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3 3433 08044179 7 




Winneshiek County 


A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and 









B 191* •- 


Indian History 7 

The Pioneers 55 


Settlements ok Foreign Born; .vf. , . v-")- • •;• •*•.■'•;•! i ', '^5 

County Organization ^Jl^ j,''-/'s •;;> '■, *^7 

)» >>> >>>)• 

County Seat Contests 75 

Politics and Politioans 85 

The Coming of the Railroads 99 

The Boys in Blue 105 

Agriculture and Dairying 121 

The Schools 127 


The Newspapers '43 


2 co\Ti:.\rs 

ciiaiti:r XI 1 

The Mkdicai. Puoi-kssidn 147 

(.1).\I'T1-.K XIII 
TiiF. LixJAL Profession 151 

CIlAl'TI'-.k XI\" 
Banks and Ha\ki:ks 157 

CllAriKk x\- 
Manufacturing 165 

tllAl'ri".R x\-i 
Parks and Puhlic I!iii.i)im;s 167 



Geology 171 

CiJAI'illR X\lll 
The Churches 175 

Patriotic and 1'katernal '5pgiETUii. 183 

CiTv OK Decora 11 [{. /:./.>_ /i ^;J | .,; 189 




Spkingfiei.ii TdVVNSIIII' 21 1 



Washington Townsiiii' 227 

jMilitarv Townshii' 23s 

Bluffton Township 241 

Canoe Townsiiii- 24=; 


Glenwood Township 253 

HiGiiLAXD Township 257 

Hesper Township 261 

Frankville Township 265 

chapt]':r XXXII 

Lincoln Township 269 

Fremont Township 273 

Bcrr Oak Township 279 

Orleans Township 283 

Pleasant Township 287 

Jackson Township 291 

Sumner Township 293 


Madison Township 297 

Chronology 301 


TIL c- 

E. r. I'.AII.KV 


In the preparation of this article it has been the compiler's aim to make the 
work as complete and correct as possible. Diligent search has been made for 
information, and considerable pains have been taken to give the people of Wm- 
neshiek county a reliable account of the Indians who once inhabited this section 
of the country. The writer has discovered that a number of erroneous state- 
ments in regard to these Indians have unfortunately found their way into print. 
In such instances every effort has been made to procure accurate information. 

In gathering the data here assembled the writer has had the kind assistance 
of the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Iowa Library Commission, and the 
United States Ethnological Bureau. Thanks are also due to 'Oliver Lamere (a 
first cousin of Angel De Cora), who has made diligent search for desired in- 
formation among members of his tribe on their reservation in Nebraska; Geo. 
W. Kingsley, Angel De Cora, Little Winneshiek, and Antoine Grignon (all of 
whom are Winnebago Indians, except the last, who is part Winnebago and part 
Sioux) ; Dr. Eben D. Pierce ; Roger C. Mackenstadt ; Chas. H. Saunders, and 
H. J. Goddard. 

All of the above have responded in a most gratifying manner to requests for 
information, some of them taking the trouble to prepare long communications, 
which have been indispensable in the preparation of the following article and 
which the writer cherishes as among his most valued possessions. All quotations 
credited to them in this article have been taken from letters received by the 
writer since December, 1912. 

In regard to Angel De Cora, a summary of her career is gi\en in the l)ody 
of the article, where the main facts aliout Antoine Grignon's life will also lie 
found. That the reader may form a proper conception of the value of the in- 
formation imparted by other individuals mentioned above (and all this has a 
bearing on the trustworthiness of the article), the following statements are 
appended : — 

"During the month of August, umi, there came to Madison from the 
Nebraska reservation two Winnebago Indians, Mr. Oliver Lamere and Mr. John 
Rave. Both men were in the employ of Dr. Paul Radin of the American Bureau 
of Ethnology, who for several years past has been conducting researches among 
their tribe for the Government. They remained in Wisconsin until the first 
weeks in September. Both were Indians of exceptional intelligence. Mr. 
Lamere is a grandson of Alexander Lamere, one of the group of early Lake 



Koslikonong fur-traders, and a grandson of Oliver Armel, an early Madison fur- 
trader. Mr. Laniere [Oliver] acted as Dr. Radin's assistant and interpreter." 
From an article in "The Wisconsin Archeologist," 191 1, by Charles E. Brown, 
secretary and curator of The Wisconsin Archeological Society, and chief of 
The State (Wis.) Historical Museum, Madison, Wisconsin. 

"George Kingsley * * * a member of the Wisconsin Branch of the 
Winnebago Tribe of Indians, I consider to be the best authority on these mat- 
ters." — L. M. Compton, superintendent of Tomah School (United States Indian 
Service), Wisconsin. 

Dr. Eben D. Pierce is a member of the state (Wis.) and county (Trempea- 
leau) historical societies. He has written a biography of Antoine Grignon, a 
short history of the Winnebago Indians, and has contributed several articles on 
the history of that section. 

Roger C. Mackenstadt, now at the Uintah and ( )uray Indian Agenc\-. Utah, 
was formerly chief clerk at the Winnebago reservation in Nebraska. 

Chas. H. Saunders is a white man who has lived with the Indians most of 
the time (since he was thirteen years old). He married into the Waukon family 
of Winnebago Indians, whose language he speaks fluently. He was raised at 
Lansing, Iowa, and was for a numl)cr of years a resident of Wisconsin. He 
now resides in Nebraska. 

H. J. Goddard of Fort Atkinson has been a resident of Winneshiek county 
since 1849. Mr. Goddard has willingly placed at the disposal of the writer his 
well-stored memory of early recollections. He is a Ci\il war veteran and is thus 
especially competent to speak with authority in regard to military matters con- 
nectetl, with the fort. 

Other old settlers have also responded cheerfully to requests for informa- 
tion. In most instances their names appear in the article. The writer acknowl- 
edges a debt of gratitude to them all. 

The following authorities have been consulted: 

"History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties." — W. E. Alexander, 1882. 

"Atlas of Winneshiek County." — .Anderson iS: Goodwin, 1905. 

"The Making of Iowa." — Henry Sabin, LL. D.. 1900. 

"History of Iowa," v. i. — G. F. Gue, 1903. 

"The Red Men of Iowa." — .\. R. Fulton, 1882. 

"The Indian, The Northwest." — C. & N. W. Ry.. npi. 

"North Americans of Yesterday." — F. S. Dellenbaugh. 

"Handbook of .American Indians." — B. of .\. \-'... i()ii. 

"Smithsonian Report," 1885. 

"Annals of Iowa." ^ 

"The Wisconsin .\rchcologist." - 

cii.\kLi:s I'liii.ii' iii:.\( ).\i. 

June 18, 1913. 

• Articles by Elipli.ilct FVicc. C. A. Clark, ami \\ ar Dipt RoooriU of I'ort .Xtkiiison. 
' "The Winnebago 'I'ribc." by F'. V. Lawson, LL. B. 

Past and Present of Winneshiek 




Compiled by Charles Philip Hexom 

THE WINNE1!A(» tribe 

Taki maka a-icha 'gha hena mita "wa-ye lo — Yo, yoyo! 
Taki maka a-icha'gha hena mita' wa-ye lo — Yo, yoyo! 

— Translation of a Sioux song. 

The Winnebago trilae is the fourth group of the great Siouan, or Dakota, 
family. The Winnebagoes were styled by the Sioux, Hotanke, or the "big- 
voiced people;" by the Chippewas, JVinit'uj. or "filthy water;" by the Sauks and 
Foxes, U'inil'yayohagi. or "people of the filthy water." Allouez spells the 
name Ovenihigoutz. The French frequently called them Puans, or Puants, 
names often roughly translated Stinkards. The lowas called them Ochimgaraw. 
They called themselves Ochungnrah, or Hotcangara. Dr. J. O. Dorsey, the 
distinguished authority on the Siouan tribes, states that the Siouan root, 
"changa." or "liaiiga.'' signifies "first, foremost, original or ancestral." Thus 
the Winnebagoes call themselves Hotcangara. "the people speaking the original 
language," or "people of the parent speech." Traditional and linguistic evi- 
dence shows that the Iowa Indians s]:)raiig frorn the Winnebago stem, which 
appears to have been the mother stock of some other of the southwestern Siouan 

The term "Sioux" is a French corruption of Nadozuc-is-kv, the name given 
them by the Chippewa Indians of the Algonquin family. It signifies "snake," 
whence is derived the further meaning "enemy." The name Dakota, or Dakota, 
by which the jirincipal tribes of the Siouan stock call themselves, means "con- 
federated," "allied." 

Regarding the remote migrations that must have taken place in such a wide- 
spread stock as the Siouan, dififerent theories are held. An eastern origin is 
now pretty well established for this stock ; for in Virginia, North and South 

* Copyright, 1913, Charles Philip Hexom. Permission is granted E. C. Bailey and the 
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company to use this article as a portion of Tlie History of Wiimeshiek 
County edited by Mr. Bailey and published by the S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. 



Carolina, and Mississippi were the homes of tribes now extinct, which ethnol- 
ogists class as belonging to the Siouans.-' The prehistoric migration of these 
Indians, which undoubtedly was gradual, proceeded towards the west ; while 
the Dakotas, \\'iiinebagocs, and cognate tribes, it ajjpears, took a more northerly 

Passing to the authentic history of the W'innebagoes the first known meet- 
ing between this tribe and the whites was in 1634, when the French ambassador, 
Jean Nicolet, found them in Wisconsin near (ircen Bay. At this time they 
probably extended to Lake Winnebago. How long the tribe had maintained its 
position in that territory previous to the coming of the whites is unknown. 
They were then numerous and powerful. Father Pierre Claude .AUouez spent 
the winter of 1669-70 at Green Bay preaching to the W'innebagoes and their 
Central .-\lgonquian neighbors. 

The W'inneliagoes constituted one i)arty in a iri])lc alliance, to which also 
the Sauks and Foxes belonged, and were always present with the Foxes in their 
battles against the French, and their ancient enemy, the Illinois Indians. In an 
effort to combine all the tribes against the Foxes, the F'rench in some way won 
over ihe W'innebagoes. After being on unfriendly terms with the F'oxes for 
several \ears, the old friendship was revived ; yet the W'innebagoes managed to 
retain the friendship of the French and continue in uninterrupted trade relations 
with them, for, following the missionary, came the trader. 

In 1763 France ceded Canada to England. The W innci)agoes. however, 
were reluctant to transfer their allegiance to the I'jiglish ; hut when they did. 
they remained firm in their new fealty. The linglish were known to the W'in- 
nebagoes as Mo"hi"to"ga. meaning "Big Knife;" this term is said to have orig- 
inated from the kind of swords worn by the F-nglish.-* When the thirteen 
colonies declared their independence in 1776, the W'innebagoes allied themselves 
with the British and fought with them through the Revolutionary war. They 
partici])ate(l in the border outbreaks in ( )hio and were among the savages 
defeated by Gen. .Anthony Wayne on August 20. 1794. In the War of 1812-15 
they espoused the cause of England, and m the \ears immediately following this 
war they became (|uite insolent. 

The so-called Winnebago War of 1S27 was of short duration. The energetic 
movements of (^oxernor Cass, the proiuptness of the militia under Col. Henry 
Dodge, and the despatch of General .Atkinson of the federal army filled the 
Winnebagoes with such respect for the power of the L'nited Slates that the 
disturbance was c|uelled liefore it had fairly begun. .\t this time the tribe 
numbered nearly seven thousand. It might also be mentioned that a few of the 
tribe secretly joined the Sauks and I'oxes in the Black Hawk War of 1S3-'. 

Smallpox visited the tribe twice before 1S36, and in that year nmre th.m one- 
fourth of the tribe died. Mr. George Catlin, famous painter of thr Indians, 
made the statement, when at Prairie du Chien in iS3'i. that. "The onl\- war 
that suggests itself to the eye of the traveler through their cduntrv is the war 
of sympathy and l)ity." 

* "The Siouan Tribes of the East," by James Mooncy, Rullctiii Bureau of Ktluiology, 
i8q4, Washington. 

* "TI10 Onialia Tribe." by .'Mice C. b'letdier and Francis La Fleschc. lull. .Ann. zy, pg. 6ri. 



Historical evidence reveals the fact that at one time the northern part of 
Winneshiek connty formed a small i)art of the vast hunting; grounds of the 
Sioux Indians, and that the southern portion was given over to the Sauks and 
Foxes. In a council held at Prairie du Chien August 19, 1825, a boundary 
line was established between the Sioux, on the north, and the Sauks and Foxes, 
on the south. The principal object of this treaty was to make peace Ijetween 
these contending tribes as to the limits of their respective hunting grounds 
in Iowa. 

This boundary line began at the mouth of the Upper Iowa river and fol- 
lowed the stream, which traverses Winneshiek county, to its source. In order 
to decrease still further the encounters between the Sauks and Foxes, on the 
one hand, and the Sioux, on the other, the United States secured, at a council 
held at Prairie du Chien July 15, 1830, a strip of territory twenty miles wide 
on each side of the boundary line already established and extending from the 
Mississippi to the east fork of the Des Moines. This strip, forty miles in 
width, was termed the "Neutral Ground." The tribes on either side were to 
hunt and fish on it unmolested, a privilege they ceased to enjoy when this 
territory was ceded to the Winnebagoes. In this way the tract of land now 
known as Winneshiek county became a part of the Neutral (Iround. 

September 13, 1832, the Winnebagoes ceded to the United States their 
lands south of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers, east of the Mississippi. The 
Cio\ernment, on its part, by this treaty granted to the Winnebagoes, "to l)e held 
as other Indian lands are held, that part of the tract of country on the west 
side of the Mississippi river known as the Neutral Ground, embraced within 
the following limits." The boundaries specified confined the Winnebagoes to 
that jiortion of the Neutral Ground extending forty miles west of the Mississippi. 
By the_ terms of this treaty they were to be paid $[o,ooo annually for twenty- 
seven years, beginning in September, 1833. 

November i, 1837, a treaty was concluded with the Winnebagoes at Wash- 
ington, by the provisions of which they ceded to the United States the remainder 
of their lands on the east side and certain interests on the west side of the 
Mississippi river, and agreed to remove to a portion of the Neutral Ground 
in northeastern Iowa, set aside for them in the previous treaty of September 
13, 1832. This treaty of 1837 was loudly proclaimed by the tribe to be a 
fraud. It was stated that the delegation which visited Washington in that year 
had no authority to execute such an instrument. Chiefs, also, who were of this 
party all made the same declaration.'"' 

The first attempt to remove the Winnebagoes was made in 1840, when a 
considerable numljer were induced to move to the Turkey river. That year a 
portion of the Fifth and Eighth regiments of United States infantry came to 
Portage. W'isconsin, to conduct their removal. Antoine Grignon and others were 
connected with this force as interpreters. 

Two large boats were provided to transport the Indians down the Wis- 
consin river to Prairie du Chien, Captain Sumner, who later was a commanding 

•'■' VViscon.siii .Xrclieo'.ogist. Vol. 6, No. .^, pg. 112. 

10 PAST AND J'Rl-.Si:.\T Ui- W IX.XMSllllCK CuLXTY 

officer at Fort Atkinson, secured 250 ^^'innebagoes in southern Wisconsin. 
These were also taken to Prairie du Chien. They first disHked the idea of going 
on to the Neutral Ground, because on the south were the ."^auks and Fo.xes, 
and on the north were the Siou.x, and with these tribes they were not on friendly 
terms. Consi(!eral)le resentment was felt by the Sauks and Foxes towartls the 
Winnebagoes for having delivered Black Hawk over to tlie whites, although 
])revious to this occasion the Winnebagoes had been in intimate relationship 
with these tribes. However, they soon grew to love the Iowa reservation. 


.•\n<I they painted on the grave-posts 
On the graves yet unforgotten. 
Each his own ancestral Totem, 
Each the symbol of his household ; — 

— Tlie SoiiK of I liawatlin. 

In each tribe tiiere existed, on the basis of kinship, a di\ision into clans 
and gentes. The names given to these divisions were usually those of the 
animals, birds, rejjtiles. or inanimate objects from which their members claimed 
descent, or which were regarded as guardian deities common to them all: these 
were known as their totems. 

The term "clan" implies descent in the female, and "gens" in the male line. 
Clans and gentes were generally organized into phratries; and phratries. into 
tribes. A phratry was an organization for ceremonial and other festivals. 

The \\ innebago social organization was based on two ])hratries. known as 
the Upper, or .Mr. and the Lower, or I'-.arth. divisions. The Up])er division 
contained four clans: ii| Thunder-bird, (j) War Peoi)le, (3) liagle. (4) 
Pigeon (extinct); while the Lower division contained eight clans: (i) Bear, 
(2) Wolf, (3) Water-spirit. (4) Deer. (5) l^lk. (6) Buffalo. (7) Fish. (8) 

The Thinider-bird and Bear clans were regarded as the leading clans of 
their re.spective phratries. Both had defmite functions. The lodge of the former 
was the peace lodge, over which the chief of the tribe presided, while the lodge 
of the Bear clan was the war, or di.sciplinary, lodge. Each clan had a number 
of individual customs, relating to birth, tiie naming-feast. death, and the funeral- 
wake. An Upper individual marry a Lower individual, and vice versa. 

When Carver, an early traveler, first came in contact with the Winnebagoes. 
their chief was a woman. The man. however, was the head of each familv. 
Where clans existed, .a man could became a member of ,inv ])arlicular clan 
only by birth, adoption, or transfer in infancy from his mother's to his father's 
clan, or vice versa. The ])lace of woman in a tribe was not that of a slave or 
beast of Jjunlen. The existence of the gentile organization, in most tribes with 
descent in the female line, forbade that she be subjected to any such indignity. 

Dr. J. O. Dorsey obtained a list of the gentes of the Ilotcangara, or Winne- 
bagoes." They were (i) Shungikikarachada ("Wolfi: (2) 1 lonchikikarachada 
Ci'lack Bear'); (3) I luw;inikik,-ir:u-liad.i Cl'.Ik'i: (4) 

" The late J. Owen Horsey nf the Hnreaii of .Americnn Ethnology, in liiill. .p. pg. i/u. 




WAA-KAUX-SEK-KAA (Rattle-Snake) 
Painted at the treaty of Prairie du Cliien, 1833, by J. 0. 
Lewis, and recently identified as the portrait of Waukon-. 
Decorah (Wakun-lia-ga, or Snake Skin). 


('Snake') ; (5) Waniiikikikaraohada ('Bird') ; (6) Cheikikarachada ('Buffalo') ; 
(7) Chaikikarachada (T)eer') ; (8) W'akclickhiikikarachada ('Water-monster'). 
The Bird gens was composed of four suii-geutes, namely: (a) Hichakhshepara 
('Eagle'), (b) Ruchke ('Pigeon'), (c) Kerechun ('Hawk'), (d) Wakanchara 
('Thunder-bird'). It seems probable that each gens was thus subdivided into 
four sub-gentes. 

In 1843 they were on the Neutral Ground in different bands, the principal 
one, called the School band, occupying territory along the Turkey river. 


The Winnebagoes are distinctly a timber people, and always confined them- 
selves to the larger streams. In early days their wearing apparel consisted 
commonly of brcechclout, luoccasins, leggings, and robes of dressed skins. The 
advent among them of the whites enabled them to add blankets, clotiis, and 
ornaments to their scanty wardrobes. 

Jonathan Emerson Fletcher, the Indian agent at the Turkey river, furnished 
Mr. Henry R. Schoolcraft, LL. D., at one time Indian agent for Wisconsin 
Territory and author of "Historical and Statistical Information Respecting the 
History, Condition and Prospects of the Indian Tribes of the United States," a 
description of the costume of the Winnebagoes, from which the following is 
condensed:" "\\'hite lilankets are preferred in winter, and colored in the sum- 
mer. Red is a fa\orite color among the young, and green with the aged. Calico 
shirts, cloth leggings, and buckskin moccasins are worn by both sexes. In 
addition to the above articles, the women wear a broadcloth petticoat, or mantelet, 
suspended from the hips and extending below the knee. 

"^^'ampum, ear-bobs, rings, bracelets, and bells are the most common orna- 
ments worn by them. Head-dresses ornamented with eagle's feathers are worn 
by the warriors on public occasions. The chiefs wear nothing peculiar to 
<lesignate their office, excejit it be medals received from the President of the 
United States. 

"Some of the young men and women paint their blankets with a variety 
of colors and figures. A large majority o.f the young and middle-aged of both 
sexes paint their faces when they dress for a dance. 

"Old and young women divide their hair from the forehead to the back 
of the crown, and wear it collected in a roll on the back of the neck, confined 
with ribbons and bead-strings. The men and boys wear their hair cut similar 
to the whites, except that they all wear a small quantity on the back of the 
crown, long and braided, which braids are tied at the end with a ribbon. The 
men have but little beard, which is usually jjlucked out by tweezers." 

One style of Winnebago wigwam consisted of an arched frame-work of 
poles firmly set in the ground and lashed together with strips of bark and so 
arranged as to give it sloping sides and a rounded top. Cross-pieces of wood 
secured the poles to one another. The roof and sides were covered with pieces 
of bark, or matting. The general outline was round or elliptical. Conical 
lodges were employed chiefly in the summer time. Eur robes, matting, and 

'Wisconsin Arclieologist, Vol. 6, No. .-5, pg. 121. 

14 I 'AST AX I) PRESENT ( )1- W 1 Wl-Sl lU'.K COUNTY 

blankets served for bedding. Branches were heaped around the side walls, and 
these, covered with blankets, served as a bed. 

Mr. Metcher stated* that the lodges at the Turkey river, Iowa, were '"from 
twelve to forty feet in length, anil from ten to twenty feet in width, and fifteen 
feet in height from the ground to the toj) of the roof. The largest would 
accommodate three families of ten persons each. They generally have two 
doors. Fires, one for each family, are made along the space through the 
center. The smoke escapes through the apertures in the roof. The summer 
lodge is of lighter materials and is portable." 

Council houses and other structures were erected in each village. Mr. ( )liver 
Lamere states: "It is said that all of their councils were held at the Turkey 
ri\er. as that was their agency at the time. Usually everything went as the 
chiefs wanted it." Regarding the vicinity of l-'ort .Atkinson, Mr. 11. I. ( ioddard 
says : "There were tw(j Indian camping grounds south of here, one about a 
quarter of a mile, and the other half a mile, distant. One had about 50 wigwams, 
and the other between 300 and 400. They took poles and stuck them in the 
ground, then bent them o\er and ucd the tops together and covered them with 
bark. The bark was pealed from the water or slijjpery-elm trees during the 

Bark served the Indians in a nniltitude of ways. It was stripped from trees 
at the ])roper season by hacking it around so that it could be taken off in 
sheets of the desired length. The Winnebagoes also made a kind of drink from 
bark. Mr. Lamere says, "They also made a matting from reeds sewed or 
matted together with strings made out of bass-wood bark ; of course, they used 
canvas wdien they could purchase it, but their jjcrmanent lodges would be of 

It was the man's duty to protect his \ illage and family, and by hunting to 
])rovide meal and skins. The women diicd the meat, dressed the hides, made the 
clothing, and, in general, performed all the household duties. The processes 
employed for dressing skins were various, such as fleshing, scraping, braining, 
stripping, graining, and working. In the domestic economy of the Indian, 
skins were his most \alucd and useful material, as they also later became his 
princiijal trading asset. .A list of the articles made of this material would em- 
brace a great many of the Indian's principal possessions. 

Moccasins and other articles made of skin were often covered with .irtistic 
bead-work, re])lete with tribal symbolism. The Winnebagoes also had. not 
long ago, a well developed porcui)ine (|uill industry. 

In common with other tribes llie \\ innebagoes were accustomed to jireparo 
dried and smoked lish and meal. .\nls. wild fruits, and erlible roots of various 
kinds were also used for food. Corn \\;is raised and such vegetables as S(|uash. 
piniipkins, beans, jiotatoes ;m<l watermelons. Lorn was often eaten green, 
l)iit ustially after it had been dried, ground, and made into bread; it was some- 
times boiled witii meat. .At the Turke\ ri\er near Fort .\tkinson the Indians 
cached their corn in holes dug in the ground three or four feel square and 
about three feet deep. Wild rice was raised and was jirejiared by being boiled 
with meat and vegetables, ."^helled dried corn, dried hulled fruit, and nuts 

"Wisconsin .Xrchcologist, Vol. 6, Xo. 3, pg. 124. condensed from information fnrnished 
to 11. R. Schoolcraft. 


were cached in storage pits for futtire use. Tobacco was raised, but only in 
small quantities. Notwithstanding the abundance of animal and vegetal food 
that the fields and forest aft'orded, the Indians suffered occasionally from famine. 
For wood the limbs of trees were used, but not the trunk ; in the neighborhood 
of Fort Atkinson evidence remains today of this practice. 

Of the Winnebago marriage customs Moses Paquette, who went (1845) 'o 
the Presbyterian school at the Turkey river, stated" in 1882: "Presents to 
the parents of a woman, by either the parents of the man Or the man himself, 
if accepted, usually secure her for a partner. However much the woman may 
dislike the man, she considers it her bounden duty to go and at least try to live 
with him. Divorce is easy among them. There are no laws compelling them 
to live together. Sometimes there are marriages for a specified time, say a few 
months or a year. When separations occur, the woman usually takes the children 
with her to the home of her parents. But so long as the union exists, it is 
deemed to be sacred, and there are few instances of infidelity. Quite a number 
of the bucks have two wives, who live on apparently equal, free, and easy 
terms ; but although there is no rule about the matter, I never heard of any of 
the men having more than two wives. W itli all this ease of divorce, numerous 
Indian couples remain true to each other fur life." Manv of the earlv traders 
took Winnebago wives. 

The Indians had their favorite pastimes and games, some of which were 
played by the women and children. There were also several kinds of dances 
for various occasions. 

Regarding their burial customs, the graves were in later times protecterl by 
logs, stones, brush, or pickets. With the bodies of the deceased were buried 
their personal possessions or symbolical objects. With the corpse of a woman 
were buried her imjilements of labor. The graves of chiefs and persons of 
distinction were sometimes enclosed with pickets. ( )ver such a grave it was 
customary to place a white flag. The blackening of the face by mourners was 
a common custom. In the winter the remains were encased and placed on a 
scaffold and then elevated into the branches of a tree, or placed between two 
trees. In the spring the permanent burial was made in a shallow grave. Over 
this was erected an A-shaped structure, consisting of two short, forked posts, 
which, placed one at each end of the grave, supported a cross-piece. Against 
this frame-work were placed wooden slabs. 

Lengthwise the graves at the Turkey ri\er extended from east to west, in 
order that the dead might "look towards the happy land" that was supjKDsed to 
lie somewhere in the direction of the setting sun. The body of the dead was 
sometimes placed in the grave in a sitting posture, the head and chest extending 
above the ground. .\ pipe of tobacco was buried with an adult male, and a 
war-club was placed in the grave of a warrior. The hieroglyphics painted on 
the post at the head of a warrior's grave represented the exploits of those who 
danced about the grave at his funeral. 

Mr. Goddard says: "There were about a (hizen or more Indian graves 
close to the fort, but these have long since been obliterated. An Indian child, 
about seven or eight years .)f age, was put above ground in a coffin placed 

'■> Wisconsin .\rclieologist, \'ol. 6, No. 3, pg. 126. 



between, and near the top of, four cedar posts set in the ground. an<l ab..ut seven 
or eight feet high. I was told by the Indians who later traveled through the 
country quite frequently that the child belonged to a Chipi-ewa woman who 
was visiting the Winnebagoes. Later, a man who stopped at my place took from 
inside the "heavily beaded l^lanket, in which the child was wrapped when buried, 
a round mirror' ornament with a loop for suspension, about three inches m 
diameter, on the back of which was a picture of General Jackson. 

••An Indian grave was on the top of a hill in Jackson township, section twenty. 
The Indians told me that a chief calle<l Black Rear was buried there : however, 
there is nothing further authentic to prove this. The grave was surrounded 
by a stockade made of ])oards split out of logs and was seven feet high ; it en- 
closed a space about seven by eight feet in area. The boards were spiked 

"Near the Little Turkey river, a fork of the Turkey river, at a poiiu about 
one and one-half miles from \\'aucoma in Eayette county, was a farm of about 
one hundred acres broken up (supposedly by the Government) and owned 
by a chief called Whaling Thunder [evidently Whirling Thunder, but not definitely 
known]. Here Whaling ( ?) Thunder died, and on his land was a group of about 
thirty graves. si.\ Indians being buried in one grave." 

Hon. Abraham Jacobson, of Springfield township, stated'" that, "On the 
banks of the Upper Iowa river many Indian graves were found. The bodies 
were buried in a sitting position, with tiie head sometimes above ground. A 
forked .stick put up like a post at each end of the grave held a ridge pole 
on which leaned thin boards placed slanting to each side of the grave. Thus 
each grave presented the appearance of a gable of a small house." 

On Mr. L I. Tavener's land in West Decorah are three mounds, or artificial 
iiillocks. now nearly ol)literated by cultivation. These mounds are circular in 
form and, before being worn down by the plow, were low, broad, round-topped 
cones from two and one-half to three feet high in the center. The largest of 
the group was about forty feet in diameter. Conical mounds are, as a rule, 
depositories of the dead. As yet. no bones have been c.xhumed from any of these 
mounds, so that it is not known at present what purpose they served: but it 
seems probable that Uiey were burial mounds. 

The early settlers furnished evidence of the existence of many Indian graves 
throughout the county, notably where the cit> of Decorah is located. These 
graves are now almost imperceptible. 


Ve whose hearts arc fresh and simple, 

Who have faitli in God and Nature. 

Who believe, that in all ages 

Every human licart is liunian, 

That in even savage bosoms 

There are longings, yearnings, strivings 

I''or the good they comprehend not, 

■""Reminiscences of Pioneer Norwegians," by lion. A. Jacobson in "The Illustrated 
Historical .^tlas of Winneshiek County, Iowa,"' 1905, Sec. II. pg. i2. 


That the feeble hands and helpless, 
Groping blindly in the darkness, 
Touch God's right hand in that darkness 
And are lifted up and strengthened; — 
Listen to this simple story, — 

— The Song of Hiawatha. 

The fundamental religious concept of the Indian is the belief in the existence 
of magic power in animate and inanimate objects. This gave rise to their idea 
that there are men who possess supernatural power. This magic power is 
called Ma"'una ( Earth-maker) ^i by the Winnebagoes, and corresponds to the 
Gitclii Mcuiito of the Central Algonquian tribes, and VVakanda^- of the Siouan 
tribes. As a verb, "wakanda" signifies "to reckon as holy or sacred, to worship ;" 
the noun is "wakan" and means "a spirit, something consecrated." "Wakan," 
as an adjective, is defined as "spiritual, sacred, consecrated, wonderful, incom- 
prehensible, mysterious." "Wakan" and various other forms of that word are 
of common occurrence in the Winnebago language. 

The Winnebago mythology consists of large cycles relating to the five per- 
sonages, Trickster, Bladder, Turtle. He-who-wears-heads-as-earrings, and the 
Hare. Other deities known to them are Disease-giver, Sun, Moon, Morning 
Star, the Spirits of the Night. r)ne-horn, the Earth, and the Water. 

The Indian had no understanding of a single, all-powerful deity, the "Creat 
Spirit," till the Europeans, often unconsciously, informed him of their own 
belief. He believed in a multitude of spirits that were the source of good 
or bad fortune, and whom he feared to ofl^end.'-"' He seems to have had no 
conception of a future punishment. The mortuary rites of the Winnebagoes, 
and other tribes, testify to the fact that they believed in a life after death ; but 
as to the nature of "the happy land of the West" their ideas were vague. 

The Winneljagoes liad two imjiortant tril)al ceremonies, the Mankani. or 
Medicine Dance, and the U'agigo. or Winter Feast. The Medicine Dance could 
take place only in summer ; and the Winter Feast only in winter. The Medicine 
Dance was a secret society, ungraded, into which men and women could be 
initiated on payment of a certain amount of money. The purpose of the society 
was the prolongation of life and the instilling of certain virtues, none of which 
related to war. These virtues were instilled by means of the "shooting" cere- 
mony, the pretended shooting of a shell, contained in an otter-skin bag, into the 
l)ody of the one to be initiated. The ceremony was performed in a long tent 
occupied by five ceremonial bands, whose positions of honor depended on the 
order of invitation. The general ceremony itself was public, but a secret vapor- 
bath ceremony preceded, and a secret ceremony intervened between the first 
and second parts. 

The Winter Feast was a war feast and the only distinctively clan cere- 
monial among the Winnebagoes. Each clan had a sacred bundle, which was 
in the hands of some male individual, and was handed down from one generation 
to another, care being always taken to keep it in the same clan. The purpose of 

^' Bureau of American Ethnolog>-, Bulletin 30. part 2, pg. 960. 
'- Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin ^o, part 2, pg. 897. 
'■■^ Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, part 2, pg. 284. 
v.ii 1—2 


this feast was to appease all the supposed deities known to them. Mr. Metcher, 
the agent at the Turkey river, gave Mr. Schoolcraft a description of the War 
dance and the Medicine society. 

There were a number of other important ceremonie.';, of which the best 
known were the Herucka and the Buffalo Dance. The latter was performed in 
the spring, and had for its purpose the magical calling of the buffalo herds. 
All those w^ho pretended to have had supernatural communication with the 
Buffalo spirit might participate in the ceremony, irrespective of clan. It seems 
that the object of the Herucka was to stimulate an heroic spirit. 

Moses Paquette gave Doctor Thwaites of Wisconsin a brief account of the 
Buffalo Dance, which he describes as "Proljahly the most popular of iheir 
dances." "They represent," he continues, "themselves to be bisons, imitating 
the legitimate motions and noises of the animal, and introducing a great many 
others that would quite astonish the oldest buft'alo in existence. Of course it 
has been a long time since any Winnebagoes ever saw buft'alo ; their antics are 
purely traditionary, handed down from former generations of dancers." '^ 

Other dances and feasts were the Snake, Scalp, Grizzly-bear, Sore-eye. and dances. Little Hill, a Winnebago chief, gave Mr. Fletcher an account 
of their creation, which, in all its parts, bears testimony to their belief in numer- 
ous spirits.*'* Mr. Lamere states that, "The Buffalo Dance was carried on by 
the Winnebagoes for a long time, but the dance that they seemed to have liked 
and indulged in mostly while there [Iowa] was the Fish Dance, which was only 
a dance of amusement. The Herucka dance w^as adopted from some of the 
western tribes and was brought back h\ the Winnel;)agoes who enlisted as 
scouts during the Sioux outbreak in it<6j and was introduced after the Winne- 
bagoes came here to Nebraska;" he further states, — "The Thunder-tiird was 
held in awe by the Winnebagoes, and they believed that thunder-storms were 
caused by these beings, the lightning being caused by the opening and closing 
of their eyes; the Winnebagoes do not describe them as birds, but beings of the 
human type and always wearing cedar boughs on their head, or hair, and carry- 
ing riat war-dubs." 


How fair is Decorah, 

Our city named so 
For tlie Indians tliat roamed 

O'er its bills years ago. 
Whose well trodden pathways 

The story could tell 
How from all directions 

They came here to dwell. 

In fitting remembrance 

These lines we inscribe 
To Wankon Decorah. 

A chief of their tribe, 

'* Wisconsin Archcologist, Vol. 6, No. 3, pg. \^o. 
""Red Men of Iowa," by A. R. Fnlton. 


Whose name is a landmark 

And honored shall stand 
I^'or heeding the fiat 

".Move on, yield yonr land." 

And Indians that peopled 

Tliis heantifnl site, 
Reluctant but friendly 

Relinquished their right. 
They left us this valley 

With beauties untold, 
Gave way to the settlers, 

Our pioneers bold. 

Things have changed, to be sure, 

In this valley, — still 
'Tis but sixty odd years 

Since they camped on yon hill 
Where now stands the courthouse 

A pride of our town. 
The heart of the county. 

Of widespread renown. 

— Mrs. John C. Hc-xom. 

Hopokockau, or "Glory of the Morning,'" also known as the Queen of the 
Winnebagoes, was the mother of a celebrated line of chiefs, all of whoni, well 
known to border history, bore in some form the name Decorah. Her Indian 
name is also given as Wa-ho-po-e-kau. She was the daughter of one of the 
principal \\'inncl)ag() chiefs. There is no record of the date of her birth or 

She became the wife of Sabrevoir De Carrie, who prol)ably came to Wisconsin 
with the French army, in which he was an officer, in 1728. He resigned his 
commission in 1729, and became a fur-trader among the Winnebagoes, subse- 
quently marrying "Glory of the Morning." He was adopted into her clan and 
highly honored. After seven or eight years, during which time two sons and 
a daughter were born to him, he left her, taking with him the daughter. The 
Queen refused to go with her husband, and remained in her home with her 
two sons. "The result is today that one-half or two-thirds of the Winnebago 
tribe have more or less of the Decorah blood in their veins." ^^ Through the 
intervening generations there has been no other mixture of Caucasian blood, 
so that the Decoralis of today are probably as nearly full-bloods as any Indians 
in any part of the country. 

De Carrie returned to Canada, reentered the army, and was killed at Ste 
Foye in the spring of 1760. The daughter whom he took with him became the 
wife of a trader. Constant Kerigoufili, whose son, Sieur Laurent Fily (so-called), 
died about 1846. 

Capt. Jonathan Carver, who visited the Queen in 1766, states that she 
received him graciously, and luxuriously entertained him during the four days 
he remained in her village, which "contained tifty houses." Her two sons, 
"being the descendants of a chief on the mother's side, when they arrived at 

1'' Statement by Geo. W. Kingsley. 


manhood * * * assumed the digiiil)- of their rank Ijy inheritance. They 
were generally good Indians and freciuently urged their claims to the friendship 
of the whites by saying they were themselves half white." 

Choukeka Dekaury, or Spoon Decorah, sometimes called the Ladle, was the 
eldest son of Sabrevoir De Carrie and llopokoekau. The name is also rendered 
Chau-ka-ka and Chou-ga-rah. After having been made chief he became the 
leader of attacks on the Chippewas during a war between them and the W'inne- 
bagoes, i)ut he maintained friendly relations with the whites. lie was the 
ancestor of the Portage branch of the family. It was princijially through his 
influence that the treaty of June 3. 1S16, at St. Louis, Missouri, was brought 

llis wife. Elight of ( leese. was a daughter of Nawkaw (known also as 
Carrymaunec and Walking Turtle), whose management of tribal affairs was 
decidedly peaceful. According to La Ronde. Choukeka's death occurreil in 
1816, when he was "cjuite aged." He left six sons and five daughters. The 
sons were: (1) Konokah, or Old Gray-headed Decorah; (2) Augah, or the 
Black Decorah, named by l^a Ronde, Ruch-ka-scha-ka, or White Pigeon; (3) 
Anaugah, or the Raisin Decorah, named by La Ronde, Chou-me-ne-ka-ka ; (4) 
Nah-ha-sauch-e-ka, or Rascal Decorah; (5) Wau-kon-ga-ka, or tlie Thunder 
Hearer ; (6) Ong-skaka, or White \\'olf, who died young. Three of the daughters 
married Indians. One married a trajjper named Dennis De Riviere and later 
married Perische Grignon. The other married Jean Lecuyer. 

Cyrus Thomas'" makes the statement that, "From Choukeka's daughters who 
married white men are descended several well knuwu families of Wisconsin 
and Minnesota." 

Chali-post-kaa^-kaw. or the lUizzard Decorah, was the second son of De 
Carrie and "Glory of the Morning."- He settled at La Crosse in 17S7, with 
a band of Wimiebagoes, and was .soon after killed there. He had two sons: 
(i) Big Cancic, or One-eyed Decorah. and i j i \\ akun-ha-ga, or Snake Skin, 
known as Waukon Decorah. 

Old Gray-hcadcd Dccoralt. called by the whites Konakah (eldest) ]3ecorah, 
often mentioned as Old Dekaury, was the eldest son and successor of Choukeka 
Dekaury. His common Indian name was Schachipkaka, or The War Eagle. 
The signature "De-ca-ri" attached to the treaty of i'rairie des Chiens (as the 
word is frec|uently spelled in early documents), Michigan Territory. August 
19, 1825, is i^robably that of < 'Id 1 )ckaury. lie signed the treaty of Prairie du 
Chien, Michigan Territory, .\ugust 1, 1829, as "Hee-tsha-wau-sharp-skaw-kaii, 
or White War I'.agle. " .\niong those representing the Fort Winnebago de])uta- 
tion at the treaty of burl .Armstrong, l^oek IsLind. Illinois, September 15. 1S32, 
he signed as "l!ee-tsliah-wau-sai])-skaw-skaw, or While War Eagle, ne-k;ui- 
ray, sr." 

Old Decorah was Ijorn in 1747, and died al I'elen well, the high rock on the 
Wisconsin river, April Jo, iS^f). about ninety years old. (lid I )e-kau-rv's 
town contained over one hundred lodges, and was the largest of the Winnebago 
villages. Before he died he called a Catholic jiriest. who ba[)tized him the day 
of his death. 

Before his father's death, in 1816. Old Gray-headed Decnraii bad joined a 
band of Winnebagoes who took part. August 2, 1S13, in the attack led bv Gen- 

'"Of the Bureau of American Ethnology. 


eral Proctor, with 500 regulars and 800 Indians, on Fort Stephenson on lower 
Sandusky river, Ohio, which was so gallantly defended by Alaj. George Croghan 
with a force of 150 Americans and only one camion. He also fought with 
Proctor and Tecumseh, a celebrated Shawnee chief, at the battle of the Thames, 
Canada, where a great part of the British army was either slain or captured by 
the American forces under Gen. \\'m. H. Harrison, October 5, 18 13, and where 
Tecumseh was shot. Old Uecorah was held as a hostage for the delivery of 
Red Bird, a war chief, during the so-called Winnebago war. Old Decorah 
gave assurance to General Atkinson, during this war, of the peaceable intentions 
of the Winnebagoes. 

It was while Alaj. Zachary Taylor was located at Prairie du Chien that he 
received from Old Gray-headed Decorah a peace pipe now in the State Historical 
Aluseum at :\Iadison, \\'isconsin. This calumet is a fine specimen; the head is 
of catlinite inlaid with lead polished to look like silver. The stem, or wooden 
handle, is about three feet long, rather rudely carved. 

Mrs. J. H. Kinzie described ^'^ him as "The most noble, dignified, and ven- 
erable of his own or indeed of any other tribe. His fine Roman countenance, 
rendered still more striking by his bald head, with one solitary tuft of long sil- 
very hair neatly tied and falling liack on his shoulders : his perfectly neat, appro- 
priate dress, almost without ornament, and his courteous manner, never laid 
aside, under any circumstances, all combined to give him the highest place in 
the consideration of all who knew him." 

Mrs. Kinzie further states:'-' "The nublc fJld Day-kau-ray came one day 
from the Barribault to apprise us of the state of his village. More than forty 
of his people, he said, had now been for many days without food, save bark and 
roots. My husband accompanied him to the commanding officer to tell his 
story, and ascertain if any amount of food could be obtained from that quarter. 
The result was the promise of a small allowance of flour, sufficient to alleviate 
the cravings of his own family. \Mien this was explained to the chief he turned 
away. 'No,' he said, "if his people could not l)e relieved, he and his family would 
starve with them,' and he refused for those nearest and dearest to him the 
proiTered succor until all could share alike." During the winter of 1832-33 
food was scarce at Fort Winnebago, and the Indians suffered severely. 

Old Day-kau-ray delivered an address on education to the agent, Mr. Kinzie, 
at a conference held with the Winnebago chiefs in 1831, in regard to sending 
the children of the Indians away to school. The following quotation is from 
["lis speech: -" "The white man does not live like the Indian; it is not his nature; 
neither does the Indian lo\e to live like the white man. * * * This is what 
we think. If we change our minds we will let you know." 

The known sons of Old Dekaury were ( I ) Little Decorah and (2) Spoon 

Big Canoe, or Oiir-cyrd Decorah. a son of Chatpost-kaw-kah, told George 
Gale-' about 1855 that he had but one brother, Waukon Decorah. One-eyed 

"* "Wau-Bun," pg. 89. 

'''■' Same reference as above, pg. 484. 

-" Smithsonian Report, 1885. part 2, pg. 128. 

-■^ A Wisconsin pioneer who in 1851 removed to the copper Mississippi region, where he 
was judge, state senator, etc., founding the village of Galesvillc and the academy thereat. He 
wrote a history of the Winnebago Indians, which is still in manuscript form in the Wisconsin 
Historical Society's possession. 


Decorah's Indian name was \\'adge-liut-la-ka\v, or the Big Canoe. The signa- 
ture, \\'atch-ha-ta-ka\v (by Henry M. Rice, his delegate), is attached to the 
treaty of Washington, October 13. 1X4^). and is undoubtedly that of One-eyed 

He was born about 1772, and was fifteen years oi age when his father 
settled at La Crosse. He aided in the capture of Mackinaw, July 17, 1S12, and 
was with the British in the attack on Fort Stephenson, August 2, 1813, near 
Fremont, Ohio, and with ^iIcKay at the capture of Prairie du Chien. It is said 
that he signed the treaty there in 1825. The act for which he became celebrated 
was the capture of lUack Hawk and the Prophet in 1832. I'lack Ilawk"s force 
was pursued by General Atkinson, who completely defeated him .\ugust 3, 
1832. The famous Sauk leader and the i'rophet escaped to the northward and 
sought refuge among some \\ innebagoes, whither they were followed and ca])tured 
by One-eyed Decorah and Chaetar (another Winnebago), who delivered him to 
General Street (a former Winnebago agent) at Prairie du Chien, August 27, 
1832. On this occasion One-eyed Decorah made the following speech : -- 

"My father, I now stand before you. When we parted I told you 1 would 
return soon, but I could not come any sooner. We had to go a great distance. 
You see we have done what you sent us to do. These (pointing to the prisoners) 
are the two you told us to get. We ha\e done what you told us to do. We 
always do what you tell us, because we know it is for our good, h'alher, vou 
told us to get these men, and it would be the cause of much good to the 
Winnebagoes. W'c have brought them, but it has been very hard for us to do 
so. That one (Black Hawk) was a great way off. \'ou told us to bring ihem to 
you alive; we have done so. If you had told us to bring their heads alone, 
we would have done so, and it would have l)cen less dillicult than what we ha\-e 
done. We would not dcli\er (hcni in our brother, the chief of the warriors, but 
to you, because we know you, and we believe you are our friend. We want 
you to keep them safe; if they are to be hurt, we do not wish to see it. Wait 
until we are gone bef(M-e it is done, b'allicr. ni;in\- little birds lia\c been Hying 
about our ears of late, and we thought they whispered to us that there was 
evil intended for us ; but now we ho])e these evil birds will let our ears alone. 
We know you are our friend because \-ou took our i)art. and that is the reason 
we do what you tell us to do. ^'ou say you love your red children : we think 
we love you as much as. if not more than, you love us. We have conlldence 
in you and you may rely on us. We have been promised a great deal if we 
would take these men — that it would do much good to our people. We now 
hope to see what will be done for us. We have come in haste: we arc tired 
and hungry. We now ])Ul tliese men into your hands. We li:i\c ijnnc .-lU 
you told us to do." 

In 1832, ( )ne-eyed Decorah m.irricd two wi\cs ;uid went to li\c t.n the 
Black river, \\'isconsin. He had .it least one son, ."-^poon Hecorah. Ch;is. H. 
Saunders says: "One-eyed Decorah has one daughter, Mrs. Hester I.owery, 
still living in Wisconsin. Her Indian name is No-jin-win-ka. She is between 
eighty-five and ninety years old." One-eyed Decorah was living in Iowa be- 
tween 1840 and 1848. as Moses Paqucltc, who went to the .school 

--"Red .Men of low.i," pn. ifo. 


at the Turkey river, says that he saw him while he was at school, and Decorah 
was then an old man. Big Canoe disliked to leave their Iowa reservation. 

Geo. W. Kingsley says: "One-eyed Decorah or Big Canoe, after being 
driven around by the United States (3overnment from the Turkey river reserva- 
tion, Iowa, to Long Prairie in northern Minnesota, then back to Blue Earth, 
southern Minnesota, his family brought the old chief back to his native home 
and stamping grounds in Wisconsin. * * * He requested his children not 
to bury him. but instead, to place him on top of the ground in a sitting position, 
and so it was done." 

He lived for a number of years with his tribe on Decora's Prairie, Wisconsin, 
which is named after him ; there is also a bluff called Decora's Peak back from 
the Prairie which was also named after him. George Gale states: "The One- 
eved De Carry, who is now [about 1S64] about ninety years old, had his cheedah 
(or wigwam) and family during the summer of 1862 two miles west of Gales- 
ville, Wisconsin, and a part of the summer of 1S63 he was near New Lisbon." 
On both of these occasions Gale interviewed him on the traditions of his tribe 
and familv. One-eyed Decorah (also written One-Eyed Decorah) died near 
the Tunnel, in Monroe county, not far from Tomah, Wisconsin, in August, 1864. 
A. R. Fulton says :-'■■• "\Miile young he [( )ne-eyed Decorah] had the mis- 
fortune to lose his right eye." 

Some histories--* contain the statement that, "One-eyed Decorah, a son of 
W'aukon Decorah, was a drunkard and unworthy of his father ;" there is no 
evidence, however, to show that he was more debauched than other chiefs, for 
nearly all Indians were more or less addicted to firewater. That he was a son 
of Waukon Decorah is an error, as One-eyed Decorah himself testifies that 
Waukon was his brother. 

n'akuu-lia-ga. or Snake Skin, a son of Chahpost-kaw-kah, was commonly 
known as Waukon Decorah, '>r Washington Decorah because in 1828 he went 
to Washington with the chiefs; he also visited Washington later. Waukon 
Decorah was a great council chief and orator of his tribe. 

The following treaties were signed by him: August 19. 1823. Prairie des 
Chiens, Michigan Territory, as "Wan-ca-ha-ga. or snake's skin ;" August 25, 
1828, Green Bay, Michigan Territory, as "Wau-kaun-haw-kaw, or snake skin ;" 
August I. 1829, Prairie Du Chien, Michigan Territory, as "Wau-kaun-hah-kaw, 
snake skin ;" among those representing the Prairie du Chien deputation at Fort 
Armstrong, Rock Island, Illinois. September 15, 1832, as "Wau-kaun-hah-kaw. or 
snake skin. (Day-kau-ray) ;" November 1. 1837, Washington, D. C, as "Wa- 
kaun-ha-kah, (Snake Skin)." In 1832, Mr. Burnett found him, with the prin- 
cipal part of his band from the Wisconsin and Kickapoo rivers, about sixty miles 
up the Mississippi from Prairie du Chien. This was during the Black Hawk 
war, at which time Waukon Decorah aided the whites. This chief belonged to 
the Mississippi river bands. 

Mr. Saunders says, "Wakun-ha-ga had one son named 'Ma-he-ska-ga, or 
White Cloud;' he is buried here on this reservation [Nebraska.] This man was 
known around Prairie du Chien and Lansing as John Waukon (there is a 

-•■'"Red Men of Iowa," A. R. I'^ilton ; "Tlie Making of Iowa," Sabin. 
-■* Same reference as above. 


Cliarley W'aiikon who is now living at Lansing. Iowa, but lie is no relation to 
the Waukon Decorah famihj. John W'aiikon has one danghter, Mrs. Henry 
Big Eire, and two sons, Henry Smith ('1 hinting Man') and Jolin Smith ('Che- 
wy-scha-ka') still living. John Waukon was my father-in-law; my wife's name, 
by birth and number of female children, was Oc-see-ah-ho-no-nien-kaw. She 
died February 21, 1913." 

\\'aukon Decorah's portrait (recently identified), painted by J. O. Lewis-' 
at the Treaty of Prairie du Chien in 1825. is shown in Lewis' Aboriginal Port- 
folio. He is there called "Waa-kaun-see-kaa, or the Rattle Snake." Its chief 
distinction is a turban composed of a stuffed rattlesnake, wound around the head, 
on which are some feathers; a blanket is draped around the lower part of his 
form, while a bunch of hair (evidently horsehair ) is thrown over his arm. 

Waukon Decorah evidently had adopted for his badge a stuffed snake skin, 
so that by some he was called "snake skin,'' by others, "rattlesnake." the former 
term, according to historical data, being more coininonly used. Thomas Mc- 
Kenney, later United States Lidian Commissioner, gives a portrait of this chief 
in McKenney and Hall's "Indian Tribes." with a biography. Here he is called 
"Wa-kaun-ha-ka, a Winnebago Chief." Jn his biographic note McKenney speaks 
of '"Wa-kaun-ha-ka" as a Decorah. moreover, he says that the subject was part 
French. The Wa-kaun-ha-ka of .McKenney and tlie Waa-kaun-.see-kaa of Lewis 
are portraits of the same person, and both coincide in tlic rattlesnake turban. 

The variation in Indian names is not a formidable matter in identification. 
Air. Lamerc states that, "The literal translation of "Wa-kaun-see-kaa" is 'the 
Yellow Snake.'" Mr. Saunders says: "At times of feasts or medicine dances 
Wa-kun-ha-ga wore on his head a cap [turban] made of yellow rattlesnake skins; 
the feathers denote bravery in battle." L. H. Bunnell mentions that the yellow 
rattlesnakes of the Mississippi bluff's were held as sacred by the \\'innebagoes and 
Dakotas, who killed them only when a skin was required for a religious ceremony 
or dance.-" 

Miss Kellogg, research assistant to Reuben G. Thwaites,'-' reports as follows: 
"We can unhesitatingly affirm, that there is every probability that this is the well 
known Winnebago known as Waukon Decorah. * * * j ihini^ there can be 
no doubt that Lewis's portrait is a genuine one, and correctly identified." 

Several historians ='* of Iowa, it seems, have taken their accounts of Waukon 
Decorah from a statement originally made in the ".\nnals of Iowa," 1S66, by 

=*Mr. J. O. Lewis was employed In- the Indian Dcparlment from i8j.? 10 iS?4 to make 
portraits of the Indians, which was in furtherance of the plan of I Ion. J. A. Harbour, Secretary 
of War. Me accompanied Governor Lewis Cass and Colonel H. L. McKenney in their west- 
ern tours. 1819 and 1829, and was present at the several treaties made by these gentlemen with 
the Cliippewas, Winnebagocs, Siou.x, Pottawattamies, and others. One of the folios contained 
a letter from General Cass in September, 1835, to Mr. Lewis, confirming the correctness of 
his pictures and commending him to the public. The sketches made by Mr. Lewis were depos- 
ited in the Indian Office, War Department, at Washington, and many of them were afterwards 
copied, at two different times, for the work of McKenney and Hall.— Part 2. Smithsonian 
Report. 1885. 

=" Wisconsin .Archcologist, \'ol. 6. Xo. 3. pg. 134. 

=" Superintendent of the Stale Historical Society of Wisconsin. 

'".•\. R. Fulton, "The Red Men of Iowm ;" B. F. Cue. "Hi-iinry of Iowa," Vol. i ; Sabin 
in "The Making of Iowa" also gives the same account. 


Eliphalet Price of Elkader, Clayton county. This contains numerous errors. 
The W'aukon Decorah described as a very small Indian is not the person of that 
name known to Wisconsin history. Price says.^o "He was usually called 'the 
Blind Decorah," having lost his right eye ;" he further states that the meaning of 
Waukon Decorah is "White Snake." In this he is also mistaken, as the previously 
given treaty signatures testify. Decorah is a corruption of the French surname De 

George W. Kingslev makes the following statement: "There was a Jl'hitc 
Snake also, but he was not a chief, although a very prominent Indian. He died 
in Houston county, Minnesota, about the time the Decorahs lived in Iowa. His 
remains were left in a sitting position on the point of a hill about one mile north 
of the village of Houston. White Snake lost a part of his family in a massacre 
on the Wapsipinicon river, Iowa, a few years after the Black Hawk war while 
on an elk hunt, by a band of Sauk and Fox Indians by mistake. White Snake 
was part Sauk." 

The speech referred to and party quoted in W. E. Alexander's History of 
Winneshiek and Allamakee counties, 1882, and credited to Waukon Decorah, is 
obviously connected with this incident. Evidently the speech was made by 
White Snake. He complained that his tribe had been firm friends of the whites, 
had aided them in the Black Hawk war, and because of this had incurred the 
enmity of the Sauks and Foxes, who first struck at his own family. He desired 
some token of remembrance for his services. 

It is claimed by Alexander ^" that, "The name 'Wachon Decorah' is found 
translated in some places as the 'White Crow"; this is an error. There was a 
White Crow whose Indian name was Wa-haw-ska-kaw, also given as Kau-kich- 
ka-ka. He was a prominent Winnebago civil chief and orator and died about 
the year 1834 in Wisconsin, and was buried there. Spoon Decorah, a son of Old 
Gray-headed Decorah, stated that White Crow was a one-eyed chief." 

Eliphalet Price took the census of 1850 and is credited by the Day family 
(who were some of the first white settlers in Winneshiek county) with suggest- 
ing Decorah as a very proper name for the town site that they had in mind to 
plat. 3' In the act of organizing the county ( 1851) Decorah is herein first named, 
two and a half years before the town plat was recorded. The d.istrict represented 
by Hon. Eliphalet Price consisted of Clayton, Fayette, Allamakee, and Winne- 
shiek counties. John Day made the remark ■'- that Decorah "was a small Indian 
about five feet in height." 

'Sir. Price and Air. Day were probably mislead in their identification of this 
chief, as there were other Winnebagoes whose names began with Waukon. A])- 
parently, they were familiar with the name Waukon Decorah and had tiiis in 
mind when it came to selecting a name for the new town. Mr. Price in his article 
relates that, "Soon after the removal of the Winnebagoes from the Wisconsin to 
the Neutral Ground in Iowa, Decorah and his band took up their residence on the 
Iowa river near the present site of the town that bears his name, in the county 

2" In his article entitled "Wakon Decorah," Annals of Iowa, 1866. 

30 In his History of Winneshiek and Allamakee counties. 

31 From a paper prepared by A. K. Bailey for deposit in the corner stone of the new 
Court House. 

32 In Alexander's History of Winneshiek and .Mlamakce counties. 


of Winneshiek." Antoine Grignon states: "Wakuii-lia-ga [Waukon Decorah] 
was camped on the Iowa river [Uj^pcr Iowa J when I knew him. * * * He 
did not remain in that section long." Mr. Saunders says, "Wakun-ha-ga, and his 
band, also had a village at or near Waukon. Iowa, where they went in the sum- 
mer, and raised corn and squash, and picked berries for winter use." 

In a statement made by Col. C. A. Clark in "Annals of Iowa." 1903, he 
remarks that. "The name of the city of Decorah evidently comes from Little 
Decorah." This is very imi)robable, as there is nothing which corroborates it. 
Old Waukon lived a generation or two before Little Decorah, and was a distin- 
guished chief, while it ajjpears that the latter was of lesser note. 

It is evident, therefore, that our county seat is named in honor of the vener- 
able Waukon Decorah. Alexander states, "Our neighboring town of Waukon 
gained its name from the first half." Oliver Lamere confirms this in the follow- 
ing account: "Waukon and Waukon Junction ha\e derived their names from 
Waukon Decorah. * * * \ v(^.,-y prominent chief lived at the time the Win- 
nebagoes were there [Iowa] called 'Ah-la-me-ga.' It is thought that the nanie 
Allamakee is taken from him, and therefore it is a Winnebago name." 

Waukon Decorah was noted for his large and imposing stature and is said 
to have been a fine-looking man. Colonel Brisbois of Prairie du Chien. who knew 
him W'Cll, speaks particularly of his stature. Antoine Grignon states that, "he was 
a large man over six feet tall and very powerful;" he further states, ".Mr. Price 
is mistaken, — W'aukon Decorah W'as not blind." He is said to have had a family 
of several children while here in low;i. hui the number is not known. Wakun- 
ha-ga was a member of the Snake clan and belonged to the Lower phratry. It 
is said that his sons had eagle clan names and claimed to i)C of the eagle clan. 

What are said to be the remains of W'aukon Decorah. which have been twice 
re-intered, now repose in the Court House Square, near the northeast corner. 
These are, however, the jjones of some other Indian. The first grave supposed 
to be that of Decorah was on ground now occupied by Winnebago street, just 
below Main, almost at their intersection. The opening of the street to travel 
made it desirable that the remains be removed to another spot. This was done 
by a formal meeting of prominent citizens .August 4, 1851). When the grave was 
opened the remains were found to consist of human bones, a blanket, a toma- 
haw^k. a pipe, and a great number of beads. These were taken out and buried 
tmder Ellsworth and Landers' store, the ]ilace now occupied bv [ohn L'. lle.xom 
& Son. where they remained for about ^ix nmntlis. When the stone wall in 
front of the Court House was completed, the remains were re-intered. They 
were placed in the Court House Square, where they lay undisturbed for about 
seventeen years. l'>ut the grading and terracing of these grounds and the build- 
ing of the new stone wall compelled another re-interment in the summer of 
1S76. The bones were taken out and placed in a box to be buried again inside 
the new stone wall. 

When the remains were first exhumed in 1S59. the skull had black hair; this 
assertion is corroborated in a statement made l)y R. F. Gibson, January 27, 1913, 
to the writer of tliis article. Mr. ( libson was one of a committee of three ai>- 
pionted to take charge of the remains. 

Waukon Decorah was at this time living in Minnesota with his ])eoi)le; this 
fact has been established beyond question. It is stated in Alexander's history 


that even prominent participants in the first exhumation of the alleged remains 
of Decorah were confused with doubts, by rumors, current at the time, to the 
effect that Decorah was still living. He died at the Blue Earth agency, southern 
.Minnesota, in iS68, and was buried there. Mr. Lamere says, "He was about 
ninety-three years old when he died, and it is said that his hair was as white as 
it could be." This is practically conclusive proof tiiat the death of Waukon 
Decorah did not occur here, and that his remains are not Iniried in the Court 
House Square. 

Little Decorah was the oldest son of C)ld Gray-headed Decorah. His Win- 
nebago name is given as "Maw-hee-coo-shay-naw-zhe-kaw," which ^Ir. Kingsley 
interprets as "The pillar that reaches the clouds." The following treaties were 
signed by Little Decorah: November i, 1837, Washington, D. C, as "Ma-hee- 
koo-shay-nuz-he-kah, (Young Decori) ;" October 13, 1846, Washington, as 
"Alaw-hee-ko-shay-naw-zhee-kaw ;" February 27, 1855, Washington, as "Maw- 
lie-coo-shaw-naw-zhe-kaw," one that Stands and Reaches the Skies, or Little De- 
corie;" April 15, 1859, Washington, as "Little De Corrie ;" March i, 1865, Wash- 
ington, as "Little Decoria." It is probable that "Little Decorah" is simply another 
term for Decorah, Junior. 

This chief established a village on the Iowa river (Upper Iowa) in 1840, 
and it is thought that he was about forty years old while here. Antoine Grig- 
non. who was acquainted with him, says, "Little Decorah spent very little time in 
Iowa — but li\ed mostly in the region of Portage, Wis." He belonged to the 
Mississippi river bands of Indians. Waukon Decorah and Little Decorah had 
separate camps on the Upper Iowa river. 

Little Decorah was of medium height, five feet eight or ten inches, and was 
chunky and fleshy. It is said that he was slow of action and speech, but pos- 
sessed of a mild and kind disposition and was very sensible. He belonged to 
the Cloud clan. Little Decorah died near Toniah, Wisconsin, April i, 1887, about 
100 years old. 

Spoon Decorah was a son of Old Gray-headed Decorah. ( It will lie remem- 
bered that Old Decorah had a brother Choukeka, also called Spoon Decorah). 
Spoon Decorah was born at his father's \illagc near the mouth of the Baraljoo 
river, Wisconsin. In IMarch, 18S7, Dr. Reuben ( i. Thwaites had an interview 
with him. Lie was then "living with his aged squaw," whose name, it is said, 
was Gray Eagle-eye. "His progeny, reaching to the fourth generation, were 
clustered about the patriarchal lodge in family wigwams." He could only con- 
verse in his native tongue. He related, "In 1840, we were all moved to the 
Turkey river [Iowa] ; but in the spring our party went to Iowa [Upper] river, 
where Little Decorah had a village. We went down soon afterwards to the 
Turkey river to get our ammunition, l)Ut for some reason — perhaps because we 
had moved to Iowa river without the consent of the agent — we couldn't get 
any." 3^ He then went back to Wisconsin, where he died October 13, 1889, in 
a cranberry marsh, near Necedah. It is said that he was about eighty-four 
years old when he died. ■'■' 

s' Wisconsin Historical Collections. 
3* Same reference as above. 


Sf>ooii Dccorali. a cousin of the Spoon Decorah interviewed by Doctor 
Thwaitcs in 1887, was a son of One-ejed Decorah. In regard to him we ha\e no 
further information. 

Angel Dc Cora — known in jirivate Hfe as Mrs. William Dcitz — is the daugh- 
ter of a descendant of the liereditary chief of the Winneljagoes. The name 
"Angel" came about througii an accident ; its bearer was carried, while a l)aby, 
to a young kinswoman, who, being asked to choose a "Christian name," opened 
a Bible at random, and the tirst word which caught her eye was "angel." Her 
Indian name, which means "Oucen of the Clouds," identifies her with the 
Thunder-bird clan, .\ngel De Cora — Deitz .states: "Wakan [Waukon De- 
corah] was a generation or two before Maw-he-coo-shaw-naw-zhe-ka [Little 
Decorah]. The latter was my grandfather." 

Her education liegan, while very young, when she was carried off to Hami)- 
ton. \'irginia. A .strange white man ajijieared on the reservation and asked her, 
through an interpreter, if she would like tn ride on a steam car; with six other 
children she decided to try it, and when the ride was ended she found herself 
in Hampton. "Three years later, when 1 returned to my mother," says .\ngel 
Dc Cora,-'-' "she told me that for months she wept and mourned for me. My 
father and the old chief and his wife had died, and with them the old Indian 
life was gone." She then returned to llam])lon, where, through the efforts of 
a kind family who ga\e her emiilnymcnt. she was enabled to work her way 
liirough a local ])reparalory school for girls, and later the art department of 
Snn'th College, .Vorthampton, Massachusetts.-'" 

1 ler husband's name is Wicarhpi Isnala, or Lone .Star ; he is one-i]ii;irtcr .Sioii.x 
and the rest (ierinan. lioth are now teaching art at the Carlisle Indian School, 
her husband having also studied art and become an artist of some note. Angel 
De Cora has been under the art instruction of such men as Howard Pyle, 
I'^rank I'.rown, Iose])h De Camp, and lulmund Tarbell. She has won distinction 
in her work. In 1904 her hu.sband. Lone Star, supervised the interior and mural 
decorations of the Indian exhibit at the Louisiana Exposition in .St. 
Louis. It was while in .^t. Louis that he !)ecame acquainted with .\ngel De 
Cora. •■'' 

Roger C. .Mackenstadt. whose Ijoyhood was spent in the cit\- of Decorah, 
where his parents still reside, says, "(Jur best policeman, and one of my intimate 
friends, was Peter Decora, a grandson of Chief Wakan Decorah. * * * * 
In the whole tribe I would say that lifty are named Decora. Tlie\' drop the 
II. There are several Waukons, about ten, and twenty Winneshieks. The 
W'inneshieks and Waukons are ;dl \\'isconsin Winnebagoes and about half of 
the Decoras are Wisconsin. ' Mr. Mackenstadt having received a iMomotion, 
is now stationed ;it the L'intah and < )uray .\gency, Ctah. 


And thoiigli the warrior's sun lias set. 
Its liglit shall linger ronntl lis yet. — 

— Translation from the Spanish liy 11. W. Longfellow. 

"■•The Literary Digest, January 27. 1912, pg. 161. 

"" Same reference as aliove. 

•■" l-'roni an article in The Literary Digest, January 27, 1912, pg. 161. 

HEXOM -13' 

(»/tsr photo) 

Whose Indian name is No-gin-kah (meaning, Striking 
Tree) ; also known as YoiinG;or AYinncsliiek. 


IVitmcshiek, who seems to be a somewhat shadowy character, was a notable 
chief of the W'innebagoes. It appears that there was a family, like the De- 
corah family, that took that name. The name Winneshiek is evidently not a 
Winnebago name, but an Algonquian (that is, Fox) name, and is properly Win- 
nishig, and signifies "a dirty person who is lying down." He was commonly 
known by his Fox name. In his own language he was called "Wa-kon-ja-goo- 
gah," meaning "Coming Thunder;" he was also called "We-lou-shi-ga," mean- 
ing "ties them up," or "has them tied up." It is also said that his name in his 
own language was "Maun-wau-kon-kaw ;" ■"'** regarding the last two names Little 
^^"i^neshiek says, "I understand that this name [We-lou-shi-ga] is a Sioux 
word for Wa-kon-ja-goo-gah. or Coming Thunder. The name, Alaun-wau- 
kon-kaw, is unknown to us." The following treaty signatures show the name 
to be variously written: y\ugust 25, 1S28, Green Bay, Michigan Territory, 
"Wee-no-shee-kaw ;" February 27, 1855, Washington, D. C, "Wau-kon-chaw- 
koo-haw, the Coming Thunder, or Win-no-shik" (the first Indian to sign the 

From A. R. Fulton, in "Red ]\Icn of Iowa," we learn that, "He was pro- 
moted to the rank of a cliief when quite young, and always maintained popu- 
laritv among his people. * * * * Both physically and intellectually he was 
a remarkably fine specimen of his race. * * * * As a man he was modest, 
kind, and courteous; as a chief, dignified, firm and just in the exercise of his 
authority. * * * * Winneshiek was made head chief of the tribe in 1845 
[at the Turkey river, Iowa], an appointment that did not aflfect his position 
as chief of his own p'articular band." Alexander states : ■'•■' "He was made 
chief by order of the United States War Department, on account of his ability 
and fitness for the position. Under him as head chief, there were several chiefs 
of respective bands into which the trilje was divided." When the trilje was re- 
moved to Long Prairie, Minnesota. Winneshiek was the head chief, and in 1857, 
when they were at Blue Earth, he was called a worthy chief and ruler of his 

Old chief Winneshiek was an intelligent and very kincl man, and had perfect 
control over his people. He belonged to the Thunder clan, and was a member 
of the Upper phratry. Mr. Lamere says: "He is said to have been of medium 
size, had black mustache and chin whiskers. He was very handsome, and it 
is said that he always wore goggles, or dark glasses. He always carried a pipe, 
which was made out of a round stick about a foot and a half long with the stem 
hole liored through it, and the bowl bored into the other end; he carried this 
most all tlie time, and especially at council meetings would he have it with him." 

Mr. Kinsley says : "We-no-shee-kah was strictly a pagan ; he did not be- 
lieve in the white man's way, therefore his band of followers, which consisted 
of about one-half or two-thirds of the trijje, were known as blanket Indians. 
He was a very shrewd, wise, and stubborn man, but free-hearted to everybody; 
no person ever left or entered the chief's great lodge without receiving some- 
thing to eat. These were his teachings ; he regarded all the Winnebagoes as his 

's Wisconsin Historical Collections. 

"^ In his History of Winneshiek and .Mlaniakee Counties. There is no furtlier authentic 
mention regarding this statement. 

*" Wisconsin Archeologist, Vol. 6, No. 3, pg. 156. 

34 I'AST Axn i'Ri-:si-.xr OF w iwi:siin:K couxrv 

children and treated tliem as such. W'e-iio-shcc-kah was no orator, therefore in 
council with the government, or otherwise, he always had a speaker. He was no 
traveler, although he made a trip or two to see his Great Father at \\'ashing- 
ton, President Polk, who, as a token of friendship, gave Wc-no-shee-kah a 
medal; struck on the reverse side were two hands clasped, an Indian's in that 
of a white man's [regarding this medal see statement by Little Winneshiek]. 
Chief W'e-no-shee-kah was a great father as well as a head chief. lie had four 
wives, who, with himself and family, lived in one lodge. His principal home 
was about sc\en miles west of the village of Houston, on the Root river. Hous- 
ton county. Minnesota; here he lived, during the winter, in a dirt wigwatn." 
Fulton states'" : "He had four wives, one of whom was the reputed daughter 
of Colonel .Morgan, a former oBicer in the United States armv ;" there is no 
further authentic mention which corroborates this statement by Fulton. 

That Winneshiek also had a camp on the Upper Iowa river is evident, as 
Antoine Grignon says. "While he [Winneshiek] was camped on the Iowa river 
my brother Paul and one James Reed visited his band to find out about some 
cattle the young Winnebagoes had stolen from the Sioux. They were given in 
compensation an equal amount of cattle, or a number corresjjonding to the imni- 
ber that has been stolen, and Winneshiek warned his band not to luolest the 
cattle as the\- were being driven out. as the young men were making prepara- 
tions to stampede the herd by waving red blankets in front of them." 

P. V. Lawson. a Wisconsin historian, says ■*- : "The Indians in <t (irunken 
pow-wow at Prairie dn Chien had killed his brotlier. \'\'()rd of this tragedy 
being sent to him. he coolly loaded his pistol, and with it concealed beneath his 
blanket, went to the place where his brother lay. He had the murderer brought 
beside his victim and then suddenly shot him dead ;" there is no further mention 
made of this incident. It is stated,'*-' however, that A\'inneshiek was in 1829 
head chief of the Winnebago village at La Crosse. 

He was on the British side in 1812-15, and in 1832 refused to assist the 
Americans against the Sauks. When invited by the whites to join them, the 
matter was discussed with the chiefs and braves. "Win-o-she-kaw was op- 
posed to the measure, and declined having anything to do with it. He said the 
Sauks had twice that season presented the red wampum to tlic Winnebagoes at 
Portage, and that they had as often washed it white and handed it l)ack to them ; 
further, tiiat he did not like that red thing; that he was afraid of it. Waudgh-ha- 
ta-kau [evidently the Une-eyed Decorah] look the wam])um. and said that he 
with all the young men of the village would go; that they were an.xious to en- 
gage in the expedition and would be ready to accompany us on our return." '■'' 
A short while after this it was found that Winneshiek and Wau-niar iiar-sar 
had gone up the river with i)art of the band to hunt and dry meat. 

His mother was a sister of Wabokieshiek (White Cloud), the half-.'-^auk, 
half- Winnebago Pro])hel. who assisted Black liawk. l.iiile Winneshiek says, 

■" "Red Men of Iowa," pg. 158. 

*- Wisconsin .■\rclicologist. Vol. 6. No. x pg. 156; taken from Wisconsin Historical 
Collections ,1. 287. 

<■■• Wisconsin .A relief >logist. Vol. f). Xo. 3. pg. 156; t.iken from Wisconsin Historical 
Collection 3, 287. 

** Wisconsin Historical Collections. 2, — 257, 256. 


"For this relationship he fought in a number of battles under Black Hawk in 
the war of 1832." Thomas Clay, an aged Winnebago, heard Wiiuieshiek tell 
this from time to time at death-wakes, where the brave men, or warriors, were 
supposed to tell the truth. Clay's statement "*'' is as follows : 

"\\'iiuieshiek was a nephew of a Sauk and Fox Indian called \Miite Cloud 
i Wabokieshiek I . that is why Winneshiek was an aid to the Sauk and Fox In- 
dians during Black Hawk's war. Winneshiek was taking, or guiding, the Fox 
Indians into the Winnebago country, or to the village, and as they were crossing 
the Mississippi river somewhere near where Prairie du Chien now stands, a 
steamboat came tip the ri\er and anchored in the middle of the stream. Then 
some one called out from the boat and asked if lilack Hawk was there among 
them. 'Yes,' was the answer from the Indians. 'Will he surrender or not?' 
was the next question from the boat. Then Winneshiek spoke up, and said : 
'Uncles (meaning the Fox Indians, as that was what he always called them), 
tie a white cloth to a pole and I will go and surrender." So they made a white 
flag for him. but as he was about to get into the stream to swim to the boat, the 
Fox people said: 'Perhaps after all you had better not go,' and saying thus, they 
held him ; and the soldiers in the boat could see that he was being held. Then 
Winneshiek said : 'Uncles, I meant to do this that you might live, but the result 
shall be your fault.' Just then the question came again from the boat. "Will 
you surrender?' The answer from the Indians w-as 'No! we will not surrender,' 
and no sooner was it said than the soldiers fired upon them, and even at the 
first volley many of the Indians were killed. Then Winneshiek said: 'Uncles, 
thus far only am I able to be with you, as I shall leave you here ;' and saying 
thus, he and his real uncles went up the bank of the river and there watched the 
fight. When night came upon them, he took his Fox uncles back to the Winne- 
bago village with him. When they arrixed at the village, Winneshiek's mother 
met him crying: 'Oh! my son, Ijecause you have aided Black Hawk in the war, 
they have taken your father to the fort as a prisoner." When the soldiers learned 
that Winneshiek was back at his own village they came after him and released 
his father. Winneshiek w'as questioned very severely, but he was angered in- 
stead of frightened, and he would not even speak, and for four days he would 
not eat the food that was given him. Then one of the officers said to his 
fellow officers: 'You must ht \ery severe in questioning Winneshiek. I will 
question him myself, to-day.' So the ofticer went to him and as he entered he 
called Winneshiek by name, greeting him and shaking hainds with him, he 
said : 'Winneshiek, I understand that some officers have questioned you, but 
that you were angered and would not even speak to them, and I told them that 
they must have acted very ungentlemanly towards you to cause you to act 
as you did.' W'inneshiek said : 'Yes, that is the way they have acted.' 'That 
is what I thought,' said the ofticer, and contiiuied. 'Winneshiek, I am going to 
talk with you with good words,' and Wimieshiek assented; so the officer said: 
'Winneshiek, as you ha\e been spoken to roughly, whicii caused you to not eat 
for four days, and as I am going to speak to you with good words, therefore I 
desire that you should eat before we talk and I will have cooked for you a very 
nice dog tliat I own myself, and at noon, after you have had your noon meal, 

*■' .\s given b\ Mr. Oliver Lamere. 


then we shall talk." Then the officer got some Indians that were about the fort 
10 cook the dog for him in the way they usually cook them for themselves. So 
when it was thus served to \\'inneshiek and he had partaken of it, then he and 
the officer talked. The officer was verj' much pleased that Winneshiek talked 
with him in a good spirit. Then he said: 'Winneshiek, 1 am going to ask you 
a question and I would like to have you tell me the truth:' Winneshiek assented. 
The officer asked: Were you with the Fo.xes in the war?" Winneshiek 
said: 'Yes,' and the officer asked again: 'Did you take part?" \\'inneshiek said: 
'As you have asked me for the truth, I will tell it to you, — yes, I took part.' 
Then the officer said : 'Winneshiek. I thank you because I asked you for the 
truth and you gave it to me.' Tlun the officer did not question him any more, 
but left. \\ inneshick was kept in prison one year for being an aid to Black 

Kingsley says: "We-no-shce-kah and his band after being moved about 
from one reservation to another were finally removed from Blue Earth, 
Minnesota, to Usher's Landing, or Fort Thompson, S. D. Here a part of the 
band starved to death and others died of exposure. He took the remnant of 
his band and started down the Missouri river in canoes, in hopes of going to 
St. Louis, and hence up the Mississippi to his native haunts in Iowa, Wisconsin 
and Minnesota; but the old chief got as far down as St. Joseph, Mo., and there 
winter overtook him and his little liand. The old chief took sick and died very 
suddenly." At this time the old chief evidently was on the Kansas side of the 
Missouri, as Mr. Lamere says: "He died in Kansas, or just across the south- 
ern line of Nebraska among the Iowa Indians." One wife and the family came 
through the next summer. Little Winneshiek, a son of the old chief, says: "My 
father traveled extensively in the interest of the tribe, he with other chiefs were 
in Washington on two occasions for the purpose of ceding large areas of land 
at each time to the Federal Government ;" he further says : "Your county was 
named in honor of my father. Chief Winneshiek, who was considered the head 
of the Winnebago tribe at the time they were occujiying the Turkey river district 
in Iowa. Ours was the family to which Geo. Kingsley referred to as moving 
to Wisconsin after my father's death." 

No one knows who gave the county its name; tliis. like certain other things 
concerning the earliest history of the county, has apparently never been re- 
corded. At an old settlers' meeting held in Decorah, July 4, 1876, Mr. A. K. 
Bailey delivered an address in which it was strongly intimated that this might 
have been the work of Hon. Eliphalct Price. Alexander accepted this as good 
enough history and gives it as such in his history of the county. However, Mr. 
A. K. Bailey corrects this by a later article "'• in which he states: "The very 
recent discovery that the county was named legally | February 27, 1847], '"i"^ 
its boundaries described, more than four years before the organizing act [1851] 
was passed (which has until now [1903] been considered as the beginning of 
county existence), makes this credit to Mr. Price imiiroI)al)lc." 

VoiDig li'iiiiicshick, or ll'iviicshick the Vouiic/cr, so-called in history, was 

*" From a paper prcp.ircd In- A. K. Bailey, for deposit in the corner stone of the new 
Court House, and republished in the "Illustrated Historical Atlas of Winneshiek County," 
Sec. H. PR. 3. 


a younger brother of old Chief Winneshiek, or Coming Thunder. It is stated -•" 
that he was a son of the old chief, but this is an error and does not refer to his 
son Little ^^■inneshiek, who says, "Young Winneshiek was named Ah-hoo- 
sheeb-gah. or Short Wing, by his fellow tribesmen; he was a younger brother 
of my father and did not participate in the Sauk and Fox war [1832]."' It is 
said ^s that during the so-called Winnebago war, in 1827. Young Winneshiek 
was held as a hostage by Colonel Dodge for the good behavior of the tribe. 
This statement is made by several historians,*" in which connection they also 
mention him as taking part in the Black Hawk war, 1832; Mr. Clay's narrative 
refers to Chief Winneshiek, an older brother of Young Winneshiek. Little 
Winneshiek's statement (as given above) confirms Mr. Clay's narration. It is 
stated in Alexander's history that Winneshiek was a noted orator. Obviously, 
this refers to Young Winneshiek, for in the report of the Indian agent for 
1840,-'*" there is a speech made by Young Winneshiek in which he refers to 
himself as "a boy," protesting against the remoxal to Iowa. Kingsley testifies 
that old Chief Winneshiek (Coming Thunder) was "no orator." 

Antoine Grignon says, "Young Winneshiek was a bright young man. He 
died rather young, at Black River Falls. Wisconsin." When the Winnebagoes 
were being removed from Blue Earth, the chiefs Decorah and Winneshiek (evi- 
dently One-eyed Decorah and Young Winneshiek) fled with their families and 
other members of the tribe to Wisconsin. Young Winneshiek had a village on 
the Black river and died there in May, 1887. 

No-gin-kah (meaning Striking Tree and Younger Winneshiek) is the 
youngest son of Chief Winneshiek, or Coming Thunder. He is seventy years 
old and is still living in Wisconsin. He is more commonly known as Little 
Winneshiek. No-gin-kah says, "John Winneshiek and I are the only sons of 
Chief Winneshiek living and his other descendants produced by our deceased 
brothers and sisters diverge into a very large family." He further states that, 
"The medals issued to Winnebago chiefs by the United States Government are 
lost, the one described by Geo. W. Kingsley was lost by one of my elder broth- 
ers. I have only one medal in my possession, on which is engraved King George 
the 3d and Latin inscriptions [this medal (with the exception of a slight vari- 
ation in size) conforms to a description of the one issued by the British mili- 
tary authorities in 1778]." 

John Winneshiek's Indian name is Ko-slio-gi-ivay-ka. meaning "One that 
goes low ;" he is seventy-eight years old. 

Old chief Winneshiek's Indian name is given by some historians ''^ as Wa- 
kun-cha-koo-kah, but this is evidently an error. Wau-kun-cha-koo-kah ^- is the 
Indian name of Chief Yellow Thunder, who migrated with his tribe to Iowa. 

<" Wisconsin Historical Collections, 2, — 331. 

■*» Wisconsin Historical Collections, 2, — 331. 

■*» Fulton, Cue, and Sabin ; the latter two, it seems, have taken their accounts from 
Fulton. They were probably under wrong impressions in reference to "Young Winneshiek" 
as their statements (according to historical data) seem to apply to more than one person. 

5" Wisconsin Historical collections. 

51 Fulton, "Red Men of Iowa;" Gue, "History of Iowa," Vol. i; Sabin, "The Making of 

5- Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 30, pt. 2, pg. 996. 
Vol. 1—3 


Yellow Thunder did not remain long at the Turkey ri\er, for within a year he 
and his wife (known in history as "the Washington woman")'''' returned to 
Wisconsin ; here he entered a tract of forty acres as a homestead on the west 
side of the Wisconsin river. He died in February, 1874. Yellow Thunder was 
greatly respected by his people, and was an able counsellor in their public af- 

Other W innebago chiefs known to have been in the county were Whirling 
Thunder (Wau-kaun-ween-kaw) ; Little Hill (Sho-gee-nik-ka), who, at Long 
Prairie, became head spokesman for the chiefs ; Big Bear, and Kayrah-mau-nee, 
a son of Carry-maunee (or Nawkaw). 


By the treaty of September 15, 1832, it was stipulated that the Government 
should annually, beginning in September, 1833, and continuing for twenty-seven 
years, give the Winncbagoes $10,000 in specie, and establish a school among 
them, at or near Prairie du Chien, with a farm and garden, and provide other 
facilities, not to exceed in cost $3,000 a year, for the education of their chil- 
dren, and continue the same for twenty-seven successive years. Six agricul- 
turists, twelve yoke of oxen and as many plows, and other farming tools were 
to be supplied by the Government. The buildings were erected in 1833. on the 
Yellow river, Allamakee county, Iowa, and President Jackson appointed Rev. 
David Lowry, a Presbyterian minister, to assume charge. The mission school 
w-as removed in 1840 from the Yellow river to a point on the Turkey river, in 
Winneshiek coimty, about four miles southeast of the fort buildings. 

The erection of the mission was superintended by Reverend Lowry. There 
were about tw'enty buildings at the mission. One was a large schoolhouse, another 
a small church, while the rest were dwellings. Early Catholic pioneers, who 
settled near the Turkey river (1849), purchased these buildings. The small 
church was used as a chapel, hence the name ( )ld Mission. In 1853 it was 
destroyed by fire. 

There was also a mission one mile east of the fort, on the Turkey river, 
established by Catholic missionaries. Here there were a number of graves, and 
at the head of each was a cross. It is unknown w-hethcr any of the graves were 
those of converted Indians or not. The buildings belonging to this mission were 
burned down by a prairie fire in the early fifties. 

Alexander states''' that, "Reverend Lowry 's assistant was one by the name of 
Colonel Thomas. To him was turned over the work of instructing the Indians in 
agricultural pursuits. The first year, under Colonel Thomas' supervision, a farm 
of 300 acres was opened. However, little work could be got out of them, and 
the crops planted began to show neglect." There was an abundance of game 
in the country round about, and therefore the temptation for the Indian to 
roam and hunt was very strong. As a result he became negligent about tilling 
the soil. In 1843 Colonel Thomas, under governmental instructions, built the first 
gristmill in Winncsliick county. The mission aiid farm were continued until 

■'-■' Wisconsin Archeologist, Vol. 6, No. 3, pg. 150. 

'< In his Histors- of Winneshiek and .Mlaniakce Counties. 


the reservation was sold to the Government. Lowry finally resigned to take 
charge of a mission in Minnesota and, in 1846, Mr. Fletcher was appointed 
agent for the W'innebagoes by President Polk, and served in that capacity for 
eleven years. During that time he resided at Fort Atkinson, Iowa, Long Prairie, 
Minnesota, and Blue Earth, Minnesota. Under the careful management of 
Mr. Fletcher the Winnebagoes attained to considerable proficiency in agriculture, 
and otherwise improved their condition. 

During his service as Indian agent Mr. Fletcher was accompanied by his 
wife, who engaged earnestly in the work of teaching the Indians. Their eldest 
son, Frank Fletcher, acquired such command of the language of the Indians 
that he became his father's interpreter. General Fletcher, while serving as 
agent, contributed through the publications of Mr. Schoolcraft a vast amount 
of information concerning the religion, traditions, and customs of the Winne- 
bagoes while at the Turkey river. In 1858 Mr. Fletcher returned to Iowa, where 
he' died April 6, 1872, on his farm near Muscatine, sixty-six years old. 

