Homer Howard Field.

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

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The statistics for the year 1881 show the following in regard to the
township; Number of subdistricts, eight; number of ungraded, eight; num-
ber of months taught, nine; teachers employed, male, two, female, thirteen;
number of pupils, males, one hundred and two, females, ninety.

There were three secret societies, Walnut lodge No. 122, Legion of Honor,
was the first to organize. The first officers were: W. H. Linfor, president;
W. H. Bowman, vice-president ; J. C. Spangler, recording secretary ; J. H.
Henry, foreman; W. F. Moreshell, financier; J. B. Case, chaplain and W.
Gardiner, doorkeeper.

The second secret society organized was Moriah lodge No. :!27, I. 0. O. F..
on September 25, 1875.

The charter members were: J. W. Snyder, C. W. Merrill. G. C. Hunt.
0. M. Bruce, W. H. Brundridge, J. M. Turner and G. T. Mix. The first
officers were: Noble grand, J. W. Snyder; vice grand, G. T. Mix; recording
secretary, W. E. Turner; permanent secretary, James Ledwick and treasurer,
F. H. Green.

The third society to organize a lodge in Walnut was the A. 0. U. W.
Walnut lodge, No. 194, A. 0. U. W., was organized by charter granted June
25, 1879. This lodge in 1882 had a membership of forty-two and the officers
were: W. L. Williams, master workman; Win. Woodring, foreman: A. S.
Amcy, receiver; Wm. Gardiner, financier; Henry <>u. overseer; W. (>. Hub-
bard, past master workman; Robert Boat, guide; W. R. Spencer, inside watch-
man; J. C. Spangler, outside watchman and II. A. Cummings, secretary.

Although history is constantly being made, we at times neglect to record
it, being too busy, but it is proper that at least each generation should leave
data by which those thai succeed us can keep advised as to whether we are
advancing or retrograding. It has recently been claimed that in many coun-
ties of Iowa the last census shows a decrease in population. This seems unnat-
ural for so young a state as Iowa and one so highly endowed by nature. It
is possible that the high price of land here may have driven young men to
where it is cheaper, faster than its excellent quality has attracted strangers
to it, or again, for years there has been a gnat strife to show rapid gains in
population that in many instances resulted in padding the returns as appeared
in the case of our neighboring city, where the census of 1890 showed forty
thousand more than that of 1900. Be this as it may. we are not prepared
to believe that this township or Pottawattamie county ha- retrograded.

The town of Walnut at this time contains the following li.^t of institu-


tions : Three banks, four general stores, two exclusive grocery stores, two drug
stores, four restaurants, three blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, two photo-
graph galleries, two elevators, two livery stables, one flouring mill, three
implement stores, one cement block factory, two lumber yards, two hardware
stores, three physicians, one meat market, one harness shop, one tailoring
establishment, three barber shops, one steam laundry, one millinery store,
one dentist, one newspaper, two real estate offices, four hotels, two billiard
halls, four saloons, one exclusive shoe store, one clothing store.

The religious organizations are represented by Catholic, Methodist, Pres-
byterian and Lutheran churches. The Masons, Odd Fellows, A. 0. U. W.,
M. W. A., W. 0. W., Knights of Pythias, G. A. R., Homesteaders and Ger-
man Verein each have organizations.

The city also has its waterworks and electric light plant and fire company.
Citizens claim a population of one thousand five hundred and for their banks
$1,000,000. The city has a graded school with superintendent and seven

The city government is constituted as follows: Mayor, E. C. Thompson;
clerk, C. S. Spangler; city council, J. B. Johannasen. Dr. Morris Moore, Orris
Mosher, Jr., J. C. Vollsted, W. S. Sankey and N. H. Lewis.

The township officers arc a- follows: Trustees, G. W. Craney. Wm. H.
Jurgenson and Frank Ilanna: clerk. F. C. Hector; assessor, John Schmidt;
justices, E. C. Thompson and .1. B. Johannsen.

School board, H. F. Sievers, president; John Schmidt, secretary; J. \Y.
Craig, treasurer.

According to census of 1905 there were in Lay ton township, exclusive of
Walnut, two hundred of school age, of which one hundred and eight were
males and ninety-two females. In Walnut town there were three hundred
and four, of which one hundred and fifty-four were males and one hundred
and fifty were female-.


