etc. 

Resolved twelfth. That the duty of the secretary is to keep the minutes 
of the meetings and read the same at the opening of each meeting and have the 
book and papers in his charge. 

Resolved thirteenth. That any or all of the by-laws may be altered or 
abolished by a majority vote at a regular meeting." 

On the offense of '"claim-jumping" the records of the Fort Dodge club con- 
tain this suggestive entry : "On motion of W^m. R. Miller that if any member 
of this club finds his or any of his friends clames has been jumpt that they 
inform this club of the fact and that this club forthwith put them off of said 
claim without trobling the Sivel law." 

These squatter constitutions made it possible for the settlers to establish. 



78 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

homes without immediate payment. They gave color of title, and thus made 
possible and protected the settlers in their improvements. They gave peaceful 
possession against the speculator and claim jumper, and even against the govern- 
ment itself. They fostered and established on the frontier, justice, equality 
and democracy. The prominence which they gave to the homestead and its 
rights probably suggested our present homestead exemption laws. On the 
rude frontier, where lawlessness was the tendency, they upheld the rule of law. 
The law of these claim clubs was carried by settlers, from Iowa to the new 
state of Nebraska and formed the basis of the first law there. 

The claim clubs were mere makeshifts of government, the outgrowth of con- 
ditions which made them necessary. However they created a desire and showed 
the necessity of codified law and established government. So in March, 1853, 
the citizens of what was then Webster county petitioned Honorable Samuel 
B. ]\IcCall, county judge of Boone county, to which county Webster was at 
that time attached for revenue and election purposes, to order an election of 
county officers. The prayer of the petitioners was granted, and an order issued 
for an election to be held on April 4, 1853. At this election an aggregate of 
sixty-three votes were cast. Returns were made to Judge McCall, who on 
April 9, 1853, issued certificates to the ten officers elect, namely: a county judge, 
a clerk of the district court, a prosecuting attorney, a recorder, a sheriff, a 
coroner, a school fund commissioner, a surveyor and a drainage commissioner. 

Since the first election, some of the offices have been abolished, the names 
of others have been changed, and a number of new ones have been created. At 
the present time there are, including the board of five supervisors, thirteen 
elective officers. The other county officers are : auditor, clerk of court, treas- 
urer, recorder, sheriff, superintendent of schools, coroner and county attorney. 
The office of county judge existed from 1853 ^o 1868, in which year the duties 
of the office were assumed by the board of supervisors, established i860. The 
last drainage commissioner elected was in 1867. The county auditor's office, a 
sort of overflow from the other offices, was established in 1868. The first 
incumbent was Wilson Lumpkin, who performed the duties of the office in 
connection with his duties as clerk. The office of school fund commissioner 
was abolished in 1857, John Tolman being the last one to hold that position. 
In 1859, the office of superintendent of common schools was established and 
the office was filled by S. B. Olney, who was elected at the election held the 
first ^Monday in April, 1858. Until the year 1865, the duties of treasurer were 
performed by the recorder. In that year the two offices were separated and 
Jared Fuller was elected the first treasurer. The county attorney was at first 
known as prosecuting attorney. The records show the existence of such an 
office until the year 1856, when Charles B. Richards was elected. Then until 
1886 there was no regularly elected attorney. In that year, by an amendment 
to the state constitution, the name was changed to county attorney, and Albert 
E. Clark was'elected to the office. In 1873, the journal of the board of super- 
visors, shows that John F. Duncombe was hired by that body as attorney of 
Webster county for a term of two years. The thirty-fourth general assembly 
in 191 1, abolished the office of surveyor, the act taking eft"ect July 4, 191 1. The 
last person to fill this office was G. P. Smith. Under the act, abolishing the 










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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 79 

office of surveyor, the board of supervisors is given authority, if they desire, 
to hire an officer to be known as county engineer. 

Soon after the organization of the county the judge of the fifth judicial 
district, of which Webster county then formed a part, appointed three com- 
missioners to select a site and locate a county seat. The commission selected 
the southwest quarter of section 6, township 87, range 26. Here a town was 
laid out and named Homer. But the villagers of Fort Dodge were aggressive. 
Under the leadership of John F. Buncombe and others they began a fight to 
secure the county seat. On Alarch 3, 1856, John F. Buncombe, Walter C. Will- 
son and others to the number of 357, presented to the court a petition asking 
for an election to be held on the first Alonday in April, 1856, to vote on the 
question of the removal of the county seat from Homer to Fort Bodge, ^^'hile 
they lived on opposite sides of the county, yet the interests of these two men 
were mutual. Air. Buncombe was boosting for Fort Bodge. Mr. Willson, plan- 
ning for the future, had in mind a division of the county, and the creating of 
a new county out of the eastern part, with another county seat town. \\'ith the 
petition was also filed a remonstrance signed by George Gregory and 347 others. 
The court granted the petition, and the election was held April 7, 1856. The 
canvass of the votes resulted in favor of Fort Bodge by a vote of 407 as against 
264 for Homer. Soon after the records were removed to Fort Bodge. The 
removal of the county seat brought to Fort Bodge, as residents, several county 
officers, among them Hon. William X. Meservey, who later played an important 
part in the making of the new county seat town. 

By an act of the fifth general assembly, approved January 24, 1855, the 
unorganized counties of Wright, Kossuth, Humboldt, Winnebago, Palto Alto. 
Emmet, Pocahontas and Hancock were attached to Webster county for election, 
judicial and revenue purposes. These counties were all later organized by the 
county judge of Webster. 

There is an interesting incident in connection with the organization of Hum- 
boldt county. About the first day of April, 1857, Honorable Samuel Rees, then 
county judge of Webster county, deputized Henry A. Cramer, at that time a 
resident of Humboldt county, as depvity sheriff and gave him a warrant for the 
holding of an election in the county on the first ]vIonday in April, with orders 
to serve the same. Cramer took his warrant and went to Humboldt county ; 
but found the homes of the settlers deserted, they having fled to Fort Bodge 
from fear of the Indians, who were at that time reported as being on their way 
down the Bes Moines river. Cramer found food cooked and warm on the 
stoves. He helped himself to the eatables and returned his warrant unserved. 
Judge Rees subsequently issued another warrant for an election to be held the 
first Monday in August, 1857. -^t this election ]\Iajor Jonathan Hutchinson, 
who afterwards became treasurer of W^ebster county, was elected county judge. 

Webster county contains twenty congressional townships, each containing 
thirty-six sections of land. It has therefore an area of 720 square miles or 
460,800 acres. As first organized in 1853 it contained thirty-two congressional 
townships. Buring the years 1855 and 1856, this was increased to forty. Upon 
the organization of Hamilton and Humboldt counties in 1857, Webster county 
was reduced to its present size. 



80 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Webster county is divided into twenty-four civil townships : Badger, Burn- 
side, Clay, Colfax, Cooper, Dayton, Deer Creek, Douglas, Elkhorn, Fulton, 
Cowrie, Hardin, Jackson, Johnson, Lost Grove, Newark, Otho, Pleasant Valley, 
Roland, Sumner, Wahkonsa, Washington, Webster and Yell. 

Washington township was the first township organized in the county and 
embraced all the territory now contained in Webster and Hamilton counties. 
In August, 1853, County Judge William Pierce, established two new town- 
ships, Hardin and Webster, and left Washington township all the territory 
north of township 87 in the county. In 1857, its boundaries were again reduced, 
when Wahkonsa township was established. These boundaries, with a slight 
change made in 1870, are the boundaries Washington now contains, to wit : 
all of township 88, range 27, and sections i, 12, 13, 24, 25, 26, 35 and 36, of 
township 88, range 28, east of the Des Moines river. 

Hardin township, as organized in 1853, contained all the territory in town- 
ship 86 of what was then Webster county. By the organization of Yell and 
Clear Lake townships in 1856, its boundaries were reduced to township 86, 
ranges 27, 26 and 25 east of the Des Moines river in what was then Webster 
county. When Hamilton county was organized, Hardin was given its present; 
boundaries, being all of township 86, range 27, east of the Des Moines river. 

Webster township as organized in 1853 embraced all the territory in town- 
ship 87, in what was then Webster county. By the organization of Yell and 
Clear Lake townships, its boundaries were reduced to that part of township 87, 
ranges 25, 26 and 2"], on the east side of the Des Moines river. After the 
division of the counties in 1857 the county judge ordered the township reorgan- 
ized so as to contain only that part of township 87, range 2^]. 

In 1856, six new townships were established namely: Wahkonsa, Yell, Clear 
Lake, Boon, Cass and Humboldt. Wahkonsa and Yell w'ere in what is now 
Webster county while Clear Lake, Boon and Cass were in what is now Hamilton. 
Humboldt township included the northern tier of townships of the present 
county of Webster, and the southern tier of townships of the present count}' 
of Humboldt. 

Wahkonsa township, as first organized, had the following boundaries :■ — 
commencing at the northwest corner of said county, thence east on said county 
line to the range line between ranges 27 and 26, thence south to the correction 
line, thence south to the northeast corner of section 12, township 88, range 2'j, 
thence west to the Des Moines river, thence down said river to the south line 
of section 8, thence w^est to county line, thence north on said line to place of 
beginning. These boundaries were changed March 24, 1857 and the township 
then embraced all east of the Des ]\Ioines river and north of the line between 
sections 12 and 13, 11 and 14. 10 and 15, 9 and 16, 8 and 17, 7 and 18, town- 
ship 88, range 27. Badger township was taken from Wahkonsa township in 
1865; and, in 1872, its boundaries were reduced to township 89 and range 28. 
Wahkonsa now embraces only the city limits of Fort Dodge. 

Yell township as originally organized had the following boundaries : com- 
mencing at the northwest corner of section one, township 87, range 28, thence 
\vest to the county line, thence sotith on said line to the Boone county line, thence 
east on said line between \\'ebster and Boone countv to the Des Moines river, 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COLXTY 81 

thence along that as a Hne to place of l^eginning. In 1858 it was given its pres- 
ent boundaries. They embrace all of township 87, range 27, west of the Des 
Moines river. Clear Lake township, as organized in 1856, embraced all of 
townships 86, 87, 88 and 89 in ranges 24 and 23, of what is now Hamilton 
county. Boon township was organized ]^Iarch 3, 1856, and included township 
88 and 89, ranges 26 and 25, of what is now Hamilton county. On March 15, 
this township was divided and township 89, ranges 26 and 25, was called Cass. 
Humboldt township as organized ^larch 3, 1856, embraced all of 'townships 
90 and 91, in what was then Webster county. 

The townships of Otho, Sumner and Douglas were organized in 1857. Otho, 
as organized March 2. 1857, contained all of township 88, ranges 28 and 29, 
lying west of the Des Moines river. The township of Elkhorn was detached 
in 1871, leaving the boundaries of Otho the same as at present, being that part 
of township 88, of range 28, on the west side of the Des Moines river. Sumner 
township was organized March 2, 1857, and at that time contained all of town- 
ship Sj, and west of the Des Moines river. \\'ith the organization of Burnside 
township, Sumner was reduced to its present area. By an order of court March 
3, 1857, all the territory lying in townships 89 and 90, ranges 29 and 30, on the 
west side of the Des Moines river were formed into a township named Douglas. 
On September 20, 1859, the court ordered township 90 of ranges 29 and 30 
formed into a township, thus leaving Douglas consisting of township 89, ranges 

29 and 30. The new township was named Jackson. Again, on November 6, 
i860, another township was formed out of Douglas, and township 89, range 

30 was constituted Johnson township, leaving Douglas township its present 
confines, — all of township 89, range 29, and that part of sections 7, 18, and 19 
in township 89, range 28, lying west of the Des Moines river. 

Dayton township was organized September 14, 1858. The boundaries as 
then fixed were all of township 86, range 28, and that part of township 86, 
range 27, lying west of the Des Moines river, except sections i, 2 and 3. 

Jackson township as first organized included all of township 90, ranges 29 
and 30. On November 6, i860, the county court ordered township 90, range 
29, set off, and a township named Cass formed. The to\\nship Cass, however, 
was never organized. October 10, 1865, township 90, range 29, was by order 
of court detached from Jackson and named Deer Creek. 

Badger township was formed from Wahkonsa by an order of the board of 
supervisors, October 10, 1865, and when organized contained township 90. 
ranges 2y and 28. Range 27 was, October 14, 1873, taken from Badger and 
formed Newark township. The present boundaries of Badger township are 
all township 90, range 28, and that part of township 90, range 29, lying west of 
the Des Moines river. 

Fulton township was organized by an order of the board of supervisors 
passed September 11, 1868. It consists of all of township 88, range 30. 

Lost Grove township was organized October 18, 1869, and embraces all the 
territory of township 86, range 29. 

The original boundaries as given to Pleasant Valley, when organized Octo- 
ber II, 1870, were township 89, range 27, and sections 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11, 
14, 15, 16 and 17, township 88, range 28, and that part of section i, township 



82 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

88, range 29, east of the Des Moines river. November 5, 1872, the board of 
supervisors set off township 89, range 2"], giving the township its present 
boundaries. 

The township of Elkhorn was detached from Otho by an order of the 
board of supervisors, October 10, 1871. It embraces all of township 88, range 29. 

The township of Gowrie was organized October 10, 1871, and included all 
of township 86, range 30. 

Colfax and Clay were organized November 5, 1872. Colfax includes all 
of township 89, range 27. The township of Clay embraces all of township 87, 
range 29. 

The boundaries given to Newark township as organized October 14, 1873, 
were all of township 90, range 27, and these boundaries have remained 
unchanged. 

Roland township was organized by the order of the board of supervisors 
October 12, 1875. Its boundaries are the same as when organized, being all 
of township 87, range 30. 

Cooper township was organized September 6, 1877. The record of the 
board of supervisors, concerning the organization, is as follows : "that the 
territory heretofore known as Wahkonsa township be divided as follows : all 
that part of said township within the corporate limits of the city of Fort Dodge 
to constitute a separate township, and called by the name of Wahkonsa town- 
ship ; and all that i5art of said township lying outside the corporate limits of 
said city of Fort Dodge, to constitute a separate township, to be known and 
called by the name of Cooper township, in accordance with a petition now 
before the board signed by J. B. Haviland and others." 

Burnside township was organized June 16, 1886. At that time Sumner 
township was divided into two townships, one embraced the territory within 
the corporate limits of Lehigh, and so much of the Independent school district 
of Tyson's Mills as was included in said township, outside of said corporation. 
This retained the original name of Sumner. The remainder was organized as, 
and named Burnside. 

At the present time, Webster county is divided into five supervisor dis- 
tricts. The first supervisor district is composed of Colfax, Newark, Washing- 
ton, Webster and Pleasant A alley. The second consists of Badger, Deer Creek, 
Douglas, Jackson and Johnson ; the third of Wahkonsa and Cooper ; the fourth 
of Gowrie, Dayton, Hardin and Lost Grove and the fifth of Burnside, Elkhorn, 
Fulton, Roland, Clay, Otho, vSumner and Yell. 

Webster county forms the sixty-second representative district, and with 
other counties forms the twenty-seventh senatorial district, the eleventh judicial 
district and the tenth congressional districts. The twenty-seventh senatorial dis- 
trict consists of Webster and Calhoun counties. The eleventh judicial district 
consists of the counties of Webster, Boone, Story, Hamilton, Hardin, Franklin 
and Wright ; and has three judges, elected at large from the district. The tenth 
congressional district consists of fourteen counties : Webster, Calhoun, Ham- 
ilton, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Palo Alto, Kossuth, Hancock, Emmett, Winne- 
bago, Crawford, Carroll, Greene and Boone. 





MAJOR WILLIAM WILLIAMS 

FiiTi >.Ir7;ir, riist P( Rtmaster and First Citizen of Fort Dodge 



y 



CHAPTER VIII 
THE COUNTY ELECTIONS 

FORT DODGE IX THE NATION WOMEN OFFICE HOLDERS COUNTY OFFICERS 

FORT DODGE IN THE NATION WOMEN OFFICE HOLDERS COUNTY OFFICERS. 

\ 

THE COUNTY ELECTIONS ^ 

If one could read between the lines of the records of the elections in Webster 
county, one would find many an interesting story. For into these records are 
woven the realizations of ambition and the disappointments of failure. The 
politicians were as crafty in the early fifties as they are today. The first settlers 
of the county were men of strong opinions. They fought for a principle, and 
what they thought was right, even more zealously than the present generation. 
Then, too, it was -a time of political unrest. New ideas were constantly being pro- 
mulgated. New parties were beihg foi-med. Slavery was already an issue. From 
the first the citizens of Webster county have had "a genius for politics." In some 
of the early years, we find the record of as many as four elections being held. 
Webster county and Fort Dodge very early became noted as a political center. 
There was considerable politics in the organization of the county, as there was in 
the removal of the county seat to Fort Dodge. For years, John F. Duncombe 
was the uncrowned head of democracy in Iowa. Opposing Duncombe was Cyrus 
C. Carpenter, whom the republican party of the state honored with many offices. 
At one time there were so many Federal office holders from Fort Dodge, that 
it was referred to by the rest of the state as the home Federal office holders, 
and to Fort Dodge the outside looked for political leadership. Under the polit- 
ical training of Governor Carpenter, Jonathan P. Dolliver reached the United 
States senate and almost the presidency. His untimely death placed the political 
heir of himself and Governor Carpenter in the senate chamber of the United 
States. Thus, through the election of William S. Kenyon twice in succession, 
was this high office filled by Fort Dodge citizens. 

The first election in Webster county was held by the order of the county 
judge of Boone county, Hon. Samuel McCall, April 4. 1853. 

The county has gone republican every presidential campaign except in 1912. 
It is true that Lincoln lost the county by one vote to George B. McClellan. But 
this did not include the soldier vote, which voted solidly for Lincoln. At the 
first presidential election held in Webster county, John C. Fremont received a 
majority of 120 votes over Buchanan. In 1908, W'illiam H. Taft carried the 
county by 2,199 votes, the largest majority which a president has received in the 

83 



84 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUXTV 

count}-. W'oodrow A\'ilson, the democratic nominee, carried the county by a 
plurahty of lOO in 1912. 

At the first election for governor held in Webster county, August 7, 1854, 
James W. Grimes, the whig candidate, received only twenty-two votes, and Curtis 
Bates, the democratic nominee, nearly four times as many, or 104 votes. In 1857, 
B. M. Samuels, the democratic candidate, carried the county. Even Samuel J. 
Kirkwood, the war governor, failed to carry the county in 1859, the majority going 
to A. C. Dodge, a democrat. Again in 1861, Kirkwood lost this county, William 
H. Merritt, the democratic and Union candidate, being successful. In 1863. for 
the first time, the county went republican on the state ticket. This time \\'illiam 
M. Stone, the republican nominee, carried the county by thirty-five votes. The 
socialist-union candidate. Thomas EI. Benton, carried the county in 1865, bv 
a majority of thirty-six. In 1867, the county again went republican, and Web- 
ster county gave Samuel Merrill a majority of 123 votes. Cyrus C. Carpen- 
ter, the nominee on the republican ticket, carried the county by 366 votes in 
1871. At the next election, however, in 1873, a new party entered politics, 
called the antimonopoly party. Their candidate, J. G. Vale, defeated Carpen- 
ter in this county by fourteen votes. In T875, Kirkwood again lost the county, 
the antimonopoly candidate carrying it by fourteen vptes. ^Meanwhile, the green- 
back party had come into existence. In 1877, their candidate, Daniel P. Stubbs. 
received a majority over John P. Irish, the democratic nominee, and John H. 
Gear, the republican nomine, of 444 votes. But in 1879, the county gave 
John H. Gear, the republican candidate, a plurality over the combined forces 
of the democratic and greenback parties. Buren R. Sherman, candidate on the 
republican ticket, carried the county in 1881 by a majority of 289 votes over 
the democratic and greenback nominees. In 1883 he received a majority in 
the county of 142 votes over these nominees. However, in 1885, the democratic 
and greenback parties pooled their forces and their candidate, Charles Whit- 
ney, carried the county by a majority of seventy-nine over William Larrabee, 
republican. But in 1887, Larrabee carried the county by seven votes. At the 
elections in 1889 and 1891, the county went democratic. Horace Boies carried 
the county by a majority of sixty-eight votes, the first time, and by a majority 
of 269, the second time over \\'illiam K. Wheeler. In his campaign for a third 
term, in 1893, Boies, however, lost the county to the republican candidate, Frank 
D. Jackson, who received a majority in the county of 444. In 1895, Francis M. 
Drake, republican, carried the county by 508 against the democrat and populist 
nominees. Leslie ]\I. Shaw, republican, carried the county in 1897 by a majority 
of 154, as against the combined forces of democratic, populist, prohibition, na- 
tional democrat, and socialist labor parties. This is the first appearance of the pro- 
hibition and socialist labor parties in state politics. The Webster county vote for 
the former was 132, and six for the latter. Shaw again carried the county in 
1899. At the next three state elections the county gave Albert B. Cummins, the 
republican candidate, big majorities. In 1908 and 1910, B. F. Carroll carried the 
county. In 1912, the county went democratic on the presidential ticket, and E. 
G. Dunn, the democratic nominee for governor, received a plurality of 149. 

Webster county has had the distinction of having three congressmen and two 
United States senators. The first congressman was Charles Pomeroy. a farmer 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 85 

who represented what was then the Sixth congressional district in the Forty- 
first congress, during the years 1869-71. Cyrus C. Carpenter represented what 
was then the Ninth district, and served in the Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh 
congress from 1879 to 1883. In 1889, Jonathan P. DoUiver was first elected to 
congress from w^hat had then become the Tenth congressional district, and 
served continuously for ten years. August 22. 1900, on the death of John H. 
Gear, lonathan P. Dolliver was appointed United States senator by Governor 
Leslie 'SI. Shaw, to fill the office until the legislature should meet. The Twenty- 
ninth general assembly in January. 1902, elected him to fill the term ending 
March 4. 1907. He was then reelected and served unfil his death, October 15, 
1910. William S. Kenyon was elected by the legislature April 12, 191 1, to serve 
until 1913. In the primary election of T912 he defeated his opponent, Uafe 
Young, by a large majority. 

George Roberts is the present director of the United States mint. During the 
campaign of 1896, when the financial cjuestion was the chief issue in politics. 
Mr. Roberts gained a national reputation because of his knowledge of the sub- 
ject shown in his reply to "Coin's Financial School." ^1. D. O'Connell, served 
as solicitor of the United States treasury department for many years. 

xAside from the office of representative in congress, Cyrus C. Carpenter held 
several state offices. He was registrar of the state land office from 1867 to 1871, 
and governor of the state from 1872 to 1876. 

Party lines have not been followed very closely in the election of the county 
officers. Personality rather than political faith has been the most important 
factor. It is interesting to note that a large percentage of the county officers from 
the close of the war to recent years, were Civil war veterans. The records show 
that Webster county has been blest with honest officers, only one instance being 
found of an absconding officer, and that was before 1859. Miss Maude Lauder- 
dale and Miss Mary Carey enjoy the distinction of being the only women elected 
to office in Webster county. ]\Iiss Lauderdale was elected recorder in 1910, and 
reelected in 191 2. Miss Carey was appointed county superintendent in the fall of 
1909, elected to the office in 1910 and reelected in 191 2. 

The general elections of the fifties were held on the first Monday in August. 
Then the elections vary between the middle of October and the first of Novem- 
ber. In 1884, it was fixed by law as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in 
November. At first, elections were held every year, but in 1904, a biennial 
election law was passed. The first primary was held June 2, 1908. 

THE COrXTY ELECTIONS 

April 4. 1853 — County judge, William Pierce: clerk of district court. Jesse 
Goodrich ; recorder and treasurer. James Hook ; prosecuting attorney. George W. 
Hall,* John H. Cofer;* sherifi:'. James Doty; coroner. Theodorus Eslick ; school 
fund commissioner, John Tolman,** Luodowic Mericle ;** surveyor, George W. 
Hall ; drainage commissioner, Daniel Gaylor ; township assessor, Samuel 
Eslick :t justice of peace, John H. Cofer, John Tolman ; constables, John Devore, 



* Each received 28 votes. 

** Each received 27 votes. 

j Only on township, Washington, in entire county. 



86 HISTORY OF \\-EBSTER COUNTY 

Charles Burkhard; township trustees, Isaac Hook, Andrew Grossclose, John 
Gaylor; township clerk, Luodowic ]\Iericle. 

1854 — No record of an election. 

April 5, 1855 — County judge, ^^^ N. Aleservey; prosecuting attorney, Gran- 
ville Berkley; drainage commissioner, David Carrell ; coroner, Alfred Gaines; 
Des Moines river improvement commissioner, O. D. Tisdale ; improvement reg- 
ister, William Dewey; register state land office. Stark H. Samuels. 

For prohibitory law, 99; against prohibitory law, 76. 

August 6, 1855 — Clerk of district court (to fill vacancy),* George Gregory;** 
recorder and treasurer, William T. Woolsey ;** sheriff, William Royster ;** 
county judge, John D. ^laxwell ;t coroner, X. L. Osborn ; surveyor, C. C. Car- 
penter.l 

April 7, 1856 — District clerk, Henry B. Martin (to fill vacancy until August, 
1856) ; school fund commissioner, John Tolman ; coroner, John Johns. 

•On removing county seat from Flomer to Fort Dodge, for, 407 ; against, 264. 

Allowing stock to run at large, for, 228; against, 344. 

August 5, 1856 — -Prosecuting attorney, Chas. B. Richards; district clerk, S. B. 
Rosencrans ; representative, Elias Pocock. 

For calling a constitutional convention, 299; against, 99. 

Delegate to the constitutional convention of 1857, Thirty-third district. Sheldon 
G. Winchester. 

September 22, 1856 — $200,000 bond issue at ten per cent, payable in 17, 18 
and 20 years, to aid Dubuque & Pacific Railroad, and tax levy for same, not to 
exceed one per cent of value of taxable property, voted. 

April 6, 1857 — County judge, Samuel Rees;§ clerk of district court, \\'. E. 
Brooks; recorder and treasurer, William Burkholder ;§§ sheriff, John W. Brady; 
surveyor, F. B. Drake ; drainage commissioner, Adam ^lessmore ; county assessor, 
Lewis Davis. 

August 3, 1857 — County judge, Luther L. Pease; sheriff', John \\'. Brady; 
recorder and treasurer, Ambrose Carpenter ; surveyor, Albert ^lorrison ; coroner, 
William Hodges ; drainage commissioner, Thomas Landreth. 

For the adoption of the new constitution, 142 ; against, 264. 

For striking the word "white" out of the article on the right of suffrage, 63 ; 
against, 330. 

October 13, 1857 — Recorder and treasurer, Erastus G. Morgan; surveyor. 



* Caused by death of Francis Eslick. 

*^ Elections contested and cases tried October 3, and 4, before Judge Meservey, with 
vrhom H. G. Pemberton and Eoscio Royster sat as associates. Contest on grounds of legality 
of votes of Boon township. The court held these votes legal, Eoyster dissenting. This de- 
cision gave the office of clerk to L. D. C. Maggart and that of sheriff to E. H. West. The 
contest for the office of recorder and treasurer, instituted by Benjamin McPheeter was com- 
promised, each paying one-half the cost, and William T. Woolsey retaining the office. October 
24, 1855, Woolsey made George T. Gregory his deputy, and upon Woolsey resigning the office, 
August 4, 1856, Gregor}' was appointed in his place. L. D. C. Maggart absconded and William 
E,oyster was appointed to fill the vacancy January 1, 1856. 

t John D. Maxwell elected but decided that office was not vacant and W. X. Meservey 
held over. 

i Resigned March 4, 1857. Francis E. Beers appointed to fill, vacancy. 

§ Resigned August 3, 1857. 

§§ Elected recorder and treasurer after his death. Erastus G. Morgan appointed to serve 
until October election, 1857. 




ST. JOSEPH'S HOSPITAL, J'ORT DODGE 
Built in 1908 and dedicated March 21, 1909, by Bishop Garrigan 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 87 

James Gilchrist; drainage commissioner, Thomas Flaherty; coroner, Benjamin 
F. Brown ; representative, Cyrus C. Carpenter. 

For license law, 407; against, 72. 

Special election, first Monday, April, 1858 — County superintendent, S. B. 
Olney/^ 

Special election, June 28, 1858 — For general banking law, 225; against, 49. 
For state bank of Iowa, 291 ; against, 24. 

October 2, 1858 — Clerk of district court, William P. Logan; surveyor, 
Henry W. Ringland ; drainage commissioner, Thomas White ; coroner, John 
M. Heffley. (resigned March 24, i860). 

October 11, 1859 — County judge, William N. Mescrvey; treasurer and 
recorder, E. G. ^Morgan ; sherift", John W. Brady ; coroner, Walter Goodrich ; 
drainage commissioner, J. R. Paine ; surveyor, John S. Jenkins ; county super- 
intendent, Albert Morrison : representative, Samuel Rees. 

Special election, October 19, 1859 — Bond issue voted September 22, 1856, 
rescinded. For, 396 ; against, 42. 

Special election. May 14, i860 — For bond issue, 171; against, 289. For 
building bridges, 113; against, 347. 

Special election, September 24, i860 — For bond issue, 288; against, 239. 

November 6, i860 — Clerk of district court, J. H. HoUoway; coroner, J. F. 
Beyers; board of supervisors (for two years), f Gasper T. Richey, John Garaghty, 
Adam Groshart, S. K. Barnes, Richard A'ancleave (for one year) ;t T. F. Frisk, 
Walter Goodrich, S. G. Stevens, N. H. Hart, R. P. Furlong, Daniel Daniels. 

October 8, 1861 — County judge, L. ]M. Olcott ; treasurer and recorder, Isaac 
Garmoe; sheriff, John Heffley; county superintendent, L. S. Coffin; drainage 
commissioner, Norman P. Ellis ; coroner, B. B. Goodrich ;:|: surveyor, \ irgil 
^Nloore;** representative, G. T. Richey; board of .supervisors, N. H. Hart, W^alter 
Goodrich, L. S. Coffin, Daniel Daniels, Jonathan Milburn, Thomas White. 

October 14, i862§ — Clerk of district court, Hezekiah Beecher; coroner, 
William Hodges; surveyor, John W\ Brady (one year to fill vacancy); county 
superintendent, E. N. Wilson ;§§ drainage commissioner, H. L. Walker; board of 
supervisors, S. K. Barnes, Miles Allen, Patrick Condon, Thomas Sargent, E. A. 
Scott. 

October, 18631' — County judge, John L. Cheney; recorder and treasurer, 
Isaac Garmoe; sheriff', A. F. Blackshere; surveyor, John S. Jenkins; county 
superintendent, R. E. Carpenter; coroner, B. F. Allison; drainage commissioner, 
John Beem ; board of supervisors, Daniel Daniels, H. M. Case, John Ware, 
"n. H. Hart, ^lichael Morrisey, A. S. White. 

For restraining hogs from running at large, 237; against, 191. For building 
bridges, 158; against, 249. 



* Seven candidates in the field, and vote was as follows: S. B. Olney, 372; Francis 
Drake, 2; Fred Boot, 12; John Garaghty, 10; C. C. Philbrook, 187; Thomas Cole, 21. 

** S. B. Olney resigned February 1, 1859, and A. M. Dawley appointed to fill vacancy. 

t Terms fixed at first meeting of board. 

t Resigned September 1, 1862, and A. F. Blackshere appointed. 

§ Soldier vote was included in the first canvass of the returns of this election. 

§§ Wilson received 277 votes and E. H. Blain 234 — Board of Supervisors held that under 
See. 62, Chap. 172, Acts of 9th G. A. no election could take place for this oflSce. 

1 1 Board met October 19, 1863, and canvassed the home vote and then adjourned to await 
the return of the soldier vote. 



88 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

November 8, 1864 — Clerk of district court, R. E. Carpenter; county recorder, 
John L. Cheyney ; county surveyor, Thomas Harlan ; board of supervisors. John 
Wilson, Josiah Conlee, C. C. Carter, G. T. Richey, A. Graves. 

Restraining swine from running at large, for, 408; against, 181. 

October 10, 1865 — County treasurer, Jared Fuller; sherilY, A. F. Blackshere; 
county judge, Isaac Young; county superintendent, E. N. Wilson; surveyor, 
Thomas Harlan; coroner, John F. Beyers; drainage commissioner, Robert 
Scott ; board of supervisors, John Linn, B. B. Goodrich, D. V\l. Prindle, Charles 
W. Maher, D. C. Russell. 

Giving board power to increase tax, for, 392 ; against, 269. 

Granting a bounty to soldiers, for, 382; against, 301. 

October 9, 1866 — Clerk district court, Wilson Lumpkin ; recorder, D. H. 
Taylor ; board of supervisors, N. H. Hart, C. C. Carter, D. W. Prindle, Josiah 
Conlee, George March. John Jameson. Joel L. Clark, John L. Kinney (appointed 
to fill vacancy). 

October 8, 1867 — Treasurer, Jonathan Hutchinson; county judge. James R. 
Strow ; surveyor, George S. Killam; county superintendent, D. A. Weller; 
coroner, Francis Brewer ; sheriff, Jacob Walz ; drainage commissioner, Daniel 
W. Prindle; board of supervisors, Josiah Conlee, Joel Clark, John L. Kinney, C. 
W. Maher, N. H. Hart, Charles Erickson, F. P. Calkins, Henry Cox. 

November 3, 1868— Clerk district court, Wilson Lumpkin; county recorder, 
David H. Taylor; board of supervisors, John L. Kinney, George Marsh. D. W. 
Prindle, C. C. Smeltzer, Stephen Reckard, J. B. Scott, Patrick Condon. 

Note — At this election five amendments to the constitution were voted upon. 
All of them concerned the striking out of the word "white," from the several 
articles of the constitution. Amendment i gave the right of suffrage to all males. 
Amendment 2 required that the state census should include all inhabitants. 
Amendments 3 and 4 concern senatorial and representative districts, and made 
the basis of population, constituting such districts; to include all inhabitants. 
Amendment 5 gave the right of service in the militia to all able bodied citizens. 

Amendent One Two Three Four Five 

For 694 691 691 691 691 

Against 582 582 582 582 582 

October 12, 1869 — Representative, Galusha Parsons; auditor, Wilson Lump- 
kin ; treasurer, Jonathan Hutchinson ; sheriff", Jacob Walz ; county superin- 
tendent, Rev. J. M. Phillips; surveyor, George S. Killam; coroner, Elias Caldwell; 
board of supervisors, H. P. Cutting, G. A. Erickson, Preston Yslu Cleave, F. E. 
Scofield, F. P. Calkins, J. P. Lilygren, C. \\\ Maher. J. H. Williams. 

Bonding the county, for, 480; against, 624. 

October 11, 1870 — Recorder, D. H. Taylor; clerk of district court, Wilson 
Lumpkin ; board of supervisors, L. M. Pratt, E. N. Wilson, William B. Crandall. 

Prohibitory amendment, for, iii; against, 231. 

Increasing number of board of supervisors, for, 579 ; against, 338. 

October 10, 1871 — Sheriff, E. V. Moore; county superintendent, Frank Far- 
rell ; treasurer, Jonathan Hutchinson ; representative, John F. Duncombe ; aud- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 89 

itor, J. B. Scott; surveyor, M. E. Smith; coroner, S. B. Olney; board of super- 
visors, David Lundeen, H. Beecher, J. L. Brown. 

Prohibitory amendment, for, 493; against, 643. 

Increasing county tax, for, 159; against, 999. 

November 5, 1872 — Recorder, A. Beach; clerk of district court, Wilson Lumij- 
kin; board of supervisors, L. M. Pratt. 

Authorizing purchase of poor farm, for. 677; against, 273. 

October 14, 1873 — Representative, Silas Corey; treasurer, Jonathan Hutch- 
inson; auditor. J. B. Scott; sheriff, E. \^ Moore; county superintendent, Frank 
Farrell ; surveyor, Fred Hess; coroner, W. L. Nicholson; board of supervisors, 

D. S. Coughlon, C. Knudson. 

Increasing county tax, for, 100; against, 11 59. 

October 13, 1874 — Clerk of district court. M. H. Bliss; sheriff', E. London; 
recorder, Jared Fuller; coroner, John McNulty; super^■isor district No. 3. N. H. 
Hart ; supervisor district No. 4. John Gabrielson. 

Restraining stock from running at large between sunset and sunrise, for, 855; 
against, 571. 

Restraining stock from running at large between August 15 and December i, 
for, 624 ; against, 767. 

October 12, 1875 — Representative, Samuel Rees; auditor, J. B. Scott; sheriff, 
P. \\'. Chantland ; treasurer, Jonathan Hutchinson ; county superintendent, J. A. 
Adams; surveyor, C. H. Pierce; coroner. S. J. Bennett; supervisor district No. 5, 

E. B. Pierce. 

Building bridge at Hart's Ford, for, 409; against. 954. 

Building bridge at Tyson's Mill, for, 466; against, 908. 

November 7, 1876 — Clerk of district court, M. H. Bliss; recorder, Jared Ful- 
ler; supervisor district No. i, N. G. Roosa; supervisor district No. 2, D. S. 
Coughlon. 

October 9, 1877 — Representative, Oliver Tyson; treasurer, Arab Leonard; 
auditor, J. B. Scott; sheriff', P. W. Chantland; coroner, G. \\ Patterson; sur- 
veyor, Albert Morrison; county superintendent, Jabez A. Adams; supervisor 
district No. 3, William Ryan ; supervisor district No. 4, John Gabrielson. 

October 9, 1878 — Clerk of district court, J. E. Powers; recorder, C. Arnold; 
supervisor district No. 3, Samuel Rees ; supervisor district No. 4. Jacob Ostrander. 

October 14, 1879 — Representative, John F. Duncombe; auditor, John Haire; 
treasurer, Arab Leonard ; sheriff. G. W^ Hyatt ; county superintendent, John G. 
Tapper; surveyor, M. E. Smith; coroner. Dr. E. H. Klueber; supervisor district 
No. I, Samuel Heft'ner; supervisor district No. 2, P. H. Cain. 

November 2. i88c> — Clerk of district court, M. H. Bliss; recorder. John 
Breen, Jr.; superxisor district No. 3, .S. J. Bennett; supervisor district No. 4, 
J. L. Kinney. 

Calling convention to revise constitution, for, 1015; against. 394, 

Striking the word "free white'' from the constitution, for, 981 ; against, 481. 

Levying a tax of six and one-half mills, for. 'J22\ against. T460. 

Building bridge at Hart's Ford, for, 794; against, 1416. 

October 11, 1881 — Representative, R. M. Wright; auditor. John Haire; 
treasurer. John W. Campbell ; sheriff. P. W. Chantland ; county superintendent, 



90 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY ■ 

J. B. Butler; county superintendent (to fill vacancy), D. G. Youker; surveyor, 
C. H. Pierce; coroner, Theron Nichols; supervisor district No. 5, Jacob Ostrander. 

Special election. June 28, 1882 — Prohibitory amendment, for. 1498; against, 
238. 

November 7, 1882 — Clerk of district court, M. H. Bliss; recorder, George 
H. Porter; supervisor district No. i, Samuel Heffner; supervisor district No. 
2, P. H. Cain. 

October 9, 1883 — Representative, Cyrus C. Carpenter; treasurer, John W. 
Campbell ; auditor, John Haire ; sheriff, P. W. Chantland ; county superintendent, 
John B. Butler; surveyor. F. L. Easley; coroner, A. W. Garlock; supervisor 
district No. 3, S. J. Bennett ; supervisor district No. 4, E. A. Lynd. 

November 4, 1884 — Clerk of district court, M. H. Bliss; recorder, George H. 
Porter; coroner, J. N. Palmer; supervisor district No. 5, A. D. Rolfe. 

Constitutional amendment fixing election on the first Tuesday after the 
first Monday in November, for, 1109; against, 107. 

Constitutional amendment giving general assembly power to reorganize judi- 
cial districts, for, 903 ; against, 293. 

Constitutional amendment fixing the number of grand jurors at not less 
than three nor more than five, for, 987 ; against, 252. 

Constitutional amendment establishing the office of county attorney and fix- 
ing the number of members of the general assembly at, representatives, 108, 
senators, 50; for, 1006; against, 210. 

Novemljer 3, 1885 — Representative, S. T. Meservey; auditor, J. W. Camp- 
bell ; treasurer, D. W. Weller; sheriff, G. F. Gustafson; county superintendent, 
S. B. Wilkinson; surveyor, F. L. Easley; coroner, C. H. Paige; supervisor dis- 
trict No. I, Peter Hannon; supervisor district No. 2, W. C. Ainsworth. 

Revision state constitution, for, 321 ; against, 1437. 

November 2, 1886 — County attorney, Albert E. Clark; clerk of district court, 
John Haire ; recorder, George H. Porter ; supervisor district No. 4, John T. 
Drug; supervisor district No. 3. Martin White. 

Three mill tax for county jail, for, 573; against, 1652. 

November 8, 1887 — Representative, I. L. Woods; auditor, John Wolfinger; 
treasurer, J. J. Ryan; sheriff, J. Q. x\dams; superintendent, S. B. Wilkinson; 
surveyor, J. C. W^illiams ; coroner, T. F. Grayson ; supervisor district No. 5, O. F. 
Blunk. 

November 6. 1888 — County attorney, Chas. H. Moore; clerk of district court, 
David J. Haire; recorder, F. W. Kruckman; supervisor district No. i, Peter 
Hannon ; supervisor district No. 2, John T. Hood. 

November 5, 1889 — Representative, I. L. Woods; auditor, John Wolfinger; 
treasurer, J. J. Ryan; sheriff, J. A. Adams; county superintendent, John Carr; 
surveyor, Fred Hess; coroner, C. H. Churchill; supervisor district No. 3, Mar- 
tin White ; supervisor district No. 4, J. T. Drug. 

November 5, 1890 — Clerk of district court, D. J. Haire; recorder, D. A. 
Peterson; supervisor district No. 3, Samuel Rees; supervisor district No. 5, 
Walter Irvine; county attorney, James Martin. 

Restraining stock from running at large, for, 1416; against, 976. 

Revision of constitution, for, 321 ; against, 1437. 




GREAT WESTERN CEREAL COMPANY PLANT, FORT DODGE. 
Bought by Quaker Oats Company, 1911 



■ HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 91 

November 3, 1891 — Sherifif, J. A. Adams; treasurer, C. W. Newton; county 
superintendent, John Carr; coroner, C. H. Churchill; surveyor, Ezra Young; 
supervisor district No. i, John ]\Iallinger; supervisor district No. 2, John T. Hood; 
supervisor district No. 4, John Linn (to fill vacancy). 

November 8, 1892 — Auditor, T. A. Cunningham ; clerk of district court, D. 
J. Haire ; recorder, F. O. Blomgren ; county attorney, W. S. Kenyon ; county 
superintendent, Charles V. Findlay; supervisor district No. 3, Joseph Shaw; 
supervisor district No. 4, John A. Lind. 

November 7, 1893 — Representative, Sam Burnquist; treasurer, C. W. New- 
ton; sherifif. W. C. Woolsey; county superintendent, C. V. Findlay; surveyor, 
F. S. Hoyt : coroner, J. W. Sommers ; supervisor district No. 5, W. V. Manchester. 

November 6. 1894 — Clerk of district court, G. F. Rankin ; auditor, T. A. 
Cunningham ; county attorney, W. S. Kenyon ; recorder, F. O. Blomgren ; coroner, 
A. W. Oarlock; supervisor district No. i, A. W. Mallinger; supervisor district 
No. 2, J. R. Coughlon. 

November 5, 1895 — Representative, Jonas P. )ohnson; treasurer, J. H. Abel; 
sherifif, W. C. Woolsey; county superintendent, C. V. Findlay; surveyor, Fred 
Hoyt; coroner, J. S. Nelson; supervisor district No. 3, C. P. Julius; supervisor 
district No. 4, John A. Lind. 

November 3, 1896 — Clerk of district court, G. F. Rankin; auditor, T. A. 
Cunningham; recorder. Otto Ottosen; county attorney, William T. Chantland; 
supervisor district No. 5, F. B. Drake. 

November 2, 1897 — Representative, F. J. Blake; treasurer, J. H. Abel; sherifif, 
F. A. Dowd; county superintendent, C. V. Findlay; surveyor, F. S. Hoyt; cor- 
oner, H. Rose; supervisor district. No. i, Andrew Hannon; supervisor district 
No. 2, J. T. Ryan. 

November 8, 1898 — Clerk of district court, G. F. Rankin; recorder, Otto 
Ottosen ; auditor, J. F. Ford ; county attorney, William T. Chantland ; supervisor 
district No. 3, (for long and short term) S. J. Bennett; supervisor district No. 
4, Swan Johnson. 

November 7, 1899 — Sherifif, F. A. Dowd; county superintendent, A. L, 
Brown; coroner, H. Rose; treasurer, J. A. Lindquist; surveyor, Charles H. 
Reynolds; supervisor district No. 5, C. O. Hillstrom; representative, F. J. Blake. 

Building courthouse and levying tax of two mills, for, 2394; against, 1146. 

November 6, 1900 — Auditor, J. F. Ford ; clerk of district court, Charles H. 
Colby; recorder. Otto Ottosen; county attorney, C. W. Hackler; supervisor 
district No. i, A. F. Simpson; supervisor district No. 2, John T. Ryan. 

Constitutional convention, for 2647; against, 1876. 

Biennial election, for, 2875; against, 1691. 

November 5, 1901 — Representative, S. T. Meservey; treasurer, J, A. Lind- 
quist; sherifif, Henry Oleson; superintendent, A. L. Brown; surveyor, Charles 
H. Reynolds; coroner, A. H. McCreight; supervisor district No. 3, F. W. Collins; 
supervisor district No. 4, Swan Johnson ; supervisor district No. 5, J. P. Hillstrom. 

November 4, 1902 — County auditor, J. F. Ford ; clerk of district court, C. H. 
Colby; recorder, A. C. Smith; county attorney, C. W. Hackler; supervisor dis- 
trict No. 5, J. P. Hillstrom. 

Levying tax of one mill to build memorial hall and soldiers' monument, for 

1444; against, 2218. 
Vol. 1—7 



92 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

November 3, 1903 — Representative, R. M. Wright; treasurer, J. T. Ryan; 
sheriff, Henry Olson; county superintendent, A. L. Brown; surveyor, C. H. 
Reynolds; coroner, A. H. McCreight; supervisor district No. i, A. F. Simpson; 
supervisor district No. 2, P. H. Cain. 

November 8, 1904 — County auditor, H. S. Holm ; clerk of district court, 
Henry L. ^^^eiss ; recorder, A. C. Smith ; county attorney, B. J. Price ; supervisor 
district No. 3, Frank W. Collins; supervisor district No. 4, Anton Byer. 

Biennial election, for, 2181 ; against, 2657. 

Representative amendment, for, 1897; against, 2492. 

November 6, 1906— County attorney, Charles W. Hackler; auditor, H. S. 
Holm ; treasurer, Peter Hadley ; clerk of district court, C. A. Bryant ; sheriff,. 
Henry Olson; county superintendent, M. P. Somes (to fill vacancy); county 
superintendent, E. E. Cavanaugh ; surveyor, Charles H. Reynolds ; coroner. Dr. 
J. D. Lowry; supervisor district No. i, P. J. Mitchell; supervisor district No. 3, 
E. H. Peschau; supervisor district No. 4, Anton Byer; supervisor district No. 5,. 
Charles A. Anderson ; supervisor district No. 2, D. S. Coughlon. 

November 3. 1908 — Representative, Charles W. Hackler; auditor, James L. 
Hanrahan ; treasurer, Peter Hadley ; clerk of district court, C. A. Bryant ; sheriff, 
Rasmus S. Lund ; recorder, Louis Fessler ; county attorney, F. A. Grosenbaugh ; 
county superintendent, E. E. Cavanaugh. Resigned 1909 — Miss Mary Carey 
appointed to fill vacancy. Surveyor, C. H. Reynolds; coroner, J. D. Lowry; 
supervisor district No. i, P. J. Mitchell; supervisor district No. 2, D. S. Cough- 
ion ; supervisor district No. 5, F. G. Cochran.* 

November 8, 1910 — Representative, John W. Campbell ; county auditor, James 
L. Hanrahan ; county treasurer, A. C. Lindberg ; sheriff', Rasmus S. Lund ; 
recorder, Maude Lauderdale; county attorney, B. B. Burnquist; county superin- 
tendent, Mary A. Carey; coroner, J. D. Lowry; supervisor district No. 3, F. H. 
Frahm; supervisor district No. 4, Anton Byer; supervisor district No. 5, C. A. 
Anderson. 

Constitutional convention to revise constitution and amendment to the same, 
for, 2435; against, 2196. 

November 5, 1912 — Representative, Peter Hadley; treasurer, A. C. Lindberg; 
recorder, Maude Lauderdale; clerk, G. L. Lindquist; county superintendent,. 
Mary A. Carey; coroner, J. D. Lowry; auditor, James L. Hanrahan; supervisor 
district No. i, B. J. Simpson; supervisor district No. 2, Gus Voights; supervisor 
district No. 3, F. H. Frahm; supervisor district No. 4, L L. Reedholm. (Term 
begins 1914.) 



Eeturns show Cochran elected, but on contest went to his opponent C. A. Anderson 



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CHAPTER IX 
WEBSTER COUNTY IN CIVIL WAR 



• 



COMPANY '%" THIRTY-SECOND REGIMENT 
IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

On the 9th day of July, 1862, Samuel J. Kirkwood, governor of Iowa, issued 
the following proclamation : 

I have this day received from the secretary of war a telegram, requesting 
me to raise as soon as practicable, for the United States service, for three 
years or during the war, five regiments of volunteer infantry, being a part of 
the quota of this state, under the late call of the president for 300,000 men. The 
preservation of the Union, the perpetuity of our government, the honor of our 
state, demand that this requisition shall be promptly met. Our harvest is upon 
us, and we have feared a lack of force to secure it. But we must imitate our 
brave Iowa boys in the field, meet new emergencies with jiew exertions. Our 
old men and our boys unfit for war, if need be, our women, must help to 
gather harvest, while those able to bear arms go forth to aid their brave brethren 
in the field. The necessity is urgent. Our national existence is at stake. The 
more promptly the president is furnished the needed troops, the more speedily 
will this unholy rebellion be crushed, and the blessings of peace again visit our 
land. Until then we men must expect the hardships and privations of war. The 
time has come when men must make — as many have already made — sacrifices 
of ease, comfort and business, for the cause of the country. The enemy, by 
a sweeping conscription, have forced into their ranks all men capable of bearing 
arms. Our government has, as yet, relied upon the voluntary action of our citi- 
zens. But, if need be, the same energies must be exerted to preserve our govern- 
ment that traitors are using to destroy it. * * * 

Iowa City, July 9, 1862. Samuel J. Kirkwood. 

The patriotic sons of Iowa promptly responded to this earnest appeal of tiie 
governor. The Thirty-second Infantry was one of the five regiments that were 
organized and sent ,.to the field in compliance with this call of the president. 
Recruiting began as soon as the governor's proclamation was published. Camp 
Franklin, near Dubuque, Iowa, was designated by the governor as the rendezvous 
of the regiment. The ten companies were ordered into quarters as fast as their 
organizations were completed. It would appear, from the wide discrepancy in 
dates upon which the orders were given, that some of the companies had been 
partially, if not wholly, organized in anticipation of the call, as the dates of the 

93 



94 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

orders ranged from July 3 to September 8, 1862. Upon the latter date the 
companies had all assembled at Camp Franklin, and, on the 6th day of October, 
1862, they were there mustered into the service of the United States, by Captain 
George S. Pierce, of the regular army, and the organization of the regiment was 
completed by the muster in of the field and staff officers on the same date. 

Colonel John Scott had resigned the office of Lieutenant Colonel of the 
Third Iowa Infantry, upon being tendered the appointment, by Governor Kirk- 
wood, of the office of colonel of the Thirty-second Infantry. Upon the recom- 
mendation of Colonel Scott, the governor appointed Edward H. Mix, lieutenant 
colonel, and Gustavus A. Eberhart, major, of the regiment. These officers had 
all had the benefit of experience as soldiers in one of the first regiments that 
the state had sent into the field (the Third Iowa Infantry), and had fully demon- 
strated their fitness and capacity to properly discharge the duties of their respec- 
tive offices. The staff officers were all men of high character and ability, and 
the regiment was fortunate in their selection. The same may be said of the 
company officers. An examination of the roster of the Thirty-second Iowa will 
show that the average age of both officers and men was greater than that of 
the earlier regiments, and there was a proportionately larger number of married 
men among them. The records show that there was an aggregate number of 
925 men and officers in the regiment, at the date of its muster into the service. 
During its stay at Camp Franklin, the time was utilized to the best advantage, 
and, when the regiment left the state, it had probably acquired a better general 
knowledge of the duties it would be called upon to perform, than most of the 
regiments which preceded it had been able to obtain, prior to leaving their 
rendezvous. 

On November 16, 1862, the regiment embarked on transports and was con- 
veyed to St. Louis, ]\Iissouri, and went into quarters at Benton Barracks. On 
November 25th, by order of Major General Curtis, commanding department of 
Missouri, Companies B, C, E, H, I and K, with the regimental headquarters, left 
St. Louis and were conveyed to New Madrid, Missouri, and, on the next day, 
Companies A, D, F and G, under command of Major Eberhart, were conveyed to 
Cape Girardeau, Missouri. From this time until March 4, 1864, the operations 
of the detachment of the four companies under Major Eberhart and the six com- 
panies under Colonel Scott were distinct, separate and independent of each other. 

Upon arriving at New Madrid with the six companies of his regiment. Colonel 
Scott, in accordance with his instructions, assumed command of the post. It did 
not take him long to discover that, prior to his arrival, disloyal men had been 
favored and protected; that large amounts of merchandise of all descriptions 
had been distributed from New Madrid and had gone beyond the Union lines, 
into the possession of those who were engaged in armed rebellion. Negroes, who 
had escaped and sought protection of the L^nion soldiers, had been returned to 
slavery. Colonel Scott did not believe in the policy of conciliating those who 
were in full sympathy with the rebellion and who were active in their efforts 
to furnish aid and comfort to the enemy. The most active of those rebel 
sympathizers was a man who was not a naturalized citizen of the United States, 
and who claimed the protection of the British government. The general in 
command of the department listened to the protests of those who wanted to 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 95 

have Colonel Scott removed from the command of the post and strange as it may- 
appear, seemed inclined to grant their request. 

On the 17th of December, a detachment from Colonel Scott's command, com- 
posed of Companies C and I, under command of Captain Peebles, made a recon- 
noissance into the country west of New Madrid. The detachment was absent five 
days, marched about one hundred miles, and captured eight prisoners and a 
quantity of arms and stock. It discovered no considerable force of the enemy, 
and showed that the report that a large rebel force was moving against New 
Madrid was without foundation. On December 23d Colonel Scott, with a 
detachment from his command, embarked on the steamer "Davenport" and pro- 
ceeded on a tour of examination of the points along the river at which illicit trade 
(or smuggling goods into the enemy's lines) was being carried on, with the view 
to prevent same, as far as it was possible to do so with the resources at his 
command. On his return from this trip. Colonel Scott reported to General 
Thomas A. Davies, at Columbus, Kentucky, who had command of the military 
district of Columbus, and who claimed that the post of New Madrid was included 
in his district, and was supported in that statement by General Fisk, who was 
present and who had just returned from the headquarters of General Curtis in St. 
Louis. Up to that time Colonel Scott had received his orders direct from 
General Curtis. General Davies stated that it was necessary that Colonel Scott 
should at once abandon the post at New Madrid, and proceed with his com- 
mand to Fort Pillow, which was in danger of being captured by the enemy. 
Feeling that the abandonment of New Madrid was unwise, but recognizing the 
fact that General Davies was his superior officer. Colonel Scott took the precau- 
tion to request a written order, which was given, as follows : 

Columbus, December 27, 1862. 
Colonel Scott, Commanding Thirty-second Iowa, New Madrid : 

You will immediately proceed to New Madrid, burn the gun carriages and 
wooden platforms, and spike the guns and destroy the ammunition totally. Take 
the same boat and proceed to Fort Pillow, under convoy of gunboat, and 
report to Colonel Wolfe, commanding at that place. 

Thomas A. Davies, Brigadier General. 

Colonel Scott, having made personal protest against the necessity for this 
order, proceeded to obey it, and carried out his instructions to the letter. He 
proceeded with his command to Fort Pillow and reported to the commander. 
Colonel Wolfe, for duty. General Curtis censured Colonel Scott for obeying the 
order of General Davies, and a military commission was appointed to investigate 
the matter and report its findings to General Curtis. After a full and complete 
investigation, the commission found that Colonel Scott did right in obeying the 
order, that he simply performed his duty, and was honorably acquitted of all 
blame. The report was signed by Brigadier General William K. Strong, presi- 
dent, and Colonel Albert G. Bracket, recorder, of the commission, and the find- 
ings were approved by General Curtis, and thus Colonel Scott was completely 
vindicated from the unjust censure, not only by the commission, but by General 
Curtis himself. It is the first duty of the soldier to obey orders, otherwise it 
would be impossible to maintain discipline. There were many instances in which 



96 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

subordinate officers yielded prompt obedience to orders which as subsequent 
events proved, were unwise and should not have been given, but the officer in 
authority had the right to demand obedience, and those under his command were 
bound to obey, no matter what their opinion might be as to the wisdom or unwis- 
dom of the order. It will, therefore, be seen that Colonel Scott simply acted the 
part of a true soldier, and gave a good example to the officers and men of his own 
regiment, who like himself, could not see the necessity for abandoning the post. 

The headquarters of the regiment remained at Fort Pillow until June i8, 
1863. During a part of this time Company B, with Capt. A. B. Miller in com- 
mand, occupied the post at Fulton, Tennessee, three miles below Fort Pillow. 
Detachments were sent on scouts in the vicinity of the fort, from time to 
time, acting in conjunction with the Second Illinois Cavalry, and occasionally 
these scouting parties came into contact with the enemy, but the fighting which 
took place mainly devolved upon the cavalry which proceeded in advance, the 
infantry following as a support in case the enemy were found in considerable 
force, which was seldom the case. Garrison duty and daily drill was the 
principal duty of the troops at Fort Pillow. On the 17th and iSth of June, 
1863, the six companies of the Thirty-second Iowa embarked on transports and 
were conveyed to Columbus, Kentucky, at which place they went into camp and 
remained until January 21, 1864. 

On July 10, 1863, Union City was captured by a force of rebels. This place 
was twenty-six miles south of Columbus, on the Mobile & Ohio Railroad. 
Colonel Scott received orders to proceed with his command by rail to Union 
City, which order was promptly obeyed, but the enemy abandoned the place and 
retreated rapidly before Colonel Scott's command arrived and, in ol)edience to 
orders from General Asboth, the colonel returned with his troops to Columbus. 
On July II, 1863, Colonel Scott succeeded to the command of the post of Colum- 
bus. At this time Company C, Captain Peebles commanding, was mounted and 
attached to the Fourth Missouri Cavalry, for scouting duty. Company E, under 
Captain Jones, was sent to Fort Quimby, near Columbus, and Companies H 
and K, under Captain Benson, were sent to Island Number Ten. This left only 
Companies B and I on duty at regimental headquarters, with Captain A. B. 
Miller in command, Lieutenant Colonel Mix being absent at that time, as presi- 
dent of a court-martial at Cairo, 111. The service performed by Company C, 
with the Fourth ^Missouri Cavalry, was arduous and important. That regiment 
was constantly in pursuit of roving bands of the enemy, engaged in securing and 
forwarding conscripts to the rebel army, and in committing depredations upon 
the property of loyal citizens in the surrounding regions of Kentucky and 
Tennessee. These expeditions extended, over hundreds of miles and involved 
much hardship to the troops engaged in them. The two companies at Island 
Number Ten also made frequent expeditions upon both sides of the river, in one 
of which John D. Baker, of Company H, was killed. 

On January 20, 1864, Colonel Scott received orders to assemble the six 
companies of his regiment at Columbus, where they shortly afterwards embarked 
and were conveyed to Vicksburg, ]\Iississippi, where they disembarked and went 
into camp. General Sherman was just then completing his preparations for that 
remarkal)le expedition which penetrated into the heart of the state of Mississippi 
and inflicted a telling blow to the rebellion, in that portion of the south, from 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 97 

■which it never fully recovered. Colonel Scott's detachment of the Thirty-second 
Iowa was assigned to the Second Brigade of the Third Division of the Sixteenth 
Army Corps ; Col. William T. Shaw of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry was in 
command of the brigade ; Brigadier General A. J. Smith commanded the division, 
and Maj. Gen. S. A. Hurlbut was in command of the corps. The army left 
Vicksburg on the 3d day of February, and returned to that place on March 4, 

1864, having marched 328 miles. The troops had been supplied with but ten 
days' rations when the march began, and, after that supply was exhausted, lived 
upon such food as could be obtained in the country through which they 
passed. This involved the necessity of sending out forage trains every day, 
with large details to guard them, as the enemy's cavalry in large force hovered 
in front and upon either flank of General Sherman's army, which was composed 
of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Corps and one division of cavalry. There was 
more or less fighting every day. mainly done by the cavalry which led the advance 
and by the infantry which constituted the guard to forage trains. The troops had 
no tents while on this expedition and suffered much from the inclemency of the 
weather. The six companies of the Thirty-second Iowa, under command of 
Colonel Scott, performed their share of duty upon this long and arduous march, 
but they did not come into contact with any considerable body of the enemy. The 
only casualties reported were : George A. Todd, of Company I, captured, and 
Edward Flood, of Company C, killed, while engaged in guarding forage train. 
At the close of his official report. Colonel Scott says : "The labors and privations 
of this expedition were borne alike, by officers and men, with great cheerfulness, 
and a capacity for enduring , fatigue and exposure both gratifying and 
astonishing." ■ ' . . 

The six companies of the regiment arrived at Vicksburg, on their return 
from the Meridian Expedition, on March 4, 1864, and were there joined by the 
other four companies from whom they had been so long separated. 

ROSTER COMPANY I THIRTY-SECOND REGIMENT IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Jonathan Hutchinson, captain ; Amos S. Collins, first lieutenant ; Alexander 
Dowd, second lieutenant. 

Allison, Alexander D., age eighteen; residence, Dayton; nativity, Indiana; 
enlisted, February 28, 1864; mustered, February 28, 1864; transferred to Com- 
pany A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Andrews, Celestius B., age twenty-six; residence, Otho; nativity, Ohio; 
enlisted, August 16, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 

1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Auyer, Cyrus D., age nineteen ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity. New York ; 
enlisted. August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, June 2, 1865, 
]\Iemphis, Tennessee. 

Baldridge, Isaac N., age eighteen; residence, Webster county; nativity, New 
York; enlisted, February 29, 1864; mustered, February 29, 1864; transferred 
to Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Baldridge, James, age twenty-two; residence, Webster county; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, August 12, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; wounded; discharged 
for disability, May 20, 1865, Davenport, Iowa. 



98 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Baldridge, Samuel, age thirty-two ; residence, Dayton ; nativity. Illinois ; 
enlisted, August 12, 1862; mustered, December 24, 1862; died of disease, June 
12, 1863, Fort Pillow, Tennessee; buried in Mississippi River National Cemetery, 
jMemphis, Tennessee, section i, grave 106. 

Baldridge, Thomas ]., age twenty-five ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, 
Illinois; enlisted, February 29, 1864; mustered, February 29, 1864; transferred 
to Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Baldwin, Philander R., age twenty-five ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, 
Illinois; enlisted, August 20, 1862, as first corporal; mustered, October 7, 1862; 
promoted fifth sergeant, October 6, 1862; fourth sergeant. May 30, 1864; third 
sergeant, July 4, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Barnes, John F. ; rejected, August 22, 1862, by mustering officer. 

Beach, Alexander, age twenty-five; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity. Ohio; 
enlisted, January 4, 1864; mustered, January 4, 1864; transferred to Company 
A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Binkley, Perry, age eighteen; residence, Webster county; nativity. Iowa; 
enlisted, January 14, 1865 ; mustered, January 14, 1865 ; transferred to Com- 
pany A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Birchard, Abner T., age twenty-seven; residence, Boonsborough : nativity, 
Pennsylvania; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted, 
quartermaster sergeant, November 8, 1862; mustered out. May 12. 1865, St. 
Louis, Missouri. 

Blackman, Henry, enlisted, Alay i, 1863, as under cook; mustered, June 30, 
1863 ; no further record found. 

Blain, George, age eighteen ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Pennsylvania ; 
enlisted, August 13, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; died of disease. July 19, 

1864, Memphis, Tennessee; buried in Mississippi River National Cemetery, 
Memphis, Tennessee, section i, grave 310. 

Bond, Judson A., age eighteen; residence, Crawford county; nativity, ]\Iassa- 
chusetts; enlisted, December 25, 1863; mustered, December 25, 1863; transferred 
to Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Booth, Ambrose, age thirty-nine ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, England ; 
enlisted, August 19, 1862, as fifth sergeant; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted 
first sergeant, October 6, 1862; second lieutenant, April ir, 1864; first lieutenant, 
October 14, 1864; mustered out, i\ugust 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Booth, Henry, age eighteen ; residence, Webster county ; nativity. England ; 
enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to Company A, 
Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. (Henry B. Booth.) 

Boyle, Richard; enlisted, June 30, 1863, as under cook; mustered, June 30, 
1863; no further record found. 

Brewer, Oliver, age eighteen ; residence, Webster county ; nativity. New York ; 
enlisted, January 30, 1865 ; mustered, January 30, 1865 ; transferred to Company 
A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. (Oliver A. Brewer.) 

Brown, Charles R., age twenty-two; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. Illinois; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 

1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Byrne, James, age twenty-three ; residence, Dayton ; nativity. Illinois ; 
enlisted, August 12, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865. Clinton, Iowa. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 99 

Byrne, John, age twenty-one ; residence, Dayton ; nativity, Illinois ; enlisted, 
/agust 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 1865, 
''Clinton, Iowa. 

Carey, James, age twenty-eight; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Ireland; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Cass, George T., age thirty ; residence, Dakotah ; nativity. New Hampshire ; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862, as second corporal; mustered, October 7, 1862; pro- 
moted first corporal, October 6, 1862; discharged for disability, December 19, 
1863, Columbus, Kentucky. 

Chandler, Robert, age twenty-one ; residence, Hardin county ; nativity, Ten- 
nessee; enlisted, November 16, 1863; deserted, January 25, 1864, ^Memphis, 
Tennessee. 

Claflin, Cornelius, age thirty-nine; residence, Otho; nativity, New York; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; discharged for promotion 
as first lieutenant Fiftieth, United States Colored Infantry, December 30, 1863. 

Clark, John H., age eighteen; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; enlisted, 
January 4, 1864; mustered, January 4, 1864; transferred to Company A, Eighth 
Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Coffin, Lorenzo S., age thirty-eight; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. New 
Hampshire; enlisted, August 22, 1862, as first sergeant; mustered October 7, 
1862; promoted quartermaster sergeant, October 6, 1862. 

Collins, Amos S., age thirty ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Pennsylvania ; 
appointed first lieutenant, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; resigned 
for promotion in Veteran Reserve Corps, October 13, 1864. Company D, 
Sixteenth Infantry. (James S. Collins.) 

Conlee, Horace D., age twenty-two ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Illinois ; 
enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to Company 
A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Conlee, Smith T., age twenty-one; residence, Webster county; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, January 11, 1865; mustered, January 11, 1865; transferred to 
Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Crosby, Charles T., age twenty-seven ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity. New 
York; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to Com- 
pany A, Eighth Infantry, 1865. 

Crosby, George H., age twenty-three; residence, Kossuth county: nativity, 
New York; enlisted, January 25, 1865; mustered, January 25, 1865; transferred 
to Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Crosby, William H., age sixteen; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. New York; 
enlisted, July 28, 1863 ; mustered, July 28, 1863 ; promoted musician ; transferred 
to Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Cusey, Henry C, age eighteen ; residence, Dakotah ; nativity, Illinois ; enlisted, 
August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24. 1865, 
Clinton, Iowa. 

Davis, Albert, age thirty-five ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Nova Scotia ; 
enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to Company 
A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

De Witt, Francis M., age twenty-seven ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity. Ken- 



634775 



100 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

tucky; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; transferred to 
Veteran Reserve Corps, July 30, 1864; discharged for disability, February 25, 
1865. 

De Witt, George W., age eighteen; enlisted, January 30, 1865; mustered, Jan- 
uary 30, 1865 ; transferred to Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

De Witt, Simon J., age twenty-one ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ken- 
tucky; enlisted, November 21, 1863; mustered, November 21, 1863; died of 
disease, March 14, 1864, Memphis, Tennessee; buried in Mississippi River 
National Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee, section i, grave 212. 

Dowd, Alexander, age thirty-three; residence, Dayton; nativity, Ohio; 
appointed second lieutenant, August 12, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; pro- 
moted captain, April 10, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Dwyer, Michael, age twenty- four ; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ireland; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; discharged for disability, 
May 29, 1863, Fort Pillow, Tennessee. 

Edson. William, age twenty-eight; residence, Otho; nativity, ^Massachusetts ; 
enlisted, August 16, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, June 17, 
1865, Chicago, Illinois. 

Ewing, James R., age twenty-two; residence, Border Plains; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted eighth 
corporal, October 10, 1864; fifth corporal, December 5, 1864; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Fagan, Michael, age eighteen ; residence, Palo Alto county ; nativity, Ire- 
land; enlisted, January 4, 1863; mustered, January 4, 1863; died, February 25, 
1864, Cairo, Illinois ; buried in National Cemetery, Mound City, Illinois. 

Flaherty, Edward, age twenty-four ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity-, Mary- 
land; enlisted, August 20, 1862, as eighth corporal; mustered, October 3, 1862; 
promoted, seventh corporal, October 6, 1862; sixth corporal, December 2^,, 
1863; fifth corporal, May 30, 1864; third corporal, July 4, 1864; second cor- 
poral, December 5, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Fogarty, Edward, age thirty-six ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ireland ; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 21, 1862; wounded. May 18, 
1864, Yellow Bayou, Louisiana; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Ford, John H., age twenty-five ; residence, Dakotah ; nativity, Ohio ; enlisted, 
August 22, 1862, as second sergeant; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted first 
lieutenant of Company A, March i, 1864. 

Foster, Jeremiah, age thirty ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Kentucky ; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Frahm, Joachim, age twenty-four ; residence, Dayton ; nativity, Germany ; 
enlisted, August 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Franks, Henry H., age twenty-three; residence, Crawford county, nativity, 
Illinois; enlisted, December 25, 1863; mustered, December 25, 1863; discharged 
for disability, September 13, 1864, Jefiferson Barracks (St. Louis), Alissouri. 

Fuller, Clark, age thirty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ohio; enlisted, 
August 12, 1862; mustered, October 31, 1862; promoted commissary sergeant, 
March 14, 1864; reduced to ranks at his own request, January 15, 1865; mus- 
tered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 101 

Gardner, Charles W., age nineteen; residence, Webster county; nativity,. 
Ohio; enhsted, January lO, 1865; mustered, January 10, 1865; transferred to 
Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Gardner, Peyton R., age twenty-one; residence, Eort Dodge; nativity, New 
Hampshire; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered 
out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Gardner, Wallace P., age nineteen; residence, Dayton; nativity, Illinois; en- 
listed. August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; died of disease, June 5, 
1863. Fort Pillow, Tennessee; buried in Mississippi River National Cemetery, 
Memphis, Tennessee, section i, grave 63. 

Gatchel, Uriah D., age twenty-two ; residence, Border Plains ; nativity, Ohio ; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered October 7, 1862; died of disease, December 
18, 1864, Keokuk, Iowa; buried in Oakland Cemetery, Keokuk, Iowa. 

Gilday. Francis M., age eighteen; residence, Webster county; nativity. New 
York: enlisted, January 11, 1865; mustered, January 11, 1865; transferred to 
Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Goodrich, Benjamin B., age twenty-five; residence, Border Plains; nativity, 
Ohio; enlisted. August 13, 1862, as fourth sergeant; mustered, October 7, 1862; 
promoted third sergeant, May 30, 1864; first sergeant, July 4, 1864; mustered 
out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Goodrich, Ezekiel L., age twenty-three ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, 
Ohio; enlisted, August 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Gwinn, Rol^ert M.; residence, Boonesborough ; nativity, Pennsylvania; en- 
listed, August II, 1862, as fifer; mustered, -October 7, 1862; reduced to ranks 
at his own request, March 20, 1863 ; mustered out, August 24. 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Haines, George W. ; enlisted, June 30, 1863, as under cook; mustered, June 
30, 1863; transferred to Second Tennessee Heavy Artillery. 

