Copyright
Homer Howard Field.

History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) online

. (page 21 of 59)
Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 59)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


activity than Crescent City.

A little newspaper was started called the Rock Bottom, but was short
lived. Its principal business was to urge the bridging of the Missouri river
between tins place and Florence on the west side, five miles above Omaha.
The dream that haunted the people of both these towns was that there being
rock bottom here, it would be the only practical place to locate a bridge; that
the first railroad would come down the Pigeon valley, and that Crescent
would supersede Council Bluffs and Florence should do likewise to Omaha.

Crescent was laid out, platted, the streets named, a newspaper started
called the Crescent City Oracle. It was quite ably edited by Joseph E. John-
son.

Florence also made great strides. A newspaper was started there, and
also a bank, and for quite a while it looked as if there was something in it,
but in the fall of '57, when the great crash came, only the strongest of the
young cities (there w T ere no towns or villages) survived.

Many houses in Florence were moved to Omaha and out onto farms,
and from Crescent, both business houses and dwellings were moved to the
Bluffs as well as sold to farmers. Among these was that of G. F. Smith,
the father of Hon. Walter I. Smith, present member of congress. He had a
neat dwelling in Crescent which he brought down to Council Bluffs, and
after living in it some years, sold it to the late Colonel W. F. Sapp, who
finally died in it. So that little house had the honor of housing two mem-




BROADWAY, WEST OF GLEN AVENUE.



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 189

bers of congress, and still at this writing is standing on Oakland avenue, but
it was while yet in Crescent City that the Hon. Walter I. Smith was born
in it.

It is a long reach from 1856 to 1907, during which time great cities
have risen and some of the embryo cities disappeared. In the meantime,
however, the little hamlet backed by the township has maintained its individ-
uality and, in fact, grown with the township, of which it is a part. At this
writing (1907) it has a graded school of four rooms, a neat two-story frame,
with Miss Mary Schrot as principal, with Margaret Johnson and Nettie
Hutchison, assistant-. The members of the board of education are J. R.
Lapworth, president; J. A. Pratt, secretary; and Warren Hougb, treasurer.

The Latter Day Saints have a neat church building; also the Methodists.
Rev. Mr. Baldwin is pastor of the latter.

The Odd Fellows have a lodge of over seventy members, of which Dr.
A. A. Robertson is noble grand. The Modern Woodmen also have a lodge
with G. B. Hampton as head consul.

Crescent City has two stores of general merchandise, two hotels, a lum-
ber yard, livery stable, and. besides the nursery of H. A. Terry, previously
mentioned, is an extensive one known as the Crescent City Nursery, owned
and operated by a joint stock company, of which T. G. Turner is president;
E. D. Menary, vice-president; R. D. M. Turner, secretary; and F. W. Menary,
treasurer. It has extensive salesrooms in Council Bluffs, with office at 3101
Avenue A.

It is interesting to a person who saw this beautiful country a half cen-
tury ago and revisits it to note the difference. In place of the rude cabin and
its equally rude outbuildings we see the comfortable house of the prosperous
farmer, with the box for reception of his daily mail at his front gate, and,
on entering, find the piano or organ, while the telephone is waiting your
bidding.

Occasionally we meet those whose life has spanned the long interval
that reaches from the little log schoolhouse nearly hid in the grove down to
the present time with all our modern conveniences and comforts.

An interesting case of this kind is to meet the following named per-
sons, now past middle age, viz. : J. A. Boren, Mrs. H. A. Terry, Warren
Hough and C. L. Barret and hear them tell of the time when, as little kids,
they were pupils of Miss Whitcomb, now Mrs. DeLong, in the little log school-
house a .half century ago, and we wonder if the next will show as much
progress. The little boys and girls must answer this, as we shall not be here.

The township officers at this writing (1907) are: Trustees, James R.
Lapworth, Fred Miller and P. J.iMoran; Walter Hough, clerk; justices of
the peace, J. A. Pratt and L. S. Jones; constable, James Kinney; assessor,
H. W. Miller; school board, president, J. R. Lapworth; secretary, J. A. Pratt;
treasurer, Warren Hough.

According to the state census there are three hundred and eighteen
children between five and twenty-one, being one hundred ami fifty-nine of
each sex.



