Nathan Edward Goldthwait.

History of Boone County, Iowa (Volume 1) online

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hcjrses were cvlt kept liiddeii aninnjj; tlie hills of that reyjion of the
country. Nor have the tools or instruments used in the manufacture
of counterfeit money ever been found there. The story is simplv a
fabrication, it seems to be a well established fact that there was
the head of a family in that part at one time in the habit of concealing
guiltv men and stolen horses in his barn, but when this fact became
known to the citizens they iS,A\'c him notice to leave the countrv bv
the expiration of a certain time, and at tlie termination of that period
he had taken his departure. From this must have originated the
storv above referred to and whicli had been published in some lead-
ing papers of the state.

The postoflice at Pilot Mound is now the onlv one in the township.
Tiiere was a postoflice in the north end of the township, at Casady's
Corner, but it has been discontinued since the people in that part
have been supplied bv the rural delivery lines.

There is an old settlers' association in Pilot Mound Township
which has been holding annual meetings. One of the places of
meeting is Owen's Grove, in section 4, near the \^'ebster Coimty line. \
It is a pleasant place for holding meetings.

Mr. Owen found the skeleton of a bufifalo in the bed of a small
creek on his farm a few years ago. He still has the bones of the
animal in his possession.

Pilot Mound l^)wnship is connectecf with Dodge Township by
two countv bridges that span the Des Moines River. One thing that
makes this township more historic than the other townships of the
county is the fact that it contains the great battleground where the
Sac and Fox Indians under Keokuk gained a great victory over the
Sioux, under Wamsapasia. The many human bones tound there
prove that a battle was actually fought.

The large pond or lake in sections 6 and 7, township 85, range
27, has. attracted much attention for many years. The old Dragoon
trail which trended north from Fort Des Moines at the Raccoon
Fork, passed a short distance east of this body of marsh land and
water. The Dragoons afterward made mention of it. At that tmie
(from 1 84:; to 1H4O, it was seven miles long and from one to three
miles wide. The outline given of it, on a map of the county, pub-
lished by the Tnion Historical Company, in 1879, show that it was
six miles long and three miles wide across the center at that date.
Its complete drainage and cultivation will soon be accomplished.



The Town of Pilot Mound was laid out September 8, 1881.
There had been a postoffice established there for a number of years
before the town was laid out, which was named Pilot Mound, so
when the town was laid out it was very appropriate to name it Pilot
Mound also. Here are four different things having the same name.
First the big upheaval of earth which towers above the surrounding
country was very appropriately named Pilot Mound. When the
township was laid out the name was applied to it. So with tiic post-
office and town. Here are a combination of names the like of which
cannot be elsewhere found in the state.

Pilot Mound has two general stores, one drug store, one restaurant,
two garages, one barber shop, one harness shop, two grain elevators,
one lumber yard, one blacksmith shop and a bank. The latter is the
Pilot Mound Savings Bank, of which S. L. Moore is president and
A. M. Kenyon is cashier. The latter is a brother of Senator W. S.
Kenyon, one of the noted men of the nation.

The town has a weekly newspaper, which is a true reflector of
the town and the country around it. The paper is named the Pilot
Mound Monitor, its present editor being J. C. Burton. It is now
rounding out its sixteenth year. The Pilot Mound Monitor was
established in October, 1898, its founder and first editor being August
Samuelson. He had only gotten fairly started on his editorial career
when he sold the paper and printing outfit to A. J. Wolf. The
paper was one year old when Mr. Wolf took charge, and he con-
tinued in the editorial chair, giving his patrons a good local paper
until 1905, when he sold the plant and fixtures to George Kick. The
latter continued to give the readers of the Monitor a good home
paper for about eight years. In that time he made many friends
and doubtless, some enemies, as is usually the case. In 1913 he sold
the Monitor to J. C. Burton, the present editor and proprietor. Mr.
Burton is a genial and accommodating gentleman, who has improved
the ofiice by adding many new fixtures to it. Mr. Burton is himself
a practical printer and will no doubt prosper in his business.

Pilot Mound has a school building with two departments. The
present enrollment is about one hundred. There were ten graduates
at the close of the last term. The schools are in good condition.
The principal for the term of 1914 is E. E. Bentley.

