History of Waukon: Advent of Geo. C. Shattuck; Other Early Settlers; Beginning and Growth of the Embryo County Seat; Interesting Early Details; The First Court House; Additions to the Town Plat; Population; Origin of the Name "Waukon;" Religious and Educational Organizations; The Postoffice; The Local Press; Business Institutions; Railroad History; Orders and Societies; Military Company; Fires, Etc.

History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties Iowa,1882
by W. E. Alexander
Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Co., 1882
Reprinted by Winneshiek County Historical Society


Explanatory Note—
The history of Waukon and Lansing, which should more properly follow immediately after the general history of Allamakee County, necessarily appears in this order of location, the MSS. Having been received by the Publishers too late for earlier insertion. This arrangement, while in a measure out of harmony with the technical classification of the work, will be found to in nowise detract from the completeness of its historical value.—The Editor.



In the month of July, 1849, Geo C. Shattuck, than a man upwards of three score years of age, built his camp fire on the prairie now owned by the town of Waukon, while on a prospecting tour for a location. Concluding that the country was desirable in every respect, he staked his claim, cut and made hay to supply his stock through the winter, and returned to Dubuque county, we believe, for his family. With them, he again drove on to this beautiful prairie in the afternoon of the second day of September, 1849, and laid the foundation for the thriving town that we see here to-day. He built a hay house for his family to occupy until he and his boys could erect a log house, which stood on the land now owned by Michael Deveny, southwest of the Episcopal church. It has disappeared within the last few years; but in its day it was a hospitable "mansion" to the early comers, and was often filled to the utmost of its limited capacity.

Mr. Shattuck was born September 9, 1787, where, we do not know. He was a pioneer by nature, and it is said pitched his tent on the present site of Chicago when no one but Indians inhabited the spot. In October, 1870, at the age of eighty-three, he departed from us overland, driving his own horse team as when he came twenty-one years before, to make a new home in Missouri or Kansas. In 1875 he visited Waukon once again; and the following spring, April 6, 1876, he died at Plattville, Wis.

The first white settlers in Makee township were Patrick Keenan and Richard Cassiday, who settled on Makee Ridge in October, 1848, but returned to Jefferson township the following spring. The selection made by these men was on the land now owned by the county as a poor farm, and here Mr. Keenan built the first log house ever erected in Makee or Union Prairie townships, the remains of which still stand, or did recently, near a spring in the timber south of the Poor House.

In August, 1849, Prosser Whaley came in and made a claim on Sec. 32, and returned to Wisconsin for his family, bringing them here in September or October of that year. During the next six weeks he built the second house in the township, and it was a general stopping place for new comers for some time. All that remains of it is now the property of August Meyer. In the spring of 1850 Mr. Whalen raised a good crop of corn on a piece of land while Mr. Keenan broke up in 1848, the pioneer crop of the settlement. Mr. Whaley died in May 1866, but Mrs. Whaley is still living, a resident of Waukon.

In these days Prairie du Chien was the trading point for the settlement, although there was a small grocery at Monona.

As to the next early settlers we quote the following from Judge Dean:
"In the spring of 1850 the following families came into the settlement, and perhaps others that we have failed to note. Seth Patterson, Darwin Patterson, Archa Whaley, William Niblock, James Gillett, Horace Gillett, Christopher McNutt, James Conway, David Whaley, David Whaley, Jr., Richard Charles, and Robert S. Stevenson, of whom the following settled in what is now Makee township.

"Archa Whaley on section 33, on the farm now owned by Mr. Bronsmeier; Mr. Whaley now lives on Village creek, and is the proprietor of Whaley’s mills.

"Mr. Niblock on section 32, on which he build a log house near a spring and near the south line of the farm, which is still standing but used of late years as a slaughterhouse. In the spring of 1851 he sold this claim to Thomas A. Minard, who sold to James Maxwell, who lived and died there and it is known as the Maxwell farm to-day. Mr. Niblock now lives in Jefferson tp.

"David Whaley made a claim on section 20, but soon after sold it to C. J. White, and he to Mr. James Hall, who owns it to-day. Mr. Whaley after selling this entered the land that is now the farm of Balser Fultz, just north of town and after selling this removed to Minnesota where he died about 1867. David Whaley, Jr., made a claim near his father’s which he old to Almarin Randall, and he to James Nichols, and it is owned by Mrs. Nichols today. (Now by C. R. Williams). Randall lives in Minnesota at this time, and Mr. Whaley lives in Waukon at this date. James Conway made a claim on section 28, where he still lives.

"Robert Stevenson became a lawyer, married Mr. Geo. C. Shattuck’s daughter Minerva, and subsequently removed to Wisconsin, and during the late war was among the first in that state to enlist for three years or during the war. He was a private in Company C, 2d Wisconsin Volunteers, and now fills and honors a soldier’s grave on the bloody field of Antietam.

The following families made claims in Union Prairie. Seth Patterson and Darwin Patterson on section 23; each built a log house near a large spring that is the source of Patterson Creek, but at this writing there is nothing left to mark the spot but a mound of earth. The creek was named after them and still bears their name; it runs northwest and empties into the Iowa river in Hanover township. Seth Patterson is dead, and Darwin is a merchant in Minnesota.

"Richard Charles made a claim on section 24, and built a log house near a spring that is the source of Village creek. This creek runs northeast and empties into the Mississippi river at Columbus. This farm is now the property of Mr. James Reed, and his dwelling stands near the spot where the original log house stood. (Now owned by S. J. Blagen.) The present whereabouts of Mr. Charles are unknown to the writer. James Gillett made a claim on section 26, and, with his son Horace, and son-in-law McNutt, built a log house near the spring that is the source of Coon creek, which runs northwest and empties into the Iowa river in Winneshiek county. This claim afterwards became the property of Edward Eells, and is now owned by his sons A. P. And G. P. Eells. (Now owned by John Conrad.) Of all these families in Union Prairie, not one is living in the county today.