In traveling over Pottawattamie county one naturally wonders why the
great railroad lines crossing the state from east to west have avoided the best
tier of counties in the whole state. This applies more particularly to the
western part, where in going from Madison, Adair, Cass or eastern Pottawat-
tamie to Council Bluffs or Omaha a person must pass through Shelby or Mills.
However, Pottawattamie has managed to survive and grow in wealth and popu-
lation, and a person now passing where the roads were mere trails, following the
divides over miles of treeless prairies and now finds excellent roads running on
section lines and each farm with an artificial grove, he feels impressed with the
amount of progress that one generation has made, and although Lincoln,
like several of her sister townships, has no railroad or town of her own, it is
but a short drive to one in any direction. In fact a person can't get ten
miles from a railroad in Pottawattamie county. Farming, including stock
raising and fruit growing, must always be the business of the people and as
such, prosperity is certain to follow the active and prudent worker.


The present township officers are as follows: Trustees, Jacob Carbuhn,
Carl Rothwisch and Geo. Hardenburg; clerk, M. E. Reimer; justices of the
peace, Thos. Peterson and John Goetsch; assessor, H. P. Jacobson. No one
qualified as constable.

George Eichhorn, A. E. Young, B. Geiss and Fred Swengle are among
its prominent citizens.

According to state census of 1904, there were two hundred and thirty-
eight persons of school age, of which one hundred and twenty were males and
one hundred and eighteen were females.

The first election in Lincoln was on the same day of the general election '
in November, 1876.

W. A. Clapp was chosen township clerk, H. B. Jack, Samuel I. Pope and
Andrew McCormick, trustees and Joseph Battersley, justice of the peace.

This is a full congressional township of most excellent land, but desti-
tute of native timber except along the streams. Among the first settlers were:
Wm. H. Painter, Patrick Howard, H. B. Jack, W. A. Clapp. Samuel I. Pope,
John A. Frank, Elias Yeoman, Christ Dramyer, John A. Chipman, Wm.
Linkletter, Geo. Woods, Charles Mamfer, Geo. Roberts and R. M. Allen. By
the year 1N82 great progress had been made.

In the year 1872, when Mr. Painter came, there were neither church,
schoolhouse or store nor bridge, but so active were the people that by 1882
there were nine schoolhouses of uniform dimensions and costing $800 each.

There were also six bridges, built at cost of the county and cast from
$1,000 to $1,700 each. Three of these were over Big Walnut creek, two over
Little Walnut and over Graybill creeks.


It will be remembered that on t lie 12th day of February, 1853, steps were
takeii to divide Pottawattamie county into three townships. This was done
at a special session of the county court, which was constituted of the county
judge, T. Burdick, who held the office at that date and made necessary order,
and S. T. Corg was the clerk of the court and made up the record of the
transaction. The record so made states in substance that the former division
of the county into election precincts be discontinued, and the county of Pot-
tawattamie divided into three townships, viz.. Macedonia, bounded on the
north by the north line of the county, east by the east county line, south
by the south county line and west by the meridian or range line running
north and south across the county between range 40 and 41. Tt will be
seen that this created Macedonia township with the same territory that now
constitutes the twelve easterly townships or fully two-fifths of the county, and
the history of the present Macedonia properly begins at that date, although
some incidents date previous to this.

The first settler was Thomas Jefferson King. He was born in Massa-
chusetts May 24, 1804. Came west and reached Louisiana, Missouri, in 1848,
and came overland from there, and arrived at old Macedonia May 1. 1848,
in time to raise a crop of corn that year.


In 1850, when the emigration to Salt Lake was at its height, the Botna
was out of its banks for three months and caused great delay and suffering
to those who were on their way west. Mr. Ring had secured a lot of flour
from Council Bluffs before the river rose and this he divided with those on
the east side, and when this supply failed they were compelled to resort to
pounded corn.

The next settler after Mr. Bing was one by the name of Jacob Myers,
from Ohio, who built a saw mill and then a grist mill in connection with
one Haws at the old town of Macedonia. This mill was built in 1848 but
was washed out in the great flood that followed its construction, and after
this Mr. Myers went to Michigan, and was lost sight of. Previous to this,
however, J. B. Stutsman, one of the first merchants of Council Bluffs, had
bought a half interest in the mill and Wm. Martin the other half, and in
1851 they erected a saw mill and in 1853 a grist mill, which was managed by
Z. Losh, an experienced miller, for a year and by others until another flood
in 1861 which took the second mill out and the site was abandoned. But
for a long time before and after the place was called Macedonia it was called
Stutsman's Mill.