When the crop, planted under Colonel Thomas' supervision, began to show 
neglect, a force of garrison men were detailed to cultivate it, and were paid for 
their labor out of the Indian annuity. Hon. A. Jacobson states : °^ "Ole Hal- 
vorsen Valle, undoubtedly the first Norwegian to visit the county, was engaged 
in the service of the Government as teamster, hauling provisions from Fort 
Crawford, Wisconsin, to Fort Atkinson and the Old Mission; he was also em- 
ployed in breaking up pieces of bottom land on the Upper Iowa river. One of 
the largest fields thus prepared for the Indians to plant their corn was situated 
just below the outlet of Trout Run." Mr. Goddard says, "An Indian chief had 
a farm about one-half mile southwest of Spillville, and a considerable part of 
the ground was broken up.'' 

An Indian trading post was established two miles southwest of the fort 
by a Mr. Olmstead and one Joseph Hewitt. It seems that they had a permit 
from the Government to trade with the Indians. The buildings, all one story 
high, were constructed of logs. There were five in number, two large dwelling 
houses, one large store, one storage house, and a blacksmith shop. Capt. Joseph 
Hewitt's principal occupation was hunting, trapping and fishing. In 1851 he 
left the country and located at Clear Lake, Iowa, where he experienced no 
little trouble with the Sioux Indians. In 1849 Josiah Goddard bought the old 
Indian trading post from Olmstead, and in 1850 moved his family onto the 
land. Three or four acres of this land had been broken up by the Indians. 


Now, the boys in blue, you bet, 
Earn whatever praise they get. — 

— Joseph Mills Hanson, "Frontier Ballads." 

In 1840 the Winnebago Indians were removed to their new home on the 
Neutral Ground. In order to protect them from the incursions of their neigh- 
bors, among whom were the Sauk and Fox tribes, as well as from intrusions 

55 In his article "Reminiscences of Pioneer Norwegians," published in the Historical 
,^tlas of Winneshiek County, 1905, Sec. H, pg. 11. 


of the whites, and in Uini lu iJicveni ilicni from trespassing beyond the limits 
of the reservation, soldiers were stationed among them. A detachment of the 
5th Infantry (Company F) under command of Capt. Isaac I.ynde left I'ort 
Crawford willi a comi)lement of eighty-two otficers and enlisted men, and 
went into camp. May 31. 1840, in the neighborhood of Spring creek (now 
known as Goddard's creek) on the Turkey river. The camp was named "Camp 
Atkinson" in honor of Brig. Gen. Henry Atkinson, U. S. army, the de])artnient 
commander who was so prominent in military operations in the upper Mississippi 
valley. Barracks and quarters sufficient to accommodate one company were 
erected, and in March. 1S41, the secretary of war ordered that the station be 
known as I'^ort .\tkins(in. 

Kumors of the warlike attitude of a portion of the Sauk and Fox Indians, 
who, it was believed, intended sending out a party against the peaceable Winne- 
bagoes, caused Governor Dodge of Wisconsin, in a letter dated January 23, 
1841, and directed to the commissioner of Indian affairs, to urge strongly that, 
in addition to the garrison there at that time, a mounted force be stationed at 
Fort Atkinson. The following is an extract from Governor Dodge's letter: — 

"In compliance with the instructions of your DeiJartnicnt the Agency and 
School have been remo\ed to the new site on Turkey river with about 700 of 
the Indians of the Winnebago Nation. These Indians, it is confidently expected, 
will not return, unless another blow should be struck by the Sauks and Foxes. 
Such an e\cnt may not be looked for this winter, but it is the opinion of Mr. 
Lowry that it may certainly be calculated upon in the ensuing spring unless a 
mounted force should be stationed at Camp Atkinson. 

"Information was received by Mr. Lowry through Governor Lucas, ob- 
tained from a portion of the Sauks and Foxes not unfriendly to the Winneba- 
goes, that a war party was to have set out against the latter in November last. .\ 
very extraordinary snow storm is believed to have ])rcvented this attack. The 
war party is now on Red Cedar (fifty miles west of Cam]) .\tkinson); a large 
body of Sioux are also in that vicinity, and scouts of the former have been 
fired at by the latter but as yel no blood has been shed. The ditVicultv of keep- 
ing the Winiiebagoes at their new homes, under these circumstances, and with- 
out an adequate force for their protection, must be readily seen." 

This letter was referred to the War Department, where it was in turn referred 
to General Atkinson with instructions to use every eiTort to prevent any colli- 
sion between the Indians. General Atkinson responded to these instructions 
March 1. iS4i,as follows: — 

".'-^ir : I have the honor to rejjort that I have received your letter of in- 
structions of the 15th ultimo, accompanied by an extract of a letter from 
(jovernor Dodge of the 23d of January, in reference to establishing a mounted 
force at I'ort Atkinson for the protection of the Winnebago Indians. It is im- 
possible to station a mounted force at that ])oint before the middle of May, 
as there are no barracks, quarters or stal)les for their accommodation, nor for- 
age for their horses. I will, however, order the trooj) at Fort Crawford to make 
excursions through the country of Turkey and Cedar rivers, till the season 
opens to enable it to go under tents, at which time the grass will be grown suffi- 
cienllv to subsist the horses. 

P't s 


I-" S' - 


= J > 

2-'_. ''^ 

" o V. 

= 5 5 


3 G. 


"No time should be lost by the Quartermaster's Department in proceeding 
to erect quarters, barracks and stables for the troop at the post on Turkey 
river, or they will not be ready for their accommodation by the coming of the 
next winter. I request, therefore, that orders to that el^'ect may be given with- 
out delay. 

"With great respect, Sir, your most obedient servant, 

"(Signed.) H. Atkinson, 

"Brigadier General U. S. Army. 
"Brigadier General Jones, 
"Adjutant General U. S. Army, Washington." 

On the 24th of the following June, Company B of the ist Dragoons arrived 
at the fort and took up their station, and from that time until 1847 the fort 
was a two-company post. September nth Captain Lynde's company was re- 
lieved by Company K of the ist Infantry, Capt. J. J. Abercrombie. 

In the year following, at various times, on the recjuisition of Governor 
Chambers of Iowa Territory, detachments and patrols were sent out from this 
fort to remove squatters and other intruders from the lands of the .Sauk and 
Fox Indians and to prevent their return. August 7th Company I, ist Dra- 
goons, under command of Captain James Allen, arriving at the fort, whence 
they proceeded to the Sauk and Fo.x Agency, where they established Fort 
Sanford. From this time until its abandonment Fort Atkinson was successively 
garrisoned by the following organizations : 

Company B, ist Infantry, Captain Sidney Burbank ; Company A, ist Infan- 
try, Captain CJsborne Cross; Company E, ist Infantry, Captain .\. S. Miller; Com- 
pany A, 1st Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Captain James M. Morgan; Company A, 
1st Iowa Volunteer Dragoons, Captain John Parker; a detachment of Wiscon- 
sin \'oIunteers, Dodge Guards, under command of Lieutenant Benjamin Fox 
(here was an interim of several months during which the fort was not gar- 
risoned) ; and from September 25, 1848, until the time of its abandonment, Com- 
pany C, 6th Infantry, Captain F. L. Alexander."'" 

The fort was situated in the northwestern part of Washington township 
(on the old military road constructed from Fort Snelling to Fort Gibson) and 
stood on a rock-ribbed hill overlooking the site of the town which now bears its 
name. This hill is about eighty-four feet above the Turkey river. The fort 
buildings were two stories high, twenty feet to the ea\-es. Each building had 
an upper porch along its entire length, the one on the officers' quarters being 
screened in with the old fashioned movable wooden blinds. The buildings oc- 
cupied an acre of ground. The stables, about forty feet wide and about _^oo feet 
long, extended north and south and were about twenty rods east of the street. The 
bakery, and the blacksmith shop and carpenter shops were north of the fort 
on the north side of the street. 

The main barracks consisted of the commissioned officers' quarters, built of 
stone, the non-commissioned officers' quarters, built of logs hewn flat, one sol- 
diers' quarters (including hospital rooms), built of stone, and another soldiers' 

■■'■ War Department Records of Fort .'\tkirsoii in ".\nnals of Iowa," July, 1900, Vol. IV, 
N'o. 6. 


quarters (including church and school rooms), built of flat hewn logs. The 
soldiers' quarters were 250 feet long. These four main buildings enclosed 
a parade and drill-ground (with a flag-staff at one endj, and in turn were 
enclosed by a stockade twelve feet high and made out of logs hewn flat and set 
on end in a narrow trench. The top of the stockade consisted of spikes driven 
into the sharpened ends of the logs. Port holes were cut at about every four 

In two corners of the stockade were located cannon-houses; and in the 
other two corners, the Quartermaster's store house (adjoined by the sutler's 
store) and the magazine, or powder-house. The guard-house was near the 
sutler's store, and a sentinel's beat was constructed near the powder-house. The 
platform of the sentinel's beat was about three feet below the top of one side of 
the stockade and extended nearly its whole length. At one end, by the maga- 
zine house, was constructed a small shelter for the protection of the sentinel 
during inclement weather. The outer walls of the Quartermaster's store ex- 
tended somewhat outside the stockade. 

Alexander states : ''" "The material of which it was Ijuilt was prepared 
at Fort Crawford, Prairie du Ciiieii, Wis., and the cost of making a wagon- 
road, the same ever since known as the Old Military road, and transporting the 
material to its destination, brought the cost of building the fort to S<J3,ooo." 
However, all the material was not prejKired at F'ort Crawford, as Mr. Goddard 
says, "The Covernmenl had a sawmill at C)ld Mission, where all the hardwood 
used in the fort Was cut. The stone used was quarried in the immediate vicin- 
ity of the fort. The \nne lumber and other material was brought from Fort 

Alexander says:-'^ "The first l)lacksniith in Winneshiek county was Har- 
mon Snyder. He came from Prairie du Chicn with the force (of about 50 
mechanics) detailed to l)uild the fort, and was employed, chiefly, in work for 
the garrison. At the same time he did a great deal of work for the Indians. 
They would stand around and watch him while at his work, with wonder and 

Antoine tirignon, who aided in the remo\al of the \\ innebagoes in 1848, 
says, "Fort Atkinson was quite a li\ely place when I was there; there was a 
comjiany of cavalry there at that time." Concerning the Indian agency which 
was established in connection with the fort. Mr. Kingsley relates that, "The 
Winnebagoes were given food, clothing, gold, and silver. In money they re- 
ceived $46.00 ])er head, twice a year. The head of the family represented his 
family by the number of sticks in his hand, and the aimuity was disbursed to 
him accordingly. I ha\e heard my mother say that she w^as a young girl, about 
fourteen years old, the time of the Turkey river reservation days; her father, 
being a sub-chief, drew a portion of the supplies; these were tied up in a 
buffalo rojje and put on a pony that she rode. The cash amounted to between 
$1,000 and $2,000." 

February 24, 1849, the post was fnially abandoned. It was turned over to 
the Secretary of the Interior for disposition January 10, 1851. At the present 

'•' In his history of the cmuily. 
'•' Same reference as ahove. 


time all that is still standing of the fort is the cannon-house of the southwest 


"Orders No. 9. 

"Headquarters 6th Military Department. 

"St. Louis, Missouri, February loth, 1849. 

"In pursuance of General Orders No. 3, of the 23d ultimo, for the aban- 
donment of Fort Atkinson, the Company of the 6th Infantry stationed there 
will be withdrawn to Fort Crawford, and will form a part of the garrison of 
that post. 

"The public stores at Fort Atkinson will be removed or sold, as may be 
found expedient under the circumstances. 

"P.y order Bvt. Major General Twiggs: 

"D. C. BUELL, 

"Asst. Adjt. Gen." 

Although the military appearance was no longer kept up, the fort was not 
entirely abandoned as a post. A discharged soldier of the regular army, named 
Alexander Faulkner, who held the rank of first sergeant, was appointed by the 
Government to look after it. Josiah Goddard, who, with his family, moved from 
Wisconsin to this section in 1849, spent the winter of 1849-50 in the old fort 
when it was in charge of Mr. Faulkner. Soon after. Faulkner was relieved 
by Geo. Cooney, whom Alexander says, -''-' "was a well-known citizen of the 
county, who lived in the vicinity of tlie old fort." The fort became useless as 
Government property, and was sold at public auction to one J. M. Flowers for 
$3,521. The reservation is described as containing 1,920 acres. This land was 
finally disposed of under the provisions of the acts of Congress of July 30, 
1856, and June 7, i860. 

Of the ofiicers who served at this post, six, namely : Captain John J. Aber- 
crombie and Lieutenants Schuyler Hamilton, John H. King, and Joseph B. 
Plummer, of the ist Infantry, and Captain Edwin V. Sumner and Lieutenant 
Alfred Pleasanton, of the ist Dragoons, attained to the rank of general officers 
in the U. S. Army in the Civil war. 

Assistant Surgeon William S. King was retired as an Assistant Surgeon 
General. Captain Osborne Cross of the ist Infantry was transferred to the 
Quartermaster's Department and became Assistant Quartermaster General with 
the rank of Colonel. Captain Sidney Burbank of the ist Infantry commanded 
his regiment, 2d U. S. Infantry, during the Civil war and was breveted for 

Lieutenants Simon B. Buckner and Henry Heth of the 6th Infantry, and 
Abraham Buford and Alexander \\. Reynolds of the ist, resigned their com- 
missions at the outbreak of the Civil war and became general officers in the 
Confederate service. Assistant Surgeon Charles H. Smith served in the med- 
ical department of the Confederate army. A. R. Young, father of Frank Young 
of Decorah, was a soldier at Fort Atkinson, and left with other troops for 
Mexico, but returned soon after the country was opened to settlers. 

The first death of a white man in Winneshiek county was that of a Govern- 
ment teamster named Howard, frozen to death October 4, 1840, near Castalia, 

^^ In his history of the county. 


while driving from Fort Crawford to Fort Atkinson. He was buried at the 
latter place. The first white child born in tlie county was Miss Mary Jane 
Tapper, born at the fort January i6, 1841. 


October 13, 1846, the Winnebagoes ceded "all claim to land," and especially 
their rights on the Neutral Ground, and were given a tract of land selected by 
the chiefs at Long Prairie, ^linnesota. Jhe Indians were not satisfied with the 
location, and most of them remained scattered throughout the country. 

Mr. Henry M. Rice secured the contract to remove these to Minnesota, and 
employed Moses Paquette, Antoine Grignon. and others to assist him. Antoine 
Grignon, who is now eighty-four years old and a resident of Wisconsin, says, 
"I went to school four years with Moses Paquette; he was a Winnebago mixed 
blood. I have no Indian name, but am part Sioux and Winnebago. I helped 
locate camps for H. M. Rice, along the river, and we gathered the Indians to- 
gether in La Crosse, took them by steamboat to St. Paul, then overland by wagon 
to Long Prairie, Minnesota. I reinained at Long Prairie until 1854. Thev dis- 
liked very much to leave Iowa. They were removed in wagons, being guarded 
by dragoons from Fort Atkinson." 

The names of the twenty-four Indian signers of the Treaty of Washington, 
negotiated with the Winnebago Indians October 13, 1846, are as follows: 

Hoong-ho-nc)-kaw. Hakh-ee-nee-kaw. 

Is-ja\v-go-bo-ka\v. Waw-kon-chaw-ho-no-kaw. 

Co-no-ha-ta-kaw. Maw--hee-ko-shay-naw-zhee-kaw. 

Naw-hoo-skaw-kaw. Wo-gie-cjua-kaw. 

Shoong-skaw-kaw'. Waw-kon-chaw-shc-shick-kaw. 

Kooz-a-ray-kaw. Chas-chun-kaw. 

Waw-ina-noo-ka-kavv. .\'aw-hey-kec-kaw. 

Ha-naw-hoong-])er-kaw. Ah-hoo-zheb-kaw. 

W'aw-roo-jaw-hee-kaw. Maw-nee-ho-no-nic. 

Baptist-Lasalica. Maw-ho-kee-wee-kaw. 

Waw-kon-chaw-per-kaw. Sho-go-nee-kaw. 


Watch-ha-ta-kaw. (i)y Henry .M . Kicc, his delegate.) 

Mr. Lamcre has translated most of the abo\e names; the translations are as 
follows: noong-ho-no-kaw% or Little Chief (also called Little Priest) ; he was a 
member of the WUlf clan. 

Co-no-ha-ta-kaw ; — "Co-no" is the name of all the first born male children 
of the Winnebagoes (the \\ord "co-no" does not mean llrst-born. but is the name 
of the first born ) ; "-ha-ta" means "big." As there were usually two or three 
families in a lodge and more than one "co-no," they usually called the older one 
"co-no-ha-ta-kaw," meaning, "older, or big-first-born." 

Maw-hoo-skaw-kaw, or White Sturgeon ; this is a Fish clan name. 

Shoong-skaw-kaw, or White Dog; a member of the Wolf clan. 

Kooz-a-ray-kaw, or the Created; a member of the Hear clan. 

Waw-ma-noo-ka-kaw, or the Stealer (Thief) ; this is a self-taken name, a 
right the warriors had. especially, when they had accomplished anything of im- 


portance in battle. This particular name signifies that he overcomes his enemies 
so easily that it is like stealing them. 

Ha-naw-hoong-per-kaw ; — "Ha-naw" is the name of the second born male 
child in a family; "hoong-per" signifies "good chief," thus the meaning would be 
"the second born good chief;" his English name was "White-horse" and he was 
a member of the Wolf clan. 

Wo-gie-qua-kaw, or "Strikes them as he comes." This is a Buiialo clan name, 
and is taken from the actions of a bull buffalo running a herd, when he seems 
to lead or drive them by butting, or striking them about. 

Wau-kon-chaw-she-shick-kaw, or Bad Thunder (a Thunder clan name). 

Chas-chun-kaw, or the Wave (a Fish clan name.) 

Naw-hey-kee-kaw, or "He who makes trees dead;" a Thunder clan name 
taken from the action of the lightning when it strikes trees, so that they dry up 
and die. 

Ah-hoo-zheb-kaw, or Short Wing (Young Winneshiek). 

Waw-roo-jaw-hee-kaw, or "Thunders on them" (Thunder clan name). 

Waw-kon-chaw-per-kaw, or the Good Thunder (Thunder clan name). 

Waw-kon-chaw-ho-no-ka\v, or the Little Thunder (Thunder clan name). 

JMaw-hee-koo-shay-naw-zhee-kaw, or Little Decorah (One who Stands and 
Reaches the Skies). 

Maw-nee-ho-no-nic, or Little Walker (Eagle clan name). 

Maw-ho-kee-wee-kaw, or "He who goes along in the sky ;" the word "kaw" 
on the end of every name means "he" or "the." 

Sho-go-nee-kaw, or Little Hill. 

Watch-ha-ta-kaw (undoubtedly One-eyed Decorah). 

About 1300 were removed to Minnesota at this time, leaving, it was estimated, 
about 400 still remaining in Iowa and Wisconsin. Others were removed in 1850. 

"A place of notoriety that existed in the early history of Winneshiek county 
was a spot called 'Grab-all.' This place was a high bench of timber land, half 
way between the Iowa trail and Postville. It was given this name because the 
Government stationed a sergeant's guard there to 'grab all' the Indians passing 
that way, for removal." '"' 

It is easily understood why the Winnebagoes, when later removed to other 
places, returned in little bands, quite frequently, to visit the scenes they loved so 
well ; they persisted in this until civilization shut them out forever. The Win- 
nebagoes had many favorite camping sites along the rivers of the county. Mr. 
Lamere says that the Winnebago Indian name for Iowa river, with reference 
to the Upper Iowa, is "Wax-hochc-ni-la," meaning Iowa river, also called "Wax- 
hoche-ni-sha-nuk-la." The Winnebago Indian name for the Turkey river is 
"Zee-zee-ke-ni-la," meaning Turkey river, also called "Zoe-zee-ke-ni-sha-nuk-la."' 
James Smith, a Winnebago, states,'" "a river south of Lansing, Iowa, is called 
Yellow Hair river '■- by the Indians ; the Winnebago name for this river is 'Na- 
jew-zee-ni-sha-nuk-la.' " 

f'" Alexander's "History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties." 

"1 A statement made to Mr. Oliver Lamere. 

"2 Evidently the Yellow river, which has its source in Winneshiek county. 



When the first homeseckers came to Winneshiek county the remains of several 
V\'innel)ago Indian villages were still in existence. Numerous Indian trails were 
in evidence in nearly all parts of the county, many of which led to the site of 
the present city of Decorah. 

In "Reminiscences of Sprin.<,^ficld Township" es Hon. A. Jacobson states: 
"The Indians who had inlyihited this portion of the country where we settled 
were removed by Government troo])s two years previous to our arrival. They 
had evidently intended to return at some future time as tliey had made large 
cellar-like holes in the ground in which were deposited all kinds of goods covered 
with the bark of trees. Such things as corn, feathers, axes, and kettles were in 
good preservation when exhumed by the new settlers. 

"Quite large parties of Indians traversed the country, but they had their homes 
in the territory of Minnesota and did not molest us in the least. There were 
no settlements northwest of us the first year, hence being on the frontier we 
often felt uneasy, having heard that some traders sold them whiskey. 

"Indian trails, well marked, crossed the country in various directions, and 
with little deviation continued to be the roads of early settlers, until the fencing 
in of the fields pushed the roads into the worst places." 

Alonzo liradish, who came to Decorah in 1852, says:''^ "One of their trails 
followed the cast bend of Pleasant Mill and left oiif at a point about where the 
Catholic church now stands on East Broadway. This trail was well marked by 
frequent travel, and in places there were considerable depressions below the sur- 
face, caused, to a certain extent, by the dragging of tipi poles fastened to the 
backs of horses [travois]. 

"In the early days travelers had to ford the stream where the Twin liridges 
now span the Upper Iowa. The road leading from here up through the valley, 
to the district now called Clay Hill, was known as the St. Paul stage road, and 
the valley was called Cruson's Hollow. This route was very frequentlv traveled 
by the Indians. A favorite camping place of the Indians, when traveling through, 
was on the ground now known as the Courthouse Square. 

"They always carried a blanket, and wore leggings that reached up over the 
thigh, and a clout. Many carried hatchets, of which the most were made of iron. 
The young Indian boys were expert marksmen with the bow and arrow, hitting 
pennies and nickels at fifty to sixty feet distance. 

"1 had opened a hardware and tin shop, and here the Indians occasionally 
came to have their guns repaired. These guns were the only kind used then and 
were known as flintlocks, the ammunition being big lead balls. The Indians 
were supplied with them by the (iovernment. 

"A young Indian and his squaw were camped at a sjiot about where the 
stockyards are now located at the east end of Water street. The river at this 
time was very low and lie busied himself in making a dugout canoe from the 
trunk of a large cottonwood which he had felled. When the high water came 
they put the boat in the stream and getting in were soon on their way down 

•3 Sec. II, pg. II, Atlas of Winneshiek County, 1905. 
"* In a personal interview with liim. 


stream, headed for Lansing at the mouth of the Upper Iowa, where a part of the 
tribe w'ere encamped." 

Philip Husted, an old settler, relates ^^ that, "Quite often parties of Winne- 
bago Indians would travel through the country; one of their favorite camping 
places was on the Yellow river near Frankville. They would sell their beadwork, 
and were very pleasant and peaceable with the whites." 

A number of years ago Mr. E. C. Bailey met two Indians at the Methodist 
church corner, on upper Broadway. One was a very old Indian, and the other 
middle-aged. Mr. Bailey (who was then about twenty years old), was asked if 
he knew where a Mr. E. Anderson lived. One of them opened a neat note book 
in which was written, "These Indians are good Winnebago Indians, and they 
are to be trusted." 

(Signed.) E. Anderson, 

Sheriff of Winneshiek county. 

It is not definitely known what year Mr. Anderson was sheriff, but his state- 
ment is only another example of the confidence early settlers placed with the 

Although Iowa was in a maimer always neutral ground and escaped many 
of the worst results of the encounters between the whites and the Indians, the 
early settlers of Winneshiek county had their Indian scare, and they had good 
reason to become alarmed. What led to this was the Indian uprising and Sioux 
massacre in Minnesota in June, 1862. 

They had swept Minnesota with bullet and brand 

Till her borders lay waste as a desert of sand, 

\\ hen we in Dakota awakened to find 

That the red flood had risen and left us behind. 

Then we rallied to fight them, — Sioux, Sissetons, all 

\\'ho had ravaged unchecked to the gates of Saint Paul. — 

— Joseph Mills Hanson, "Frontier Ballads." 

At this time the Winnebagoes were at Blue Earth in Southern Minnesota. 
Although they took no part in the Sioux massacre, and even though they offered 
the government their services in punishing the Sioux, the inhabitants of Min- 
nesota demanded their removal. They were hastily removed to South Dakota, 
where they suffered many hardships. 

This Indian scare was general throughout the county and was an occurrence 
well remembered by the old settlers. A contributor to The Decorah Journal. 
1882, states: "As I write the word 'Indians," my memory takes me back to the 
early days of my childhood in Decorah. Again I see a rider on a foaming steed 
dash along Broadway, as I did twenty or more years ago, shouting at the top of 
his voice, "The Indians are coming!' Again I see the street thronged with 
blanched faced men and trembling women, running to and fro in wild excitement 
and gazing with anxious faces off into the west * * * * Again I hear the 
whispered consultation of the men as to the best means of protecting their loved 
ones. Again I feel my hand clasped in that of my sainted mother as I toddle 

^^ In a personal interview with him. 


along at her side, down Mill street hill, across the old red bridge, and over to 
West Decorah — a place of imagined safety. It was a false alarm, and probably 
faded from the memory of many of our readers, and remembered by others only 
as the dim recollection of a half forgotten dream." 

At Decorah, men, women, and children gathered on the Courthouse Square, 
and prepared to withstand a siege. Settlers left their homes and gathered in 
Decorah as a place of refuge, many of them camping on the flat now known as 
Park Addition. Men armed themselves with any kind of weapon that lay 
handy, and determined to defend their families and homes, but were greatly 
relieved when the threatened attack proved to be only a rumor. 

J. C. Fredenburg, of Canoe township, says,"" "I remember the Indian scare. 
Some one came to our house one night about twelve o'clock and told father the 
Indians were coming and that they were about twenty miles away, killing people 
and burning all the houses. Father and mother talked it over and father said, 
"I will go to Burr Oak and see what is to be done.' He left mother and me at 
home, and when he arrived at Burr Oak nearly all the people were there for 
several miles around, some with their teams and families. They held a council 
and decided that all should meet there and build a fort for their protection, but 
no Indians came, so the people settled down again. It was some time, however, 
before all fear had vanished." 

Other similar accounts might be given, hut the preceding narratives describe 
the conditions as they existed, during this scare, throughout the county. 

There is no evidence to show that any Indian murders took place within the 
boundaries of our county. There were, however, several such murders com- 
initted in the near neighborhood : that of the Gardner family, in Fayette county ; 
of Riley, near Monona: and of Hereby, near the mouth of the \'olga. The 
contaminating influence of the bootlegger was the direct cause of these murderous 
deeds, "h'irewater" was the curse of the Indian, as it has since been to many a 
white man. 

Taft Jones and Graham Thorn were two bootleggers who infested the neigh- 
borhood of the Winnebago reservation. The Cjovernment did not allow such 
characters to come on the reservation, so they came as near to its boundaries as 
they dared and established so-called trading-posts in the vicinity of Monona, giv- 
ing them the names of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Indians used to frequent these 
places and always got badly cheated. Alexander gives "" the following account : — 

"An old Indian visited Taft Jones' den, at Sodom, and traded in all his worldly 
eflfects for whiskey, he even sold the blanket from his shoulders. Becoming 
intoxicated, he was turned out of doors, and on his way to his lodge died from 
exposure and cold. The next morning his son, a youth of about twenty sum- 
mers, found the dead body of his father out in the snow, naked and frozen. His 
revengeful feelings were aroused, and going to the whiskey den at Gomorrah, he 
shot the first man he saw through the window. Unfortunately it happened to be 
an inofifensive man named Riley. A detachment of troops under command of 
Lieut. David S. Wilson was sent out to capture the Indian who committed the 
murder. He was ajiprehended, taken to Fort Atkinson, and confined in the 

""Sec. II, pg. 14, Atlas of Wiiincsliiek County. 
*' In his history of the county. 




guardhouse, but by the connivance of a sympathizing white man he escaped and 
was never recaptured. Jones Hved a short time after this occurrence and died 
from chronic alcohohsm." 

Thus an attempt has been made to give in brief outhne the Indian history of 
'\\'inneshiek county. The writer soon discovered, after taking up the study of 
the subject, that nowhere was accurate information in concise form to be had 
in regard to the aboriginal inhabitants of the county ; their occupation of the 
county seems to have laeen an obscure period in their history. The writer has 
regarded it as well worth while to gather the data here presented, and has had 
in view that this article should faithfully preserve the early scenes of our pre- 
decessors in the county. 

The river, whose peaceful waters reflected the light of their campfires, now 
furnishes the power that lights the modern structures of the white men, by which 
their wigwams have been supplanted. But the memory of the red men will never 
perish from the minds of those who have succeeded them. The names of Win- 
neshiek and Decorah, that are attached to our county and county seat, will be an 
enduring monument to their former occupation of the soil. 

Here still a loft_v rock remains, 

On which the curious eye ma\- trace 
(Now wasted half hy wearing rains) 
The fancies of a ruder race. 

Here still an aged elm aspires, 

Beneath whose far projecting shade 

(And which the shepherd still admires) 
The children of the forest played. 

There oft a restless Indian queen 

(Pale Sheba with her braid and hair), 

And many a barbarous form is seen 

To chide the man that lingers there. 

By moonlight moons, o'er moistening dews. 

In habit for the chase arrayed, 
Tlie hunter still the deer pursues, 

The hunter and the deer — a shade ! 

And long shall timorous Fancy see 

The painted chief, and pointed spear. 

And Reason's self shall bow the knee 
To shadows and delusions here. — 
— Closing stanzas of Philip Freneau's "The Indian Burying-ground." 


If, in the perusal of these pages, the reader finds frequent reference to his- 
torical sketches written by others, it will be because those sketches have been 
proven correct and their recorders are entitled to whatever honor may accrue in 
having preserved them for those who have followed and are still to follow. It 
will be our purpose to assemble these records in an orderly and concise manner 
and, as far as possible, amplify them and add such happenings of later years as 
may be worthy of a place in a work of historical character. 

It is a happy circumstance in the life of a community to have had for its first 
citizens men of character, — not necessarily brilliant thinkers or doers of heroic 
deeds, but rather men of thoughtfulness, unswerving purpose and a desire to do 
the work of and be good citizens in the best sense of the word. 

The records of Winneshiek county do not disclose any race for supremacy 
as to priority in settlement, but it is evident from the fact that actual settlement 
began in the summer of 1848 that the white man was, as usual, treading on the 
heels of the American Indian in his desire to acquire an Iowa home. 

The settlers were not many during the first two years — just a handful in 1848, 
and a few more in 1849, — but 1850 saw a large influx and they came from aM 
quarters. With them they brought meagre equipments of household goods — 
mostly were they endowed with rugged constitutions, and Christian and phy- 
sical courage to wrest from nature the wherewithal to build homes. Little did 
they care whether they were first comers, but to us who are living today there 
is interest in these matters, therefore I shall endeavor to place them in order as 
far as possible. For that purpose reference is made to the cards of an old set- 
tlers' gathering held in Decorah in connection with the Centennial celebration 
of the Fourth of July in 1876. The late Ansel K. Bailey was secretary of that 
gathering and it is due to his thoughtfulness that these cards were preserved. 
They have in times past been a court of last resort in settling questions that have 
arisen regarding dates, ages, or other matters covered by the information recorded 
on them, hence we may now accept them with more than passing confidence. 

On Tune 7, 1848, Hamilton Campbell and wife took up a claim in what are 
now Sections 23 and 26 of Bloomfield township, thereby becoming the first recog- 



nized permanent settlers in the count)-. Following close upon these hardy pion- 
eers came Gottlob and Gottleib Krumm, the former accompanied by his wife. 
They were just twenty-two days behind the Campbells, the date of their arrival 
being June 2y, 1848, and they settled on the northwest quarter of Section 17, 
Washington township. On August 15, 1848, David Reed and wife and Daniel 
Reed settled on the northwest quarter of Section 25, Bloomfield township. 

A. R. Young takes his place at this point in the early settlement of the county, 
although he can scarcely be classed as a resident in the same sense as others 
imtil October, 1850. Mr. Young was a soldier and came to Fort Atkinson in 
October, 1848, remaining until March, 1849. While there he acquired Govern- 
ment land, but when the fort was evacuated he was transferred to Fort Craw- 
ford, Prairie du Chien, then to Fort Snelling, Minnesota, remaining at the latter 
place until May, 1850, when his regiment was sent to Marengo. Iowa, and in 
August to Fort Dodge, where he was discharged in October. He then returned 
to his land near Fort Atkinson and made his home there permanently, lie mar- 
ried Alary Jane Rogers at P'ort Atkinson in {•"eliruary. 1849. She was a daughter 
of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Rogers and remained at F'ort Atkinson with her parents 
during the absence of her husband. Thus may it be said that Mr. \'()ung was a 
settler and resident in fact from the fall of 1848 on. 

W'e have attempted to secure accurate data regarding Francis Rogers, l)Ut 
the little that is available discloses only the certainty that he and his family lived 
at Fort Atkinson in 1848. Mrs. ^'oung. in recounting early days, once told the 
members of the family of her son Francis Young that during the first winter 
(heir home consisted of straw stacks massed on four sides, over which tiiey 
arranged a roof. In that conversation she gave them to understand that this 
was the winter of 1847-48, which would gi\c the Rogers family priority of 
residence over all others. This record is lacking that definiteness of dates which 
characterizes the coming of the Campbells, the Krumms. the Reeds, and others, 
so the most that can be said is that their coming was at least contemporaneous 
with those who made settlement in 1848. 

Right here jiermit me to digress from the records of the cards. It has alwavs 
been claimed, and quite generally acce])ted. that the Day family were the first 
settlers in Decorah. They came in June. 1849. Contradictory of this is the state- 
ment that William Painter was the first white man to make his home here. My 
authority for this record is Mrs. P. C. liloomfield of Decorah. a niece of Mr. 
Painter, .'-^he tells me that her nicither (.Mr. Painter's sister) often s])oke of the 
matter ;md named the month of Octol)er. 1848, as the time of his coming to 
Decorah. Some years ago the writer heard a story to the effect that a member 
the Day family heard the sound of a woodman's ax as it strikes a tree, one day 
while out hunting, and upon investigation found Mr. Painter. As 1 now recall 
it the occurrence was located .some distance north of Decorah. I!e that as it may. 
the story of Mrs. Bloomfield gives weight to the cl.iim of i)rior residence by Mr. 

The next date that interests us is April i, 1849. C)n that day John .\. ro])litT 
joined the Reed family, taking the southeast quarter of Section 25, Bloomfield 
township. On the same date .Andrew Meyer and wife became distant neighbors 
of the Krumms in Washington township, settling on .Section 5. June 10, 1849, 
saw the Day family established in Decorah, while Phinneas Banning settled in 


Section 5 of Bloomfield township during the same month, and Abner DeCou and 
Moses S. McSwain located at what was subsequently known as Moneek. O. W. 
Emery, who is still living (on June 17, 1913, at the home of his son-in-law Mons 
Askelson in Orleans township), came to Canoe township and made his claim to 
the northwest quarter of Section 17, on August 20, 1849. Josiah Goddard, of 
whom more will be said later, came to Fort Atkinson, in the spring of 1849, 
bought the old trading post and moved his family there in the fall. 

The year 1850 saw an influx of settlers that was very large for those pioneer 
days, but it was not until June that the tide of immigration swelled to more 
than an occasional straggler. 

Springfield township became the Mecca of a large settlement of Norwegians, 
many of whom came from Dane county, Wisconsin, after a residence there vary- 
ing from a few months to three or four years. Reference to a historical sketch 
prepared by the late Abraham Jacobson discloses the fact that during the month 
of June a party consisting of Erick Anderson, Ole Tostenson Haugen, and his 
brother Staale, Ole A. and A. O. Lomen, Ole Gullikson Jevne, Knut Anderson 
Bakken, Andres Hauge, John Johnson Qvale, H. Halvorson Groven and Mikkel 
(Jmli made permanent homes in this townshij). They were followed on July 2d 
by another party of which Nelson Jolmson was the leader and included ToUef 
Simonson Aae, Knud G. Opdahl, Jacob Abraliamson and Iver Peterson Ovale, 
Nelson Johnson, E. G. and Albert Opdahl came over into Decorah township to 
make their homes. 

The settlement in Bloomfield township received goodly additions during this 
year also, among the number being Russell Dean who came in April, while John 
DeCou and wife and Gideon Green followed in June. 

Canoe township was claimed as residence by John W. Holm, David Kinnison 
and wife and John Fredenburgh during 1850. The record cards show that Chris- 
topher A. Estrem and wife came to Frankville township on September 3, 1S50, 
and Wm. Padden and wife settled in Section 28 of Frankville in November of 
that year, as did also Jacob Duff and Walter Rathbun and wife ; but George M. 
Anderson, writing in Anderson & Goodwin's Atlas (published in 1906), gives to 
A. P. Rosa credit for selecting land in Section 31 in March, hewing timbers and 
erecting a cabin thereon for his family. They had previously lived in Clayton 
county for three years. Even before this, in 1849, Wm. Day had erected a 
house near what is known as the ]\IcKay schoolhouse, but found he was on 
school land and moved to Decorah. 

Probably the most compelling circumstance connected with the final location 
of the Day family in Decorah was Mother Day. When she saw the claim her 
husband had staked out she admitted it was good looking land, but her preference 
was for a site beside running water, and as her word was law the family moved 
on until they came to a spring that bubbled out from the hillside above the Upper 
Iowa river. "Here is where we will stay," she declared, and it was due to 
her decision that on the spot that is now graced by the handsome Winneshiek 
hotel was erected the log cabin home that formed the nucleus around which the 
beautiful city of Decorah was built. Long ago the spring above referred to 
ceased to flow, but as long as the story of the coming of the Day family to Decorah 
is recalled, mankind will honor the judgment of Mother Day. 


Ole Germond Johnson was the first settler in (llenwood township. He came 
with the Nelson Johnson party that landed here on July 2. 1850, and selected the 
southwest quarter of Section 31 for his home. Nels Thronson and Andrew 
(nilbrandson Haugen came in the same year, but later, and settled in Section 

Benjamin I.. Bisby acquired a residence in Hesper township dii the first of 
August, and from all ai)i)earanccs he enjoyed a priority of some si.\ or eight 
months, for Ezekiel E. .\leader and family have been given credit as the first 
permanent residents of the township, and thev did not arrive until the spring of 

In August, 1850, Peter K. Langland ami wife came to Pleasant township 
and settled in Section 10. From the record made by Edwin Hover, in the Ander- 
son & Goodwin .Atlas, it would seem that John Klontz and \Vm. Vale (Germans), 
came from Pennsylvania in 1850 and settled in the northwest corner of the town- 
bliip. They were joined in 1851 by Hover Evenson, Ole Magneson, Louis Peter- 
son, Erick Erickson, Knut L. Liquin and K. Erickson. 

Orin Simmons and wife joined the Decorah township settlers on Julv 2. 1850, 
taking land adjoining what is now the village of Freeport. Edward Tracy became 
a Decorian the same year, and ;\radison township seems to have acquired her 
first settler on the 25th day of September in the person of John Evenson, who 
made claim to the northeast quarter of Section 32. 

Referring once more to Anderson & Goodwin's Atlas of Winneshiek county, 
we find that Charles Kroek settled in Calmer township, near Spillville, in 1849. 
The following year saw the arrival of Joseph Spielman from whom Spillville 
derived its name; also Thor Peter Skotland. Tor.sen and Lars Land and Andre 
P. Sandager, who settled near Calmar. In the year 1850 Ole Shervin, Sr.. Ole 
Shervin, Jr., Erick Stovrem, Ole P. Haugen, .Andrew L. Kittelsby. Thron H. 
Egen and Thora Bagaarson augmeiUed this colony, while George Herzog and 
Conrod Riehle joined the Spillville settlers. Among the ])ermanent settlers who 
came during the succeeding four years were Lars P. Kittelsby and his son Peter 
L. Kittelsby in 1852; Ole A. Flaskrud, Ole P. Bjornstad, Erick Flaskrud and 
Even Flaskrud in 1853; Alf Clark. Peter Clawson and John P. Landin in 1854; 
George Yarwood, Henry Wheatman, Ole P. Ramberg, Sr., Ole O. Styve, Jacob 
Stenseth, John P. Hove and Lars Heried in 1854. 

Military townshi)) also received her first settlers in 1850. but there is no 
definite data as to who they were. 

In 1 85 1 the tide of ctnigration and immigration had become fairly steady 
and material additions to the ranks of settlers were made. Among those who 
enrolled at the Old Settlers' Reunion the record cards show the following as 
coming to Winneshiek county in that year: — 

Decorah township — E. C. Dunning and wife, Peter E. Haugen, Torkel 
Hanson and wife, Gulbrand T. Lomen, Ole Kittlcson and wife, Ole Tollefson 
Vik and wife, and A. K. Drake. 

Madison township — (nilbrand Erickson Vik, Ole M. .Anderson and wife, 
rielge Nelson Myran, Herbrand Onstine, Iver G. Ringstad and wife, Ole M. 
Asleson and wife. 

Springfield township — E. E. Clement. Rolland Tobiason and wife. 


Glenwood township — Erick Olson Bakke and wife, Isaac Birdsell, Wm. 
Birdsell and wife, Philip Hustad. 

Bloomfield township — Geo. Blake. 

Hesper township — D. D. Huff and wife. 

Canoe township — Simon M. Leach and wife. 

Burr Oak township — G. V. Punteney. (Mr. Punteney is still living and in 
fairly good health. His home is at Cresco and he is past ninety years of age.) 

The year 1852 seems to have furnished the first settlers in several townships 
in the northern part of the county. In this year Henry Morse built a saw- 
mill at Bluffton and the next year he and his brother Lyman D. Morse built a 

In what is now know as Highlandville the names of the Stoens, Mikkel 
Solberg, the Arnesons, Brunsvold, Bersie, Kjomme, Kroshus, Walhus, and others 
appear as first settlers. Fremont was also in the 1852 class. J. J. Jacobson, 
in the Anderson & Goodwin Atlas, credits Lars Hougeberg with being the first 
settler in Lincoln township, with Knudt Alfson, Jacob Knutson and Kittel Sand- 
erson as following close after him. 

Burr Oak township acquired her first settlers in 1851, when Samuel Belding 
and his half brother built the first log hotel and erected a lilacksmith shop, while 
to Nelson Gager belonged the distinction of being first on the ground in Orleans 
township in 1853. 

In reading the foregoing it must be borne in mind that as yet the county 
had not been wholly divided as to townships, and in mentioning various precincts 
we use their present names as a matter of convenience. There were undoubtedly 
many more who came to various parts of the county during those years, but 
even as now the population was changing — some were coming and others were 
going — hence we refer more particularly to those we have named because they 
enjoyed the distinction of being permanent in their residence. 


While we are reviewing the early settlers of the county, it may not be 
improper to refer to some "first things" that will be of interest. 

-Sparks' History credits James B. Cutler with being the first duly commis- 
sioned postmaster in the county. His commission was signed on Sept. 18, 

1851, by Nathaniel K. Hall, postmaster general under President Willard Fill- 
more, and the office was known as Jamestown, being discontinued on March 31, 

1852. There is reasonable ground for questioning this claim. Judge M. V. 
Burdick, in Alexander's History, is quoted as stating that Lewis Harkins was 
postmaster at Fort Atkinson as early as 1830, and about the same time John L. 
Carson was serving at Old Mission. Mr. Cutler lived to the rare old age of 
one hundred and one years and seven months, making him one of the few cen- 
tenarians the county has known. 

Sparks' History tells this story of the first marriage in the county : 

"In 1850 a young man came from Norway to Iowa and found a spot of ground 

that suited him in what is now known as Madison township, Winneshiek county. 

So far as ascertained, he was its first settler. In the year following an older man 

followed him, who was the father of at least one girl. As young men and maidens 


will, tliis young man and this maiden agreed to wed. These parties were Johannes 
Evenson and Catherine Helen Anderson. .At that time, as now, the law re(]uired 
the parties to have a license. In order to obtain this a visit to the judge was neces- 
sary. Rev. N. Brandt, then a wandering missionary, was in the county, and would 
perform the ceremony. And if this chance escaped them, no knowing when an- 
other opportunity would be afforded them. Mr. Evenson straightway started 
for Hloomfield township to see the judge and get a permit to enter into a matri- 
monial alliance. The missionary had prcjmised to await his return. .Mr. I'., 
found the judge absent. He had gone to Dubuque on official business. Imagine 
the sensations of that waiting bridegroom ! Again the question : Would that 
minister tarry? After three days Judge Reed returned, and with his license in 
his pocket, John turned his footsteps homeward a happier man. No grass grew 
under his feet on that trip. The minister had remained, and the marriage ceremony 
was performed — the first, as the records show, to have been performed in the 
county. The license for this marriage was granted on the 5th day of October, 
1 83 1." 

Rev. J. Th. VIvisaker, in his history of Luther College, states that Reverend 
Brandt was an uncle of the bride in this wedding, hence it is doubtful if there 
was any cause for worry on the part of the would-be-weds. 

The second marriage license was granted on the 3d of November, 1S51. I'hc 
contracting parties w'ere Erick Anderson and Miss Ann Soles. 

The first assessment for ta.xatinn jnirposcs in the county produced a total of 
$1,217.93, divided as follows: 

County ta.\ $696.68 

State tax i75-o8 

School ta.x 1 15-42 

Road tax 230.75 

besides $650 of poll taxes. This would make the total assessable properly in the 
county at that time worth ,'!; 182,789, says Alexander's History. 

The richest man in the county was John McKay, of Washington Prairie. He 
]jai(l ilic eiiiirnious sum of $23.94 in taxes. Francis Teabout was close up to him, 
being down for $23.16. Benjamin Beard followed with $20.95. These three were 
the very rich men, for they were the only ones who paid more than $20 : or, rather, 
were regularlv assessed for sums that ainounted to precisely that ligurc. The list 
of other ])ersiins who paid over $10 is sd sluirt thai we give the n;inu's in lull : 

|()se|ili .Spillman. Calmar $18.96 

Levi Aloore, I'.urr Oak 17-68 

Moses McSwain, Bloomfield 1^-83 

James S. Ackerson. Burr Oak 16.00 

James B. Cutler, Frankville 1 5-7^ 

Newell cS: Derrick, L^ecorah 1 5-73 

Ingebret Peterson, Decorah 14.82 

Isaac Callendcr. I'rankville '4-32 

Samuel Allen, P.loomfield 14-3° 

O. W. Emery, Decorah 13-81 



Gideon Green, Blooniheld 13-59 

C. E. Brooks, Military 1304 

David Bartlett, Canoe 12.76 

J. T. Atkins, Frankville 12.29 

Joseph Huber, W'asliington 1 1.27 

Abner DeCow, Bloomfield 1 1.24 

W. F. Kimball, Decorah 1 1.17 

Wm. Cummings, Bloomfield i i-i3 

Richard M. Carson, Washington i i-i3 

Wm. Campbell, Bloomfield 1 1 -05 

Andrew Mayer, Washington 10.83 

John W. Smith, Frankville 10.72 

James D. ^IcKay, Frankville 10.09 

This table indicates that the wealth of the county then centered on Washing- 
ton Prairie. 

Henry M. Rice, who subsequently became a pioneer in Minnesota and repre- 
sented that state in the United States Senate, conducted a trading post on the land 
that is now a part of the Peter E. Haugen estate in the southeast corner of Decorah 
township. Engebret Haugen, father of Peter E. Haugen, acquired the property 
in 1850 and for five vears thereafter occupied as a residence the luiiiding used by 
Rice for his store. 

In the latter part of March, 1899, C. W. Bender told how Washington Prairie 
received its name, in an article published in the Waukon Standard. He said : 

"Speaking of Washington Prairie, its first Fourth of July ought always to be 
known as the dav of its birth. As the national day for 1852 approached, patriotic 
feelings swelled in the breasts of its pioneers and a few made arrangements to 
properly celebrate the day. I took a yoke of oxen and went out north where there 
were some pine trees (on the Trout river blufifs). I cut two, drew them home 
and pealed them. A Norwegian blacksmith out north made me two rings with 
which I spliced the pole, which made it from si.xty to seventy feet high. W'e went 
over to Moneek and got some red and white cloth and a yard of blue, and our 
sewing circle of mothers and sisters made a fine flag, the first that ever floated over 
Washington Prairie and probably the first in the county. My brothers and I took 
our oxen and hauled the liljerty pole upon the ridge southwest of Levi Hubbell's 
place, dug a pit and trench and got everything ready for the eventful day. The 
Fourth came bright, clear, beautiful. Aly brother and I, John McKay, and a Mr. 
White, and a few others whose names I do not remember, met to celebrate the 
day. We raised the pole, ran up the flag amid much cheering and enthusiasm, 
though we had no brass band or booming cannon, and one proposed 'Now let us 
name our beautiful prairie, Washington Prairie; three cheers for the birth of 
Washington Prairie, by which it will ever be known, and may God bless her.' 
And 1 believe He has, abundantly." In a footnote to this article the editor of the 
Standard adds : 

"Geo. W. McKay tells us that, as a boy, he was one of the party that helped get 
the trees for the pole ; and that the ox team belonged to Dwight Rathbun, and 
that members of the Walter Rathbun, Alanson Loomis, and perhaps John Bateman 
families took a part; and he is under the impression that the 'Norwegian black- 
smith' was Hans Olson or Hans Patterson." 



Winneshiek county was one of the first in Iowa to harbor a large and per- 
manent settlement of foreign born people. The Germans were the first to come. 
In 1848 and 1849 the Krumms, Andrew Meyer, George Beckel, John Gaertner, 
Joseph Huber, and Anthony Stadle settled in Washington township. These were 
not merely the first foreign born residents, but in the case of the Krumms they 
lacked less than a month of being the very first permanent settlers of any nationality 
in the county. In 1850-51 another company of Germans settled in the western 
part of Calmar township. They were Joseph Spielman, George Herzog and 
Conrad Riehle. Charles Kroeg preceded them in 1849, ^"d, with the exception of 
Herzog, all brought their families. In later years Military township was a favored 
spot among the Germans and in its present population may be found many 
descendants of this nationality. Lincoln township claimed quite a number also. 
Bloomfield. Frankville and parts of Pleasant, Canoe and Hesper are now popu- 
lated by the Germans, though most of them are properly entitled German-Ameri- 
cans, having been born in America. 

Calmar township was also destined to be the home of a large Bohemian set- 
tlement. The first of this nationality came in 1854. In glancing over the record 
one sees the familiar names of Bouska, Mikesh, Novak, Kubish and Payer. From 
this beginning there grew up a large company that overflowed into Sumner, Jack- 
son and Washington townships. 

While we are w-riting of the settlers of Calmar it is worth while to remember 
that almost all of the Swiss who came to this county resided in or near Spill- 
ville. In 1854 J. H. Hinterman, Felix and J. H. Meyer and John Leeble settled 
there, and I think I am right in including J. J. and J. IT. Haug in this list, though 
T. H. Haug came later. Others came at subsequent dates, but the rejiresentation 
by this nationality has never been large. Of those above mentioned J. J. Haug 
is the only one who survives. 

In 1850 the county welcomed its first Norwegian settlers. Reference is made 
of these people in the chapter dealing with the first residents of the county, but 
the late Abraham Jacobson has left a very complete and interesting account of the 
band that located in Springfield township and formed the nucleus of the largest 



body of foreign born citizens in this part of Iowa, hence we refer the reader to 
his story, which will be found under the record of townships and towns. During 
the years immediately following this settlement the central part of the county, 
and even well up into Highland township, received steady and increasing acces- 
sions of settlers from Norway. Today their descendants represent about half 
of the population of the county. 

Bluffton township seems for some unaccountable reason to have attracted the 
Irish, and while there are Norwegians, Germans and Americans among its resi- 
dents, the rich, musical brogue of Friend Pat is the most often heard. The first 
settlers in the township were largely Americans, but at just what time the natives 
of the Emerald Isle began to accjuire residence there is not clearly indicated, yet 
they were there as early as 1855. Most of them came from Illinois, where they had 
residence for varying periods, I)ut the ])arent stock of the present generation were 
largely foreign born. 

Winneshiek county also boasted of a goodly number of Englishmen. Among 
the earliest of these were George Yarwood, Harry Wheatmen, Edward and Jack 
Vine and John Pickworth. who lived out on the prairie beyond the Peter E. 
Haugen farm in the southwest corner of Decorah township. There was another 
settlement in Lincoln township, another in Hesper, while in Decorah there was the 
late Col. William Thurlow Baker and his brothers, Capt. Charles G. Baker and 
John T. Baker and their families. R. F. B. Portman (still a resident here). A. J. 
Ashmore, the Clive brothers, H. H. Horn and family, Capt. S. Charles Welsh 
and wife, and a number of others whose names are not now recalled. Tliey 
brought with iliLin their customs and the traditions of England. Those who 
resided in Hesper and Lincoln townships were a particularly li\elv set of fellows. 
mostly young men who had come here to engage in farming, but whose ]Mcvious 
experience and lack of knowledge of local rc(|uirements did not hold out much 
hope of success. Whatever may have been their shortcomings in these respects, 
they were generally plentifully supplied with money and knew how to win their 
way socially, so as long as the purse was free they were not poor in companionship 
or enjoyment. 

There have been and still are a few Scotchmen in the county, also a few Danes, 
and occasionally one may find a native of Sweden, but these are few. Thus is 
completed the roll of the foreign born ; but whether foreign born or native, almost 
all are trying to be loyal American citizens, contributing their share in working 
out the problems that face us as a jieople and building for a l)ettcr civilization. 

Since the foregoing was written Decorah has acquired some new citizens of 
Mexican birth. That they will remain and become permanent in their residence 
is not thought probable, however. 


Who organized Winneshiek county, and when did the organization take place? 

It has been quite generally accepted that an organizing act passed by the Iowa 
Legislature on January 15, 1851, appointed John L. Carson as organizing sheriff 
with authority to act on and after March i, 185 1 ; that pursuant to the authority 
so vested in him he designated Monday, April 7, 1851, as the date of election, and 
set stakes at Louisville, or Lewiston, on the Turkey river, at McSwain's mill 
(Moneek). and at Decorah, as the places where the polls would be open. As 
further evidence that an election was so held we find engrossed upon the first page 
of the first records of Winneshiek county the following testimony : 

'"State of Iowa — Winneshiek county. 

"I hereby certify that at an election held in the county of Winneshiek, and State 
of Iowa, on the 7th day of April, A. D. 185 1, Decorah was duly elected to lie the 
county seat of said county. 

"In testimony whereof, I have set my hand the 14th day of April, 1851. 

"J. L. Car.son, Organizing Sherifif." 

Could a more certain record be expected, taking into consideration the fact 
in those days even lawmakers were not as particular as they are today in the 
matter of setting out statements and facts so that no question could arise? 

Yet after all these years there comes forward, in the form of a notice of 
appointment, personal letters, and a copy of a notice of election, evidence that 
would tend to contradict the foregoing record and give to Josiah Goddard credit 
for acting as organizing sheriff. 

As early as 1849 the settlers began to agitate the question of county organ- 
ization. It would appear from the letters that follow that the agitation reached a 
point, early in 1850, where Josiah Goddard, acting for himself and others, for- 
warded a petition to Judge James Grant, of the second judicial district of 
Iowa, asking that Mr. Goddard be appointed organizing sheriff. Reference to 
papers and documents of Mr. Goddard, now in the possession of his son, Harrison 
I. Goddard of Fort Atkinson, discloses the following notice of appointment given 
over the signature of Judge Grant : 



"To all whom these presents may come. 

"Know ye, that in pursuance of the laws of Iowa, in such case made and 
provided, at the request and in pursuance of the petition of the citizens of W'inne- 
shiek county, I have appointed and by these presents do appoint Josiah Goddard 
sheriff or said county, for the purpose of organizing said county of Winneshiek, 
to hold his office uiuil the first special election in said county, and until his suc- 
cessor is elected and qualified ; and I do hereby appoint the . . . day of in 

the year 1850 as the time for the first si)ecial election to be held in said county. 

"Given under my hand at Davenport, in the Second Judicial District, on the 
1 8th day of March, 1850. 

"James Gr.vnt, 
"Judge 2 jud. Dis." 

This notice was accompanied by the following letter to .Mr. Goddard. in 
which the reader will observe that specific directions were given as to the mode 
of procedure for the special election : 

"To Josiah Goddard, Esq., 

"Eort Atkinson, Iowa. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I send you an appointment as shcrifl' of Winneshiek county. You will find 
all your powers and duties pointed out by the act of February 24, 1847. 

"The first thing which you will do is to give bond and qualify as any other 
sheriff: which you can do before the clerk of the district court of some adjoining 

"■S'ou will then divide the county into precincts, fix places for holding the elec- 
tion therein, give names to the precincts and dcscrii)e their boundaries and names 
in the notices of election. You will give about ten days notice of the election by 
posting three written or printed notices in abcmt three of the most public places 
in each jirecinct in the county. 

"You will give notice for all the imi)ortant county officers, viz: Three county 
commissioners, one sherifl', one conmer, one clerk of the district court, one clerk 
for the board of county commissioners, one ]5rosecuting attorney, one recorder, 
who is to act as treasurer and collector, one fund commissioner, and two justices 
of the peace and two constables for each precinct 

"^'ou will appoint judges of election for each i>recinct. .\ftcr the election vou 
will receive the returns and grant certificates of election to those who have the 
iiighest number of votes, and do all such acts as the commissioner's clerk is 
re(|uired to do until one is elected. 

"\ii\\ will fill up the dav of the election in your ;ii)i)ointment at such time as 
may suit vour convenience. 

"When the board of commissioners meet, you will furnish them with a copy 
of your appointment, and a return of your i)roceedings, which it will be advisable 
for them to enter on their records. 

"If some of your citizens will attend Clayton court. I will lix a time for holding 
court in your county. If the citizens of Fayette county desire an organization, 
they can, of course, have it by a petition. 

"Your Obt. svt., 

"James Grant, 
"Judge 2 Jud. Dis." 


That Mr. Goddard exercised the authority conferred upon him to call an 
organizing election, and followed the instructions contained in the foregoing 
letter, is evidenced by one of the original copies of the notice of election, found 
among his papers. It bears unmistakable evidence of having been exposed to 
the weather, the ink being faded and the sheet spotted as by rain drops. The 
notice reads as follows : 

"election notice 

"Notice is hereby given that by virtue of authority invested in me as the 
organizing sheritif of the county of Winneshiek, I have this day divided the said 
county of Winneshiek into three election precincts with the following boundaries 
to wit : 

"precinct no. one 

"will be embraced in so much of said county as lies west of the town line dividing 
range 8 and 9 and south of the town line dividing 97 and 98. 

"precinct no. two 
"will be embraced in so much of said county as lies in townships No. 98 and 99. 

"precinct no. three 

"will be embraced in the residue of said county of Winneshiek. In precinct No. 
one the polls will be held at the house of Mr. Carson at the agency. In precinct 
No. two the polls will be held at the house of William Day. In precinct No. three 
the polls will be held at the house of S. W. McSwain. The electors of the above 
named precincts will on the day of election choose their judges and clerks to 
preside over said election who in the absence of a justice of the peace may qualify 
each other to preside over said election. 

"And notice is further given that an election will l)e held at the poll houses in 
the above named precincts on the 5th day of August, 1850, when the following 
state and county officers will be voted for, to wit : 

"One Governor, one Congressman, Secretary of State, Auditor, State Treas- 
urer, Treasurer of Public Works, one Senator and one Representative. 

"county oeeicers 

"One Sheriff, Treasurer and Recorder, three County Commissioners, one Com- 
mission Clerk, Clerk of District Court, District Attorney, Probate Judge, Cor- 
oner, County Surveyor. The judges of election will make their returns to this 
office so that the returns may be canvassed at 12 o'clock, noon, on Thursday fol- 
lowing said election and such county officers are requested to meet at this office 
on Monday the . . . day of August and qualify for entering upon the discharge of 
their several duties pertaining to their several offices. 

"Given under my name this 20th July, A. D. 1850. 

"Josi.'\H Goddard, 
"Organizing Sheriff of County of Winneshiek." 


Force is given to all of the foregoing by the following letter from Hon. 
Eli])halet Trice of Clayton county to Mr. Goddard : 

■"Gutlenberg, July 19. 1850. 
"Dear Sir: 

"I have onlv a moment's time to say tliat I have just had an interview with the 
Superintendent of Public Instruction who informs me that at the time of electing 
your county officers on the first Monday in .\ugust you w^ll also be expected to 
elect a School Fund Commissioner. My imi)rcssion was when with you that this 
ofificer could be appointed by the Sheriff and Clerk of the District Court, but .Mr. 
I'enton says that he could onlv recognize him if elected, which he will do if such 
officer is elected and qualified in your country at the time of your first election of 
county officers. This perhaps will not reach you until P'riday before the election. 
You would then have time to notify the ])eop1e in each precinct of the fact and they 
could elect one. You will jilease let Horkins know of this fact and lie will, I have 
no doubt, assist you to get up the notice or give the information. 

"In haste yours, 

"Eliphalet Price." 
"J, W, Goddard." 

Mr. Price at this time was engaged in taking the census. It is evident from 
the context of his letter that he had been in Winneshiek on this mission, and while 
here had conferred with Mr. Goddard concerning the organization of the county. 

Up to this point the claim of Mr. Goddard's heirs that their father was the 
organizing sheriff of the county has logical and conclusive evidence to support it. 
Something must have occurred subse(|uently to i)ost])one the election, however, 
for among Mr. Goddard's papers is found the following letter from Hon, Joseph 
T. Fales, auditor of state : 

"Auditor's Office, Iowa., 
"Iowa City, September 6, 1850, 
"Josiah tioddard, Esq., 

"Dear Sir : 

"Yours of the _'4th nil. came li> hand last evening and 1 take jileasure in 
rei)lving and sending you the laws. I had heard that your county was organized 
some time since was the reason of my writing and sending blanks. 

"In the laws of 1847, page 115, you will find your duties as ( fi-ganizing Sherifi. 
In the appendi.x of the Revised Statutes, page 739, you will fmd the Xatnndiza- 
tion Laws of Congress. 

"I will be pleased at any lime to give you any infdrmation in my power. 



".Auditor of State. 

"P. S, When your county is organized jilease give me notice with tiie names 

of the officers elected. 

"Joseph T. F.m.i:s." 

The reader will note that this letter is dated September C\ 1850, a month after 
the organization election was to have been held. That there can be no mistake in 





the date is borne out Ijy the postmark on the cover, which reads "Iowa City Sep ■ 
6 Iowa." 

The letter was written on a folded sheet, double letterhead size, and folded so 
as to make the outer half an envelope, and sealed with wax. The letter "\"' stamped 
in the same colored ink as the postmark shows that the postage was paid in the 
sum of five cents, but no postage stamp was affixed, indicating that the Iowa City 
postmaster had no stamps. This was not uncommon even as late as 1850, although 
the Government began issuing stamps in 1847. Letters so marked and bearing 
unmistakable evidence of authenticity, as does the one above referred to, are 
highly prized by collectors of postage stamps, being regarded in almost the same 
light as a privately issued stamp bearing the sanction of the Post Office Department. 

But to return to our text. Here we have the statement of John L. Carson as 
it appears on the county record, supported by an organizing act of the Iowa 
Legislature. Against it are the documents embraced in Mr. Goddard's claim. 
Who is to say, now, which of these men is entitled to the honor? Of those who 
were residents here in 1850 Init few remain, they are advanced in years, and it is 
doubtful if they could, from this distance, lie able to settle the question. 

A fair-minded reader may here see an opportunity to accord to both Mr. 
Goddard and Mr. Carson an ecjual share of honor for their activities. To Mr. 
Goddard may be credited the initiative in starting the ball rolling. He it was who 
conducted all the correspondence leading u]i to the organization, showing that in 
him was centered the confidence of his neighbors and acquaintances. Certainly 
there is honor in commanding such an expression from one's fellowmen. and the 
appointment as sheriff to see that the forms of law- were carried out could add 
nothing in esteem from those who had already by their confidence made him their 
spokesman. That Mr. Carson was also a man of prominence and influence is 
undeniably disclosed through the fact that he w^as probably the first postmaster at 
Old Mission, where the Indian school and agency was located. In any event we 
cannot change the record as it appears in black and white on the books of Winne- 
shiek county, and right or wrong, he will continue to be regarded 1\\' many as the 
one who acted as organizing sheriff. 


The most natural adjunct of an organizing election would be a county seat 
contest and there is ample evidence that Winneshiek county was not exempt from 
the excitement that attends such events. 

In the preceding portion of this chapter one reads of Decorah, Moneek and 
Lewiston as the polling places where voters might register their preferences. 
These were the only recognized towns within the borders of the territory sought 
to be organized, but Lewiston seems to have existed in name only. It was 
located on land owned jointly by Lewis Harkins and Francis Rogers, about one 
mile north of Old Mission in Washington township, and never progressed beyond 
the paper stage because of the differences of opinion of its promoters. While 
it was laid out in due form it may well Ije considered as never having existed, 
and subsequently formed a part of the farm of A. R. Young. 

Moneek was different. Here the nucleus of a real town had been formed. 
Moses S. McSwain and Abner DeCou and families were the first settlers, coming 
in July. 1849. They were joined a year later by John DeCou and wife, Russell 
Dean, George Blake and their families. These people were all Canadians and 
they seemed to have had a townsite in their mind's eye from the first. At any 
rate they were formidable enough in their rivalry to give Decorah some cause 
for alarm. Although it has long since ceased to exist Moneek still lives in the 
memory of early settlers and one frequently hears it referred to as a definite 
locality at the present time. 

Perhaps the story of this defunct town is better told in the following con- 
densation of an article printed in the Decorah Republican of March 26, 1875: 

"Moneek was situated on the north fork of the Yellow river, on the south- 
west quarter of section i in liloomfield township. Tremendous hills, well wooded, 
surrounded it, and it nestled cosily in the valley on the river, on a site that orig- 
inally must have been charmingly beautiful. 

"The pioneer settlers were Moses S. McSwain and Abner DeCou. To these 
may be added John DeCou, who joined them a year later. .\11 of them were 
Canadians, but McSwain had resided for a while in Illinois. They had a town- 
site in their eyes from the commencement. The two arrived at Moneek with 



their families in July, 1849. and lived in iheir tent wagons until a log house 12x16 
was built. They commenced the same season to Iniild a saw mill, which was 
afterwards noted all over the adjacent country as the mill. 

"Their nearest neighbors were Joel Post, at Postville, and two families who 
had "squatted' on the .Military road. These were David Reed, the first County 
Judge, and a man named Campbell. Besides these, there were the Hawks, and 
Isaac Callender, over in Frankville. R. Tillotson joined them the same year. 
He was a millwright, and helped them build the mill. This was completed in 
July. 1850. In the spring of the latter year Russell Dean and Geo. Blake, with 
their families — also from Canada — joined the new settlement June 29, 1850. 
John DeCou * also moved in, he. too, coming from Canada. He found all the 
four families occupying the one log house, above mentioned, vet it was large 
enough to receive the fifth family, until another house— the second in the embryo 
city — could l)e built. 

"The same year Blake went south and Dean west about a mile and a half, 
and ])ut up log houses on 'claims' of their own. 

"In the spring of 1831 the first frame building was Imilt by .\. and J. DeCou. 
This was rented to a man named Johnson, from Illinois, who brought on a 
stock of goods and became the first merchant. His ca]:)ital was small, the amount 
of trade limited, and he .soon 'busted.' McSwain bought out his remnants, and 
sold out the stock. Having neither money nor credit with which to purchase 
more goods, the mercantile business came to an end for the time being. 

"The same year John DuflF came along, liked the looks of the settlement, and 
built a blacksmith shop, which he sold in the fall to Phil Lathroj). The latter 
united butchering to blacksmithing, and soon after added merchandising. About 
the same year he built a house, which when completed was opened for the 
entertainment of man and beast, and the village had a hotel. 

"In 1852 George Crawford becaiue a member of the communitv. He was, 
likewise, a Canadian, and brought goods, mostly cloths, with him. He was a 
tailor by trade and did a thriving business, which soon rc(|uired the aid of a 
journeyman. He .soon added groceries to his .stock — dry and ■wcl'— and pros- 
pered as long as Moneck was in its glory. 

"James F. Andrews, a retired Baptist minister, with two sons and their fam- 
ilies, became residents in the same year. They added another store. One of 
the sons was a doctor, and so the town secured the benefit of dergv and medicine 
by this really large acquisition. 

"Louis Boughner, also a Canadian, but of German descent, came along in the 
same year, opened his kit of tools, and sat down ui)on his shoemaker's bench. 
That winter the hamlet began to feel as though it was of sufficient imjiortance 
to be recognized by the (leneral Government, and postal facilities were demanded. 
During the winter or following spring these were secured, and Boughner had 
so far won the confidence of the people that he was chosen to serve as the 
village Nasby. The ofiice was su|)portcfl by 'Winneshiek' — a postoffice then 
situated between Castalia and Postville. 

"That year, 1852, saw a large increase to the scuUrs outside, as well as in 
Moneek. .Vniong those whi> c;une was Col. D. 1). Wei)ster, David Duff, Philip 

* •ludpe DcCou ilinl at liis lii>ini> iii'ur l)><si:in I'liily in lOIS. 


Husted,* Andrew Stewart and John W. Smith. About that time Dr. Riddle, an 
Ohioan, settled in Moneek. Dr. A. B. Hanna followed a year or two later, and 
succeeded Boughner as postmaster, holding the office until it was thrown up. 

"Tn 1853 Geo. \\'. Esty settled there. He came from New York, and found 
the village to consist of eight dwellings, one saw mill owned and operated by 
Abner DeCou, one blacksmith shop, worked by John Duff, Jr., two stores 
kept by James F. Andrews and George Crawford; a shoe shop and postoffice, 
managed by Boughner, and two liquor saloons, one kept by George Crawford as 
an adjunct to his store, and the other by a man named Walker, who enlisted when 
the war broke out, and died in battle. 

"Moneek's decline began in 1855. Judge DeCou saw it coming in 1854, and 
sold his 160 acre claim adjoining the plat for $1,800. The tax list of 1855 shows 
that the Aloneek merchant's assessment was $800 for four lots ; and Abner 
De Cou's tavern was valued at the same figure. In Decorah, at that time, there 
were only four assessments of greater amount, and two others only equaled it. 
The causes for its decline were few and simple. Settlers were thronging into 
the country, and opening other sections. Post routes and lines of communica- 
tion were being established. Nature was rather against Moneek. It was nestled 
away in the valley of the Yellow river, surrounded by mountainous hills, and 
not easy of access. In the meanwhile, a busy, bustling fellow named Frank 
Teabout had settled on the ridge, and when the "state road' was run he was 
looking after his interests. The line was established on the ridge ; Frankville 
sprang into existence ; and ere they knew it the great tide of emigration which 
set in was sweeping by them, along the ridge road, but bringing no grist to be 
tolled and ground for the benefit of Moneek. Those who were in trade one by 
one sold out, or abandoned the place : and by the time it was ten years old it 
was indeed a deserted village. Early in the sixties its postoffice was thrown up." 

Early historians have never dwelt with much certainty upon just how the 
county seat contest was won by Decorah. It was said that the secret was locked 
in the memory of one man and we have reason to regard this as true. In fact, 
we know it is truth. That man was the late Claiborn Day, oldest son of Mr. 
and Mrs. William Day. Long years after the contest he divulged the story 
to a chosen few of his most intimate and trusted friends, exacting from them a 
promise that not until after his death was the story to be released. The story 
of the contest was related by Attorney ^I. A. Harmon and printed in the Decorah 
Republican early in 1910, a few weeks subsequent to Mr. Day's death. It is 
as follows : 

"If you examine the written history of Decorah you will find 'An Organizing 
Act' was passed by the Iowa Legislature on January 15, 1851, approved by the 
Governor, and became a law ; that by the provisions of this law 468,000 acres, 
bounded on the north by Minnesota ; on the east by Allamakee county ; on the 
south by Fayette county and on the west by Howard and Chickasaw counties, 
constituted Winneshiek county, with John L. Carson as organizing sheriff, 
directing him to set stakes to points contending for county seats, viz : At or 
near Louisville, on the Turkey river; at Moneek (then known as McSwain's 
Mill); and at Decorah on the Upper Iowa river; the election to be held on 

* Philip Husted is still living, his home beinn- in Decorah (August 3.3, 1913). 

Vol. I— .=) 


ihe first Monday in April, 185 1. Much excitement prevailed in the hamlet 
of Decorah, then consisting of a few houses. Its future was apparently in danger. 
The southern part of the county being more thickly settled — emigration having 
followed the 'Military Road" to a great extent — Decorah with all its natural 
advantages for a city was nearly off the map, with the chances favoring Moneek 
as the county seat. Poll books were prepared for the election that had been 
ordered. At this time Claiborn Day, then about twenty-five years of age, strong, 
vigorous, energetic and public spirited, with some schooling and a great deal 
of knowledge of men, their hopes, fears, desires and weaknesses, though not 
gifted with what was known as the gift of gab, but shrewd, methodical and 
resourceful (which was afterward proven), commenced to take part in the 
proceedings for the location of the county seat at Decorah, in the face of what 
seemed to be overwhelming odds. When the poll books for the voters of Lewis- 
ton and Moneek were ready a messenger was sought to convey them to their 
respective destinations. Finally at the instance of Mr. Day a grizzled trapper 
named Wiggins was presented to the organizing sheriff for that purpose, and 
higtily recommended as a trustworthy person. He appeared to be capable to 
carry the books, and as the roads at that time were not the best, with the 
attendant dangers of crossing streams, Wiggins was considered a reliable 
messenger. It is needless to say he had been royally entertained by llie select 
coterie and his expenses had been provided for his journey, no small amount 
cither. He was admonished by Mr. Day when he had obtained possession of 
the poll books, that, in crossing a stream, should the Injoks be washed away, 
he was all right, but if, by any chance, there was a question wiiether it should 
be the loss of his horse (ir the i)oll liuoks, to lie sure and save the horse. Willi 
the parting information that if he betrayed the trust reposed in him he was 
liable to be shot by any resident of Decorah, he started for Moneek and Lewislon. 
"In the meantime the organization of the voters and electioneering of settlers 
in that section of the county went merrily on, the residents promising to support 
Moneek as a unit. liright and early the first Monday of .Vpril 185 1. the settlers 
about Moneek began to appear for election. Many came from Fayette county, 
afterward claimed as visitors only. The o])position charged bad faith. Be 
this as it may, there was much handshaking; old jokes and new were exchanged, 
and nnich i)oasting of the result of election was indulged in, accompanied by 
the comment generally 'of course Moneek would win,' etc. Time was hardly 
felt to be passing until eleven o'clock, dinner was thought of and a hustle was 
made for grub, .\fter diimer the fiuestion arose, where were the ]ioll i)ooks? 
Two o'clock, no books had appeared. It occurred to someone, more wise than 
the rest, that unless they got to voting pretty soon it would be too late. The 
owners of the tovvnsite of Moneek, residents and \i)tcrs, were mostly from 
Canada, and totally unacquainted with our forms of law and procedure. I'inally, 
in their des])eration, no ])oll books having arrived or likely to, an attempt was 
made to hold an election, but when the returns were ni.nle out no one could 
understand what they were, or wiio \oted, or for what. It has been said of 
this report, 'You would not know what it was if you met it in the road.' The 
returning board rightfully threw it out. and Decorah was selected as the county 
seat. The margin was dangerous, as it was generally expected that Decorah would 
be beaten. 


"About four o'clock on that same election day in April, 1851, there appeared 
a grizzled trapper at Fort Atkinson, with a wet, dripping, lame horse, and told 
a weird tale of how he had lost some poll books while crossing a stream, and 
nearly lost his life. Had it not been for the exertions of his horse he would 
have been drowned in the quicksands, and he did not know where the poll books 
had been washed to, or where they were. He was of the human flotsam and jet- 
sam of those days, disappeared, and was never afterward heard of, either in 
Decorah or in this county. 

"The county seat election had engendered ill feelings, and left scars that 
seemingly would not heal, and Decorah's fight was not yet over. Freeport, 
which had been settled by men of enterprise, knowing of the soreness of the 
disgruntled ones, saw an opportunity to obtain their aid, and surely expected to 
change the location of the county seat to that place. 

"By the old law, in order to get a vote on the question of the relocation of 
the county seat, it was necessary to obtain an act of Legislature, authorizing such 

"At the election in the fall of 1854 the adherents of Freeport forced the 
issue on the election of the member of the Legislature. Decorah had a candidate 
and Freeport was represented by Hon. James D. McKay, who was overwhelm- 
ingly elected, and the friends of that locality were consequently jubilant. During 
the 1854-5 session of the Iowa Legislature Claiborn Day had occasion to visit 
Des Moines, and spent the time there during the session. He had good friends 
in the Legislature, among others the late Judge Ruben Noble, and before the 
session was over he had become personally acquainted with every member of 
the House and Senate. While it did not appear that he was endeavoring to 
work any member, his apartments were always open to all the influential mem- 
bers who cared to resort with their kindred spirits. Oyster suppers were the 
rule, with something on the side for those with a chronic thirst, to while away 
the time and drive dull care away after the arduous lal^ors of the day. Someone 
would start something, sometimes the stakes were high and sometimes low, 
to suit the financial conditions of those engaged. It was near the end of the 
session when the residents of Freeport, becoming uneasy about the situation, 
sent a delegation consisting of B. O. Dahly and A. P. Leach to Des Moines to 
do missionary work for their cause. The speaking member of the delegation 
not being advised of the temperament of the members, or the conditions existing, 
made a red hot, stereotyped temperance oration, which did not find favor with 
the members, and acted as a wet blanket upon the river statesmen. 

"When the vote was called and recorded it showed a large majority against 
ordering an election to change the county seat from Decorah. You can imagine 
the surprise, chagrin and disappointment of the member from Winneshiek county! 
He was, in fact, a broken-hearted politican, with no excuse to offer to his con- 
stituents. However, a bill was passed to meet this and other similar cases, 
where there had been frequent strife elsewhere in the state, which authorized a 
relocation on petition of a majority of the electors, the number of voters at the 
proceding election lacing taken as a basis. 

"In February, 1856, the Freeport adherents, smarting under the Legislature 
defeat, presented to Judge David Reed a petition for an election, signed by a 
majority of the previous election which showed 420 voters. 


"It was known that Judge Reed was a firm friend of Decorah, an honest 
man with a good idea of right and wrong, to which might be added the quaHfica- 
tions of a good fellow, much more than a familiarity with Blackstone or Kent. 

"To meet this petition, a remonstrance was formulated, which, after it had 
been signed by all the friends of Decorah that could be reached through the local 
pride, promises, bribes or cajolery, was taken by Day to Fort Atkinson, where 
there was a resident, at that time, who was expert with the pen (said to be a 
Canadian), who made signatures thereon for a part of the day and most of 
the night, signing all the names he could think of, in different colored inks, many 
copied from 'Wild Cat' bills, others from bank notes, old deeds, or bonds, with 
occasionally an inscription from a tombstone in Northern New York or Canada. 
When completed the remonstrance contained about 800 names written on fools- 
cap paper, pasted together at the ends, making a very imposing roll nearly 
forty feet in length. History states that Wm. Painter was oft"ered the flattering 
and honorable position of presenting the remonstrance, and swearing, so far 
as he knew, the signers were residents of the county. And, so far as he knew, 
they were, without a doubt. It is history, too, that the case was argued, Levi 
Bullis appearing for the petitioners and E. E. Cooley appearing for the remon- 

"After the arguments were heard. Judge Reed carefully examined the peti- 
tion for an election. On being handed the remonstrance he commenced to unroll 
and examine the signatures of his neighbors and friends that were familiar 
to him, with more in sight, and kept unrolling until he reached the wall of the 
room, and then had to turn. After a mature deliberation the learned Judge 
decided that the 'remonstrance appeared to have a large majority, almost two 
to one, I should judge, and I therefore decide to grant no election." 

"Freeport. ever tenacious, was not satisfied and again in July of the same 
year appeared with another petition, asking for the election, which was met b\- 
the same tactics as on the previous occasion, and suft'ered the same fate, and the 
matter was finally settlctl on a writ of certiorari by the decision of Judge Mur- 
dock, of the District Court, allirming' the decision of the county court. 

"The following year the building of the Cdurl House was commenced, and 
this contest was forever ended." 

Decorah has since rcniaincil in undisputed possession of the county seat, 
but not without being given a scare by Calmar in 1898, when a proposition was 
placed before the peoijle to vote funds to erect a new courthouse. Calmar 
citizens subscribed $25,000 to liuild a courthonse if the county seat was trans- 
ferred to their town, but the jiroposition failetl to get a vote, it has always been 
contended by the knowing ones that Calmar's activity at that time started as a 
joke. However that may l)e, it was not so regarded l)y .1 m.-ijority of those out- 
side the two towns most vitally interested. 

With the organization of the county comjileted there naturally followed a 
sub-division into townships. This was n')t done at once, however. The first 
election after the organizing election was held in .April. 1852. and by order of 
court the polling places were designated as follows : 

Precinct No. i, at house of Wm. Day, Decorah. 

Precinct No. 2, at house of I-'rancis Rogers, Lewiston. 

Precinct No. 3, at the house of John DeCou, Moneek. 





Referring to Alexander's History of Winneshiek County, we find that in 
July following "the division line between precincts 2 and 3 was changed and made 
to run between ranges 7 and 8," thus throwing, as the record says, one more tier 
of townships into the third precinct. From this I infer that the third precinct 
originally consisted of what is now known as Bloomfield and Frankville town- 
ships, and was six miles wide, east and west, and twelve long. Precinct No. 2 
covered three times as much territory, and was eighteen miles wide, and twelve 
long. This left all the remainder of the county in precinct No. i. March i, 
1853, the latter was so divided up as to make what is now Canoe. BlutYton and 
Orleans townships, with the townships north of them, precinct No. 4. February 
5, 1854, what are now Military and Springfield were divided from Washington 
(now named for the first time) and created township (not precinct) No. 5. 

"March 6, 1854, township 98, range 7, was separated from 'Decorah Pre- 
cinct," and was called township No. 6. It is now known as Glenwood. 

"March 11, 1855, 'Burr Oak Precinct' was divided, and the entire tier on the 
north line of the county was called Burr Oak. The remaining part of the pre- 
cinct was named Canoe. At the same session of the county court, township 99, 
range 10, was set ofi and given the name of Pilot Grove. 

"On the tax list of 1855, proper names are given to each of these precincts. 
Precinct No. i had become Decorah, CTlenwood, Canoe, Burr Oak and Pilot 
Grove; township No. 2 appears as Bloomfield and Summit (now Frankville), 
and No. 3 had been divided into Military and \\'ashington ; but no record other 
than I have quoted appears upon the court minutes as to these and subsequent 
changes. According to the tax lists, in 185(1 Pleasant township took its name 
and place, in 1858 Summit had become Frankville, and Pilot Grove, Orleans; 
Springfield had been separated from Military, Calmar and Sumner from Wash- 
ington, and Hesper and Fremont from Burr Oak. In i860 Madison was taken 
from Decorah, and Highland divided from Pleasant; and in 1862 the symmetry 
of all the townships was completed by the division of Lincoln from Sumner, and 
Jackson from W'ashington." 

It will be noted that the early designation of these townships was by pre- 
cinct number. The records do not disclose the use of names for townships 
until 1854. 


With the organization of the county perfected, and the location of the county 
scat disposed of — temporarily at least — the thoughts of the settlers turned to 
county officers, and an election was called to be held on August 4, 185 1. Alex- 
ander's History says that "according to the best information obtainable a well 
attended caucus was held in the log cabin of Nelson Johnson, in the southern 
corner of Decorah township." That the settlers lined up on opposing sides is 
shown by the fact that there was a contest for each office with the result that— 
David Reed was chosen county judge over J. R. Morse. George Bachel defeated 
James F. Moore for sheriff. Francis Rogers won out for supervisor over William 
Vail. Tohn W. Kline defeated R. G. Nuvland for surveyor. Daniel Kuykendahl 
was elected recorder and treasurer over Philip Morse. E. W. Aldrich defeated 
D. Bender for coroner. 

A total of eighty-two votes were cast and the election was conducted by Isaac 
Underbill, F. Joseph Huber and Joseph Brown, who served as judges. 

W'hile he was elected for a term of two years, through a chain of circum- 
stances related below. Judge Reed continued in office until 1855. In 1853 
Toseph Gibbons and J. T. Atkins were candidates for the judgeship. On the 
face of the returns Gibbons had ten majority, but friends of Atkins contested 
the election and the case was heard before Judge Reed. The testimony disclosed 
that the trustees of Bloomfield township changed the polling place from Moneek 
to Castalia without giving proper notice. Thirteen voters testified that they went 
to Moneek to vote and, not having been advised of the change, were deprived of 
their right, adding that they would have voted for Atkins. In place of throwing 
out the vote of Bloomfield township. Judge Reed set aside the election of judge, 
declaring no one elected. As Judge Reed was elected to serve until his successor 
was elected and qualified, no vacancy was created, — hence he continued in 
office until after the next regular election, which was in the fall of 1855. 

It is not disclosed why a full compliment of officers was not elected in 
August, 1851, but it seems from tlie records that it was not until April, 1852, 
that the offices of School Fund Commissioner and Clerk of Courts were filled 
by the election of N. S. Gilbert and W. F. Kimball, the defeated candidates 



being John McKay and James B. Schenck. In the same election James B. 
Chase was elected Coroner over Wni. Painter. A total of i8o votes were cast. 

It is related in Alexander's History that "at first the amount that the officers 
received on their salaries depended on the amount of fees received; for from 
the first the Judge, Clerk and Treasurer were accustomed to meet at stated 
intervals, each reporting the fees he had received, and then the money would 
be divided between them. The Treasurer would also report the cash in the 
Treasury, which would be divided with equal ini])artiality ; then County Judge 
Reed would issue county warrants to each one fur the balance found due. As 
soon as taxes were levied and collected this system ceased." 

In the August election of 1852 M. B. Derrick was elected Clerk of District 
Court, James D. McKay was elected Prosecuting .\ttorney and H. K. .\\erill. 
Surveyor. One hundred and fifty votes were cast. 

In April, 1853, the fourth election occurred, with 224 votes cast. Aaron 
Newell was elected Clerk; N. S. Gilbert, Treasurer and Recorder; H. K. Averill, 
Surveyor; J. F. Moore, Drainage Commissioner; A. H. Fannon, Coroner. 

The semi-yearly elections during the first three years showed peculiar fluctua- 
tions in vote as is noted by a falling off of fifty-one between April and .\ugust, 
1853. 1" the latter contest 173 votes were cast. N. S. Gilbert was re-elected 
Treasurer and Recorder, and Elijah Middlebrook, Surveyor, without opposition, 
lames F. Moore was elected Sherifl" but failed to qualify, and Judge Reed 
declared the office vacant and apiinintcii W ni. 1''. Kimball. Samuel Kendall was 
elected Coroner. 

The April election of 1S34 witnessed several changes in the personnel 
of county officers. John McKay was re-elected School Fund Commissioner, 
James \'an Pelt was defeated for sheriff by IClijah Middlebrook. Nelson Burdick 
was elected Treasurer and Recorder over W'm. F. Kiml)all, and W'm. Painter 
was chosen Drainage Commissioner. 

James D. McKay, who had been elected Prosecuting Attorney in 1852, was 
elected as member of the lower house of the Iowa Legislature in .August, 1854. 
.Alljert B. Webber was elected to fill the attorneyship, hut he failed to (jualify. 
Dryden Smith. a])pointed to till vacancy, resigned, and J. F. Atkins accejited 
aiipointmeiit and served out the term. 

Readers i)f to-day need not think that tiie discussion of prohibition is a 
thing of recent (leveloj)mcnt. The jirincipal feature of the contest in \\'iiuie- 
shiek county in the election of .\pril, 1855, was this same (juestion of prohii)ition, 
and the anti-iirohibition adlicrents only won out by the meagre majority of two, 
the vote standing lOij against and if>7 for proiiii)ition. 