"All these families spoken of in both townships came in previous to June 1st, and as the 4th of July approached the settlement decided that the day should be duly honored; so Mr. Niblock and Pitt Shattuck were detailed to prepare a liberty pole for the occasion; and on the 3rd they cut a tall, straight, young tree in the Paint creek timber, near where Gay Penfield now lives, and hauled it to the head of Union Prairie, where it was erected by the men of the settlement, and on the next day, July 4th, 1850, the whole settlement, men, women and children, gathered around the pole where they listened to an oration from Darwin Patterson, Esq., delivered from the stump of a tree close by; after which they had their picnic dinner, and on this occasion Mr. Shattuck gave the prairie the name of "Union." All these exercises were carried on with much Fourth of July patriotism and sociality, and this was the first public picnic dinner, and the first Fourth of July celebration that history records in Makee or Union Prairie townships.

The main traveled road from steamboat landing on the Mississippi river at Lansing, to Decorah, in Winneshiek county, ran past this pole; and before this region was tapped by railroads it was a much-traveled thoroughfare, and this pole stood for many years as a landmark, and was known far and wide.

"In the fall of 1850, Azel Pratt and Lemuel Pratt came in, and settled on Makee ridge, Azel building a little log cabin south of the road near a spring, on what is now the farm of Mr. John Kasser. In this they lived, and Lemuel having brought in a small stock of goods, they were opened out in the chamber, or up-stairs part of the house, and customers supplied therefrom. Thus Deacon Pratt owned the first building used as a store in Makee.

"Lemuel Pratt entered the land where Michael McCroden now lives, and kept hotel there. The postoffice for all the region round about was kept in his house, and he was the first postmaster in Makee township. In 1856 he sold out and moved to Minnesota, where he now lives.

"In the spring of 1851, Augustine and L. W. Hersey came in with a small stock of goods, purchased the remnant of the stock of Lemuel, and opened a small store in the dwelling house of Augustine on Makee ridge, now owned by G. Schellsmith.

"In the spring of 1851 several families came into the settlement among whom were Abraham Bush, David Bartly, Elijah Short, George Randall, Howard Hersey, John Pratt, Dr. Flint, the pioneer physician of the settlement, John A. Wakefield, and perhaps others, who settled in what is now Makee; and George Merrill, Henry Harris, John Harris, H. H. Horton, Francis Treat, John Ammon Eells brothers, Moses Bush, John Bush, Wm. S. Conner and others, who settled in what is now Union Prairie; and the country began to present an appearance of age and prosperity, but here was as yet no Makee, Union Prairie or Waukon."

"At the March term, 1852, of the County Court, held at Columbus, the legal voters in tp. 98, range 5, petitioned for organization as a civil township under the name of Makee. The Court granted the prayer of the petitioners and appointed Israel Devine as commissioner to call an election for purposes of organization, which he did. The election was held in April following, in the log house on the C. J. White farm, and resulted in the election of a full set of town officers; but in consequence of scanty records and the faulty memory of the participants, we are left to guess who they were. We only know that John A. Wakefield was chosen constable, and in consequence of his refusing to serve, Sanford C. Marsh was appointed to fill the office."

"Jan. 24, 1853, the Legislature of Iowa appointed three commissioners, to-wit: Clement C. Coffin of Delaware County, John S. Lewis, of Clayton Co., and Dennis A. Mahony, of Dubuque Co., to re-locate the county seat of Allamakee Co., and required them to meet at Columbus, the then county seat, about the first Monday in March following, take the oath of office and proceed to select a point for the new county seat as near the center of the county as was practicable. This they did, and in selecting the spot they took into consideration the place where the original liberty pole was planted at the head of Union Prairie, Makee Ridge and some other points, but the absence of water at those places made them objectionable.

At this time there were several splendid springs bubbling out of the prairie sod where Waukon now stands, and Father Shattuck, then living here, offered to give the county forty acres of land for county seat purposes, if the commissioners would locate the county seat thereon. The stake was driven by them on the land thus donated, and the proposed town site was named at the time, the commissioners requesting John Haney, Jr., who was present and took an active part in the matter, to christen the spot. He having been a trader among the Indians, and having a good friend among them in the person of John Waukon, a chief of the Winnebago tribe, gave it his name, and it has been called Waukon from that time.

"The spot for the new county seat having been selected, it became subject to ratification or rejection by the legal voters of the county at the ensuing April election; and in order to create for the new location as favorable an impression as possible, a mass meeting was called at the selected spot two days before the election, and assembled near where the Episcopal church now stands. This was the largest white assemblage ever seen in the county, there being present nearly three hundred persons. The meeting was organized by electing John Raymond, of Union Prairie, president, and A. J. Hersey and Mr. Beeman secretaries. John Al Wakefield, who owned the farm on the Lansing Ridge that Hugh Norton now owns, and John W. Remine, a lawyer from Lansing, made speeches in favor of the new location; and Thomas B. Twiford, of Columbus, the then county seat, against it, after which Father Shattuck drove on to the ground with a large supply of cooked provisions, among which were a plentiful supply of baked beans, and from the wagon fed the multitude of three hundred.

"On the following Monday, April 4th, 1853, the voters of the County ratified the choice of the Commissioners by a majority over Columbus of two hundred and forty-five votes, there being seven voting precincts in the County.

"Waukon having now become the seat of justice, and there being a term the of District Court to be held in June following, some provision must be made, and a proper place provided; so a purse of money and labor was raised, and a log cabin about ten feet by fourteen that belonged to Mr. Pilcher and stood near the place where Mrs. Cooper now lives, was purchased and moved to the new town site, and erected on or near the spot where the Mason House now stands. This was the first court house ever built in the town. To this was attached a small board addition in the shape of a lean-to, for the grand jury room, and in this building the Hon. Thos. S. Wilson of Dubuque held the first court ever held in Waukon. During this court, all parties here from abroad found places to eat and sleep as best they could, every log cabin in the vicinity being filled to overflowing.

"This little log cabin was so utterly lacking in size and accommodations for county business, that in the fall of the same year it was moved down on what is now Spring avenue, and used as a blacksmith shop, but was subsequently moved on to the farm owned by Dr. Mattoon, and is now used by the Doctor as a corn crib; and Sewell Goodrick, then Prosecuting Attorney of the county, and ex-officio County Judge, built a frame building on the east side of Allamakee street, with hard wood lumber and basswood siding made at some of the saw mills on Yellow river. This building was used for county officers, courts, etc., until 1857, when it became too small for the business of the county, and Elias Topliff, then County Judge, built along side of it another frame building about the same size, and the two buildings were used for county purposes until the county seat was removed to Lansing in 1861.

