Copyright
A. Warner.

History of the counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa, including an extended sketch of Sioux City, their early settlement and progress to the present time; online

. (page 1 of 94)
Online LibraryA. WarnerHistory of the counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa, including an extended sketch of Sioux City, their early settlement and progress to the present time; → online text (page 1 of 94)
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HISTORY



COUNTIES OF



Woodbury and Plymouth,



IOWA,



INCLUDING AN EXTENDED SKETCH OF

SIOUX CITY,

THEIR EARLY SETTLEMENT AND PROGRESS TO THE PRESENT TIME; A DESCRIP-
TION OF THEIR HISTORIC AND INTERESTING LOCALITIES ; SKETCHES OF
THE TOWNSHIPS, CITIES AND VILLAGES ; PORTRAITS OF SOME
OF THE PROMINENT MEN, AND BIOGRAPHIES OF
MANY OF THE REPRESENTATIVE
CITIZENS.



ILLUSTRATED.



CHICAGO, ILLINOIS:

A. WARNER & CO., PUBLISHERS.
1890-91.






JOH


n Morris Company,




printers,


118 A


<d 120 Monroe Stheet,




CHICAGO, ILL.



77^






PREFACE.



IN the preparation of this volume the publishers have endeavored to give
a clear and concise statement of historical facts, and as well to sketch in
fitting terms the wonderful growth, development and possibilities of this
highly favored region; for not only are the residents of Sioux City and
vicinity interested in its past history, but its glowing prospects for the future
are attracting the marked attention of people in every section of the country.

An earnest effort has been made to treat with accuracy all matters touched
upon, and no expense has been spared to render the book attractive, and to
more than fulfill the promises made in the prospectus. It is fortunate
indeed, that many of the facts of history, which are here recorded, have been
rescued from oblivion, by being placed in enduring form before the early
settlers have passed away.

With the exception of the chapters hereafter mentioned, which were
written by citizens, who, from their long residence, special knowledge of the
subjects, and official positions, were exceptionally qualified for the work
done, the historical part of the work for both counties (including the early
history of Sioux City, and its present interests — commercial, social and
religious), and the matter relating to the formation and settlement of
the townships in Plymouth county, were written by Mr. W. L. Clark; the
chapters on the origin and formation of the townships in Woodbury county,
and the sketches of the towns and villages therein, were furnished by Mr. J.
E. Norris. The local writers and the chapters written by them are as fol-
lows:

Peof. J. C. C. Hoseins, Chapter II, Woodbury county, Topography and
Geology (of the two counties).

Prof. J. S. Shoup, Chapter VII, Woodbury county, Educational In-
terests.

Hon. W. L. Joy, Chapter X, Woodbury county, Bench and Bar.



Peof. J. Weknli, Chapter VI, Plymouth county, Education.

Hon. H. C. Curtis, Chapter IX, Plymouth county, Bench and Bar.

The publishers wish to acknowledge their obligations to all who have
assisted those engaged in the preparation of the work, among whom may be
mentioned the editors of the leading journals throughout the district em-
braced, the county and city officials, the clergy, the officers and members of
the various societies, the managers of the numerous industrial enterprises,
and many others. We have been allowed to present some interesting facts
taken from A. E. Sheetz's Centennial History, and are under special obliga-
tions to Dr. William R. Smith and the Hon. D. M. Mills for many favors
shown, and much information given.

The biographical sketches were so numerous that it has necessitated as
brief treatment as the circumstances would warrant, and the publishers have
been compelled to depend mainly upon the members of the respective fam-
ilies for the reliability of the facts set forth. No pains have been spared to
make this department accurate, and it is believed that it constitutes an inter-
esting portion of the work, and that it will increase in value with the lapse
of time.

Trusting that the volume will prove satisfactory to its readers, it is
submitted to their considerate judgment.



THE PUBLISHERS.



Chicago, July, 1891.




CONTENTS.



WOODBURY COUNTY.

CHAPTER I.



Introductory

CHAPTER II.
Topography and Geology 14-47

CHAPTER III.
Early Settlement of Sioux City and Vicinity 49-73

CHAPTER IV.
Organization of the County 73-80

CHAPTER V.
County Government, etc 80-90

CHAPTER VI.
Political History 90-100

CHAPTER VII.
Educational Interests 100-11(5

CHAPTER VIII.
Agriculture 116-122

CHAPTER IX.
Railroads of the County 122-131

CHAPTER X.
Bench and Bar 131-153

CHAPTER XI.