This same coiUest witnessed the introduction of two young attorne\s into 
lite ])olitiial life of the county — men who were subsequeiuly to become important 
factors in the i)ui)lic life of the community. In May, 1854, Levi Bullis came to 
Decorah. He was a native of Plattsburg, New York, and beside being endowed 
with a good education he possessed the fighting spirit of the successful lawyer. 
In October of the same year another New Yorker, Ezekiel E. Coolcy also found 
Decorah a goodly place to locate. He, too, was well educated, and though no 
less a fighter than .Mr. P.ullis. his manner was in marked contrast, being smooth 
and polished, whereas his fellow lawyer was more of the rough and ready tyjie. 
Both were candidates for Prosecuting Attorney in this election, Mr. Cooley being 


returned a winner. Mr. Cooley subsecjuentl_y served the county in the Legislature, 
being elected in 1857. He was appointed judge of the Tenth Judicial district 
by Governor Gear in 1879, was re-elected in 1880 for one term, and again in the 
ninties was elected Judge of the Thirteenth District, serving with great credit, 
ile was also postmaster of Decorah in 1861-63. 

Air. Bullis never achieved but one success as a candidate for office, being 
elected as a member of the first Board of Supervisors in i860, but as a lawyer 
he won a wide following and enjoyed the patronage of a large clientage. 

What has hitherto been called the eighth election, but in fact was the ninth, 
was held August 6th, 1855. Nelson Burdick was re-elected Treasurer and 
Recorder: lames \'an Pelt, Surveyor, and Philip IMorse, Coroner. On the ist 
of April following Aaron Newell resigned and Nathaniel Otis succeeded him 
by appointment as Clerk of the district court. 

But one office was voted on at the spring election in 1856, and J. E. B. 
]^Iorgan was elected School Fund Commissioner in a field of four contestants. 
There were 816 votes cast, showing that the county was sustaining a healthy 
growth in population. The abolishment of the office of School Fund Commis- 
sioner during Mr. ^Morgan's term eliminated it from politics, but there were 
enough other offices to make elections exceedingly interesting. 

Another office that was abolished along about this time was that of liquor 
agent. It was the duty of this officer to see that traffic in liquors was confined 
strictly to sales for medicinal purposes. L. Butler, who held the office, resigned 
on June 26, 1856, and Dr. H. C. Bullis filled out the unexpired term. The office 
was then discontinued. 

The election of August, 1856, was an important one to Winneshiek county 
as it marked her break into the ranks of senatorial representation. The county 
was a portion of the Thirty-Fourth Senatorial district composed of Allamakee, 
Floyd, Howard, ]\Iitchell, and Winneshiek. The total vote enrolled was 2,331 
?nd T- T. Atkins, who has been nominated by the republicans, was elected by a 
majority of 883 votes, or 167 more than the total vote of his opponent, Edward 
Ellis. L. W. Griswold was elected Prosecuting Attorney and Nathaniel Otis 
was re-elected Clerk of district court in a three-cornered fight, his opponents 
being D. H. Hughes and G. W. Esty. 

The first special election in the county was held on October 10, 1856, when 
a proposal to vote $100,000 to aid in the construction of the Northwestern rail- 
road was carried by a vote of 926 to 505. The road was never built. 

At the election held in April, 1857. James B. Smith was elected sherifif, 
George N. Holway, County Assessor, and James E. Simpson, Drainage Com- 

In July, 1857, L. W. Griswold resigned as Prosecuting Attorney and Dryden 
Smith was appointed to fill the vacancy. In the election of August following 
he was elected for a full term, but the office was abolished during the succeeding 
winter. The reason for Mr. Griswold's resignation is seen in his candidacy for 
the office of County Judge. He was elected over J. A. Tupper who had also 
been his unsuccessful opponent in the attorneyship contest of the year previous. 
In this election Nelson Rurdick was re-elected Recorder and Treasurer for the 
third term. L. W. Ludlow was chosen County Surveyor, and Amos Hoag, Coroner. 


With the creation of the office of county superintendent of public instruction 
the schools were placed on a more substantial footing. Dr. H. C. BuJlis was 
elected to fill the office for the term beginning immediately after the election 
of April 14, 1858. This was the forerunner of a long public service in which 
Dr. Piullis was chosen to occupy various positions of importance and tru.^i. In 
1865 he was elected to the Iowa Senate and served four years. In 1871 he was 
elected Lieutenant Governor. President Grant in 1876 appointed him a member 
of the commission that negotiated the purchase of the Black Hills territory from 
the Sioux Indians; in iSSo he was elected Mayor of Decorah, serving two 
terms, and he was postmaster of Decorah under lienjamin Harrison's admin- 

In the election of October, 1858, over 1,300 votes were cast, which would 
indicate a population of between 6,000 and 7,000 people in the county. S. W. 
Paul was elected clerk of district court, and J. E. Simpson, county surveyor. 

The successful candidates in the elections of 1859 were Erick Anderson, 
sheriff: S. W. Mattison, clerk; T. W. Ijurdick. recorder and treasurer; H. 
K. Averill, surveyor; John R. Howard, coroner: W. F. Coleman, county super- 
intendent. In November, i860, S. W . Maitison was re-elected clerk of di.strict 
court. Up to and including the year i860 the county judge had the direction of 
the expenditure of much of the county money and also performed the duties of 
county auditor. In this year the administration of county affairs was ])laced 
in the hands of a ]:)oard of supervisors composed of one member fr(ini cacli town- 
ship. This body organized in January, 1861, while the county court was retained 
to handle jjroljate and similar matters. The records show that the county court 
continued until January i, 1869, when it was superceded by the circuit court 
system. Between January i, i860, and the discontinuance of the ol'tice the fol- 
lowing served as county judges: 1860-61, I). H. Hughes; 1862-1863. John 
DeCou; 1864-1867, G. R. Willett; 1868, E. Cutler. Mr. Cutler, ujion retiring 
for the judgeship became ex-ofilicio county auditor and was sui)se(iuentl\' re- 
elected twice. 

With the election of i860 there came a regularity in service in the county 
offices tiiat permits a record that is more concise than the foregoing. 


Beginning willi E. Cutler the record reads as follows: E. Cutler, 1869 to 
1873; 11. A. Higlow. 1873 lo I'^/S: !'• '■■ H''''^'. '^75 '" ''^i^' : ''"• J'-- Egge, 1881 
to 1885; J. W. Daubney. 1S85 to 1893: ( ). e'. Johnson, 1893 to 1891); F. .\. 
Masters, 1899 to 19(35; I. l.innevold, 1905 to 191 1 : F-. W. Christoi)her, iwn to 
1912. W. R. Shea, elected in November, hh-', and entered ujion his duties 
January i, 1913. 


S. W. Mattison, who first election brought him into office January 1, i860, 
served until 1867. Dan Lawrence. 1867 to 1869; M. P. llalliaw.ay, 1869 to 
1871 ; S. E. Tubbs, 1871 to 1875; ^- W. Brownell. 1875 to 1877; E. B. Hutchinson. 
1877 to 1881 ; M. W. Harden, i88r to 1S84; N. H. Nelson, 18S4 to 1891 ; E. 


D. Field, 1891 to 1S93; Henry Elvidge, 1893 to 1899; A. L. Haakenson, 1899 
to 1905; S. E. Brickner, 1905 to 1911. Olai Kallivang, elected in November, 
1910, re-elected in 1912, now serving his second term. 


Erick Anderson, elected in 1859, served until 1863. He was succeeded by the 
following: Armund Arneson, 1863 to 1867; A. S. Skofstad, 1867 to 1869; Knut 
Thompson, 1869 to 1873; C. H. Hitchcock, 1873 to 1875; J. H. Womeldorf, 
1875 to 1879; DeWitt C. Moore, 1879 to December 8, 1881. H. M. Langland 
appointed December 8, 1881, to fill vacancy; elected in November, 1882, again 
in 1883, 1885 and 1887. O. N. Norgard, 1890 to 1894; Clarence Christen, 1894 
to 1902; George Mizener, 1902 to 1907; T. J. Qualley, 1907 to 1913. L. J. 
Flemming, elected in November, 1912, began service January i, 1913. 


T. W. Burdick elected in i860 and re-elected in 1861, resigned in 1862 to 
enlist in the army, and was succeeded by appointment by G. R. Willett who filled 
out the term. Then followed: A. K. Bailey, 1863 to 1865; G. N. Holway, 
1865 to 1869; G. T. Lommen, 1869 to 1873; Edwin Klove, 1873 to 1882; N. H. 
Adams, 1882 to 1884; C. E. Meader, 1884 to fall of 1887; A. W. Brownell, 
elected to fill vacancy in 1887 and for full term, re-elected in 1889; Henry Yager, 
1892 to 1894; L. B. Whitney, 1894 to 1898; VV. O. Nordheim, 1898 to 1902; 

E. R. Haines, 1902 to 1908. G. Jorgenson entered upon his first term January 
I, 1908, re-elected in 1910 and 1912. Now serving his third term. 


Up to 1864 the Recorder's duties were performed by the County Treasurer. 
In that year the two offices were separated and John E. Powers was elected as 
Recorder. He was re-elected in 1866 and served until January i, 1869, the suc- 
cessors being as follows: Cyrus McKay, 1869 to 1875; Chas. Steen, 1875 to 
1878; Wm. Fannon, 1878 to 1883; M. A. Harmon, 1883 to 1889; T. F. Auch- 
moody, 1889 to 1897; N. N. Quandahl, 1897 to 1899; C. H. Lawrence, 1899 to 
1905; H. S. Stinson, 1905 to 1911 ; Allen Wise elected in November, 1910, entered 
upon his duties January i, 191 1, re-elected in November, 1912. 


As mentioned in a preceding portion of this chapter Dr. H. C. Bullis was 
the first County Superintendent of schools. There succeeded him: J. M. Wedge- 
wood, 1S64 to 1872; Henry T. Toye, 1872 to 1874; G. N. Holway, 1874 to 1876; 
Nels Kessy, 1876 to 1882; J. A. Klein, 1882 to 1884; Dan Shea. 1884 to 1890; 
H: L. Colifeen, 1890 to 1896; G. O. Haugen, 1896 to 1900; E. J. Hook, 1900 to 
1909; S. Reque, 1909 to 1913; H. E. Miller, 1913 — now serving first term. 
The 35th General Assembly made this office appointive on a basis of qualification. 



James E. Simpson, elected in 1859, served iimil Jamiary i, 1862. E. Baldwin, 
T862 to 1870; W. C. Adsit, 1870 to 1876; J. L. Cameron, 1876 to 1880; R. 
B. Caldwell, 1880 to 1882; J. L. Cameron, 1882 to 1896; C. E. Schenck, 1896 
to November i, 1905; F. E. Cratsenberg, appointed to fill vacancy November 
14, 1905, resigned in April, 1906. Elected in November, 1906, and again in 
1908, serving until September i, 1910, when he resigned. H. L. Coffeen appointed 
April 12, 1906, to fill vacancy, served until January 7, 1907. W. M. Lee, appointed 
September 10, 1910, to fill vacancy; elected for full term beginning January i, 
1911, in November, 1910. The oflice was abolished during his term. Mr. Lee 
has since served by appointment as County Engineer, the title by which the 
surveyor is now known. 


John Howard served from i860 to 1862; Cyrus McKay, 1862 to 1872; F. 
W. Knox, 1872 to 1874; A. C. Fcrren. 1874 to 1876; A. H. Fannon, 1876 to 
1878: E. Mather. 1878 to 1882; Dr. W. F. Coleman, 1882 to 1888: W. U. Toye, 
1888 to 1890; A. C. Ferren, 1890 to 1892; E. Mather, 1892 to 1893: Dr. E. 
^L Heflen, 1893 to 1894; R. E. Gibson, 1894 to K)oo; Dr. P. M. Jewell, 1900 
to 1907; Dr. A. J. Swezey. 1907 to 1913; Dr. M. V>. Jewell. 11)13 — serving his 
first term. 


L'nder an act of Legislature in iSfo the atTairs of the couiUy were jilaced 
under the management of a Board of Supervisors consisting of one member from 
each township. This system proved cumbersome, but in spite of that fact it held 
sway until 1870 when what is known as the County Commission System was 
inaugurated with, the county divided into districts. During the first two years 
there were three districts in \\'inncshick, hut in 1S72 they were increased to five 
districts com]jrised as follows: 

First District — Bloomfield, Military, Springfield, Frankville. 

.Second District — Washington, Jackson, Sumner, Calmar. 

Third District — Lincoln, Bluft'ton, Orleans, Hurr Oak, I-"reni<>nt. 

Fourth District — Pleasant, Canoe, Mighland. iiesper. (ilenwoixl. 

Fifth District — Decorah, Madison. 

M. .'^. Drnry, (ieorgc C. \\ insliip and A. .\rncson comjirised tlie first board. 
Their terms were arranged to expire at dift'erent times so as to avoid the possi- 
bility of an inexperienced set of men being clmsen to assume the management 
of county afifairs. 

As stated above, the Board was increased to five members by the election 
of 1872. M. S. Drury was re-elected and Florcnzo G. Hale and Charles Sydow 
were chosen as the new members. Since that year the several distr-jts have been 
served in order by the following men : 





Turner Callendar, elected in 1875; George Merrill, elected in 1878; E. S. 
Lambert, elected in 1S80; O. T. Lommen, elected in 1881 ; E. Schoonmaker, 
elected in 1884, re-elected in 1887; A. M. Anderson, elected in 1890; Geo. Allen 
elected in 1893, re-elected in 1896; M. J. Nicholson, elected in 1899, re-elected 
in 1902; George J. Cooper, elected in 1906, re-elected in 1908; Peter F. Meyer, 
elected in 1910, began serving January i, 1912. 


C. Meyers, elected in 1874; H. Giesen, elected in 1876; A. W. Brownell, 
elected in 1877, re-elected in 1880 and 1883; Peter Jacobs, elected in 1886; J. A. 
Giesen, elected in 1889, re-elected in 1892; J. J. Haug, elected in 1895, re-elected 
in 1898; M. A. Kubish, elected in 1901, re-elected in 1904; G. A. Meyer, 
elected in 1906. re-elected in 1910, term expires January i, 1914; J. P. Kuhn, 
elected in 1912, term begins January i, 1914. 


F. Brittain, elected in 1873; P. Morton, elected in 1875; S. G. Kendall, 
elected in 1878; A. Rice, elected in 1880; R. Barnes, elected in 1881 ; D. N. 
Hoyt, elected in 1884; George Johnson, elected in 1886; H. W. Masters, elected 
in 1887, re-elected in 1890; M. S. Lemon, elected in 1893; S. Magnus, elected 
in 1896; R. S. Wolfenberger, elected in 1899, re-elected in 1902; Martin Jones, 
elected in 1906, re-elected in 1908; Claude Morton, elected in 1910. 


O. W. EUingson, elected in 1876; Nels Larsen, elected in 1879, re-elected in 
1882; C. O. Maltby, elected in 1885, re-elected in 1888; A. T. Holton, elected 
in 1891, re-elected in 1894; O. L. Wennes, elected in 1897, re-elected in 1900; 
Edwin Hoover, elected in 1903; O. M. Seines, elected in 1906, re-elected in 
1908; A. P. Pfister, elected in 1912, began serving January i, 1913. 


G. C. Winship, elected in 1874; Jacob Jewell, elected in 1877: G. L. Wend- 
ling, elected in 1880; Jacob Jewell, elected in 1883. re-elected in 1886; D. N. 
Hoyt, elected in 1889, re-elected in 1892; John Greer, elected in 1895; C. O. 
Moore, elected in 1898, re-elected in 1901 ; B. E. Jewell, elected in 1904, re- 
elected in 1906; K. W. Knutson, elected in 1910, term expires January i, 1914; 
John S. Williams, elected in 1912, term begins January i, 1914. 


Heretofore we have referred to the office of County Judge. As already 
explained, up to i860 this office combined the functions of supervisor, county 


auditor, and the handling of probate matters. Superior to this office, and having 
charge of all classes of litigation in civil and criminal lines, was the District 
Court. One judge was required to do all the work, holding terms alternately 
in each county of the district. Winneshiek county was at first a part of the Second 
Pistrict, which embraced a large part of the state. 

As far as we are able to ascertain, the first term of District Court tor ^\'inne- 
shiek county coiucncd in Decorah on July u. 185J. wiili lion. Thomas S. Wilson 

In 1S54 Winneshiek county had become a part of the Fifth district, com- 
posed of Allamakee, Clayton, Chickasaw, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek 
and Samuel S. Murdock of Clayton county was elected in the fall of that year. 
Judge Murdock was followed in iS5g by Judge Elias A. Williams, also of Clay- 
ton, who served until 1S67. Mile McGlathery of Fayette county followed 
Judge Williams for two terms. Me proved most unpopular because of the 
peculiarity of some of his sentences in criminal matters, and in the election of 
^.874 when he was opposed by Ruben Noble, a staunch Clayton county democrat, 
he was easily defeated. Judge Xoble served from 1873 until late in 1S79, when 
he resigned, and E. E. Cooley of Decorah was appointed by Governor John 
H. Gear to till the vacancy. Judge Cooley assumed his duties in December, 1879, 
and was elected in 1880 to succeed himself. In the election of 1882 he was 
op]iosed by L. O. Hatch of McGregor who was electeil. and in 1886 and in 1890 
Mr. Match was re-elected. With the abolishment of the Circuit Court in 1887 
an increase in the number of districts made this the Thirteenth District. Judge 
Granger, who had been the presiding otVicer in the Circuit Court, became the 
associate of Judge Hatch on the District Court bench. In 1888 he was nominated 
by the republicans as a candidate for Judge of the Supreme Court, and as nom- 
ination was equivalent to election he resigned. L. V.. Fellows of Lansing was 
chosen to fill the vacancy, but in the election of 1S89 he was defeated by W. A. 
lloyt of Fayette. Five years later (1894) J"*^',?^ Fellows was again nominated 
by the republicans and Hon. A. X. Mobson of West Union was chosen as his 
running mate. They proved a popular pair and were re-elected. For term after 
term thereafter they were the choice of the electors, nuich of the time without 

In the early part of lou while holding court at Decorah, Judge Fellows 
ctMUractcd a severe cold which resulted in pneumonia. Although a man of 
advanced years, his rugged constitution enabled him to survive the attack, but 
while in a convalescent stage his heart showed symptoms of weakness and on 
July I7lh he passed away, full of years, honored and revered by all who knew him. 

.\ttorney \\". J. Springer of Xew Hampton was apjiointed by Governor 
Carroll to fill the vacancy until after election, and in the election of last fall 
he defeated D. J. Murphy of Waukon who opposed him. His term, and the 
term of Judge Hobson, will expire January i. 1015. 

Till-: (, IKl. I IT (. Dl Kl 

Work in District Court had so increased that during the session of the Twelfth 
General .\ssembly (in iS(i8^ the Circuit Court was created. This court exer- 
cised jurisdiction concurrent with the District Court in all civil and special pro- 


ceedings, and was the court of appeal from the findings of inferior courts, tribunals 
and officers in civil matters, as well as handling probate matters. The act of 
legislature was signed April 3, 1868, and the Circuit Court became operative Janu- 
ary I, 1869. 

M. \'. Burdick, then one of the most prominent members of the Winneshiek 
county bar, was elected as Judge of Circuit Court, serving for four years. He 
was succeeded in 1873 by C. T. Granger of Waukon, who was re-elected in 
1876, 1880, 1884. and again in 18S6. In 1887 the Circuit Court was abolished 
and the jurisdiction in all classes of cases — criminal, civil, and probate — as 
well as appeals from inferior tribunals, was assumed by the District Court. 


An adjunct of the District Court was the office of District Attorney. Orlando 
J. Clark and Cyrus Wellington, both well known attorneys of Decorah, served 
in this capacity, the former from 1874 to 1878, and the latter from 1879 to 1889, 
when the office was abolisherl and the office of county attorney was substituted. 


John B. Kaye of Calmar was the first to serve under this title. He was elected 
in the fall of 1886 and re-elected in 1888. In the election of 1890 he was defeated 
by M. J. Carter of Ossian. who held the office one term. The order of succession 
since 1892 has been as follows: E. P. Johnson, 1893 to 1899; N. Willett, 1899 to 
1905; \V. M. Strand, 1905 to 1909: N. Willett, 1909 to 1913. C. N. Houck was 
elected in November, 1912, and entered ujjon his duties January i, 1913. 


Any history of Iowa will tell the reader that up to 1863 the state had not 
acquired sufficient population to entitle us to more than two representatives in 

From the time the county was organized in 1851 up to 1863, Winneshiek was 
a part of the Second Congressional district, which was represented as follows : 

1 85 1 to 1853 — Lincoln Clark (democrat) of Duliuque. 

1853 to 1855 — John P. Cook (democrat) of Davenport. 

1855 to 1857 — James Thornington (republican) of Davenport. 

1857 to '^59 — Timothy Davis (.American) of Dubuque. 

1859 to 1863 — William Vandever (democrat) of Dubuque. 

From 1863 to 1881 Winneshiek county was a portion of the Third district. 
William R. .Allison, of Dubuque, was representative from 1863 to 1871, when he 
was elected United States Senator. 

At this time the Third district was composed of the counties of Allamakee, 
Buchanan. Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque. Fayette, and Winneshiek. 

W. G. Donnan of Independence (Buchanan county) succeeded Mr. Allison 
and was elected to the Forty-second and Forty-third congresses — 1871 to 1875. 

L. L. Ainsworth of West Union was elected over C. T. Granger of Waukon to 
the Forty-fourth Congress — 1875 to 1877. 


The campaign of 1876 was a memorable one in this district. At the Con- 
gressional convention at McGregor on September 6, Theodore W. Durdick of 
Decorah was nominated by the republicans. Opposed to him on the democratic 
ticket was J. M. Griffith of Dubuque, a man of considerable wealth as well as 
popularity, particularly in his home county, which normally gave and has since 
given a large democratic majority. The contest that ensued was one of the hot- 
test ever waged in Iowa. In every community and school room that was worth 
visiting meetings were held, the district was polled and repolled, checked and 
rechecked and the figures were so carefully tabulated that practically every voter 
was accounted for. At that time James E. Simpson was United States Revenue 
Collector at Dubuque, and. as a friend and co-worker with Mr. Burdick in the 
early days of Decorah and ^^'inneshiek county, he took an active interest in the 
contest. On the morning of election he appeared in Dubuque after devoting con- 
siderable time to a personal canvass of \\'inneshiek county and a visit to all parts 
of the district. 

"What will Winneshiek do for Rurdick?" he was asked. 

"Winneshiek county will give Theodore Burdick twelve hundred majority." 
replied Mr. Simpson. 

The Democrats gazed at him with wonder and incredulity, and when the fuli 
import of his statement began to sink in there was a panic in the Griffith camp. 
Every effort was made to secure some contradictory evidence with which to 
bolster up the democratic hope, but when the returns were all in it was shown that 
Mr. Burdick had been elected by a majority of 1267 in the district, his majority 
in Winneshiek county being 1265. Mr. Burdick served with credit during the 
Forty-fifth Congress, but refused to consider a renomination. 

In 1878 Thomas Updegraft of McGregor was elected to the Forty-sixth Con- 
gress, and was re-elected to the Forty-seventh Congress in 1882. 

In 1881 the Legislature redistricted the state and Winneshiek became a por- 
tion of the Fourth Congressional district, the other units being Allamakee. Chick- 
asaw, Clayton, Fayette, Floyd, Howard, and Mitchell. 

In 1884 Mr. Updegraff was opposed by Luman H. Weller of Nashua. Mr. 
Weller had been a greenbacker and the democrats fused with the members of 
the party in his nomination. He was generally considered so erratic that his 
candidacy was looked upon as somewhat of a joke. However, Weller was undis- 
mayed, and while the republicans were laughing at him he was quietly making a 
house-to-house campaign that resulted in his election. He served only one term — 
during the Forty-eight Congress f 1885 to 1887) — being defeated in 1886 for the 
Forty-ninth Congress by William F. Fuller of West Union, who was re-elected to 
the Fiftieth session also. 

Joseph Swenev of Osage was the successful candidate in the election of 1888. 
He had for his opponent Professor Lars S. Reque, then as now a member of 
Luther College Faculty, Decorah. It was Mr. Sweney's misfortune to come into 
office with a change of administration. Grover Cleveland had been defeated by 
Benjamin Harrison and the distribution of political plums was the cause of Mr. 
Sweney's undoing, for two years later he was defeated by Walter H. Butler of 
Fayette county, who served during the Fifty-second Congress. 

In iSr)2 Thomas Updegraff again aspired to the republican nomination, se- 
cured it and was elected. He served in the Fifty-third, Fifty-fourth, and Fifty- 


filth Congresses. In 1898 a contest arose between Mr. Updegraff and James E. 
BIythe of Mason City for the nomination. In the nominating convention Gilbert 
N. Haugen of Northwood appeared with the support of his own (Worth) and 
Winneshiek counties, holding the balance of power. After a lengthy struggle the 
Updegraff forces finally threw their strength to Mr. Haugen and he received the 
nomination. He has been successively elected to the Eifty-sixth, Fifty-seventh, 
Fifty-eighth, Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth, Sixty-first and is now serving in the Sixty- 
second Congress. Winneshiek may justly claim some share in this representation 
because aside from the support he has received from our votes, Mr. Haugen was 
in his early manhood a resident of Madison township for several years. 

It is noteworthy that between 1863 and the present time this district has been 
represented by democrats in but three Congresses — the Forty-fourth by L. L. 
Ainsworth. the Forty-eighth by L. H. Weller, and the Fifty-second by Walt H. 
Butler. Mr. Weller comes under the democratic classification only because the 
members of that party endorsed his candidacy and helped elect him. He was a 
greenbacker or nationalist. 


The First Constitutional convention of Iowa met in the fall of 18-14 and was 
in session from October 7 to November i. Their labors did not prove eft'ective, 
the people rejecting the constitution adopted. 

The Second Constitutional convention was held in ^lay, 1846. and was in 
session from the 4th to the 19th. The Constitution then adopted received 1 
majoritv of 45^') in a total poll of 18.528 votes. The election was held August 
3d, 1846, and Iowa was admitted as a state on December 28. 1846. 

The Official Register of Iowa credits Winneshiek county with representa- 
tion in the Third Constitutional convention which convened on January 19, 1857. 
at Iowa City (then the state capitali. and adjourned ^larch 5, 1857. We were 
then a portion of the Forty-third district, which included Fayette, Bremer, Butler, 
Franklin, Grundy, Hardin, Wright, \\'ebster, Boone, Story, Green, Allamakee, 
Winneshiek and Humboldt counties. Sheldon W. Winchester was the representa- 
tive from this district. 

Prior to this convention Winneshiek county had acquired representation in the 
Legislature through the organization of the count)'. The most authoritative 
record of members from this district is found in the Official Register of Iowa. 

Representative James D. McKay was our first member of the House of Repre- 
sentatives, serving during the fifth session. The record does not disclose who 
served during the sixth session, hence we can only infer that Mr. McKay was 
re-elected. In this respect the record is incomplete. Beginning with the Seventh 
session the representation was as follows: Ezekiel E. Cooley, 7th; Amos Hoag, 
8th; William H. Baker, 9th: Ole Nelson, 9th, loth; James H. Brown, 10th, nth; 
Horace B. Williams, nth, 12th, 13th; Jeremiah T. Atkins, 12th; Anders O. Lom- 
men, 13th; Knut E. Bergh, 14th; Warren Danforth, 14th, [5th, i6th; John H. 
DeCou, 13th; Martin N. Johnson, ifith; Hiram C, Manning, 17th: Henry A. 
Baker, 17th, i8th; Levi M. Hubbell. i8th, 19th; Drengman O. Aaker, 19th, 20th; 
Nels Larson, 21st, 22d ; Jacob Jewell, 23d, 24th; William H. Klemme, 25th, 26th, 
27th; James S. Roome, 28th, 29th; Abraham Jacobson, 30th, 31st; Philo M. 
Jewell, 32d, 33d; Lauritz M. Enger, 34th. 35th. 


A sketch of Representative Enger will he found in the biographical volume 
of this work. 


As stated in a previous jjlace in this chapter, Jeremiah T. Atkins was the tirst 
direct senatorial representative that Winneshiek county had in the Legislature. 
He was elected in 1856 and served in the sixth and seventh sessions. George W. 
Gray of Lansing was the Senator from this district in the eighth session, but 
thereafter until 1SS5 Winneshiek county constituted a senatorial district, separate 
and distinct from all other counties. .Since the eighth session the succession has 
been as follows: Marvin \'. Purdick, 9th and loth; Henry C. Pulis, iith, 12th 
and 13th; C;. R. Willett, 14th. 15th and i6th: Martin .\. Johnson. 17th and i8th; 
Henry A. Baker, 19th and 20th; Theodore W. Purdick, 21st; *Samuel .\. Con- 
verse, 22d; Ansel K. Bailey, 23d and 24th; *C. C. Upton, 25111 and 26th: *D. A. 
Lyons, 27th, 2Sth, 29th, 30th and 31st; *.Henry C. Burgess, 32d and 33d; Philo M. 
Jewell, 34th and 35th. 

Since 1885 Howard county has been linked with W'iinieshiek in the I'orty- 
second senatorial district. Those marked (*) were resident of Howard county. 
Dr. P. ^r. Jewell the present incumbent of the State Senatorshi]) was born 
in Mount \ernon, Knox county, Ohio, January i, 1848. His ])arents, who were 
of English and (_^erman descent, moved with their family to Carroll county, Illi- 
nois, in 1856. He grew to manhood on a farm and secured his education as a 
pupil in the Mount Carroll Seminary^ a private institution of learning, and later 
attended the Mount Carroll high school for a few terms. He began the study of 
medicine in 1870 in the medical department of the University of Michigan, from 
which institution he graduated in March, 1873. He has been continuously engaged 
in the practice of medicine and surgery ever since; for over six years in White- 
side county, Illinois, and since Xovember, 1880, in Winneshiek county, Iowa. 
He was married to Xama Livingston in 1875. They have three children, two 
daughters and a son. He has taken an active interest in politics for many years 
and was appointed a member of the United States Pension Board for Winneshiek 
county in 1897, which position he still fills. Senator Jewell is a republican in 

The present corps of officials of the county are as follows: County .\uditor, 
W. R. Shea of Decorah ; Deputy, E. C. Meyer of Calinar; County Treasurer, G. 
Jorgeson of Springfield ; Deputy, L. C. Christen of Decorah ; County Clerk, Olai 
Kallevang of (ilenwood : Deputy, Samuel Moore of Fremont ; County Attorney, 
C. X. Houck of Decorah: County Recorder, Allen Wise of Pleasant; SheritT, L. 
R. Fleming; Deputy, A. M. Morrison, both of Decorah; County Superintendent, 
H. E. Miller of Calmar; Deputy, Karen I'.randt of Decorah; County Engineer, 
Will !M. Lee; Deputy, Frank .\rneson, both of Decorah. 


First district, Peter 1". Meyer of Military; Second di-;trict, G. A. Meyer of 
Calmar (chairman); Third district, Claude Morion of Orleans; Fourth district, 
Alwin P. Pfistcr of Pleasant. Fifth district. K. W. Knutson of Decorah. 


The railroad history of Winneshiek county is confined largely to the operation 
of one company, though there have been a number of projects which did not get 
beyond the paper stage. Old settlers will tell you many interesting incidents of 
the days prior to 1870, when the larger part of their crops had to be hauled by 
ox team or horses to Lansing and McGregor. These are often referred to as 
"the good old days." H a man were fortunate the trip might be made in three 
days. During a part of that time, at least, he could consider himself exceedingly 
lucky if the money in which he was paid would pass current the day following 
for the amount it represented. Private bank bills were largely the medium of 
exchange until the passage of the National Bank Act in 1863 and it was an excep- 
tional bank whose strength enabled it to redeem its bills at face value. 

If one wished to go on a journey he had the alternative of three varieties of 
transportation, viz : by foot, by ox cart, or on stage coaches. The stage lines ran 
from McGregor and followed the military road established by teamsters plying 
between Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien and Fort Atkinson. The Decorah 
road branched off this side of Joel Post's (where Postville now .stands) and came 
up through Frankville township. From Decorah one road went w-est over Hog's 
Back (the north line of the farm of E. L. Beard & Son, a mile west of town), and 
was the thoroughfare to New Oregon and west toward Osage and Otranto. 
Another road led out of town to the northeast, crossing the river between the Ice 
Cave mill and the twin bridges and passed on up the ravine to what is now known 
as Clay Hill. This was the thoroughfare to St. Paul and such intermediate 
points as then existed. It can readily be inferred that of these there were a very 
small number and the hospitable log house of some settler was usually the hotel 
in which the weary traveler found shelter. Lucky indeed was he to be provided 
with a hoard floor for a bed and his coat for a pillow. 

The early settler is ever impatient for improved conditions and the people 
who came to Winneshiek county were no exception to the rule. They wanted 
transportation facilities, and their efforts to secure them were characteristic of 
the times. A glimpse of their efforts is disclosed in the chapter on railroad build- 
ing in Spark's History of Winneshiek County, as follows : 

In 1856 everything was booming. The abundant resources of a new country 
had reached a high state of development, money was plenty, and the prospects for 
the future bright. One thing alone seemed lacking to make the people perfectly 



satisfied willi their condition — better facilities for transportation, 'i'he time had 
passed when tlie jiroducts of the county could be transported sixty miles to mar- 
ket by ox teams without suffering much inconvenience and loss. The time had 
come when a railroad was a necessity. The railroad fever was raging throughout 
the West, and far-seeing ones realized the immense value that would sweep in on 
iron rails, drawn by the iron horse. After a due amount of talk and agitation, 
the Northwestern Railroad Company was formed. Decorah was its hea(k|uartcr.s, 
but they took in prominent citizens of Clinton. John Thompson, of Clermont. 
became president ; O. C. Tee, a banker at McGregor, secretary ; W. F. Kimball, 
of Decorah, treasurer; Fb. llaldwin, chief engineer, and E. E. Cooley, attornev. 
With a mighty faith in the future, lousiness men put down their names for stock 
by the thousand dollars' worth, and $80,000 of the capital was actually subscribed. 
Whether it all could have been paid for is another matter. With such a start as 
this, the company felt it could appeal to the public spirit of the people, and the 
county was asked to bond itself to the amount of $100,000. Strange as it niav 
seem to later comers, who worked and toiled to gather together the few thousands 
which the railroad actually cost when it did come, the people enthusiastically came 
forward and voted aye. The bonds w-ere printed after some delay, and were all 
ready to be formally signed, sealed and delivered, when the Supreme Court 
stamped the law under which the bonds were being put out. with the word "uncon- 
stitutional." The scheme collapsed, and the county was saved a burden of debt, 
which might have retarded its progress for all the years past, as well as scores 
to come. It is worthy of note that when the railroad did come to us it followed the 
line marked out by those pioneers, and proved that their plans were wise and far- 
sighted, if they were a dozen years ahead of the times. 

Several attempts were made before a railroad was finally built. The company 
to succeed was the McGregor Western. This company was organized January 
19, iSfiT,. The commencement of the road was at North McGregor. \\'ork was 
commenced in March, 1863, and in one year the road was in running order to 
Monona, fourteen and one-half miles. The work was com])leted to Postvillc in 
September. 1864. to Castalia in October, 1864, and to Conover in .\ugust. 1863. 

Decorah, at this date, had become a thriving inland city, well supported with 
newly started manufactories. Her citizens looked upon the road that was to pass 
them by with a covetous eye. Railroad connection, with river and lake transporta- 
tion, was necessary to the future ])ros|)erity of the place. This was readily com- 
prehended, and every cfTort was put forth by an energetic jieople to secure better 
transportation facilities. As a result, proi)osals were made to the managers of 
the McGregor Western Railway to build a branch line from Conover to Decorah. 
nine miles. The citizens of Decorah jiledged themselves to furnish $40,000. as a 
bonus, provided the company would build the nine miles of road, which the luan- 
agers agreed to do. Nearly $18,000 was jiaid in by the people of Decorah, and, on 
the other hand, the road was graded and bridged, ready for the superstructure. 
Hut the main line having been leased to the Milwaukee & Prairie du t'hien Com- 
pany, work on the branch was suspended in September, 1865. 

The road is now operated under the management of the Chicago. Milwaukee 
& St. Paul Railway Company, by which name it is known. The branch was com- 
pleted to Decorah in September, 1869, in accor<lance with the agreement made by 
the company with the citizens of Decorah. The event was one of great importance 





to the capital citv of the county. A day of celebration and rejoicing was given 
in honor of the event. Large crowds of people thronged to the city, and many 
availed themselves of the opportunity offered and made excursion trips to Con- 
over and back. 

For a time after the completion of the railroad to Conover that town was one 
of the most prosperous, thriving little cities in this part of Iowa. Great things 
were expected of it by the new residents and as a market place it outrivaled any 
of its neighbors. Its glory was short-lived, however. In 1866 the railroad was 
extended west and north into Howard county on its way to St. Paul, and Ridge- 
way came into existence. The same year that the brancli was completed from 
Conover to Decorah ( 1869), the road was extended westward from Calmar, and 
Fort Atkinson thereby secured closer relations with the world. 

During the succeeding ten years attempts were made to secure other railroads, 
but with negative results. In 1879 a narrow gauge road was built from a point 
below Lansing to Waukon. This line connected with the river road from Dubuque 
to LaCrosse which was operated under lease by the Chicago and Northwestern 
Railway. Seeing an opportunity to secure increased transportation facilities, on 
August 8, 1879. Decorah township voted a four per cent tax to aid in the extension 
of this line to Decorah. Frankville and Glenwood townships, through which the 
line would pass, refused to vote the tax. but the right of way was secured, grading 
was done, piers for bridges were erected, and the laying of rails had proceeded 
some distance beyond the confines of Waukon when orders were received to cease 
operations. The owners of the river road had offered to sell the property to the 
Chicago and Northwestern Company. They were slow in entering into the project 
and while a party of officials were out on a tour of inspection to determine its 
worth the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul officials bought the property. As 
they already had a standard gauge line running into Decorah it would complicate 
matters to extend the narrow gauge to this point. They could see no profit in a 
connection with the river road by this route, even if the line was made standard 
gauge, so they ordered the extension discontinued. 

As the line was never built to Decorah the tax was never collected, and the 
right of way reverted to the original owners. A few years ago portions of this 
grade were secured by the county for highway purposes. 

Another attempt to secure an outlet to the Mississippi river to connect with 
the Chicago and Northwestern near Lansing was made in 1881-82. At that time 
a five per cent tax was voted to the Upper Iowa and Mississippi Railway Company, 
but when it became evident that the attempt would be fruitless the company had 
the tax annulled. 

In the meantime some of the influential men of Decorah got in touch with 
the officials of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern and the Chicago, 
Rock Island and Pacific railway companies and opened negotiations for the exten- 
sion of the line of the former company from Postville to Decorah. The repre- 
sentatives of Decorah were promised the extension of the line on condition that 
a five per cent tax be voted to aid in the construction. Decorah voted the tax on 
.'\pril 4, 1882, but Military township voted against it. Litigation followed and 
through a technicality the tax was annulled. The road was built, however, com- 
mencing at a point three miles below Postville and running north through Bloom- 
field, Military and Springfield townships to Decorah, with Castalia and Ossian on 


the line. The town of Nordness was estabhshed in Springfield township. The 
line was completed into Decorah and the last spike driven on October 2^. 1884, 
and on November 20th a celebration of the event was held. A special train bear- 
ing officials of both the Rock Island and ISurlington. Cedar Rapids and Northern 
companies, and citizens of Cedar Rapids and the intermediate towns to the nimiber 
of several himdred, arrived in Decorah at noon, and the visitors were enter- 
tained at a banquet held in Steyer's Opera House. It was a gala occasion in which 
the citizens of Decorah and surrounding territory proved themselves most cordial 
hosts. Some years ago the road was absorbed by the Rock Island Railway, and 
the P)Urlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern company passed out of existence. 

While the southern part of the county was busy with the various projects 
heretofore mentioned, the northern part of the county was not idle. A road known 
as the Minnesota, Iowa and Southwestern was projected from LaCrosse to Charles 
City and Western low^a in 1881. Hesper, Burr Oak, and Bluffton townships voted 
tax aid to its construction, but a technicality in the manner of ordering the vote 
in Bluffton township made it illegal. In a new election in 1882 the project was 
defeated as far as the territory above referred to was concerned. The road was 
never built. 

In the latter eighties the Chicago, Burlington and Northern railway projected 
a line from New Albin. where thev intended to bridge the Mississippi river, across 
the northern part of Iowa. Their engineers made surveys across Allamakee county 
and through Winneshiek to a point about four miles northwest of Decorah. when 
they were withdrawn. The reason for abandoning the enterprise was never made 
known, but that it had been definitely decided upon at one time was assured in 
the statement of an official to a friend who was then one of Decorah's prominent 
business men. He had made several visits here and during the last one he said 
"The next time I come to Decorah I will ride on our own train." It was subse- 
quent to this visit that the survey was made. 

Another project on which considerable time and money was spent was the 
Decorah, Rochester and Red River \'alley line. The late William H. \'alleau. 
then a prominent citizen and former mayor of Decorah, was its moving spirit 
and devoted several years in an endeavor to finance it, even going to London in 
hope of enlisting English capital, but without success. 

The development of the interurban has given encouragement that still further 
transportation facilities may yet be our portion. A route for such a line was sur- 
veved from Chatfield to Decorah, some years ago, l^ut the one that holds out the 
most hope at the present time is the Minneajiolis, St. Paul. Rochester & Dubuque 
line, otherwise known as the "Dan Patch" line. .\ preliminary survey was made 
five years ago. The line was built and has been in operation from Minneapolis 
to Northfield, Minnesota, during the past two years, and is now being extended to 
Faribault. It might have been comjileted ere this had the promoters been willing 
to issue bonds to finance it. but they are ])roceeding on the laudable plan of paying 
the cost of construction from sales or shares of stock and thus retain ownership 
for the shareholders. 

The topography of Winneshiek county is such that railroad construction is 
not easy. It may be attributed to that fact that the northeastern portion of the 
countv is one of the few sections of the state that is noted for its distance from 
railroad lines. 


The military history of Winneshiek county is one of which a new country 
could well be proud. The record has been made by others at a time when its 
accuracy could be assured, hence we quote without hesitation from previously 
pulilished historical works. Alexander's History says : 

"Winneshiek county may well remember with pride the patriotism of her 
devoted sons in the war for the Union. Immediately on the report of the attack 
of the rebels on Fort Sumter, men stood ready to respond to the call of the 
Government for troops, and within a week steps were taken, at a public meeting 
held at the courthouse, to organize and offer a military company to the Govern- 
ment. That the people as well as officials of the county were prompt to encourage 
those who should step forward for their country's service, and care for the 
families they left behind, is shown by the following resolutions w'hich were 
passed at the time by the County Board of Supervisors, and wdiich were fully 
carried out : 

" 'Resolved, That under the present aspect of national affairs it is the duty 
of every community to do its share toward the defense of our common country. 

" 'Rcsoh'cd, That it is the duty of the county to drill and cause to be equipped 
at least one company of men ; that in order to do so an appropriation by the 
county, enabling every person to aid in his due proportion in the common defense, 
is most just and equitable; that the men who risk their lives and spend their 
time should be provided with the means to be of service as soldiers, and that 
an appropriation made in pursuance hereof should have precedence of all other 
claims; therefore, 

" 'Resolved, That the county funds now in the hands of the treasurer of 
Winneshiek county, be and the same are hereby appropriated, not exceeding the 
sum of $2,000 for the purpose of. equipping the military company known as the 
"Decorah Guard," and that the Clerk of the District Court be and he is hereby 
authorized to issue county warrants to Levi BuUis, D. H. Hughes and C. C. 
Tupper, who shall constitute a committee for the negotiation of said county 
warrants, and the purchase of said equipments, the said committee first giving 
bonds to said county, conditioned that the said appropriation be used for the 
purpose designed, faithfully and truly. 



" 'Resolved, That the families of each member of the "Decorah Guard" 
receive the following weekly allowance during their term of service, viz : Three 
dollars per week for the wife, and one dollar per week for each child, to 
the extent of three.' 

"Many of the actors in those stirring scenes arc men from among us, while 
several who remained at home contributed these resolutions to Sparks' History, 
and to it we shall be indebted for most of the remainder of this chajncr. 

"On the 20th of April, 1861, just six days after the booming of cannon, heard 
at Sumter, had sounded the alarm of civil war, a meeting of the patriotic citi- 
zens of Winneshiek county, and Decorah in particular, was held in the court- 
house. It was held for the purpose of giving expression to the outraged feelings 
of a liberty-loving people at the atrocious stroke made against human freedom 
and American liberty, and to declare their adhesion to the old flag that waved 
from the courthouse dome above them. 

"The brave who died in the mountains of Arkansas, the marshes of Louisiana, 
the rocky fastnesses of Georgia, and the swamjjs of Carolina, are remembered 
less vividly by their old comrades as year by year passes away, and when this 
generation has gone there will be few to recall the names of the vouilifnl iieroes 
of Winneshiek county who faced fatigue and sickness, steel and ball, and died 
in the fierce front of battle, facing the foe. or fell victims to malarious diseases. 
But while their individual memories will have perished, the cause for which 
they died, the cause for which they perished, the cau.'^e of lil)erty and humanity 
will remain, and future generations will derixe fresh courage to struggle for 
the right from the glorious example of the citizen-soldiers who crushed the 
'Great Rebellion.' 

"It was Abraham Lincoln, our noble, martyred president, who said at (Gettys- 
burg, 'The world will not long remember wliat wc may say here, but ihcv can 
never forget what we have done here.' And it is a fitting tiling that the custom 
of observance of May 30, of last year, as Decoration Day. has been established; 
a day when we can strew with flowers the graves of those who sleej) in our 
cemeteries, and revive the memories of those who sleep in distant or unknown 
graves, holding the names of them all in grateful recollection, and rendering 
more precious the heritage they have transmitted to us and to our children. 

"The meeting was called to order, and Capt. John 11. Simjjson made chairman. 
This distinction was paid the aged gentleman because of his efficiency in com- 
manding and his co-operation with tiie first militia ever organized in 

"Caj)!. John 11. Simpson was Ixirn in (ianston, I-.nglnid. .March 22. 1796, 
and died at Decorah. July _>, 1869. lie had i)ecn a nHinbcr uf the Koval Life 
Guards (Body Guard of the King) and as one of the battalion, was on his way 
to the field when the battle of Waterloo was fought. In 182S he came to 
America and settled in New "Vork City. He came to Decorah in 1X50. and here 
for thirteen years he lived an honest, blameless life. He was elected captain 
of the Decorah Guards on the formation of the company in 1859. 

"There are men yet living in Winneshiek county who remember the memor- 
able meeting over which he presided, and how his patriotism gave vent, in the 
greatest effort of his life, in a ])atriotic speech that sent the blood tingling 
through the veins of every listener. In his speech he tendered the remainder 


of liis life for the defense of his country, though the snows of 65 winters rested 
on his brow. He was not accepted. Younger men, with stronger sinews and 
harder muscles, volunteered their services. 


"But one week intervened before there was a reorganization of the Decorah 
Guards, and men better fitted for the hardships of a soldier's life superseded 
the members of the original company. The Decorah (juards, as they originally 
were, underwent a complete transformation, only three of the old company being 
retained in the ranks of the new organization. The old officers resigned, and 
new ones were elected. This was the first company of men in Winneshiek 
county to enlist in defence of the stars and stripes. They were men in the full 
vigor of life, men of sterling worth, the very flower of our young county, as the 
following summary of the company indicates : The oldest men in the company 
(two of them) were aged 36, one 34, one 32, one 31, one 30. one 29, two 28, 
three 2-], three 26, six 25, eight 24, seven 23, ten 22, nine 21, nine 20, eleven 
19, ten 18, making a total of officers and men of 85, with an average of 22 years, 
8 months and 22 days. 

"The company was known as the Decorah Guards, until mustered into the 
service ; then they assumed the name of Company D, Third Regiment of Iowa 
Volunteers. The officers of the new company were : 
"Captain— G. R. Willett. 
"First Lieutenant — Emilius I. Weiser. 
"Second Lieutenant — (Jle A. Anderson. 
"Orderly Sergeant — Geo. McKay. 
"Second Sergeant — A. H. McMurtrie. 
"Third Sergeant — C. W. Burdick. 
"Fourth Sergeant — Robert Ray. 
"First Corporal — E. M. Farnsworth. 
"Second Corporal — Milton Ross. 
"Third Corporal — Charles P. Brown. 
"Fourth Corporal — Joseph S. Nefif. 

"This company was enrolled in Winneshiek county, and ordered into quarters 
hy the governor of the state. May 21, 1861. The company left Decorah for 
Keokuk, their rendezvous. May 28, 1861, and was mustered into the United 
States service June 10, i8fii. The date of the company's departure from Decorah 
for the scenes of war will remain a memorable one in the recollection of the 
hvmdreds of citizens who met on Court House Square to bid the boys a last 
farewell. The ladies had prepared a beautiful flag, which was presented to the 
company by Miss Carrie .McNair, whom I feel compelled to more than casually 
mention ; and in order to do so I shall be obliged to digress from the main subject. 
"Carrie McNair was born in Livingston county, N. Y., about the year 1832. 
She came to Decorah in the year i860, at that period in our national existence 
when the very atmos])here was deadened with treasonable imprecations against 
the Union, and when the cloud of rebellion had so spread its mammoth propor- 
tions as to nearly obscure the bright sunlight of freedom. Being a woman 
of strong emotional nature, a lover of liberty and union, she early identified her- 


self with llic L'liioii side of the controversy that then tlireatened a sei^aralion of 
states ; consequently, out of respect and appreciation of 'her noble nature, and 
her sympathy with the Union, she was chosen, of all other w-omen, better fitted 
to make the presentation. In 1862, following the many bloody battles, and not 
infrequent disastrous engagements, Miss McNair felt that there was need of her 
services in the crowded hospitals. With a heartfelt desire to render the Union 
any services in her power, and an an.xiety and willingness to alleviate the sufler- 
ings of bra\e men who had fallen wounded in their country's cause, she became 
;i nurse in a soldiers' hospital at St. Louis. She served in this capacity until 
the end of the war, and furnished aid and comfort to thousands of poor un- 

"Following the presentation of the flag, there was a presentation of Bibles 
and Testaments. The scene was such as never had occurred before, and was 
solemn, impressive and trying. 

"The company, in vehicles, pursued their course to McGregor, and from 
thence to Keokuk, and from here, soon after, they were transported to scenes 
of active service, in Missouri. 

"The first hard fought battle that the company engaged in was at Blue Mills. 
September 7, 1861, although jjrevious to this they had been engaged in many 
holly contested skirmishes. In the IkiIIIc of Blue Mills the Unionists were 
driven back. 

"W'm. B. Miller, of Company 1), was killed in this engagement and Captain 
W'illett, Second Lieut. Ole Anderson, and I'riv. Win. B. Hcckert, were seriously 
wounded. Captain W'illett's wound occasioned his resignation, and the promo- 
tion of Lieut. E. I. Weiser to the captaincy of the company. 

"Lieutenant Anderson fell, wounded in the temple, and was left on the field 
for dead. Company D having been obliged to retreat, he fell into the enemy's 
hands. His body was stripped of all clothing but the pants, and he was robbed 
of everything by the rebels. The next day after the battle the rebels were obliged 
to retreat, and then Company D reclaimed his body. Lieutenant Anderson lay 
unconscious three weeks, and it was a question for a long time afterwards 
whether he would survive or not. Me entered the army a perfect athlete, and 
a perfect man, physically and mentally, and today, from the effect of that wound, 
incurred at the cost of duly and bravery, he is a mere wreck of his former self. 
As an officer he was efficient and brave to a fault. 

"The battle of Shiloh, fought on the fHh and "th of .April. 1862, w^as the 
next great conflict in which Com])any T) particii)ated. L'nder the hottest fire 
and amid the most trying scenes. ConiiKiny I) behaved itself with coolness and 
liravery. After passing through that fiery ordeal, a summary of the loss it sus- 
tained showed the following: Killed — Edward Knapp, Hans 11. Stenson, and 
Samuel D. Smith. Wounded— Capt. E. I. W'eiser, Corp. J. 11. Farber, Geo. 
H. Culver, Jas. S. Daskam, Hans Chilbrandsoii. Thos. Heath. Peter 15. Hulverson, 
Knudt Knudson, Matthew^ Kellogg. Gilbert Kiuidson, Henry II. Shcldso, Geo. 
11. Kelley. John Jas. Fisher. Hiram S. Daskam. 

"The battle of Hatchie, fought on the 5th of October, was the scene of the 
next hotly contested engagement in which Conii)any D took an active part. 

"The company lost the following: Wounded — Ca])t. E. I. Weiser, Corp. 
C. C. Watson. Geo. Culver. Martin l-:. Oleson (mortally), and M.irtin Pepper. 


"Tn the battle of llatchie the second Captain of Company D was made in- 
capable for active service by a rebel bullet. 

"Captain E. I. \\'eiser was born in York, Pa., April lo, 1835, and emigrated 
from the place of his nativity to Decorah in 1856. Being possessed with a warm 
lieart and a genial nature, and a patriotic love of country, the threats of war 
against the Union aroused his impulsive nature to a desire to make any sacrifice 
— hardship, sutTering, even life itself — in his country's cause. As a result, when 
the first cry of a distressed country was heard, calling on her sons for protection 
against the assaults of traitors, Capt. E. I. Weiser was the first and foremost 
of her patriots in Winneshiek County to respond. Capt. E. I. Weiser was the 
first man to enlist from Winneshiek County in his country's service in the late 
Civil war. He enlisted as a high private in Company D, and was elected first 
Lieutenant at the first election held by the company. 

"Capt. E. I. W'eiser participated in many warm skirmishes and two hard- 
fought battles. He was wounded at Shiloh ; also at Hatchie, on the 5th of 
October, 1862. The wound he received at Hatchie disabled him for further 
active military service during the war. Eight months he was detained in the 
hospital by his wound, and seven of these eight months he was compelled to lie 
in one position — on his back. He was with his company one week while it was 
at ^Memphis. While here the boys of Company D presented him with a silver 
pitcher, as a mark of their regard and the appreciation they had for him as a 
soldier and commander. Capt. Weiser was brave, cool, efficient, and possessed 
all the noble attributes requisite in a successful commander. His physical dis- 
ability is a glorious certificate of his bravery. 

"Company D next went to ]\Iemphis where it remained six months, and from 
thence to \'icksburg. They were engaged in the siege of \'icksburg up to the 
date of its surrender. Vicksburg surrendered July 4, 1863. The white flag was 
raised on every fort at g .\. M. on the 3d. The rebels sent out a flag of truce, 
and wished to surrender on conditions. Gen. Grant sent back word that noth- 
ing but an unconditional surrender would be accepted. On the 3d, when the 
white flags were hoisted, all firing ceased. The rebels came outside of their 
works and held a sociable with our boys. On the 4th of July, at 10 A. M., the 
rebels marched outside of their works, were drawn up in a line, and stacked their 
arms, and promptlv at 11 .\. M. the stars and stripes proudly floated over the 
rebel works. 

"In this siege, on the 26th of June. Thomas Kelly, of Company D. was 
mortallv wounded. He lived about a week, having won, in dying, the honor of 
iieing the bravest among the brave. 

"The Third regiment received orders on the 5th to take up their line of march 
for Black River, to look after Johnston, who, with a large force had been prowl- 
ing in the rear. On the 12th of July, 1863, about 225 men of the Third Iowa, 
among which number were many of Company D, made an assault on reliel 
works, behind which were ensconced about 10,000 of Johnston's men. The result 
of the assault was a whirlwind of death. In the first volley fired by the enemy 
125 out of the original 225 were almost instantly mowed down. There were 
about 800 men engaged, but 225 who ventured right into the jaws of this fiery 
hell. The commander in charge was immediately relieved of command. 

"On the -th of July Johnston evacuated Jackson, the scene of the last engage- 


ment. and here, in rebel hospitals, were found the wounded who had survived 
the disastrous charge of the 12th inst. Among the number w-as Lieutenant 
McMurtrie. who had l)()th legs broken by rebel shots. His right leg had been 
woundecl with a piece of shell, and was so badly shattered that amputation was 
necessary. The left leg had been broken by a minic ball. 

"It was found necessary, on the 21st of July, to remove the wounded to \icks- 
burg. The journey had to be made in ambulances. Lieutenant McMurtrie was 
among the unfortunates that had to submit to the removal. \\'ords cannot express 
the suffering this trip entailed u])on him in his weakened condition. 

"On the 23d he was placed on a hosjjital boat to be sent North, but died before 
the boat left the wharf, at 2 p. m., July 25, 1863. 

"Lieutenant AlcMurtrie was born at Homer, Michigan, June 30. 1X3". He 
came to biwa in 1856. He was promoted first lieutenant of Conii)any 1). May 
21, 1862. 

"Lieutenant McMurtrie was endowed with a great moral character, which 
lost none of its noble attributes by his army career. He died a brave soldier, 
lamented by his comrades in arms and all who knew him. 

"C. \V. Burdick was promoted first lieutenant, to fill the vacancy caused by 
Lieutenant McMurtrie's death, which jjost of duty he held from that time until his 
three vcars enlistment had expired. .\t this time Lieutenant I'.urdick was the 
onlv commissioned officer in the company. During three years' service. Lieutenant 
I'.urdick was off duty but twelve days. He took an active part in every skirmish 
and battle in which his company was engaged, and was never touched b\' an 
enemv's fire. I'"ew men. and I doubt if any. in Iowa can show a better record 
than this. 

"The engagement at Jackson was the last of any note in which Comjiany D 
took an active part. The time of enlistment of Company D exjjired on the loth 
of June. 1864. The Comj^anv was stationed at Kingston. Georgia. .\11 that did 
not reenlist. started home to be mustered out of the service. Many of the boys 
remained. .\t the memorable battle of .Atlanta, fought Jul\- 22(1. the Third Iowa 
literally fought itself to death. 

"The bovs of the Third and Comjiany 1) went into this battle w ith tiiat .^-^jiartan 
valor that had characterized them, individually and collectively, in many a hard 
fought engagement. -As the battle grew raging hot and desiJeratc, a handful of 
our undaunted men. among whom were a remnant of Company D. gathered 
amidst the ])elting shower of shot and shell, and there around ciur llag .-ind li,-mncr 
they stood its guard in the most jierilous moments. The color-bearer, the bravest 
of the brave, relinquished his hold by death alone, .'■^till the mass stood there 
fighting madlv for its defence. Their number f.ast decreasing by death, ihcir 
hopes began to fail, and as they surrendered themselves to the enemy, they tore 
the emblem of our nationality, and regimental designation, into pieces and into 
shreds, which concealed, they proudly brought back to us, untouched and unsoilcd 
bv impious and traitorous hands. 

coMPA.w II — "low \ i;i<i;v iiou.nds" 

"Company H, Ninth Iowa \dluntecr Infantry, was organized at Decorah, in 
the months of .\ugust and September. iW)i, and was nuistered into service at 
Dubuque, on the 24th of September, the same year. 




"After remaining at Camp Union, Duljuque, until the middle of October, 
the regiment was sent to St. Louis, and went into camp at Benton barracks. A 
few weeks were passed in the usual routine of camp duty, when the regiment 
was ordered to Pacific City, Missouri, and passed some little time in guarding rail- 
roads and arresting guerrillas. During this time the regiment was perfecting its 
discipline; and the diseases incidental to the climate and season, joined to the 
hardships of camp life, were thinning the ranks of all men who were deficient in 
physical vigor. 

"When the expedition against Price was organized, the Ninth was ordered to 
Rolla, Missouri, and after a week spent in camp at that place, started on the 
march for Springfield. The march was made in winter, and the crossing of the 
Gasconade, the roads knee-deep in mud, and the cold, inclement weather tested 
the endurance of the men, and when the regiment was placed in the advance, 
after the capture of Springfield, it earned its title, 'The Iowa Greyhounds,' by 
marching one hundred and thirty-five miles in four days in pursuit of Price. 
Company H received its 'baptism of fire' at Pea Ridge, and the day before the 
fight marched forty miles on a half-pint of cornmeal to the man. It mustered 
fifty-two men when the fight opened; twenty-two were unwounded at the close of 
the struggle. 

"On that field the boys, most of them beardless, who six months before were 
laboring on farms and in workshops, showed themselves able to defeat the prac- 
ticed riflemen of Missouri and Arkansas, the rangers of Texas, and the trained 
regiments of Louisiana. 

"The march across Arkansas, in the suiumer of 1862, followed the conflict 
at Pea Ridge. Some time was passed in camp Helena and in December the regi- 
ment took part in the first attack on \'icksburg. The expedition up the dark 
Yazoo and its unfortunate results, were amply avenged at Arkansas Post, Janu- 
ary 10, 1863. 

"In all the operations that culminated in the capture of \'icksburg the Ninth 
was actively engaged — from digging in the canal to storming rifle-pits and bat- 
teries. And in the charge on the 22d of May, Company H lost eighteen men 
killed and wounded out of a total twenty-six men in action, and of these nine 
were killed on the field or mortally wounded. From \'icksburg to Jackson, 
thence back to \icksburg, up the river to Memphis, thence to Tuscumbia, where 
a severe conflict took place, then up the sides of Lookout mountain, under the 
lead of Osterhous, followed by a rapid pursuit of the routed foes, and the fight 
at Ringgold, is a brief outline of the work Company H took part in during 1863. 
The majority of the company re-enlisted as veterans, and after their return from 
furlough the boys found themselves a part of the mighty host Sherman was 
about to lead 'to the sea.' 

"For seventy days from the opening of this memorable campaign, members 
of Company H who participated in the operations, were constantly under fire, 
with perhaps slight intermission prior to the crossing of the Chattahoochee. The 
fights at Resaca. New Hope church, Ijurnt Hickory and Kenesaw mountain, 
showed the valor and discipline of the Ninth. On the 22d of July the Ninth 
was one of the Iowa regiments that, under the eye of Sherman, recaptured the 
battery of DeGress, and drove the rebels, at the bayonet's point, from the en- 
trenched line they had wrested from the loyalists. At Ezra's church, on the 28th 


of July, and at Jonesboro. where the fate of Atlanta was decided, tlie Iwvs of 
Company H were actively engaged. 

".-\fter the capture of .Atlanta and the pursuit of Tlood, who was left to the 
'tender mercies' of Thomas, the boys followed Sherman to the sea. and Com- 
pany H furnished its full c|uota of able and accomplished 'bummers.' From 
Savannah the company marched through the Carolinas, taking part in any 'little 
unpleasantness' that came in the way, and actively particijiating in the closing fight 
at Bentonville. .After resting a few days at Raleigh, the regiment marched to 
Washington and took y)art in the 'Grand Review,' and was shortly after mustered 
out of the service at Louisville, Kentucky. 

"That Company H did its whole duty, the following figures, taken from the 
adjutant general's report, prove: 

"Company H. 9th Iowa — Total killed and wounded 53 

"Total killed and died of wounds 19 

"Company D. 3d Iowa — Total killed and wounded 33 

■'Total killed and died of wounds g 

"Com]«uiy Ci. 12th Iowa — Total killed and wounded 9 

"Total killed and died of wounds 4 

"Company E, 38th Iowa — Total killed and wounded o 

"Company K. 3Sth Iowa — Total killed and wounded i 

"Total killed and died of wounds i 

"Company D. 3Sth Iowa — Total killed and wounded i 

"Total killed and died of wounds i 

"The above table shows the extent of the loss sustained by Company II in 
battle, as compared with the reported losses of the other companies organized in 
this county from the same cause. I do not think the above figures do full justice 
to Companies E. K and D. Thirty-eighth Iowa, for no regiment organized in the 
country suffered to such an extent by disease. Stationed in localities where to 
breathe the air was to inhale death, the bovs of Comi)anies E, D and K per- 
formed their alloted duty, sustaineil by naught save the feeling of patriotism, 
and faced death uncheered by 'the shout of victory, the rapture of the strife.' 

"Died of disease: Company D. 3d Iowa, to; Company II, oth Iowa. 15; 
Company G. 12th Iowa, 17; Company E, 3Sth Iowa. 34: Conii)any IX 3Stli Iowa, 
y] ; Company K, 38th Iowa, 37. 

"Company H, at the time it was mustered in. was comiuanded by M. -A. 
Moore, who achieved no ]iarticular distinction. He resigned in the spring of 
1863, and was succeeded by O. W. liliss, who enlisted as a private and secured 
promotion by meritorious services. Captain Pdiss was as true a soldier as ever 
drew a sword. P.rave. earnest and patriotic, he 'dared to lead where any dared 
to follow.' .After facing death on twenty fields he died from injuries received by 
a fall from his horse while acting as major, after the capture of Atlanta. J. H. 
Phillips succeeded to the captaincy, and commanded the company until its serv- 
ice was ended. 

"In writing this brief .sketch of the career of Company H, embracing a i)eriod of 
nearly four years, and services performed in eight states, from the Ozark moun- 
tains to the Atlantic ocean, a hundred incidents and memories crowd on the mind 


that space will not permit me to relate. Nearly sixteen years have elapsed 
since "we took the oath of muster with right hand raised to heaven,' and in looking 
back, the boys of Company H will instinctively date their memory of army life 
from the bitter, persistent strucjgle in the wild ravines of the Ozark, where their 
first blood was shed. And during all subse(|nent campaigning. Pea Ridge was the 
standard whereby to measure the severity of the confiict. And the boys of the 
Ninth will ever remember, with proud gratification, the tribute their valor re- 
ceived from the ladies of Boston — a stand of colors emblazoned with the name 
■ of their fiercest battle. 


"The third company raised in the county was one that became Company G, 
Twelfth Iowa. It was enrolled at Decorah in September, 1861. ordered into 
quarters at Dubuque, September 30, and mustered into the United States service 
November 5, 1861. It was officered as follows: 

"Captain — C. C. Tupper. 

"First Lieutenant — L. D. Townsley. 

"Second Lieutenant — J. F. Nickerson. 

"Orderly Sergeant — J. E. Simpson. 

"The company became a portion of the regiment from the date of its muster 
in, and from that time on until disbanded always acted well its part. Company 
G was noted in its regiment for its excellent moral status and soldierly efficiency. 
It saw hard service, and took an active part in the following hotly-contested 
battles: Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, siege of Corinth, Corinth, Jackson, 
\'icksburg, Jackson siege and capture, Brandon, Tupelo, Nashville and Brent- 
wood Hill. Besides these battles, the company did excellent service as skirmish- 
ers. The company early met with a severe loss in the death of its first captain, 
C. C. Tupper. 

"Captain C. C. Tupper was born at Auburn, New York, December 24, 1832, 
and came to Decorah in May, 1857. He had received a liberal education, and 
prior to taking a residence in Iowa had served as agent of the Associated Press 
and local manager of the telegraph offices at Bufifalo and St. Louis. He was ad- 
mitted to the bar soon after his arrival, but for a brief time edited the Decorah 
Journal, a democratic newspaper. When the war liroke out he took an active 
and intensely patriotic interest in every movement. Military life was always at- 
tractive to him. and he was unusually well versed in the manual of arms. He 
assisted in organizing the two companies from Winneshiek county that found 
place in the Third and Ninth regiments, and helped prepare them for the field. 
When it became evident that a third company must be drawn from the county, 
all eyes turned toward Captain Tupper to take its lead. Although of a frail con- 
stitution, and physically unfitted for the severe trials of army life, his patriotism 
overrode all prudence, and he consented. The company was rapidly recruited, 
and assigned to the Twelfth Regiment of Iowa Volunteers. But Captain Tup- 
per's association with the company was only a brief one. He was idolized by his 
men, beloved by all his associate officers, and thoroughly respected by his superiors. 
But these could not protect and defend him from disease and death. While going 
from Dubuque to St. Louis with the regiment he caught a severe cold, and in 


six weeks died at Benton TlarracUs, in St. Louis, a victim of capilliary bronchitis. 
In his death the terrible evils of war was first brought directly home to the com- 
munity of which he had been a member. He had been the leader in the best 
social circles, the active abettor of every public enterprise, and his death carried 
sadness and mourning to almost every household in the county. Of friends 
who mourned his death there were scores ujjon scores; of enemies, none. 

"The sad event narrated above necessitated the promotion of Lieut. L. D. 
Townsley to the captaincy of the company, which office he held until mustered 
out of the service, November 25, 1864. He was taken prisoner at the battle of 
.Shiloh, in which engagement he sustained a severe wound in the left arm, and 
suffered with the rest of his brother officers the hardships of prison life. .Vfter 
his exchange he was often employed in important detached duties, which he al- 
ways filled with credit to himself and country. lie served out his entire term of 
service, and is now residing in Chicago. 

"Lieut. L L. Nickerson was made first lieutenant, and was stumied at the 
battle of Eort Donelson with what was supposed to be a solid shot from the 
enemy's batteries. Erom this he never recovered, was sick anil ill the morning 
of the Shiloh fight, but persisted in going out with his company to the front, was 
taken ]jrisoner, and died in rebel prison at ^^ontgomery, .Mabama, May 31, 1862. 
Kind but firm, a noble, brave man, beloved by his friends and all who knew him, 
a martyr to the cause. 

"Orderly Sergeant J. E. Simpson was promoted to be second lieutenant, but 
resigned on account of ill-health in 1862, and is now living in Decorah. 

".\. A. Burdick, second sergeant, was made orderly and then first lieutenant, 
and was killed at the battle of Tupelo, July 14, 1864. He was the quartermaster 
of the regiment, and had been ordered to the rear with his train; but after see- 
ing his wagons properly 'parked' he came to the front, and volunteered to assist 
in bringing forward ammunition. While thus engaged he was struck by a shell 
and instantly killed. He died as a soldier would wish to die, with his face to 
the enemy and in the heat of battle. Lamented and mourned by all who knew 
him, no better man or braver soldier ever oft'ercd uji his life that his country 
might be saved. 

"Anton E. Anderson, third sergeant, became sccmid lieutenant, served witli 
credit to himself until mustered out, at ex])iration of term of service, December. 
1864, and died at his farm, some years after the war, near Eldorado, Iowa. 

"Rol)ert .\. Gibson, fifth sergeant, became unkrly sergeant, March 27, 1863. 
was promo'.ed to first lieutenant December 2. 1864, became captain of his com- 
pany Januarv 23, 1865. and for a lime was captain and provost marshal at 
Selma, Alabama, and .served with iiw:a credit to himsell' to tiio end nf the war. 
He was then apjiointed second lieutenant in the regular army, and was killcil i)y 
the accidental discharge of a ])istol at I'ort Randall in 18O7. 

"Jacob H. W'omeldorf, first coriroral. became fifth sergeant, was taken pris- 
oner with his company at Shiloh ; was held prisoner for some time, and sutTered 
great hardships that so broke down his health as to compel iiim to return home 
in 1863. He was afterward sheriff of Winneshiek county. 

"Nelson 1'.. Burdick was eighth corporal, and but a youth at .school when he 
went into the service. He contracted the measles at Benton liarracks, and was 
never well afterwards. He took part in the battles of I'orl Henry, Donelson and 


Shiloh. Warm-hearted, generous towards all, he became a universal favorite. 
The hardships endured in rebel prisons were too much for his impaired frame. 
He reached home and died among his friends. 

"John Steen, private, became quartermaster sergeant in 1864, and his whole 
term of service to the end was marked with ability and efficiency. Since the war 
he has held several positions of responsibility and trust, and is now living at 
Wahoo, Nebraska. 

"The regiment was ordered to Davenport for final pay and discharge, January 
25, 1866. 


"In 1863 Winneshiek county again came to tlie front and contributed, for the 
suppression of the rebellion, three companies in addition to the brave men she 
had before sent. The companies were, respectively, D, K and E, and formed a 
part of the Thirtv-eighth Regiment. Henry .A. Cleghorn was captain of Com- 
pany E. 

"Company K was officered as follows : 
"Captain — Samuel B. Califif. 
"First Lieutenant — Levi Freeman. 
"The officers of Company D were: 
"Captain — George R. Humphreys. 
"First Lieutenant — Newton Richards. 
"Second Lieutenant — E. J. Barker. 

"These companies were mustered into service at Camp Randall, Dubuque, 
Iowa. From here they were transferred to Benton Barracks, St. Louis, JMissouri, 
where they spent Christmas and New Years. 1863-4. They were next trans- 
ferred to Fort Thompson, which they retained charge of nearly six months. 

"The Thirty-eighth Regiment was next transferred to the main forces then 
besieging Mcksburg. In this siege the Thirty-eighth, including the three com- 
panies from Winneshiek county, formed the extreme left of the Union line. 
Their position was in the very heart of a malarious swamp, and here was con- 
tracted the germ of a disease whicli afterwards carried off these brave men by 
the hundreds. Within ten days after the surrender of \'icksburg the Thirty- 
eighth was ordered to Yazoo City, on the Yazoo river. At Yazoo City the regi- 
ment remained about a week. While there the disease bred in the swamp oppo- 
site \"icksburg began to break out, and many men died. The regiment returned 
to \"icksburg. Thev were next ordered to Port Hudson to aid in the subjugation 
of that place, but did not reach the scene of action until the stronghold had 
fallen. The Thirty-eighth remained at Port Hudson about a month, and while 
here the disease contracted in the swamps broke out in all its virulence. So 
universal was the prostration of the soldiers, that during the month, there were 
on an average from three to fifteen only in the whole regiment that reported 
able for duty. Almost hourly the death of a companion in arms was announced 
to his sick and dying comrades. It was while lying here that the regiment met 
with its severest losses. Here it was they lost their beloved colonel. 

"D. H. Hughes was commissioned colonel of the Thirty-eighth Regiment 
bv Gov. Samuel Kirkwood. He was born in Jefferson county. New York, Sep- 


tciiiber. 1831. and died Aus,^ 7. 1863. lie died from the disease wliich carried 
almost universal death to his entire regiment. Colonel Hughes graduated at 
the Albany Xormal Institute in 1853. In 1854 he was employed on the Trairi..- 
Farmer, Chicago. He married Adaliza .Matteson, in W'atertown. Jefferson county, 
Xew York, in March, 1855, and immediately thereafter came to Decorah, engag- 
ing in the practice of law. Colonel Hughes was a man of commanding stature, 
tine presence, the soul of honor, and became a lawyer of considerable re])ute. 
He was a democrat in politics, but was elected county judge of Winneshiek county 
in the fall of 1859. notwithstanding the county then, as now, was of strong 
republican complexion. He was the candidate of his party for state senator in 
the fall of 1861, and only failed of an election of nine votes. The colonel was 
a war democrat from the outset, and pending the considerafeioijjjf a petition of 
prominent republicans and democrats to become an independent candidate for 
judge of the district court of the tenth judicial district, hearing the cry of his 
country for more troops. Judge Hughes i)rom])tly cast aside his political ojipor- 
tunity to enter upon a patriotic duty; and, warmly espousing her cause, made a 
stirring canvass of the county in that behalf, and thus drifted into the army. 

"Colonel Hughes, while stationed at New Aladrid, was called to St. Louis as 
judge advocate in some trials then pending, and from his bearing on that occa- 
sion, and the ability he displayed, upon the conclusion of the trials the court (and 
it was a court of strangers to him, too) unaniniciusly recommended his i)romotion 
to brigadier-general, which document, however, he would not allow to go for- 
ward, alleging as a reason his l)ricf exi)cricnce as a militar\- commander, and 
that there were already lives enough under his charge. Such was his modesty 
and noble character. Colonel Hughes died respected and beloved by all his sol- 
diers, and not more universal was the mourning in camp over the death of their 
commander than that of his host of friends at home. 

"The Thirtv-eighth took their dejiarture from Ton Hudson for Xew Or- 
leans, where they remained about three months, li was next transferred lo 
Point Isabel, on the Rio Grande river, .\fler leaving Port Hudson Company E 
was without a commissioned officer for nearly a year, 'i'he regiiuent was next 
sent to Brownsville, Texas. While here Quartermaster T. R. Crandall was made 
captain of Company E, and Walter Green was made its first lieutenant. 

".August, 1864, again found the regiment in New Orleans. From here it was 
sent to Morganzie Bend. While at Morganzie I'.end the Thirty-fourth and 
Thirty-eighth were consolidated, and afterwards known as the Thirty-fourth. 
The new regiment numbered 1,056 luen. Company E, of Winneshiek, and 
Company F, of Fayette, were likewise consolidated, and afterward known as 
Company K. Captain Rogers, of Company V, and Lieutenant Green, were re- 
lieved of duty, and T. R. Crandall made captain. IL T. Shumaker, of the original 
Company F, was made first lieutenant, and O. J. Clark made second lieutenanl. 
Companies D and K were likewise consolidated. The Thirty-fourth partici|)ated 
in the siege of Fort Gains and Fort Morgan, on Mobile I'ay, and here it re- 
mained until these forts capitulated. The Thirty-fourth was also ])rcsent at the 
charge on F'ort Fisher. The regiment was engaged in the last battle of the war, 
which was the taking of Fort Pdakesly, the day before Lee's surrender. In this 
engagement, in just eighteen minutes, over i.3<v-) I'liion soldiers were slain and 


wounded. The regiment was mustered out of the service at Houston, Texas, 
but did not disband until it reached Davenport. 


"Company D, Sixth Iowa Cavah-y, was tlie last company donated to the 
Union cause by Winneshiek county. Although the men composing this company 
enlisted with the intention and expectation of lighting rebels, they were trans- 
ferred to other fields of duty — which was even more undesirable — that of fighting 
Indians. The company was mustered into the United States service in l'el)ru- 
ary, 1863, with the following officers : 

"Captain — T. W. Burdick. 

"First Lieutenant — Sherman Page. 

"Second Lieutenant — Timothy Finn. 

"Orderly Sergeant — W. H. Fannon. 

"The United States forces, in which was Company K, had several engagements 
with the Indians, each time coming out victorious, with great loss to the Indians 
and small loss to themselves." 

In 1840, Fort Atkinson was erected to i^rovide head(iuarters for the super- 
vision of the Winnebago Indians and to protect them from predatory bands 
from other tribes. The fort was commenced June 2, 1840. 

In June, 1842, Old Mission, about four miles southeast of Fort Atkinson, 
was established for the education of the Indians. 

In 1840 a government teamster froze to death between Joel Post's and Fort 

June f), 1841, the first white child, Mary Jane Tupjier. was born at Fort At- 

In 1843. hrst gristmill, erec'.ecl Ijy Colonel Thomas, of ( )ld .Mission. 

In 1846, Capt. E. \'. Summer, afterwards General Summer, who commanded 
at the fort from the first, left to join the United States army in the ]\Iexican war, 
and Capt. James Morgan, of Burlington, succeeded to the command of the in- 
fantry, and Capt. John Parker, of Dubuque, to the command of the cavalry. 

In 1847, Captain Morgan's company was mustered out, and Captain Parker 
given charge of the fort till the Indians were removed in 1848. 

In 1848, Gotlob and Gotleib Kruman and others are said to have come and 
settled near Fort Atkinson. Details are given elsewhere. 

In 1848 the Winnebago Indians were ordered removed and the permanent 
settlement of the county commenced: for details of which, see earlier chapters 
and the township histories in succeeding chapters. 

Fort Atkinson was abandoned as a military post in 1848, but it remained in 
charge of the Government until 1853, when it was sold at auction. 

In 1849, first settlement of Decorah liy Wm. Day and family — a notable event 
in county history. 


For many years no company of militia has been credited to Winneshiek county, 
and for that reason more than anv other there is no record that will give accurate 


details of the miniljer who ciiHstcd frdiii lliis coninmniiy in the Spanish-. \iiicrican 
war of 189S. 

The patriotic spirit was not lackinj^', however ; we recaU a nuiiiher who joined 
the companj' at Waukon. Tliere were others, claiming Decorah as their home, 
who were members of the United States troops or of the militia in other states 
who saw service in the Philippines. The records do not disclose any fatalities 
among those who went from Winneshiek, although several contracted fever in 


It seems to have been ordained from the tirst that Winneshiek count)' would 
be an agricultural comnumity. As is generally the case in newly opened country, 
the first settlers came here in search of land. There is a sense of security about 
the possession of a farm that begets confidence, and when one adds to this the 
courage and resourcefulness of the average pioneer there is formed a partnership 
that fails less often that any that may be found in the line of mercantile pursuits. 

History repeats itself each year, when the country is new, in the endeavor of 
the settler to raise a wheat crop. He must eat to live and his first thought, even 
though it may not be breathed in prayer on bended knee, is — "Give us this day 
our daily bread." Forthwith he sets about breaking a patch of ground and from 
the little store of grain he has Ijrought with him he sows it to wheat, trusting that 
Providence will smile upon his efliorts and in due time he will be able to take to 
the mill a crop that will ftirnish his family with the staff of life during the long 
winter months before he can again reap a harvest. 

The early comers to Winneshiek county found a country that was fair to 
look upon. First and all important there were streams of clear, pure water. 
Whether it was on upland prairie or along the banks of the streams there was 
an inviting growth of trees, shrubs, grass, and flowers, that told their own story 
of a fertile soil that only awaited the efforts of mankind to start it on its mission 
of feeding the thousands that were soon to make their homes here. 

Wheat raising was at first the chief industry. The soil seemed to be espe- 
cially adapted to this grain, and while in some years the crop was lighter than 
in others, there was a general increase in yield that soon made Winneshiek one 
of the banner wheat counties in Iowa. It is a matter of record that at one time 
our county was rated as fourth in wheat production in the United States. So 
confident were the majority of settlers in the aljility of the soil to maintain its 
fertility that a system of re-cropping was followed that amounted to what today 
would be considered the most ruthless soil roljbery. There could be but one 
result from this course. Failure was bound to come, and come it did along in 
the middle seventies. Many were the farmers who were caught in the net of 
over-confidence and mismanagement. Some were unable to finance the change 

122 PAST AXl) T'KFSR.Vr ni- W I XXI'SilTEK C-()l-XTV 

from one method of farming to anotlier and as a result tliey were compelled to 
gather together what the}- could from the wreck and try their fortunes in a new 
country. .Minnesota and the Dakotas, Nebraska and Kansas claimed the larger 
number of these, and many of them, profiting by their experience here, won 
enviable success as pioneers in their new homes. 

While the exodus was of considerable proportions Winneshiek countv was 
by no means depopulated. There remained behind that element that had been 
satisfied to make less haste, but more permanent footing on the roacl to success — 
thoughtful, prudent men who had learned the les.son of doing well that thing that 
was worth doing at all, and knowing first the course they wished to pursue and 
then following it with all the force and intelligence they could bring to bear. 
These men had early seen the trend of events and while their grain-raising neigh- 
bors were bending all their efTorts towanl the proikution of one cmp, the\- had 
quietly been busy trying out otlier grains — barley, oats, corn, flax, clover. — with 
some pigs and chickens, horses, cows and sheeji. intelligently sandwiched in be- 
tween. These were the pioneers in diversilied farming in tliis cumnnniity. 
Soon they began to give their attention to dairying and when a copartnership 
with Madam Cow had l)een firmly established Winneshiek couiUy began to come 
into her own. 

Long ere this some of the men of investigating turn of mind had begun to 
give their attention to the development of corn and in several instances with 
in;irkc<l success. ( )ne of tlie most notable efforts in this (lircrlicm was conducted 
liy A. I., (ioddard, one of the sons of Josiah ("loddard, promineiuly mentioned in 
connection with the organization of the county. The Goddards l)rouglU to the 
county some of the first, if not the \ery lirst corn of moie than passable quality. 
They apjireciated fully the value of good seed and eacii year made careful selec- 
tion so that the succeeding cro]) would not fail. A few years later .\. L. God- 
dard became im|)ressed with the idea of (lc\eloping a kind of corn thai would 
be especially adapted to this climate, and his efforts were crowned with success 
in the ])roduction of "I'ride of the Xorth," a varietv that was eagerlv sought bv 
farmers ihrduglinul tliis section. ( )ne c)f the most ])romiueiu seed iiandling firms 
in the United Stales purchased Mr. (ioddartl's entire crop one year and through 
this avenue "l^ride of the North'' became known throughout the corn producing 
states of tlie Union. Great as was Mr. Goddard's success with this \ariety. he 
was satisfied that lie cnuld produce a better, and straightway set about the task. 
Today his "Silver King" white dent corn is grown in a wide area, and at the 
agricultural experiment stations of ilie middle west it is regarded as superior 
in its qualities for the northern climate. 

In ])aying this tribute to the work of Mr. Goddard. I li.ixe degresscd some- 
wiiat from the main subject of this cba|)ler. I'.ut it is nut ;i long stride from the 
days of those early efi'orts in dixersilied farming to the present time. Those 
clear-thinking men who saw in the distance a day of better things for the farmer 
in this community showed the courage of their convictions by adding to their 
possessions some of those farms that were abandoned by the wlieat farmers, and 
today their judgment is confirmed by the wealtii thai is e\erywliere in e\idence as 
one drives u|) ihe valleys and out inl" llie hiyh l.inds. 

Along with better farming has grown the live slock industry. .\t one time 
W'iiuicshiek county bfiasled of some of the best and largest herds of full blood 


cattle in Iowa. It was not an uncommon tiling then for a particularly choice 
animal to sell at $250.00 to $350.00. The writer remembers with much interest 
of listening to the negotiations that took place one cla\- at the county fair between 
Samuel Aiken of Decorah and Mons Foss of Canoe township for a cow owned by 
the latter. These men were rival exhibitors in the Holstein classes, but .Mr. 
Aiken had the larger and better herd. The cow in question was an exceptionally 
handsome one, and no one — not even Mr. Aiken — could resist admiring her. It 
was while he was thus engaged that I heard him say: 

"That's a pretty nice cow you have there, Mons. Is she for sale?" 

"Yes, I think she is a nice animal, but ] don"t care to sell her," replied Mr. 

"How nuich will you take for her?" was Mr. .Xiken's next question. 

Mr. Foss was reluctant to set a price, but finally he said that he would have to 
have S360.00 for her. Gently rubbing his hand over her broad hips ]\Ir. Aiken 
replied in a quiet tone, "Well, Mons, I guess she's mine." 

I was the only witness to the transaction — no others were near — and it was 
not a trick of the trade to gain publicity, for at that time I was only a boy and 
my "nose for news," as the expression goes among newspaper men, had not 
been developeil. 

It was such transactions as these that made the fanc)- stock business Ijuom. 
t )tlicr herds that were located or owned in the county were the Shorthorns of 
L. R. Brown and William Goocher of Orleans township, and John McMugh, who 
resided in Cresco, H. L. Coffeen and Capt, Gardner of Decorah, A. Lincoln and 
John Wingate of Hesper, the Red Polled cattle of S. A. Converse of Cresco, the 
Black Polled cattle of Roljert Simpson of Burr Oak, and the Jerseys of D. A. 
Leach of Freeport. These were notal.ile herds that are readily recalled by all 
who were familiar with county affairs at that time. Others were engaged in a 
less pretentious way. 

There were also numerous indixidual horses of standard or draft breeding 
that helped to sustain the prestige of the county as a breeding center. 

The prices of blooded cattle throughout the country became so inflated that 
a slump was inevitable, and when it came, nearly all the herds above mentioned 
were dispersed, but the value of good stock had been so thoroughly demonstrated 
and prices became so reasonable that many were encouraged to improve their 
holdings by the addition of full blooded animals, and it is a fact beyond contra- 
diction that today there are more full blood animals on Winneshiek county farms 
than at anv pre\ious time. This is notal)l\ true of cattle, swine, and sheep, 
while the improvement in horses has been very marked and has resulted in mak- 
ing this an exceptionally good horse market. 

During the past three years interest has been dc\eloped in the growing of 
alfalfa. In 191 1 there were liut two and three-quarters acres reported by assess- 
ors, but the reports of IQ13 show a total of forty-three acres. The interest in 
this crop is growing and the next two or three years will see a Large increase in 
the acreage devoted thereto. 

Proliablv no one industry has dnne lucjre to develop the worth of Winneshiek 
farms than dairving. It may be truthfully said that William Beard, one of the 
pioneer settlers of Frankville township, was the foster jiarent of the business. 
Always a great lover of cattle, long before the agitation that developed the 


creamery, he was engaged in making and selling from his farm what was, for 
those days, a large amount of superior butter. Early in the seventies he began 
to give serious consideration to the establishment of a creamery in Decorah and, 
encouraged by some of the influential business men, he finally embarked in the 
enterprise. Like all other new undertakings there were many obstacles to be 
overcome. It was not always easy to secure cream, and especially in the con- 
dition required, while on the other hand there was a prejudice in the minds of 
many against man and machinery-made butter. It is no secret that many times 
Mr. Beard was thoroughly discouraged and sorely tempted to give up, but it was 
not his nature to be overcome by a project, once he had convinced himself that 
he could make it .succeed, and ere he passed to his reward he had the satisfaction 
of knowing that his confidence in the ultimate development of the creamery busi- 
ness had been vindicated. Since that day many changes in methods have taken 
place and what was then a model in completeness would not now be considered 
for an instant. Then there were numerous small concerns working independ- 
ently, with an uncertain market for their product. Today the industry has grown 
to such proportions that nearly every state has its dairy commissioner. Iowa was 
one of the first and foremost states in the movement, and Winneshiek was a 
pioneer in the enterprise. There may not be today as many creameries within 
our borders as there were a few years ago, but each year sees a steady upward 
trend in quantity and quality, while the demand for good butter has had the 
tendency to develop a host of good butter makers who depend entirely upon the 
local market for the sale of strictly dairy Initter to people who for economic as 
well as other reasons prefer it to the creamery product. 