Hanchett, George W., age thirty-eight; residence, Humboldt county; 
nativity. New York; enlisted, August 22, 1862, as sixth corporal; mustered, 
October 7, 1862; promoted fifth corporal. October 6, 1862; fourth corporal, 
December 23, 1863; third corporal. May 30, 1864; first corporal, July 4, 1864; 
mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Hancock, Walter R. W., age twenty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, 
Kentucky; enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24. 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Hart, George D., age twenty-seven; residence, Otho; nativity, Illinois; 
enlisted, August 16, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; transferred to Veteran 
Reserve Corps, March 18, 1865; discharged for disability, July i, 1865, Jeffer- 
son Barracks (St. Louis), Missouri. 

Hart, Sherman, age thirty-three; residence, Border Plains; nativity, Con- 
necticut; enlisted, August 14, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; died of dis- 
ease, September 19, 1863, Island No. 10, Tennessee; buried in Mississippi River 
National Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee. 

Haskins, Alfred T., age thirty-two; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
New York; enlisted, January 18, 1865; mustered, January 18, 1865; trans- 
ferred to Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Hefley, John M., age thirty-seven; residence, Webster county; nativity, 



102 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Pennsylvania; enlisted, January lo, 1865; mustered, January 10, 1865; trans- 
ferred to Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. (John M. Heffley.) 

Hightree, John, age thirty ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Holland ; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; died, disease. Fort Dodge, 
Iowa, September 10, 1863. 

Howell, Daniel T., age thirty-two; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Indiana; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Hulsizer, Benjamin, age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. New 
Jersey; enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865. Clinton, Iowa. 

Hulsizer, Hiram, age thirty-six; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity. New Jer- 
sey; enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted eighth 
corporal, October 6, 1862; reduced to ranks at his own request, February 4, 
1863; wounded severely, April 9, 1864, Pleasant Flill, Louisiana; discharged for 
disability, June 2, 1865, Keokuk, Iowa. 

Hurlburt, Elmore, age sixteen; enlisted, December 19, 1864; mustered, 
December 19, 1864; transferred to Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 
Company A, Forty-eighth Infantry. ^ 

Hutchison, John; rejected, August 22, 1862, by mustering officer. 

Hutchison, Jonathan, age forty-two; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Ohio; 
appointed captain, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted 
major, April 10, 1864; lieutenant colonel, August 23, 1865, not mustered; brevet 
lieutenant colonel of United States Volunteers, 1865 ; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Hutchison, Matthias, age eighteen ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ohio ; 
enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; killed in action, April 
9, 1864, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Huxford, Morton V., age twenty-one; residence, Boonesborough ; na.tivity, 
Indiana; enlisted, August 11, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Jenkins, Andrew K., age twenty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, June 2, 1864; mustered, June 2, 1864; transferred to Com- 
pany B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. (xA.ndrew R. Jenkins.) 

Jenkins, James S., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to 
Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Jenkins, John S., age twenty-seven ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to 
Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Jones, George W., age thirty-two; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity. New 
York; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to Com- 
pany B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Karcher, Philip, age thirty ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Pennsylvania ; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out. August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Keates, John, age thirty-nine; residence, Webster county; nativity. England; 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 103 

enlisted, January lo, 1865; mustered, January 10, 1865; transferred to Com- 
pany B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Kellogg, Elias D., age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. New 
York; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted eighth 
corporal, February 4, 1863; seventh corporal, December 23, 1863; sixth cor- 
poral. May 30, 1864; fourth corporal, December 4, 1864; wounded; mustered out, 
May 10, 1865. Company F, Second Cavalry. 

Kinning, Henry J., age twenty-nine ; residence, .Monona county ; nativity, 
Ohio; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; died, September 
13, 1864, Jefiferson Barracks, -Missouri; buried in National Cemetery, Jefferson 
Barracks (St. Louis), Missouri, section 31, grave 142. 

Kramer, Augustus, age twenty-one; residence, Dayton; nativity, Germany; 
enlisted, August 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Lynn, James, age thirty-seven; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Pennsyl- 
vania ; enlisted, August 22, 1862, as fourth corporal ; mustered, October 7, 
1862; promoted third corporal, October 6, 1862; second corporal, December 23, 
1863; first corporal, ]\Iay 30, 1864; fifth sergeant, July 4, 1864; second lieuten- 
ant, October 14, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Lyons, I^atrick, age twenty-eight; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ireland; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

jMcCauley, Robert, age thirty-two; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. New 
York; enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

INIcCauley, William, age twenty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Can- 
ada; enlisted, August 15, 1862, as wagoner; mustered, August 7, 1862; mustered 
out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

McHenry, Isaac, age twenty-three ; residence, Dakotah ; nativity, Ohio ; 
enlisted, August 16, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

McHenry, John N., age twenty-five; residence, Dakotah; nativity, Ohio; 
enlisted, August 16, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

McKitrick, John, age thirty-five; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, 
Scotland; enlisted, January 4, 1864; mustered, January 4, 1864; discharged for 
disability, June 21, 1865, Montgomery, Alabama. 

McLean, Alexander, age forty-three; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, 
Scotland; enlisted, January 4, 1864; mustered, January 4, 1864; transferred 
to Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Maher, j\Iichael, age twenty-four; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Ire- 
land; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted sixth 
corporal, July 4, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Maloy, David, age twenty-five ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ireland ; 
enlisted, August 21, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton. Iowa. 

']\Iarsh, John, age eighteen; residence, Webster county; nativity, England; 
enlisted. February 29, 1864; mustered, February 29, 1864; transferred to Com- 
pany B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 



104 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Manpin, John C, age twenty-eight ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Illinois ; 
enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to Company 
B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Mayberry, John R., age eighteen; residence, Webster county; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, January 5, 1864; mustered, January 5, 1864; wounded and 
taken prisoner, April 9, 1864, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana; discharged for wounds,. 
December 16, 1864. 

Mayberry, William F., age eighteen; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Illinois; enlisted, August 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted 
eighth corporal, December 5, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton,. 
Iowa. 

]\Ieans, John, age thirty-four; residence, Dakotah; nativity, Pennsylvania; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 3, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. • 

Metcalf, Isaac, age thirty-nine; residence, Webster county; nativity, Indi- 
ana; enlisted, August 13, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; died of disease^ 
March 28, 1863, Fort Pillow, Tennessee ; buried in Mississippi River National 
Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee, section i, grave 56. 

Moore, Alfred, age forty-five ; residence. Fort Pillow, Tennessee ; enlisted. 
May I, 1863, as under cook; mustered, June 30, 1863; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Moore, Edmond V., age twenty-three ; residence, Otho ; nativity, Ohio ; 
enlisted, August 13, 1862, as third corporal; mustered, October 7, 1862; pro- 
moted second corporal, October 6, 1862; first corporal, December 23, 1863; 
fifth sergeant, May 30, 1864; fourth sergeant, July 4, 1864; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Morse, Bartlett M., age twenty-three ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, 
Pennsylvania; enlisted, January 10, 1865; mustered, January 10, 1865; mus- 
tered out, June 8, 1865, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

Mueller, Christian, age eighteen ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, Ger- 
many ; enlisted, January 10, 1865; mustered, January 10, 1865; transferred to 
Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. (Christian Muller.) 

Munroe, Henry H., age twenty-one; residence, Otho; nativity, Michigan; 
enlisted, August 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Nagle, William H., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ohio; 
enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24; 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

O'Hara, Patrick, age twenty-six ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ireland ; 
enlisted, August 21, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

O'Neil, Michael, age forty-two ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ireland ; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; transferred to Veteran 
Reserve Corps, July 24, 1864; died of disease, March 17, 1865, Camp Douglass, 
Chicago, Illinois. 

Pollock, William, age thirty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Scotland; 
enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 105 

Powers, William D., age thirty-five; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Ire- 
land; enlisted, August 22, 1862, as seventh corporal; mustered, October 7, 
1862; promoted sixth corporal, October 6, 1862; fifth corporal, December 23, 
1863; fourth corporal, May 30, 1864; second corporal, July 4, 1864; fifth 
sergeant, December 5, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Prescott, William T., age eighteen; residence, Dickinson county; nativity, 
Ohio; enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted seventh 
corporal, December 5, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Reilley, William, age thirty; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Scotland; 
enlisted, August 21, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; transferred to Twelfth 
United States Infantry, November 15, 1862. 

Roberts, Jonathan D., age thirty-four ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, 
Massachusetts; enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered 
out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Roberts, Orison; rejected, August 22, 1862, by mustering officer. 

Rood, Isaac P., age thirty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. New York; 
enlisted, January 4, 1864; mustered, January 4, 1864; transferred to Company 
B, Eighth Infantry, July 28, 1865. 

Rood, James, age twenty-five ; residence, Otho ; nativity. New York ; enlisted, 
August 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; killed in action, March 14, 1864, 
Fort De Russy, Louisiana. Buried, National Cemetery, Alexander, Louisiana, 
section i, grave 49. 

Rosil, Moses, age thirty-three; residence, Columbus, Kentucky; enlisted, 
'September 2, 1863, ^s under cook; mustered, September 2, 1863; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Rowley, James A., age twenty-six; residence, Dakotah; nativity, New York; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted eighth cor- 
poral, December 23, 1863; seventh corporal, March 30, 1864; wounded fatally 
and taken prisoner, April 9, 1864, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana; died of wounds, April 
20, 1864, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. 

Rowley, Mathew, age eighteen ; residence, W^aterloo ; nativity, Pennsylvania ; 
enlisted, January 11, 1865; died of disease, July 19, 1865, Montgomery, Ala- 
bama; buried in National Cemetery, Marietta, Georgia, section L, grave 573. 

Ruscoe, George, age thirty-nine ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity. New York ; 
enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to Company 
B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Russell, Francis \\'., age twenty-four; residence, Dakotah; nativity, Wiscon- 
sin; enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862.; discharged for dis- 
ability, March 29, 1863, Fort Pillow, Tennessee. See Company D, Ninth Cavalry. 

Russell, James, age twenty-one ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, January 14, 1865; mustered, January 14, 1865; transferred to Com- 
pany B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Russell, John W., age twenty-eight ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ire- 
land; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Salisbury, William J., age nineteen; residence, Emmet county; nativity, 
Michigan; enlisted, January 4, 1863; mustered, January 4, 1863; taken prisoner, 
April 9, 1864, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana; transferred to Company B, Eighth 
Infantry, July 29, 1865. 



106 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Scherff, Peter, age twenty-nine; residence, Webster county; nativity, Ger- 
many; enlisted, January lO, 1865; mustered, January 10, 1865; transferred to 
Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Snodgrass, Andrew W., age twenty-three; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, 
Indiana; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted, sev- 
enth corporal, July 4, 1864; fourth corporal, December 5, 1864; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Thomas, James H., age forty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, New York; 
enlisted, August 19, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, June 2, 
1865, St. Louis, Missouri. 

Timmons, Anderson, age twenty-one; residence, Columbus, Kentucky; 
nativity, Tennessee; enlisted, November 4, 1863; mustered, November 4, 1863; 
deserted, December i, 1864, Nashville, Tennessee. 

Timmons, William T., age twenty-two ; residence, Columbus, Kentucky ; 
nativity, Tennessee; enlisted, November 4, 1863; mustered, November 4, 1863; 
deserted, February 11, 1865, Paducah, Kentucky. 

Tod, George A., age sixteen; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Pennsylvania; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862, as drummer; mustered, October 7, 1862; taken pris- 
oner, February, 4, 1864, Big Black River, Mississippi; mustered out, July 10, 
1865, Montgomery, Alabama. 

Trusty, Joseph S. M., age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 2, 1864; transferred to 
Company B, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Vancleave, John S., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Indi- 
ana; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; died of disease, 
Alarch 28, 1863, Fort Pillow, Tennessee; buried in Mississippi River National 
Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee, section i, grave 78. 

Vancleave, Silas, age twenty-seven ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Indiana ; 
enlisted, August 13, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Vandevender, John, age twenty-eight; residence, W^ebster county; nativity, 
Ohio; enlisted, August 13, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; taken prisoner, 
April 9, 1864, Pleasant Hill, Louisiana; mustered out, July 15, 1865, ]\Iont- 
gomery, Alabama. 

A'incent, Beth, age eighteen ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Pennsylvania ; 
enlisted, August 20, 1862; mustered, October 29, 1862; mustered out, August 
24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Welchle, Jacob, age forty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Germany; 
enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, August 24, 
1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

W^illiams, George P., age twenty-two; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Indiana; enlisted, August 12, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Williams, James B., age twenty-five; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, August 22, 1862, as third sergeant; mustered, October 7, 
1862; promoted, second sergeant. May 30, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, 
Clinton, Iowa. 

Williams, Thomas J., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Indiana; 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 107 

enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; discharged for disability, 
]\Iarch 13, 1864, Mound City, Illinois. 

Wilson, Joel B., age twenty-five; residence, Webster county; nativity. New 
York; enlisted, August 15, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; promoted, eighth 
corporal. May 30, 1864; fifth corporal, July 4, 1864; third corporal, December 
5, 1864; mustered out, August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Young, Ezra C, age twenty-four; residence, Webster county; nativity. New 
Jersey; enlisted, January 11, 1865; mustered, January 11, 1865; transferred to 
Company A, Eighth Infantry, July 29, 1865. 

Young, Lemuel L., age nineteen ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, New 
Jersey; enlisted, August 22, 1862; mustered, October 7, 1862; mustered out, 
August 24, 1865, Clinton, Iowa. 

Young, Levi G. C, age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. New 
Jersey; enlisted, August 22, 1862 as fifth corporal; mustered, October 7, 1862; 
promoted, fourth corporal, October 6, 1862 ; third corporal, December 23, 1863 ; 
second corporal, ]\Iay 30, 1864; died of disease, -June 29, 1864, Fort Dodge, 
Iowa. 

COMPAXY A, ELEVENTH PENNSYLVANIA CAVALRY 

Webster county furnished a company of cavalry for service in the Union 
armies. This company was originally raised for Colonel Josiah Harlan's "Inde- 
pendent Cavalry," but afterward was sent east and became Company "A" of 
the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry. While the company was considered an 
Iowa company, and was credited as such by the War Department on Iowa's 
quota, yet but little reference is made to it in the records of the adjutant general 
of Iowa. The commissions of the officers were, however, issued to the officers 
by the authorities of Iowa, at the request of the general commanding the divi- 
sion- in which the company was at the time of the organization of the regi- 
ment. At the completion of its organization the company numbered eighty- 
three men, rank and file. Soon after the organization of the cavalry company, 
the patriotic ladies of Fort Dodge decided to present the volunteers with a 
flag. They accordingly collected over $40 by subscription, and soon sent the 
money to Dubuque where the proper material of which to make the flag was 
purchased. 

The presentation took place September 13, 1861. The flag was about six 
and one-half feet in length and about five and one-half feet in width and was 
made of silk. The ceremony of presentation took place about four o'clock in 
the afternoon, and was held at the courthouse, in the presence of a large 
gathering of people from the town and county. The flag was presented by 
Miss Cruikshank, who on behalf of the ladies, spoke briefly, as follows: 

'Y^olunteers of the Iowa Light Cavalry. In behalf of the ladies of Fort 
Dodge, I present you this banner, the much loved emblem of our country's 
glory, for the maintenance of whose integrity and honor you have offered your 
lives. W^e grieve to part with you, yet are proud and happy that you have 
thus nobly responded to the call of duty. Our prayer is, that peace and har- 
mony may soon be restored to our loved country, and that you may return to 
us in safety. But should it be the fate of any of' you to fill a soldier's grave, 
far from home and friends, your memories will be sacredly and affectionately 

Vol. I--S 



108 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

cherished by those in whose behalf I address you. Xowhere can dnst to dust 
be consigned so well as where, 

"Heaven its dews shall shed 
On the martyred patriot's bed. 

"Take your banner, may it wave 
Proudly o'er the good and brave. 
When the spear in conflict shakes, 
And the strong lance quivering breaks, 
Guard it ! God will prosper you. 

"In the dark and trying hour. 

In the breaking forth of power. 

In the rush of steeds and men, 

May His right arm protect you then." 

The presentation speech was replied to on behalf of the company by J. H, 
Holloway. Woolsey Welles, on behalf of the Webster County Bible Society, 
then presented each of the officers with a Bible and each of the privates with 
a copy of the New Testament. George S. Ringland was then called upon and 
made a brief address. In the course of his address he referred to the hostility, 
which had been shown towards the company by certain parties in the city and 
county, and denounced the authors of this opposition as traitors. His remarks 
were greeted with applause. 

In the absence of official data concerning the history of this company, it has 
been necessary to consult other sources, and the editor has availed himself of 
an article published a number of years ago in the "Annals of Iowa," and written 
by Mr. George L. Cruikshank, the first sergeant of the company. Omitting 
some of the less important details, the history is herewith quoted as follows : 

"Company A, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, was organized at Fort Dodge, 
Iowa, in August, 1861. When the news of the battle of Bull Run was received, 
a number of young men, who had been drilling during the spring and summer, . 
resolved to organize a company for the service, and messengers were sent up 
the Des Moines river as far as Spirit lake. September 2, 1861, the companv 
met at the courthouse in Fort Dodge, and, before electing its officers, was sworn 
into the service of the United States, by James R. Strow, justice of the peace. 
Franklin A. Stratton was elected captain ; G. S. Ringland, first lieutenant, and 
George W. Bassett, second lieutenant. The company went by stage to Cedar 
Falls, and thence by railroad to Dubuque, where, on September 21, 1861, it 
was mustered into the service of the United States by Captain Washington. 
It left Dubuque October 6th, and reached Washington, D. C, October 10, 1861. 
One of its members, Peter Bowers, was killed in a railroad accident near Lewis- 
ton, Pennsylvania, and was buried there. 

"At Washington, D. C, the company joined the regiment then known as 
Harlan's Independent Regiment of Light Cavalry. Colonel Josiah Harlan was 
a relative of Senator James Harlan of Iowa, and it was through his influence 
that Company A joined that regiment. Later, the secretary of war, finding he 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 109 

had no authority to accept independent regiments, the name was changed to 
the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, that state having the largest number of 
troops in the regiment. On the i6th of October it left its camp on Seventh 
street, and crossed the Potomac to Ball's Cross Roads, Virginia. In November 
it marched to Annapolis, Maryland, and thence proceeded to Fortress ]\Ionroe, 
Virginia, by steamer. Here stables were built for the horses, and the regiment 
was thoroughly drilled. * * * 

"On March 8, 1862, when the Vlerrimac sank the Cumberland, and the Con- 
gress was burned, the regiment was on picket duty on Newmarket Creek, and, 
on the morning of the 9th, saw the beginning of the fight between the ^Monitor 
and the IMerrimac. The company was under fire for the first time on the old 
battle-ground of Great Bethel, in March, 1862. On May 7th, the regiment was 
reviewed by President Lincoln. On May 15th, Companies A, E, G, H, and L 
were sent to Norfolk, Virginia, and soon after to Sufifolk. Company A was 
detached from the battalion and placed under the immediate orders of General 
Mansfield. Captain Stratton was a civil engineer and, under the direction of 
the general, made maps of all the routes between Sufifolk and the Black 
Water. * * * jj^ August, the part of the regiment that had been on the 
Peninsula with ^McClellan came to Sufifolk. On December 2, 1862, the com- 
pany was in the mounted charge at Beaver Dam Church, in Virginia, where the 
enemy was routed and a number of prisoners were taken. On January 30, 1863, 
Company A led the advance in the attack on the Deserted House, in which Gen- 
eral Prior was defeated. During the year at Sufifolk the command was con- 
stantly employed on scouting and out-post duty. In June, 1863, the regiment, 
with other troops, was sent by steamer to the White House, on the Pamun- 
key river, and from there to Hanover Court House, where a wagon train was 
captured. At South Anna Bridge a mounted charge was made, by Companies 
A and G, upon an earthwork, and the work captured. The object of the raid 
was to break up the railroad communications north to Richmond. On the expe- 
dition the rebel, General Fitzhugh Lee, was captured. 

"In July, a second expedition, under General Getty, was made against the 
Richmond and Manassas Railroad. The command returned to Norfolk and, 
on the 9th of August, a raid on the Petersburg and W^eldon Railroad was made. 
It was hard service, and but little was accomplished. In October, an expedi- 
tion went to [Matthew's Court House, to break up the contraband trade. Soon 
after. Company A was detached from the regiment and was placed on provost 
guard duty at Norfolk, Mrginia. In the following February, the company 
returned to the regiment, and was sent to Williamsburg and participated in 
General Wistar's famous expedition against Richmond. The expedition got 
no further than Bottom Bridge, on the Chickahominy. On the return of the 
regiment to Williamsburg, Company A was detached and stationed at 
Glouscester Point, opposite Yorktown. 

"During the winter, General Lee's army was encamped on the Rapidan river, 
and many of his men, especially cavalry, were furloughed for the purpose of 
recruiting their ranks. At dififerent times during the winter twenty-five of the 
Glouscester company were captured. In ]\Iarch, 1864, General Kilpatrick made 
a raid on Richmond. A part of his command, under Colonel Dalghren, became 
separated and, while attempting to make their way to our forces at Gloucester 



110 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Point, were ambushed in the night. Colonel Dalghren was Jcilled, and the 
command scattered. A sergeant and five men made their way to our camp. 
A force sent out under ]\Iajor Wetherill found none of Dalghren's command 
but captured one man of the Fifth A'irginia Cavalry, and one from the Ninth 
Virginia Infantry. * * * 

"April 9, 1864, we crossed the York river and marched to Newport News, 
on the James river, took transports to Portsmouth, and were soon at Camp 
Getty, where the cavalry division, under General August V. Kautz, w'as organ- 
ized. It consisted of the Third New York, Fifth Pennsylvania, Eleventh 
Pennsylvania and the First District of Columbia regiments. The last were 
armed with the Henry repeating rifle, and two guns of the Eighth New York 
Battery were attached to the division. On Alay 5th, a beautiful spring morn- 
ing, the division moved out of Camp Getty for the last time. Everything in 
the way of baggage or incumbrance was left behind. * =i^ * The march 
was toward Petersburg, crossing the Black Water River near \\'akefield Station, 
on the Petersburg and Norfolk Railroad. The advance struck the Weldon 
Railroad at Stony Creek Station, and captured the guard. The next day Jar- 
ratt's Station, with a guard of seventy men, was captured. The railroad bridge 
across the Notoway was burned, and Companies A and D were sent to destroy 
a w^agon bridge to the left. From there the march was continued to City Point, 
which was in possession of General Butler and his colored troops. On May 
nth, w^e crossed the Appomattox at Bermuda Hundred. Raids, in which bridges 
were burned, railroads torn up, and much valuable property destroyed, were in 
constant progress, the division sometimes marching three hundred miles in 
six days. So constantly were we kept on the move that on the night of June ist 
when we reached the lines in front of Petersburg, the men took off their clothes 
to rest for the first time since leaving Camp Getty on ]\Iay 5th. The company 
had taken part in destroying a large amount of railroad track on the Danville, 
the South Side, and the Weldon Railroads. * * * ^ 

"At Pittsburg the regiment was dismounted and manned the breastworks, 
performing infantry duty. On the 9th of June, an attack was made on the 
Jerusalem plank roads. After some artillery fire, a charge was made and the 
lines carried. If General Gilmore had made any attempt to carry out his part, 
by an attack on the east line of the rebel works, Petersburg would have been 
captured. On the 15th of June, another attack was made on the lines of the 
Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad. The regiment was under severe fire for 
some time, but failed to carry the works. On the 21st of June General Kautz's 
Division again left camp along the breastworks and crossed the Appomattox to 
Zion's Church, where it joined the Third Division of General Sheridan's cavalry, 
under General J. H. Wilson, in a raid, the 'object of which was the destruction 
of the Danville Railroad. * * * This was accomplished. For thirty miles 
not a vestige of railroad remained. The extreme heat of the fire, added to that 
of the sun, prostrated a number of the men. After a march, in which the men 
and horses suflfered severely, the command reached the Petersburg and Weldon 
-Railroad at Stony Creek Station. Here it met a strong rebel force. After 
sharp skirmishing, it marched north to Reams' Station, where the rebel infan- 
try with bayonets, and our cavalry with sabers, came to a hand to hand con- 
test. By outflanking the rebels. General Kautz's Division reached our lines at 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 111 

Petersburg that night. The column was led by the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cav- 
alry, with Colonel Stratton in command, Company A taking the advance of the 
regiment. 

"General Wilson retreated south, and was four days in reaching our lines. 
After this the Eleventh Cavalry was on picket duty in Prince George county. 
It was with General Hancock in the attack on the Weldon Railroad, August 
22, 1864, where Company A had one man killed and one wounded. The picket 
dutv in Prince George county was hard service. On the 20th of September, 
1864, the members of the original Company A — except those who had re- 
enlisted — were mustered out of the service of the United States, at General 
Butler's headquarters, on the Appomattox. 

"On reorganizing the company, the officers were chosen from the veterans 
who had reenlisted, as follows: Captain, E. P. Ring; first lieutenant, William 
A. Barber; second lieutenant, Oscar S. ]\Iatthews. In October, 1864, they were 
with the cavalry in the actions north of the James river, where Lieutenant 
Barber was wounded and taken prisoner. He died in Richmond. The com- 
pany was with General Sheridan at Five Forks. In the cavalry charge on the 
enemy's line, Lieutenant Alatthews was killed. On the memorable 9th of April, 
the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry was in the front line. Iowa was there rep- 
resented by the officers in command of the few remaining of grand old Company 
A. The regiment was mustered out of the service of the United States at Camp 
Cadwalader, Philadelphia, August 13, 1865. At that time there were but three 
of the original Iowa company left. Lieutenant Lucius L. Carrier, James Lindsay 
and Oscar S. Slosson." 

It will thus be seen that this splendid Iowa company, while assigned to and 
serving with a regiment from another state, nobly maintained the honorable 
record which was made by Iowa soldiers everywhere, throughout the great 
War of the Rebellion. Its first captain, Franklin A. Stratton, became major, 
lieutenant colonel, and colonel of the regiment, and brevet brigadier general of 
volunteers, at the close of the war. • He was twice wounded. Alany of the mem- 
bers of the company have since achieved success in various avocations, both as 
private citizens and in official positions. 

In the autumn of 1864, Governor Stone appointed Hon. Charles Aldrich as 
the Iowa commissioner to take the vote of the Iowa soldiers serving in the 
eastern army at the time President Lincoln was reelected. Among the troops 
visited by Air. Aldrich, while in the discharge of his official duty as election com- 
missioner, was Company A, of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry, among whom 
were a number of his personal friends and acquaintances. The compiler deems 
it an appropriate closing of this sketch to quote a few brief extracts from the 
very interesting account which ]\Ir. Aldrich has given of his visit to the eastern 
army, upon that occasion : 

* * * "A company had gone from Fort Dodge, with many of the 
members of which I was acquainted, to the army of the Potomac. The theory 
in the formation of the regiment at the start was to make it a composite afifair, 
comprising one company from each of a certain number of states ; but the effort 
failed to materialize, the adjutant general not being authorized to organize such 
regiments ; and, when the command was fully mustered in, it was christened the 
Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry * * * I do not go into the history of 



112 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

this company to any farther extent, for the reason that an article elsewhere 
in this number details minutely the services of the company, and presents its full 
roster, showing the killed and wounded, as well as the few in the command at 
its muster out * * * It is but simple justice that this gallant command 
should be placed permanently in our records. I trust that its appearance in 
these pages will accomplish that purpose. 

'T reported to the secretary of state at Des Moines, where I received my 
instructions, with the poll books, blanks, etc. ; I also carried tickets provided by 
each of the political parties. The journey to Washington was without any 
special incident. I applied at the war department for permission to visit 
General Grant's army in my official capacity as 'Army Vote Commissioner,' 
and was referred to Major Henry Clay Wood, (who, I believe, if living, must 
be a gray-haired colonel by this time) an assistant adjutant general. I' found 
him an exceedingly afifable and pleasant gentleman. He gave me the neces- 
sary permit, limiting my stay to a certain number of days, five or six. I took 
the first steamer down the Potomac and up the James, and in due time landed 
on the point at the junction of the latter stream wnth the Appomattox. I was 
not long in finding Charles A. Sherman, of Fort Dodge, who had been pro- 
moted to first lieutenant and assistant quartermaster, and had been detailed 
for duty at the headquarters of General August V. Kautz, the distinguished 
cavalry leader. 'Charlie' was an old political and personal friend, and gave me 
a most cordial welcome to his tent and mess table. He wanted to vote, and 
proffered to go out with me the next day to the point where the men were 
stationed, doing picket duty, far to the front. 

'*W^e were up in the morning very early, leaving camp on horseback as soon 
as we had taken our breakfast. We crossed the James at Deep Bottom, on 
a pontoon bridge, and started bfi in the direction of Richmond, following the 
old road * * * We now struck into the 'Long Bridge road,' which led 
off through thick, grand old pine woods, toward Richmond. This was an 
ancient and very narrow road, which had never been used very much, or had 
been long abandoned. It was very crooked, and at many points nearly choked 
up with briars and brush. But it was lined with our pickets. These men were 
stationed at such frequent intervals that each could see the one next ahead. 
They were all mounted, sitting motionless and mute, with their carbines 
cocked, the very impersonation of alertness and vigilance. It certainly looked 
very much like war, to see these grim soldiers peering into the woods, as if in 
momentary expectation of seeing the approaching enemy. We finally reached 
the most advanced picket post, where we found Colonel Spear and a com- 
pany of cavalrymen. Lieutenant Sherman introduced me to the colonel, stating 
the errand upon which I had come. After a hearty and most cordial greet- 
ing, I waited a moment to hear what the Colonel might say. He spoke in an 
instant, about as follows : 

" 'Well, young man, if you are going to do anything here, you had better 
get about it — Cjuick. You don't know the peril you are in at this very moment ! 
That line of trees over yonder (across a meadow or pasture, and not more 
than forty or fifty rods away) is full of Johnnies, and they may open fire upon 
us at any minute!' 

" 'All right, colonel, here goes !' 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 113 

"An election board was quickly appointed 'by the commissioner' from the 
soldiers, (as the law stipulated) and a cigar box fitted up for a ballot box. 
The men were brought in as quickly as possible, and in less time than one can 
imagine our votes were all in and canvassed. * * * i y^ras informed that 
we were within less than eight miles of Richmond, and that the spires of the 
city could be plainly seen from a point quite near by. I have always supposed 
that the election was held nearer the front, and in closer proximity to actual 
peril, than that organized by any other army vote commissioner. 

'* * * - We were not disposed to linger an instant, and Lieutenant 
Sherman and I mounted our horses and started for the rear. A young sec- 
ond lieutenant, by the name of Oscar Matthews, from Dickinson county, Iowa, 
returned with us. He was a pleasant, handsome boy. He had been in many 
battles, and the little black horse which he rode had not yet fully recovered 
from an ugly wound in the side, and had other scars besides. He was very 
attentive to us, and showed us many interesting objects along our route. At 
the battle of Five Forks, on April i, 1865, this, gallant young officer was killed, 
while leading his men in a charge. * * * " 

ROSTER COMPANY A, ELEVENTH PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEER CAVALRY 

Franklin A. Stratton, captain; George S. Ringland, first lieutenant; George 
W. Bassett, second lieutenant. 

Barbor, William A., age eighteen; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, August 
18, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted corporal, July 7, 1864; first 
lieutenant, October 6, 1864; taken prisoner, October 7, 1864, Darbytown Road; 
died while a prisoner. 

Barclay, John J., age twenty-eight; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 
15, 1861, as first sergeant; promoted second lieutenant, August 20, 1862; first 
lieutenant, January 25, 1863; wounded and taken prisoner, June 29, 1864, Reams' 
Station, A^irginia; mustered out, September 28, 1864. 

Barnes, James R., age twenty-one ; residence. Border Plains ; enlisted, August 
18, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; killed, June 9, 1864, in front of 
Petersburg. 

Bassett, George W., age thirty-four; residence, Fort Dodge; appointed sec- 
ond lieutenant, August 7, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted first 
lieutenant, August 20, 1862; wounded, December, 1862, Franklin, Virginia; 
resigned, January 25, 1863. 

Beach, James A., age twenty-one ; residence. Border Plains ; enlisted, i\ugust 
24, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; died, January 30, 1863, of wounds 
received at Deserted House, \^irginia. 

Beyers, John F., age twenty-nine ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, New 
York; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; no further record 
found. 

Binkley, George W., age eighteen ; residence. Border Plains ; enlisted, August 
T(^, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Binkley, Lafayette, age nineteen, residence. Border Plains ; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 15, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 
1864. 



114 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Blake, Fletcher A., age twenty-six ; residence, Spirit Lake ; enlisted, August 
2^, 1861, as second sergeant; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted first ser- 
geant, August 20, 1862; second lieutenant, January 25, 1863; resigned, Septem- 
ber 21, 1863. 

Bowers, Peter; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 26, 1861 ; mustered, 
September 21, 1861 ; killed, October 9, 1861, on railroad, near Lewiston, Penn- 
sylvania. 

Brown, John F., age twenty-one; residence, Waterloo; enlisted, September 
28, 1 86 1 ; mustered, September 28, 1861 ; mustered out, September 28, 1864. 

Burright, William H., age twenty ; residence. Fort Dodge ; enlisted, August 
15, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; taken prisoner, January 29, 1864; was 
in Andersonville ; no further record found. 

Carpenter, Daniel; residence. Border Plains; enlisted, August 20, 1861 • 
mustered, November 2, 1861 ; died of disease, December 24, i86r, Washington, 
D. C. 

Carpenter, William, age thirty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 
17, 1861, as first corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out. Sep- 
tember 20, 1864. 

Carrier, Lucius L., age eighteen; residence, Dubuque; enlisted, September 
28, 1861 ; mustered, September 28, 1861 ; promoted company commissary ser- 
geant, October 19, 1864; first sergeant, February 14, 1865; second lieutenant,. 
May, 1865; first lieutenant, August 13, 1865; mustered out, August 13, 1865. 
Camp Cadwalader, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 

Carter, Allen B., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 
21, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Chandler, Starling, age twenty; residence, Waterloo; enlisted, September 
28, 1861 ; mustered, September 28, 1861 ; mustered out, September 28, 1864. 

Chase, Leander, age thirty; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 20, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 21, 1864. 

Clark, Henry, age nineteen ; residence, Dubuque ; enlisted September 2^,. 
1861 ; mustered, September 23, 1861 ; mustered out, September 23, 1864. 

Cooper, Henry, age twenty-four ; residence, Jamestown ; enlisted, Septem- 
ber 9, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 21, 1864. 

Cragg, Harry P., age twenty-three; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, 
Pennsylvania; enlisted, December 29, 1863; mustered, January 16, 1864; trans- 
ferred to Company L, Fourth Cavalry. 

Crosby, Charles T., age twenty-seven; residence, Webster county; nativity,. 
New York; enlisted, January 2, 1864*; mustered, January 12, 1864; trans- 
ferred to Company I, Thirty-second Infantry. Company A, Eighth Infantry. 

Crosby, George H., age twenty; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, September 
3, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted sergeant, January, 1864: 
mustered out, September 21, 1864. 

Cruikshank, George L., age twenty-seven ; residence. Fort Dodge ; enlisted 
September 15, 1861, as fourth sergeant; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; pro- 
moted company quartermaster sergeant, 1862; first sergeant, September 21,. 
1863; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 115 

Daniels, George, age twenty-three ; residence, Spirit Lake ; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 7, 1861 ; mustered, September 20, 1861 ; no further record found. 

Davis, Abner T., age twenty-nine; residence, Humboldt county ; nativity, 
Michigan; enlisted, January i, 1864; mustered, January 16, 1864; transferred 
to Company L, Fourth Cavalry. 

Emery, Seth P., age twenty-five; residence, Spirit Lake; enlisted, September 
7, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted to hospital steward. 

Erwin, Allen, age forty; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, August 20, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Evans, Hiram, age twenty-two; residence, Jamestown; enlisted, August 20, 
1861 ; mustered, September 20, 1861 ; deserted, July 3, 1863. 

Fairman, John W., age twenty-three; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, 
Canada; enlisted, January 4, 1864; mustered, January 16, 1864; transferred 
to Company L, Fourth Cavalry. 

Fitch, William S., age twenty-one; residence. Border Plains; enlisted, August 
23, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Fitzgerald, John, age nineteen; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, September 
10, 1861, as eighth corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted company 
quartermaster sergeant, 1864; mustered out, September 20, 1864. Company K, 
First Infantry. (John H. Fitzgerald.) 

Forbes, James W., age twenty-two; residence, Cedar Falls; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 16, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 
20, 1864. 

Porbes, Thomas J., age twenty-six; residence, Dakotah City; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 2, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 
1864. 

Frantz, Jacob H., age twenty-three; residence, Dubuque; enlisted, September 
26, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 26, 1864. 

Frost, William, age twenty-four; residence, W^aterloo; enlisted, September 
28, 1861 ; mustered, September 28, 1861 ; mustered out, September 28, 1864. 

Fuller, Jared, age forty; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 22, i86r, 
as seventh corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; discharged for disability, 
September, 1863. 

Galer, John, age twenty-one ; residence, Jamestown ; enlisted, September 9, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted bugler, 1863; mustered out, 
September 21, 1864. 

Gardner, W'illiam V., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 

20, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted corporal, 1864; mustered 
out, September 20, 1864. 

Hinton, James N., age twenty- seven ; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, 
Ohio; enlisted, January i, 1864; mustered, January 16, 1864; transferred to 
Company L, Fourth Cavalry. (James j\I. Hinton.) 

Hodge, Albert D., age twenty-five; residence, Estherville; enlisted, August 
22, i86i,'as sixth corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; wounded, January 
30, 1863, Deserted House; mustered out on account of wound. 

Holloway, Joseph H., age twenty-three ; residence. Fort Dodge ; enlisted, 
August 15, 1861, as company quartermaster sergeant; mustered, September 

21, 1861 ; furloughed, November, 1863; died at home. 



116 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Hood, James, age twenty-two ; residence, Jamestown ; enlisted, August 20, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Horton, James, age twenty; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, September 3, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted corporal in 1863; discharged 
September, 1863, to take lieutenant's commission in Eighth Iowa Cavalry; was 
adjutant of the regiment; killed, Stoneman's raid, south of Atlanta, Georgia; 
he was chosen to represent the cavalry service on the soldier's monument, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Hunter, James, age forty-two; residence, Waterloo; enlisted, October 11, 
1861, as farrier; mustered, October, 1861 ; mustered out, October 11, 1864. 

Jenkins, Andrew R., age twenty-five; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Pennsylvania; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; trans- 
ferred to Company I, Thirty-second Infantry. Company B, Eighth Infantry. 
(Andrew K. Jenkins.) 

Jenkins, Henry, age twenty-six ; residence, Estherville ; enlisted, August 22, 
1861, as second corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted company 
commissary sergeant, 1864; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Jenkins, James S., age twenty-one; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Pennsylvania; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; trans- 
ferred to Company I, Thirty-second Infantry. Company B, Eighth Infantry. 

Jenkins, John S., age twenty-seven; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Pennsylvania; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; trans- 
ferred to Company I, Thirty-second Infantry. Company B, Eighth Infantry. 

Johns, \\'illiam W., age twenty-six; residence. Border Plains; enlisted, 
August 17, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; died, August 31, 1862, hospital, 
Suffolk, Virginia. 

Johnson, Samuel O. H., age nineteen; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, 
August 17, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; committed suicide, while 
insane, June 14, 1862, near Fortress Monroe, Virginia. 

Jones, George W., age thirty-two; residence, Webster county; nativity. New 
York; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; transferred to 
Company I, Thirty-second Infantry. Company B, Eighth Infantry. 

Kendall, Edward, age nineteen ; residence. Fort Dodge ; enlisted, August 28, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; wounded, June. 1863, South Anna Bridge, 
Virginia; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Kennedy, Edward, age twenty-two ; residence. Fort Dodge ; enlisted, August 
23, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustei-ed out, September 20, 1864. 

Kimball, Jacob, age nineteen; residence. Cedar Falls; enHsted, September 16, 
t86i ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; died of disease, May, 1862, Camp Ham- 
ilton, Virginia. 

Largent, Joseph F., age twenty-two; residence, Dubuque; enlisted, September 
27, 1861; mustered, September 27, 1861 ; no further record found. 

Lindsay, James, age twenty-nine; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 
31, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, August 13. 1865, Camp 
Cadwalader, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

McKee, Joseph A., age twenty-three; residence. Border Plains; enlisted Aug- 
ust 17, 1861; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 117 

j\Iack, Charles D., age twenty-nine ; residence, Cedar Falls ; enlisted, September 
i6, 1861, as bugler; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 
1864. 

]\Ialcolm. Augustus H., age twenty-nine; residence, Jamestown; enlisted, 
August 20, 1861, as fourth corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted 
sergeant, 1864; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Matthews, Oscar S., age twenty; residence. Spirit Lake; enlisted, August 22, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted sergeant, September — , 1864; 
second lieutenant, October 4, 1864; killed, April i, 1865, Five Forks, Virginia. 

Aleagher, Thomas, age twenty-two ; residence. Fort Dodge ; enlisted, August 
21, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Mills, Andrew, age twenty-nine; residence, Jamestown; enlisted, August 20, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; wounded and taken prisoner, June 29, 1864, 
Reams' Station, Virginia. Was in Andersonville. Died, March — , 1865, Wil- 
mington, North Carolina. 

Minton, Henry P., age twenty-three; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, August 
17, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted saddler, 1864; mustered out, 
September 20, 1864. 

Minton, John N., age twenty-one; residence. Border Plains; enlisted, August 
17, 1861, as fifth corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; taken prisoner, 
August — , 1864; died in prison. 

Moon, James H., age thirty-three; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enhsted, January 16, 1864; mustered, January 16, 1864. (Annals of 
Iowa says: "James Moon came to the company from Iowa in 1862.") 

Moore, Jacob M., age eighteen; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, August 17, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Morgan, Edward D., age twenty-nine; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 2, 1861, as fifth sergeant ;. mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted 
second lieutenant, September 21, 1863; resigned, July 17, 1864. 

Morrell, Richard M., mustered, September 21, 1861 ; reduced to ranks from 
non-commissioned staff, June i, 1862; deserted, June 24, 1862. Was not an Iowa 
man. 

Olcutt, George, age twenty-three; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, September 
9, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Ostrander, William, Sr., residence, Annapolis, Md. ; enlisted, November 23, 
1861 ; no further record found. 

Peterson, John (veteran), age eighteen; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, 
August 31, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 
1864. 

Piatt, Henry A., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 24, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Price, George R., age twenty; residence, Dubuque; enlisted, September 24, 
1 86 1 ; mustered, September 24, 1861 ; mustered out, September 24, 1864. 

Ring, Euphronius P., age twenty; residence. Spirit Lake; enlisted, Septem- 
ber 6, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted sergeant, August 7, 1863; 
second lieutenant, July 7, 1864; captain, October 4, 1864; resigned, June 8, 1865. 

Ringland, George S., age twenty-seven; residence, Fort Dodge; appointed 



118 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

first lieutenant, August 15, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861; promoted cap- 
tain, August 20, 1862; mustered out, September 27, 1864. 

Rogers, George W. ; residence. Ball's Cross Roads, Virginia; enlisted, Novem- 
ber II, 1861 ; no further record found. 

Rogers, Samuel R., age twenty- four ; residence. Spirit Lake; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 7, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; killed, August 24, 1864, near 
Weldon railroad. 

Rood, Isaac P., age thirty-six; residence, Webster county; nativity. New 
York; enlisted, January 4, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; transferred to 
Company I, Thirty-second Infantry. Company B, Eighth Infantry. 

Ruter, \"alentine, age thirty-seven; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, 
Bavaria; enlisted, January 4, 1864; mustered, January 16, 1864; transferred to 
Company L, Fourth Cavalry. (Valentine Reuther or Ryder.) 

Shaftner, Francis, age twenty-two; residence, Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 
21, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Sherman, Charles A., age thirty-one ; residence, Fort Dodge ; enlisted, August 
21, 1861, as third sergeant; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted first lieu- 
tenant and regimental quartermaster, April 4, 1862; mustered out, April 3, 1865. 

Sherman, William, age eighteen ; residence, Jamestown ; enlisted, August 

20, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 
Simmons, Jason B., age twenty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 

21, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; promoted corporal, 1864; mustered 
out, September 20, 1864. 

Slosson, Oscar, age twenty-eight ; residence, Jamestown ; enlisted, September 
9, 1861; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, August 13, 1865, Camp 
Cadwalader, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Smith, George, age twenty-six ; residence, Fort Dodge ; enlisted, August 
21, 1861, as third corporal; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; Avounded, June 25, 
1863, South Anna Bridge, Virginia; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Smith, George G., age twenty-five; residence, Estherville; enlisted, August 
23, 1861, as farrier; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; taken prisoner, August, 1864; 
was in Andersonville. 

Smith, W^illiam H., age twenty-six ; residence, Webster county ; nativity. 
New York; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; transferred 
to Second Cavalry. (Unassigned.) 

Spring, Ichabod E., age twenty-one; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, 
August 17, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 
1864. 

Stratton, Franklin A., age twenty-nine; residence. Fort Dodge; appointed 
captain, August 15, 1861 ; mustered,- September 21, 1861 ; promoted major, Sep- 
tember I, 1862; lieutenant colonel, September 19, 1864; colonel, May, 1865; was 
brevetted brigadier general on muster out of service; twice wounded. 

Tanner, Charles, age twenty-five ; residence. Spirit Lake ; enlisted, x\ugust 22, 
1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Taylor, Daniel H., age twenty-eight; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 2, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; wounded, January 30, 1863, 
Deserted House, Virginia ; lost an arm. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 119 

Townsend, Albert H., age nineteen; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, August 
17, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Townsend, Henry, age twenty; residence. Border Plains; enlisted, August 
17, 1861 ; muste'red, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Townsend, James L., age twenty-two; residence, Border Plains; enlisted, 
August 17, 1861 ; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 20, 
1864. 

Trusty, Joseph S. ']\I., age twenty-four; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Illinois; enlisted, January 2, 1864; mustered, January 12, 1864; transferred to 
Company I, Thirty-second Infantry. Company B, Eighth Infantry. 

Underwood, Alonzo, age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 15, 
1861, as saddler; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out for disability, 
August 21, 1862. 

Vangaasbeck, Jesse L. ; enlisted, November 23, 1861 ; no further record found. 

Vincent, Webb, age nineteen ; residence. Fort Dodge ; enlisted, September 
3, 1861, as second bugler; mustered, September -21, 1861 ; promoted company 
quartermaster sergeant, 1863; mustered out, September 20, 1864. 

Vought, Lewis, age twenty-five; residence, Humboldt county; nativity, Wis- 
consin; enlisted, January i, 1864; mustered, January 16, 1864; transferred to 
Company L, Fourth Cavalry. 

Wall, William W. ; residence, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; enlisted, September 
30, 1861 ; no further record found. 

Welch, \\'illiam, age twenty-two; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, September 
12, 1861, as wagoner; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; mustered out, September 
20, 1864. 

Wentworth, Harrison H., age eighteen; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Pennsylvania; enlisted, September 29, 1863; mustered, January 16, 1864; no 
further record found. 

Williams, Thomas ]., age twenty-one ; residence, Dubuque ; enlisted, Sep- 
tember 27, 1861 ; mustered, September 27, 1861 ; mustered out for disability. 

Wilson, Richard W. (veteran), residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, August 27, 
1861; mustered, September 21, 1861 ; deserted; date and place not given. 

NORTHERN- BORDER BRIGADE 

Prior to the commencement of the great War of the Rebellion, troops belong- 
ing to the regular army of the United States had been located at the various 
military posts on the northern and western frontiers, for the purpose of 
restraining the Indians from committing depredations upon the pioneer settlers, 
whose homes were located upon those frontiers. The sudden emergency, with 
which the general government found itself confronted, rendered the withdrawal 
of the Federal troops from those military posts a matter of necessity. The 
regular army establishment, which then existed, constituted only a nucleus for the 
great army of volunteers which was being hastily organized, and every trained 
officer and soldier was needed at the front in the South to resist the hosts 
of armed traitors who had taken the field, and were threatening to dissolve the 
Union. 



120 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The savage Indian tribes were quick to take advantage of the situation, and a 
series of depredations and massacres of whole families of the settlers ensued. 
For a time it seemed that there was no safety for any of those hardy pioneers, 
and that they must all be either driven from their homes or share the fate of 
those who had already met death at the hands of the Indians. A few of the 
settlers who lived nearest each other had the hardihood to remain in their 
homes and, by banding themselves together, and converting the largest cabin 
in their neighborhood into a temporary blockhouse, where they could meet for 
common defense when the danger signal was given, indulged the hope that 
they might be able to keep the Indians at bay until the troops, which they had 
been told were on the way, could come to their rescue. Nearly all of those who 
thus remained were killed or taken captives by the Indians. By far the greater 
number, however, adopted the wiser course of abandoning their homes, and 
seeking safety in the interior of the state until such time as the presence of 
troops would make it reasonably safe for them to return. j\Iost of the men, after 
placing their families in safety, enlisted and remained in the service of the 
state until peace was restored. 

It will thus be seen that the war, inaugurated by the Southern states, imposed 
an unusually heavy burden upon those Northern states which, in addition to 
furnishing their full quota of troops for the regiments which were being sent 
to the South, were compelled to protect their own frontiers from the incursions 
of hostile Indians. The governors of Iowa and Minnesota earnestly co-operated 
in their efiforts to give adequate protection to the helpless settlers on the borders 
of their respective states. In response to their calls, militia companies were 
promptly raised and, as rapidly as they could be armed and equipped, were 
dispatched to the frontier. There were no railroads, and the navigation of 
the jMissouri river, which was depended upon for forwarding supplies to Sioux 
City and points north of that place, was rendered exceedingly dangerous by 
the bands of lurking savages along its banks. Relief was therefore necessarily 
slow^ in reaching the imperiled settlers. 

The official records show that, prior to the organization of the Northern 
Border Brigade, the only regularly organized companies of Iowa troops which had 
been engaged in active service on the northern frontier, were Capt. Andrew J. 
Millard's Sioux City Cavalry Company, and Companies A, B and C, of the 
Fourteenth Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry. The Sioux City Cavalry 
Company, having been raised nearest the scene of the Indian troubles, was the 
first to take the field. It was composed of men inured to the hardships of 
frontier life, and generally acquainted with the Indian methods of warfare. The 
officers and men of this company rendered long, arduous and heroic service on 
the northern border and in the Indian Territory, first as an independent com- 
pany, and subsequently as a part of the Seventh Iowa Cavalry, to which regi- 
ment it was transferred. 

Companies A, B and C, of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry, were detached 
from the regiment verv soon after it was mustered into the service of the 
United States, and were ordered to proceed to Fort Randall, Dakotah Territory, 
for the purpose of relieving the battalion of United States troops, which com- 
posed the garrison at that fort. These three infantry companies marched from 
their camp near Iowa City, by way of Des Moines, to Council Bluffs and Sioux 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 121 

City, Iowa, to Fort Randall, a distance of 550 miles, in thirty-five days. They 
were subsequently permanently detached from the Fourteenth Iowa and became 
the Forty-first Iowa Infantry Battalion, and were assigned to service on the 
frontier. Upon the organization of the Seventh Iowa Cavalry, these companies 
were transferred to that regiment, which constituted a part of the command ot 
General Sully, and remained in the Northwest, engaged in active service against 
the Indians, until the close of the war. 

The foregoing statement, as to the conditions which existed on the northern 
border and the part taken by Iowa troops in the early part of the war with the 
Indians, has been made as an introduction to the history which follows. It 
became evident that the Indians could not be completely subdued by the forces 
then operating against them, and that adequate protection could not be furnished 
to the settlers, without the establishment of a regularly organized body of state 
troops and the erection of a chain of defenses along the Iowa frontier. In his 
official report. Adjutant General Baker, after making a preliminary statement 
of the condition then existing, quotes the reports' made to the governor, and his 
orders and instructions, with reference to the formation of the Northern Border 
Brigade. The statement, copies of some of the reports in full, and of others 
in part, are here given as follows : 

''The Indian outbreak in Minnesota in the latter part of August and in 
September, 1862, as well as the threatening attitude of the Indians on our own 
frontier, having alarmed our citizens on the border, and numerous appeals for 
aid and protection being made by them to the governor, his excellency, on the 13th 
of September, 1862, appointed S. R. Ingham, Esquire, of Des Moines, as his 
agent to proceed to the exposed frontier of the state, to give the matter his 
personal and immediate attention. His reports show his prompt, energetic and 
able performance of his duty." — Adjutant General. 

" 'To His Excellency, S. J. Kirkwood, Governor of Iowa, 

Sir : Under your instructions, placed in my hands, August 29, 1862, of which 
the following is a copy : 

August 29, 1862. 
S. R. Ingham, Esquire, 

Sir: I am informed there is probable danger of an attack by hostile Indians, 
on the inhabitants of the northwestern portion of our state. Arms and powder 
will be sent to you at Fort Dodge, lead and caps will be sent with you. I hand 
you an order on the auditor of state for one thousand dollars. You will please 
proceed at once to Fort Dodge, and from there to such other points as you may 
deem proper. Use the arms, ammunition and money placed at your disposal, 
in such manner as your judgment may dictate as best to promote the object in 
view, to-wit: the protection of the inhabitants of the frontier. It would be 
well to communicate with Captain Alillard, commanding the company of 
mounted men raised for United States service at Sioux City. 

Place any men you may deem it advisable to raise under his command. Use 
your discretion in all things, and exercise any power I could exercise if I were 
present, according to your best discretion. Please report to me in writing. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

Samuel ]. Kirkwood. 



122 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

" T have the honor to report that, in compHance therewith, I at once proceeded 
to the northern border of our state, to ascertain the extent of the supposed 
difficuhies, and to do the needful for the protection of our frontier settlements, 
should circumstances warrant or demand. I visited Dickinson, Emmet, Palo 
Alto, Kossuth, Humboldt and Webster counties; found many of the inhabitants 
in a high state of excitement, and laboring under a constant fear of an attack by 
Indians. Quite a number of families were leaving their homes and moving into 
the more thickly settled portions of the state. This feeling, however, seemed 
to be more intense and to run higher in the more inland and remote counties from 
the border than in the border counties themselves. In Emmet and Kossuth, both 
border counties, I had the settlers called together in order that I might learn from 
them their views and wishes as to what ought to be done for their safety, or 
rather what was necessary to satisfy and quiet their fears and apprehensions. 
They expressed themselves freely and were very temperate in their demands. 
They said all they wanted or deemed necessary for the protection of the northern 
border was a small force of mounted men, stationed on the east and west forks 
of the Des jVIoines river, to act in concert with the United States troops, then 
stationed at Spirit Lake ; but that this force must be made up of men, such as 
they could choose from amongst themselves, who were familiar with the country 
and had been engaged in hunting and trapping for years, and were more or less 
familiar with the habits and customs of the Indians, one of which men would be 
worth half a dozen such as the state had sent up there on one or two former 
occasions. In a small force of this kind they would have confidence, but would 
not feel safe with a much larger force of young and inexperienced men, such 
as are usually raised in the more central portions of the state. 

" T at once authorized a company to be raised in Emmet, Kossuth, Palo Alto 
and Humboldt counties. Within five days forty men were enlisted ; held an 
election for officers, were mustered in, furnished with arms and ammunition, and 
placed on duty, twenty at Chain Lake, and twenty at Estherville, on the west 
fork of the Des Moines. I authorized them to fill up the company to eighty 
men, if necessity should demand such an addition to the force. At Spirit Lake, 
in Dickinson county, I found some forty men stationed, under command of Lieu- 
tenant Sawyers, of Captain jMillard's Company, Sioux City Cavalry, in the 
United States service. From the best information I could obtain, I deemed this 
a sufficient force and therefore took no action to increase the protection at this 
point, further than to furnish the settlers with thirty stand of arms, and a small 
amount of ammunition, for which I took bond as hereinafter stated. Not being 
able to see Captain Millard, he being at Sioux City, I did not place the company 
raised under his command, but simply made an arrangement with Lieutenant 
Sawyers, by which the forces were to act together until such time as I should be 
able to see the captain * * * ' " 

The remainder of Mr. Ingham's report relates mainly to the further distri- 
bution of arms and ammunition to responsible men among the settlers, to be 
distributed for use only in case of emergency, when it might become necessary 
for all who were capable of bearing arms to unite their strength for the com- 
mon defense, and act in conjunction with the regularly organized companies who 
were constantly on duty. He concludes his report as follows : 

"Having done all that seemed necessary for the protection of the settlers of 




CENTEAL AVENUE, FORT DODGE, LOOKING EAST EEOM SEVENTH STREET 
Parade 35th Ainiiial Eneampmeut, Department of Iowa, G. A. R., June 9, 1909 



\ 



'i 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 123 

the more exposed of the northern border counties, I returned to Fort Dodge on 
the 8th day of September, intending to proceed at once to Sioux City, and make 
all necessary arrangements for the protection of the settlements on the north- 
western border. At that point I was informed that the legislature, then in 
extra session, had passed a bill providing for the raising of troops for the pro- 
tection of our borders against hostile Indians. I therefore deemed it best to 
report to you for further instructions, and did so report on the loth of 
September." 

Mr. Ingham was given full power and authority to put into effect the law 
authorizing the organization of the Northern Border Brigade. The good judg- 
ment which he had exercised in forming the companies already raised, and in the 
entire discharge of his duty under his former commission from the governor, 
fully justified the confidence reposed in him. He at once proceeded to organize 
and muster into the service the companies named in the order, at the places 
designated, as follows: Webster City, Fort Dodge, Denison and Sioux City. 
He also ordered the construction of blockhouses and stockades at Correctionville, 
Cherokee. Peterson, Estherville and Chain Lakes. At Spirit Lake a strong 
stockade had already been constructed. These places formed the nucleus of the 
principal settlements on the northwestern border of the state. With the com- 
pletion of these defenses, and their occupation by the four companies last organ- 
ized, and the two previously stationed at Chain Lakes and Estherville, a force 
of 250 mounted men, well armed and equipped, were ready at all times to 
cooperate with the cavalry forces under General Sully, then operating against 
the hostile tribes of Indians beyond the border. The wisdom of the action of 
the governor, in asking for the necessary legislation to enable him to place an 
adequate force upon the border, .was demonstrated by the security subse- 
quently afforded to the settlers. Most of those who had fled in terror from their 
homes, returned and resumed the cultivation of their farms, with the knowledge 
that, in case of attack by the Indians, there were places of refuge provided for 
them. Mr. Ingham, in closing his official report, says: "From information in 
my possession, I am entirely satisfied that it will be necessary to keep this entire 
force on duty after the completion of the blockhouses and stockades on which 
they are now engaged." 

While the danger from attack was not so great as it had been before these 
precautions were taken, the fact remained that the number of Indian warriors 
then engaged in hostilities far exceeded the number of troops under the com- 
mand of General Sully. In spite of the disparity in numbers, however, the 
splendid troops, under the command of that brave and intrepid general, had 
defeated the Indians in several pitched battles, and had driven them far beyond the 
frontier. The danger was that other Indian tribes, which had thus far refused to 
join those actively hostile, might be induced to go upon the war path, and, with 
greatly increased numbers, succeed in compelling General Sully's forces to fall 
back to the settlements on the frontier. Keeping in mind the horrible events 
of the recent past, there was still much to justify the feeling of anxiety which 
pervaded the minds of both settlers and soldiers in those border counties of 
Iowa. To show how well this feeling was justified, the following extract from 
the report of George L. Davenport, Esquire, who had been sent by Governor 
Kirkwood to confer with Governor Ramsey, of Minnesota, is here given: 

Vol. 1—9 



124 " HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

" * * * Upon my arrival at St. Paul, I called upon Governor Ramsey, 
who gave me all the information in his power. He informed me that the out- 
break of the Sioux Indians is of the most serious character, and the massacre 
for men, women and children of the frontier settlements, the largest known in the 
history of the country. Nearly six hundred persons are known to be killed, and 
over one hundred women and children are in the hands of the savages as pris- 
oners. The Indians are very bold and defiant, repeatedly attacking the forts and 
the troops sent out against them. They have plundered many stores and farm 
houses, and have driven oflf a very large number of cattle and horses. The 
Indians continue to attack the settlements almost every week, keeping up a 
constant alarm among the people. It is estimated that over five thousand persons 
have left their homes and all of their property, causing immense loss and sufifer- 
ing. Governor Ramsey informs me that he will have, in a short time, about four 
thousand troops to operate against the Indians, one thousand of which will be 
cavalry, as soon as horses can be obtained * * * 

'Tt is proposed to erect stockade forts, at short distances apart, along a 
frontier of two hundred miles, and garrison them with forty or fifty men each. 
This, it is supposed, will induce many to return to their farms and feel that they 
are protected, and, in case of alarm, have a place to fly to. I am mvich alarmed 
in regard to the safety of the settlements on the northwestern border of our state. 
I think they are in imminent danger of an attack at any moment, and will be 
in constant danger and alarm during the coming winter. As the Indians are 
driven back from the eastern part of Minnesota, they will fall back towards the 
Missouri slope, and will make inroads upon our Iowa settlements * * * 

The foregoing official report, showing the terrible calamity that had come 
upon the hapless settlers in Minnesota, afiforded full justification for the prompt 
action taken by the Iowa legislature and Governor Kirkwood. Had such action 
been delayed, the depopulation of those border counties would have resulted, 
either on account of the actual warfare which would have been waged by the 
Indians, or the fear of it, which would have caused all the settlers to have 
abandoned their homes and removed to the interior of the state. 

During the winter, and a part of the summer of 1863, the work of erecting 
defenses at the dififerent places indicated in the order was vigorously prosecuted. 
The headquarters of the brigade were subsequently established at Estherville, 
and from that post details were made for the other posts along the line of the 
frontier. Near the last of September, 1863, (owing to the defeat of the hostile 
tribes of Indians on the 3d and 4th of that month, by the forces under the com- 
mand of General Alfred Sully, at the hard fought battle of White Stone Elill, in 
which the Sixth and Seventh Iowa Regiments of Cavalry greatly distinguished 
themselves) it became evident that the danger of further attacks upon the set- 
tlers had greatly diminished, and it was deemed safe to disband the Northern 
Border Brigade, and to substitute a smaller force in its stead. This force con- 
sisted of Captain Ingham's Company A, which, after the Northern Brigade had 
been mustered out, had been remustered for this particular service. It was soon 
relieved by United States troops and was then mustered out of the service. The 
hostile Indians had been driven far to the north by General Sully's troops, and the 
settlers upon the frontier were comparatively free from the dangers which had 
formerly threatened them. With a sufficient force of United States troops. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 125 

constantly on duty at the posts where fortifications had been erected by the 
state of Iowa, and the country to the north thoroughly patrolled by General 
Sully's cavalry scouts, the danger of the Indians committing depredations upon 
the homes of the settlers was reduced to the minimum. 

While the records do not show that the state troops composing the Northern 
Border Brigade were ever engaged in serious conflicts with the Indians, they do 
show that they performed most important service and endured great hard- 
ships. During the time they were engaged in constructing the fortifications 
along the line of the frontier, they were in constant danger. Had the Indians 
proved too strong to be overcome by the troops under General Sully's command, 
that officer would have jetreated to the state line and united his forces with 
those of the state. Upon more than one occasion before the works were com- 
pleted, such a contingency semed likely to occur. It is therefore evident that 
those hardy sons of Iowa, who braved the rigors of the northern winters and the 
risk of the fierce conflict with the hostile tribes of Indians who had murdered 
so many of the hapless settlers on the frontier, are entitled to an honored place 
in the history of their country's defenders. The descendants of those hardy 
pioneers, whose families and homes were saved from destruction, will ever 
hold in grateful remembrance the men who came to the rescue of their ancestors. 

ROSTER COMPANY B, NORTHERN BORDER BRIGADE 

William Williams, captain; John M. Hefley, first lieutenant; Jasper N. Bell, 
second lieutenant. 

Allen, Samuel F., age thirty-one; residence, Webster county; nativity, Indi- 
ana; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered 
out, August 26, 1863. 

Bass, James, age thirty-two ; residence, Webster county ; nativity. North 
Carolina; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; promoted 
fourth corporal; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Bass, Jesse, age forty- four ; residence, Mineral Ridge ; nativity, North Caro- 
lina; enlisted, September 24, 1862, as second corporal; mustered, September 24, 
1862; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Beem, Wickliffe C, age twenty-two; residence, Border Plains; nativity, Ohio; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Bell, Jasper N., age twenty-two; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
appointed second lieutenant, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; 
mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Blaine, William H., age twenty-three; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered 
out, August 26, 1863. 

Booker, Leander, age twenty-eight ; residence, Boone county ; nativity, Ten- 
nessee ; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered 
out, August 26, 1863. 

Buck, William, age twenty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Indiana; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 



126 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Coleman, Timothy, age twenty -one; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Ireland; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Conlee, Smith T., age eighteen; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Illinois; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Crouse, Edward, age thirty-three ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, North 
Carolina ; enlisted, September 24, 1862 ; mustered, September 24, 1862 ; mustered 
24, 1862; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Crouse, Irwin, age twenty- four; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity. North 
Carolina; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered 
out, August 26, 1863. 

Crouse, Jacob, age thirty-six ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, North Caro- 
lina; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; promoted 
farrier; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Denslow, B. F., age thirty-six ; residence, Ellington ; nativity, Indiana ; en- 
listed, September 24, 1862, as second sergeant; mustered, September 24, 1862; 
mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Eslick, John D., age nineteen; residence, Homer; nativity, Missouri; enlisted, 
September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, August 26, 

1863. 

Fitch, Edward, age twenty-one; residence. Homer; nativity, Pennsylvania; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Flaherty, James, age twenty-five ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Maryland ; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Harper, John, age thirty-two ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Scotland ; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Heffner, George, age twenty-nine ; residence. Border Plains ; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, September 24, 1862, as fourth sergeant; mustered, September 
24, 1862; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Hefley, John M., age thirty-five ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Pennsyl- 
vania ; appointed first lieutenant, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 
1862; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Hoisington, Jesse, age thirty-eight ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ohio ; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Holt, J. M., age thirty-three ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, Tennessee ; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862, as farrier; mustered, September 24, 1862; reduced 
to ranks; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Hubbard, John N., age thirty-five; residence, Webster county; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Humphreys, James A., age thirty-eight; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, 
Connecticut; enlisted, September 24, 1862, as wagoner; mustered, September 24, 
1862; promoted quartermaster sergeant; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 127 

Jenkins, Andrew K., age twenty-four ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, September 24, 1862, as bugler; mustered, September 24. 1862; 
mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Jenkins, James S., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Pennsyl- 
vania; enlisted, September 24, 1862, as first sergeant; mustered, September 24, 
1862; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Kaylor, Thomas J., age twenty-five; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Indiana; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Landreth, ^Matthew, age twenty-two ; residence, Homer ; nativity, Indiana ; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862, as fourth corporal; mustered, September 24, 1862; 
reduced to ranks; mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Landreth, Thomas, age forty-three; residence, Homer; nativity, X'irginia; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Landreth, \\'illiam R., age twenty-three; residence. Homer; nativity, Indi- 
ana; enlisted. September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
x\ugust 26, 1863. 

Landreth, Zachariah, age twenty-one; residence, Homer; nativity, Missouri; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Long, Eli, age twenty-one; residence Homer; nativity, Kentucky; enlisted, 
September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, August 26, 

1863. ■ , 

Lowe, Emanuel E., age twenty-two; residence, Webster county; nativity, 
Illinois; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered 
out, August 26, 1863. 

McCosker, Charles, age forty-two ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ireland ; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

McDonough, Martin, age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ire- 
land; enlisted. September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; discharged 
for disability, October 15, 1862. 

McGuire, Blythe, age twenty-seven; residence. Homer; nativity, Alissouri; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Morrissey, Daniel, age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ireland; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862, as third corporal; mustered, September 24. 1862; 
mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

Nicholson, Alfred J., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. Ireland; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, 
August 26, 1863. 

Payne, Jonathan W., age twenty-seven ; residence, Webster county ; nativity, 
Tennessee; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mus- 
tered out, August 26, 1863. 

Phipps, Luther, age eighteen ; residence, Webster City ; nativity, Massa- 
chusetts; enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered 
out, August 26, 1863. 



128 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Pierce, Francis M., age nineteen; residence, Homer; nativity, Missouri 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out 
August 26, 1863. 

Powers, Walter, age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Maine 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out 
August 26, 1863. 

Richey, Gasper A., age twenty; residence, Webster county; nativity, Ohio 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out 
August 26, 1863. 

Starr, Peter, age forty-two ; residence. Boone county ; nativity, Sweden 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out 
August 26, 1863. 

Weeks, Arthur, age eighteen ; residence, Webster county ; nativitv. Ohio 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out 
August 26, 1863. 

White, James P., age twenty-five ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Maine 
enlisted. September 24, 1862, as third sergeant; mustered, September 24, 1862 
mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

\\'illiams, William, age sixty-four ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Pennsyl- 
vania ; appointed captain, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; 
mustered out, August 26, 1863. 

^^^right, Nathan, age twenty; residence. Homer; nativity, Missouri; enlisted,' 
September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out, September 
26, 1863. , 

Wright, William, age twenty-two; residence, Homer; nativity, Missouri; 
enlisted, September 24, 1862; mustered, September 24, 1862; mustered out,, 
August 26, 1863. 

APOSTROPHE TO THE BLUE AND THE GRAY 

In this hour of sacred eulogy of our dead, no noble soul will deny a slight 
chaplet to those who fell on the other side. Their cause is lost forever; indeed, 
the genius of liberty and the spirit of modern civilization foredoomed it to 
defeat. Never braver men stood embattled with a losing cause, and their ruined 
homes, and broken fortunes, and the last trenches of defeat and disaster, filled 
with the best blood of their race, attest their sincerity and devotion. But cour- 
age and devotion are never wholly lost ; and when the perfect union of these 
people shall have come, — the union of which our fathers dreamed, and for 
which their sons died, — then the lustrous courage of our foemen shall become 
part of the common history of our common race and common blood. I lift 
my soul into a vision of a noble future, when strife and clamor between the 
sections shall be hushed, forever, and one people, with one flag, and one des- 
tiny, shall teach only the gospel of peace and good will, from our northern bound- 
ary to where the southern cross blazes above the southern ocean. Enlarged 
patriotism, and enlightened statesmanship, should hasten the day. Its dawn is 
almost here. Let the loyalty and courage of the blue and the courage and devo- 
tion of the gray be given as the most patriotic duty of the hour toward absolute 
reconciliation. It is as holy a cause as was the war for the unity of these states. 
The blue and the gray sleep in peace, side by side, on every hill top, and in every 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 129 

valley of all the battlefields of the Republic ; over them bend these same heavens, 
above them shine the same stars, fixed, immutable; over them sweeps the same 
flagr. free and immortal. Fallen comrades of the blue ! Fallen foemen of the 
gray ! Ye have pitched your tents together in the Eternal Bivouac beyond the 
stars, where ye shall camp forever, in that mysterious and unknown silence that 
shall be broken only by the reveille of the life immortal. — Captain J. A. O. 
Yeoman, Memorial Address, Omaha, Nebraska, May 30, 1891. 

On March 9. 1864. the Thirty-second Iowa, with its brigade and division, 
embarked on transports and proceeded to the mouth of Red river. There were 
nineteen transports conveying Gen. A. J. Smith's Division of the Sixteenth Corps, 
consisting of about ten thousand infantry and three batteries of artillery. A 
fleet of eleven gunboats accompanied the transports from \'icksburg and at the 
mouth of the Red river they were joined by several larger gunboats. This formid- 
able naval force was under the command of x\dmiral Porter, of the United States 
navv. who was to act in conjunction with the land forces under command of 
]\Iajor General Banks, on the Red river expedition. The fleet of gunboats and 
transports entered the cut-ofl', into which the Red river empties, and into which 
the Atchafalaya flows, on IMarch 12th, and passed down the latter river to Sims- 
port, where the troops disembarked. The regiment was now a part of the Second 
Brigade of the Third Division, Sixteenth Army Corps. The troops composing 
the brigade were the Fourteenth, Twenty-seventh and Thirty-second Regiments 
of Iowa Infantrv, the Twenty-fourth Missouri Infantry and the Third Indiana 
Battery. Col. \\'illiam T. Shaw of the Fovirteenth Iowa, the senior ofiicer in rank, 
. was in command of the brigade. 