Early Physicians 153-159

CHAPTER XII.
The Newspaper Press 159-166

CHAPTER XIII.
Civil War and Indian Troubles 166-176

CHAPTER XIV.
Sioux City 176-186

CHAPTER XV.
Sioux City, contiuued 186-192

CHAPTER XVI.
Sioux City, continued. — Religious Societies 192-201

CHAPTER XVII.
Sioux City, continued. — Civic and other Societies 201-211

CHAPTER XVIII.
Sioux City, continued. — Industrial and Commercial Interests 211-236

CHAPTER XIX.
Sioux City, continued. — Events of Special Interest 236-264



VI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XX

General Township Matters 264-279

CHAPTER XXI.
Woodbury Township 279-293

CHAPTER XXII.
Little Sioux Township 293-311

CHAPTER XXIII.
Union Township .' 311-326

CHAPTER XXIV.
Lakeport, Liberty and Grange Townships 326-342

CHAPTER XXV.
Rock, Kedron, Rutland, Morgan, Miller 342-353

CHAPTER XXVI.
West Fork, Wolf Creek, Grant, Moville 353-366

CHAPTER XXVII.
Liston Township 366-375

CHAPTER XXVIII.
Arlington, Floyd, Concord, Banner 375-386

CHAPTER XXIX.
Willow and Sloan Townships 386-397

CHAPTER XXX.
Oto Township 399^06



PLYMOUTH COUNTY.

CHAPTER I.
Introductory 409-41 1

CHAPTER II.
Early Settlement 411-419

CHAPTER III.
Organization and County Government 419-431

CHAPTER IV.
Miscellaneous Items 431-439

CHAPTER V.
Political History 439-447

CHAPTER VI.
Educational 449-462

CHAPTER VII.
Railroads 462^169

CHAPTER VIII.
Agriculture and Stock Raising 469-472

CHAPTER IX.
The Bench and Bar 472-479

CHAPTER X.
The Medical Profession 479-486

CHAPTER XI.
Plymouth County Newspapers 486-492



CONTENTS. Vil

CHAPTER XII.
Elgin Township 493-498

CHAPTER XIII.
Elkhorn Township 498-503

CHAPTER XIV.
Fredonia Township 503-507

CHAPTER XV.
Garfield Township 507-516

CHAPTER XVI.
Grant Township 516-523

CHAPTER XVII.
Hancock Township 523-526

CHAPTER XVIII.
Henry Township 526-528

CHAPTER XIX.
Hungerford Township 528-531

CHAPTER XX.

Johnson Township 531-536

CHAPTER XXI.
Liberty Township 536-540



CHAPTER XXII.
Lincoln Township : 540-542

CHAPTER XXIII.
Marion Township 542-545

CHAPTER XXIV.
Meadow Township 545-547

CHAPTER XXV.
Perry Township 547-550

CHAPTER XXVI.
Plymouth Township 550-558

CHAPTER XXVII.
Portland Township 558-564

CHAPTER XXVIII.
Preston Township 564-567

CHAPTER XXIX.
Remsen Township 567-575

CHAPTER XXX.
Sioux Township 575-579

CHAPTER XXXI.
Stanton Township 579-582

CHAPTER XXXII.
Union Township 582-585

CHAPTER XXXIII.
"Washington Township 585-587

CHAPTER XXXIV.
Westfield Township , 587-590

CHAPTER XXXV.

America Township 590-596



VIII CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XXXVI.

City of Le Mars 596-623

GENEALOGY AND BIOGRAPHY 623-1014

INDEX 1014 - 1022



ILLUSTRATIONS.



PORTRAITS.