"The first merchants in Waukon were L.T. Woodcock and D. W. Adams, the name of the firm being Woodcock & Adams, who in 1853 built the building on Main street now known as the National Hotel, with store on first story and dwelling apartments in second story. The next merchant was A. J. Hersey, who came to Makee Ridge in the spring of 1852, bought the remnant of the stock that Augustine and Lewis Hersey had, and opened a store in the dwelling house of Howard Hersey on Makee Ridge, occupying the front room. He continued here until the fall of 1853 when he built for a store what is now the Mason House and moved his goods into it."

"In the fall of 1853 Sewell Goodrich, ex-officio County Judge, caused the County Surveyor, John M. Cushing, to survey and lay out the forty acres that had been donated to the county, into town lots, and instructed him to so arrange the plat as to bring as many of the springs into the streets as possible, in order to make water free to the public for all time; and in order to reach the large spring in the south part of the plat he took from it altogether one whole block and made Spring avenue. This plat was admitted to record December 1st, 1853, and from that time the County Court sold lots to all who desired them, closing them all out at public sale the following year."

The first court house, above alluded to, was built of poplar logs by Ben. Pilcher on the place afterwards known as the E. B. Lyons place, and later as H. S. Cooper’s, nearly two miles southeast of town, and was moved up for a court house by a "bee," the neighbors all having a hand. This little hut and father Shattucks’s log cabin were the only buildings really "in town" until the following September, when Scott Shattuck began the erection of a large hotel building, which is still standing, on the north side of Main street. About this time the new court house, spoken of by Judge Dean, was built, and shortly after several other small dwellings were erected. So that when court was held that fall the town boasted of two court houses, two dwelling houses, occupied respectively by Mr. Shattuck and by Mr. Newell; besides two unfinished dwellings. The weather was cold, rainy and disagreeable, lodgings were in demand, and with an open handed hospitality the generous pioneers opened their doors to the dispensers and receivers of justice. Every family in town, and we believe there were only two, took boarders; neighboring farmers took boarders; near the town stood a small log cabin occupied by three families—and they took boarders. Crowded though they all were, there was always room for more, for it is said that a log house is never full. About twelve o’clock one dark, rainy night the occupants of Mr. Newell’s cabin were awakened by a loud knocking at the door. A party from Dubuque, among them General Vandever, were calling for shelter. They were informed that they might stay if they could sleep on the floor, but the party had wisely brought with them a bed-tick, and through the rain and mud they went to the nearest straw-stack, filled the tick, carried it to the house, and lay down to rest. It is not remembered exactly who were in the party besides Gen. Vandever, but Judge Townsend thinks they were Messrs. Burt, Noble, and Samuels.

The two small frame buildings used for a court house, on the east side of Allamakee street, are still standing, the property of Patrick Ronayne.

The corner-stone of the present court house was laid with appropriate ceremonies in the spring of 1860, and bricklaying was commenced soon after the 5th of June. The building was finished off early in "61.

Woodcock & Adams began the erection of their store building in October. Their goods arrived before it was ready, and they stored them temporarily in Scott Shattuck’s building. Meanwhile A. J. Hersey removed a building from the ridge and erected it on the site of the present Mason House (a part of which it is), opening the first stock of goods in Waukon. Mr. Adams, however, had sold the first article of merchandise—a pair of boots to Ezra Reid, Jr.—from his stock in Shattuck’s hotel.

The first birth in the settlement was a son to Darwin Patterson, about the month of June, 1850, at Prosser Whaley’s house. The first in what is now Waukon is thought to have been in a family name of Skinner, living in a log cabin close by the spring in A. J. Hersey’s addition.

The first death in the settlement was that of a child of Moses Bush, which was buried in the little burial ground between the town and the Eells place.

The first marriage in the settlement was that of Horace Gillett and Nancy Bennifield, March 3, 1851, by Rev. A. M. Eastman.

Platt Beard and Julia A. Reid were married June 17, 1852, by Thos. A. Minard, J. P. Julius Nelson and Lucy Whaley were married July 17, 1852, by C. J. White, J. P. Nelson Shattuck and Philena O’Connel Oct 20, 1852, by Minard. Scott Shattuck and Elizabeth Inman Nov. 13, 1853, by Sewell Goodridge, ex-officio county judge.

Thom. A. Minard and C. J. White were the first justices of the peace in Makee township. Minard went to Kansas, where he became speaker of her first free-state legislature. He died in Denver but a few years since.

One of the first blacksmiths was Herbert Bailey, who built a little shop on the premises now owned by Wm. Ward; but there were two or three here in the fall of 1853.

The first physician in the village was one Burnham, although Dr. Flint was then on the Ridge. He (Burnham) made an assault upon Judge Williams, and shortly after left the country.

The pioneer lawyer was John J. Shaw, who came up from Lansing after the county seat was relocated in 1853. He was followed the same year by L. O. Hatch, and the next spring by John T. Clark, who had been out here the previous fall and returned to York state for his family.

From 1854 few towns in the west had a more steady, healthy and prosperous growth, and in 1856 it increased rapidly in population and business, the excellent farming country around filling up and furnishing her tradesman with a wholesome retail business. The town flourished finely through the panic and hard times of ’58 and ’59, while the great majority of western villages were at a standstill or decreasing. Her growth was necessarily slow during and following the war, when this community made its full share of the tremendous sacrifice called for to preserve our union, but her course was ever upward and onward; and when it became necessary to take steps to preserve her prestige among the towns of the county, almost the entire community put aside all petty personal jealousies, and putting their united efforts in the endeavor, succeeded in establishing for themselves railroad communication with the outside world, in 1877, thereby placing the town and surrounding country in the way of a more prosperous career than they had ever enjoyed. In the village the "boom" was most apparent, builders and mechanics had far more than they could do; and in two years the population was increased nearly 50 per cent, being 1, 310 in September, 1879. In the country the failure of the wheat crop in the years, since then has caused the advantages to be partially lost sight of, but they are no less real.