190 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

CARSON TOWNSHIP.

The early history of Carson township is identical with that of Macedonia,
of which it was a part. The egg from which both the township and town
was hatched was Loshe's mill. With the opening up of the branch roads
from Hastings and Avoca both township and town rapidly gained importance.
The township is small, having but twenty-four sections, twelve of which were
detached from Macedonia and as many from Belknap. Both are named in
honor of a prominent railroad official. The township is of the same quality
that obtains all along the Botna valley, than which the world has no better.
The farmers are largely engaged in stock raising and becoming wealthy.
while the town is assuming the dignity of a city, although it has been twice
tried by fire.

The town was incorporated in 1881, and the first mayor was W. W.
Gardner, and the first council consisted of the following persons: Dr. F. S.
Thomas, Win. H. Graff, A. J. Anderson, Isaac Culberson, .lames Ellis and
S, P. Hardenbrook. The present city government is as follows: Mayor, E.
T. Osier; marshal, J. C. Bradley; recorder, Frank Galloway, city council,
F. A. Bigalow, W. M. Holtze, W. D. Landon, E. W. Rowe and Wm. B.
Bodyfeldt.

The city has five churches, Methodist. Christian, Presbyterian, Catho-
lic and Latter Day Saints. It also has a graded school with prin-
cipal and five teachers, three general stores carrying heavy stocks, two of
hardware and furniture, one lumber yard, two drug stores, two livery stables,
one flouring mill, part of which is the old Loshe to which an addition has
been made and steam power applied thereby furnishing power for the electric
light plant in addition to the manufacture of flour. It also furnishes power
for the water service in the business part of the city. It has also two barber
shops, four physicians, two lawyers, one machine shop, one blacksmith shop
employing a number of hand-, a printing office with weekly newspaper, the
Carson Critic, with F. G. Week editor and publisher; state Savings Bank,
J. R. Chaloupka, cashier and manager.

The fraternal orders are represented by one Masonic lodge, with Eastern
Star, one of Modern Woodmen, with Royal Neighbors.

During 1889 the town was visited by a destructive fire that -wept lie
entire north side ol Main street, and again in 1894 a second made a clean
sweep of the south side, which was followed by rebuilding with brick as
had already been done on the north side. The people here have been to

great pains and expense in constructing g 1 cement walk< that add much

to the appearance and to the comfori of the public.

In addition to the railroads the wagon roads of this part of the county
are in splendid condition, the road drag being much in evidence.

On coming here after years of absence one misses the kindly face- of
the old pioneers, both father- and mothers, but their work i- don.'. They
have opened up one of the mosl lovely -pot- on earth and are now resting
m a pretty little city of granite and marble on a lovely -pot overlooking the
Botna valley, about a mile from town.



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 191

The township officers are as follows: Trustees, Claus Hartz, C. H. Coyl
and A. F. Stone; clerk, F. G. Weeks; assessor, T. W. Dungan; justices of
the peace, D. McMillan and Z. F. Linville; constables, A. A. Faley and Thos.
Brack.

According to the state census of 1905 there were in Carson township,
exclusive of city, one hundred and ninety-one persons of school age, of which
ninety-two were males and ninety-nine females. In town of Carson there
were one hundred and eighty-one, of which eighty were males and one
hundred and one females.

The school board consists of J. H. Galloway, president; C. Hartz, secre-
tary and P. F. Schoening, treasurer.

Pay of teachers, $40 and $35 for first and second grades respectively.

CENTER TOWNSHIP.

Center is a full congressional township, bounded on the north by Valley,
east by Wright, south by Grove and west by Belknap and Carson townships.
The main streams are Second, or Graybill, creek and Jordan. The earliest
settlers who came were Joshua C. Layton, who arrived April 2, 1852 ; Reuben
Maines came in 1855; Joseph Layton, Jacob Rust and Joseph Darnell in
1854; Louis Huff, Benjamin Palmer, Charles S. Robinson, Thomas Ephraim
and Wm. McKee in 1856.

Joshua C, or Captain Layton, as his friends called him, was born in
Clark county, Ohio, August 27, 1807.