Armstrong, Allen 147

Badgerow, G. R 327

Beck, F. F 655

Bruguier, Theophile 47

Burns, W. H 795

Chase, R. J 367

Clarke, Willis G 483

Cook, Dr. JohnK 27

Crossan, Allen

Culver, C. G

Davis, S. T

Eisentraut, George
Evans, Fred T., Sr

Felt, G.W 627

Flinn, M. L opposite 528

Follis, W. S 501

Gere.T. P 227

Gordon, Wm 387

Green, Thos 683

Haakinson, Ed • ■ 297

Hagy, John



591
97



167



137



Halseth, A 693

Higman, W. E 317

Hills, F. C 237

Holmau, W. P 357

Hornick, John 277

Hoskins, J. C. C I 27

Hoyt, C. F 187

Hubbard, A. W 37

Hunt, Frank 407

Hutchins, James 447



Johnson, H. H 665

Joy, Wm. L - 67

Kellogg, Geo. W 465

Lambert, Fritz J 157

Lawrence, Jos. S 645

Lessenich, John J 703

Lewis, C. H 437

Louoks. R. H 377

Lynch, J. 8 ""7

Major, Robt. 721

Malone, Thos 759

Millard, A. J 3 97

Morf, J. H 427

Pardoe, Geo. M 555

Pendleton, Isaac 107

Peters, E. C 197

Rochel, John. 741

Skinner, E. W 417

Smith, Wm. R 57

Stone, T. J 87

Swanson, John A 731



Taylor, O.J 33 7

Tiedeman, N 519

Wakefield, G. W 217

Wall, James P 3 47

Whitfield, Wilmot 307

Wilkinson, A. L 367

Williams, D. A 573

Woodford, Luther 287

Wynn, Leighton 2 57

Young, Geo. W 5 3 7



City Hall and Public Library 177

Corn Palace, 1890 2 47

Map of Woodbury and Plymouth
Counties 9 and 10



MISCELLANEOUS.

University of the Northwest 117

Woodbury County Court House 77

Y. M. C. A. Building 207



SIOUX




R.41 v ff.4ff

JSI O 1




RICA



■ej- -T - f -^K|




«| PLYMOUTH
^ WOODBURY

rg/O COUNTIES,

IO¥A




O UN T y



COUNTIES OF



Woodbury and Plymouth,

IOWA.



CHAPTER I.

INTEODUCTORT.



The Change— Indian Occupancy— The "White Man's First Settlement —
Then and ISfow — The Contrast.

IN introducing the reader to the chapters comprising this volume, it
only needs to be said that herein will be found an historic account
of the great transformation which the last forty years have wrought
out in this portion of the " Middle Kingdom " of America — the State
of Iowa.

Prior to April 20, 1836, the domain of all Iowa was included in
territory subject to the jurisdiction of Michigan territory. At the
above date, through Gen. George Jones, of Dubuque, then in con-
gress, the territory of Wisconsin was created and organized in due
form. It embraced " all that portion of the great west included in
Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa."

In 1838 the question of organizing the territory of Iowa began to
be agitated. In November of that year congress was memorialized
to do this and to define the line between Wisconsin and Missouri ter-
ritories. The act of congress which admitted Iowa also gave her the
sixteenth section of every township of land in the state (or its equiva-
lent) for the support of schools; also seventy-two sections of land for



12 HISTOBY OF WOODBURY AND PLYMOUTH COUNTIES.

the purpose of a university; also provided that her public lands
should be exempt from any general taxation. Thus provided for as a
bride with her marriage portion, Iowa commenced housekeeping on
her own account.

At first but a few counties were organized in the extreme eastern
portion of the state — along the^Mississippi, the remainder being still
possessed by Indians, including the Sacs and Foxes. The last treaty
with the Indians was made in 1842 and ratified March, 1843. In this
treaty, which John Chambers, United States commissioner, made with
the Sac and Fox Indians at Agency City, all the lands west of the
Mississippi river to which they had any claim, were ceded to the Gov-
ernment. By that treaty the Indians were to be removed from the
territory named, at the expiration of three years. A part of them
was removed to Kansas in the fall of 1845, and the remainder in the
spring following.

On July 15, 1830, the Sac, Fox, Western Sioux, Omaha, Iowa
and Missouri Indians ceded to the United States a portion of the
western Iowa slope, including what is now Woodbury and Plymouth
•counties. In consideration of three tracts of land the Government
agreed to pay the Sacs $3,000; the Foxes $3,000; the Sioux $2,000;
the Yankton and Santee bands of the Sioux $3,000; the Omahas
$1,500; the Ottoes and Missouris $2,500, to be paid annually for ten
years. Provision was also made for farm implements and schools of
training for these tribes. Thus it will be observed the Indians were
not ruthlessly driven from the hunting grounds of Iowa, but grven a
cash consideration to go in peace.

Prior to the coming of William Thompson, no white man had looked
upon the fair domain now known as Woodbury county with the view
of becoming a permanent settler. That brings us down to 1848. Be-
hold the wondrous transformation — the almost incredible change!
Then this section was all as a wise Creator had fashioned it. The
beautiful prairie lands had never felt the plowshare; the waters of
the Big Sioux, the Floyd and the lesser streams which here flow into
the Missouri had never been spanned by a wagon or foot bridge. The
Indians alone had hunted and fished along their meanderings and
bathed their dusky forms in their clear and cooling waters.