Fir til Ward School 

Breckeiiridge School 

I'ulilif Scliool 

A ciiiiii' 111' iii;( iii;.\ii siiiiidi. iini.DiNcs 



The history of education in \\'inneshiek coimty, in most respects, is not unlike 
the history of every other county in Iowa or in the United States, for that mat- 
ter. It may be claimed that it was dissimilar in the early days, prior to the com- 
ing of civilization, in that the tirst school was a mission school conducted by Rev. 
Daniel Lowry, a Presbyterian minister sent here by the Government to work 
among the Indians. As is related elsewhere in this volume, he built the schools 
at the mission five miles south of Fort Atkinson and conducted them for several 
years. There is no record to show tliat any other school existed in the county 
between the time of his coming in 1842 up to 1852, except as a school for the 
children of the post may have been maintained at Fort Atkinson. 


In 1852 the first school in the county was taught by iMary Hanson, in a stone 
schoolhouse erected almost on the spot where tlie corners of Decorah, Glenwood, 
Springfield and Frankville townships meet. Here the youths of that section 
were given their first introduction to the English language. One of these youths, 
now a man well along in the sixties, tells me that in this puhlic school he learned 
his "a b c's," while in [>rk'atc from Miss Hanson he also learned his first Eng- 
lish sentence. It was "Blow your nose, John,'" and he says during the interven- 
ing years his teacher has often reminded him of this incident. 

Credit for the existence of this school is due to the sturdy Norwegian settlers 
who acquired homes in that section in 1850. This may be considered a private 
undertaking, for at that time the school system was not sufficiently organized to 
be on a substantial footing. 

Miss Hanson became the wife of Lieut. ( )le A. Anderson, and today is living 
a serene old age at her home in Decorah, honored by all who know her for her 
devotion to her husband. When he enlisted in the War of the Rebellion he was 
considered one of the most promising young men in Winneshiek county. In an 
early engagement he received a wound that, though he lived until some four or 
five years ago, incapacitated him for the balance of his life. 

127 • 


Jn the following year (1853) school matters began to take definite shape. 
A schoolhouse was built in Decorah and Theodore \\'. I'.urdick, who had just 
come from Pennsylvania with his parents, was engaged to teach. The succeed- 
ing year he entered the office of the county treasurer, leaving a vacancy in the 
school which was filled temporarily by a man destined to be his lifelong friend. 
The story of how this teacher was engaged and his subsecjuent resignation reads 
n.ow as an amusing incident and is thus told in .Me.xander's Historv: 

"The teacher employed was a young man in the greenness of his vouth, fresh 
from \'ermont, seeking a location for the jiractice of medicine. He had come in 
through Alonona. and was greatly discouraged by the residents here, .so far as 
the prospects of medical ]iractice was concerned, but had the otTer of the school 
at $30 per nidntli. if lie cnuld pass examination. An examining committee was 
appointed and a day set for the ordeal. The day came, and with it one of the 
committee, who examined him, found him qualified, and gave him a certificate. 
He commenced school, taught a month, flagged a child of one of the directors, 
and raised quite an excitement in the district thereby. By this time his practice 
had commenced ; he didn't care whether he taught or not. The result was, an- 
other man took the school ofi' his hands and he devoted himself to his profession. 
His name was li. C. Bullis. The committee-man who examined him and gave 
him his certificate was Levi Bullis." 

Hr. lUdlis was followed l)y (.'barley .Allen, who was for man\- \ears familiar 
to the early-day residents and is still recalled by the pioneers remaining here. 

To follow on down the line and make a chronological record of the changes 
that inevitably followed in the ranks of teachers and the methods of teaching 
would be atlem[)ting the im])ossible. The record does not exist and even if it 
did it would be of little value and of less interest to the readers of this book. 
Sulhce it to say that from those early days to the present lime the cause of educa- 
tion lias not lagged in Winneshiek county for the want of ready supporters. 

l-'rom the records available at this time we learn that schoois were being 
established (|uite generally throughout the county by the year 1856. Pleasant 
township seems to have been ahead of others in th;it a schoolhouse 
was built in Locust Lane in 1854. 


L']i to the later seventies all of the scIiocjIs of the county were kiKiwn as public 
or graded schools. It was due to the initiative of the late 11. 1.. Cofleen, then 
])rincipal of the Decorah school ( in the early eighties), that the high .school system 
was introduced into the county. The lirst class was graduated in 1S81 , and the suc- 
cess that was attained in Decorah has been influential in broadening the work of die 
schools throughout the county generally. Where there were then meagre equip- 
ments of apparatus, reference books, ma|)s. etc., today the best scliools of the county 
have fine structures with modern apjiointmen'.s, et|ui];ments adetjuate to carry 
on c.xiJeriments in the sciences where they are taught, libraries of the best 
reference and literary works, and corps of teachers competent to guide tiie scholars 
thrf)ugh both common and higher branches as well as music, manual training, 
drawing, painting, etc. In the case of Decorah high school a department of 
domestic .science is included in the course for the coming year, aiul the school 


building is undergoing rearrangement to provide space for it, the building of a 
new heating plant and the removal of the boilers from the basement making it 


Anotlier most helpful intluence in local cducatiunal lields has been the private 

In the very early days Sherman Page, a prominent educator, conducted the 
Winneshiek Normal Institute. It was suspended during the war and afterward 
re\i\ed for a short time. 


About this time John ilreckenridge came to Decorah as principal of the public 
school and was in all ways successful. While he was busy in this work there 
revolved in his mind thoughts of the country boy and girl who, for one cause or 
another, had failed to grasp or been deprived of the opportunities that were 
available in the country district, had grown almost to manhood and womanhood, 
were too diffident or bashful to take their places in the classes of scholars much 
younger than they, and who would undoubtedly ridicule them for their ignorance 
and mistakes. These thoughts crystallized in the founding of Decorah Institute, 
which opened in September, 1874. Here the young man and young woman 
could come, confident that they would Ije met by others that had fared no better 
than they. Mr. Breckenridge was quick to see that, in a community where 
foreign languages were so commonly spoken, success could be courted by acquir- 
ing at least a fair understanding of them. He had a ready command of German, 
and it was not a diflicult matter for him to add to that a knowledge of Nor- 
wegian that enabled him to converse fluently with all who could not understand 
or speak English. Fortified in this manner, it was not long liefore his school 
acquired a splendid reputation for the excellence of instruction given and for the 
high moral and intellectual training that was given its pupils. The ranks of teach- 
ers throughout the middle west muster scores of men and women whose founda- 
tion in education was acquired in Decorah Institute — men and women who ha\e 
honored the cause of education in their attainment as citizens, in liusiness, profes- 
sional and social spheres. 

Mr. Ilreckenridge died on .\pril 21, 1899, during the height of his activities 
as an instructor. While the school that he founded has ceased to e.xist, its in- 
fluence is still manifest wherever its graduates may be found. 


Another private school — one that is still in existence and whose vigor in- 
creases each year — is Valder College, established in 1888 by Prof. Charles H. 
\'aUIer. When in his early manhood Mr. Valder determined to make education 
his life's work, he chose first to perfect himself as a penman. Mis success brought 
him to Decorah where, for a number of years, he was in charge of the depart- 


ment of peiimaiisliip in the Dccorali ])ul)li(.- scliools. He, too. liad a vision, hut it 
was along the lines of business education, and lie first established a school of 
shorthand, typewriting, and penmanshi]). While the attendance was small dur- 
ing the first three or four years, it was a notable fact that \'alder graduates were 
in demand on account of their thorough preparation. As the success of his 
business school became more assured Mr. \'alder ventured into realms of normal 
work, aiming jjarticularly at the preparation of teachers, and broadening the com- 
mercial school work. Himself an excellent teacher, he was not satisfied to employ 
as his faculty any who coukl not measure up to a high standard, and thus he lias 
built up a school that enrolls from four hundred to live hundred students annu- 
ally, and whose graduates are scattered all over the Northwest, occupying posi- 
tions of great responsibility in every walk, but more particularly as bankers, 
accountants, stenographers and teachers. 

During the past year \alder College has been incorporated and Prof. Charles 
A. Whalen, who has been a member of the faculty for several years, has become 
associated financially in the institution. 


To many who may read this book the mention of John R. .Slack will probably 
mean nothing, but to pass on to other topics v.ithout at least briefly reviewing 
the work of this man as a business educator would be to ignore one who in his 
day was accounted one of the foremost exponents of tJic best methods on book- 
keeping. Mr. Slack was a native of ( )hio and ac(|uire<l his education in Jeffer- 
son College at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, lie came to Decorah in 1856 and 
for some years thereafter was a bookkeeper in the Winneshiek County Rank. 
In 1874 he e.stablished the Decorah Business College, which he continued for a 
score or more of years. \\'hile at no time did his school attain to large propor- 
tions, those who came under his instruction were given ;i grounding in the 
fundamental principles of accounting that could be acquired in but few schools of 
that day. He was the author of "Rationale and Practice of Bookkeeping." a 
book which was not only the standard in his own school but was recognized gen- 
erally by accountants as a very reliable treatise. 


A chapter on education in W'inneshiek coiiiily wnuld be iiic(ini])Ietc did it fail 
to include the story of Luther College, the leading educational institution of the 
Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Synod of America. Like the ])rivate schools 
above referred to, it has nothing to do with the work of the common schools of 
our county and state further than tliat its course of study must conform to cer- 
tain requirements in order that its graduates may enter the State University 
without passing an entrance examination, llut the history of the institution is 
linked so inseparably with the activities of this community that it rightfullv com- 
mands space in this cha])ter. The story of its founding has been told manv 
times but for this record we rely upcju .i historical sketch jirepared in iwi 1 by the 
college authorities. 

Main Building 
Statue of Martin Luther 


Entrance to Grounds 

Laur. Larsen Hall 



"The history of Luther College is intimately associated with the history 
of early Norwegian immigrants in America. Norwegian immigration to Amer- 
ica may be said to have begun with the arrival of Mr. Kleng Pedersen and one 
companion, in New York, in 1821. Three years later Mr. Pedersen, filled with 
enthusiasm for prospects in the New World, returned to Norway, where his 
glowing accounts of the opportunities offered in America enabled him to organize 
an emigration-society. The society purchased a small sloop called 'Restaura- 
tionen,' which, with fifty-two people on board, set sail from Stavanger, Nor- 
way, on its first trans- Atlantic voyage, July 4, 1825, and arrived in New York, 
Sunday, Oct. yth. Some of these immigrants settled in Rochester, N. Y., but 
most of them went thirty or thirty-five miles farther west ; and later a number of 
them removed to Fox Ri\ er, 111. It was not, however, until in 1836 that the main 
tide of emigration from Xorway to the United States began, but from that time 
to the present day the tide has continued, and, though spreading more or less 
over the whole country, has been directed especially toward the northwest and 
has poured hundreds of thousands of immigrants into Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, 
Minnesota, the two Dakotas, and the territory extending thence westward to the 
Pacific coast. 

"Most of these immigrants — practically all, in fact, — have been very poor 
and have sought this land of opportunity to improve their economic condition. As 
they have come largely from the rural districts in Norway and have left their 
native land at a time when the spirit of liberty has been strong among her people, 
their great desire has been to gain possession of a small portion of America's 
fertile soil and live the independent life of a farmer under her free institutions. 
For these reasons they have been attracted to the homestead lands and the 
cheap farming lands of the newer settlements, and have gladly assumed the 
burdens of pioneer life with its proverbial privations and hardships. 

"But, though economically poor, they have not come to America to partake 
of her blessings without possessing anything to oflier in return. They have 
brought with them a heritage, the best that their adopted country could desire, — 
uprightness of character, habits of industry, a law-abiding and God-fearing spirit, 
a patriotism that impelled thousands of them to take up arms in behalf of the 
Union during the Civil war, and the desire to gi\'e their children the best educa- 
tion that their scanty means afforded. That their children might enjoy proper 
educational advantages has been to them a matter of great concern, for they have 
all tasted, at least, of the 'Pierean Spring' — have received some schooling in 
their native land — and they have been eager that opportunities for improvement 
and advancement that circumstances rendered impossible for them should not be 
denied their children ; and the satisfaction that many of these immigrants have 
had in seeing their children enjoy the abundant educational advantages of this 
favored land has been far greater than the possession of broad acres and fertile 

"The chief characteristic, however, of Norwegian immigrants has been their 
deeply religious nature, which systematic instruction in the truths of the Chris- 
tian religion and the example and precepts of pious parents early implanted in 
their youthful souls. This characteristic has been the fundamental factor of 
their existence, determining their view of life, their sense of duty and respon- 


sibility as Christians, parents, citizens, and nieniljers of society in general. In 
this characteristic more than in any other is to be sought the exi)lanation of the 
l^ospitality and other qualities that travelers in Norway are wont to praise and 
the qualities that render the great majority of those of them who have come to 
this country the desirable citizens that they are usually said to be. With zeal they 
have entered into the political and industrial life of the nation. With equal zeal 
they have endeavored to supply the means of nourishing their spiritual life and 
transmitting it to their posterity unimpaired. They are as a whole Lutherans, 
and have organized church-bodies to ])romote religious activity and have estab- 
lished institutions of learning for the purpose of insuring a well-e(|uippcd min- 
istry and an enlightened body oi laymen to continue the work. 

"Pre-eminent, by virtue of its age and influence, among institutions of learn- 
ing founded by Norwegian Lutherans in this country is Luther College, of 
Decorah, Iowa. In fact, so distinct and far-reaching has been its influence that 
i. has been beyond comparison the greatest spiritual and educational factor in 
the life of Norwegians in America and has rendered a service to church and 
state that has amply rewarded every sacrifice made in its behalf. 

"Luther College was founded in 1861. A beautiful tract of land had been 
secured for the college by Dr. \'. Koren in the northwestern, part of the city; 
but. as no arrangements had been made for suitable f|uarters at Decorah, school 
was commenced during tlie first year in a large \acanl ])arsonage, which had 
been placed at the disposal of the Synod for this purpose, at Half Way Creek, 
Wis., about thirteen miles from La Crosse, .'school opened .'^ejit. 4. iSf)i, with 
;■• facultv of two teachers, Pres. I.aur Larsen ;md an assistant, and an enroll- 
ment of five students. Later in the year the number of students increased to 
eleven and then decreased to nine. 

"In 1S62 the college was transferred to Decurali. and for three years occupied 
what is now the St. Cloud Hotel, which the Synod had purchased. Later an 
adjoining building was erected to meet the increasing re(|uirenients for more 

"Oct. 14, 1865, the new building which the Synod had erected on its 32-acre 
tract was dedicated and henceforth used by the college. The .'^outh wjng, which 
was not built at this time and the erection of wiiich remained to complete the 
structiux' according to the original (ilan, was. in the course of time, added, and 
the college grew and pros])ered. 

".May }(). 18S9, however, the stately edifice was destroyed by fire. The loss 
was keenly felt, but it was decided to rebuild without delay. In the meaiuinie 
classrooms were fitted up in the basement of the First X. F.. L. Church and in 
other buildings in the vicinity, where lemi^orary (juarters had been secured, and 
the work of the college was resumed the following school year under many 
disadvantages. The new building, reared on the foundation of the old. and of 
the same dimensions, was completed with all possible speed, and was dedicated 
and ready for occupancy Oct 14, 1890. Since then the ef|uipment. faculty, and 
number of buildings have steadily been augmented. 

"In 1902, after 41 years of faithful service. President Larsen requested the 
.Synod to relieve him of the duties of the jjresidency. The Synod granted his 
request and elected President Christian K. Preus as his successor. 




"The campus is a fine natural park on tlie left bank of Upper Iowa river, 
about one mile from the center of the city. It is a 32-acre tract of comparatively 
level ground adorned by many shade trees, chiefly oaks. It has ample space for 
liuildings, driveways, athletic fields, and pleasant retreats. The adjoining river, 
bluffs, and valley afford scenery of unusual beauty and interest. 


"Main Pjuilding ( 170x52, four stories and basement) is a noble and imposing 
structure, beautifully situated on an eminence overlooking the city to the east 
and the river valley to the west. Its well liglited interior is very attractive and 
affords room for offices, classrooms, the library, reading rooms, chapels, and 
students' rooms. The students' boarding club has the use of a large part of the 
basement, while the rest is used for various other purposes. The Iniilding is 
provided with steam heat, electric light, arrangements for artificial ventilation, 
stand-pipes with hose on each floor ready for instant use at all times in case of 
fire, lavatories, and other modern improvements. The upper floors afford accom- 
modations for no students, wdio are thus enabled to pursue their studies under 
the most favorable conditions. 


"A commo(li(nis new dormitory (center 50.X40 ; two wings, each 90x40; all 
three stories and basement ) accoiumodating upwards of 200 students has recently 
been erected on the campus to the southeast of the Main Building. It was ded- 
icated Oct. 13, 1907, in the i)resencc of a great num1;)er of visitors and given 
the name of Laur Larsen Hall, in honor of Dr. Laur Larsen, the former pres- 
ident of the College. It is a handsome brick structure, and is provided with 
excellent fire protection (the same system as the Main Building) steam heat, 
electric light, and modern conveniences throughout. Besides the excellent ac- 
commodations that it furnishes a large number of students, it has dwelling apart- 
ments for a professor and family, class-rooms, a large room for the use of the 
bands and other musical organizations, a chemical and physical laboratory, and 
a workshop for the manufacture and repair of scientific apparatus. 


"The Librarv and Reading Room occupy cjuarters on the first floor of the 
Main Building. They contain 16,441 volumes, besides jjamphlets, papers, and 
other printed matter. Additions of the best works in the various departments 
of study arc made as rai)idly as the available resources permit. The Library 
receives an annuitv of $200 from Synod, besides the annual fees paid by the 

"The Library is furnished with a card catalogue according to the Dewey 
decimal classification system. 


"Tlie Reading Room contains the encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other works 
of reference, also such books as are temporarily assigned to it by the teachers. 
The Reading Room and the Students' Reading Society, 'Muspelheim,' receive 
together more than 50 foreign and American periodicals, besides daily and weekly 


"The Museum occupies llie building (60.X30, two stories) to the northwest of 
the Main Building. The scientific section comprises collections of minerals, 
mounted animals, plants, birds' eggs and nests. The ethnological section is par- 
ticularly strong in Norwegian specimens; there are also many specimens illus- 
trative of Eskimo and Indian life. There arc many photographs of churches, 
schools, and other public buildings erected by Scandinavians in this country, and 
of ministers, journalists, and other prominent men. The library section contains 
more than 4,000 numbers, to a great extent Scandinavian-American publications. 
Of Norwegian-American papers and periodicals there are over 500 complete, and 
a very large number of incomplete, volumes. There is also a collection of coins 
and stamps. Special attention is paid to the development of the Norwegian sec- 
tion of the ethnological departmeiU. 

Lir.K.\R'|- AND .Mrsici'.M nrii.DiNc, 

"It has l^een quite generally recognized for some time that the (.|uarters 
occupied b\- the liljrary and nuiscuni are insufticicnt and do not attord the valu- 
able collections that they contain adeciuate protection against tire. The students 
themselves have become so thoroughly ali\e to this fact that in the spring of 
1900 they voluntarily undertook to make 27.000 cement blocks (the number re- 
(juired for such a building according to the statement of the architect), of which 
17,000 are already done.* 


"The (.'heniical and I'livsical Laboratory is located in llic west wing nf l.aur 
Larsen Hall. The i.aboratt)ry is a well-lighted room, and will accommodate 30 
students at one time. The tables arc designed for laboratory work in Chemistry 
and riusics, and are su])]ilic(l willi gas and water. 

"Tlie lockers containing the individual apparatus for students' use are well 
supiilicd. .\ lecture room adjoins the Laboralor}-, and contains most of the chem- 
ical and physical library. 

"There are two rooms for the storage of ajiparatus and cJiemicals. and a well 
equipped sliop for the manufacture and repair of a[)paratus. 


"The Hospital is a small building to the south of the M.iin Huilding and 
was erected to furnish projjcr acconnniHiations in case of illness among tiie stu- 

* Since t)iis statcnnnl «:i.>^ roinpilcil (in I'Mli llii- iiiuiilni lias incroiisod to liO.OOO. 



dents. It is divided into two entirely separate wards, one for contagious and 
one for non-contagious diseases. 


"This structure is a substantial frame building (124x75) pleasantly located 
to the north of the Main Building, among the shade trees of the Campus. It 
was originally built in 1885-6, and was paid for with money raised chiefly through 
the efforts of the students. In the spring of 1903 it was enlarged to nearly 
three times its former dimensions, and in addition to increased space for gym- 
nastic apparatus and drills, basketball and kindred sports, it also furnishes a 
large and commodious auditorium for concerts and other occasions. It has a 
seating capacity of more than 2,000. 


"The College has its own electric light plant, which was installed by the 
Alumni Association some years ago at an expenditure of about $2,500, and a 
central steam heating plant. Besides adding materially to the comfort and con- 
\ enience of the students, this method of lighting and heating the buildings obviates 
a frequent source of fires, which are often caused by the use of lamps and stoves. 

"The College is also supplied with city water. 


"The value of the college plant (campus, Ixiildings, and equipment; is now 
$236,968.00. Its income-bringing property and funds, received mostly as lega- 
cies in sums varying from $300 to $7,343.23, amounts to $16,688.95, oi which the 
income of $800 is applied to professors' salaries, the income of $10,493.23 is 
applied to student aid, the income of $4,000 is applied in the interest of natural 

In 191 1 the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the college was celel)rated. 
The celebration began on October 13th, with a banquet in which several hun- 
dred members of the Alumni, and friends of the college participated. 

On the day following the real celebration occurred. It included the unveil- 
ing of a bronze statue of Martin Luther, the gift of the women of the Synod 
churches, and the reading of many congratulatory telegrams, cablegrams and let- 
ters. Among the cablegrams was one from King Haakon of Norway. The 
student singers of Norway cabled an invitation to Luther College Concert Band 
to visit Norway in 1914 and participate in the celebration of the one hundredth an- 
niversary of Norwegian independence. The invitation was accepted and the 
band leaves next April to be in Christiania on ATay 17th. 

A feature of the evening was the presentation of an $250,000 endowment 
fund. James J. Hill, the St. Paul railroad builder and financier, had promised 
$50,000 on condition that $200,000 more be raised by the college. For good 
measure they raised $235,000, and J. Pierpont Morgan, the New York banker, 
lopped it oft' with an unsolicited check for $1,000, but the surplus $36,000 was 
used in liquidating an indebtedness. 


To close this sketch here would he to leave unsung a just meed of ]M-aise to 
one who deserves all the good things that have been said of him. We refer to 
Luther's "grand old man." Dr. Laur Larsen. who for forty-one years ruled 
as its president and who today, having just celebrated his eightieth liirthday, 
enjoys good health and the reverence and esteem of friends and acquaintances 
whose numbers are legion. Coming to the college as a ctimparatively voung 
man. he has devoted his life to the training of bo\s and young men in the Chris- 
tian virtues that have made their mature years a monument to his untiring labors, 
his faith, and his every-day example of clean living and lo\e for his fellnw men. 
In paying this tribute to Dr. Larsen wc are not forgetting those who have worked 
by his side. They too have done their part, but always with the knowledge that 
Luther College would nut have attained to its ])resent high standing had his 
ability and influence been lacking. 

As previously stated, when Dr. Larsen retired from the jiresidencv of the 
college his duties were placed upon the shoulders of Rew C. K. Preus. who was 
one of Dr. Larsen's "boys" back in 1S73. Cnder his administration the college 
has continued to prosper in all its departments. While the sjiiritual develop- 
mcnl has nni been ])ermittc(l t.) l;ig. ihc demands of business managemcnl liaxe 
compelled Professor Prcus to give much time and attention to this feature of the 
work, and he has been eminently successful. 

During the past eight years the college faculty has been greatly strengthened. 
The best evidence of this lies in the fact that other and larger schools have made 
overtures to some of its members. .As constituted at the jirescnl time the faculty 
is as follows : 

A. M. Rovelstad. .\. ,M.. Latin language and literature. 
T. E. Tiioiupson, .A. 1!., luiglish. 

Rev. Oscar A. Tingelstad. A. M., ])sychology and education. 

Rev. Sigurd C. A'lvisaker, Ph.D.. Cireek language and literature. Hebrew. 
Greek testament. 

11..'-^. I lilIei)oe. .\. .M.. Princi|)al of preparatory department, education, psvchol- 
Ogy, Xorwegian. 

B. K. S;evre, A. B., mathematics. 
Enoch E. Peterson, A. B., Latin. 

n. ];. ( )vern, .A. B., science, mathematics. 

Rev. i. P). Torrison, .\. B.. college i)astor. 

Rev. Laur Larsen, D. I)., president emeritus. 

Rev. C. K. Preus, jircsidcnt. Christianity, .Augsburg confession. 

Lars S. Recjue. .A. M.. I'rench. Roman constitution and literature. 

Rev. Chr. .A. X;escth. ,\. .M.. college librari.m. 

11. W". Sheel, B. S., .science, luathematics. 

W . Sillier, A. AL, German language and literature. ( ireek. 

Oscar L. Olson, A. AL, Englisli language and literature. 

Knut Gjerset, Ph. D.. Xorwegian language and liter.-iture, liistory. 

Rev. Carlo A. Sperali. .\. B.. nntsicil director. Christianity. 

l'.\U(K III.M. .SlIIOOI.S 

In addition tn the |)ul)lic scliools of the county, the Xorwegian Lutheran con- 
gregations mainl.iin parochial schools. In some i>f these the |)npils are given 


instruction in the common school branches up to the sixth grade, in addition to 
instruction in religion. 

Most of the Catholic congregations also maintain schools of a similar nature. 
Their schools in Decorah, Spillville, Ossian, Calmar and Fort Atkinson are well 
attended, and the school properties are a credit to their supporters. 


Winneshiek county has never been overlnirdened with newspapers. While 
there have been a sufficient number to represent her weaUh and progress, and to 
chronicle the daily doings of her inhabitants, she has been singularly and hap- 
pily free from a large number of weak and struggling publications, such as mark 
some counties not far distant where railroad towns have sprung up and grown 
to proportions that demanded newspaper representation, yet were not able or 
willing to accord the support necessary to build up strong, substantial papers. 

Decorah, as the county seat, naturally attracted the early-day disciples of 
Guttenburg and Faust. Here in 1855 a man named Tracy established the Chron- 
icle. The story of this publication and its successor is briefly told in the follow- 
ing item taken from the Decorah Republican of Oct. 26, 1905: 

"In looking over some of his father's papers recently, H. P. Nicholson. Jr., 
of Military township, came across some papers that bore light upon the early-day 
newspapers of Decorah and their efforts at existence. They also indicate that 
Mr. Nicholson was then, as he has always l>een since, a believer in publicity and 
an interested follower of the news of the day. The papers above referred to 
are — all but one — receipts for subscriptions. The first is dated November 23, 
1855, and calls for a year's subscription to the Decorah Chronicle beginning 
with Vol. I, No. 4, and running to Vol. 2, No. 3. Tracy & Co. were its owners 
and this was probably the first paper of Decorah. A little over a year later — 
December 6, 1856 — another receipt calls for a year's reading of the Republican, 
of which B. E. Jones was then editor, from \'ol. i. No. 35, to Vol. 2, No. 34. 
This indicates that Tracy & Co. didn't any more than last the year out. June 15, 
1858, is the date of the third receipt which was issued by F. Belfoy for one year 
of the Decorah Gazette, beginning with Vol. i, No. i." 

The Gazette was the immediate predecessor of the Decorah Repu])lic. In 
the fall of 1859, Wesley Bailey, of Utica, New York, grandfather of this his- 
torian, came to Decorah and purchased the plant of the Gazette, engaging Mr. 
Belfoy to remain and hold the field until spring, when, in company with his son 
Ansel K. Bailey and their families, he returned to Decorah and assumed con- 
trol of the paper, the firm being Wesley Bailey & Son. Its name was changed 



to tlie Republic an<l the first niiiiiljcr uitUt tin new manaL;emeiU was issued ou 
Ajjril 13, iSfx). In March. iSdi). the name was changed to the l\e])uhhcan 
and it has so remained (kirini; tlie intervening years, because of faihng heahh. 
Wesley Bailey disposed of Jiis interest in tlie paper to his sons .\nsel and .\lvin 
Stewart I'ailey in i8''k;. the firm name l)eing changed to .A. K. liailcy & lirother 
and remaining so until 1S83. in tliat year Charles T. I'.ailey ]Hirchased the in- 
terest of A. S. r.ailey. and the lirm liecame .\. K. I'.aiiev iS; Son. Two years 
later E. C. Bailey purchased the interest of his brother, and in i(jo6 the busi- 
ness was incorporated, the name remaining A. K. llailey & Son. On the death 
of .\. K. Bailey in September, Hjoi), !•".. ('. I'.ailey assumed the coiu])lete man- 
agement of the business in both business and editorial departments. 

The Decorah Journal is the second oldest newspaper in Winneshiek cnunly. 
Its history begins back in 1866 with the establishment of The Winneshiek Reg- 
ister by George \\'. Haislet. Alexander's History says the oftice was destroyed 
by lire in November of that year. A new office was jjurchased. but in the spring 
of 1869 the paper was compelled to suspend. '".August 23. 1809. he ( Mr. Hais- 
let) re-issued his paper under the name of Register & N'eniilator. afterwards 
dropping the first half of the name. Several years later W. X. liurdick became 
a ])artner with Haislet, and soon bought him out entirely, and in 1874 was sole 
proprietor, and changed the name N'cntilator to Winneshiek Register. In Xo- 
vcmbcr, 1874, Mr. lUirdick sold oiU to .\. .\. Aiken and Henry Woodrufi'. 
Early in I'ebruary, 1875, the Saturday I'.ee w^as issued as an extra from the office 
of the Register. In the latter part of 1875 ^'^^ Register establisiiment absorbed 
the IndeiJendent (which was started by Ed. Wood and S. S. Haislet in the sum- 
mer of 1874), the combined paper taking the name Independent-Register. In 
January. 1876, .Mr. .Aiken sold out his interest. Henry Woodruff becoming edi- 
tor and manager of the I'.ee, which continued without change till January, 1879, 
Ed. Wood taking the Independent-Register, and soon drop])ing the word Register 
from the name. .About the first of June. i87f>. Mr. Wood sold out and gave 
place to J. E. Meagher, who. in the latter part of July, stejjped down and out. 
Mr. Woodruff of the Decoraii Jnurnal becoming its purchaser, and its subscription 
list was united with that of the liee. In January. i87(). the regular publication 
of the weekly Uecorah Journal commenceil. it being virtually the succes.sor of 
the old Regi.ster and Independent, and tlie I'.ee office soon dropped its separate 
character and became part of the Journal establishment." Mr. Haislet spent 
several years in Cresco. after leaving the Register, but in .\ugust. 1875. returned 
to Decorah and started the publication of the \ entilaior, InU it susiiemled in a 
short time, its editor going to Oubuiiue, where he remained until the fall of 
1876, when he once more engaged in business here, starting the Decoraii Radical. 
Mr. Haislet died March ft. 1881. but his widuw continued the imi'er until .May 
I. 1882, when Charles II. Craig i)urchased the jilaiit and changed the pai)er's 
name to the Decorah I'antagraiih. On Xovember 15. 1884. \\ . V.. .\lexaiider 
bought out Mr. Craig and the i)ai)er"s name was changed to the Press, but after 
a few months he sold out to Mr. Woodruff of the Journal. In ii^^i)! C. C Coutant. 
who had been located at Calmar for several years, bought an interest in the Jour- 
nal and two years later acquired his partner's interest also, lie continued in 
ownershi|) until about six years ago. when he sold out to Charles Meyer of Leaf 
River, lllinoi-^. and llure.ifur followed three i>arliierships — .Meyer & Mead, 



Mever & Holmes (the latter, \V. H. Holmes, who had been foreman of the Jour- 
nal for some time ), and Holmes & Biermann, F. E. Biermann being the purchaser 
of Mever's interest. Air. liiermann purchased Mr. Holmes' interest in 191 1 and 
has since been sole owner. 

The third paper in age in Winneshiek county is the Decorah-Posten, the lead- 
ing semi-weeklv Norwegian newspaper in America. B. Anundsen, its founder, 
came to Decorah in 1867 and opened an office for the purpose of printing the 
various publications of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod. In September, 1874, 
he began the jniblication of Posten and gradually it grew Ijoth in size and popu- 
larity. In 1882 he was sending out 7,000 copies weekly, and in the years imme- 
diately succeeding the subscription list grew rapidly, passing successively in 
short periods the 10,000 mark, 15,000, 20,000 and on up until in the "gos the paper 
was going to more than 30,000 subscribers in all parts of the world. When it 
was changed from a weekly to a semi-weekly its i>opularity was still further 
increased and it has continued to grow steadily and substantially. At the pres- 
ent time 40,000 copies are issued twice each week. The equipment for printing 
this large number of papers is of the modern type employed by the city dailies 
and is complete in all departments. As is well known to the people of the county, 
Mr. Anundsen died in March, 1913, after an illness of about three years. His 
business had previously been incorporated under the title of The B. Anundsen 
Publishing Company and is ably conducted, the business management having 
fallen upon Robert B. Bergerson, who was a protege of Mr. Anundsen. In the 
biographical volume of this work will be found a sketch of Mr. .Amundsen's life. 

The Decorah Public Opinion, of which Harry J. Green is owner and editor, 
was first issued at Cresco by Fred L. Akers. In 1893 it was moved to Decorah 
and the year following Mr. Green acquired an interest in the business. In 
1900 he purchased Mr. Akers' share, thus becoming sole owner. The paper has 
enjoyed a steady growth and is recognized as one of the prominent republican 
newspapers of Northeastern Iowa. Like all of the newspaper plants of Decorah 
its equipment is adec|uate and modern and its i)ages are always newsy. 

While not strictly a newspaper concern, the Lutheran Publishing House is en- 
titled to its share of credit in the devolpment of the printing industry in Win- 
neshiek country. As its name implies, its principal business is one of publish- 
ing books — prayer books, hymnals, Bibles, text and reference books — and 
religious publications, largely in the Norwegian language. It is the printing 
office of the Norwegian Lutheran Synod of America and here some seven or 
eight church and Sunday school papers are jniblished. It has complete print- 
ing and binding departments ; and while it does not seek outside work, still 
a large amount of such work comes to it unsought. For many years its place 
of business was on Main street, at the east edge of what is now the Gov- 
ernment postoffice site, but in the '80s the former Arlington hotel building at 
the west end of Water street was purchased and remodeled. Last year it was 
again remodeled and a large addition built, and as a result the business is now 
housed in the most modern printing office structure in Northeastern Iowa. Its 
affairs arc under the direction of a board of trustees, but L. S. Dale is the man- 

Calmar first acquired a newspaper in 1870 when T. B. Wood started the Win- 
neshiek Representative, but after about a year the paper was moved to Ossian 


and soon after it was discontinued. Samuel S. Haislet, brother of George W. 
llaislet, issued the Calniar Guardian for about two years from April 19. 1876. 
An interim of four years followed when there was no paper published there 
but in June, 1882, the Critic came into existence, piloted by W. C. Eaton. It 
could not have lived more than a year, for in the files of the Decorah Republi- 
can for 1883 we find mention of the starting of the Calmar Clarion by A. E. 
Winrott during the latter part of July. Mr. Winrott was a railway mail clerk 
and spent his time while not engaged on the road in the management of his 
printing establishment. He also developed a nice business in practice cards and 
cases for use by mail clerks in perfecting themselves in their work of sorting 
mail for the various routes. This dei)artment proved so satisfactory that he 
finally discontinued his newspaper and moved to Chicago, where he subsequently 
became prosperous through the sale of specialties pertaining to railway mail 
service. .Soon after he left, C. C. Coutant, who had previously resided at New 
Hampton, located at Calmar and started the i>ul)lication of the Herald, which 
he discontinued in 1891. S. R. Yager started the Courier in 1893 and remains 
at the helm. 

Ridgeway is the last town in the county that has secured newspaper repre- 
sentation. In the '90s Herman W. Haislet, younger son of George \\'. Haislet, 
who founded the Winneshiek Register in Decorah in 1866, established the Ridge- 
way Record. It had an e.xistance of about a year. In 1902 E. W. r)00ton estab- 
lished the Review, w-hich he sold to M. Lee Hathaway in 1904. I'nder Mr. 
Hathaway 's management the paper has steadily improved, and the office equip- 
ment is as complete as any small town can boast of. Fort Atkinson, for some years, 
had a worthy representative in The Times, which was established by .\. K. Dodd. 
C. V. Summers later purchased an interest and subsequently I)ecame sole owner. 
Seeing what he considered a better opening. Mr. Summers moved his ])Iant to 
Lime Springs, and since that time Fort Atkinson has been without a ]>aper. 
Prior to this two other newspapers had existed. In 1875 Erank L. Bradley pub- 
lished the Fort Atkinson News, and about 1889 Henry Hess publi.shed "Life 
Bote," a German paper. 

As stated in the history of the Calmar newspaper, Ossian's first ]nil)licalion 
was the Winneshiek Representative. Among its successors was the Herald, 
which had an existence of some time, but it was not until 1S85 that a ])ermanent 
newspaper was acquired. Early in that \ear Henry Woodruff of Decorah 
started the Ossian Bee, and in May. M. J. Carter became associate editor. In 
1887 Mr. Carter bought the business and for a number of years thereafter was 
its publisher. A. C. Heck was its next editor. For several years he was sole 
proprietor and enjoyed a good patronage. In 1905, T. F. Schmitz purchased a 
half interest, the partnership continuing until 1910 when Mr. Heck sold his hold- 
ings to Mr. Schmitz, who has since been in sole control. 

In 1906 Alexander K. Kaupel began the pulslication of the Ossian l-.nler- 
prise. The town was .scarcely large enough for two ])apers and after an existence 
of ncarlv four years the pajicr was discontinued on .August i. 1910. 


The record of the medical profession in Winneshiek county, for the earher 
years, has proven difficult to trace. Xo history that has been compiled seemed to 
consider these most necessary citizens worthy of separate consideration. Here and 
there may be found mention of them separately, but' quite generally such men- 
tion is made in connection with some activity foreign to their profession. This 
in itself is indicative that the pioneer physicians were men of more than ordinary 
character, whose aljility was not confined to the treatment of the ills of mankind. 

Possibly one of the tirst of the medical profession to locate in the county was 
Doctor Andros who spent some years in Fort Atkinson and Decorah. The record 
clearly indicates that Dr. J. i\I. Greene and his brother-in-law. Dr. Thomas J. 
Hazlett, were among the early day practitioners in Decorah. and it is well known 
■ that Dr. Henry C. Bullis came to Decorah in 1852, making his home here unti' 
claimed by death. He was one of the busy, successful physicians, and a man 
who did much in shaping the welfare of the county and state. Beside his home 
activities he served as trustee and regent of Iowa State University, was examining 
surgeon on the pension lioard from 1865 to 1876, and was also president of the 
State ^ledical Society. Mention is found of him in the chapter on schools and 
railroad construction. Dr. George Bolles, was also one of the pioneers here, 
later moving to South Dakota where he repeated his experience of the earlv 
'SOs in this county. 

In 1857 Dr. W. F. Coleman joined the ranks of physicians. He became the 
first mayor of Decorah after its incorporation, served on the pension board and 
as a member of the commission of insanity. He also served for two years as 
assistant surgeon of the 17th Iowa Infantry. 

Memory must serve partially in referring to some of the men who followed 
the foregoing, nor are we writing to declare that these were the only ones who 
were then practicing here. It is the impression of this writer that Dr. f. W'ilber 
Curtis was here before i860. He was a man of many eccentricities, but never- 
theless a most capable physician, and with his interest aroused he has heen 
known to lead many a forlorn hope to victory. As an obstetrician he had few 



Dr. Fordyce Worth, the last of the early day physicians, came to llesper in 
1856, where he engaged first in merchandising. He had previously pursued the 
study of medicine, hut it was not until 1870 that he acquired his sheepskin and 
began devoting himself more exclusively to practice. He slill resides at Hesper. 
a well preserved man of more than eighty-two years. 

In the year 1S66 Dr. J. S. Roome established himself at Calmar, and for many 
years he was practically alone in that field. So successful was he that the resi- 
dents of a wide territory would think of having no other. He became one of 
Calmar's most substantial and widely known business men and retired only three 
years ago, moving to California to s])end the balance of his days. He represented 
Winneshiek county during two sessions of the Iowa Legislature. Dr. C. D. 
Roome, a brother of Dr. J. S. Roome, was located for a time at Ridgeway where 
he established himself in 1874. He later moved to Cresco. 

Dr. \\'. M. I'^allows located at Fort Atkinson in 1872; Dr. C. W. Cady, now 
of Mabel, Minnesota, was for many years following 1877 the resident physician 
at Burr Oak ; Dr. R. Small came to Decorah from I-"ayette county in the early 
'70s and died some years ago; Dr. .\ustin Pegg was a successful practitioner 
at Ossian at about the same time; Dr. J. I'.illington was for many years located 
in Decorah. .At the time he was the only Norwegian physician here. 

The men that have been referred to were all allopath.s — followers of the olil 
school. Practically alone in his field was Dr. [idnnnul C'artwright. homoeoijaih, 
of Decorah. Previous to coming here he had .spent some time at Lansing. His 
son Richard Cartwright chose to follow his father's profession and was associ- 
ated with him for a lime but for many years lias been one of the leading phv- 
sicians at Salem, Oregon. Dr. C. H. Strong, now of Toledo, Ohio, was also 
engaged here for a short lime. 

.Among all the ])hysicians that have been mcnlioned iKrein none was a s])ecial- 
ist — there was little opportunity for such practice — but in the realms of every 
day service where all-round experience was demanded, thcv asked no odds of 
any set of men. 

If memory serves aright. Dr. .\. C. Smith was the first specialist to locale 
here and remain for a sufficient time to be considered jjermaiient. Althout;h he 
would occasionally take a case in general i)ractice he preferred to devote himself 
to diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throal, and for many years maintained his 
office in Decorah where he enjoyed a lucrative practice. It is only within a few 
years that he has retired. His son. Dr. Carsten C. Smith, has enlered the ranks 
of general i^ractice and is now located in Minnesota. 

The i^resent day finds the local ranks well filled. In Decorah are P. .M. and 
M. D.Jewell. .\. F. I'.arfoot. .A. J. Swezy, llarrielt 11. .Amy, .A. C. Hoeg, T. Stabo, 
and II. II. ihomas, allopaths: .\. t". Woodwaid. homoeopath, and Doctors Lrban 
i\; Lrban. osteoi^atlis. .At Calmar are located I".. .\l. lleilen; T. C. Hennessy and 
F. H. EUingson. Ossian is served by J. .A. juen and J. W. Lynch. .\t Frankvillc 
Doctor Kiesaw is alone. He was preceded there by Dr. E. T. Wilcox, one of the 
most successful men tlial |)art of the country ever knew. Preceding Doctor Wilcox 
was Dr. !•'. W. Daubney, who died in November, k^ij, after a residence in 
Decorah of about twenty-five years, during which he enjoyed a very lucrative 
l)ractice. At Highlandville Dr. J. D. Hexom has won a worthy success. Dr. 
W. H. Emmons stepped into Doctor Cady's place at llurr Oak and has an cxlen- 


sive practice. Dr. Gertrude G. Wellington is practicing in Hesper. The most 
recent addition to the profession is Dr. Ilyron Lewis, who in August, 191 3, pur- 
chased the [practice of Dr. L. J. Kaasa at Ridgeway. DoctDr Kaasa was the suc- 
cessor two years ago of Dr. J. C. Lewis, who was for many years the main 
dependence of the citizens in the western part of the count}'. 


While not, strictly speaking, members of the medical profession, tlie tlentists 
are eligible to enrollment in this chapter. In Dccorah are F. W. Conover, C. L. 
Topliiif, T. C. Hutchinson, O. Boe and W. R. Toye. At Calniar, J. F. Conover, 
and at Ossian, T. P. Schneeberger. 


During the past summer (1913) interest has centered in the prospective estab- 
lishment of a hospital in Decorah. William H. .Smitli, a v.ealthy retired farmer, 
made a proposal to contribute $10,000 on condition that the Commercial Club 
raised $15,000 more. This was accomplished and the organization of a hospital 
company is now under way. Probably before this book leaves the printer's 
hands the choice of a location will have been made and announced. Dr. J. R. 
Guthrie of Dubu(|ue, a man of high rank in the Aiiddle West, has been engaged 
as chief surgeon, and all physicians of the county will be on the hospital stalT. 
The people of Decorah and the county generally regard this accomplishment as 
one of the most worthy ever undertaken local Iv. 


"The First Things of Decorah" was the title of a discourse delivered by 
Rev. Ephraim Adams on Thanksgiving da)' (November 28), 1867. Among other 
things he said: "In the same year, July 3, 1851, the first lawyer made his appear- 
ance. Undertaking to walk out from Lansing, he got lost by the way and 
stopped the first night at a Norwegian's house six or eight miles east of this. Start- 
ing on the next morning he came along about noon to the log tavern, and inquired 
the way to Decorah, rejoicing, no doubt, to be at his journey's end ere he had 
found it. His name was John B. Onstine. The second of his profession was 
Dryden Smith ; the third, A. B. Weblier ; the fourtli, John L. Burton ; and the 
fifth, L. ]^>ullis ; tiie sixth, E. E. Cooley, who came in October, 1854, — and so on." 

The record made by former historians discloses the name of James D. McKay 
as the successful candidate for Prosecuting Attorney in the election of 1852. 
Air. McKay resided on Washington Prairie. In 1855 the name of William Bailey 
appears as an unsuccessful candidate for the same oflice. In 1856 L. W. Gris- 
wold had entered upon the scene. In 1857 G. R. Willett joined the local bar. 

Thus is established the basis of the legal profession in Winneshiek county. 
Justice may have been crude in those days, Init from the above list there devel- 
oped men of more than passing attainment in our local courts, and at least one 
gained a reputation before the higher tribunals that marked him as the possessor 
of an unusually keen, analytical mind. We refer to the late Judge G. R. Willett. 
Canadian l^orn, of American parentage. He acquired his early education in the 
Dominion. This was followed by a law course at the Albany Law School, and in 
1857, a year after his graduation, he came to Decorah where his ability soon gained 
recognition. He was a man of deep feeling for any cause that enlisted his 
sympathv. When the call came for volunteers in 1861 he was the first man 
to enlist in Decorah, and raised Company D, Third Iowa Infantry, of which he 
served as captain until a Ijullet wound in his knee incapacitated him for further 
duty. He was elected County Judge in 1864, served in three sessions of the 
Iowa Legislature, was president pro tern of the Senate and chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Constitutional Amendments in 1874, and chairman of the Judiciary 
Committee in 1875, beside serving on other important committees. From his 



first days in tlic county Judge Willett was prominent in the activities of the iw^jile. 
hut it was in his profession that he won his greatest distinction. He delighted 
in cases that presented the toughest legal knots. With such it was his practice, 
as he put it. to "hold it up by the four corners," and if he was satisfied that the 
equities were on his side he felt no misgivings of the outcome. Sometimes he 
was com])ened to go to the highest tribunals to win his verdict, hul in a long 
and rather intimate acciuaintance with him the writer cannot recall a he 
lost in the Supreme Court. ITe was a m;in of jolly disposition, (juite given to 
reminiscent story telling, and he had a fund of them at his command. 

Reference to Judge Cooley and Levi RuUis will be found under the head of 
" Politics and the Politicians." They, too, were men of force and influence. Mr. 
i'ullis was particularly pojjular among young men. It was his pleasure to have 
them about him. .Mthough a man of positive likes and dislikes and very out- 
spoken in is opinions of men and events, he had a following whose loyaltv could 
not be shaken. 

Judge M. \'. P.urdick, elected as the first Circuit Judge in 1869, was another 
of the early and prominent attorneys. Prior to going on the bench he was a 
])artner of Judge Willett and possessed to a degree the same analytical (|uality 
that won success for his partner, lie moved to Lansing after retiring from the 
bench, and died May 8. 1886. 

( )ne of the men who is scarcely e\er referred to now, but a pioneer lawyer 
of much aliility, was Seneca A, Tupper. Me and his son Charles Tuppcr practiced 
in the local courts, the latter for a comparatively short time. He entered the 
;.rmy and was among those who gave up their li\es in the struggle of 1861-65. 
The sem'nr Tup])er died some years later, generally respected as a lawyer and 

Advancing a few years we find the names of John T. Clark, Cyrus Wellington, 
('harles P. Brown and Orlando J. Clark prominently mentioned. Of this quartette 
John T. Clark was probably prominent for a number of years. It was .said 
of him that, [jrior to revision of the Code of Iowa in 1S73, a young attorney had 
little show against him. He was thoroughly versed in the Code of 1S58, and 
could carry a less informed opponent oft' liis feet, ])arlicularlv if the case ii;i|)- 
l>encd to be tried before a jur\-. 

Ill \Xj(< Ibdwii (X: Wellington, then ])artners, won considerable distinction 
as criminal lawyers in their defence of 1 lelen D. Stickles, charged with the murder 
of her liusband, JcjIiii P. Stickles. Pitted against them were O. J. Clark, as jiros- 
ccuting attorney, and John T. Clark. Stickles died under circumstances indicating 
strychnine jxiisoning. .V post mortem examination strengthened this opinion 
and resulted in the stomach being sent to I)r, P. M. Hatfield of Chicago for 
chemical examination. His examination confirmed the sus])icion and Mrs. Stickles 
was brought to trial, but while the general belief of her guilt was entertained, 
on tile trial the jury disagreed, and on a change of venue to Fayette coinitx- she 
was acquitted at the second trial. 

This trial brought Cyrus Wellington jjarticularly before the public. He suli- 
se<|uently was chosen district attorney and was holding office when a change 
in the court system caused the discontinuance of the attorncysliip. Some vears 
later he moved to St, Paul where he attracted the attention of James J. Hill 
and became the attorney of the Great Xorlhern road. He was compelled by 


approaching l)liiuliiess lo give uji his duties and (hed se\eral years ago at a lake 
resort in Wisconsin where he hved in retirement. 

Mr. Brown also moved to St. Paul where he dieil. John T. Clark died at 
Postville January 17. 1885. 

The record as to the attorneys is more or less fragmentary at best, and a 
searcher after historical data is compelled to take much upon faith or only glance 
over all but a few of the more prominent personages. 

Among the attorneys who were practicing in Winneshiek in the '70s 
were Martin M. and Lewis Johnson. They moved to North Dakota where the 
former became the first Congressman after that state was admitted to the Union. 
At the time of his death he was serving as one of the two United States Senators. 
Previous to going to North Dakota he enjoyed experience in Iowa as Representa- 
tive and Senator from Winneshiek in the Legislature. 

Others who joined the ranks of the attorneys about that time were John 
B. Kave, who located at Calmar in 1872, and M. J. Carter at Ossian, who was 
admitted to the bar in 1877, and R. F. B. Portman of Decorah, in 1878. 

Mr. Kaye was an Englishman by birth, coming to America with his parents 
in 1842. The family settled near Geneva, Wisconsin, in 1848, and in 1863 Mr. 
Kaye went to Nevada where he spent four years in gold camps. The next four 
years were a time of roving with him, but after a year at his old home he came 
lo Iowa. He was a student, not only of law, but of the Bible and all other good 
literature, and possessed a poetic nature that first found expression in numerous 
bits of miscellaneous verse. In his later years he produced three books of his 
writings, the most worthy of these bearing the title of "Vashti." In his legal 
practice his literary tendency was apt to be shown in his ready application of quo- 
tations from various writers. He won distinction in his defence of John Cater of 
Burr CJak, charged with the killing of his wife, and in his assistance on the side 
of the state in the (Jiitord-Bigelow murder trial. Although in each instance he 
was on the losing side, his handling of the cases clearly demonstrated an unusual 

Mr. Carter began life in this county as a boy on a Bloomfield township farm 
in 1856. In 1874 he engaged in clerking, subsequently studying law in the 
oftice of G. L. Faust in Ossian. After being admitted to the bar he opened an 
office in Ossian where he has since remained, enjoying a lucrative practice. 

Of Mr. Faust, little is recalled today. He was prominent politically during his 
residence in the ccnmty, but ilid not remain here for many years. 

Mr. Portman, like Air. Kaye, was a native of England. He came to Decorah 
in 1872, having ])reviously seen service in the British navy. He was a member 
of the Hrm of Horn, Portman, Clive & Company in the old Eagle foundry for 
about three years, but in 1876 entered C. P. Brown's office to study law and, 
on being admitted to practice in 1878, became Mr. Brown's partner. Mr. Portman 
never aspired to be a trial lawyer, but confined himself largely to practice in 
probate court and as an office attorney. In this he was successful, and is today 
one of the three men in Decorah who link the jiast with the present. 

Another is Norman Willett, second son of Judge Willctt, who sustains in a 
large measure the same relationship to his clients and the bar as did his worthy 
father. For a time in the early '80s, Mr. Willett was in his father's office. 
A position was ofTered him with one of the pniminent farm implement houses 


as traveling collector, and his acceptance was followed by several years of service 
in this capacity. When he returned to Decorah it was to become a partner in 
the practice that had come to Judge Willett. It is not strange that he inherited 
many of the characteristics that made his father an able lawyer, or that, working on 
similar lines, he has built for success in his profession. He has been accorded 
])olitical preferment at the hands of the voters, serving as countv altorney with 
distinction, and has been frequently mentioned as possessing e.Kcellent (lualifica- 
tioiis for the judgeshij). but he entertains no aspirations in that direction, being 
content with his ]K'rst)nal business and the pleasant associations that it permits. 
George W. Adams is the third of the trio above referred to. Mr. Adams 
began practicing law some years before either Mr. Willctt or Mr. Portman, 
ante-dating Mr. Carter of Ossian. if we are not mistaken. 

Among the younger attorneys whose names were as.sociated with the pioneers 
were Walter E. Akers, Charles M. Cooley and William H. Fannon. :\Ir. Akers 
and Mr. Cooley were students in the office of E. E. Cooley while Mr. Fannon 
was a law school graduate. The firm of Fannon & .\kers was in existence at the 
time that Judge Cooley was appointed to the bench. C. :M. Cooley, who had been 
in his father's office, joined Fannon & Akers and the tirni became Cooley, Fannon 
(S- Akers, remaining so until 1882 when Mr. Fannon was compelled to retire on 
account of ill health. :\Tr. Cooley also withdrew and went to South Dakota. 
When Judge Cooley left the bench the firm of Cooley & Akers was formed. 
They subsequently moved to Minneapolis where Roger W. Cooley, the yomiger 
son of Judge Cooley, joined them, and the firm of Cooley. Akers & Cooley 
maintained offices in Minneapolis and Luverne, Minnesota. Mr. Fannon sought 
to recuperate his health on a farm near Neleigh, Nebraska, but in this he was 
unsuccessful. C. M. Cooley later moved to ^Minneapolis, but manv years ago 
established a residence at Grand Forks, North Dakota, where now he is judge of 
one of the higher tribunals. Judge E. E. Cooley returned to Decorah where 
the remaining years of his life were spent. Mr. .\kers met a tragic death 
while still in his ])rinie. In attempting to go from one coach to another on a 
fast moving train, while returning from Chicago, he was thrown from the 
car and killed. 

Roger W. Cooley for many years preferred to follow newspaper work. In 
later years he was associated with the West Publishing Company, of St. Paul, 
in an editorial capacity in connection with their law book publications. He became 
an authority on insurance law, and at the present time is Dean of the I,aw School 
at Grand Forks. North Dakota. 

In the more recent years the name of Dan Shea appears. Mr. Shea had 
served as Superintendent of Schools for several terms and on leaving office took 
up the law. -At a time when he had just entered on jinMiiised to be a 
period of great success his career was closed bv death. 

M. A. Harmon, who is still a member of the bar, likewise followed service 
as a county official by engaging in the legal i)rofession. For a number of j-ears 
he was city attorney of Decorah. 

.Arthur V. Anundsen, oldest S(;n of the late R. .\nundseii. fdiiiickr ui Dccorah- 
Posten, was a member of the local bar for a period in the 'i^os and the years 
immediately following. He was a man of recognized abilitv, but abandoned his 


practice to go into the banking business at Detroit, Minnesota, where he died 
three years ago. 

The bar as it is composed today claims as its members Messrs. Willett, Port- 
man, Harmon, Carter, and Adams, heretofore mentioned; Charles N. Houck, 
County Attorney ; E. R. Acres, Frank Sayre, E. W. Cutting, C. S. Boice, E. J. 
Hook,' H. F. Barthell, J. A. Nelson, W. M. Strand, and E. P. Shea, all of 
Decorah ; W. M. Allen of Ossian, and T. H. Goheen of Calmar. 

The foregoing record takes no account of a number of the profession who 
either remained here only a short time, or failed to leave an impress upon the 
public mind. Nor does it take into account the career of E. P. Johnson, whose 
disbarment was the sensation of the February term of court in 1910. 

Possibly what has been written may inspire some one to complete the record. 
It would prove an interesting document for the tiles of the Winneshiek County 
Bar Association when the organization of that body, which was commenced 
some years ago, is completed. 



The chronological data of Winneshiek county states that in the winter of 
'855-56 there were nine banking houses in Decorah, from two of which subse- 
quently developed the Winneshiek County Bank and the First National Bank. 
If there is any record of the other se\en 1)anks we are imal)le to locate it. 


It was in 1855 that Horace Weiser, then a young man, came to Iowa from 
York, Pennsylvania, and located in Decorah. \Mth the ownership vested in H. 
S. Weiser & Co., he at once engaged in the business of banking, choosing the 
title of Winneshiek County Bank. That he was a shrewd and an able financier 
is the uniform testimony of all who knew him, and the fact that his institution 
weathered the vicissitudes that imperiled manv of the banks of that day is a force- 
ful testimonial to his good judgment. Yet with all his conservatism he bore a 
splendid reputation for fairness and consideration of the man who. through 
misfortune or other cause, found himself in financial straits. For twenty years 
he remained at the head of the bank. Death claimed him on July 19, 1875, 
when, it may well be said, he was in the prime of manhood and executive ability. 
The business that he had so successfully established passed into the control 
of his family, and with the exception that the title of the firm became Mrs. H. 
S. Weiser & Co. there was no change. E. W. D. Holway became the bank's 
cashier and C. J. Weiser, assistant cashier, and under their management enjoyed 
splendid growth. Mrs. Weiser died November 8, i8g8. During all these vears 
the institution remained a jjrivate bank. In 1902 the owners decided to incorpo- 
rate under the state banking laws, and the title was changed to the Winneshiek 
County .State Bank. Charles J. \\'eiser, who entered the bank as a young man, 
has been with it through its years of greatest advancement and usefulness to 
the community, building upon the foundation laid by his father and planning 
for years to come when he may have put aside the active management to give 
place to his sons that they may carry on the policies that have made the bank 
so successful and substantial. It is worthy of note that the Winneshiek County 



State Bank is the oldest bank in Iowa, either private or organized under laws of 
Iowa or the nation, and it has always been under one family management. At 
the present time the bank's resources are nearly a million and three-quarters 
of dollars and its deposits are over that amount. Twenty years ago the business 
outgrew the old building that had housed it so long and a new modern structure was 
erected. As this history is being prepared another new building to take the 
place of the one of twenty years ago is nearing comjjletion. It will be one 
of the finest banking houses in Iowa, excelling in beauty and completeness any- 
thing in this portion of the state. 

The officers of the bank are — C. J. Weiser, president ; E. W. D. Holway 
and R. Algar, vice presidents; A. Anfinson, cashier; Anna C. W'halen, assistant 


In 1854 the firm of Easton, Cooley & Co., opened the Decorah Rank. The 
members of the firm were W. L. Easton of Lowville, New York ; E. E. Cooley 
and Leonard Standring. Success attended their activities from the first, and 
in 1862 James H. Easton, oldest son of W. L. Easton, joined the institution, 
I)ecoming its president. The interests of the other partners were acquired by 
the Eastons and for several years the firm was known as W. L. Easton & Son. 
In 1870 advantage was taken of the National banking act and the First National 
Bank of Decorah took its place. In the years that followed it forged to the 
front and was recognizecl as the leading financial institution in this portion of 
Iowa. It may be said the bank enjoyed too nnich prosperity, and as a result 
some of its officers sought investments elsewhere. Almost witliont exception 
these investments proved unfortunate, large losses were sustained, and the bank 
became so involved that in November, i8</), it was forced to close its doors. 

The Savings Bank of Decorah was an adjunct of the First National Bank, 
organized in 1873 for the jnirpose of handling a certain line of business that 
was not permitted under the national banking act. After an existence of thirteen 
years it went into \oluntary liquidation, the exigency for its maintenance having 

run: riTizi:Ns savinc.s hank 

The third i);ink to be opened in Decorah was the Citizens Savings Bank. 
Its incori)orators were C. \V. Burdick, L. L. Cadwell, (ieorge Phelps, .\. W. 
Grow and Nelson Burdick, and it opened for business on Fel)ruary jo. 18S4. 
Its growtli w.'is not rapid, but it was steady and sui)stantial. l'\< to October, 
1907. it was located in the building now occui)ie(i by the Decoraii Tailoring 
Co. at 1 1 1 W'imiebago street, in that }ear the building at the corner of Winne- 
bago and Water streets, opposite Ben Bear's store, was purchased and remodeled 
as a banking home and office building. Here the liank has continued to thrive, win- 
ning new friends and patrons each vear ;ind holding its old ones as well l)y its sound 
policies and courteous treatment to .ill. 

In Jamiary. HXM. C. \Y. Burdick, who had l)een the l^ank's president from 
its organization, sold iiis interests to his associates, and E. J. Curtin was elected 




to succeed him. Mr. Curtin became associated with the bank as messenger and 
bookkeeper soon after it opened for business and advanced steadily, both in 
official capacity and in the esteem of its patrons, proving his capacity in all 
departments. His worth has also been recognized among the bankers of the 
state. Within the past five years he has served as treasurer and president of 
their state organization, as well as on important committees of the national 
organization. He is a member of the board of directors of the Iowa State Agri- 
cultural Society and has financial interests at Beach and Sterling, North Dakota, 
in addition to his local interests, which combine to make him one of Decorah's 
busiest business men. 

Associated with him in the management of the Citizens Savings Bank are 
Ogden Casterton, R. F. B. Portman, Dr. F. W. Conover and John Curtin as 
directors. Ogden Casterton is vice president, B. J. McKay is cashier, F. E. 
Cratsenberg and Richard E. Bucknell are assistant cashiers, and Miss Minnie 
Palmer as stenographer and bookkeeper completes the personnel of the force. 
The bank's resources are between $500,000 and $600,000 and each year sees a 
healthy increase in its volume. 


The National Bank of Decorah was opened for business on July 12, 1897. 
Anticipatory of this event the stockholders purchased the building of the de- 
funct First National Bank. In so doing they secured without the necessity 
of construction a plant that was ample in its capacity, admirable in its appoint- 
ments, and central in its location. Engaging in business at a time when there 
was not a little prejudice in the local mind because of the failure of the First 
National Bank, it was to be expected that their growth would be slow. They 
soon outlived this prejudice, however, and the close of the first ten years of 
its existence found it carrying deposits of $425,433.63 and resources of $549,- 
522.62, its capital of $50,000 having been augmented by a surplus fund of $10,000. 
The men who made this growth possible are among the substantial men of the 
county. L. B. Whitney, the president, began commercial life as a member of the 
firm of Cratsenberg & Whitney at Burr Oak. Subsequently he served as treasurer 
of Winneshiek county for four years, and in these relations sustained a splendid 
reputation for ability and integrity. O. C. Johnson, the vice president, was for 
many years a merchant in Decorah, later county auditor ; a man of sterling 
character. H. C. Hjerlaid, the cashier, came to Decorah from the Cresco Union 
Savings Bank and at once established the fact that he was a capable banker. W. 
F. Baker, the assistant cashier has grown up with the ijank and has won deserved 
recognition both as a bank officer and on the city council where he has served 
with distinction as alderman for several years. The directors of the bank are 
T. J. Haug of Spillville, G. F. Gunderson of Ossian, F. H. and A. C. Baker of 
Decorah, O. L. Wennes of Highlandville, and E. R. Thompson of Cresco, all men 
of recognized high standing in their various communities. 

Some years ago the bank acquired the aljstract books of C. W. Burdick and 
these have become a valuable adjunct of the business. They are in charge of 
Miss Cora Auchmoody, who enjoys the distinction of being one of the most 
accurate abstracters in Northern Iowa. Miss Lilian Wise is Miss Auchmoody 's 

162 PAST AXI) PRESENT OF \Vl.\.\i:sl 11I;K (OLXTV 

Till'; DiauRAH siAi'i-; I'.ank 

In SeptcinlK-r, ii)i/>. the Dccorali Stati' I'.ank was organized in Dccorali. Its 
incorporators were R. A. Engbretsun, A. 1.. I laakenson. Ci. 1-2. Solaiid. A. 1. 
Dyrland, T. O. Slorla, iJr. T. Staho. I''.. I. Hook, and !•:. V. Johnson, •{"lie 
bank opened alxnit October 1st. with a caiiita! of S25.000, in tlie Sanijjsun l)nil(Hng 
(at the corner of Water and Washington streets) which had been purchased and 
remodeled to meet its requirements. 'Hie equipment was modest, Init ample for 
a considerable period of growth, and while it has not yet made a demand upon 
its full eapacit\. the bank- has enjoyed a steady, substantial success from the 
first, liy many it was not believed that a fourth bank could lind a place in 
Decorah witliout taking business from other local institutions, but this prediction 
has not been borne out. in any respect. In fact, tlie reverse has been the result. 
The business that has come to this bank has. in ;i large measure. l)een new busi- 
ness, and at the same time the other banks h;i\e enjoyed the most prosperous 
period in their existence. When the bank was first organized R. A. Engbretson 
was chosen as president; E. P. John.son. vice jiresident ; .\. L. Haakenson. cashier. 
.Mr. Haakenson w-as comiielled Iiy ill liealth to resign two years ago, and the 
\acancy was filled by the election of ]•'.. \\. I'.erg. who had formerly been assistant 
cashier. E. P. JohnscMi retired from the \ ice presidency and moved to Minne- 
apolis, L. S. Reque taking his place. .\t the annual meeting last January, .\rthur 
R. Johnson was made assistant cashier. The board of directors include Messrs. 
Engbretson. Reque, Berg, C. E. .Soland. Dr. T. .Stabo, h",. J. Mook and Borgcr 
Hanson. The bank has capital and sur])lus of $57,500, the deposits and loans 
being about $200,000 each, and total re.soiu-ces of $258,000. 

Affiliated with the Winneshiek County State Rank of Decorah, but inde- 
]icndent in their management, are the Winneshiek County lianks at Calmar and 
ividgeway. the Home -Savings Bank at Fort .\tkinson, tiie Citizens Bank at 
Si)illville, and the Canton State I?ank at Canton. .Minnesota. The Winneshiek 
County Bank at Calmar was organized about sexenteen vears ago with ( )le 1'. 
Ode as cashier. He has remained as the manager through these successive 
years and II. .A. Dessel is his assistant, llie Kidgeway i'.ank was actjuired bv 
purchase in February, 1902, from (ieorge R. I'.aker, who had for se\eral vears 
been engaged in the lianking business there. .Sixert R. Ringeon xvas made cashier. 
.At the jiresenl time he is being assisted by his nephew, l'"lmer Ringeon. .\ 
month following the purchase of tlie Ridgexvay ]5ank, the bank at l'"ort .\tkinson 
w^as purchased from W. F. Miller. Several years ago the business was incorpo- 
rated under tlie state law, the title bein'g changed to the Home Savings Bank. 
Frank J. Pouska is its cashier and I'red 1. lluber is iiis assistant. The Citizens 
i'.;nikof Spillxille was organized in HjoH. i .ocil interests at .^pillville joined xxith 
the owners of tlie Winneshiek County State liank in the organization, (has. E. 
Houscr was its first cashier, but on iiis removal from ."-Spillxille, .\. .\. .Xoxak 
succeeded to the casliiership. C. J. .Andera is his assistant. ]■". .A. Masters is 
cashier of the Canton State Bank. .Although not a Winneshiek county institution 
we mention it because of its association with the Winneshiek Countx' .State 
Bank and the further fact tliat considerable Winneshiek county moiicx' is on 
deposit there. These l)anks have l)ecn uniformly successful, serx ing their several 
communities in a manner that is in every way satisfactory. 


At the time of the organization of the Winneshiek County Bank at Calmar, 
A. McRobert was in the Ijanking Ijusiness. He was compelled eventually to 
close the institution. Among the early bankers of Calmar was John Scott, 
postmaster and druggist. 

In 191 1 the Calmar Savings Bank was organized with a capital of $io,000. 
The incorporators included some of the officials of the Citizens Savings Bank 
of Decorah as well as prominent citizens of Calmar. It has established a surplus 
fund of $1,000. It deposits aggregate $25,000 and its loans and discounts $18,000. 

For its size the town of Ossian is as well fortified in its financial interests as 
any town in this section of the state. In 1880 the Ossian Bank, with Aleyer, 
Carter and Figge as partners, came into existence. It enjoyed a steady and increas- 
ing patronage for about a score of years, when it was organized under Iowa 
law as the Ossian State Bank with capital of $25,000 and surplus of $5,000. Its 
deposits, according to a recent bank directory, are over $500,000 and its loans 
and discounts approximate $450,000. Its officers are Fred J. Figge, president; 
L. A. Meyer, vice president; J. W. Meyer, cashier; Cornell Riveland, assistant 

In 1901 a competitor entered the field in the Citizens Bank of Ossian. Its 
incorporators were some of the prominent business men of the town. The original 
capital of $10,000 has never been increased, but a surplus fund of $18,000 has 
been established. Its deposits approach the $400,000 mark and its loans and 
discounts are $300,000 or better. R. W. Anderson is its president ; G. F. Gunder- 
son, vice president ; M. J. Klein is its cashier, and E. H. Kleisart is assistant 

.\t Castalia, the Castalia Savings Bank, organized in 1902, may be considered 
an offspring of the Ossian State Bank. It has a capital of $15,000, surplus of 
$5,000, deposits of $120,000 and loans and discounts of $110,000. L. A. Meyer 
is its president and D. C. Malloy its cashier. 

Burr Oak has a substantial little organization in its savings bank whicii 
was organized in 19 10. Dr. W. H. Emmons is its president, J. A. Thompson its 
vice president and E. Kippe its cashier. Its capital is $10,000, deposits $61,000 
and loans and discounts $48,000. 

Another bank tliat has Decorah affiliations, but which is not strictly a Winne- 
shiek county bank, is the State Line Bank of Prosper, organized in 191 1. John 
T. Ask is its president, G. O. Lermo is its cashier, while stockholders in the 
National Bank of Decorah are also interested along with a number of prominent 
farmers and business men in Prosper and vicinity. 

For many years it has been a matter of common knowledge that Winneshiek 
count v has provided the Northwest with more bankers than almost any county 
in the state of Iowa. Scattered throughout the Northwest are men who have 
received their grounding in the banking business in Winneshiek county institu- 
tions or have entered the business after leaving here. With few exceptions 
they have won worthy successes and have had much to do with the building up 
of the communities in which they have located. Were it possible to take an 
accurate census of the men who now are and have been engaged in banking 
and once claimed Winneshiek county as their home we dare say that the number 
would reach well up towards five hundred. 


The record of manufacturing in Winneshiek county has not been one of 
marked successes. Yet here and there may be cited instances that give evidence 
that success can be won. If the reader follows the course of the Upper Iowa 
river as it winds through the county he will be impressed with the opportunity 
it affords for natural and cheap power. It must have so impressed the early 
settler, for from Kendallville down to the east line of Glenwood township, 
where it says good-bye to Winneshiek and hurries on its way through the 
northern part of Allamakee county to empty into the Mississippi, there are evi- 
dences in many places of dams that were built to supply power for some primi- 
tive grist or saw mill. Down in the southern part of the county where the 
Turkey river flows we find the same thing. Nor is that all ; the smaller streams 
were made to do duty in a similar, though less forceful, way. The march of 
civilization may be blamed for the failure of some of these projects. 

Of the early day mills on the Upper Iowa, but two remain — the Kendallville 
mill and the old stone mill in Decorah. To them may be added the Ice Cave 
mill built by James Hunter and John Greer in 1873 ^"^ the Tavener grist 
mill. Over on the Turkey we find the mills at Fort Atkinson and Spillville. 
The Bernatz family — once owners of Evergreen mill at Fort Atkinson (they 
sold it to the present owner, George Weist, I believe), are the leaders in milling 
today. A. Bernatz & Sons own the two Decorah mills, which have become 
very successful properties under their management, and John Bernatz owns 
the Spillville mill. 

In the early days of Decorah there grew up the plant of Amnion, Scott 
& Co., manufacturers of wagons, plows, etc. One of the adjuncts of the busi- 
ness was the old stone mill, where a grade of flour was made that commanded 
a ready sale. Their wagons and plows enjoyed prestige also because they 
were made on honor, but one morning the firm awoke to the fact that they were 
facing a financial crisis. For some cause their flour was being refused by 
dealers who had handled it steadily, stocks had piled up, sales were few, and 
every effort to unload proved unavailing. A run of poor wheat — unsuspected 
and unknown until efforts to use the flour made from it proved futile — had 



so spoiled the reputation of tlie mill's output as to jeopardize the whole manu- 
facturing enterprise, and the institution closed its doors. 

We might go on down the line, citing such cases as the Decorah and Trout 
river woolen mills, the Ereei)ort paper mill, the Decorah Manufacturing Com- 
pany, the scale works, the windmill factory, and others, but why dwell upon 
an unpleasant subject? The various causes that contributed to their failure or 
removal would extend the pages of this cliapter beyond the patience of the 
reader. They may be summed up in a few words — superior competitive equip- 
ment, lack of knowledge of the business undertaken, mismanagement, faulty 
sales management, to say nothing of inadequate transportation facilities. 

But let us look at the other side of the picture. In Decorah there have 
grown up five establishments in one line whose combined pay rolls are probably 
the largest of any single manufacturing business in the county. We refer to 
the printing industry. Few people look upon a printing ortice as a manufactur- 
ing plant, but it is essentially of that class. Every piece of work i)roduced 
is a separate and distinct article — a special order, that is seldom duplicated in 
every detail. Whether it be the issuing of a newspaper or the printing of a 
wedding invitation, or any other ]}iece of printing, there may be a general 
outline or pattern to follow, but each time the details and results are ditTerent. 

Decorah has successful machine shops, marble works, bottling works, valve 
works, sheet metal shops and an ice cream factory that sends its products all 
over northeastern Iowa. 

.'\ notable success had been attained in the production of electricity for 
commercial use. Twice within the past five years the Upper Iowa ri\er has 
been harnessed, and its dams and power plants in Glenwood township are models 
of engineering. From them power and light is radiated to Decorah, Waukon, 
Cresco, Postville and Lansing. 

.\t Ossian, P)ullard Brothers have just established an electric ])lant to serve 
the town. 

The Decorah (ias Company's ])!ant and the nuinicipal gas plant at Calmar 
vre rightly classed among the manufactories that are successes. 

Calmar presents two cases of going enterprises in the Henry Miller wagon 
works and the Calmar Manufacturing Co. The product of both these institu- 
tions is known throughout a wide territory and alone constitute a refutation 
of the claim that manufacturing does not pay in Winneshiek county. 

The successful creameries of the county emphasize this refutation. 

The time will come when the resources that surround this community will 
\>c recognized, and they will be put to work. No magic need be used — all that 
is required is accurate knowledge and ability to apply it. For years opportunity 
has been' calling for some one to establish rock crushing ])lants within our 
county lines and to develop the building stone industry. The pioneer burned 
his lime from the rock that crops out in a thousand places about the county, 
yet today we ship in our lime and send nur money away to keep the industry 
prosperous elsewhere. 

Of mining there is none, nor is there any evidence of mineral wealth to 
cause one to spend valuable time in investigation. 



The ])cople of Winneshiek county have never realised the necessity for parks. 
A kind Providence caused the glacial How to turn this corner of Iowa into a 
series of the most beautiful hills and valleys that can be found in any land, and 
then he studded them with nature's choicest gifts — trees of many kinds, flowers 
and ferns and shrubs of countless variety — and scattered through the valleys 
streams of crystal water that wend their way toward the Father of Waters that 
forms one of the boundaries of the state. With such an environment, need 
one think of a park? It is only within the past three years that a systematic 
eiifort to establish and maintain a park has been made at any point in the county. 
Three years ago Mr. Sivert Larsen secured an option from Mr. Milton Updegrafl 
upon a tract of ground on the heights overlooking the Fifth ward and the valley 
northwest of Decorah. It held admirable possibilities that were not realized by 
the majority of the citizens, l^ut when the project was placed before the Decorah 
Commercial Club, that body took steps at once to secure the property. While 
it is yet in the formative period much has been done in the way of improvement, 
and its fame is spreading to surrounding counties and states. It is first of all 
a natural park, and an endeavor has been made to retain all of its native beauty. 
Here during the summer months scarcely a day passes that does not see little 
gatherings of people bent upon wholesome pleasure. Mr. Larsen, Mr. L. B. 
Whitney and Mr. N. L. Bailey are the park commissioners. 

I'lT.LIC 11 Lli. DINGS 

The first public building in Winneshiek county was that little stone school- 
house, built in 1852 at the four township corners southeast of the city of Decorah, 
wherein the first public school was taught. It is not the writer's purpose, how- 
ever, to go into the details of this structure, or to refer particularly to the school- 
houses as public buildings further than to point to them as evidences of the 
belief of the residents of the county in schools. By some it might be considered 



proper to include a number of buildings such as hotels, in this chapter, but 
importance could attach to but few of these. A notable exception would probably 
be the old Winneshiek hotel, built by William Day in 1854-55. Its predecessor 
was the Day log cabin home, which was a family abode as well as a place of shelter 
for the traveler until the hotel was built. 


Wc must begin in 1857, when, after a loan of $6,000 had been voted, to be 
collected with the taxes of 1857 and 1858, the construction of the Winnesliiek 
County Courthouse was commenced. Alexander's History tells of the building 
of the courthouse and jail in the following paragraphs: 

"The courthouse was completed in 1857, a tax having been voted in 1856. 
The courts previous to that time were sometimes held in rented rooms — though 
for a while at first in the log house of William Day, and afterwards in Newell's 
Hall. The cost of the courthouse buildings, including the jail in the basement, 
was about $18,000. The land for the grounds was donated by William Day 
and William Painter, and occupies one square, being bounded on the north by 
Main street, on the east by W'innebago street, on the south by Broadway, and 
on the west by Court street. The courthouse building has a basement of stone 
in which were originally the jail and sheriff's residence, and above this two 
stories of brick; the courtroom occujjying the upper floor and the county offices 
the remainder of the building. After the erection of the new jail the basement 
was given up to the Recorder's office with a large fireproof vault, the Clerk's 
ofBce with also a fireproof vault, and the office of the County Surveyor. The 
offices of the County Treasurer, Auditor, Sheriff', and County Superintendent 
are now on the floor above. The courtroom is on the upper floor as originally 
constructed. In the fall of 1876 a county tax of $12,000, to be divided between 
1877 and 1878, was voted for the erection of a new jail. The jail was commenced 
and completed in 1878. The cost of buildings, with cells, etc., was $11,114.25. 
The courthouse was, for that time, a magnificent building, and is still resjiectable 
looking, though a little ancient. Its position is commanding, overlooking the 
city and surrounding valley, and will some of these days, no doubt, be the site 
of an ini]5osing edifice." 

Alexander little realized how faithfully the prediction in the foregoing para- 
graph would be carried out. It became evident along in the 'gos, to those who 
were best informed, that every office in the courthouse was cramped for room. 
Many of the most valuable records and documents were without any protection 
from fire save what might be accorded by the Decorah Eire Dejiartment, but it was 
difficult to bring home to the people the gravity of the situation. The proposi- 
tion to issue bonds for a new building was discussed for some time, and in 
1898 the matter was put to vote with the result that it was overwhelmingly 
defeated. In 1902 the Board of Supervisors again ordered a vote taken, result- 
ing in a handsome majority for a bond issue of $75,000. In March, 1903. the 
old building was abandoned and torn down, and work on the new structure com- 
menced. It became evident before the work had jirogressed far that a larger 
sum would be reciuired and the tax jiayers voted an additional $50,000. Probably 
$25,000 to $35,000 was subsequently spent, but the result is a building that will 


outlive many generations, both in its sul:>stantial l>eauty and its am]3le proportions. 
While there was some feeling at the time over the expenditure of such a large 
amount, today the wisdom of building for the future is not questioned. The 
building was occupied in the fall of 1905. The first floor or basement provides 
quarters for the Superintendent of Schools, the County Engineer, the janitor, 
and ample storage space. One room is also assigned to the Superintendent as 
an examination room. This room is also used by the Decorah Public Library. 
On the main floor are the offices of the Auditor, Treasurer, Clerk, SherifT, 
Recorder and Pioard of Supervisors. The third floor contains two courtrooms, 
the County Attorney's office, private offices for the judges, consulting rooms, 
rooms for witnesses and jurors. All the offices are equipped wdth ample vault 
room, and the building is lighted by a private electric light plant installed in the 
boiler house. Gas is also piped into the building. 


In 1866 the necessity for a count}- farm and home, to provide shelter for 
indigent people, became apparent, and a tract of sixty acres was purchased at 
Freeport. This has been enlarged by several subsequent purchases and now 
contains 220 acres. The buildings are all substantial and include a separate 
structure for incurable insane patients. Every comfort consistent with reason- 
able expenditure is afforded the inmates of the home, and precautions for their 
safety have been provided. The structures are steam-heated and electric-lighted. 
C. A. Funke is the steward at present. 


This building, which was completed in March, 1912, occupies the southeast cor- 
ner at the intersection of Main and Winnebago streets. It was constructed at 
a cost of about $65,000 and is generally conceded to be one of the handsomest 
of the federal buildings in Iowa. Its equipment is complete in every detail, the 
comfort of the employes being considered no less than the convenience of handling 
mail. The business of the Decorah postoffice for the past fiscal year was in round 
figures $28,000. Postmaster F. E. Biermann was one of President Wilson's 
first appointees in Iowa. Under him are Deputy Postmaster E. J. Powers and 
a corps of six clerks, four city carriers and eight rural carriers. 

The foregoing comprise the only buildings in the county that come strictly 
under the head of public buildings. The Grand Opera House of Decorah, the 
Auditorium at Ossian, and the town hall at Castalia are also public buildings, 
but are owned by stock companies, as is the Winneshiek Hotel of today, but 
these are all more or less commercial enterprises. 



Students of geology find in Winneshiek coimty some of the most interesting 
outcroppings and hmestone formations of the middle states. Here one may find 
the lower sandstone, the lower beds of the Galina limestone or the lower Mag- 
nesian, hut the Trenton limestone predominates and in it are imbedded fossils of 
odd and i:)eautiful shape. At many points along the Upper Iowa river the banks 
rise in perpendicular l)lufi's faced with this rock for a height of one hundred feet 
or more. The glacial deposits have licen clearly traced by geologists and their 
researches form an interesting volume. Here and there throughout the county 
may be found outcroppings of iron ore. but nothing to excite more than passing 
curiosity or warrant investigation. 


The late Samuel Calvin, state geologist, made a careful survey of this por- 
tion of Iowa. Its beauty was always an allurement to him and caused him to refer 
to it in a printed article as "The Switzerland of Iowa." The appellation is a 
most accurate one, for the topography of the counties of Allamakee, Clayton and 
Winneshiek is largely a succession of high hills, and, consequently, deep valleys. 
Winneshiek, while lacking nothing in the beauty that such topography suggests. 
is less objectionable from the standpoint of crop cultivation than her sister 
counties. The land is rolling, and along the rivers and small streams there is 
much of it that presents problems to the owners : still, as one gets back onto the 
highlands, broad prairies stretch out and present a most inviting scene. Whether 
it be vallev, hillside or prairie, the soil is fertile. One of the reasons why the 
land in Winneshiek county has not advanced as rapidly in price as has some of 
the less rolling sections is because the prairie farmer does not appreciate the 
possibilities that here await him and is too timid to take a chance as a general rule. 


The climatic conditions of Northeastern Iowa ( and that means Winneshiek 
county as well as others) are, in the main, admirable. There are seasons of 



extreme cold, when the mercury seeks the bulb and registers from 20° to 30° 
below zero ; and. by the law of average, it can be expected that the summer 
months will supply the other extreme. I can say most truthfully that our expec- 
tations are seldom disappointed, for we have days when 90° to 100^, and occa- 
sionally higher temperatures, are recorded. But between these seasons there are 
long periods of the most delightful temperatures, with growing rains, glorious 
sunshine and clear atmosphere. The conditions for profitable crop culture and 
good health are here combined to a degree that leaves little to be desired. 



It has often been said that "The sword follows the flag." The history of 
every nation seems to bear out this declaration. It is equally true that the mis- 
sionary is not far behind the sword and many times he is some distance in 
advance of the flag. 

iowa's first preacher 

The records seem to indicate that long before the white man thought to 
occupy this territory efforts were being made to Christianize the Indian. In 1842 
Rev. David Lowery, who had been appointed agent for the Winnebago reserva- 
tion, began the erection of a mission school at Old Mission. He was subsequently 
transferred to Minnesota, and though the mission was continued under other 
management, history does not record that any material advancement was achieved 
in the cause of Christianity. However, it is worth while to perpetuate the fact 
that Reverend Lowery was probably Iowa's first preacher. He was a Kentuckian 
and a Cumberland Presbyterian. 


The most trustworthy authorities available at this time give to the Catholic 
church credit for the erection of the first church edifice in Winneshiek county. At 
the risk of being accused of repetition we refer to the paragraph in Harrison 
Goddard's sketch of Washington township, written for Anderson & Goodwin's 
Atlas and republished in the chapter on towns and townships. Mr. Goddard says 
most of the settlers of 1849 were strict adherents of the Catholic faith; that they 
purchased lands and Indian huts, and that the largest of the huts was converted 
into a chapel. Father G. H. Plathe being sent to minister unto them. In 1853, 
when this little church was destroyed by fire, a site was secured at Twin Springs. 
We refer the reader to Mr. Goddard's sketch for the full details, which will be 
found interesting. 

Besides the Twin Springs congregation there are large and flourishing churches 

in Fort Atkinson, Calmar, Ossian, and Spillville. The Decorah and Bluffton 
Vol. I— 10 



congregations, while maintaining separate churches, are practically one i)arish 
with Rev. J. Hawe, assisted by Father Ranier, who was recently transferred from 
Marshalltown, at their head. The Decorah church was built in 1864 and occupied 
on October 22d. It cost about six thousand dollars. At the present time plans 
are maturing for the construction of a new church to cost $25,000, the old one 
having become too small. F'lyniouth Rock also has a church. 


Close upon the heels of the Catholics came the Lutherans. The settlement 
by Norwegians, which began in 1850 and grew and spread rapidly in the next 
eight or ten years, naturally invited ministers of their faith to come and be 
pioneers with them. Rev. X. lirandt. who subsequently became a professor at 
Luther College, was probably the first minister of the Norwegian Lutheran church 
of America to visit the county. He was located in Wisconsin at the time and 
was doing missionary' work over a wide and constantly widening territory. He 
is credited with visiting this territory and holding services, and it is well knoun 
that in 1850 he performed the first marriage to lake place in ^ladison township. 

It was not until 1853 that the Norwegian Lutheran Synod of America was 
organized and the county acquired its first resident Lutheran pastor. In that 
year Rev. \'ilhelm Koren, fresh from the University of Christiania, brought his 
bride to Washington Prairie (Springfield township) and established residence 
in a log cabin that was at once a home and a house of prayer. At the same lime 
there was hospitality for the wayfarer who might be storm stayed or overtaken 
by darkness. While nominally he was pastor to the little colony that had settled 
on the prairie, his parish knew no limitations except the ^Fississippi river on the 
east. He was the only Norwegian Lutheran pastor west of the river and soon 
his charge became known as Little Iowa, and he would make long trips uji into 
Minnesota as well as throughout this part of Iowa, ministering to the s])iritual 
welfare of his countrymen. Reared in a home of refinement and true aristoc- 
racy. Reverend Koren was still democratic enough to welcome the hardships of 
the i)ioneer, and to meet and overcome obstacles that another would have shunned. 