In the summer of 1877 Earle and Opfer put up the largest business block in town, a three-story brick, 62x70 feet. In September C.O. Howard began the erection of a grain elevator, to have a capacity of 25,000 bushels, and began receiving grain Oct. 23, four days before the locomotive reached town. Five hundred bushels were stored that day, eight hundred the next, and on the 27th, the day the road was completed, two thousand, and the elevator was filled before the side-track was in readiness to ship it. J. B. Minert and H. F. Opfer erected another elevator that fall. Hemenway, Barclay & Co. opened a lumber yard, and a second one was established the next season. The following summer many substantial brick stores were erected, as well as a great many dwellings; and building has been active ever since. January 1st, 1880, there were counted up fifty-four dwellings and thirty-six business buildings—some of the latter comprising several stores each—built since the advent of the railroad, a little over two years, the total improvements footing up about $154,000, in that time.

The forty acres grated by G. C. Shattuck was actually surveyed in May, 1853; and in the fall was platted, which original plat was admitted to record Dec. 1st of that year.

Scott Shattuck’s first addition, on the southwest of the original plat, was laid out Dec.22, 1854. Pitt Shattuck’s addition, on the west of the original plat, surveyed in May, ’55, and admitted to record June 1, ’57. Armstrong’s addition, on the north side of Main street, west of Pitt Shattuck’s was acknowledged by R. C. And M. A. Armstrong July 17, ’57. Delafield’s addition, including all of west town and north beyond W. Spencer’s present residence, was made by Edward and Julia Floyd Delafield, by Walter, July 19, ’58. Scott Shattuck’s second addition, to the south of the original plat, and his third addition, including the southwest part of town, were acknowledged Dec. 10, ’59. Pottle’s addition, along the east side of the original plat, was made by W. R. Pottle, S. Miller, D. D. Doe, and I. H. Hedge, and admitted to record Sept. 2, 1861. Scott Shattuck’s fourth addition, between his second and third, and including the grounds where the depot stands, was admitted to record Sept. 24, ’68; and Hersey’s addition –the extreme southern portion of town—by A. J. And M. A. Hersey, May 27, 1878, or immediately following the advent of the railroad.

The town has never become incorporated, although the attempt was twice made. The first election for this purpose was held Feb. 29, 1876, and resulted in 114 votes against the proposed measure and 98 in favor. The question was a second time submitted to a vote Oct. 25, 1878, resulting as follows: Against, 134; for, 108.

The population of the village is now, 1882, estimated at about 1,500. In 1860, it was about 500.


It has been said that the Waukon (Wawkon, as it was invariably spelled in the fifties), was that of a Winnebago chief, commonly known as ‘John Wawkon," and was given to this village by John Haney, Jr., at the time the county seat was located here. Some have supposed, however, that it was in honor of another chief, Wachon-Decorah, after whom Decorah was named, and which we find translated in some places as "The White Crow," the prefix "Wachon," or "Wakon," apparently being a distinguishing title of greatness or power. He had lost an eye, and was usually known as "One-eyed Decori," his name being variously spelled in those days, other forms being "Decorrie," "De-Kauray," "De-Corie," "Decoria," "Decare," and "Decorra." Wawkon—or some form of that word—seems to have been of somewhat common occurrence among the Winnebagoes, with whom it would appear to have signified "thunder," as we find the signatures to a treaty of Feb. 27, 1855, to be as follows: "Wawkon chaw-hoo-no-kaw, or Little Thunder," and "Waukon-chaw-koo-kaw, The Coming Thunder." Among the Sioux it was also in use, and signified "spirit," as, "Minne-Waukon, Spirit Lake," etc. As the Sioux and Winnebagoes are both branches of the great Dakota family it is natural this term should have similar significance with each. Capt. Jonathan Carver in 1766 gave his name to a cave of amazing depth near St. Anthony, which he writes was called by the Indians, "Wakon-tubi," or "Wakan-tipi." And in another document it is related that "the Dakotas, seeing a Frenchman shoot a turkey, called his gun, ‘maza wakan-de." And attached to a treaty June 3, 1825, we find "Wacan-da-ga-tun-ga, or Great Doctor." In Tuttle’s History of Iowa we find "Wah-con-chaw-kaw" was a "big Indian." Another Winnegago chief often alluded to was "Whirling Thunder," which would not be inaptly derived from our cyclones. From all of which it would seem that among the Indians the term from which Waukon is derived originally signified something great and powerful, or supernatural. For some of the above facts we are indebted to A. M. May, who unearthed them from the archives of the Wisconsin State Historical Society.

In the Lansing Intelligencer, July 1853, a visit from the venerable chief "Wawkon," is recorded, he having encamped near town with over one hundred of his braves. He was then described as being over one hundred years old, and as having "a white head and scarred face." And in the Waukon Standard of March 12, 1868, we find that "John Waukon, a son of the distinguished Indian in honor of whom this village was named, was in town the other day. He is physically a fine specimen of the red man, standing five feet eleven inches in his moccasins, slim and straight as an arrow, with broad shoulders and deep chest." Among other documents in his possession was a parchment given to his father, bearing the signature of John Quincy Adams, certifying that his father, ‘a distinguished warrior and speaker,’ had visited the seat of government, held friendly council with the President, and assured him of the desire of the Winnebagoes to preserve perpetual friendship with the whites." What became of the old original John we do not know, as his death has been reported at different places and dates; but it seems that he has numerous descendants. Our townsman, G. W. Hays, who was in business in Lansing thirty years since, while in that city within the past year was accosted by an old Indian who recognized him and introduced himself as "John Waukon." He was a river hand and said he had two brothers, one of whom was living in Dakota, and all of them were "Johns." Being asked what had become of his father he said "he died at Prairie du Chien twenty years ago."