There is an Odd Fellows lodge of fifty members. The present
ofiicers are: Elmer Germer, N. G. ; E. E. Durrcl, secretary. There


is also a Masonic lodge of thirty members. The officers are: W. M.,
A. S. Kirkman; secretary, E. E. Bentley.

The Wooiimen's lodge has thirty-five members. A. J. Wolf is
chief councilman, and D. C. Wiley, clerk.

Pilot .Mound has four ciuirches and four church buildings, as
follows: Methodist Episcopal, Swedish Mission, Adventist and Bap-
tist, it is said that each of these churches has a good working
congregation and that each has a good Sunday school.

Drs. W. (i. Laidlev and R. S. Shame arc the practicing physicians
here. Tlicre are also two dentists and one specialist located here.

According to the census of 1910 Pilot" Mound had a population
of 347. The state census to be taken next year may increase the
populati(Mi to 50(i.

'i'hc present citv officers are as follows: Mayor, Arthur Alban;
clerk, L. C. Carlson; councilmen, George Carlson, E. E. Bentley,
Elmer Cartwright, William Forney, O. W. Tornell.

There are no coal mines in operation in Pilot Mound Township,
but there is no doubt but that much of the land in the township is
underlaid with valuable beds of coal whicii some time will be
mined. There are also vast beds of gravel which will in time be

Amonif those who were honored with countv offices and who
were citizens of Pilot Mound Township were Peter Shaffer, Pleasant
Chitwood, George E. Jones and B. P. Hoist.



The south one-third of the present township of Marcy was origin-
ally contained in Pleasant Township and the north two-thirds in
Boone Township. These divisions continued from August 6, 1849,
to March 8, 1852. At the last named date Berry Township was
created, established and named by S. B. AlcCall, who was elected
• county judge at the August election in 1851. The south two-thirds
of the present township of Marcy was contained in Berry Township,
while the north one-third still made up a part of Boone Township.
Under these divisions the county government continued, so far as it
related to the present Township of Marcy, until the 5th of April,
1858. On that date Marcy Township was organized and named by
Judge McCall. The township as laid out at that date contained all
of the territory in its present boundaries and all of the present
Township of Beaver and the south tier of sections of the present
Township of Yell. Marcy Township remained within the boundaries
given it by Judge McCall from April 5, 1858, to January, 1871, at
which date it was reduced to its present boundaries. The township
contains about seven sections more than a congressional township.
This is caused by the incline of the river to the east, taking the seven
sections just mentioned ofif the southwest corner of Worth Township,
thus making Marcy rank among the large townships of the county.
In the early settlement the township was well supplied with timber.
There were about six sections along the Des Moines River which
were entirely covered with heavy and valuable timber. Phillip
Livingston, of Moingona, recently gave out the information that the
piles used in the construction of the first bridge built across the
Missouri River between the cities of Omaha and Council BlufTs
were cut ofif of the timber land of Marcy Township and shipped over
the Northwestern Railroad to the Missouri River. Mr. Livingston
was at that time station agent at Moingona and he bought the piles
and shipped them. Thousands of railroad ties and thousands of

Vol. I— IS



cords of wood were taken from these lands and shipped to other
parts. The result of this is that native timber in Marcy is scarce
compared with what it once was.

Coal has been found in large quantities in Marcy. 1 lie upper
veins in the north part of the townshiji have to some extent been
worked out and abandoned but those in the south part have not yet
been developed. The gravel beds of central and south Marcy are
still undeveloped. At some time in the future these coal fields and
gravel beds will be worked and utilized.