The first justice of the peace in Center township was Jacob Rust. The
first birth was in the family of Joseph Darnell and his wife and the child
died. The first marriage was between James Morris and Lavinia Layton,
daughter of Joshua C. Layton, on the first day of July, 1856. Mr. Layton
was also the first assessor and made the assessment of the township in three
days. The first school was taught in a log cabin in the northeast quarter of
section 7. This was in the winter of 1858-9 and taught by Martin Luther
Ingoldsby.

The first mill established in the township was on Jordan creek for grind-
ing corn. It was simply a large coffee mill with a sack attached to receive
the meal. Its capacity was about one bushel per day. It was run by a
Mormon named Jordan, from whom the creek derived its name.

In 1856 three brothel's named McKee brought a portable sawmill into
the settlement and afterward sold it to Joseph Layton and Joseph Darnell,
who moved and set it up near the Botna bridge at Big Grove, and while in
use the boiler burst and totally destroyed it.

The first Fourth of July celebration ever held in this vicinity was in
1857 at a paper town laid out on the dividing line between Center and Valley
townships and named Iola. This was on the faith of a railroad being built
through here. The people came from all around and had a basket picnic,
but the railroad failed to come that way and the three houses constituting
the town were moved and Iola became a memory.

In 1861 a military organization was effected and called the Home Guards,



192 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

and J. C. Layton was made its captain. Its first duty was to go under General
Dodge to the southern border to repel a threatened invasion of Iowa by
Missouri rebels, but on arriving at the border they found the frontier already
prepared for defense by volunteers from the border counties and accordingly
returned to Council Bluffs, but were soon called upon to go to Sioux City, as
the Indians were becoming troublesome on the northern frontier, but, after
remaining there with a detachment of infantry and a battery of artillery and
the Indians becoming quiet, the alarm subsided and the expedition again
returned to the Bluffs and were disbanded.

There was no more loyal community during tbe time that tried men's
souls than that of Center township, of which Mr. Layton was an acknowledged
leader and in recognition of which a township has been named in his honor.
The people of this township have continued ever since to maintain their
character as a progressive, upright and industrious community, and while
it has no town of its own its interests seem identical with those of its next
neighbor, Belknap.

There are many names of the old pioneers that should be remembered,
among which are Jacob Rust, Joseph Darnell, Louis Huff, Benjamin Palmer,
and the noble women who braved the hardships and privations that have
resulted in transforming an uninhabited waste to one of the fairest spots on
earth.

The affairs of the township al the presenl time are entrusted to the
following named officers: Trustees, (J. W. Gage. T. R. Strong and W.
Storts; clerk, George II. Nash; assessor, Paul Beezley; justices of the peace,
Arthur Putnam; constable, Ashur Heckman.

The following named persons constitute the scl 1 board: President,

J. A. Goehring: secretary. F. D. Gould: treasurer, T. R Strong.

According to the state cen-us of ]0<)r> then' wnv two hundred and eight-
een persons of school age, of which one hundred and eight were male- and
one hundred and ten were female-.

Compensation of teachers is $40 and $35 for first and second class
respectively.

GARNER TOWNSHIP.
I emier township was settled by the Mormons at the same time that Kane,
Rockfonl and Crescent were. What made this point particularly inviting
was the abundance of timber for building their cabins and fuel, but even
more was the little old Indian mill, which had been built by the govern-
ment for the benefit of the Pottawattamie- ten years before, and was ran by
S. E. AVicks. He wa- the lasl governmenl agent to run it, and when that
tribe removed the old mill was left and Mr. Wicks remained and became
in full possession, making excellent flour to as late as 1SP>0. He had married
a squaw and they reared quite a large family, hut they became scattered
after the death of their parents.

Among the first settlers were Wm. Garner. Adam Rittcr, J. D. Hay-
wood, in 1S46, followed a little later by M. B. Follet, J. B. Dingman, George
and Simeon Graybill, George Scofield, John Child, J. J. Johnson and Wm.
Child.



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 193

The.se all remained after the great body moved on to Utah and became
some of the most prosperous farmers in the county, but at this writing only
one or two are living. The township is named in honor of the first named,
who was known far and near as Uncle Billy Garner. He became wealthy,
secured a large quantity of land mostly in the Mosquito valley, and as fast
as one of his numerous family became of age or married, he would deed
them land for a farm. Although of limited education his judgment in nearly
all matters was considered infallible.