A postoffice was first established at Waukon in the early fall of 1853, with Scott Shattuck as postmaster. He was succeeded by L. T. Woodcock, and he by W. Beale, who served in that capacity from 1856 to ’59, when R. C. Armstrong was appointed. The latter served but a year or two, having met with the misfortune of finding one morning that the valuables in his office had disappeared during the night. The brunt of this misfortune fell upon his bondsmen, as he departed from the county; and he was succeeded by one H. Stroud, a shoemaker, in the latterpart of ’60 or in ’61. Stroud was postmaster but a short time, and was followed by E. L. Babitt, who in turn was succeeded by L. G. Calkins, in 1862, who held the office during 1863. During most of his term, however, L. M. Bearce was his deputy, and virtually postmaster, Calkins having but little to do with the office. From 1864 up to 1871 Wm. R. Pottle was the incumbent, and during his term, in July 1870, it was made a money order office. Mr. Pottle died in March, 1872. In January 1871 Mrs. E. E. Stevens succeeded to the office, which she continued to hold until succeeded by the present incumbent, D. W. Reed, July 1, 1879. It is now one of the ten Presidential offices in this Congressional District, and has four daily mails, vis: railroad, Lansing, Postville, Decorah; two tri-weekly; McGregor, and Lansing via Village Creek; and two semi-weekly; Dorchester and Hardin.


The first school in Makee township was taught by L. W. Hersey, in the winter of 1852-3, in a little log house built by Azel Pratt on Makee Ridge, an almost entirely New England settlement. The following winter F. M. Clark taught in the same building, with such pupils as John and Hersey Pratt, Lib. Bearce, etc. The next summer—‘54—the Makee school house was built, a good sized frame building with a steeple, which still stands in good preservation and is used for the same purpose. So far as we have been able to ascertain it was the first school house built in Makee township. In 1853 or ’54 D. D. Doe taught a school in a log hut just east of town; but the first school in Waukon was taught by L. O. Hatch, and we give the circumstances as we obtained them from him:

"In the summer of 1854 Mr. John Israel and myself united in buying from the county, at $15 each, four lots on the hill just east of the premises now owned by Dr. Barnes. On these lots, in the fall of that year, with a little help from Charley Jenkins, we built with our own hands a small frame dwelling house—the fourth frame building erected in Waukon. As winter approached we found ourselves with a school district duly organized, embracing several families in and about Waukon, but no school house and no teacher. Our house aforesaid being nearly finished it was rented as a school house for the winter of 1854-5, and I was employed as the teacher. I was paid $15 or $18 per month, and ‘boarded around’ in the families of such men as Samuel Huestis, Robert Isted, John A. Townsend, James Maxwell, and others. I had had considerable experience as a teacher, but I was never in a school made up of brighter or better pupils than those that gathered around me on long, rude benches that winter, among whom I may mention the names of Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Judge Granger, Mrs. John Griffin, Fred Clark, and Ichabod Isted."

We may add that this house was surrounded by a rail fence, said to have been the first fence in town of any description.

In 1855 this school district purchased Lots 2, 3, 4 and 5, in block 5, Scott Shattuck’s addition and erected thereon a substantial frame school house, 27x40 feet in size, Wm. Ramsdall being the carpenter. It was all in one room except cloak rooms at the north end, but later it was divided into two rooms when the school was first graded under two teachers. This old school building served as a place for public gatherings of all kinds for several years, until Hersey’s hall was finished in the large building south of the Mason House. It was occupied by traveling panoramas, magic lantern exhibitions, etc., and once or more did the county agricultural society have its fair on the premises. Especially will the lyceums be remembered by the old residents, with the concerts by the old glee club, and other interesting entertainments by home talent—to say nothing of the singing schools. The earliest meetings of the religious denominations were also held there, before they were able to erect places of worship. After the school district purchased its present school building and grounds, the old school house was sold to O. S. Hathaway, who in November, 1868, moved it down onto West street, and converted it into a wagon shop, where it stands to-day, used for the same purpose by M. Heiser. We find no record of school officers previous to 1859, in which year Moses Hancock was president; C. J. White, vice-president; A. G. Howard, secretary, and W. K. McFarland, treasurer.

Nov 8, 1862, the independent district of Waukon was erected, comprising all of sub-district No. 8 in Makee township; the s. of section 25, s.e. section 26, n. e. section 35, and all of section 36 in Union Prairie; and section 6, and w. section 5, in Jefferson township. The first election of school officers of this independent district was held Nov. 29, 1862, resulting as follows: W. K. McFarland, president; E. B. Lyons, vice-president; J. R. Brown, secretary, and Jacob Shew, treasurer. Directors: J. B. Plank, one year; A. A. Griffith, two years, (Mr. Griffith now a noted elocutionist of Chicago), and J. W. Pennington, three years. The independent district was formed with a view to effect a transfer of the Allamakee college building to the district, in which to establish a graded school, and in December a committee was appointed to wait upon Prof. Loughran with that purpose. In February, 1863, a proposition was made of Prof. Loughran was rejected, and an attempt was made to secure the new court house, then standing vacant. At the regular meeting, March 9, D. W. Adams was elected president; Moses Hancock, vice-president; C. W. Walker, secretary, and I. H. Hedge, treasurer. Since that year the officers of the board have been as follows:

President—A. J. Hersey, 1864-66; L. O. Hatch, 1866-7; Martin Stone, 1867-9; C. T. Granger, 1869-73; John Goodykoontz, 1873-6; A. L. Grippen, 1876; H. H. Stilwell, 1876-9; M. Stone, 1879-80; J. W. Pratt, 1880-1; John Hall, 1881-2, present incumbent.

Treasurer—John Goodykoontz, 1864-73; L. W. Hersey, 1873-82, present incumbent.

Secretary—Robert Isted, 1864-5; T. C. Ransom, 1865-7; C. T. Granger, 1867-8; J. W. Pratt, 1868-74; A. J. Rodgers, 1874-82; E. M. Hancock, Sept., ’82.

The present board of directors comprise John Hall, J. W. Pratt, H. H. Stilwell, D. W. Reed, M. B. Hendrick, and Martin Stone.

In the fall of 1864 an arrangement was made where by Martin Stone was to teach the more advanced pupils of the school, in the College building, which had passed into his hands, and a similar arrangement was made the following year. In 1866 he sold the property to Thos. A. Cutler, who taught the school there the following winter. In 1867 the District purchased the College property of Cutler for $4,000, and afterward sold the property in Shattuck’s addition to various parties. In 1881 the school building was improved by putting in furnace, heating, and ventilating apparatus.

Since 1867 the principals of the Waukon graded school have been: Charles F. Stevens, 1867-8; Miss Mary E. Post, spring term ’68; A. M. May, 1868-69; Miss Hattie Keeler, spring term ’69; Charles Cressey, 1869-70; J. H. Carroll, 1870-71; J. Laugh, D. W. Reed, M. B. Hendrick, and Martin Stone.