And it might be pleasant to the Macedonians to know that this same old
time, generous, enterprising gentleman is at this time living at Harlan and
that he carries his ninety years as lightly as most men of seventy. He also
opened the first store.

Another old timer that arrived about this time was a Mr. Tattle who
afterward went on to Utah.

In 1852 a Mr. Hanshalder bought the stock of Stutsman and conducted
the business in the same building. The first school in the township was
taught by Joseph Lyman, when but a boy of sixteen or seventeen, of which
we shall hear more, as he was one of the boys you can't lose. This school
was taught in a rented building, there being no way to have one built by
the public. A blacksmith named Henry Adams started a shop in 1852 'and
conducted it for two years and sold out to John McDermott.

The first postmaster was Calvin A. Beebe, who lived on the Tompkins
farm and it was kept here; and here the first election after the organization
of the township was ordered to be held. Fink and Walker had the contract
to carry the mail between Des Moines and Council Bluffs, and there was a
weekly service each way. As soon as events justified it, the Western Stage
Co. put daily coaches on the route by way of Big Grove and continued until
the Rock Island Railroad was built in 1869.

The first schoolhouse built at public expense was erected a little east of
the old town, A. M. Denton being the contractor. The finishing lumber was
brought from Boonville by wagon. J. Z. Losh came in as before stated and
conducted Stutsman's mill a year, but in 1856 he discovered a good mill site
a few miles above and there he erected what was known for many years as
Losh's mill. With the advent of the C. B. & Q. branch railroad, the new
town of Carson sprang into existence, which will be noted under another
head. That company commenced building a branch from Hastings on their
main line, and had it completed and trains running to a point three-quarters


of a mile east of the old town at the river on the Fourth of July, 1880. Here
a new town was laid out and also called Macedonia. This company con-
sisted of Hon. B. F. Clayton and R. H. Woodmancy of Macedonia, T. J.
Evans of Council Bluffs and T. J. Pattee, general manager of the C. B. & Q.

The first store erected in the new town was by R. II. Woodmancy, the
first carpenter shop by J. T. Bird, and the blacksmith shop by Henry Keeler
and Co., and a new schoolhouse was built the following season. The Cumber-
land Presbyterian church organized a society as early as 1871, under the
auspices of the Rev. J. W. Carter. From the. date of its organization until
1880, services were held in the schoolhouse in old Macedonia, but in the fall
of the latter year they erected a neat edifice in the new town at a cost of $2,000
without incurring any debt.

The Methodist society that was organized under the direction of Rev.
Thomas H. Smith was reorganized in 187:! under the supervision of Rev.
Henry De Long. When the new town was established they sold their house
and built a church costing $3,000.

The first child born in the new town was in September, 1880, to Mr.
and Mrs. William Dye, and the first death was that of Mrs. Emma Mitchell
in the same month. The first marriage ceremony was performed by Rev.
J. W. Carter in the marriage of Mr. Charles Beesley and Miss Ora Lowe in
August. 1881.

An Odd Fellows lodge was established on the fourth of February, 1881,
with W. Dye, E. L. Cook, A. M. Cole. E. A. Vanvranken, A. S. Staggers
and J. S. Rainbow as charter members, and the officers installed at the organi-
zation were: W. Dye, X. G. ; A. M. Cole. V. G. ; E. L. Cook, secretary and
E. A. Vanvranken, treasurer.

The first hotel was the Macedonia House and was opened by Geo. H.

The postotfice was removed from old to new Macedonia and Ohio Knox
was made postmaster and through his efforts it was declared a money order
office. In 1880 Meckeliverl & Young erected a -team elevator, and during
the first season managed two hundred and fifty thousand bushels and in 1881
over five hundred carloads of grain.

A new Howe truss bridge was erected across the Botna at the old town
in 1881.

A joint stock company was organized in 1880 to conduct a banking
business under the laws of Iowa, and known as the Macedonia bank, the
shareholders being George Meckelivert, Richard Meckelivert, D. L. Hin-
shimer, of Glenwood, and William Dye. of Macedonia.

The Masonic fraternity established themselves in the town shortly after
it was laid out. Ruba lodge being organized in the winter of 1881, with a
membership of seventeen. John Craig was made the first worshipful mas-
ter; .1 M. Kelley, the first senior warden; D. L. Bulla, the first, junior warden";
Ohio Knox, secretary: B. F. Clayton, treasurer: S. A. Jones, senior deacon:
I>. W. Bomff, junior deacon; J. W. Carter, chaplain, and A. B. Rayburn,


The most notable event in the early days was the grep.t fire, which, in
March, 1882, destroyed the main portion of the town, bnt the buildings de-
stroyed were rapidly replaced.