At 6:00 A. ^I. on the morning of ^larch 14, 1864, the Second Brigade was 
ordered to take the advance, and marched rapidly in the direction of Fort De 
Russy, the first objective point of the expedition. The march was conducted with 
great vigor, and late in the afternoon, the brigade reached the village of Marks- 
ville, two and one-half miles from the fort, where Colonel Shaw was ordered to 
detach one regiment of his brigade to act as rear guard of the division. The 
Twenty-seventh Iowa, was detailed for that duty. The other regiments of the 
brigade, and the battery, then moved forward and soon came within range of 
the enemy's guns in Fort De Russy. In his official report Colonel Shaw describes 
the skirmish fighting which occurred prior to the time the order was given for a 
general assault upon the fort. Colonel Scott was ordered to take position with the 
Thirtv-second Iowa, on the right of the brigade, in support of the skirmishers of 
the Fourteenth Iowa and the Third Indiana Battery. The order was promptly 
obeyed and the position gained with but slight loss. The battery was returning the 
fire of the enemy's guns from the fort, and the Fourteenth and Thirty-second Iowa 
had taken possession of a line of rifle-pits from which the enemy's skirmishers 
had been driven, and from which an incessant musketry fire was kept up, making 
it difficult for the enemy's gunners to serve their artillery. This preliminary 
skirmishing was still in progress when Colonel Gilbert arrived with the Twenty- 
seventh Iowa, and relieved the skirmishers of the Fourteenth Iowa who had 
exhausted their ammunition. General Mov.'er, who had been directing the move- 
ments of the First Brigade, now joined the Second Brigade and placing himself 
at the head of the Twenty-fourth ]Missouri, ordered an immediate assault upon 
the fort. All the regiments advanced promptly when the command was given. 



130 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The Twenty-fourth Missouri, led by General Mower in person, had the honor of 
being the first regiment of the Second Brigade to plant its colors on the walls of the 
fort ; the advance was, however, so nearly simultaneous with the whole brigade 
that the diiTerent regiments reached the fort at nearly the same time. At 6 :oo 
P. M. the fort, with the rebel troops which composed its garrison, was in pos- 
session of the Union troops. Near the close of his official report Colonel Shaw 
says, in part, "My command had in twelve hours marched twenty-eight miles, 
fought two hours, and assisted in storming and capturing Fort De Russy." He 
commends the officers and men of the battery and of each of the regiments of his 
brigade for the promptness and good order with which they went into action, 
after the long and fatiguing march, and closes by saying, "I am proud to say 
that not a single instance came under my observation of any officer or soldier 
attempting to shun danger or duty during the engagement, and my opportunity was 
good for observing each regiment as it came under fire." 

The official report of Colonel Scott as to the part taken by his regiment in the 
action at Fort De Russy, coincides with that of the brigade commander. Limi- 
tation of space prevents its insertion in this sketch. He commends the good con- 
duct of the officers and men of the Thirty-second Iowa, and at the close of his 
report says, "With devout thankfulness that the list is so short, 1 append state- 
ment of casualties." It seems almost incredible that the regiment should have 
gone through the engagement without having suffered greater loss than shown 
in Colonel Scott's report, but, as shown by the official reports of Gen. A. J. 
Smith, the entire loss of the two brigades engaged in the capture of the fort 
was but three killed and thirty-five wounded, while the loss of the Thirty-second 
Iowa was one man killed and two severely wounded. The rebel garrison at 
Fort De Russy consisted of but 350 men, and it must be admitted that, considering 
the great disparity between their number and that of the attacking force, they 
made a gallant defense before surrendering the fort. The incessant fire of the 
batteries and musketry of the two brigades kept down the fire of the rebels to 
such an extent as to prevent heavy loss on the part of the Union troops. 

The prompt and energetic movement of General Smith's command had inau- 
gurated the Red river campaign with an importat victory. Had General Smith 
then been placed in command of all the troops engaged in the expedition, there 
is every reason to believe that the disasters which ensued might have been pre- 
vented. After dismantling Fort De Russy and effectually destroying it as a 
work of defense, the troops moved forward to Alexandria, Louisiana, where, in 
obedience to his order. General Smith awaited the arrival of General Banks with 
the other troops under his command. The following extracts from the report 
of Col. John Scott will show the movements of the Thirty-second Iowa, from the 
date of its arrival at Alexandria to the close of the battle of Pleasant Hill, on 
April 9, 1864: 

"Went into camp near the town on March i6th, and remained until the morn- 
ing of the 28th, when we started by the Bayou Rapids road, with rations for three 
days, to meet the transport at Bayou Cotile Landing, above the rapids. Marched 
eighteen miles on the 28th and nine miles on the 29th, reaching the landing at 
one o'clock P. M., where we remained until April 2d, when we again embarked 
on transport, and, on the next day, landed at Grand Ecore. On April ist had bat- 
talion drill, with all the companies together for the first time since we left 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 131 

Dubuque in November, 1862. Remained in camp on the bank of Red river, one 
mile above Grand Ecore, until the morning of April 7th, from which date until 
the night of the 9th, the following official reports will show our movements and 
attendant incidents. The distance from Grand Ecore to battlefield near Pleasant 
Hill is about thirty-seven miles. The total number of the regiment when it 
started on the march on April 7th, was four hundred sixty-nine, field, staff 
and line. We entered the battle with about four hundred twenty rifled mus- 
kets. * * * On the morning of April 7th, moving from Grand Ecore, accord- 
ing to the order of march for that day, my regiment was in the rear of the 
brigade. Everything progressed satisfactorily until about two o'clock P. M., when 
we encountered the headquarters train of Major General Banks, entirely block- 
ading the way. * * * In this manner two brigades, including artillery and 
trains, were delayed more than four hours, in the midst of a heavy rain storm. 
Finally the troops passed by in an effort to reach the assigned camping ground 
before dark, but failed, and camped two miles short of the proper position ; 
subsistence and camp equippage did not come up until the night was far advanced. 
On the 8th we moved forward twenty miles, and camped near Pleasant Hill at 
sunset. For several hours had heard heavy artillery firing some miles in advance. 
During the night our camp was overrun with stragglers from the front, who cir- 
culated the wildest stories of disaster and loss of men, artillery and trains. On 
the morning of the 9th these w^ere repeated 'and exaggerated. The road was seen 
filled with teams crowding to the rear. Evidences of past defeat and prospective 
retreat were everywhere visible. These w^ere the moral surroundings as my 
command was moved to the extreme front, and took position in line. of battle 
at ten o'clock A. M., relieving a portion of the Nineteenth Corps. My position 
in line on the extreme left of the brigade was supported on the right by the Twenty- 
seventh Iowa Infantry, the other regiments of the brigade extending to the right. 
My left, for some reason still unknown to me, was without support, though 
threatened, and might be considered a key to the whole position. I rested in the 
edge of a wood, in the rear of an old field, across which my skirmishers occasion- 
ally exchanged shots with the enemy's pickets throughout the day, but without 
casualty to my command. 

"* * * About four o'clock P. M., the activity of the enemy's skirmishers 
increased and, in a short time, he advanced across the open space in our front 
in heavy force, moving in column by battalion, deploying as he advanced. My 
skirmishers were recalled and my left company, which had been thrown forward 
and to the left to cover my exposed flank, was forced back with some loss, and 
took its position in the line. The fire of my command was reserved until the 
enemy was within easy range, and when opened was so destructive that he fal- 
tered, passed to my left through the open space, and to my rear, losing heavily by 
the fire of my left wing as he passed, but threatening to cut off my command 
from our main forces. I at once sent information to my superior, and to the 
commander of the troops on my immediate right, of this peril to the whole line ; 
but, without orders to abandon my position, though very critical, I could do nothing 
but change the front of my extreme left to face the new danger, and to protect my 
flank and rear, if possible. This was done and a well-directed fire kept up to the 
front and left, which kept the enemy at bay. Meanwhile he was steadily pouring 
his columns past my left, and working across to the rear of my position, so that 



132 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

in a short time the battle was in full force far in my rear. In this state of affairs 
I discovered that all the troops on my right had been withdrawn, taking with 
them a portion of my right wing. Lieutenant Colonel Mix, in charge of the right 
wing, and Captain Miller, commanding Company B. on my extreme right, fell, 
fatally wounded. My attention had been chiefly directed to the front and left, 
as the most exposed directions, and I only came to a knowledge of the retrograde 
of the right when the first three companies were already gone. The timber and 
undergrowth were so thick that I could not observe my whole line from any one 
point. The movement was promptly checked, but the ground thus left vacant 
was almost immediately occupied by the enemy, and a destructive fire opened 
upon us from a new direction, rendering it necessar3' that it should be met by a 
new line, which was done. My lines now faced in three directions. I was com- 
pletely enveloped, without orders, and virtually in the hands of the enemy, had he 
dared to close in and overwhelm us with his masses now around us. This was 
my position until after sunset, by which time the enemy had left my front. Pass- 
ing now by my right to the rear, where the fight was still raging, and observing 
by the fire and cheers of our men that the enemy had been forced back on the 
left, and that our forces in that direction could not be far distant, I moved by the 
left flank about two hundred yards to the left and rear, where I met and joined 
our most advanced troops. My brave men were nearly out of ammunition, which 
for the past hour had been well husbanded ; they were exhausted but not dis- 
mayed, and we felt that the battlefield was ours. I inclose a list of the killed, 
wounded and missing, a total of two hundred and ten. * * * j\s we could not 
pass the picket lines during the night to reach our wounded still upon the 
field where they had fallen, and were compelled to abandon them in the morning, 
I fear the number of fatal casualties will exceed the number stated, and that 
of those reported as missing many are either killed or wounded. * * * Our 
position was such that many of the wounded, passing to the rear, must have 
fallen into the hands of the enemy. * * * Lieut. Col. Edward H. Mix and 
Capt. Amos B. Miller fell at their posts, while cheering and encouraging their 
men. In them, as also in Capt. Hubert F. Peebles, Capt. Michael Ackerman, 
First Lieut. John Devine, all dangerously wounded, and First Lieut. Thomas O. 
Howard, fatally wounded, I mourn the loss of good men as well as gallant 
soldiers. The record of others is found in casualty list in the body of this report. 
To Capt. Jonathan Hutchison my special thanks are due, not only for his gal- 
lantry but also for repressing reckless exposure among the men of his command, 
and thus saving valuable lives. His son, a youth of much promise, was killed 
by his side, early in the action." 

Then follows the long list of casualties, a summary of which shows that 
there were thirty-eight killed, one hundred and sixteen wounded and fifty-six 
missing; total two hundred and ten, about fifty per cent of the number of the 
regiment engaged in the battle. Many of those reported as missing were sub- 
sequently found to have been either killed or wounded. In the official report of 
the brigade commander, Col. William T. Shaw, of the Fourteenth Iowa, mention 
is made of the Thirty-second Iowa and its gallant commander, as follows: 

'T cannot speak too highly of my regimental commanders. Of Col. John 
Scott, Thirty-second Iowa, it is sufficient praise to say that he is v/orthy to com- 
mand the Thirty-second Iowa Infantry, a regiment which after being entirely 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 133 

surrounded and cut off from the rest of the command, with nearly one-half its 
number either killed or wounded, among them many of its best and most prom- 
inent officers, successfully forced its way through the enemy's lines, and was in 
line, ready and anxious to again meet the enemy, in less than thirty minutes." 

The total loss of Colonel Shaw's brigade at the battle of Pleasant Hill was 
four hundred and eighty-three. The losses by regiments were as follows : 
Fourteenth Iowa, eighty-nine ; Twenty-seventh Iowa, eighty-eight ; Thirty-second 
Iowa, two hundred and ten; Twenty-fourth JMissouri, ninety-six. There were 
fifteen regiments belonging to the detachment of the Sixteenth Corps, commanded 
iDy Gen. A. T- Smith, engaged in the battle, with a total loss of seven hundred and 
fifty-three. It will thus be seen that the four regiments of Shaw's brigade sus- 
tained nearlv two-thirds of the entire loss of General Smith's command. \\^ith 
a sufficient number of troops under his command to have defeated the enemy 
had thev all been brought into the engagement and properly handled. General 
Banks utilized only a portion of his army at Pleasant Hill, and thus demonstrated 
his unfitness for the command. He admitted tt) General Smith, on the field, that 
the valor of the troops of the Sixteenth Corps had saved his army. 

Early on the morning of April lo, 1864, General Banks ordered a retreat of 
the entire army to Grand Ecore, during which the Thirty-second Iowa, with its 
brigade was assigned to the position of rear guard. From Grand Ecore the 
retreat was continued to Natchitoches, and thence to Alexandria. The enemy 
had followed closely. Colonel Shaw's brigade still occupied the post of greatest 
danger, in the rear. From Alexandria the brigade was sent below the town and 
occupied a position near Governor Moore's plantation, wdiere it had frequent skir- 
mishes with the enemy. On May 13th, Alexandria was evacuated, and the army 
began its retreat down Red river. The rebel army continued to follow closely. 
and there were frequent skirmishes. On May i8th a severe engagement took 
place at Bayou De Glaize, in which the Thirty-second Iowa and the other regi- 
ments of the brigade bore a prominent part. The regiment was at that time under 
the command of Major Eberhart. from whose official report the following 
extracts are taken : 

" * * * At ten o'clock A. ]M., my regiment was ordered forward with 
the brigade to engage the enemy. In the brigade we occupied the position of 
Third Battalion ; on tlie right the Twenty-seventh Iowa and Twenty-fourth Mis- 
souri, on the left the Fourteenth Iowa. During the first part of the action, being 
on the second line, w'e were under a heavy fire of artillery. Some guns from the 
Third and Ninth Indiana batteries being thrown forward on the left, the Four- 
teenth Iowa was detached as support. * * * ^^ ^-j^js time I received orders 
to move by the left flank into the woods,, but the enemy having advanced so 
rapidly as the batteries came out. Brigadier General Mower in person gave me 
orders to change front by filing the battalion to the left, which w^as done in time 
to meet the attack. * * * fhe enemy was repulsed after a brisk action of 
ten or fifteen minutes. We w-ere afterwards thrown f.orward into the woods, 
but were not again under fire. Owing to the intense heat and necessary rapidity 
of our movement many of the men were entirely exhausted and had to l)e car- 
ried from the field. Officers and men conducted themselves in a creditable manner 
during the engagement." 

In this engagement, First Lieut. W.^illiam D. Templin. of Compam E. was 



134 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

very severely wounded, four enlisted men were also severely, and one slightly, 
wounded. Major Eberhart and the other regimental commanders were highly 
commended by Colonel Shaw for the prompt and efficient manner in which they 
handled their respective regiments in this engagement. 

On May 19th the brigade lay in line of battle all day and until two o'clock 
A. M., of the 20th, when it again took up the line of march, and on the 22d reached 
the mouth of Red river, where it embarked on transports and was conveyed to 
Vicksburg, arriving there on May 24th. The operations of the Thirty-second Iowa 
and the troops with which it was associated on the Red river campaign will ever 
stand conspicuous in military history, for lofty courage, true devotion, and that 
noble spirit of sacrifice which was shown under circumstances of the most dis- 
couraging character. No troops displayed greater heroism during the ^^'ar of 
the Rebellion. 

On May 27, 1864, Colonel Scott tendered his resignation and severed his 
relations with the regiment. Both officers and men regretted to part with their 
brave commander. In a short parting address he gave his reasons for resigning, 
and carried with him the lasting friendship and good will of those with whom he 
had so long associated. The regiment remained at Vicksburg until June 5th, 
when it again embarked and proceeded up the river to Greenville, Mississippi, at 
which place, and at Point Chicot, Arkansas, the rebel, General ]\Iarmaduke, with a 
considerable force of infantry and artillery, was endeavoring to blockade the 
river, and had inflicted much damage by his attacks on the Federal transports. 
Disembarking on the Arkansas side of the river, June 6th, Gen. A. J. Smith moved 
his command rapidly against the main force of the enemy. In the engagement 
which ensued the enemy was driven from the field with heavy loss. The Thirty- 
second Iowa, v.'ith its brigade, participated in the engagement and lost eight men, 
killed and wounded. Having accomplished the object of the expedition, the 
troops marched to Columbia, Arkansas, and taking transports there, were con- 
veyed to Memphis, arriving there June loth, and remaining until June 24th, when 
with its brigade and division, it started on the expedition to Tupelo, Mississippi. 
IVIajor Eberhart had been promoted to lieutenant colonel and had been in command 
of the regiment since the resignation of Colonel Scott. Colonel Gilbert of the 
Twenty-seventh Iowa, had succeeded Colonel Shaw in command of the brigade. 
The Thirty-second Iowa sustained its full share of hard service on this expedition, 
and participated in the battles of Tupelo and Old Town Creek, under command 
of Major Hutchison, where, owing to its position in line, its losses were compara- 
tivelv light; but it ol)eyed every order promptly and acquitted itself with honor. 
Returning to Memphis, it remained in camp until August 4th, upon which date 
it started, with its brigade and division, upon the expedition to Oxford, Missis- 
sippi, in which it again Ijore its full share of hardship, marching in pursuit of 
the elusive enemy, with whom it did not come into contact, and returned to 
Memphis at the close of the month. 

On September 5th the regiment, with its brigade and division, embarked on 
transports and was conveyed to Cairo, Illinois, thence to Jefferson Barracks. Mis- 
souri, and from there by rail to Mineral Point, ^Missouri, returning to Jefferson 
Barracks on September 29th. On October 2d it marched with the army under 
Gen. A. J. Smith in pursuit of the rebel army under Gen. Sterling Price. This 
remarkable march extended to the Kansas line. There is no record of the regi- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 135 

ment having come into conflict with the enemy on this long march. There was a 
strong cavalry force which kept in advance and did most of the fighting. The 
rebel army was driven out of the state of Missouri, the cavalry keeping up the 
pursuit as far as the Ozark mountains, and the infantry returning to St. Louis. 
On this remarkable campaign the regiment had marched seven hundred miles, 
and upon its return to St. Louis on November i8th, many of the men were almost 
barefoot. The hardships to which they had been subjected were so great as 
almost to reach the limit of endurance, but they were only allowed a single week 
in which to rest and recuperate before entering upon another campaign. 

On November 25th the regiment, with the army under Gen. A. J. Smith, 
embarked on transports and proceeded to Smithland, Kentucky, and thence up 
the Cumberland river to Nashville, Tennessee, where the troops landed on Decem- 
ber 1st, marched three miles south of the city and went into camp. On the 
15th and i6th of December, 1864, the regiment, with its brigade and division, 
advanced with the army, under Major General Thomas, to the attack of the rebel 
army under General Hood. On the 15th, the Thirty-second Iowa, occupying the 
position on the right of its brigade and conforming its movements to those of the 
troops on its right and front, advanced in line of battle for more than a mile. 
It continued on the reserve line during the day and did not come into direct 
conflict with the enemy. When the enemy's works had been carried by the 
troops in its front, the regiment moved forward 'One mile and a half and 
bivouacked on the field for the night. On the morning of the i6th the regi- 
ment, Avith its brigade, took the advance and soon came within range of the 
enemy's artillery from their second line of works. Here it was halted and 
remained for five hours, awaiting orders. The subsequent movements of the 
regiment on that day are described in the official report of Lieutenant Colonel 
Eberhart, as follows : 

"At 3:30 P. M., the right of the First Division carried the left of the 
enemy's works; we then moved forward at a double quick over an open field, 
under a severe fire from artillery and musketry, and in a few minutes gained the 
intrenchments, capturing about fifty prisoners and five pieces of artillery. Some 
of the artillerists were killed as they were leaving the guns. Private William May, 
of Company H, dashed forward and captured the battery guidon. The regiment 
moved forward in pursuit, gathering a few prisoners, until we reached the base 
of the mountain, when we received orders to halt. At dark, the battle being 
over, we were ordered into camp near the mountain. Too much cannot be said 
in praise of the conduct of the officers and men under the heavy fire during the 
charge; every one moved forward with a determination to carry the works. 
Where all behaved so creditably it is a delicate matter to make particular mention 
of persons, but I presume no exception will be taken when I speak of Lieut. W. L. 
Carpenter, acting regimental adjutant, who was, as usual, conspicuous for his 
brave and gallant conduct in the action, and was among the first over the rebel 
works. Also Capt. Theodore DeTar, who, after pursuing the enemy to the moun- 
tain, was wounded in the right ankle, making an amputation necessary. This 
will cause the loss to the regiment of one who has always been esteemed for his 
excellent qualities as an officer and a gentleman. First Serg. Daniel W. Albaugh, 
Company C, who was killed almost instantly by a minie ball, was one of our best 
non-commissioned officers, and was much loved by his company as an officer 



136 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

and comrade. They mourn his loss deeply. My thanks are due to Maj. Jonathan 
Hutchison for his assistance during the action. I cannot refrain from mention- 
ing Color Serg. A. J. Ellis, of Company G, who carried the standard. Although 
once thrown to the ground by a glancing shot, he refused to give the standard 
to anyone else, but made his way forward, and was one of the tirst over the 
works. Corporal Bell, of Company G, who bore the regimental colors, was 
noticed for his bravery in action. I send you a list of casualties in the regiment, 
which is light only because the artillery was aimed too high, and the infantry 
were intimidated by our rapid firing as we advanced." 

The loss of the Thirty-second Iowa in the battle of Nashville, December i6, 
1864, was three killed and fifteen wounded. It had nobly sustained its well-won 
reputation upon other fields as one of the best fighting regiments in the army. 
PVom the 17th to the 30th of December, it was engaged, with other troops, in the 
pursuit of the defeated and demoralized rebel army. The pursuit was abandoned 
at Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, on January i, 1865, the regiment marched to Clifton, 
on the Tennessee river, and embarking there on steamer, proceeded to Eastport, 
Mississippi, where it landed on January 5th and went into camp for a well- 
earned period of rest. 

On February 9, 1865, the regiment again embarked on steamer, was conveyed 
to Cairo, Illinois, and thence to New Orleans, where it disembarked on the 21st 
and went into camp near the city. On March 7, 1865, the regiment was taken on 
board an ocean steamship and conveyed to Dauphin Island, where it remained but 
a short time, going thence to Donnelly's Landing, Louisiana, from which it again 
took up the line of march and arrived at Sibley's Mills, near Mobile, Alabama, on 
March 26th. On April 3d the regiment again advanced with its brigade and 
joined the forces under General Steele, then engaged in the siege of Fort Blakely. 
The Thirty-second Iowa performed its full share of duty in the trenches during 
the siege, but was so well protected from the fire of the enemy that it had but 
one man wounded. The fort surrendered on the 9th of April, 1865, and that 
date marked the last conflict of the regiment. The great War of the Rel^ellion 
was practically ended. 

On April 13, 1865, the Thirty-second Iowa started on its last long march, and 
on the 27th reached Montgomery, Alabama, where it went into camp, remaining 
there and at another camp four miles from the city, until July 15. 1865, on which 
date it embarked on steamer and was conveyed down the Alabama river to Selma. 
From Selma it was conveyed by rail to Jackson, Mississip])i, and from that place 
marched to Vicksburg, where it embarked on steamer and proceeded to Clinton, 
Iowa, where, on the 24th day of August, 1865, it was mustered out of the service 
of the United States. The personal record of every officer and enlisted man of 
the regiment has been transcribed from the official records in the office of the 
adjutant general of the state of Iowa, and will be found in the subjoined roster. 
It will be noted that but few of the officers and enlisted men have received special 
mention in the official reports, from which quotations have been made in this 
historical sketch of the regiment. It will also be noted in the subjoined roster that 
aside from those who were killed, wounded, or missing in battle, or those who 
died from wounds or disease, or who were discharged or transferred, there were 
a large number of enlisted men and officers whose brief records show only con- 
tinuous service. The compiler wishes to call especial attention to the fact that 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 187 

such records show conclusively that the history of those men is identical with that 
of their regiment. They may have been, and in most instances no doubt were, 
engaged with their less fortunate comrades, in the various movements and 
battles in which the regiment participated, and the records of their service is 
therefore a most honorable one. 

The survivors of the Thirty-second Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry 
may well feel proud of the history, which they and their comrades who have 
answered the last roll call, were the makers. Posterity will lovingly cherish 
the memory of the brave men who gave such faithful service to their country 
in her time of greatest peril. The members of this splendid regiment, who 
were living at the time of its disbandment, have made their impress upon the 
history of the state of Iowa and of the other states of which many of them have 
become citizens since the close of the war. In all the honorabl avocations of life, 
as private citizens, and in the public service of both state and nation, they have 
distinguished themselves by the same devotion to duty which characterized their 
career as soldiers. 



CHAPTER X 
WEBSTER COUNTY IN THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR 

WAR DECLARED THE GOVERNOR CALLS FOR VOLUNTEERS — CAMP m'kINLEV — 

CHICKAMAUGA PARK — PROSPECT OF ACTUAL SERVICE — RETURN 

TO DES MOINES MUSTERED OUT ROSTER OF COMPANY 

G WEBSTER COUNTY SOLDIERS IN OTHER 

ORGANIZATIONS 

The proclamation of \\'illiam McKinley, president of the United States, 
bearing date April 23, 1898, recited the causes which led up to the declara- 
tion of war against Spain, and called for one hundred and twenty-five thousand 
volunteers, for the purpose of prosecuting the war. On April 25, 1898, the 
governor of Iowa was advised by telegram from the secretary of war of the 
number of troops which would be assigned as the quota of the state. Telegrams 
were at once sent to the commanding officers of the four infantry regiments 
of the Iowa National Guard, instructing them to report with their regiments — ■ 
with the least possible delay — at the designated rendezvous. Camp McKinley, 
located on the state fair grounds, near Des Moines, Iowa. The order was 
promptly obeyed, and the work of reorganization and preparation for muster 
into the service of the United States at once began, under the direction of Capt. 
J. A. Olmstead of the Ninth Regiment, United States Cavalry, then on duty 
with the Iowa National Guard, and who had been detailed by the war depart- 
ment as mustering officer for the state of Iowa. In designating the number of 
the four regiments, it was decided by the governor to continue the series as 
shown by the Iowa regiments, which had been engaged in the Civil war. The 
First Regiment of the Iowa National Guard became, therefore, the Forty-ninth 
Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and the Second, Third and Fourth were 
changed respectively to the Fiftieth, Fifty-first and Fifty-second Regiments of 
Iowa \"olunteer Infantry. 

Subsequently, the state was called upon to furnish two batteries of light 
artillery, one company for the United States Signal Corps, and one company of 
Colored Immunes. 

The Fifty-second Regiment was organized from the Fourth Regiment Iowa 
National Guard. The twelve companies of which it was composed were ordered 
into quarters by Governor Shaw on the 25th day of April, 1898. The desig- 
nated rendezvous was Camp McKinley, near Des Moines, Iowa. The prompt- 
ness with which the order was obeyed was evidenced by the fact that at 10 
P. M., April 26th, the last of the twelve companies had reported at the rendez- 
vous. The regiment was engaged in the ordinary • routine camp duty until 

Vol. I-IO 

139 



140 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

the 25th day of May, 1898, on which date it was mustered into service of tlie 
United States by Captain J. A. Olmstead of the regular army. Un May 
28, 1898, Colonel Humphrey received an order, by telegraph, from the war 
department, directing him to proceed with his regiment by rail, to Chickamauga 
Park, Georgia, and report to the general in command of the troops which were 
being concentrated there. The regiment left its rendezvous in Des Moines on 
the afternoon of the same day the order was received, and was conveyed 
by rail — in three sections- — to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it arrived on the 
evening of May 30th, and moved thence on the next day to Camp Thomas, 
Chickamauga Park, where it was assigned to the Third Brigade, Second Divi- 
sion, Third Army Corps, Major General James F. Wade commanding. In 
this camp the patriotic young men of the North and South were commingled, 
all imbued with the one thought and desire^ — to serve their reunited country 
in active warfare against the Spanish monarchy. It was a war of humanity, 
entered into on the part of the United States for the purpose of securing jus- 
tice to an oppressed race, and not for the purpose of conquest. 

It was the earnest desire of all the troops in camp at Chickamauga, that their 
stay there should be brief, and that they would soon be called upon to embark 
and proceed to the island of Cuba; but, in this, they were doomed to disappoint- 
ment. The resources of Spain were so entirely inadequate that active hostilities 
soon came to an end, and the war was of short duration. But two of the splen- 
didly equipped regiments from Iowa were given an opportunity for foreign 
service — the fortune of war having denied to the others the opportunity which 
they so much craved. 

During the month of June, 1898, the Fifty-second Iowa was recruited to the 
maximum strength of a regiment of infantry, fifty officers and twelve hundred 
and seventy-six enlisted men — an aggregate of thirteen hundred and twenty- 
six, rank and file. On August 8, 1898, the regiment was selected as part of a 
provisional division, under the command of Major General James F. W^ade, 
with orders to proceed to the island of Porto Rico; but, just as the troops were 
.about to move, the order was revoked, and the regiment w^as obliged to settle 
back into the dull monotony of camp life. Up to this time the regiment had 
been in fairly healthy condition, but in less than two weeks after the order to 
proceed to Porto Rico had been countermanded, it had as many men unfitted 
for duty as any regiment in its brigade or division. This decline in the health 
of the men was largely attributed to their disappointment in not having been 
given the opportunity for active service, even had that service only allowed 
them a change in enviromnent. These high-spirited young men, many of them 
the sons of veterans of the great Civil war, had entered the service with high, 
hopes that they would have the chance to distinguish themselves in battle. 
Instead of realizing that hope they had Ijeen kept in camp in their own country 
during their entire time of service. They had, how&ver, performed their whole 
duty in the limited field to which they were assigned. The official report of 
Colonel Humphrey closed with the following statement : "Had the opportunity 
presented, the regiment would have acquitted itself with honor and credit to the 
state." 

The regiment left Chickamauga, August 29, 1898, under orders to pro- 
ceed to Des Moines, Iowa, by rail, and upon its arrival there to report to the 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 141 

commanding general of the department of the M-issouri, at Omaha, for further 
orders. After reaching Des Moines, the regiment was granted a thirty-day 
furlough, at the expiration of which the officers and men reassembled at Camp 
AIcKinley, and were there mustered out of the service of the United States 
on the 30th day of October, 1898. 

ROSTER 
COMPANY G, FIFTY-SECOND REGIMENT IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

\\'illiam T. Chantland, captain; Ernest P. Gates, first lieutenant; Daniel 
Rhodes, second lieutenant. 

Adams, William H. H., age twenty-one ; residence, Glidden ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, June 23, 1898; mustered, June 23, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des ]\Ioines, Iowa. 

Alger, Gould ]\I., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; discharged for disability, 
September 5, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Alger, Louie H., age nineteen; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 27, 1898; mustered, June 2"], 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Allyn, William F., age thirty-two; residence, Hardy; nativity, Ohio; enlisted, 
June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Arbuckle, ^ Edmund R., age twenty-four ; residence, Lehigh ; nativity, Mis- 
souri; enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Ashley, Edwin R., age thirty ; residence, Rolfe ; nativity, Illinois ; enlisted, 
June 23, 1898; mustered, June 23, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
^Moines, Iowa. 

Ballantyne, James, age twenty-seven; residence, Kalo; nativity, Pennsyl- 
vania; enlisted, June 22, 1898; mustered, June 22, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des jMoines, Iowa. 

Earth, Benjamin F., age twenty-five; residence, Humboldt; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Bartlett, Harry V., age nineteen ; residence, Manson ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
June 24, 1898; mustered, June 24, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Beem, Noble M., age thirty; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 2y, 1898; 
mustered, June 27, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
Company B. 

Betz, Simon P., age twenty-eight; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illinois; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as sixth corporal; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Bird, William H., age twenty-nine; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illinois; 
enlisted, April 27, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, July i, 
1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Boothroyd, \\'illiam \< ., age twenty-two; residence, Dakota City; nativity, 



142 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Iowa; enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Brown, Charles F., age twenty-seven ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as fourth sergeant; mustered, May 25, 1898; died of 
disease, September 8, 1898, Fort Dodge, Iowa; buried in Oakland Cemetery, 
Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

Brown, Harry E., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illinois; 
enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Buck, Seymour W., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Min- 
nesota; enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; died of disease, Aug- 
ust 4, 1898, Chickamauga, Georgia; buried in National Cemetery, Chattanooga, 
Tennessee, grave 13,200. 

Bunger. Bert, age twenty-three ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity. Illinois ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; died of disease, September i, 
1898, Fort Dodge, Iowa; buried in Oakland Cemetery, Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

Burnett. William H., age twenty-six ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as second sergeant; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted 
first sergeant, September 14, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, 
Iowa. 

Campbell, William L., age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Can- 
ada; enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Carter, Harry L., age twenty-six ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Chantland, William T., age twenty-eight; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity. 
Iowa; appointed captain, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, 
October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Colburn, Elliott L., age twenty-one ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa : 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as third corporal; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Cole, Clark S., age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Wiscon- 
sin; enlisted, April 27, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Craiglow, Samuel A., age thirty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Wiscon- 
sin; enlisted, April 27, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, Sep- 
tember 9, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Cregan, John, age twenty-eight ; residence, Barnum ; nativity, Illinois ; enlisted, 
June 25, 1898; mustered, June 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Davis, Ernest ]\I., age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, Octo- 
ber 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Dawson, George F., age twenty-four; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, x'Vpril 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Dean, Silas M., age twenty-three; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 143 

enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Deering, Bert A., age seventeen; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as musician; mustered, ]May 25, 1898; mustered out, 
October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Delamore, Francis E., age twenty-three; residence, Clare; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 27, 1898; mustered, June 27, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Denend, Andrew J., age twenty-one; residence, Rolfe; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 25. 1898; mustered, June 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Durrell, William B., age twenty-three ; residence, Dayton ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, May 2, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Moines, Iowa. 

Dwyer, Thomas P., age twenty-two; residence, Tara; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 27, 1898; mustered, June 27-, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Eaton, Horace G., age twenty-five; residence, Glidden; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 28, 1898; mustered, ^lay 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Edwards, Newton O., age thirty-two; residence, Des Moines; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, May 24, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Emmons, Amasa, age twenty-two; residence, Barnum; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 25, 1898; mustered, June 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Eves, Samuel W., age twenty-four; residence, Des IMoines; nativity, Penn- 
sylvania; enlisted. May 24, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, Octo- 
ber 30, 1898, Des ]\Ioines, Iowa. 

Fessel, Frank C, age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as fourth corporal; mustered, i\Iay 25, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des ^loines, Iowa. 

Flaherty, John F., age twenty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as second corporal; mustered, May 25, 1898; reduced 
to ranks at his own request, June 6, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
]\Ioines, Iowa. 

Frederickson. Louis, age twenty-three; residence, Lehigh; nativity, Den- 
mark; enlisted, June 24, 1898; mustered, June 24, 1898; mustered out, Octo- 
ber 30, 1898, Des ^Moines, Iowa. 

Frederickson, Thorwald, age twenty-three; residence, Humboldt; nativity, 
Denmark; enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, 
October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Gates, Ernest P., age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illinois; 
appointed first lieutenant, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Gates, Irving W., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illinois; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as fifth sergeant; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 



144 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Glassburn, Asa C, age twenty-one ; residence, Tampico, Illinois ; nativity, 
Illinois; enlisted, May 3, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Gram, James, age twenty-one ; residence, Humboldt ; nativity, Denmark ; 
enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Moines, Iowa. 

Greene, Rensselaer H., age twenty-three; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, 
New York; enlisted, April 26, 1898, as fifth corporal; mustered. May 25, 1898; 
mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Grosklaus, Charles F., age eighteen ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Ger- 
many; enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Hadley, Herbert E.. age twenty-two; residence, Badger; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Hall, Otis A. J., age twenty-three ; residence, Glidden ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
April 28, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Hartwell, Floyd S., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
eslisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, Septem- 
ber 14, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Hawkins, Archie G., twenty-two; residence, Dakota City; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Hedlund, Charles H., age twenty-one; residence, Dayton; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 29, 1898; mustered, June 29, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Hill, Edward J., age twenty-six ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, June 6, 
1898; first sergeant, July 19, 1898; second lieutenant of Company K, September 

14, 1898. 

Hill, Roy v., age. twenty; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; enlistea*^ 
April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Jackman, Charles M., age thirty-one; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as wagoner; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, 
October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Johnson, Charles G., age twenty-five; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, 
Sweden; enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, Octo- 
ber 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Johnson, John E. E., age twenty-one ; residence, Dayton ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Jones, Raymond A., age twenty-three; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des IVIoines, Iowa. 

Jones, William E., age twenty-eight ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Eng- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 145 

land; enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des JMoines, Iowa. 

Keltz, Henry E., age twenty-four; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des ^Moines, Iowa. 

King, Roscoe C, age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ohio; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as artificer; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, 
October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Kirchner, Clyde, age twenty-two; residence, Peterson; nativity, Iowa; en- 
listed, June 23, 1898; mustered, June 2^, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Moines, Iowa. 

Kruml, Joseph, age twenty-one; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Bohemia; 
enlisted, June 22, 1898; mustered, June 22, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Kudena, John, age twenty-eight ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Bohemia ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25,- 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des ]\Ioines. Iowa. 

Larrabee, William, Jr., age twenty-six ; residence, Clermont ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, ^lay 14, 1898; mustered," j\Iay 25, 1898; discharged for promotion as 
captain and commissary in United States Volunteers, June 17, 1898, Chicka- 
mauga, Georgia. 

Lundquist, Bernhard, age twenty-five ; residence, Stratford ; nativity, Sweden ; 
enlisted. June 29, 1898; mustered, June 29, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Maage, John T., age twenty-three; residence, Thor; nativity, Norway; en- 
listed, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Moines, Iowa. 

Magowan, Samuel N., age twenty-three; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, 
Iowa; enlisted. April 26, 1898, as first corporal; mustered. May 25, 1898; pro- 
moted sergeant, September 14, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Maguire, Francis C. C, age twenty-seven; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 
27, 1898; mustered, June 27, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, 
Iowa. (Company B.) 

Mahart, John C, age nineteen; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Mavity, James A., age twenty-five; residence, Glidden; nativity, Iowa; en- 
listed, April 28, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Moines, Iowa. 

Messerly, Louie H., age twenty-nine; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Mis- 
souri; enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des ]\Ioines, Iowa. 

iVIetzner, Julius F., age twenty-five; residence, Humboldt; nativity, Illinois; 
enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, July i, 
1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

MuUer, Max, age twenty-eight; residence, Pomeroy; nativity, Germany; 



146 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

enlisted, June 22, 1898; mustered, June 22, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Mulroney, Edward C, age twenty-one; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, July i, 
1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Xelson, George, age twenty-three ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, ]\Iin- 
nesota; enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des IMoines, Iowa. 

Nelson, Severt A., age nineteen ; residence, Hardy ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Nelson, Thomas A., age tewnty-one; residence, Humboldt; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Moines, Iowa. 

NichoUs, Albert D., age twenty-eight ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Aloines, Iowa. 

Norton, William M., age twenty-one; residence, Livermore; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 22, 1898; mustered, June 22, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Ort, Anton, age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Bohemia; 
enlisted, June 22, 1898; mustered, June 22, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Parker, Niles W., age nineteen ; residence, Pomeroy ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
June 22, 1898; mustered, June 22, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Peterson, George F., age twenty-two; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, July i, 
1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Peterson, Harry E., age eighteen; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Portz, Samuel H., age twenty-six; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 30, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Poyer, Claude B., age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Ohio; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as company quartermaster sergeant; mustered. May 
25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Pray, Louie C, age eighteen ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
April 26, 1898, as musician; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Aloines, Iowa. 

Prime, Arthur C, age thirty-five; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
eilisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, July 19, 
1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Pruess, John F., age twenty-four ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as third sergeant; mustered, ]\Iay 25, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Rasmussen, Soren, age twenty-four ; residence, Humboldt ; nativity, Den- 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 147 

mark; enlisted, May 24, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des 'Moines, Iowa. 

Reid, John, Jr., age twenty-three; residence, Kalo; nativity, Pennsylvania; 
enlisted, June 22, 1898: mustered, June 22, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Rhodes, Daniel, age twenty-seven ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
appointed second lieutenant, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted 
first lieutenant of Company D, September i, 1898. 

Richards, Sterling J., age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, Septem- 
ber I, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Rifenbary, John W., age twenty-three; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, 
Iowa; enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, 
July I, 1898; died of disease, August 26, 1898, Fort Dodge, Iowa; buried in Oak- 
land Cemetery, Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

Roberts, Middleton H., age twenty-three; residence, Rolfe; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 25, 1898; mustered, June 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Saul, Richard H., age twenty-one; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; died of disease, September 
8, 1898, Fort Dodge, Iowa; buried at Mitchell, South Dakota. 

Schleichhardt, Carl F., age twenty-one; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Senner, George F., age twenty-two; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Aloines, Iowa. 

Shaw, William E., age twenty-seven ; residence, Dakota City ; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Sherman, Edward A., age twenty-six ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, IMay 25, 1898; transferred to Division Hos- 
pital Corps, June 17, 1898; mustered out, November 15, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Snook, Cassius A., age twenty-eight ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as first sergeant; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted 
sergeant major, July 19. 1898; second lieutenant, September i, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des ]\Ioines, Iowa. 

Stephens, George J., age twenty-three; residence, Lehigh; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 27, 1898; mustered, June 27, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Storhew, Oliver, age twenty-six ; residence, Hardy ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 

Strachan, Charley R., age twenty-one; residence, Humboldt; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 21, 1898; mustered, June 21, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 

Thomas, William H., age twenty-four; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illi- 
nois; enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; transferred to Division 



148 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Hospital Corps, June 17, 1898; mustered out, November 15, 1898, Des Moines, 
Iowa. 

Toppings, Harry P., age thirty-one; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; promoted corporal, July i, 
1898 ; sergeant, September 9, 1898 ; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des INIoines, 
Iowa. 

Townsend, Ernest B., age twenty-one ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des ]\roines, Iowa. 

Townsend, LeRoy J., age twenty-three ; residence, Lehigh ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, June 24, 1898; mustered, June 24, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Aloines, Iowa. 

Townsend, William H., age twenty-eight; residence, Lehigh; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, June 27, 1898; mustered, June 27, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des ]\Ioines, Iowa. 

Waldron, James F., age eighteen; residence, Glidden; nativity, Iowa; enlisted, 
June 25, 1898; mustered, June 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. 



WEBSTER COUNTY SOLDIERS IN OTHER ORGANIZATIONS 

FORTY-NINTH REGIMENT, IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Fredickson, Severene, age twenty ; residence, Lehigh ; nativity, Denmark ; 
enlisted, ]\Iay 4, 1898; mustered, June 2, 1898; mustered out, May 13, 1899, 
Savannah, Georgia. (Company B.) 

Moore, Dwight j\L, age twenty-one; residence, Kalo; nativity, Nebraska; 
enlisted. May 4, .1898; mustered, June 2, 1898; mustered out, May 13, 1899, 
Savannah, Georgia. (Company B.) ■•* 

Smith, ]\Iarion L., age twenty ; residence, Lehigh ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted. 
May 4, 1898; mustered, June 2, 1898; discharged, March 20, 1899, Lehigh, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

FIFTY-FIRST REGIMENT, IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Crough, John W., age nineteen ; residence, Gowrie ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
June 15, 1898; mustered, June 15, 1898; discharged, January 30, 1899, Gowrie, 
Iowa. (Company F.) 

FIFTY-SECOND REGIMENT, IOWA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY 

Non-commissioned Officers 

Whittlesey, H. Clark, age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
appointed sergeant major, April 26, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; promoted 
second lieutenant of Company E, July 7, 1898. 

Victor A. Blomgren, age thirty-two; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Illinois; 
appointed regimental quartermaster sergeant, May 4, 1898; mustered. May 
25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 149 

• Regimental Band 

Tremain, George W., age nineteen ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, April 26, 1898, as musician; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, 
October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 



Baldwin, James P., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; enlisted, July 5, 1898; 
mustered, July 5, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Barrowman, Charles, age nineteen; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 2^, 
1898; mustered, June 27, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, 
Iowa. (Company B.) 

Beem, Noble M., age thirty; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 27, 1898; mus- 
tered, June 27, 1898; transferred to Company G, July 11, 1898. 

Bender. George, age twenty-three; residence, Duncombe; enlisted, July 5, 
1898; mustered, July 5, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Bricker, Ollie, age twenty-one; residence, Dayton; enlisted, June 29, 1898; 
mustered, June 29, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Curry, Roy J., age eighteen; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 29, 1898; mus- 
tered, June 29, 1898; mustered 6ut, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Com- 
pany B.) 

Chase, Arthur C, age twenty-two ; residence, Lehigh ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted. 
May 20, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. (Company C.) 

Clark, Whittlesey H., age twenty-six; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
promoted second lieutenant, from sergeant major, July 7, 1898; mustered out, 
October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. Field and Staff. (Company E.) 

Corey, Ernest L., age twenty-two ; residence, Lehigh ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted. 
May 14, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
]\Ioines, Iowa. (Company F.) 

Cuppitt, Clarence, age eighteen ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity. West Vir- 
ginia ; enlisted, May 23, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 
30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Company F.) 

Eksell, Charles, age twenty-four ; residence, Lehigh ; enlisted, July 5, 1898 ; 
mustered, July 5, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Fairgrave, Andrew E., age twenty-three; residence, Lehigh: enlisted, July 
I, 1898; mustered, July i, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, 
Iowa. (Company B.) 

Galer, Clarence W., age twenty-one; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, July 5, 1898; 
mustered, July 5, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Gardner, Ross, age nineteen ; residence, Gowrie ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
May 21. 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. (Company E.) 



150 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Gosnell, Harry, age twenty-two; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Ohio; 
enlisted. May 14, 1898; mustered, ]\Iay 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Company F.) 

Hill, Edward ]., age twenty-six; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
promoted second lieutenant from first sergeant of Company G, September 14, 
1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Company K.) 

Johnson, John M., age twenty-seven; residence, Dayton; nativity, Kansas; 
enlisted, April 29, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Company K.) 

Landreth, Clarence A., age twenty-two; residence, Fort Dodge; nativity, 
Iowa; enlisted. May 24, 1898, as musician; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered 
out, October 30, 1898, Des ]\Ioines, Iowa. (Company H.) 

McClosky, Benjamin, age nineteen; residence, Kalo; enlisted, June 25, 1898; 
mustered, June 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Maguire, Francis C. C, age twenty-seven; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 
27, 1898; mustered, June 27, 1898; transferred to Company G, July 11, 1898. 
(Company B.) 

Murphy, John H., age thirty-four; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, July 2, 1898; 
mustered, July 2, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Morphew, Eden L., age twenty-one ; residence, Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; 
enlisted, May 23, 1898; mustered, i\Iay 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, 
Des Moines, Iowa. (Company F.) 

Reed, George E., age twenty-one; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 2y, 1898; 
mustered, June 27, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des JNIoines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Rhodes, Daniel, age twenty-seven; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
promoted first lieutenant from second lieutenant of Company G, September i, 
1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Company D.) 

Roscoe, Chester A., age twenty; residence. Fort Dodge; nativity, Iowa; 
enlisted, May 25, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Company K.) 

Smith, Ira L., age twenty-one; residence, Lehigh; enlisted, June 29, 1898; 
mustered, June 29, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des Moines, Iowa. 
(Company B.) 

Tour, Frank E., age twenty ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Iowa ; enlisted, 
]May 14, 1898; mustered. May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 1898, Des 
Moines, Iowa. (Company F.) 

Woolsey, William C, age nineteen ; residence. Fort Dodge ; nativity, Eng- 
land; enlisted. May 14, 1898; mustered, May 25, 1898; mustered out, October 30, 
1898, Des Moines, Iowa. (Company F.) 



CHAPTER XI 
REGULARS AND MILITIA 

FORT CLARKE ESTABLISHED COMING OF THE SOLDIERS THE FIRST ENCAMPMENT — 

WILLIAM WILLIAMS APPOINTED POSTMASTER "GOOD ROADS" IN THE EARLY 

FIFTIES — NAME FORT CLARKE CHANGED TO FORT DODGE — THE MILITARY POST IS 
ABANDONED — MAJOR WILLIAMS BUYS THE TOWN SITE — MILITIA COMPANIES. 

The establishment of a military post at this point was the result of a petition 
of the citizens of Boone county, Iowa, to the Unite'd States senate and house of 
representatives, praying that a post be established somewhere on the Des Moines 
river at or about the Lizard Forks, for their better security against the Indians, 
and for the encouragement of settlers. By general orders No. 19, war depart- 
ment adjutant general's office, May 31, 1850, it was ordered: 

"For the protection of the frontier settlements of Iowa, a new post will be 
established under the direction of the commander of the Sixth department, on 
the east bank of the Des Moines, opposite the mouth of Lizard Fork; or pre- 
ferably, if an equally eligible site can be found, at some point twenty-five or 
thirty miles higher up the Des Moines. The post will be established by a company 
of the Sixth Infantry, to be drawn from Fort Snelling, which will for the present 
constitute its garrison." This order was supplemented by Orders No. 22, head- 
quarters Sixth military department, St. Louis, AIo., July 14, 1850, which directed 
that, 

'Tn pursuance of General Orders No. 19, current series, from the war 
department. Brevet Major Woods, Sixth Infantry, will select a suitable site in 
the state of Iowa, near the mouth of the Lizard Fork of the Des Moines river, 
for the establishment of a military post; which with his Company E, Sixth 
Infantry, he will proceed to construct and garrison, without, however, with- 
drawing his personal attention from the duty of removing Indians, on which he is 
now specially engaged. A military reserve eight miles in length (four miles 
above the post, and four miles below), along the river, and two miles in depth on 
either side, will be marked off and appropriated exclusively to the present use 
of the government. The proper staff departments will forthwith provide the 
stores and the supplies necessary in the construction of the post on the Des 
Moines, and for the subsistence and temporary shelter of the garrison." 

Immediately on receipt of this order at Fort Snelling, Capt. Samuel Woods, 
with his Company E, of the Sixth Infantry, two officers and sixty-six men who 
were then in the field, broke camp and proceeded to the point designated, where 
they arrived August 2, 1850, and established a post, which they named Fort 
Clarke, in honor of Brev. Brig. Gen. Newman S. Clarke, colonel of the Sixth 

151 



152 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Infantry, then commanding the Sixth military department. According to Pro- 
fessor Tuttle (History Iowa, 1876), the first encampment was on the ground now 
lying between the Public Square and Walnut street, between Fourth and Fifth 
streets in the present town of Fort Dodge. Materials for building the necessary 
quarters for the troops were at once prepared, and their construction so rapidly 
pushed that by the first of December they were in condition for occupancy. Early 
in the spring of 185 1, we find Major Woods urging upon the war department the 
necessity of establishing a postoffice at the fort, around which settlers were 
commencing to congregate, and recommending Mr. William Williams, the post- 
trader, as a suitable person to assume its charge. During the session of congress 
of 1850-51 we find the merchants of Dubuque petitioning for the building of a 
road from their town to Fort Clarke, but beyond an estimate of the topographical 
engineers of the approximate cost of such a road, no action seems to have been 
had in the matter during the lifetime of the post. 

Correspondence between the fort and the authorities at St. Louis and Wash- 
ington appears to have been limited to mere requisitions for supplies, the rendition 
of statistical returns, and such formal reports as afiford little information regard- 
ing the events of the occupation, none of which seem to have been at all removed 
from the ordinary events of an extreme frontier post. It was regarded at no 
time at more than a temporary post, although as was customary in all such estab- 
lishments, as set forth in the order already cited, a reservation was laid off with 
the flag staff of the fort as an initial point, with lines runnmg four miles to the 
north and south, along the Des Moines river, and two miles to the east and 
west on either bank; but before this could be surveyed and properly laid 
out and declared, the courts had decided that the so-called "Des Moines grant" 
extended above Raccoon fork to the source of the Des Moines ; which decision 
gave every alternate section to the state of Iowa for internal improvements ; thus 
throwing the post and its buildings beyond the limits of the public domain. There 
is evidence, however, that Major -^Woods and his command, found few idle 
moments, in the routine of camp duty; in restraining the Indians from their 
inclination to commit depredations on the settlements, and in controlling their 
district, which embraced all the frontier of Iowa from the Des Moines to the 
Missouri. 

June 25, 1 85 1, by General Orders No. 34, from the headquarters of the army, 
the name of the post was changed to Fort Dodge, in compliment of the Dodges, 
father and son, who at that time were United States senators from the states of 
Wisconsin and Iowa, and who were among the pioneers of the northwest. At 
the same time there were several other forts, occupied by troops, named Clark 
or Clarke, the effect of which was to cause no little confusion in the forwarding 
of mail and supplies. 

Several causes operated toward the breaking up of the post, which was con- 
templated at intervals during the whole period of its existence. It was urged 
that the necessity for the presence of troops in that vicinity was of less impor- 
tance than at a point further north, and that for all practical purposes the troops 
at Crawford (Prairie du Chien), were amply sufficient to protect that vicinity. 
The country was being rapidly settled up, and Indian incursions were becom- 
ing less frequent in this section, and more troublesome on the north line of the 
new purchase from the Sioux in the Minnesota country, where it had been 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY ■ 15a 

determined to locate one or more strong posts. It was not, however, until the 
spring of 1853 that plans were finally adopted by the war department for the 
building of the fort, — which was afterwards known as Fort Ridgeley, — on the 
Minnesota. Under date of -March 16, 1853, General Clarke was charged with the 
construction of the new fort, which was directed to be simultaneous with the 
breaking up of Forts Scott and Dodge. General Clarke's Order (No. 9), is dated 
Headquarters Sixth Military Department, Jefferson Barracks, Mo., March 30, 
1863, and directs that : 

"In pursuance of instructions from general headquarters. Forts Scott and 
Dodge will be broken up ; the garrison of the former will be marched to Fort 
Leavenworth, and that of the latter by the most practicable route at the earliest 
moment the season will permit, to the new post on the Minnesota. The com- 
manding officer \\ill take immediate measures for carrying this into effect, and 
for sending to the neighboring posts such of the public property as may be needed 
at them, and for selling the remainder." 

Accordingly on April 18, 1853, Major Woods left the post with the larger part 
of the command for the new site on the Minnesota, leaving Second Lieutenant 
Corley with twenty men to dispose of the property. On June 2, 1853, Lietttenant 
Corley with the remainder of the troops, marched out of the camp, pulling down 
the flag from its staff, and before noon that day Fort Dodge as a military post, 
had been wholly abandoned. Such of the buildings as remained, including a 
steam sawmill, were disposed of at public sale, the principal purchaser being 
Mr. Wjn. Williams, the late post trader and postmaster, who remained at the 
site with a view of becoming its owner as soon as the lands could be surveyed and 
placed on sale. "On the 27th of March, 1854," says Prof. Tuttle "the first town 
plat was surveyed on the premises known as the fort site, the land having become 
the property of Major Williams, who had made the purchase in January, 1.854." 
■ There had been no change in the garrison of the post, from its first occupa- 
tion until its final abandonment, Company E of the Sixth Infantry performing 
that duty during the whole period. Of the officers Brev. Maj. Samuel Woods, its 
first commandant, was also its last. A few years later that officer was transferred 
to the pay department, in which he subsequently reached the rank of colonel and 
assistant paymaster general, and was retired from active service January 24, 1881,. 
at his own request, having been over forty years in active service. Colonel 
Woods died September 22, 1887, at Oakland, California. 

First Lieut, and Brev. Maj. Lewis A. Armistead, second in command, and 
acting assistant quartermaster and commissary of subsistence during the whole 
period of occupation, reached his captaincy March 3, 1855, but, together with 
Second Lieut. James L. Corley, who joined the command upon the resignation 
of Second Lieutenant Tubbs, resigned the service in May, 1861, to cast his lot 
with the south. 

Alajor Armistead became a brigadier general in the Confederate army and 
was killed at the battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

Lieutenant Corley became a colonel and quartermaster in the Confederate 
service and died March 28, 1883. 

Lieutenant Tubbs was captain of Griffin's battalion, Texas \^olimteers in the 
Confederate army. 



154 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

MILITIA ORGANIZATIONS 

The first militia company organized in Fort Dodge was Company "G," Fourth 
regiment, Iowa National Guard. Its organization was largely due to the efforts 
of Cyril Wade King, who became the first captain. At that time the armory was 
on the second floor of the Parsons building, at the corner of Central avenue and 
Fourth street. 

At the breaking out of the Spanish war the company was mustered into the 
volunteer service, as Company "G," Fifty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry, thus 
continuing the enumeration of Iowa regiments from those serving in the Civil 
war. 

For a short time after the Spanish-American war, Fort Dodge was without a 
militia company. Interest, however, was soon aroused and the company was 
reorganized and mustered in April 4, 1899. The company still retained the same 
company and regimental designation which it had during the war. In order to 
avoid conflict because of this use of the same company letter and regimental 
number, it was thought best to keep the militia regiments separate from the war 
regiments. Accordingly, the local company became Company "G," Fifty-sixth 
regiment, I. N. G. Besides their war service, Company "G "was twice called upon 
to perform guard duty, on the occasion of the Pomeroy cyclone, and during the 
railroad strike at Sioux City. The present officers of the company are: Captain, 
Fred R. Frost; first lieutenant, Hans Frederickson ; second lieutenant, James 
Barton. The enlisted men number fifty-nine. 

Company "F" was organized in Fort Dodge, when the company of the same 
letter was mustered out at Algona. It was mustered in January 20, 1910. At 
the present time it has fifty-eight enlisted men ; and its officers are : Captain, 
H. R. Heath; first lieutenant, R. P. Wakeman; second lieutenant, T. A. Strand. 

The armory in Fort Dodge was built in 1904, and is equipped with a g>'m- 
nasium, swimming pool and bowling alley. 

In 1903, Fort Dodge secured the regimental band of the Fifty-sixth Regiment, 
Iowa National Guards. This organization was composed of members from a 
number of local musical organizations. Under the leadership of Carl Quist, the 
band reached a high stage of efficiency, and soon became known among the 
musical organizations of the state. For five years they played at the Iowa State 
Fair. Three times they were the official band at the head camp of the Modern 
Woodmen of America, attending the encampments at Indianapolis, St. Louis and 
Milwaukee. They were the official band of the Iowa delegation to the national 
convention of the B. P. O. E. held at Detroit in 19 10. They were also the official 
band for American Day at the Dominion Fair in Calgary, Alberta, during 1908; 
and were also the official band for Iowa Day at the World's Fair at St. Louis. 
During the year 1910 the band was mustered out of the service of the militia, 
and since that time has maintained its organization under the name of the Iowa 
Military Band. 



CHAPTER XII 
THE MAYORS OR FORT DODGE 

WILLIAM WILLIAMS, 1869-7O GEORGE I). SHERMAN, iS/I— HEZEKIAII ISEECHER, 

1872 GEORGE R. PEARSONS, 1873, 1889-189O J. O. SLAUSON, 1874-5-6 

SAMUEL REES, 1877— HENRY A. PLATT, 1878-9 THOMAS SARGENT, 1880 S. T. 

MESERVEY, l88l-2, 1884 RICHARD P. FURLONG, 1S83 C. L. GRANGER, 1885-6, 

1893-4-5-6 — -CHARLES G. BLANDEN, 1887-S GEORGE \V. HYATT, 189I-2 E. D. 

CLAGG, 1897-8 S. J. BENNETT, 1899-I9OO-OI -02, I9O5-06, I9O9-IO A. H. 

NORTHRUP, 1903-04 — -CHARLES F. DUNCOMHE, I907-08 JOHN F. FORD, 191I-I2. 

In the forty-three years since Fort Dodge has been incorporated, eighteen of 
her citizens have held the office of mayor. I'ohtically the democrats have had 
the advantage in the numerous mayoralty contests. While these contests have 
often been spirited ones, yet the results have invariably brought honor to the 
town. From the first the office has been filled by men of marked business ability, 
and the roll of names shows those of our most prominent citizens. 

WILLIAM WILLIAIMS 1869-7O 

Major William Williams, the first mayor of Fort Dodge, was a native of 
Pennsylvania, being born in Westmoreland county, December 6, 1796. He came 
to this city in 1850, taking the place of sutler for the United States troops sta- 
tioned here. On the removal of the troops in 1854. Major Williams bought the 
government buildings and platted the town. When in 1857 news came of the 
Indian depredations at Spirit Lake, he organized and commanded the expedition 
which went to the relief of the settlers. On August 22, 1869, by order of the 
circuit court of \\'ebster county, Major Williams and four others were appointed 
commissioners to call an election and to do all things necessary for the incor- 
poration of the city of Fort Dodge. The result of this first city election, held 
October i, 1869, was to give the mayoralty honors to iNIajor Williams and this 
office he held until 1871. His age and feeble health compelled Ala j or Williams 
to refuse to continue in the office, which the people would gladly have given 
him. Full of years and honors, this pioneer tradesman and founder of the city 
died at his home in Fort Dodge, February 26, 1874. 

GEORGE B. SHERMAN 187I 

The second mayor of Fort Dodge, George B. Sherman, who served during 

the year 1871. was born in P)ennington county, \^ermont, June 7. 1833. In 1855 
Td. I— 1 ^ 

155 



156 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

he came to Iowa and settled in this city during April of that year. To him is 
given credit for building the first store building in the city. The hard times of 
1857, however, caused a temporary suspension of the business until i860, when 
he again entered the business. Three years later, in 1863, he went to Washing- 
ton, District of Columbia, to occupy a position in the office of the first comptroller 
of the currency. While in Washington he attended Columbia Law College, 
graduating from that school in 1866. Returning to Fort Dodge he opened a law: 
office, and for a number of years practiced his profession. He died December 
I, 1909. 

HEZEKIAH BEECHER — lSj2 

Hezekiah Beecher was mayor of Fort Dodge during the year 1872. He was 
born in New Haven county, Connecticut, in the year 1828. By profession he 
was a lawyer, graduating from the law department of Yale in 1852. After leav- 
ing school he entered the law office of G. H. HoUister, at Litchfield, Connecticut. 
In 1855 '^^ removed to Fort Dodge, where he practiced his profession, being for 
a time associated with Hon. John F. Duncombe. ^Ir. Beecher and his family in 
1866 removed to Redfield, South Dakota, where he died in March of the follow- 
ing year. 

GEORGE R. PEARSONS — 1873, 1889-9O 

George R. Pearsons, the pioneer capitalist and landowner, who was mayor 
of Fort Dodge during the years 1873. 1889 and 1890. was born in Bradford, 
Vermont, August 7, 1830, and died in this city July 14, 1906. On his mother's 
side he was descended from the Putnam family of Revolutionary fame. 

The early life of Mr. Pearsons can be no better told than in his own words, 
spoken at an "old home week" celebration at Bradford, August 15, 1901. 
"Forty-nine years ago ]\Iarch 20, next," he said, 'T left Bradford, a boy of twelve 
years of age. I had up to that time received certain rudiments in school life, and 
various whippings from my teacher, Maria Baker. Afterwards attended school 
until I was seventeen years of age, when my father sent me to an academy, which 
I made use of to the best of my ability. The ninth week the teacher told me I 
must make a speech at the close of the term. I told him that being shot was a 
much easier road for me. I graduated at the close of the eleventh week. As 
the Dutchman says, T runned away.' That closed my school life. Since then I 
have spent half my life on the western frontier, three years of this among the 
Indians. Should you ask me to talk about Indians, my tongue would run like a 
buzz-saw. Were I talking to an audience in the west, words would come to me 
in the western dialect you bet." 

:\t the age of twenty-five, -\Ir. Pearsons was in the employ of the \'ermont 
Central at Chatsworth. Illinois, selling their lands. In 1868 he came to Fort 
Dodge, where he resided until his death. In 1885 ^^^ ^^^^ appointed Indian in- 
spector, serving three years. His work in this department was most efficient, win- 
ning him praise from both the department of the interior and also from the 
Indians. Abuses which had existed for years were reformed, and the system of 
Indian schools was entirely reorganized. Besides his service to Fort Dodge as 
mayor, he was for many years a member of the school board. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 157 

The railroad experience gained in the east proved valuable to Mr. Pearsons 
in the west. He was superintendent and had entire charge of the construction 
work on the Fort Dodge & Fort Ridgley Railroad. Although his unflagging 
energy brought him to a sick-bed, yet laying the last rails on the snow he com- 
pleted the road a few hours ahead of time. Two remarks made in connection 
W'ith the building of this road are characteristic of the man. In referring to Air. 
S. H. Taft, who had opposed the granting of aid by Humboldt county to the road, 
Mr. Pearsons said : "I don't want to go to heaven if Mr. Taft is going to be there, 
for I have fought him all I want to in this world, and I» don't want to carry i^ 
into the next." The fight over, Air. Pearsons then replied to the warm words of 
welcome of Mr. Taft, "I shake hands across the bloody chasm." 

Besides his work on the Fort Ridgley road, he was interested in the work of 
grading the Iowa Pacific, a line to be built from Fort Dodge to Belmond. 

Probably the work which brought Mr. Pearsons the most in the public eye 
was the draining of Owl Lake in Humboldt count/. By this work 2,500 acres 
of swamp land were made valuable farming lands. To do this it was necessary 
to construct a ditch nine miles long, at a cost of $6,000. 

In politics Mr. Pearsons was independent. He was a strong supporter of 
Mr. Cleveland, and an equally strong enthusiast for President AIcKinley. 

No man ever wrote or spoke his autobiography in a more trvithful way than 
did Mr. Pearsons in his everyday speeches. In response to the question whether 
he knew a person, his invariable reply was, "Know him, why yes; I know every- 
body, and everybody knows me." A remark practically true, 

J. o. SLAusoN — -1874-5-6 

James Oscar Slauson was born in Lysander, Onondaga county. New York, 
on July I, 1828. In 1851 he was married to Elvira A. Miner, and in 1854 they 
came to Dubuque county in this state and settled on a farm. From 1861 to 1864 
Mr. Slauson was engaged in the milling business in Dyersville, Iowa. In the 
spring of 1868 he moved to Fort Dodge, purchased a home, and operated one of 
the first lumber yards in this city. In those days, all lumber was hauled on 
wagons either from Iowa Falls or from Boone, the nearest railway points, to 
Fort Dodge. 

His first service as a public official in Fort Dodge was as a member of the 
school board about 1869 or 1870. In 1874 he was elected mayor on the republi- 
can greenback ticket, and served for three years. He also served as city mar- 
shal during the year 1883. 

In the spring of 1877 he went to the Black Hills and engaged in mining. He 
continued this business for four successive years, spending the winters in Fort 
Dodge. In 1881, he engaged in business in partnership with \ndrew Hower, 
and later continued in business alone. In 1889 he was calleu to the old New 
York home to administer the estate of his eldest brother. Before the completion 
of this charge he died very suddenly, on May 22, 1892. of rheumatism of the 
heart. 

He was a man who took pride in the fact that his word was as good as a 
bond. No man ever truthfully said that J. O. Slauson ever failed to fulfill an 
agreement. Tall and perfectly proportioned physically, he was a man of great 



158 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

strength, commanding respect and admiration This with his high character, 
and quiet unassuming ways, won him the love of all who knew him. 

SAMUEL REES iSj/ 

One of the representative business men of Fort Dodge was Samuel Rees, 
who came to this city at the opening of the United States land office, to represent 
the real estate firm of Hoyt, Sherman & Company of Des ]\Ioines. The first 
lot sold in Fort Dodge was lot 3, block 9, the deed being conveyed to Hoyt 
Sherman. Early in 1858, Mr. Rees was doing business under the firm name of 
Samuel Rees & Company. Three years later he engaged in the mercantile busi- 
ness, and then in 1862 formed a partnership with Angus INIcBane and \V. M. 
Marlett, engaging in general merchandise, banking and real estate. After three 
or four years the general merchandise line was dropped, and later IMarlett with- 
drew. About three or four years after the withdrawal of Marlett, a new part- 
ner was taken in, and the firm name then became Rees, jMcBane & Grant. 
After 1870, Mr. Rees was alone in the real estate and insurance business. 

Mr. Rees was born in Hamilton county, Ohio, November 7, 1817. When a 
lad of fourteen he entered the wholesale store of Avery, Sharpless & Company 
in Cincinnati. After several years poor health caused him to start for Cali- 
fornia. But when he reached Des Moines the stories of Indian troubles on the 
plains decided him to locate in Iowa. In politics he was a democrat. During 
the Civil war he was a strong Union supporter. Always identified with the 
politics of the state, he was a zealous worker for his party. In 1857 he was 
elected judge of Webster county, serving with marked ability. For personal 
reasons he refused reelection. He served during the Iowa legislative session of 
i860, the special session of 1861 and in 1867 and 1876. He was elected mayor in 
1877. In 1 891 he removed to Omaha, wdiere he died April 23, 1897. 

HENRY A. PLATT 1 878-9 

Twelve years of city office, ten as councilman and two as mayor, is the record 
of Henry A. Piatt, who was mayor of Fort Dodge during 1878-9. Mr. Piatt was 
born in Albany, ^New York, June 9, 1841, and came to this city in 1858. He was 
one of the pioneer brickmakers of this city, running a kiln in an early day on the 
west side of the Des Moines river, below the old Bradshaw plant. On the break- 
ing out of the Civil war, he with many others from this county enlisted in the 
Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry and served three years. On his return, he was 
for a short time clerk in the postoffice, and then was express messenger on a 
stage running from Fort Dodge to Sioux City. With the coming of Andrew 
Johnson to the presidency, Mr. Piatt was appointed postmaster, receiving his 
commission October i, 1866, the next day after his marriage. After serving his 
term as postmaster, ]\Ir. Piatt engaged in the grocery business. 

THOMAS SARGENT — 1880 

Thomas Sargent, who filled the office of mayor during the year 1880. came 
to hort Dodge in 1855 from Pennsylvania, wiiere he was born July H^. 1819, 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 159 

and took a pre-emption on the South Lizard. This farm he owned until his death, 
which occurred in this city January 9, 1891. 

Mr. Sargent first held the position of receiver of public money in the United 
States land office. At the discontinuance of the otifice he engaged in the real 
estate business. At a time when grafters filled the ofiices, and a steal from the 
government was no crime, Thomas Sargent remained absolutely straight in all 
his transactions. Pie was an intensely democratic partisan, yet his interest in 
politics was always live, sane and modern. He gained the appellation of '"Black 
Tom,"' on account of his swarthy complexion and tall commanding figure, al- 
ways seen in the lead at democratic gatherings. 

Many old settlers well remember the time when A. N. Botsford and Thomas 
Sargent headed the escort that went out one day to meet a democratic delegation 
from the North Eizard country. It was a day long to be remembered in dcmo-- 
cratic annals. The delegation from the "up country'' was led by Isaac Williams, 
who brought the band in his rig. The band wagon itself consisted of an old 
farm wagon, and the team which drew the same was a team of mules, one yellow 
and one white. "The band" consisted of three charming young ladies dressed 
one in red, one in white and the third in blue. To the strains of the "Red, \\'hite 
and Blue,'' sung 1)}- the young ladies, the North Lizard people met their [^\)rt 
Dodge escort. 

S. T. MESERVEY— 1881-2, 18S4 

Stillman T. Meservey, a boy of six years, came with his parents to Wel)ster 
county, from Illinois, where he was born December 17, 1848. Since that time 
practically all his life has been spent here. No man is more familiar with the 
industrial growth of this county than S. T. Meservey. Nor has his entire time 
been devoted to commercial pursuits. An ardent advocate of republican prin- 
ciples, he has served his county in the state legislature in the sessions of 1885 
and 1901, and his city as a member of the coiuicil and as mayor. The latter office 
he held in 1881-2 and again in 1884. His genial ways added to his executive and 
business ability, has given him a wide acquaintance of friends, to all of whom he 
is familiarly known as "Still." The development of the gypsum industry is 
largely due to him, and at the present time he still holds a responsible position 
with the United States Gypsum Company. A builder of gas and electric light 
plants for this cit}', he also promoted street railways, interurbans and steam 
roads. In his promotion of transportation lines his one aim has always l:>ccn to 
center them in Fort Dodee. 