.\s the country became more thickly settled others came to join him in his 
religious work, congregations grew up here and there and churches were built, 
but Reverend Koren's labors were not curtailed. Recognizing in liim a leader, 
he was made president of the Iowa district, later he l^ecame vice president of 
the Synod, and finally the presidency came to him Ijoth as a reward for and a 
heritage of his service. While he was ijerformiiig his official duties he was also 
serving as pastor to the congregation that claimed him as their leader in 1S33. 
F'or fifty-six years he delivered a Christmas sermon to his tlock. using as his text 
the story of the coming of the Christ child, each year drawing from it a new 

It was due to the foresight of Re\erend Koren that Luther College came 
into possession of the beautiful grounds where lier buildings are now located. 
Even before it was determined to move the college to Decorah he had jiaved 
the way to their acquisition, and the Synod has many times been thankful that 
among their numbers there was one whose judgment had been so wise and hel])- 
ful. Reverend Koren had a rare faculty with young men. and when be died in 

I!E\'. \'. KOliEX 
First i-psideiit Xovwej;iaii Lutheran clergyman west of Jlississippi River, 


191 1 no man could have lieen more truly mourned. His influence was not con- 
fined to his own nationality, but extended to all who knew him. 


Not all of the Norwegians were of Lutheran faith, however, For a number 
of years there were several small congregations of Norwegian Methodists, but 
by the time the younger generations began to take the place of the pioneers they 
had acquire ' such facility in the English language that more and more they 
affiliated witii the English churches, until the membership of the Norwegian 
congregations was completely absorbed. 


Even among the Lutherans there was not a unanimous sentiment upon the 
matter of creed. Sixty years ago what was then known as the Hauge branch 
established a church on Washington Prairie, and through all the intervening vears 
it has prospered and is today one of the strong congregations of the countv. 

The differences that arose among members of the Lutheran Synod some 
thirty years ago resulted in a division of congregations and the establishment 
of many new churches known as the United Lutherans. At the time it was feared 
that serious harm would surely follow, but the record of the years does not Dear 
out that prediction. There may have been — undoubtedly was — a temporary strug- 
gle in which the financial side of the controversy loomed large, but where there 
is spiritual strength to weather such a storm there need be little fear of the ulti- 
mate outcome. It is a matter of much gratification to all concerned that today 
both the Synod and United Lutheran congregations of this county are stronger 
than ever before, and there can be seen a day not far distant when the differences 
of the past will have been forgiven and forgotten, and their members will again 
be marching under one standard. 


"The Methodist Episcopal church was introduced into Dccorah, Iowa, when 
there were but three so-called houses here, viz : Air. Day's, Mr. Painter's and 
that of Father and Mother Morse. It was at the house of the last named that 
Rev. Albert Piishop knocked one rainy evening in September, 1851. IMother 
Morse opened the door, and seeing a stranger drijiping with rain, was accosted as 
follows: 'Does Brother Morse live here? I am a missionary seeking for the 
lost sheep of the house of Israel.' 'You have found them,' said she, 'this is the 
place, walk in.' " 

The foregoing is a quotation from an historical sketch of the First Methodist 
Episcopal church of Decorah prepared by Rev. ( i. W. I'.rindle, one of its early 
l)astors. The record goes on to state that the next day the first religious service 
was held in the Morse cabin, and during the week Elder llishop remained here the 
church was organized with a class of four, consisting of Philip and Hannah Morse 
and E. .\. Coger and wife. The missionary's circuit included Lansing, Monona, 
and all the intervening territory. He served for two years, being followed by 

17« PAST AND l'RI-:SI-:XT UF \\lX.\liSHll£K CUUXTV 

Reverends L. S. Ashbaugh and II. S. Rrunson in 1853. and by Rev. John Webb and 
Brother Davis in 1854. In 1855 Rev. E. E. Byam was appointed to serve the 
Decorah congregation and during his pastorate he raised funds and l)uih the lirst 
church building the town had known. It was completed and dedicated in 1856. 
L. L. Couse, as clerk of the church, has in his possession the original subscription 
list, .\lonzo I'radish is the only survivor among the list of contributors. 

In the early '70s this church had become too small and the congregation 
decided to build a larger one. The building was sold to the late Col. W. T. Baker 
and Edwin I'^arnsworth, who moved it onto lots directly south of the courthouse, 
where it served as the home of the Christian church. Later it was sold to John 
Breckenridge who converted in into a school building, though the Christian church 
continued to use it during the remainder of their short existence. The removal 
of this structure from its former location permitted the erection of the large brick 
building that has served the Decorah congregation since December 20, 1874, the 
date on which it was dedicated. I'ire has twice damaged this building, and more 
recently it was damaged by wind and hail, but these have only served to test the 
faith and loyalty of its members, and in neither have they been found waiuing. 

Among the men who have served as ])astor here the names of Rev. G. W. 
Rrindle, Rev. F. E. Brush and Rev. S. (i. Smith arc fre<|uently recalled. Of this 
trio Rev. Smith is the only survivor. I'or many years he has been the jiastor and 
'eading spirit of the People's church of .St. I'aul, Minnesota, and has gained an 
mternational reputation as a pulpit orator and worker along sociological lines. 

The establishment of the church in Decorah was the entering wcd,ge that 
was instrumental in its establishment in almost every center of importance in 
the county. ."Xs far back as forty years ago I-'reejiort had its church building. 
Calmar, Ossian, Ridgeway, Burr (^ak, Hesper, and Kendallville are served regu- 
larly, and Frankville occasionally. Ridgeway has a handsome little church built, 
a few years a.go that is an ornament to the town. 

The German Methodists also maintain services at Decorah, Canoe and in 
1 .incoln township, owning church homes in each of these localities. 

TH1-: coX(;Rr.c,\TinN.\L ciiUKCii 

The Congregational church is now rei)resentcd by one congregation — that at 
Decorah. Rev. .\. M. Eastman came to Decorah only a few weeks after 
Elder Bishop in 1851, and established monthly meetings which were held in the 
log tavern of the Day family. In 1853 the church was organized, and Rev. W. .\. 
Keith, living at I'^reeport, was the lirst jiastor. 1 le was succeeded by Rev. Ephraim 
Adams in 1857, services being held in the courthouse until November 17, 1861, 
when a church building, which had been under construction (luring iSfio and 1861, 
was dedicated. 

Reverend Adams was a man marked for a great service, both to the Decorah 
church and Congregationalism in Iowa. He was a member of the "Iowa B.and," 
a com))any of fourteen young men who came to Iowa in 1843 from Andover 
College. Of this company, V. I. Herriott, of Drake University, in his article 
on "The Nativity of the Pioneers of Iowa," i>ublishe(l in Iowa Official Register 
of 191 1-12 says: "In 1843 came the 'Iowa P>and,' a little brotherhood of .\iido\er 
missionaries and preachers, graduates of Amherst. Bowdoin. D.irtnioulh. 1 larvard. 



New York City University, Union College, the Universities of \'ermont and Yale. 
It may be doubted if any other group of men has exerted a tithe of the lieneticial 
influence upon the life of the state that was exerted by those earnest workers. 
The two oldest educational institutions in the State owe their inception and estab- 
lishment to the far-sighted plans and persistent self-sacrifice and promotion of 
Asa Turner and the Iowa Band. It it not extravagant to presume thai it was 
the emulation aroused by those apostles from New England that created the 
'passion for education' among the pioneers of Iowa, tliat resulted in the estab- 
lishment of the fifty academies, colleges and universities between 1838 and 1852. 
From this fact doubtless Iowa came to he known as the "Massachusetts of the 

"The election of James W. Grimes, Goverrjor of Iowa, in 1854, and the 
revolution in the political control of the state which that event signified, first 
attracted the attention of the nation to Iowa. Prior to that date Iowa was 
regarded with but little interest by the people of the northern states. She was 
looked upon as a solid democratic state and was grouped with Illinois and Indiana 
in the alignment of political parties in the contest over the extension of slavery. 

* * * "In the accomplishment of this political revolution, New England- 
ers, energized and led largely by members of the 'Iowa Band,' were conspicuous, 
if not the preponderant factors." 

Reverend Adams remained v\'ith the Decorah church until 1872, when he 
resigned to take up missionary work, and until his health compelled him to cease 
his labors he was attached to the Iowa Home Missionary Society. Of that little 
band of fourteen he and Rev. William Salter of Burlington were the last sur- 
vivors. Reverend Adams and his wife, who was his efficient helper as well as 
beloved companion through a long and happy service, rest in Phelps cemetery, 

The Decorah church was subsequently served by Rev. H. B. Woodworth, for 
ten years. Rev. John Willard of Newtonville, Massachusetts, was called by the 
church in December, 1882, and assumed the pastorate early in 1883. For the 
past fifteen years or more Rev. Mahlon Willett has been pastor. Reverend 
Willett was a youth in the Congregational Sunday School when Reverend Adams 
was its pastor. After graduating from theological school he served an Illinois 
church for a short time, going from there to Texas, where he was pastor of the 
first White Congregational church in that state, and thence to California where 
he held long and successful pastorates in several ]Darishes. 

In 1895 a crisis faced the church. The building erected in 1860-61 had out- 
lived its expectancy. It was not merely an old structure — it was inadequate, and 
fears were entertained that it might fall, its walls having become badly cracked. 
Subsequent events proved these fears groundless, but the society decided the 
time had arrived when their steps must take one of two courses, and they chose 
the forward movement. A building committee was appointed and funds were 
solicited, resulting in the erection, at a cost of about sixteen thousand dollars, of 
the present edifice. The church was dedicated in February, 1896, and in many 
ways it is a model in its compactness, convertibility for large or small gatherings, 
comfort and beauty. 

Two other Congregational churches were maintained at dififerent times in 
the county. One at Burr Oak was ministered unto by Reverend Bent, father of 


George P. Bent, the Chicago piano maker, and a German church at Fort Atkinson 
for many years claimed Reverend Hess, father of Mrs. W. M. Strand of Decorah, 
as its pastor, but these churches were never strong and their congregations gradu- 
ally scattered. 


Grace church is the only Episcopal organization in the counlv. Us existence 
traces back into the '70s and for several years its services were held in the Con- 
gregational church, but in 1875 and 1876 the edifice on Broadway was built, and 
dedicated on March 14th. Its congregation has never been large, but its mem- 
bers have made up in faith what was lacking in numbers. Of its several rectors, 
Rev. F. J. Mynard, and Rev. Wellington Mc\'ettie, the present incumbent, have 
been the most successful, and the church today is in a heallhy and nourishing 


The Friends and Presl)yterians are each represented by a congregalmn — the 
former at Hesper, where Rev. H. C. Carter is the pastor, and the latter at hVank- 
ville. At the time this sketch is being penned the Frankvillc church is without 
a pastor, but the society is maintained loyally. 

The Friends have maintained their church at 1 lespcr since an early day. Many 
of the pioneer settlers were members of that faith and they were men of sturdy 
character. They and their decendants have died or moved away, but their places 
have been taken by others who zealously uphold the faith, in the chapter on 
towns and townships will be found a sketch of Springwater (Canoe townshi))), 
by Mr. Edgar Olson of I'.nihauli. Minnesota, and i>rinted in the Decorah Repub- 
lican of August 21, 1909, at the time of the Home Coming. In it are mentioned 
the names of many of these Quaker pioneers. 

The Seventh Day Adventists are represented by ;i congregation at I'.iirr Oak 
that has had a long existence, .\ccessions to their ranks have lieen numerous, 
though the services of a pastor have not been maintained at all times. During 
the past two vears services have been held in Decorah and a sm.ill congregation 
has been organized. 

At Castalia the United Brethren have a prosperous church, and services are 
held by the Christian Scientists in Decorah. so it may be truly said that Winne- 
shiek county is not lacking in churches or devotion to religious work. As a general 
rule the various denominations contribute liberally to the sup]iort of benevolences 
such as home and foreign missions, etc. The work of the -Sunday school is 
maintaine<l bv most of the organizations, and societies of Christian I'.ndcaxdr. 
Epworth League and Luther League flourish in many of the towns. 

At the present time there is no Baptist congregation in the county. In iSijr 
the society organized a church in Decorah which flourished for a time anfl built a 
church building, but for several years it has been inactive and the properly 
reverted to the state organization. The I'nitarians were also acli\e in Decorah 
for some years during the '90s and up to four or five years ago. Last year tlieir 
church home on Main street was sold to the Decorah Lodge of Elks, and during 
the present vear it has been remodeled and enlarged into a lodge home. 



But three patriotic societies may be said to exist in Winneshiek county at the 
present time, though four have had organizations. 

On May 8, 1883, Colonel Hughes Post, No. 168, G. A. R., with its Woman's 
Relief Corps, was organized. In selecting a name the boys in blue honored the 
memory of one of the early volunteers from Winneshiek county — Col. D. H. 
Hughes — whose record and date of death will be found in the military history 
given elsewhere. Maj. Charles H. Hitchcock was the first commander. 
Capt. E. I. Weiser was the second commander, serving consecutively for ten 
years. Then in succession of one year each the commanders were L. L. Couse, 
L. L. Cadwell, Patrick McCusker and H. L. Coffeen. Captain Weiser was again 
elected and served until his death on October 2, 1902. Altogether he was com- 
mander for fourteen years and he was beloved as was no other among the mem- 
bers of the post. On his death L. L. Couse, as senior vice, again took the com- 
mander's chair and served four years thereafter. L. L. Cadwell, the present 
commander, has served since January i. 1907. 

The Relief Corps has enjoyed a prosperous existence. It has grown steadily, 
and particularlv in late years its membership has been augmented. Miss Jessie 
McKay, one of its prominent workers, served for two years as treasurer of the 
state organization. 

The Sons of ^'eterans was the third patriotic body to be organized locally, 
but its charter has been permitted to lapse. 

Garfield Circle. Ladies of the Grand Army of the Repulilic. was formed four 
years ago and is a thriving organization. Although one of the younger circles in 
Iowa it has already received recognition, Mrs. I\Iary J. Couse of Decorah having 
served as its state president for the year that closed in June. 


Of the fraternal societies that maintain lodges within the borders of Winne- 
shiek county, two stand out prominently — the Masons and the Odd Fellows. 



The Masons have lodges in Decorah, Cahnar, Ossian, Frankville and Burr 
Oak. To Frankville belongs the distinction of having the first Masonic lodge. 
At just what date Union Band Lodge No. 66 was organized we are unable to state, 
but Sparks' History of Winneshiek County said, among other things, "As an 
illustration of the importance Frankville attained when at its acme it will only 
be necessary to state that the Free Masons of Decorah used to go to the former 
place to hold lodge meetings." It is known that Frank Teabout was instrumental 
in the organization of the Frankville lodge, consequently it is safe to assume 
that the date was in the early '50s. 

Decorah Lodge No. 98 was the second in order, but it became extinct in 1861. 
In 1866 Great Lights Lodge No. 181 received its charter. Taking them in their 
numerical order Arcturus Lodge No. 237 of Ossian was the next to be organized. 
Copestone Lodge No. 316 of Calmar followed and Cement Lodge No. 567 of 
Burr Oak was the last. The dates of organization of the Ossian, Calmar and 
Burr Oak lodges are unknown to us. King Solomon's Chapter No. 35. R. A. M., 
was organized in Decorah in 1867; Beausaunt Commandery No. 12 in 1869, and 
Decorah Chapter No. 73, O. E. S.. came into being in 1888. These lodges have 
experienced liberal accessions to their membership and the lodges arc all in a 
healthy, growing condition. The fraternal spirit is ever in c\-idence whctlicr in 
lodge room or elsewhere. 


It is a matter of douljt as to whciher the Masons or the Odd Fellows were the 
first fraternal order to establish a lodge in this county, but it is a matter of 
definite knowledge that Moneek Lodge No. 58, I. O. O. F., was instituted at 
Moneek on October 26, 1854, with .Xbner DeCou as its first Noble Grand. When 
the death-knell of Moneek was rung by the establishment of the Military road 
to Frankville. permission was granted to remove the lodge from Moneek to Ossian. 
This was in 1855. In November, 1857, another removal was granted and this 
lime the lodge was established at Decorah. Its name was c-hanged tn Winne- 
shiek Lodge No. 58, and it so remains. Today among the men who were mem- 
bers of the lodge in the '50s there remain Philii> Ilusted. who joined in 1856. and 
Alonzo Bradish, who joined in 1858. George Draper joined in 1868, Jacob .\mmer 
in 1875, R. F. Gibson, who was a mcmlier of the 0<ld Fellows in Ohio as early 
as 1851, joined by card in 1876. 

On October 15, 1889, Decorah Encampment No. 133 reclaimed a surrendered 
charter and once more came into existence. ( )n < )ctober 20. 1800. Oneonta 
Rebekah Lodge No. 175 was organized. 

The only other Odd Fellows lodge in the county is located at liurr Oak. 
For a lodge located in a rural community the Burr Oak lodge is one of the 
large and prosperous ones of the state. They have owned their lodge hall for a 
good many years. Usona Rebekah lodge is the auxilLiry at Burr Oak. ;ind tiiis 
lodge as well as the lodges in Decorah are enjoying prosjieritv in its best fraternal 


A lodge of this order was organized some years ago in Decorah, but its life 
was brief and the charter was Ions' since surrendered. 



The Elks lodge of Decorah — Decorah Lodge No. 443 — may be rightly con- 
sidered something more than a local organization. It was established on June 22, 
1899, ^"d Ii'is grown steadily. Its membership embraces many of the prominent 
business and professional men of Decorah and includes residents of other towns 
in the county as well as good representations in Waukon, West Union and cities 
in other nearby counties. Two years ago the lodge took up the question of 
securing a permanent lodge home and negotiations were opened for the purchase 
of the Unity church building. The building was acc|uired early in 1912 and plans 
were perfected for remodeling and enlargement. These are now nearing com- 
pletion and it is the expectation of the lodge that they will soon be dispensing 
good cheer and extending the hand of fellowship to visiting brothers in their new 
quarters. The building, which cost over ten thousand dollars, is located on the 
northwest corner of Main and River streets, just outside of the business district 
and is admirably adapted to lodge requirements. Its present membership is 
about two hundred and fifteen. 


The Owls is the youngest fraternal order to be established in the county, the 
Decorah nest being the only representative. It has lodge rooms in the Hutchinson 
building on Washington street and a membership of about eighty. 


Lodges of this society are maintained in Decorah and Calmar. 'The Calmar 
lodge is the older of the two. A quarter of a century ago a lodge was organized 
in Decorah, but after a short existence surrendered its charter. In 1902 a new 
charter was sought and on September 5th the lodge was organized. It has since 
been maintained, its growth being not large, but steady and substantial. 


Scattered through the county are a number of lodges of the various mutual 
insurance companies. First and foremost among them is the Modern Woodmen 
of America, which is likewise the oldest. There are also healthy lodges of Wood- 
men of the World, Brotherhood of American Yeomen, Degree of Honor, Macca- 
bees, the Catholic Order of Foresters, Royal Neighbors and possibly others. 

wiNM:i:A(.n sTiiKi-rr. nKnnjAii 



The following sketch was prepared by A. K. Bailey for Anderson & Good- 
win's Atlas. It is now adopted, with such corrections as a lapse of eight years 
requires : 

White men ma_\' ha\e camped on the site of the city of Decorah. the shire 
town of Winneshiek county, previous to June lo, 1S4Q, but, if so, they left no 
evidence of their visit. Tradition refers to such visitors with the hint that they 
were of the class that prefers the borders of civilization to civilization itself. 

It was on the above date that a homeseeker's wagon halted beside a magnificent 
spring that existed for many years several rods in rear of the present "Winneshiek 
House." That spot became the future home of the Day family. Thev were 
Virginians of the enterprising class and were seeking a location with larger 
advantages than their earlier home had afforded them. This company consisted 
of the wife and mother of the family (who was also its master spirit) and three 
sons. "Mother" Day's keenness of observation had noted that cities and villages 
were mostly located on living streams or beside considerable bodies of water ; hence 
she sought that advantage as a desirable addition to good farming lands. In the 
charming Upper Iowa river valley and the splendid spring beside which the 
party had halted, it was then and there settled that here was to be tlic future 
home of the Day family. 

The remains of the largest village of the Winnebago Indians were still in 
existence. This tribe left their Iowa home reluctantly, but the fiat had gone forth 
that they must "move on," and the formality of a treaty had settled this question 
two years previous. Perhaps, nay, probably, the Indian trails that everywhere 
centered towards this spot had something to do in leading their white successors 
to the favorite village of the ^^■innebagoes. lie that as it may. the same influences 
in tutored and untutored minds led to a choice which proved wise and profitable 
to the whites who succeeded the Indians. 

The family 01 William Painter followed soon after and located close by in 
the same valley, a little west of the Day homestead, so close that when the village 
plat of Decorah was made it was located on lands owned by both these pioneers. 
The tide of traveling land seekers followed them. The Days kept open house. 



Their log cabin became a hotel of widespread fame, at a convenient jjoint on 
the overland stage route from Dubuque to St. Paul. 

In 1851 the county of Winneshiek was organized (as told in the history of 
Winneshiek county) by John L. Carson, legally a])pointed organizing ofificer 
or sheriff. By the legislative act for organizing the county "Decorah" was named 
as one of the points to be voted for as the county seat of Winneshiek county. .Mr. 
Carson's certificate (the first paper of any kind in the official records of the 
county) duly certifies that "on the 7th day of April, A. D. 1851, Decorah was duly 
elected to be the county seat of said (Winneshiek) county." The legal e.xistence 
of Decorah did not begin, however, until 1853; for it was not until August 17th 
of that year that William Day made and entered of record a plat and deed of 
renunciation to pulilic use of the "east half of Decorah," and September 7th 
following William Painter e.xecuted a like plat and deed for the "west half of 
Decorah." The name was borrowed from the Winnebago Indians. Winneshiek 
was a distinguished chief of that tribe, and Waukon Decorah was a lesser chief. 
The name, however, is not of wholly Indian origin, but is believed to have come 
from the French and Sioux. 

The earliest historian of Decorah was Rev. Epbiaiiii .\danis, a Congregational 
clergyman who came to Decorah in 1S57 as the first resident pastor. In the 
Thanksgiving sermon delivered ten years later on "The First Things of Decorah," 
he drew this picture of the future city in 185 1-2: 

Let us see what we have: Three log cabins, one hotel; a lawyer and 
two merchants, partners in trade; with other families that might be named, 
though the census would not be large; the water power beginning to be 
improved ; regular preaching once a month by two different denominations ; 
and a county seat with, of course, regular sessions of the county court. 
It was in this year that Decorah postoffice was established, with C. Day 

In 1853 the first schoolhouse was built. Ji was located on the lot now 
occupied by the First Norwegian Lutheran church; and the first teacher was 
Theodore W. Burdick, who for many years was one of the most prominent citi- 
zens of the city. For one term he represented this district in the lower branch 
of Congress. 

In 1834. according to Rev. Mr. .Adams, above (|Uoted. the three cabins 
of 1851 had expanded to "a little village of fifteen to twenty buildings, counting 
hotels, stores, stables, shops ;m<l buildings of all kinds." In the years 1854-5 the 
first Winneshiek House was erected by Wm. Day, on the original site selected 
by Mrs. Dav. In .X. D. 1877 this was enlarged, made really a second "Wimie- 
shiek," and al the lime this is written the third W inneshiek is nearing its com- 
pletion — a structure such as the pioneers never dreamed of. for railways, electric 
light and communication, steam heat, and all of the modern conveniences were 
then unknown qualities. 

In 1855 Congress passed a law locating a land office at Decorah. This 
opened December 24, 1855, and brought hither a throng of land speculators, 
bankers and others, which gave the town such an impetus that when the census 
of i860 was taken tiie poinilation had grown to i.2i">. It is said there were nine 
bankers and land offices doing business here while the land office was open and 
as long as any land remained for entry. One of these survived the panic of 


1857, and all subsequent financial perils. The "Winneshiek County Bank, capital 
?5,ooo," was opened by two Pennsylvanians — Horace S. Weiser and Thos. J. 
Filbert. The latter retired a few years later, and the bank was continued by 
the senior partner until his death twenty years later. "The Winneshiek County 
State Bank" is the legitimate successor of this pioneer bank, and has now reached 
its fiftieth year of successful life. Charles J. Weiser, son of the founder, is 
now the president, and the stock is largely held by him and his two sisters. The 
original $5,000 of capital has grown to $100,000, with a surplus fund of $25,000, 
and a property value behind it a hundred times greater than the original fund. 

The first newspaper started in 1855, and was known as the Decorah 
Chronicle. In the ensuing few years it had a new publisher almost every year 
until in i860 it became the property of W. Bailey & Son. It is now conducted 
by A. K. Bailey >& Son, the junior of that period being the senior of the present 

The village grew continuously, and in 1857 had aspirations for municipal 
honors. This resulted in a decision reached by vote of electors on the first 
Monday in April of that year to incorporate as a town under the state law. Hon. 
E. E. Cooley was chosen mayor, with full corps of municipal officers. 

In 1870 the census disclosed a population of 2,110. This being a sufficient 
population to make it "a city of the second class," steps were taken to enter that 
grade of municipalities, and that event was completed by an election in 187 1 of 
Charles T. Allen as mayor, with a council of eight members representing four 
wards. The boundaries of the city have twice been enlarged, the last time by 
uniting to it the town of West Decorah. which had been incorporated in 1879, 
including all that part of the city lying on the west side of the Upper Iowa 
river. The city has never enjoyed a boom ; its growth has been steady and normal, 
advancing only as fast as the necessities of the surrounding country demanded. 
In i860 its pnjnilation was 1,219; '" I'^/O. 2,110: in 1880, 2,951; in 1900 with 
West Decorah added, 3,777; in 1910, 3,592. 

Strenuous eft'orts were made for many years to build up manufacturing enter- 
prises, but for various reasons most of these were unsuccessful, although large 
sums of money were expended in the effort. In the meanwhile, without especial 
endeavor, there grew up an unusual success along a line many communities 
have expended large sums only to meet failure in the end. The city became an 
educational center. 

In 1862 Luther College came hither. It was founded in 1859-60. and passed 
its first year in Wisconsin. Then, as now, this county was a center of a numerous, 
intelligent and generous Norwegian population, and when a permanent location 
was desired by the Norwegian Lutheran Synod of North America for a high 
class educational institution Decorah was elected. A l:)eautiful site was provided 
for it on the western border of the city. While the first college building was 
being erected the building now used by the St. Cloud Hotel, and one dormitory 
adjoining it, was ample for the students who first sought its benefits. In 1863 
the college grew in numbers as well as enlarged its facilities for doing the work 
of preparing young men for lives of usefulness demanding culture, intelligence 
and consecration. A very high percentage of its graduates passed on into the 
theological seminary, and thence to the service of the Norwegian Lutheran 
church. In 1889 the first building was destroyed by fire, and for a time removal 


was coiitemplated. Tlie final decision of the synod was to rebuild, and t)in of 
the trial by tire grew stronger than ever for the great work to be done. 

In 1874 John Breckenridge, who had been a successful teacher in the ]niblic 
schools of the city, decided to start an academic school, and in that manner the 
Decorah Institute was born. It has maintained a very successful career of 
more than a quarter century ; and the young men and women it has helped to 
higher ])ositions than they could otherwise have reached are counted by the 
thousands. .Among its graduates arc state and county superintendents of schools, 
teachers, lawyers, doctors, and others filling useful places in the work of the 

In iSSS Mr. C. 11. \ alder, another teacher, whose specialty was in penman- 
ship and luLsiness training, conceived the idea of establishing a business college. 
To this was soon added a normal de]iartment. and it. too. has aided other 
thousands into positions of high rank in the business world. Year after year its 
enrollment has been upwards of 400; and its graduates are scattered all over 
the Xortlnvesl from Chicago to the Pacific coast. A lesser institution came also 
without solicitation — the Sisters' School, or Academy of the Immaculate Concep- 
tion, and its work has been helpful to a large body of youth. 

Meanwhile the pulilic school has never been neglected. Step by stej) a school 
has been built up that carries its students to the doors of the colleges of the state 
and the universities of Wisconsin and Minnesota. The school property of the 
district — coequal with the city limits — exceeds in value $50,000. These schools 
jirivileges are so highly appreciated that in the winter season nearly a thousand 
students, not residents of tlic city, are attracted here for the advantages these 
institutions afford. 

The printing industry is one not fostered by cajjilal that has grown to such 
jjroportions that there is no other city of 4,000 people that can compare with it. 
The location of Luther College in Decorah made this the educational center of 
the Norwegian Lutherans of America. It also was the main factor in causing 
the establishment of the Synod Publishing House. This is what its name im- 
I)lies in its fullest extent. It is sujiplied with the i)est ])urcliasablc cqui])ment in 
type-setting machines, printing ])resses, and binding implements, and its output, 
in addition to its church weekly, includes the making of Bibles, jirayer and hynm 
books, theological works, etc. It is cquipi)ed for ,iny work the big city otlices 
can do. 

TIr- I >ccc)r;di-l'osten is also another great success in ihc jiriniing art. After 
years of desperate struggles, Mr. H. .\nimdscn. its ])ublislier. achieved the 
enviable position of .securing the largest circulation of any Norwegian newspaper 
])rinted in this coimtry. Twice a week the Posten sends to over 39.000 i)atrons 
the product of a corps of six editors, and an equipment that inckules two per- 
fecting presses, three linotypes, and other up-to-date facilities of the printer's 
art. The local newspapers are the Decorah Rei)ul)lican. the lineal descendant 
of the Chronicle, started in 1855; the Decorah Journal. pul)lished by I'red 
I'iermann, and representing the democratic faith: and the Decorah Public ( Jpin- 
ion, published by H. J. Creen. republican in its faith, h-ach of these offices has 
excellent equipments. 

The church accommodati(5ns of Decorah are large and fully ample for the 
needs of a city of 5.000 people. There are seven diflferent organizations, all 

ACADE:\IV of TlIK I.M.\IA( ll.ATK f()X( 'Kl'TK )X. DErORAH 



represented in houses of worsliip. The picmeer church was of the Methodist 
faitli, organized by Rev. Albert Bishop in September. 1851. Its first house of 
worship was buiU in 1856. and is now in use as the Boy Scout headquarters and 
as a gymnasium. The brick building now occupied was erected in 1874. The 
second church was of tlie Congregational order, established in June, 1854. Rev. 
E. Adams became its pastor in 1857, and remained in this relation for fourteen 
succeeding years. Its first house of worship was erected in i860 and 1861, being 
dedicated November 17th of the latter year. This structure gave place to a new 
and more modern church in the years 1895-6. These were followed in due time 
by the Catholic, Episcopal, First Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran, German 
Methodist, Baptist, and United Lutheran ( Nrjrwegian ) , all save one sustaining 
pastors and holding regular Sabbath services. 

The banking facilities of the city are supplied by the Winneshiek County 
State Bank, heretofore referred to, the Citizens Savings Bank, organized under 
state laws, and the National Bank of Decorah, operating under the national bank- 
ing law. Their business relations with the people of this city and surrounding 
territory are indicated by the following statistics taken from the last published 
statements made in compliance with legal requirements : 

Winneshiek County State Bank. — Capital, surplus and undivided profits, $206,- 
111.49; aggregate resources, $1,656,345.93. Otficers — C. J. Weiser, president; 
R. Algver and E. W. D. Holway, vice presidents; A. Anfinson, cashier; and A. 
C. Whalen, assistant cashier. 

Citizens Savings Bank. — Capital, surplus and profits, $79,416.07; total re- 
sources, $572,118.50. Officers — E. J. Curtin, president; ( )gden Casterton, vice 
president ; B. J. McKay, cashier ; F. E. Cratsenberg and Richard E. Bucknell, 
assistant cashiers. 

National Bank of Decorah. — Capital, surplus and profits, $64,088.90; total 
resources. $549,522.62. Officers — L. B. Whitney, president ; O. C. Johnson, 
vice president ; H. C. Hjerleid, cashier ; W. F. Baker, assistant cashier. 

Decorah State Bank. — Capital, surplus and profits, $61,382.77; total resources, 
$258,788.71. Officers — R. A. Engbretson, president; L. S. Reque, vice president; 
E. F. Berg, cashier; Arthur R. Johnson, assistant cashier. 

Aggregate resources of all banks, $1,485,997.53. 

The railway history of Decorah began as early as 1856 by a local organization 
known as the Northwestern Railroad Company, but nothing like the whistle 
of a locomotive was heard inside the borders of the county until 1864. The 
McGregor Western Railway in time was merged into the Chicago, Milwaukee 
& St. Paul Railway Company. In September, 1869, a branch line was built into 
Decorah. to the intense gratification of all its citizens. There were those, however, 
who seriously questioned whether it would prove a permanent line. They argued 
that a daily stage line was ample for all the passenger traffic, and the freight 
business gave employment to only a few teamsters. Why, they said, one com- 
bination coach, making a daily trip in and out, would suffice all the needs of the 
town. Today over that line there are five daily trains in and out, consisting of 
one or more passenger cars, a combined baggage and smoking car, a U. S. mail 
coach, and not infrequently trains of a half-dozen or more of freight cars. In 
1883 an extension of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway from 
Postville was secured. This has since passed into the hands of the Rock Island 


System, thereby affording to the city all the resources of two of the largest 
railway organizations operating in the West. 

In 1881-2 the necessity of better fire protection than a chemical engine and 
a bucket brigade caused the citizens to vote the city authorities permission to 
bond the incorporation for $16,000 and construct a waterworks system. The sur- 
rounding hills gave the best possible opportunity to make and use the gravity 
system. A reservoir ample for all present needs was built on the bluffs above 
the city (in the natural drainage of the land), that gives a force upon the mains 
in tlic Ijusincss portion of the city exceeding a pressure of a hundred pounds per 
inch. The fire protection afforded is ample, and, as the popular saying goes, 
the system paid for itself several times over by the power and force of the direct 
pressure it affords. A fire department of three hose companies and one hook 
and ladder company has been all the city has needed. Additions to the original 
system have been made until, at this time, nearly every point inside the city 
limits is within reach of the fire department with 3,000 feet of hose. 

The unity of purpose, public spirit and enterprise of the citizens is marked 
by two conspicuous examples. In 1891 it seemed necessary to secure a safe, 
comfortable and suitable public building in which to hold public gatherings, 
concerts, theatricals, and conventions. The original opera house had been out- 
grown ; there was danger in filling it as such structures often are. and manv of 
the older citizens could not endeavor to lift themselves up and down two long 
flight of steps. A canvass of the city was made, and nearly every one approached 
joined in a proposition to build a suitable opera house — one in fact as well as 
name. .At that time a complete structure for $25,000 was unknown. To build it 
was an experiment. It was a success. Hundreds have since been erected. This 
was the pioneer. There were over a hundred owners, and few owned any large 
portion. It was a new era in city history. It meant a higher class of entertain- 
ment, and the dropping out of the chea|U'r ones. We all took comfort in it. In 
the mid-summer of 1898 its interior was destroyed by fire. The owners and man- 
agers were not discouraged. They rose to the occasion. They rebuilt it and 
enlarged its capacity fully one-fourth, thcrcljy m;iking it more pn])ul;ir than 

In a somewhat similar manner when it became evident that the tra\oling 
public was shunning our city i)ecause the hotel cquii)menls were crowded and 
did not meet their demands, plans were forniecl in 11^)4 to su])])lv this deficiency. 
An organization was perfected .-ind fifty stockholders united in like sjjirit. The 
result is a new Winneshiek, built during the ensuing fall and winter. It was 
informally ojjened April ist, and formally opened on the 27th dav of April. 
Wli;it the ()j)era house was to its ])atrons. the Winneshiek is to the traveling 
public — new throughout, from foundation stone to ca])-stone — a fift\-room hotel 
of city characteristics in every respect. 

In 1902 a system of permanent paving was begun, l-light blocks of it — it being 
from the west end of Water street to Dry Run bridge, with two blocks on two 
side streets — were laid with (lalesburg brick. In the following year four addi- 
tional blocks on Washington street were similarly ])a\ed. and in 1903-4 another 
portion of the same street that had been troublesome and vexatious, was per- 
manently im])roved and made a feature of the city which citizens take pleasure 
in showing to visiting friends. 


Since the foregoing improvement was completed paving has been done alxjut 
Courthouse square, on Main street from Winnebago to Washington street and 
from Water to Alain on Court street, a total of six blocks. 

The year 191 3 has witnessed another noticeable improvement in the lighting 
of the business portion of the city. Handsome electroliers have taken the place 
of the old arc lights and the city presents a metropolitan appearance. 

The city hospital that is to be is referred to under the head of Public P>uild- 
ings. \Miile this is in a measure a local enterprise, the city of Decorah expects 
that the people of the county generally will avail themselves of its beneficial 

All public buildings and many of the residences are lighted by electricity 
or gas furnished by private corporations. The Standard Telephone Company 
(now owned by the "Bell" interests) maintains a local exchange that is well 
sustained, and through the toll lines and independent farm lines, every town 
in the county and hundreds of farm homes are in easy communication. 

The city officials, chosen at last spring's election, are: H. J. Green, mayor; 
councilmen — ist ward, John O'Niel; 2d ward, W. F. Baker; 3d ward, R. Buck- 
nell ; 4th ward, L. L. Cadwell ; 5th ward, W. T. Symonds ; at large, Peter Jenson 
and C. E. jMcKinney. F. M. Hughes is city clerk, J. A. Nelson is city attorney, 
R. Algyar is city treasurer, and E. J. Gillett is assessor. 


From an article prepared by John B. Kaye for Anderson & Goodwin's Atlas of 
Winneshiek County, with additions of recent data. 

Calmar township, although directly in the path of the Government Military 
Road between Fort Atkinson and other western and northern points, and Fort 
Crawford at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin (said from Bloody Run northward to 
be the best natural highway in the world), was not occupied by actual settlers as 
early as Frankville and several other townships in the county. In 1851 the county 
was organized, and the tax assessment list for that year (the first ever made in 
the county) of all persons whose property tax was over $[o, contains only one 
name for what afterward became Calmar township, and that was Joseph Spielman, 
who afterward became the founder of Spillville. His assessed tax was $18.96, 
which showed him then to be the fourth richest man in the county ; only John 
AIcKay, Frank Teabout and Benjamin Beard, all of Frankville township, ex- 
ceeding him in assessable property. 

Thor. P. Skotland, the richest Norwegian settler of the township, arrived in 
1850, and with T- J- Haug of Spillville and others, organized the township in 
1858, the Scandinavian influence contributing the name; that having been first 
applied to the village. 

In the tax list for 185 1, Mr. Skotland's name does not appear among those 
whose tax was more than $10, so he evidently put all of his personal means into 
land, and had not yet gotten his title from the Government. 

It is an unusual fact that Calmar township was settled in the first instance 
almost exclusively by foreigners. The western half of the township seems to have 
been settled about the same time as the eastern, and was occupied mostly by 
Germans, Swiss and Bohemians, while the latter portion attracted the Scandina- 
vians, mostly Norwegians, but there was a sprinkling of Swedes and Danes. Most 
of these came directly from their fatherland but some came from other states, 
notably Wisconsin, and two at least from California, where they had been attracted 
by the gold fever of 1848-50 and stopped off on their return eastward from the 
gold fields. 



Anionjj^ the first of these Xorsenien to settle in Calmar township or at least 
on ground now occupied by it. were Thor. P. Skotland, Torsen Land. Lars Land 
and Andre P. Sandager, all of whom arrived in 1850. and with the exception of 
Lars P. Land, who at last accounts was residing in the State of Washington, 
have now passed over into the "undisccnered country." In 1S51. these were 
reinforced by Ole Shervin, Sr.. Ole Sher\in, Jr., ]'".rick Stovern. ( )le P. llaugen. 
Andrew L. Kittlesby. Thron 11. luigcn and Thora Bagaarson. Of these there 
now survive only Andrew L. Kittlesby, who resides in the town of Cahnar. 
enjoying a competency laid u\) while on the farm which he still owns, a n)ile 
south of town. Mr. Kittlesby is hale and hearty at the age of seventy-five. 

In the following year, 1852, Mr. Kittlesby was joined by his brother, Peter L. 
Kittlesby, and his father, Lars P. Kittlesby. The former is still living and also 
resides in Calmar. 

In 1S53 Ole A. Flaskerud (father of the Maskerud brothers), Ole P. Lijornstad 
(father of Pete Olson and brothers), Erick Flaskerud and Even Fristad (father 
of H. E. Fristad) joined the settlement, but of that quartette not one now 

In 1854 Alf. Clark, Peter Clawson and John P. Landin arrived. They and 
Charles G. Ilallieck. who arrived a year or two later, became the nucleus of the 
village of Calmar. 

In 1855 George Yarwood and Menry W'hcatman, both English, Ole P. Tenold, 
Ole H. Trickerud. Ole O. Kamberg, Sr., John P. Hove, Ole O. Styve, Jacob Sten- 
seth and Lars Heried put in an appearance. Ole P. Tenold invested in land near 
the village, most of which land is still owned by the family. Mr. Tenold was a 
shoemaker by trade, and afterwards moved into Calmar and engaged in the boot 
and shoe business, which he continued for a number of years. Of the settlers 
of the year above named, all have passed away. Harold EUingsen, one of the 
oldest settlers now remaining, did not arrive until 1857, wh.en he engaged in the 
blacksmithing business in Calmar. and has followed it continuously ever since. 

The earliest settlers of the western part of the township made Spillviiie a busi- 
ness center. These were Charles Kroek, who settled in 1849. Joseph Spielman in 
1850, George Herzog and Conrad Riehle in 1851. Of these Kroek and Richie were 
Germans, as also w-as Sjjielman, being a Bavarian, while Herzog was an Alsatian. 
All of these were married men. and all sa\c llcrzog brought their families with 

Spielman l)uilt a lo.g house directlv after his arrival. It was the first building 
in Spillviiie. Soon afterwards he erected a sawmill on S])ielman's creek near its 
confluence with the Turkey river. This was washed away by a flood in 1853. 
but in 1854 was rebuilt, and a grist mill was built also — a collection of buildings 
which was then called S])ielville. afterwards spelled Si)illville. 

At this date Spielman's creek is said to have carried as nnich water as the 
Turkey river affords at the present time. 

The first P>ohemian settlers arrived in the spring of 1854: they were Martin 
P>ouska, Frank Payer and Wenzil Mikcsh, .Andrew Kubesh and John Xovak and 
families. Of these Mikesh still survives and is living in Spillviiie. 

In 1834 also J. J. Haug, Jacob Stelzer, J. H. llinterman, I'clix Mcver and 
J. H. Meyer and John Leebl and family arrived and settled near the Sumner 
township line. These were all from Switzerland, and with the exception of Haug 





and Stelzer had families. Of these J. J. Haug is the only one who survives. He 
is now living in his elegant home in Spillville, a town which he aided much in 
building up, and for many years was at the head of that community, and was 
general business factor for most of its people, whose confidence in him was, and 
still is, unbounded. Mr. Haug with Thor. P. Skotland and Lars Land, were the 
first trustees of the township and Charles G. Halbeck was the first township clerk. 

On the 1 2th day of September, 1904, the remnant of the Bohemian first com- 
ers to the township joined their friends in Washington township and others of 
the surrounding country, in celebrating at Fort Atkinson the jubilee anniversary 
of their first settlement. It was a notable occasion, and a gathering of local his- 
toric significance. 

The town was full of people who had come to greet these local patriarchs 
of a foreign race, as well as other early settlers who were attracted by the occa- 
sion. Nearly all of these were represented by children and grandchildren, who 
had come to fill their places, and carry on the work vmder easier conditions, that 
their ancestors had begun fifty years before. A banquet in the grove, music by 
marching bands at the head of civic societies, and many citizens, paraded the 
streets. The making of speeches, the recitation of early experiences by the old 
settlers, and a game of baseball w^ere a part of the program of the day. 


As running waters even in arid lands are marked by belts of vegetation, so 
railways have called into being villages, towns and cities. Conover was born of 
hope, and engendered, in the fall of 1864, by tlie approach of the track of what is 
now the I. & ^I. division of the Chicago. Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. 

The original plat of the village was filed October 6, 1865. Conley's addition 
followed October 21, 1865, and Peterson's addition October 24. 1865. 

It would seem as though at that time the municipal fever was raging hot in 
the bosoms of the adjoining land-proprietors. For a couple of weeks there seems 
to have been a rush among them to get their fields laid off into town lots with 
bisecting streets and significant corner stones. It doubtless all looked very im- 
posing when traced out on the paper plats with the accompanying field notes and 
explanations of the surveyor, and the statements of the proprietors dedicating the 
streets and alleys to the public, duly acknowledged, and certified by notary whose 
seal perhaps spoke officially over a red or blue wafer, and the whole marked 
"filed" by the registrar of deeds. 

It was a dream for the community up the road — a dream of joint official and 
municipal splendor. After arriving at Conover, the building of the road ceased 
for a while, and this added zeal to the faith of the inhabitants in the future great- 
ness of the town. 

It was just after the close of the great Civil war, and ex-soldiers — officers as 
well as privates — swarmed the streets of the new town and dominated its busi- 
ness activities. The people were young, there were no grey heads or stooped 
shoulders in the community. Life was roseate, and fortune was on the way with 
gifts for all within the new metropolis. 

The place was the produce market for forty miles around in every direction, 


except to the east. There was a stage Une estabHshed to and from Decorah with 
dailj' coaches. 

Thirty-two saloons helped to keep the community from stagna on. Crops 
and prices were good, and the inhabitants were jubilant. 

just before the turn of the tide, a petition signed by sixty-three — a majoritj — 
of the resident electors of the village, was presented to County Judge G. R. 
Willett, by the Hon. David Noggle. agent and attorney for the petitioners, ask- 
ing that the village be incorporated and constituted a town. Due notice was given 
and a day fixed for hearing and on the 17th day of October, 1866. by the order 
and finding of Judge Willett, the village became an incorporated town by the 
name of "CONO\'ER." as the order and finding has it spelled out in capitals. So 
was the thriving village born into municipal life, but the seeds of decav were ger- 
minating in its vitals even while the ink was yet undried on the judge's vitalizing 

Of course the agent and attorney of the electors, who as \\ e understand, was 
right-of-way agent for the railway company, and owner of a pa.n of the plat, 
could not be supposed to have known that the railway com])any would push the 
construction of the railroad northward, to the demoralization of the trade of 
Conover. but this it immediately proceeded to do. and the rapid decline which 
then set in ended in death of the new town when the "Decorah branch" was built 
in 1869. 

The town elected its first and only officers late in the fall of iiS66 or in the 
spring of 1867. and before their terms were out they serxed as pallbearers to the 
defunct municipality. 

Capt. C. V. Jacobs was the first mayor, and as he never had a successor, his title 
and office as sole mayor of a town was an unique distinction, and only falls to 
the lot of but few men. 

Captain Jacobs afterwards removed to Cresco. and died there. Col. G. D. 
Rogers. Lieut. Charles Sydow. and I think Capt. Geo. Q. Gardner were among 
the couiuilnicii. but as the town records were burned in a fire which occurred 
soon afterwards, the names of all the officers can not now be definitely ascer- 
tained. It seems that under the law as it then existed, the township clerk and 
trustees acted as the first election board for the new town. I. f. Haug. who was 
township clerk, informs me that after the election was over, there were not 
sufficient funds in the treasury of the new town to cash the claims of the elec- 
tion board for their services. Mr. Haug himself thereupon volunteered to cash 
the claims of his fellow judges, wliich he did. and took an assignment of ihcir 
several accounts. I'.ut he never found anything in the city treasury aflerwar<ls. 
and he sorrowfully states that these election expenses are still unpaid. 

Ivrc .md the moving of buildings and .ibandnnment. followed soon the loss 
of trade. Some of the farmers re-occupied and cro|)i)ed their "additions" to the 
town, and in a couple of years the town had shrunk back into the little village 
that it now is. a nKuirnful reminder of a municipalitv that failed. 

Of the familiar names that ajjpear on the ]ietition for incori)oration, E. Mather 
heads the and Col. G. D. Rogers is second. Others are George Q. Gardner. 
Charles Sydow. Mat Graf, William Summers. J. 11. Baker and F. E. Baker, H. 
Giesen and .\. Wheeler. 



The or' ^'inal plat of the village of Spillville was filed for record April 14, 
i860. The place is very pleasantly situated on the right or south bank of the 
Turkey river, and is one of the prettiest towns in the county. One of its principal 
charms is the river, which in its entire course through the county has no more 
pleasing curves or graceful shadowy stretches than it exhibits in its course past 
and through Spillville. 

In 1894 the village became an incorporated town and has given a good account 
of its municipal privileges, as is evidenced l^y its tidy streets and well kept walks. 
The election on the question of incorporation was held on the 9th day of No- 
vember, 1894, and was carried by the close vote of 39 ballots for and 37 against 
incorporating. The first mayor, elected at a special election soon after the in- 
corporation, was J. G. Mashek. His successors have Ijeen O. Kapler, J. J. Ko- 
varik, G. F. Heuser and Stephen Krucheck, the present incumbent. Mr. Kapler 
was again mayor from 1906 to 1908, being followed for one term by Charles E. 
Houser, who in turn was succeeded in 19 10 by G. F. Heuser and re-elected in 
1912. A. A. Novak is town clerk, and J. W. Hrushka. J. C. Cekal, W. C. Kovarik, 
A. Balik and A. G. Fisher are councilmen. 

Spillville has a population of about four hundred, and has many handsome 
business buildings and fine residences. Most of its people are Catholic in their 
religious afiiliations, and their place of worship is one of the finest and largest 
church edifices in the county. It stands upon a commanding eminence overlook- 
ing the town, and there is a fine jiarsonage and parochial school in connection. 

A great majority of the early residents of Spillville were from Bohemia, as a 
majority of those who still com])rise its citizens are the children of liohemians. 
Even with this second generation in possession, there is enough of the foreign 
flavor and piquancy about the place to make it one of the most interesting munic- 
ipalities in the northeastern corner of the state. 

Quite a number of its early settlers had seen service in the Austrian army, 
and some of them had belonged to the musical bands in that organization, and 
had quite a thorough knowledge of music and its principles. This fact had its 
efifect in making Spillville the musical center of the county for many years, and 
that town has given to the country several eminent musicians, one of them, Mr. 
Joseph Kovarik, having been for a number of years a leading instructor in music 
is one of the great eastern conservatories. 


The town of Calniar, in Calmar township, is the second largest municipality 
of the county, Decorah only exceeding it in population. In the United States 
census of 1900, the population is given as 1,003. The town is located on a pic- 
turesque stretch of upland — one of the highest points in the state. The original 
village plat which consisted of only sixteen blocks — four each way, had its North 
street, now Lewis street, on which the Railroad Hotel .Annex and the Potter 
and Peter Meyer residences now face. This jilat contained forty acres, and was 
surveyed and platted by one \'ictor Youngstadt, a surveyor from Dubuque. It 
includes land in the adjoining corners of sections 25, 26, 35 and 36. 


The ])Iat signed by said surveyor at Dubuque, September 15, 1854, was 
acknowledged by Alfred Clark on November 15, 1854, before Aaron Newbold, 
district clerk; ordered of record November ji, 1854, by David Reed, county judge, 
and tiled for record by Nelson Burdick, recorder of deeds of Winneshiek county, 
November 21, 1854. 

Thirty-two (32) blocks were added by a plat filed on the 22d day of November, 
1856, the same surveyor as shown by the record having done the platting, and 
Alfred Clark and Charles G. Halbeck acknowledged the plat and dedication of 
this addition on June 20, A. D. 1856. 

These two plattings constitute forty-eight (48) blocks which comprise what is 
now generally called the original plat. This addition of thirty-two blocks pushed 
North street and its name up to its present location. By some oversight of the 
surveyor in the first plat — probably not making allowance for the variation of 
the compass from the true pole — the streets vary slightly in their direction from 
the cardinal points. This peculiarity w'as afterwards carried out in the platting 
of Peterson's addition, filed for record May 9, 1857, and of the Western addi- 
tion, filed for record July 8. 1857. 

Both of these plats were acknowledged by John F. Peterson. Though this 
variation was originally a mistake, it fits well with the topography of the locality, 
and North street, for its greater jiart, traverses the ridge of a water-shed — the 
water to the north flowing northward and finding its way into the Oneota river, 
while that to the south of it flows in the opposite direction and finds its way into 
the Turkey river. Singularly enough, this same ridge marks at this place a well- 
defined boundary line, or rather a part of it. between the driftless and the drift 
regions in the northeast corner of the state — between the "Switzerland of Iowa" 
and the balance of Hawkeyedom. 

The writer of this history being a lover of the old granite floaters, had a six- 
ton boulder hauled from south of the street and deposited on his grounds abut- 
ting on its north side, and so has the only glacial-drift specimen in town on that 

Alfred Clark, one of the founders of the town, was a Swede, and came to 
this part of the country from California. Clark at first named the place Marys- 
ville. after the California town of that name, but afterward the name Calmar 
was chosen, after Calmar on Calmar Sound, Clark's old home on the southeast 
coast of Sweden, which was made famous by the so-stylcd "Union of Calmar'' 
on July 20, I3')7. by which, llirough delegates from the councils of state of each 
of the three countries, for a long time all of the .^ kingdoms were 
united under one crown. 

.Alfred C lark and one Peter Clawson. a Dane, who came with him from Cali- 
fornia, put up the first building in the village. This was early in 1854. This 
building was only a temjiorary affair, but served the double ]iur|)ose of a store 
building and residence. Clark and Clawson were the first merchants as well as 
the first residents of the village. 

This was before the village w'as surveyed or iilatted. Later in the same year 
John P. l.anilin. also a .Swede, came in the \illage. Landin hap|)ened along at 
Fort Atkinson about that time. an<l on making in(|uiry of 'S(|uire Cooney of that 
place as to the nearest ])<)int where he could Imd some of his countrymen, was 
directed by Mr. Cooney to .Alfred (lark, whom he said kept a store at Whiskey 


Grove. Landin then came up and so got acc|uaintcd with Clark and his partner. 
Whiskey Grove was the name given to a grove of small trees about a half mile east 
of the store, and so the name got mixed with the village. \'arious explanations 
are given as to the origin of this name, the most plausible being that a couple of 
early bootleggers were secretly selling whiskey to the Indians and to the soldiers 
quartered at the fort. A posse was accordingly sent out from the fort to search 
for and capture the liquor, but the bootleggers heard of it, and at night buried 
their stock, a barrel of whiskey, in this grove. 

Landin, shortly after his arrival, as he a long time afterwards informed this 
writer, helped to survey the village plat by aiding to carry the chain, and when 
the plat was completed it was found that Clark & Clawson's store was squarely 
in Main street. Before the winter set in, Clark and Clawson had erected three 
other buildings each more substantial than the first. The first of these was "The 
Calmar House," a hotel which burned down in 1873. This stood on the corner 
now occupied by the Winneshiek County Bank. The second was another store 
building and the third a saloon building. 

Clark & Company then moved their stock into the new building, and the store 
on Main street was torn down and moved off the street. Clark was the first 
postmaster of the village and after him came P. M. Stanberg, D. S. Lovejoy, 
John Scott, W. L. Bass, S. V. Potter, John T. Ahern and E. C. Walker, the present 
incumbent, in the order named. 

In 1855 Landin had so thrived that he put up a frame building on a part of the 
ground now covered by the Anderson & Landin block, the old building being 
torn down to make room for the new block in 1873. In this old building Landin 
opened up a store, and sold groceries, both wet and dry, as was common in those 
days, and soon became well-to-do. 

The year 1868 saw the beginning of the building of the I. & D. branch of the 
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, with Calmar as its eastern terminus and junction 
with the main line, which latter had been Iniilt as far as Conover in 1865-6. The 
I. & D. division was built as far as New Hampton that year (1868), and added 
importance and brought business to Calmar as it was continued westward into 
the interior. 

In 1869 the village of Calmar became an incorporated town by proper legal 
proceedings, and in organization as such was completed by the election of munic- 
ipal officers in March, 1870. John Scott, who had settled here about the close of 
the Civil war, was chosen mayor and was re-elected in 1871. The mayors since 
then have been John W. Tower, 1872; S. V. Potter, 1873-4; A. E. Manchester, 
1875; E. Pennington, Sr., 1876; John Scott, 1877; V. E. Strayer, 1878; Tim 
Ahern, 1879; V. E. Strayer, 1S80; A. Dostal, 1881 : C. W. Giesen, 1882; A. L. 
Kittlesby, 1883; T. Ahern, 1884; John B. Kaye, 1885-6; John Scott, 1887; A. 
McRobert, 1888, 1889 and 1890: J. S. Roome, 1891-2; H. Miller. Jr., 1893-4; E. 
M. Heflen, 1895-6; Geo. H. Belding, 1897-8-9; S. R. Yager, 1900-1 ; Jacob Meyer, 
1902-3-4-5-6, resigned in 1907. Dr. J. F. Conover elected to fill vacancy and rt^- 
elected in 1908, serving until April i, 1910. Jacob Meyer was again elected ir, 
1910 and re-elected in 1912. 

The years as here indicated, up to i8g8, commenced on the second Monday in 
March. In 1898 they began one week after the third Monday in March. 


Calmar has an excellent and efficient waterworks plant with several miles of 
mains reaching in their circuit every building in the original forty-eight blocks, 
besides every building but one on the north side of North street. The town has 
a water tank of 2,000 barrels capacity, with an elevation of 100 feet. It has 
its own weW and pumping house and apparatus comi)letc, has hose, hooks and 
ladders and truck, and a regular organized fire company. Jn loii the first steps 
toward a sewage system were taken and last year (iyi2) a municipal gas ])lant 
for street lighting was installed. 

The ])ublic school building of the town, wliicli was erected in iSg8 at a cost of 
$12,000, is a model for ventilation, heating and convenience. The high school 
department for many years past has annually turned out its class of graduates. 
These have been in constant demand as teachers, as well as in other lines where 
mental discipline and painstaking effort are the requirements needed. 

The church organizations are the Norwegian Lutheran, the German Lutheran, 
the Catholic and the Methodist Episcopal, each of which, save the German Lu- 
theran, owns its own edifice, while the latter, which has but few members, wor- 
ship in the Methodist Episcopal church building. 

.\11 of these religious institutions are well attended and liberally patronized, 
and are exercising continued and successful efTorls for good. 

The fraternal spirit of the times is represented by the Free Masons, Knights 
of Pythias, Modern Woodmen of America, Royal Neighbors and Catholic For- 

The business interests of the town are well and fully represented, and the 
professions are by no means in the background among communities of the same 
size. The Calmar Manufacturing Com]jan\- and the 1 knry Miller. Jr., Wagon and 
Plow Works are institutions whose product and reputation reach beyond the 
borders of the state. 

The object of this sketch, however, is not to advertise the things and institu- 
tions that to-day are, nor those who are in the active o|)eration of them, but to 
preserve in outline and characteristics some of the things and people that are slip- 
ping away from present human contact and memory ; and more especially of the 
men, and no less their life partners, who shared their names, their hardships and 
privations in the beginning of civilization in this one township and its town.s — 
this little square plot of ground in the counterpane of a great state. 

These arc thcv who Icarncrl : 

The virtue,-^ winch t.ikc root in ]K)verty — 

Careful econoniv and sciscming tnil. 

P>rave self-reliance, cheerful industrw 

Mope, never vain when builded on the soil — 

Patience to overcome, courage to meet 

The border trials and forestall defeat. 

These blessings had they, which by changeless laws 

Grown intn h.ibits and becoming fixed. 

Remf)vcd the only evil of their cause 

.\nd left the sure resultant, good, unmixed. 




Sleep soundly in sweet peace, dead pioneers ! 

Your rugged worth in a wild, stranger land 

Endears you to its soil, and coming years 

Add strength and growth to all that you have planned ; 

Your labor made the wilderness to laugh 

To-day's abundance — your best epitaph. 

The Town, the County, and the crowning State — 

A pyramid that Cheops may not peer 

Is your sure monument ; and you who wait 

Will join the van without regret or fear 

But with tired satisfaction as doth one. 

Take to his couch when the dav's toil is done. 


By Hon. A. Jacobson* 

[Under the head of Settlements by Foreign Born Citizens the chapter written by Hon. A. 
Jacobson for Ander.soM &■ Goodwin's Atlas is referred to. We quote it entire.] 


Inasmuch as this township was settled by Norwegians, and furthermore from 
the fact that people of this nationality have from the earliest times formed an 
important part of the population of Winneshiek county, it will not be out of 
place here to give a brief history of Norwegian immigration to America and 
to Iowa. 

The discovery of America by the Norwegian, Leif Ericksen, in the year 1,000 
is a conceded fact acknowledged by all prominent historians of our day, but 
as it brought no immediate results to the world at large, only preparing the way 
for the later discovery of Christopher Columbus, no further notice of it will be 
taken in this connection. 

What may be termed as the first beginning of Norwegian immigration to this 
country took place in 1825, when a sloop of forty-five tons from Stavanger brought 
fifty-three passengers who landed in New York. This vanguard settled in 
Kendall, Orleans county. New York, where they remained until the most of them 
later on moved out \\'^est and settled in Illinois. 

From that time up to 1840 emigrant vessels from Norway were few and far 
between. From 1840 to 1850 they became more numerous, but from 1850 up to 
the present time a constant stream of immigration has steadily been bringing hun- 
dreds of thousands of emigrants from Norway into the United States. 

The first Norwegian settlement in Iowa was evidently that formed at Sugar 
Creek in Lee county, not far above the mouth of the Des Moines river, a few 
miles west of Keokuk. About 1840 Story county and other central portions of 
the state were next settled by Norwegians and later on the northern and western 



The Norwegian that first visited Winneshiek county who afterwards also 
found a home on its soil, is undoubtedly Ole Halvorson \alle. At the age of 
twenty he came to America from his native land in 1841. 

Stopping in Wisconsin one year he then, in 1842, came to Iowa, where he was 
engaged in the service of the government as teamster, hauling provisions from 
Fort Crawford at Prairie du Chien to Fort Atkinson and the Old Mission. He 
was also employed in breaking up pieces of bottom land on the Upper Iowa 
river. One of the largest fields thus prepared for the Indians to plant their 
corn was situated just below the outlet of Trout Run. now known as the 
Peter Roney farm. 

Mr. \'alle died at his home in Canoe townshij) a few years ago. Some mem- 
bers of his family survive him. 

This township is bounded on the north by Decorah township and in the gov- 
ernment survey is designated as range 8 and township 97; hence it is situated 
seventeen miles south from the Minnesota line and a distance of thirty miles 
west of the Mississippi river. The town is diversified with prairie, timber, 
hill and dale, in picturesque variety. The various branches of Trout creek are 
nearly all within its limits, making the surface uneven, yet the greatest part 
consists of a rich and tillable soil. On account of its many springs and streams 
of clear water it is well adapted for raising stock as well as for general farming. 

The first settlement of the township found place in 1850. There were two 
parties, one led by Erick Anderson and with him were Ole Tostenson (Haugen) 
a'nd his brother Staale, Ole A. Lomcn. A. (). Lomen. Ole Gullikson (Jevne), 
Knut Anderson (P.akken), Andres Hauge, John Johnson (Qvale), H. Halvorson 
(Groven) and Mikkcl Omli. All of these made permanent homes in the town- 
ship the latter part of June, 1850. .\nother party from Wisconsin, headed by 
Nels Johnson, arrived in the county July 2d. and of these the followMng selected 
claims in what is now Springfield township: Tollef Simonson (.\ae), Knud G. 
Opdahl, Jacob Abrahanison and Iver Peterson (Qvale). The rest of the Nels 
Johnson party settled in Decorah and Glenwood townships. 

The first list of landed assessments in Winneshiek county has among others 
these names: Jacob Abrahamson, Knud Guldbrand.son (0])dahn. Ole (kiUik.^on 
(Jevne), Egbert Guldbrandson (Solland), Erick Clement (Skaali), Halvor Hal- 
vorson (Groven). O. A. Lomen, Ole Larsen P.ergan. Mikkcl Omli. Tollef Simon- 
son (Aae), T. Hulverson and Ole Tostenson. 

This list must have been for 1852. The writer has a tax receipt from thai 
date, showing that his father, Jacob Abrahamson. was among the first ta.x jiavers. 

The heads of all these families above enumerated died many years ago, with 
the exception of the Hon. .\. O. Lomen * and ex-sherifT Erick Anderson, both 
residing in Decorah. In most cases the descendants of the old settlers are now 
occupying the farms where their ancestors lived and died. Some of them have 
moved to other parts of the country, mostly northwestward. 

In the year 1851 quite a number of new .settlers came in and in the next suc- 
ceeding few years the influx was large, far beyond all expectations, so that all the 
public lands were taken in a very short time. This was c|uite contrary to what 
the first settlers had imagined possible. When they arrived in what was then 
a wilderness, they thought large portions of the country would never be settled, 

• Both Mr. Lomen and Mr. Anderson are now dead. 


but would remain as a common, that could be used for pasture. The large strips 
of prairie without wood and water were supposed to belong to this class of land. 

The first birth in the township was that of Ole A. Lomen, who now resides in 
the State of Oregon. He is the son of Hon. A. O. Lomen. 

The first death that occurred in our midst was that of Mrs. Christine Aae, the 
wife of ToUef Simonson Aae. She died of consumption and would have been 
buried on her husband's farm (northeast quarter of section i, Springfield town- 
ship), if it had not been that the land on the opposite side of the township line 
was considered a better site for a bur3'ing ground. This was on the southeast 
quarter of section 36, Decorah township, and belonged to ToUef's brother, Aslak 
Simonson Aae. 

The first public schoolhouse in the county was erected in the southwest cor- 
ner of Glenwood township. These corners were at that time the central point of 
the settlement. An old settlers" monument was erected here in 1887, consisting 
of a marble shaft of large size, placed on a limestone base four feet high and six 
feet square. The inscriptions on the monument are these : 



who to the number of fifty or more 
lie buried here. 


A. D. 1887. 

"Ihe wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus 
Christ our Lord." — Rom. 6, 23. 

On the monument are carved names of the following pioneers : 


Kristine E. Aae. 1831 — August, 1850. 

Marit O. Rue. April, 1850 — March, 1852. 

Anne H. Anderson Rude. December, 1833 — April, 1852. 

Aslak Simonson Aae. 1819 — November, 1852. 

Thora P. Wik. 1826— August, 1853. 

Nels E. Ramsey. August, 1853 — September, 1853. 

Nels H. Bakke. August, 1791 — March, 1854. 

Anna Margarette Wigesland. June, 1853 — June, 1854. 

Ole A. Aakre. 1813— July, 1854. 


Carl A. Aarnes. March, 1826 — October, 1854. 

Anne J. Busnes. i8ig — 1854. 

Martin H. Ilakloa. March, 1826 — November, 1854. 


llalvor Olson Lien. October, 1854 — March, 1855. 
I'eler E. Ramsey. October, 1854 — June, 1855. 
ISerthe Heleiie X'oldeng. Augut, 1852 — August, 1855. 
Cijerniond G. Hoyme. 1805 — October, 1855. 
Thorgrim Bjortuft. May, 1853 — November, 1855. 
Sii(ri(i E. Tostenson Haugen. Septemlier, 1834 — Octo!)er, 1856. 
Marken (Jualley. Born November 8, 1871. Entered into rest April 2y, 187 — . 
"I shall rise again." 


Gurine T. Busnes. August, 1848 — October, 1857. 

Ingeborg E. Nefstad. 1813— 1858. 

Christine A. Estrem. June, 1856 — March, 1858. 

Ole N. Brakestad. January, 1858 — April, 1858. 

Anne O. Abrahamson. 1822 — May, 1858. 

Anders H. Estrem. February, 1825 — December, 1858. 

Helga G. Bakhus. 1854— March, 1861. 

Nels Ostrem. March, 1862 — March, 1862. 

Ole Johannes T. Haugen. May, 185 1 — .August, 1863. 

Josejih T. Haugen. March, 1859 — August, 18O3. 

John G. Johnson. December, 1834 — .\pril, 1864. 

The names are placed in chronological order as to time of death. The first 
dates of course express the time of birth. It will be noticed that the death list 
numbers very few names among the early settlers. 

The sifting jiroccss to which they had been subjected before reaching the 
western frontier left, as a rule, only a strong and sturdy set of people to found 
the new communities in the W^est. 

The honor of having taught the first district school in Winneshiek county can 
in a way be divided between the two daughters of Nels Hanson Katterud. Mary, 
the younger, had attended a normal school at I'latteville, Wisconsin, and after 
being examined by John McKay, who acted as county suiierintendent, she re- 
ceived a certificate and entered upon the work of teaching. Being only some fifteen 
years of age, inexperienced and timid, she prevailed on her elder sister Larine to 
help the first few days until the school was fairly started. She afterward taught 
many terms at various places. 

The first Norwegian Lutheran congregation for this and adjoining townships 
was organized in the summer of 1832. and ever since 1853 it has been served by 
its present pastor, the Rev. Dr. \'. Koren.* This gentleman deserves more than 
a passing notice. He was born in 1826 and came to this country in the autumn of 
1853. His field of labor for many years included not only the adjacent counties 
in Iowa, but likewise those of Minnesota. Of all Norwegian Lutheran clergymen 
now living he is the most widely known by his countrymen in .America. For many 
years he has served as jjresident of the Norwegian synod, the functions of which 
office about e<|ual those of a bishop in all but in n.imc. In 1903 he was created 
a doctor of (livinitv and. bv the King of Norway and Sweden, Oscar II, he was 

•Rev. Koron died in 1011. 


in the same year decorated with the cross of St. Olaf , as knight of that order in 
recognition of his long and faithful service in his calling. The second Lutheran 
church organized was that which now is connected with the United Lutheran 
church and is served by Rev. K. E. Bakken.-j- 

The Norwegian Methodists organized a congregation in 185 1 under the leader- 
ship of O. P. Peterson, then a missionary, later called the father of Methodism 
among the Norwegians. Their church is situated on section 12. The member- 
ship, however, is so depleted by deaths and removals in later years that they have 
no settled pastor. 

The Americans, Germans and Bohemians in the southern and western por- 
tions of the township are members of Catholic or Protestant churches in Ossian 
and Calmar. It can be truthfully said that the people are all church members and 
law-abiding citizens. 


In the spring of 1850 my parents left Muskego, Racine county, Wisconsin, 
joining company with a number of other families, intending to move out west. 
The leader of the party was Nels Johnson, the father of M. N. Johnson, then an 
infant and later Congressman from North Dakota. He had a large military wagon 
drawn by six o.xen. This had a big box on, filled with household goods and cov- 
ered with white canvas. On the outside was placed, lengthwise of the wagon 
box, several joints of stovepipe, so the outfit with a little stretch of imagination 
looked like a man of war. No wonder these rigs received the name of "prairie 
schooners." The rest of the vehicles were of all sizes and shapes, from truck 
wagons, the wheels of which were made of solid sections of oak logs, down to 
our own cart on two wheels. Our progress west was slow and tedious. At Kosh- 
konong, Dane county, Wisconsin, we received large additions to our company, 
so that it comprised in all more than a hundred souls, two hundred head of cat- 
tle, with a few hogs and sheep, one mare and a colt. ^ladison was only a small 
village; the "state house" was a two-story frame structure situated where the 
massive capitol building now stands. 

Up to this time our point of destination had been Coon Prairie, Vernon county, 
Wisconsin, but near Wingville we met a man by the name of Wm. Painter, 
who had settled in Iowa, where Decorah aferwards was built. He was going 
to Mineral Point for machinery in order to init up a gristmill at his new 
home. He gave such a glowing description of the country west of the Mississippi 
in general and of the locality in which he was settled in particular, that our com- 
pany when we came to the Wisconsin river resolved to send out a deputation 
of its wisest men to cross the river, explore the country and report. In conse- 
quence of this, the company, when arriving at Prairie du Chien, divided, one-half 
going to Vernon county, Wisconsin, near where Viroqua and Westby are situated, 
the other half crossing over into Iowa. The Wisconsin river had to be crossed 
on a small ferry boat, the propelling power being furnished by a horse placed on 
a tread-power which worked the paddle wheels. Only one wagon and a team 
at a time could be taken aboard. The herd of loose cattle had to swim over the 

t Rev. Bakkcn now resides in Minnesota. 
Vol. 1—12 


river, all of which was accomplished w ilhout any accident worthy of note. The 
ferry boat at l^rairie du Chien was larger and propelled by a four-mule power, 
but the water being high, the Mississippi river was nearly two miles wide and 
much time was taken to get all to the western bank. Thirteen miles northwest 
from McGregor at Poverty Point, since called Monuna, another halt of a week was 
made. The scouting party before alluded to had visited several localities and 
opinions were divided as to which was the best point to settle down. The com- 
pany was now divided into three divisions, we going with the original leader to 
the vicinity of Decorah, landing on our claims on the 3d of July. The journey had 
taken five weeks, counting from the time of starting. Those who had room 
enough slept under the wagon covers. The others slept on the bare ground under 
the wagons. 

If time and subsistence are taken into account, then our journey was quite 
expensive. It was indeed a tine country where we settled. Rolling prairies with 
fertile soil, interspersed with groves of timber and springs of pure water. For 
miles there were no houses nor roads or other traces of civilization to be seen. 
Indian trails, well marked, crossed the country in various directions, and with 
little deviation continued to be the roads of the early settlers, until the fencing 
in of the fields pushed the roads into the worst places, where they now remain. 
It was high time to break up prairie so as to be able to plant and sow next year, 
also to put up hay for the cattle for the coming winter. This occupied the time 
at first so the building of log houses was put ofif until late in autumn. Alany of 
us were not under roof from the middle of May until September or October, 
yet all were in good health. 

The question of subsistence, that is, something to eat and to wear, was for 
many of us the most difficult to answer. The small stores brought could not last 
long. The nearest trading place on the Mississippi was fifty miles away, where 
a barrel of tlour cost $12 and a bushel of corn seventy-five cents, other things in 
proportion. .My father worked what time he could spare from his own home for 
fifty cents a day, while all '<i my lime was ]nn in at driving a breaking team of eight 
oxen for twenty-five cents a day. At this rate it \vas hard to make ends meet. 
Hunting and fishing were resorted to, and gave some helj). Men who could be 
away from their homes spent the first winters u]> in the W'iscnnsin pineries or down 
along the Mississippi cutting cordwood. My father took me along on an 
expedition of this last named descri])tion two weeks before Christmas, 1850. A 
heavy fall of snow knee dee]) set in just as we started fr^ni lumic. Walking 
some twenty-eight miles to where we stopped over night was no easy task. Up- 
stairs in a log cabin covered by clapboards was the jilace given us to sleep. Dur- 
ing the night a high wind made the snow^ fiy through all the cracks and crevices, 
so in the morning our bed and the clothes we had laid otT were covered with no 
less than eight inches of snow. 

Arriving the next dav to where we had heard employment was to be had, 
we found the terms so niggardly hard that we could not consent to take up work 
there. This was four miles u]) the river from McGregor. It was late in the day, 
but we thought a walk along the edge of the river to the last named place would 
not be dangerous, even after dark. Having proceeded half way to where North 
McGregor is now situated, we saw our mistake. .\ stream, the Bloody Run. 
enters into the river at this point and we could not cross this stream before trudg- 


ingup along its banks ever so far. Then by felling a tree that reached over it, we 
concluded to take a short cut over the blui¥s to reach McGregor instead of fol- 
lowing the water's edge. In this we made a terri1)le mistake. The steep hills cov- 
ered with timber and brush, together with the deep snow, impeded our progress 
so that we did not reach our destination before long after midnight. Fortunately 
for us a dancing party at the little hotel was using the small hours in merry- 
making. This gave us access to a warm room for the rest of the night. When 
called to breakfast the next morning my appetite was keen enough, having had 
nothing to eat since the previous morning, but my stiff and sore limbs could 
hardly be made to carry me to the table. We took a job of cutting wood at 50 
cents a cord, boarding ourselves. No cheap place for us to stay could be found, so 
we had to board at the hotel. The only high-toned part of the hotel was the bill. 

In the matter of clothing, we were put to about the same straits as mentioned 
in the way of food. I remember distinctlv that during the first two winters neither 
underclothing nor overcoats were worn, for the good reason that there were none 
to wear, and overshoes were a thing scarcely heard of, much less seen. Neverthe- 
less good health was always enjoyed by young and old. 

The land on which we settled did not come into market the first year, but the 
settlers agreed upon a plan by which they could defend each other in the posses- 
sion of their homes against unwelcome intruders. "Club claim" expressed this 
method exactly, both because it indicated a joining or clubbing together, and at the 
same time reminded one of clubs and cudgels as the most ready weapons of de- 
fense, if need be. When the Government proclaimed the lands in market, $200 
in gold was the price of a quarter section. Land warrants given to soldiers of the 
Mexican war were used extensively for the entering of land, as they were sold and 
bought at a less price per acre than that demanded by the Government. To get the 
necessary funds with which to pay for the lands was, for many, a difficult thing to 
do. Those who had money would not lend it for less than three or four per cent 
per month on good security. Generally the owner of the money bought the land in 
his own name and gave the possessor a bond for the deed. Fortunately for the 
poor, land was not supposed to be worth much, there being so much of it and no 
reasonable prospect of its becoming settled for a long time to come. Hence there 
was at first no great rush at the land office in Dubuque, to which our district be- 
longed. This state of things did not, however, last very long. People poured into 
the country much faster than anticipated. The consequence was that a scrambling 
for getting good land ensued which defies description. In our midst no bloody en- 
counters found place, but some ludicrous scenes were enacted to the merriment of 
the lookers on, though serious enough to the actors. 

There was at that time no limit. A person could purchase all the land he wanted 
if he had the money to pay for it. This afforded speculators an opportunity to 
buy large tracts, to the detriment of actual settlers, the evils of which are felt 
even to the present day. 

The "Preemption Law," giving a year's time to pay for the land on which a 
person had settled and made improvements, was of much help in acquiring homes 
for those who were poor, but the "Homestead" law, enacted in the sixties, was 
more than all other things the cause of speedily peopling the great West. Just think 
of it ! get a farm anywhere on the public domain for the troulile of taking it in 
possession ! 


The first political convention in Winneshiek county was held in the spring of 
1851, right in our Norwegian settlement. The parties then existing, democratic, 
free soil and whig, were all represented, but not a word of party politics was ut- 
tered. The all absorbing question was county organization, county officers and 
county seat. Nominations that resulted in the election of men to offices of trust 
were based solely on their honest looks ; handsome dress and silver-tongued oratory 
played no figure. Overhearing, as 1 did, some of the caucus talk which dis- 
criminated against a man because he wore a stovepipe hat, reminds me of the 
fact that trivial causes may have important consequences. For the ]>ublic wel- 
fare it might have been better if some of the officers elected had been in posses- 
sion of as much ability as honesty. All being strangers to each other, it truly 
was a wonderful example of how successfully pojmlar government can be initiated 
where the prime principles of law and order are understood and resjaected. 

The fact that the first district schoolhouse was erected among the Norwegians 
in our county shows that they had the prerequisites for becoming intelligent 
American citizens. 

Xonvogiaii C'luiroli and SHiooI 
Cntliolio riiiirch 

A niidll'dF <'.\l,.\l Ai; I III i;( iiics 

Mcllioilist K|iis((ipjil C'liurcli 



(As recorded in Anderson & Goodwin's Atlas by M. P. Riggs.) 

It is conceded by all that Hamilton Campbell, Sr., was the first settler in 
Bloomfield, having moved here June lo, 1848. 

They settled on what subsequently proved to be the west half of section 
23 ; also northwest quarter of 26, township 96, range 7, west of the 5th P. M., 
Winneshiek county, Iowa, said county not having been surveyed until the year 
!849. Mr. Campbell's postoffice was Dubuque, Iowa, about sixty miles distant. 
His first milling was down at or near McGregor landing on Bloody Run. Millers 
would not grind his wheat but instead would buy the wheat at 25 cents per bushel 
and sell in return fl?ur at $10.00 per hundred. 

Mr. David Reed was the next settler in Bloomfield township, settling on 
section 25. He was better known as Judge Reed. 

Phineas Banning was the next to settle, in June 10. 1849. He with his wife 
and four children settled on sections 5 and 6. Mr. Banning traded a gun and 
only wagon for his claim. Thus for two years his only mode of conveyance in 
visiting his distant neighbors was a pair of oxen and sled. 

From now on settlers began to gather in Bloomfield like bees to their hive; 
among those arriving were Mr. Townsden, John DeCou, Abner DeCou, Mose 
McSwain and Gideon Green. The latter brought boards from Milwaukee to 
make the only door in his log cabin. 

The first born in Bloomfield was Miss Sarah Campbell in the year 1849, 
who still resides on the same section. 

Winneshiek postoffice was established in 1851 on section 26. Castalia post- 
office the same year and Moneek postoffice in 1852. Winneshiek and Moneek 
have been discontinued for many years. 

The first schoolhouse was built in 1853. No. 3, or commonly known as the 
"red schoolhouse," was built in the fall of 1854. Castalia schoolhouse was 
built in the spring of 1855. No. i, or "white schoolhouse," was built in 1855. 

School taught, where and by whom: District No. i was a little log house 
on Jacob Hohenshielt's land on section 9, a structure 10x14 feet, where every 
scholar had to furnish his own seat. It was taught by Mrs. Abigail Meyers. 



District No. 5 was taught by Miss Green in section 14 in 1853. Castalia 
school was taught in the suninier of 1855 Ijv Mrs. Abigail Meyers. 

The first church was built in 1856 by the United Brethren in Christ, on sec- 
tion 16. Fine horse vehicles were not to be seen but instead ox teams and a 
class of people who always extended their hospitality to everyone. 
The following weddings were recorded from 1848 to 1858: 
(ieorge Cooper to Miss Emily Logan, March 14, 1854. Lathrup, J. P. 
David Meyers to Miss Abigail Baird. Xovember 14, 1854. Rew John Brown 

Sam Allen to Sarah Ilolcomb. May 3. 1853. 

David Polly to Martha \\'indell, January 21, 1855. Lathrop, J. P. 
Enos Lambert to Esther Ann Holcomb, April 19, 1855. Rev. John Brown 

Edward Harvey to Lucy Polly, March 31, 1855. Rev. Fathergill, ]«stor. 
Geo. Foster to Ellen Bates, August 21, 1855. L. W. Smith, J. P. 
Milton P. Riggs to Mrs. .Abigail Me\ers, June 10. 1857. Rev. Geo. Larkins, 

Wm. Oxley to Miss C. A. Townsden, Dccemiier 19, 1857. Rev, W. W. 
Richardson, pastor. 

Bloomfield township was first known as township No. 96. On April 2d a 
meeting was held at Moneek for the purpose of electing judges of election and 
voting u]wn a name other than No. 96. 

The following judges were selected: Daniel B. Pierce, Gideon Green and 
Nelson liurdick. At a vote following the name Bloomfield received the largest 
number of \otes, giving it its present name. 

The following is the list of first voters at an election ever held in Bloomfield 
township : 

Henry W'alralh, Samuel B. Jones, .\. C. .\ndrews, John Webster, 1.. \\ . 
Smith, T. A. W'indell, Nathaniel Cornell, J. W. Larkins, 1). Webster, X. .\1. 
Webster, A. P. Cornell, Joel Cailiff. C. B. Riggs, X. Banning. S. Sherman, N. K. 
Hubbell, M. S. Drury, C. W. Bucknani. S. B. Pierce, C. Dean, Alexander Stew- 
art, Russell Dean, Wm, Taylor, Sam Brush, P. C. Huft'man, Fred Larkins, 
Daniel D, Webster, Levi ( irandy, Steven Allen, W. D. Pierce, G. W, Fstey. 
Gideon (Ireen, .M, Townsden. J, (iibson. J, Doane, .Andrew Shawns, L Dufi', .\, 
DeCou, llarvey Knowles, 1. Cailiff, 

The following township officers were elected : 
Justices — L. W. Smith, Lewis Boughner. 

Trustees — Thomas Ralhborne, Phineas Banning. Henry Wahath, 
Town Clerk — P. C. flufi'man. 
Assessor — M. S. Drury. 
Constables— T. A. \\ indell. J. Stewart, 

The foregoing record by Mr. Riggs tells of the early days. The Bloom- 
field townshi]) of today i)resents a far dilTereiU sight than greeted the eyes of 
the pioneers. Where then was an occasional log Init now there are modern 
homes and the farms are among the thriftiest in the county. The best methods 
in crop culture liave many students among her citizens and they are keeping 
abreast of the times in all tilings. 



This town is one of the oldest in this section of Iowa, and is also one of the 
youngest. It came into actual existence in the days when the Military road 
was the only thoroughfare into Northeastern Iowa, but it did not arrive at a 
state of real prosperity until 1902, when it incorporated. Since then many 
improvements have been brought about, and more are being steadily added. 

It makes the boast of having more cement sidewalks for its size than any 
town in this portion of Iowa. In fact, it has nothing but cement sidewalks, which 
is a mark of enterprise on the part of its citizens. A town hall that was erected 
some years ago is owned by a stock company and affords a splendid place for 
entertainments and public gatherings. It is one of the best live stock markets; 
its business houses are all prosperous, and enjoy a good trade, largely because 
it is located in one of the most fertile agricultural districts in the state. 

Its business houses are eleven in number and are as follows : Garage, Harvey 
Brothers; general stores, W. H. Haefner, W. H. Roe; hotel and grocery, N. 
Schoonmaker ; drug store, \V. K. Riggs ; Castalia Savings Bank, D. C. Malloy, 
cashier; restaurants, Chas. Schara, Thos. Kane; blacksmith shop, Ed. Mann; 
butcher shop, J. P. Bachelder ; hardware, Geo. R. Neuenswander. 

A. C. Tatro is mayor; D. C. Malloy is clerk; VV. K. Riggs is treasurer; and 
W. H. Haefner, H. H. Meyer, J- H. Kneeskern, Chas. Schara, and Geo. R. Neu- 
enswander are councilmen. 



I, Excerpts from a sketch written by Harrison Goddard for Anderson & Good- 
win's Atlas.) 

Washington is the southern township of next to the western tier of town- 
ships, is beautifully rolling and richly productive. The Turkey river, which runs 
southeasterly through the township, furnishes the power for the Evergreen 
Roller Mill. 

The township has two villages, Fort Atkinson and Twin Springs. Fort 
Atkinson village, in the northwestern part of the township, near the western 
line, took its name from the fort of that name, which stood on a hill overlook- 
mg the site of the present village. The fort was named after the famous and 
successful fighter of the Indians, General Atkinson, the hero of the Black Hawk 

Twin Springs village was platted and the plat recorded October 17, 1856, 
by Andrew Meyer and wife. It lies in a beautiful valley five miles south of 
Calmar. The German Catholic church here is a very large building, and has a 
school connected with it. 

In the month of September, 1849, a number of families emigrated from 
Aldenberg, Indiana, and settled near the Turkey river to found homes. These 
pioneers were strict adherents to the Catholic faith, and after selecting home- 
steads centered their thoughts in the founding of a church. They were Jos. 
Huber, Anton Stadel, Andrew Meyer, Geo. Beckel, Jos. Spillman and Jacob 
Rausch. After purchasing land and Indian log huts, the best of these huts was 
assigned to the use of a chapel, which after being dedicated derived the name 
Old Mission, by which name it is known to this day. The priest sent to take 
charge of the huml)le church was G. H. Plathe. 

In 1853 the little church was destroyed by fire. Instead of rebuilding on the 
old site it was deemed advisable to build two miles further north. This new 
site is now called Twin Springs, and is the same place where the present 
magnificent church was built. The present priest is Rev. August Sauter, who 
has presided since the 13th day of March, 1877.* 

* Reverend Sauter lias retired, and Rev. .7. Kiilily i.s the priest in cliarge. 



A previous event worthy of mention was the erection of the chapel built 
on the site upon which stood the first church, dedicated June 15th, 1885, the 
expense liein.t; l)orne 1)v John Gartner and the family of Joseph Huber. 

In the spring of 1849 Josiah Goddard came to Washington township to look 
up a new home. He bought the old Indian trading post from a man by the name 
of ( Jlmstead situated on section iS. township 96, range 9 (which was the only 
name the township had at that time), two miles southwest of the fort. He 
then went back to his old home in (ireen county, Wisconsin. In the fall of the 
same year he moved his family. His et¥ccts were loaded into two wagons, each 
drawn by a j)air of horses. Besides this they brought with them six head of 
cattle. They arrived at Fort Atkinson on the 20th day of October, 1849. The 
writer was I)Ut nine years of age at that time. 