South of Moingona, on section i<S, are nine small mounds which
have attracted attention from the early settlement of the township.
These mounds are more fully mentioned in the article in another
part of this work under the heading of The Prehistoric Race. Marcy
has but few creeks and mention of these will be found in another
article in this work. 'Ihe soil of this township is very fertile and
this places it among the chief agricultural townships of the county.
The northeast corner of Marcy Township is a very historic part of
the county. Years before any settlement in the county was made
the remains of a camp of French and Indians — half-breeds — were
discovered here on the beautiful bottom land bv the early explorers
of the county. Among those who became interested in the story
of the half-breed Indian village was Col. L. W. Babbitt. In the
fall of 1843 he and a company of hunters and trappers came to this
beautiful bottom on a hunting expedition. It was claimed bv some
that a part of his reason for coming here was to investigate the
remains of the camp, or village, above mentioned, as well as to hunt
and trap. It is also claimed that he found here some tools and
utensils used for various purposes, which are used by a more civilized
people than tiie Indians. Colonel Babbitt could not have come
here at the date mentioned on a hunting and trapping expedition
without a permit from Captain Allen, who at that time was the chief
government officer at Fort Des Moines. This he must have done,
for Colonel Babbitt was above being an intruder. He remained here
from the fall of 1843 to the spring of 1844. Just how many relics
he collected from the ruins of the half-breed village is not known, but
it is claimed that he took to the markets a good amount of furs, pelts
and venison hams. Shortly after tiie date of this hunting and trap-
ping tour. Colonel Babbitt located at Burlington, where he became a
leading citizen of that citv and did much in aid of its improvement.
Late in the '50s he moved to Council Bluffs and there became the
editor of the Council Blufifs Bugle — a democratic newspaper — which


was an influential journal of Western Iowa. The little log house
which he built in the beautiful bottom to shelter in during his stay,
remained there until the spring of 1851. In the great freshet of
tiiat year Colonel Babbitt's hunting shanty was carried away. Al-
though Colonel Babbitt was the first one to build a house in the
county, he had no intention of becoming a permanent settler.

The first entry of land in Marcy Township was made by Michael
Gregg, in April, 1849. At that date he became the owner of the
southeast quarter of section 30, township 82, range 26. The second
entry was made by P. F. Repp, in May, 1849, by which he became
the owner of the southeast quarter of section 32, township 82, range
26. The third entry was made December, 1849, by J. C. Culbertson,
who at that date became the owner of the southwest quarter and the
north half of the southeast quarter of section 32, township 82, range 26.

The first settler in Marcy Township was David Noah. He
settled on the beautiful bottom in section 36, township 84, range 27,
in 1848. After this settlement was made the fertile region of bottom
land on which Colonel Babbitt located his hunting camp in the
fall of 1843 was called Noah's Bottom. The records show that
Dav'id Noah, the first settler of Marcy Township, voted at the first
election in 1849 and that he was the plaintiff in a law suit at the
first term of the District Court in 1851. In the spring of 1852 he
moved to Oregon.

In 1849 Col. John Rose settled on this rather famous bottom
and he lived there the remainder of his life. In a few years after
locating here the name was changed to Rose's Bottom and that name
still applies to it. Col. John Rose was the first justice of the peace
in Marcy Township. The names of David Noah and James Turner
appear in the list of voters in 1849.

W. H. C. Jenkins, William Sparks, Gordon Allen, Thomas,
James and Levi Shaw, James and William Canfield, David and
John Sparks, Elisha Bennett, Amos Rose, James and Joshua Stumbo,
Jesse Williams, William P. Berry, Zachariah McCall, John A.
Crawley, Willis Holoway were among the first settlers of the

Marcy Tow-nship has three town plats on file as shown by the
records at the county seat. The first of these was Quincy, which
was laid out by Jerome Gordon and Thomas Shaw, in section 14.
It was laid out November 2, 1854, being the first town platted on the
west side of the river. This town failed to build up as its proprietors
had hoped. There is a Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest one


ill the township, standing on the site of Quincy and als(j a school-
house. F(ir about three years Doctor Grinnell practiced medicine at
Quincy and built up a good practice. This is all the headway it ever
made toward being a town.