It is safe to assert that no portion of the civilized globe ever made
more rapid and substantial growth than the Missouri valley slope has



WOODBURY COUNTY. 13

made, in the same length of time. History proves that in the Old
World it has taken hundreds of years to bring 1 about even slight
changes in a given locality. But since William Thompson built his
little locf cabin on the Iowa side of the "Big Muddy," a few miles
below where Sioux City stands to-day, the advancement has been like
magic.

Its enterprising pioneers, its geographical location on the longest
river in the world, backed by an expanse of fertile land, the rich-
ness of which is not excelled, if equaled anywhere — have caused
Sioux City to be one of the leading and rapidly increasing railroad
centers of the west. Its railroad lines extend from the Atlantic to
the Pacific and from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico. The east
sends her manufactured treasures to this point and exchanges them for
the vegetable and mineral wealth of this "garden spot of the world."

It matters not on what line one allows his mind to center, or upon
which hand one looks, the same stir and bustle and genuine progress
may be seen.

The Indian ieepe, which fifty remaining pioneers here well remem-
ber, as the only adorning object this spot had, aside that given by
nature, has gone to decay — the broken Indian tribes are scattered
like chaff before a whirlwind, and are soon to become extinct. In the
place of these emblems of savage life, the true types of modern Chris-
tian civilization have come to grace this goodly portion of the Hawk-
eye State. Nearly two hundred school-houses and half as many
church edifices within this county are good indexes, pointing to the
work strong-minded and stout-hearted men have here been able to per-
form in the short period of one generation.

" Thirty years ago, my county,

You were fair — yes very fair;
There were no furrows on your brow,

No silver in your hair.
The blush of early womanhood

Was on your rounded cheek;
The wild flowers on your bosom

Exhaled their fragrance sweet."



14 HISTORY OP WOODBURY AND PLYMOUTH COUNTIES.



CHAPTER II.
TOPOGEAPHY AND GEOLOGY.

Incomplete Survey — Surface Observations— Streams— Elevations of
Ground— Rock Formations—Composition of Ground— All Land Sub-
merged—Deposits from Glaciers— Evidences of Animal Life— Early
Formation— Tropical Vegetation — Species of Trees— Later Period
— Absence of Animal and Vegetable Life— Sudden Change — Luxu-
riant Vegetation— Species Identical with Those of Present Time
— Depression of the Earth— Increase of Shell-Fish — Third, or Nio-
brara Group — Deepening of the Sea — Appearance of Vertebrated
Fish— Largest Created Animals— Value of Clay Beds.

TO the shame of the State of Iowa, no exhaustive geological sur-
vey of any portion of her rich territory has yet been made, and
our knowledge of the rocks and soils of Woodbury and Plymouth
counties depends on the hurried and very superficial reconnoissance of
Dr. White, and the casual observations of scientific men like Hayden,
Marcon and Capellini, who have visited a few special locations,
mainly with the view of collecting proofs of theories already promul-
gated.

The writer of this treatise has endeavored to avail himself of all
that has been recorded by these gentlemen, and has himself passed
with eyes wide open, if not accurately discerning, over most of these
two counties, and here records the results of his best judgment. He
w shes, however, to state distinctly that this is not a complete scientific
monograph; the data for such a writing do not exist, nor are the
statements herein made to be taken as strictly exact, whenever figures
and dimensions are set down.

For instance, when it is stated that a certain formation has a cer-
tain thickness, or covers a certain area, it is to be understood that such
statements are not exact, but only approximate, their exactness being
impossible at present, and not at all essential to our general knowledge
of the region. It is believed, however, that there are facts observed,
patent to all who will look intelligently, to fix the geological status of
the region we are considering sufficiently for all practical purposes.



WOODBUKY COUNTY. 15

Woodbury and Plymouth counties are nearly equal in area (Plym-
outh being a few hundred acres the larger), comprising together about
1,100,000 acres; and may be looked at, in general, as part of a larger
plain with gentle slope toward the southwest. In riding over the
country one is struck very forcibly with the apparent equality in
height of all the peaks and ridges within his horizon, and with the
certainty that the channels of all the streams and the drains that lead
down to them, have been carved out of level ground by the action of
water, aided in places by winds that have helped to give roundness
and softness to the everywhere beautiful landscape. Close observation
brings conviction that such has been the case.

Indeed, such observation enables us to see the process of the ages
still going on; and the brief occupation of civilized man has in many
places assisted very perceptibly in the process.

In the whole chapter of indirect causes there are few things more
interesting than that portion narrating the unexpected and wholly un-
foreseeable influence of man over external nature, and particularly
over the conformation of the surface of the ground.