The terrible cyclone that wrought destruction in Grove township, passed
near old Macedonia, and was plainly seen from there as it passed on towards
Wheeler's Gr<jve.

Long before this an occurrence happened that should not be omitted. It
appears that in 1859, at a shooting match, into which whiskey entered
pretty largely, a young man named Alf. Pierce lost his life. At the time
a man, named Batchelor, kept a store where the old town still stands and
with his family lived in rooms in the real" of the store. The merchant sold
whiskey to the crowd during the match, but towards evening the boys, get-
ting boisterous, the merchant closed the store and retired to the back rooms
with his little family. After a while some of the young men wanted more whis-
key, and, the front being closed, they went around to the rear and entered,
at the same time demanding more liquor, and, on being refused, became
abusive, whereupon Batchelor took down his gun and shot one of them
named Alf. Pierce, dead. It caused great excitement, and during the trial
that followed, nearly the entire population of the township were present. Mr.
Batchelor was defended by Judge A. V. Larimer and D. W. Price. The
latter in the closing argument made the effort of his life and for nearly a
half century it has had no equal at the Pottawattamie county bar, and the
verdict was not guilty.

During the nearly half century that has intervened great changes have
occurred here as well as elsewhere. The railroad has invaded this quiet nook
вАФ a young city as a natural result has sprung into existence, supplanting the
old village, while the almost boundless prairies have been transformed into
as fine farms as can be found anywhere.

So far the events related applied to the township, which has been re-
duced to twenty-four sections, by cutting off twelve in forming the township
of Carson.

The town of Macedonia was incorporated in 1892 with the following
officers: Mayor, J. M. Kelley; recorder, S. H. Hopkins; marshal and street
commissioner. Wm. Marshall; treasurer. T. I. Clark; council, E. E. Smith,
W. Dye, T. J. Young. E. H. Sempel, E. B. Lane and A. I. Mitchell, M. D.

At this writing it has one bank, one hotel, two general stores, one res-
taurant, one hardware and furniture store, two drag stores, one elevator, one
implement house, one livery stable, one lumber yard, one brick yard, one
meat market, two blacksmith shops.

The Methodists and Presbyterians each have churches. It has a graded
school with principal and four assistants. The fraternal orders are repre-
sented by one Masonic lodge, one of Odd Fellows, one of Modern Wood-
men and Royal Neighbors. It has also a neat opera house and a news-
paper, the Botna Valley News, one milliner and dressmaking establish-
ment and two barber shops.

The present city administration is as follows: Mayor, J. C. Rayburn;


recorder, H. K. Dye ; marshal, W. L. Hobson ; aldermen, A. M. Miller, Grant
Pilling, Milton Osier, H. A. Smith, J. M. Kelley and T. C. Nickey.

The town, according to the census of 1905, had one hundred and nine-
teen persons of school age, of which sixty-four were males and fifty-five

The township, exclusive of town of Macedonia, had, males ninety-five,
females eighty-eight.

The board of directors are E. A. Seaberg, president; G. T. Clayton,
secretary, and W. J. Hamilton, treasurer.

The township officers are as follows: Trustees, N. L. Hobson, John R.
Maynes and A. C. Lewis; clerk, Thos. I. Clark; constables, W. L. Hobson
and Abe Branden; assessor, J. M. Coon-.

Although this is one of the smallest townships, it possesses as good soil
as can be found on earth, with streams that are utilized for power, fair
groves of timber and quarries of stone, and is occupied by as progressive
and up-to-date people as can be found anywhere.


Minden is the central township in the northern tier of the county. It is
a full congressional township, was formerly a part of that of Neola, until 1877,
when, in answer to a petition of Mr. James Crow and the requisite number of
signers, their petition was granted. The township took the name of the little
town already formed on the line of the Rock Island road. The first election
took place in October, 1877, in the schoolhouse in Minden. The judges were
Win. Spears, August Kaven and James Crow. The clerks were J. R. Crow
and J. Lake, and about one hundred votes were cast.