This township is of irregular shape, a large piece being reserved by Kane
from the southwest part, but this has been more than made up by a pan-
handle extending to the river along the south line of both Crescent and Hazel
Dell, making the north line nine miles long, so that it is bounded on the
north by Crescent and Hazel Dell, east by Hardin, south by Lewis and Kane,
and west by Kane and the Missouri river. The principal streams besides
the Missouri river are the Big and Little .Mosquito and Indian creeks. It
is strictly agricultural, there being no manufactories at present. Mr. dar-
ner built a woolen factory many years ago. but it was abandoned after a
trial of a few years. It is crossed by live railroads, the Rock Island and the
Milwaukee passing diagonally through the center, and the Great Western
cutting through the southeastern, while the Northwestern and also the Illinois
Central pass through the panhandle on the extreme west. Probably half
of it is timber land. Up to this writing, although a large and wealthy town-
ship, it has never had a railroad station or store. It had, however, for many
years a large hall, built by the Grange, where meetings, both political and
religious, were held, as well as elections, balh and all kind- of social gath-
erings.

Long before this was built, however, the little schoolhouse had crept into
the edges of the groves and were used for social neighborhood meetings.

In contemplating the habits of these early settlers, their industry, fru-
gality and honesty, one is tempted to ask whether civilization may not be
carried too far. If there was no church here, neither was there a saloon,
and their wants were simple; their industry provided all of the substantiala
and from the moment of their coming their condition was being improved.

The second mill built in the township was located about three miles
above the Wicks mill on the same stream. It was erected by Wm. Garner
in 1858, but after running a few years became unprofitable and was aban-
doned.

Any history of Garner township without reference to Uncle Billy would
be like the play of Hamlet with that character omitted. He was a typical
North Carolinian with just enough of the southern dialect to be interesting.
and of such integrity that he commanded the respect of the entire community,
and when his work was done, in addition to his neighbors, a special train
took friends from the city to follow his remains to the little cemetery named
after him and overlooking the home he had enjoyed for half a century. He
was of long lived stock, his father having passed the century mark and his
mother to nearly ninety. In 1846 he was married to Miss Sarah Workman,
and if ever one was appropriately named, it was she. While he was in the



194 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

army she conducted the farm, in addition to her manifold duties in the house,
with almost masculine ability.

While the man seems to be the subject of most history, there are
thousands of noble, patient women that have been real helpmeets and con-
tributed more than their half to the general welfare and there is something
wrong that they fail to receive credit for it. The only way seems for them
to become historians and speak for themselves, as we are so vain as to claim
all the credit ourselves.

The first school ever taught in Pottawattamie county is claimed to have
been held in the little Mormon suburb of Kanesville called Carterville. This
was in 1847. A Mr. Curtis was the teacher and he contracted to teach for
$12 per month, but at close of school was compelled to compromise for a
part. From this modest beginning the institution had grown by 1881 when
the school enrollment reached three hundred, with twelve schoolhouses.

At this writing (1907) the school board is organized as follows: F. S.
Childs, president; B. G. Davis, secretary; and W. S. Clay, treasurer; with
twelve subdistricts; with compensation, first-grade teachers $42.50, second-
grade $35, per month.

According to the state census of 1905, there were four hundred and fifty-
seven persons of school age.

The vicinity of the old Wicks mill has for more than half a century
played a conspicuous part in the early history of Pottawattamie county. It
was here where the immigrants obtained their first flour and corn meal, and
later, for many years, it was the place where the Latter Day Saints held their
yearly meetings, some coming for nearly one hundred miles. A beautiful
grove furnished an ideal camping ground, the Mosquito oreek, like the
Jordan, became famous for the number baptized in its waters, and alongside
of the road coming from under a bluff was an excellent spring capable of
supplying any number of worshippers. Nearby was a little schoolhouse
where young Kinsman taught and from where he used to write interesting
letters to the Nonpareil. Little did we think at that time of the noble part
he was soon to play and the fame he was soon to achieve by his heroic death
near Vicksburg. All honor to General Dodge and tin others that assisted
in recovering his remains and having a suitable monument erected to his
memory.