The town which ranked the highest in importance of any wliich
the township has had in its borders is Moingona. It was a product
of the Chicago & Nortlnyestern Railroad and of the coal mines in
its immediate yicinity. It was laid out July 6, 1866, and a railway
station was established there. It put on a c^uick growth and in a
short time became a place ot considerable importance. Much coal
was mineil iwd shipped from Moingona. It had a numerous mining
population and for a while had a population of about one thousand.
For a number of years M(jingona was incorporated and maintained
a city government. The town is located on section 12, township 83,
range 27. It has three churches — Swedish Lutheran, Swedish Mis-
sion and Presbyterian. It also has maintained a good school building
and a number of fairly good business houses. When the coal veins
were worked out there and the railroad straightened its line and
crossed the river four miles above Moingona, the time of its pros-
perity came to a close, its business greatly declined and the town
found it necessary to surrender its charter. The Presbyterian Church
at that place has been discontinued and the building has recently
been purchased by Reverend Crawford, of Boone. The road bed,
which for many years ran around by Moingona, is still kept in repair
and two trains run over this road each day. Mr. Livingston claims
that Moingona still has a population of 300.

CO.Al, \-.\l.LEV

Coal Valley was the third of the towns platted in Marcy Town-
ship. It was laid out by Amos Elliott, in September, 1867, and is
located on section 2, township 83, range 27. It was intended to be
a miners' town only and while the supply of coal lasted it was a
place of considerable activity. Coal in abundance was for several
years mined and shipped from Coal Valley. But when the mines
were worketi out the miners moved to other places to obtain work and
tile place ceased to be a town of business interest. \'ery few people
li\e there now, but it is nearer the geographical center of the county
than any town within its borders.


Besides the three churches in Moingona ami the one at Quincy
already spoken of, there are three other churches in Marcy I'ownship.
One of these is a Freewill Baptist denomination, which has a brick
building, situated in the southeast corner of Section 36, Township 83,
Range 27. There is also a Methodist Episcopal Church with a frame
building, situated near the northwest corner of Section 36, Township
83, Range 27, and a Swedish Lutheran Church, situated near the
northeast corner of Section 30, Township 83, Range 27. It will be
seen from the above that there are four churches in the rural part
of the township, which is more than any other township in the
county has.

William Sparks was an early settler of the township and a Baptist
minister. He took up a claim in the early settlement of the town-
ship, made a good farm upon it and lived there the remainder of his
life. He spent all of his spare time preaching in various parts of
the county. He was a man much respected and it was mainly
through his efiforts that the Baptist Church was established in Marcy
Township. Among his religious co-workers were Andrew Toliver,
David Sparks, Joseph Staley, Barton Wire, Jesse Williams, Samuel
Williams and others.

Those who worked for the upbuilding of the Methodist Episcopal
Church were Elisha Bennett, Daniel Noland, James Stumbo, James
Miller and John Williams and their families.

A large per cent of the settlers of the west part of Marcy Town-
ship are Swedish people. They have made good farms, erected
good buildings upon them and have nice homes. Their church is
verv well supported and is in a prosperous condition.

The Town of Ogden has extended its corporate limits so as to
include a part of Section 6, in the northwest corner of Marcy

There are thirteen schoolhouses and thirteen school districts,
including that of Moingona. This shows that Marcy Township is
well equipped for educational purposes. Among the educators may
be mentioned John F. Curran, John L. Cunningham, Caroline and
Emily Holloway, John Hand, M. T. Harlan, W. H. King, Ida
McCall and Annette McCall, who have in the past done good educa-
tional work. The present teachers are all doing good work in the
public schools, which is highly appreciated.

The old Moingona line of the Northwestern Railroad runs across
the northeast corner of the township, but the new line does not touch
it. The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad runs across the extreme


northwest corner of tlie townsliip and these are all tlic railroads
within its borders.

In the early '60s there was a postoffice at Quincv. But like all
country postofficcs it was a different matter to get a citizen to act
as postmaster. After two or three years the postoffice at Quincy
was discontinued, 'riiere has been a postoffice at Moingona from
1866 to the present time. This is the only postoffice in the township.

There is an incident known to some of the citizens of the south
pan of Marcv Township well worthy of mention here. A citizen
of that part moved to the State of Arkansas, taking with him a very
large dog, which he prized very highly. After he reached the end of
the journey and had located he arose one morning and found that iiis
dog was gone. This brought sorrow upon the family. Search and
inquiry throughout the neighborhood were made but no tidings of
the dog could be found. All hope of ever hearing cjf this much
prized animal had passed from the owner and his family. But in
about ten days a letter came from the former home in Marcy Town-
ship, stating that the dog had returned, verv tired, with very sore
feet and much reduced in flesh. I'he date i^f his arrival given in
the letter when compared with that of his departure proved that the
dog was seven days making the 700 mile trip from Arkansas to his
former home in Marcy Township. The dog must have traveled day
and night, getting little nourishment along the route. Taking all
of the circumstances in thought it was a wonderful trip for a dog
to make.