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RICHARD P. FURLOXG ^1883 

Richard Powers Furlong, was born in Jefferson, Lincoln county, Maine. Jan- 
uary 4, 1828, and died in Fort Dodge, December i6, 1891. His youth and early 
manhood were spent in his native state. In 1854 he went to Chicago, and after a 
short stay came to W'ebster county and engaged in the mercantile business in 
which he continued up to the time of his death. His former business is now 
carried on under the firm name of Furlong & Brennan, and known as the "square" 
dealers in general merchandis.e. Fie was mayor of the city during the year 1883. 



160 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

C. L. GRANGER — 1 885-6, 1 893-4-5-6 

For the six years of 1885-6, 1893-4-5-6 the office of mayor was filled by C. 
L. Granger, one of the leading- implement dealers of the city and state. The 
organizer of the Granger Implement Company, he was later one of the partners 
of the firm of Granger & Mitchell, now the Granger Implement Company. He 
was also one of the organizers and stockholders of the Cardifif Gypsum Com- 
pany. Air. Granger was born at Mt. Clemens, Michigan. February 11, 1850. 
While still a young man he became associated with the ]\IcCormick company and 
continued in their employ as general agent in several different states until he 
came to Fort Dodge in December, 1879. He was a typical self-made man, and 
his success was due to energy and ability. Compelled because of ill health to go 
to Chicago for medical treatment, he there underwent an operation, and died at 
Passavant Hospital April 6, 1900. 

CHARLES G. BLANDEX 1887-8 

The "Baby ]\Iayor"' of Fort Dodge was a name given to Charles G. Blanden, 
who held the office during 1887-8. He was born in ]\Iarengo, Illinois, in 1857 
and came to Fort Dodge in 1874. For fifteen years he was connected with the 
First National Bank as teller, assistant cashier and cashier. He left this city in 
1890, going to Chicago, where he has since resided. At present he is secretary 
and manager of the Rialto Company. Politically Mr. Blanden was of the repub- 
lican faith. He acted as chairman of the republican county central committee, 
managing their campaign during the year 1888. 

Since his residence in Chicago he has gained considerable reputation as a 
literary man. Many of his verses and sketches have appeared in Chicago papers 
and magazines, being a regular contributor to the^hicago Post. 

GEORGE W. HYATT 189I-2 

George W. Hyatt was born September 28, 1835, in Muskingum county, Ohio, 
the state of great men. His early life was spent in Ohio and Wisconsin, v/here 
he worked at his trade of stonecutter. He came to Fort Dodge in 1867, and 
worked at his trade for two years, and then engaged in quarrying and con- 
tract work until 1879. Mr. Hyatt was a democrat, and for a number of years 
did loyal work for his party as a member of the state central committee. In 
1879 he was elected sheriff of Webster county by the democrats and greenbacks. 
At the next election he was renominated but failed of election by a small margin, 
although he ran ahead of his ticket. In 1883 he was elected to the office of jus- 
tice of the peace for Wahkonsa township, which office he held for a number of 
years. His election as mayor occurred in 1891, and he filled the office for two 
years. He also held the office of deputy United States marshal, and later that 
of oil inspector. His death occurred at his home in this city October 7, 1906. 

E. D. CLAGG 1897-8 

Earl D. Clagg was mayor of Fort Dodge during the years 1897 and 1898. He 
also served in the council two years prior to assuming the office of mayor. Be- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 161 

sides this he was a member of the school board for one term. In politics he 
has always been of the republican faith. He was born in Tama City, Iowa, 
January 31, 1867, and when two years of age came with his parents to this city. 
In 1882 the Claggs removed to Sioux City, but returned again in the year 1890. 
On their return E. D. and his brother, William, conducted the branch hide house 
of H. j\I. Hosick &,Company, of Chicago, located in this city. Four years later 
E. D. Clagg bought out the local branch, and since that time has built up a splen- 
did business. 

S. J. BENNETT 1899-I9OO-OI-O2, I905-06, I909-IO 

Captain S. J. Bennett came to this city from Boone in January, 1870, and 
ever since his arrival has been closely identified with all the activities of the city. 

Born in Orleans county. New York, he came west when a young man, spend- 
ing some time in Ohio and Illinois, and finally locating in St Louis, where he 
remained until the breaking out of the Civil war. His war service covered a 
period of four years and nine months. He first enlisted in the Twenty-third 
Missouri Infantry, and later in Company A, Twelfth Missouri Cavalry, of which 
he was captain. At the close of the war, the brigades of which Captain Bennett's 
troops formed a part, were sent against the Indians, who were committing dep- 
redations in Wyoming. The winter of 1865-6 was spent at Fort Laramie, and 
in April, 1866, Captain Bennett was mustered out ^t Fort Leavenworth. Soon 
after this the surveyor general of Kansas appointed him to conduct a survey of 
the Solomon river region. This occupied the summer of 1866. Failing by two 
days to secure a contract for the survey of No Man's Land, Captain Bennett 
gave up surveying. Having married at Lawrence, Kansas, he soon went to 
Boone, Iowa, and later removed to this city. 

For a number of years, Captain Bennett engaged in the tobacco business in 
Fort Dodge. Then in 1884, he w^ent west to assist his brother. Nelson Bennett, 
who was doing construction work on the Northern Pacific, then being built 
through the mountains of Montana. No sooner did he arrive on the scene of 
operations, than Nelson Bennett was compelled to leave for New York City, and 
the entire responsibility of the work was thrown upon his brother. Although 
new to the work, yet he completed it satisfactorily and then assumed the super- 
intendency of the construction of the Stampede tunnel through the Cascade 
range, a contract which his brother had secured in the east. The work was 
more difficult, with its approaches, two and one-half miles in length, yet Captain 
Bennett completed it five days ahead of time, thus saving a heavy penalty Lat-'r 
he superintended the construction of still another tunnel west of the Cascades. 

His railway construction work completed, he became interested in real estate 
in Tacoma and Portland, and was for a time first vice-president of the Tacoma 
street railway. 

In politics Air Bennett was a republican. He served four years in the city 
council in 1885-6 and 1895-6, and was four times elected mayor in 1889. 1901, 
1905, 1909. He was a member of the Webster county board of supervisors in 
1878, serving until April, 1884, when he resigned to go west. Again in 1898 he 
was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Mr. Julius and served un- 
til 1901. During this period he was chairman of the board and most instrumental 



1&2 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

in the building of the present court house. The great executive abiUty of the 
ofificer and the geniahty of the man are well marked by two acts closing his term 
as mayor, that of the consummation of the plans for the Farley street viaduct, 
and the passage of the joke marriage ordinance. 

In 1909 Air. Bennett was again elected mayor, serving for a term of tvvO 
years; at the close of the term he was talked of for reelection, but on account 
of ill health it was not deemed advisable for him to again enter the race. iNIr. 
Bennett died at his home in Fort Dodge, Alay 24, 191 1. 

A. H. NORTHRUP 1903-4 

A. H. Xorthrup was born in Ogdensburg, N. Y., January 22, 1857. Follow- 
ing Greeley's advice, he came in 1877 to Alinneapolis, where he worked for the 
M. & St. L Railroad as hreman and engineer. With the building of the road 
into Fort Dodge, he became a resident of this city and has ever since been rec- 
ognized as one of its safe, conservative citizens. He served in the city council 
for eight years, 1888-91 and 1898-1901, being elected twice from the Third ward, 
and twice from the Second ward. While on the coimcil he served on the claims, 
and streets and alleys committees. In politics he has been a democrat. 

CHARLES F. DUXCOMBE 1907-08 

Charles F. Dtmcombe served the city as mayor during the years 1907-08. 
He is the grandson of the first mayor. Like his grandfather, who was the first 
postmaster, he also held the office of postmaster, serving during the years 1894- 
98. Although in politics Air. Duncombe has always been a democrat, yet his 
election as mayor was due to a non-partisan movement. At present he is also 
a member of the school board. 

Charles F. Duncombe was born in Fort Dodge, Febrttary 20, 1864. He 
attended school at Racine College, Racine, Wisconsin, and later at the L'niver- 
sity of Iowa. He intended to become a lawyer, but before he could finish his 
course, he was compelled by ill health to give up his school work He then 
began work as reporter on the Fort Dodge Chronicle, then a weekly. On May 6. 
1884, he changed the paper to a daily. Having acquired the ownership of the 
paper he retained it until 1887, when he sold one-half interest to his brother, 
W. E. Duncombe. He then went to St. Paul, and with two others started the 
St. Paul News. This he sold in 1890 and returned to Fort Dodge to take charge 
of the Duncombe Stucco Company plaster mills. The mills being sold to the 
United States Gypsum Company on February i, 1901, Mr Duncombe became 
district manager for the latter, which position he held until November, 1903. 
In all he was connected with the gypsum l)usiness fourteen years. 

Mr. Duncombe on leaving the gypsum business purchased complete control 
of the Chronicle, and has since devoted his entire time to newspaper work. 
Wliile circumstances compelled him to take up the work against his wish, vet 
it has been the one work which he has liked best. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 163 

JOIiX F. FORD 191 I- 1 2 

John F. Ford Nvas born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, November 25, 1864. When 
six years of age, he with his parents moved onto a farm in Jackson township. 
Part of this farm was in Webster county, and part in Lizard township, Poca- 
hontas county. Here he Hved for twenty-one years, when he returned to Fort 
Dodge, which has been his home ever since. During the time that he lived on 
the farm, ]\Ir. Ford taught district school during the winter monthe for ten 
years. In 1893, he was appointed deputy auditor under T. A. Cunningham, serv- 
ing six years. At the end of that time he was himself elected auditor and served 
■six years. He then became interested in the business of the Berryhill Com- 
panv, books and stationery and news stand. In ]\Iarch, 191 1, when the city 
of Fort Dodge adopted the commission form of government Mr. Ford became 
a candidate for the ofifice of mayor, and at the election received a majority of 
the votes, thus becoming the first mayor under the new form of government. 



CHAPTER XIII 
EARLY TRADES AND TRADERS 

MAJOR WILLIAMS' STORE — FREIGHTING IN AN EARLY DAY — UNITED STATES LAND 

OFFICE OPENED WAR TIMES A SHOEMAKER POET ARNOLD'S MILL THE 

"COLBURN vein" GYPSUM AS A BUILDING STONE "jACK-OF-ALL-TRADES" 

THE PIONEER NURSERYMAN. 

The first store in Fort Dodge was opened in 1855. Since that time the mer- 
cantile Hfe of the city has grown until now there are over one hundred and fifty 
retail stores alone, to say nothing of the wholesale establishments and manu- 
facturing plants. 

In the early spring of 1855, Major William Williams, who was at that time 
sutler to the United States troops stationed at Fort Dodge, came to the fort 
and opened a grocery store in the block just west of where the Wahkonsa school 
now stands. His first clerk was George B. Sherman, who began working for 
him April loth and continued in his employ for three months. Mr. Sherman 
then began to build a store for himself. James B. Williams also helped in his 
father's store, and when his father was appointed postmaster, took entire charge 
of the store. Later he was associated in business with John Lemp. When the 
Civil war broke out, the young storekeeper, James B. Williams, answered the 
call for volunteers, and became first sergeant of Company I of the Thirty- 
second Iowa A'olunteer Infantry. When he returned home after the war, how- 
ever, he did not return to the mercantile business, but opened the first abstract 
office in Fort Dodge and continued in this work until his death. 

The stock of the first store was by no means an exclusive grocery stock, 
but was made up of a general merchandise stock. In addition to the staple 
provisions, there was calico, muslin and denim cloth for clothing, a few tools 
and hardware, some household utensils, and a little patent medicine. There was 
generally, too, something kept for "snake bites.'' There was but little ready- 
made clothing. 

There were no clubs to go to in those days, so the thrifty housewife made 
not only her own clothing, but those of the family. Some even wove their own 
cloth and spun the yarn of making the stockings and mittens. Fur used for 
caps and other articles of apparel was procured by trapping, for the woods 
were full of small fur-bearing animals. Beaver, otter, coon, fox and muskrat 
were found in abundance, while deer, bear and wolf were not uncommon. All 
the merchandise kept in stock was freighted from Keokuk, which was at that 
time the nearest railroad point. The freight was three cents a pound, and there 
was no interstate commerce commission to adjust rates. When to this was 

165 



166 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

added the railroad charges, even the staple articles of iood Iiecame expensive, 
and necessities became luxuries. 

The nearest grist mills where flour and meal could be obtained were Oskaloosa 
and Des Moines. A trip to the mill took two weeks under the most favorable 
circumstances. In bad weather the time was even longer. During the severe 
winters of 1855 and 1856, when going to the mill was well n'igh impossible, and 
the cold piercing v^'inds and drifting snow prevented even the most courageous 
from venturing an}' distance from home, the old coffee mill on the shelf was 
made to do double dut3\ The corn for johnny cake and corn pone was shelled 
and ground in the old mill. Corn was ground not only for meal, but rt)asted 
and then ground, it made a substitute for coffee. This coft'ee substitute was 
used not on account of the deleterious eft'ects of the genuine, but because the 
real article was a luxury, not to be used every day. Thus the old mil! played 
an important part in the pioneer household. 

One of the pioneers in speaking of those early days said, "There wasn't 
much style put on in those days. Comfort took its place. There were no fancy 
fixings like bouillon, salads and ices. A few slices of steak from a saddle of 
vension fried in the fireplace, some hot cornbread, some molasses from the 
jug vmder the kitchen table, some corn coft'ee piping hot, sufficed our needs. 
With such a meal, we soon forgot the fatigue of the day's hard work. It cost 
$9.00 to have a barrel of salt hauled from Keokuk to Fort Dodge. This made 
it necessary to retail it at five cents a pound in order to come out even. Sugar 
sold at eight pounds for the dollar, and there was no shopping around to get 
nine. Even green coft'ee cost thirty cents a pound. This we took home and 
roasted before grinding. There was no 'grind it please' request to the grocer 
in those days. We were glad enough to get it green. .And there was no co- 
operative delivery either. When the molasses jug was empty we took it to the 
store ourselves to get it filled. We usually had a ])iece of stout cord, or rope 
run through the handle of the jug, and thus we carried it suspended from the 
shoulder ; sometimes we poked a stout stick through the handle and carried it 
over our shoulder. Flour cost $10.00 a sack, and not guaranteed at that. Corn 
meal sold at $1.50 a hundred pounds." 

After George B. Sherman left the employ of Major Williams, he and X. B. 
Morrison formed a partnership, and erected a store building ior their use. This 
was the first store building after the town was laid out. It was finished in the 
fall of 1855. 1'he work of getting out the logs and hauling them to the water- 
mill was begun in the month of August. The soldiers at the f«^rt bad ])rought 
with them sufficient machiner}- to ecjuip a small sawmill. With the river to 
supply the power, ([uite a quantity of lumber was sawed for Iniildings. The 
store was completed in November, 1855, and in December of the same year, the 
firm of Sherman & ^Morrison began business. They had a general merchandise 
stock which would j^robably have invoiced at $1,500. 

The next firm to go into business was Dawley & \\'oodbury in 1856. They 
occupied the first brick store ever built in Fort Dodge. This building was built 
by Morgan and Beers and stood on Sixth street back of the present (jarmoe 
block. However, this did not prove a successful venture ; and in the fall of 
1857, Ab Taylor purchased the stock, and continued the business as a general 
merchandise store. 



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While not an early storekeeper, yet in the mercantile life of the city, D. 
\V. Pr indie played an important part. Coming to Fort Dodge in 1854, he helped 
to bnild the first store building. He then engaged in the business of freighting, 
hauling goods from Muscatine and other railroad points until 1857. In that 
year, he married and moved to a farm four miles northwest of town. Often 
the receiver of public money, carrying the money from the government land 
office, rode with Mr. Prindle on his trips. In 1874 Mr. Prindle returned to 
P^ort Dodge, and engaged in the grain business, as the successor to Colonel 
Leander P>landen. .\nother early "freighter" was John J. Burns, Sr., who hauled 
the first load of freight from Iowa City to Fort Dodge. 

The Prusia hardware store was the earliest of its kind. In 1855 E. E. 
r*rusia came to Fort Dodge, and in partnership with his step-father, George 
Klinedob, started a tin shop in a little slab shanty on Williams street. Mr. 
Klinedob died in 1865, and Mr. Prusia continued the business for many years. 
Then he, too, gave up an active control of the business, removing to California, 
where he still lives. The business is today -the oldest and largest wholesale 
and retail hardware business in the city. 

Two new mercantile establishments were added to Fort Dodge in 1856. 
John Haire started a grocery store, which he ran for several years, later going 
into the clothing business. The same year, Charles Rank opened up the first 
bakerv, on the site of what is now the interurban station. This he conducted 
for four years. Later he engaged in the dry goods business, and still later went 
into the shoe business. . Though of later date, Jacob Schmoll may also be. classed 
among the pioneer bakers. Mr. Schmoll started a bakery in the building now 
used by the Conway cigar store. 

The first drtig store was in a building on the site of Frank Gates & Son 
dry goods store and was run by James Swain. Later he moved to a building 
that stood where the Fort Dodge National Bank now stands. Mr. O. M. 
Oleson, when he first came to P"ort Dodge, worked for Mr. Swain. 

The original town as laid out and platted by Major Williams was not finally 
brought into market until 1855. In the meantime a postoffice had been estab- 
lished here, and at the session of congress in 1854-5, the public land depart- 
ment in Iowa had been reorganized and two new land offices, at Fort Dodge 
and Sioux City, had been established. In the summer of 1855 immigration into 
this section of the state was quite active; and during the summer of 1856 was 
still more so. Quite a number of young men seeking a place to establish them- 
selves in business came to Fort Dodge, and several persons wnth families also 
bought lots and commenced building; so that by the fall of 1856, it began to 
take on the appearance of a thriving western village. The fact of the estab- 
lishment of a United States land office at this place, in addition to the man}' 
nattiral resources of the surrounding country, induced quite a number of per- 
sons to settle here with the purpose of going into the real estate business. The 
beauty and fertility of the new country is well told by Major Williams in his 
notes on its early history, which he left at his death. He says : "We arrived at 
the point designated on the 23d of Atigust, 1850. (Referring to the arrival 
of the troops of which he was the post trader.) The officers and men of the 
detachment had served through the Mexican war, and many of them in the 
Seminole and Florida wars, and from what they had heard of the country 



168 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

they were to be stationed in, they expected to find a region similar to Florida ; 
covered with lakes, ponds, swamps and destitute of timber; but they were 
agreeably disappointed. All were highly pleased with the location. The fine 
groves of timber, above and below, the pure springs of water and rippling 
streams, together with the appearance of coal, gypsum and other minerals ; 
the building stone and enchanting scenery, caused all to pronounce it the most 
beautiful part of Iowa they had ever seen. When the plans for building quar- 
ters, and arrangement of the buildings were under consideration, it was deter- 
mined to build convenient as possible to the fine spring of water, and where 
they would be sheltered from the northwest winds by the timber. It was the 
opinion of all the officers at that time, that owing to the beauty of the loca- 
tion, and the resources of the country, at no distant day a town of some import- 
ance would be built on the site." 

In May, 1856, the county seat was moved from Homer to Fort Dodge. 
This removal brought with it several county officers who became permanent 
citizens of the town. Among them was the county judge, Hon. Wni. N. Mer- 
servey, who up to his death, in all the enterprises of the town was an active 
participant. But many things tended, in the early history of Fort Dodge, to 
retard its growth. Soon after the resources of the country began to be under- 
stood abroad the financial crisis of 1857 produced business stagnation through- 
out the entire country. It was especially severe in its effects in a new country 
where there was no accumulated capital and where the people were all poor. 
It had its natural effects on Fort Dodge. The town had scarcely began to 
recover from the effects of the business disaster of 1857, before the Civil war 
was upon the country. This necessarily turned back the dial of material growth 
another four years. Almost every able young man in the town joined the army. 
From the meagre population of Fort Dodge and Webster county, two com- 
panies were recruited. Company "A" of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry; 
and Company "I" of the Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry. 

Besides these two companies, quite a nvunber of young men were enlisted in 
other regiments ; so that the town remained almost stationary in respect to mate- 
rial progress, until the close of the war. Another thing which seriously affected 
the growth of the town for some years were the land grants. Although they 
probably hastened the building of railroads, yet the fact that one-half the land 
was withheld from market discouraged immigration to the country. This was 
especially the effect of the River Land grant ; and when the war was over, and 
things began to put on a hopeful front, the grasshopper invasion came like a 
scourge, and gave the country and every useful enterprise another back-set. But 
by the year 1872 the town and the country began to make a solid and substan- 
tial growth. Fort Dodge has never had anything like a boom, but for the 
last twenty years, progress has been steady and healthy. 

"Honest" John Thissell who first ran a hotel in the old barracks, opened his 
grocery store in 1866 and continued in the same location until 1883, when he 
retired on account of poor health. 

The firm of Furlong & Mulroney began business in 1865 in a wooden build- 
ing on the site of the building now used by IMcIntire and Mallon as a grocery. 
This building was later torn down and the present brick structure erected. In 
1875, Mr. ]\Iulroney purchased his partner's interest. ^Nlr. Furlong later went 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 169 

into business on the east side of the pubHc square, estabHshing the firm of Fur- 
long & Brennan, 

The first harness shop was opened in 1857 by P. R. Baldwin in the old com- 
missary building of the fort. He remained in business until 1861, when he en- 
listed in the army and served through the Civil war. Returning to Fort 
Dodge, in 1870, Air. Baldwin entered the agricultural implement business locat- 
ing on the west side of the public square. He had the first agency in this part 
of Iowa for the sale of the JMcCormick reaper. 

The first lumber yard was that of Keefer, Blanden & Norton, which was 
established in 1858. In those days the most of the lumber was hauled from 
Iowa Falls to Boone. Another pioneer lumber merchant was J. O. Slauson, who 
opened a lumber yard in 1868. 

The earliest real estate men were Ben Grayson, who came to Fort Dodge, 
October 18, 1855, and L. M. Olcott, who came in 1856, Olcott later became 
county judge. 

The first livery was run by a Mr. Halleck. In those days, the top buggy 
with the spring seats was as much a sign of luxury as the six passenger tour- 
ing car of today. 

The first jewelry store was run by a man named Anskins. While perhaps 
not the first, Leisenrings photograph gallery near the public square was one 
of the earliest. 

The first clothing store was opened by David Fessler, in 1858, in the land 
office building, in a room twelve feet wide and fourteen feet long. Mr. Fessler 
stayed here six months, and then moved his clothing stock to a building near 
the courthouse, and owned by Henry Burkholder. In 1872, he built the brick 
block, which was known as the Fessler Opera House block. Here he con- 
tinued in business until his death. 

The Laufersweiler furniture store was the earliest of its kind. Conrad 
Laufersweiler came to Fort Dodge on the "Charlie Rogers,'' in the spring of 
1858. He brought with him a small stock of furniture consisting of a few 
beds, and some chairs and cupboards. This stock was placed in a small room 
which he rented, and which had been built for an office, having been occupied 
by the Strow brothers as a law office. It was eighteen feet wide and thirty 
feet long, and was located where the Messenger building now stands. He 
used the front part for a store room and the rear for his work shop. Mr. 
Laufersweiler made all his furniture himself, out of black walnut lumber, and 
afterwards exchanged the furniture for more lumber. Coffins were also made 
out of the same kind of wood. 

A fashionable milliner of those early days was Mrs. Rose Wilbur. The 
fashionable "modistes" were Mrs. Stephen Bouelle and her two daughters. There 
were no hobble skirts in those days, instead "my lady" wore hoops. The large 
merry widow was unknown, and in its place there was the demure poke bonnet. 

The earliest brick-maker was Henry A. Piatt. Upon coming here in 1858, 
he started a kiln just below the old Bradshaw plant. Later he engaged in the 
grocery business for some twenty-five years at the corner of Fifth street and 
Central avenue, just south of the public square park. 

Jacob Brown, Sr., claims the distinction of being the oldest continuous grocer 
now in business in Fort Dodge. Mr. Brown started in the grocery business 



170 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COLXTV 

on the second day of November, 1877, at his present location, Xo. 15. South 
Sixth street, and has continued in business ever since. Previous to that time, 
he had a blacksmith shop, on the same site, which he started in 1868. 

D. M. Crosby, known as "genial Morg," was the pioneer shoemaker and 
started the first boot and shoe store in Fort Dodge. The first extension sole 
shoe was made in his shop by his brother, C. IT. Crosby and was worn by Governor 
C. C. Carpenter. Governor Carpenter who was a civil engineer, was very much 
annoyed on his trips across the prairies by the sharp edge prairie grass, which 
would cut holes through the toes of his boots. He had tried putting tin tips 
on them, but this was not entirely satisfactory. It occurred to Mr. Crosby one 
day, that if the shoe or boot was made with an extended sole, that it would 
protect the upper. He spoke to his brother about it and he in turn worked out 
the idea. The first pair of boots, proved so satisfactory, that Mr. Crosby had 
more business than he could do. One day a boot and shoe salesman from Chi- 
cago came into the shop and seeing the boots became very much interested in 
the soles. The boots, which Mr. Crosby had, sold for $10.00 a pair. A con- 
tract was made, however, with the salesman to manufacture a cheaper boot, 
which would retail for $6.00 a pair. Mr. Crosby sold a number of cases of 
these boots, and so popular were they with the trade that the factory sold many 
thousand of cases. 

Mr. Crosby also had the gift of writing poetry, which, while perhaps lack- 
ing somewhat in poetical quality, still had so much of good humor and such 
a sunny view of life, that they were always popular. "Jingles," he himself 
called them. On his seventy-seventh birthday he wrote the following : 

// 
According to the good, old book where it is recorded down 

It is seventy-seven years today since I first came to town. 

You must not criticise me, friends, or think I was to blame. 

For I was just a little kid, but got there just the same. 

Now as I look back on the past the world don't seem so bad 
I was never sorry that I came, in fact am rather glad. 

I am glad to live on this green earth, am glad that I am here 
To meet and greet you all, on this, my seventy-seventh year. 

I am proud of this, my native land, the land that gave me birth 
Our president, the most beloved of any man on earth. 

Our ships sail through the open door on nearly every sea, 
Our Flag, the loveliest Flag on earth, floats over you and me. 

Experience has taught me this, I find as I grow old 
A kindly word to a breaking heart is better far than gold. 
But sympathy and kindly words, however kindly said, 
Will never fit a hungry tramp, like solid meat and bread. 

My faithful wife is with me still, together side by side 

We have met the ups and downs in life since she became my bride. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUXTV 171 

If it is God's will, we hope that she may still keep up the pace 
And down the home-stretch, side by side, together end the race. 

Yoti wonder why I lived so long, am hale and hearty still ; 
I may as well just tell you now; with your consent I will, 

]My answer is a simple one, and I hope you'll not forget — 

I never borrow trouble and I never, never fret. 
November 8, 1905. 

Christopher Arnold opened the first barber shop in 1857. He was a native 
of Germany. After graduating from a Latin Gymnasium, he was made chief 
of police in his native town. Later, his views not being in harmony with those 
of king William, he resigned and went to Switzerland. In 1855, he came to 
.A.merica, settling at Erie, Pennsylvania. Two years later he came to Fort Dodge. 
In the meantime his property had been confiscated by the German government ; 
and when he arrived in Fort Dodge, he carried, all his wordly possessions in 
a little satchell. Borrowing a stove, he opened a barber shop in a small room 
on Williams street between Second and Third streets. Trade was good, and 
he soon saved enough money to send for his family. In the fall of 1865, he 
bought Morgan and Richards' mill, north of the Illinois Central railroad bridge. 
Here a few years later he built a dam at a cost of $10,000. Several times the 
floods and ice gorges of the spring time wrought considerable injury to his 
property. But each time Mr. Arnold repaired his mill, and altogether spent 
$35,000.00 His advertisement in 1876 refers to his mill as being the oldest in 
northwestern Iowa. The mill was finally destroyed by fire in 1879, ^^'^^ ^^'^^^ 
never rebuilt. Mr. Arnold then entered politics, filling the oflice of county 
recorder for two years. During the latter years of his life, he spent his time 
in looking after his property. Because of his readiness with a pen, he was 
often called upon to write letters, and to assist the early German settlers in their 
business transactions. 

Merservey and Weston kept the first feed store. 

One of those induced to settle in Fort Dodge by the business prospects, which 
the coming of the Dubuque & Pacific Railroad promised, was Major Elliot E. 
Colburn, who came to Fort Dodge in 1855, in company with Messrs. Booth 
and Kavanagh. Major Colburn preempted a half section of land, on the west 
bank of the Des Moines river, where he lived for four years. Mr. Colburn 
opened the first coal mine in Webster county in 1856. Prior to this the sol- 
diers at the fort had mined a little out-cropping coal, but had not really opened 
a mine. This w^as in 1854, and the coal was taken out about a mile and a half 
above the fort, on the east side of the river. The vein was about three feet 
in thickness* The coal was very soft, light and free burning. \Miile this mine 
was beitjg operated, it caught on fire, and because of the nature of the coal, 
consumed nearly an acre before it could be put out. The coal strata opened by 
Mr. Colburn became known to geologists and miners as the "Colburn vein." 
This coal was very hard and heavy. It sold at retail for ten to twelve cents a 
bushel. The actual work- of operating the mine was performed by Thomas 
Donahue. Thomas Flaherty and Walter Ford. Mr. Donahue remained in the 
employ of Major Colburn for about four years. The much talked of railroad 



Vol I— 1 'J 



172 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

did not materialize as soon as expected. Even the vote, by which Webster 
county had agreed to subscribe $200,000.00 to the capital stock of the road, 
had been rescinded by a later vote. Discouraged by the hardships of frontier 
life, Major Colburn returned to Ohio in 1859. However he did not remain there 
long for he too answered Lincoln's call. After service in the army he agaia 
returned to Fort Dodge in 1866. Then he busied himself with the laying out of 
W^est Fort Dodge which was then a part of his claim. Next he undertook the 
development of the coal mines on the west bank of the Des Moines river. In 
this venture, Major Colburn invested $15,000.00 and lost all. For although the 
coal was of good quality, faulty construction destroyed the shafts and water 
accumulated in the mines. In 1869 he removed to New York and later became 
engaged in the lumber business in Texas, where he died in 1875. The next mine 
was opened by Samuel Rees. 

Another early miner was Silas Corey, Sr., who came to Webster county in 
1862 and located on a farm on Holiday creek in Pleasant Valley township, six 
miles down the river from Fort Dodge. At that time only a small portion of 
his farm was under cultivation, and his nearest neighbor to the north was 
ninety miles away. In addition to his farming, Mr. Corey also operated a coal 
mine on Holiday creek which was the first mine to be worked permanently in 
the county. 

G. V. Patterson was one of the early contractors who came to Fort Dodge 
in 1855. The first brick schoolhouse was built under his direction. He was 
the architect of the old St. Charles hotel which was built in 1857. Later, Mr. 
Patterson kept a restaurant, then served as deputy sheriff, and then was an 
auctioneer. Anson V. Lambert, another pioneer builder who came in 1857, 
drew the designs for the first courthouse. 

Air. F. J. Gunther, a brick mason, a pioneer of 1855, worked on the first 
brick store building in Fort Dodge. 

Mr. John Parsons, who came in the spring of 1856, established the first 
blacksmith shop, excepting the one owned by the government, while the troops 
were stationed here. He also for several years operated one of the first brick 
plants. 

One of the early carpenters was Israel Jenkins, who came to Fort Dodge in 
1857. He took the contract of building the first house on the county poor 
farm, and which was let by the board of supervisors in 1873. 

While not one of the earliest settlers, yet in his business Jacob Kirchner was 
a pioneer. He came to Fort Dodge in 1867, and established the first sash and 
blind factory in the city. He continued in this business until 1875, when he 
started a steam flour mill at the corner of Twelfth street and First avenue, 
south. Later the mill was leased to the "trust," and for years stood idle, with 
machinery ready to operate at any time. With the death of Mr. Kirchner, the 
property was rented for a garage, and was destroyed by fire in 191 1. 

Another pioneer contractor was John O'Loughlin, Sr., who came to the city 
in 1856. Mr. O'Loughlin's home in Fort Dodge is built of the native gypsum 
rock. He not only laid the walls, but also quarried the gypsum and cut the 
stone. It took him five years to complete the task. In the early days of building, 
gypsum rock was considered the ideal building material. Its present use, as 
stucco, was not thought of at that time. It was used quite generally for foun- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 173 

dations, and in the construction of buildings. "Fair Oaks," the home of John 
F. Duncombe, the Illinois Central depot, and Scanlon's blacksmith shop, were 
all built of this material. George W. Roscoe, another carpenter and builder 
came in 1854. 

A quaint character of the early days was Jerry Lenihan, who came to Fort 
Dodge in 1856. He was a man of large stature and great physical strength. 
He never married. At the time the old courthouse was built, Jerry was a lime 
burner, and made as high as $75.00 per day. It is said, that many a time he 
has lit his cigar with a five-dollar bill, much to the wonder of his spectators. 

Samuel Todd came to Fort Dodge in 1856 with a steam engine and sawmill 
machinery, the first engine used in northwestern Iowa, except a small one used 
by the government for sawing lumber for the fort buildings. His mill was 
located on the south side of town, where he operated it until 1864. He then 
moved it to Otho township, and there operated it until 1869, when he returned 
to Fort Dodge to live. 

"Jack of all trades and master of none,"" is an old saying. This was not 
true, in the case of Uncle Walter Goodrich, Sr., who was jack of all trades, and 
master of each. Walter Goodrich came to what is now Lehigh, October 7, 1855. 
He was a man of exceptional ability along mechanical lines, and during his early 
residence here followed various occupations. As a cabinet maker and car- 
penter he manufactured furniture, "looms, spinning wheels and wagons and 
built houses for the early settlers. As a blacksmith he made their tools, sharp- 
ened their plows and shod their horses and oxen ; and as a cooper he made 
tubs and barrels in his shop. He also manufactured coffins and caskets and did 
a general undertaking business. He did some dentistry, and although he did 
not practice medicine he doctored his neighbors with simple remedies when 
they were ill. From the age of twenty-one Air. Goodrich was a preacher and 
untiring worker in the Methodist Episcopal church, and attended to the spiritual 
wants of the people as well as their physical necessities. He christened the 
babies and as they grew up taught them to live; he married them when they 
were grown ; and when death came he preached their funeral sermons and com- 
forted the mourning friends. His life seemed entirely devoted to others. He 
took considerable interest in public aft'airs, and at one time served as a member 
of the county board of supervisors. After a useful and well-spent life he 
passed cjuietly away July 7, 1901, at the advanced age of ninety-two years, eleven 
months and three days. 

This chapter contains the names of but a few of the sturdy pioneers who 
helped to make Webster county what it is today. There are many others, who 
did their part, and did it well, yet about whom the present generation hears 
nothing. The greatest work is often done by the unassuming person and the 
world knows nothing of it, nor does history record its achievements. 

PIONEER NURSERYMAN OF THE NORTHWEST 

Mr. A. J. Haviland was the pioneer nurseryman of not only northwestern 
Iowa, but also of all the country beyond. His nursery was established in 1857, 
and for a long time was the only one in this section of Iowa. Mr. W. H. Plumb 
had a small orchard, and made a business of selling seedling apple trees which he 



174 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

raised himself. Air. Haviland, however, raised and sold grafted stock. He 
continued in the retail business until the time of his death. His son, \V. C. 
Haviland, under the firm name of Bardwell 8: Haviland continued the business. 
Bardvvell & Haviland did an extensive business all over the United States, 
shipping to every state and territory. The firm had two plants, one in Hum- 
boldt county and the one in \\'ebster county. The former contained four 
hundred acres, and was the larger of the two, the one at Fort Dodge containing 
only about one hundred acres. 

In the early days of their business, Bardwell & Haviland had the heaviest 
mail of any firm doing business in Fort Dodge. At the present time Mr. W. 
C. Haviland is the sole owner of the nursery farm, which is known as the 
"Orchard Glen Fruit Farm." The nursery business, however, is carried on under 
the name of "Fort Dodge Nursery." The farm contains about 140 acres of 
orchard and small fruit, and its annual oittput is between ten and twenty-five 
cars of apples besides considerable small fruit. 

At the St. Louis exposition, Mr. Haviland received a silver medal and 
diploma for the best barrel of Wealthy apples, and at the Omaha exposition he 
received the bronze medal and diploma for the best exhibit of twenty-seven 
varieties. 

Both Mr. A. J. Haviland, and his son, ]\Ir. W. C. Haviland have proven that 
Iowa and Webster county may be considered an apple and small fruit coun- 
try, and it is largely due to their efforts that the farmers of Webster county 
have become interested in the raising of fruit. Both these men have been iden- 
tified with the work of the State Horticultural Society, Mr. A. J- Haviland 
having been president of the society and also a member of the board of directors. 



CHAPTER XIV 
FORT DODGE SCHOOLS 

"tPIE old ]!R1CK" school the high school PAROCHIAL SCHOOLS BUSINESS 

COLLEGES TOBIX COLLEGE AND ITS FOUNDER SNITKAV PRIZE DEBATE GOLD 

MEDAL CONTESTS. 

The first school in Fort Dodge was taught by C. C. Carpenter, in the winter 
of 1854-55. It was in an old building just back of the old Wahkonsa hotel. 
The next winter ^fr. D. A. W'eller taught school in one of the government 
buildings. In 1856 the lirst school building was erected on the corner of Sec- 
ond avenue South and Seventh street, on what was then the corner of Locust 
and Sixth streets. In the early days this building was known as "the old brick" 
school. At that early day it was the only public building in town, and was used 
for holding the courts, political meetings, churches, festivals, and other affairs 
considered of a public nature. It was there that the two companies for the 
Spirit Lake expedition were organized. The first school was taught in this build- 
ing by Henry Gunn during the winter of 1856- 1857. When the news of the 
Indian massacre reached Fort Dodge, school was dismissed, and the building 
became a shelter for the early settlers north and west of Fort Dodge, all of 
whom had fled here with their wives and little ones, for protection against 
the cruel savages, until the danger had passed and the Indians had left for 
their reservation farther west. 

In 1869 Fort Dodge had one school building and nine teachers including the 
principal. The number of pupils in attendance was about 350. In 1878 there 
were thirteen teachers, with the principal. In 1884 there were seventeen teach- 
ers, not including the superintendent. The buildings at that time were the Lin- 
coln, Arey, West Fort Dodge (one room), and First ward (one room). During 
the year 1890, twenty-one teachers were employed. In 1899, there were thirty- 
eight teachers employed, not including the superintendent, and the buildings 
then in use were the Pottery, First Ward, West Fort Dodge, Arey, Wahkonsa, 
Lincoln, and the new high school building. The value of the school property 
for that year was estimated $141,000.00.' 

Up to the close of the school year 1897, the high school occupied the upper 
floor, or the third and part of the second floor of what is now the Lincoln 
building. In the fall of 1897 it moved into the new building. This was nearly 
destroyed by fire in 1907, and rebuilt in its present form the same year. 

The Wahkonsa school was also destroyed by fire in February, 1912. The 
rapid growth of the city made more school buildings a necessity. The board, 
therefore, at once began the rebuilding of the Wahkonsa and also a new school 

175 



176 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

building, the Duncombe, in the northeast part of the city. These buildings will 
be ready for use early in 1913. The new Wahkonsa is considerably larger than 
the old, and besides additional land has been purchased. In connection with the 
Duncombe is sufficient ground for an athletic park. 

The school board for the year 1912-13 are C. F. Duncombe, president; E. 
H. Williams, Maurice O'Conncr, J. R. Files, H. R. Beresford, S. T. Thompson, 
and Mack Hurlbut. The secretary of the board is J. L. Porter. 

In 1875 the high school graduated three pupils, one boy and two girls, its 
first graduates. The total number of graduates down to and including the school 
year, June, 1890, a period of sixteen years, was thirty-seven boys and fifty- 
five girls, a total of ninety-two. From 1 891 to 1898, inclusive, there were forty- 
three boys and eighty girls. This made the total number of graduates, up to the 
close of the school year 1898, two hundred and fifteen. 

The German Lutheran school was organized by Rev. Godfrey Endres in 
1863. The school building, erected in 1895, cost $7,500.00. 

There are two Catholic parochial schools in Fort Dodge, Corpus Christi and 
Sacred Heart. Corpus Christi Academy was organized in 1862, while Rev. John 
Marsh was pastor. Sisters of Charity of the B. V. M. came from Dubuque to 
conduct the classes. In 1866, it was decided to discontinue the school and the 
sisters returned to their mother house. 

In 1874 the old school building was enlarged and under the direction of the 
Very Rev. T. M. Lenihan a flourishing school was established. Sisters of 
Mercy came from New York City and made this convent their mother house. 
Fire destroyed the buildings and for some years the parish was without a 
parochial school. The present school building was erected in 1901, at a cost 
of $25,000.00. Sisters of Charity of the B. V. M., of Dul)uque, have charge. 
During 1912 ten teachers w^ere employed and the enrollment was 257. 

Sacred Heart school was opened in 1902. 

The Fort Dodge Business College was opened in 1912 by Professor W. B. 
Barger. It occupies the second floor of the Butler building. j\Irs. Jule Downey- 
Grosenbaugh also conducts a school of shorthand and typewriting in the First 
National Bank building. Besides the business schools, there are a number of 
music and art schools in the city. 

TOBIN COLLEGE AND IT.S FOUNDER 

I 

Tobin College was founded in 1892 and was the fourth school founded by 
Professor Thomas Tobin, the other three being: Tilford Academy, at A^inton, 
Iowa ; Waterloo College, at Waterloo, Iowa, and Ellsworth College, at Iowa 
Falls, Iowa. 

Professor Tobin, who was a native of Ireland, was born August 15, 1835, 
and died May 27, 1900. He came to America when fourteen years of age. He 
did not have a chance to learn his letters until he was seventeen. But even 
at that age, he had the courage to set out to secure a college education, earning 
the necessary means himself. But so hard was the struggle, that for three 
months at a time, he did not have money enough to buy a postage stamp., 

After graduation. Professor Tobin resolved to make it easier for backward 
boys to obtain an education, and to give them a chance to secure instruction 







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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 177 

suited to their individual needs. Accordingly, in 1870, he came to Iowa and 
established Tilford Academy, at Vinton. In 1885 he went to Waterloo and 
started Waterloo College. In 1889, he removed to lov^^a Falls, where he founded 
Ellsworth College. 

Early in the year 1892, he began corresponding with Mr. Frank Gates, Mr. 
F^rank Farrell, and others, concerning the establishment of a college in Fort 
Dodge. Satisfactory arrangements having been made, Professor Tobin moved 
his family here in April of the same year, and work on the college was started. 
The property for the college site was purchased from Mrs. Sarah Dwelle, the 
widow of the last landlord of the old St. Charles hotel. This property included 
the hotel and a quarter of a block of ground on the corner of First avenue North 
and Seventh street. While the college building was not completely finished, 
yet school began on the second Monday in September, 1892. 

The new college began without a name. A week or so after it opened. Pro- 
fessor Tobin was invited by some friends to spend the day in the woods. 
While he was gone, the teachers and students took matters into their own 
hands, called a meeting, and by a unanimous vote, christened the new college, 
"Tobin," in recognition of the work he had done for the cause of education 
through the founding of so many colleges. 

The formal dedication of the building did not take place until the last of 
October, 1892. The dedicatory exercises consisted of an afternoon and even- 
ing program. At these programs, congratulatory addresses were made by 
prominent business men of the city ; also by Rev. William Randall, pastor of 
the Baptist church at Iowa Falls, and Rev. F. E. Eldredge, state Sunday school 
missionary of the Baptist church, both of whom were very close friends of 
Professor Tobin. 

The enrollment of the first term numbered about fifty. At the opening of 
the winter term, many of the country boys came in, and the enrollment reached 
the one hundred mark. The boarding department, the first fall, numbered about 
twenty. In the wanter this number increased to forty. This department was 
carried on in the old St. Charles, the kitchen and dining rooms of the college 
building not being finished until 1893. The faculty the first year numbered 
nine. Professor Tobin taught general history, which was his favorite subject, 
and gave the rest of his time to the supervision of the school. Professor J. F. 
Monk had charge of the stenography department and taught the languages. 
JMrs. J. F. Monk and Miss Mable Allison taught the normal branches. Professor 
B. T. Green taught the sciences and mathematics and had charge of the com- 
mercial department. The music department was under the direction of Pro- 
fessor W. V. Jones and his daughter. Miss Gertrude Jones. Miss Amelia Golds- 
worthy had charge of the art department. 

The first class graduated in June, 1893, and was composed of thirteen mem- 
bers from the commercial and stenographic departments. Those from the com- 
mercial department were : J. Oscar Ahlberg, Otto L. Boehm, Walter M. Boehm, 
Edwin Brickson, Nora Lenihan, Benjamin F. McNeil, Charles R. Peterson, 
Jennie ]\I. Slate. The stenography class included : Jurgen N. Anderson, Ella 
W. Beach, Annie G. Fahey, Lizzie E. Harvison and Bessie B. Norton. The 
first normal class graduated in 1894, and consisted of Jessie V. Cox and Ida M. 
Prink. 



178 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 



In 1893, Professor Tobiii made a contract with Messrs. Green and Monk, 
by which they were to take charge of the school, buying it from him. But 
the hard times in 1893-94 so cut down the attendance, that they were unable 
to make their payments, and Professor Tobin again assumed active control in 
the fall of 1894. Professor Monk remained on the college faculty, but Pro- 
fessor Green followed his natural inclination and studied medicine. 

During the school year 1894-95, the two literary societies, the Philomathean 
and the Amphycton, were established. The societies have remained in existence 
ever since. The Snitkay Debate Prize has had much to do in stimulating the 
interest in debate. This prize is offered by Dr. C. J. Snitkay, an alumnus of 
the class of "97, and his wife, Mrs. Emma Monk Snitkay, an alumnus of the 
class of '95. The society winning the contest in debate is given a prize of 
$10.00. This prize money has always been used by the societies for the benefit 
of the school. It was in declamatory w'ork, the teaching of young men and 
women to think and talk upon their feet, that Professor Tobin was especially 
interested. To this work he gave freely both of his time and of his zeal. Many 
of the older students of the college remember how night after night, he sat in 
the rear of the chapel, criticising and commending, but always urging onward 
his students. And the present success of many of the alumni is due in a large 
measure to the training of Professor Tobin. His interest was such that he 
never missed a program of the literary societies, nor any program in which 
his students took part. His enthusiasm and interest was so genuine and from 
the heart that it engendered a longing for success in his pupils. 

The first declamatory contest of the college was held in the year 1893. and 
was won by. Miss June McNeil, now Mrs. Kusterer, of Moorland. 

In the year 1896, the first of the present series of gold medal contests was 
held. These contests, held annually, provide for three prizes : A gold medal 
to the winner; a silver medal to the one winning second place, and a souvenir 
spoon of the college to the one winning third place. The medals have l:)een 
the gifts of various persons, wdio have thus shown their interest in the work 
of the college. The spoon has always been the gift of the college management. 
The contest is usually held the last Friday evening in Alarch. A system of 
preliminary contests held each term leads to the selection for the closing con- 
test in the third term. There are three contestants chosen each term, thus 
making nine for the finals. 

The honors in the contests since their lieginning, together with the donors 
of the medal are as follows : 



Year Winner 

1896 R. G. Tobin. 

1897 George E. O. Johnson. 



1898 
1899 
1900 
1901 
1902 

1903 Miss Ethel Jondreau 

1904 James A. Martin. 



Mrs. Nora Haviland-Moore. 
M. J. Fitzpatrick. 
Otto V. Bowman. 
Miss Edith Bird. 



E. E. Cavanaugh. 



Donor 

Professor T. Tobin. 
]\Ir. Isaac Garmoe. 
Hon. John F. Duncombe. 
Mr. J. F. Carter. 
Mr. ). B. Butler. 
Hon. O. M. Oleson. 
Captain S. J. Bennett. 
Mr. M. F. Healy. 
Mr. y. G. Early. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 



179 



1905 Francis Alurphy. 

1906 Miss Eva Southwick. 

1907 Aliss Ellen Schmoker. 

1908 Leon W. Powers. 

1909 William Ryberg. 

1910 ]vliss Christine Urown. 

191 1 ^liss ^Myrtle Tullar. 

1912 D. L. Rhodes.* 



Messrs. Monk & Findlay. 
Mrs. Julie Haskell-Oleson. 
Messrs. Monk & Findlay. 
Mr. H. M. Pratt. 
Mr. H. D. Beresford. 
]\lr. Charles lies. 
Mrs. ^largaret Tobin-Pratt. 
Mr. John S. Heffner. 



Perhaps no school of its size has as strong an alumni association as Tobin 
College. This association was organized in 1895 and now numbers over three 
hundred. A unique feature of the Tobin College Alumni Association is the 
alumni fund. This fund was started in 1899 t>y Professor Tobin, its purpose 
being "for the aid of worthy students in their efforts to gain an education." 

In 1899, Professor Tobin sold the college to Messrs. Monk and Findlay, 
who have carried on the work along the lines originally laid down. The col- 
lege has continued to prosper and grow until now the annual enrollment num- 
bers about four hundred. 

With the lives of such men as Professor Tobin, Professor ]\Ionk and Pro- 
fessor Findlay dedicated to its service, Tobin College could not help but be the 
source of blessing it is to the community and to the young people who have 
attended it. 



* D. L. Rhodes and .Miss ^lildrcd Sperry tied for first place, and on drawing lots the 
honors went to Mr. Rhodes. 



CHAPTER XV 
FORT DODGE CHURCHES 

FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL — ST. MARK's EPISCOPAL — ^THE FIRST CONGREGA- 
TIONAL — EARLY CATHOLIC CHURCH IN WEBSTER COUNTY — PRESBYTERIAN — • 
CENTRAL CHURCH OF CHRIST — RIVERSIDE METHODIST — CHRISTIAN SCIENCE — ■ 

FIRST GERMAN METHODIST GERMAN EVANGELICAL ST. PAUL's GERMAN 

LUTHER.\N — ST. OLAF's NORWEGIAN SWEDISH MISSION — FIRST SWEDISH LUTH- 
ERAN SWEDISH BETHLEHEM — SALVATION ARMY Y. M. & Y. W. C. A. WEBSTER 

COUNTY BIBLE SOCIETY 

FIRST METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH 

The first Methodist sermon ever preached on Iowa soil was by Rev. Barton 
Randall, in what is now the city of Dubuque, November i6, 1833. This sermon 
was preached at Harrison's Tavern in the village of Dubuque in Iowa territory. 
The next year a class was organized and the erection of a church was begun. 

In the hospital tent of the garrison, at Fort Dodge, in the fall of 185 1, gath- 
ered the first congregation to hear the word of God in this place. The tent was 
pitched just west of where James B. Williams afterwards lived. The congregation 
consisted principally of soldiers, a few carpenters in the employ of the post, and 
a few trappers and frontiersmen. The meeting lasted three days and was con- 
ducted by Rev. J. A. Burleigh, a ]\Iethodist minister, who afterwards became a 
member of the Des Moines conference. 

The first society organized in the territory embracing Fort Dodge was called 
"Webster Alission," of which Rev. Richard Clagg was the preacher in charge. 
The first record of its meetings was that of a quarterly meeting held in Homer, 
December 23, 1854. Rev. Wm. Simpson being the presiding elder and P. R. 
Detrick, recording steward. There were three appointments named in the min- 
utes : "Tolman's class," "Eckerson's class," and "Homer." At the next quarterly 
meeting held at Border Plains, ]\Iarch 19, 1855, Fort Dodge class puts in an 
appearance and pays fifty cents toward the support of the pastor and presiding 
elder. At that quarterly meeting the following resolution was passed : 

"Resolved, That we will assist the preacher in charge to sustain and carry out 
the doctrine of the Discipline on the subject of Temperance." 

This quarterly conference also inaugurated a plan and appointed trustees for 
the erection of a church building at Homer. P. R. Detrick, D. A. Eckerson, W. 
T. Woolsey, Theodore Eslick, Levi Allen and John Tolman were elected the 
trustees. 

Webster Circuit was organized out of Webster Mission, and held its first 

181 



182 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

quarterly conference at Boone schoolhouse, on Boone river December 8, 1855, 
Rev. Daniel L. Abbott being pastor; Samuel Hayden presiding elder, and Will- 
iam Clearage, junior preacher. From that date the list of pastors is as follows: 
In 1856, Rev. J. Parker; 1857, Rev. C. H. Lawton, and Rev. David P. Day; 1858, 
Rev. C. H. Lawton. Rev. J. M. Rankin was presiding elder during all these years. 
At this conference the following resolution was recorded: 

"Resolved, that vigorous efforts be made at once to enlarge the subscription, 
and if possible to proceed in the spring to build a ^Methodist church in Fort 
Dodge." 

S. B. Ayers, John Parsons and the pastor were appointed to estimate the cost 
of the proposed church. 

Prior to this services were held in the brick schoolhouse. Rev. S. B. Cntiber- 
son, the pastor, was sent east to raise money, but though gone almost the whole 
year had little success. By persistent effort and liberality on the part of the 
public, however, the church was built, being the first one in the cit}'. It was a 
large roomy building, and its erection was a creditable work for the young society. 
The shingles on this building were oak, and were split by hand by Isaac Garmoe. 

At this time the circuit was again divided and the Fort Dodge circuit organ- 
ized. This circuit extended along the Des Moines valley, embracing Dayton on 
the south, and Algona on the north. Its list of pastors is as follows; 1859-60. 
Rev. B. Holcomb; 1861, Rev. Thomas Thompson; 1862-63, Rev. H. S. Church; 
1864, Rev. S. W. Ingham. Rev. Joel B. Taylor was the presiding elder during 
these years. At this period came another change and Fort Dodge Station was 
organized, with the following pastors for ten years, 1865, Rev. W. A. Richards ; 
1866, Rev. C. W. Batchellor; 1867, Rev. C. C. Mabee; 1868, Rev. William E. 
Smith; 1869, Rev. J. M. Robinson: 1870-71. Rev. W. F. Morrison; 1873. Rev. 
T. M. Williams; 1873-74, Rev. J. H. Lozier. The presiding eiders for this period 
were Rev. D. Lamont, Rev. T. i\I. Williams, and Rev. J. W. Todd. 

Under Rev. Lozier's pastorate, the church membership largely increased and 
the need of a new church w-as apparent. At a session of the quarterly confer- 
ence held May 15, 1873, this matter was up for discussion, and a committee was 
appointed to formulate church building plans. This committee consisted of E. 
E. Prusia, Isaac Garmoe, D. M. Crosby, D. A. Weller, John F. Duncombe, N. M. 
Page, G. R. Pearsons and F. M. Grant. The committee at once began the work 
of raising money by subscription. Within two months they had raised two 
thousand dollars. With this amount in sight, the trustees of the church decided 
to go ahead with the building, and Isaac Garmoe, E. E. Prusia, D. M. Crosby, 
G. R. Pearsons, N. M. Page and F. M. Grant were appointed a building com- 
mittee, with jVIr. Pearsons as chairman. 

At a session of the board of trustees January 8, 1874, plans were submitted 
for the new building. Those of Mr. A. V. Lambert were finally accepted and 
he was chosen architect, with instructions to furnish designs and specifications 
for a church edifice to cost not less than fifteen nor more than twenty-five thou- 
sand dollars. The work of excavation was commenced at once, and the founda- 
tions were laid by Patrick O'Conner. 

Th.e corner stone was laid September 15, 1874. The ceremony was in charge 
of the Masonic societies, assisted by the Odd Fellows. The exercises were com- 
menced with a prayer by Rev. J. ff. Burleigh, who preached the first sermon 





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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 183 

in Fort Dodge. An address of welcome was made by Mr. J. M. Berry, chairman 
of the board of trustees, and responded to by Gov. C. C Carpenter. This was' 
followed by an original poem by Mr. Woolsey Welles. 

The work on the church was carried on during the balance of the fall and win- 
ter. Messrs. Mitchell and Sulzbach had the contract for the brick work, and 
Mr. Israel Jenkins had the supervision of the structure. The church was first 
occupied for services in August, 1875. although the building was not yet completed. 
Lack of funds made it necessary to postpone the completion of the building. 

Rev. J. A. Potter, was at this time appointed pastor, and served for one year. 
He was succeeded by Rev. H. T. Curl, who in turn was succeeded by Rex. I. N. 
Pardee. Under his pastorate the church building was completed and formally 
dedicated, June 3, 1878. The building cost about twenty-two thousand dollars. 

The parsonage was built in 1893 and cost about three thousand dollars. 

Since Rev. Pardee, the pastors have been : Rev. Henry W. Jones, Rev. George 
C. Haddock, who was later murdered in Sioux City on account of his activity in 
the temperance movement. Rev. L. H. Woodworth, Rev. J. N. Liscomb, Rev. J. 
W. Southwell, Rev. J. H. Avery, Rev. George Kennedy, Rev. Robert Smiley. 
Rev. A. S. Cochran, Rev. G. \\'. Pratt. Rev. George C. Fort, and Rev. W. H. 
Spence. 

ST :\I,\KK"s EPISCOrAL CHURCH 

St. Mark's Episcopal church was organized at a meeting of the citizens called 
together by the Rev. Mr. Peet, rector of ,St. Paul's church, Des Moines. This 
meeting was held and organization effected on July 22, 1855. 

The first work of the congregation was to get a church building. Just one 
year after the organization, (July 1856), Bishop Lee offered to raise the remain- 
ing funds necessary for a chapel, providing $1,000.00 were raised in Fort Dodge. 
This offer was not accepted, but on February 17, 1858, the vestry resolved to build 
a church during the ensuing summer. Mr. J. L. Cheney, Mr. E. Bagg, and Dr. 
S. B. Olney were appointed the building committee. This building was a frame 
structure and stood just north of where Tobin College now stands. 

On account of the "hard times'' of the panic of 1857, and also the Civil war 
ensuing, the building was not completed until 1873-76. This was made possible 
through the generosity of J. F. Duncombe, Webb Vincent, Beth Vincent, B. 
Grayson, H. Beecher and Dr. S. B. Olney. The church was consecrated by the 
Rt. Rev. H. B. Whipple, D. D., bishop of Minnesota, on June 28, 1876. 

. January 5, 1892. the church was destroyed by fire. Steps were immediately 
taken for the erection of a new structure. The vestry headed by the Rev. J. W. 
Paige and ]\Ir. Leon A'inccnt were appointed as the building committee. Rev. 
Paige died in the early spring of 1893. On April 23, 1893, the vestrv appointed 
Messrs. J. C. Cheney, \\^e1)b A'incent, Leon \'incent and A. J. Arthur as a new 
building committee. On May 24. 1894, Mv. C. B. Hepler presented a proposal 
to build the new church for the sum of $7,000.00. This was accepted and the 
building erected. In 1898 the chancel was enlarged and a new organ installed 
at a cost of $2,683.00. 

THE RECTORS 

Rev. Mr. Peet who initiated the organization of the church in 1855 and during 
the war conducted occasional services. 



184 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The Rev. T. B. Fairchild called to the rectorship December ig, 1857. He 
remained a little more than one year. 

Rev. Samuel Goodale called in the spring of i860; resigned at the end of 
a year. 

On October i, 1866, the Rev. John Hochuly became rector; leaving January 
I, 1868. 

From January i, to Easter of 1870, there Avas no rector, then the Rev. E. H. 
Harlow, was called. He left after a service of something more than a year. 

Rev. Harlow was succeeded by Rev. B. R. Phelps who left early in 1873. 

On June 24, 1873, Rev. Charles T. Stout became the rector. He appears to 
have been an energetic worker, wiping out the debt on the church of $2,200.00. 
During his stay the church was consecrated. He resigned to take effect July 
24, 1876. 

Rev. W. C. Mills of Ottumwa, immediately followed ; he resigned to take 
effect August i, 1880. 

There was no rector until April, 1882, when the Rev. C. C. Adams was 
called. Rev. Adams resigned to take effect April i, 1883. 

May 7, 1883, Rev. P. C. Wolcott was called; he resigned to take eft'ect ]\Iay 
1, 1884. 

On March 2/, 1885, the Rev. Robert J. Walker was called and resigned within 
a year. 

On April 25, 1888, Rev. J. W. Paige of Sharon Springs, N. Y., became rector. 
This faithful servant died March 31, 1893, and is buried in Oakland cemetery, 
Fort Dodge. 

Rev. Paige was succeeded after nearly two years by the Rev. A. V. Gorrell 
who resigned at the end of nine months. 

On April 19, 1897, the Rev. C. H. Remington was called and became rector. 
He was a man of large visions and had a personality that is felt to this day. 
Ill health compelled his resignation in December, 1905. 

The Rev. Charles Lewis Biggs became rector on January 8, 1905. He resigned 
to take charge of a larger parish in Henderson, Ky. 

The present rector is Rev. F. E. Drake. 

THE FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF FORT DODGE 

The First Congregational church was founded February 29, 1856. On that 
date Mr. and Mrs. William Plumb, J\Ir. and Mrs. D. A. Haviland, and Mr. and 
Mrs. A. J. Haviland met at the home of William Plumb, who then lived in one of 
the houses of the old fort, and perfected an organization. Officers were elected as 
follows: William Plumb, clerk; A. J. Haviland, treasurer; D. A. Haviland, 
deacon. 

The following Sunday services were held at the old schoolhouse just back 
of where the Wahkonsa school building now stands. Rev. T. N. Skinner, a mis- 
sionary with headquarters at Webster City, met with them and preached their 
first sermon. At this meeting they celebrated their first communion service. Rev. 
Skinner supplied the new church until spring, when Rev. William Kent, the first 
pastor, came from Waterloo. He served but a short time. Up to 1864 there was 
no regular pastor, but the church missionaries looked after the needs of the 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 185 

church. The well beloved Father Taylor, the "Bishop of Iowa" ministered fre- 
quently to them. 

In 1864, Rev. H. E. Boardman, came as the first permanent pastor. The year 
book for 1865 gives the following data: members, nineteen; received during the 
year, seven by letter and five on profession of faith; one dismissed, and one 
absent. One baby baptized ; one adult baptized ; eighty in the congregation ; forty- 
five in Sunday school; benevolent contributions $32.00. In the year 1866, the 
Congregationalists formed a partnership with the Presbyterians, services being 
held in the Presbyterian church. During this year also Rev. Boardman resigned, 
and Rev. C. F. Boynton began his ministry and remained until 1868, when Rev. 
Phillips came. However, Rev. Phillips was pastor but a short time, ill health 
forcing him to give up the work. Foi" a year the church was, without a pastor, and 
they continued to meet with the Presbyterians. A meeting was held, May 29, 
1869, and the decision was reached that the Congregationalists should form a 
separate organization if Congregationalism were to be preserved. Accordingly 
letters of dismission were granted to all who -wished to join other churches. 
There then remained but nine Congregationalists. These nine were: George 
Killam, ^Ir. and ^Irs. L. W. Smith, Air. and Mrs. O. P. Fuller, Mr. and Mrs. 
G. S. Killam and Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Webber. At the beginning of the pastorate 
of Rev. David Wirt, who was called in 1869, the following became members : Air 
and Mrs. C. H. Payne, William K. Laughlin, Jr., Thomas A. Laughlin, Mr. and 
Mrs. Clark Fuller, Mr. and Airs. Bronson R, Merritt and daughter. Miss Helen 
R. Merritt; Rev. and Mrs. David Wirt and daughter, Aliss Julia Wirt, making 
twenty^one members in all. Services were held for a while in Henry's hall, which 
stood on the north side of Central avenue between Sixth and Seventh, then in 
the Child's block, just south of the present courthouse, then for awhile they met 
in the old Alethodist church, and then in the courtroom in the old courthouse. A 
new constitution was adopted in 1869 and the following officers were elected: C. 
H. Payne, deacon ; O. P. Fuller, treasurer ; G. S. Killam, clerk. The five trus- 
tees were : Thomas Laughlin, L. W. Smith, O. P. Fuller, William K. Laughlin, 
and G. S. Killam. During the same year the congregation decided to build. The 
building committee were Rev. David Wirt, O. P. Fuller, G. S. Killam, G. S. 
Webber. The contract for the building was let to B. D. Beach for $1,750.00. 
The location chosen was the present site of the Carter building, in the middle of 
the block between Tenth and Eleventh streets on the north side of Central avenue. 
This building was dedicated January 23, 1870. Rev. C. F. Boynton gave the 
scripture reading and prayers. The dedicatory address was made by Rev. J. 
Guernsey. When the Congregationalists moved to their present location in 1887 
the old building was subsequently used by the Christian church, and then by the 
Salvation Army. It was a plain unpretentious brick structure, that would seat, at 
the most, only about three hundred ; but in the early seventies it was considered 
something fine. The first baby baptized in,"the little brick church" was Perry 
Page Killam. Hon. George E. Roberts, now director of the United States mint, 
was at one time janitor of this church building, and the records show, that he 
received a salary of one dollar for a month's labor. Rev. Wirt resigned in the 
latter part of 1870, and for a year Rev. William A. Patton and Rev. Julius House 
supplied the pulpit. In 1872 Rev. Thomas O. Douglas was called as pastor and 
served the church for two years. He was followed by Rev. D. M. Brecken- 



186 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

ridge, who remained four years. During Rev. Breckenridge's pastorate the church 
membership increased to one hundred and nineteen. In 1878 Rev. L. L. West 
became pastor. During his leadership, the present church on the corner of First 
avenue north and Seventh street was built. This structure cost $10,000.00, and 
was dedicated January i, 1887. Rev. Thomas O. Douglas and President Will- 
iam Brooks of Tabor College conducted the dedicatory exercises. Rev. W^est's 
pastorate was the longest in the history of the church extending over a period of 
twelve years. He was succeeded by Rev. E. S. Carr in 1890, who served until 
1894, and was followed by Rev. E. R. Latham. Rev. Latham served three years, 
and in 1897, Rev. H. D. Wiard was called, and remained until 1901. Rev. W. I. 
Suckow began his pastorate in June, 1902, and continued until 1905. In that year 
Rev. Reuben L. Breed came to the church and served until the fall of 1909, when 
the present pastor, Rev. Nelson \\'ehrhan, began his work. 

THE EARLY CATHOLIC CHURCH IN WEBSTER COUNTY 

Prior to 1856, the spiritual wants of the few pioneer Catholics in this part 
of the state were cared for by a few mission priests, who traveled the prairie 
wilderness on horseback and sought out from house to house the scattered mem- 
bers of that church. Among these men were the Rev. Matthias Hannon who 
came overland in 1853 from the southeast. 

The first priest to come to Fort Dodge as a regular pastor was Father John 
Vahey who arrived in 1856. He built a little cabin to live in and started the 
building of the first church, constructed from rough hewn logs. His parishioners 
were few, and among those who helped cut and hew the logs were Dr. W. L. 
Nicholson, Peter Reilly, William Reilly and John P. White. 

Father \'ahey left in 1857, and in the autumn of that year. Father ^McCullough 
came and remained one winter. He was succeeded by Father Ellwood who 
remained about two years. Then came the well beloved and gentle Father Marsh 
in i860, and he remained until his untimely death in 1865. His dust and bones are 
resting now in the vault in the Catholic cemetery north of the city. lie knew all 
the pioneers, the men, women and children, and a gentler, kindlier man never 
trod the soil of the great stretch of country that constituted his parish, extending 
from Fort Dodge to Emmetsburg and Spirit Lake on the north, and to Sioux 
City on the west. Often in the dead of winter, he would drive with his ox team 
across the prairies to minister to the needs of those in these distant parts of his 
parish. Father Marsh took his axe and with some of his parishioners cut the 
logs and lumber from the hillside near what is called Arnold's dam to build 
the first Catholic school in Fort Dodge. 

After the death of Father Marsh in 1865. Fathers Delany and Butler came and 
remained until 1870. Then came Father Thomas M. Lenehan whose long and 
successful pastorate is a part of the general history of the state. He remained 
until 1897, when he was made Bishop of Cheyenne. Father Lenehan built the 
present Corpus Christi church which was dedicated January i, 1883. He also 
built the old convent and began the construction of the present school. 

Bishop Lenehan was succeeded by Father Campbell under a temporarv appoint- 
ment, and in September, 1897, Rev. P. J. Burke was assigned as pastor and 
remained until September, 1903. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 187 

Then came \'ery Rev. !>. C. Lenehan, the vicar general of the Sioux City dio- 
cese, whose long and faithful service as a priest earned him the honor of pro- 
motion as a Monsignor in 1905. He was succeeded by Rev. James T. Saunders. 

Sacred Heart Parish was established June 3, 1897, by Arch Bishop Henessy. 
Father Edmond Heelan, who was at that time rector of the Cathedral at Dubuque, 
was appointed to take charge of the new congregation and is still here. On July 
21, 1897, work was begun on a church which cost about $4,500.CX). On Sunday, 
October 24, 1897, mass was celebrated in it for the first time, and on Sunday, 
November 7, 1897, the church was dedicated with solemn and appropriate 
ceremonies by Monsignor Ryan and a large number of priests. Rev. R. Slattery 
of New Hampton preached the dedicatory sermon at morning mass, and at the 
evening service Rev. \X. Halpin lectured to a large audience. 

The two Fort Dodge congregations are now among the most prosperous in 
tiie state. In 19 10, the Knights of Columbus erected their building on First 
avenue south, and Ninth street. St. Joseph's Hospital, built in 1908, was dedi- 
cated March 21, i(p9. by Bishop Garrigan. 

When Father T. ^\. Lenehan came here in 1870, there was only the little old 
church now used as a chapel. Today there are two churches in Fort Dodge, two 
parochial schools and residences, a fine brick church and school at Clare and 
churches at Barnum, Moorland, Lehigh, Duncombe, Mncent, Coalville, and the 
church on the Lizard, almost on the Pocahontas county line. The parish he had 
in 1870 has now over one hundred sub-divisions and but few of his old co-laborers 
of that date are living. 

The soldiers left the old fort here in 1854, and fast upon the advancing and 
protecting rifle came the Catholic pioneers. In 1855 came Mrs. Hannah Reilly 
and family. They settled upon the north half of section thirty-three in Cooper 
township and received a patent from the LTnited States government. This patent 
they held for nine years and then they were evicted. George Crilly was another 
of the vanguard coming in 1855. He settled upon the quarter section of land of 
which Olesori Park is now a part. He, too, had title from the government, but 
lost his land, and for many years Mrs. Reilly and George Crilly fought for their 
homes. \lrs. Reilly's case went to the United States supreme court and George 
Crilly stormed the chambers of congress pleading for his home. They both lost 
but bravely turned their faces to the future and began again. Mrs. Reilly died 
here in Fort Dodge, and George Crilly died a few years ago in South Dakota. 

FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH 

The First Presbyterian church was organized September 22, 1856, by Rev. 
S. T. Wells, a missionary. The first members were Maj. W. Williams, Jeanette 
J. Williams, Samuel Rees, Eleanor Rees, and Andrew Miller. The first minister 
was Rev. Edward L. Dodder. Andrew Miller and Samuel Rees were ordained 
elders. 

On the twenty-first of July, 1856, William Wilson, Jr., of Philadelphia, of the 
firm of Wilson, McBane & Co., drew up a subscription paper soliciting aid "to 
build a Presbyterian meeting house in Fort Dodge." On September 22, 1856, the 
trustees received a donation from the proprietors of the town of lot three, block 
twenty-five, valued at $100.00. Money to erect a building was raised by subscrip- 

Vol. I —13 



188 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

tion, and the church was completed and dedicated February 25, 1856, at a cost 
of $2,207.00 As the church grew this edifice proved too small, and two lots were 
secured in 1880 on the corner of First avenue south and Eighth street for 
$1,600.00. Subscriptions to the amount of $10,292 were raised. Work was 
begun the same year and the church was dedicated October 7, 1881, under the 
pastorate of Dr. Robert F. Coyle. 

During the years 1861-69, the Presbyterians and Congregationalists held union 
services. The church has always been active in missionary work, and has sup- 
ported a mission west of ^loorland, at the Duncombe mills, and the Memorial 
Chapel on the corner of Fourteenth and Tenth avenue south. 