There is really no waste land in this township. It is gently rolling and
only occasionally a little broken land along the streams, the principal ones
bring Keg creek, running southwesterly with about two-fifths of the
territory on the east and three-fifths wesl of thai stream, and
the Mosquito, cutting a small portion off the northwest corner. It is
peculiarly fortunate in railroads, the Rock Island cutting it centrally in one
direction and the Great Western in another, while the Milwaukee clips off the
northwest corner after leaving Neola. There are no large natural groves of
timber, but the next generation will have plenty, for, being settled largely by
Germans, they will have trees and flowers, and are rapidly planting groves.
Mr. Casper Foster, of Davenport, Iowa, purchased 10,000 acres of the Rock
Island road, and a condition was thai the company should establish and
maintain a station on this property. This was complied with, hence the town
of Minden, named in memory of Minden back in the fatherland of most of
these industrious settlers. The first house built in the town was by Bugq
Prcster, Mr. Foster built the second and Peter Ehlers the third. G. Diederich
built the first store in 1875, and moved in a general stock of goods from Avoca.
J. O. Jeffries built the next business house and engaged in the grocerv trade,
with a restaurant attached. Messrs. Bartel & Co. became successors to Mr.


Diederich by purchase and Mr. Diederich then erected another building,
which he subsequently sold to Stuhr Brothers.

The first carpenters of the town were Henry Urbahan, August Kaven and
Fred Kruganbery. The first blacksmith was a Mr. Rodecker. The first lum-
ber business was by Messrs. Pria & Ilornley, a Davenport firm. Peter Ehlers
was the first to begin the grain trade. Dr. McLeod was the first physician to
hang out his shingle in the little town and James Crow the first land agent.
Under the jurisdiction of Mr. James Crow a schoolhouse was built. Previous
to this time a school had been taught by a Mr. Kelsey in one room of Mr. Fos-
ter's residence. The same year that saw the new schoolhouse a prairie fire
came near destroying the town, but its approach was discovered in time to
enable the citizens to protect and save their homes.

The first board of trustees of Minden township met and organized January
26. 1 877. At their meeting the township was divided into five subdistricts for
school purposes.

No township in the county takes more active interest in their public
schools than Minden. The statistics for the year 1881 show the following:
Number of graded schools, 8 ; number of ungraded, 8 ; number of teachers em-
ployed, male, 5 ; female, 12 ; average pay per month, male, $35 ; female, $33.75 ;
number of persons between the ages of 5 and 21 years, 156 ; male, 123 ; total
average attendance, 95; value of schoolhouses, $3,530; value of apparatus,

Minden had a German day school, the only one in the county at that

In 1878 a German Lutheran church was organized, with Rev. Julius Oeh-
lert as pastor. The original members were August Kaven, Adam Turk, John
Stuhr, Jr., Jacob AVasser, Deidrich Rohlfs, Peter Alleman, August Bock,
Wilhelm Bolte, Wilhelm Giese, John Stuhr, Sr.. August Giese and Carl

A small church was completed and furnished. The lot on which it was
built was presented by Mr. Casper Foster. A Sunday school was organized
in 1876, with- James Crow as superintendent. At last reports Conrad Neil
was superintendent; John Crow, secretary; J. A. Yoder, treasurer, and E. 0.
Morgan, librarian, and an attendance of forty pupil.*.

The growth of Minden has not been so rapid as some of the other towns
of the county, but has always enjoyed a substantial progress, which makes
success. a foregone conclusion.

The following are the names of some of the principal business men up to
the year 1880: J. B. Norton, druggist; John Hammer and J. C. Garmong,
hardware; Peter Stuhr and J. C. Garmong, agricultural implement dealers;
Stuhr Brothers, J. W. Crow and J. H. Yoder, dry goods and grocery mer-
chants ; Seiffert and Weis, lumber dealers ; L. Harm, physician and surgeon ;
J. C. Garmong, harness dealer; Henry Rolfs and H. Peterson, blacksmiths,
and Adolph Winder, hotel proprietor.

On the 12th of June, 1881, a severe hailstorm struck Minden township
and inflicted damage to the extent of $20,000. The storm came in two divi-


sions and met near the residence of Mr. F. Bloomer, where the damage to
house, trees and grain amounted to $1,000.

Although quite a town had started soon after the advent of the Rock
Island road, it was not incorporated until 1890, since which time its growth
has been steady and healthy. At this time, 1907, it has two banks, the Ger-
man-American and Farmers' Savings ; general stores, Peiper & Mischler, George
Groneweg & Co., and W. L. Richardson ; hardware, Stuhr-Ehlers-Hood Com-
pany; drug store, Max Lehman; elevators, P. Ehlers & Stuhr; Reesy Grain

Online LibraryHomer Howard FieldHistory of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, from the earliest historic times to 1907 (Volume 1) → online text (page 24 of 59)