We camped out most of the time on the journey, and I well remember that 
some of the nights were quite cold and frosty. The last night we camped about 
one and one-half miles east of where Galmar now stands, arriving at the fort 
the next dav. We sj^ent the winter of 1S49 and 1850 in the old fort, .\lex- 
ander Falconer had charge of it at that time. My father went back to Wiscon- 
sin some time in December, 1849, to get some hogs and wheat which he had left 
there. lie butchered the hogs and salted the meat in barrels ; the wheal he had 
ground into flour, then the pork and flour were loaded into the wagon and 
hauled to Fort Atkinson, a distance of nearly twi> innidred ami tifiy miles. 

The nearest place to get groceries was ]\Ic(iregor, a distance of about fifty 
miles, a long distance to go to trade, but not so bad as the lack of money to do 
it with. In lune. 1850, Josiah Goddard nio\ed his family to the old trading 
post. Three or four acres of land had been broken up by the Indians. This 
was planted to corn and jmnipkins, and in the fall we harvested a good crop. 
With this and what father brought from Wisconsin we had enough to carry us 
through until the next summer. The corn was ground into meal by rubbing the 
ears over tin graters, then made into corn bread or mush; the pumpkins were 
cut into strips, dried and used during the winter for jiies and sauce, which made 
pretty good fodder. In the summer of 1850 a l)and of Indians came to our 
place. We had a small patch of early corn which was in roasting ears. They 
pointed to it and said they wanted some. One of them could talk English. I 
gathered a sackful and then asked them how much they wanted. They said 
they would take all 1 would give them. They would have carried oflf the whole 
patch if I had given it to them, which showed the nature of an Indian. They 
would eat you out of house and Immc. if you would give it tn them. 

The first school in the township was at the old ( )lmstead trading jiost. taught 
by my sister, Mary (ioddard. There were six scholars. 

The first postoffice in Washingtnn tiiwnshii> wa- established in 1S51 or 1852 
at Louisville, two and one-half miles southeast of Fort .\tkinson. at liie house 
of Francis Rogers. Josiah Goddard was postmaster. 

In 1852 there was a postoffice at the < )ld Mission. Josei)h Ilul>er was post- 
master. In these days it took fr.mi \o to 25 cents postage to send a letter. 

The first male white child i)orn in the township since the first permanent 
settlement was Geo. A. Meyer, near the Old Mission, August i. 1849. Mr. 
Meyer is now a resident of Oklahoma. The first female child burn was Mary 


Krumni at Fort Atkinson, August 5, 1849. Her father, Gottlob Krumni, came 
to Fort Atkinson in 1S48. 

In the spring of 1849 Joseph Huber, Andrew Meyer, George Beckel, Anthony 
Stadel, John Gartner and Gottheb and Gottlob Krunim settled near the Old Mis- 
sion. Mr. Falconer was a discharged soldier of the regular army. He held 
the rank of first sergeant. 


Before any other town existed in Winneshiek county, Fort Atkinson was a 
definite and important center. We refer now to the fort itself, but only for the 
purpose of bringing out the fact that here was formed the nucleus of the civiliz- 
ing forces that brought Winneshiek county to its present state of prosperity. 
Of the fort more is said in the first chapter of this book, in which its military 
importance is detailed. 

Fort Atkinson town came into existence early in the fifties and, because of 
the previous occupation of the Government post, enjoyed not a little growth. 
"Sparks' History of Winneshiek County" contains the following account of 
the years that followed: "After the removal of the Indians in 1848 there was 
no further necessity for keeping up military appearances, consequently the fort, 
as a military rendezvous, was dispensed with ; yet the Government did not 
entirely abandon it. Alexander Falconer was appointed to look after it. Soon 
after Falconer was relieved by Geo. Cooney, a well-known citizen of the 
county. In 1853, after the removal of the Indians, the fort became useless as 
Government property, and the administration then in power decided to dis- 
pose of it at public auction. 

"On the reception of this news, in July, 1853, one of the Day boys visited 
Mr. Cooney at the fort and informed him that the fort would be sold at auction 
the next Wednesday. By previous agreement he had promised to inform cer- 
tain parties of the sale when it should take place ; and he immediately dispatched 
a messenger with the intelligence to H. D. Evans and S. A. Clark of Prairie du 
Chien, and another to the bishop at Dubuque. On the morning of the sale 
these parties were present, bringing with them $4,000 in gold to purchase it with. 
John M. Flowers, Captain Frazier and a gentleman from \Miite Pigeon were 
also on the ground in hopes of purchasing the fort. 

"The Flowers were extraordinary characters, and played no little part in the 
history of Fort Atkinson. There were two brothers of them, and were classed, 
with Charley Clark, Coleman and Tavernier, as 'the Canadians.' These Cana- 
dians came to the fort with the intention of making a living easily. They 
had somehow got the impression that Fort Atkinson was destined to be a great 
city, and thought it afforded a rich field in which to exercise their wit and 
shrewdness to benefit themselves. In language not to be misunderstood, they 
were sharpers. 

"Flowers wanted to get possession of the fort property, and induced a widowed 
English lady by the name of Newington to purchase it — he bidding the same of?. 
As the bidding progressed and the price advanced in the fort. Flowers became 
fearful that he would not be able to make the purchase, and asked those bid- 
ding against him what they would take to stop where they were. Clark, Evans 


and the others held a consultation, and as a result agreed to take $25. Flowers 
said he would give it. and accordingly wrote his note for the amount. Said note 
read as follows : 

" '1 owe you $25 for value received. 

" "1. M. Flowkrs. 

" 'Dated Fort Atkinson, 1853.' " 

"Four years after this note was given, Mr. Evans placed it in Mr. Cooney's 
hands (who was a justice of peace at the time) for collection. Three years later 
Mr. Cooney got his pay out of Flowers in sawing. 

"The fort was sold to Flowers for $3,521. 

"In 1857 a grist mill was commenced. Finkle & Clark were the builders, 
and they received a certain portion of the town-plat for building the mill, getting 
a warranty deed for the same. Mr. McMillan, a resident of Fort Atkinson, 
who resided, previous to 1857, in Canada, and an acquaintance of Finkle, was 
induced by Finkle to accompany him to the United States, and aid in the con- 
struction of the mill, with promises of a fair remuneration. The mill was com- 
pleted in November, but, owing to some miscalculation of the architect in laying 
out the foundation, when the water was let through the flume it tnidermined 
the wall, and rent the mill in twain, precipitating a portion of it into Turkey 
river. The mill was reconstructed shortly afterward. 

"It is estimated that in 1857, when the fort was at the summit of its grand- 
eur, it had a population of 500 souls. A public school, of course, would be a 
necessary adjunct to so thriving a community. Consec|uently one was organized, 
and an estimable and capal)le teacher was found in the person of Dr. K. Hazen. 

"To Doctor Hazen belongs the credit of teaching the flrst school at the fort. 

The doctor had met Mr. McKinney and wife, at the commencement of Oberlin 
College, and was advised by them to emigrate west. He was then a young man 
and had graduated. Mr. 1. P. McKinney, assisted by his wife, taught the second 
term of .school at the fort. The school session was held in one of the fort build- 
ings, and their enrollment of scholars numbered nearlv one hundred. 

"A Mr. Sharp, from ]-"ayettc county. kc]it ihc first lintel in the ])lace. Me 
dispensed his hospitality in one of the Fort buildings. 

"The new town of Fort .Atkinson was commenced in i86q. The same vear 
the railroad entered the place. J. T. Clark's .Xdditidii was made lo the town. 
August 28, 1869. This addition was formerly known as the Taveniier I'arm, 
and was sold to J. T. Clark at slierifl"s sale several \ears previous. 

"About this period the first cluircii building was erected. It was located 
north of the old fort, and built by the aid of subscriptions. The Methodist 
church was built soon after. It is located on the old town site, and was built 
liy the aid of S. B. I)nnli>ii. ,1 we.iltliy fanner, and largely with his money." 

Fort Atkinson was incorporated in 18(^5 and Win. Becker was the first mavor. 
Aside from the historic interest that allaclies to the town, it may be said that 
it has always enjoyed a good market, tlie sliiiniiciits of live stock being for niaiiv 
jears a leading industry. .Ml lines of business are well re|)resente<l bv the 
following merchants and professional men: Home Savings Bank. h". J. Pouska, 
cashier; loans and real-estate. Frank .\. .Schreiber; general merchandise, I'rank 
C. Smith. F. P. Chizek. Joe A. Iluber; drug store, llorlon P>ros. Co.; jewelry 
store, .'\. J. Sciireiber ; butcher shop. Joe W'andes ; furniture and undertaking, 


Joseph Chekal; veterinary surgeon, S. H. Bush; barber, Amos Stribley; black- 
smith shop, Louis Houdek ; lumber dealers, Frudden Lumber Co. ; hardware 
dealer, George A. Bieber; live stock dealers, Glass & Summers; farm produce, 
Farmers Co-operative Produce Co. ; hotels, Adolph Hlubek, Theodore Smith ; 
postmaster, VVm. Summers; Catholic pastor. Rev. Charles Dragoun ; Shattler 
Auto Co. ; Shissel Implement Co. 

The town officers are as follows: Mayor, Wentzel Kohout ; clerk, A. J. 
Schreiber; treasurer, Jacob Chekal; councilmen, Fred Houdek, A. B. Leibold, 
Wm. Rausch, Joseph Schreiber, and John Heine; marshal, George E. Cooney. 


l'.\i;iH IIIAI. St llool.. OSSIAN 


When one essays to record the history of Mihtary township and the town of 
Ossian, which is its only municipality, he is impressed with the lack of facts and 
figures necessary to convey adequately the progress of this unit of the county. 
H. P. Nicholson, who made a brief sketch for the Anderson & Goodwin Atlas, 
remarks upon his inability to find only meagre data, but writes in this manner : 

The history of Military township is not dyed with any blood-curdling tales 
of Indian massacre; no dire calamity ever befell the aborigines that white man 
has record of ; neither is it filled with tales of romance or sentiment, but simply 
the converting of a wilderness covered with tall prairie grass and scrub oak, 
interspersed with hazel brush and other wild bushes, into the beautiful fields 
and homes of the prosperous farmer and merchant of today. 

Topographically speaking. Military township is a rolling prairie with an in- 
clination to be bluffy along the creeks, for no river traverses within its borders. 
It abounds in fertile fields and clear spring water, and has a limited supply of 
timber mostly grown since the ravages of the prairie fires were controlled. 

The first settlements were made along the creeks, whose steep sides abounded 
in good springs and were covered with a growth of timber sufficient unto the 
needs of the pioneer. Not being equipped with the tools for making deep wells 
or converting timber into a commercial state, he naturally accepted the gifts 
which nature had bestowed upon him and improved upon them to the best of his 

The first settler came in 1850, but who he was is not within the knowledge of 
this writer. The march of the pioneer was steady and continuous and no 
marked event recorded his advent into the newer fields. Neither was the birth 
of the first white child worthy of a page in history, for such events were the 
same then as today, of every-day occurrence. The occupation of the lands within 
its borders was very rapid, for as early as 1S54 no unoccupied land was to be 
had. Settlers either entered it as school land or bought it outright at $1.25 
per acre. Prices advanced rapidly as improvements were made and values as 
high as $4.50 and $5.00 per acre were reached by 1854. In order to give the 
reader an insight into the methods used and the privations experienced by the 



peo[)le of an early day, it will he necessary to relate some personal experiences. 

This writer's father started from Northwestern Pennsylvania in Decemljer, 
1854, with team, lumlier wagon, and a i)oard for a seat, to come to what was 
then the far West to seek a home in which to spend his future days, lie was 
accompanied by a brother with similar con\e\ance, bent on a like mission. They 
were not seeking something they knew naught of. for others preceded them and 
delivered glowing accounts of the opjinrtunities offered in the newer fields. The 
trip was not worthy of s])ecial mention but no doubt grew monotonous to the 
participants in the short winter days. The Mississippi ri\er was reached at 
last, however, and was found to be clear of ice. but as the weather turned cold 
that day a crossing was etYected the next morning by leading one horse across 
at a time and drawing the wagon b\- hand. The journey was continued on the 
day following, as far as Uecorah, a parly at McGregor wishing transportation 
to that place. The route traversed was via Moneek and Frank\ille, at tiiat 
lime two prosperous villages. 

CJn January 8, 1855, the drive from Decorah to what proved to be a home 
for over half a century, was made. The road taken ran out through Madison 
township, to where Calmar now stands, and so on down the Military ridge 
from which this township takes its name. 

At an early date land was selected and purchased of an earlier settler for 
^4.50 per acre and preparations were made for settlement in the sjiring follow- 
ing. The horses were sold and the return trij) was commenced on foot as far 
as Dubu(|ue. where transportation was taken back to Pennsylvania. He with 
his family and some of the necessaries of life remo\ed in April by rail as far 
as Galena, Illinois, thence by boat to McGregor and overland the rest of the 

Wealth was not sought by these ])eople. They were simply looking for a 
home in which they could secure a competence in their later years, and an 
opportimity for their offspring. Their surroundings were primitive, indeed. 
A log house twelve by thirteen feet, with no attic, was kitchen, dining room, 
bed room and ])antry com!)ined. A small lean-to and an attic were afterwards 
added and in these surroundings seven children, all robust and healthy, were 
reared until better accommodations could be afforded. Not alone the family, 
but visitors were entertained and strangers were often sheltered within its walls. 
And those were the days of hoop skirts, and who can imagine the neighborhood 
ladies gathered together for an afternoon visit witii good old-fashioned families 
added. T\w roof was protected by oaken shingles which shed water well 
enough, hut when ;i genuine blizzard raged nuich snow was sifted through the 
chinks and (jur nrrlim brdthers and sisters upmi arising in the morning would 
have to seek a place to ])lant their bare feet to miss the little snow banks scat- 
tered promiscuously upon the Hoor. 

The spinning wheel and loom were also in evidence, for no home was com- 
plete without the wherewithal to be self-su])i)orting. Long strings of oxen were 
hitched to large breaking i)lows and the natural sod was brttken, cro])s were i)ul 
in by hand and harvested with the cradle. The building of flour mills quickly 
followed the advent of the pioneer and a sustenance was achieved within the 
reach of all. The next thing was the market for the surplus. This was foniul 
at McGregor, a drive of forty miles, wiiich took three days. \\ Inic the m.-m of 


the house was gone on these necessary trips the wife and mother was governor- 
general and general roustabotit combined. 

In the spring of 1836 a small prairie fire started in the southern part of the 
township and extended nearly the whole length north and south, destroying 
fences and numerous buildings in its path. When we consider that fences were 
made from rails split from burr oak we can realize what loss they were to the 
farmer of those times. 

Following this we have the terrible winter of 1856 and 1857, a winter never 
to be forgotten by the pioneer. Snow fell to a depth of four feet, followed by 
rain which formed a crust on the snow, encasing everything in its grasp. It 
became impossible to get a horse or ox of? from the beaten path, and fire 
wood had to be procured by hand. This also marked the fall of the deer and 
elk. They became famished and were an easy prey to hunters on foot, the 
crust not being strong enough to sustain the deer's weight. The settlers here, 
as in nearly every other place, had their Indian scare. It was reported the 
Indians were coming slaughtering and burning all before them. Many people 
turned out their stock to shift for themselves, and loading their valuables and 
families into their wagons started for iMcGregor ; others, whether from more 
thoughtful disposition or more stubborn, refused to leave and prepared to stand 
a siege if such there came, but it proved only a rumor enlarged by nervous 
peo])le and everyone soon returned and resumed his place and pursuits. 

In times of adversity when prices were low, many times a man would be 
compelled to go home without a much-needed article on account of the expense 
of the trip. 


Of the town of Ossian "Sparks' History" gives the following facts : 
"The original town site of Ossian was laid out by its founder, John Ossian 
Porter, on the southeast corner of the section. It consisted of three blocks, in 
all fourteen lots. It was acknowledged by J. O. Porter and wife on the 13th 
of April, 1855, and was filed for record in the recorder's office of Winneshiek 
county on the 30th of April, the same year. Mr. Elijah Middlebrook did the 
surveying. Two years later, on the 8th of April, Capt. C. E. Brooks acknowl- 
edged the plat of the first addition to Ossian, which was accordingly placed on 
the proper record. It consisted of six blocks, containing sixty-three lots. On 
the 8th day of October, 1864, Capt. C. E. Brooks acknowledged the plat of his 
second addition to Ossian, which consisted of thirty blocks, divided into lots. 
This plat was properlv recorded. On the 4th day of May, 1869, he laid out ten 
additional blocks, and called it Brooks' Western Addition to Ossian. This, so 
far as the records show, was the last addition to the place, and, minus the vaca- 
tion of a few blocks by Mr. Brooks, is the Ossian of today. 

"The year 1865 marked a new era in the history of Ossian. That which was 
the death-blow of Frankville — the railroad — gave fresh life to Ossian. During 
this year the railroad was built past its door. The year before, C. E. Brooks 
made a fresh addition to the place, which was far-sighted, for town lots were in 
demand immediately. The following year the construction of numerous dwell- 
ings was commenced, and business interests of various kinds multiplied. 

Vol. 1—13 


"Ossian was nearly twenty-one years of age before a single church edifice 
had been erected. The Catholics erected a building for worship, which was 
the first, about the year 1869. About two years later the Methodists built a 

In this connection it may be added that some years ago the Catholic congre- 
gation erected a magnificent new church, and this, with their priest's home and 
the parochial school, constitutes one of the most substantial church ])ro])erties 
in the county. 

Ossian has not in late years experienced a remarkable growth, yet at all times 
it has maintained its place in the progress of events, and it harbors within its 
borders business men of enterprise and sagacity who are ever on the alert for 
the best interests of their community. It has two banks — the Ossian State 
Bank and the Citizens Bank of Ossian — with ample capital and resources. A 
good representative in the newspaper field in the Ossian Bee; and ere this book 
is issued its streets will be lighted by electricity, as at a recently-held election 
a large majority was recorded in favor of granting a franchise to Ballard Broth- 
ers, to erect and operate a plant. 

T. F. Schmitz, editor of the Bee, is serving his .second term as mayor. 
The other city ofificials are : Councilmen — E. H. Anderson, O. L. Gunderson, 
S. C. Oxley, L. Bernatz, J. M. Cahill ; town clerk, Charles Green. 





Bluffton, appropriately so named, embraces in its meaning the most prom- 
inent natural features, which undoubtedly inspired its application, says John 
F. Murtha, in a sketch in "Anderson & Goodwin's Atlas." It occupies the sixth 
place, being in the third tier from the east and the second from the north, 
among the sister townships in the county, and fourth in the third supervisor's 
district. The village of the same name is centrally located, from east to west, 
and one mile north of the center, on the north bank of the Upper Iowa river. 
In it there is one general store and postoffice, a refreshment or club room, 
blacksmith shop, hotel, schoolhouse and church. The village's most prosperous 
times were her earliest, continuing on through the wheat-growing period which 
ended with the blight or wheat failures of 1876 and 1878. Since that time it 
has been going the way of nearly all the smaller towns the country over, and in 
these recent years the institution of rural delivery of mail is the second serious 
blow to its prosperity. 

The passing of the mill recently sold, now razed to the ground, marks the 
end of its usefulness. The founders were the Morse brothers. Henry built 
the sawmill in 1852; the following year they built the small, or baby, grist mill, 
around which Lyman D. built the large one in 1856, thus keeping pace with the 
rapidly increasing patronage and requirements of the new settlers far and wide. 
Even then, in the busiest season, patrons had to wait from two to four weeks 
for their turn at grinding. * * * * Settlers as far west as Albert Lea, 
I\Iinnesota, used to come with ox teams to get milling done. The old mill had 
a good many ups and downs, Mr. Morse remaining owner until around the 
seventies, when he sold to Blackmarr & Meader. 

In general, the land is owned by those who live here and whose well tilled 
fields — iron and steel bound — fine houses and barns, and herds of cattle, horses, 
sheep and swine ; last but not least the numerous large and happy families born 
and reared here, in conjunction with natural advantages of native forest, good 
water and fertile soil, give evidence of what our fathers, the pioneers, have 

The physical features of the township are strongly marked by the course of 
the Upper Iowa river. This enters just a half mile south from the northwest 



corner. It almost laps upon itself in three great loops, the second of which 
enters Burr Oak, returning, resumes its flow, while making about ten miles 
in every direction of the compass, has only made two miles headway, continu- 
ing in a southeasterly direction jiasses into Canoe, making aliout twenty miles 
of river in this township. 

Bluffton, as a whole, is generallx' hroken and rolling; the rougher i)arts 
being covered with native forest, insuring abundance of timber. It is fairly 
well adapted to general farming and slock raising and the same is now carried 
on in a full measure. 

The population is a composite of Irish, Norwegian, German and b'nglish. 
They are rugged, honest, industrious, economical and prosperous. 

The opportunities for the youth to obtain a common school education are 
as good as in any rival community. Three of her young men have gone into 
the Catholic ministry — Michael I'oley, Peter Gallagher and John Courtney. 

The first wave of immigration, setting in with George Smith, Lyman Morse, 
G. R. Emery, Chas. McLaughlin, Alichael Gilice, Barney Sutton and Terrence 
McConnell, in 1851, is considered to have existed up to the commencement of 
the Civil war. A great many of these came from Northern Illinois with covered 
wagons drawn by ox teams, and bringing a few head of cattle and other belong- 
ings necessary to begin life in the new country. 

The civil tf)\vnshii) was organized in 1S56 and on .April 7th of that year, 
the first election was held at the house of LMuan L). Morse in the \illage. choos- 
ing the following officers: justices, Abner Stevenson and Alfred Jones. Con- 
stable, L. H. Brink. Trustees. Franklin Fletcher and M. M. Ferguson. Road 
Supervisor, Win. II. .Mcintosh. .Assessor, Edwin Snell. Clerk. Joseph F. 
Nickerson. The numeration then taken shows a population of 196. 

The greatest e\cnt. tlic one by which we feel the most honored, was the 
patriotic response of our boys forty-five years ago, to their country's call. The 
enrollment for service was John Gallagher and _son, John Thomas. Asberry 
Lanty, Warrick Brisco. Lewis Richmond, Dan \\'ash, Lut Barrett. Wm. Mur- 
dock, Dan and Ben Lewis, Moritz Lange. I'atrick Nolan and son Denis, Owen 
Smith, Abner Stexcnson. John Jones. Jonathan Reynolds, F^rank Foley, Joseph 
F. Nickerson. Rube and I'rank Palmer, Simon Gates, Al. Perry, Harrison Stock- 
dale, Albert Richmond. Will Powers and llezekiah Brisco. 

That the first settlers i)rought with them their religion and were soon fol- 
lowed by ministers and jjriests is a well-known traditional fact, for before any 
churches were erected divine services were held in many of the log houses in 
the settlement. In 1858 the little log church was built on Mr. Nolan's land. 
It was considered large enough to accommodate the attendance, but in a few 
years a frame addition in front, making it as large again, was required by the 
growing congregation. This sufficed uiilil 1877 when the present fine brick 
edifice was built on a new site. The parish has always been attached to Decorah. 
It also, in an early day, included Plymouth Rock, and as far West as Granger, 
making an extensive field for the early pastors, who could not make the regidar 
attendance of these days. Of Revs. Father Hoar, Kinsley and DeCailey little 
is known. Father Farrell being frail and in poor health did not remain long. 
Father Lowrey ministered ciuitc a few years, and went away universally re- 
gretted by his people and all who knew him. Then came h'atiur i.cnilian. who 


in late years became bishop of Cheyenne. Fathers Butler, McNulty, Garrahan 
and the present Father Hawe followed in succession. Religion in the village 
seems to have had a varied existence from the beginning. Although other 
points not far off had been frequently visited by ministers of the M. E. church 
much earlier, this place was not put on the list of speaking points until 1855. 
A Congregational society was organized by Rev. Chas. Wiley of Burr Oak in 
1878. The Adventists started a society with Rev. John Ridley of Burr Oak 
as pastor in 1881. 1884 brought in the Friends society with Rev. Ezra Pierson 
pastor. To their efforts is due the erection of the fine frame church, dedicated 
at the close of the year 1889. The Baptists made an organization, an out- 
growth of revivals by Rev. James of Decorah in 1895. All of the foregoing 
church circles have gone out of existence by removal of adherents or remote 
residence ; even the I-'riends society has only a nominal existence, but the church 
is open to the service of other denominations or those not belonging who aided 
its erection. 


Canoe township adjoins Bluffton on the east and is immediately north of 
Decorah. J. C. Fredenburgh describes the township as follows : 

The west half of Canoe township is very fine farming land. The northwest 
quarter, known as Franklin Prairie, is gently rolling, and is productive of all 
kinds of crops. The southwest quarter is more hilly and quite bluffy along what 
is known as the Upper Iowa river. The uplands on the hills are a clay soil, 
while the bottom lands are sandy. There is an abundance of timber on the 
bluffs along the streams. Canoe creek which flows from near the northwest 
corner of the township in a southeasterly direction, heads about three miles north 
of the north line of Canoe, in Hesper township. 

Continuing his sketch, which appeared in the "Winneshiek County Atlas," pub- 
lished in 1905, Mr. Fredenburgh gives some interesting reminiscences. We 
quote a portion of them. 

"In the year 1850 when David Kinnison and John Fredenburgh came west 
to seek their fortunes, they came to northwest Canoe township. They found 
Canoe creek with its clear sparkling waters and fish in abundance. I have 
heard them tell about wading through the water and the fish would part ahead 
of them and close in behind them, they were so thick. In those days there were 
springs of pure water on nearly every farm and as many as three or four on 
some of them. 

"With the exception of along the streams, timber was scattering, with open- 
ings here and there. They called them white oak openings. In these openings 
the blue grass grew to the height of many feet. There were a few Indians here, 
but they were friendly. They would steal a little sometimes, but that was all the 
harm they did. There were some deer, bear, quail, pheasant and prairie chicken. 
When these early settlers wanted lumber and provisions, they had to haul it 
from Prairie du Chien, their one conveyance being ox teams. It usually took 
about a week to make the trip. As the county grew older they went to Mc- 
Gregor and Lansing and later to Conover and Decorah. 



"The first wheat I can rememljer my father marketing was hauled to Con- 
over, and the first train of cars 1 ever saw was at that jjUice. 

"Canoe has never had a town of her name to boast of. She has had some 
country postoffices and two taverns. One, kept by a man by the name of Har- 
mon and later by a Mr. Leach — The Leach Tavern. The frame is still doing serv- 
ice, as it has been re-sided and a new roof ])ut on. It is owned and occupied by 
W. C. McLain.* It was known by the name of the 1 lalf-way 1 louse, being about 
half way between Burr Oak and Decorah. 

"In the early '60s we sowed our grain by hand, dragged it in with an .\- 
shaped harrow, planted our corn with a hoe. and cultivated it with one horse and 
a two-shovel plow ; planted our [lotatoes and dug them with a hoe. We cut hay 
with a scythe, spread it out with forks, let it dry and then raked it uj) with a 
hand-rake, and stacked it by hand. Our grain was cut with a cradle, raked and 
bound by hand and treaded out with horses and flail. I remember when a boy 
of dropping corn by hand for 25 cents per day, from half past six or seven in 
the morning until sundown at night. 

"The first reaper I ever saw was about 1807. It took two men and a team 
to run it. One man drove the horses and the other, with a fork, raked the 
grain off in gavels. Two or three years later came the self-rake, next the har- 
vester. Two men stood on the platform and bound the grain. The next labor- 
saving improvement in this line was the self-binder, which has been improved 
upon and is still in use at the present time. In looking back over years that have 
come and gone since I first saw Canoe township, we are led to exclaim, "what 
a change!' Thus we acknowledge that we have a blessed heritage and should 
be thankful and happy." 

Lars L. Iverson was the first white cliikl born in Canoe township and still 
resides on the farm where he first saw the light of day on December 7, 1852. 
He tells the following circumstance concerning the tirst mill stones used in that 
township, his father, Lars Iverson, Sr., being the man who made them : 

When Lars Iverson came to Winneshiek count \- in 1852 the mills were few 
and far between. When grists were brought to the mill they would be there so 
long before being ground that the mice and rats would cut the sacks and waste 
the grain and the grist would diminish, so that the farmers would look around 
for something that would remedy this inconvenience and loss. 

Mr. Iverson had thought of this difficulty when he left Norway and as hand 
mills were in use there, more or less, and being familiar with their construc- 
tion, he brought with him the irons for such a mill. The stone which he used 
was selected from rock found on his farm in Canoe township. With hammer and 
chisel they were trimmed into proper form. The mill was turned by hand by 
two men, and would grind corn fine enough so one could ha\c corn meal mush. 
This was considered good enough in those days. 

The mill was not only used by Mr. Iverson, but after a while the neighbors 
would come three or four miles to get their corn ground. 

These mill stones measure two feet three inches in diameter, the lower one 
weighs 160 pounds and the upper one 250 pounds. They are kept as a relic of 
pioneer days on L. L. Iverson's farm, on section 2, Canoe township. 

* Mr. McLnin lias since passed away, niiii Du- finin I.* now coiidiiotod l>y one of }ii.s sons. 




Not a Hint of It on the Latest County Map of Canoe Township 
B\< Edijar Odsoii 

During' this Home Coming time and backward gl,ance at auld lang syne in 
Winneshiek, a few glimpses of pioneer days and the people of Springfwater may 
be of interest to some readers liefore memory of the beginnings of that settle- 
ment become quite extinct. In the intellectual realm, in educational matters in 
those days when the s])clling school was a test of superiority, Springwater was a 
community to be reckoned with. 

Its beginning was a saw and grist mill erected about 1850. This mill soon 
after passed into the possession of Ansel Rogers, a preacher and leader in the 
colony of Quakers that gathered about it in the early '50s. A number of families 
of Friends were attracted to the site by a description written by a member of 
that denomination while on a prospecting tour beyond the Mississippi and pub- 
lished in a Friends paper in the East. Delighted by the picturesque beauty of 
the locality the writer created the impression that here might be founded an- 
other Eden. 

People in the older communities, especially in New England, were begin- 
ning to move uneasily in their cramped home conditions and to turn their eyes 
to the West. Beyond the Mississippi was then sufficiently distant to lend en- 
chantment to the view and to seem what it proved to be. 

Quakers in the older settlements reading about this spot which later became 
Springwater, with its glorious climate, its wooded hills swarming with deer — 
its magnificent springs — its crystal brook (the Canoe) — full of rainbow trout 
— decided that this was the spot they long had sought, and left their old homes 
to locate on it. They came in considerable numbers, without concerted action, 
from widely separated localities. The following names of members of the col- 
ony will be remembered by some of the older settlers in Winneshiek county : 
Ansel Rogers, Moses Gove, Lorenzo Blackmarr, Nathan Chase, Sanuiel King, 
Joseph Mott, Aaron Street, Ezra King, Amos and Flenry Earle, Henry Chappell, 
the Gripmans, John Tavernier, David West, John Odson, etc. These were men 
with families more or less numerous and all but two were Quakers. 

Younger, unattached members of the community were A. A. Benedict, Charles 
Gordon, Joseph Brownell, Nathan Rogers, Lindley, Josiah and John Chase, Lucre- 
tia Bean, Mary Gove, Rachel and Abbie Mott, Zilpah Gordon, Rhoda and Eunice 
Gripman, Lydia Grisell, Mary and Carrie Chase. Several of these young people 
did not long remain unattached. Somewhat later the colony was increased by 
the arrival of Harvey and Lovinia Benedict and their children Aiden and Eva; 
Washington Epley, with a family and two nephews, George and John Epley ; 
Isaac Gidley and family ; Joseph Cook and family. 

Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, 
Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, Michigan, England and Norway were represented among 
these early settlers. 


Plain living (enforced) and high thinking was the order of the day in the 
settlement. The years immediately i)receding had been a time of political unrest 
in the Old World and of intellectual ferment in the New, finding outlet in rebel- 
lions, Eourierism and transcendentalism. Springwater did not escape the conta- 
gion, and so the younger set at once organized a literary society which met at 
stated intervals to read j)apers and discuss weighty matters. The society also 
published a paper — in longhand — which probably was the first publication issued 
in the county, The Atheneum Banner. At any rate it antedated the Decorah 
Republican published by the present owners by several years. The writer never 
had the good fortune to see a copy of this journal aii<l it is doubtful if one is now 
in existence. 


For a number of years this served as a house of worship and as a schoolhouse. 
In this building Joseph Brownell — one of the first if not the first young man to 
be married within its walls — taught several terms of private school, public schools 
not having yet come into existence. In the barn-like structure the Friends met 
every Sunday (First Day) for religious worship, which consisted chiefly of silence 
and meditation — of the right sort. The "elders" occupied the high places dur- 
ing the meeting — that is, the two or three benches elevated some feet above the 
floor of the main body of the church and facing the audience. These dignitaries 
sat with hats on or ofl^, according to individual caprice. Sometimes hats were 
worn during the first half hour and then laid aside. The leader sat at the head 
on the rear bench — the benches were elevated one above the other in tiers — 
and when it was time to close the service he turned toward his neighbor and 
gravely shook his hand. This was the signal that meeting was over, eyes bright- 
ened, smiles appeared — especially among the younger members — a hum of voices 
replaced the silence and everybody became ordinary humans once more. 

Rut these meetings were not always ])assed in silence. Memliers had the 
privilege of exhorting sinners and others whenever the spirit moved and as the 
years passed the spirit seemed to move more and more frequently. There was. 
of course, no ordained minister. Midweek services were held, generally on 
Wednesdays, and school was dismissed at 1 1 A. M. ; pupils were expected to attend, 
but attendance was not compulsory. 

The sexes sat sc])arate(l on opposite sides of the main room, which cduld !)e 
(li\idi'il into two distinct conii)artnients by a movable upper partition wliich was 
lowered onto a stationarv lower iiartition fixed to the floor. The latter was about 
four feet high. During religious meetings the upper section was raised — by means 
of ropes and piillc\s — so the whole congregation was in \icw. Hut when 
"monthly meetings" were held — meetings for the transaction of church business 
and for disciplining members who had been naughty — the sexes were rigidly 
separated b\- the p.irtition and they could communicate with each other only by 
messenger. .\t times members were haided over the coals for shortcomings, but 
not often. It was a ])rettv good conmumity — and died young. The meeting house 
was hot in summer and cold in winter. During the latter season the feminine por- 
tion of the congregation often brought heated Ijricks to keep their feet warm and 
their minds in a proper state of meditation. 


The Springwater school in those days must have been the most advanced of 
any in the county, and in the spelUng contests it always gave a good account of 
itself. Independent of the regular school, a peculiar geography class flourished, 
conducted by Charles Gordon at so much per head for the term. A set of large 
wall maps was used containing all the geographical knowledge then extant and the 
pupils met on certain evenings in the week to chant in unison the lesson under 
consideration. The members of the class were mostly young men and women. 
It was a pretty good method of fixing geographical locations in the mind, and in- 
teresting because the world was new and the pupils were interested in each other. 
Some of the elders looked askance at this class on account of the singing — not 
by any means too hilarious — because they regarded music in any form as a snare 
devised by the adversary of man to entangle human souls. , They thought it 
essential to salvation that all the aspects of life should be drab colored. 

This view, however, was held by a minority of the congregation only, and 
was more or less a bone of contention. A school entertainment in the winter of 
1857-8, perhaps, produced a rift within the lute, which, while it did not widen 
sufficiently to produce discord that could be discerned by outsiders, it still im- 
paired the harmony of the life there more or less. One of the features of this 
disrupting entertainment was music from an accordian or concertina, or what- 
ever the instrument was, and Miss Mary Gove was the performer. In the midst 
of one of her selections, one of the elders, sitting on the other side of the lower 
partition — the two rooms had been thrown into one — placed his hands upon it 
and vaulted over with the agility of a boy who has been robbing an orchard, and 
rushing up to Miss Gove, seized her hands exclaiming, "Does thee know that this 
is the house of God ?" The entertainment ceased then and there and that elder 
did not enhance his popularity in the community by his zeal. He was one of 
the first to move away. David West, who was not a Quaker, in relating the in- 
cident, said : "\yhy, when the old man vaulted over the fence, his coat tails snap- 
ping in the breeze, I thought it was a part of the performance, d d if I didn't !" 

An interesting Sunday school was maintained for a number of years in which 
everybody, young and old, showed much interest and nearly every member of 
the community became an expert in bible knowledge. In connection with this 
school a circulating library was maintained by individual contributions. This 
literature, as a matter of course, was highly flavored with Quakerism, but books 
were scarce and it served. The autobiography of John Woolman was one of the 

An intellectual-devotional diversion was a "reading circle" held on Sunday 
afternoon in summer and in the evening during winter. At these gatherings 
members took turns in reading aloud recent books of an instructive nature, biogra- 
phies, travels, etc., alternating with purely religious matter. 

At a somewhat later period a peripatetic writing master drifted into Spring- 
water and taught some terms of writing school. He was a good penman but a 
bad citizen and subsequently married and deserted one of Decorah's fair daugh- 

The sentiment in regard to music eventually changed to such an extent that a 
singing school was allowed in the schoolhouse, conducted by James W. Mott, who 
had previously qualified by taking singing lessons in Decorah. A musical wave 
rolled over the community and in almost everv home some instrument was under- 


going torture at the liands of would-be musicians. But there were children who 
were coni])elled Id lake to the woods to practice, out of sight and hearing of their 
dissenting jjarents. 

The New \'ork Tribune was about the only secular paper read in Springwater. 
It was ever3'bod\''s friend, philosopher and guide in worldly matters, and Horace 
(ireelev was a prophet in that locality. The abolition sentiment was strong and 
during the T.incoln-1 Douglas campaign e\'eryone became a republican except 
David West, who was a democrat, and did not care who knew it. 

The dress usually worn was the conventional Ouaker drab — drab gown and 
bonnet for the women, severely plain habiliments with broad brimmed black hat 
for the men. The only color allowed the Ouaker maidens was that which glowed 
in their cheeks, and bright eyes were their only ornaments — but these sufticed. 
At the time of the bloomer outbreak that costume was occasionally seen on the 
Springwater hills, but not for long. 

One of the very first pioneers of the place — forgotten in the enumeration 
above — was a character known by the sobriquet of "Greasy Ole." He was a 
Ijachelor who lived Ijy himself in a (1x4 shanty and wore a pair of leather breeches 
which were never changed or washed. He came to the locality so early that 
he slipt a bear on what later became the Odson farm. One story about liim 
was that being invited to dinner by one of his Quaker neighbors at one time, he 
showed that he was not devoid of table manners by wiping his knife on his 
breeches before inserting it into the coiumunal butter. 

The first white child born in Springwater was the present su])erintendent of 
the well known Minnesota school for feeble minded at Faribault, Dr. A. C. 

The first death was that of Eunice Gripman, a fine young woman of eighteen 
or twenty. Her grave was the first in the Springwater burial ground. 

The first postoffice was called .\(|uila (irove, Nathan (.'base, postmaster. 

The first member of the old guard to desert the ranks was .\nsel Rogers, who 
sought other and better pastures. 

No one accunuil.ited a swollen fortune there. No member of the colony dis- 
graced himself l\v becoming a malefactor of great wealth. The best wheat in the 
United States was raised on those hills, l)ut it was a slow and strenuous ])rocess 
to grub out the stunted oak sliruljs and prejiare the soil for the plow, and there 
was no home market for the grain. It had to be hauled to the Mississippi at Mc- 
Gregor or Lansing, and when the draft animals were oxen it required three or 
four days to make the trip. 

So most of the settlers became tired of the hard work and the meager results 
and by the end of the first decade the comnumity was ra])i<!ly disintegrating. 
Death claimed some but most were lured away by the greater ojijiortunities else- 

(3nly two of the oldest group lived there to the end of their d;i\s. John r)dsor. 
and Joseph Mott. and onlv one still survives, Mrs. John Odson. who now li\es in 

Of the younger group next in age, Charles Gordon became an inventor and 
made a fortune in New "S'ork and Brooklyn; A. A. Benedict liecame a rolling 
stone who gathered considerable moss : Lindley, Josiah and John Chase are 
somewhere in the West and doing well; Miss Eucrctia r>ean married one Thomas 


Truman and lived and died in West Decorah ; Nathan Rogers went to the Pacific 
coast. The whereabouts of others is to the writer unknown. 

Those who were the children in the settlement are now gray-haired men and 
women, the radiant light of the world's morning long since faded from their 
faces. Some departed never to grow old. James Mott went west but returned 
and died in his prime. His widow is the well known Decorah business woman. 
Milton Gove, one of the champion spellers of Springwater in the days of spelling 
schools, lives in Decorah. Aiden Benedict became a theatrical manager and lived 
in New York during the last years of his life and died there ; his sister, Mrs. 
Rathl)(ine. is at riioenix, Arizona, j. I. Tavernier is the West Decorah miller. 
Bailey Street is a citizen of Hesper. Lucy Mott, Maria Chase and Janie Chap- 
pell died when on the threshold of promising womanhood. 

Mrs. Annis Mott Ellingson is the only descendant of the original settlers who 
now lives in Springwater. 

Such are a few glimpses of a brief pliase in the history of one settlement in 
old Winneshiek. 

" 'Tis all a checker-board of nights and days. 
Where Destiny with man for pieces plays : 
Hither and thither moves, and checks and slays. 
And one bv one back in the closet lavs." 


Of several sketches of Glenwood township, none are better than that pre- 
[lared in 1905 by O. P. Rocksvold, one of the pioneers of the township. It was 
printed in the "Atlas of Winneshiek County," published that year by Anderson & 
Goodwin. Mr. Rocksvold says, in part : 

"Gjermund Johnson was the first Norwegian settler in township q8 north, 
range 7 west, which was the way the township was known. 

"He located in the southwest quarter of section 31, and built the first dwell- 
ing house in the township. Nels Throndson and Andrew Gulbrandson Haugen 
came later the same year, and settled on section 32. These were the only set- 
tlers in the southwest part of the township. In 1S51 Knut Evenson and others 
settled in the same neighlmrhood. In the southeastern corner of the township, 
Hans O. Eggebraaten and family, Hans Blegen and wife, Ole and Hans Pat- 
terson, their three sisters and their old father were the first Norwegian settlers 
in the east part of the township. 

"Claims were made by Philander Baker, L. Carmichael, John Brant, Jack 
Brant, George Coney, John Bush, Wm. and John Barthell and others, but they 
soon sold their claims to Norwegian settlers and disappeared. Samuel Drake 
came in 1850 to the northwest part of the township, and settled on section 7; 
his father and brother Nathan came in 1851. Other families settled in the 
neighborhood but moved away in a short time. In 185 1 Timothy Fuller, Rus- 
sell and Benjamin (ioodwater, Wm. Smith and Levi Barnhouse settled in the 
township, but Russell soon sold out, the others remaining for a number of vears. 

"In 1852 the Norwegian emigrants began to come direct from Norway, and 
continued to come until the outbreak of the war, which checked the emigration 
for some time. A few years later they began to come in large numbers, so that 
soon every acre of available land in the township was taken up. 

"William Smith Iniilt a sawmill on Trout river in 1853 3nd sup])lied the 
first settlers with lumljcr ; before that time they had to split logs for the floors, 
doors and other purjjoses. Glenwood was well supplied with wood and water, 
the two main objects for which the settlers were looking. Iowa river running 
along the north border of the townshij). Trout river from the south through 



its center, Coon creek from the southeast, all emptied into the Iowa ri\er at 
the north part of the township on section J. 

"All of these streams were well stocked with tish, the two last mentioned 
with speckled trout. Even in the Iowa river a good many trout were caught. 
Wild game was plentiful, red deer could he seen every day, and I often saw 
them grazing among the cattle in the summer. Game birds were also numerous, 
such as prairie chicken, i)artridges, (juail and wild pigeons. The latter were 
ofteii so numerous in the spring of the year that a flock would almost shade 
the sun. In 1866 a flock came along and picked up the seed on a ten-acre field 
that had been sown by hand by the writer of this sketch, so it had to be sown 
over again. 

"Glenwood contained very little ])rairie land: the most of it was timber 
with some open patches here and there, consequently was hard to clear for 
farm purposes. The soil is of the best kind — black loam, underlaid with clay. 
After fifty years of cultivation it proiluces the liest of crops. The timber varie- 
ties are burr oak, white oak, black oak. black walnut, butternut, elm. poplar. 
and many other varieties. 

"I find from the census of 1880 lliat ( ilcnwood had a population of i.iyo. 
That year the W'aukon and Decorah railroad branch was graded, so many of 
the professional railroad hands were enumerated as citizens of Cjlenwood, where 
they did belong at the lime being. In i8(jo the population was 1 .034 and in 
1900 just about the same.* Ilundreds of good citizens have emigrated to .Min- 
nesota and the Dakotas, where land was cheap. 

"At the outjjreak of the Civil war, Glenwood was not slow to send her sons 
to the front. Four companies of infantry and one of cavalry were organized in 
the county, going into the regiments as follows: First company in the Third, 
second in the Ninth, and the third into the Twelfth, the fourth into the Thirty- 
eighth and the fifth into the Sixth Cavalry. All of these companies were more or 
less soldiers from Glenwood township. A few soldiers also went into the Fif- 
teenth Wi.sconsin as a Scandinavian regiment. It was soon found that all of 
these boys were of the right kind of material of which to make good soldiers. 

"A certain familv. Thrond .Steen and wife of (ilenwood, sent six sons to 
the front, one to the h'irsi Minnesota, three in the Twelfth Iowa, one in the 
Thirty-eighth Iowa, and one in the F'ifteenth Wisconsin, and the seventh and 
oldest brother was drafted in 1864. init when it became known that he had six 
brothers in the army before, they let him go home to take care of his old ])arents. 
Glenwood has more than furnished its quota of soldiers, but Decorah got the 
credit of a good many of them, as they did not think of demanding their 
enlistment as a credit to Glenwood township, so in 1864 when a draft was 
ordered, four men were drafted in the township. 

"There arc three Norwegian Lutheran churches in the township, 'ihe first 
was built in 1857 and remained until 1870, when the congregation had outgrown 
it, then a large stone church was built that year b\ the side of the old one at 
a cost of $13,000. A few years later a part of the congregation seceded and 
built a church for themselves in i88(). Two years later others joined them, 
so thev ren)()\ed it to a better location and remodeled it at a cost of $3,000. 

* Population in 1910, 871. 


Another church was built in the southwest part of the township about the same 
style and cost as the one above mentioned. 

"There have been two flour mills erected in Glenwood township. One was 
built in 1868, known as the stone mill on the Trout river, and had adequate 
water power for a number of years. Another was built in 1872 by B. B. 
Sander on the same stream further down, but after a few years the water 
gave out, so the machinery was sold as scrap iron and the building was con- 
verted into a creamery. The stone mill mentioned above was run for several 
years by steam, but finally was closed, as it did not pay expenses." 


Nels Larson, a pioneer of Highland township, is the author of this sketch. 

Before Highland township was organized it was at first a part of Pleasant 
township and the west part of the township was commonly called "Pleasant 
prairie." In 1852 or 1853 (according to recollections) the first settlers began 
to come in and locate in the south part of the township. The first settlers were 
the Stoens, Brunsvold, Arnesons and Mikkel Solberg; and in the north and 
east part were located Peter Uldvikson, Paul Dagfinson, Bersie, Kjomme, 
Kroshus, Mikkel Walhus and some others. In the west part were Wennes, 
Halland, Luros, Svenung Bergan and Ole Johnson Svartebratten. The two 
latter soon sold out to Elihu Talbert and Thomas Painter. Shortly after that 
time the township was organized. It borders on the state line of Minnesota 
and contained only a little over thirty sections of land. 

In those early days there was no mill nearer than Decorah and Freeport, 
about twenty miles distant. With ox teams it took one day to go and another 
to come back, besides waiting from one to three days at the mill to get the 
grist. Some time later a mill was built on the Canoe river, known as Spring- 
water, about ten miles ofif; and still later a mill was built inside the township 
at what is now known as Highlandville. This mill was discontinued because 
the water power failed. The mill was owned by one Peter Olson, who died a 
short time ago. From the beginning and up in i860, nearly all parts of the 
township were more or less settled. In the' winter of 1857 there was a big snow 
on the ground from two to three feet deep. A rain on the top of that and cold 
weather made an ice crust about one inch thick, so that no teams could move 
without first crushing down the ice. Some people had their hay stacked out 
on the prairie where it was mowed, and the writer of these lines has seen men 
on snow shoes with a hand sled drawing their hay home, a distance of about 
two miles, on the top of that ice. Such were the pioneer days for the first 

The first school in the township was taught by Addison Hoag in a private 
house belonging to N. N. Kjomme, but soon after a log schoolhouse was built 
on the four corners near the center of the township. The first teacher in that 



schoolhousc was Samuel Aikins, a well known resident in mi over the line in 
Minnesota. Another schoolhouse was shortly after built in the west part of 
the township, on section 7, by private subscriptions, and that schoolhouse was 
afterwards mo\ed one mile south. 

At the present time the township is well provided with schools, having six 
on a territory of twenty-six and one-half sections of land. A small part of the 
township belongs to Pleasant township for school matters. 

During the W'ar of the Rebellion the township furnished several soldiers as 
volunteers and some substitutes who were paid a liberal bounty by the residents 
to save the township from drafting. 

There is no record old enough to show who were the first township officers 
but among some of the oldest officers were K. Tobiason, John Anderson Kros- 
hus, Xels N. Kjomme, Aad Xordheim, F. M. (nmning, Amnum Arneson and 
some others. 

There is only one town inside the township, the platted village of Ilighland- 
ville. It has a population of a little over one hundred. It is a town without 
any railroad, and yet it is doing a lively business as a country town. Besides 
a postoffice there are three general stores, one blacksmith shop, one creamery, 
one doctor, two or three establishments for the sale of farm machinery, besides 
mechanics, and last, but not least, a new modern schoolhouse, built lately at a 
cost of about twenty-five hundred dollars. The building looks well and is an 
improvement to the town. 

There is one Lutheran church inside the township and two creameries doing 
good business. The farmers of the township have made good progress and as 
a rule are well to do. Highland township had 808 residents in 1S90; 829 in 
lyoo, and 785 in 1910. 

Methodist Kpisoopal C'liiircli 
Catliolic (^Imicli 

First Norwcg'ian Lutlifinn Cliure'h 
I'liitcil I.ntlicran I'lnirch 
Coiiprepitioiml ( Inirrli 

\ i:i;iii I' III' i)i:((iK All (ill i;( IIK8 


Sparks' History gives an extended account of the settlement of Hesper 
township, but because its important features are given in more condensed form, 
and others Sparks did not record, we prefer to use a sketch prepared by the 
late E. jM. Carter. Mr. Carter says : 

"E. E. Meader, with his wife and four sons, were the first permanent set- 
tlers of Hesper township. They came from Southern Indiana in the fall of 
1S50 and spent the winter on the Volga, in Fayette county. In the spring of 
1851 they came to northern Winneshiek, and in the early days of April reached 
their destination. .]\Ir. Meader immediately began the erection of a log house, 
and although the section lines were not established, the house stood on almost 
tlie same spot as where now stands the commodious residence which was the 
home of Mr. and Mrs. Meader until his death February i_^, i8g6. Mrs. Meader, 
who is nearing her ninetieth year, still occupies the home as a summer residence. 

"When the official survey of the line between Iowa and Minnesota was made 
the chief engineers of the surveying party boardcil at the Meader home. Some- 
times chiefs of a different kind would call at the door and demand something 
to eat, but 'poor Lo' soon found that Mrs. Meader was a woman who would 
much sooner respond to an a]jpeal than to a demand. 

"During the summer of 185 1 a .^Ir. ^^'heeler built a log house on the slope 
in the north part of the present \illage, and near a big spring that was for many 
years the main water supply of the village. This was the first residence within 
the limits of the present village plat. Among others this humble cabin sheltered 
some of the 'first families' of Hesper but was finally abandoned, and torn down. 

"In the spring of 1853 David C. Tabor and family came from Vermont 
and were for a time occupants of the Wheeler cabin. Uncle David and Aunt 
Harriet now live in the beautiful home on the southeast corner of Main and 
Center streets. 

"Russell Tabor, an older brother of David Tabor, came from Vermont in 
the fall of 1855, built himself a house, and also built a combined saw and grist 
mill, the latter near tiie spring above mentioned. 

"In those days most of the freight from the East came down the Ohio 
and up the Mississippi, stopping at McGregor or at Lansing. In the fall of 



'855 David C. Tabor, with three young men as assistants and with a heavy wagon 
to which were attached four yoke of oxen, went to Lansing, about twenty-tive 
miles east, to get the l)oiler for the mill. They were on the road eight days, 
and during two days of the home trip they made but eight miles. They came 
\ia Decorah and Burr Oak, coming into Hesper from the west, as by that route 
Ihey could fort! the U])per Iowa and other streams and avoid some of the 
worst roads and sloughs. 

"Russell Tabor was the original projirietor of 'The \'illage of Hesper as 
platted by Ed. Pew," in 1857. The deeds gi\en by Mr. Tabor contained a 
clause forever prohibiting the manufacture or sale, as a beverage, of intoxi- 
cating lif|uor upon the premises conveyed. As Hesper has never harbored 
an open saloon, the validity of the deeds has never been tested in the courts. 

"In ihe early summer of 1856, L. N. W'ilson and family came from Jackson 
county, this state. Mr. Wilson immediately began the erection of a frame 
house on the southwest corner of Main and Center streets. Before the house 
was fairly enclosed they began entertaining the traveling public, and until old 
age compelled Mr. and Mrs. Wilson to retire from active service, the wayfaring 
man was sure of a warm welcome and a square meal. 

"Of the early settlers of Hesper and of 'the village," just across the line in 
Minnesota, including the Aliens, Batteys, Blackmarrs, Cooks, Aldriches, Bene- 
dicts. Streets, Pikes, Haines, Painters, McMullens, Worths, Mitchells, Morri- 
sons, Whaleys, Wickershams, Talljerts, Johnsons and others, the majnritv were 
members of the Society of Friends, most of whom did not believe in \ocal or 
instrumental music as part of their church service. 

"However, in 1869 or thereabout, a part of the celebrated Hutchinson family, 
temperance abolition singers, who 'came from the mountains of the old granite 
state,' visited their relations, the family of Tristram .Mien, a leading member 
of the church. On Sunday near the closing hour Randall Stuart fell ii borne 
in ujxjn him to remark to the effect that if any of the visiting friends had any- 
thing to offer in the way of 'psalms, hymns or s])iritual songs," he jircsumed 
their offering would be acceptable. The visiting Friends accepted the in\ita- 
tion and favored the congregation with several of their choice songs suited lo the 
occasion. Mattie tiidley of the Springwater meeting, and Zeno Battey, son 
of Amos Battey. who was for many years 'head' of the Hesper meeting, occa- 
sionally gave their testimony in song, but not until quite recent \ears has singing 
become a part of the regular service. 

"At the time of the Sioux uprising in 1863, several of the young men of 
Hesper organized under the command of Dr. Wm. C. Battey and went in 
search of the hosliles. They went beyond Austin, Minnesota, but encountered 
no Indians. Hesper and \ icinity furnished its full quota of those who did 
loyal service in the army during the dark days of '61 -'65. and the remains of 
twenty-two of the 'boys in blue' and of one enlisted nurse. Cynthia Cameron, 
are at rest in our cemeteries. 

"Tiie first meeting house in the township was built by one branch of the 
Friends church on the northwest corner of section 17, a mile west of the 
village. The other branch of the church met in Russell Tabor's house. A 
union of the two branches having been effected, the meeting iiouse was mo\ed 
into the village, and is now occupied as a dwelling by J. M. Camp. The Friends 


meeting house, which burned October 22, 1904, was built in 1871. At about 
the same time the Norwegian Lutherans and the Methodists built comfortable 
and commodious places of worship. 

"At an early day in its history Hesper township attracted many Scandi- 
navians within its borders, among them Helgrim Larsen, Ole B. Anderson, Burre 
Olson and others, their descendants now being among our prominent citizens. 

"Politically speaking Hesper has always been hopelessly republican, and 
has had assigned to it a fair share of the county officers. Among them William 
Johnson, George N. Holway and H. L. Coffeen, superintendents of schools; 
C. E. Header and E. R. Haines, treasurers ; and James L. Cameron, who was 
surveyor twenty-two years. H. B. Williams also represented the county in 
the state Legislature in the late sixties. 

"In the spring of 1868 the Philomathian Library Association was organized 
and at this date it has about five hundred books in its library. 

"During its nearly fifty years Hesper has had four postmasters. The first 
one. Dr. W. C. Battey, was succeeded in 187 1 by Dr. Fordyce Worth, who 
held the office twenty-five years, less two months, with a break of one year, 
during which time Lewis Harkness was the incumbent. Dr. Worth was suc- 
ceeded June 5, 1896, by Elling J. Void." 

The population of Hesper township was 849 in 1890; 882 in 1900, and 
823 in 1910. Hesper township stipports two general stores — Burre Burreson 
is the proprietor of one and E. J. \'old manages the other. Doctor Worth 
still conducts his drug store. R. J. White handles farm machinery; Robinson 
Reid is the village blacksmith ; Roy Dart runs a restaurant ; Dr. Gertrude G. 
Wellington, a former resident, has returned to practice medicine ; the meat 
market is run by B. Franklin, John McMillan conducts a sawmill and feed 
mill at his farm a half mile from the village. 

(By Geo. M. Anderson [Linnevold] in "Anderson & Goodwin's Atlas," 1905.) 

Frankville is the eastern township of next to the southern tier. Of the 
early settlers of this township, there is now living one who came to the county 
as a soldier in 1846, and was stationed at Fort Atkinson until his discharge. 
He settled in Frankville township in 1851 on section 31, where he has resided 
ever since. I refer to James Daniels.* His family consists of eight children — 
six boys and two girls — all born in this township, the oldest boy, George W., 
born Decemljer 5, 1851, was probaljly the first white child born in tiie town- 

The first house built in the township was built by Wm. Day near where the 
McKay schoolhouse now stands. This was before the land was surveyed, so 
when the surveyor ran their lines he found himself in a school section, so 
he then moved to Decorah. 

A. P. Rosa was one of the earliest comers into the township. He came to 
Iowa in 1847, ''"d farmed it in Clayton county for three seasons. In March, 
1830, he selected lands in section 31, hewed timber for a log house, which he 
built and moved into that year. He acquired a farm of t.ogo acres, which 
after his death was divided among his seven sons and one daughter. The 
first reapers and threshing machines were l)ought l)y him and used on this farm. 
At one time it was a notable sight to see his three reapers and a company of 
harvest hands following them in his wheat fields of over a section in one body. 

W'm. Birdsell came to the township in 185 1 and settled on the southwest 
quarter of section 28. He raised a family of nine boys. Four of the boys 
saw service in the War of the Rebellion. W^m. Beard located on section 14 
in July, 185 1, moved his family by team from LaPorte county, Indiana, in 
November, 1852, and spent the first winter in a cabin on section 23, in which 
Hammond, his third son, was born. In February of that year Beard rode on 
horseback, following an old Indian trail to Dubuque, to perfect his title to his 

* Since died. 



eighty-acre farm, hi May, 1S53. the family moved into their new house on 
section 14, which became the family homestead for the next fourteen years. 
In 1878 Mr. Heard rented his farm and moved to Decorah and in 1879 he and 
his son started the first creamery in tlie county, which in the next ten years 
helped the farmers to pay ofif more mortgages than all previous wheat crops 
had done for them by raising the grade of their home-made butter worth 5 
cents ])er pound to the best creamery worth 16 to 20 cents per j)i)und. He 
was of a practical turn of mind, he invented and put into effective use a corn 
plow, corn planter and a grain harvester. He was a model farmer, a stanch 
republican, a Christian and a model father. 

The first Norwegian to settle in the .southwest part of the township was 
Knudt Tollefson. He settled on section 30 in 1850 and lived there until 1854, 
when he sold out to Isaac .Allen. Knudt (iodmundson settled in the same 
neighborhood. He built a mill and ground corn for his neighbors free of toll : 
!)revious to the Godmundson mill, the people a great many times had to depend 
on the women for their grinding, which the\- did with what they named "'the 
.Armstrong mill,'" said mill consisting of a piece of tin punched full of holes 
and nailed to a board, on which thev grated the corn. 

J. B. Schenck settled on section 5 in 1S51. He raised a f:uiiily of six boys 
and one girl, all born in Frankville township. 

The north part of the township was mostly settled by Norwegians who 
came there in 1850, 1851 and 1852. Some settled across the township line in 
(llenwood. ATost of them came from Wisconsin. 

This township has one village, FTankville. It was founded by Frank Tea- 
bout in 1 85 1 -J. It is located in the southeast part of the townshij) on wliat is 
known as the state road. .As it is. I'rankville is a pleasant village which at 
one time figured conspicuously in tiie history of the county. 


This village once promised to be one of tlie good towns of the county, and 
had it been fortunate in securing a railroad it would have been the metropolis 
of the east side residents. One may judge of its activity from the sketch 
appended hereto, taken from .'^|iarks' History: 

"In 1851-2-3 the county was deluged with a healthy immigration. They 
were men noted for their integrity, perseverance, and a determination to suc- 
ceed. They came in their covered carts drawn l)y oxen, with the f;imilv sup- 
port iiitched on Ijcliind in the possession of a good milch cow. A great many 
of these men found their homes on Washington prairie. The earliest jiioneers 
were tiie llawkes, Moses Hostetter, J. Callendar, Christopher Anderson I'.strem. 
Wm. I'adden, the Rose family, Jacob Duff', Waller Ralhbun, and others. These 
came in 1850 or early in 1851. .Among tiie number who drifted into the county 
in the years 1851-2 were J. T. .'\tkins, the Beards and Cutlers, John and James 
I). McKay, Joel Pagin, Wm. Birdsell. Philii) Husted, Isaac Birdsell, Erick 
Olson Bakke, James IS. Schenck, and others too numerous to mention, 'j'iiis 
immigration had the effect to change the wild i)rairie of a year or two ])re- 
vious into the garden of Winneshiek county. The construction of houses was 
carried on until they dotted the prairie from every conceivable point of the 


compass. Deer were numerous, prairie chickens plenty, the small streams 
abounded with speckled trout, while larger fish were to be obtained from the 
Iowa river. With these, and what they were able to raise, it would seem 
these hardy pioneers fared sumptuously. 

"Along with the tide that rolled over the country in 1S31 was a man noted 
lor his wealth, energy and perseverance. Pie came to stay, bringing with him 
herd of cattle. Among others who preceded him was one Timothy Fuller, 
whose claim he purchased and settled on. This man is known all o\er the 
country as Frank Teabout, the founder of Frankville. 

'Tn 1852, Frankville was little more than a trading point, at which lived the 
onlv inhabitant and proprietor, Mr. Frank Teabout ; but about this time an 
event transpired which gave to it life and brighter prospects for the future. 
A commission had been appointed to locate the state road for the benefit of 
immigrants seeking homes in Northwestern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. 
Frankville secured the road. 

"The location of the road is the greatest event in the history of Frankville, 
for without it, in all likelihood, the place would never have been anything more 
than the residence of ]\Ir. Frank Teabout. As it is, Frankville is a pleasant 
village, and at one time figured conspicuously in the history of the county. 

"It was near night when the commission arrived at Mr. Teabout's residence, 
;ind they of course accepted his hospitality until the next morning. On the 
next day Mr. Teabout lead the commissioners to Decorah, they declaring their 
line of march to be the location of the new road. There were other parties 
besides Mr. Teabout who studied self-interest in the location of the state 
road. Among the numljer was John McKay. He secured the passage of this 
desired highway through his farm. Mr. McKay had the same ambition for a 
town that actuated his neighbor. His first work in that direction was the estab- 
lishment of a postoffice, which was effected on the discontinuance of the James- 
town office. He also secured the location of a store at this place. This town 
bore the name of Trout River, and at one time was a strong competitor of 
Frankville. The postoffice was continued at this place for nearly two years, 
whence it was moved to Frankville. It is claimed that this move was eft'ected 
through a compromise entered into Ijetween the respective founders of the two 

'Tmmediately on the location of the road, as if by magic, a town grew u|i 
about the nucleus that had previously been built, and was given the name of 
Frankville. Frankville very soon became the great center of attraction. Moneek 
became discouraged, and moved the greater part of its worldly eflfect up to 
the new town. 

"The Pathroi) House, an imjjressive three-story frame building, was built by 
Philip Lathrop in the year 1854. This hotel was well provided for, and did a 
good business. The building was destroyed by fire in the winter of 1857-8. 
Mr. Lathrop was absent at the time of the burning of his house, at Des Moines, 
lobbying through .a bill asking the location of the deaf and dumb asylum at 
Frankville, the people of that place pledging land and material in aid of its 
construction. Mr. Teabout replaced the building destroyed, by another, which 
long afforded hospitality to the traveler. 


"Much of the early success and prosperity of Frankville is justly accredited 
to its founder, Mr. Frank Tcabout. He possessed wealth, and lavished it on 
the various enterprises that benefited his town. In 1852 he built the Presby- 
terian church, and gave it to that denomination — the first house of worship 
built in the village. This church edifice was early occupied by Rev. D. W. 
Lyon, a preacher who divided his time between McGregor, Monona, Frankville 
and other points. 

"In 1854 Mr. Teabout built a sawmill at a cost of $1,500. This mill did a 
good business, its owner finding a ready sale for all the timber it could saw. 
The mill was sold to Mr. Cutler. No trace of it remains today. In 1856 ^Ir. 
Teabout built a large steam grist mill, of two run of stone, at a cost of $10,000. 
The mill, during the first few years of its existence, was a financial success. It 
was finally sold by the proprietors to Messrs. Beard and Cutler, who trans- 
ferred the machinery to the Springwatcr Mill, on the Canoe. Parties used to 
come from Southern Minnesota to get their grist ground at this mill. 

"The Methodist church was built in 1873. This denomination had held serv- 
ices previously in other buildings. To the Reverend Mr. Webb is said to belong 
the honor of being the first minister of this denomination to officiate in the 
place. Frankville continued to pros])er until the Milwaukee & St. Paul Rail- 
road cut it off; then came its decline." 

Frankville today is what it always has been, a ])leasant liitle village. Its 
residents are among the best people of the county, industrious and progressive. 
Some day a railroad may find its way across the ])rairic and, tarrving at its 
door, invite it to keep its promise of pioneer days. 

Frankville township is credited with 874 ])L'o])le in kjio. 


The best historical sketch of Lincohi township that is available at the present 
time, so far as it covers the early days, is found in Sparks' History. It consists 
of notes taken from the writings of S. Pike, a Ridgeway pioneer, and is as 
follows : 

"The first settlement was made in Lincoln township in the spring of 1852; 
Knud Alfson built a small house and broke up a few acres on section 27, while 
Lars Thompson commenced about the same time on section 34. In the fall of the 
same vear, Jacob Knudson and Kittle Sanderson established themselves on sec- 
tion 22. The next year Gunder Kittleson. Albert Kiltleson, Gullick Thompson, 
Tove Thompson and Thomas Thompson settled in the immediate neighborhood, 
while John Seleir, Michael Parrel, Charles Straun, John Holehan, Nels Olson, 
Charles Junck, H. W. Klemme, Andrew Michael, Philip Kratz and Wm. Black- 
burn came in during the two or three years following. The township of Lin- 
coln was formerly reckoned as an integral part of Decorah, an arrangement 
that did not last very long, as a reconstruction of the map was soon effected, by 
which the present township was apportioned to Sumner, and upon the authorized 
survey and platting of townships, was given its present name." 

Of Ridgeway, the trading center of the township, ^Ir. Pike made this 
record: "In 1866 Ridgeway existed only in name. About this time, the Chicago, 
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway having reached there, the railroad company 
built a house for their accommodation, and Mr. S. Pike soon after took charge of 
it. The building was 16x32 feet base, one and a half stories high, divided into 
several compartments, and ceiled throughout with good matched flooring. Mr. 
Pike with his wife moved into the house December 4, i86<5, a day ever to be 
remembered in their experiences of housekeeping. Though the ground had been 
frozen for some time previous, the heavy rains that had fallen the preceding 
week had thawed the earth again, and the different gangs who were grading the 
prospective grounds, and also a gang of track layers who were putting in a switch 
and laying a spur of track for present accommodation, had made the house a place 
of resort for shelter during the heaviest of the rains, and when they reached there 
about dark of that rainy December night, the prospect was dreary enough. Fred 


270 PAST AXl) l'Ri:Si:.\T ( ;1- W IXXKSHIEK COUNTY 

Gasliorn and James Kinney antedate .Mr. I 'ike's claim to the title, 'oldest inhab- 
itant,' by about two or three weeks. They did not live within the limits of the 
present village, however, Ijut were ab(_nit a hundred rods below. The winter was 
unusually severe and protracted, the last passage of the snow plow being on March 
28, 1876, and that after a three days' effort from McGregor." 

Alexander's History says: "No effort was made in the way of improve- 
ments until about a year after the road was completed to Cresco. In July, 
1S67, J. L. Flowers built a grain warehouse, and Gilchrist & Co. another soon 
afterward. A drug store by .\. M. Blakcman. and a general merchandise store 
v.ere built the same year, and a postot'ticc established. A small depot Ijuilding 
was also erected in 1867. The ne.xt year there were many other improvements, 
«nd business greatly increased." 

Continuing Mr. Pike's narrative, he says: 

"In the spring of 1874 (May 9), Ridgeway was swept by a fire that threat- 
ened to wipe out the entire village. The fire started in a small untenanted wooden 
structure. A continuous blast from the south swept across the square, tak- 
ing everything in the line of the wind. The weather had been very dry for 
some time previous, and the densely packed wooden row fronting the railroad 
was simply a line of tinder boxes through which the fire swept without let or 
hinderance, and one hour from the time llie alarm was given, four-fifths of the 
business interest of the town were in ashes. The fire originated with two little 
boys, four years old, lighting a cigar." 

The record shows that Ridgeway at that time contained eighty-nine buildings 
and thirty-four of them were burned. The loss was stated at $48,730, insurance 

The Independent School District of Ridgeway was organized in 1875. The 
town was incorporated in the early '90s and its limits extended in 1900. It is 
surrounded by a rich territory and enjoys a good trade. The Methodists some 
years ago built a very comfortable, cosy little church, which is also used for such 
entertainments as would be permitted in a church. .\11 lines of business are well 
represented by the following : 

General merchandise — Baker-Johnson Company, the leading store, Rollin G. 
Baker, G. R. Baker and S. G. Johnson, owners; Hopperstad & lirekke : L. H. G. 
Larson ; Mrs. E. A. Bakken & Co. 

Restaurants — E. H. Albertson ; 11. 11. l-jelstul. 

Hotel — S. C. Helms, proprietor. 

Barber shop — .\rthur Johnson. 

Telephone office — Arthur Johnson, operator. 

Meat market — Mr. Armstrong. 

Plumbing and heating — \V. James Paley. 

Drug store — Dr. G. W. Hoffman 

Winneshiek County Bank — S. i\. Kingeon, cashier. 

Hardware store — Henry Butz. 

Harness shop — Jno. Wonderly. 

Blacksmith shops— Otto Keeker; .Mfrcd Orum. 

Lumber yard — W. H. Klemme. 

Poultry house — L. T. Fosse. 

Creamery — L. T. Fosse — Lincoln Creamery Company. 


Livery barn — Chas. Beucher. 
Feed mill — R. A. Griswold. 
Garage — R. A. Griswold. 



At the June session of the county court in 1856 a petition was presented by a 
large number of the voters of town 100, north of range 10, praying for the estab- 
lishment of an electoral township to be known as Fremont township. The name 
is said to have been suggested by Elijah Middlebrook in honor of John C. Fremont, 
who was a presidential candidate at that time, says Ellison F. Chase in his sketch 
of Fremont township in the "Atlas of Winneshiek County" (1905). 

The court ordered that an election be held at the house of Richard Barnes in 
said township on the first Monday in August. 1856, for the purpose of electing 
three township trustees, one township clerk, two justices of the peace, and two 
constables, and also to vote for the county and state officers to be elected at that 
time. Thus was the township organized This election came off as ordered. 
Mr. Barnes' house in which this first election was held was a log cabin with one 
principal room fourteen feet square with an annex twelve feet square at the 
back, into which Mrs. Barnes and their three-months-old baby, E. M. Barnes, 
who is now the present owner of the old homestead, were hustled to make room 
for the voters, who numbered forty-nine. 

Joseph H. Eddy, Datus E. Shelmidine and J. P. Johnson were appointed 
judges of the election, and Joseph F. White and Richard Barnes, clerks. 

The following were elected to fill the township ofifices : DeWitt Brady, D. E. 
Shelmidine and J. P. Johnson for trustees ; W. F. Daskam for town clerk ; Joseph 
H.Eddy and W'm. Fifield for justices of the peace; C. Parmalee and Wm. Gager 
for constables. 

There were six elections held at this same house during years of 1856 and 
1857. Some of these, however, were special elections. Afterwards there were 
four elections held at the house of Elijah Clark, one at Plymouth Rock, and six- 
teen at the red schoolhouse, district No. 6, after which they were held at the 
Grange hall in KendalKille. 

]\Ir. Richard Barnes is the sole survivor from among the eleven officers who 
conducted the first election in the township. 

Vol. I— IS 



When the Civil war broke out Freinont township responded to tlie call for 
volunteers to offer their services in defense of tlic flag with her full quota of 
brave men. Leaving their families and friends, perhaps never again to see their 
faces, these resolute flag defenders took their places at the front. One man left 
his wheat stacks standing unthreshed on his claim. 

The business upon which the early settlers of Fremont township depended 
for a livelihood was raising wheat for the market. They sowed the seed, har- 
vested the crop and threshed it, then plowed the ground for another year's ciup 
or as much of it as possible before the ground froze. Then the business of the 
day was to take their crop to market, which for a long time was at ^IcGregor. 
Iowa, a long, tedious trip in cold, stormy weather, with neither overcoat nor 
overshoes. But these sturdy pioneers prospered and thrived upon what would 
make the present generation look like a pumpkin vine the next day after a good 
hard frost had struck it for the first time. 

The boys as well as the girls were taught all kinds of housework, including 
sewing and knitting. A man who at the present lime is a very prominent 
citizen of Chicago and a most skillful ])hysician. as a jjoy living on a farm in 
Fremont township for many years made all his own clothing as well as hel])ing 
his mother make garments for other members of the family. 

Fremont township is situated in the northwest corner of Winneshiek county. 
It occupies the congressional township No. lOO north, range lo, west of the 5th 
principal meridian, with the exception of the northern tier of sections, which is 
within the boundary line of Minnesota. The surface is undulating, and in central 
])art. bluffy. The Upper Iowa river runs southeasterly through the lnwiishii). 
entering near the northwest corner of section 7. and jnirsuing a winding course 
to the southeast, leaving the township on the south line of section 35 and return- 
ing at near the southeast corner of section 36. The river is clear, rapid, and in 
its winding descent affords numerous favorable mill sites. The banks arc skirted 
by forests of a great variety of deciduous trees. excei)t here and there where the 
land has been cleared for farming purposes. Here and there ujion the bluffs 
on the eastern and northern side of the stream are clusters and large groves of 
pine, spruce and cedar, some of it having been utilized in the early davs of settle- 
ment for building purposes. The siding for the old Winneshiek House in De- 
corah was sawed from pine logs, wiiich grew in brcmonl townshi]) .'ind was 
sawed at the Carter sawmill at Plymouth Rock in 1853-54. 

It is difficult to discriminate exactly as to whom belongs the lionor of being 
the first permanent white settler in Fremont township. It i)robably belongs to 
Wm. I-'ifield and wife, who settled upon section 2^ in 1S54 and put up a "shanty" 
and began a struggle for a home in what was then a lonely wilderness. The farm 
has remained in the family name lo the present time, and is now owned by their 
son, W. C. Fifield. Mr. and Mrs. b'ifield, in common with others living out on 
the frontier, endured many hardships and great privations. At one lime, for a 
space of two weeks, they saw nothing in the way of food exce|)t while beans. 
Others had been recluced lo middlings and .salt as the only means of suste- 
nance for their families. Being located a long distance front market or mill it was 
often the case that winter's snows siiut them out from the rest of the world for 
weeks at a time. The life of the early selller was not all hardship and i)ri va- 
tic m. ihe spelling schools and singing schools afforded much ])leasure and en- 


joyment for all, as these gatherings were attended and participated in by old 
and young. 

The first postoffice in the township was at the house of Billings, on section 
23. It was called Willamantic, and was supplied from Decorah once a week. 
This office was discontinued after about one year, and one established at Twin 
.Springs, which was afterwards changed to Kendallville. Twin Springs postoffice 
was kept by I^Iiss Caroline Ladd, who came to be known in the community as 
"Nasby." At one time Twin Springs postoffice was supplied by a stage line 
running from Decorah, Iowa, to Austin, Minnesota, which made the round trip 
once per week. The last proprietor of this stage line was A. M. Perry, and when 
the route was discontinued Plymouth Rock and Kendallville offices were supplied 
from Decorah, the mail being carried to Burr Oak and then I^rought across by 
a boy on horseback. 

Plymouth Rock, situated in the southeast corner of the township, had its 
beginning probably as early as in 1852, when it is said a dam was built across the 
river at that place, and the following year Selden Carter built a sawmill on the) 
site. The land had not vet been surveyed. Later the sawmill was discontinued 
and a flouring mill built by Mattock & Kelly and others. Mattock & Kelly sold 
their interests in the jjroperty afterwards to Bean Bros. For a time this mill 
made money for its owners, but when wheat failed the milling business failed too. 
The property subsequently came into Mr. G. \'. Puntney"s hands, who later sold 
to Geo. Sears. In 1902 floods so damaged the dam that it was not considered worth 
while repairing. Mr. Sears moved the machinery and lumber of which tlie 
building was constructed to Ridgeway, Iowa. 

S. G. Kendall came to this county in i860 from Mississippi. He had some 
i'ai)ital invested in Plymouth Rock mills with Bean Bros. He afterwards built 
the mill at KendalKille which was known as Twin Springs. He had his mill 
in oi)eration in 1862. From that time on the place was called Kendallyille, 
and the name of the i)ostoffice was changed from that of Twin Springs to 

The first store was kejit bv David Bennett. While the flouring business 
failed with the wheat failure, ihe mill at KendalKille now owned 1)}- W. E. 
Renter was doing a large feed grinding business, at times having a steady run 
night and day.* 

At the present time Kendallville has two stores, a blacksmith shop and a 
creamery. Betsy Peterson keeps a general stock and is postmistress ; J. C. Young 
carries a stock of cigars, candies, etc.. and does a restaurant business ; Peter 
Ellingson is the village smith, and A. J. Hoiness is the creamery man. 

Plymouth Rock i? no more. Its name clings to the s])ot where once the mill 
did a good business, but the town is-only a memory. 

* Cliai-le.s Smith now runs tlic mill, renting from ^fr. IJiMitor. 



WATKI! sTltKKT. l)K<ni;.\|| 



W. H. Reed in "Anderson & Goodwin's Atlas," 1905 

In 1851 Samuel Belding and his half-brother Wheeler erected the first log 
hotel, which they soon sold to John Wagoner, and also put up the first black- 
smith shop with Mr. Belding as our first blacksmith. 

This hotel, located just north of the present Central Hotel, was purchased by 
E. Blackmarr and H. O. Benedict in :\[arch. 1856. during which year they built 
on the south side what is now the ofiice to the Central Hotel, Benjamin Ward and 
Warner Matteson doing the carpenter work. John Wagoner again came into 
possession in 1857 and continued the hotel business for a number of years. 

Hiram Planning, Sr., built the log house north of the village, later known as 
the Relihan House, in 1853. 

Hiram Willsie and his nephew. John Bigelow, opened the first store, across 
the street from this hotel, in 1851. ilr. Tinkham soon after opened another, 
and William Henry Willsie later bought out Willsie & Bigelow and built the 
store just south of the Burr Oak Hotel. 

The postoffice was established September 6, 1853. with Marshal B. Sherwin 
postmaster, and Cal. Ferguson the first mail carrier. 

In this vear we find the names of the families John Stead, George Walker, 
WilHam Crissie, Clark Wicks. Robert Thompson, Charles Barker, James Fosberg, 
James Sharp and probably others added to our settlers' list. 

It became necessan,- during this year to select that place in our young village 
which has become a sacred spot to so many of us, and this site for our beautiful 
cemeter}' was furnished bv William H. Willsie. Plere was first placed at rest 
the wife of Warren Hardin, who died October 25. 1853, followed a few days later 
by Suzana Jane, daughter of John and Mary Stead. 

In Tune, 1852. John Cassel. J. Allan Dufield and Harrison Turner came with 
their families. G. \'. Puntney, now living in Cresco at the age of eighty-five, came 
to this county in 1851. He built the sawmill for Cutler & Beard on the Canoe 
four miles north of Decorah in what is now Canoe township, completing same in 
Julv. 1852. In April of this year he made a claim on what proved to be sections 


280 PAST AXl) l'Ki:SI-:.\T ()!• \\T.\.\I-:SI III-.K COUXTY 

31 and 32 in Uurr Oak townshii), when it was surveyed. The state hnc l)etween 
Iowa and ^linnesota was surveyed and the township run off into sections during 
this year and the hind came into market in 1S53. .In 1854 Mr. I'untnex- l>uilt 
his sawmill on the southeast quarter of 31. securing water power by damming 
Coldwater creek, which gushes from beneath a high cliff a half mile above the 
mill, the largest and most picturesque spring in the county. 

The first schoolhouse in the western half of the township was built in 1856 
(Mike Gaul now lives in the ))uilding). and although better known as the Cold- 
water school, was District Xo. 53 under the old Iowa school laws. 

Looking backward we often wonder why these early settlers first chose this 
rough land while the more level prairie was taken later. The reason is that 
locations near water were very desirable before well drilling machinery and wind- 
mills were introduced, and an acre of timber land was then considered worth at 
least five acres of prairie land, for all buildings were then hewed or sawed from 
local timber, and each field as ])repared for crop must be protected with a "stake 
and rider" fence of rails gotten out in winter a la Lincoln. Lven the shingles were 
of oak, rived out and shaved to shape, and many a young person today would 
take down the dictionary on hearing the words "froe" or "slathers." 

In the s]M-ing of 1854 Josei)h Mctcalf located on the southwest (|uarter of 18. 
being the lirsl settler in the northwest c[uarter of the township. In Septeml^er 
of this vear he was followetl by three more families, viz., li. Webster on the 
northeast quarter of 19, where his son C". .\. Webster still resides, Charles Hitch- 
cock, wife and three sons (all of wlumi have crossed the silent river), located 
on the northwest c|uarter of 18, and John 1 1. Pierce on the north.east cjuarter of 18. 

The early blacksmiths in the village were Xeri Taylor. John Miller and J. ll. 
Hardin, with John Heckle and Joe Lavalley to take their places. Ira Johnson 
was our tirst wagonmaker and John Feyler our first shoemaker. 

In 1854 came Charles Ward and family, whose sons, TSenjamin and Joint, 
have built more than their sh;ire of tin.' l)Uil(lings in this ami adjoining tow'nshi])s. 

Other prominent settlers of the early '50* wert' l),i\id Jewel. James Ervin, 
Richard ."^niith. .\lbert Sage, William Peacock, l.e\ i Moore. Jared Ferguson, 
and John .\ckerson. followed by 1'homas Willsie in 1854, .\lpha Manning in 
1857. and .\sa Wingale in 1858, while Nicholas ."^UMler, who settled on the south- 
east c|uarter of 18 in 1835 was the jjioneer of the numerous Snyder and Goss- 
man f;iniilies who followed him from < )hio a few years later. And we can read 
many interesting things between the lines m the story told of how Joseph Met- 
calf went on foot all the way to nubu(|ue to file on this piece of land, to find on 
reaching the land office that .Snyder made entry for the land a day or two 

The American Hotel was binll during the summer of 1856 and tlie old stone 
schoolhouse in the burr oak grove in the north part of the village, long known as 
the Relihan grove, and for which the village was named, was also erected that 
summer and the first school in the village was taught that w inter by Moses l^race. 
There had been a term or two taught in a log building down the creek southwest 
of town, previous to this time. 

During the smnmer of 185(1 William I'eard ;ind Lewis I'erguson ran a steam 
sawmill near the creek, where Hanson Bridge later manufactured brick. 


During 1853 '^'''d 1S54 the township filled up rapidly and many others soon 
became residents whose names I have missed or have no accurate account of. 

Burr Oak today is a prosperous village. It is one of the smallest towns in 
Iowa possessing a bank. Einar Kippe is its cashier. It has two general stores 
— The Burr Oak Mercantile Company and Thompson & Kippe's. E. M. Reed 
sells farm implements ; C. A. Reed conducts a general repair shop ; Dr. W. H. 
Emmons handles drugs in connection with his medical practice ; John Bergsrud 
runs the butcher shop and feed mill ; Ward & Son conduct a novelty store ; Her- 
bert Ward is the village barber and postmaster ; Fred Koenig and Fred Pahl are 
the blacksmiths ; Madding's Hotel cares for the travelers ; Johnson's pool hall 
furnishes amusement for those who enjoy table games, and Silver Creek Creamery 
makes butter that sells at good prices on the eastern market. 



This record of Orleans township is the composite work of C. C. Brown, H. F. 
McBride and the late Elmer Gager, published in 1905 in "Anderson & Goodwin's 
Atlas of Winneshiek County." 

So far as can now be learned the first settler in Orleans township was Nelson 
Gager, who arrived here from Upper Canada in the fall of 1853. After making 
a short stay on several different pieces of land, and selling his "squatter's rights" 
to them, finally located in 185J. on the northeast quarter of section 9. The next 
year, 1855, he built a log house, where he kept bachelor's hall until 1859. when 
he married Mary Gager. Here Mr. Gager still lives with one of his children, 
his wife having passed away to that better land September, 1904. 

During the year 1854 a number of families came, among them Wm. Rowlee. 
This family with Norris Humphrey left Johnstown Center, Ohio, with teams 
September 14, 1854, and crossed the Mississippi river at Bellevue, Illinois, October 
6th. Leaving the women and children at Bellevue the men proceeded on a voyage 
of discovery. Traveling by way of Dubuque, Elkader, Postville and Burr Oak 
Springs, they finally settled on the northwest quarter of section 28, Orleans town- 
ship, the place where they wished to build their home. This decision made, they 
returned to Bellevue for the family, and again reached their claim October 30th, 
and lived in their covered wagons while the house was being built. Mr. Rowlee's 
picture appears in the atlas, but 1)0th himself and wife have passed away. The 
old home, however, is still owned and occupied by his son, John O. Rowlee. 

Coming in 1854 Charles McCartney settled on section 10. The following year 
twin girls were born to them, who are supposed to be the first children born in 
this township. One of them died in infancy, the other is still living. Shortly 
afterward, January 24, 1856, a boy, Wm. Lewis, was born to :\Ir. and Mrs. 
Thomas Lewis, whose home had been just across the line in Howard county, but 
who built a log house in this township in the fall of 1855 and lived there during 
the winters of 1855 and 1856 for the purpose of holding a claim, and moved back 
into Howard county in the spring. Thomas Parrel came that year, bought land, 
built a log house on section 14, which is still standing, and is the oldest house in 
the township. Here a large family was reached, some of whom are still living 
among us. Mr. and Mrs. Parrel died years ago. Other arrivals in 1854 were 


284 PAST AXI) I'RF.S1-:XT ol- W'lXXI'.Sl I II-.K COUNTY 

Aniasa Owen. .Mr. Stanton, Setli .Murray, Mr. Kobbins, and a man by the name 
of .Morijan I Inward, from wlioni Morgan school district received its name. 
Tiie iunise Iniilt b_\- Mr. Howard, on tlie farm now owned liy j. P. Hehner. was 
probably the first house built in the township. At this time the postoftice, where 
the settlers received their mail, was at Decorah. soon afterward at Xew Oregon. 
Still later a pcstoffice was established at Seth Murray's house, also one at Mor- 
gan Howard's called Alorgan postofhce. 

In 1855 came Hugh McP.ridc and James Murtha. They located on adjoining 
pieces of land. 

Tliere also came in 185:; D. W. C. Towne. .-\mos Rugg, 'Mr. Johnson, Ezra 
liourne. and others whose names we are nnalile to give. In i85() came the great 
rush of settlers, the (Government land remaining unsold being nearly or quite 
all taken that year. 