The jMemorial Chapel was built by Mr. E. H. Rich in memory of his son, 
Willis Rich. The following have served the church as pastors : Rev. Edward L. 
Dodder, Rev. Lyman C. Gray, Rev. R. F. Coyle, Rev. Ezra B. Newcomb, Rev. j. 
Milton Greene, Rev. Phil C. Baird and the present pastor, Dr. E. E. Hastings, 
who has been pastor since 1908. The society when organized belonged to the 
Presbytery of Dubuque, but now forms a part of the Presbytery of Fort Dodge. 

THE FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH 

The First Baptist church of Fort Dodge was organized June 16, 1871, by 
Rev. H. D. Weaver, with ten members. Its first services were held in the old 
brick schoolhouse on Second avenue south. In 1876 the congregation built a 
church on the corner of Central avenue and Tenth street, where the Wahkonsa 
Hotel now stands. Rev. George W. Freeman was pastor at this time. The 
church was closed for several years and the congregation disbanded. In the 
winter of 1892. Rev. T. S. Bovell reorganized the church, holding a series of 
meetings which resulted in a number of additions to the church membership, and 
also served to increase the interest. Rev. Bovell served as pastor for seven 
years, and was followed by Rev. Arthur Parks, who was ordained by the church 
in June, 1899. Rev. Robert Carroll succeeded Rev. Parks in 1901. During his 
leadership the present church building on First avenue north and Tenth street 
was erected. The dedication took place in November, 1903. The present pastor 
is Rev. Alva J. Brasted. 

THE CENTRAL CHURCH OF CHRIST 

The Central Church of Christ was organized by Rev. A. M. Haggard, state 
secretary of the Church of Christ, in November, 1895, with a membership of 
forty-six, which increased to one hundred by the end of the year. The first pas- 
tor was Rev. G. W. ]\Iapes, who was followed by Rev. C. C. Davis.' For several 
vears services were held in the old Congregational church. Later they secured a 
lot on the corner of First avenue north and Twelfth street. During the leader- 
ship of Rev. S. H. Lee, the ])lans for the present church structure were begun. 
However, the building was not finished until the pastorate of Rev. Lewis H. 
Kopp in 1909. Rev. S. R. Reynolds, the present pastor, has served the church 
since 1912. 

THE RIVERSIDE METHODIST CHURCH 

On account of the growth of the city, it was found expedient to divide the 
First Methodist church in 1892. Accordingly, the Riverside Methodist church. 




FIEST PEESBYTEEIAN CHUECH, FOET DODGE 

Dedicated October 7, 1881 




GEEMAN METHODIST CHUECH, FOET DODGE 
Built in 1879. Now Christian Scierce Church 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 189 

located in West Fort Dodge, was organized and a church structure erected the 
same year. Rev. C. E. Leitzell is the present pastor and also has charge of the 
Epworth ^lethodist church, situated at the corner of Eleventh avenue south and 
Twenty-first street. 

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE 

The Christian Science society was formed from the membership of several 
classes which were taught by Mrs. Mary Philbrick, C. D. S., during the summer 
of 1888. Mrs. Philbrick was a student of Mary Baker Eddy. For a number of 
years the society met in various rooms and halls. For a time they met in the 
Mason block, later they purchased the property of the German Methodist society 
on the corner of Twelfth street and First avenue north, which constitutes their 
present church building. 

FIRST GERMAN METHODIST CHURCH 

The First German Methodist Episcopal society was organized in 1873. At 
the first services were held in private homes and halls. In 1879 ^ ^^^ ^^'^s pur- 
chased, and a church built on the corner of First avenue north and Twelfth 
street, w'hich was afterward sold to the Christian Science church. At the present 
time the church has no organization in Fort Dodge. 

GERMAN EVANGELICAL CHURCH 

The German Evangelical chvirch was organized in 1864, by Rev. J. Keiper. 
Previous to this, Rev. FI. Hinze, and Rev. H. Kleinsorge had held meetings dur- 
ing the years 1861-62. In 1867, under the pastorate of Rev. A. Stoebe, a small 
brick church was built on First avenue north, between Tenth and Eleventh 
streets. This church was subsequently torn down and the congregation built 
their present structure in 1902. Among those who have served the church as 
pastors are: Rev. H. Hinze, Rev. H. Logeschultze, Rev. H. Kleinsorge, Rev. J. 
Keiper, Rev. A. Stoebe, Rev. H. Brauer, Rev. L. Bauerfeind, Rev. August Goetze. 
The present pastor is Rev. J. D. Klooz. 

« 
.ST. Paul's german Lutheran church 

St. Paul's German Lutheran church was organized by the Rev. F. Fikensher 
in i860, with a membership of seven families. The first German sermon w^as 
preached at the home of Mr. Lenhart Fessel, on First avenue south. In 1864, 
under the leadership of Rev. Godfrey Endres, a stone church was built in which 
the congregation worshiped for twenty years. The present church, on the corner 
of Fourth avenue south and Thirteenth street, was dedicated in 1886. The 
Sunday school was organized in 1863. The pastors have been Rev. F. Fikensher, 
Rev. Godfrey Endres, Rev. ]: L. Craemer, Rev. Ernest Zuerrer, and Rev. Mar- 
tin I. \^on der Au, who has served since 1909. 



190 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

ST. OLAF's NORWEGIAN CHURCH 

St. Olaf's Norwegian Lutheran church was organized September 22, 1891, by 
Rev. B. K. Berkeland, with a menil^ership of twenty. For three years services 
were held in the Swedish Lutheran church. During the summer of 1893, a 
movement was started for raising funds to build a new church, and plans were 
drawn and accepted. In September of the same' year the foundation was laid. 
The church was finished and dedicated the last Sunday in October, 1894. The 
present pastor is Rev. P. C. Danielson. 

SWEDISH MISSION CHURCH 

The Swedish Mission church is located on Avenue "B" between "K" and 
"L" streets in West Fort Dodge. It was organized in 1901. The present pastor 
is Rev. C. J. Andrews. 

FIRST SWEDISH LUTHERAN CHURCH 

May 31, 1870, a party consisting of Carl J. Johnson, Lars Sandquist, Peter 
Olofson, Christian Petterson, Magnus Hof, Carl J. Petterson, Carl O. Peterson, 
August Nelson, Anders Anderson, Isaac Swanson, John Johnson, John 
Peter Anderson. Carl Alfred Haf. Olof Berg, Christian Person, and Olof Olof- 
son met at the home of August Nelson in West Ft. Dodge and organized a Swe- 
dish Lutheran church. Rev. Llokan Olson was chosen chairman of the meeting 
and August Nelson, secretary. Gustaf Alstrand, while one of the promoters 
of the organization was not present, but was elected a trustee at this meeting. It 
was decided to affiliate with the Augustana Synod of America. Deacons and 
trustees were elected, and the treasurer was instructed to raise funds and secure 
a building site. 

Of those who first met to organize the church only three are living today, 
namely, C. O. Peterson, residing at 214 Second avenue south; August Nelson 
of Dayton, Iowa, and Gustaf Alstrand, residing at 220 'T" street. 

September 28, 1870, a constitution and by-laws were adopted. Services were 
held whenever possible, sometimes at the homes of the members, and also in the 
old brick schoolhouse that stood on Second avenue south between Seventh and 
Eighth streets. Services were often held in the German Lutheran church, that 
was located on Third avenue south between Fifth and Sixth streets. This build- 
ing was built of gypsum stone. 

In December, 1870, Hon. John F. Duncombe presented the church with two 
lots located on the banks of the Des Moines river on "J" street. In 1873 a church 
was built. It was twenty-four feet by thirty-four feet on the ground and four- 
teen feet in height. The church was dedicated by the Rev. Hokan Olson. 

In 1874 Rev. A. Philgren was called to serve as pastor of this and the church 
at Manson, Iowa. A parsonage was built in 1875 or 1876. The church was incor- 
porated in the early seventies, but was reincorporated in 1878. A call was 
extended to Rev. C. L. Beckstrom to become a minister for the church. Rev. 
Beckstrom remained eleven years, serving this congregation two-thirds of the 
time. The balance of the time was given to his charge at Callender. Iowa. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 191 

In 1894 Rev. Kris Rosental was called to serve the congregation as pastor. 
Prior to the calling of Rev. Rosenthal the congregation suffered from lack of 
funds, on account of having a small membership and most of these in very 
modest circumstances. During the years 1894 to 1897 there was a goodly increase 
in membership. At this time, however, there arose a division of the church, a few 
members favoring the acquiring of property on the east side of the Des Moines 
river for the purpose of erecting a church, while the majority favored remaining 
on the west side. This division had a bad effect upon the congregation, as it kept 
the members in a constant state of agitation and gave rise to many an unpleasant 
situation. However, this movement failed in its purpose, although the congrega- 
tion suffered the loss of several members on its account. It also kept many away, 
who would otherwise undoubtedly have joined. 

Rev. X. T. Tuleen became pastor in 1898. In 1900, the church received all 
the property belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Swan Peterson, upon the death of Mr. 
Peterson. A window in the present church building is dedicated to their mem- 
ory. The money realized from the sale of this property was used to pay a small 
debt and the balance, about $400.00, was the beginning of a church building fund. 
Rev. C. S. Renins was elected pastor in 1901, and Rev. J- A. Borgstrom in 1903. 

]\Iarch 15. 1904. it was decided to begin the building of a church, on a lot, 
which had been purchased for that purpose on the corner of Avenue '"C and "J" 
street. Gust Alstrand. William Larson, L. J. Alstrand. P. J. Swanson. Ehner H. 
Swanson. Ole Rosen, Gust A. Olson. John Nelson, and August Pehrsson, were 
appointed a building committee. On July 19, 1904. the president of the Iowa 
Conference, Rev. A. Norrbon. laid the cornerstone of the new church. 

Work on the new church progressed nicely and it was finished in 1905, and 
was dedicated November 12. 1905, by Rev. Norbon. The firsL marriage ceremony 
in the new church was performed September zj . 1905. when Luther J. Alstrand 
and Selma Pehrsson were married. The first burial service was over the remains 
of Mrs. Charlotte \'ieg, one of the pioneers of A\^ebster county. 

August 2. 1906. Rev. J. A. Mattson was elected as pastor of the church. He 
was followed by Dr. Emil Lund August 31. 1910. 

The church celebrated its fortieth anniversary June 26, 19 10. 

During the year 191 1, the congregation erected a new parsonage at a cost of 
about $4,000.00. Since the year 1903, the church has made its greatest gains, many 
have been admitted to membership and the progress made along financial lines 
has been truly remarkable. A Sunday school was organized about 1S82. The 
Ladies Aid Society counts its existence from a nuich earlier period. The Young 
Peoples Society was organized about 1893, by Rev. A. Gunberg. The Busy Bee 
Society was organized by Mrs. Gust Alstrand about 1898. These societies are of 
inestimable value in the work. The writer has avoided as much as possible 
special mention of any particular person connected with the work, as in order to 
do justice to the splendid workers, and the sacrifices which they made, it would 
make a volume in itself. However, the reader will jjlease pardon the one 
exception in referring to Mr. ( iustaf Alstrand. who is the only one retaining a 
membership in the church, who was one of the original organizers. Much credit 
is due to ]\Ir. Alstrand for the work done by him, and his wife (Mrs. Sophia L. 
Alstrand, who died March 21. toti). Her devotion and interest in the cause 



192 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

never ceased until her death, and his still continues an active force in the work of 
the congregation. 

Dr. Emil Lund, the present pastor, is a splendid man of God, working unself- 
ishly and well that the work of the church may not cease but attain a greater 
state of perfection. 

SWEDISH BETHLEHEM CHURCH 

In 1901, a part of the congregation of the First Swedish Lutheran church, 
consisting principally of the members living on the east side of the Des Moines 
river, withdrew, and forming a new organization, known as the Swedish Bethle- 
hem church, erected a church building on the corner of First avenue north and 
Eleventh street. The building was dedicated in 1902, and Rev. C. E. Renins was 
the first pastor. He was followed by Rev. G. E. Thimmell and Rev. C. A. 
Carlson. The present pastor, Rev. Nels Gibson, began his pastorate in 1911. 
The society has just completed building a fine parsonage at No. 4, Johnson place. 

SALVATION ARMY 

The Salvation Army first began work in Fort Dodge in 1891. Their first 
barracks were in an old frame building on the southeast corner of First avenue 
south and Sixth street. \\ hen this building was torn down the Army moved 
their barracks to the old Congregational church building on Upper Central avenue 
and remained there until the fall of 1912. During the time that the building was 
used by the Salvation Army, it was the regular voting place for the Third ward of 
Fort Dodge. When the building was torn down to make room for the Carter 
building, the Army moved to their present quarters at No. 18 North Seventh 
street. 

SECOND BAPTIST CHURCH 

The Second Baptist church (colored) has a small frame churchi building on 
the corner of Nineteenth street and Fourth avenue south. They have no regular 
pastor. 

THE WEBSTER COUNTY BIBLE SOCIETY 

The Webster County Bible Society is the oldest society in Webster county, still 
in existence. The first meeting of the society was held October 7, 1858, and the 
following ofticers were elected: William Williams, president; C. C. Carpenter, 
vice president ; Stephen B. Ayers, secretary ; Samuel Rees. treasurer. A consti- 
tution was adopted and an oflfering of $14.25 was made to the work. The fol- 
lowing counties were embraced in the association : Webster. Calhoun, Humboldt, 
Pocahontas. Kossuth. Palo Alto. Emmet. Sac, Buena Vista and Dickinson. A 
branch .society was organized at Lumpkins schoolhouse. June 30, 1865. In Janu- 
ary, 1873. branches were established at Otho and Tyson's Alill. 

Y. M. c. A. 

The Young Men's Christian Association was organized in 1890. The first 
secretarv was lohn Ruse. The second was Herbert \\'ard. who ser\ecl hut a 




y. M. C. A. BUILDING, FORT DODGE, BUILT IN 1910 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 193 

short time, and was followed by A. W. Braily. The society was in a prosperous 
condition until January 17, 1893, when the building in which the rooms were 
located was destroyed by fire. This made a heavy loss as the furniture was not 
insured. Mr. Charles B. Hall, a Fort Dodge boy, began the work of reorgani- 
zation. Rooms were secured on the corner of Ninth and Central avenue. Mr. 
Hall served as secretary until June 15. 1895, when he resigned and was succeeded 
by Mr. John H. Fellingham. 

In February, 1898, quarters consisting of eight large rooms were secured in 
the Sanderson block and was fitted up at an expenditure of $1,600. A gymnasium 
was added, January, 1899. At a large banquet held in the Armory, October 18, 
1909, plans were made and subscription lists were started for a new building. 
The site opposite the Carnegie library was donated by O. M. Oleson. 

Work on the new building was begun in the spring of 1910, and the building 
was opened February 15. 1911. It is a three-story and basement structure, and 
is one of the most completely equipped Y. M. C. A. buildings in Iowa, costing 
about $90,000 for the site, building and equipment. 

C. D. Case is president of the board of directors. The present general secre- 
tary is F. W. Mahlke, with George H. Cochburn, assistant, and J. T. Carley, 
physical director. 

Y. w. c. A. 

The Young Woman's Christian Association was organized July 8, 1909. Mrs. 
J. P. Dolliver was the first president and served until October, 1910, when she 
resigned and Mrs. G. S. Ringland was elected and still holds the ofiice. The work 
was conducted for a time in the frame building just north of the Commercial 
National Bank building. In the fall of 1909 the Reynolds property on the cor- 
ner of First avenue north and Ninth street was purchased, and became the asso- 
ciation home. At the time of buying the location, $13,000.00 of the purchase price 
was raised by subscriptions, of which $10,000.00 was paid for the site. Later the 
lot adjoining on the west was purchased at a cost of $4,500.00. To do this, it 
was necessary to place a mortgage of $1,500.00 on the lot. The last payment 
on this mortgage was made January 17, 191 3. The event was celebrated on 
the twenty-first of the same month by a large banquet at which covers were 
laid for two hundred. Dr. Sarah Kime had charge of the ceremony of "burn- 
ing the mortgage." Miss Lynn Anderson acted as toastmistress, and toasts 
were given by Miss Helen Williams, Miss Marcia Mitchell, Miss Hazel Davis, 
and Miss Fay Hellings, Mrs. Frank Gates, Mrs. J. F. Russell, Mrs. E. G. 
Larson, Mrs. W. H. Blakely, Mrs. A. D. McQuilkin, and Miss Florence Rich. 

The present officers are : Mrs. G. S. Ringland, president ; Mrs. J. I. Rut- 
ledge, first vice president ; Mrs. E. H. \\'illiams, second vice president ; Mrs. 
W. H. Blakely, corresponding secretary ; Mrs. C. V. Findlay, recording sec- 
retary, and Dr. Sarah Kime, treasurer. The board of directors consists of 
Mesdames Anna Beatty, W. H. Blakely, C. V. Findlay, J; F. Russell, E. H. 
\\^illiams, D. M. Woodard, George H. Williams, F. B. Olney, G. L. Lindquist, 
and Phillip Dorr. 

Miss Mary Conlee was the first secretary. She was followed by Miss Joy 
Secor, through whose efiforts the association was put on a good foundation. 
Miss Secor resigned in the summer of 1912, and at present. Miss Lynn Ander- 



194 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

son is acting secretary, and who, since the organization of the association, has 
been physical director. During the year 1912-13, there were one hundred and 
twenty-six enrolled in this department. This enrollment is divided into the 
following classes: Business girls, forty-eight; high school girls, eleven; juniors, 
twenty-five ; college girls, seven ; children, twenty-two. Since the association 
has been established over two hundred girls have been helped every year. The 
present membership is seven hundred. 



CHAPTER XVI 
PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PARKS 

BUILDING THK FIRST COURTHOUSE COUNTY SEAT FIGHT RENEWED CROWDED CON- 
DITION OF THE COUNTY BUILDING NEW BUILDING BECOMES A NECESSITY 

WRECKING OF THE OLD AND BUILDING OF THE NEW "tHE OLD SHACK'' — THE 

CARNEGIE LIBRARY FORT DODGE POSTMASTERS THE PARKS. 

WEBSTER COUNTY COURTHOUSES 

The population of \\'el)ster county in 1859, according to an old manuscript, 
had reached about 4,500- The census returns for that year, however, show but 
2,596. Whichever may be correct, a courthouse was needed, and had been 
talked of ever since the locating of the county seat at Fort Dodge. The ques- 
tion of the building was submitted to the voters the first Monday in April, 1859, 
and carried by a majority of 200. 

Webster county's title to her first courthouse site in Fort Dodge, and which 
is still the present site, bears date of August 20, 1858. The grantor is Jesse 
Williams, trustee, by his attorney in fact, William \\' illiams. The name of John 
F. Duncombe appears in the transaction, as the notary whose seal was affixed to 
the document. 

The contract for the new courthouse was let by the county judge, L. L. 
Pease, to Jenkins and Alerritt, and afterwards they sublet to Sweeney and Tier- 
ney. The original contract price was $39,450.00. To this had been added several 
items making the figure just a little within the $50,000 limit set in the proposi- 
tion to build. The designs for the building were drawn by F. V. Lambert. 
Various changes were made, howe^ er, before the building was completed, so that 
it is doubtful if the architect could recognize his design in the finished product. 
The corner stone of the building was laid May 8, 1859. 

No sooner was the building begun, however, than trouble commenced. Some 
of the architect's plans, as for example an immense cupola, nearly as large as the 
roof, were found impracticable. The stone called for in the specifications could 
not be furnished. The designs were constantly undergoing change. No one 
seemed to know just what was wanted. Many mistakes were made, although 
it is probable that the most of them were those of head and not of heart. The 
soil was too poor for much graft to thrive. It was difficult to get labor or 
material. The lack of funds to carry on the work proved a most serious problem. 
The animosities of the county seat fight were still active. The time of comple- 
tion had been extended two years and yet the first story was but finished. For 
eight months no work had been done, while the contractors were in the east 

195 



196 * HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

vainly endeavoring to raise money. Already the difficulties had gone into the 
courts. County warrants v>'ere down to twenty-five cents on the dollar, and the 
county bonds could not be sold. The original contractors felt that they must 
abandon the task; and to quote the words of Mr. Duncombe used in his argu- 
ment in the cast of Webster County vs. Snell & Taylor et al : *Tt seemed to 
the faithful few, who had worked so hard, that it would be a monument to 
their folly." 

It was at this point that Thomas Snell of the firm of Snell & Taylor, con- 
tractors, was urged by the leading citizens of Fort Dodge to undertake the 
work. This he finally consented to do, and the contract was assigned to his 
firm, and by them completed. 

Yet with the new contractors the building did not go on so smoothly : The 
office of county judge had, been displaced by a board of supervisors. The people 
at large had become dissatisfied with the slow progress and many changes. In 
the beginning of the year 1861, the newly created board of supervisors met in the 
then nearly completed building and refused to recognize any of the acts or expendi- 
tures of the county judge whom they had displaced. That official was even 
accused of being in collusion with the contractors with intent to defraud. The 
board not only refused to accept the work done or pay for the same ; but refused 
repeatedly all ofters of settlement by arbitration or compromise offered by Snell 
& Taylor. Again the matter went to the district court in the case of Webster 
County vs. Snell & Taylor et al. John Garaghty appeared for the plaintiff and 
John F. Duncombe for the defendant. Again the county seat fight was raked 
up; and again, in spite of the decision of the supreme court of Iowa, the legality 
of township 90 being a part of Webster county was attacked. Mr. Duncombe's 
argument in the court was presented in his own handwriting, and is a most mas- 
terly plea for law and reason. 

At last, worn out with fighting, these men came to their senses. The difficul- 
ties were adjusted and the county seat fight was ended. Looking back at their 
acts we find the reason for them to be largely because of the bitter personal 
feelings aroused in the county seat fight. For the time being those personal 
feelings overcame their better reasoning. No braver, truer, more honest pioneers 
ever founded a community than those who founded ours. Their sterling strength 
made them in anger the more bitter. 

The courthouse as finally turned over to the county was a plain, two story' 
stone building, fifty by one hundred feet in size. The basement was used 
for the count}' jail, the first floor for offices, and the second floor for the court- 
room and court offices. This building during its entire existence was being 
remodeled and repaired. After a numl^er of years a clock tower was added, 
and the stairway leading to the courtroom was changed. Still later rooms were 
fitted up for the federal court offices. 

But all these changes could not keep pace with the growth of the county. 
The county superintendent's office was forced out and across the street to the 
Doud block. In 1885 Judge Henderson of the ditsrict court declared the jail 
quarters unsanitary and ordered the prisoners confined in the Hamilton county 
jail. In view of this latter condition. Captain S. J. Benett, a member of the 
Board of Supervisors, introduced a resolution before that body calling for a vote 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 197 

upon a three mill tax levy to build a jail. On the first submission to the voters of 
the county it was lost ; but the next year upon resubmission it was carried. 

The jail when constructed was of brick, two stories in height, and standing at 
the southeast corner of the courthouse. It contained four cells and corridors, 
which could also be used for the honest prisoners. The building was not the 
most confining and several deliveries were made out of it. 

The changes in the courthouse were but temporary makeshifts. The condi- 
tions were still crowded. During the last session of the Board of Supervisors for 
the vear 1908, and the January session of the following year, the board were 
besieged with petitions from every county officer telling of the crowded and 
unsafe condition of the county vaults. A new courthouse seemed absolutely nec- 
essary. A committee consisting of S. J- Benett, Andrew Hannon, Swan John- 
son, and T. J. Ryan were appointed by t\ve board to investigate the conditions and 
to make a report at the April session. At this session the committee reported 
in favor of building a new courthouse. The board, however, took no action upon 
the matter during that session. Again in September the committee reported in 
favoi; of a new building and most strongly urged that it be started at once. This 
time the board unanimously adopted the resolution and ordered it submitted to 
the voters at the general election to be held November 7, 1899. The vote stood 
2,394 for and 1,146 against, being a majority of 1,248 in favor of building. 

]\Iany people favored the construction of the new building upon a larger 
site, and for this reason wanted the old site sold and a new one purchased with 
the proceeds. Investigation, however, showed that the deed by which the county 
acquired the site, made it revert back to the original owner, when it ceased to 
be used for courthouse purposes. Rather than lose this valuable property it 
was deemed best to build upon the old site. 

Plans for the new building were submitted to the board February i, 1900. 
After a careful consideration those submitted bv H. C. Koch & Co.. of Milwau- 
kee. were accepted. Later the contract for the building was let to the Northern 
Building Company of Minneapolis at their bid of $99,720.00 and Mr. C. B. Hepler 
of Fort Dodge was appointed as superintendent of construction. The contract 
called for the completion of the building by November i, 190 1. This time was 
later extended to March i, 1902. The formal dedication of the building was held 
Friday, September 12, 1902, and on the following Monday the county officials 
moved into their new home. The building was accepted bv the board October 
II, 1902. 

While the building operations were going on. provision had to be made for 
temporary quarters. District court was held in the federal courtroom in the 
United States postoffice building. The offices of the sherifif and county surveyor 
were moved across the street into the Reynolds block. The county attorney and 
superintendent of schools already had offices outside the building. For the 
others a temporary one story structure was erected at the corner of 7th street 
and I St avenue north. The contract for this was let to G. Proeschold at a cost 
of $1,275.00. This building, familiarly known as "The Shack," was in use from 
March. 1900. to September, 1902. It consisted of four offices, behind each of 
which was a vault for the records. Beginning on the west, these offices were : 
auditor, treasurer, clerk of courts, and recorder. 

The wrecking of the old courthouse was done by C. W. Ackerman at the 



198 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

contract price of $800.00. From the wreckage was built the temporary offices. 
The remainder of the material was sold. The total cost to the county of these two 
transactions, the wreckage of the old and the constructing of the temporary, was 
but $20.40. This splendid achievement was due to the work of Captain S. J- 
Bennett, chairman of the Iniilding committee. To him was also due in the largest 
measure the successful completion of the new building. He devoted practically 
his entire time to the task ; and in the efficient public work, which he did. he won 
the approval of every loyal citizen and taxpayer of the county. 

On Thursday evening, September 11, 1902, the county officers were all at 
home in their new quarters, and the brilliantly lighted building was filled with 
throngs eager to view^ the new courthouse. During the evening a concert was 
given by the Fort Dodge Military Band. The formal dedication was held the 
next morning. Special trains brought people from all parts of the county. Rev. 
G. \y. Pratt, pastor of the First Methodist church, opened the exercises with 
prayer. Senator Jonathan P. Dolliver acted as presiding officer and made the 
first address. He was followed by Senator T. D. Healy, and Hon. R. M. \\'right. 
The addresses were made from the corridor in front of the auditor's office. Again 
in the evening the courthouse was kept open, as many had been unable to see 
it the evening before. 

Proud as were many of the younger citizens of the county of the structure, 
which they had helped to build, their pride could not equal that of those pioneers, 
who had outlived the decay of two courthouses, and who out of the wildriess 
had wrought the means with which to frame the magnificent county home. They 
were the true builders, those others of a later date but hewers of stone and 
carriers of mortar. 

CARNEGIE FREE PUBLIC LIBR.'KRY 

The Fort Dodge Library Association was organized May i, 1874. The 
officers of the Association for the first year were as follows: President. Geo. 
B. Reynolds; vice president, John Doud, Jr.; secretary, Marie B. Welles; treas- 
urer, William Pierson; librarian, W. H. Johnson; board of directors, George W. 
Bassett, N. M. Page, Airs. Louise A. Alitchell, Mrs. L. C. Littel, A. W. Stuart, 
John F. Duncombe, Mrs. M. D. O'Connell. 

Its financial nucleus was a subscription of $216.00, raised by a committee of 
ladies, the contributions to which were made by sixty-three gentlemen and 
twenty-seven ladies. A room suitable for library purposes was placed at the 
disposal of the Association free of rent, by Geo. W. Bassett and W. H. Johnston, 
and the services of the librarian, W. H. Johnston, were volunteered, the library to 
be open for drawing books three hours in the afternoon and evening of Friday 
every week, so that all the expense incurred for starting the library was for a 
book-case, a book in which to keep an account of the books loaned, and station- 
erv. About ninety volumes of miscellaneous books and a large number of 
public documents, which had been the property of a Young Men's Christian 
Association in Fort Dodge, were also turned over to the Association. 

The first year about $250 was paid out for books, purchasing about 200 
volumes. In May, 1875, the Association became an incorporated body. In 
November, 1883, the first catalogue was issued, cataloguing 2,110 volumes. 

At the semi-annual meeting held November, 1887, the ladies proposed holding 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 199 

a carnival for the l)enefit of the library, which was successfully carried out in 
April. 1888. A three days' carnival was held, with a musical entertainment each 
evening, closing with a fine rendering of "The Mikado" on the third night. The 
net proceeds of the carnival were $542. enabling the association to pay ofif an 
indebtedness of $306, and leaving $236 for the purchase of new books. 

At the annual meeting held in Alay, 1889, the association, feeling that all 
had been done by them as an association that could reasonably be done, decided 
to make another and more determined effort to get the common council of the 
city of Fort Dodge to make an appropriation to aid in establishing and main- 
taining a free public library in said city. Authority to do this had previously 
been given at a city election held in ]\Iarch, 1884, by a majority of nearly four to 
one. but had never been exercised on account of lack of funds. 

AI. F. Healy, W. H. Johnston and Frank Farrell were appointed a committee 
to appear before the city council and urge them to make an appropriation in aid 
of the library, with the result that December i, 1889, an arrangement was made 
that the city make an appropriation to support the library for five years, the 
same to be conducted by a committee of three from the council and three from 
the association, and W. H. Johnston, librarian. 

January i, 1890' it was opened as a free public library, open for the drawing 
of books on every A\'ednesday and Saturday afternoon and evening from 2 to 
6 o'clock, and from 7 to 9 o'clock P. M. 

January i, 1895, the library was turned over to the city and came under the 
full control of the city, anda.board of nine trustees was appointed for the 
same under the law of 1894. W. H. Johnston retired from the position of libra- 
rian, which he had held for more than twenty years, and Airs. J. M. Carpenter 
was elected to the office. 

In the year 1900, a movement was started for the erection of a library build- 
ing. The old Sherman property on First avenue north had been purchased by 
several prominent citizens of Fort Dodge, and was oft'ered by them as a site for 
a library building. The city also levied a tax for library purposes, that would 
provide an annual income of about $3,000.00. It was at this time that x\ndrew 
Carnegie, the great iron king, was giving his money to assist in the building of 
libraries over the country. It was thought best to present the claims of Fort 
Dodge to the philanthropist and to ask his assistance. Accordingly M. D. O'Con- 
nell and George E. Roberts called upon Mr. Carnegie and secured from him a 
promise to give $30,000.00. The news reached Fort Dodge and was publicly 
announced the evening before Christmas. \\'ith the opening of the new year 
plans for building were formed and the work started. The building was com- 
pleted in 1902 at a cost of about $40,000.00. 

THE FORT DODGE POSTOFFICE 

The first postoffice, in what was then Webster count}', was established at 
Homer in 1853. Granville Berkeley was the first postmaster. He kept the 
office in his house and the mail he kept in a box under his bed. In case he 
happened to be out, when anyone called for the mail, they simply pulled out the 
box and helped themselves. 

The Fort Dodge postoffice was established the next year and Ala j or William 



200 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Williams was appointed the first postmaster, the date of his appointment being 
May 12, 1854. Since that time the office has been held by the following persons, 
together with the date of their appointment: Charles A. Sherman, (March 20, 
1861) ; Seeley M. Sherman, (September 20, 1861); Benjamin F. Cue, (March 
13, 1865) ; David J. Gue, (December 29, 1865) 5 Henry A. Piatt, (September 5, 
1866) ; John D. Burkholder, (March 26, 1869) ; Nelson ]\I. Page, (February 3, 
1870) ; Patrick Cain, (May 5, 1885) ; Cyrus C. Carpenter, (May 7, 1889) ; Charles 
F. Duncombe, (May 2t^, 1894) ; Susan C. Carpenter, (June 2^^, 1898) ; Samuel J. 
Robertson, (January 31, 1907). 

The present postoffice building was finished during the year 191 1, and was 
first used on the first day of November of that year. The building as completed 
cost $137,500.00. The building is used both for postoffice purposes and also 
as a federal office building. Sessions of the federal court are held here twice a 
year, in June and November. There are five rural routes out of Fort Dodge, 
the average length of which is twenty- four miles. There are twenty-one rural 
routes starting from towns in the county. Besides this there are fourteen routes 
that serve patrons within the county. The total rural free delivery system of 
Webster county covers over seven hundred miles. The postal savings bank was 
established November 4, 191 1, and the parcel post January i, 1913. 

FORT DODGE PARKS 

Webster county has many natural parks and beauty spots. All along the Des 
Moines river and its tributaries are found many ideal places for picnics and 
camping. 

Fort Dodge has an extensive park system. On the south side of the city 
is Oleson Park, a wooded tract of about eighty acres. This park is the gift of 
Hon. O. M. Oleson. On the north side of the city is Reynolds Park, the gift 
of Mr. George Reynolds. Connecting these two parks is the Seventeenth street 
boulevard. Besides this there are a number of smaller parks including Craw- 
ford's Park, Tower Square, Public Square, and Duck Island. 

The Country Club, organized in 191 1, have a tract of twenty acres on the west 
side of the river overlooking the city. Their club house was first opened during 
the summer of 1912. 

The towns of Dayton, Cowrie, Duncombe. and Callender all liave small parks. 



CHAPTER XVII 
WOMAN AND HER CLUBS 

THE WAHKONSA CLUB THE ART CLUC THE INGLESIDE CLUB THE ALPHA CLUB 

THE LTP-TO-DATE CLUB DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN RENOLUTION THE 

P. E. O. THE woman's CLUB OTHER ORGANIZATIONS. 

THE WAHKONSA CLUB 

The W'ahkonsa club is the oldest woman's literary organization in Fort 
Dodge, organizing in 1885 under the name of the "Wahkonsa Literary and Scien- 
tific Circle." A few years after when giving up the study of the regular chau- 
tauqua course they called themselves the Wahkonsa club. The number of their 
members is limited to twenty-five. Mrs. T. A. Carpenter, Mrs. Anna Woods 
and Miss M. B. Welles are charter members of the club, taking up the chau- 
tauqua work in 1885 and graduating in 1889. Mrs. E. H. Rich later took the 
course and graduated. The club on January 9, 1899. ^'^^s elected a member of 
the General Federation of Women's clubs from which they withdrew after two 
years. The club is primarily literary, though it has taken an active part in 
philanthropic and library work of the city. Last year a portrait painting of the 
]\Iiss Welles, who has been president of the organization for the past fourteen 
years, was placed by the club members in the general reading room of the public 
library. 

THE ART CLUB 

The Art club was organized June 8, 1900, with a charter membership com- 
posed of Mrs. J. G. Piersol, Mrs. J. F. Monk, Mrs. E. M. Williams, Mrs. A. 
G. Schill, :\Irs. C. D. Case, Mrs. F. J. Blake, Mrs. E. B. Wolvin, Mrs. A. H. 
McCreight, Mrs. G. L. Hostetler, Mrs. C. V. Findlay, Mrs. E. F. Gates, Mrs. 
C. A. Morrison, Mrs. H. M. Pratt and ]\Iiss Martina Larson. 

The first officers of the club were Mrs. A. H. ^IcCreight, president and 
Mrs. LI. ^L Pratt, secretary. Since the organization of the club the various 
presidents have been Mrs. A. H. McCreight, Miss Carrie Haviland, Mrs. E. M. 
Williams, Mrs. J. F. Monk, Mrs. W. E. Alton, Mrs. E. M. \'an Patten, Mrs. 
A. G. Schill. The present membership of the club is twenty-six. There has 
been lost by death three members, Mrs. Effie Scofield Blake, Mrs. Clara Heile- 
man Peschau, Mrs. Louisa Larson Gates. 

The officers of the club for the year 1912-13 are Mrs. J. G. Early, president; 
Mrs. Frank Corey, secretary and treasurer. The executive committee and 
vice presidents consist of Mrs. J. F. Russell, Mrs. D. W. \\'oodward and Mrs. 

201 



202 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

T. R. Files. The program committee for the year consists of ]\lrs. J. G. Early, 
Mrs. T- F. ]\Ionk and Mrs. C. D. Case. The club has two representatives in the 
\'isiting Xurse Association, Mrs. J. F. .Monk and Mrs. Sam McClure. The 
course of study for the year has been Scottish History and Travel in Italy. 
The club flower is iris and the club colors are white and gold. The motto of the 
club is : 

"This is a Women's club, a haven fair ; 
Where toilers drop an hour, their load of care." 

THE INGLESIDE CLUB 

The Ingleside clul) was organized October 14, 1901, with a charter mem- 
bership composed of Mrs. E. N. Coleman, Mrs. J. B. Butler, J\lrs. G. F. Gus- 
tafson, Mrs. T. E. Devereaux, Mrs. Robert Evans, ]\Irs. S. J. Bennett, Mrs. 
J. L. Strow% Mrs. L. A. Loomis. Mrs. John Schaupp, Mrs. P. M. Mitchell, Miss 
Jessie Craig and i\Irs. Mary K. Pingree. The first officers were Mrs.* E. N. 
Coleman, president; Mrs. Robert Evans, vice president; Mrs. L. A. Loomis, 
secretary ; and Mrs. T. E. Devereaux, treasurer. Since the organization of the 
club the various presidents in their order have been : Mrs. E. N. Coleman, 
Airs. Robert Evans, Mrs. Ernest P. Gates, Mrs. L. A. Loomis, INIrs. J. K. 
AUine, IMrs. John Schaupp, ]\Irs. E. F. Cook, and Mrs. E. H. Johnson. Mrs. 
L. A. Loomis removed from Fort Dodge soon after her election to the office 
of president, and Mrs. J. K. AUine was elected in her place. At the present time 
the club has a membership of nineteen. The officers for the year of 191 2- 13 
are Mrs. E. H. Johnson, president; Miss Bertha Laufersweiler, vice president; 
Mrs. Beth Meservey. secretary, and Mrs. W. R. Updegrafl:', treasurer. 

The Ingleside club belongs to the Iowa Federation of Women's clubs. In 
1907 they were represented at the biennial meeting of the Federation by Mrs. 
J. K. Alline, and in 1909 and 191 1 by Mrs. J. F. Russell, and Mrs. E. F. Cook. 
On October 19, 1909, in connection with the Up-to-Date club the Ingleside club 
entertained the Tenth District Federation meeting in Fort Dodge. 

Mrs. R. L. Breed, a member of this club was the first president of the \'isit- 
ing Nurse Association of Fort Dodge. This association, which is supported 
by the various women's organizations of the city was organized at a meeting, 
which was held at the invitation of the Ingleside club. 

THE ALPHA CLUU 

The Alpha club was organized January 15. 1903. Seven ladies, all new 
comers in Fort Dodge, met and organized themselves into a club which they 
appropriately called Alpha. One of the laws made at this initial meeting was 
that no one should become a member of the club unless she was a stranger 
in the city. The charter members were Airs. E. P. Johnson, Mrs. William Lamb, 
Mrs. E. K. Rice. Airs. W. J. Suckow, Airs. W. R. Bates, Airs. \\\ \\'. Crow 
and Airs. F. F. Clark. 

The first officers of the club were Airs. A\'illiam Lamb, president ; Airs. W. J. 
Suckow, vice president; Airs. E. P. Johnson, secretary. Since the organization 
of the club the various presidents have been Airs. William Lamb, Airs. A. D. 




FOET DODGE COUXTEY CLUB, OPENED IN 1912 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 203 

AlcOuilkin, Mrs. E. P. Tinkham, Mrs. L. W. Wheeler, Mts. Harry Beresford, 
Mrs. W. L. Ballard, Mrs. Henry Davidson and Mrs. William Benson. The 
present membership of the club is fifteen. 

The officers of the club for the year 1912-13 are Mrs. William Benson, 
president; ]\Irs. Henry Davidson, vice president; Mrs. W. A. Shepherd, sec- 
retary and treasurer ; Mrs. William Merritt, representative to the Visiting 
Nurse Association. The club belongs to the Iowa Federation of Women's 
clubs. Mrs. \\'illiam Benson was sent as a representative to the 191 1 meeting, 
held in Boone, Iowa. Aside from their literary programs and social gatherings 
the principal work of the club has been its contributions to the Visiting Nurse 
Association. The club motto is "Hold thou the good ; define it well." 

THE UP-TO-DATE CLUB 

The Up-to-Date club was organized October 22, 1903, with a charter mem- 
bership composed of Airs. W. F. Carver, Airs. W. I. Selby, Airs. F. AT Andrews, 
Mrs. H. L. Scott, Airs. A. Dahl, Airs. H. J. Leigh, Airs. Karl Quist, Airs AI. J. 
Rodney, Airs. W. Winsell, Airs. B. K. Kilbourne, Airs. A. B. Hancock, Airs. 
C. Al. Fullerton, Mrs. AI. Cady, Airs. C. H. Churchill, Airs. W. A. Livingston, 
Mrs. C. A. Alorrison and Airs. O. F. Cady. 

The first officers of the club were Airs. W. F. Carver, president, and Airs. 
W. I. Selby, secretary. Since the organization of the club the various presidents 
have been Airs. W. F. Carver, Airs. A. D. AIcQuilkin, Airs. H. A. Cook, Airs. 
A. T. Dahlin, and Airs. Z. W. Thomas. The present membership of the club 
is twenty-eight. There have been lost by death two members. Airs. Karl Quist 
and Airs. W. Winsell. 

The officers of the club for 1912-13 are Airs. Z. W. Thomas, president; 
Airs. Kate Hastings, vice president ; Airs. Frank Boggs, secretary ; Airs. Mar- 
shall Young, treasurer; Airs. A. T. Dahlin, club reporter and Airs. E. P. Tink- 
ham, representative to the Visiting Nurse Association. 

The Up-to-Date club belongs to the Iowa Federation of Women's clubs. 
In 1909, Mrs. H. A. Cook represented the club at the State Federation meeting 
held at Davenport. In 191 1, Airs. A. T. Dahlin was sent as a representative 
to the meeting in Sioux City. The club each year sends delegates to the Tenth 
District meetings of the Federation. October 19, 1909, in connection with the 
Ingleside club, the Up-to-Date club entertained the Tenth District Federation 
meeting in Fort Dodge. The Up-to-Date club contributed to the Louisa M. 
Alcott Alemorial fund. Their principal work, however, is in assisting the work 
of the A'isiting Nurse Association to which it contributes liberally each year. 

DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 

The Fort Dodge chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution was 
organized in the month of November, 1903, at the home of Airs. J. C. Cheney, 
and was chartered the following year. At that time Airs. Jonathan P. Dolliver 
held the office of national historian. In this capacity, she had the authority 
to form new chapters, and install their officers. Airs. Dolliver thus had the 
pleasure of instituting the chapter of the D. A. R. in her home city. 

Vol. I— 1 4 



204 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The first officers of the local chapter were: Airs. John Schaupp, regent; 
Airs. J. C. Cheney, vice regent; .Mrs. W. T. Chantland, recording secretary; 
Mrs. E. A. Armstrong, treasurer; Airs. Charles Wheeler, registrar; Airs. Joe 
Wheeler, historian. The charter members were : Alesdames J. C. Cheney ; E. A. 
Armstrong, John Schaupp, Eliza Hatch, Joe Brown, J. P. DoUiver, W. T. 
Chantland, H. G. Ristine, C. E. Cohoon, Emmetsburg; Charles A. Eadie, Alar- 
shalltow^n ; Helen Larrabee Robbins, Cedar Rapids ; Aliss Lois Kelley, Rock 
Rapids, and Aliss Anna Larrabee, Clermont. The office of regent has been held 
by Airs. John Schaupp, Airs. Jonathan P. DoUiver, and Airs. Frank Gates. 

The officers for the year 1912-13 are: 'Airs. Frank Gates, regent; Airs. 
Nettie Guild, vice regent ; Airs. AI. A. Hurlbut, recording secretary ; Airs. Beth 
Aleservey, corresponding secretary ; Airs. J. B. Butler, treasurer ; Airs. J. W. 
Campbell, registrar; Airs. J. AI. Schaupp, historian; Airs. D. AIcAIullan, librarian, 
and Airs. C. B. Hepler, custodian of the flag. 

In October, 1908, the state convention of the Daughters of the American 
Revolution was entertained by the Fort Dodge chapter. At this meeting. Airs. 
John Schaupp was elected state historian. 

The object of the Daughters of the American Revolution is to keep alive 
the spirit of patriotism, to preserve the deeds of our ancestors in the momentous 
time of the American Revolution, and to preserve historical places, monuments 
and relics of the past. The members of the local chapter in 1909 placed a 
flagpole on the grounds of the high school. In 1912, the chapter secured the old 
Arnold log cabin and moved it to Oleson park, where it has been restored as 
near as possible to its original condition. This cabin was one of the original 
buildings of the fort, when Fort Dodge was but a regular army post. The 
cabin originally stood upon the grounds of the A\"ahkonsa school. The erection 
of the new school building in 1912 made necessary the removal of the old cabin, 
which at the time was the home of the Arnold family. The Arnolds had covered 
the sides of the cabin with siding, so that to the casual observer it appeared as 
ai| ordinar}^ frame house. 

THE P. E. 0. 

Thirty-four years ago on the afternoon of January 21, 1878, seven girls, in 
their last year of college life, looking forward with regret to the separation that 
graduation meant to them, and seeking for a bond that would strengthen and 
maintain their mutual friendship formed a secret society, the oath of which 
was read to one of them, who in turn read it to the other six. Thus a society 
was formed that was destined to have a wide influence on the lives of women 
in the central states of the Union. These seven charter members called them- 
selves "P. E. O." The letters are mystic and no one save a duly initiated mem- 
ber knows their meaning. Starting with seven, the society now numbers over 
five thousand members with chapters in seventeen states. In the old music 
room of the chapel of Iowa Wesleyan University this society was born, which 
stood for the symbol of what was noble and lovely and desirable in their life 
together; and their purpose was to preserve and strengthen it. 

On December 16, 1904, a chapter was formed in Fort Dodge with Alesdames 
Albert Strong, Irving Gates, A. H. AlcCreight, Ernest Gates, C. L. Granger, 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 205 

J. B. Butler, E. A. Coleman and Fred Haley, as charter members. The mem- 
bership at the present time numbers twenty-hve. The meeting, at which the 
\\'oman's club of Fort Dodge was organized, was held at the invitation of the 
P. E. O. The chapter contributes to the \'isiting Nurse Association. 

The officers for the year 1912-13 are: Mrs. J. B. Butler, president; Mrs. 
T. E. Devereaux, vice president; Mrs. Leone Richards, recording secretary; 
]\Irs. J. K. Alline, corresponding secretary; Mrs. J. L. Craig, treasurer; Mrs. 
W. E. ]\Iutz, chaplain; ]Mrs. A. D. McOuilkin, guard; Miss Harriet M. Ains- 
worth, journalist, and ]\Irs. J. T. Carmichael, organist. The office of president 
of the local chapter has been held by Mrs. Albert Strong, Mrs. T. E. Devereaux, 
Mrs. A. D. McOuilkin and Mrs. Seth Thomas. 

THE WOMEX'S CLUB 

The Women's club of Fort Dodge, Iowa, was organized January 29, 1912, 
at a meeting held at the public library with a charter membership of 189. Offi- 
cers for the year were elected at the meeting held Febr iary 13th, as follows: 
President, Mrs. Seth Thomas ; vice president, Mrs. C. A. Claypool ; second vice 
president, ]\Irs. J. G. Early; recording secretary, Mrs. Maude Hallock; cor- 
responding secretary, Mrs. E. ]\I. Van Patten ; historian, Miss Mildred Mar- 
quette. Directors for a term of three years : Mrs. Frank Gates, i\Irs. J. M. 
Schaupp and Mrs. Henry Irwin ; for a term of two years, ^Irs. W. G. Jankans, 
Mrs. Albert Strong and Miss Blanche McBane; for a term of one year, Mrs. 
J. B. Butler, Miss ]\Iarie Wright and Miss Jessie Harper. At this same meeting 
three departments were organized with chairman as follows : Civic improve- 
ment, Mrs. John Rutledge; child welfare, Mrs. L. W. Wheeler; city beautiful. 
Miss Saber Nason. September the 24th a charity department was added with 
Mrs. O. M. Oleson as chairman. 

These departments hold meetings regularly each month as does also the 
club, who meet the last Tuesday of each month. The club, though a compara- 
tively new organization, has accomplished much in the way of city improve- 
ments. Mrs. Carolyn Bartlett Crane was brought to the city through the efforts 
of this club in April, just preceding clean-up day and assisted the club in making 
a social survey. 

A playground was established back of the Y. M. C. A. ; waste paper cans 
were placed along the principal business streets, and parent-teacher meetings 
were established. Garden and flower seeds were distributed in the spring to 
children who had previously done the required amount of work, thus teaching 
the youth of the city admiration for a "City Beautiful." 

The charity department secured Miss Gladys Welles of New York as secre- 
tary of their department. This department, however, was soon combined with 
the Associated Charities and Miss Welles became field secretary. At the close 
of the first year the club has a membership of 276. 

ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR 

Aurora Chapter No. 311 O. E. S. was instituted June 6, 1901, by Mrs. Freda 
Opperheimer, worthy grand matron of Iowa. Carnation Chapter No. 165 



206 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

exemplified the ritualistic work. The chapter obtained its charter October 23, 
1901. R. A. Schroeder, who was elected the first patron, was chiefly responsible 
for its organization. Ten of the charter members came in by affiliation as fol- 
lows : R. A. Schroeder, W. Frantz, Elvine Schroeder, A. J. Bolster, Helen Bol- 
ster, Mrs. Gertrude Andrews, ^Nfrs. R. A. Schroeder, ]\Irs. W. Frantz, Mrs. 
Ella Peterson, Anna Bolster and Olive Bolster. The first officers were : Worthy 
matron, Mrs. Flora Preston ; worthy patron, R. A. Schroeder ; associate matron, 
Gertrude Andrews; secretary, INIiss Elwine Schroeder; treasurer, Harry San- 
derson ; conductress, Mrs. Francis Frantz ; associate conductress, Mrs. Addie 
Peterson; chaplain, Mrs. Hattie Young. Since the organization of the chapter 
the office of worthy matron has been filled as follows: 1901-02, -Mrs. Flora 
Preston; 1903-04, Mrs. Nettie Cook; 1905-06, Mrs. Flora B. White; 1907-08, 
Mrs. Minnie Stewart; 1910, ]\Irs. Cora Rowley; 1911, Mrs. Abigal Biggs, Mrs. 
Emma Williams; 1912, Mrs. Emma Williams. The elective officers for the year 
1913 are: Worthy matron, ]\frs. Emma Williams; worthy patron, W. T. Alstrand; 
associate matron, Mrs. Millicent M. Wilson; secretary, Mrs. Goldie Miller; treas- 
urer, Mrs. Emma Marsh; conductress. Mrs. Mae Townsend; associate conduct- 
ress, ]\Irs. Esther Shafifer; chaplain, Mrs. Edith L Carver. 

THE ASSOCIATED CHARITIES 

The Associated Charities of Fort Dodge was organized October i, 1897, in 
the old Baptist church which stood on the present site of the Wahkonsa Hotel, 
on the corner of Tenth street and Central avenue. Rev. Bovell, at that time 
pastor of the church, presided at the meeting and the officers elected were : Presi- 
dent, George E. Roberts; vice president. Rev. Bovell; treasurer, G. S. Ringland ; 
secretary. Miss' Springer. 

The executive committee for the first year consisted of George E. Roberts, 
P. M. Mitchell, Mrs. Nettie Guild, Charles Craft, Mr. Mater, Mr. Julius and 
G. S. Ringland. 

Immediately after the organization the society secured from the Minneapolis 
and St. Louis railroad use of a number of vacant lots in South Fort Dodge, that 
has been known since as the "garden patch," and is parceled out to those who 
wish to cultivate it under the direction of the Associated Charities. A nominal 
charge of one dollar is made to pay for the cost of plowing and harrowing the 
ground. While in some instances good use has been made of the ground, yet 
it has not generally been by the very poor people, but by the thrifty, industrious 
class, who are already paying for a little home. As a means of assistance to 
this class the experiment has been worth while, but as a help to the "destitute," 
it has not proven the philanthropic remedy for poverty. The supervision of the 
garden patch has been the work of Webb Vincent, one of the most active mem- 
bers of the society. 

Rev. C. H. Remington, former rector of St. Mark's, was very zealous and 
interested in the work during his residence here and acted as president for some 
time. P. M. Mitchell, who succeeded Mr. Roberts as president, was elected in 
1 90 1 and Dr. P. C. Baird, then pastor of the Presbyterian church, was elected 
to the office of president in the year 1904. He served until the year 1906, when 




OLESON PARK. FORT DODGE. CONCRETE BRIDGE BUILT IN 1911 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 207 

Dr. McCreight was elected to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Dr. 
Baird and has held the office ever since. 

Contributions to the society have been voluntary, but have always been 
sufficient to meet the demands of the society, whose aim has been to give only 
temporary relief, leaving "chronic" cases to the county. The Thanksgiving Day 
offering at the union church service has each year been contributed to the funds 
of the society. The B. P. O. E. have also contributed to the work, on two 
occasions giving the proceeds from special entertainments, one of which was the 
production of Julius Caesar. 

When the \'isiting Xurse Association was formed in Fort Dodge, Miss 
Bertha Middlemas, the nurse in charge of the work, proved very valuable in 
investigating and bringing cases to the attention of the Associated Charities. 

With the organization of the Women's Club of Fort Dodge, in 1912, a 
department of charities was formed and Miss Gladys Welles of New York, was 
hired as secretary. In December, 1912, the department was combined with 
the Associated Charities, and officers were elected as follows : A. H. McCreight, 
president; Mrs. J. M. Schaupp, vice president; C. M. Rudesill, secretary; P. M. 
Doud, treasurer; Mrs. O. ^I. Oleson, chairman of executive committee, and Miss 
Gladys Welles, general secretary. 

WEBSTER COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The inception of the Webster County Historical Society was the usual one, 
that of a small gathering of a few interested ones at the call of one just a little 
more interested than the rest. The first meeting was held in the studio of 
Mr. H. O. Baldwin, June 26, 1906. At this meeting arrangements were made 
for a meeting at a later date for the purpose of organization. This meeting was 
held July 10, 1906, and at that time a constitution and by-laws were adopted 
and officers elected. The first officers were : Mrs. Jonathan P. Dolliver, presi- 
dent ; H. O. Baldwin, vice president; Mrs. C. B. Hepler, secretary and treasurer, 
and H. ^l. Pratt, curator. The board of directors consisted of the president, 
secretary and curator and two additional members, O. M. Oleson and L. S. Coffin. 
Since that time the office of president has been filled by C. V. Findlay and Mrs. 
John F. Duncombe. H. ]\I. Pratt has been curator of the society since its organi- 
zation. The present officers (1912-1913) are: Mrs. John F. Duncombe, presi- 
dent; Mrs. C. B. Hepler, vice president; Guy Ryther, secretary and treasurer, 
and H. M. Pratt curator; and the additional members of the board of directors 
being O. M. Oleson and C. Y. Findlay. The headquarters of the society are in 
the basement of the public library. 

The first work of the society was the establishment of the custom of holding 
an annual Pioneers' day celebration in connection with the Chautauqua assembly. 
Through the kindness of the Chautauqua management, it has been possible to hold 
this gathering each year. The first observance of the day was Tuesday, August 
7, 1906. The occasion was in the nature of an anniversary of the arrival of 
the United States troops at Fort Dodge fifty-six years before. In the forenoon 
a short program of pioneer reminiscences was given at the grovmds. This was 
followed by a picnic dinner. The afternoon program opened with the ceremony 
of raising the "Stars and Stripes" on the new flag pole, which had been erected 



208 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

on the high school grounds for the occasion^ and which is still in use, a 
monument to the work of the Fort Dodge chapter of the D. A. R. This feature 
of the program was in charge of the D. A. R., assisted by the members of the 
G. A. R., Company G, I. N. G., and the Fifty-sixth Regiment Band, I. N. G. 
At the Chautauqua grounds military maneuvers were held by the militia and 
a concert was given by the regimental band. The address of the afternoon was 
delivered by Dr. B. F. Shambaugh of the University of Iowa, and Senator Jona- 
than P. Dolliver acted as presiding officer. At this first meeting a register was 
kept of all those attending who had been residents of the county forty years 
or more. This custom has been kept up each year since. The register show§ 
a good attendance at each annual gathering. On account of lack of funds, the 
society has done little in the way of publication. The energies of the society 
have been spent principally in keeping up the observance of Pioneers' day. The 
society is an auxiliary member of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and 
was represented at the semi-centennial celebration of the adoption of the Iowa 
constitution held at Iowa City, March, 1907, and also at the meeting of the 
Mississippi A'alley Historical Society, also held at Iowa City, May, 1910. 

FORT DODGE COMMERCIAL CLUB 

The Fort Dodge Commercial club was organized at a mass meeting held in 
the court room December 4, 1902. At this meeting about one hundred people 
were present. The meeting was called to order by Mr. F. T. Clark, who in turn 
called Mr. A. L. Brown to the chair. Mr. E. H. Williams acted as secretary. 

The club as first organized was incorporated as a stock company with a 
capital stock of $2,000, divided into shares of $5.00 each. The payment for 
stock was to apply on the membership dues for the first year. The stock sub- 
scription plan was soon found to be impracticable, and instead memberships 
were issued with annual dues of $10.00. These annual dues provide the funds 
for the general expenses of the club. When funds are needed for some particular 
purpose that recjuires a considerable amount of money they are raised by 
special subscriptions. 

At the first meeting articles of incorporation and by-laws were presented by 
Mr. Clark, who had been instrumental in calling the meeting. The final adoption 
of the articles was deferred until the meeting for permanent organization, which 
was held January 14, 1903. A committee was also appointed to solicit the sale 
of stock. At a subsequent meeting this committee reported 104 subscribers. 

The following temporary officers were elected to serve until the permanent 
organization: M. E. Springer, president; W. F. Maher, vice president; John 
Abel, treasurer; and E. H. Williams, secretary. The first board of directors 
consisted of J. B. Butler, W. U. Turpin, L. E. Armstrong, O. M. Oleson, M. J. 
Haire, F. T. Clark, R. O. Green, E. H. Williams, M. F. Healy, P. M. Mitchell, 
L. R. Dohs, A. C. Heath, John Abel, V. C. Colbert and E. G. Larson. 

The first proposition ever presented to the Commercial club for action was 
one from the "Vigor-O-Health" Company, who desired to locate in Fort Dodge 
for the manufacture of their products. The first convention to be entertained 
by the club was that of the Upper Des ]\Ioines Editorial Association, which met 
in Fort Dodge. February 5, 6, 1903. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 209 

At the time the Commercial Club was organized the matter of creating a 
department of commerce as a part of the national administration was being talked 
of, and the newly organized club passed a resolution favoring the same. Yet 
at the same time .club members, in addressing the meetings of the club, opposed 
the extension of rural free delivery and the establishment of a parcel post. The 
early records also show the appointment of a committee, whose duty was to 
endeavor to secure passes from the railroads for the various committees of the 
club which might from time to time be appointed to investigate factory proposi- 
tions. It was at a meeting held February 26, 1903, that C. J. Crawford first 
presented a proposition for the erection of a much needed hotel, and which 
finally resulted in the building of the ''Crawford,'' after many delays. 

Since its organization the Commercial Club has entertained many propositions. 
Some have been good. !Many have been bad. Some, that at first sight proved 
promising, failed. Yet in the total the club has had much to their credit. The 
securing of some of the best factories in the city has been due to their work. 
They have successfully entertained many conventions and have given Fort Dodge 
its reputation as an ideal convention city. It was largely due to Commercial 
Club efiforts that the "Wahkonsa" hotel w^as built ; and the electrolier system of 
lights on Central avenue is due to the work of a committee from the club. 

At first the club had no regular meeting place, the meetings being generally 
held in the court room. The commissioner, however, had an office in the East 
Mason block and here the boar^of directors usually met. Later the club rented 
a hall in the Doud block; ancl January i, 1912, they moved to the West Alason 
block, where in connection with the A. O. U. W. lodge they rent the entire third 
floor. 

The by-laws provide for the hiring of a commissioner whose duty it is to 
take charge of the active work of the club. This office was first held by F. L. 
Harmon, and later by S. T. Meservey. The office was then combined with that 
of secretary and J. E. Downing was elected to the office. 

In November, 191 1, the club established the custom of having a business 
men's luncheon every Wednesday noon. At this luncheon there is usually a 
short program of addresses upon timely subjects. The annual meeting of the 
club is held the second Wednesday in January of each year, the regular meeting 
of the board of directors occurs the first Wednesday of each month. 

The officers of the society, consisting of a president, vice president, secre- 
tary and treasurer are usually chosen from the board of fifteen directors. The 
work of the club is carried on by committees. The chairman of each committee 
is a member of the board of directors and the remaining members are selected 
from the membership at large. 

The objects of the association as set forth in the articles of incorporation 
are as follows : "To secure cooperation from all classes of people in the com- 
munity, representing commercial, mechanical, banking, real estate and profes- 
sional interests, not to supersede or antagonize any existing business organiza- 
tions, but by consulting and with united efforts to work for the common good 
of all in matters touching the general welfare of the city of Fort Dodge; to 
secure the location of manufacturing and other business enterprises in the 
city ; to promote commercial progress and increase trade and industries ; to 
acquire and disseminate commercial and economical information ; to increase 



210 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

acquaintance and harmony among the business and professional men of the city, 
using such means as may be best calculated to protect the interests and rights 
of citizens, looking chiefly towards the commercial development of the city and 
surrounding territory. 

The principal officers of the association since its organization are as follows : 

1904. L. R. Dohs, president; E. H. Williams, secretary; John Abel, treasurer, 

1905. J. B. Butler, president; J. E. Downing, secretary; E. G. Larson, 
treasurer. 

1906. J. B. Butler, president ; J. E. Downing, secretary ; E. G. Larson, 
treasurer. 

1907. D. M. Woodward, president; E. F. Gates, secretary; E. G. Larson, 
treasurer. 

1908. W. V. Mulroney, president; H. M. Pratt, secretary, C. E. Larson, 
treasurer. 

1909. A. D. McOuilken, president; H. J\L Pratt, secretary; C. E. Larson, 
treasurer. 

1910. A. D. McOuilkin, president; H. M. Pratt, secretary; C. D. Case, 
treasurer. 

191 1. J. R. Mulroney, president; H. M. Pratt, secretary; C. D. Case, 
treasurer. 

1912. J. R. Mulroney, president; H. M. Pratt, secretary; C. D. Case, 
treasurer. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
THE. SPIRIT LAKE MASSACRE AND EXPEDITION 

INKPADUTAH TAKES REVENGE — THE MASSACRE AT THE LAKES CAPTIVES RETURN 

THE SPIRIT LAKE MONUMENT — NEWS OF MASSACRE REACHES FORT DODGE 

RELIEF EXPEDITION ORGANIZED — JOHN F. DUNCOMBe's STORY OF THE EXPEDITION 

DEATH OF CAPTAIN JOHNSON AND WILLIAM BURKHOLDER RETURN TO FORT 

DODGE. 

During the spring of 1856, adventurous emigrants in search of claims and 
preemptions had reached northern Iowa. Settlements at Okoboji and Spirit Lakes 
embraced about fifty persons. The most of these settlers reached the lakes in the 
months of July and August, having little time to erect their cabins and prepare 
hay for their few cattle before winter set in. The winter of 1856-57 was one 
of unusual and persistent severity. Frequent storms covered the prairies with a 
depth of snow that made travel very difficult and completely cut off communication 
between the scattered settlements for weeks and months. 

Most of the Indians had by this time removed from northwestern Iowa, but 
parties frequently returned to hunt and fish at their favorite resorts of former 
years. Inkpadutah, who often came with his band, had professed friendship for 
the whites in these isolated settlements, but those familiar with the Indian 
character were fearful lest he some day would take revenge upon them for the 
massacre of his family by Lott. 

In February, 1857, Inkpadutah and his band appeared on the Little Sioux 
river in the northeastern corner of Woodbury county. They came ostensibly to 
hunt, but in reality they came to plunder. As they passed up the Little Sioux to 
the lake district they robbed and maltreated the settlers. The arms, ammunition, 
provisions and cattle were taken from them, leaving the settlers destitute and 
defenseless. As the snow was very deep and communication with other settle- 
ments impossible, they were compelled to submit to the many outrages the Sioux 
perpetrated. 

The Indians reached the lakes in the early days of Alarch and finally on the 
eighth day of that month began the outrages, which resulted in the deaths of 
more than one-half of the people at this settlement. 

On the southeast side of the lake, near what is now known as Pillsbury Point, 
lived the Rowland Gardner and Harvey Luce families ; on the east was the cabin 
occupied by Dr. I. H. Herriott, Bertell Snyder, William and Carl Granger ; also 
on the east side were the cabins of James H. Mattocks, Joel Howe, Alvin Noble 
and Joseph M. Thatcher. Six miles to the northeast, on the west shore of 
Spirit lake, William oMarble and wife resided. 

211 



212 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

While the Gardner family were at breakfast their cabin door was opened and 
in stalked fourteen Sioux, led by Inkpadutah. The Indians professed friendship, 
until they had eaten all of the available food, and until resisted by Luce, when 
attempting to take the guns and ammunition belonging to their hosts. At this 
point, Dr. Herriott and Carl Snyder entered and the savages withdrew. Mr. 
Gardner believing the entire settlement in danger urged the young men to assemble 
all the neighbors at his house in order to defend themselves. The young men, 
however, thought there was no danger and soon repaired to their own cabins. 

After prowling about during the forenoon, the Indians approached the Mat- 
tocks' cabin, taking Gardner's cattle and shooting them on the way. The entire 
Mattocks' family was murdered; and in spite of a brave attempt on the part of 
Gardner to defend his family, he and they, with the exception of one daughter, 
were killed. This fourteen-year-old daughter, Abbie, was taken prisoner. In 
defending the ^Mattocks' family. Dr. Herriott and Carl Snyder lost their lives. 
Luce and Clark, who had started to warn the settlers, were overtaken and scalped. 
That night, -with truly savage orgies, the Indians celebrated the slaughter of over 
twenty men, women and children. 

On the morning of the ninth, they continued the massacre, taking as victims the 
Howe, Thatcher and Xoble families with the exception of 'Sirs. Noble and Mrs. 
Thatcher, who were taken to the Indian camp as prisoners. 

Later on, \\'illiam INIarble was treacherously shot and his wife taken captive. 
Before leaving Marble's Grove, the Indians peeled bark from a large tree and 
on the white surface pictured the record of their cruel deeds. 

Not a person in this whole colony was spared, when Inkpadutah took vengeance 
upon the innocent for the massacre of his relatives by Lott and his stepson. 

The Indians went northward to Springfield, Minnesota, where they again com- 
mitted depredations, and allowed only a few to escape their butchery. 

The four young women, who had been taken captive, were taken westward by 
the Indians ; were subjected to innumerable cruelties ; were compelled to cut wood 
and assist in camp drudgery. Mrs. Thatcher, after six weeks of terrible suffer- 
ing, was cruelly forced to swim back and forth across the Big Sioux river 
until she was exhausted and drowned. 

When news of the massacre at the lakes and of the capture of the four young 
women reached the Indian agency on Yellow ^Medicine river, the agent, Charles 
E. Flandreau, with S. R. Riggs and Dr. Thomas W^illiamson, a missionary, began 
to devise plans for the rescue of the captives. They finally succeeded in pur- 
chasing Mrs. Marble for one thousand dollars. She did everything in her 
power to efifect the rescue of her two surviving companions. The ^Minnesota 
legislature appropriated ten thousand dollars to be used by the governor to secure 
the release of the two captives. Before Inkpadutah's camp was reached, however. 
Mrs. Noble had been beaten to death. Miss Gardner was purchased and delivered 
to Governor Medary, who paid the reward of twelve hundred dollars for her 
deliverance. 

In commemoration of this event the twenty-fifth general assembly of Iowa 
enacted a law for the erection of a suitable monument at Spirit lake on the grounds 
where these scenes took place. Governor Jackson appointed as commissioners, 
Hon. C. C. Carpenter. Hon. John F. Duncombe, Hon. R. A. Smith, Mrs. Abbie 
Gardner Sharpe and Hon. Charles Aldrich. The location selected for the monu- 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 213 

ment is very close to the site upon which the Gardner cabin was located. The 
monument itself is composed of Minnesota granite, is 55 feet in height and rests 
upon a base, 14x14 feet. The following appears on the bronze tablets: 

NORTH TABLET 

Iowa Coat of Arms 

WEST TABLET 

Roster of the Relief Expedition, Fort Dodge, ^^larch 24, 1857 
Major \\'illiam \\'illiams commanding 

Company A — C. B. Richards, captain ; F. A. Stratton, first lieutenant ; L. K. 
Wright, sergeant ; Solon ]\Iason, corporal. 

Privates — W. E. Burkholder, C. C. Carpenter, Julius Conrad, — Chatterton, 
J. W. Dawson, John Farney, Andrew Hood, ^^'illiam McCauley, E. Mahan, W. F. 
Porter ; L. B. Ridgeway, R. A. Smith, O. S. Spencer, Silas Vancleave, G. W. 
Brizee, L. D. Crawford, Henry Carse, Wm. Defore, Wm. Ford, John Gales, 
Angus McBane, Michael ]\Iaher, W. P. Pollock, B. F. Parmenter, \\"inton 
Smith, G. P. Smith, C. Stebbins, R. U. Wheelock, D. Westerfield. 

Company B — J. F. Duncombe^ captain ; James Linn, first lieutenant ; S. C. 
Stevens, second lieutenant ; W . N. Kpons, sergeant ; Thomas Calagan, corporal. 

Privates — Jesse Addington. Hiram Benjamin, Orlando Bice, A. E. Crouse. 
Michael Cavanaugh, John Hefl^ey, A. Burch, D. H. Baker, Richard Carter, R. F. 
Carter, Jere Evans, O. C. Howe, D. F. Howell, Jonas Murray, G. F. ^IcClure, 
Michael McCarty, Robert ]\IcCormick, Daniel Okeson, J. M. Thatcher, John 
White, Washington Williams, A. S. Johnson, Daniel Morrissey, A. H. Malcames, 
J. N. ]\IcFarland, John O'Laughlin, Guernsey Smith, W. Searles, W. B. Wilson, 
Reuben Whetstone. 

Company C — J. C. Johnson, captain; J. N. Maxwell, first lieutenant; F. B. 
Mason, second lieutenant; H. Hoover, sergeant; A. N. Hathaway, corporal. 

Privates — Thos. Anderson, T. B. Bonewright. W. L. Church, H. E. Dalley, 
John Gates, James Hickley, i\I. W. Howland, W. K. Laughlin, F. R. bloody, 
J. C. Pemberton, ]\Iichael Sweeney, A. K. Tullis, G. R. Bissell, surgeon ; James 
Brainard, Sherman Cassady, Patrick Conlan, John Erie, Josiah Griffith, H. C. 
Hillock, E. D. Kellogg, A. S. Leonard, John J\'owland, Alonzo Richardson, Patrick 
Statlord. X. \'. Lucas, C. Sherman, com'sy. 

EAST TABLET 

The pioneer settlers named below were massacred by Sioux Indians, March 
8-13, 1857. The barbarous work was commenced near this spot, and continued 
to a point north of Spirit Lake. 

Robert Clark, Rowland Gardner, Francis ^I. Gardner, Rowland Gardner. 
Jr., Carl Granger, Joseph Harshman, Isaac H. Herriott, Joel Howe, Millie 
Howe, Jonathan Howe, Sardis Howe. Alfred Howe, Jacob Howe, Philetus Howe, 
Harvey Luce, Mary M. Luce, Albert Luce, Amanda Luce, William Wood. 
William Marble. James H. ^Mattock, Mary M. Mattock, Alice Mattock, Daniel 



214 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

■Mattock, Agnes ^lattock, Jacob I\I. ^lattock, Jackson A. Alattock, Robert ]\Iat- 
thieson, Lydia Xoble, Alvin Xoble, John Noble, Enoch Ryan, Bertel E. Snyder, 
Joshua Stewart, wife and two children, Elizabeth Thatcher, Dora Thatcher, 
George Wood. 

MEMORANDA 

Mrs. Margaret Ann Marble, Mrs. Lydia Noble, Mrs. Elizabeth Thatcher and 
Miss Abbie Gardner were carried into captivity. Mrs. Marble was rescued. May 
21. and Miss Gardner, June 27, 1857, through the efforts of Governor Sam Medary 
and Hon. Charles E. Flandrau, of Minnesota. Mrs. Noble and Mrs. Thatcher 
were murdered by the Indians. 