In the fall of 1864 an arrangement was made where by Martin Stone was to teach the more advanced pupils of the school, in the College building, which had passed into his hands, and a similar arrangement was made the following year. In 1866 he sold the property to Thos. A. Cutler, who taught the school there the following winter. In 1867 the District purchased the College property of Cutler for $4,000, and afterward sold the property in Shattuck’s addition to various parties. In 1881 the school building was improved by putting in furnace, heating, and ventilating apparatus.

Since 1867 the principals of the Waukon graded school have been: Charles F. Stevens, 1867-8; Miss Mary E. Post, spring term ’68; A. M. May, 1868-69; Miss Hattie Keeler, spring term ’69; Charles Cressey, 1869-70; J. H. Carroll, 1870-71; J. Laughran, 1871-76; D. Judson, 1876-81; S. A. Harper, 1881-83. The present corps of subordinate teachers are: Miss Florence Belden, assistant principal; Miss Ida Grimes, 2d intermediate; Miss Lizzie Spaulding, 1st intermediate; Miss Anna B. Hall, 2d primary; Mrs. J. C. Crawford, 1st primary.

In 1863 the number of school age in the district was, males, 139; females, 168; total, 307. In 1882 it is males, 227; females, 245; total, 472; with an attendance in school of something over 300.

Allamakee College.—March 6, 1859, J. C. Armstrong, J. B. Plank, C. J. White, Walter Delafield, M. G. Belden, R. C. Armstrong, James Maxwell, Jacob Shew, Benj. H. Bailey, Joseph Savoie, T. J. Goodykoontz, William S. Cooke, John Chapman and Lewis H. Clark, associated themselves together in a corporation to be known as the "Allamakee Association," to be under the supervision of the Colesburg Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, for the purpose of erecting suitable buildings for the advancement of scientific and religious learning, to be known as the Waukon Seminary. Out of this grew the Allamakee College, an agreement being made the same year with Rev. J. Loughran, A. M., formerly president of Waynesburg College, Pennsylvania, for the erection and maintenance of a college on the following plan: A number of citizens stipulated to draw, in his favor, their promissary notes, each for $125, payable in one year, for which they each received a certificate of scholarship, guaranteeing the tuition of one student for five years in the institution, to commence when the building should be finished. At the end of the five years the title of the property was to pass to Mr. Loughran in full ownership, being paid for by said scholarships. To carry out this plan the stockholders selected R. C. Armstrong, Robert Isted, Walter Delafield, A. M. Haslip, L. G. Calkings, A. H. Hersey, W. R. Pottle, Jacob Shew and Jacob Plank, as "Trustees of Allamakee College." Walter Delafield donated the whole of block 19, in his addition, comprising two acres on the sightliest spot in town, as the site of the building; and the trustees erected a three-story brick edifice, 47x64 feet, the heights of the stories being 11, 13 and 8 feet respectively. This was done in 1861, though the building was not finished for occupancy until the spring of ’62. That fall there were ninety pupils in attendance, the whole number of students entitled to tuition on scholarships being but forty-eight.

Meanwhile Prof. Laughran had opened what was called the Waukon High School, Oct. 3, 1859, in the C. P. Church, and conducted the same successfully for three years, or until the college building was completed. During that time he was assisted by J. C. Loughran, G. H. Brock, W. W. Likens, Mrs. Jennie Calkins, Mrs. Jennie Loughran, and Miss Pennoyer. Also by Prof. A. A. Griffith, elocutionist.

The financial success of the college plan was not such as hoped for, and May 15, 1863, a corporation styled the Allamakee Collegiate Institute, was formed for the purpose of canceling the indebtedness against the Allamakee College, and perpetuating the institution. In the same year the property was purchased by Martin Stone, who sold it in 1866 to Thomas A. Cutler, and he to the Independent District of Waukon in 1867.

Waukon Seminary.—In July, 1876, Prof. Laughran bought the old German Presbyterian church building and removed it to his premises on Worcester street, where in September following he opened an institution of learning entitled as above, well supplied with maps, charts, chemical and philosophical apparatus, and more especially for the purpose of preparing students for teaching, or for a college course. Prof. Loughran had devoted a long and active life to the interests of education, and was exceedingly well qualified for instructing in the higher branches. His seminary is till in a flourishing condition.


Baptist.—On the 17th of June 1854 a number of members of this denomination met at the dwelling of Azel Pratt, on Makee Ridge, for the purpose of organizing a church. C. J. White was chosen moderator and Azel Pratt clerk, and it was voted to receive the members present, viz: Azel Pratt and wife, John G. Pratt, Lathrop Abbott and wife, Miles Nichols and wife, C. J. White, and Phoebe Hersey. These nine members received the right hand of fellowship by Elder James Scofield, and the name of Allamakee Baptist Church was adopted, of which John G. Pratt was chosen clerk. On Jan 20, 1855, Azel Pratt and Isaac D. Lamberts were chosen as deacons. The first baptisms were on July 29th, 1855, when the rite was administrated by Elder Schofield to the following candidates: F. G. Pratt and his wife Orillah Pratt, Frances E. Hersey, Harriett E. Hersey, Mary Ann Hersey, Mary M. Pratt, and Phoebe Bearce. In May 1856, Elder Samuel Hill, jr. First performed the baptismal rite according to the record. During these years the church membership rapidly increased by letter and baptism, and public worship was held in the Makee school house. In 1857 Rev. L. M. Newell was secured as pastor, and covenant meetings were held in Waukon and the Makee school house alternately, and in the next spring, 1858, the church assembled in Waukon, holding meetings in the school house. In 1860 services were held in the M. E. church every fourth Sunday. Rev. C. D. Farnsworth was with the church after Rev. Newell. In 1866 Rev. D. S. Starr was employed to preach a part of the time. In 1868 a frame church was built on the north side of Pleasant street, in which services were held for the first time Jan .17, ’69, by Rev. D. S. Starr, who was in April following employed as regular pastor. Since then the several pastors have been L. L. Frick 1870-71; Geo. M. Adams 1872-3; John M. Wedgwood 1873-78; F. N. Eldridge 1878-81; M. H. Perry 1881-2, Robert Smith 1882, present pastor.