It seems to have been about the first impulse of the American [jionecr wherever 
located to provide a i)lace where his children could attend school, and the settlers 
cif ( )rleans were no exception to the rule. \\'hile the public schools were not 
organized until 1858. some five years after the first settlement, the children were 
taught in ])ri\ate schools two years earlier. During the summer of 1856 a school 
was taught in the .'ibimdoned log house before mentioned as built b\' Thomas 
Lewis. The teacher was Miss .Maria M. Murray, now Mrs. Fenton of Lime 
Springs. A school was also held during the same summer at the house of O. E. 
Green in the southeastern part of the to\\nshi]i. .Mrs. (ireen (afterward Mrs. 
Enoch Robinson) being the teacher. The next winter a school was lield in the 
Quaker meeting house near the center of the township. Thomas Johnson teacher. 
The only record we have of the early histor\- of tlic public school interests is 
found in the proceedings of the school board ke])t b\' k'.benezcr Rice, the first 
secretary. The first school meeting was held at the house of (iales M. Forbes 
on the third day of .Mav, 1858. .\t this meeting Enos George was elected pres- 
ident, W'm. Slei)henson \ ice-president, Ebenezer Rice secretary and W. B. 
Chamberlain trcasin-er. The first board of directors was elected at a meeting 
held .It wliat was called the Quaker schoolhouse, .\]iril 7. i860, and consisted 
of tiie following persons: Sub-district No. i, Ezra liourne; No. 2, Parlev K. 
Foote : No. 3, James P>rown : No. 4. Joshua Brooks; Xo. 5. Robert .Metcalf; 
No. 6. W. B. Chamberlain. 

The first school in No. i was held in h.zra Bourne's house and taught bv Miss 
Emily Miller in the summer of i8f)0. Miss .V. Libbey taught the school in Xo. 
6thesame smnmer in part of W. P. Ch.imberlain's Innisc, and Miss Minerva Hill 
taught in No. 2, but in what house we cannot determine. 

J. S. Neflf taught the first school we have any record of in Xo. 4. though 
there was undoubtedly a school taught the w inter before by Philo Thatcher. The 
school taught by Ncff was held in a jiart of the house owned by a Mr. Hansel 
Becker in the winter of i860 and 1861. The schoolhouse in sub-district No. 4 
was built in the summer of 1861. Gilbert P. \\ atros tauglit the first school the 
following winter. 

In 1856 came some ten or twelve families of the Society of Friends, or Quak- 
ers, and to them must be given the credit of organizing the first religious society 
and building the first church in the township. The founders of this church were 
the families of Enos George. Levi Middleton. F'llis George, Isaac Jay, John 


Hanson. L. Easterling. Mary Carson, Jeremiah l'>arker, Mr. Pearson and Mr. 
I^anih. The church was a small, one-storv huilding al)ciut twenty by thirt)- feet, 
anil was located on the southeast quarter of section 20. on what was known as 
the Eli Carson farm, now owned by C. J. Watms. The building was destroyed 
b\' hre in 1864 and ne\er relniilt. Shortly after the urganizers nio\ed away 
and there are probably none of them left in the township at the present time. 
A large per cent of the present population of the township are of Norwegian 
descent, and these citizens were organized as the Norwegian Evangelical Lu- 
theran congregation of Orleans township, and in 1874 built a church which was 
dedicated June 6. 1875, by Rev. J. Moses, pastor, assisted by Rev. V. Korfen, 
Prof. L. Larson. Reverend Reque and Rexxrend Larson.* This church is still 
a good building and a large congregation regularly worship there. In our his- 
torv. as in that of a great part of the West, the itinerant Methodist preacher 
closeh' followed the pioneer and held serxdces in the schoolhouses at an early 
day. ' 

Sexeral societies ha\e l^een organized in what is known as Ridgeway circuit, 
but (inl\- two e.xist in the township at the present time. The one known as the 
Morgan class, under the leadership of Rev. Thos. Oliver (preacher in charge), 
built a church in 1885, and the one known as the Morton class in 1890, Rev. John 
Gammons preacher in charge. These are both good buildings and are regularly 
used for religious purposes. 

Early in 1855 a township meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a 
civil township and choosing a name for the same. There were proposed as names 
I'ilot (irove,' Orleans and Pleasant Prairie. The township was called Pilot Grove 
for two or three years, but in 1858 had become Orleans, by what means or at 
exactly what date there seems to be no record to show. 

The grove was located in the extreme southern part of the township on the 
main road to McGregor, which was traveled by settlers and teamsters living a 
longdistance west, and was a prominent landmark. Seth Murray's house was 
also on this road, aljout a mile northwest of the grove, and it was his custom to 
keep lighted candles in the windows at night as a guide for travelers. The grove 
was a [lilot by day and the candles by night. Thus the name Pilot Grove. 

The first election was held in November, 1855, at the house of Wm. Rowlee, 
Init no record of this election remains. It is said, however, by the old settlers, 
that there were not enough available voters to fill all the offices. 

The first record we have of legal proceedings in Pilot Grove township (now 
Orleans) is from the justice docket of Edwin M. Farnsworth, first justice of the 
peace in Orleans, at that time Pilot Grove. On June 12, 1856, one Nancy Sharp 
brought suit against Thomas Wanless to collect pay for some pine logs. 

Some of the settlers in the eastern half of Pilot Grove township in 1856 were 
Chas. Curtis, Smith Broadway, James Stitt. Dan Gates, James Murtha, Hugh 
McBridge, Calvin Farnsworth and his son Edwin M., mentioned as justice. 
Ebenezer and Almon Rice came in 1856, secured land and moved their families 
here in 1857. 

Ale.xander's History refers to the fact that Orleans township was in the 
early '80s the home of several herds of full blooded cattle, the notable ones Ijeing 

* Tliis clilircli was trim dnwii and a now diic lniilt during tlic year I9i:!. 


the Shorthorns of L. R. Brown and W. B. Goocher and the Holsteins of Charles 
Crapser. The latter, one year, cajitured all of the best premiums at the Min- 
nesota State Fair. Todav Orleans townshi]) is one of the must prosperous in 
the county. Its population in iqio was 550. 



From Sparks' History, revised by Edwin Hover 

Pleasant township took its name and place in 1856. It is the eastern one of 
the second tier. Locust postoffice is near the extreme northwestern corner. In the 
year 1850 two Germans from Pennsylvania, John Klontz and William Vale, pitched 
their tents in the northwest corner of the township. Vale chose for his homestead 
what has since been known as the Locust Lane farm, deriving its name from the 
locust trees that were planted on each side of the road immediately after the 
land was fenced in. John Klontz took up his ranch on the south of Vale, and 
both went to work. They made money, as everything they had to sell brought 
iheni good prices. Mr. Vale at one time enjoyed the privilege of holding all the 
township offices, except constable, at one and the same time. He was the first 
justice of the peace, the first assessor, and the first clerk the township ever had. 
He also built the first brick dwelling in Winneshiek county. Klontz and Vale 
have both since sold their farms and moved to Missouri. In the following year 
the first influx of Norwegians commenced. They were Hover Evenson, Ole 
Magneson and Erick Erickson, who came here from Cambridge, Dane county, 
Wisconsin. Hover Evenson was the first blacksmith in the northern part of 
the county. He took up his ranch on the east of \'ale and ran a blacksmith 
shop in connection with farming. 

Peter K. Langland, Lewis Peterson, Knudt K. Liquen and K. Erickson came 
from Illinois. Ole Magneson and E. Erickson settled in the northeastern part 
of the township. Erickson built a house which has become somewhat noted from 
the fact that it was entirely built from one pine tree. The walls are a solid plank 
six inches thick, and only three such planks from the floor to the ceiling in the 
first story, and two above. The floors, roof-boards, windows and door casings 
are from the same tree. It was all sawed up with a handsaw, as the logs could 
not be moved from the place where the tree grew on Pine creek. Ole Magneson 
introduced the first reaper into the neighborhood, and was also the owner of the 
first threshing machine in the township. 



In the year 1853 there was another influx from Dane county, Wisconsin, 
prominent among whom were Bottolf Olson. Magne Langland, H. Hendrickson, 
Sven Olson, Olc Thorson, and others. In 1858 Ole V>. Olson was one of the first 
settlers of Dakota territory, and was elected the first judge of the territory, which 
position he occupied until his death in 1875. Krick B. Olson, the younger brother, 
was one of the first four men who climbed the mountains of Colorado in search of 
gold in 1859. 

The first schoolhouse was Iniilt at Locust Lane in 1854, and it served also 
as a church for every denomination. The second schoolhouse that was built was 
known as the F.llingson schoolhouse. This was built of logs quite large, and 
intended to serve as a church for the Lutheran congregation that was then organ- 
ized in connection with Highland and Sirring Grove. It was built mostly by private 
funds; every farmer would bring so many logs and work so many days. This 
district consisted of portions of four townships, viz. : Pleasant and Highland, in 
Winneshiek county, and Waterloo and Hanover, in Allamakee. The first school 
was taught liy James Lennon, of Frankville township. 

In 1855 and 1856, almost all the land had been taken up, and what was not 
was bought up by si)eculators while the land office was in Decorah. 

Our present county su])ervisor in District Xo. 4, F.dwin Hover, is a son of 
Hover Fvenson. was l)orn in Xorway February 5, 1845. came with his parents 
to America in 1848. and in 1832 came to Iowa and settled on the west half of the 
iiortliwcst (|uartcr of scctii)n 3. townshi]} 99. north range 7. west of the 5lh prin- 
cipal meridian, where he still resides. 

ui-:mimscences of 1852-34. i!V sam wise 
( .\nderson .Jt Goodwin's Atlas) 

Pleasant tuwiislii|i licing a wooded township, cs])ecially along the Canoe creek, 
made it necessary in the early days for the settlers to build sawmills to transform 
their huge logs into building material. The first one of these mills in the township 
was built on the Canoe creek in 1852 by John I'.randt. who later sold out to David 
Womeldorf. Conrad Brandt and his nephews Fli and. joe Brandl, Robert Lyons 
and Wm. Basset, also built mills on the Canoe. 

.\mong the first settlers were Wilson and George Daubney, Jacob Fie. James 
Morehead, Wm. French, 1 Icnrv Hendrickson. Bullcr r)k'son. Peter Langland. 
H. and Ole Halslcnson. 

The .schools (of which the townshii) is inoud ) have grown from the little 
schoolhouse in the northwest corner, and the old log schoolhouse in the northeast 
corner, to eight fine buildings, four of which are brick, one frame, and three of 
blue limestone, of which stone the townshij) has several line <|uarries in al)nnd- 
ance to build great cities. .Ml of these schools have slate ijiackixiards and nio<lcrn 

Our cinirches lia\e grown from the old schoolhouse to tliree fine churches, 
one being of brick and two of frame. The brick is llie Norwegian Lutheran, 
while those of frame are (Jerman Lutheran and Norwegian Methodist.* 

* Siiicp the foicfroiii;.' wns written nnotlior Nonvp^rinii LiitliiMiiii cjuircli Iidh hopii Iniilt in 
tlip Hoiitliciii piirt 111 the l<nviislii|> in tlio D. II. Miisscr iioijiliborhood. iinil is supplied by l!iv. 
S' \ <i :ii\ ii' (if (;ltMnvo()(l touiisliip. 


Some of the settlers of 1855 and 1856 were Nels Thompson, Andrew and 
Nels Nelson, Lars Gjetley, Christian Christiansen, S. Wise, Sr., Philip Pfister,. 
Simon Broghammer, Adam Kern, Diebold i\Iikel, Diebold Stoskopf, Valentine 
Earth, Sr., and many others. 

Pleasant township has furnished her share of county officers and school 
teachers. One good feature of the township is its law-abiding citizens. x\ 
justice of the peace or constable cannot make his salt out of the fees. 

To the foregoing should be added the fact that since an early date the town 
of Locust has been the mail distributing point for a considerable territory. In 
these days when the rural free delivery has and continues to cut oft' many post- 
offices, Locust holds her own and is the starting point of Locust Route 1. 



The early history of Jackson may be said to have been so closely linked to that 
of Washington township as to be one and the same. Whatever impetus it received 
at that time as a place of abode arose through the visits of early travelers, bound 
for Fort Atkinson. Located in the extreme southwestern corner of the county, 
it was not until the railroad was pushed west from Calmar that it began to be 
largely settled. Up to 1862 it was a portion of Washington township. Who the 
first settlers were we have no means of knowing, as no record seems to have been 
made. For as long as this writer can recall the names of the Jack family, Joseph 
Holmes and the Lawrence family were associated with the township. Lee Jack, 
one of the sons, remains. Like Sumner township, the Bohemians have acquired 
large holdings of lands and have won prosperity from the soil. When the Cal- 
mar and Davenport liranch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad 
was built, Jackson Junction came into existence. Nothing has ever happened to 
cause it to grow beyond hamlet size. Some years ago the town was incorporated. 
At the time enough territory was included within the corporate limits to permit 
the building of a town of 1,000 souls. Its population in 1910 was 160. 

Vol. 1—1 6 




Up to 1862 Sumner and Lincoln townships were linked together as a voting 
precinct. In that year tliey were separated and given tlie names l)y which they have 
since been l<no\vn. Early in Sumner's existence a settlement of Norwegians was 
established on the Turkey river in the northeastern part of the township. The 
Germans occupied the eastern section. The Bohemians were the third of the for- 
eign born residents to occupy land in this township and they have remained to 
graduallv acquire a large portion of the township. Alva Tracy, who was a resi- 
dent of Decorah for many years prior to his death, was the first man to settle 
on the open prairie. This was in 1858. The Turkey river flows southeast through 
the northeastern part of the township, its banks being wooded with heavy timber. 
The land in this section is rolling, but as a whole the township is rich in the fer- 
tility of its soil. Its population in iqio was 748, a loss of sixty-two in twenty 








Madison townslii]) enjoys the ])resligc of the second marriage in the county. 
Johannes Evenson settled there in 1850, and early in October of that year Cather- 
ine Helen Anderson became his bride, Rev. N. Brandt performing the ceremony. 
The late Benjamin T. Barfoot, a pioneer in Decorali and a landowner in 1855 
in Madison township, credits one Brisco as the first permanent resident of Madi- 
son cMid gives the year 1849 ^s the date of his coming. In Mr. Barfoot's article, 
which was published in the ".\tlas of Winneshiek Comity," 1905, he gives the\ 
following account of other settlers : 

"James Mcintosh and his sons left Wellsville, Ohio, on ckctidii day, in 1854, to 
loiik up a new home. After traveling over Wisconsin for two days they failed to 
lind a suitable location. They crossed the Mississippi river at DeSoto, came 
to Winneshiek county and located on a large tract of land in what is now known 
as Madison townshi]). In ihe s])ring of 1855 he moved his family to Decorah 
and .'ibout ten days later to his new home in Madison townshi]). Previous to 
the ;irri\al (jf .\li'. .Mcintosh several families had already located in the town- 
shi]). These were I!, and Tosten Il;uigen. two families of Nestes, John Even- 
son, Tver Rigstad, I'.rick I'.gge and .Matliiew Bentley. In 1835 William Vree- 
l;uid located on what is now known as 'the .Stone House I'arm.' lie kept what 
was called the Four-mile House as a hotel. 

"Mr. Ole Fulsaas came from Wisconsin In Iowa and located in Aladison 
townshi]) in iS3_>, lie Ixiut^lit forty acres of land, which was all he was able 
1o l)u\- at thai tinu'. Mr. I''u1saas had three .sons, I k-ilir.ind, I'eter and Harvey, 
who located and Ixjught land in the same neighborhood. Ilerbrand bought 120 
acres, Peter and Harvey 120 together. .Mr. 1'. and his sons have all ])assed over 
the river and at the time of their death were considered very wealthy. Among 
other early settlers worthy of mention were the Cilbertson family — Mr. and Mrs. 
Gill)ertson, four sons and one daughter. Tliey were very successful as farmers, 
but there are only two of the family living at this time. ,\nother old settler was 
Ilerbrand Ansten, who settled here in 1857; also big Ole Gulbranson. 'Big Ole' 
was a land speculator. He owned several farms at different times in this town- 
ship, and finally sold all out and moved to Kansas, where he died. 


298 PAST AXI) I'RESENT Ol' W I.\.\1-:SI 1 1 l-.K C( )U.\"1V 

"Ole P.akkcn came U) Winneshiek county and settled in Irankville township 
in 1854 (his w ife coming; in 1S51 ). where they resided for four years. Then they 
moved to -Madison townslii]) and located on sections it and 12. where they liave 
resided ever since. Mr. liakken started fanning on a lOO-acre farm and added 
on to this until he owned 1.200 acres, which he has divided among his children. 
Mr. Bakken lives in a large, comfortable house, enjoying his old age in a good, 
quiet way. 

"E. R. Scott settled on section ifi in 1X5S. and has lived on tiie same farm 
ever since. Mr. Scott was the only .\merican in the northwest cjuarter of the 
township for o\er twenty years. 

"Mr. Brisco was the llrst permanent settler in .Madison township, lie set- 
tled in the timber in i<S4g. When the writer came to Madison townsliip, there 
was plenty of game, such as deer. ])artridge and ])rairie chicken, and the streams 
were full of all kinds of tish. l'"arming was not very extensive until about iSfxj, 
when it took (|uite a boom anfl things went along at a good rate until tiie war 
broke out, then there were a few years in which it was hard to get help. Since 
tiien farming has been a good business. 

"Nels Gilbcrtson and 1 cut the first load of hay in the townshi]); it was cut 
on section 10, the old farm they purchased from the Government. 

"Helge Gunderson, the father of Joim Gunderson Helgeson, came to Iowa and 
settled in Madison township in 1834. lie bought 160 acres of land from the 

"Ox teams were used in breaking the jirairie and nianv of the settlers would 
join teams, hitching four yoke of oxen to a breaking i<low. There was but very 
little corn, so the oxen were turned out on grass during the noon Itour and ati 
night. The harvesting was done with the old-fashioned cradle and what little 
wheat we had to sell we hauled to McGregor and sold it for 40 or 50 cents ])cr 


"On the sixth day of .\pril, 1S55. 1 went throui;!! Madison townshi]) in search 
of Government land, with Doctor Shannon for my guide. Wo passed Slener O. 
Hellerud's place : here we found two men sawing out boards for a floor. Thev 
used a whip saw, one man standing on lop of a log and the other on the ground. 

"I located on 160 acres in section 30; then we drove southeast through tiie 
tow-nship and passed I. Ringstad's, J- Evcnson's and Mr, Egge's. In 1855 and 
1856 nearly all the Government land had been taken by speculators, and that 
practically put a slop to the settlement for two or liiree years, in 1858 and 185c) 
business began to im])rovc, and the settlements began to grow . 1 w cut out through 
the township several times but could not tind any landmarks to show mc where 
my land was. In 1859 I went out again and met .Mr. joim Crawford, l)uil<!ing 
fence about three-ciuarters of a mile from my land, and he tlien showed me wliere 
my farm was. 

"There was c|uite a settlement at wh;it was known as P>urr Oak .Springs. The 
parties who owned the land laid out a small town, and it grew for four or live years ; 
but as soon as the railroad was graded to Decorah the town dried up and blew 


away. It was a pretty rough place for several years, and, to my knowledge, was 
the only place in the township where liquor was sold in any quantity. 

"I did not move into Madison township until 1868, so cannot give a very good 
description of the earliest settlement. It was organized in about 1859. 'Squire 
Miller of Decorah was the organizing officer. The first schoolhouse was built 
near the hrkk church in 1858. At that time the township was organized 
into four school district, nine sections in each district. General elections were held 
in the first schoolhouse for several years, or until about 1863. Since then it has 
been held in districts by turns." 

To ]\Ir. Barfoot's record may be added the fact that during the past two years 
Madison township has become possessed of six new schoolhouses. For many 
years differences of opinion on schoolhouse matters prevented much needed build- 
ings, but the matter was finally adjusted in a way that bids fair to be satisfactory. 
Three of the schoolhouses are now in process of erection and will be completed 


October 4, 1840 — The first deatli occurred ; a Government teamster named 
Howard was found frozen near the ])resent site of Castalia. 

January 16, 1841 — Mary Jane Tapper, first white child born in county. 

1842 — Rev. D. Lawery appointed Indian agent. 

1843 — Colonel Thomas, under instruction from the Government, built the 
first grist mill in Winneshiek county. 

June 7, 1S4S — Hamilton Campbell and wife settled on sections 23 and 26, 
Bloomfield township. Twenty days later the Krumm families arrived from 
Indiana and settled in Washington township. 

1848 — Indians were removed from their reservation in this county. 

February ir, 1849 — Aaron Young and Mary Jane Rogers married. First 
wedding in the county. 

February, 1849 — Fort Atkinson abandoned. 

June, 1849 — Day family settled in Uecorah. 

Wm. Painter commenced running a small grist mill at the present site of the 
Spring mill, or Dunning's mill. Decorah. 

First settlers at Moneek in July, 1849. 

The same year quite a number of other families settled in the county, as 
will be seen by records in first chapter. 


Settlements were made in what are now Decorah. Bloomfield. Springfield, 
Glenwood, Canoe, Pleasant, Madison. Frankville and Military townships. 

Burr Oak was probably settled at about the same time; for in the fall of 
1851, Judge M. V. Burdick visited the place and found where the village of 
Burr Oak is now located, a hotel, a store and a blacksmith shop. 

ludge Burdick also found in 1850, at the present site of Spillville, Mr. 
Spillman to be the only settler ; while at what is now Twin Springs or Festina, 
then, there was a saloon. 

The same year, 1850, the Federal census was taken, showing a population 
of 570. 

First immigration of Norwegians took place this year. 




An .nt of the' Legislature, organizin;,' Wiiiiiesliiek countv, was a[)[)roved 
Januar\ 13, 1851. It appointed John L. Carson, organizing shcrift'. to assume 
duties March ist. 

April 7, Decorah was elected to he the county seat. [Interesting details of 
the fight witli Moneek are given elsewhere.] 

In 1851, the first postoffice in the county, excepting those at Fort .\tkinson 
and Old Mission, was estahlished at Jamestown, in what is now Frankville town- 
ship. James B. Cutler postmaster. His commission was dated September 

On October 5, 185 1, occurred the lirsl marriage in the coimt_\- — Johannes 
Evenson to Catharine Helen Anderson.* 

August 4, 1851, l)a\id Reed, who had come to this county in 1S48, was 
chosen county judge, and held the positioti till 1S55. 

Geo. Bachel, first county sheriff, and other county officers elected, as recorded 

Ilesper and Jlighland townships were settled this year. 

In September, 1851, the first county court was o])ene(l at the log house of 
Wm. Day, Decorah. There being no business, it adjourned to the lirst .Monday 
in October, when the first marriage license was granted. 

The Ileivly water power was improved by Mr. Painter and "L'nclc i'hilii)" 
Morse, who arrived here in 185 1, and built the sawmill, some of the ruins and 
the race which are to be seen between tlie present .\rlington House and the 
old stone grist mill. 

In |iil\ tile firsl lawyer came to Decorah. 

This year also saw the first mercantile lirm in Decorah. .\aron Xewell and 
his ])artner, named Derrick. They opened their goods in the smoke house on 
the premises of the Winneshiek House, afterwards removed to a slab shanty, 
and soon built the first frame building in town — a store known as the Pioneer 
Store, which has since burned. It stood on the present site of the store of 
Mott t^: Co., on the southwest corner of Washington aii<l Water streets. 

This same year, 1851, came to Decorah the first minister of the Gospel, 
bolder Mishop, j^reaching here monthly on a circuit described elsewhere. .\ 
few weeks afterwards a Congregational minister, A. .M. !■ c.imc an<l 
established monthly meetings at the log tavern, b'rom these spring the Meth- 
odist and Congregaticjnal churches of Decorah. 

The tirst mails came to Dccurali in Jmie. 1851. C. Dav, postmaster, .-md 
Lewis ilarkins, ni.-iil carrier. 


Lincoln township was settle<l duiing this year. 

.\t the .April election 180 votes were cast in the county; at the August 
election 150. 

* Thin marriiiKc iiiiist refer to tlic first iiinriiiigc after the county was or}iani/.od. Aaron 
Yoiiii); iiiirl Miuy .1. I!<);;ith were iiiarrieil at I'dit Atkiiismi late in the winter ot l"-!'.!. 


March S, 1852. the county court ordered elections to l)e held at three pre- 
cincts. First, at the house of W m. Day, Decorah ; second, at the house of 
Francis Rogers, Lewiston, in the southwest part of the county; third, at the 
b.ouse of John DeCow, Muncck. For further and later divisions of the county, 
see a preceding chapter. 

IMoneek was surveyed and i)latte(l in Januar}-, hut the plat was not recorded 
till Novemher. 

The Pioneer Store building in Decorah commenced in 1851, was completed 
in 1852, a public hall, known as Newell's Hall, being in the second story. 

In August and Sejitember, there was Iniilt by Philip Morse, the first frame 
dwelling in Decorah. 

The first term of district court for this county was held in Decorah on 
Friday, July 9, 1852, Thos. S. Wilson, judge. The firs.t indictment found by 
the grand jury was against Francis Teabout, for gambling; the second against 
Philander S. Baker, for selling intoxicating liquors ; the third was against 
James T. Moore, for gambling. Each were held to bail to the next term of 
court in the sum of $100.00. 


The number of votes cast in the county in Ai^ril, 1853, was 224; and tlie 
number steadily increased in successive years, as will be seen by the record 

The present city of Decorah was surveyed and platted in August of this 

The village of Frankville was surveyed and platted in October. 

This year Amnion & Co. came to Decorah and were the first to add steam 
power to our water power, finally resulting in their foundry, machine shop, 
and wagon manufactory. 

The Government property at Fort Atkinson was this year sold at auction 
and Mr. Cooney, who was in 1852 appointed to take charge of the old fort and 
Government buildings, found his "occupation gone." 

In the winter of 1853-4 the first Bohemian settlers came in and settled not 
far from Fort Atkinson. To those settlers the present village of Spillville 
largely owes its existence. 

The village of Freeport was platted in May. 

The first building in Calmar was erected this year ; and the village of 
Calmar was platted in November. 

The Decorah House was built this year, and also the Tremont House, 
which was burnt in 1857, and which stood on the site of the Lutheran Pub- 
lishing House, Decorah. 

The famous Decorah hotel, the Winneshiek House, was built in 1854-5. 


Early this year Ossian was platted as a village, and the plat recorded 
April 30th. 


Decorah. wliicli had become quite a villa,s;e. received an additional inipettis 
by tlie land oftice being established here, the ollice being opened the dav ijefore 
Christmas, 1835. It was removed the following year, but much of the business 
which it brought remained. 

In the winter of 1855-6, there were nine banking houses in Decorah. 

The year 1855 also gave the county its first newspaper, the Decorah Chron- 
icle. It was edited and published by a man named Tracy, but very soon Judge 
M. V. Burdick became the editorial writer. It had its ups and downs, and 
the Decorah Repul)lican of today may be considered as its successor, \\'esley 
liailey and son bu\ing out the establishment, and issuing it as the Decorah 
I\ei)ublic, in i8f)o. and afterwards clianging the name to Decorah Kepublican, 


This year witnessed the famous but unsuccessful fight of tiie then flourish- 
ing and enterprising village of Freeport U> take the county seat from Decorah; 
this contest is told in detail elsewhere. 

A county loan of $6,000 was also voted this year to Inuld a at 
Decorah, the tax to be levied in the years 1857 and 1858. 

A special election was also held October loth, and the county voted $100,000 
in bonds to aid in the building of the Northwestern Railroad : there being 926 
votes cast for the ta.x. and 505 against it. .\s the road was not built the couiilv 
was not burdened with the ta.x. 


'J'hc courthouse was commenced this year and lini.slu-d the following vear. 

This year witnessed the burning of the Trenioni House, Decorah, then a 
well known hotel. 

This year, also, Decorah became an organized town. A meeting for incor- 
poration was held on the first vMonday in April, and at the election of ofticers 
on tile 30th of June, E. E. Cooley was chosen president. 

The Legislative act of incorporation was not passed till 1S71. 


The plat of the village of Hesper — the township having l)een first settled 
in 1851— was recorded on the 25th of February, 185S, the plat having been 
drawn December 27tli of the preceding year. The town-hip of llcsper was also 
organized in 1858. 

The county had grown so tlial the number of votes cast in October of this 
)ear was 1,288. 

' )n the 18th of .April, 1858. the county superintendent was elected, 
1 )r. 11. C. Bulis was chosen. 


The close of this year brings us up to the commencement of a decade which 
opened with some changes in the manner of county government, made nece.s- 


sary, or at least desirable, by the increase of population and the prospective 
growth and importance of the county. By the census of 1850, the population 
was 540, while it was now by the census taken in i860 — 13,942. ^^'e will not, 
howc\er, anticipate, but briefly note the important events as they occur. 


During this year a change was made in the management of county affairs, 
up to this time administered by the county judge. A board of supervisors, 
consisting of one from each township, was elected, the change taking effect 
on the 1st of January, 186 1. 

In -\]iril. i860, the firm of Bailey & Son, consisting of Wesley Bailey and 
his son, Ansel K. Bailey, purchased the Decorah Republic, succeeding B. F. 
Jones, as publishers of that paper. The first number under their management 
appeared April 14th. 

In the first issue are notices of Decorah's institutions as follows: "Popula- 
tion of Decorah, estimated, from 1,600 to 2,000. It has a brass band, 17 
stores, 3 harness shops, 6 Ijlacksmiths, 5 cabinet-iuakers, 3 wagon makers, 
2 plow and horticultural implement manufactories, 2 jewelers, 2 milliners, 
2 tanneries, i lumber yard, 2 bakeries, i daguerreotype artist, 2 meat markets, 
1 distillerv, i brewery, i gunsmith, a dozen lawyers, 3 doctors, i dentist, 2 
barbers, a Methodist church in their own Ijuiiding, and a Congregational church, 
holding services in the courthouse, their church not yet being completed." 

Hesper has a literary society that meets once a week. 

May 3d. five ]jrisoners escape from the county jail, one in for horse stealing, 
one for counterfeiting, and the others for minor oft'enses. 

April 29th, the house of Postmaster Stanberg, of Calmar, was burned. 

May 17th, a Norwegian celebration of their national anniversary occurred at 
]*eterson's trading post, B. O. Dahly delivering the address. 

In June, the Landers residence on Broadway was commenced, also the 
Francis residence on Broadway, now owned by A. Bradish. 

Fourth of July was celel^rated in Decorah, the orator being Douglas Leffingwell. 

By the census then being taken the population of Decorah township and city 
was given as follows : 

Population of Decorah 904 

Population of West Decorah 315 

Rest of township 706 

Total 1,925 

August 7th, Wm. Day died at the Winneshiek House, in the si.xty-ninth 
year of his age. He built the first house, for some years the only hotel, and 
afterwards built the Winneshiek House. 

August 30th, Fitz Henry Warren (republican) spoke at Decorah, Judge 
Clark, of Dubuque, opposing him. 

The Congregational church of Decorah was in process of erection this 


September 21st, count}- fair was held in Decorah. 

October 5th. a daily mail was established between .\Ic(;rei,'or and Decorah. 


At the opening of liie year, the board of su])ervisors, one from each lown- 
sliii), in order that the terms of oltice mi<,'ht not expire at the same time, thcv 
cast lots to sec which should hold office for one year, and which for two \ears. 
The result was as follows : 

For one year — Levi I'ullis in place of Dan Lawrence, who was elected ,'ind 
resij^ned, for Decorah; J. i'agin, j-'rankville : J. T. (ialby, .Sumner; 1. West. 
Canoe; G. N, Holloway. Hesjier; |. C. .\ckerson. 15urr Oak; S. Christen, .Madi- 
son ; Lars T. Land, Calmar ; Levan W'anless, Bluffton. 

For two years — W. IT. Baker, liloonifield ; F. S. Xorthup, Glenwood ; Ole 
Xelson, I'leasant; W. 1!. Chamberlain. ()rleans: .\mmon .\mmundson. Highland; 
D. E. Shelmadine, Fremont; M. I. W'oolsey, Military: A. O. Lommen. Spring- 
field; Orville Jennison, Washington. 

(]. X. llolloway was elected presi<lent of the board. 

-March ,^d, the remains (if ;i .Norwegian, named her Knudsen Jouen. were 
found near the foot of the blutt at tlie head of Trout Run. lie started home 
from Decorah on Christmas evening. Going over the road past the cemetery, 
it is thought that he lost his way. rolled down the blufi' and froze to death. 

The Decorah cemetery grounds were laid out this year. 

.April 8th, a public meeting was held and the Decorah Ciuards organized, be- 
ing the first company to enter the service in the War of the Rebellion. The rec- 
ord of this and other comi)anies from the couiuy will be found in a preceding 

June 14th. E. E. Cooley received the ai^pointment as postmaster of Decorah 
and took ])ossession July 1st. 

June iith, the county su])ervisors voted $3.00 ])er week to each of tlie families 
of the Decorah Guards. 

lune 17th. L. Standring turned the first scraper full of dirt into the i^ecorah 
branch of the Xorthern Iowa Railroad. Gangs of men were set at work at De- 
corah. Calmar. Ossian and Monona but the work was di.seontinued. 

In [ulv the plastering ,ind mason work of the church was 

The Norwegian Lutheran .Svnod decided to build a college on the site selected 
in West Decorah. 

August 22d. W'imieshiek Xormal Institute incorporated. -S. I'age. principal. 

September 27th and 28th. county fair. 

November 17th. Congregational church. Decorah, dedicated. E. .\dams. jiastor. 

Tiie Livengood-Telyea murder trird comiuenced near the close of tliis year 
and continued into i8C)2. 


Fourth of July celebration in Decorah. lion. M. \'. Ilurdick delivering the 


August 30th, saloon of W'm. Olcson, Decorah, burned and George Gulbran- 
son burned to death and others badly injured. 

Sei)tember 6th. Aaron Xewell, an old resident, died. 
In September the Luther College opened in Decorah. 


June 4th, work on the Norwegian Lutheran College commenced. The build- 
ing to be 150x20 feet on the ground and three stories high above the basement. 

Population of county bv assessor's returns in 1863, 15,035. Population of 
Decorah, 2,165. 

Fourth of July celebrated in Decorah ; addresses by home talent. 

November 3d, Elisha Hurlbut, postmaster of Decorah, died. Joseph Hutch- 
inson, assistant, continued in office until a successor was appointed. 


February 9th,- J. R. Slack was appointed postmaster of Decorah and took 
possession February 28th. George W. Adams was appointed his assistant. 

June 20th, the $40,000 necessary secured and engineers commenced locating 
a railroad to Decorah. 

A grist mill was built by D. Addicken and commenced running that year. 

June 30th, corner stone of the Norwegian College laid. 

October 3d, Capt. J. R. Moore, Decorah, died suddenly in his bed. 

October 12th, celebration of the arrival of the railroad at Castalia. 

October 22d, the Catholics of Decorah occupied their new chinch. 

December 22d, Decorah gets a through mail from Chicago. 


-March 20th, flood in Dry Run did considerable damage. High waters in 
the river carried away the West Decorah liridge and also the Freeport bridge. 

.April 8th, a rousing celebration in Decorah of the taking of Richmond, in 
which enthusiasm extravagantly boiled over in wild and jjeculiar freaks. 

April 27th, funeral services in Decorah, Castalia and other places on the death 
of Lincoln. 

June 15th, railroad completed to near Calmar. 

July 4th, Fourth of Julv celebration at Decorah, Col. D. P.. Henderson orator. 

July 20th, railroad completed to Conover. 

In September, Methodist parsonage at Decorah completed. 

October 15th, dedication of the Norwegian Lutheran College, one wing four 
stories high, with basement being completed. Prominent Norwegians from all 
parts of the country were present. 


The Decorah jniblic school building was built this year. 

April 1st, Decorah postofifice removed to first floor of new brick building on 
Winnebago street. 


April 5th, greatest flood since 1859, carrying otT numerous bridges and doing 
considerable damage in the county. 

July 4th, celebrated in Decorali. M. \'. Burdick and R. Swearingen orators. 

November 1st, great fire in Decorali. loss from !> ,^0,000 to 840,000. burning out 
Dennis & Hulverson, P. S. Smout, Green & Morss and others, also the office of 
the \\ inneshiek Register, established in 1866. Ilaislet Bros., jiroprietors. 

November iith, countv supervisors bought the ])resent poor farm of C. E. 

This year the railroad reached the site of Ridgeway and gave it its first start. 


The new Masonic hall, Decorali. dedicated. It was jironounccd the best in 

January 30th, Fremont House and barn burned. 

February 12th, meeting to organize a fire company in Decorah. 

May 17th, Norwegian celebration. Addresses by B. O. Dahly, K. E. Bergh, 
O. .M. I.uckcn and John .Stcen. 

May 27th, Decorah graclcd school established. 

October 3d and 4th, county fair held at Decorah. 

During this year the residences of E. E. Cooley, D. B. EUsworih. Mrs. 1 Inghes 
and J. Hunter and the Dickerman building were erected or commenced. 

The telegraph line to Decorah was completed this year. 

November 28th, Rev. E. Adams preached his Thanksgiving sermon, entitled 
"The first things of Decorah." 

Near the close of the year 1867, B. Anundson established a Norwegian jirint- 
ing office in Decorah, printing several publications for the college. .\ few years 
later he commenced the iniblication of the Decorah I'osten. 


I'cbi ii;iry 1st, Decorah secures two mails a da\'. 

This winter Decorah secures a course of lectures by Fred Douglas, Theodore 
Tilton. llenry X'incent and E. P. \\niipple. 

I'eljruary 2d, Norwegian Methodist F.])iscopal church nn Washington I'rairie 

.\l)ril, Decorah Democrat established, P>ob .^^luirley, editor. 

May 17th, .Norwegian celel)ration ; oration by Professor I-arsen. 

jul\- 4th. celeliration at Decorah; Rev. Ilendcrsdii. of l)iil)ni|uc. orator. 

October 7tli, 8th and <;th, county fair at Decorah. 

In 18^)8. by the creation of the circuit court as jireviou.sly described, the county 
court ceased to exist. The countv judge became ex officio county auditor, the new 
state of things taking effect Imu- i. iSfx). 


On New Year's day Charles Magoffin fell over the bhilY overhanging the dug- 
way. He was getting some cedar branches and stejiping on ice, slippcil and Icll 
down the blufl" and was killed. 


January 12th, Odd Fellows occupied their new hall in the Dickerman building, 
Decorah, now the Marsh Music House. 

March isth, paper mill company at Freeport organized. 

May I2th, work commenced in earnest on the Decorah branch of the railroad. 

May 9th, depot and six grain warehouses at Ossian burned. 

June /th, .'\. K. Bailey appointed postmaster at Decorah. 

June 13th, Kramer's store burned and depot and Lambert's store at Castalia 

July 4th, celebrated at Ossian and Hesper. 

July I2th, Calmar is incorporated as a village of the second class. 

August 24th, David Self was killed by his wagon tipping over into river, on 
the dugway, Decorah. He was thrown under the wagon; his wife and children 

September 15th, first regular train ran into Decorah. It was a day of celebra- 
tion and rejoicing. 

September 22d, 23d and 24th, county fair at Decorah. 

October 28th, Edgar Harden, son of H. J. Harden, was fatally stabbed at Burr 
Oak by Jasper Jewell, who became irritated by the badinage of a party of thresh- 
ers with whom he was working. 

December 2d, Beauseant Commandery of Knights Templar fully organized 
and officers installed at Decorah with a grand parade, display, etc. 

The Decorah \^entilator established this year. 

This year the railroad reached Fort Atkinson and the building of the new town 


In 1870 the old supervisor system of one from each township gave place to 
the present system except that at first there were but three supervisors, but this 
was changed, in 1872, to five, the present number. 

In February, S. S. Haislet bought E. C. Huntington's interest in the State 
Press newspaper, recently established at Decorah. 

In March woman's suffrage lectures were de'livered in Decorah by Elizabeth 
Cady Stanton. 

A 4th of July accident occurs at Spillville by the premature explosion of an 
anvil, by which four men were badly hurt. 

August 17th, the publication of the Winneshiek Representative was com- 
menced at Calmar by Bent Wood. 

Steyer's hall, Decorah, was completed this year. 

1 87 1 

February 2d, a fire in Decorah destroyed Goddard & Henry's store, the Howell 
and Heivly building occupied by P. S. Smout and Mrs. G. W. Adams' millinery 

February 24th, by legislative enactment. Decorah was incorporated a city of 
the second class. Its first election was held March 6, 1871. The first mayor was 
Charles F. Allen. 


The number of county supervisors was increased from three to five, as a* 

June 23(1. tlu- Winneshiek Representative at Calmar suspended jnihlication. 

Decorah celebrated the 4tli of July, Mahlon Willet, orator. Mr. Willet is now 
pastor of the Congregational church. 

September 6th, a homicide occurred in the evening in Frankville township. 
Wm. McClintock was scolding his nephew about some piece of mischief when a 
man. named Seeley, rode up and said: "Take one of your size.'' .And in a quar- 
rel that followed Seeley knocked McClintock down with a club. McClintock died 
three hours afterward. Seeley was held to bail in the sum of $1,000 and after- 
wards sent to the penitentiarv. 

The county fair was held at Decorah in September. 

Thd Decorah Democrat was discontinued, and the material taken to Mc- 
Gregor for a paper there. 


January 17th, old settlers of the county organized. 

March 27111. Ole I'.ull comes to Decorah. gi\es two concerts and a matinee, 
and is given a grand public reception by the people. 

July 4th, Fort .Atkinson celebrates with W. H. Bennett as orator. 

Decorah celebrates with Rev. Casebeer as orator and Mrs. TI. Bottsford as 

County fair at Decorah, September 17th, iSth, njth and 20th. 


The great storm and snow blockade commenced January 7th, continuing about 
a week. It was in this storm that conductor Mob Jamieson organized a rescue 
party and went from Calmar carrying provisions to passengers in a blockadeil 
train a little south of Ridgeway. They made their way through the blinding 
storm by starting from one telegraph pole to another, the one who found the pole 
first shouting to the others. It was nearly two weeks before tlie blockade was 
finally lifted. 

January 20th, the new schoolhouse at Fort Atkinson was burned. 

February 28th, .Andrew lohnson of Pleasant township, starting to go home 
from Decorah, froze to death on his way. 

March 12th, W. N. P.urdick, of Cresco, purchased half the interest in the 
Decorah \'entilator. 

May I7tli. Xorwegian celebraliim at Decor.ih. .\ddresscs bv ]\ev. I.arsen and 
L. S. Reque. 

June 7th, Ole P.ull again visited Decorah and gave a concert. 

September iXih. the district fair was held at Hesper. 

County fair was held .-it r>eccir;di. September 2,vl, J4th ;md ji'nh. 


March 31st. death of C. J. Henry, of the linn of Goddard & Henry, Decorah. 
April 5th. death of F. K. Ruth, of the firm of Ruth Bros., Decorah. 


Alay 24th, about this date the business part of Ridgeway burned. Twenty- 
five buildings were destroyed and $50,000 worth of property. 

Fourth of July celebrated in Decorah. Rev. H. B. Woodworth, pastor of 
Congregational church, orator. 

July 31st. new bridge over Iowa river at Decorah was finished. 

August nth, Decorah Independent started by Ed. Wood and S. S. Haislett. 

August 13th. corner stone of the Methodist Episcopal church laid. 

September nth and 12th, state line fair at Hesper, 

September 15th, i6th and i~th. county fair at Decorah. 

October 3d, H. H. Buck, of Decorah, committed suicide. 

November 3d, A. A. Aiken's Trot Run woolen factory burned. 

Greer & Hunter's mill was completed this month. 

December 2d, completion and dedication of one wing of the Norwegian College. 

December 20th, new Methodist Episcopal church of Decorah dedicated. 
Bishop Andrews of Des Moines, presiding. 

In November, 1874, Aiken & Woodruff' purchased the Winneshiek Register, 
published at Decorah (which was the successor of the Decorah \'entilator), of 
Geo. W. Haislet. In February, 1875, the Saturday Bee was published from the 
Register office and during the snow blockade about that time and afterwards, at 
times when occasion demanded, it was issued daily. The present Decorah Journal, 
F. E. Biermann, editor and publisher, is the successor to the Register, having 
absorbed the Independent ; the Bee also becoming a part of the Journal estab- 


February 4th, a snow blockade continued several days. 

March 3d, Ole Anderson, who lived north of Hesper, going home from De- 
corah froze his hands and feet. A suit against H. D. Solberge followed in which 
$6,000 damage was awarded Anderson's wife. 

March 31st, it was decided to erect a new Episcopal church in Decorah this 

May 9th, Rev. Father McNulty, pastor of the Catholic church, Decorah, died. 

June 23d, this night occurred the great flood of Dry Run, supposed to have 
been caused by a water spout. Three small dwellings were carried away and five 
bridges over Dry Run ; Washington Street bridge being the only one saved. All 
the bridges and much of the railroad track between Decorah and Conover were 
washed away. 

July 2d, presiding elder Wm. Smith of the Methodist Episcopal church, died. 

July 7th, county supervisors provided for new iron bridges in various parts 
of the county. 

July 17th, death of D. Addicken of Decorah. 

July 19th, death of Horace S. Weiser of Decorah. 

September 21st, 22d and 23d, State Line Fair at Hesper. 


.. 1876 

January 41I1. jnhn 11. Stickles died; ii was sui)iiosed thai lie was poisoned. 
The famous niunler trials resultinjJ' from his death are recorded in jjrevious chaj)- 

Januar\- 9th, Charles Meyers. su])ervisor from second district, died. 

January 31st, J. Ellen Foster lectured at the courthouse on temperance. 

March 3d, first accident on the Decorah branch of the railroad. Train was 
ditched three miles from the city. Eleven persons were hurl hut none was killed. 

March 14th, the new Episco])al church at Decorah was dedicated. 

April Jill, Peter Dufifin, an old settler, died. 

June 18th, Luther church, Decorah, was dedicated. 

July 4th, centennial celebration at Decorah with oration by II. P). Wood- 
worth and meeting of the old settlers in the afternoon. 

October 10, 1876, Geo. W. Ilaislet, who had been engaged in various news- 
paper enterprises in Decorah, Cresco, Lansing, McGregor and lately for about a 
year at Dubuque, came back to Decorah and established the Decorah Radical, which 
he published till the time of his death in the spring of 1881 as recorded under that 

July 9th. in Fraiikville township Simeon Oleson shot and killed Anderson 
Theonson, who came to a party uninvited. After two trials Oleson was acquitted. 

September 6th, Capt. T. W. Burdick was nominated for Congress, being the 
first Representative from Winneshiek county, and was elected. 

Sejjtember iQlh, 20th and 21st, fair at Hes])er. 

At the November election a $12,000 tax, divided between two years, was 
voted to build a new jail. 

December 21, 1876, near Locust Lane, while several teams were on the 
way home from Decorah, a quarrel arose and llelge NeUson struck Ed. Torfin 
a fatal blow on the head with a clul). Nelson escaped with six months in the 


February ist, a new hotel, the .Xrlington 1 louse, was opcneii at Decorah. 

May 30th, tirst observance of Decoration Day in Decorah. 11. .^. Henderson, 
orator, and C. Wellington, reader. 

June 8th. death of Joseph Grinsell. station agent at Decorah, his body being 
found in an unoccupied house at Prairie du (hien. 

June 14th, in the district court llelge .Nelson was convicted of manslaughter 
in killing ICdwin Torfin, December 21, \f^~Ci. 

July 4th. celebrated bv old settlers, reuniun ;it Weiser's grove. 

July. James Relf, a pioneer, died. 

July 4, Howard's livery stable, Decorah, burned and other property greatly 

This same month it was concluded to have an artesian well in Decorah. 

July 3ISI, Recorder Charles .\. Steen, who was wounded at Gettysburg, died 
in Decorah, aged 40 years, ii months ,ind i day. Cyrus McKay was appointed 
to fill the vacancy until the next election. 

October, fair held at Ilesper. 


October i8th, a fire at Calmar burned four business houses, including Mc- 
Alullen's drug store, a shoe store, restaurant and saloon. 

November 3d, Charles Hartsing, of Castalia, one of the first settlers of Win- 
neshiek county, died, aged sixty-five years. 

November 29th, Adams' Block, Decorah, burned, Inirning out Ben Bears' 
clothing store, Coleman & Toye's drug store, J. C. Meuser's jewelry store, New- 
ton's grocery and some other tenants. 

Decorah had a lecture course the following winter with General Kilpatrick, 
Henry W'atterson, Mrs. Livermore and Will Carleton. 


January 28th, work on the artesian well, Decorah, stopped, it having reached a 
depth of 1,200 feet, and the water being thirty feet from the top. 

April 4th, the board of supervisors having this spring provided for the con- 
struction of a new jail contracted for Pauley's steel cells. 

.April iith, plans for the new jail adopted, the site of which is located on the 
southeast corner of the courthouse grounds. 

July 1st, contract awarded for building a new county jail which was erected 
the same year. 

September 17th, i8th, 19th, fair at Ilesper. 

October loth, Harvey Benedict fell from the house of his brother, A. A. 
Benedict, and was killed. 

November 21st, the bodv of H. A. Hegg of Decorah was found in the creek 
at the railroad bridge near Standring's cut. The coroner's jury found that his 
death was caused by strychnine and that it occurred before he fell into the water. 
The mystery of his death was never solved. 


February 15th, Blue Ribbon movement organized by John W. Drew in De- 
corah and reform club established. 

May 17th, Norwegian celebration ; orations by Professors Sander, X'eblen 
and others. 

May 30th, Decoration Day in Decorah ; oration by H. B. Woodworth. 

June 22d, twenty-fifth anniversary of the Congregational church of Decorah 

July 4th, celebration in Decorah, John T. Stoneman, orator. Celebrated at 
Ossian, Rev. Sherin, orator. 

August 7th, Decorah township voted a 4 per cent tax to induce the Waukon 
narrow gauge railroad, which was then leased to the Northwestern, to come to 
Decorah. The roadbed was graded, but the Milwaukee company bought it up 
— it did not come — and Decorah saved its tax. 

September, fair at Hesper this year. 

November 12th, Janauschek, the actress, appeared at Decorah. 

December ist. Judge E. E. Cooley appointed to fill the vacancy caused by 
the resignation of Judge Reuben Noble. 

June 13th, the railroad depot at Conover burned. 


July 41I1, celebration at Ilesper. Rev. H. B. W'oodworth, orator. Ossian 
also celebrated. 

|ul\- 23d, at the Peter Coogan schoolhousc, three miles north of Uecorah, 
Willard Van Pelt shot George Rastetler through the side, the latter having been 
abusing and threatening Van Pelt. Both were young men. Van Pelt was 
arrested and held for trial, when he was finallv fined $20 and costs. Rastetler's 
wound was at lirst thought to be dan;^erous. hut he recovered. 

August igth, Thomas L'pdegraff was unanimously renominated for Con- 
gress by the republican convention at McGregor, and was re-elected. 

September 12th, Henry Diers was stabbed by Mike Holehan. whom he iiad 
ordered away from Addickcn's brewery on Sunda\-. Diers" wound was thought 
to be fatal, but he recovered. Holehan was held in !^5,ooo bail, and on trial 
was sentenced to one year and si.x months in the penitentiary. 

Sejitemljer 15th, 16th and I7lh. fair at Hcsper. 

February i^tli, Rcmen\i, the great \iolinist, gave a concert in Decorah. 

February iXtli, meetings held in Decorah to organize Citizens' Association, 
which organization was afterwards ettected. 

March ''ith. (George W. Haislet, an old newspajier man and editor of the 
Decorah Radical, died. The publication of the Radical was continued for 
about one year by Mrs. Haislet, and in the spring of 18S2 was ]Hirchased by 
C. H. Craig, who changed its name to the Decorah Pantagraph. 

March iith. \\"m. Telford, an old settler of Decorah, fifty-one years of age, 
fell dead at a fire at the foot of Pleasant Hill. 

March 28th, James McConnell. an old resident of P.lufTton, was killed by 
being thrown from his wagon on his way home fmm Decorah. 

March 29tli, Chicago, Decorah iS: Alinnesota Railroad Coni|ianv incor]>orated. 

April 1st. Professor Jacobson, of l.uther College, died. 

May Mth. tiie city council of Decorah voted to build \\alcr\v(irk>, which 
were completed that year. 

May 30th, Decoration Day. Decorah; 1''. l'>. Daniels, of Dubucjue, deliver- 
ing the oration. F. E. Brush, pastor of the M. E. church, Decorah, delivered 
the address at the cemetery. 

June loth, observance at i"rank\illc of the one hmidredth annivcrsarv of 
Father Cutler's birtlnlay. 

August, contract let for waterworks in Decorali. 

August I2tli, Decorah postoflice moved into its new building. 

Sejitember 20th, 21st and 22(1, county fair at Decorah. 

November 9th, Decorah township voted .1 5 per cent ta.\ to the r])pcr bnva 
& Mississipjji Railroad Company, conditioned on its building a railroad to the 
Mississippi, at or about Lansing. The road was not built and the tax was 
forfeited. It is now stated tliat the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad 
Company, who are widening the gauge to Waukon. will continue the work to 
Decorah, thus giving them another outlet via Calmar from the west, rather than 
to build a double track from Calmar to McGregor. 


Hesper, Burr Oak and Bluffton townships also voted taxes to a road run- 
ning through them to be built from La Crosse to the southwest through Charles 
City, and the right of way for the road is being secured. 


February 22d, Decorah waterworks trial, parade and celebration. 

April 14th, Decorah township voted a 5 per cent tax to a railroad to con- 
nect with the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern, to be completed before 
September, 1883. 

June 4th, murder in Glenwood township. Peter Peterson Krogsund was 
shot and killed by Hans Hanson Skjerdahl. 

June 22d, Decorah Drum Corps wins first prize at the State Military En- 
campment at Waterloo. The Decorah Light Guards also took a prize. 

June 27th, prohibitory amendment adopted in Iowa. Vote of Winneshiek 
county was 1,411 for, 1.696 against the amendment. 

July 4th, celebrated in Decorah. with oration by F. E. Brush, of Davenport. 
At Ossian. oration by T. J. Sullivan. It was also observed at Fort Atkinson. 

July Sth, Turner Callender, an old resident of Frankville, died. He came 
to the county in 1849. 

August 29th, the Decorah Drum Corps wins a victory at the Inter-State 
Military Encampment at Dubuque, being victors over the Chicago Drum Corps, 
and winning the first prize of $500. 

October 19th, C, M. & St. P. Ry. secures right of way from depot site on 
Railroad avenue to the Ice Cave Mill, Decorah, for purpose of extending tracks 
and securing passenger depot location on Water street. Work began October 

November 5th, new Methodist church at Freeport dedicated. 
November 23d, Masonic bodies of Decorah complete fitting up of new lodge 
rooms in Barthell building. 

November 20th, John Elliott of Bluffton sells forty-eight hogs weighing 16,- 
815 pounds for $1,011.65 — a big sum in those days. 

November 27th, electric lights first shown in Decorah. Stock company was 
formed to build plant, on December 6th. 

November 31st, Jacob Hegg of Calmar township is accidentally killed while 
on his way home from town. 

December 3d, William Beard, pioneer of Frankville and father of creamery 
movement in this city, passed away. 

December 19th, Congregational church of Decorah calls Rev. John Willard 
of Newtonville, Massachusetts. James Henry Baker, well-known grain buyer, 
and Wm. H. Fannon die. 

During this year the marriage of the following well-known people occurred : 
(October i8th), Ex-Sheriff D. C. Moore and Ella Heivly ; Minnie Webber 
and T- Fairbanks of Clarion; (October 25th j, James W. Hogan and Grace Finn; 
(November ist), Julius J. Hopperstad and Emma Wilson; (December 17th), 
Louis B. Whitney and Ella L. Cratsenberg, both of Burr Oak; (December 20th), 
Rev. J. W. Magelson of Rushford, Minnesota, and Thora Larsen, eldest daugh- 
ter of Prof, and Mrs. Laur Larsen of Luther College. 



January ist. Sheriff II. M. I.anglaiid and Ella Sloan married. While the 
wedding was in progress, Mrs. Garvey, held on a murder charge, escaped from 
county jail but was captured the next day at the home of Thomas Dugan in 
Glenwood township. She was subsequently tried at Waukon, convicted and 
sentenced to the penitentiary for life. 

January 18th to 23d. give six days of continuous cold weather. On the 18th 
the mercury at 8 A. M. showed 17'^ below zero. It moderated to 14° above at 
8 P. M. and stood at zero the morning of the lyth. At noon that day it was 
6° below and from then on until the morning of the 24th the mercury did not 
rise above zero, the coldest reading being 28° below on the morning of the 
2ist. At Hesper 36° below was recorded, and Calmar reported 37° below. On 
January 31st it was again 28° below in Decorah. 

February 5th, Calmar school is closed on account of diphtheria. 

February 22d, the sale of land in Hesper township at $20.00 per acre is 
recorded as an indication that real estate is moving at fair price. 

March 25th, M. E. church at Calmar dedicated by Chaplain .McCabe. 

April 1 2th, contracts let for building new poorhouse at Freeport. 

May 8th, Colonel Hughes Post, G. A. R., organized, with Major C. 11. Ilitch- 
cock as commander. 

May i4tli, Decorah Drum Corps depart for the National Encampment at 
Nashville, Tennessee, where they captured the honors and a pair of gold mounted 
drum sticks for the best martial music. 

May 28th, Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Williams, pioneers of Washington Prairie, 
celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. 

June 1st, the Iowa district meeting of the Norwegian Lutheran .'-^ynod is held 
at Calmar. 

June 14th, Winneshiek county is free from debt with a $20,000 net surplus 
in the treasury. X. H. .Adams resigns as county treasurer and C. I^. Meader, 
his deputy, succeeds him. with C. E. I'arfoot of Madison township as his 

June 17th, severe storm sweeps over county. In .^umner township buildings 
were blown down and unroofed. .\t the Crawford farm at lUirr Oak Springs 
nearly all the outbuildings were destroyed. In Decorah shade trees were blown 
down and ujirootcd, buildings were moved, and water from the river was car- 
ried ten feet u]) its bank by the wind. 

July 20th to 23d was a storm period during which 0.2') inches of rain fell, 
causing large property losses in Decorah along Dry Run. .\ number of bridges 
were washed out, county roads were rendered impassable, .mil li^hining caused 
the destruction of considerable farm property. 

Julv 24th, Daubersmith"s mill near Kidgeway burns. 

August 3d, eight horses and colts killed and two others badly injured by the 
Calmar train in Madison township. They belonged to (^le N. Bergen and had 
escaped from their pasture. Loss $1,500. 

August 6th, Sarah King, an imbecile, attacked and ravished by Arthur Mc- 
Intyre, Charles Wedgewood, \'inccnt and Jerome Bartlett. Mclntyrc and Jerome 
P.artlett were sent to the penitentiary for the crime. 


September 6th, three cases of leprosy reported in the county. 

September nth, Winneshiek County Fair opens with the cattle and horse 
show equalling that of the State Fair. Upwards of 7,000 people attended on 
the 13th. 

October 2qth. the Decorah Manufacturing Company organized with $25,000 
capital. Its life was short, owing to mismanagement and lack of business. 

November 9th, Dick Arthur, a notorious offender, arrested at Spillville by 
federal officers for washing and selling used U. S. stamps. 

November 17th, four hundredth anniversary of the birth of Martin I.uther 
celebrated by churches of Decorah. 

November 2gth, the old safe in the county treasurer's oflicc, used since 
1855, is sold to Huber Brothers, of Fort Atkinson, for $35.00. 

December loth, Frank Jessmer, incendiary and horse thief, wanted for burn- 
ing David Perry's barn in Bloomfield township in October, 1879, is arrested in 

December 19th, B., C. R. & N. Ry. promises to build to Decorah if tax is 
voted. Township trustees meet and order election. President Tracy states the 
road will be built "and shall not remain there." Unfortunately Mr. Tracy died, 
else Decorah would now be on a through railroad line, because he always kept 
his word. 

During the year many prominent old people and pioneers were called to their 
last rest. On January i6th Father Cutler of Frankville died at the age of loi 
years, 7 months and 6 days. Mrs. Elizabeth Day, "the mother of Decorah." 
died February 12th. James Hutchinson of Hesper (1854) died March 12th. 
Mrs. J. W. Holm, a Canoe pioneer of 1854, on March 25th, and Mrs. Anna 
Johnson, wife of Nelson Johnson of the Norwegian pioneers in Decorah, on 
March 27th, were the next to be claimed by death. They were followed on 
April 1st by Mrs. .\nna Maria Siege! of Military, aged ninety-two. Josiah God- 
dard, Sr., who located near Fort Atkinson in 1849, died on April 20th, and his 
namesake, Josiah, Jr., who came with him, died October 6th. The record shows 
others as follows: Henry Giesen of Fort Atkinson, April 26; James Hunter, 
of the old Greer & Hunter milling firm, April 28, at Mitchell, S. D. ; Catherine 
Sherry, of Washington Prairie, the same day. 

There were eight tragic and accidental deaths recorded also. 


January loth, A. Bernatz & I!ro take charge of Ice Cave Mills. 

February 20th, Citizens Savings Bank of Decorah commences business. 

February 14th, the old log cabin built in Decorah by "Uncle Billy" Day in 
7849 is discovered on the farm of John S. Nelson in Glenwood township. It 
was in use as the home of Mr. Nelson and his family. 

■ February loth. Military township gives the B., C. R. & N. Ry. tax proposi- 
tion a majority of fifty-nine, in the second election. The first election was void 
because of defects in the notice of election. 

March 3d, W. H. \'alleau elected mayor of Decorah. W. G. W. Sawyer 
mayor of West Decorah. 

March 9th, Ridgeway creamery burned. Loss $3,000. 


March 17th, district court opens with a calendar whicli includes trials for 
murder, rape, assault with intent to commit rape, assault with intent to commit 
great bodily injury, larceny, theft, arson, and illegal sales of liquor. 

May 15th, tlie first dividend of the coming of the B., C. R. & N. Rv. is a 
cut of about 16 per cent in freight rates, 

June, mortgage for $6,000,000 covering the 11., L". R. iS: X. Ry. is recorded 
in Winneshiek county. 

June 1 2th. design and bid for soldiers' monument approved and accepted. 

July 14th, firm of S. W. Landers & Son make assignment. Indebtedness 

August 22d, fire at the home of James Kitchen results in severe injury to 
Mrs. Kitchen and two children, the daughter Arvilla dying from her burns. 

September 1st, M. W. llanlen, county clerk, resigns to engage in banking liusi- 
ress at Grafton, N. 1). 

October 9th, John G. Carlisle, Speaker of House of Representatives, is main 
speaker at Democratic rally in Decorah. 

October idtli, John Cmtiii. Dcconib pioneer, liveryman, sells out and becomes 

October 22d, Twenty-tifih amiiversary of Prof. Larsen's connection with 
Luther College celebrated. 

October 23d. last rail of H., C. R. & X. extension is laid. Dr. 11. C. Bullis 
and T. W. lUirdick dri\c the last sjiike. 

November 20th, celebration of completion of B., C. R. iV X. Rv. to Decorah. 
Train service began Xovemlier loth. 

December 2d, Trout Run mill (leslroNcd bv fire. 

During ICS84 the following old residents and pioneers died: 

February 22d. Mrs. Iver G. Ringstad (1851); February 2yth, .Austin Mat- 
tison and Jolm Blackinton ; Mrs. Groe Eggerud Abrahamson (Springfield, 1850) ; 
July 24th, Prof. Cornelius Narve.son of Luther College; October 24tli. Michael 
Bernatz, of Fort Atkinson. 

Six tragic deaths occurred during the year. 


January ist. Wm. P.eard & Son's Ice Cave Creamery ships 34,000 pounds 
of butter to New Orleans, part of it for exhibiticMi at the fair. 

January 19th to 22d was a cold spell, the iherinometer registering from ;^2- 
lo 42^ below zero. 

January i()lh. Judge and .Mrs. J. G. Morss celebrate golden wedding. 

January Jijtii. word received that the .Xortheastern Iowa Creamery .\ 
ciation captured first i)reniium in Class D for largest display of butter, quality 
considered, and the Beard creamery captured first for individual exhibits and 
second in the pro rata premium at the Xew (Vleans Exposition. 

March 19th, Lutherans of Calmar prej-iare to build a new church. 

April 2d, Robert Simpson returns from .Scotland where he purchased three 
head of Aberdeen Angus cattle which are addwl to his herd at Burr ( )ak : fire 
destroys store at Plymouth Rock. 


April 5th, John Lane and family of West Decoiah narrowly escapes asphyx- 
iation from coal gas escaping from a stove in their home. 

June 1 2th, schoolhouse in sub-district No. 6 Bluff ton township, struck by 
lightning: teacher and pupils are stunned, but otherwise no serious damage was 

June 1 8th, A. K. Bailey, postmaster of Decorah, received notice that he had 
been removed for "offensive partisanship," and John Finn would be his succes- 
sor. Mr. Bailey's removal was the iirst in Iowa after Grover Cleveland became 
president. Mr. Bailey retired on July 4tli, having served sixteen years without 
opposition or asking for the appointment. Rev. H. B. Woodworth, former pastor 
of the Congregational church of Decorah, appointed as professor of Math- 
ematics, Physics and Astronomy in the University of North Dakota. Reverend 
\\'oodworth subsequently became president of the university, retaining his posi- 
tion until his death. 

July 28th, hard wind storm does great damage to business section of Decorah, 
tearing up tin roofs, leveling smoke stacks, signs, etc., and in some instances 
tearing out parts of buildings. At the Henry R. Thomas farm West of Decorah 
a granary and a barn were moved from their foundations and his hired man 
lifted into a tree. The storm hit Decorah at four o'clock and Dubut]ue at 
5 :20, traveling at the rate of a mile a minute. 

August 26th, Mrs. Joshua Hartwell of Bluffton died. No one knew her 
age, but as near as could be ascertained she was in the neighlrorhood of no 

September loth, Day Brothers, sons in Decorah's first family, sell their 
lumber yard and moved to Wausau, Wisconsin. 

August 26th, John Scott is relieved as postmaster at Calmar after serving 
fifteen years. W'. L. Bass was his successor. 

November 12th, W. T. Symonds purchases Decorah greenhouses and removes 
them to West Decorah. This was the beginning of a very successful enterprise. 

November 19th, one Decorah bank pays out over $7,000 during the week 
for swine purchased by one firm. 

November 28th, Leonard's book store burned in Decorah. Loss $10,000; 
insurance, $7,300. 

November 2Qth, new Lutheran church at Calmar dedicated. 

December 23d. the marriage of Nettie Casterton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 
Ogden Casterton, to Granville Fawcett, was a social event in Highland township. 
Deaths during the year: January 17th, John T. Clark, pioneer lawyer, at Post- 
I'ille; January 21st, Mrs. N. Brandt, for years the "mother" at Luther College, 
at Cleveland. Ohio: March 22d, Archa Dennis (1854); April iTith, Samuel 
Aiken, well-known breeder of Holstein cattle; iSIay i8th, Tiedman Aldrich 
(Hesper, 1859) ; Julv ist. Nelson Burdick ( I'"reeport, 1853), treasurer of county 
from 1854 to i860, and charter member of Decorah Congregational church; 
David P. West of Canoe ; also four tragedies. 

1 886 

January 13th, a church, eight residences, an office, several store houses and 
3 score of other buildings comprise the huilding activities at Calmar in 1885. 


January I2tli, E. Webster, a well-known buyer, shi])s eight cars of stock, 
aggregating $8,000 in value, the result of one week's purchases. 

January 21st, A. W. Kramer at Castalia, H. Towner at Fort Atkinson, and 
A. J. Cratsenberg at Burr Oak are relieved of their duties as postmasters to 
make room for three democrats who want the jobs. 

January 28th, the Winneshiek County Farmer's Mutual Insurance Company 
reports no losses for the year 1S85. and the expenses of doing business only 

January 28tli, Hon. T. \\ . Ilurdick, Senator for Winneshiek county, intro- 
duces bill in Legislature jiroviding for the erection of a Soldier's Home. It was 
passed and Marshalltown secured the location. C. \V. Burdick was named one 
of the commissioners, and George Draper superintended its construction. 

Fourteen days in January show temperature of zero or lower, the coldest 
being 28° below. F^'ebruary ist to 4th show successively 12°, 23^, 25° and 29° 

February 13th, Peter Olson, Calmar's leading merchant, fails, his liabilities 
aggregating between $30,000 and $40,000 with assets scheduled at $32,700. 

February 15th, the postofiKce at Woodside is discontinued. 

March i8th, John Finn, new democratic postmaster of Decorah, indicted for 
illegal voting. When the Australian ballot law came into effect Mr. F'inn could 
not produce his naturalization papers and he went before the court at Waukon 
and took out new papers. He claimed his old ones were lost and on trial was 

May 6th, Iowa and .Minnesota Tele|)li()ne Company are building lines tiirough 
Winneshiek county. Calmar Telephone Company is building line to Decorah. 

May 30th, the German Methodist church in Decorah is dedicated. 

May 27th, the George Pheliis monument arrives and is being erected in De- 
corah cemetery. It was cut from two blocks of granite weighing sixty tons and 
was considered to be uneciualled in Iowa. Dr. F. S. Xorthrup. murdered in 
Hancock county, was the hrst township clerk of Glenwood township where he 
resided from the earlv '50s to iSru;. Winneshiek soldiers' monument (.■oni])leted. 

June loth, camps of Modern Woodmen of .America are being organized. 

June 27th, terrific hail storm passes over northern part of county. In Hes- 
per township between 500 and 750 acres of corn and grain were destroyed and 
great damage was done to windows. In jjlaccs hail stones drifted to a deiith of 
four feet. 

July 2i){h. new Methodist I'.piscopal church to be built in ( )rleans townshi]>. 

August 1st, Rev. F. J. Mynard closed his pastorate at (jrace Episcopal church 
in Decorah. 1 le moved to California and subsei|uently became bisho]) of Montana. 

.SeiHember 7th. soldiers' monument dedicated by Col. W. P. Hepburn. 5.000 
estimated attendance. 

September 8th, Barnum & I'.ailey's circus visits Decorah for first time .ind is 
attended by crowds aggregating 24.000 at two performances. 

Sejiteniber loth, Winneshiek county fair closed with a total of 996 entries in 
the stock department. Rain and the Barnum circus make it a financial failure. 

October 14th, Luther College celebrates twenty-fifth anniversary. 

October 6*.h, Home of Dr. P. M. Jewell of ( )ssian is burned. A hot fight is 


waged between Levi Rullis of Decorah and John B. Kaye of Calmar for the county 
attorneyship. Kaye was elected by seventy-seven majority. 

November nth, nuire or less diphtheria is reported throughout the county. 
Five children of A. R. Anderson of Springfield township died from the disease. 

November i6th, winter sets in early with snow storm that delays trains. 

November 25th, W'iiuicshiek school census is 8,365, with 6.057 enrolled in 
schools, daily attendance 3,050. Cost of operation $44,548.82, cost of buildings, 
etc., $3,849.84. total $48,398.66. This represents about 42'7( of all taxes collected 
in the county. 

December 4th, a half ton of butter disappears from the Ridgeway Creamery 
and was never recovered. 

Deaths of the year : January 22d, Ingebor Asgrimson Sorbor ( Springfield, 
1850); April 2ist, Dr. W. F. Coleman, veteran of Seventeenth Iowa Infantry; 
April 25th. Abigail Hall Dickerman-Smith (Decorah, 1856); April 30th, Mrs. 
H. H. Hinterman (Spillville, 1855) ; May 8th Judge M. V. Burdick, pioneer law- 
yer and editor; May 23d, D. B. Dennis (Decorah, 1858), well known grocer; 
Tune 29th, Ex-recorder Anton P. Rocksvold, Glenwood township ; September 25th, 
Robert Griffin (Pleasant, 1855) ; October 5th, James W. Mott, miller at Trout 
Run. Also five tragic deaths. 

December 23d, Mrs. Zeuriah Post, widow of Joel Post, first settler on the 
prairie just east of Castalia, passed away. She and her husband conducted the 
Half-way House on the old ^Military road, from 1840 on. 


January 14th, Decorah Institute closed for two weeks on account of outbreak 
of diphtheria. 

January 26th, fire destroyed stock of P. H. Whalen, Decorah ; loss $6,000, 
insurance $3,100 

February loth, violators of the prohibitionary law to the number of twenty- 
one in Decorah, five in Ossian. eight each in Calmar and Spillville, three each in 
Conover and Fort Atkinson, two in Jackson Junction and one each in Ridgeway 
and Festina are served with notice of suit. When they found they were "on the 
rocks," all agreed to "arbitrate" and after submitting to an injunction paid the 
costs and agreed to sin no more. 

March 5th, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. A. Blodgett sits down in 
pail of boiling water and dies from scalding. 

March 24th, D. P. Hawes is one of the successful participants in the Louisiana 
state lottery, drawing $15,000, one-tenth of the capital prize. Dexter W. Nicker- 
son, a former Blufifton boy, nominated by republicans for city treasurer of Chi- 

April 7th, Farrell, a Bluffton saloon-keeper, fined $500 for violating a liquor 
injunction, as was also a Mrs. Dahl. 

May 31st, Decorah Wind Mill Company in process of organization. 

July 17th, Gusta Otteson. domestic in the family of A. Herman, died from 

July 22d, Lieutenant and Mrs. Ole A. Anderson celebrate silver wedding. 


July 26tli. Daniel Ilauky. Irtepoii iiioncer of 1855, and builder of tirst Win- 
neshiek county courihousc. jiassed away at his home in Decorah. 

July 30th, the Lutheran and Methodist churches at Calmar are struck i)y 
lightning and the fornK-r burned. 

Sep'.cniber loth, b(jdy of C. E. Mcader, county treasurer, found in l'])dcgraff 
grove with bullet hole in his head and revolver lying by his side. Sui)se(|uent 
investigation disclosed shortage of over $5,000 in his accounts. 

October 5th and 6th. Thirty-eighth Iowa Regiment holds rcmiion in Decorah 
with attendance of one hundred and twenty. 

October 14th, Decorah Drum Corps returns from Chicago with lirst prize of 
ten rosewood shell drums and eight ivory headed piccolos, offered by the Daily 
News at the National encami)nient. 

December 20th, Addicken P.rewery closed by suiircine court of Iowa. 

During the year 1887 occurred the death of a number of pioneers. Among 
them were the following: Jaiuiary ist. Johanna Stortz, Canoe, i<S59. Patrick 
Nolan. Bluffton. February ijlh. Airs. Abigail M. Cleveland, Hesper, 1853. 
.March 28th, Erick G. Egge, Madison. 1853. March 29th. \Vm. Mitchell. Hesper. 
.April 21 St. Lars Ilaakenson. Decorah, 1855. May 2d, Nathaniel Cornell, lUooni- 
field, 1854. May 12th, A. Howell, Decorah, 1854. Lars Iverson, Canoe, 1850. 
F. B. Landers. Decorah. 1856. Rachael Hitchcock, Burr Oak, 1855. S. M. Leach, 
Canoe, 1851. Mrs. S. 1'.. Dunlaj). Washington, 1853. E. C. Lennon. Erankville, 
1855. Mrs. G. T. l.omen. Decorah. John O. Miles. ( )rleans, 1855. Frank B. 
Snell, liluffton, 1855. .Mrs. William l'.;iker, Bloomtield, 1857. .Andrew Sheetz, 
Decorah, 1852. 


January 15th, tire at Ridgeway destroys Allen & Prann's drug store. Tuck's 
liardware. and (]. R. Baker's general store. Loss $23,000; insurance $ 

January 13th, 14th and 15th. Ijlizzard with thermometer registering from 
15° to 27° below zero. Between the nth and the 25th the mercury ranged 
from zero to 27° below-. 

March 3d. news comes of death of hVancis Tealjout. pioneer and originator 
of town of I"rank\ille. at Sanborn. 

April 5tli. Up])er Iowa river flooded. G. V. Puntney states but once in 
thirty-six years had he seen the water higher in the river. 

April 15th. J. S. Hickey of Ridgeway took his life. Domestic difficulties 
were the cause. 

May 7tii, a rain and wind siorni of great violence does great damage. Magne 
Langland. a Highland townslii]) lad. is sw'ept away and drowned in torrent in 
liear Creek. 

July 1st. B. I >. iiaines of iiesiier on his way to Decora!) to take the train 
for Allison, Iowa, to engage in business, finds his pocketbook missing. It con- 
tained $1,000. Decorah postoffice becomes second-class and salary of ])ostmaster 
increases from $1,900 to $2,000. 

July 4th, Ossian creamery burned. 

August 2(1. Rev. .Miraham Jacob.son. Springfield townshi]) ])ionecr who returned 
to Norway on a visit, writes tliat on shipboard he was thrown violently by the 


lurching of the ship and one of his hips broken, necessitating his detention in 
a hospital for five weeks. He completed his visit nevertheless. 

August 9th, firm of Olson & Thompson, general merchants, Decorah, dis- 
solves after twenty-five years, Mr. Olson retiring. 

September 7th, Knut Larson, a Military township pioneer, is killed by the 
cars as he was driving into Ossian. 

September 27th, announcement made that Prof. L. S. Reque of Luther 
College had been nominated by the democrats of the fourth district for Congress. 
He was defeated at the polls by J. H. Sweney of Osage. 

September 21st, three hundred neighbors help Mr. and Mrs. B. M. Lien 
of Hesper celebrate silver wedding. 

October 21st, fire damaged Decorah ^L E. church to extent of $1,400. 

November 2d, a hot political campaign closed with a monster county republican 
rally participated in by hundreds. Its equal was never held in this part of 

During the year 1888 the following deaths occurred among the old residents 
of the county: March 3d, Elizabeth H. Strayer, Freeport, 1853. March 21st, 
Elijah Clark, Fremont, 1853. June 29th, Christopher A. Estram, Frankville, 
1850. July 6th, Mrs. Mary Thornton, Bloomfield, 1858. September loth, S. B. 
Dunlap, Washington, 1855. September 30th, Frank P. Jones, Hesper, 1855. 
October loth, Roleun Chamberlain, Freeport, 1S55. 


April (;th, friends and neighbors assisted Mr. and Mrs. T. N. Wilson of 
Hesper celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of their wedding. They were Hesper 
residents since 1856. 

April 24th, firm of Leonard & Son, Decorah, takes place of firm of Jas. 
Alex. Leonard. 

April 23d, lightning struck Elevator "B" at Decorah, which destroyed same. 

May 19th, Luther College burned. Lou and Dell Coleman, sons of Dr. W. F. 
Coleman, severely burned. The latter died from his injuries. 

lune 14th, German church two and one-half miles southeast of Ridgeway 

September 19th, record of land sale at $40 per acre; this was considered above 
the average in this county. 

September 19th, fire destroyed building of Julius Meyer at Decorah. Charred 
remains of Meyer found after the fire had been extinguished. 

September 19th, new United Lutheran church at Decorah dedicated. 

October, Tarvold Evenrud found dead on his farm at Glenwood. Sup- 
posed suicide. 

November i8th, Sherifif Langland severely wounded Ijy a shot from a tough 
he was arresting. 

December 7th, X. H. .Adams' seed warehouses wiped out by fire. 

December 20th, farm home of Winfred Baker in BlufYton township burned. 

December 30th, Todd Peck killed by the cars in C, M. & St. P. yards in 
Decorah. He was engaged in tagging cars, slipped on the end of a tie and went 
p.nder the wheels. 


Among the iiaines of the pioneers who passed away during iSSy we find the 
following: January 4lh, Mrs. T. W. Burdick, Freeport. 1856. January 17th, 
Mrs. S. B. Ervin, north of Decorah, 1850. January 27th. Wm. Birdsell, Frank- 
ville, 1831. Paris R. Baker, Blufifton ; Sven J. Folkedahl ; and Sever Gilbert- 
son, Highlandville, 1859. February 5th, R. N. Sawyer, Ossian, 1855. March, 
Rollin Wilson, Decorah, 1855. March 25th, Albert Stonson Grindeland, High- 
land, 1852. June 2d, Ira Blooiiifield, Decorah. 1854. June 17th, Isaac G. 
West, Freeport, 1855. June 2yth, Robert Kirkland, Freeport, 1855. J^'b' ^d, 
B. F'. Giles, Canoe, 1852. July 9th, Charles Brady, Bluffton, 1853. October 
i8th. Silas Dayton, Decorah, June, 1856. November 25th. Wilson W. McIIenry, 
Decorah, 1855. 


January ist. Rev. P. Garrahan of Decorah Catholic church fleparts for Ire- 
land on a health recui)eralion trip. 

January 2d, John Kavorik, a farmer residing near Conover, found dead 
in the road under circumstances indicating he had been kicked by one of his 

January 4tii. Mrs. W. H. \'allcau of Decorah passes away. 

January i6th, two eagles trapped near Bluffton. 

April 4th, fire in Calniar swept away property valued at $11,000. The 
losers being John Scott, Jos. Wallendcr, and Town hall. 

May 9th. Alice Glover received fatal injuries. The buggy in which she was 
riding was struck by the cars at the Broadway crossing in Decorah. She died 
two days later. 

June 23d, heavy rains cause floods that do damage to great dams and bridges 
along the Upper Iowa and its tributaries. 

September 22d, Mrs. Daniel Borst of Frankville, aged seventy-nine years, 
burned to death. 

October 14th, new Luther College building dedicated. 

Among the list of deaths we find the following pioneers: January 22d. 1-". M. 
Farnsworth, Orleans, 1855. February 9th, Mrs. T. M. Hoyt, Freeport, 1855. 
February lOth, Xarve Gilbertson, Madison. February 3d, Gullick I. l'>erg. Decorah, 
1850. March 13th, Thomas Headington, Canoe, 1859. April "th, Mrs. Anna 
Morse. Bluffton, 1852. .\pril nth, l-4)hraim Webster, Piurr Oak, 1855. June 
3d, Mrs. Frank Snell, Bluffton, 1854. June 28th, Dr. John M. I'ireen, Decorah. 
1856. July 2ist, Mrs. A. O. Lomen, Si)ringfield, 1850. August 2d, Mrs. Mary 
Painter. Ilesi)er. 1856. August 5th. William I'itield, Fremont, 1834. .August 31st, 
James I". Moore, Washington, before 1851. September 1st. her Erickson, 1857. 
December 4th, William Rowlee. Orleans, 1854. December 6th, Frank E. Fletcher, 
Bluffton, 183^. December 31st, lames P.. Smith (died at Sioux Falls^, Decorah, 


January i8th. Unity church at Decorah dedicated. 

February 12th, an eagle was caught on Captain Gardner's farm that measured 
six feet and six inches from tip to tip. 


March lyth, new opera house proposition on foot at Decorah. Subscription 
of $10,000 secured in two days. Resulted in building of Grand Opera House. 

April 20th, revival meetings begun by Rev. D. P. P.rown which resulted in 
the organization of a Bajjtist church in Decorah. 

June 2d, George Bernatz's flour mill at Fort Atkinson burned to the ground. 
Loss $15,000. Insurance $9,000. 

August 2(1, Ole Hopperstan killed by lightning while in a lield engaged in 

August 13th, B. PI. Sherdahl rolibed of $117 while in a saloon in Decorah. 

October 17th, Michael Maley found dead. Evidently while driving home with 
a load of lumber the team got out of the road, sending the wagon over a slight 
bank and throwing him under the load. 

During the year the names of the following old settlers are found among the 
deaths: January 4th, James B. Smith (died at Sioux Falls), Decorah, 1855. 
January 6th, Augustus P. Leach, Freeport. 1854. January 17th, Thomas N. 
Wilson, Hesper, 1856. February 23d, Wesley Bailey, Decorah, 1S60. March 4th, 
Mrs. James Bucknell, Blufifton, 1855. April 3d, Mrs. Benjamin Headington, 1858. 
April 4th, ]\Irs. Lydia Lawrence, Decorah, 1858. April oth. Rev. J. M. Wedge- 
wood, Ossian, 1858. April 12th, Mrs. Mary Kenyon Glimps, Hesper, 1853. 
April 23d, Mrs. Mary E. Williams, Decorah, 1856. April 23d, Mrs. Abigail 
Letchford, Frankville, 1854. i\Iay 17th, James Bucknell, liluffton, 1855. Tvlay 
29th, Mrs. Harriett Beard, Bluf¥ton, 1856. June 9th, Mrs. Phoebe .Aldrich, 
Hesper. 1858. August 14th, Robert Kennedy, Burr Oak. 1858. August 21st, 
Ira Garfield, 1857. August 29th, Michel Omlie, Springfield, 1850. September 
8th, Nicholas Battey, Hesper, 1856. November, Erastus V. Andrus, 1858. 
November 29th, Mrs. Charlotte Winship, Decorah, 1855. 


January 6th, opening of the Grand Opera House at Decorah. Speaches by 
prominent business men, also Hon. C. T. Granger, judge of Iowa Supreme Court. 

January 13th, Gottlieb Krumm, first pioneer in Washington township, who 
arrived there with his family in 1848, passed away. Ernest Pim drove over 
embankment on Dug road. Decorah, and died later from injuries. 

March 22d, lacob Schwartz, while walking on the track near Nordness, was 
killed by the cars. 

May 15th, Henry 15akke was killed by lightning while engaged in work as a 
cream gatherer. 

June 22d, Sumner and Jackson townshi|)s visited l)y small cyclone. Over 
$io,ooo damage done. 

June 23d, Flood in Dry Run inundated one-third of the city of Decorah, and 
much damage was done to propert)' along tlie line of Dry Run and Upper Iowa 
river. Over twenty-nine bridges in the county washed away or badly damaged. 

July 2ist, Morrow Paper Manufacturing Company organized to operate the 
Freeport mill. 

August nth, Florence Morrison and Burton .Shroyer of Castalia drowned in 
Turkey river at Clermont. A party of six attempted to ford the stream and drove 
into a deep hole. 


Sejiteniber 19th, \alleau elevator. Decorah. burned. 

September 26th. Free delivery of mail in Uecorali ordered to begin IJecember 
1st. S. E. J. Halvorson and B. H. .Adams were the first carriers. 

October /til. Corner stone of Decorah iiaptisl church laid. 

November 9th, Martin Ulake makes his advent as a country wrestler. He 
subsequently proved to be "Farmer" Burns, world champion. 

November 23d, E. E. Meader, llesjier i)ioneer, wakened by burglars wdio com- 
ix'l him to open his safe and give over its contents, several hundred dollars. 

December 22d, Frankville township land sells for $50 per acre, a record price. 

Deaths of pioneers : May 2d, Mrs. Charlotte L. .McHenry. Decorah, 1S56. .May 
loth, lion. H. B. Williams, Hesper, 185S. May nth, D. D. Webster, Washington 
Prairie, 1852. May 12th. John McKay, P>ankville, 1854. May 29th, Mrs. Mira 
D. Wheatnian, Calmar, 1859. May 30th. James Mcintosh, Madison, 1S55. June 
8th, Mrs. Ira Bloomfield, Decorah, 1852. July 20th, H. 1:1. llintermann. Spill- 
ville, 1854. July 20th, Elizabeth H. Groves, Springfield. 1850. September 16th, 
Jos. Zahasky. Sumner. 1857. October 2d. Malhias Knecskern. I'rankville, 1858. 
October 7th, J. S. Daskam, Fremont, 1854. October nth, Mrs. I!ertha II. Even- 
son, Pleasant, 1851. November i6th, Mrs. Olson, Conover. 1852. November 
18th, Mrs. Betsey A. Walker, Burr Oak, 1855. November 20lh, Thoma.- Trnman, 
Fremont, 1855. November 22d. Mrs. John Kessell. Fremont. 1853. 

January ist, E. I. Weiser. pioneer druggist t 1838). retires, and his son. E. J. 
\\'eiser, succeeds him. 

January 28th. Walter E. Akers. former well known atluniey. killed in rail- 
road accident near Kent, Illinois. Twenty days of below zero weather in January, 
the coldest being 26° below. 

February 19th, John C. Pearson killed by accidental firing of a gun at Rock- 
vale, Colorado. 

March ist. Dr. E. B. Hutchinson, Decorah inoneer of 1858, and count v clerk 
for four years, died at Taopi, South Dakota. 

March 9th. word received that Col. J. E. Simpson. Winneshiek pioneer, is made 
connnandcr of Nebraska Soldier's Home. 

March 6th, C. N. Goddard, pioneer merchant, elected mayor of Decorah. 

March 7th. .Mr. and Mrs. .Alva Tracy, Sumner township ])ionecrs, celebrate 
liftictli wedding anniversary. 