Captain J. C. Johnson, of Webster City, and Wm. E. Burkholder, of Fort 
Dodge, were frozen to death on the return march in Palo Alto county, April 4, 

1857- 

Persons who fled from the attack on Springfield, Minnesota, and were rescued 

by the relief expedition : John Bradshaw, David Carver, Mrs. S. J. Church and 

two children, Eliza Gardner, Geo. Granger. ]Mrs. Harshman and children, Mr. 

Harshman (son of the preceding) and wife, Morris Markman, Mrs. William 

Nelson and child, Jared Palmer, A. B. Shiegley, J. B. Skinner and wife, Mr. 

Smith and wife. Dr. G. B. N. Strong, wife and two children, John Stewart, 

Drusilla Swanger, J. B. Thomas, wife and five children. 

THE SPIRIT LAKE EXPEDITION 

The news of the destruction of the settlements around Spirit Lake was 
brought to Fort Dodge by O. C. Howe, R. U. Wheelock and B. F. Parmenter, 
who had taken claims in the neighborhood of Spirit Lake. They had started 
early in March to visit their claim, and reached the Thatcher cabin on the 15th. 
Unable to arouse anyone in the cabin, they opened the door and beheld the 
dead bodies of Noble and Ryan. Upon approaching the cabin of Mr. Howe, 
they found the mutilated bodies of seven women and children. Realizing that 
this was the work of the Indians, they hastened back to Fort Dodge to carry 
the news, and to secure aid. They reached the city on Saturday night. March 
21, 1857. The next day a public meeting was called in the "old brick" school- 
house and the following day two companies were organized to go to the relief 
of the settlements. These two companies were company A, commanded by 
Captain C. B. Richards and Company B, commanded by Captain John F. Dun- 
combe. They were joined by another company from Webster City, known as 
Company C, and commanded by Captain J. C. Johnson. These three com- 
panies were formed into a battalion and Major William Williams assumed the 
command. At the time, !Major Williams had a commission from Governor 
Grimes, authorizing him, in case of Indian depredations to organize sufficient 
military force to protect the settlers. 

The three companies were furnished with teams and wagons and with the 
supposed necessary sui)ply of provisions, clothing and blankets ; and with such 
arms and ammunition as could be furnished at the time, consisting of nearly 
every kind of gun, from double-barreled shot guns to the finest rifles. Thus 
equipped, the expedition left Fort Dodge on Alarch 24, 1857. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 215 

The following account of the expedition is taken from an address deliv- 
ered by Hon. John F. Duncombe, the captain of Company B. 

"The first day, the companies, after a hard fight with great drifts and 
enormous snow-banks, made only a distance of six or seven miles and camped 
close to the timber on the banks of Eiadger creek. The men rolled themselves 
in their blankets, covered their heads and lay down on the snow. 

"The following day we shoveled snow, tramped it down for our teams, 
and when no other plan was possible, fastened a long rope to a wagon, and 
every man taking hold, hauled the wagon through banks so deep that the snow 
would pile up in front until it reached the top of the dashboard. After getting 
our wagons through such a bank we would haul our oxen and horses through 
places where it was impossible for them to travel. 

"In this way we reached the point now known as Dakotah City, after wading 
the Des Moines river fifteen or twenty times, where there were places to drag 
our wagons over, as we could not get down to the rivet at any place where it 
was sufficiently frozen to carry our heavy loads. We had made about ten 
miles on this day, by dark. 

"A few of the men found places to lodge in houses and sheds; others rolled 
in their blankets, sought the shelter of the groves or lay on the snow as on the 
preceding night. 

"The following day the command started for McKnight's Point, a distance of 
about eighteen miles in a direct line northwesterly from Dakotah City. Our 
course lay over a rather low, flat prairie, which had gathered and retained the 
great bulk of the accumulation of the earlier winter storms. We were without 
guide, larkmarks or tracks of any kind to direct us. This necessitated having 
some one go ahead and find the best places for crossing the deep and almost 
impassable drifts. 

"This duty was assigned to me and it necessitated double the amount of 
travel required of the command. During all the forenoon I kept two or three 
miles in advance of the companies, signaling back from high points the direc- 
tion to be taken to avoid, so far as possible, the depressions in the ground 
which were filled with snow, in many places ten or twelve feet in depth. All 
this distance there was a crust on the snow on which a light man could some- 
times w^alk five or six rods, but a heavier man would break through and go in 
to his hips, thus making the march exceedingly difficult and tiresome. 

"At dark the companies were together .about three or four miles back, and 
we were about the same distance from a grove of timber at McKnight's Point, 
on the west fork of the Des Moines river. We held a consultation and con- 
cluded it would be as easy to reach this timber as to return to the command, 
and immediately started for it. One of our number would go ahead for a 
few rods and the other two following his footsteps, at one time on the crust 
of the snow and at another time sinking down two or three, or more feet 
into the snow, w^edged in by the hard crust which made it almost impossible to 
extricate ourselves for another plunge. Then another would change with the 
leader. We continued on in this way until we reached the grove. 

"From McKnight's Point, the command, led by that brave, intrepid old 
soldier. Major William Williams, continued on. each day being a repetition of 
the preceding one. until we reached what was then called the West Bend and 



216 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

beyond that the Irish Colony, located a few miles northwesterly from what 
is now the flourishing city of Emmetsburg, the growing capital of Palo Alto 
county. Here, we rested for a short time and were joined by several persons 
living in the settlement and by Hon. C. C. Carpenter and Angus McBane and 
others who happened to be there on business, but resided at Fort Dodge. 

"After the command moved on from the Irish Colony, signs of Indians were 
found around the lakes in that neighborhood. A few cattle had been shot, and 
what appeared like moccasin tracks were seen and every little grove was searched. 

"Near the lakes we saw in the distance some objects which seemed to be 
moving and were supposed to be Indians. A detail was sent ahead to investi- 
gate, and a nearer view revealed an ox-team and a sled. 

"This showed plainly the presence of white people. As we approached, 
we found that they had mistaken us for Indians. They had put themselves 
in an attitude of defense, evidently intending to sell their lives as dearly as 
possible and determined never to fall into the hands of the savages alive, ^^'hen 
they found us friends, the joy of these people, about seventeen or eighteen in 
number, can be better imagined than described. They were trying to escape 
from the town of Springfield, in Minnesota, where the Indians had Ijeen 
repulsed, but at the cost of one killed and several wounded. 

"While we were at the lakes and after supplying these refugees \\ ith food, 
the appetites of our men, on account of the cold and severe labor, had nearly 
exhausted the amount of food supplied for the march, and we were reduced to 
half rations. Much of the time, however, we were supplied with raw meat, 
some of it beavers' meat, which was cooked by our night lires. each one fur- 
nishing a stick, fastening to it a piece of meat and holding it over the coals, 
until ready for supper. When there was no stick handy, a ramrod answered the 
purpose. 

""For the last few days of the march we were constantly in expectation of 
meeting Indians, of whom every settler gave such information as best suited 
his fancy. This constant watchfulness, which required the stationing of guards 
at night, permitted but few hours of good, sound, restful sleep during the entire 
march. The labors of the men were of the most severe character. They were 
almost constantly shoveling snow and dragging out teams and wagons by ropes 
through the deep banks, traveling with sore, wet and swollen feet. To add to 
the difficulty, several became snow-blind. 

"x\fter meeting the refugees from Springfield, who would have perished 
but for our timely aid, all believed the Indians would follow them. This neces- 
sitated double diligence and vigilance. All were constantly on the watch after 
we left Mud Lakes. In order not to be taken by surprise a body of scouts was 
dispatched ahead of the main company to carefully examine the timber border- 
ing on the lakes, and report any further signs of Indians that might be discovered. 
"From this point no particular incident occurred worth relating until we 
reached Granger's cabin, near the Minnesota line, several miles above Estherville. 
"At the Granger cabin a soldier from Fort Ridgely met us and reported what 
the soldiers from that point had done, and gave us what information he had 
relating to the Indians and the direction they had taken. He said that after 
their repulse at Springfield, they had hastily fled and were then probably a hun- 
dred miles northwest of the place where we were encamped for the night. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 217 

"The officers then held a council, and all concluded the Indians had such 
a start that we could not overtake them, and by this time the sun had melted 
the snow to such an extent that the streams were rising rapidly and in many 
places were almost impassable. 

"It was then decided to send a detail to bury the dead and find whether 
any were yet alive around the lakes. \^olunteers were called for, and Captain 
Johnson of Company C, and many others, more than could go, volunteered. 
The names of this party, about twenty in all, have been preserved and it will 
be unnecessary for me to repeat them. Captain Johnson was placed in com- 
mand by Major Williams, and we parted with these brave men, expecting to 
meet them on our return to the Irish colony. 

"The balance of the command then started on the return march. The fast 
melting snow had raised the streams and in places they were almost impassable. 
After a hard, toilsome march, we finally reached the Irish colony, expecting 
to meet our men who had been sent to bury the dead. Captain Johnson never 
returned. \Villiam Burkholder never returned. The night before our arrival 
it turned cold and there was quite a blizzard. Captain Johnson and .his detach- 
ment, as soon as they had buried the dead, started to cross from the lakes to 
our place of meeting. They became bewildered and disagreed as to the proper 
course to take, remaining all night with their frozen clothing and wet feet on 
the open prairie without shelter or food. In the morning those who had taken 
off their wet boots were unable to get them on. They separated into s([uads, 
each party taking the course that it considered right, and during the day most 
of them reached the place of meeting. Captain Johnson and William Burk- 
holder, two as noble men as ever lived, were frozen to death and though fof 
weeks a search was made, their bones were not found until years after, when 
they were identified by the rifle which Burkholder carried and had with him when 
he died. Many of those who came in were actually crazy, so that they did not 
recognize their companions for some time after. It has always been a mystery 
to me that any of the detachment survived that terrible night. On the open 
prairie, in the neighborhood of the lakes, the storm was the worst that we had 
experienced up to that time and one of the worst ever known in Iowa. The 
hardships which these brave men experienced and endured on the march undoubt- 
edly accustomed them to greater hardships and increased their powers of endur- 
ance, or not one would have been left to tell the tale of their sufferings. At the 
Irish colony, as we had but little food, we tried to purchase a steer to be killed to 
aid our commissary, George B. Sherman. The people refused to sell without 
the cash and we were compelled to take the animal by force. 

"We then started down the Des Moines river, keeping on the hills to avoid 
the water, which l:)y this time covered the bottom lands. About two hours 
before dark we arrived at Cylinder creek, which we found had risen so rapidly 
that it covered the flat land for nearly half a mile in width, for a depth of 
from two to four feet, w^hile the main channel of the stream was fifty or sixty 
feet wide and very deep. 

"Captain Richards and myself concluded to rig up a boat from a new wagon 
box, which we calked with the cotton from a bed-quih, and taking Guernsey 
Smith from my company and Mr. Mason from his, we started across, hoping 
in this way to be able to get the remainder over. The wind, however, rose 



218 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

suddenly from the northwest and blew so hard that although we baled con- 
stantly we barely reached the other shore before our boat was swamped and 
sunk, all getting more or less wet. 

"Captain Richards, Smith and myself tried to reach the men on the other 
side by calling to them, but failed. We were exhausted and knew unless we 
could reach the cabin about three miles away the chances for the night would 
be poor indeed, as all our blankets were left with the men. As we could accom- 
plish nothing more, we started as rapidly as we could go, with our wet feet, 
frozen boots and clothing, for the Shippey cabin, which we reached after dark. 
We secured a little bread, bacon and coffee and then sat around the fire drying 
our clothing, looking out of the door to see if there was any change for the 
better in the awful storm and wondering how it would be possible for the men 
to live through the night. This was one of the longest nights I ever experienced. 
It seemed like a month to me. 

"As soon as we could see, we started back to the point where we had left 
the men. Captain Richards and myself reached the place through the blind- 
ing storm W'ith the mercury away below zero and the wind blowing at a fifty 
mile rate, but the other men did not. 

"When we reached Cylinder creek we could see that the men were all hidden 
from sight by the blankets and canvas coverings of the wagons and we were 
in great fear that all were frozen to death as there was not the least sign of 
life. We remained as long as we could stand it and then returned to Shippey 's 
cabin. About three o'clock we again faced the storm and reached the place 
a second time opposite our men. Captain Richards and myself had brought a 
rope with us when we crossed over, and on our first trip had made great exer- 
tions to reach the men. We renewed our efforts at this time. I tied the rope 
around ni}- body, Captain Richards taking the other end, and finding two boards 
of the wagon box, put them on the ice, and by moving one and then the other 
ahead of me while lying flat down tried to cross the stream, but on account of 
my weight constantly breaking the thin ice over the rapid portion of the stream, 
I found it impossible. Then Captain Richards, who was lighter than myself, 
tried the same experiment, I holding the end of the rope, but with no better 
success. 

"At this time, however, I saw and talked with two of the men, who informed 
me that all were safe. With great coolness and presence of mind, the men piled 
up as close together as they could lie, covered themselves all over with the 
blankets, scarcely a person moving from Saturday evening until Monday morn- 
ing, when the ice had frozen over so solidly that the loaded wagons and horses, 
as well as the men, crossed over in perfect safety. 

"Owing to the lack of food the men at this point separated somewhat, going 
in squads with a view to securing suflicient supplies to last them until they 
should reach home. 

"When the storm came to Cylinder creek. Major Williams rode back on a 
wagon to the Irish colony to look after the men of the detail sent to Spirit Lake 
to bury the dead, who had not yet arrived. He and the remainder of the com- 
pany arrived at Fort Dodge on the lOth or nth of April. All of those we had 
rescued arrived safely in as good form as could have been hoped for in their 
destitute and wounded condition. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 219 

"All of the command finally arrived safely except Captain Johnson and 
William Burkholder, who perished in the awful storm not far from the Irish 
colony, on the west side of the west fork of the Des Moines river. Some of 
the party, however, received injuries from the exposure on the march, from 
which they never recovered. 

"I have doubts whether any body of men for the same length of time, on 
any march, ever suffered greater hardships, more constant exposure, more 
severe bodilv labor, than these who composed the Spirit Lake Expedition." 



^'ol. I— 1 5 



CHAPTER XIX 
BUILDING A RAILROAD 

FORT DODGE & FORT RIDGLEV RAILROAD AND TELEGRAPH COMPANY ORGANIZED 

FINANCING THE ROAD GEORGE R. PEARSONS — A RACE FOR THE COUNTY LINE 

MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS AS TO OPERATION ROAD IS SOLD TO MINNEAPOLIS 

& SAINT LOUIS RAILROAD. 

During the year 1877 the business men of Fort Dodge were aroused to action 
by the report that a railroad was to be built northwest of the city into the town 
of Humboldt. The chief promoter of this road was S. H. Taft, of Humboldt, 
and he had interested J. J. Smart, of Des Moines, in the enterprise. In addition 
the board of supervisors of Humboldt county had entered into an agreement to 
convey a considerable amount of swamp land as a bonus for building the road. 
The road was to be extended from Ames by way of Webster City to Humboldt, 
and thence to Rutland. The success of such a road would mean the loss of 
considerable business to the Fort Dodge business men. A public meeting was 
called, which was attended by men representing the various business interests 
of the city. Action was taken looking to the immediate building of a road into 
Humboldt county. A company was organized composed of the leading business 
men of the city and known as the Fort Dodge & Fort Ridgley Railroad & Tele- 
graph Company. George R. Pearsons was chosen treasurer and general super- 
intendent. The city and township voted a tax in aid of the enterprise, and the 
line of the proposed road was run to the south line of Humboldt county. 

The original prospectus of the road shows that it was to be built narrow gauge 
width, from Fort Dodge in a northwesterly direction to the north line of the state 
in Kossuth or Emmet county, to connect with a railroad and telegraph company 
running in the direction of Fort Ridgley, Minnesota. The capital stock proposed 
was $2,000,000 in shares of Sioo each, to be called in at the rate of ten per cent 
monthly, as the board of directors might direct, and the total indebtedness of 
the company was at no time to exceed $1,000,000 in the aggregate. 

The officers 'of the company were : Walter H. Brown, president ; George 
W. Bassett, vice president ; George R. Pearsons, treasurer and general superin- 
tendent ; Gus T. Peterson, secretary, and Elliott E. Colburn, chief engineer. 

The usual methods of raising additional funds with which to prosecute the 
work were resorted to in the way of taxes, personal subscriptions, and grants. 
At this time the number of inhabitants in Webster county was a little over 
i3,OQO while the counties of Humboldt, Kossuth and Palo Alto had less. All 
of these counties as well as Pocahontas, Emmet, Clay and Dickinson were to be 
tributary to the road when it had reached Emmetsburg, a distance of fifty-three 

221 



222 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

miles, and it was the intention of the promoters to supply the territory west of 
Emmetsburg on the line of the Milwaukee road with fuel obtained from the coal 
mines adjacent to Fort Dodge. 

The plan adopted by the board of directors was to build the road on as cheap 
a scale as possible, using light iron and light engines, so as not to subject it to 
the necessity of a foreclosure of its bonds, as had been the case with so many 
western roads, and it was confidently believed that with the aid of the people in 
the way that had been proposed and had already been started, by subscriptions of 
stock in the various townships along the line, and from private subscriptions that 
this object would be accomplished. 

The level grade of the road, which was to be ballasted with good gravel, and 
the lack of curves, would enable the line to be operated at a light expense, and it 
was believed that the business which could be secured with connecting lines 
would enable the ofificers to pay a good dividend to the stockholders, besides pay- 
ing interest on the bonds, the total amount of which was to be $650,000 for one 
hundred miles of road, or $6,500 per mile, with seven per cent gold bearing inter- 
est coupons secured by trust deed. 

Everything looked well on paper. It was easily figured out that the road 
would be a great success once it was put in operation and would add greatly to 
the prestige of Fort Dodge as a commercial center. Friends of the road were 
dispatched to adjoining counties to solicit stock and urge upon the people the 
advisability of voting a tax. The progress made in the way of securing taxes 
was only fair. Humboldt county voted not only taxes, but swamp lands as well. 
While there was a certain commercial jealousy existing between the towns of 
Dakotah City and Humboldt, the tax was at last voted and the "knockers" de- 
feated 

The contract drafted by the board of supervisors contained numerous con- 
ditions which at the time looked easy enough, but proved exceedingly strenuous 
for the company to comply with. It was required that the company should have 
the line in running order and be able to maintain a speed of fifteen miles an 
hour over the county line by January i, 1879. The motive power, however, was 
not mentioned, and this slight oversight enabled the company to comply with 
the condition in a most amusing manner. 

Webster county voted a subsidy of $38,000 and Humljoldt county $35,000, in 
addition to 7,000 acres of swamp lands. This was financial foundation sufficient 
to warrant the promoters starting and in the spring of 1878 work was started. 
In the east part of Fort Dodge on a vacant lot is still to be seen a relic of the 
first grading done for the Fort Dodge & Fort Ridgley road. The summer was 
a wet season and the work of grading and haulingH:Iie rails by team was greatly 
retarded. Several bad sloughs caused much trouble in getting a grade over. 
George R. Pearsons, who had personal charge of the work, was a giant in strength 
and he threw his whole reserve force of energy and power into the work with 
a determination born of desperation. It was told of him that he used to start 
with a rail in each hand on the run up the grade, so anxious was he to reach the 
county line of Humboldt and have the road completed before the expiration of 
the time limit for doing the work. The wet weather and other drawbacks experi- 
enced, which necessitated great exposure, soon told on this man of herculean 
strength, and in time brought him home to a sick bed. The members of the 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 223 

directory felt that their project had been dealt a hard blow by this bit of bad news, 
but there were others who rallied to the rescue. A red-headed Irishman, who 
had charge of the men during Mr. Pearson's absence, proved an unknown hero. 
"Billy" O'Brien showed them he knew a few things about railroad building, and 
as fall came on and the \veather continued bad, with the sloughs open and roads 
heavy, he threw his great strength into the work of reaching the goal, which was 
the Humboldt county line. Small freight cars were run by horse or mule power 
from the supply yard at Fort Dodge to the point where the graders were at work. 
It was the custom of the directors to lend a hand in loading these cars when they 
arrived, and otherwise making themselves useful in the work. The near approach 
of the first of the year and the continued bad weather served to bring out all of 
the combined energy of the force engaged in constructing the road, and it was 
seen that something must be done to reach the Humboldt line in time. The 
recovery of ^Ir. Pearson from his sickness brought out a plan of operation which 
was adopted at once. Three shifts of men were put at work. There was no let- 
up in the race. Every man contributed his every pound of muscle and energy to 
the work. With only a margin of a day or two, the rails were laid over the county 
line and Mce President Bassett, watch in hand, with six picked men passed over 
the county line on a handcar at a rate of speed exceeding fifteen miles an hour. 

Through the town of Badger and on northwest the work progressed. Many 
people who ride over the Minneapolis & St. Louis road wonder why it is so 
crooked, when the prairie on either side would easily admit of a straight track 
without additional cost for grading. This was due to a plan inaugurated at the 
first inception of the Fort Dodge & Fort Ridgley survey. The corners of every 
other section are traversed to enable the company to secure additional subsidy 
for its construction. 

The work had progressed to a point across the Des Moines river known as the 
Jones farm when negotiations were opened with the Minneapolis & St. Louis 
road, which at that time came as far south as Livermore. Their survey ran 
through the town of Belmond and they were seeking a southern outlet. In the 
Fort Dodge & Fort Ridgley road they saw a connecting link which would serve 
their purpose to a good advantage, and the officials at once laid before the local 
company a proposition to buy the road. A condition of the sale was that the local 
company should continue the work of construction and deliver it to them 
complete to Livermore. 

The business men of Fort Dodge, who had become interested in the road at 
its inception and had been most enthusiastic, were more than willing to entertain 
the proposition, as they had in the brief time they had been connected with the 
enterprise been fully satisfied with railroad building. In fact the very promising 
things which at first looked so certain had gradually faded from view and the 
prospects of ultimate success were on the wane when the Minneapolis & St. Louis 
hove in sight with their proposition to buy. It did not take the remaining seven 
members of the board long to reach an agreement. Several of the members who 
had stuck to the enterprise from the first and had absorbed the stock of those 
who became frightened at the outcome, were joyous over the prospects of get- 
ting out without loss to themselves. Even at that the Minneapolis & St. Louis 
Company had made a good deal. And so did the local company, for steel rails 



224 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

which sold at $33.00 to the Fort Dodge Company advanced the next year to 
$60.00. 

Upon the completion of the road to Livermore an excursion was run to 
celebrate the completion. This was in 1879, and the Fort Dodge depot at the 
time was in the extreme eastern part of the city. Shortly after the first excur- 
sion was run from Fort Dodge to Minneapolis. Both were great events at the 
time and were liberally patronized by the settlers. 

Shortly after the Minneapolis & St. Louis had acquired the Fort Dodge & 
Fort Ridgley the officers of the road concluded to change the entrance into Fort 
Dodge and come in around the north, west and south sides in order to allow 
them to continue the road south. Accordingly, they set about to secure the 
right of way and in doing so found that it would be necessary to pass through 
the south line of the Oakland cemetery near the border. Inasmuch as this land 
could not be condemned, the officers took up the matter with the board and 
practically allowed the cemetery board to name its own price and impose such 
conditions upon the road as were necessary, no doubt believing that all would 
turn out well. One of the conditions was that a platform should be built close 
to the main traveled road and adjacent to a main grade crossing, which would 
be used for funeral trains which were to be provided the town during the 
spring season when the roads were impassable. Another condition was that all 
trains should be run very slow over the grade crossing and in case a funeral 
procession was passing at the time the train should come to a full stop. It is 
needless to say that none of these conditions imposed by the cemetery board 
were ever respected, much less carried out, with the result that one of the mem- 
bers of the board, who was a leading attorney, brought suit against the road 
and was awarded a verdict of $300.00, which was collected. The conditions 
since, however, have never been enforced. 



CHAPTER XX 
THE COMING OF THE "CHARLES ROGERS" 

BUILDING THE "cHARLES ROGERS" CAPTAIN BEEr's STORY HOMEWARD BOUN 

FIRST STEAMBOAT TO FORT DODGE PROMISE OF RIVER NAVIGATION A "SOCIABLE 

SOIREE." 

In the spring of 1859 the business men of, Fort Dodge organized a stock 
company for the purpose of raising funds to build a steamboat to navigate the 
Des ^loines river. The stock was readily taken and Captain Aaron F. Blackshere 
and Others were sent to Pittsburgh to superintend the building of the boat. A 
small sternwheel boat of fifty-ton capacity, with adjustable smokestack and pilot 
house, SO as to enable it to go under the bridge at Des Moines, was built, launched 
and sent by the way of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to Keokuk, then up the 
Des Moines to Fort Dodge. The name of this boat was ."Charles Rogers." 

Captain Beers has related the story of the maiden trip of this boat as follows : 

"I was sent by the Fort Dodge Navigation Company to Pittsburgh to bring 
back a steamboat to navigate the Des Moines river. Left Fort Dodge J^^ly 21, 
1858. Went down the Des Moines river to Keokuk in a little boat that was built 
here; went from there to Pittsburgh by rail. Arrived at Pittsburgh on the 6th 
of August ; on the 9th of August closed the contract with Charles Rogers for 
a steamboat with a hull seventy-six feet long, fifteen feet wide, with two cylin- 
ders ten and twelve inches in diameter, and a three-foot stroke. 

"The boat was built according to contract, the price agreed upon being $2,259, 
of which $175 was paid down, and by agreement the rest was to be arranged 
before I left Pittsburgh. The boat was completed in the early part of October 
and Mr. Henry Carse came from Fort Dodge to Pittsburgh with some money 
and we made a payment of- $1,100 all told, and left Pittsburgh with $13 for 
expense money, on the 14th of October, 1858. 

"I hired a greenhorn for a pilot, and being a greenhorn myself did not know 
any better. We got aground on a glass house riffle three or four miles below 
Pittsburgh. It cost us two hundred bushels of coal which we gave a steam- 
boat, to get off. We discharged our pilot, and got a new one named Elliott. We 
agreed to pay him $40.00 to take us to Cincinnati, which seemed to be a very 
large price as we only had $13.00 in money, and were leaving Pittsburgh $1,500 
in debt, secured by notes which were to run two, four and six months. These 
notes were secured by real estate which Mr. Carse and myself owned in Iowa. 

"We were five days going to Cincinnati. The first day we earned $1.00, the 
second about $10.00, by carrying passengers, freight and towing, and when we 

225 



226 HISTO_RY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

arrived in Cincinnati had money to pay Mr. Elliott, our pilot, and made some 
necessary changes in machinery amounting to about $25.00. 

"We left Cincinnati about the 20th of October, got aground about hve miles 
below, which took $5.00 to get ofif. We had two pilots engaged to take us to 
St. Louis for $75.00, which also was a very risky transaction, as we did not 
have over $10.00 when we left Cincinnati. 

"The school boys of that day all thought the 'Description of Blennerhasset 
Island,' by Wm. Wirt, the grandest thing ever written and I was anxious to see 
the place and kept a keen watch for the island. When we neared it we found 
it was just an overgrown piece of land that did not amount to anything at all. 
We passed through the locks at Louisville, which I understand they have since 
made a very fine work, but at that time a large steamboat could hardly go 
through. 

"We did not have anything of interest happen until we reached Evansville. 
There we paid the last dollar we had for provisions. We had about a $16.00 
freight bill to collect at Cairo. The freight consisted of furniture, which was on 
deck. About two hours before we arrived in Cairo, as we had no tarpaulin 
with which to cover us, the furniture got wet, having a little shower, and the 
consignees refused to pay the freight bill, which was a very serious disaster to 
young fellows without money. To add to our trouble, the fireman had burned 
out a grate bar and we could not make steam, and were in constant fear that 
the wharfmaster would come down and demand $3.00 for wharfing, a sum of 
money that we did not have, the failure to pay which would render us liable to 
be tied up for debt. 

"After a little deliberation, we took the fenders off the side of the l)oat and 
got up steam enough to leave the harbor, ran up the Mississippi about fifteen 
miles, when we came to a drift pile of probably an acre or two ; we landed and 
commenced to put drift wood on the boat to use for fuel. W^orked all night, left 
the drift pile about 10 o'clock in the morning, going up the river about e",ght 
miles an hour cheerfully. About 12 o'clock we came upon the wreck of a steam- 
boat, a party being on board tearing off the machinery. They were Pittsburgh 
men, well known to the engineer and had grate bars of the same pattern as our 
own, and gave us half a dozen with which to repair our furnace. We had been 
obliged to keep wood in the place of the grate l)ar and after these were given us 
we did not have to watch it so carefully. 

"A new trouble now presented itself, our last provisions were used up for 
breakfast that morning. The meat fryings were considered the perquisites of 
the cook and kept in a receptacle called the 'slush tub;' these, with half a barrel 
of flour, were the only things eatable on board. 

"We continued our way up the river until about 2 o'clock in the afternoon, 
when we passed a long, narrow island, with large quantities of cord wood lying 
upon it — being literally covered, in fact. I asked the pilot whose wood that was. 
He said it was anybody's wood, that it had drifted down from wood yards per- 
haps two hundred or three hundred miles up the river. I told him we wanted 
that wood and would stop right now and get some of it. He swung the boat into 
the island at the first chance to land and we commenced to throw off the drift wood 
and put on the cord wood in its place. I went to the engineer with the request 
that he go fishing immediately, as he had a fine supply of fishing tackle. He 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 227 

laughed at me, saying there were no fish there, but that he would fish to accommo- 
date me. He cut up hemp packing, picked it up fine like oakum. Mixed flour with 
it and made it into little balls about as fine as marbles and put them upon the 
hooks for bait. Inside of fifteen minutes he was having good success, catching 
channel cat that would weight from two to four pounds apiece. The cook quit 
carrying wood to prepare one of the finest dinners of fish and biscuit that any- 
body ever ate. The fishing continued until after dark, and we had fish enough 
to last us as long as they would keep. We did not get out of fish until we 
reached Hannibal, Missouri, which was three or four days afterwards. We 
stayed at the island all night, continuing our way to St. Louis in the morning. 

"We arrived at St. Louis on Sunday morning, having been two weeks on 
the way from Pittsburgh. We made fast to the guard of the 'Prima Dona," a 
large lower river boat, and settled with the pilots the best way we could without 
paying them any money, which was a very difficult thing to do. We kejjt away 
from the levies for fear of the wharfmaster, an officer we did not wish to see. 
Our pilots were going on the 'Prima Dona,' and they were very well pleased 
to find her in port. 

"We left St. Louis in the course of an hour without a pilot ; came up the 
river to Hannibal, Missouri, discharged our cargo of furniture from the hold 
of the vessel, receiving a freight bill of $75.00. As we were about ready to 
leave Hannibal the 'Pianola,' a large tramp steamer with a big cargo, and cov- 
ered with passengers, on her way from Pittsburgh to Minnesota, landed against 
the 'Charles Rogers,' which, being without freight, pushed about twenty-five 
feet out of the levy. -^ 

"The 'Pianola' made a very short stay and the mate came alward and says, 
'Boys, we pushed you out there in pretty bad shape; if you will give us the 
end of your lines we'll pull you off when we go out.' We passed him a line ; the 
'Pianola' backed into the river and piled out nearly 200 feet of slack line, which, 
when it came, brought out our boat into the river so quickly as to throw every 
man down on the boat, as we were not guarding against it, and turned the bow 
of our boat entirely around down stream, very much to the amusement of the 
crew and passengers of the 'Pianola,' whose laughter and shouts of derision 
were very hard to endure. We already had a good pressure of steam and were 
soon going up the river in pursuit of the 'Pianola.' As I never steered a steam- 
boat in a race before, we ran too close to the 'Pianola' and we overhauled her 
rapidly and the shouts and laughter ceased. The 'Pianola' being much the largest 
boat had a tendency to draw our boat right in alongside of them, but as we 
were running about twice as fast as they were, we went by without coming in 
contact, missing within about ten feet, and we soon left the 'Pianola' behind, 
\\'e continued up the river and lost sight of the boat. For a day or two before 
we had been having very rainy weather, and when we arrived at the mouth of 
the Des Moines river we saw a big freshet coming out of the river. The Mis- 
sissippi river was very low. We landed at Keokuk an hour later, and immediately 
began negotiations with the firm of Lord & King, wholesale and retail dealers 
on the levies, by which they agreed to load us a cargo for Des Moines and send 
along a man who should pay our expense bills and take the amount out of our 
freight charges. We were successful in our deal, and in the forenoon the next 
day, we were on our way to Des Moines with a cargo worth at least $500. Mr. King 



228 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

• 
came along as super-cargo. Frank Davidson came along as pilot — he after- 
wards became Captain Frank Davidson, but at that time, however, was simply- 
pilot. W'e were four or five days making the round trip to Des Moines and 
immediately loaded again at Keokuk on our second trip. When about thirty 
miles below Des Moines coming up, we met Mr. Aaron F. Blackshere, wdio had 
come down from Fort Dodge in a small row boat which he had built himself. 
He was so elated at meeting us that he turned his boat adrift and came aboard 
the steamboat. 

"Mr. Blackshere had an interest in the boat. He was president of the Navi- 
gation Company, and as long as we had money to pay postage, Mr. Carse and 
myself had written to him at least twice a week, right along. He also knew our 
change of fortune when we began to do business in Keokuk. We received him 
on board with cheers and many blasts of the whistle. He w^as the first Fort Dodge 
man we had seen, and we felt as though we had an experience which would last 
a man his natural lifetime. 

"We made about three trips to Des Moines that fall, earned about money 
enough to pay ofif our crew, and send one hundred dollars to Pittsburgh. 

"]\Ir. Blackshere was very much opjX)sed to our running nights. He thought 
it was taking great risks to run at night in a river so full of snags and o1)Struc- 
tions, as the Des Moines river was at that time, but Mr. Carse and myself thought 
we would rather face the dangers of the river than take the chances of being 
overtaken bv the sheriff in the spring, when our notes should come due and 
we would not have the money to pay them. The weather became very cold about 
the last of November and we were caught in a very heavy ice, and made our 
way very slowly from Des Moines to Bentonsport through the heavy slush ice. 
C)n arriving at Bentonsport, the engineer had allowed steam to get so low that 
lie was unable to land through the shore ice. which extended about one hundred 
rods above the dam. The best he could do was to crowd the boat against the 
ice, and we were being slowly forced over the dam by the current. The mate 
and two men threw the ice boat out onto the ice and jumped after it. All broke 
through, but they succeeded in crawling out and crawling onto the ice.. A line 
was throAvn to them and they took it ashore, crawling one hundred feet on the 
ice before thev could stand up, the ice being so very thin. The first line parted 
after they had made it fast to the shore. They came back and we gave them a 
second line, attaching a small line to it, and throwing it to them so that they 
could pull it out. They took the large line ashore rapidly, and that held. 
That pulled us in for twenty or thirty feet through the shore ice, and the stern 
of the boat was within sixty feet of the dam, over w^hich the river was plunging 
with a forty-foot fall. We stretched two lines from the bow of the boat to the 
shore, laid plank down on the thin ice, and landed our twenty passengers, who 
until then were not aware of the danger they were in, and never did know 
how near they had been to an icy grave." Mr. Blackshere sold out his interest 
in the 'Charles Rogers' the next day, that being late in the fall of 1856. 

"The ice all went out in three or four days and the freight was trans- 
ferred to a farmer's barn and the boat went into harbor six miles below. 

"We laid the boat up for the winter about eighteen miles below Ottumwa 
on the north bank of the river. Mr. Blackshere came to Fort Dodge to see if 
he could raise money enough to help us out of our financial troubles. But the 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 229 

people were feeling the full weight of the panic of 1857 and the money was not 
to be had. On the 23d of February thQ ice went out of the river and we started 
the boat again. Mr. Carse took a school near where the boat was tied up and he 
did not come on the boat for a week or two after we started, as his school had 
not closed. We made two or three trips right up and down before the school- 
house, and he was pretty anxious to join us. We continued carrying freight 
and passengers betwen Keokuk and Des Moines until some time in May, when 
we loaded freight for a wholesale firm for Fort Dodge. There were two firms, 
Connadle & Smith, and Chittenden & McGavic, and I have forgotten which of 
the firms sent the cargo. \\^e had several times endeavored to get a cargo to 
Fort Dodge before that, l^ut it was hard work to convince those men that we 
could come up the river to Fort Dodge. It was also necessary to get a little 
acquainted with them in order to establish confidence in our al)ility to perform 
our contract. Fort Dodge people were very impatient for us to come up here, 
and I had received some very caustic letters from one or two of them because we 
had not come before. 

"The water was high, and on our arrival at Des Moines we took ofif the 
wheel faces, so as to get under the bridge at Des Moines. We did not get 
below that bridge again until we had made five trips to Fort Dodge. We arrived 
in Fort Dodge about the middle of May ; it was a small place, perhaps five hun- 
dred people, but the enthusiasm with which we were received could hardly 
be believed by the citizens now, and it was such a greeting as no man could ever 
forget in his natural lifetime. They looked upon the arrival of the 'Charles 
Rogers,' the first steamboat that had ever landed at Fort Dodge, as their sal- 
vation, establishing this point as a:.head of navigation, and regarding this as the 
commencement of similar future enterprises. 

"The nearest railroad station was one hundred and seventy miles away, and 
Avith steamboat conections with the commercial world, the future was bright. 

"Five trips were made from Des Moines and we made two trips of thirty or 
forty miles below Fort Dodge after lumber for a courthouse. The lumber 
consisted of very long joists and heavy timbers. The water becoming low, 
we were warned to leave the river, and did leave on the 29th of June. We 
had a load of freight to come up. and did come up as far as Bentonsport. We 
discharged our cargo at Bentonsport on the last trip and left the river on the 
29th of June, 1859. The next year the river was so low that it was not 
navigable." 

Mr. John F. Duncombe, editor of the Fort Dodge Sentinel, in the issue of 
April 7, 1859. describes the arrival of this boat thus: 

"Yesterday will be remembered by many of our citizens with feelings of 
extereme delight for many years to come. By the politeness of Capt. F. E. 
Beers, of the Charles Rogers, in company with about one hundred and twenty 
ladies and gentlemen of the town, we enjoyed the first steamboat pleasure 
excursion on the Upper Des Moines river. The steamboat left the landing at 
Colburn's ferry about two o'clock and after crossing the river and loading with 
coal from the mines, started for' the upper ferry. All our citizens are well 
aware of the shallow ford on the river at the rapids at this place, which is at 
the head of the island at the mouth of Soldier creek, where the river divides 
into two equal channels. The steamer passed up over the rapids in the west 



230 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

channel with perfect ease. At the mouth of Lizard creek the boat 'rounded to' 
and passed down the eastern channel of the river at race horse speed. The scene 
was one of intense interest. The beautiful plateau on which our town is built 
was covered with men, women and children. The river bank was lined with 
joyful spectators. Repeated hurrahs from those on the boat and on the shore 
filled the air. The steamer passed down the river about six miles and then 
returned. Old grudges were settled, downcast looks brightened, hard times 
were forgotten. Everybody seemed perfectly happy. We had always believed 
that the navigation of our river was practical, but to know it, filled our citizens 
with more pleasure than a fortune. We felt like a boy v/ith a rattlebox, 'only 
more so.' The Fort Dodge steamboat enterprise has .succeeded in spite of 
sneers and jeers. Long may the friends of the enterprise live to remember 
the first pleasure excursion at Fort Dodge." 

As Captain Blackshere came steaming up the river for the first time, he blew 
the whistle so long and loud that the citizens imagined a Mississippi river fleet 
had arrived, and before he could land at the levee and make fast the bow line, 
the banks of the stream were lined with men, women and children anxious to get 
a sight of the newcomer. 

At a public meeting of the citizens, held at the schoolhouse that evening, 
Major Williams presiding, a vote of thanks was tendered Capt. F. E. Beers, 
Henry Carse, A. F. Blackshere and others associated with them in this steam- 
])oat project, and the merchants were urged to patronize the Charles Rogers 
in preference to any other boat. 

The citizens of Fort Dodge also gave a dance at the Masonic Hall in honor of 
the coming of the first steamboat loaded with freight for that port. The invi- 
tation cards for that social function were in the following form : 

SOCIABLE SOIREE 

WE DANCE AT MASONIC HALL THURSDAY EVENING NEXT 

WILL YOU COME? 

MANAGERS 

Maj. Wm. Williams Hon. W. N. Meservey 

Hon. J. M. Stockdale Hon. Thos. Sargent 

Hon. C. C. Carpenter A. M. Dawley 

Hon. L. L. Pease Israel Jenkins 

J. D. Strow Geo. W. Reeve 

\\\ W. White 

FLOOR MANAGERS 

James B. Williams A. F. \\'atkins 

D. D. Merritt 
Fort Dodge, May 23rd, 1859. 



CHAPTER XXI 

HISTORY OF THE RIVER-LAND GRANT 

BY C. L. LUCAS 

MAKING THE DES MOINES RIVER NAVIGABLE — CONTROVERSY AS TO MEANING OF 

TERMS OF THE GRANT THE DES MOINES NAVIGATION AND RAILROAD COMPANY 

STEAM ROADS INSTEAD OF STEAMBOATS EVICTING SETTLERS TARDY RECOM- 
PENSE. 

No legislative act has ever afifected the interests of the people of the Des 
]\Ioines valley in so great a measure as the act known in history as the Des Moines 
River-Land Grant; nor has any land grant made to the state for any purpose 
created so much excitement and sorrow as it has. 

In the first place it was a great mistake for anyone to have supposed that 
the Des Moines river could have been made navigable by any process of improve- 
ment. The only excuse that can be offered is the fact that at and preceding 
the date at which this grant was made there was a greater volume of water in 
the river than there has been since that date. All the streams of an unimproved 
country contain a larger volume of w^ater than they do after the country is 
improved. At that time there were no railroads in the state ; the need of means 
of transportation was the chief reason for the eft'ort to improve the river and 
make it navigable. 

The Des Moines river-land grant was passed and became a law August 
8, 1846. Just who it was that formulated this act is not generally known, 
but as the act was passed by congress about four months before Iowa became a 
state, the grant must first have been proposed by A. C. Dodge, who was then the 
territorial delegate in congress, and through his influence, most likely, it was 
placed before the committee on territories, of which Stephen A. Douglas was 
chairman and by him placed on its passage. 

The wording of this act was not sufficiently specific to prevent dift'erences 
of opinion as to its meaning. The language of the act first says that the grant 
was made for the improvement of the navigation of the Des Moines river, from its 
mouth to the Raccoon fork ; and then f ollow^s the language defining the grant to be 
"a moiety in alternate sections of the public lands (remaining unsold, and not 
otherwise disposed of, encumbered or appropriated), in a strip five miles in width 
on each side of the river to be selected within said territory, by an agent or 
agents, appointed by the governor thereof, suliject to the approval of the secre- 
tary of the treasury of the United States." 

Tf the language defining the grant had been as specific as that defining the 

231 



232 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

extent of the improvement to be made, there would have been no trouble in defin- 
ing its extent. The failure to fully define the extent of the grant brought about 
different opinions and different rulings by officers who had to transact the busi- 
ness relating to the grant. 

On the 17th of Octoljer, 1846, a little over two months after the passage 
of this act, the commissioners of the general land office at Washington made a 
reqviest of the governor of the territory, that he appoint an agent to select the 
land under the river grant, giving it as his opinion at the same time, that the 
grant extended only to the Raccoon fork of the Des Moines river. This was 
the first official opinion as to the extent of the grant ever given. There is not 
much doubt that this opinion was strictly in accord with the original intent of the 
grant. 

On the 17th of December the territorial authorities designated the odd num- 
bered sections as the lands selected under this soon to be vexatious grant. This 
selection included every odd section in five miles of the Des Moines river below 
the Raccoon fork. 

This was the last act under the river-land grant, for eleven days from that 
date the territory was admitted into the Union as a state, and the territorial 
officers stepped down and out, and were succeeded by the state officers. The 
state authorities accepted the selection made by the territorial agent January 
9, 1847, which was the first act done by the state authorities relating to the Isusi- 
ness of this grant, but not the last one by any means. 

On the 24th of February following, the state created a board of public works, 
and to it was assigned the work of construction and management of the river 
improvement, and the care, control, sale, disposal and management of the lands 
granted to the state by the act of 1846. 

This board was elected by a majority of the voters of the state at an election 
held on the first Monday in August, 1847. It consisted of a president, secretary 
and treasurer, each of whom took the oath of office on the 22d day of Septem- 
ber, 1847. Tlic names of this board were president, Hugh W. Sample; sec- 
retary, Charles Corkey ; treasurer, Paul Brattain. After filing their bonds and 
taking the oath of office on the date above named, they entered upon the discliarge 
of their duties. 

On the 17th of February, 1848, the commissioner of the general land office in 
an official communication to the secretary of the board of public works, gave it 
as the opinion of his office that the river-land grant extended the whole length of 
the river within the state. This was the second opinion of this same officer, the 
last one being the exact counterpart of the first. This ruling was the beginning 
of the confusion, misery and woe of this historic land grant. 

On the 19th of June, 1848, the president of the United States, without regard 
to these rulings, if he knew that such ruling existed, placed on the market by 
proclamation some of the lands above the Raccoon fork. Here were the acts 
of two officials relating to the extent of the river-land grant. This conflict of 
opinion led to a correspondence between the officers of the state and the United 
States, which resulted in the promulgation of an opinion of the secretary of the 
treasury of the United States, on March 2, 1849, to the effect that the grant 
extended to the source of the river. The secretary of the treasury who rendered 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 238 

this opinion was Hon. Robert J. Walker, in the last days of the administration of 
President Polk. 

By reason of this ruling, on the first day of the following June, the com- 
missioner of the general land office directed the receivers of the local land offices 
to withhold from sale all the odd numbered sections in five miles of the river 
above the Raccoon fork. 

Up to this time. ]\Iarch 2, 1849, four rulings or conclusions had been made 
and acted upon. As has already been stated, the commissioner of the general 
land office had decided first that the river-land grant extended only to the 
Raccoon fork, but in a subsequent ruling decided that the grant extended to 
the north line of the state. President Polk's proclamation of June 19, 1848, 
placing the odd numbered sections north of the Raccoon fork upon the market 
shows that he did not think the grant extended above the fork. But the official 
opinion of his secretary of the treasury, Robert J. Walker, given March 2, 1849, 
to the effect that the grant extended to the north line of the state seems to 
have changed his views so much that his proclamation was withdrawn and the 
sale of the odd sections above the Raccoon fork by the government discontinued. 

The next ruling was made by General Thomas Ewing, who under the new 
administration of President Taylor was appointed to fill the newly created depart- 
ment of secretary of the interior, to which all matters pertaining to the public 
lands had been assigned by law. 

On the 6th of April, 1850, j\Ir. Ewing declined to recognize the grant as 
extending above the Raccoon fork, w-ithout .'an explanatory act on the part of 
congress. The state appealed this ruling to President Taylor, who turned the 
matter over to Reverdy Johnson, his attornej^ general. 'Mr. Johnson decided that 
the grant extended to the north line of the state and that the ruling of Robert 
J. Walker on the 2d of March, 1849, was a final adjudication of the subject.' This 
decision settled the question until the death of President Taylor, which occurred 
July 10, 1850. ^Ir. Fillmore, the vice president, was sw^orn in and a new cabinet 
was chosen. 

On the 29th of October, 1851, the question of the extent of the river-land grant 
came up again and it was discussed by Mr. Fillmore's cabinet and it was decided 
to recognize the claim of the state and approve the selection of the odd sections 
above the Raccoon fork and to permit the state to go on with disposal of the 
lands without prejudice to other claimants. 

After this ruling the question of extent of the grant rested until t86o. of 
which more will be said further on in this article. 

Up to the date of December, 1853, the state, through its board of public 
works, carried on the work of improving the river, and the sale of the lands 
included in the grant. A land office for the sale of these lands had in the mean- 
time been established at Ottumwa, Iowa. 

On January 15, 1849. an act passed the legislature to reorganize the board of 
public works, making their official terms three years instead of two, but the first 
term of the secretary was to be two years, and that of the treasurer one year. 
This would bring about the election of one of the three members of the board 
every year instead of electing all three of them at one time. The election was 
held on the first Monday in August, 1849, and the following gentlemen were 



234 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

chosen: President, William Patterson; secretary, Jesse Williams; treasurer, 
George Gillaspy. 

The wording of this reorganizing act shows that the law makers of 1849 were 
not altogether satisfied with the doings of the board of public works for the 
two preceding years. 

The next two years* experience with the reorganized board was but little more 
satisfactory than that of the first board. The result was that in February, 
1 85 1, an act of the legislature abolished the board of public works, and in lieu 
of it the offices of commissioner and register of the Des Moines river improvement 
were created and filled by appointment of the governor. The gentlemen 
appointed to fill the new offices were : For commissioner, Ver Planck Van 
Antwerp ; register, George Gillaspy. The legislature seems to have been very hard 
to please or else the men so far chosen were a very unsatisfactory lot. At all 
events the legislature of 1853 made a law providing that the commissioner and 
register should be elected by the voters of the state at an election to be held on 
the first Monday in April. 1853. The gentlemen elected were: For commis- 
sioner. Josiah H. Bonney ; register, George Gillaspy. In 1855 William McKay 
was elected commissioner, and in 1858 William C. Drake was elected, and in 
i860 the office was abolished. In 1855 Joln^ C. Lockwood was elected register, 
and in 1857 that office was abolished. 

The legislative act of 1863 providing for the election of these officers also 
empowered them to enter into a contract with some individual or company to 
complete the improvement of the river, and thus relieve the state of the prosecu- 
tion of the work. To assist these officers in making and entering into a contract 
of this kind, Hon. George C. Wright, of Van Buren county, afterwards United 
States senator, and Uriah Biggs, of Wapello county, were chosen as assistants. 
These were the officers who entered into the historic contract, first with Henry 
O. Reiley, and then with the Des Moines Navigation Company, to complete the 
^\■ork of the improvement of the river. 

For their services this navigation company was to have all the lands included 
in the original land grant not already disposed of by the state. This contract was 
made June 9, 1854. It was no doubt entered into with good intentions on the 
part of the state officers, but before the state got rid of the company it was 
woefully swindled. In fact the whole river-land business from start to finish was 
poorly managed by the state officers. 

The company took charge of the work of river improvement on the date of 
their contract, and continued it until March 8, 1858, at which time disagreements 
and misunderstandings arose between the state and the company. 

Prior to the time of entering into the contract with the Des Moines Navi- 
gation & Railroad Company the state had sold 327,314 acres of the river grant, 
the proceeds of which were paid out for salaries, work and material furnished 
during the time the state board of public works had charge of the improvement. 
Of the amount of land above named 48,830 acres were above the Raccoon fork. 
The 327,314 acres of land were sold at $1.25 per acre, the proceeds of which 
were $409,142. It is a well settled fact that the state was never benefited a 
single dollar for all this outlay of money. That any set of men should fritter 
awav such a vast sum of monev without anv visible results seems incredible. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 235 

The Des Moines Navigation Company had charge of the improvement from 
June 9, 1854, to March 22, 1858, a period covering nearly four years. During this 
time but little progress was made on the works of the improvement, and it was this 
slow and dilatory progress that caused the disagreement between it and the 
state. 

In pursuance of this contract the state on the 14th of May, 1855, conveyed to 
this company 88,853 acres of the land grant, and again on the 6th of May, 1856, 
conveyed 116,636 acres more, making in the two conveyances, 205,489 acres. At 
$1.25 an acre it amounted to $256,861.25. It is not to be wondered at that the 
state should be dissatisfied* over the avowed expenditure of this amount of 
money with nothing or next to nothing accomplished. 

On the 22d day of March, 1858, a proposition for settlement was made by 
the state, on the terms of which the company was to execute to the state a full 
release of. all contracts, agreements and claims against the state, including water 
rents and dredge boat, and pay the state $20,000, and the state agreed to convey 
to the navigation company all of the lands granted by congress in the act approved 
August 8. 1846, which up to that time had been approved and certified to the 
state by the general government, except such as had been sold. 

Although the state gave the company sixty days in wdiich to accept this propo- 
sition, it was accepted on the double-quick, and the $20,000 was paid. In pur- 
suance of this settlement the state deeded to the navigation company on the 3d 
day of May, 1858, 256,713 acres of land, and again on the i8th of May, 1858, 
another patent was issued to the company by the state conveying 9,395 acres, 
making a total of 266,108 acres. 

As has already been stated, 205,489 acres had been conveyed to this company 
on May 14, 1855, and May 6, 1856, and in these two conveyances 266,108 acres 
more, making a total of lands received by this company from the state of 471,597 
acres of land, which at $1.25 an acre amounted to $589,496.25. 

This settlement was one of the most colossal swindles which up to that date 
had taken place in the state. The navigation company seems to have had the 
legislature completely under its control. 

In this settlement the Des -Moines Navigation & Railroad Company claimed 
to have expended on the improvement, from first to last, $554,547.84. The state 
commissioner on examination of the work figured the amount expended at 
$274,542. A joint committee of the legislature had also reported upon this 
expenditure, making it about the same as the state commissioner had figured it. 
These figures are given in a special message of Governor Ralph P. Lowe to the 
legislature and dated February 16, 1858, only one month and six days before 
making the settlement with the company. 

The surprising part of this settlement is that the legislature gave to the 
company lands amounting in cash to several thousand dollars more than it claimed 
to have expended, as the figures above given show. 

At the conclusion of this settlement all further thought of making the Des 
Moines river navigable was dispensed with. By this time the people were com- 
pletely disgusted with the navigation scheme and had turned their thoughts toward 
a railroad. 

Alarch 22, 1858, an act passed the legislature granting to the Keokuk, Fort Des 
Moines & Minnesota Railroad Company all the lands included in the river-land 

Vol. I— 1 6 



236 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

grant not then sold by the state or pledged to the navigation company in the 
settlement just made. This grant was made to aid in the construction of a 
railroad from the mouth of the Des Moines river to the north line of the state, 
provided congress would consent that the remainder of the land should be used 
for that purpose. 

At the fall election in 1858 the proposition to so divert the remainder of these 
lands from the original purpose of improving the navigation of the river, to the 
building of the railroad, was submitted to the people of the state and a large major- 
ity voted in favor of it. After this decision of the people, congress gave its 
consent that the remainder of the lands might be so diverted. 

As it afterwards developed the navigation company was really the Keokuk, 
Fort Des Moines & Minnesota Railroad Company and that instead of improving 
the river it had been devoting a portion of its time to the building of the railroad, 
which at the time of the settlement was completed from Keokuk to Bentonsport, 
a distance of about forty miles. 

Work on the railroad continued and it was comi)leted to Ottumwa early in 
the year i860. About this time another conflict of rulings took place in the 
land department at Washington. In 1859 the Dubuque & Pacific Railroad Com- 
pany claimed a part of the lands conveyed by the state to the navigation company, 
and a case entitled Dubuque & Pacific Railroad Company vs. Litchfield was 
tried in the supreme court in April, i860. 

The court decided that the original river-land grant did not extend above the 
Raccoon fork. This decision brought the sale of the "river-land," as it was 
then called, and the further extension of the railroad to a standstill. As a 
pacification to the settlers on a considerable portion of these lands the commis- 
sioner of the general land office at Washington gave notice that none of the 
land would be sold by the government until the matter was thoroughly con- 
sidered by congress. 

On the 2d day of March, 1861, congress passed a joint resolution to quiet 
title to lands in the state of Iowa. This joint resolution was simply intended to 
confirm the title of all bona fide purchasers claiming title to these lands above the 
Raccoon fork, to whom the state or any of its grantees had conveyed title. 

After the passage of this resolution the river company claimed title under it, 
but the courts decided that titles to real estate could not pass by resolution, and 
that an act of congress would be necessary to pass title. 

On the I2th of July, 1862, congress passed an act extending the limits of the 
river-land grant of August 8, 1864, from the Raccoon fork to the north line of the 
state. This act confirmed the title of the river company and the railroad com- 
pany, giving them the privilege of selling their lands to the settlers at an exorb- 
itant price, a thing that greatly troubled and discouraged the settlers on these 
lands. It was thought that when this act passed congress that it would settle 
forever the question of title to the land in dispute, but it worked such a hardship 
to the settlers that further litigation followed. 

From first to last this land grant seems to have been a stumbling block 
among the officials at Washington. As late as 1863 a patent was issued to Hannah 
J. Riley for one hundred and sixty acres of land in \\'ebster county, signed by 
Abraham Lincoln. It seemed to the settlers that this patent would hold the land 







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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 237 

and if it held good the government could convey also in like manner any of the 
lands claimed by a river company. 

In 1868 a man named Wells, who was a grantee of the river company brought 
action to dispossess Mrs. Riley of the home on which she held the patent above 
referred to. The court decided that the river-land title was good and assessed 
the cost against Mrs. Riley, after which papers for her eviction were issued and 
executed. This was the last of the court decisions and under it most of the 
settlers who did not buy their homes at an advanced price were forced off of 
them by orders from the courts. Finally in 1894 an act to indemnify the settlers 
was passed and the few remaining ones received a small compensation for the 
home they were forced to leave. This ended the historic river-land trouble 
extending over a period of forty-eight years, beginning in 1846 and ending in 1894. 

PREFACE 

The last bit of copy has gone to the printer, and now the author writes the 
preface, the thing which should have been written first, but which can the better 
be written last. 

It has been more than a year since the author began to write what was to be 
a "History of Fort Dodge and Webster County." At the time, we fully realized 
the largeness and importance of the subject, and reluctantly began a work which 
others, far abler, were unwilling to. undertake. The w^ork is now finished, and 
without apologies it is given to the public. Many times the work has been inter- 
rupted, and it has been written under the niost unfavorable circumstances. Even 
if it had not so been, it would not- be surprising if some errors and misstatements 
existed. If there be aught of good,.we ask your praise; and for the bad, we 
bespeak your charity. If its errors prei'ent the next writer from committing sim- 
ilar ones, the work will not have been in vain. Many of those who were party to 
the deeds of the "fifties'' are no longer here. Fading memories fail to agree. 
Records have become illegible and are many times wanting. Often it is difiicult 
to arrive at the truth, ^^'here none agree, the author can claim the privilege of 
being right. 

No matter how comprehensive may have been the ideas and ideals of the 
author in the beginning, the work as ended is not a complete history of Webster 
county, nor does it so pretend. It is but a collection of sketches dealing with the 
incidents of community life, past and present. ]\Iany things have been omitted, 
not so much through lack of merit, as through lack of knowledge of their exist- 
ence, of time in which to ascertain the facts, or of space in which to publish them. 

In order that we may avoid the criticism of plagiarizing, we make no claims to 
originality. We have begged, borrowed and even stolen — and history often crowns 
W'ith a halo those who do all three. 

The author desires to thus publicly thank the friends who contributed articles, 
Prof. L. G. Weld, of Chicago. Prof. James H. Lees, of Des Moines, state geologist, 
Mr. C. L. Lucas, of Madrid, Hon. L. S. Coffin and j\Ir. C. G. Messerole. 
Thanks are also due to ]^Iiss Cecil Palmer, who gave much valuable assistance in 
doing research work, as did also the members of the library staff. The writings 
of Gov. C. C. Carpenter, of >\Iaj. William Williams, and his son, Mr. J. B. 



238 I-TISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Williams, were often consulted and quoted. An aid many times referred to was 
the "scrap books" of Mrs. C. B. Hepler. 

Love of country and pride in its past history are the strength of the present 
and the inspiration of the future. Codified laws form but a small part of the 
mandates which rule society. Stronger than man-made laws are the bonds of a 
civilization which stretching back into the past, touch the consciences, hearts 
and minds of the people of a former time. Our faces may be ever toward the goal, 
but our way is marked by the "blazed trail" of the pioneer, and our feet follow 
the well-worn path which he made. American history differs from that of every 
other country, being the history of the "blazed trail," that marks an ever west- 
ward advancing frontier. "In the pride of our present achievements," says Hon. 
George F. Parker, the biographer of Grover Cleveland, "we proceed upon the 
assumption that we owe nothing to our immediate ancestors, but that every- 
thing is of our own doing. No duty is more imperative upon any generation than 
that of looking backward as well as forward." If the look backward which the 
author has tried to describe, prove either a profit or a pleasure to the reader, the 
work will not have been in vain. 

H. M. Pr.\tt. 

Fort Dodge, Iowa. 

January 20. 191 3. 

DEDICATION 

To those pioneers of the "blazed trail," the records of whose achievements are 
worthy of a better chronicler, but whose broad-minded charity will overlook its 
faults, this book is dedicated. 

"The record of the pioneers 

Whose toils, whose genius, made you great." 

S. H. M. BvERS. 



CHAPTER XXII 
THE CARDIFF GIANT 

GEORGE HULL SEEKS GEOLOGICAL SPECIMENS — DIFFICULTIES OF TRANSPORTATION — 

DISCOVERY OF THE GIANT THE DOCTORS BELIEVE SKEPTICISM BEGINS THE 

GIANT IS SOLD EXPOSURE OF THE HOAX HELD FOR STORAGE HULL IN HIS 

OLD AGE TELLS HOW THE GIANT CAME TO BE. 

It was in the early part of the month of Julv, 1868, that two young men came 
to Fort Dodge, and took up their residence for a few days at the Old Saint 
Charles hotel. They registered as George Hull of Syracuse, N. Y., and Mr. 
Martin of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They pretended to be here on the mission of 
studying the geological formations in the vicinity of Fort Dodge. After making 
some inquiries as to the location of ledges of out-cropping rock they finally 
selected a tract where there was a ledge of gypsum rock, and purchased an acre 
of the land. It was their intention to do their own quarrying and work. After 
several attempts to secure a block of gypsum of the desired shape and size, with 
a failure added each time, they were informed that there was a man living in 
the vicinity, who could probably do the job. At that time Michael Foley, a resi- 
dent of Fort Dodge, was engaged in taking out rock for the railroad, and to him 
they disclosed their desire for a slab of gypsum rock of a certain size. No satis- 
factory explanation was given Mr. Foley at that time as to what use was to be 
made of the stone. The contract, how^ever, was let to Mr. Foley, and he fur- 
nished them a stone about twenty feet long, three feet wide, and eighteen inches 
in thickness. The weight of the rock made the matter of transporting it a difficult 
problem on account of the lack of roads at that early period. It had to be hauled 
to Boone, Iowa, forty-five miles distant, at that time the nearest railroad station 
to Fort Dodge. 

The rock was loaded upon a wagon to which was hitched six teams of oxen. 
The original contractor became discouraged with the progress that he was mak- 
ing, and gave up the job, after hauling the stone as far as a point somewhere 
between Brushy Creek and Homer. A second man tried the task, and in turn 
failed. Arrangements were then made with two brothers, living at Border 
Plains, Joel and Jerid Wilson, who after some deliberation with the principals, 
chipped ofif some twelve hundred pounds of the stone, and having thus lightened 
the load finally reached the railroad station at Boone with the remainder. In 
hauling it the contractors had followed the stage route between Des Moines, 
Boone and Fort Dodge, and the passengers saw the strange load, both in transit, 
and also as it lay beside the road when abandoned by the first party, who had 
agreed to transport it to Boone. Among the passengers of that early day was 

239 



240 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

]\Ir. A. N. Botsford, now the dean in the practice of law in Fort Dodge, and who 
says that during the month of August in that year as he was coming to Fort 
Dodge, he saw the men taking the chips from the stone. The stage passed the 
load four times a week for three weeks while the rock was on the way to Boone. 
The job cost Mr. Hull $200.00, and had it not been for his indomitable will, that 
again and again overcame difficulties, it would have remained on the road. 

The stone was loaded upon a flat car at Boone and billed to Chicago. It was 
then taken to the stone yard of a man named Burghart on North Clark street. 
Here it was placed in the hands of two German stone cutters, Saile and Menk- 
ham, who carved it into the form of a giant, pricked it with a leaden mallet 
faced with needles to give it the resemblance of the human skin, and applied a 
solution of sulphuric acid to give it the appearance of age. Because the rock 
had been shortened in order to lighten the weight when hauling, the sculptors in 
giving it final shape, had to shorten the limbs, and in so doing were compelled to 
draw up the lower limbs, giving them a strikingly contracted and agonized ap- 
pearance. Under one side there was a grooved and channeled appearance, as 
though it had been washed away during the ages that it had passed through. 

After the applications had been made to give it the appearance of great age, it 
w-as placed in an iron case, and shipped to George Olds, Union, N. Y. It arrived 
there upon the 13th day of October, 1868, and upon the 4th day of November, 
it was receipted for and taken away. Its shipping weight was about 4,000 
pounds, the giant itself weighing about 3,000 pounds. 

From Union it was taken to a farm owned by a party b}' the name of Newell, 
who proved to be the brother-in-law of Hull. The party who hauled the case 
from Union station down the valley drove across the country in order that no 
questions should be asked when passing the toll gates. The distance was about 
sixteen miles. They reached the Newell farm at midnight in a pouring rain. 
The box was first placed back of the barn and covered with hay and straw. Two 
weeks later it was buried in a grave five foot deep. Here it remained until Octo- 
ber i6th, 1869, nearly a year from the date of its burial. 

It was while pretending to dig a well upon his farm that Newell struck this 
strange piece of stone, and at once created such interest as to arouse the whole 
country for the time. The seriousness with which some people took the dis- 
covery will be more interesting by reporting some of the authorities of the day 
concerning the genuineness and worth to science of this great find. Dr. James 
Hall, professor of geology of the University of New York said: "To all ap- 
pearances the- statue lay upon the gravel when the decomposition of the fine 
silt or soil began, upon which the forest has grown for the succeeding genera- 
tions. Altogether it is the most remarkable object brought to light in this 
country. Although not dating back to the stone age, it is nevertheless, deserv- 
ing of the attention of the archaeologist." 

A pastor of one of the leading churches of Syracuse, said: "It is not strange 
that any human being, after seeing this wonderfully preserved figure, can deny 
the evidence of his senses and refuse to believe what is so evidently the fact, 
that we have here a fossilized human being, perhaps one of the giants." 

A lady, who was looking at the giant, remarked : "Nothing in the world 
can ever make me believe that he was not once a living being." 




CAEDIFF GIANT 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 241 

Another prominent clergyman voiced his opinion as follows : "This is not a 
thing contrived by man, but is the face of one that once lived upon the earth, " 
the very image, and child of God." 

Dr. Boynton, a local scientific lecturer, in an address, said, that "he attrib- 
uted it to the early Jesuits." Another lecturer added to this as follows: "It is 
the work of a trained sculptor, who had noble original powers ; for none but 
such could have formed and wrought out the conception of that stately head, 
with its calm smile so full of mingled sweetness and strength." A prominent 
editor of the vicinity wrote in his editorial : "It is not unsafe to affirm that 
ninety-nine out of every hundred person that have seen this wonder have 
become immediately and instantly impressed that they were in the presence of 
an object not made with human hands. No piece of sculpture could produce 
the awe inspired by this blackened form. I venture to affirm that no living 
sculptor can be produced, who will say that the figure was conceived and exe- 
cuted by any human being." As an actual fact it was defective in proportion 
and features, and simply a poor job of stone cutting. 

Alexander AlcWorter, a resident student and graduate of Yale, took the 
pains to make closer observations of the remains than others had, and suc- 
ceeded, as he presumed, in finding an inscription consisting of thirteen letters, 
"introduced," as he said, "by a large cross, the Assyrian index of the Deity." 
Before the last word, he thought that he perceived a flower, which he regarded 
as consecrated to the particular deity Tammuz, and at both ends of the inscrip- 
tion a serpent monogram and symbol of Baal. This inscription he assumed as 
an evident fact, though no other human being had been able to see it. Even 
Professor White, M. D., of the Yale Medical school, with the best of inten- 
tions to see it, was unable to find it. White examined the pinholes that covered 
the body, and expressed himself finally, thus : "Though I saw no recent marks 
of tools, I saw evidences of design and form in the arrangement of the mark- 
ings, which suggested the idea of an inscription, and though not fully decided, 
I incline to the opinion, that the Onondaga statue is of ancient origin." Against 
such authority and publicity it was very difficult to create any feeling of doubt. 
In the minds of many thoughtful people the giant was a fact, a reality; and so 
many persons had become interested in it, that this belief was constantly increas- 
ing. 

One of the first ones to oppose the idea of the reality of the giant was Hon. 
Andrew D. White. Upon his first visit he proclaimed it a hoax, "because," as 
he said, "there was no reason for digging a well at this place, as upon the farm 
was a spring, and also a running stream convenient both to the barn and house." 
He gives a description of his first visit as follows : 

"And as we drove through the peaceful Onondaga valley, we saw more and 
more on every side, the evidence of the popular interest. The roads were 
crowded with buggies, carriages and wagons from the city and farms. When 
we arrived at the Newell farm, we found a gathering, that reminded us of 
the gathering at a county fair. In the midst was a tent, and a crowd was 
pressing for admission. Entering, we saw a large pit, or grave, and at the bot- 
tom of it, perhaps five feet below the surface, an enormous figure, apparently 
of the Onondaga limestone. It was a stout giant with massive features, the 



242 HISTORY. OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

whole body nude, and the limbs contracted as if in agony. Lying there in the 
grave, the subdued light from the roof of the tent falling upon it, and with its 
limbs contorted, as if in the death struggle, it produced a most weird effect. 
An air of great solemnity pervaded the place. Visitors hardly spoke above a 
whisper." 

There was one thing about the figure, however, which puzzled Mr. White, as 
he says, "and that was the grooving of the under side apparently by currents of 
water, which as the statue appeared to be of Onondaga gray limestone, would 
require very many years." 

One day one of the cool-headed skeptics of the valley (an old school mate 
of Mr. White's), came to him and with an air of great solemnity, took from 
his pocket an object which he carefully unrolled from its wrappings, and said: 
"This is a piece of the giant. Careful guard has been kept from the first in 
order to prevent people touching it, but I have managed to get a piece of it, 
and here it is." 'T took it in my hand," says Mr. White, "and the matter was 
clear in an instant. The stone was not our hard Onondaga gray limestone, but 
soft easily marked with the finger-nail, and on testing it with an acid, I found 
it not hard carbonate of lime, but a friable sulphate of lime, a sort of gypsum, 
which must have been brought from some other part of the country." 

Against the opinion that the figure was a hoax various argvmients were used. 
It was insisted, first, that the farmer had not the ability to devise such a fraud ; 
second, that he had not the means to execute it ; third, that his family had lived 
there steadily for many years, and were ready to declare, under oath, that they 
had never seen the figure, and had known nothing of it, until it was accidentally 
discovered; fourth, that the neighbors had never seen or heard of it; fifth, 
that it was preposterous to suppose that such an enormous mass of stone could 
have been brought and buried in the place without some one finding it out ; 
sixth, that the deep grooves and channels worn in it by the surface water proved 
its vast antiquity. 

To these considerations others were soon added. Especially interesting was 
it to observe the evolution of myth and legend. Within a week after the dis- 
covery, full-blown statements appeared to the efl:'ect that the neighboring Indians 
had abundant traditions of giants, who formerly roamed over the hills of 
Onondaga ; and finally the circumstantial story was evolved that an Onondaga 
squaw had declared, "in an impressive manner," that the statue was, "undoubt- 
edly the petrified body of a gigantic Indian prophet, who flourished many cen- 
turies ago and foretold the coming of the pale-faces, and who, just before his 
own death, said to those about him that their descendants would see him again." 
To these were added the reflections of many good people who found in it all an 
edifying confirmation of the biblical text, "There were giants in those days." 
There was indeed, an undercurrent of skepticism among the harder heads in 
the valley, but the prevailing opinion in the region at large was more and more 
in favor of the idea that the object was a fossilized human being, a giant of 
"those days." Such was the rush to see the figure that the admission receipts 
were very large ; — it was e\en stated that they amounted to five per cent upon 
three millions of dollars. And soon came active men from the neighboring 
regions, who proposed to purchase the figure and exhibit it throughout the 
country. 




