Adams county


Section 2, Colony Township

From the 1936 WPA Writer's Project

Nevinville, a village of eighty persons, located 23 miles northeast of Corning on County Road A, has no railroad or bus service.  Its population is made up largely of people of English, Dutch and Irish descent.  In May, 1855, the first group of New Englanders arrived at what was later known as Nevin.  A saw mill was built in September of that year.  The following year a school building was erected.  On July 26, 1857, a Bible class was started and in September a hotel known as the New England House was started.  Then the post office was established July 8, 1858.  A lyceum was organized January 2, 1859.  The early settlers were industrious and progresive and the village grew rapidly until the railroad was routed through Corning.  From that time on the Nevinville community declined until today most of the land included in the original townsite has reverted to farming purposes.  There are two churches and a small school in Nevinville.

1984 Adams County History Book

The desire of Rev. Edwin H. Nevin, a pastor at Walpole, MA, to take his vacation in the summer of 1855 to the open territory beyond the Missouri River, led to the settlement of this New England colony in Iowa. Dr. Nevin was a passenger on the Wm Lock mail rig that ran weekly from Afton to the Adair and Lewis post offices. From Lewis he rode on the Concord coach line running from the Mississippi to the Missouri. He visited an Indian Mission school at Bellevue, NE and some new settlements in Kansas along with (slavery) conflicts in the Kansas territory.

After Dr. Nevin returned to his parish in Massachusetts, a business meeting was held to consider the question of planting a colony of New England people in southwestern Iowa. Promises of railroads, steamboats, schools and churches were told to these people. Roswell W. Turner and Richard B. Smith agreed to the idea of this colony. Dr. Nevin's name was given to this place, but he was not to put any money into this plan. Sixteen sections of land were purchased in southern Adair County and northern Adams County.

A small group of men left New England on April 16, 1856 for the promised land. In Illinois and Iowa, swollen streams and rains gave the travelers problems. Many wished to return home, but were persuaded to remain by the promise of 100 dollars each. A schoolhouse was built, but was damaged by a thunderstorm on July 4, 1857. A hotel was also built, called the New England House.