Later on this <,вАЮ,t witnessed one scene in a tragedy enacted in June, 1865.
At this time a highwayman made his appearance in this neighborhood. His
first victim was Mr. Jesse Smith. He was on his way to his home in Crescent
when he met the robber about two miles north of the city and was taken
down into n ravine on the east side of the road, relieved of his money and
held prisoner until towards night, and the teams had ceased to pass along
the road, when he told him to take the road, turning neither to the righl
or left, which he proceeded to do, but returned to town the next day ami
save the police his description. The next victim was a Mr. Kaywood, whom
he met on the Canning hill in east part of the city. This was just at dark,
and after taking his money permitted him to go on. Then were but three
or four police at that time and probably fifty men turned out and helped to-



HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY 195

scour the brush around the city, but without success, and the very next day a
Mr. Perks, -while bringing in a load of wood, was halted on the hill in the south-
ern part of the city and made to deliver. It will be remembered that the old
Wicks mill had been replaced by a new one, built by George Parks and S.
S. Bayliss, and was known as Parks' mill, and was operated by him, he going
out mornings and returning evenings on horseback. The evening after the
third robbery, on coining in as he came within fifteen or twenty rods of the
spring by the roadside, a man rose from drinking and started on ahead. Mr.
Parks was in the habit of carrying money for buying grain, and as a con-
sequence always went armed, and seeing this man the conviction flashed
upon him that this was the robber, and that he was making for a little
thicket ahead, there to await him, and instantly resolved to take the initiative,
and quietly riding up ordered him to throw up his hands and keep them
there on pain of instant death for refusal. He then ordered him to walk
by the side of his horse's right shoulder, keeping his hands over his head,
until opposite the first house, being that of Mr. Yogle, whom ho called to come
out and disarm his prisoner. The weapons were two splendid revolvers, duly
loaded and ready for use. Just then a team came along with several men
and the man was brought into town where a committee was waiting to receive
him.

There being no jail at that time, he was taken to a room in the Hagg
block, now known as the blue front, and the following day he was fully
identified by his victims. The green goggles he wore when on duty were
found in his pockets. Sheriff Voorhis requested someone to file informa-
tion, but all refused, and the sheriff was calculating to get an order to com-
mit him to the nearest jail; but the next morning he was found dead hang-
ing to a willow tree in the yard where John Hammer kept his building
material. It appeared that he was from Kansas and on hearing of his fate
some one of his friends wrote to our mayor asking for particulars and say-
ing he was not considered a bad man at home, and that he had been a soldier
in the Union army. He was buried beside the other victims of vigilants
on the ridge above the Soldiers' cemetery. But to return to Garner town-
ship.

Another tragedy was enacted later wherein a young man named Charles
Grainwell was killed by Thomas Davis. It occurred at a threshing. The
young man was pitching the sheaves to Davis, who was feeding, and the
sheaves coming too fast Davis became angry, and after some words Davis
stabbed Grainwell with the big knife for cutting bands with fatal result.
Davis was tried, convicted and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary,
but after serving two years and a half was pardoned and left the country.

Still later a Chautauqua assembly was established here and conducted
for two or three seasons, but was not a success financially and was discon-
tinued.

The present township officers are as follows: Trustees, F. S. Childs,
Fred Janson and G. W. Shipley ; clerk, H. E. Tiarks ; justices of the peace,
Ed. Rozenberg and J. C. Begley. No constable seems to lie needed, as none
qualified after the last election.



196 HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY

GROVE TOWNSHIP.

Grove township derives its name from the fact that it has a number of
fine groves that if properly eared for will be sufficient for a dense population,
and what in the way of forest would have been considered indispensable fifty
years ago would now be objectionable. It has been demonstrated that it is
easier to make a farm from prairie and raise timber than to clear heavy
timber land and get it under cultivation. In Grove township we have a
happy medium; enough but not a surplus. Grove township was included in
Macedonia township until September 25, 1858, on which date, by authority
of the county judge, the territory consisting of congressional township 74
north, of range 30 west, was declared a civil township, and the same was
declared an election precinct, and it was ordered that an election be held
therein on the second Tuesday in October, 1858.

The election was held as ordered and the following persons elected:
George B. Otto, township clerk; E. W. Knapp, justice of the peace; Cornelius
Hurley, constable; David Watson, assessor; and Thomas Connor, A. J.



Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 59)