In the number of her citizens who have been honored with
county offices Marcy has no good reason to complain. W. H. C.
Jenkins, Jesse Williams and Abel Carlson have each held the office
of county supervisor two terms. Phillip Livingston has held the
office of clerk of the District Court three terms. Harry Selby held
the office of superintendent one term and G. W. Lloyd held the same
office one term, and G. A. Holm held the office of county recorder
two terms.

The first marriage in the township was that of William McCall
and Sarah Rose. William McCall was a son of Montgomery McCall
and a brother of Capt. S. B. McCall, the organizing sheriff' of Boone
County. The bride was a daughter of Col. John Rose, who has
already been mentioned in this sketch. Mr. McCall died about a
year ago but Mrs. McCall is still living.

The first death in Marcy Township was that of an Irishman,
who died in the fall of 1849. He belonged to a party of surveyors


and was much respected by them and by the settlers with whom he
became acquainted. He was buried on a hit^h point of land in Section
2 and his grave can still be seen there. There were some incidents
related as having taken place at the death and burial of this man
which, if true, were of a supernatural character.

The people of Marcy have, as a rule, been agreeable and \il\v-
abiding. But there were a few crimes committed witliin its borders
which were much lamented by a large majority of the people. In
1872 a difficulty occurred between Jackson Williams and G. W.
Hays, which resulted in the death of Williams. A public highway
passed near Hays and there being a slough which made the road
impassable, people were in the habit of laying down the fence and
driving through the field. Hays objected to this and one evening
he put up the fence, drove the stakes into the ground and weighted
them down with heavv rails. Williams came along next morning
with a team and not daring to venture through the slough tore down
the fence and was in the act of driving through when Hays made
his appearance and assaulted Williams with a knife, inflicted wounds
from which he died. Hays was indicted and tried at the October
term of court. The jury found him guilty of manslaughter and he
was sentenced to a term of two years in the penitentiary and to pay
a fine of $100.

April 20, 1877, a shocking murder and suicide occurred at Moin-
gona. One George Merrington, of that place, had for a year or two
been desperately in love with Mrs. Abbie B. Gronow, a young widow.
Merrington was not encouraged in his advances of love making and
he brooded over his terrible disappointment until he finally deter-
mined upon killing both the object of his love and himself, which
frightful determination was carried out at the time stated. No one
was a witness of the affair. Pistol shots were heard at the residence
of Mrs. Gronow, and a brother-in-law of the lady, Morgan by name,
went to the house to see what was the matter. When near the house,
about one rod from the front gate, he found Mrs. Gronow in a dying
condition, with two bullet holes through her head. A few paces from
where the woman lay, Merrington was found wallowing in his blood
with a bullet hole through his head. Mrs. Gronow was about twenty-
seven years old, an accomplished and intelligent lady, universally
respected and admired by all who knew her.

In 1891 a familv trouble which ended in murder occurred at the
Phipps home in the south part of the township. It appears that
Mr. Phipps, the head of the family, returned from town in a state


of intoxication and wliilc in tliis condition got into a quarrel with his
wife. He was in the act of striking her when a sixteen-year-old son
seized a gun which was in the room and discharged its contents into
the person of his father, from the effects of which he died. I'he boy
was sent to the reform school at Kldora.

In the spring of 1912 a shooting affair occurred at Moingona,
which terminated in the death of a man named Martin. A week or
so before the shooting occurred a man named Biggs was married to
a young lady at or near Moingona. A small company of men and
youths were organized to go and salute the young couple. Martin
was made captain of this little company of men, and after the saluta-
tions and congratulations were over, Biggs gave one of the party some
money to buy refreshments with. Martin was much insulted because

Online LibraryNathan Edward GoldthwaitHistory of Boone County, Iowa (Volume 1) → online text (page 26 of 49)