The direct and intended changes are very meager and insignificant
compared with the results of acts or accidents altogether unthought of,
so far as their effects are concerned. The passage of a stream at one
point rather than another equally easy, the wagon track up the hill at
one point rather than at another, the felling of a tree across a ravine,
or even the thoughtless rolling of a stone down a tempting slope, by
obstructing or diverting a current of water, or gathering the next fall
of rain into the slight depression of a wagon track, have produced
changes quite important in their neighborhood, and strictly of the
same pattern with the manifold changes which an infinite variety of
petty forces, increasing with rapid ratio by continued action, have
brought about in reducing the general surface to its present contour.

An excellent and easily understood illustration of this influence, and
of the manner in which ravines and valleys have been excavated and
hilltops rounded, is the following: There "are now many deep and
rugged gulches in the loess and drift, where the early settlers remem-
ber gently sloping valleys leading down to neighboring streams, and
covered with turf as compactly as the adjacent hillsides. How has the
change been wrought and what has man had to do with it? Simply
this: Man brought neat cattle with him. Now the buffalo, the elk



16 HISTORY OF WOODBURY AND PLYMOUTH COUNTIES.

and the deer in passing from one place to another in their feeding
grounds make their trail, so far as they can, on high ground; and when
they go down to a stream of water to drink, or to ford, they usually
pass down the ridge of some point of high land nearest the water; but
the habit of neat cattle is exactly the reverse; for they, when passing
from one feeding ground to another, or to the water for drink, invari-
ably seek the head of the nearest valley and follow it on the lowest
ground until they reach the desired locality. So it happens that the
frequented valley soon has a beaten path worn through the turf in its
full extent, which gathers rain-water from the adjacent slopes into a
narrow channel, and the heavy summer rains begin at once the exca-
vation of a deeper vale. If it happens that when the path reaches the
stream, the slope is steep and the bank abrupt, the overfall from the
water-flow soon cuts out a pit in the alluvium, down to the water level,
and every rain extends the gulch farther back into the higher ground,
until, in some observed cases, excavations a mile or more in extent,
with perpendicular sides of soil, and perhaps twenty or thirty, or even
more feet in depth, are found where not so very long ago all was
smooth and grassy turf. Nor does the process stop here, water flows
from the side slopes over the edge of the gulch and wearing off the
edge until in a short time the sides are no longer precipitous, but form
a steeper part of the original slope, and here and there, from lateral
draws, come heavier currents, and these in their turn make tributary
gulches, cutting back into the side hill and going through the
same process as the main excavation. So in a few years the gulch is
excavated, the descent is diminished, the bottom widens and lateral
tributaries are formed in the image of their parent, and we find a new
valley with its narrow bottom ground and its central channel, or, per-
haps, since cattle can no longer enter at the head, there may be
no channel but smooth turf instead, and at its extreme head a deep
and precipitous pit where the process still goes on at a diminished
rate, because of the diminished supply of Avater. So streams of con-
siderable size, which, when cattle came into the country, flowed in
narrow and deep channels, between slopes well grassed over, or lined
with bushes and with unbroken slopes, now flow in gulches with sides
torn and ragged, cutting deep into this side or that, wherever a path
has broken the turf on the slope, widening their beds, until in many
places, the beginning of a new alluvial plain may be distinctly seen,



"WOODBURY COUNTY. 17

through which the current flows between banks so low and flat that
water from the sides has no longer excavating force.

This illustration is given because instances of it may be found in
every neighborhood and on almost every upland farm throughout this
district; and in them we can see going on to-day the full process by
which the land has been wrought from a tolerably level, smooth plain
into its present rolling surface, furrowed at frequent intervals by the
abrupt ravines of smaller streams, or wider valleys of the Floyd and
Little Sioux.

A dry weather crack in the soil and a heavy fall of rain, an un-
usual amount of snow drifted and frozen, a pile of dry weeds heaped
up by wind — any one of thousands of apparently inefficient accidents,
has in past ages changed the course or concentrated the volume of
trivial currents whose forces, singly insignificant, have in the lapse of
centuries, carved out the beautiful landscape we now behold.

To similar insignificant causes are due the broad and fertile bottom
lands that border the larger streams. The accidental stranding of a
piece of driftwood on the side, or a strong wind across the stream, or
any one of myriad constantly occurring accidents, directs the current
at some point against the higher ground which it wears away, and
then carries the material down to be deposited in some eddy or gentler



Online LibraryA. WarnerHistory of the counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa, including an extended sketch of Sioux City, their early settlement and progress to the present time; → online text (page 1 of 94)