HOUSE BUILT OF GYPSUM KOCK BY JOHN O'LAUGHLIN 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 243 

Various suspicious circumstances presently became known. It was found 
that Farmer Newell had just remitted to a man named Hull at some place in 
the west, several thousand dollars, the result of admission fees to the booth con- 
taining the figure, and that nothing had come in return. Thinking men in the 
neighborhood reasoned that as Newell had never been in condition to owe any- 
human being such an amount of money, and had received nothing in return 
for it, his correspondent had not unlikely something to do with the statue. 
These suspicions were soon confirmed. The neighboring farmers, who in their 
quiet way kept their eyes open, noted a tall, lank person who frequently visited 
the place, and who seemed to exercise a complete control over Farmer Newell. 
Soon it was learned that this stranger was the man Hull, Newell's brother-in- 
law, the same to whom the latter had made the large remittance of admission 
money. One day two or three farmers from a distance visiting the place for the 
first time, and seeing Hull said : "Why that is the man who brought the big 
box down the valley.'' On being asked what they meant, they said that, being 
one evening in a tavern on the valley turnpike, some miles above Cardiff, they 
had noticed under the tavern shed, a wagon bearing an enormous box, and when 
they met Hull in the bar-room and asked about it, he said that it was some 
tobacco-cutting machinery which he was bringing to Syracuse. Other farmers, 
who had seen the box and talked with Hull at different places on the road 
between Binghamton and Cardiff', made similar statements. It was then ascer- 
tained that no such box had passed the toll-gates between Cardiff and Syracuse, 
and proofs of the swindle began to mature. 

Before the whole affair became exposed considerable time had passed. Dur- 
ing this time Mr. Newell had the giant on exhibition, and was charging the 
curious ones fifty cents admission fee. Years afterward, Mr. Hull made the 
statement that they realized about seven thousand dollars before the giant was 
taken from its grave. 

Spencer of Utica, and Higgins, Gillett and Westcott of Syracuse, saw that the 
secret w'ould soon leak out, offered Newell $30,000 for three-fourths interest in 
the giant, leaving Newell one-fourth. Hull was still in the background and 
very much disgusted. He says that Newell became so puft'ed up with the 
importance of the secret, that he could not contain himself, and told it to sev- 
eral of his relatives and friends. Hull decided to realize at once and quit. He 
told Newell to close the bargain, which he did, and Newell paid Hull $20,000 
as his share. 

After Hull and Newell had disposed of the giant, it was taken about the 
country, and in spite of the exposure, still drew large crowds. It had many 
imitators, but none proved to be the attraction that the original had been. 
Finally the giant became no longer a drawing card, and was stranded at Fitch- 
burg, Massachusetts, where it was held for storage charges until the Pan- 
American Exposition at Buffalo, when it was again exhibited. 

After the exposition was over, it was returned to Fitchburg, where it still 
remains as part of the assets of an estate. The story of the giant formed a 
part of the novel, "Your Uncle Lew" by' C. R. Sherlock. 

Mr. Alfred Higgins, one of the original purchasers, from Newell and Hull, 
is still living at Syracuse, New York. Cicorge Hull died at the home of his 
daughter in Binghamton, New York, at the age of eighty-one years. Although 



244 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

he has twice been a rich man, yet he died in poverty. Some time before 4iis 
death in an interview for the "Sunday Times" of his home city, he told the 
story of the giant. In answer to the question as to how the idea happened to 
come to him, he said : 

"It was at Ackley, Iowa, that I first conceived the idea of fooling the world 
with the big stone man. I had some relatives at Ackley, and sent my sister's 
husband 10,000 cigars to sell. He couldn't pay me and I went out there to see 
about it. At that time a -Methodist revivalist was in Ackley, and prayed all 
over the settlement. The people were too poor to pay him anything, and he 
boarded around. One night he was at my sister's house, and after supper we 
had a long discussion and a hot one. I was then and am now an atheist. At 
midnight we went to bed, and as I lay awake wondering why people would 
believe those remarkable stories in the Bible about giants, when suddenly I 
thought of making a stone giant and passing it off as a petrified man. I 
returned to Binghampton and sold out my business, went to Wisconsin, where 
the idea continued to haunt me, and went back to New York state with my fam- 
ily and finally returned to Iowa. But I didn't go near my folks at Ackley." 

Mr. Hull in the remainder of the interview tells of how he carried out his 
idea, how he realized a goodly sum for it, how he refused Barnum, who offered 
a large amount for it, and how, although beaten in argument, he had still made a 
laughing stock of the world. 



CHAPTER XXIII 
BREAKIXG PRAIRIE AND OTHER SKETCHES 

THE OLD BREAKING PLOW TURNING TPIE SOD "sOD CORN" THE PRAIRIE SLOUGH 

—HISTORY OF DRAINAGE A MILLION AND A QUARTER OF DOLLARS SPENT FOR 

COUNTY DRAINAGE THE CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT — FIGHTING THE COMBINE 

A CO-OPERATIVE INDUSTRY COUNTRY LIFE OF LOST GROVE. 

BREAKING PRAIRIE 

By Hon. L. S. Coffin 

How few of our people who have been residents of Iowa during the last quar- 
ter of the last century, either by immigration or by birth, have any conception of 
the meaning of the expression, "breaking prairie!'' The old prairie breaking- 
plow has disappeared from sight as completely as the elk and builalo. So true is 
this, that the authorities of our State Agricultural College have been hunting for 
one for the museum of that institutionfi as an object-lesson and a reminder to 
their students of the days and ways of early farm life on the prairie, of which 
they know very little or nothing. 

Let us permit the old "breaking-plow" to stand in its wide furrow of 20 to 32 
inches, a few minutes, while we digress far enough from our subject to wish it 
were possible that another object-lesson could be laid before the students of our 
grand institution of learning at Ames. That object-lesson, if my wish could be 
realized, \vould be an average lOO-acre X^ew England farm, as it was fifty to 
seventy years ago, and it is today, with all its appliances, laid down there near 
the college farm. The young and middle-aged people of this state, who have 
been born in Iowa, and live on its rockless, hilless, stumpless and matchless soil, 
have but little realizing sense of the incomparable advantages they have in being 
residents of such a state. 

It is the custom with many of the graduates of our institutions of learning, to 
spend a year or more abroad. I could wish that the graduates from the agricul- 
tural course could go to some the New England states and work a year or so 
on some of those farms. The benefit would be almost incalculable. But we cannot 
now take the time to explain how and why. To many of the farmers of Iowa, 
who were X'^ew England born, no explanation is needed. 

But to return to the old prairie breaking-plow, which we left standing in the 
furrow. All attempts to present a word picture of it must fail to give any per- 
son who has never seen one, a true idea of the real thing. These plows, as a 
rule, were very large. They were made to cut and turn a furrow from twenty 

245 



246 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

to thirty inches wide and sometimes even wider. The beam was a straight stick 
of strong timber seven to twelve feet long. The first coulter was a steel blade 
fastened to the beam, and extending down close to the point of the "shear," to 
cut the sod preparatory to its being turned over; but later on the rolling-colter 
was invented, as we are informed by John Deere, of Moline, Illinois, who also 
invented the steel plow. This sharp, circular disk cut the sod much better than 
the primitive straight blade. The word is spelled variously, as "colter," "coulter," 
and "cutter." The forward end of this beam was carried by a pair of trucks or 
wheels, and into the top of the axle of these wheels were framed two stout, up- 
right pieces just far enough apart to allow the forward end of the plow-beam to 
nicely fit in between them. To the forward end of the beam and on top of it, 
there was fastened by a link or clevis, a long lever, running between these stout 
standards in the axle of the trucks, and fastened to them by a strong bolt run- 
ning through both standards and lever; this bolt, acting as a fulcrum for the 
lever, was in easy reach of the man having charge of the plow. By raising or 
depressing the rear end of this lever the depth of the furrow was gauged, and 
by depressing the lever low enough, the plow could be thrown entirely outxif the 
ground. One of the wheels of the truck ran in the furrow and was from two to 
four inches larger than the one that ran on the sod. This, of course, was neces- 
sary so as to have an even, level rest for the forward end of the plow-beam. The 
mould-boards of these plows were sometimes made of wood protected by nar- 
row-strips of steel or band-iron, and fastened to the mould-board. In some cases 
these mould-boards were made entirely of iron rods, which generally gave the 
best satisfaction. The share of these plow^s — "shear," as we western folks called 
it — had to be made of the very best steel so as to carry a keen edge. The original 
prairie sod was one web of small tough roots, and hence the necessity, of a razor- 
like edge on the "shear" to secure good work and ease to the team. 

And next, the "prairie-breaking" plow team? Who sees the like of it today? 
A string of from three to six yokes of oxen hitched to this long plow-beam, the 
driver clad in somewhat of a cowboy style, and armed with a whip, the handle 
of which resembled a long, slender fishing-rod, with a lash that when wielded by 
an expert was so severe that the oven had learned to fear it as much as the New 
England oxen did the Yankee ox-goad with its brad. 

The season for "breaking-prairie" varied as the spring- and summer were 
early or late, wet or dry. The best results were had by beginning to plow after 
the grass had a pretty good start, and quitting the work some time before it was 
ready for the scythe. The main object aimed at was to secure as complete a 
rotting of the sod as possible. To this end the plow was gauged to cut only one 
and one-half to two inches deep. Then, if the mould-board was so shaped as to 
"kink" the sod as it was turned over, all the better, as in the early days of 
"prairie-breaking" very little use was made of the ground the first year. The 
object was to have the land in as good a shape as possible for sowing wheat the 
following spring. A dry season, thin breaking, "kinky" furrows, and not too 
long breaking accomplished this, and made the putting in of wheat the follow- 
ing spring an easy task. But on the contrary, if broken too deeply, and the fur- 
rows laid flat and smooth, or in a wet season, or if broken too late, the job of 
seeding the wheat on tough sod was a hard and slow one. 

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yokes of oxen, a covered wagon, a small kit of tools, and among these always a 
good assortment of files for sharpening the plow-share, a few cooking utensils, 
and sometimes a dog and pony. The oxen, when the day's work was done, were 
turned loose to feed on the grass. To one or more was attached a far-sounding 
bell, so as to betray their whereabouts at all times. The pony and dog came in 
good play for company, and in gathering up the oxen when wanted. The season 
for breaking would average about two months. The price per acre for breaking 
varied from $2.50 to $4.50, as the man was boarded or as he "found himself." 
In latter years when it was learned that flax could be raised to good advantage 
on new breaking, and that it helped to rot the sod, the breaking season com- 
menced much earlier. 

Three yokes of good-sized oxen drawing a 24-inch plow, with two men to 
manage the work, would ordinarily break about two acres a day; five yokes with 
a 36-inch plow, requiring no more men to "run the machine," would break three 
acres a dav. When the plow was kept running continuously, the "shear" had to 
])e taken to the blacksmith as often as once a week to be drawn out thin, so that 
a keen knife-edge could be easily put on it with a file by the men who managed 
the plow. If the team was going around an 80-acre tract of prairie, the "lay" or 
"shear" had to be filed after each round to do the best work. The skillful 
"breaker" tried to run his plow one and one-half inches deep and no deeper. 
This was for the purpose of splitting the sod across the mass of tough fibrous 
roots, which had lain undisturbed for uncounted years and had formed a net- 
work of interlaced sinews as difiicult to cut as india rubber, where the prairie 
was inclined to be wet; and it was not easy to find an entire 80-acre tract- that 
was not intersected with numerous "sloughs," across which the breaking-plow 
had to run. In many places the sod in these "sloughs" was so tough that it was 
with the greatest difficulty that the plow could be kept in the ground. If it ran 
out of the ground, this tough, leathery sod would flop back into the furrow as 
swiftly as the falling of a row of bricks set up on end, and the man and driver 
had to turn the long ribbon of tough sod over by hand, if they could not 
make a "balk." In the flat, wet prairie, it sometimes took from two to three 
years for the tough sod to decompose sufficiently to produce a full crop. The 
plow had to be kept in perfect order to turn this kind of prairie sod over, and 
the "lay" had to have an edge as keen as a scythe to do good work. There 
were usually two "lays" or "shears" fitted to each plow, so that the team need 
not be idle while the boy with the mustang went often from five to eight miles 
to the nearest blacksmith to get a "lay" sharpened. Sometimes tlie oxen 
would stray ofl: among the "barrens," or follow the course of some stream 
for miles and hide among the willows to take a vacation, and frequently they 
were not found until after two or three days of weary search by the men and 
boy, while the plow which ought to be earning six or nine dollars a day was 
lying idle on the great prairie. 

There were men who equipped a "brigade" for breaking and carried on a 
thriving business from about the first day of May to the end of July. 

When the rush of immigration began in the spring of 1854, there were not 
nearly enough breaking teams in the country to supply the demand. In some 
cases the "new-comers" would consent to have a portion of their prairie farms 
broken up in April, and on this early breaking they would plant "sod corn." The 



248 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

process was simple; a man with an axe would follow the line of every second or 
third furrow, strike the blade deep in the ground, a boy or girl would follow and 
drop three or four kernels of corn into the hole and bring one foot down "right 
smart" on the hole in the sod, and the deed was done. No cultivation was re- 
quired after planting, and in the fall a half crop of corn was frequently gathered 
without expense. Those who were not able to get breaking done at the best time 
for subduing the sod, were often glad to have some done in the latter part of 
July or the first half of August. So for several years the "breaking brigades" 
were able to run their teams for four months each year, and it was profitable 
business. 

With all their crudeness, with all their exposure, with all their privations 
and hard times — for there were hard times in those days — yet, the pass- 
ing of those pioneer days, with the quaint old "prairie breaking plow," the 
string of oxen, the old prairie-schooner wagon, the elk and deer, with now and 
then a buffalo, the prairie chickens, the "dug-outs," sod houses, and log cabins, 
give to us old pioneer settlers a tinge of sadness difficult to express in words ; 
for with all these have gone a great deal of that community and fellowship 
of neighborhood feeling, so common and so heartily expressed from one to an- 
other in the abounding hospitality and in the kindly exchange of help in those 
days. Then those living miles apart were friends and neighbors. Now the fam- 
ilies living on adjoining quarter sections are strangers. Today it seems that each 
one thinks he must "go it alone," as did the old "prairie breaking-plow," which 
usually did go it alone, for it was so constructed as to hold itself ; except at the 
beginning and at the end of the furrows there was little handling of the rear end 
of the long lever. It was easily made to take the sod and to leave it at the farther 
end. 

While we say good-bye to this bygone "breaking-plow," let us not forget that 
it — like those early and hardy pioneers, rude through they were in some respects, 
like the old plow and other tools in that day — has bequeathed to us, who are 
reaping the rich harvest of the sowing, an inheritance of which we can be 
proud, and for which I most truly hope we are grateful. 

Willowedge Farm, Near Ft. Dodge, May, 191 2. 

THE OLD PRAIRIE SLOUGH 

By Charles Aldrich 

Among the characteristic landmarks of old-Towa which are now becoming 
obsolete, the prairie slough was one of the most conspicuous and the most neces- 
sary to be reckoned with. During the springs and summers of long ago one 
heard a great deal about them. They were the terror of travelers, for in those 
days we had no railroads, and the Western Stage Company was often compelled 
by the bottomless condition of the roads to abandon their coaches and use com- 
mon lumber wagons instead. A long and strong rope was often indispensable, 
both with the coaches and lumber wagons. It was tied to the tongue of the 
vehicle which had been "sloughed down," and the teams were placed out on solid 
ground where they could pull their very utmost. It was sometimes necessary to 
pry uj) the wheels, and it came to be a saying that the traveler must carry with 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 249 

him a fence rail in order to do his part in the business. In some extreme cases 
he had Hterally to '"work his passage." When I came into Iowa in 1857 the rail- 
road extended west of Dubuque only thirty miles. From there on we journeyed 
in a lumber wagon, in which we carried our few household belongings, and the 
type, cases and stands for a small, old-fashioned printing office. A'ery fortu- 
nately my wife and sister rode in a buggy. The No. 3 Washington hand press 
was wagoned through later. Our route was close to the present track of the 
Illinois Central Railroad. We had several times to unload our lumber wagon and 
carry our freight across by hand. In the outskirts of the village of Independence 
we saw a wagon w^ith a much lighter load than ours stuck fast in the center of 
a wide slough. How the poor man and team were extricated from this forlorn 
place we never knew, for they were too far out in the mud and water for us to 
attempt to reach them. The sloughs were very plenty on this long road of 150 
miles, and we often had to use all our skill to get through or around them. 

Hon. L. S. Coffin, the well-known lowan, who has made his name illustrious 
through his beneficient labors in behalf of railroad employes, — a reform of which 
he was the sole originator, — migrated into Webster county from the south. He 
had a heavily loaded wagon, in which the members of his family were also rid- 
ing, and when he attempted to cross — near the site of the present village of Strat- 
ford, Hamilton county — one of those wide, deep sloughs, through which if you 
went one way you would likely wish you had gone another, his wagon stuck fast. 
His team could not move an inch and he was in much perplexity, for that wide 
stretch of country as far as eye could reach was without a house. But leaving 
things as they were, he started out on foot to see if he could find anyone to help 
him. He soon descried a man with tw^o or three yoke of oxen — a "breaking 
team" — a couple of miles away. On reaching him he found a ready helper who 
started at once with his teams to get him out of his trouble. On reaching the 
spot this was readily accomplished. Mr. Coffin was very grateful and wanted to 
pay the rough-looking young man for what he had done. But the latter refused 
to take anything. Mr. Coffin tried to force upon him a $5.00 l)ill. But the man 
was incorrigible. Mr. Coffin next bethought him of a bottle of whisky wdiich 
had luckily been l^rought along to be handy in case of "snake-bites," but the 
prairie-breaker w"as equally set against taking a drop of whisky. Mr. Coffin, who 
was possibly less an advocate of prohibition than he afterwards became, scarcely 
knew what to make of a frontiersman who would neither take pay for so good 
a job nor indulge in "a pull" at the whisky bottle. That event occurred some 
fifty-seven years ago. Mr. Coffin "still lives" on his farm near Fort Dodge. Mr. 
Maxwell, who helped him out of the slough, was one of the heroes of the Spirit 
Lake Expedition and of the great Civil war. 

The prairie slough was always an interesting object and a wonder to me. hi 
the winter it would be frozen solid — as cold and dead as an iceberg. Some of 
the larger ones, however, would be studded with muskrat houses, huge piles of 
coarse weeds and mosses, which the animals tore up from the bottoms of the 
sloughs. These creatures wintered in their houses safe from everything except 
the spears of the ^lusquakie Indians. But in the summers the prairie sloughs 
were fairly alive, and with a variety of life. Several species of small mollusks — - 
coiled shells — the names of which the reader may find in any elementary book 
of conchology, if he is curious about such matters, had lived and died in our 



250 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

prairie sloughs for countless ages. The winds drifted the bleached and empty 
shells ashore, where they often looked like piles of small white gravel. Several 
species of birds nested in the weeds and coarse grasses which grew out in the 
water. Yellow-headed blackbirds were the most conspicuous. They were about 
the size of the purple grackle (crow black-bird) which often comes nowadays 
into our cities and towns to build its nest and rear its young in the shade trees. 
The head and neck almost to the shoulders were a bright yellow and glistened 
like polished gold. They were very beautiful birds, but their notes were ter- 
ril)lv harsh — as distressing as the filing of a saw. The beautiful red-wings also 
made their homes in the sloughs, as did the marsh wrens. They ingeniously 
wove together several stalks of coarse grass and made themselves strong nests, 
safe from predatory wolves and foxes. In point of numbers the red-wings far 
surpassed the others, breeding every summer by millions in our prairie sloughs. 
The nests of the marsh wrens were marvels of ingenuity. When minks were 
plenty, they also had their abodes in and about the sloughs. Ducks, geese and 
cranes summered in these damp regions, often appropriating the muskrat houses 
for their nests. And there were mosquitoes beyond any computation. They 
simply swarmed in clouds. 

Myriads ,of beautiful dragon-flies — "devil's darning needles'" — were also 
evolved in these prairie sloughs. The young dragon-fly, in the first stage in 
which it would interest a common observer, was an ill-looking, scraggy, rough 
water bug. But it presently grew tired of living under water, and on a warm, 
sunshiny day, crawled up one of the weed-stalks. Finding a fit place for ridding 
itself of its old clothes, it sat down to wait. After a while as it dried ofif in the 
sun. the back of the head cracked open and a new head, shining like a diamond, 
was slowly protruded. Its back also soon split open and the new creature slowly 
came forth with a little bundle compactly rolled up on the middle segment of its 
body. As the sun continued to warm the insect the bundle unfolded, stretching 
out into gauzy wnngs. If, at this juncture, you frightened it, the smart young 
dragon-fly promptly flew away. Its birth and education were things of its brief 
]:)ast and it was "ready for business" — keen to enjoy all the pleasures of its brief 
existence. The old shell closed up as the new insect left it, and remained a dry, 
grav husk, clinging by the stift'ened limbs to the support selected for this curious 
transformation scene. 

Xo two prairie sloughs were alike. We had ponds or lakelets, where the 
water was open, in rare instances abounding with fish — and others, where the 
surface was covered with dense growths of bulrushes and coarse grasses, which 
looked black when seen from a little distance. One could go around such places 
dry shod. Little valleys with but gradual descent, down which the water slowly 
crept through the grass roots and the black ooze, were also called sloughs, as 
were wide reaches of swamp lands. These last were the teamsters' and travelers' 
terror, for it was impossible to go around them. In the spring and in rainy sea- 
sons they became almost impassable, and when a wagon stuck fast the horses or 
oxen had a wonderful penchant for lying down, no doubt in great discourage- 
ment — and there you were ! 

In July, 1859, I made a journey to Spirit Lake. Cyrus C' Carpenter — years 
afterwards one of our distinguished governors — was easily persuaded to go with 
me and show me the way, which was scarcely more for many a weary mile than 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 251 

a dim trail. He was familiar with every mile of the journey and I was not. 
The weather was so extremely warm that my horse gave out on the treeless, 
houseless, 25-mile prairie between the Des Moines river and the lake, and we 
had to stop on the road until the sun went down, and travel until one o'clock in 
the morning, to reach our destination. While resting on the ground in the shade 
of the buggy we became very thirsty. Finally Carpenter, pointing southwest, 
asked me, " Do you see that patch of black grass?" I saw it plainly though it 
Vv'as half a mile distant. "There," he remarked, "is plenty of water, and I will 
go -and get some." After long plodding through the long prairie grass he re- 
turned with half a pail of water. It contained fragments of decaying bulrushes, 
and was doubtless alive with animalcula, but in my terrible thirst I never tasted 
anything more refreshing. The grass was black^dark green — because it grew 
tall and rank in the mud and water. Carpenter had learned all about "black 
grass" in his work as government surveyor. 

The prairie slough also entered into our local politics in this way; we had 
somebody running for office every year, much as, we do nowadays. One of "the 
sloughs" that some of these patriots used to set up was that they had "waded 
sloughs" in the interests of pioneer settlers. I remember stating editorially in 
replv to one of these "claims," that imdoubtedly in coming time monuments 
would be set up to mark places where some of these illustrious men had entered 
the sloughs and where they came out on the farther sides. I had my own ex- 
4)erience in the sloughs, and can recall many instances in which my buggy stuck 
fast, the horses fell down, and I had to jump into the water — and be very quick 
about it, too — and loosen the harness to s^ve the poor beasts from drowning. 

Among the precious schemes adopted by ambitious people for draining 
sloughs, I recall one which was in the highest degree unique — far ahead of any 
ever devised by the late Colonel George E. Waring, Jr., our great American 
authority in that field of usefulness. These drainage "experts" were reported to 
have "invented" this plan : A large ditching-plow was drawn by means of long 
ropes and several yoke of oxen, across the shallow enclosed ponds, from one side 
to the other, simply making a large furrow, but providing no outlet whatever. 
This was termed "draining the swamp lands." It used to be asserted in those 
early days that some of these thrifty operators occasionally found county author- 
ities along the frontier weak enough, or dishonest enough, to grind out warrants 
and pay for such work. And thus they doubtless "made money." 

But what changes have been wrought ! The prairie slough is almost as much 
a thing of the past as the deer or the buffalo. Tile drainage and the obvious 
changes in our climate have made dry land of their beds, and many species of 
animals and birds which once dwelt in them have entirely disappeared. Even the 
large aquatic and w^ading birds no longer pass this way, or come and go in very 
diminished numbers. Some species may also be very near extinction. Cultivated 
fields occupy the places where the little lakes and ponds shimmered in silvery 
brightness fifty years ago. 

/ THE HISTORY OF DRAINAGE 

There is a lack of literature on the subject of drainage. This is probably 
due to the fact that drainage is comparatively new. Irrigation is ancient. It is 

Vol. 1—1 7 



252 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

as old as the knowledge of man. Tile drainage on the other hand is less than a 
century old. \Mlliam Smith, an eminent English geologist, in an article pub- 
lished in 1834, recommended deep plowing and drainage as a means of increas- 
ing the productiveness of farm lands. This would indicate that the subject was 
at that time a new one. In 1846 England passed a law to loan money at low 
rates of interest to farmers to drain their farms in the interest of agriculture, and 
public health. This is probably the first law passed by any government in the 
interest of drainage of farm land. 

In 1825 a Scotchman bought a farm in New York state. It had the reputa- 
tion of being worn out. When leaving his home to take a ship for America he 
saw fires burning by the wayside as he looked out of the wdndow of the coacli 
in which he was riding. He asked the coachman what it meant. The coachman 
laughingly said, "Oh, some fools are burning crockery to put in the ground." 

On inquiry Johnson learned that tile were being made for the purpose of 
drainage. It set him thinking. He concluded that such an improvement would 
be valuable. He,knew his neighbors would ridicule him and he would be a sub- 
ject for all the jokes of the community, but he was too strong a character to be 
laughed down. 

He shipped tile from his coimtry and when they were being laid his neigh- 
bors watched the process with interest and made wise observations. They asked 
how water could get into them, how would the water overcome the pressure of the 
atmosphere at the outlet and get out of the tile. They would freeze, they would 
crush, they might poison the land. They would draw the water to them and 
make the land too wet ; they would dry out the land in the summer. But the 
Scotchman did not weaken, and the tile were put in the ground. This was in 1835, 
and we believe it was the first used in the United States. It was known as horse- 
shoe tile. It was made open on one side and was laid on the open side in the 
ditch. The tile were laid from two to twenty feet apart. 

To us this seems extravagant, but we must remember that this man was do- 
ing a new work. He had no man's experience to which he might appeal to guide 
him. The philosophy of tiling had not been developed. The whys and where- 
fores were unanswered. It is probable he would have gotten as good results 
with less work and expense, but he did well, and his name should l)e among the 
great and valuable men of our country. 

The theories and dolorous predictions of the neighbors were shattered when 
the tile began to do business. The poor and worn-out farm in a few years took 
the blue ribbon from the State Agricultural Society for being the best tilled and 
arranged farm in the state. The wheat raised on the farm took the first premium 
for the greatest yield and superior quality. The tile won the day. 

In a bulletin published by Mr. J. O. Wright, supervising drainage engi- 
neer, Washington, D. C, he makes the statement that the first authentic record 
of any drainage law in the United States, was that of a law enacted by the -gen- 
eral assembly of New Jersey, September 12, 1872. In this statement he is in 
error, for the general assembly of Iowa passed a drainage law, which was ap- 
proved by the then Governor C. C. Carpenter on April 24, 1872. This was nearly 
five months prior to the enactment of the New Jersey law. To Iowa, therefore, 
belongs the honor of passing the first drainage law in the United States ; and to 
Governor Carpenter belongs the honor of having signed it. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 253 

This law was made applicable to counties of 10,000 and more inhabitants. 
The law was enacted no dou])t for the eastern portion of the state, as there was 
not a county in the northwestern part of the state at that time with that many in- 
habitants, nearly half of the counties of the state then had less than 10,000 
population. 

Then it is probable that this provision was to protect the non-resident land 
owner. A large portion of the population in this part of the state were home- 
steaders and did not at that time have patents on their land and were not required 
to pay taxes until they had. Rut they could have, if permitted, formed drain- 
age districts, the expense of which might have been more than the value of all 
the land in the district. The land then could be purchased for $2.50 to $5.00 
per acre. The provisions of this law for forming drainage districts remained in 
force until about six or eight years ago, when they were declared to be uncon- 
stitutional by the supreme court of the state. The law was amended from time 
to time to meet the requirements of the growing condition of the state. 

The first drainage work in Webster county was begun in the year 1893. 
The preceding year a petition of the interested landholders had been presented 
to the board of supervisors, asking for the construction of an open ditch in 
Cooper township. At the April, 1893, session of the board, the petition was 
granted, and a ditch was constructed over and across sections 13, 14, 15, 22, 23, 
24, 27, 28, and 33 of township 89, range 2-/, Cooper township. In excavating this 
ditch 70,957 cubic yards of dirt were removed. The total cost of the ditch was 
$9,000. In a few years the ditch began to fill up and soon became practically 
useless as a drain. In the year 1891, the board of supervisors after an examina- 
tion of the ditch reported that it was practically worthless. Soon after that a 
petition was filed with the county auditor asking that the ditch be cleaned. Under 
the law at that time it was necessary to appoint commissioners to appraise the 
damages and to fix assessments. On account of the large amount of money 
which the ditch had cost originally, it was feared that the additional expenses 
of cleaning would not meet with favor among the most of the people owning the 
lands within the drainage district. This caused the matter to be delayed from 
time to time. Neither the board of supervisors or the auditor took any action 
upon the matter. However, on August 30, 1902, Judge J. R. Whitaker of the 
eleventh judicial district issued a writ of mandamus in a case entitled J. J. 
Ryan et al. vs. J. F. Ford, auditor, ordering the repair and improvement of the 
Cooper township ditch. No action, however, was taken under the writ; and 
May 31, 1904, A. N. Botsford and six others again filed a petition with the 
county auditor asking for the construction of a drainage ditch, which in the 
words of their petition would "trace the course of a ditch repaired and con- 
structed about ten years since, and which has become obstructed and insufficient 
for drainage purposes." This time the board took action upon the petition and 
L. L. Merrill and J. A. Adams, disinterested resident landholders of Webster 
county, and C. H. Reynolds, county surveyor of Webster county, were appointed 
as commissioners to inspect and classify all the lands afifected by the proposed 
ditch. The commissioners reported July 29, 1905, and notice of assessment was 
served on all interested parties by W. C. Woolsey, deputy sheriff, on August 9, 
1905. After considerable delay because of inability to secure bids, the work was 
finally let to Messrs. T'oyles and Lizenby, who completed the ditch. This ditch 



25i HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

was the cause of much litigation, and cost the county more than the construction 
of the original ditch. 

The second drainage district established was in 1904, and was established 
under the law of that year, being the first district to be established under the 
present drainage law. It includes lands lying principally in Lost Grove and 
Dayton townships and drains what is known as the Blair's Lake district. 

At the present time there are 163 drainage districts in Webster county. At 
the close of the year 191 2 the total amount spent for drainage work in these 
districts was $1,250,162. The cost per acre of this drainage was from nothing 
to a maximum of $45 per acre. However, it has practically doubled the value 
of the farm lands within the drainage district. In addition to the amount spent 
for district drainage, there has been an even larger amount spent for private 
drains. This class of drainage is generally tile ditch, while the work in the drain- 
age districts is both open ditch and tile. 

FARMERS CO-OPERATIVE MOVEMENT 

By C. G. Messerole 

In these days when "Big Business" turns to co-operation as an alternative 
from a return to cut-throat competition, or to continued strife in the courts as 
a result of a "Joy Riding,'" which has finally exhausted the patience of a long 
suffering public, it seems proper that in the history of Webster county there 
should appear the story of one of the first really successful co-operative busi- 
ness enterprises ever conducted in the United States. 

A glance at the co-operative map of Iowa, at once locates Webster county as 
the very center of the co-operative industry. The reason for this is : first, that 
Webster countv is the center of an intelligent rural citizenship ; second, that it 
is the center of a rich agricultural section; and last, but by no means least, be- 
cause of the sturdy character of the rural population that would no longer sub- 
mit to a further exploitation of the resources of the soil, and the toil of her 
husbandmen. 

In the year 1901, a group of farmers of Gowrie and Lost Grove township 
met in a country school house in the vicinity of Gowrie, for the purpose of de- 
vising some plan, whereby the local market for farm produce might be freed 
from the restrictions which surrounded it. They were laughed at, jeered at, and 
even threatened; but they stuck to the main purpose, that of establishing the 
right to market their produce in their own way, and to buy such goods as they 
saw fit through their own agency. They asked no rebates or special privileges. 
All thev wanted was a site for their elevator, an open market, and a "Square 
Deal." Did they get it ? 

Both the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, and the Chicago & North 
Western Railroads refused to grant them a site. After much delay, they suc- 
ceeded in buying a piece of ground near the Newton & North Western Railroad. 
Thev began the erection of an elevator before even a track was laid to their 
property ; and this in face of repeated threats that the track would never be laid. 
It may be pertinent to note at this point, that corporations as well as individuals 
have a right to chanjje their minds, and that under some conditions thev have 




W. H. PLUMB 
Pioneer Xurseryman 



THE NEW YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



ASTOR, Ll^NOX AND 
^l._D N FOUNDATIONS. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 255 

been known to do so. It is a significant fact, that at the present time, there is 
not a raih-oad company doing business in Iowa, that is not begging for co- 
operative industries to be located on their Hues. This fact alone is sufificient 
proof of the success of the movement. 

The elevator at Cowrie was finally completed. The side track was laid, in 
spite of former threats ; and the elevator w^as formally opened for business Sep- 
tember 15, 1902. The writer well remembers (not without a smile), the threats 
of competitors, and their efifect upon the official board. 

The writer, who was employed as the first manager, was told to open up the 
house, but was informed that he was not expected to do much business. The 
manager having some faith in his own ability, and still larger faith in the justice 
of the cause, resolved, that he would either make of this business a realization of 
the hopes of the founders, or that he would throw up the job. 

The prices of grain and live stock went up to a point which aroused the 
country for miles around. Grain and hogs began to pour into Cowrie from the 
territory of neighboring towns, even from Moorland, Otho, Lohrville, Dayton 
and Dana. Competitors of the Cowrie company suddenly realized that under 
some conditions smaller margins of profit were desirable ; and of course met the 
prices of the new company. In some cases they even tried to "out-Caesar 
Caesar." It was evident that this condition could not long exist. Farmers would 
not long continue to haul their products a distance of twelve, fifteen, or eighteen 
miles. ^Yet for some time they continued to come to Cowrie, in order that they 
might get a piece of the supposed plunder, which was expected to result from the 
predicted failure of the Cowrie company. Notwithstanding the industrious cir- 
culation of false reports concerning the business of the company on the part of 
its competitors (and those who were fearful that they might become compet- 
itors), the Cowrie company did not fail. \\'hat was more, after some months 
had elapsed, it became evident, that the Cowrie company would not fail. Wonder 
and amazement, coupled with an admiration for the astuteness, as well as the 
business acumen displayed by the Cowrie farmers, caused them to forget their 
desire to get a piece of the Cowrie farmer's money ; and they began to bestir 
themselves to save some of their own, in their own community. 

The activities of the old grain combine in Iowa, are quite w-ell known. Ac- 
cording to sworn testimony, secured at the hearings of the Interstate Commerce 
Commission, a committee of twenty or less of their members met in Des Moines 
each week and fixed the price to be paid the farmers, for their produce. The 
workings of this committee are sufficiently familiar to the farmers, so that it is 
unnecessary to go into details. It should be remembered however, that if the 
success of the farmers at Cowrie had afoused the farmers of the state, that it 
was at this point that the combine began with redoubled energy their efiforts to 
close the terminal markets to farmers' companies as they had efifectually suc- 
ceeded in shutting the individual farmer out of that market. 

While every one knows of the famous boycott, yet it may be of interest to 
know just how this was accomplished. Each day the competitor of the farmers' 
company would take the numbers and initials of the cars loaded by the company, 
and report the same to the secretary at Des ■Moines, together with the billing 
which he had secured from the agent of the railways. Note the great friend- 
liness of the railroads for the dear farmer at that time, and compare it to present 



256 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

day methods, when the raih-oads send out corn specials, oat specials, dairy spe- 
cials, good roads specials and even good pork trains. We conclude that at least 
they sohuld be authority on pork. The secretary upon receipt of the information 
would notify the commission firm in Chicago, or other terminal market, of the 
shipment giving car number and date of billing; and at the same time advise the 
firm to which the grain had been shipped, that it would be to their interest not to 
receive grain from these so called irregular shippers. Usually the commission 
firm so notified appeared to be honored by such notice, and would at once agree 
to lend their aid in suppressing such irregular shipments. For their trouble the 
firm would be placed in good standing with the combine. This arrangement was 
an admirable one. The only trouble with it was, that it did not work, or at least 
it did not work long. There were some firms in the terminal markets, who re- 
fused to be coerced or bullied. By common consent as much as from necessity 
the farmers' companies began to send nearly all of their business to these firms. 
This caused the attempted boycott to fail. The rapidly growing business of 
farmers' companies is now the choice morsel for which all commission firms are 
striving. 

In addition to these difticulties, all of which were successfully overcome by 
the Gowrie company, the hardest fight was still to come. The allied grain, lum- 
ber and coal combines sought to disrupt the company by forcing their way to 
the inside. Through a puppet, picked up in Minneapolis, they secured by pur- 
chase some of the stock of the company from a member who had moved away. 
The\- then made the Gowrie company defendant in a suit at law. to force a 
transfer of the stock and an examination of the books. The trial of this case 
in the district court of Webster county was a drawn battle. The court refused 
to grant them the right to examine the books, although ordering a transfer of 
the stock. In the decree the court unmercifully scored the methods which the 
allies were using. The Gowrie company appealed the case to the supreme court, 
and after months secured a decision which was a sweeping victory, and which 
denounced the plaintiff as being the puppet of a conspiracy of which local com- 
petitors were a part. 

It will always be a pleasing reflection to the writer, to recall the fact, that the 
plaintiffs could not secure a reputable attorney in Webster county to conduct 
their case, and that they w ere compelled to go to Des Moines to secure legal 
counsel. The case of the farmers was conducted and won by capable members 
of the Fort Dodge Bar; and I shall always believe that they fought this case, 
not for the fees, but in the cause of righteousness and justice. 

It is a significant fact, that Webster county citizens have not only been more 
active in the building up of the co-operative cause than those of any other county 
of the state ; but that the atmosphere in the county has always been one of sym- 
pathy and helpfulness. While other leading newspapers of the state were using 
their columns in an effort to discredit the movement, those of Webster county 
gave much space to encourage the movement. The conventions of the State 
Association which have been held in Fort Dodge have always been the best at- 
tended and the most profitable to the mem.bership. 

The towns of the county where successful co-operation is practiced by or- 
ganized eft'ort are: Gowrie. Davton. Harcourt. Lanvon. Otho. Callender. Moor- 
land. Roelvn. Barnum, Clare. Duncombe, Eehigh, Roberts, Crooks, Badges and 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 257 

Industry. This includes all of the trading points in the county except \'incent 
and Fort Dodge. 

Webster county has in the past furnished a number of efiicient ofticers to the 
State Association, among whom should be especially mentioned j. W. Hagans, 
who for years has served as vice-president, and H. C. Stoughton of Dayton and 
Olaf Hanson of Cowrie, who have both served as directors. 

GOWRIK CO-OPERATIVE CREAMERY AND ICE FACTORY 

The Cowrie Co-Operative Creamery and Ice Factory was opened for business 
December 2, 1911. At the opening a large number of farmers were present and 
listened to addresses by Professor M. Mortenscn of the dairy department of the 
Iowa State College and also Professor J. B. Davidson of the engineering de- 
partment of the same institution, and by G. H. Teller, assistant state dairy com- 
missioner. The organization of the creamery company was largely due to the 
efforts of the Cowrie Commercial Club. A soliciting committee consisting of E. 
E. Renquist and Swan Carlson started out to raise a fund of $6,000 with which 
to build a creamery plant. The proposition met with such favor that $8,000 
worth of stock was finally sold. Professor Mortensen and Professor Davidson 
assisted the committee in the matter of organization and building. The building 
itself is a substantial brick and hollow block structure forty by sixty with large 
brick smokestack fifty-two feet high. The machinery within the building is of 
the most improved and modern type. 

While the opening date was Saturday, the actual business of the plant did not 
begin until the following Monday, December 4. 

(Jn the first day thirty-five farmers brought in cream, Oscar H. Swenson 
being the first one. The total amount of cream the first day was 1,275 pounds, 
which tested 471 pounds of butter fat. 

THE COUNTRY LIFE CLUB OF LOST GROVE TOWNSHIP 

The Country Life Club of Lost Grove township was organized December 
29, 1908, by some of the Lost Grove farmers, who realized that there was not 
enough of the social feature in the life of the farmers of their community. 
Article II, of the constitution of the club, gives the purpose of the organization 
to be "for the mutual improvement, entertainment and social intercourse of its 
members, to encourage a greater love for home life on the farm, to advance the 
interest of the farmer educationally, socially and financially, to study the im- 
provement of the home, of farm conditions, and to further methods of scientific 
agriculture." 

The membership of tlie club is restricted to farmers, and their families, who 
are engaged directly or indirectly in the production of grain and livestock. The 
ofticers of the club since its organiaztion have been as follows : 

1909 — Paul Nelson, president ; A. E. Peterson, secretary. 

1910 — Martin E. Youngdale. president; Alfred Blomquist. secretary. 

igii — Paul Nelson, president; Alfred Blomquist. secretary. 

1 91 2 — Paul Nelson, president; Lloyd Johnson, secretary. 



258 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The club holds both regular and special meetings. The regular meetings are 
held once a month at the home of some member. The program at these gather- 
ings consists of literary and musical numbers, athletic events or a social time, and 
the serving of refreshments. The special meetings sometimes take the form of 
a general picnic, at other times that of a business session. During the existence 
of the club three farmers' picnics have been held. These have all been in the 
country, and have had a large attendance of the people of the community. At 
the regular and special meetings of the club there have been twelve lecturers 
from the extension department of the Iowa State College. Each one of these 
lecturers has been a specialist in the particular branch which he represented. 

In the early part of the year 19 12, the club helped to organize the Harcourt 
Corn Association. This organization conducted its first farm product and rural 
school exhibition in February, 1912. At each annual exhibition of this associa- 
tion, the club members compete for a $54 silver trophy, which they have put 
up for a little friendly rivalry among themselves. This cup is awarded for the 
best ten ears of corn grown and exhibited by a club member; and in order to 
become the permanent property of any individual, it must be won three successive 
years. 

The Country Life Club has fostered a spirit of fellowship among its mem- 
bers; and has engendered a general feeling of good will in the community to- 
wards the club in its efforts for a better and more wholesome rural life. 



CHAPTER XXIV 
THE TOWNSHIPS AND TOWNS 

WEBSTER COUNTY TOWNSHIPS THE E. S GEYER HISTORY OF EARLY DAYTON — TIlE 

OTHO CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH THE W. C. 61-65 SOCIETY THE WEBSTER 

COUNTY TOWNS AND VILLAGES — MAYOR SORBER's MARRIAGE ORDINANCE — THE 

COUNTY NEWSPAPERS A MUNICIPALLY OWNED OPERA HOUSE SOME NEARLY 

FORGOTTEN TOWNS. 

BADGER TOWNSHIP 

Badger township was first organized October 10, 1865, and was given its 
present boundaries October 14, 1873. Ole Nelson was the first justice of the 
peace. The first settler was Stephen Maher, who settled on section 19, 
in the spring of 1856. The first school organized in the township was taught by 
Miss Susan Calligan in 1862, in the granary of M. Mitchell. 

BURNSIDE TOWNSHIP 

On June 15, 1886, a petition signed by A. W. Alsever, John Woodard, W. 
A. Anderson. I. Henderson, A. Graves, H. C. Kinney, L. Smith, A. H. Ander- 
son, R. V. Manchester, George S. Anderson, John Hammerly, C. E. Brown, 
and fifty-nine others, was presented to the board of supervisors asking for the 
division of Sumner township, and the organization of a new township. Accom- 
panying the petition was an affidavit that the petitioners were all legal voters. 
The affidavit was made by A. W. Alsever, E. A. Scott, and P. G. Manchester, 
and was sworn to before J. G. Durrell, justice of the peace. According to the 
affidavit of publication, signed by A. W. Alsever, the notice was legally pub- 
lished in the Lehigh Valley Echo, May 28, 1886, and June 24, 1886. The first 
election was held November 2, 1886, and J. W. Tennant was chosen clerk, 
and Joel Clark, justice of the peace. This was the last township organized in 
Webster county. 

COOPER TOWNSHIP 

Cooper township was organized September 6, 1877, in accordance with a 
petition signed by J. B. Haviland and others. The first election was held 
October 9, 1877, at Reilly schoolhouse. Fred Hess was elected the first clerk 
and justice of the peace, defeating W. E. Haviland by two votes. At the sug- 
gestion of Mr. Hess, the township was named in honor of Peter Cooper, who 
was a candidate for the presidency the year before the township was established. 

259 



260 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

COLFAX TOWNSHIP 

Colfax township was organized November 5, 1872. and named after Hon. 
Schuyler Colfax. This first election was held at the Kelley schoolhouse. The 
first school was taught by Miss ^Nfay Keltz in 1871, at her father's house. In 
1876, there were about thirty-eight families and forty-nine voters in the town- 
ship. Henry E. Kelley was the first settler. 

CL.AV TOWNSHIP 

Clav township was organized November 5, 1872, and was named after 
Henry Clay. The first election was held at the home of Samuel Atherton. 
F. B. Drake was elected clerk and justice of the peace. Mr. Drake was also 
the first settler in the township, coming in the fall of 1867. At that time there 
was no settlement west of Mr. Drake until Sioux City. Mr. Hatvedt was the 
next settler. The first school was taught by Luther W. Hulburd. In the 
winter of 187 1 and 1872 he had a class of twelve scholars. A Sabbath school 
was organized in 1872. In the fall of 1875. the Methodist Episcopal church was 
established with a membership of seven. In 1876 the population was estimated 
as forty-six families. 

DEER CREEK TOWNSHIP 

The township of Deer Creek was organized by an order of the board of 
supervisors, October 10. 1865. and the first election was held in the Long school- 
house. The name was taken from the stream of water flowing through the 
township. Charles Long was chosen the first clerk and justice of the peace. 
At this election twenty-four votes were cast for the office of supervisor, of 
which Daniel W. Pr indie received twenty-three votes. The first settler in the 
township was Daniel ^\'. Prindle, who built his cabin in March. 1855. 

Miss Helen Gardner taught the first school during the year 1862, in a log 
cabin on section 26. 

DOUGLAS TOWNSHIP 

Douglas township was organized March 3. 1857, and was named in honor 
of Stephen A. Douglas. The first records of Douglas township are as follows : 
"By notice of W. N. Meservey, county judge of Webster county, Iowa, there 
was an election held in Douglas township * J' * on the first jSIonday of 
April, A. D. 1857, at the house of Thomas Jackson, when the following officers 
were chosen for said township : Trustees. William Snodgrass, Stephen Powers, 
and Jesse Baldwin; township clerk. Richard \'ancleave : justices of the peace. 
Tohn P. X'ancleave and James Walker ; constables, Hamilton Snodgrass and Jacob 
Williams ; road supervisor. Stephen Powers. 

"Attest, Richard Vancleave. clerk." 

At a special election held March 22. 1858, it was decided that future elec- 
tions should be held at Lumpkin's schoolhouse. 

At a regular meeting of the township trustees held April 9. i860, a resolu- 
tion was passed fixing the compensation for road work, at $1.00 for eight 
hours' labor of man or team. Five years later the trustees increased this to $1.50. 




SWEDISH MISSION CHLKCH, 
DAYTON 



PUBLIC SCHOOL, DAYTON 




COMMERCIAL HOUSE, DAYTON 



SAVKDISH LUTHERAN LEAGUE CHAPEL, 
DAYTON 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY ^ 261 

The first settler in the township was E. H. Albee, who came in 1854, and 
who the next year sold his claim to Lorenzo S. Coffin. The first school was 
taught in 1856, by \\'. C. Ainsworth. in what was known as the Lumpkin's 
schoolhouse. 

DAVTON TOWNSHIP 

By E. S. Gexer^ 

Dayton township is in the south tier of townships of Webster county, and 
includes in its boundaries all of township 96, range 27, lying west of the Des 
Moines ri\er. and all of township 86. range 28. making one and a half con- 
gressional townships. 

The east part of the township along the river is somewhat broken. The 
bluffs and river bottoms are covered with timber, consisting of black walnut, 
white and burr oak, hard and soft maple, cottonwood, elm, etc.. and is believed 
to be underlaid with coal. 

The balance of the township is high, rolling prairie, with a deep. rich, black 
soil or loam, and is drained by numerous ravines or creeks, of which Skillet 
creek is the largest ( so named, tradition has it. by some trai)pers in an early 
day, who while hunting, found a skillet on the banks of the creek, hence the 
name Skillet creek), running from the northwest part of the township through 
about the center, thence east to the Des Moines river, draining nearly the entire 
township. 

During the first settlements, the immigrants mostly settled in or near the 
timber, very few venturing out upon the prairie. But as the settlers increased 
they began to venture out. 

In the summer of 1856, Benjamin F. Allison, now of Grand Junction, but 
then living in Sumner township, north of here, started a saw mill on section 16, 
where Mr. Atkinson's mill now stands, wdiich supplied the early settlers with 
lumber. 

In Xovember. 1856, Mr. Allison laid off the town of Dayton, and in the 
spring of 1857 laid the foundation of the first house in Dayton. The foundation 
was laid on a large snow drift on the lot where now stands the Dayton house. 
The house was planked up and covered with cottonwood lumber. The build- 
ing was one story, 16x28 feet, and was divided into two rooms. Mr. Allison 
moved his family into one of the rooms and operated a store in the other part 
of the house, it being the first house and first store in Dayton. The goods were 
hauled then from Keokjuk by ox teams, and it took from four to six weeks to 
make a trip there and back, there being no railroads as now. Teamsters camped 
out during journeys. 

Several families settled in Dayton during the summer of 1857 and 1858. 
In the summer of 1858. Dayton township was organized; up to this time all the 
territory west of the Des Moines river was called Yell township. 

At the election held in October. 1858. being the first election after the 
organization of the township, the following persons were elected: Alexander 



'' Pioneer hardware merchant and business man of Dayton, jnililished in tlie first 
edition of the Daytou Review. May 2, 1S79. 



262 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Dowd, Jr., and G. T. Richey, justices of the peace; W. O. Gardner and J. R. 
Line, constables ; E. S. Geyer, township clerk ; G. T. Richey, Alpha Gardner 
and Amaziah Beeson, trustees; A. J. Allen, J. R. Line and John Hedien, road 
supervisors. 

The lirst schoolhouse was built in Dayton in the summer of 1857. The 
school officers were : John Hedien. president ; B. F. Allison, secretary, and 
Amaziah Beeson, treasurer. 

Charles Gustafson and Gustus Ruston were the carpenters who built the 
house and received $265.00 for the job. 

Li the fall of 1856 the mail route w^as established on the west side of the 
river from Fort Dodge to Des Moines and a postoffice established at Dayton, 
but at that time there was another Dayton in the state and the department 
attached the word "West" to Dayton, making the postoffice West Dayton, and 
appointed John Baker postmaster. L^p to this time the settlers on the west side 
of the river got all their mail matter at Homer, now in Hamilton county. The 
writer has a number of times carried the papers and letters over here from 
Homer for all the settlers on this side of the river, and distributed them 
around at the settlements. 

Every settler that moved in was a neighbor, regardless of distance or where 
they came from. H you would want to find true hospitality, take the first 
pioneers of a new country; they know how to sympathize with each other. 
A great portion of them have left a comfortable home and friends with the 
object of getting more land and of bettering their own condition. But coming 
w^est in those days tried men as nothing else could. How many have gone 
to bed both sad at heart and hungry, not knowing where the morning's meal 
was to come from ! ]\Iany a meal has been made on nothing but corn bread and 
corn coffee. Well does the writer remember, in coming from Fort Dodge he 
called at a house for something to eat. The man was sick in bed. What thev 
had to eat was as free as water, but all they had to eat was corn bread and 
corn coft'ee, and a little syrup they had made from some maple trees that stood 
near the house. Many families took their meals straight without the syrup. 
There was some game, but the winter of 1856-57 the deer died of starvation, 
owing to the depth of the snow, and the hard crust that formed on it w^as hard 
enough to carry a man, but not hard enough to carry a deer, so they could 
not travel. Still, among all the privations of pioneer life, there were many 
bright and cheering spots. 

The first school in Dayton was taught by a Miss Kinney. 

In October. 1858, Dayton township was organized as an independent school 
district. Alpha Gardner, president; E. vS. Geyer, secretary. The schoolhouses 
in G. T. Richey's district and D. McLaughlin's district were built in 1859. Both 
houses were in the east part of the township, near the timber. In 1868, five 
schoolhouses were built, and soon after, three more. In 1870, the first church 
building was built by the Swedish Methodists. 

In 1865, Gracey & Lozier started a store in Dayton, there being no store 
here for a number of years, Mr. Allison's store having failed. Thus, we see, 
by the depreciation of property and hard times from 1857 to 1865, Dayton 
like most other new settlements, suffered in proportion ; farmers became dis- 




h ■m-tJ/j'^;J^i 



ST. MATTHEW'S CHUECH, CLAEE 




HAET CABIN, OTHO TOWNSHIP 



Public ubraRV 



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I .:^v^^ 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 263 

couraged and all business dull. Since then there has been a gradual improve- 
ment, but not as rapid as some places. 

Today Dayton township stands at the head of the townships of Webster 
county. It has more land under cultivation than any other township in the 
county. It is dotted all over with farms and comfortable homes. It has 
numerous schoolhouses, furnished with patent seats and desks and other neces- 
sary comforts. The schoolhouse in the village of Dayton is a two-story build- 
ing, and one of the best houses outside of Fort Dodge. The town has two church 
buildings, the largest built by the Swedish Lutherans, with a seating capacity 
of about five hundred persons, and is the best furnished of any church in the 
county outside of Fort Dodge. Rev. C. A. Hemborg is the present pastor. They 
also have a very neat parsonage close by the church. This society was organized 
in 1S62. The other church, built by the Swedish Methodists, is well finished, and 
will seat about four hundred people ; has a bell that rings forth the welcome 
news that all my come and worship Him, the Giver of all good. They, also, 
have a neat parsonage close to the church. Rev. J. A. Lindquist is pastor. 
This is the oldest religious organization, having been formed in 1857. The 
American Methodists, organized in 1858, have no_church building, but worship 
in the schoolhouse. They have a parsonage, the first one built in Dayton. Rev. 
E. C. Hill is pastor. The Baptists have an organization, formed in 1865, 1)Ut 
at present no minister. 

The Odd Fellows have an organization here, called Dayton Lodge, No. 376, 
S. E. LeValley, noble grand; A. W. Garlock, vice grand, and S. J. Lindroth, 
secretary. 

The Ladies' Library Association consists of Mrs. L. A. Simmons, president ; 
Miss Hattie Gabrielson, vice president; Mrs. E. S. Geyer, secretary, and Mrs. 
W. A. Curtis, treasurer and librarian. They have quite a large number of 
volumes in the library at present. Among the businesses of Dayton is one hotel, 
the Dayton house, E. S. Geyer, proprietor; two dry goods and grocery stores, 
one kept by Burnquist Bros., and the other by Peterson & Nelson; and two 
drug stores, by Prindle & LIutchison, and Gardner & Garlock ; one hardware 
and agricultural implement store, kept by E. S. Geyer; two millinery stores, 
one by Mrs. A. W. Garlock, and the other by Mrs. P. W. Goltry ; one furniture 
store, kept by Swanstrom & Company; one wagon shop by D. Morton; one 
paint shop, F. S. Bowman; three blacksmith and repair shops, kept by William 
Poulson, S. J. Lindholm and O. Shold & Son; one tailor shop, by J. Lundien; 
one boot and shoe store, by Larson & Houskin ; two boot and shoe repair shops, 
one Larson & Houskin, and one G. Holmberg ; one meat market and saloon, 
P. \V. Brundien, proprietor; one grist mill, A. Bithner, miller; four doctors, 
to-wit: C. L. Warner, A. W. Garlock, I. N. Page and J. G. Tapper; justices 
of the peace. Otto Lobeck and J. A. Lindberg; constables, W. A. Gardner and 
P. W. Brundien ; trustees, L. Erickson, J. L. Kinney and S. Nordstrum ; town 
clerk, C. O. Lobeck ; notaries public, J. A. Lindberg and E. S. Geyer. 

ELKHORN TOWNSHIP 

Elkhorn township was detached from Otho, October 10, 1871, and the 
first election held the same year. Walter Francis was elected justice of the 



264 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

peace and clerk. The first settler was Cyrus Rood, who came in 1855. Other 
early settlers were John Moon, Ben Granger, Mr. Scoville, Mr. Knight and 
James Rood, who was afterward killed in the Civil war. 

The first school was organized in 1858, with an enrollment of twelve, and 
was taught by Mrs. Orlinda ]\Ioore-Hart. The Evangelical Lutheran (Nor- 
wegian) church was established August 4, 1871, with a membership of eleven. 
The Swedish Evangelical Lutheran church was organized in 1871 and for a 
long time held services in the Tapper schoolhouse. 

FULTON TOWNSHIP 

Fulton township, named in honor of Robert Fulton, was organized by 
order of court, September 11, 1868. The first election was held at the home 
of J. L. French, November 3, 1868. At this meeting J. L. French presided and 
J. B. Scott acted as secretary. William Chase, Charles A. French, and Joseph 
Taylor were chosen judges of election. They appointed Enos A. Churchill and 
John B. Scott clerks of election. The first justice of the peace was B. B. Cook, 
and Enos A. Churchill was the first clerk. The first member of the board of 
supervisors from Fulton township was John B. Scott. At that time each town- 
. ship had one member on the board. 

The first settler in the township was William Chase. The first schoolhouse 
was built in 1869 on section 14, Miss Anna Churchill was the first teacher. 

COWRIE TOWNSHIP 

Gowrie township was organized October 10, 1871. The first settler in the 
township outside the town of Gowrie was John Steinholm. There were no 
settlers until the Des Moines & Fort Dodge Railroad was built and the town 
•of Gowrie was established in 1870. The township was named from the town 
of Guthrie, which in turn, received its name at the suggestion of a stockholder 
of the Des Moines & Fort Dodge Railroad, the name being that of his native 
town in Scotland. * 

HARDIN TOWNSHIP 

Hardin township was (organized in August, 1853. It was named in honor 
of Joseph Hardin, who settled in 1849 o" section 2, and subsequently built a 
large hotel at Hook's Point. The first township clerk was Jonathan Milburn. 
The first death was that of the child of Rev. John Linn, in October, 1850. The 
first birth was a daughter of the same gentleman. The first school taught in 
the township was in the summer of 1854. This was then district No. i, and 
the amount of money paid by the school fund commissioner was $19.7^. In 
the summer of 1854. Rev. Smith of Fairfield. Iowa, organized the first Swedish 
Methodist church, with thirty members. In 1876, they built a church which 
cost about $4,000.00. In the fall of 1854. Rev. Hokanson organized a Swedish 
Lutheran church, with a charter list of ten. A short time later this society built 
a meeting house which cost about $1,000.00. The Swedish Baptists established 
a church in 1856, with eighteen members. 




e.OWRIE PAKK 




GOWEIE HIGH SCHOOL 




TOWEE OPERA HOUSE, GOWRIE 
A nnniic'ipal owned opera house — also used as city ball 




THE NEW YOR.. 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



astor, lenox a>jd 
"Tj n foundations. 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 265 

JACKSON TOWNSHIP 

Jackson township was organized September 20. 1859, by an order of the 
board of supervisors in response to a petition signed by S. G. Stevens and fifty 
others. The township was named in honor of Andrew Jackson. The first 
election was held at the home of Richard P. P\irlong. October 11, 1859. Thomas 
White, Sylvester Griffin, Thomas Rial being the first judges of election. 

The first settler in the township was Hugh Collins, who came in February, 
1855. The first school in the township was taught by Mrs. Peter Donahue in 
the summer of 1856, in a log house situated on section 36. The first church 
organized in the township was St. Patrick's Catholic church. 

JOHNSON TOWNSHIP 

On October 17. i860, a petition, signed by L. S. Coffin and others, was 
presented to the board of supervisors, asking for a division of Jackson town- 
ship and the organization of a new township out of the southern part. The 
petition was granted and on the same day Johnson township was organized, 
being named in honor of Andrew Johnson. 

The first election was held November 6, i860, at the home of William 
Preston, and Hamilton Snodgrass was elected the first clerk. 

The first school was taught in the summer of 1857 by Miss Mary J. Stevens 
in a claim cabin on section 2. So careful was she of the rights of the settler, 
that the cook stove and bed were left undisturbed. George W. Young was the 
first settler and came in Alarch, 1855, locating on section i. 

LOST GROVE TOWNSHIP 

Lost Grove township embraces all of township 86. Mr. Ralph Mitchell, 
the first settler in the township, was also the first justice of the peace and clerk. 
The township received its name from a grove which stood near the center of 
the township, fifteen miles distant from any other timber, and was known to 
the early settlers as Lost Grove. 

The first church organized in the township was the Swedish Evangelical 
Lutheran, in 1871. Mrs. Ralph Mitchell was the first school teacher. 

'NEWARK TOWNSHIP 

Newark township was organized October 14, 1873. The oldest settler was 
Mr. John Teters, who came from Newark, Ohio. At his request the board of 
supervisors named the township Newark, in honor of his native town. 

OTIIO TOWNSHIP 

Otho township embraces all that part of township 88, north of range 28 
west, lying on the west side of the Des Moines river, and contains 10,009 3'4 



2.66 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

acres. It was named after Otho I, king of Germany, who was born in 923 
and died in 973, and who for his abihties and virtues is known in history as 
"Otho. the Great," and "Otho, the Good." 

Henry Lott, the first white settler, built his cabin on section 26, near where 
Mr. Todd later erected his sawmill. This was in 1850 or 185 1. Lott 
cultivated very little land, spending most of his time in hunting, fishing and 
trading with the Indians. His second wife was the daughter of Francis Mc- 
Guire, of Yell township. She died December 10. 185 1. and was buried on 
the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 27, near where Mr. 
Van Valkenburg's house was later erected. All traces of the grave are now 
obliterated. She left an infant son, who was the first white child born in the 
township. In November, 1853, Air. Lott moved to Humboldt county. 

March 4, 1855, John Tolman, school fund commissioner for the county, 
issued an order for the organization of a school district embracing the same 
territory as the present township, and appointed the first IMonday in May as 
the time for perfecting the organization. At the appointed time the school dis- 
trict was organized, D. C. Livingston was elected secretary. The district was 
known as No. 12 of Washington township. On the 28th of January, 1855, the first 
vote was taken to levy a tax for the purpose of building and furnishing a school- 
house. The amount of this tax according to one of the original notices, posted as 
required by the school law then in force, was $171.87, taxed against twenty-eight 
persons, one-half of whom were residents, and the other half non-residents own- 
ers of land. This notice was dated February 5, 1856. The first school teacher 
was Miss Orlinda S. Moore, who taught school in the summer of 1857, i^ ^ room 
10x12 in a building located on the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of 
section 28. The annual report of the secretary to the school fund commis- 
sioner for the year ending September 30, 1857, gives the number of pupils en- 
rolled as twelve. The number of persons of school age, five to twenty-one years, 
was seventeen. The number of days of school teaching was sixty, and the total 
amount paid the teacher during the year was $48.00, the monthly w^ages being 
$16.00. The first schoolhouse w^as built in district No. i during the summer of 
1861, O. P. Fuller being sub-director. In 1869 this school was established as a 
graded school and continued as such for four years. The school in district 
No. 2 was organized in June, 1874. 

Otho postofifice was established in 1858 with F. B. Drake as postmaster. He 
served about eight years. 

On the second of March, 1857. Judge W. N. Meservey issued the order creat- 
ing the civil township of Otho. and appointed as the place of holding the first 
election the house of Norman Hart, and the first IMonday in April, 1857, as the 
time for such election. Otho township as first organized contained all of town- 
ship 88 north, of ranges 28 and 29 west, lying west of the Des jMoines river. In 
October, 1871, the board of supervisors set off township 88, range 29, leaving the 
boundaries of the township as at present. Township 88, range 29, was organized 
as Elkhorn township. 

At this election officers were chosen as follows : D. C. Livingston, township 
clerk ; Cyrus Rood, L. W. Hart, J. M. Hefley, township trustees ; and Norman 
Hart, justice of the peace. It cost the justice of the peace fifty cents to qualify, 
and during his term of ofifice the receipts were nothing. 




^\ 




SWEDISH MISSION CHURCH, HARDIN 



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SCHOOLHOUSE IN DISTRICT NO. 2, 
HARDIN 



SCHOOLHOUSE IN DISTRICT NO. 3, 
HARDIN 







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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 267 

Spartan Lodge No. 226, I. O. O. F., was organized June 26, 1871, by deputy 
grand master J. \\'. Roper of Olive Lodge No. 85 of Fort Dodge. Its first 
ofificers were : D. R. Fuller, N. G. ; S. D. Atherton, \'. G. ; E. O. Parkhurst, 
R. S. ; B. B. Goodrich, P. S. ; E. W. Sorber, treasurer. 

Virginia Rebekah Degree Lodge was organized December 29, 1873, with 
fourteen members, the organizing officer being D. R. Fuller. The first officers 
were D. R. Fuller, N. G. ; ^lartha Sorljer, A'. G. ; E. W. Sorber, R. S. ; 'Martha 
A. Fuller, treasurer. 

The first singing school was taught bv Solomon Drake in the winter of 

1856-57. 

In the spring of 1854 there were four families living in the tow^iship, and 

about seventy-four acres were in cultivation. Two families had moved, that had 

lived in the township for a short time, one of them made the first improvement 

on section 15 where the Fludson homestead now stands, and the other on section 

8. The four families here were those of John Spear living on section 26, Daniel 

Leaming on section 15, Z. Collins on section 21, and John Ware on section 18. 

Of these, two moved away that spring, one the ne.xt, and the other in about six 

years. 

On ]\Iarch 13, 1855, the Otho Congregational church was organized, with 
five charter members : Deacon Norman Hart and his wife, Marcia Hart, and 
three of their children, Norman, Lucius, and Caroline. Rev. Thomas Skinner 
was pastor, and in 1855 he preached the first Thanksgiving sermon in the town- 
ship. Services were held every Sabbath in the little log cabin, the home of Deacon 
and Mrs. Norman Hart, about two miles east of where the present church is 
located; or in the log cabin occupied by Mr. and Airs. L. W. Hart. 

In about a year Norman H. Hart built a log cabin on his farm near the 
present church. This cabin stood until recently. Here church services were held 
until i860, when a schoolhouse, called the Number One schoolhouse, was built 
in about the center of section 28. 

In August, 1859, Francis B. Drake and Clark Fuller were appointed delegates 
from the Otho church to the Northwestern Association at Iowa Falls, with 
instructions to use their own judgment as to whether or not the church should 
unite with this association. The church became a member of the association, 
which it entertained from time to time. At one of these association meetings on 
August 19, 1866, Deacon Norman Hart presented the church with a beautiful 
communion service which is still in use. 

During 1866 a parsonage wa's built one-half mile north from the schoolhouse. 
Rev. C. F. Boynton was the first occupant. Previous to this Rev. Boynton lived 
in Fort Dodge, and preached there, as well as in Otho. As the years went by, 
a little village vailed Kalo sprung up among the hills and valleys bordering the 
Des Moines river, about two miles northwest of the schoolhouse, and the church, 
ever watchful of the opportunity to do good, erected a church building near the 
village, in 1883, at a cost of $3,336.00 and in 1893 the old parsonage was sold and 
one provided near the church. 

The following named ministers followed Rev. Skinner in serving the church 
for a longer or shorter period of time : Rev. William Kent, Rev. Boardman, 
Rev. C. F. Boynton, Rev. A. A'. House, Rev. George Bent, Rev. Francis Fawkes, 
Rev. Julius Stevens, Rev. Norman McLeod, Rev. X. L. Burton, Rev. R. H. 

Tol. I— ] 8 



268 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Dolliver and Rev. Hall (pastors of the Alethodist Episcopal church when the 
churches held union services), Rev. Francis Fawkes, for a second pastorate, 
Rev. Thomas I. James, Rev. Lydia I. James, wife of the above, Rev. Ira O. 
^lallory, Rev. Charles A. Chambers, Rev. F. R. Rawlinson. 

Rev. Fawkes served the church for twenty years, and on January i, 1905. was 
elected pastor emeritus, and he has resided in the community ever since his re- 
tirement in 1904. 

The Otho church has held services nearly every Sabljath since its organiza- 
tion. \\'hen without a pastor or a preacher a sermon was read. During his 
lifetime Deacon Xorman Hart usually performed this service, and after his death 
his son, Xorman H., took up the duty while he lived, or found some one to fill 
the pulpit or read a sermon. 

At the time the schoolhouse was built the regular midweek prayer meeting 
was organized. It was held on Wednesday afternoon at four o'clock and the 
people came from their work for miles around to spend an hour in prayer 
together. The leader was usually a layman, and he appointed his successor. 
When the congregation moved into its new church building, the hour was 
changed to evening; eight in the summer and seven-thirty in the winter. 
The church has maintained a Sunday school ever since its organization. 
The preaching and teaching spirit has reached out and lent a helping hand to 
others. Preaching service has been held by the pastor of the Otho church in the 
Welcome schoolhouse, the Tapper schoolhouse. and the Greenside schoolhouse. 
Sunday school was kept up in the Welcome schoolhouse and the Craig's 
Hollow schoolhouse, till the Methodist Episcopal society built a church and 
organized a class near these places, to look after the children in the neighborhood. 
A Sunday school was also maintained in the Tapper schoolhouse, until the 
United Brethren built a church, about two miles south of this schoolhouse, and 
took up the work. 

The Otho church has furnished its full share of Sunday school workers who 
did work in other parts of Webster county. F. B. Drake, C. H. Payne, N. H. 
Hart, G. D. Hart and others helped to reinforce weak Sunday schools, organize 
new ones and worked with other denominations in the interdenominational 
Sunday school work of the county, holding conventions and organizing Sunday 
schools. 

An aid society was organized in 1870, with Mrs. Bent for its first president. 
It was named the Otho Aid Society, and the gentlemen were taken in as honorary 
memljers. Deacon Xorman Hart gave the tirst five dollars as a nest egg. Its 
object was to give aid wherever it was needed. The general program was a 
meeting every two weeks at some home, work in the afternoon, then devotional 
and business meeting, lunch, and mite society in the evening for the young folks, 
with light refreshments and a collection. 

The Y. P. S. C. E. was organized in 1882 with Miss Theta Hart as its first 
president. 

On ]ylarch 13 and 14, 1905, the Otho church celebrated its semi-centennial 
with an appropriate program. Three of the charter members were present : 
Xorman H. Hart, who died Xovember 22, 1909, Lucius W. Hart and his sister, 
Caroline E. Drake, wife of Francis B. Drake. George D. Hart and Francis B. 
Drake were also present, both at the first meeting, and its fiftieth anniversary. 



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T.UDHN FOUN0AT.ONS._ 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 269 

THE "W. C. (61-65) society'' 

The W. C. (61-65) Society of Otho township. Webster county, Iowa, is a 
patriotic society composed of the resident wives or widows of the soldiers, 
sailors, or marines who served in the Civil war. That the Mason and Dixon 
line does not run in this society is shown by the fact that one of the charter 
members of the society was Mrs. Andrew Schnurr, whose husband served in the 
southern army. The part which the mothers of the land played in the great 
struggle was recognized in the election to honorary membership of "Grandma" 
(Mrs. .Sarah) ]\foore, who gave two sons (J. M. and E. \". Moore) and two 
sons-in-law (Clark Fuller and G. D. Hart) in response to the country's call for 
defenders. Bravely these mothers made the sacrifice at parting and bravely they 
struggled on alone at home. 

The meetings of the society are held eacli year on the ninth of April, the 
anniversary of Lee's surrender at Appomattox. These meetings are chiefly of a 
social nature. In the forenoon, the ladies hold a business session, while the 
comrades exchange tales of camp and field. Then all join in the closing exercises, 
and the "Lord of Hosts" is not forgotten for the exercises always close with a 
reading from the scriptures and a prayer. Then all respond to the mess call 
and adjourn to the dining room where rations are served. The patriotic spirit 
of the day is never missed from these meetings. Old Glory always predom- 
inates in the decorations for the occasion ; and the programs have always 
breathed the spirit of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee." 