In the spring of 1871 the church purchased their present brick edifice, which they dedicated on the 5th of March. In the fall of 1872 it was supplied with a heating furnace in the basement; and in the spring of ’76 a baptistery was put in. The frame church on Pleasant street was purchased by A. H. and Augustine Hersey and remodeled into a place of residence. The present church officers are: Trustees, Sam’l Peck, A. H. Howard, W. L. F. Brayton; Deacon, Sam’l Peck; Clerk, J. W. Pratt; Treasurer, L. W. Hersey. The church membership is fifty-seven. There is a flourishing Sunday School, of which J. L. Pratt is superintendent. The choir, under the leadership of J. W. Pratt for many years, is one of the best in northern Iowa.

Methodist.—The M. E. church of Waukon was organized as early as 1854, but we find no record of the first members, the first stewards and trustees, or who first preached to this organization. A Methodist divine by name of Wm. Sweet held services in Makee and Union Prairie in 1853 and ’54, and doubtless did some of the earliest work in this church. In 1855 the Trustees were W. R. Pottle, E. B. Lyons, Thomas Feeley, Edwin J. Raymond and John Israel. April 30th, 1855, the church purchased the corner lot on Allamakee and Worcester streets, now the property of J. H. Hale; but on March 24th, ’59, the town growing more towards the west, they purchased lots 1 and 2, block 14, Dellafield’s addition, where the parsonage now stands, and afterwards sold the former property. The same year a good-sized frame church was erected on the new purchase. Previous to the completion of this, the society held services a part of the time in the C. Presbyterian church. This year, 1859, the Trustees were W. R. Pottle, E. J. Raymond, E. B. Lyons, Thos. Feeley, H. R. Pierce, Moses Wood and C. Bean; and the Stewards were D. Jaquis, A. Pinney, John Reed, S. Hamler, D. Miller, and J. W. Flint. April 20, 1867, the society purchased their present lot on the corner of Pitt and Worcester, and moved the church building thereon that year; erecting the parsonage on the upper lots the same season. Work on the present brick edifice was begun in May 1869, but it was not finished until late in ’71, being first occupied on Christmas evening, December 25th. It was formally dedicated on Sunday, February 18th, 1872, the sermon on the occasion being preached by Rev. A. B. Kendig of Cedar Rapids. Presiding Elder Wm. Smith was also present. In May ’72 the old frame church was sold to C. S. Stilwell, who moved it to the corner of Armstrong and Court streets and remodeled it into his present residence. The church has been heated by furnace since 1878; and other improvements made in the last two years. The present membership is about 160. The Sunday School numbers about a hundred, with A. T. Stillman Superintendent. The present Stewards are: J. Brawford, D. W. Reed, John Stillman, P. C. Huffman, H. O. Dayton, M. W. Nesmith, J. S. Nitterauer, A. T. Stillman and L. Eells; and the Trustees: G. H. Bryant, H. J. Bentley, E. D. Purdy, D. W. Reed, Henry Dayton and J. S. Nitterauer. From the conference minutes it is found that in 1856 this charge was "to be supplied." Since that year the pastors have been: John Fawcett, 1857-8; W. E. McCormac, 1858-60; F. C. Mather, 1860-62; F. F. Hestwood, 1862-61; A. Falkner, 1864-5; B. D. Alden, 1865-7; Rufus Ricker, 1867-9; J. R. Cameron, 1869-72; Wm. Cobb, 1872-74; B. C. Hammond, 1874-7; J. A. Ward, 1877-80; D. Sheffer, 1880-81; T. E. Fleming, 1881-and present pastor.

Catholic.—In 1855 Rev. Father Kinsella bought forty acres of land northwest of town, and built thereon a log church, in which his people worshipped for many years. In 1864 they purchased the property of Lewis H. Clark in Waukon, being a part of block 4 in Shattuck’s addition, corner of School and High streets, and converted his dwelling into a place of worship. This soon became too small for the growing congregation, and in 1868 the present large brick church was erected on the site of the old building, which was moved a short distance to one side, to the rear of the parsonage. March 9, 1868, the old building was destroyed by a fire, in which the records were lost, and this sketch is necessarily incomplete. Since Father Kinsella its priests have been Farrell, Nagle, Lowry, Brennan, McGowan, and Hawe, who still presides over this charge. The church membership is about one hundred. The church a few years since purchased a part of block 5, opposite their place of worship and parsonage—the site of the old public school house—whereon they have this season (1882) erected a fine brick edifice, three stories above the basement, with mansard roof, at a cost of $5,000, for the purpose of a sisters’ school.

German Presbyterian.—This church was organized by Rev. A. Van Vliet, of Dubuque, August 11, 1856. Its first pastor was Rev. Jacob Kalb, who remained about a year. Rev. Buehren next supplied the field for a short time. After his resignation Rev. Renskers became the regular pastor, and labored here with great ability and success until 1864, and during his pastorate, in 1860, a frame church was built on block 13, Delafield’s addition, northeast of the college grounds. It was in recent years purchased and moved off by J. Loughran, who uses it for a seminary. In 1864 a division of the church occurred, those living east of Waukon organizing themselves into the German Reformed Church, east of town, who have built a place of worship there, and the others have since become the German Presbyterian Church of Ludlow. Renskers was succeeded by S. Elliker, under whose administration the church building in Ludlow, which is now used as a school house, was erected in 1865. Rev. Elliker resigned his charge of the Ludlow church Nov. 12, ’65, and was succeeded by C. H. Schoepfle, and he by Wm. Shover in the summer of 1868, who served until Jan. 29, 1871. Rev. Henry Knell was then called, who preached his first sermon there Feb. 12, and was installed by a committee of the Presbytery of Dubuque, consisting of Revs. G. Moery and H. W. Behle, Oct. 22, ’71. Under his pastorate the building now used for regular services was erected. He was also the instrument of reuniting those who, in the time of Rev. Shover, had left them and were supplied by a Reformed minister. He organized the Sunday school, and effected great good. His resignation took place Nov. 5, 1877, and he has since died. He was succeeded by Helmer Smidt, who remained only eleven months. After him Rev. E. Schuette was called, who preached his first sermon there Jan. 26, ’79, and is the present pastor. The church was organized with very few members—of whom Simon, Conrad, and August Helming are still living—but has increased largely, its present active members numbering 233, and the Sunday school from 200 to 225.