March 20th, Calmar .M.unifacturing CDmpany is organized with $20,000 

.March 26th, llelmer Johnson. Calmar boy. killed bv the cars. 

June 10th, Prof. L. S. Reque of I.uther College apimiiitcd consul at Rotterdam, 
Holland, by President Cleveland. 

June lotli. Dr. .Anton Dvorak, world faniDUs Bohemian composer, comes to 
Winneshiek county to spend three months at Spilhille. It was while here that 
he wrote his celebrated New World symi)hony. He also composed a (|uintette 
which he called ".'-^pillville." 

June 19th. in the announcement nf .-iw.-irds in the dairy butter cimtest fnr 


June at the world's fair in Chicago, Airs. D. H. Leach of Erceport is first in 
Iowa with a score of ninety-six points. 

June 29th, Decorah Windmill Company receives orders for mills to be shipped 
to Yucatan, Mexico, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

July 13th, Plans for new M. E. church at fiurr Oak completed. 

August 4th, Capt. M. A. Moore, who organized Company H, Ninth Iowa 
\'olunteers, while residing at Burr Oak, dies at Omaha. 

August 17th, Patrick Roney died at home of G. Severson in Canoe township 
under circumstances that caused Severson's subsequent arrest, trial and convic- 
tion of manslaughter. Roney had lived in the county since 1853. 

.August 22d, Hexom Brothers, in the Hutchinson building on Washington 
street, Decorah, burned. Loss $9,500. Insurance $6,500. 

October 21st, George Cooney, pioneer of Decorah (1850) and Fort Atkinson 
(1853), passed away. Mr. Cooney was appointed agent to take care of the fort 
property until it was sold by the Government. 

October 28th, Public Library Association formed. 

November ist, Ezekiel Cutler, first auditor of Winneshiek county, dies. 

December 14th, Prof. H. W. Shiel of Luther College, explores Glenwood cave 
and reports length of 2,400 feet with a stream navigable for 1,400 feet. 

Deaths of pioneers during the year as follows: January 16th, Cyrus Williams, 
Washington Prairie, 1855. January 28th, Benjamin Beard, Washington Prairie, 
1851. (In Fresno, Cal. ) March ist, Arvilla Pagin, Frankville, 1852. March 
30th, Mrs. W. M. Ranken, Frankville, 1856. (At Tonganoxie, Kas.) April 6th, 
Phineas Banning, Bloonifield, 1849. April 21st, Alva Tracy. Sumner, 1858. April 
28th, Leonard Standring, Decorah, 1855. April 28th, Patrick Courtney, Bluffton, 
1855. Jime 25th, John Herrick Coleman, Decorah, 1857. August i8th, Mrs. F. D. 
Sawyer, Ossian, 1858. August 13th, Christopher Todd, Fremont, 1855. August 
15th, Hiram Wilson, Frankville, 1858. August 23d, Mrs. Wilson Daubney. Pleas- 
ant, 1855. September 3d, Lewis L. Cooke, Glenwood, 1S53. September 15th, 
David Kinnison, Frankville. 1849, Canoe, 1850. October <)th, Violet McMurtrie 
Burdick, Decorah, 1858. October 14th. Mrs. Magne Langland, Pleasant, 1853. 
November 6th, Mrs. Jacob Zuchmayer, Decorah, 1858. November 19th, Amos 
Harris, Castalia, 1859. November 24th, Amos C. Earl, Springwater, 1858. No- 
vember 29th, Willard Converse (at Cresco), Sumner, 1856. 


January 15th, Hon. Henry M. Rice, who ran a trading post on the Peter 
E. Haugen farm southwest of Decorah in 1840, dies at San Antonio, Texas. 

February ist, \Vinneshiek county has eighteen creameries. There were two 
each on Washington prairie and Kendallville. The Ossian Creamery Co. 
operated one each at Castalia, Ossian, Festina and Nordness. Wm. Beard & 
Son operate one at Decorah, one at Ridgeway, and one at Frankville, and the 
others were located at Burr Oak, Calmar, Glenwood, Hesper, Locust, Spillville, 
and Highlandville. 

February 1st. the death of Gjermund Johnson, the leader of the second 
jiarty of Norwegian pioneers who came to the county in 1850, passed away. 


Fchniary iith. Jared I'ergiison of Dccorali celebrates his one luiiKlredth 
liirtlulay anniversary. 

February 25th, Mrs. Sarali M. ']"hune i>f Washington I'rairie dies i"roni 
fright caused by actions of a horse attached to Iniggy in which she was riding. 

Marcli 6th, S. C. Treat, ])ioneer Dccorah l)aker (1856), retires from busi- 
ness. Russell Tabor, founder of Hesper village, jjassed away. He was a 
pioneer of 1854. 

March 12th, Snyder's store and Ereeport postotfice burglarized and building 
batlly damaged by blowing open safe. 

March 8th, James Malloy, prominent resident of Ossian, jiassed away. 

April 4th, Plymouth Rock mill, one of the early ones, bought by George 

March 30th, Hon. D. < >. Aker, Burr Oak Springs pioneer of 1854 and for- 
mer state representative, died at his home at Ridgeway. 

April I2th, a damage suit for $5,000 brought by the wife nf a man named 
Reihle against the county, settled for $1,000. Reihle was one of two brothers 
whose threshing outfit went through a county bridge near Si)illville and he was 

March 30th. town of Ridgeway votes to incorporate. 

April 1 8th, Sheriff Christen searches homes of Frank Ferguson, George 
Strauss and John Flickey at Calmar, securing large amount of loot stolen from 
freight cars. Arrest and conviction followed. 

May 1 2th, first mulct consent petition taken under new law is fded with 
board of sujiervisors. It contained the names of 78.2 per cent of the voters 
at the last general election. Decorah city council Noted to make the tax $800, 
bidding $200 to the amount stipulated by law. 

May 20th. Capt. George Q. Gardner died. 

June 7th, Mrs. Gabriel I. Osmondson of Pleasant township killed in a 

June 13th. James Shea of Burr r)ak died while under the influence of chloro- 
form administered to perform operation. 

June 26th. Kate Jennish of Decorah killed by lightning. In a hard storm 
she started to run from the home of her sister to her father's home and it is 
supposed she was killed by a bolt that struck a tree near by. 

July 20th, Judge L. < ). llatcli, of this district court, dies at his home at 
Mc( Iregor, 

August 1 6th. extreme dr\ weather makes the tire hazard great. .\t Ossian 
on August 2(1. a spark from the i)assiiig engine sets fire to dry grass and the 
town is menaced. In Sumner township on the 6th a threshing engine sets fire 
I0 a field oil 1',. C. Wingard's farm .nid it was necessary to ])1ow around it to 
|)Ut out the blaze. On the morning of the 7th the Gilchrist elevator in l")ecorah 
I>urned. During the week of .XuLjust o-u he;it eN|);iiided the rails on a newlv 
I.'iid track ;it Calmar so they curved fnur feet nut of .ilignment. ( )n the 7th :i 
little son of J.'is. Tverson. 1 tesper, was prostrated w illi heat w bile driving to Mabel, 
and died. 

September 2d, bodies of George Wemcit and Mrs. John Cater of I'.iur Oak 
discovered. Circumstances point to murder, .iiid John Cater is subsequently 
convicted of the crime and sent to the penitentiary for life. 


October 15th, new M. E. church at Burr Oak is dedicated. 

Deaths: January 21st, Samuel Hunter, Bloomfield, 1855. January 23d, 
Ellen Fleming, Decorah, 1856. January 26, Dr. Austin Pegg, prominent physi- 
cian and resident of Ossian. February 6th, John Stead, Burr Oak, 1853. Feb- 
ruary 2d, Andrew Mcintosh, Madison, 1855. March 23d, B. O. Dahly, Free- 
port, 1854. March i6th, Joseph Huber, early Sumner pioneer. March 30th 
Albert Weiser (at Preston), Decorah, 1856. May i8th, Silas Gripman, Canoe, 
1855. May 2ist, John Twamley, Fort Atkinson, 1857. July 26th, John Ken- 
nedy, Decorah, 1858. September nth, Mrs. Crescentia Rastetter, Spillville, 
1851. October 6th, Mrs. B. Harmon, Franklin Prairie, 1850. December 22d, 
Mrs. Mary Carter, Bloomfield, 1856. 


January nth. ten-year-old son of Torston Johnson of Glenwood frozen to 
death. It is supposed that while skating he broke through the ice and was so 
exhausted when he got out he could not go home. 
January 31st, agitation for a new courthouse began. 

February 3d, J. J. Marsh's machinery houses burned. Loss $10,000. Insur- 
ance $1,100. 

February 5th, stores of Levi Fossum and J. C. Tarvestad and photo gallery 
of J. E. Borlaug, Decorah, ruined by fire. 

March 4th, Doctor Daubney elected mayor of Decorah, beginning a service 
of eighteen years in the office. 

March 15th, Alonzo Houck, proprietor of Burr Oak stage line, died suddenly 
from heart disease. 

February 22d, word comes of the death of Ernest Willett, blind son of Judge 
G. R. \Mllett, in Germany, where he was studying music. 

March 27th, AI. W. Carey, superintendent of county poor farm, died. 
April i6th, Decorah Congregationalists vote to build new church. 
April 26th, Winneshiek Lodge, No. 58, I. O. O. F., celebrates seventy-sixth 
anniversary of Odd Fellowship in America. Dr. F. Andros, pioneer physician, 
died in Minneapolis. He was physician to the \\'innebago Indians at Fort 
Atkinson in 1846. 

May 9th, Doctor Cartwright secures for Grace Episcopal church, Decorah, 
the bell in the old Episcoijal church at Waukon. The bell was a present to the 
Waukon church from Jay Cooke, noted Philadelphia banker. 

June 20th, the census of Winneshiek county is 23,041, a gain of 513 in 
five years. 

July 1st, George Q. Gardner Camp, Sons of Veterans, installed in Decorah. 
A camp at Hesper had been installed previously. 

July 3d, Wm. Updegrafif lays out Updegrafif's addition to Decorah. A por- 
tion of the tract is now included in the city park. 

July 9th, farm home of Michael F. McCabe, near Plymouth Rock, with its 
contents, destroyed by fire. 

July 22d, Sumner W. Matteson, pioneer of 1857 and clerk of courts 1860- 
1864, died in St. Paul. 


August I4tli. Peter Peterson of Calmar has leg crushed by cars in Cahnar 

August 22(\ and 23d. old settlers reunion held in Decorah. 

August 30th. Jacob Cipera of Spillville arrested for shooting Frank Novotney. 
He was convicted of assault. 

September 14th, Baker's store at Kidgeway burglarized of S300 worth of 
goods. It was entered again October 2d and a large amount of stock taken. 

September iTith. Rev. and Mrs. Ephraim .-Xdams, pioneer jiastor and wife, 
celebrate fiftieth wedding anniversary. 

September jC)th, Decorah becomes central station for Winneshiek county 
telephone lines. 

October 2d, Jared Ferguson of Decorah dies at the age of loi years, 7 
months and 21 days. Pioneer Norwegians hold first reunion. 

October 22d, Mrs. D. F. Knowlton celebrated ninetieth birthday. 

October 8tli, D. C. Tabor and wife of Ilesper celebrate golden wedding 

December 26th, T. J. Crawford of Frankville has a $1,300 pig. He bought 
it at the state fair and subsequently it was found it had cholera. The disease 
was transmitted to Mr. Crawford's herd and his losses rejjresented the above 

December 24lh. John Kern's home at Locust burned. It was a landmark, 
having been built t)\- W'm. \'ail, one of the first settlers. 

Among the deaths of pioneers during the year we find the names of the 
following: January i8th. Mrs. l.ucinda Carlield. 1857. January 23d. Sarah 
Jane Taylor, Canoe, 1853. Janu;u-y 241I1, W ni. X'reeland (at Spirit Lake), 
Decorah, 1855. Jan. 27th, Sarah Smith Sharp, Canoe. 1851. January 28th. 
Mons K. Foss, Pleasant, 1853. February ist, Judge E. E. Cooley. Decorah. 
1854. February 5th, James Cameron, Military, 1854. February 7th. Jeremiah 
T. Atkins, Decorah, 1851. February 13th, Gilbert K. Opdahl, Decorah, 1850. 
F'ebruary 14th, Martha M. McMuUen, Canoe, 1854. March 25th, Mrs. Amelia 
Packard, Frankville, 1856. April 19th, Mrs. Maria Hogan, Decorah, 1858. 
June i8th, Michel Dibb, Madison, 1856. July 12th, I,orenz Stortz. Canoe. 
1859. August 9th, Mrs. Judson E. Dean, Military, 1851. August 13th, John 
1 Ringstad, Madison, 1852. September 6th, Mrs. James Headington, Canoe, 
1859. September 3th. Mrs. Isabelle Blanchard, Canoe, 1840. September I2tli, 
Jos. McMahon, Decorah, 1855. October nth, Richard Ciri])man, Canoe, 1855. 
November 12th. Mrs. John McKay, Frankville, 1852. November i8th, Ralph C. 
Pike, Decorah, 1856. December 12th. John llcnry. Canoe. 1854. December 
13th, B. L. Bisby, Ilesper, 1851, 


January ist, news comes of the death at Denver of Rev. W. .\. Keith, who was 
the organizer and the first minister of the Congregational church at Decorah. 
He came to Decorah in June, 1854. 

January 28th, burglars entered the store of J. A. Giesing at Calmar and one 
was killed by a shot fired at random from ;i son of Mr, ( nesing. who was in a 
room upstairs. 


February 6th, the city council considers a proposition to 'ight the city by elec- 
tricity. It was submitted to the voters and on March 3cl won a substantial major- 
ity. Franchise was given to a -Mr. Rolf, but this was forfeited, and on .-Vugust 
19th the council gave the franchise to Burtis & Howard of Minneapolis. 

February 12th, residence of Mrs. Esther Pegg at Ossian consumed by fire. 

February i6th, new Congregational church at Decorah dedicated. 

April 5th, fire destroyed barn of John Wingate at Burr Oak. Seven horses 
and several head of cattle burned. 

May 24th, Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus McKay celebrate their golden wedding. Lived 
in Decorah for thirty-six years. 

June 25th, hard storm. Rain fall was 2.02 in. in one hotir. 

June 24th, reorganization of Cemetery Association. Six acres purchased to 
enlarge Phelps cemetery. Archway to be erected by Mr. Phelps. 

June 28th, Baptist church at Decorah dedicated. 

July 1st, contract let for new school house at Decorah. 

July 4th, Jacob Segmiller, Jr.. thrown from the back of a horse on to cement 
side walk and killed. 

July 27th, Congregational church at Decorah calls Rev. Mahlon \Villett. their 
present pastor. 

August i8th. little Schellhammer boy of Castalia fell from a sixty foot wind- 
mill tower, died two hours later. 

September 2d, Luren Singing Society won honors at the annual Saengerfest 
held at Omaha. 

October 22d, word is received of the death of Wm. Fannon, at Neleigh, 
Nebraska. He was a pioneer in this county, and served four years as county 

November 12th, after thirty-four years of existence the National Bank of 
Decorah sticcumijs to adversity. Closed by bank examiner. 

November 27th. Y. M. C. A. rooms opened in Decorah. 

December 14th, J. H. ]\lackenstadt's tailor shop at Decorah. looted and goods 
to the amount of $1,200 stolen. 

Among the deaths during the year we find the following names of pioneers: 
January 18th, Mrs. Jane Grout Coleman, Decorah, 1857. January 22d, Dr. William 
Parliman, Decorah, 1857. February 12th, A. W. Brownell (at Salem, Ore.). 
February 13th, Ezekiel E. Meader, Hesper, April 12, 1861. Mrs. Richmal Pollett, 
Burr Oak, 1855, February 17th, N. S. Marsh, Decorah, 1856. Alarch 7th, 
Deighton B. Ellsworth, Decorah, 1855. Mrs. Sophia Hoffstrom. Decorah, 1856. 
N.H.Williams (at Mitchell, S. D.), Decorah, i860. March loth, \'incent Kapler, 
Spillville, 1855. March 23d, Thomas Mitchell, Hesper, 1836. May 2d, James 
McEnerny, Decorah, during the '50s. May 15th, Mrs. Cynthia Bachelder, Bloom- 
field. May 24th, Mrs. Ingred Haugen, Madison, 1850. June ist, ^fary Ann 
Gorman Birdsell, Frankville, 1854. June 29th, H. J. Harden, Burr Oak, 1857. 
July 1st, Mrs. N. C. Earl. Decorah, i860. August 5th, Henry Heivly, Decorah, 
1856. August 14th, Charles H. Jennish, Decorah. September ist, George Daub- 
ney. Pleasant, 1854. October 13th, Amos Smith (at I'.eloit. Wis.), Decorah. 



Jaiuiarv jih. war is declared between the Iowa and Standard tele])hone com- 
panies, resulting in the latter being built to all ])arts of the county. The Decorah 
Electric I-ight Company organized. This was the forerunner to the L'jiper Iowa 
Power Company division of the Inter State Power Com])any. 

January 13th. Sarah Campbell, first settler in Winneshiek county, died at her 
home near Castalia. 

January 20th. Cater nuirder case sent back for retrial because of error in 
Judge Cooley's instructions to the jurv. Change of venue taken to Fayette county 
and Cater was again convicted and sent to jienitentiary for life. 

January 25th, new Decorah High School building occupied. The building 
cost $33,752. 

January 27th. Samuel Murdock. judge of tenth district in 1855, ilied at his 
home in Clayton couiUy. 

January 29th, \\ . II. O.xley, well known nioomlicld pioneer, killed in runaway 

January 30th, Ibm. John Mcllugh, prominent banker, stockman and politician, 
died at Cresco. 

I'"el)ruary "th. Decorah Electric Light Company begins ojieration of i)lant. 

Februarv 18th. announcement made that Rev. Thomas I.inelian is apjioinied 
bishop of Ciieyenne. He was a priest of the Decorah- lUulTton charge m 1869-70, 
his tirst charge. 

March iith. Mrs. Jofl I'crry, daughter of .Mrs. .^arrdi Campbell who died 
Jaiuiary 13th, found dead in bed. She came to the count) with her ])arents in 
June. 1848. 

March 20th, Citizens ."Savings LUmk bu}s b'inn building, corner of \\ ater and 
Winnebago streets, Decorah, and announces it will be remodeled for new bank 
home. -At a citizens" mass meeting at Calmar it was unanimously voted to build 
a new eight room schoolhouse with basement under the whole building. 

March 22d, Judge Hobson declares Mulct petition h short of required 65 
per cent. 

June 0th, what was thought to be an earthquake shock was felt throughout 
this region. 

July 5th, Decorah celebrated day of national independence with Sen. I. J. 
Ingalls of Kansas as orator. It was the greatest celebration ever held in this 
part of Iowa. 

.August 5th, .American Pul]). Linen & Fibre Company bu\- IVeeport Paper 
Mill and pre])are to convert it into a tlax fibre plant. 

August 25th, I-^. W. Daubney nominated by republicans for Senator for Winne- 
shiek and Howard district. .At the time a suit was pending against him in which 
Charlotte Daubney, his aunt, demanded the return of $7,cxx) of securities from 
the estate of her husband. He was defeated for the senatorship by D. A. Lyons 
of Cresco and the court ordered him to turn o\er the securities he claimed as 
a gift from his uncle. 

October i6th, fire on Peter Roney's farm at Trout Run burns barn, seven 
horses, 500 bushels of oats aufl other property. 

Deaths of pioneers during the year were as follows: January "th, Stci)hen 


Allen, Bloomfield, 1855. January 23d. Mrs. Salmon Shroj'er, Bloomfield, 1856. 
January 24th, Airs. J. H. Burhans. Bloomfield, 1855. January 27th, Wm. B. 
Goocher, Orleans, 1855. January 31st, Peter AIcMartin, Bloomfield, 1855. Feb- 
ruary fith. Lyman Seeley, Decorah, early '50s. February 26th, Lucretia C. Tal- 
bert, Hesper, early '505. February 28th, Sarah A. Husted. Aloneek, 1851. March 
22d. Mrs Mary Holcomb, Bloomfield, 1854. March 29th, Dr. Wm. C. Battey, 
Hesper, 1855. April 7th, Geo. Heckle, Burr Oak, 1855. April 12th, Joseph AI. 
Langhlen, Burr Oak, 1857. April 20th, ATrs. H. Holverson, Springfield, 1S54. 
Alay 2d, Jacob Rotner, Canoe, 1854. June 14th, Thomas Russell, Canoe, 1854. 
Tune 2ist, Airs. Elizabeth Botsford, Decorah, 1837. July ist, Ella F. Gripnian, 
Canoe, 1854. July 25th, Walter Rathbun, Frankville, 1850. August i8th. Airs. 
J. H. Porter, Burr Oak, 1857. September ist, Wm. Russell, Canoe, 1855. Sep- 
tember 7th, Dr. H. C. Bullis, Decorah, 1854; James Tyler, Decorah, 1853. Sep- 
tember 14th, James \'an Pelt, Decorah, 1853. October 7th, Wm. L. Iverson, 
Canoe, 1851. October nth, J. X. Kelley, Bluffton, 1856. November ist. Airs. 
John DeCou, Aloneek, 1850. November 6th, C. Van Wey, Frankville, 1856. 
December 6th, Jens Christopher, Springfield, 1854. December 20th, Airs. Alva 
Tracy, Sumner, 1858. December, W. W. Wheelock, Decorah, 1855. 


February loth, John Scott, first mayor of Calmar and well known merchant, 
passed away. 

February 12th. jury in tlie case of F. W. Daubney, asking .$10,000 for libel 
from A. K. Bailey, returns verdict for defendant. Another case of $io,ooj 
against the Decorah Republican never got beyond the notice of suit being served. 

February i8th, worst snow storm in years. 

Alay 19th, city of Decorah orders eight blocks on Water street paved. 

June, among the \\'inneshiek county boys who served their country in the 
Spanish-American war we find the names of Charles T. Bailey, Fred Gellerman, 
Lester Rice, Charles Larson, Ole Evenson, Lou Half, Herbert Haskel, Julius 
Schwarz, Hans Endustad, Will Asseln, Weld T. Burdick, Charles Drake, Charles 
Dwyer, Robt. Reynolds, AI. Olson, E. Elzea, Wm. Coan. 

June 2gth, G. C. Krunini and wife at Fort Atkinson celeljrate the fiftieth anni- 
versary of their location in Washington township, Winneshiek county. 

July 1 8th, The Grand Opera House at Decorah gutted by fire. Loss $15,000, 
fairly well covered by insurance. In August a contract was let for rebuilding. 
Finished in December. 

July 26th, Airs. Bertha Nelson of Aladison township burned to death. A 
spark from her pipe set fire to her clothing. 

October 4tli, .Xatlian Peckliam of Castalia killed in a runaway. 

October 7th, Julius iluber of P^ort Atkinson buried alive in a pit while 
engaged in road work, .'^mothered to death before he could be dug out. 

December loth, seven indictments returned by Winneshiek grand jury against 
J. H. Easton charging fraudulent Ijanking. Five other indictments were previ- 
ously secured. Trial of the cases was postponed until the statute of limitations 


December 12th, George R. W'illctt, pioneer attorney and legislator, passed 
away. He came to Decorali in 1857. 

December I5tli, John Kjerland of Higbland township in a iealnus rage kills 
Lars G. Aarhus. Subsequently he killed himself. 

Among the deaths of the pioneers during this year we tind the names of 
the following: January. Mrs. Aaron Street, Hespcr. 1854. l-"ehruary iSlh, 
Almira Mason liurdick, Freeport, 1852. February i6th, Hci)r\ \\int,'atc. lUirr 
Oak, 1859. February 25th, Christian Lower. Frankville, 1855. .Vpril 30th, 
August Draws (at Staples, Minn.), Decorah, 1853. April 10th, Mrs. I'.ridgot 
Wilson, Decorah, 1854. .\i>ril 14th. George C. Winshij) (at Tekoa, Wash.), 
Decorah, 1855. April 20lh. Mrs. DeWitt Smith, Frankville. early '50s. May 
13th, Robert F. Greer, Decorah. 1858. May 23d. \\'iniam Henry liaker, Bloom- 
field, 1854. May 27th. Magnus .Anderson Linnevold, FVankville, 1853. June 6th, 
Charles Henry Hitchcock, 1856. July 15th, Mrs. Gertrude fJidne, Pleasant. 1853; 
F.zckiel \\"ebb, Canoe, 1854. July i6th, Theodore Weld Pairdick. Decorah. 1853; 
Peter Sampson, Pleasant, 1852. October 3d, John W. Humphrey, 1859. Oliver 
Kenyon, Hesper, 1858. November 8th, Mrs. Louise .\iu)- W'eiser. Fort Atkinson. 
1857, Decorah, 1859. Levi Moore (at Red Cloud, Neb.), Burr Oak, 1851. 
November i6th, Ole Evenson Hann, Springfield, early '50s. November 30th, 
Mrs. W. W. \Mieelock. Decorah, 1855. December i8th, Mrs. Philip Pfister, 
Locust, 1855. I)eccml)er 24th. John R. Slack, Decorah, 1856. December 28th, 
Mrs. C. P. Gibbs. Glenwood, 1852. 


January 27th lo l-\-bruary i3lh, eighteen days of e.\treme weather, the average 
low readings of the thermometer being 20.33^ below zero. On I'ebruary loth 
the mercury registered 34 ' below. 

Tebruary 20th, Mr. and Mrs. Simon Broghammer celebrate golden wedding. 

March jd. Decorah and Calniar are engaged in lively fight over courthouse 

March 9th, C. N. Goddard installed as postmaster of Decorah. In 1856 he 
was dei)uty ])ostmaster to "Bill" Kimball. 

.\pril 2ist. John Brcckenridgc. well known cducatdr ;md founder of Decorah 
Institute, dies. 

May iith, the estate of John I'isher, pioneer Military citizen, on demand of 
county treasurer Nordheim, pays $848.27 in back taxes for four years on sums 
varying from $i6,cxX3 to $22,000. 

May 26th, Wm. H. A'alleau, former mayor oi Decorah, died in Chicago. 

June 6th, Woodmen of .Xortheastern Iowa hold picnic in Decorah, with an 
attendance of eight to ten thousand people. 

June 8tli. l.uren Singing Society of Decorah celebrate tweniy-fifili anniversary. 

June loth, Decorah is fifty years old. 

September 19th, banc|uet of B. .Xnundsoii on llie att.iinment of liis twenty-fifth 
anniversary as editor of Decorah Posten is a public affair attended by members of 
the Scandinavian Press Association and other promineiU Norwegians from all 
over the Middle West. 


September 30th, Mrs. Sewall Knowlton, lilufftoii, pioneer ( 1859) died at the 
age of ninety-four years. 

October 9th, paper mill at Freeport burned. Loss $15,000. Insurance $6,500. 
(It was rebuilt. ) 

October 29th, Lavina I'.. Benedict, founder of Benedict Home at Des Moines, 
passed away. 

Among the deaths of pioneers during the year 1899 ^'^^ ^'^d the following 
names: January 3d, John W. Thune, Glenwood, 1850. January 25th, Moses 
Gove, Hesper, 1856. February iStli, E. Blackmarr, Hesper, 1854. February, 
Mrs. Carrie Allen, Decorah, early '50s. February 17th, Timothy E. Fuller, Frank- 
ville, 1848. February 27th, Geo. N. Holway, Hesper, 1853. Alarch 17th, J. H. 
Burhans, Bloomfield, 1855. April loth. Mrs. H. R. Thomas, Decorah, 1858. 
April 26th, Charity E. Wingate. Burr Oak, 1859. May 20th, Wm. B. Updegratf, 
Canoe, 1854. June 22d, Enos S. Lambert, Bloomfield, 1854. July 25th, Mrs. John 
Greer, Decorah, 1857. .\ugust 22d, Mrs. Simson Drake, Decorah, 1856. Sep- 
tember loth, Peter C)lson, Highland, 1854. September 25th, Mrs. O. P. Tenold, 
Cahnar, 1855. October 15th, Eliza B. Todd, Fremont, 1856. October 15th, Philip 
Kratz, Sr., Lincoln, 1859. October 17th, Adam Steinmann. Decorah, 1853. 
October 23d, Mrs. J. C. Strong, Fort Atkinson, 1858. October 19th, Mrs. Tollef H. 
Larsen, Springfield, 1855. December 8tli, Ole P. Tenold, Calmar, 1855. Decem- 
ber 9th, DeWitt Smith, Frankville, 1855. 


January 1 8th, fire at Ossian damages the Ossian Band and M. I. Carter's law 

January 29th, Dr. C. W. Amy died at Decorah. He came here in 1857 and 
in 1861 enlisted with the Second Colorado Cavalry, serving under General Blunt 
and Kit Carson. 

February ist, Winneshiek County Medical Society organized with Dr. P. M. 
Jewell as president. 

January 31st, Capt. Hamiibal Tower, prominent citizen of Fort Atkinson, 
passed away. 

February loth, Corp'l Willis Mc]\Iartin, Company G, Forty-fifth LI. S. Infantry, 
died in Philippines from malaria fever. He was a Castalia boy. 

February 14th, People of Fort Atkinson start movement for a state park 
to include site of old fort, btit nothing ever came of it. 

March 24th, Col. William Thurlow Baker, retired officer of the English army, 
passed away. He was a survivor of the Sepoy mutiny in India, and for his 
eflforts in restraining the spread of disaffection among his own men he was 
rewarded by being given permission to organize the Fourth Regiment of Ghoor- 
kas and he was made their commander. After coming to Decorah in 1865 he was 
prominent in the Decorah Woolen Mill Company during its greatest activity. 

April 4th, Mrs. Olinda C. Willett, widow of Judge G. R. Willett, pioneer law- 
yer, passed away. 

April 7th, Theodore Thorson of Canoe comes to Decorah and disappears. 
His body was found several days later in the river, death having been due to 
accidental drowning. 


April 6th. Dr. E. Cart \v right, well known jihysician. dieil. 

April 25th, Mr. and Mrs. B. T. Barfoot. )iioncers of Uecorah and .Madison 
townships, celebrate golden wedding. 

Mav loth. j. L. W'indell, Castalia resident, writes relatives that he has disposed 
of mining interests at Nome, Alaska, for $20,000. 

May 22d, Mr. and Mrs. David Dorn of Ridgeway celebrate fiftieth wedding 

May 23d. Rural Free Delivery Route Xo. i, Decorah. the first route in the 
fourth congressional district, is approved and recommended established. Rev. 
I'aul Koran was instrumental in securing the service, which began Inly 1st, with 
llenry \ istc as carrier. 

June 3(1. C. L. kidnajis his daughter, who was being cared for bv her 
uncle and aunt. Dr. and Mrs. W. F. Coleman. He was caught at Canton. Min- 
nesota, and the child restored. 

June 12th, Mrs. Xancy Self celebrated her one hundred and lillii birthday. 
She had been a resident of Decorah for forty-three years. ( She w as the mother 
of Mrs. Wm. Painter [Decorah, 1849]. who died May 2S. igoo, at Dexter. S. D. 
Mrs. Self died Xovcmber 29. 1900. _) 

July 9th, J. J. Marsh of Decorah departs for Oyster I'.ay. .\ew York. He 
w'as chosen as one of the committee of forty-live to notifv Theodore Roosevelt 
of his nomination for the vice-jiresidency. 

August 1st, Decorah city council orders leaving on Water and Winnebago 
streets. Washington street was ordered paved to the bridge later in the year. 

.August 15th, Mrs. Toger Landsrud of Springlield gored ly\- a bull and dies. 

.\ugust 22d. Mr. and Mrs. James Daniels of Centennial celebrate golden 

October 23(1. Rev. R. Swcaringen, pastor of 1 )ecnrali M. F. clnirch in 1872 
and presiding elder of Decorah district. 1873-76. died at .Marshalltown. 

Xovcmber 4th. .\ndrew Meyer, who settled near l-'ort .Atkinson .April i, 1849, 
passed away. 

Deaths of pioneers during the year 1900: January 4th, Airs. J. R. Slack, 
Decorah, 1855. January 5th, Airs. Xed Walsh, Decorah, 1850. January i/tii, 
Mrs. Henry Adams, Decorah, 1835. January 26th, Mrs. Christian Lower. Frank- 
ville, 1855. February 26th, C. W. .Allison, Decorah, 1856. March 6th. C. ( inis- 
tian. Pleasant. 1856. Alarch 22d. John Fredcnburgh, Canoe. 1850. .\])ril 131I1, 
Mrs. Jens Christojiher, Si)ringtield, 1853. .April 8th. (".. W. (^xlev. liioomlield, 
1854. May I2tli. Mrs.;i I'erry, Canoe, middle '5o>. July I'uli. J. 1,. Cameron, 
Hcsper 1838. July 23d. .Mrs. P. Lyons. Jackson. 1836. July 31st. Jnhn Kno.v. 
Burr Oak, 1836. .August 17th, .Mrs. Chas. (lok. Decorah. 1837. Septeml)er loth, 
Mrs. Samuel Bolger, Canoe, early "50s. October (nh. .Mrs. W ( i. W. Sawyer, 
Decorah, 1835. Xovcmber 19th. Lydia .A. Blackinton. Decorah, 1836; Filing O. 
Ramsey, Frankville. 1852. November 22(1, d. \V. Russell. Canoe. 1834. Xovembcr 
.30th, Mrs. C. A. McClintock, Frankville, i84<). December ujth, (uilbrand T. 
Lomen, Decorah, 1831. December 20th. Mrs. lUit^. Lincoln, early '50s. December 
22d. Lewis W. I'pdegrafl'. Hesper. 1838: Cuttorm .Allen. Springfield. 1834. 
December 27th, James Headington, Canoe, 1839. 



January 3d, census bulletin shows Winneshiek county has -33,731 people, a 
gain of 1.203 or 5.3 per cent in ten years. 

January 5th, Locust postoffice, discontinued because the postmaster thought 
he could hold up the Government for .$300 a year, is restored. 

]\Iarch 31st, Ben liear celebrated (juarter century as Decorah merchant. 
April 15th, Citizens Bank of Ossian begins business. 

May 3d, James D. McKay ( Frankville. 1851), pioneer lawyer and Representa- 
tive of Winneshiek and Allamakee counties in the Legislature of 1854 and 1856, 
passed away. 

June 7th, 8th, Union Filire Company take over Free])ort paper mill and begin 
manufacture of flax fibre. 

July 4tli, George Phelps gives orders for the erection of a receiving vault at 
Phelps cemetery. 

July 28th, a season of extreme heat, which began on June 23d, is ended. 
The average high reading for thirty-six days was 96.28"^. There were but five 
days in the term when the mercury showed lower than 90^ and twenty-seven 
days showed 96° or higher. ( )n ten days the record was 100" or higher, and the 
readings on July 20th to 2(ith were 105°, 107°, 100°, 105°, 107°, 105° and 103°, 
or an average of 104.6°. Crops were not damaged l)v the heat. 

August 5th, E. P. Johnson nominated for state senator. He was defeated at 
the polls by Senator D. A. Lyons of Cresco. 

September 14th, ]\Irs. Gertrude M. Olson of Pleasant township found in :i 
deep ditch with broken hip. She became lost in the woods the .Saturday previous, 
had fallen in the ditch, and laid there during three nights and two days of cold 
rainy weather. 

October 24th, Ole Halvorson \ allc of Pleasant townshijj died. In 1844 he 
was employed by the Government to plow for the Indians located on the reserva- 
tion in Winneshiek county, some of the plowing being done at Trout Run. 

November 25th, ]\Iichael McCabe of Plymouth Rock killed by cars at North 

During the year the following old residents celebrated the fiftieth amiiver- 
sary of their weddings : February 2d, Mr. and .Mrs. S. C. Treat, Decorah. 
February 13th, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Puntney, Canoe. April 24th, Mr. and Mrs. 
C. B. Riggs. Castalia. May 5th. Mr. and Mrs. R. F. Gibson, Decorah. 

During the year we find the following deaths of pioneers recorded : Janu- 
ary 5th, Hans E. Sivesind, Glenwood, 1853. January 8th, Mrs. Sarah W. 
Landers, Decorah, 1856. January 23d, Mrs. Anna J. Spilde, Canoe, 1859. Jan- 
uary 30th, Filing E. Void, Madison, 1853. February 7th, K. Vigen, Washington 
Prairie. 1853. February 13th. Mrs. Ole Burrison, Hesper, earlv fifties. April 
1st, Mrs. Stephen Berry, Burr Oak, 1856. April i8th, Jacob Haas, Decorah, 
1857. April 25th, Jacob Thorgrimson Bjortuft, Springfield, 1853. April 23d, 
Rachel Hutchinson, Hesper, 1854. May 13th, George Tyler, Decorah, 1857. 
May 28th, Tarine W'ennes, Highland, 1854. August 9th, Ezra Schoonmaker, 
Military, 1855. August i6th, Henry F. Dean, Bloomfield, early fifties. Septem- 
ber 4th, Calvin Brown, 1855. October loth, Anon Anderson, Frankville, 1857. 



Januarv i2tli. Rev. K. Seelnuis' congregation in Highland lownslii]) vote 
to build a new church. 

January loth, Winncsliiek Co. Rank of Dccorah buys d. R. Baker's bank 
at Ridgeway. 

January 13th, David Dorn, proniineni RidgcWay citizen, dies. 

February 5lh, Chinnock's slice store in Dccorah burned. F'stimatcd loss 
$11,000. insurance $8,000. Incendiarism was suspected as the cause. 

February i6th, new Methodist churcii at Ridgeway dedicated. This parish 
was the nursery of a number of prominent ministers in the church. 

February 20tli, J. J. Marsh celebrates fortieth anniversary as Decorah busi- 
ness man. 

F'ebruary 25th, announcement of the organization of the Castalia Savings 
Hank is made. It opened for business in March. 

March ist. Thomas Letchford, prominent F'rankville resident, died. 

March 9th, K. I. Haugen celebrates quarter century of merchandising in 

March 24th. Mr. and Mrs. Ogden Casterton, Highland township pioneers, 
celebrate golden wedding. 

April 22d, fire destroys feed mill and other property of Joiin McMillan, 
Mesper, causing loss of $5,000. In the property consumed was a Percheron 
stallion raised by Mr. McMillan that was a first i)rize winner at the International 
Live Stock Show the previous fall. 

April I Jib. Adolph Meyer, prominent citizen of Calmar, died. 

April 22(1, Mrs. David Kinnison, wife of Canoe pioneer, passes awav. She 
came to the county with her husband in the fall of 1849. 

May 8ili, (|uestion of building new courthouse is again under discussion. 

May 2 1 si, Hood in Dry Run does greatest damage in history of county. 
Milwaukee railroad track and bridges from Peterson's grove to Decorah practi- 
cally all demolished, only one bridge left intact in Decorah. Thousands of dol- 
lars in pr(j])erty destroyed; the infant child of Charles Clark drowned; John 
Garver died from heart failure caused by fright; Richard liucknell and family 
taken from hole cut in ronf cif bis house, which was carried two l)locks from its 
foundation and landed against Mrs. Ellen Curtin's house, and M. T. Torsen 
narrowly escapes drowning. The loss in county bridges alone was $40,000. 

May 27th, Dr. I". T. Wilcox of Frankville died. 

lune ijlb. survey of ])ro])osed Decorah-Prcston electric line commenced. 
(^ Aside from the survey it never progressed farther.) 

July 1st, Mr. and Mrs. O. W. Emory, Canoe pioneers, celebrate golden 

July 2(1, Joseph Mott, of the pioneer band of Quakers ( Springwater, 1855), 

July 2ist, Levi BuUis, pioneer lawyer, dies. He came to Dccorah in 1854. 

July 26th, Win. Painter, who was a first settler in DecDrah with the Day 
family in 1849, dies at Dexter, South Dakota. 

August i3tli, Mr. and Mrs. M. B. Ousley celebrate golden wedding. 


August I "til, First Lutheran cliurch of Decorah celebrates twenty-fifth anni- 


August j8th, Albert Severson killed by cars at Ossian, August 22d, and 
Charles Hargraves suffers same fate at Decorah, August 27th. 

September 17th, board of supervisors issue statement concerning the old 
courthouse and announce that the question of building a new one will be placed 
before the voters at the November election. (It carried by 966 majority.) 

September 29th, K. P. lodge organized in Decorah. 

October 7th, at a special election the town of Decorah and West Decorah 
vote to annex. The school districts were also annexed. 

October 15th, C. N. Goddard celebrates fortieth anniversary as pioneer mer- 
chant of Decorah. 

October 30th. ten deaths are recorded during the preceding week. The 
most prominent one among them is Capt. E. I. Weiser, pioneer druggist (1856), 
soldier and citizen of Decorah. Others were Simon Broghammer, Pleasant town- 
ship, 1857: Peter T. Tvenge, Springfield, 1853; Mary Ann Huber, Fort 
Atkinson ; Lizzie Martinek, Washington township, 1857 ; August Schrubbe, De- 
corah, 1862; Ernest G. Hegner : Ragnor J. Monrad, an editor on Decorah 
Posten ; Mina C. Aasen, Decorah, and Ole A. lllegen, one of the pioneers of 

November 6th, Winneshiek Comity Bank will incorporate after a life of forty- 
six years as a private institution. 

November ist, Rev. M. S. Drury, one of the first members of the board of 
supervisors, dies in California. 

Other deaths of pioneers recorded during the year of 1902: January ist, 
John Theilich, Decorah, 1853. January 4tli, James Stringer, Decorah, 1856. 
January 27th, Francis Tucker, Freeport, 1854. January 30th, Mrs. Caroline 
Allen, Hesper, 1857. February 6th. John S. Losen. Hesper, 185 1. February 
J4th, Margaret Olson. Pleasant, 1854. March i8tli, Mrs. Thomas Mitchell, 
Hesi)er, early fifties. .March 30th, D. L. Richards, Bloomfield, 1855. May 3d, 
Ole Anfinson Tweet, Pleasant, 1854. May 18th, Mrs. Wm. Telford, Decorah, 
1859. June 6th, Marit Rovang, Springfield, 1850. July 9tli, J. C. Strong, 
Fort Atkinson, 1857. July 12th, Mrs. Geo. N. Holway, Hesper, 1832. July 
i6th, S. O. Wilson, Decorah, 1854. Tuly nth, Mrs. Joseph Adams, Frankville, 
1855. August (>th, Mrs. Harriett Smith, i3Iutifton, 1857. September ist, Law- 
rence Falck, Fort Atkinson, 1853. Septemijer 13th, Mrs. Dominick Curran, 
Glenwood, 1858. October 2d, P. McCusker, Frankville, 1858. November i8th, 
George Yarwood, Calmar, 1855. December 14th, Mrs. Peter Aye, Decorah, 
1857. December 15th, Peter L. Wennes, Highland, 1854. December 23d, Tim- 
othy Finn, Decorah, 1855. Decemlier 19th, George W. McKay, Frankville, 1851. 
December 25th, Mrs. Jeddidiah Miller, Canoe, 1856. 


February 17th, Calmar postofl-'ice burglarized and between $300 and $500 

March 4th, contract for Iniilding new courthouse awarded to O. H. Olson of 
Stillwater for $74,875. ( This only built the shell. Another bond issue of $50,000 


was necessary to complete it.) Workmen in tearing down the old building tind 
hidden in the northeast cornice two old-fashioned folding silk sunshades of 
1850 vintage, live combs, five plaited linen shirt fronts and a bolt of tape. How 
ihey got there the oldest inhabitant couldn't say. 

March 21st, Congressman Haugen announces he will reconimeml 1. I. .Marsh 
for postmaster at Decorah. (Mr. Marsh held the office nearly nine years.) 

April 14th. Mrs. Frederica Sellman of Locust dies at the age of eighty-eight 
years. She came to Winneshiek count)- in i860. 

May "th, word comes of the death at Center Cirove. Minnesota, of Thor 
Peter Skotland, first Calmar pioneer. 

May 8th, Mrs. A. K. Sogen died. She was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. 
Anton Hegg and was born December 16, 1855, in Springfield townshi]j. 

May i8th. Tim .Ahern of Calmar, roadmaster of I. & M. division of C, 
M. & St. 1'. Ky., killed by being knocked from train at Cresco. 

June i8th, the fiftieth anniversary meeting of the Norwegian Lutheran 
Synod of America held in Decorah. Thousands of visitors attended the meet- 
ing, which lasted a week. Rev. J. .\. Otteson, Re\-. H. A. Stub and Rev. N. 
Brandt, three of the seven original ministers, survixc. The occasion is also the 
anniversary of the marriage of Rev. and Mrs. \'. Koren. and of their coming 
to Winneshiek county. King Oscar of Sweden and Norway honors Reverend 
Koren by conferring upon him the degree of commander of the order of St. Olaf, 
and Rev. 11. A. Preus and Dr. Laur T-arsen are made Knights of St. Olaf. 

August 1 8th. Rev. \'. Koren and wife celebrate golden wedding. 

August 22d, cornerstone of new courthouse laid. 

Se])tember ist, Decorah Methodist church celebrates semi-Centenial. 

September loth, Decorah city council lets contract to pave Washington street 
from bridge to Milwaukee tracks. 

Septemlicr iith. Mr. and Mrs. 11. P. Nicholson of Militar\ town>lii|i celcl)rate 
golden wedding. 

Septcinher iwtli. I. I. .M;ir>li. pioneer dealer in f;u'm ini]ilcments. retired from 

October iith. United Lutheran cluirch in ."Springfield township celebrated 
fiftieth anniversary. 

Novemi)er 30th, Samuel Rosa, I-"rank\illc pii nicer, fell from of hay and 
his neck was broken. 

December 23d. C O. Rustad, who came to Decorah in 1855, passed away. 
He was treasurer of the Lutheran .Synod from 1862 to iiptx 

December 31st, in the Iro(|uois theatre tire in Chicago, Miss Relle Christo- 
pher of Decorah and Wilma Porter, daughter of Mrs. Nellie Landers Porter, 
lost their li\es. Mrs. W. F. Cnlcni;ni (now Mrs. 15. 11. Adams) was jiainfnlly 

Deaths of pioneers during the year were as follows: January 1st, Mrs. 
G. W. Estey. Moneek, 1854. January loth. Tollef \'ick, Sr., .Springl'ield, 1854. 
January 22d, Norris Miller, Decorah, 1855. January 31st, Mrs. M. P. Riggs, 
Castalia, 1854. February 14th, Mrs. Mary L. Boyd, Decorah, 1851. February 
I5fh, Robert Burrows, Blufifton, 1852. February 27th, Moses Hosteller. I' 
viile, 1851. March loth, Mrs. Gunhild Bakke, Frankville, 1851. .March 14th, 
Joseph Bowland, Calmar, 1856. March nth, Moses M. Lockwood, Fort .\tkin- 


son, 1856. March 31st. Almon Rice, Bluffton, 1857. April 22d, C. B. Riggs, 
Bloonitield, 1854. i\pril 24th, W'ni. King, Burr Oak, 1854. July 8th, Henry R. 
Thomas, Decorah. 1854. July i6th, Airs. Andrew Smith, Burr Oak, early 
fifties. July 28th, Gulhrand Gulbrandson, Decorah, 1852. July 29th, Mrs. Milo 
Emory, born in Canoe in 1853. August 2d, Betsey A. Snell, BlutYton, 1854. 
August 8th, John McMartin, Bloomfield, 1851. August 31st, Mrs. A. C. Ferren, 
Decorah, 1857. September i6th, jMrs. Oline O. Ellingson, Calmar, 1858. Octo- 
ber, John Odson, Springwater, 1857. November 4th, Mrs. Eliza M. Decker. 
Decorah. 1850. November 9th, Peter Roney. Decorah, 1855. November 8th, 
John Walton, Sr., Orleans, 1855. November 4th, Elijah Briggs, Burr Oak, 
1855. December 2d, John Lawrence, Jackson, 1852. November 22d, John 
Cameron, Orleans, 1854. December 14th, James P. McKinney, Fort Atkinson, 
1857. December i6th, Airs. Jane W'ilsie. Burr Oak, 1854. 


January 29th, funds to build new Winneshiek Hotel in Decorah raised in 
one day. (The work was begvm July ist and was completed April 20, 1905.) 

February nth, Edna Lawrence succeeds her father, John Lawrence, as 
postmaster at Navin. He held the office thirty-four years. 

February 26th, Prof. H. T. Ytterboe of St. Olaf College, Northfield, dies. 
He was born November 25, 1857, in Springfield township. 

May 21 St, in district court Mrs. Lucy A. Fairman is given the estate of 
Almon Rice valued at $30,000. Plaintiff introduces letters to prove she is the 
illegitimate daughter of Rice. 

July 6th, C. J. Weiser presents a clock to the county to be installed in the 
tower of the new courthouse. It is made in honor of his father and mother, 
both of whom were early pioneers. 

August 6th, news comes of the death at Franklin Park. Illinois, of Henry 
Woodrufif, editor of Decorah Journal from 1874 to 1893. 

August loth. at 10:40 .\. Al. the last stone on the exterior of the new 
courthouse was laid. 

August i6th, Thomas Haugen of Springfield burned i)y traction engine. 

September 23d, Capt. James E. Simpson, pioneer county surveyor and for 
many years U. S. revenue collector at Dubuque, died at Norfolk. Nebraska. 
Mrs. Simpson died a week later. C. P. Brown, former well known attorney, 
died at St. Paul. 

September 29th, St. Mary's Catholic ciiurch. Festina. celebrates fiftieth anni- 

October nth to 13th, annual conference of Unitarian churches of Iowa held 
in Decorah. 

October 22d, Friends' church at Hesper burned. (It was subsequently re- 
placed by a new structure. ) 

October 29th, Jacob Aal Otteson, one of the seven charter member ministers 
of the Norwegian Lutheran church of America, died in Decorah. 

November 5th, H. A. Bigelow, early day resident, murdered by T. I. GiiTord 
in a (|uarrel over a trivial matter. Gifford subsequently escaped punishment, 
the jury finding he committed the crime while insane. 

Vol. 1—19 


November 24tli, new Winneshiek county courtiiouse completed and occupied. 

During the year golden weddings were celebrated as follows: July 3d, 
Mr. and Mrs. Peter Hamre, Springfield township. August 6th, Mr. and Mrs. 
Isaac Falck, Calniar. .Se])tember 24th. Mr. and. .Mrs. llalvor Garden. S])ring- 
field township. September 27th, Mr. and .Mrs. D. N. Hoyt, Decorah. 

The following names of pioneers appear in the record of deaths; January 
23d. Almira Allen Russell, born in Frankville, 1858. January 31st, Jolm .Vdam 
Kern, Pleasant, 1855. February 25th, Mrs. Rowena Libbey, Orleans, 1857. 
February 24th, Wm. Brinkman, Lincoln. March 2d, Eliza King Leach, Canoe, 
1854. March 22d, Mrs. Claiborn Day, Decorah, 1857. March 17th. Jane 
McMillan Hallock, Hesper, 1852. March 22d, D. T. Manning, liurr Oak. 1853. 
April i6th, Charles Rudolph, Decorah, 1839. Ai)ril. Henry C. Palmer, llurr 
Oak, 1855. April 17th, S. S. Wade. Burr Oak. 1856. April 26th. John Heckel. 
Burr Oak, 1855. May 23d. O. \V. Ellingson. Pleasant. 1854. Mny, Peter J. 
Falstad, Hesper. 1856. June 2d, Mrs. A. C. Smith, Springfield. 1853. June 
14th, Thomas K. Morrison. Bluffton. 1855. June 14th. .Andrew Bakken. Madi- 
son, 1854. June 23d, Caroline Russell Giles, Canoe, 1855. July loth, Doniinick 
Curran, Glenwood, 1858. July 23d, Mrs. C. W. Rowe, Hesper. August ist, 
Mrs. Silas H. Hendrickson, Glenwood, 1852. .\ugust 6th, Melvin Green, Bloom- 
field, 1850. September 6th. Mrs. Charles Rudolph, Decorah, 1859. September 
i5th, Mrs. M. J. Boland, Hesper, 1858. September Knli. Mrs. .Mjbie Malanaphy, 
Bluffton. 1854. September 25th, John I!arth, i'lcasaiit, 1855. October loth, 
Israel Birdsell, born in Frankville in 1852. Octol)er 21st. T. .\. W'indell, Bloom- 
field, 1853. November 16th. .Mrs. John Heckel, Burr Oak, 1857. December 
23d, J. Pickworth, Calmar. early fifties. 


January 51I1, Winneshiek County Stale I'.ank celebrates fiftieth anniversary. 

January 7tli. W'. S. Bucknell. Decorah architect, dei^arts for Panama to be 
employed on the big canal. 

April 27th. New Winneshiek Hotel formally opened. 

Mav 24tb, John C. Todd. promineiU farmer of Fremont townshij), passed 
away suddenly 

June 7th, Decorah cil\- council orders paving of seven l)locks of city streets 
and alley in blocks lo and 11. 

June 1 2th, Student Singers of Norway visit Decorah and give concerts. 

June 20th, Burr Oak old settlers' picnic brings reunion of large number of 
old residents. 

June 22d, Freeport paper mill burned. 

June 22d and 2^d. North Iowa X'eterans' .Association meets in Decorah and 
is attended by six score old soldiers. 

July nth, Elizabeth Douglass .Adams, wife of Rev. Ephraim Adams, pioneer 
pastor of Decorali Congregational church, dies at Waterloo. 

August I2th, Mrs. Gottlob Krumm of the second pioneer family to locate in 
the county (June 29. 1848) dies at her home at I'ort .Atkinson. She was the 
mother of eight chiUlren. seven of whom survived her. At the time of her death 
she was eighty-six years of age. 


August 23d, Iver Larson, Decorah merchant and Canoe township pioneer 
of 185 1, passed away. 

August 22d, Mr. and Mrs. James Daniels ( h'rankville, i<S5J| celelirate their 
fifty-fifth wedding- anniversary. 

Septemljer 2d, ^^"ilhanl Jennings Bryan lectured in Decorah. 

Se])teml)er 14th, census of Winneshiek county is 24,109, a gain of 378 in 
five years. Decorah"s population, 4,018. 

September 17th, Airs. Andrew Aleyer, who came to Winneshiek in 1849, 
celebrates eightieth birthday. 

October 21st, Henry Schulze, well known contractor and builder of Decorah, 
died suddenly at Mabel, [Minnesota. 

November ist, E. O. Schjeldahl celebrates thirtieth anniversary as merchant 
at Highlandville. Mr. and Mrs. A. W. Kramer of Castalia celebrate golden 

October 29th, New I<"riends church at Hcsper dedicated. 

November 14th, board of supervisors let contract for l)uilding of concrete 
bridge to cost $15,000 over Upper Iowa river in Decorah. 

November i6th, C. N. Coddard, pioneer merchant, announces that he will 
retire from business, closing a career of fifty years. 

November 20th, C. C. Fiates, veteran horseman, died at his home in Decorah. 
In "Thalberg" he owned one of the most noted horses in the Midille West. 

S. W. Field, aged eighty years, died. He came to Decorah in the early '(^os. 

November 2C)th, corner stone of new Lutheran church laid in Ridgeway. 

December 7th, Jane Amy AIcKinney, pioneer of Fort Atkinson in 1857, died 
at Cleveland, C)hio. She was an ardent member of the W. C. T. U. and enjoyed 
something more than a local reputation as an able champion of that work and 
the fight for equal suffrage. 

Deaths of pioneers recorded during the year: 

January 2d, Mrs. Susan A. Reed, 1854. 

January 24th, James Sharp, Hesper, 1853. 

January 29th, D. C. Taber, "Hesper, 1855. 

February 5th, James McKernan, lUoomfield, early '50s. 

February 22d, Mr. Hrockman, "\Iilitary, early '50s. 

February 15th, James McMillen, Hesper, 1852. 

March 20th, Charles Golz, Decorah, 1857. 

]\Iarch 1 2th, Thomas Daly, Fremont, 1852. 

March 21st, George Strayer, Freeport, 1858. 

A]iril 19th, Louis Nolte, Decorah, 1859. 

.■\pril 2ist, Franklin Dean, Dloomfield, 1854. 

April 22d, Lydia C. Aldrich, Hesper, 1856, 

yiay 1st, Amos J. McKay, Freeport, 1856. 

.April 26th, C. E. Dickerman, Decorah, 1855. 

May 6th, Ellen Giles, born in Canoe, 1856. 

— , John H. Fierce, I'.urr Oak, 1854. 

July 30th, Mrs. Anna M. Christianson, I'leasant, 1854. 

— , Mrs. L. P. Frazine, Decorah, 1856. 

August 31st, Tollev Halvorson, Military, 1854. 


August 22cl. Mrs. Jolm Ainnion, Decorah, 1852. 
September 21st. Mrs. .M. Forde. Pleasant, 1856. 
November 12th. Mrs. C. F. Miller, Spillville. 1855. 

1 906 

January 2d, Decorah city council raises mulct tax from $600 to $1,200. 

January 9th, 'Sirs. A. liradish celebrated lier eightieth birthday on the 5th 
and R. F. Gibson celebrated his eightieth l)irthday on the 8th. (Both are still 
living and in fair health.) 

Februar\ loih, Mrs. David Taber celebrated her iiinclielh l)irthday. Settled 
in Hesper in 1S55. 

April 1 2th, papers of this date record the death of Alexander McKay, a 
prominent citizen and one of the pioneers of the county, having settled in De- 
corah in 1 85 J. lor several terms he served as a member of the city council. 

May 13th, Knut Thomjison, who came to Decorah in 1854, passes away. He 
was sheriff of Winneshiek county from 1869 to 1873. 

June 6th, cyclone hits Canoe and Highland townships with total damage of 
$50,000. The heavy losers are: E. T. Selness, $10,000; G. I'awcett, Carrie Euros 
and Kittle Severson, $3,000 each : Nels Earson, $800; Lewis Larson, $300. 

July 3d, Mr. and Mrs. IS. I'". Newcomber of Hesper celel)rate golden w eli- 
ding. (Mrs. Newcomber died July 28.) 

July 25th, old F'ort building at Fort Xtkinson. used by .Mrs. .\. Cooney as a 
residence, narrowly escapes btirning. 

August 3d, Swenson X'alve Company. Decorah. incorporated. 

June 2d, board of supervisors buy twenty-seven voting machines from L'. S. 
Standard \'oting Machine Company. The act was reinidiated by the voters. 

June 23d, I'Iric Anderson and John W. Sliies. prominent Decorah citizens, 
pass away. Mr. Anderson came to Springl'ield townshiii in 1850 and was sheriff 
from 1861 to 1865. Mr. Stiles came to Decorah in 1855 and was ])ioneer livery- 
man, later engaging in hotel business. 

June 30th, Congress ajJi^ropriales $5,000 to buy postoffice site in Decorah. 

June 27th, Rev. C. A. Marshall die>l at Cresco. He was an early day pastor 
of the Burr Oak Congregational church. 

June 30tli, Luther College Concert r.;incl departs on its Tirst trip to the I'acilk- 

August 21st. Mr. ,ni(l Mrs. Daniel Reed celebrate tifty-lifth wedding anni- 

September 29th, Aaron R. 'S'oung died at Waucoma. He was a soldier at 
Fort Atkinson in 1848, and his marriage to Mary .\. Rogers on I'ebruary 11. 
1849, was the first ceremony of its nature in the county. He was transferred to 
Fort Snelling a few weeks later and did not return to take up liis iiermanent resi- 
dence in the ct)unty until 1851. 

October 22(1, .\. W. Kramer, pioneer merchant of Castalia. jiasses away. 

October 2C)th. Mrs. E. E. Mcader. the pioneer woman of Hesper townshiii, 

November 2(jlh. .\Ir. and .Mrs. Lambert Dresselhaus celebrate golden wed- 


December 1 1 th, Decorah State Bank opens for lousiness. 

December 21st, Rev. H. B. W'oodworth, pastor of Decorab Congregational 
cliurch from 1872 to 1882, dies at Grand Forks. 

December 23d, Reed & ]\Iay's implement stock in J, J. Marsli building. De- 
corab, burned. Loss about $7,000. 

Record of deaths of pioneers during the year 1896 as follows : 

January 25th, Nels X. Ouandahl, Sr., Pleasant, 1856. 

January 31st, Joel Dayton. Decorah, 1856. 

February 5th, Mrs. A. K. Bailey, Decorah, i860. 

February i8th. Grandma Torgrimson, Springfield, 1851. 

February iqth, F. T. ^'tterljoe, Springfield, 1854. 

!\Iarcb 3d. Anders O. Lomen, Springfield, 1850. 

March 8th, John Amnion, Decorah, 1854. 

April igth, F. E. Lomen, Springfield, 1850. 

.\pril Jijth, Mrs. Eunice Cooney, Fort Atkinson, 1854. 

Alay 2ist, William MclNIullen, Canoe. 1854. 

June yth, D. N. Hoyt, Freeport. 1854. 

August 3d, Mrs. J. M. Green. Decorah, 1856. 

August i6th, A. A. Benedict, Springwater, 1856. 

August 19th, George Pennington, Decorah, 1858. 

August 24th, Mrs. Signe B. Christen, Decorah, 1854. 

August 30tii, A. H. H. Perkins, Decorah, 1854. 

September nth, Airs. James Sharp, Hesper, 1853. 

September 12th, Mrs. S. S. Wade, Burr Oak, 1852. 

November 2d, George Bolles, Bluffton, 1857. 

November 9th, H. S. Tucker, Canoe, 1855. 

November 17th, Mrs. Maria C. Daniels, Frankville, 1852. 

November 30th. Wm. McLain, Canoe, 1857. 

December 14th. Mrs. S. C. Treat, Decorah, 1857. 


January 7th, James .A. \\'atterson, Ijrother of the late Bishop Watterson of 
the Catholic church, and cousin of Henry Watterson of Louisville Courier- 
Journal, dies at home of his son-in-law, J. P. Wangler. 

January loth, Prof. Elmer L. Coffeen, a Decorah boy. chosen as superintend- 
ent of the Lyman School for Boys at Westboro, Massachusetts. This school 
is a reformatory for wayward boys and the selection of Professor Coffeen as super- 
intendent marks him as one of the foremost workers in the "boy movement" in 

January 14th, King Haakon of Norway confers degree of Knight of St. Olaf 
upon B. .\nundsen, editor of Deeorah Posten. 

February 15th, O. P. Thompson, retired merchant and one of Decorah's best 
known citizens, died. 

I'^eljruary 14th, Judge Hobson sentences Ambrose Duffv to forty years in the 
Anamosa penitentiary. Dufify confessed to assault ujion a iJrominent lady of the 
county and of burglary at Immaculate Conception Academy, Decorah. 

March 8th. K. I. Haugen cclcl)rates tliirlielli annix'crsarv as Decorah nier- 


chant. The rclirciiicnt of C. N. Cioddard leaves Mr. llaugcn as the ranking pio- 

-March jist, secretary of treasury selects the I,e\i IluUis office corner as site 
for new federal building in Decorah. 

March 24th. the foundation of big dam built In' Upper Iowa Company in 
Cilenwood township i)roves defective and the structure is undermined and demol- 
ished. Loss upwards of $40,000. 

April 13th, the Colonel Taylor cabin in Canoe burned. l"or many years it 
was the summer home of Col. J. W. Taylor and contained many relics of the war. 

-April 25th, James Porter, Mrs. Susan Johnson and Mrs. P.arnes, all old resi- 
dents of I)urr Oak. die within the week. 

April 28th. new .Synod Lutheran church in .Madison townshi]) dedicated. 

May 28th, Prof. Thron Polhne and J'rof. I^yder Siewers die a few hours 
apart. They had been co-workers as teachers at Luther College, and at the time 
of their deaths were both doing editorial work on Decorah Posten — both men of 
unusual talents. 

May 25th. lire and water cause loss of $25,000 to stocks of Larsen P>rothers 
and .\. Nicsh & .'^ons. Decorah. 

June i.itli. C. J. Milts. r)ssian's postmaster, dies. 

June 23d, Sheriff Qualley catches Harry V. Kurb. who i)asses worthless checks 
in Decorah. The fellow proved to be a noted check forger. Kurb got ten years. 

June 27th, Rev. II. .\. .""^tub. one of the founders of .Norwegian Lutheran 
Synod of America, and jiaslor of the P>ig Canoe church for twenty-si.x years, 
from 1865. jiasses away. ( He Uas the father of Rev. 11. (1. Stub, ]iresent i)resi- 
dent of the Synod. 1 

August 5th, Mrs. r. J. Oualley. wife of sheriff, detects Ilary Kurb attenii)ing 
to saw bars of jail windows. Nels Duff was sul)se(|uently arrested and convicted 
of supplying saws to Knrb. and sent to I'nrl Madison. 

October I3lh. Laur Larsen llall at Luther (."ollege dedicated. 

October i6ih. new mill dam built by Geo. W'cist on Turkey river at I'orl .At- 
kinson is uuflermined and demolished. 

October 28th, owing to panic in money market the banks of Decorah go into 
a clearing house basis and issue clearing house certiticates. The office of the De- 
corah Re|)ublican was "the mint" for about twenu-four hours, during which 
$100,000 of certificates were printed. 

November 6th. (leorge Phelps, pioneer wagon maker ami hl.icksmilh. died 
in Cheltenham. I'jigland. lie came to Decorah in 1854 and here laid the founda- 
tion of his fortune that had grown to a half million dollars at the lime of his 
death. I!\ the terms of his will, Phelps cemetery. Decorah, was endowed with 
a sum sufficient to ]irovide handsoiuely for its future care and uivkce]). 

November 21st, Capt. Roald Annnidsen, .\rctic e\'i'lorer, is guest of his coun- 
trymen in Decorah. 

November 20th, Rev. ]'4)hraini Adams, pioneer pastor of Decorah Congre- 
gational church, died at Waterloo. 

December I4tli, Rev. O. E. Schmidt welcomed as pastor of L'nile<l Lutheran 
church at Decorah. 

Decem!)er 25111. Mr. and .Mrs. Terrence Carolan of I'.lurflon celebr.ale golden 


December 30th, Mrs. John G. Melaas, Orleans pioneer, died. 
During the year 1907 the following names of pioneers are found recorded 
among the deaths : 

January 10th, C. L. Beebe, Freeport, 1855. 

January 13th, Martin Bottsford, Decorah, 1855. 

January 24th, Knut G. Nordheim, Pleasant, early 'sos. 

January 25th, W'm. Hess, Festina, early '50s. 

February Qth. C. W. Rowe, Hesper, 1854. 

February 14th, Anna M. \'olding, Glenwood, 1853. 

February 17th, H. J. Brickner, Decorah, 1857. 

March 4th, John J. Wold, Decorah, 1834. 

March 6th, Mrs. Gilmore Kendall. Kcndallville, i860. 

April nth, Hiram Rosa, Frankville, early ■50s. 

April 17th, Magne Langland, Pleasant, 1853. 

April 22d, James Daniels, Frankville, 1852. 

May 9th, Geo. W. Shattuck, Frankville, early '50s. 

May 14th, Grandpa Mikish, Spillville, early 'sos. 

Mav 2i;th. Mrs. Mercy Chamberlin, Frankville, 1852. 

June 2d, Mrs. Henry F. Dean, Bloomfield, 1854. 

June 20th, Mrs. C. B. Riggs, Bloomfield, 1854. 

July 1 2th, Jacol.) Headington, Canoe, 1858. 

Jtdy 26th, Mrs. Harriett C. Tabor, Hesper, 1855. 

July 31st, W. H. Bently, Bluffton, early '50s. 

August loth, Mrs. Wm. Cdover, Canoe, 1853. 

October loth, John \\"ard, Sr., Burr Oak, 1854. 

October 25th, John \'an Pelt, Decorah, 1853. 

October 29th, Diebold Stoskopf, Pleasant, 1856. 

October 28th, George W. Daskam, born in Fremont, 1857. 

November 29th, Daniel Price, Pleasant, 1855. 


February 3d, Mr. and Mrs. Charles McMasters celebrate golden wedding. 
They were married at Freeport. 

February 5th, contract for new school building for Inmiaculale Concei)tion 
Academy, Decorah, awarded to Geo. l^.runner, at $5,490, without heating and 

February loth, Sanuiel Magiuis, Civil war veteran and former member of 
board of supervisors, dies at Ridgeway. 

February 13th, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Puntney of Canoe celebrate fiftv-seventh 
wedding anniversary. 

April 2d, Dan Shea, former county superintendent and lawyer, died in De- 

April 23d — During the week Mrs. Wm. Beard ( l''rank\'ille, 1852), T. M. llo\t 
(Freeport, 1853), Heber Robinson (Freeport, 1854), and Andrew Williams, an- 
other old resident, pass away. 

April 30th, three more pioneers die — Mrs. Jnhii Tlieilich I 1S53), Mrs. Zilpha 
Prnthroe (Decorah, 18561. and Ilalv(jr ( larden, pioneer of Springfield. 


May 6tli, Cornelius Jennings of Ossian, sentenced to penitentiary for life for 
criminal assault upon his own daughter. 

May I4lh, Congress appropriates $60,000 for government building in Uecorah. 

May 23d, Henning Larson and Lauritz Ylvisaker of Luther College take state 
championship in collegiate tennis tournament at Ceiiar Rapids. 

June 20th, tornado sweeps through Winneshiek county from northwest to 
southeast in a path twenty miles wide. Crops were pounded into the ground and 
trees were denuded of leaves and bark by hail, telephone lines were wrecked, 
bridges were washed out. In Decorah buildings were demolished or unroofed 
and thousands of panes of glass were broken. Hail stones were piled u]) in drifts 
all along the path of the storm and on July 4th following a large pile of them that 
had been washed into a gully and covered with leaves were found and used in 
freezing ice cream. 

June 2ist. Harry Crawford in a lit of jealousy attcmjjts to kill Mrs. l£dw. 
Ottaway and takes his own life. 

July ijlh. -Mrs. Mitchell Debb, pioneer of .Madison township, celebrated 
eightieth birthday ( .Mrs. Debl) still lives and is in good health. ) 

.\ugust 29th, Henry \\'. Klemme, pioneer Lincoln township, farmer, died at 
Elma. (His wife followed him in death Sei)lember 20th). 

October 22d, Henry A. I'.aker, lUoomlield pioneer of \>^^<) antl former legis- 
lator, died at Siou.x City. 

November 1.9th, J. C. Rollins ( Burr Oak, 1864), and Jacob Jewell (Decorah, 
1830) die on 13th and iCith, resi)ectively. Mr. Rollins won prominence as an 
im])orter of horses and .Mr. Jewell was a member of the board of supervisors 
for several terms and of the Iowa Legislature. 

James Murr, Decorah, burned to death. It is supposed be set fne to his 
bedding while smoking after retiring. 

December iSth, Ijurglars steal $400 worth of goods from store of F. P. Cizek 
at Fort .Atkinson. John Ilogan and Richard Martin, two tramps, are arrested 
for the crime and subsequently convicted. When they apjieared before Judge 
I tobson he recognized Hogan as an old offender who had been sentenced by him 
twice before and he gave him a term in the jicnitentiary that will keep him con- 
fined the balance of his life. 

Record of deaths of pioneers during the year: 

January 9th, Moritz Lange, IJluffton, 1856. 

January iith, James H. Easton, Decorah, 1858. 

January nth, Lars Severson, Decorah. 1856. 

January 30th, Erick Uakke, Decorah, early "^os. 

I'ebruary 22d, Johannes W'ernsen, Highland, early '50s. 

I'ebruary 24th, Joseph Todd, Decorah, 1838. 

.March 9th, Henry Adams, Freeport, 1853. 

March 9th, Henry Yager. Pleasant. 1837. 

March 23d. Almiram .Smith, hVankville. 1831. 

March 24th, Wm. Murdock, HlulTton. 1835. 

April 23d, Halvor K. Pioe, Calmar. 1857. 

May 6th, David Easier, h'remont. 1837. 

May 9th, A. C. Ferren. Decorah, 1837. 

May 24th, Lars O, Hergeson, Glenwood, 1834. 


June 17th, A. H. Groves, Springfield, 1850. 
June 13th, ]\Irs. Geo. Miles, Hesper, 1855. 
July 18th, Mrs. R. F. Greer, Decorah, 1856. 
July 236, Mrs. Noris Miller, Decorah, early '50s. 
August 23d, John Klemish, Sr., Spillville, in the '50s. 
September 5th, Alyron Dean, Bloomfield, 1853. 
September 5th, Mrs. John VanPelt, Decorah, 1853. 
September 5th, Mrs. Sigre B. Busness, Frankville, 1850. 
September 23d, C. T. Hoyne, Springfield, early '50s. 
October 4th, Jacob Exe, Highland, early '50s. 
November 21st, Mrs. Jacob Haas, Decorah, 1856. 
November 28th, Mrs. Geo. Yarwood, 1854. 
December 17th, Linus Curtis, Orleans, 1853. 
December 2i)th. lacol) Zuckmeyer, Decorah, 1837. 


February 10th, a Sons of \'eterans camp is organized, with William l.innivuld 
as commander. 

March 20th, Nathan Drake. Glenwood pioneer, passes away. Among others 
who died during the year are William Renken of LaCrosse; Mrs. John W. Thune; 
Mrs. Mary Ann Feltin of Burr Oak ; John B. Kaye, Calmar's talented lawyer 
and poet ; Hulver Hulverson. Decorah ; Cyrus Wellington at Belsam Lake, Wiscon- 
sin ; John S]5riggs of Blufli'ton ; Adeline \'. Alinert, Frankville ; John L. Kittlesby of 
Calmar; A. J. .McClaskey, Decorah: James T. Relf, Decorah; Mrs. Lucy Briggs, 
Burr Oak; Henry Moore, Frankville; Andrew T. Gunderson, Ossian ; Mrs. Anna 
Martinek, Fort Atkinson: Mrs. Harriett Todd, Kendallville ; William M. Bar- 
thell, Decorah; William I'untley, Canoe; E. Al. Carter of Hesper; E. R. Scott 
of Madison; Mrs. II. A. Thornton of Castalia; Mrs. Ann M. Houck, Burr Oak; 
John Thurlow Baker in St. Paul; Mrs. E. E. Cooley, pioneer of Decorah; Mrs. 
Z. B. Landon of Burr Oak; Mrs. J. C. Rollins, Decorah. On September 20th 
Ansel K. Bailey, senior editor of the Decorah Re])ublican, passed away. On No- 
vember i2th, Clark N. Goddard. pioneer merchant and former postmaster of 
Decorah, died. 

The big event of the year was the first Llome Coming, (^ver seven hundred 
former residents of the county registered during the week. They came from the 
Atlantic and Pacific coasts, from as far south as Galveston, and from as far north 
as Northwestern Canada. 

The Nordness creamery was burned during the summer; loss, $4,000. 


January 3d, 10" below zero and an e.xtra foot of snow gives Winneshiek county 
two feet on the level and all trains are blockaded. 

January 24th. Cresco papers announce the death of Mrs. William Webster, one 
of the pioneer mothers of western Winneshiek. 

lanuary 29th, Lieut. Ole .A. Anderson died at his home in Decorah at the age 
of seventy-six years. 


February 4th. Kcv. O. E. Schmidt hrint^s cliarges against E. P. Johnson and 
proceedings for disbarment will begin before Jiulge llobson. Eater found guilty 
and disbarred. 

I''el:)ruary 4th, Mrs. R. F. Gibson passed away. .\ pioneer of Decorah in 1858. 

I'ebruary loth, .Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Seegmiller celeljrate golden wedding. 

I"'ebruary 1 ith, CMaiborne Day, the last resident member of the lirst white family 
in Decorah, died at his home in Decorah, aged 83 years 6 months and 5 days. 

March 2d, Germond Merrill died at his home in Erankville township. 

March 6th, Mrs. Anton Hegg dies at family home in Decorah. .\ resident of 
the county since 1855. 

March 31st, by vote of 480 to 10 Decorah decided to grant a franchise to 
J. J. Donelan of Waverly to erect a gas plant. 

A])ril 15th, .Simeon \'. Potter, for many years agent of the Milwaukee railway 
in Decorah, died in Calmar after an illness of ten weeks. He was undoubtedly 
the oldest employe in steady service on the Milwaukee road in the state. 

/\pril 18th, Moses Oren, a i)ioneer of Highland township, passed away. 

.Xliril 2(i{h. Mr. and Mrs. I!. T. Parfooi celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of 
their vvedding. 

.May 15th, Rev. Abraham Jacobson, one of the pioneer Norwegians of the 
county (Springfield township, in 1850), passed away. He was a former member 
of the Iowa Eegislature. 

Mav i6th, lion. Ove Gude, Norway's minister lo the L'nited States, is given a 
banquet at the Winneshiek Hotel. He delivered 17th of May address in Decorah. 

May 20th, Mr. and .Mrs. J. J. Marsh celebrate their golden wedding. 

Jinie 23CI, the Calmar Savings Hank incorporates with I".. J. Curtin as jircs- 
ident and S. E. Brickner as cashier. 

.August I2th, A. J. Cratsenberg dies suddenly ;it the home of his son-in-l.iw, 
!.. H. Whitney, at Decorah. 

.'^e|)tcmber i^th, Mr. and Mrs. I,. L. L'adwell celebrate their golden wedding. 

( )clober 15th, the Silver Creek creamery at P)Urr Oak is destroyed by fire. 

October 24th, work under the superintendency of .Mr. I iarmon is begun on the 
Decorah postoffice. 

November 12th. I'.ernard Dresselhans dies at his home in i'leasant township. 
He was a ])i(jneer of 1850. 

.\ovcml)er 14th, the Highlandville schoolhouse is destroyed by fire. 

December i<)th. Rev. V. V. Koren, president of the Eutheran Synod of .\mer- 
ica, pioneer Lutheran minister of 1853, :ind beloved pastor of the Washington 
Pr.'iirie cbiirch .ill the \ears since. ])asscd away in his eighty-third year. 

iiji I 

huring the vear i<;ii the following well known and nUl residents jiassed away: 
January 2th, Peter E. Ilaugen and U.S. E. Renken of Decorah : Jamiary 4th. Mrs. 
John Scott, Calmar, frozen to death; Jainiary 24lh, Daniel .\. Reed of Decorah, 
ranking |)ioneer, one of the early sef^'crs in Rloomfield township: Robert Waters, 
Erankville; February lolh, Mrs. Duncan McMartin, Caslalia; February i8th, 
Henrv I'.roghiunmer. Ilesper ; h\-bruary 28th, Mrs. D. II. Hughes, widow of Col. 
D. II. Hughes, Decorah; May 6th. Silas P. l^rvin of Decorah, age ninety years; 


May i6th, Mrs. H. J. Green, wife of Editor (ireen of Decorah Public Opinion; 
June Jtli. Anton Hegg. Springfield township jiioneer ; August iqth. W. (">. W. 
Saw\er of Decorah ; September (jth, Wilhani 1 b)hnes of Decorah, ninet) -one years 
old. ^Ir. Holmes helped to build the Whitby cK: Pickering railroad in England and 
rode on Stephenson's "Rocket;" helped build the (irand Trunk railroad in Canada 
and the Northern Pacific railroad: Septenil>er 17th, H. L. Colleen, Decorah; Octo- 
ber 5th, John McAndrews, Decorah, killed by the Milwaukee train; Octolier 22d, 
James M. Lennon, \\'ashington Prairie ; Decemljer 7th, Edward \'ine, and Decem- 
ber 8th, Thomas Graham, both of Decorah. 

The following people celebrated their golden weddings during the year: Feb- 
ruary 14th. :\lr. and Mrs. R. .\. Miller, Decorah: March 7th. Mr. and Mrs. Wm. 
Summers, Fort .\tkinson; April 1 rth, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Gellerman, Decorah; 
July 5th, Mr. and Mrs. F. Einwalter, Fort Atkinson; August 15th, Mr and Mrs. 
Wm. Knowlton, Decorah; October 29th, Mr. and Mrs. G. Heuser, Decorah. 
January ist. Law and ( irder Eeague organized. 

January 4th, I'^lizalieth Wendling falls on ice in her yard and is not found until 
badly frozen. She died April 20th. May 3d, while examining her home $3,400 
in cash is found. 

January 24th, Dr. Laur Larson retires from active teaching after fifty years 
on Luther College faculty. 

I'eijruary 16th. Decorah (las Company begin operating their jilant. 
Fel)ruary i6t]i, Carl Moen, of Washington IVairie, dies from injuries Ijy a wood 
sawing machine. ( March 8tli, George Johnson of Glenwood, killed by the same 

March 8th. K. I. Haugen celebrates thirty-fifth anniversary as Decorah mer- 
chant. Work on Decorah federal building begins. 

April 25th, corner stone of Decorah federal building laiil b>- Masonic fraternity. 
Grand Master Graig and Grand Secretary Par\in have charge. Odd Fellows 
assist in exercises. 

?^Iay 2d. Judge h'ellows decides Thinnas J. (jualley is the duly elected sheritt 
of Winneshiek county. Philip Carolan was the contestant. 

.May fith. lien Bear celeljrates thirty-fifth anniversary as Decorah clothier. 
May 2cjth, Henry Wesselman and fannly of Calmar have collision with Mil- 
waukee train near Fort Atkinson. Mr. and Mrs. Wesselman sustained fractured 
skulls and a son and daughter are killed. 

June loth, E. J. Curtin. president of Citizens Savings I lank of Decorah, is 
elected president of Iowa Hankers Association. 

June 2ist, Luther College holds fiftieth commencement exercises. 
June 22d, Luther College Concert I'and starts on trip to Pacific coast. 
July 1st. I'Vankville, second oldest postoffice in the county, is discontinued. 
July 20th, Sivert Larson, Decorali clothier, secures a tract of ground from 
Prof. M. UpdegrafY for city park. 

August loth, Upper Iowa Power Co. decide to liuild a second dam in Glenwood 

October 14th, Luther College celclirated semi-centennial. King Haakon of 
Norway sends greetings. Endowment fund of $250,000 is raised, of which James 
J. Hill contributes $50,000. 


October 26tli. Mrs. Anna liaker of Glenwood township celebrates yoth l)irtli- 


January 41I1. while workinjj around the McMillen gristmill at llesper. Ole 
Ness was caught in the machinery and had both legs broken, and was injured 
about the head, causing death. 

January i ith. the record shows thai the thermometer has not risen above zero 
since December 21st. 

January i8th. word comes from Frank\ine that tieo. M. Andersen fell and 
struck his head, injuring the optic nerve so blindness ensued. He is a pioneer 
and veteran soUlier. 

January 25th, on Saturday last .Mrs. \\ illiani Thurlow Baker died at the family 
home in Decorah from the infirmities of old age. 

February ist. the Decorah I'armer's Ice Cave Creamery is an established fact. 

February 4th. M. 11. Merrill died at his home in Decorah after a lingering ill- 

February 15th, the new postoftice is completed and accepted by the government. 

March 12th, Mrs. B. T. Barfoot passes away, after a long illness. Mr. Bar- 
foot followed her April 2d. They came to Madison townshiji in 1S55. having 
lived in Decorah before that year. 

March 16th. Mrs. John T. Baker, a resident of Decorah for the greater part of 
her life, passed away at St. Paul. 

June 13th, Mrs. Loretta Webster Tullle, of Decorah, passed aw-ay. 

June 27th. Mr. and Mrs. Julius Jacob Schaub, of Decorah. celebrated their 
golden wedding. 

July 17th, Judge I,. 1*'.. Fellows of the District Court, died at his home iii 

July 26th, in the morning several large balloons were seen sailing over Decorah. 
b'rom messages drop])ed it was learned they started from St. Louis in the Jas. 
Gordon Bennett race. 

July 29th. Mr. and Mrs. Xels Larson, of Highland township, celebrated their 
golden wedding with some 500 guests and twenty-five grandchildren. 

.\ugust 23d, E. I'. Johnson, formerly attorney at Decorah, passed away at 
his home in Minneapolis. 

September 9th, Hans P. Johnson, a well known harness dealer in Decorah, 
died at the LaCrosse hospital. 

September 13th. .Anderson liros." liarn at Decorah was entirely consumed by 
fire. Twentv-two valuable horses and a span of mules were burned. Loss 

SeiUember i4tli, ])ostoffice at Calmar robbed during the night. $75,000 secured. 

October 3d, owing to a second crop of strawberries, several families in the 
county enjoyed short cake at this time of the year. 

Deaths of three well known residents are recorded this week. Mrs. C. J. 
Ambli, Decorah; Mrs. John Odson. Decorah, and Jos. Beiderman, a resident of 
the county for many years. 

October I5tli. Jcihn (1. I'larliu-ll. a farmer resident nt I )cc(ir;il). died at ( )cean 
Grove, N. |. 


November ist, Jilayor F. W. Daubney of Decorali passed away after a critical 
illness covering nearly three weeks, diabetes being the cause. His funeral the 
following Sunday was one of the largest ever held in the city. 

November 8th. A. D. Thomas, a well known resident of iJecorah, passed away. 
Tie came to Decorah in 1859. 

Novemljer 17th. Jacob Haas, of Decorah, died suddenly of heart failure. 

November 20th. Dr. ^^^ D. Kellogg, a pioneer dentist, died at his home in 

November J4th, Mrs. Peter E. Haugen, a resident of Decorah township in 
1S55, passed away. 

December 5th. the nudct petition has been abandoned because of failure to 
secure the necessary signers. 

Decemljer 21st, Judge John DeCou dies at the home of his son near Ossian. 
Judge De Cou was a pioneer of Frankville township, coming there with his bride 
!n 1850. He was County Judge and also served one term in the State Legislature. 

Decemlier 29th. fire destroys N. R. Groff's hardware store, the law olilice of E. 
W. Cutting and W. M. Strand in Marlow buildings, and does considerable damage 
to \\'angler Drug store, and the Trzcinski and E. I. ^^'eiser buildings. Loss 
$40,000, fairly well covered by insurance. 


Tanuarv 1st, Dr. Laur Larson, president emeritus of Luther College, lays down 
his pen, and retires to private life after fifty-one years in school room, pulpit and 
editorial chair. 

January 3d, as a result of the Groff fire, the Winneshiek County State Bank 
secures the E. I. W'eiser property and takes steps to erect a new building. (Sept. 
23d, as these notes are being written, the building is nearing completion.) 

January 14th, ]\Irs. James Stringer, pioneer Decorian, badly burned when her 
dress catches fire from the stove. She died several weeks later. 

January 8th, Decorah firemen vote to purchase lots at corner of Water and 
River streets as site for future auditorium. 

January 13th, E. O. Schjeldahl. pioneer Highlandville merchant, dies after long 
illness from typhoid fever. 

January 19th, C. B. Lonnon, pioneer citizen of I'rankville (1855), dies in 

January i8th. Miss Matilda Smith ( J'lufTton. 1855). dies in Decorah. 

January 29th. E. A. Bakken. Ridgeway merchant, died suddenly. 

February 22d, bov scouts organize in Decorah and Decorah Institute building 
is secured as headquarters and gymnasium. 

March 7th, C. ^^'. Burdick, pioneer of 1853, dies at his home in Decorah. 

JMarch 2d, ]Mr. and Mrs. X'alentine Stoskopf of Decorah celebrate their fifty- 
fifth wedding anniversary. 

March i6th, Torniod Ilolton, who settled on Washington Prairie in 1849, dies 
at the age of ninety years. 

April 3d. death of George .'\llen, former member of board of supervisors and 
Castalia resident, reported. 

April 17th, movement to secure electroliers for Decorah street lighting meets 
^vith success. 


Ai)Til 131I1, Daniel 1'. Ilawes, widely kiKiwn settler of i<%o on \\'ashington 
Prairie, passed away. 

A])ril I3tli, Mrs. .Matilda r.rogluunmer. nifcd Ossian woman, killetl by the cars 
while on her way to church. 

.April loth. J. 11. llaiijj, leading merchant and ca])italist of SpilKille. dies in 
Milwaukee hospital. 

May 15th. Will. il. ."^niitli offers for a hosijital if citizens of Decorah 
will raise $15,000 more. The proposition is accepted, and the money raised. 

June 3d, Gov. A. O. Eberhart of Minnesota is guest of citizens of Decorah 
and makes address at Luther College. 

June 22(1. riiitcd I.utheran church in .Springlield townshii) celebrate sixtieth 

July 7th, George Harter of Locust has foot l)adly mangled in a mower accident 
and dies three weeks later. His parents were in Germany at the time am! did 
not reach home until after his death. 

July iDtli. Jesse Schoonmaker badly injured by mower when team runs awav 
with him in Decorah. The accident results in damage suits against Hlmer 
Rosa, the boy's cousin, for $20,000 and $4,000, Newton Schoonmaker being the 
plaintiff for his son and himself. 

DEC 9 - 193^i 

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