The origin of the society is to be found in a conversation between Mrs. 
George D. Hart and Mrs. L. H. Pratt, which occurred in the early part of the 
year 1898. Their idea was to hold in the spring a social gathering of the surviv- 
ors of the Civil war and their wives and widows residing in Ohio township. 
Following this idea a meeting was held at the home of Comrade and Mrs. G. D. 
Hart, on April 9, 1898. Thirteen comrades and fifteen of the wives or widows 
were present at this meeting. "Grandma" Moore was also present at this first 
gathering. 

The meeting proved to be a most enjoyable one, so while the comrades spent 
the time in talking of the past, swapping yarns of humor and of pathos, the 
women, ever practical, bethought themselves to perfect an organization and thus 
provide for the continuation of the occasion. With this idea in view temporary 
officers w^ere elected as follows : President. ]\Irs. L. H. Pratt ; secretary, Mrs. 
George D. Hart; treasurer. Mrs. T. C. Carver. The present name of the society, 
which means wives or widows of the comrades of 1861 to 1865. was then unani- 
mously adopted, and a committee was appointed to draft a constitution and by- 
laws, which was to be presented at another meeting to be held one year from that 
date. The business of organization over, those present listened to several songs 
sung by Mr. and Mrs. Hoyt Hart, among which was one entitled, "My Father's 
Flag and Mine." And then the gathering adjourned after having spent a most 
enjoyable day and provided for its future recurrence. 

Counting the preliminary meeting there have been fifteen meetings of the 
society. Two of the members, Mrs. John Todd and Mrs. L. H. Pratt, and three 
of the comrades, John Todd, L. H. Pratt, and G. D. Hart, have been present at all. 



270 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Of the nineteen members of the society, three, Mrs. Rowena Fuller, Mrs. Etta 
Carver, and Mrs. Esther Lingard, were married before the war. Since the first 
meeting, five members and five comrades have died. Two of the members and 
two comrades have moved away. The present membership of the society is 
thirteen with nine of the comrades as auxiliary members. 

The comrades who have been, and are auxiliary members of the society are : 
*Christopher Buhl, *T. C. Carver, *Teremiah Dawson, George D. Hart, *Edward 
Lingard, J. M. Moore, George Muzzy, John Nichols, Herbert A. Nims, *Peter 
Peterson, L. H. Pratt, Andrew Schnurr, Andrew Scott, George Smith, John 
Todd, William Barton. 

Rotation in office has not been one of the principles of this society, for the 
temporary officers of 1898 were regularly elected the following year, and then 
were reelected each year until 1905, when they were chosen for life. 

In closing her report of the first ten years of the existence of the society, the 
secretary, Mrs. G. D. Hart, says, "Sometimes there were sweet wild flowers, 
sometimes the ice was just going out of the river. Sometimes we had good 
roads, sometimes rough or muddy ones. Sometimes a warm atmosphere greeted 
us, sometimes chilly winds ; but there was always plenty of patriotism, and love, 
and good wishes for each other, and a gradual cementing together of the sympa- 
thies, friendships and interests of the Comrades and W.-C.'s of the war of 1861 
to 1865, who reside in Otho township." 

The annual meeting places of the society have been as follows: (1899), Mr. 
and Mrs. T. C. Carver; (1900), Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Schnurr; (1901), Mr. 
and Mrs. J. M. Moore; (1902), Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Dawson; (1903), Mr. and 
Mrs. L. H. Pratt; (1904). Mr. and Mrs. John Todd; (1905), Mr. and Mrs. 
John Nichols; (1906), Mr. and Mrs. George Smith; (1907), Mrs. Deborah 
Clafiin; (1908), Mr. and Mrs. John Todd; (1909), Mr. and Mrs. G. D. Hart; 
(1910), Mr. and Mrs. John Nichols; (1911), Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Scott; 
(1912), Mrs. Peter Peterson. 

At the 191 2 meeting, it was decided to perpetuate the society by admitting 
as honorary members descendants of the original members. 

MEMBERS OF SOCIETY 

Mary H. Andrews. Membership 1898. Deceased October 2, 1903. Married 
December 22, 1865, to C. B. Andrews, who died August 24, 1890. C. B. Andrews 
enlisted August 16, 1862, in Company I, Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry 
and was discharged August 24, 1865. Rank private. 

Lucretia Carver. Membership 1898. Married March 6, 1858, to T. C. 
Carver. T. C. Carver enlisted August 15, 1862, in Company B, Twenty-eighth 
Wisconsin \'olunteer Infantry at East Troy, Wisconsin, and was discharged 
August 23, 1865. Rank private. 

Deborah H. Clafiin. Membership 1898. Married March 30, 1888, to Cornelius 
Clafiin, who died June, 1891. Cornelius Claflin enlisted August 16, 1862, in 
Company I, Thirty-second Iowa \'olunteer Infantry at Fort Dodge, Iowa, and 
was discharged August 24, 1865, at Clinton, Iowa. During the term of his service 
was appointed first lieutenant and later captain in a regiment of colored troops. 

Mary Jane Dawson. Membership 1900. Married August 6, 1872, to Jeremiah 

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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 271 

Dawson, who died September 26, 1907. Jeremiah Dawson was a member of 
Company G, One Hundred Forty-third Regiment Ohio National Guard and was 
discharged from same December 10, 1864. Rank private. 

Rowena Fuller. Membership 1898. Deceased October 23, 1898. Married 
October 27, 1853, to Clark Fuller, who died October 18, 1895. Clark Fuller en- 
listed August 16, 1862, Company I, Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry at 
Fort Dodge, Iowa, and was discharged August 24, 1865, at New Orleans, 
Louisiana. Rank sergeant in commissary department. 

Pervilla Hart. Membership 1898. Married June 11, 1885, to George D. 
Hart. George D. Hart enlisted August 16, 1862, in Company I, Thirty-second 
Iowa X'olunteer Infantry at Fort Dodge, Iowa, and was discharged July i, 1865, 
at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. Rank private. 

Esther Lingard. Membership 1898. Deceased November 29, 1907. Married 
1849, i" Lincolnshire, England, to Edward Lingard, who died >May 8, 1901. 
Edward Lingard enlisted August 9, 1862, in Company H, Twenty-sixth Iowa 
Volunteer Infantry and was discharged September 4, 1863, at Black River 
Bridge, Mississippi. Rank private. 

Lizzie Moore. ^lembership 1898. ^Married September 7, 1896, to J. M. 
]\Ioore. J. M. Moore enlisted August 17, 1861, in Company A, Eleventh Penn- 
sylvania Cavalry and was discharged September 22, 1864. Rank private. 

Jenett A. Muzzy. Membership 1898. Married November 10, 1868, to George 
]\Iuzzy. George Muzzy enlisted August 11, 1862, in Company I, One Hundred 
Eighteenth New York \^olunteer Infantry and was discharged June 29, 1865. 
Rank private. 

]\Iary E. ]\fcCloskey. Membership 1898. Married j\Iarch 19, 1877, to W. H. 
McCloskey, who died September 7, 1897. W. H. McCloskey enlisted December 
10, 1862, in Company C, Seventh Iowa Cavalry and was discharged January 31, 
1866. Rank private. 

Emma Cooper Nichols. Alembership 1898. Married August 20, 1874, to John 
Nichols. John Nichols enlisted February 4, 1864, in Company E, Twenty-fifth 
Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. Later was transferred to Company K, Twelfth 
Wisconsin A'olunteer Infantry and was discharged from the latter July 16, 1865, 
at Louisville, Kentucky. Rank private. 

Adelaide Nims. ^Membership 1903. jMarried March 17, 1881, to Herbert 
Nims. Herbert Nims enlisted August 13, 1861, in Company D, First Illinois 
Cavalry and was discharged June 1864. Rank private. 

Emily Johnson Peterson. Membership 1898. Married February 6, 1869, to 
Peter Peterson, who died November 9, 1900. Peter Peterson enlisted September 
28, 1864, in Company H, Eleventh Iowa A^olunteer Infantry at Fort Dodge, Iowa, 
and was discharged June 2, 1865, at Washington, D. C. He served under General 
W. T. Sherman in the ]\Iarch to the sea. Rank private. 

\'ergenia L. Pratt. Membership 1898. Married August 29, 1875, to Herbert 
L. Pratt. Herbert L. (L. H.) Pratt enlisted August 15, 1862, in Company A, 
Eighty-eighth Ohio A'olunteer Infantry at Camp Chase, Ohio, and was discharged 
at the same place July 3, 1865. Rank private. 

Amelia Schnurr. Membership 1898. Deceased November 29, 1902. Married 
1861, to Andrew Schnurr. Andrew Schnurr served as a private in Company A, 
First Tennessee, H. A. (C. S. A.) 



272 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Edith A. Scott. Membership 1905. Married July 4, 1865, to iVndrew Scott. 
Andrew Scott enHsted August 10, 1861, in Company F, Eighth Iowa \'olunteer 
Infantry and was discharged January 3, 1863. On the same date he reenHsted in 
Company B, Marine Brigade and was discharged from the same January 17, 
1865. Rank private. 

Ella Smith. Membership 1898. Married December 25, 1879, to George 
Smith. George Smith enlisted November 18, 1863. in Company G, Second New 
York ^Mounted Rifles, and was discharged August 10, 1865. Rank private. 

Harriet L. Taylor. ^lembership 1901. Married October 31, 1865, to Thomas 
Taylor, who died September 18, 1899. Thomas Taylor enlisted August 9, 1862. 
in Company G. io6th Xew ^'ork \'olunteer Infantry at Stockholm. Xew York, 
and was discharged June 1865. Rank private. 

Lucy Todd.- ^Membership 1898. ^Married ]\Iarch 10, 1865, to John Todd. 
John Todd enlisted August 15. 1862. in Company F, Twentieth Wisconsin Infan- 
try and was discharged July 14. 1865, at Galveston, Texas. Rank private 

Sarah Moore. Honorary membership 1898. Deceased August 19, 1900. 
Motlier of J. M. ]\Ioore. (Company A, Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry), E. V. 
Moore, (Company I, Thirty-second Iowa \'olunteer Infantry), Orlinda S. Hart, 
first wife of George D. Hart, (Company I. Thirty-second Iowa \'olunteer Infan- 
try ). and Rowena Fuller, wife of Clark Fuller. (Company I, Thirty-second Iowa 
\'olunteer Infantry). 

CHRISTOPHER BUHL 

One of the most enthusiastic of the auxiliary members of the society was 
Christopher Buhl, who served through the war of the rebellion with a New 
York regiment. Later he enlisted in the regular army and was honorably dis- 
charged from the same at Omaha Barracks, Nebraska, ^larch 30, 1869, at the 
expiration of his three years of service. His final discharge with the rank of 
private was from Company F, Twenty-seventh Regular United States Infantry. 
Christopher Buhl was born in A\'ersberg, Bavaria, in 1834, and died at Kalo, 
Iowa, April 18, 1900. 

SOME "firsts" in OTHO TOWNSHIP 

Solomon and F. B. Drake brought by wagon from Davenport, the first reaper 
and mower, in July 1856. 

~ Clark Fuller brought the first mower, in 1862. 

O. P. Fuller brought by wagon from ]\Iarengo, the first self rake reaper, in 
July 1863. 

The first threshing machine was owned by E. \'. Moore and George D. Hart, 
in the fall of 1859. 

The first sulky plow and corn planter combined was brought by L. W. Hart 
from Kane county, Illinois, in 1855. 

O. P. and C. Fuller sold the first pork outside of home demand, in January. 
1859. It was marketed in Iowa City, being hauled there in four wagons. The 
first stall-fed beef was sold by Messrs. Hart and Fuller in the spring of i860. The 
cattle were driven to Washington, Iowa, where they were loaded on the cars and 






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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 273 

shipped to Chicago. When the car load was sold, the remark was made, by one 
familiar with the market, that it was the best car load he had seen that season. 

The first log house was built in the fall of 1854 taking three gatherings before 
it was completed. It was erected on the northwest quarter of the northwest 
quarter of section 22 and was owned by Mr. Thornton. The first frame house 
was built by L. W. Hart in the summer of 1857, and is the same house in which 
Floyd Hart now resides. 

The first marriage was that of Francis B. Drake and Caroline E. Hart. April 
13, 1857, Rev. William Kent officiating. 

The first government title to land was taken by John Ware, July zy, 1853, on 
the west half of the southeast quarter and the south half of the northeast quarter 
of section 18. The first warranty deed was given June i. 1854, by Daniel Leaming, 
to X. H. Hart, and was for the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of 
section 15. 

The first carpenter was E. W. Sorber. and the first blacksmith was F. L. 
Sperry. who built a shop in the fall of 1867. on the northwest quarter of the 
southeast quarter of section 2/. 

The first store was kept by J. D. Wilson who began business in December. 
1868. This business was later continued by R. L. Leyson, S. A. Payne, and Hart 
& Fuller. 

The first milling was done by X. H. Hart, in the summer of 1854. on Beaver 
creek, seven miles this side of Des Moines. The wheat was bought near the 
mill. The next year he went to the mill on the Boone river, but as the flour, and 
the biscuits made from it, were all together too shiny, it was thought best to go 
the next time to Elk Rapids. 

The first Christmas gathering was held at the house of Clark Fuller and L. S. 
Twining, in 1855. The number in attendance was thirty-three, and the bill-of- 
fare consisted of venison, chicken pie. vegetables, canned and pickled peaches, 
pickled pears, peach butter, pie and cake, with fresh grapes for dessert. Homer 
Moore had just come to the west and he was present as a guest. 

The first sawmill was owned by Samuel Todd, and was built in 1863, on 
section 26. It was operated about five years. In June 1875. C. H. Griffith built 
a sawmill on section 15. 

The first coal was mined Jul\-, 1854. near the east line of section 17. by George 
D. Hart, who used it for the purpose of smoking out mosquitoes. For several 
years small amounts were dug at what later became known as the Hackenberg 
mine. This coal attracted the attention of blacksmiths, as a coal suitable for their 
use. Specimens were taken to Tama county to test for this purpose as early as 
1854. Messrs. Craig & Irvine commenced mining in 1868, on section 18 and took 
out about six or seven thousand bushels the first season. From this time the 
business steadily increased. Xew mines were opened up.. It was estimated that 
during the year 1875 there was mined 7,118 tons, and some seventy men were 
employed. Most of the early mining was done in the winter season. The trade 
was wagon trade, as there were no railroads as yet within the township. Small 
quantities of gypsum were mined on section 6. It was used- only for walling 
wells and cellars. 

The first Fourth of July celebration was held in 1855 ^t Homer which was 
then the county seat. From that time until 1861 the people attended the celebra- 



274 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

'fions at Homer, Border Plains, or Fort Dodge. The first celebration in Otho 
township was in 1862 in Hart's Grove. Until 1869 celebrations were held in 
connection with Sumner township, alternating one year in Otho and the next 
year in Sumner. At the celebration July 4, 1869, a resolution was passed as fol- 
lows: "That we adjourn to meet one year from today and that we do so each 
year in the future." From that time until the present there has been each year a 
Fourth of July celebration at Hart's Grove. 

Th first known grave in this township was that of Mrs. Lott. The persent 
cemetery is located on the west side of the northwest quarter of southeast 
quarter of section 28. The first grave was that of Hattie Fuller, aged two years, 
daughter of Clark and Rowena Fuller, who died January 26, 1864. Previous to 
this there were three deaths in the township ; that of Father Skinner, an infant 
son of George Skinner, and a child of Mrs. Pilcher. The first two were buried 
in the cemetery at Fort Dodge, after being temporarily buried on the farm. The 
Pilcher child was buried near Border Plains. 

PLEASANT VALLEY TOWNSHIP 

Pleasant \^alley township was first organized October 11, 1870. Its bound- 
aries were reduced to that of the present time 'November 5, 1872. The first settler 
in the township was Thomas Holiday. The first school was taught by Miss 
Curtiss in 1856. 

ROLAND TOWNSHIP 

Roland township was organizd October 12, 1875. ]\Ir. O. O. Myrboc was the 
first settler and located on the southeast quarter of section 12, in the fall of 1870. 
Aliss Helen Cook taught the first school in the summer of 1875. 

SUMNER TOWNSHIP 

. Sumner township, named in honor of Charles Sumner, was organized April 
6, 1857. On riiat day an election was held at the house of Mr. James Douglas. 
The judges of the election were : George W. Speir, William Morris, and W. C. 
Humphrey; and the clerks of election were: L H. Beech and O. Tyson. At this 
election John Johns and James Kelly were elected justices of the peace, Ezra 
Reade, township assessor ; Oliver Tyson, township clerk. At this election thirty- 
one votes were polled. At a later election held August 3, of the same year, thirty- 
nine votes were cast. At the April election in 1858 forty-three votes were polled. 
At the election of October, 1859, but twenty-one votes were polled, and the next 
fall this was reduced to sixteen. This decrease in population was due to the 
hard times and the wet seasons in 1858. During that year not a bushel of wheat 
was harvested in the township, and those who remained did so because they were 
unable to get away. 

In the year i860, the assessed value of the personal property in the township 
amounted to $2,992.00. Fifteen years later this had increased to $166,154.00. 

The first school taught in Sumner township was a subscription school taught 
by Mrs. Minerva Beach-Moore. The school was kept in a log cabin on section 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 275 

I. The first public schoolhouse in the township was built at Buchanan in 1859, 
and the first school taught in the new building was in i860, by E. B. Price. 

The jMethodist Episcopal church was organized at the then town of \'esper, 
later Lehigh, in the spring of 1857. The first members were Weaker Goodrich, 
Minerva Goodrich, George Nettleton, Louisa Xettleton, L H. Beach and Ellen 
Beach. The first ministers were : Rev. Garage and Rev. Abbott, and later Rev. 
George Hook. A Universalist church ,was organized in the spring of 1867, by 
Rev. A. Smith. The Congregational church was organized November 21, 1863. 
The first members were : Ezra Comley, William Tyson, Oliver Tyson, C. C. 
Lambert, Lonetta Tyson, Roxcena Tyson, Delilah Humphrey, Anna Comley and 
Alice Comley. The pastor of this church was Rev. F. Fawkes, of Otho. A Ger- 
man Evangelical church was organized in 1869, the first minister being Rev. 
Henry Beaurer. A Baptist church was organized at Hesperian, later called 
Burnside, September 4, 1875. The first members were: Sylvia Hammerly, 
John Hammerly, W. V. ^Manchester, T. Lapham, Mary J. Manchester, Seneca 
Andrews, Ada Andrews, Charlotte Wilson, William Tennant, Phoebe Tennant, 
D. W. Lapham, Lizzie Lapham, and George Bolton. The first minister was Rev. 
J. D. Casserly. The United Brethren organized a church June 11, 1876. The 
first members were Mr. and Mrs. X. E. Howard, !Mr. and Mrs. H. Bone and Mr. 
and Mrs. J. D. Frye. 

When the call was made for soldiers to suppress the rebellion, eleven citizens 
of this township responded. They were : M. C. Humphrey, Elias Humphrey, 
Samuel Simmons, John Speer, Samuel Baldridge. James Beach, Thomas Bald- 
ridge, X. Baldridge, James Baldridge, E. L. Goodrich and George P. Williams. 
Of these the first six named died in the army. Part were killed in battle, a part 
died of Jisease, and one died of starvation in the prison pen at Andersonville. 

In a paper read at a Fourth of July celebration held at Tyson's ^lill, in 1876, 
Mr. E. B. Price describes the pioneer life in the township as follows : 

"In dress, the greatest simplicity and economy compatible with decency was 
observed by both sexes. Women in plain calico dresses and gingham sunbonnets, 
were accompanied to church by husbands in shirt sleeves, denim pants and bare 
feet. The people being alike all poor, easily became reconciled to this pioneer 
dress, but in the matter of something to eat, and more particularly 'something to 
drink' they met with serious difficulty. With cofifee at sixty cents per pound 
and tea at $2.00, those old cofifee and tea topers were sorely pressed at times to 
devise ways and means by which to gratify their predilections for their favorite 
beverage. Roasted peas and chicory, corn meal and molasses mixed and 
burned until very black, wheat and rye, each had enthusiastic admirers as substi- 
tutes for cofifee, and the merits of the several compounds were freely discussed 
when a friend dropped in at meal time, on an occasion of friendly visits, which 
were more frequent in those days than at the present time. Dancing was the 
principal amusement in which the people engaged up to about the year 1865 and 
the dancers were principally married couples. It frequently happened that at a 
dance Avhere there were twelve or sixteen couples there would not be to exceed 
three young ladies. Babies were tucked up and laid around in the corners, on 
chairs and benches, and 'do please hold my baby this set and I'll hold yours the 
next,' is the way they managed the little innocents at such times." 



276 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

WAIIKOXSA TOWNSHIP 

Wahkonsa township, named in honor of the Indian chief of the same name, 
was organized ]\Iarch 3, 1856. The first election was held the first Monday in 
April, 1856, in the old log schoolhouse, built by the government. At this election, 
A. M. Dawley was chosen justice of the peace, and H. F. Watson, constable. 
Watson subsequently resigned and Judge Charles B. Richards appointed E. H. 
Albee to fill the vacancy. The township of Wahkonsa and the city of Fort 
Dodge have the same territory, and the township history is that of the city. 

WEl'.STER TOWNSHIP 

Webster township was first organized in August, 1853, and was named in 
honor of Daniel Webster. The first township officers were: Benjamin Corbin, 
justice of the peace; Benjamin McPheeters, clerk. The township was reorganized 
March 3, 1857, and the election was held the first Monday in April of that year, 
at the house of Daniel Daniels. At this election Josiah Doane was elected justice 
of the peace. 

The first settler of the township was Luodowic INIaricle, who came in 1848. 
R. W. W. Alcorn taught the first school, in a small house on section 19. The first 
church was the Methodist Episcopal church, organized in 1852 by Rev. J. B. 
Montgomery, at the home of William Pierce. Later the congregation built a 
church in Homer. 

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP 

Washington was the first township organized in Webster county, and embraces 
all the territory now contained in Webster and Hamilton counties. It Avas organ- 
ized by virtue of an order, issued by the Hon. Samuel B. McCall, judge of the 
county court of Boone county. The first election was held on Monday, April 4, 
1853; and the following officers were elected: Samuel Eslick, assessor; John 
H. Cofer, John Tolnian, justices of the peace; John Devore and Charles Borchard, 
constables ; Isaac H. Cook, Andrew Grossclose and John Gaylor, trustees ; 
Luodowic Maricle, clerk. 

The first settler was Luodowic Maricle, in 1849. The first school was in a log 
house on section 25, township 88, range 28, and was taught by Mrs. Francis B. 
Drake. Mrs. Drake taught three months. The total number enrolled was 
twenty-eight. On the last day of school, one of the directors called and paid the 
teacher her wages in gold. This district, then No. 4 in the county, received that 
year $29.92 from the public school fund. 

The Evangelical Lutheran Norwegians organized a church in 1870. A Union 
society was organized in 1876 and held their meetings at the schoolhouse near the 
Francis Brewer home. It was supplied once in four weeks by Rev. L. S. Coffin, 
a self supporting missionary. The Methodist Episcopals organized a church in 
1854. The first Catholic church was St. Joseph's Catholic church at Duncombe. 

YELL TOWNSHIP 

Yell township received its name from Colonel Archibald Yell, who served in 
the Mexican war, and was afterwards governor of Arkansas. The township was 





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organized A (arch 3, 1856, by order of the county court upon petition of Thomas 
Landreth and nineteen others. The present boundaries were estabhshed in 1858. 
The first election was held the first Alonday in April, 1856, at the house of 
Stephen Stark. At this election Alexander Dowd was elected clerk, and John R. 
Payne. and Thomas Cole, justices of the peace. 

The first settler in this township, after Harry Lott, was Squire McGuire. The 
first school was organized in 1856 with an enrollment of thirty. It was taught by 
^Irs. Eli S. Geyer. The first church established was a Baptist church which was 
organized in 1858. 

Yell township was the first home of Henry Lott. Granville Berkley says he 
found Lott living in this township when he came up with 'Major Olmstead to 
locate the site for the fort, and stayed all night with him. At that time Lott was 
thirty-five miles north of any settlement. 

GOWRIE 

The present site of the town of Gowrie was originally owned by E. A. Lynd, 
who secured the ground from the government October i, 1870. He also built the 
first residence and store the same year. The first business firm was E. A. Lynd 
and George Stephen. The first doctor in the town was Dr. O. E. Evans. The 
first child born in the town was Alamie Stephens. The first term of school was 
presided over by Miss Alice Webster in 1871. The daily average attendance was 
six. The first sermon was preached Sunday, February 11, 1871, by Rev. Bascom, 
before an audience of sixteen. The text was, "Who despiseth the day of small 
things." E. A. Lynd was the first railroad agent, and W. G. Godair erected the 
first grain elevator in 1876. The town was christened Gowrie by a stockholder of 
the Des }*Ioines & Fort Dodge Railroad, who named it after his native town in 
Scotland. The census of the town, taken in 1875, showed the inhabitants to con- 
sist of seventy-seven males and eighty females. S. E. Weitzell was the pioneer 
lumber dealer in Gowrie. 1 vvo other early settlers were, J. Y. Madden and G. H. 
Porter. 

Gowrie was made famous by Major Elijah W. Sorber and his famous mar- 
riage proclamation issued January 22, 1904. The idea had its .source in the good 
nature for which the mayor was noted among his friends and acquaintances. He 
was one day entertaining an old friend and comrade, George Coats of Farnham- 
ville. Finally the conversation drifted to a discussion of the number of unmar- 
ried in the town, and in which class Mayor Sorber himself belonged. Simply to 
create a little fun, the mayor decided he would issue a proclamation imposing a 
fine on all who remained unmarried at the close of the leap year of 1904. Calling 
in the editor of the Gowrie News, the mayor gave him for publication the follow- 
ing official proclamation : 
"To whom it may concern : 

"Be it known that it is hereby ordered and adjudged that all widows and old 
maids inside the incorporate limits of the town of Gowrie, who do not recognize 
the rights accorded them by custom on leap year to propose to some widower or 
old bachelor within the year, shall be subject to a fine of not less than one dollar, 
or more than ten dollars, and any widower or bachelor refusing such proposition, 
shall be subject to a fine of not less than $5 nor more than $20. All fines to revert 



278 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

to the town for a public library fund. Of this take due notice and govern 
yourselves accordingly. 

''Given under my hand and seal ot the great commonwealth of Gowrie this 
22nd day of January, 1904. 

"E. W. Sorber, Mayor." 

A unique feature of Gowrie is the Tower opera house, a municipally owned 
opera house. The building is also used as a town hall. The Gowrie News is a 
weekly paper owned and published by A. F. Patton. 

LEHIGH 

Oliver Tyson platted the town of Lehigh, and was also the first inhabitant 
of the town which was called "Slabtown," on account of the sawmill at this place 
operated by Mr. Tyson, which was its first industry. Later the town was called 
Lehigh after the Lehigh coal fields of the east. The first coal was mined in 1858. 
The first mayor was L T. Brannigan. The first postmaster w-as John Buck. The 
first store was started by Oliver Tyson in the spring of 1871. The first railroad 
built in the town was the Crooked Creek road in 1878. The H. W. Ross hard- 
ware store w^as opened in 1877. The S. D. Conlee general merchandise store was 
opened in 1885. The Lehigh \^alley bank was organized as a private bank in 
1884 by C. S. Hall & Sons. Later they sold out to Thompson & Trumbauer. 
While the output of coal has greatly decreased, there is still a considerable quan- 
tity mined. The chief industry at the present time however is the manufactur- 
ing of clay products. 

THE LEHIGH VALLEY ECHO 

The beginning of journalism in Lehigh was recalled by Ned Howard in a 
letter to Editor Hal C. Fuller, of the Lehigh ^'alley Argus, and which was pub- 
lished in that paper under date of January 25, 1912. ]\Ir. Ned Howard tells of 
their trouble in getting out the first issue as follows : 'T believe it was thirty-one 
years ago this winter, in a little old wooden building just south of the H. ^^'. 
Ross hardware store, that Ira T. Brannigan and myself struck off the first copy 
of the Lehigh Valley Echo, and thus journalism had its birth in Lehigh. 

"And, ye gods, what a sheet ! I was then a boy of fifteen, and had never 
before seen a press and Brannigan was fully as expert as I in the intricacies of 
the journalistic art; he had bought or borrowed an old second hand press from 
someone in Fort Dodge, and when they shipped it they sent a printer (Hoyt 
Rees) along to set it up and run it ; but he got lost enroute and did not show up 
until a week later ; it was not that he was drunk, for any of the old-timers in 
Lehigh will bear me out in the assertion that Hoyt Rees never drank. 

"The press was one of those old Armstrong affairs, intended for a giant to 
work with one hand, but as we were both light weights and not used to operating 
a press it took our combined strength to work it ; then you had to ink the type at 
every impression, the room was so cold that the ink froze, and altogether we 
had the time of our lives. But we finally got the paper out; and as I look back 
through the haze of years I can remember seeing Brannigan the next day, 
strutting proudly down the street with head erect, chest inflated and fully three 




C. F. BUNCOMBE 
Editor "Fort Dodge Chronicle" 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 279 

inches added to his stature, and he seemed to my boyish eyes the living, breath- 
ing embodiment of all that was grand and great; for was he not an editor? 

'"Brannigan was principal of the school at Lehigh at that time, and I remem- 
ber it from the fact that this was the last term of school I attended, the course 
having since been fully completed in the school of hard knocks." 

DAYTONT 

So far as is known the first settler in the town of Dayton was B. F. Allison, 
who built the first residence and store, and platted the town, November, 1856. 
In 1880 the town was incorporated with G. S. Guyer as the first mayor and John 
Baker as the first postmaster. The original name of the town was West Dayton, 
named after Dayton, Ohio. The "West" was afterwards dropped and it has 
since been known as Dayton. 

The first child born was Miss Ida Allison. The first teacher was Stephen 
Kelly. The first car load of stock shipped over the Northwestern railroad from 
Dayton was in 1881, and was the property of G. A. Gustafson. The State Bank 
of Dayton is the pioneer bank of the town. It was organized as a private bank in 
1882. and incorporated as a state bank five years later. The Farmers State Bank 
was organized in July 1894. The first church organized in Dayton was the 
Swedish Methodist Episcopal in 1857, followed by the English speaking Method- 
ist Episcopal in 1858. In i860 the German Lutherans organized a church, and 
in 1S62 the Swedish Lutherans formed a societ}' and subsequently erected a 



large church. 



D.WTON WEEKLY REVIEW 



The first number of the Dayton Weekly Review bears the date Alay 2, 1879. 
It was founded by Cyrus D. Auyer and Chas. E. Denison, according to the names 
signed to the "bow" which the new paper gave in its first issue, and they stated 
as their aim "To labor in the interest of the people of Webster county in general, 
and the territory lying south of Fort Dodge in particular, a duty in journalism 
long ago lost sight of by the papers of this county." Some of the questions dis- 
cussed sound quite modern, for they say, "Reciprocity will be our motto; it is a 
cardinal virtue, and one that will serve as a shining landmark to all classes and 
conditions so long as the world stands ;" their leading editorial, also, was upon 
the subject of "Working the roads," pleading for the improvement of the high- 
ways for the benefit both of travel aifd of business." 

Of the first advertisers, Wm. Poulson seems to have been the only one who 
has kept continuously at his occupatioil of that time, although most of the leading 
firms have really remained in business under one management or another until 
the present time. Among the leading "advertisers of the first issue, besides R. 
Poulson, are Prindle & Hutchinson, proprietors of the Lion drug store; E. S. 
Geyer, hardware ; Peterson & Nelsor^ general merchandise ; Burnquist & Bros., 
merchandise; John Lundien, merchant tailor ; Larson & Houskin, boots and shoes; 
P. W. Brundien, meat market; D. H. Morton, wagons and carriages; S. J. 
Lindholm, blacksmithing ; F. S. Bowman, painter; INIrs. P. W. Goltry, millinery; 
Mrs. A. W. Garlock, millinery; Miss Hattie \'osburgh, hair dresser. Among 



y< 



\ 



280 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

the professional cards are John A. Lindberg, attorney at law ; Dr. C. L. Warner, 
and Dr. A. W. Garlock. 

The following prices are taken from that first market report: Butter, 8c ; 
eggs, 6c ; hides. 5c ; tallow, 5c ; beans, $2.00 per bushel ; peas, $2.00 per bushel ; 
flour, $2.40; wool, 25c to 35c; corn, i6c; oats, 13c; lumber, $16 to $20; posts, 
6c to /c ; sorghum, 40c to 50c ; potatoes, 30c. 

DUNCOMUE 

The town of Ducombe derived its name from Hon. John F. Duncombe, who 
was the owner of the town site. The hrst residence in the city was erected by 
Isaac Jaques in the spring of 1866. The first grain elevator was built by W . K. 
Harding and S. Reckard in 1867. The first school was taught by Miss Anna 
Parel. 

In the spring of 1893 the town was incorporated with Johnson Latta as first 
mayor. Will T. Lundy was chosen clerk, and C. H. Nelson assessor. The city 
council consisted of John Wagner, P. S. Porter, R. -M. Palmer and John 
Thompson. The city officials for the year 1912-13 are: D. Maricle, mayor; R. 
F. Buggy, clerk; J. W. Nichols, assessor; and P. T. Flynn, Peter Mallinger, J. J. 
Clausen, Robert Collins and James Toohey, councilmen. 

The city owns its city hall and waterworks plant, and also has a city park. 
The upper floor of the city hall is used as a lodge hall and the first floor for city 
purposes. The city has a volunteer fire company of ten members and a chief and 
two fire marshals. The waterworks plant was installed in 1900 at a cost of 
$10,000.00. There are fifteen l)locks of four inch main, and thirteen fire 
hydrants. 

The town has two elevators, both owned by the Farmers Cooperative Elevator 
Company. This company was organized September 1908. and Mr. J. J. Clausen 
has been manager since its organization. There are two banks, the Duncombe 
Savings Bank and the Farmers Savings Bank. Mr. T. P. Flynn is cashier of the 
former, and Mr. T. F. Sims of the latter. During the year of 1912 the Duncombe 
Savings Bank built a fine modern building for their use. The Duncombe Trib- 
une, a weekly paper, of which C. A. Bonenkamp is now owner and publisher, 
was originally started as the "Sun" by "Sunrise Bill" Stebbens. Its early pul)1i- 
cation was very irregular and it appeared under dififerent names. The Dun- 
combe Telephone Company has a plant valued at $12,000.00. The chief industry 
of the town is tht of the Duncombe Cement Ti[e Company. 

There are three churches in the town. St. Joseph's Catholic, Father James 
Kelly, pastor ; ^Methodist Episcopal, Rev. Bourn pastor; and Norwegian Lutheran, 
supplied by Rev. W C. Danieison of Fort Dodge. The Methodist Episcopal 
church was built in 1890, and the parsonage in 1902. The first pastor was Rev. 
Charles Bartlett. There are three fraternal orders in the town. ]\I. W. A.. R. N. 
A., and B. A. Y. 

The Twentieth Century Club is a woman's literary and social club organized 
in October, 1912. Meetings are held every two weeks on Thursday afternoon. It 
was organized chiefly through the efiforts of Mrs. H. M. Downer and -Mrs. R. 
Round. It has a membership of twelve. 




DUISrCOMBE HIGH SCHOOL 




ST. JOSEPH'S CHURCH, DUNCOMBE 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 281 

WEST FORT DODGE 

West Fort Dodge, or as first called Riverside, is that part of Fort Dodge ly- 
ing on the west side of the Des Moines river. The first permanent resident was 
Alexander Colburn. He was soon followed by Chris Osmunson, O. H. Larson, 
Gust Alstrand. and August Nelson, in 1869. INIr. Larson built the first frame resi- 
dence, the lumber being shipped from Dubuque. He also built the first store 
building, and in partnership with Andrew Aloe conducted in it a grocery and 
provision business. In 1884 Mr. Moe retired from the building, and erecting the 
second store building, engaged in the same kind of business. The Riverside 
school was built in i8c;7 at a cost of $8,000.00. 

The Methodist Episcopals have a church and parsonage, as has also the 
Swedish Evangelical Mission. Rev. C. E. Litzell is pastor of the former, and Rev. 
C. J. Andrews of the latter. There is a sub-station of the Fort Dodge postofifice in 
charge of ^Michael Michaelson. The erection of the Bennett \'iaduct in 191 1 
materially helped this part of Fort Dodge, eliminating the danger of the Farley 
street' crossing. 

KALO-OTHO 

The Otho postoffice as originally established was on section 28, at C. B. 
Andrew's house. The stage line crossed Prairie creek at the southwest corner 
of the Andrews farm. With the building of the Minneapolis & St. Louis Rail- 
road, the station of Otho was established on the railroad. At about the same 
time, the dev'elopment of the coal fields started the town of Kalo at Hart's Ford. 
The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad built a spur from their line at Craigs' 
Hollow to the Kalo mines. At the junction, the company built a depot which 
they called Kalo. 

During the coal mining days there was a considerable settlement along the 
river and at both Craigs' Hollow and Kalo. The store building at old Otlio was 
moved to Kalo. and Hart and Fuller conducted the first store. Later T. B. Apland 
conducted a blacksmith shop and general store, until his death. The first post- 
master at Kalo was N. H. Hart. At the present time Kalo is but a small village. 
The coal business is practically at an end. The chief industry at the present time 
is the manufacturing of clay products, brick, tile, and hollow block by the plants 
at Craigs' Hollow and Clay works. The first plant was a small tile factory begun 
in 1890 by S. C. and August Johnson, who had formerly operated a plant at 
Dayton. In 1895 the plant was sold to Schnurr Brothers, who have since oper- 
ated it. The chief product has been drain tile, and at the present time they have 
nineteen kilns, being one of the largest drain tile manufacturing plants in Iowa. 
They employ about eighty men, and have an annual output of $120,000.00. 

As Kalo has decreased in population Otho has increased. The first postmaster 
was James ]\Iills. The first regular station agent was Darwin Green, who also 
first had charge of the depot at Kalo Junction. r>y the close of the year 1912, 
Otho had become a good business town. The town had two general stores, a lum- 
ber yard, barber shop, butcher shop, cooperative elevator, hotel, photograph gal- 
lery, Methodist Episcopal church, and a brick bank building to be occupied by 
the Otho Savings Bank was completed. December 28, 1912, fire destroyed the 
general store owned by Dawson lK: (ireen, the butcher shop, and hotel. 



282 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

The Otho Mercantile Company have a fine brick l)uil(Hng. which they use for 
a general store, meat market, and postoffice. The upper floor is used as a lodge 
hall. 

JUDD 

Judd was named in honor of Xorman P. Judd. one of the board of directors 
of the Illinois Central. It has a postoffice and general store conducted by E. E. 
Ford, and a grain elevator owned by the Western Elevator Company. 

SLIFER, IXDL'STRY AND ROPXVX 

Slifer, Industry, and Roelyn are small stations. Industry and Roelyn are 
situated upon the Chicago & Great Western Railroad, the former in Cooper, and 
the latter in Fulton township. Roelyn is a postoffice, while the other 'two are not. 
Slifer is situated upon the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. It received 
its name from a former official of the road. Industry was platted by P. O'Conner, 
who conducts a general store at this place. 

CALLENDER 

The town of Callender was platted and recorded by Agnes and James 
Callender, June 15, 1875. The Des Moines & Fort Dodge Railroad established 
a depot at this point in 1869, and erected a house twenty by sixty. There being 
but little business here, a track w^as laid under the building, which was then 
loaded on flat cars and taken to Tara, and the station was abandoned until the fail 
of 1875, when a depot was again built. In 1892, Mr. Callender gave the city a 
tract of ground to be used as a town park. The town was originally called Kesho, 
but was changed to Callender in honor of the founders of the town. The first 
mayor was Peter L. Dustrude. 

BADGER 

The first settler in Badger was W. S. Fleming, who in 1882 erected a building 
that was used as a store and dwelling. The first grain buyers were Thomas 
Chantland and Chris Knudson, who bought grain on a spur track on the Minne- 
apolis & St. Louis Railroad. The first grain elevator was built by Hill and 
Ottoson. The first postmaster was M. S. Fleming, who was installed shortly 
after his taking up a residence. The first child_born in the town was Josie Flem- 
ing, on September 4, 1882. 

CLARE 

The town of Clare w^as platted in the summer of 1882. So far as is known 
the first resident was Andrew ]\Iontgomery. The first residence was built by 
Dan O'Hern, and the first merchants were Waller and Taber. The first priest to 
look after the religious welfare of the community was Father Norton. The first 
mayor was Thomas Barrett. The first marshal was Luke McKernan. 

The name Clare is taken in honor of Clare, Ireland. The name was sug- 
gested by Father Brazil, who was asked by the officials of the railroad to christen 
the citv. The Rock Island Railroad was built through the present town site in 




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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 283 

1883, a year after the town started. The waterworks system was constructed in 
1898 at a cost of $5,000.00. The same year the opera house was built. In 1912, 
two fires burned out practically all the business section of the town. 

VINCENT 

The town of X'incent was laid out by Hamilton Browne the \vell known rail- 
road promoter, and was named after Mr. Webb Vincent. The first building was 
erected by N. P. Hill, and was used as a grain elevator. The first house and 
store was erected by W. K. Harding. The first child born in the town was 
\'ernon Frudenberg. The first school was presided over by Miss Ella Brennan. 
The first postmaster was J. ^l. O'Brien. \\\ K. Harding was the first mayor 
of the town, which was incorporated in March, 1898. The bank of \'incent was 
organized by Anderson Brothers in 1892. 

MOORL.\XD 

S. aI. Pollock, was, you might say. the father of Moorland. He bought the 
townsite where Moorland now is, and laid out the town. He was the first 
station agent, being station agent for years and was also interested in the grain 
business and hog business. Other pioneers were Councilman & Company, and 
T. M. Chase & Company, who were engaged in the grain business. J. W. \'an 
Epps, C. A. French, and J. F. Gunsaul were the first merchants in town, running 
a general store under the firm name of Van Epps & Company. William Ryan, 
now of Missouri, was the first blacksmith. Otto Blunk, now of Weather, Okla- 
homa, was the first hardware man. Richard Gilder was one of the early resi- 
dents, being village shoemaker. C. A. French was the first postmaster, hold- 
ing the position for seventeen years. Other early settlers w^ere, J. B. Gill, now of 
Fort Dodge. H. O'Brien and John Koberg. 

Moorland has two churches, the Catholic, with Father Carey as priest, and 
the Congregational, with Rev. Simpson, of Fort Dodge, as pastor. 

CROOKS, LUNDGREN. ROBERTS, AND SHADY OAKS 

Crooks, Lundgren, Roberts, and Shady Oaks are all stations on the Fort 
Dodge. Des Moines & Southern, Interurban, and are new towns. Crooks has 
a general store and elevator, and at Lundgren there is an elevator, church, and 
small store. At Shady Oaks is situated the plant of the Vincent Clay Products 
Company. At Roberts is a cooperative elevator. 

CLAY WORKS 

Clayworks is a postoffice, and has a general store conducted by John Johnson. 
It is situated on the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad. The town owes its 
beginning to its only industry, that of Johnston Brothers, manufacturers, who 
have a large plant here for the manufacture of hollow building block and other 
clay products. Large and valuable clay deposits are found at this point. The 
Central Brick & Tile Company plant is but a short distance from the station. 
There is also considerable coal mined here. Craig & Dawson operate a mine, and 
Johnston Brothers have a mine of cannel coal. 

Vol. 1—19 



284 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

COALVILLE 

Coalville Avas originally a coal mining town that sprung up with the opening 
of the mines in Pleasant Valley township. At that time it was considerable 
of a town, but as the mines were gradually worked out, the population of the 
town decreased, and the cheap company houses built by the miners were torn 
down or moved away. Today the town has a general store, a two-room school 
house and three churches. But one mine is operated at the present time. 

BARNUM AND TARA 

I 

Barnum was laid out and platted February 2, 1875, by the Iowa Falls & Sioux 
City Railroad Company. At the present time it is a thriving country town. It 
has a grain elevator, bank, two general stores, and two churches. 

Tara Junction is at the junction of the Illinois Central and Minneapolis & 
St. Louis railroads in Douglas township. At one time the town promised to be 
a railroad suburb of Fort Dodge, but the plans of the Illinois Central to estab- 
lish shops here were never carried out. The town was originally begun by the 
Des Moines & Fort Dodge Railroad Company, who operated a "stub'' train on a 
spur from this point on their main line to Fort Dodge. 

BURNSIDE 

Burnside, although the only town in the township of the same name, has 
shown a decrease in population for several years. The town, however, has 
still several good stores, grain elevator, and three churches. The town was 
originally known as Hesperian. 

LINNBURG, LAN YON AND LENA 

Linnburg, Lanyon and Lena are small stations. All three are postoffices. 
Linnburg. in Dayton township, is situated on the Chicago & Northwestern 
Railroad. At one time considerable coal was mined in the vicinity and several 
sawmills have been located here at different times. 

Lanyon is a new^ tow'n on the Rockwell City branch of the Fort Dodge, Des 
Moines & Southern, having been started as a station on the Newton & North- 
western, before that road was taken over by the Interurban and electrified. 

Lena is near the county line of Greene county and is situated on the Minne- 
apolis & St. Louis. 

HARCOURT 

Harcourt is the chief town in Lost Grove township. It is at the junction 
of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and Fort Dodge, Des Moines & South- 
ern Interurban. Since the building of the latter road the town has shown a 
marked increase in business and population. The town has four stores, a bank, 
a school, two churches, and a telephone exchange. 






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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 285 

FLUGSTAD 

Flugstad is situated on the Webster and Hamilton county line. It consists 
of a postoffice and general store conducted by Martin Olson, and an elevator. 
The elevator is in Hamilton county. It was built by George W. Post & Son 
in 1902, but was sold in 191 1 to the Farmers Grain Company, a then newly 
organized cooperative company. 

BRUSHY 

Brushy has a general store, blacksmith shop, and a grain elevator, but no 
postoffice. The Methodist Episcopals have a church here, services being con- 
ducted by the pastor from Dimcombe. 

EVANSTON 

Evanston has a school, elevator, general store and blacksmith shop. The 
Methodist Episcopals have an organization, and are supplied by the Duncombe 
pastor. 

GYPSUM 

Gypsum is located at the junction of the Illinois Central and the Lehigh 
branch of the Chicago & Great Western Railroads. The village consists of a 
few houses, the depot and a general store. Its importance is due to the fact 
of its being a transfer station between the two railroads. Its nearness to the 
gypsum mills and coal mines make it a heavy shipping point. The station 
was formerly called Carbon Junction, and the "Y." 

.SOME NEARLY FORGOTTEN TOWNS 

Vesper, formerly Tyson's Mills, was located on the west bank of the Des 
Moines river, on section 12, township 87, range 28. The first settlement was 
made in 1855, when Messrs. Reed & Wright erected the first steam sawmill. 
The town site and mill property later became the property of Oliver Tyson, who 
in 1858, added thereto a flouring-mill and did an extensive business as miller, 
merchant, miner and farmer, until the fall of 1875, when he sold out to Messrs. 
Bond & Post. The town later became part of Lehigh. 

P>uchanan was laid out, platted and recorded as a town site June 16, 1856, 
on the southeast quarter of section 16, township 87, range 28. The original 
proprietors, George Wilson and Lew Davis, had great hope that their town 
would eventually become the county seat of the county. After several unsuc- 
cessful attempts to have the county seat removed, and with its final permanent 
location at Fort Dodge, the original proprietors in 1859 sold their town site 
and moved to Colorado. In 1876, the town consisted of a schoolhouse, post- 
office, and three dwellings. Afterwards the town was called Hesperian. With 
the building of the ^Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad the town of Burnside was 
laid out on practically the same site. 



286 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Border Plains was laid out, platted and recorded as a town, in September, 
1857, by Abraham Ingles, on the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter 
and the southwest quarter of section 30, township 88, range 27, and at that time 
was a place of some importance. The improvements consisted of a large steam 
saw-mill, two stores, blacksmith shops, and several dwellings. Being centrally 
located in the county, the public gatherings and conventions of the county were 
generally held in the Border Plains schoolhouse. During the war of the rebellion 
the town became almost depopulated, and gradually passed out of existence as 
a town. 

Lackawana was laid out and platted July, 1876, by the Webster City & 
Crooked Creek Railroad & Coal Company. It received its name on account of 
the coal mines, which were just opened up by this company. It was located 
on the east bank of the Des Moines river, opposite the town of \"esper, and now 
forms East Lehigh. 

West Dayton was the name originally given to the present town of Dayton 
to distinguish it from Dayton, Ohio. 

Kesho was the name originally given to the postoffice in Roland township. 

Otho, as first known was located on section 28, along the public highway 
north from the district No. i school. With the advent of the ^Minneapolis & St. 
Louis Railroad and the development of the coal mines, the town was abandoned, 
and the new towns of Otho and Kalo were established. 

Haskalia was a proposed town on the Illinois Central near the present sta- 
tion of Judd. 

GROWTH OF POPULATION IX WEBSTER COUXTY 

The growth of population in Webster county as shown by the census figures 
from the year 1852 to 1910 is as follows: (1852) — 243; (1854) — 907; (1856) — 
3.088; (i860)— 2,504; (1863)— 2,857; (1865)— 3,772; (1867)— 5,631; (1870) — 
10,484; (1875)— 13,114; (1880)— 15,951; (1885)— 19,987; (1890)— 21,582; 
(1895)— 26,945; (1900)— 31,775; (1905)— 33,425; (1910)— 34,629. 

The population of the minor civil divisions of the county for the years 1890, 
1900, 1910 is as follows : 

1910 
Badger township, including Badger town 890 

Badger town 212 

Burnside township .^^-^^. . . 681 

Clay township 628 

Colfax township, including Duncombe town (part of) 570 

Duncombe town (part of) 32 

Total for Duncombe town in Colfax and Washing- 
ton townships 418 

Cooper township 1265 

Dayton township, including Dayton town 1678 

Dayton town yiy 

Deer Creek township 574 

Douglas township 643 

Elkhorn township 684 



1900 


1890 


911 


849 


240 




659 


581 


739 


619 


670 


541 


27 




350 




803 


579 


1814 


1694 


753 


669 


603 


588 


663 


650 


793 


652 





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VILLAGE OF KALO AND DES MOINES EIVEE 



HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 287 

Fulton township, including Moorland town 682 789 589 

Aloorland town 137 

Gowrie township, including Gowrie town 13 18 

*Gowrie town" (part of) 795 

Total for Gowrie town in Gowrie and Lost Grove 

townships 829 

Hardin township 350 

Jackson township, including Clare town 839 

Clare town 299 

Johnson township including IJarnum town 698 

Barnum town 154 

Lost Grove township, including Harcourt town and 

part of Gowrie town 979 

*Gowrie town ( part of) 34 

Harcourt town 247 

Xewark township, including \'incent town . . . . : 688 

Vincent town 215 

Otho township 1096 

Pleasant \'alley township 640 

Roland township, including Callender town 976 

Callender town 321 

Sumner township, including Lehigh town (part of) 972 

Lehigh town ( part of) 684 

Total for Lehigh town in Sumner and Webster 

townships 928 

Wahkonsa township, coextensive with Fort Dodge city 15543 
Fort Dodge citv : 

Ward I 3625 

Ward 2 4271 

Ward 3 3987 

Ward 4 3660 

Washington township, including Duncombe town 

(part of) 1262 

Duncombe town (part of) 386 

Webster township, including Lehigh town (part of) 644 

Lehigh town (part of) 244 

Yell township 329 

"tht population of the. incorporated towns of the county according to the 
census of 1910 is as follows: Badger, 212; Barnum, 154; Callender, 321; Clare, 
299; Dayton, 717; Duncombe, 418; Fort Dodge, 15,543; Gowrie, 829; Har- 
court, 247; Lehigh, 928; -Moorland, 137; Vincent, 215. 



I26I 


1076 


681 


526 


681 


526 


306 


370 


992 


636 


374 




708 


640 


175 




876 


763 


192 




829 


682 


163 




946 


904 


870 


529 


1151 


748 


399 




828 


751 


555 


514 


806 


870 


12162 


4871 


1302 


960 


323 




722 


905 


251 


356 


360 


405 



* Eeturned in Gowrie township only in 1900. 



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CHAPTER XXV 
LEGISLATIVE, JUDICIAL, AND CONGRESSIONAL HISTORY 

MEMBERS OF GENERAL ASSEMBLY REPRESENTING WEBSTER COUNTY FIRST COURT 

"TIMBER woods" — JUDGES WHO HAVE HELD COURT IN WEBSTER COUNTY — FIRST 

MURDER TRIAL IN THE HALLS OF CONGRESS POMEROY, CARPENTER, AND 

DOLLIVER. 

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY 

Webster county was first represented in the Iowa legislature during the 
sessions of the fourth general assembly. At that time the legislative district 
included a large part of the territory lying west of the Des Moines river. In the 
eighth and ninth general assembly Webster county formed a part of the Thirty- 
second Senatorial District. The next session it became a part of the Forty-third. 
In 1875 it formed a part of the Forty-seventh Senatorial District, which included 
the counties of Dickinson, Emmet, Clay, Palo Alto, Buena Vista, Pocahontas, 
Ida, Sac, Calhoun and Webster. In 1877, Webster county became a part of 
the Forty-eighth Senatorial District; and in 1885, formed a part of the Thirty- 
first. In 1887, Webster and Calhoun counties were formed into the present 
Twenty-seventh Senatorial District. 

.^ince its formation Webster county has been represented in the different 
sessions of the state legislature as follows : 

Fourth general assembly— 1852-3 : Senate, Andrew Y. Hull; House, J. H. 
Rice, Joseph C. Goodson, Benjamin Green. 

Fifth general assembly — 1845-5, and special, 1856: Senate, Theophilus Bryan 
and James C. Jordan; House, Samuel B. McCall. 

Sixth general assembly — 1856-57: Senate, Aaron Brown; House, Walter 
C. Willson. 

Third constitutional convention. Convened Iowa City, January 19, 1857, 
adjourned March 5, 1857 : Member, Sheldon G. Winchester. 

Seventh general assembly^i858 : Senate, Aaron Brown; House, Cyrus C. 
Carpenter. 

Eighth general assembly— 1860: Extra session, 1861 ; Senate, John F. Dun- 
combe ; House, Samuel Rees. 

Ninth general assembly — 1862. Extra session, 1862: Senate, John F. Dun- 
combe ; House, Lewis H. Cutler. 

Tenth general assembly — 1864: Senate, George W. Bassett; House, James 
W. Logan. 

Eleventh general assembly — 1866: Senate, George W. Bassett; House, Rob- 
ert Alcorn. 

289' 



290 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Twelfth general assembly — 1868: Senate, Theodore Hawley; House, Sam- 
uel Rees. 

Thirteenth general assembly — 1870: Senate, Theodore Hawley; House, 
Galusha Parsons. 

Fourteenth general assembly^i 872-73 : Senate, William H. Fitch; House, 
John F. Buncombe. 

Fifteenth general assembly — 1874: Senate, William H. Fitch; House,' Silas 
Corey. 

Sixteenth general assembly — 1876: Senate, Eldin J. Hartshorn; House, Sam- 
uel Rees. 

Seventeenth general 'assembly — 1878: Senate, John J. Russell; House, Oliver 
Tyson. 

Eighteenth general assembly — 1880: Senate, John J. Russell; House, John 
F. Duncombe. 

Nineteenth general assembly — 1882: Senate, John J. Russell; House. R. .M. 
Wright. 

Twentieth general assembly — 1884: Senate, John J. Russell; House, C. C. 
Carpenter. 

Twenty-first general assembly — 1886: Senate, N. F. Weber; House, S. T. 
iMeservey. 

Twenty-second general assembly — 1888: Senate, J. D. McVay; House, L 
L. Woods. 

Twenty-third general assembly — 1890: Senate, J. D. JMc\^ay; House, I. L. 
Woods. 

Twenty-fourth general assembly — 1892: Senate, O. M. Oleson ; House, J. D. 
Flanagan. 

Twenty-fifth general assembly — 1894: Senate, O. M. Oleson; House. S. 
Burnquist. 

Twenty-sixth general assembly — 1896: Senate, Thomas D. Healy; House, 
Jonas P. Johnson. 

Twenty-seventh general assembly — 1897: Senate, Thomas D. Healy; House, 
F. J. Blake. 

Twenty-eighth general assembly — 1899: Senate, Thomas D. Healy; Flouse, 
F. J. Blake. 

Twenty-ninth general assembly — 1901 : Senate, Thomas D. Healy; House, 
S. T. Meservy. 

Thirtieth general assembly — 1903: Senate, Henry Young; House, Robert 
M. Wright. 

Thirty-first general assembly — 1905: Senate, Henry Young; House, Robert 
i^ I. Wright. 

Thirty-second general assembly — 1907: Senate, Henry Young; House, 
Charles W. Hackler. 

Thirty-third general assembly — 1909: Senate, Frederick Larrabee; House, 
Charles W. Hackler. 

Thirty-fourth general assembly — 1911: Senate, Frederick Larrabee; House, 
John W. Campbell. 

Thirty-fifth general assembly — 1913: Senate, Frederick Larrabee; House, 
Peter Hadley. 




HON. JONATHAN P. DOLLIVEE, 1858-1910 
United States Senator from Iowa 1900-1910 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 291 

JUDICIAL DISTRICTS 

The first court in Webster county was held at Homer in the fall of 1854, 
Hon. C. J. McFarland of the Fifth Judicial District, being the presiding judge. 
At that time Webster county included the present boundaries of Webster and 
Hamilton counties. In 1856 the county seat was removed to Fort Dodge, and 
the first court was held in August, 1856. The session was held in the public 
schoolhouse. which was as yet unfinished. On one occasion, James AI. Woods, 
of Burlington, known as "Timber Wood," was summing up a case to a jury, 
and was declaiming in one of his high flights. Suddenly a donkey, hitched upon 
the outside drowned the orator's voice. The judge, sitting very quietly in his 
chair exclaimed : "One at a time. Timber ! — one at a time !'' 

One afternoon it looked stormy, and an attorney, we believe it was Gran- 
ville Berkley, moved that the court adjourn on account of the threatening appear- 
ance of the skies. The judge looked about in every direction, and said: "God 
Almighty reigns above, and Judge ]\IcFarland reigns below; there will be no 
storm, and consequently no adjournment. Gentlemen, go on with your case." 

Under the constitution of 1846, Webster county formed a part of the Thir- 
teenth Judicial District created in March, 1857, and which included Butler, 
Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hardin, Marshall. Story and Wright. W'ebster 
county was added February 24, 1858. James D. Thompson of Hardin county 
was elected judge, April 6, 1857, ^^^ commissioned July i, 1857. Under the 
constitution of 1857 the state of Iowa was redistricted and divided into eleven 
judicial districts, the judges and district attorney of which entered upon their 
duties January i, 1859. -^^ this time, Webster county became a part of the 
Eleventh Judicial District, composed of Boone, Hardin, Hamilton, Franklin, 
Marshall. Story, Webster, and Wright. With the exception of [Marshall county, 
which in 1887 was made a part of the Seventeenth Judicial District, these 
counties still comprise the district, which at the present time is presided over by 
three judges. 

The judges who have presided over the district court of Webster county are as 
follows : 
Name Postofifice County Year Served 

Albrook, Charles E., Eldora, Hardin 1908-1913 

Birdsall, Benjamin P., Clarion, Wright 1893-1900 

Chase, Daniel D.. W ebster City, Hamilton 1866-1874 

Dyer, George W.. Nevada, Story 1902 

Evans, William D., Hampton. Franklin 1903- 1908 

Henderson, H. C. ]\Iarshalltown. Marshall 1881-18^6 

Hindman, D. R.. Boone, Boone 1888-1898 

Hyatt, N. B., Webster City. Hamilton 1892- 1893 

Kenyon, \\ illiam S.. Fort Dodge, Webster 1900-1902 

Lee, Chaucer G., Ames, Story 1907-1913 

McFarland, C. J., Boonesboro, Boone 1854-1855 

Meracle, David D.. Webster City, Hamilton 1887- 1888 

Mitchell, Isaac J., Boonesboro, Boone 1875-1878 

Porter, John, Eldora. Hardin 1850-1866 

Richard, J. H.. Webster City, Hamilton 1901-1906 



292 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

Stevens, John L., Ames, Story 1887-1892 

Thompson, James D., Eldora, Hardin 1857-1858 

Weaver, Silas M., Iowa Falls, Hardin 1887-1901 

Whitaker, J. R., Boone, Boone 1889-1906 

Wright, Robert M., Fort Dodge, Webster 1907-1913 

The first legal investigation for murder that occurred in this county was 
at the old Wahkonsa house, before Judge Pease, then county judge. Palo Alto 
was then attached to Webster county for judicial and other purposes. Two 
families, named, respectively, Shippy and AlcCormick. lived al)out three miles 
apart — the Shippys just south of Cylinder creek and the McCormicks near the 
bank of the east branch of the Des Moines river, further south. They had a 
feud in relation to a timber claim. One day during the month of August, the 
McCormicks were chopping wood on this claim, and Gavit and Washington 
Shippy appeared on the scene. Gavit Shipp}' had a rifle with him, and shot 
Robert IMcCormick dead. James McCormick returned the fire without effect. 
Gavit Shippy immediately left the country, while Washington was arrested and 
brought to this place, charged with murder in "aiding, assisting and abetting." 
C. B. Richards, prosecuting attorney, George Richards, John F. Duncombe and 
Hon. William N. Meservey appeared for the prosecution, and Counselor Howe, 
from Spirit Lake, and George W. Brizee for the defense. It took two days to 
get in the testimony and hear arguments. Nothing of the kind had occurred 
here before, and there was a large attendance of citizens. Washington was held 
in the sum of $1,000.00, his father signing for the bond. The old gentleman soon 
after forfeited his bond, deserted his claim and left the country for parts 
unknown, driving with him a fine cow wdiich he had promised George W. Brizee 
for his legal services. 

CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS 

At the time of the organization of the county of Webster, the territory thereof 
was a part of the second congressional district, Avhich was represented by Lin- 
coln Clarke of Dubuque, a democrat. At the general election of 1852, John P. 
Cook, of Scott county, was elected over Clarke. ']Mr. Cook was a whig. In 
August, 1854, James Thorington, of Davenport, was chosen to congress from 
the district. He was a member of the famous Know Nothing order, and had 
its nomination, and also that of the temperance advocates, the question of pro- 
hibition then being prominently before the people. He defeated at the polls, 
Stephen Hempstead, then governor of the state. In 185(3, Timothy Davis, of 
Elkader, republican, was elected, defeating Shepherd Lefifler, who had been a 
member ten years before. In 1858, William \'an Deve, of Dubuque, was elected, 
over William E. Lefiingwell, and in i860, over Ben M. Samuel. Now, the big 
second district is cut up into several, Webster being put into the sixth. In 1862, 
this district elected Asahel ^\ . Hubbard, of Sioux City, over John F. Duncombe. 
in 1864, over L. Chapman and in 1866 over James D. Thompson, of Hardin. 
Charles Pomeroy, of Fort Dodge, was chosen in 1868, over Charles A. L. Rozell, 
of Butler county. In 1870, Jackson Orr, of Boone, was chosen over Charles 
C. Smeltzer. The number of representatives to which Iowa had become entitled 
having increased from six to nine, Webster county was put in the new ninth 
district, of which Jackson Orr was the first representative, defeating John F. 



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HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 293 

Duncombe at the polls. In 1874. Addison Oliver, of Onawa, was chosen over 
Charles E. Whiting, and in 1876, he was chosen over Samuel Rees. In 1878, 
Cyrus C. Carpenter, of Fort Dodge, defeated Lucius Q. Hoggart. Two years 
later he was reelected. His defeated opponents were one Guthrie and Daniel 
Campbell. Iowa making another gain of two members in the national house 
of representatives, Webster county was made a part of the new tenth district, 
and was represented by Adoniram J. Holmes, republican, from Boone. Mr. 
Holmes served in the forty-eighth, forty-ninth and fiftieth congresses. In 1888, 
Jonathan P. Dolliver of Fort Dodge was elected representative in congress over 
J. A. O. Yeoman, in 1890 over I. L. Woods, in 1892 over J. J. Ryan and John 
E. Anderson, in 1894 over T. C. Baker, in 1896 over John B. Romans, and in 
1898 over Edwin Anderson. Resigning in 1900 in order to enter the senate, he 
was succeeded by James P. Conner for both the fifty-sixth and fifty-seventh 
congresses, Robert F. Dale being his defeated opponent. In 1902, Judge Con- 
ner was reelected, Kasper Faltinson being defeated. He was again chosen in 
1904 over W. J. Brannegan, and in 1906 over John B. Butler. In 1908 Frank 
P. Woods was chosen over IMontague Hakes. In 1910 he was reelected sub- 
stantially without opposition. In 1912 he was again reelected, defeating N. P. 
Rood, democrat, of Webster City and S. B. Philpot, progressive republican of 
Fort Dodge. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
ET CETERA 

THE PRAIRIE FIRE — A COW ORDINANCE — SOCIETY IN 1855 — HOW ANDY JENKINS 
LOST HIS LIFE A CYCLONE OF 184O. 

THE PRAIRIE FIRE 

The prairie fire was at once the most beautiful and most terrible sight which 
met the eye of the early settler, and it took work and watchfulness to guard 
against its annual visitation. 

The usual custom was to plow a wide strip of land on all sides of the build- 
ings and some distance therefrom, but if this could not be done, two narrow 
strips were plowed some distance apart and the grass between them burned. 
If this was done in time there was not much danger, but sometimes the fires 
came so early that the settler was unprepared, and then it was a fight, not only 
to save the homes but for life itself. In such case the only chance was to plow 
a hasty furrow and set a back fire to meet the oncoming blaze. These back 
fires were sometimes as destructive as the big fire itself, and, if your back fire 
got away from you, you were held for the damage, the same as though you had 
set the first fire, even though the other fire would have destroyed the same 
property fifteen minutes later. This once happened to one of the early settlers 
and the lawsuits which followed nearly ruined him. 

It is surprising how easy a fire would start in a dry season. Sometimes 
when there had been scarcely any frost a fire would be set in some dry grass 
not burned the previous year, and the heat of the fire would dry the grass 
ahead so fast that the fire would run for miles. 

One who has never witnessed a prairie fire can form but a poor idea of 
the beauty, grandeur and terror which they at once combined. When running 
before a strong wind it was like the charge of a regiment of cavalry, sweep- 
ing forward with the speed of a race horse, the main line proceeded by numer- 
ous small blazes, ignited by embers blown in advance. Again, where there 
was only a slight breeze it moved like a long line of infantry, keeping almost 
perfect alignment and sweeping everything in its path. But when night came, 
its beauty was increased ten-fold. The whole sky was lit up with a weird and 
beautiful light, the moon took on a blood red hue and for miles the landscape 
was aglow with flickering and ever-changing light. A sight which once seen 
was never to be forgotten. 

But the prairie fire, like the wolf and the grasshopper, has gone its way, 

295 

\ 



296 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

and is seen no more in Iowa, and the younger generation will only know of 
them from the stories handed down from the remaining pioneers. 

THE cow ORDINANCE 

During the year 1889, the question whether cows should be restrained or 
allowed to roam at large on the streets of the city of Fort Dodge caused many 
heated arguments. Much feeling was shown. Everybody in town was on one 
side or the other. For several months the daily papers were almost entirely 
devoted to a discussion of the subject. Such papers as The New York Sun, 
The JMinneapolis Tribune, The New York Times and The Chicago Tribune, 
as well as the state papers, gave Fort Dodge a great deal of free advertising on 
account of it. 

On June 18, 1889, Mr. Charles Blanden received a letter addressed as fol- 
lows: "Mr. Charles IManden, Cow Town, Iowa." The contents of the letter 
were as follows: "Cedar Falls, Iowa, July 17, 1889. Dear Mr. Blanden: 
Do you like milk ? Yery truly yours, A. Fair Child." 

The feeling at that time is well shown by a poem written by Dr. W. L. 
Nicholson, one of the pioneer physicians, entitled "The Cow and its Congeners." 

The cow, the cow, the cow, the beautiful cow. 
Is queen of the city in spite of the row ; 
And her dutiful subjects in council declare 
She must have free pasture in spite of the mayor. 

The cow owners' feelings are readily stirred, 
As his poverty grows with the size of his herd; 
For if owners of one are regarded as poor, 
Then pity poor A — who attends to a score. 

A laborer's garden he thinks is all bosh. 
While he has got clobber to eat with his mush. 
How^ trifling the wreck of his neighbor must seem 
For nothing like cabbage will flavor his cream. 

Carrots and posies and lettuce are what 

Make delicate butter that touches the spot ) 

If I was a bossy that ruled in Fort Dodge 

I'd seed down the streets other bossies to lodge. 

With head and tail waving. I'd go to the pound 
And hook every darky, with star on, I found, 
I'd have a law passed that dogs must not bark 
Which I'd Ijring on my horns to Albert E. .Clark. 

And if in his pride he compelled me to wait, I 

I'd show him how quickly I'd open a gate, 

I'd tramp on his lawn and his sidewalk and then 

With loud bawling announce I was coming again. 




rmST CHURCH BUILT BY THE 
CONGREGATIONALISTS 



HISJORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 297 



Drag "Citizen" out of his hole in the mud 
To shout in his own name for more milk or blood. 
I'd fence up the square in a mammoth haymow, 
I'd be a Jim Dandy if I was a cow. 

How-ever, it was a year or more before the city council passed an ordinance 
restraining "Her Majesty, the Cow" from roaming at large. 

SOCIETY IX 1855 

The first real social function in Fort Dodge, for both ladies and gentlemen, 
was held at the Wahkonsa house on the evening of November 29, 1855. The 
occasion was a dance and an oyster supper. The music was amateur, kindly 
furnished by Major Williams and Messrs. Pollock and Humphrey. The enter- 
tainment was by Mr. Schaffner, proprietor of the hotel. The young ladies who 
graced the occasion were the Misses Colburn, the Misses Garaghty, the Misses 
Schafifner, ]vliss Em Vincent. ^liss Mollie Williams, ]\Iiss Nellie Curtis, and 
Miss Brown, together with most of the married ladies and all the gentle- 
men of our young town. There were several couples over from Newcastle 
(Webster City), and I believe Charles Bergk of Dakotah and James P. White, 
from up the Lizard, were present. The ladies did their "level best" in dress, 
and the occasion was a decided success, and frequently repeated. 

Airs. Major Williams received her friends once a week, entertaining them 
with music and singing, which together with her charming vivacity and grace 
of manner made her parlor the object of entree with all the gentlemen. These 
receptions generally ended with a dance at the close of the evening, and Miss 
Mollie Williams, though quite young, was one of the great attractions at the 
receptions. (Miss \'incent and the Misses Garaghty gave frequent euchre parties 
and the gentlemen were not at all diffident about going there any evening for 
social entertainment, the ladies being favorites with the young men. 

HOW ANDY JENKINS LOST HIS LIFE 

In 1873, Andy Jenkins was frozen to death in a stage coach, while on his 
way from Sioux Falls to Fort Dodge. Before leaving Sioux Falls, he had been 
warned that everything seemed to presage a coming storm, but he was in a 
hurry to get home and so gave orders for the stage driver to start off. Before 
he was many hours on his journey the storm commenced to rage so fiercely 
that the driver, a man named Baker, stopped his team, unhitched them, and 
tied them to the wheels of the coach. After covering them with a heavy blanket 
and buffalo robes he entered the stage coach prepared to brave the storm from 
the inside of its protecting walls. A day afterward when a rescuing party arrived 
at the coach they found both of the horses frozen stiff, while but a few feet 
away was Baker vainly trying to calm Mr. Jenkins, who v^as in the agonies of 
death. He succumbed but a few hours later. The exposure to the cold caused 
him to lose his reason, so that he died in a delirium. 



298 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

A CYCLONE OF 184O 

The first settlers in Otlio township say that there was evidence of a great 
wind storm having swept through that section of the country at an earlier date. 
The storm evidently came from the northwest, crossing the Des Moines river 
between Coalville and Hudson's Bend. A broad strip of territory had been 
entirely denuded of trees, and in their place had grown up young butternut trees. 
These trees showed, upon being cut down, fourteen annular rings. This would 
place the date of the storm at about 1840. , 



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