Cumberland Presbyterian.—The first records of this congregation are unfortunately lost, so this sketch will not be as complete as we wish. The church was organized in 1857, under the labors of Rev. J. C. Armstrong, who was sent by the home board of missions, and began his labors in the autumn of ’56. Some twenty persons composed the society; and James Maxwell, J. B. Plank, John Raymond and R. C. Armstrong were chosen and ordained its first ruling elders. Worship was conducted in the public school house until the fall of ’58, when its present church edifice, corner of Main and High streets, was completed and occupied. This was the first church built in Waukon, and the completion of so large and fine a structure was quite an event in those days. It has since been improved from time to time, as occasion demanded, and since Feb., ’78, has been heated by basement furnace. Rev. Armstrong continued to serve the church until the fall of 1859, and in after years became a missionary to foreign lands. In 1860 Rev. J. Loughran preached in this church, and in 1862 Rev. J. B. Brown, afterwards editor of a Cumberland Presbyterian paper at Nashville, Tenn. In Feb., 1864, Benj. Hall became its pastor, and continued to serve as such during eleven years. He has of late years been in the home missionary field, but still resides in Waukon, and preaches occasionally in his old church to this day. Since Mr. Hall’s resignation the pastors have been: J. Wood Miller, 1875-8 (since professor of German in a Pennsylvania college); O. E. Hart, 1878-81; H. D. Onyett, 1881-2, recently resigned. The present membership is about one hundred and ten or twenty; and the elders of the church are C. D. Beeman, J. B. Plank, John Hall, J. G. Ratcliffe and Hosea Low. There is a large Sunday school, of which John Hall is the superintendent.

Episcopal.—In March and April, 1859, Episcopal service was held by Rev. James Bentley, who preached in the C. Presbyterian church Sunday afternoons at five o’clock. April 25th of that year Walter Delafield, Orin Manson, John Griffin, John Phillips, L. B. Cowles, C. Paulk, and A. Parson, organized St. Paul’s Parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church, of the diocese of Iowa. The same year they built a small frame church on block 5, Delafield’s addition, corner of Liberty and High streets, with James Bently as rector. In the summer of 1860 the building was greatly enlarged and the tower erected. While these improvements were being made, the Sunday School, which was very popular under Delafield’s superintendency, was held in Hersey’s Hall. A 613 pound Meneely bell, costing $250 was also purchased and placed in position, the first church bell in town. Mr. Bentley served as rector for several years, but afterwards engaged in mission work, as he still is. In later years Rev. James Allen was elected rector, and after him Rev. Estabrook held services occasionally. In the fall of 1867 Rev. A. M. May came to Waukon as rector, and served the church in that capacity five or six years; but the congregation had been small since early in the sixties, and regular services were finally abandoned. In recent years the church has again been put in good repair, but is as yet unused. Walter Delafield was in 1868 rector of Grace Chapel New York City, and is now rector of a church at some point on the Hudson River.

Congregational.—This society was organized in 1864, and the services of Rev. A. Parker secured as pastor, who was with them two or three years, and was followed by Rev. W. J. Smith, who continued till early in ’68. In the spring of that year, Rev. L. D. Boynton became their pastor, and during his stay, which continued only until the following autumn, the society erected the fine brick church north of the court house. From the fall of ’68 the church had no regular pastor until August ’69, when Rev. Wm. F. Rose came here in that capacity. The society was not large, however, and being disappointed in a manner not to be foreseen when the building was projected, soon found it necessary to dispose of the church property, which in 1871 passed into the possession of the Baptists.


The first newspaper published here was the Waukon Journal, free soil in politics, which was established in the spring of 1857, by Frank Belfoy, who ran it about nine months, when it passed into the hands of Frank Pease. The last we know of Belfoy he was publishing a paper at some point in Minnesota, about 1876 or ’77. Pease upon assuming control changed the title of the paper to the Allamakee Herald, the first number of which was issued Feb. 26, 1858. It was a six-column folio, issued Fridays, and Democratic in politics. M.M. Webster, a lawyer, was with Pease a portion of the time, as was also one R. K. Smith, who afterwards went South, and his fate is unknown. He was a brother of James C. Smith. The Herald was discontinued in May, 1859. In 1861 or ’62 Pease went into the army, and in the spring of 1878 the writer met him at Hot Springs, Ark., of which town he was at that time City Clerk; he had previously been in the newspaper business in that State.

In August, 1859, the paper was revived under the name of Waukon Transcript, (Democratic), by T. H. McElroy, with whom was associated for a while one Doc. Parker, from McGregor, who later went to Kansas. This paper existed less than a year, McElroy selling in 1860 to C. Lohmann, who ran the press off to Boscobel, Wis., while under mortgage. In August McElroy started the Northwestern Democrat, at Lansing, but his whereabouts since we do not know. In "62 Lohmann published the Arqus at Lansing.

The North Iowa Journal (Republican) was established at Waukon, in May, 1860, by E. L. Babbitt and W. H. Merrill, who issued the first number May 29th. In 1861 they sold the paper to Leonard G. Calkins and Albert B. Goodwin, and returned to Wyoming Co., N. Y., where Babitt died a couple of years later. Goodwin shortly after disposed of his interest, and has also since died. In ’62 the Journal suffered a temporary suspension, but was revived about August 1st, with Calkins and Cole editors, Chas. B. Cole publisher. In September the name of L. G. Calkins appears as publisher, Cole still being associated with him as local editor. About November Cole assumed the entire control, made its politics Democratic, and early in 1863 sold out to John G. Armstrong, who removed the Journal to Lansing and continued its publication as a Democratic sheet.

For nearly five years thereafter Waukon was without a local paper. In the winter of 1867-8 negotiations were entered into with Chas. W. McDonald, then publishing the Gazette at Blairstown, this state, who came here and on the 9th of January 1868 issued the first number of the Waukon Standard. After publishing it three months he sold to R. L. Hayward & Co. and went to Illinois, and later to New York where he was for some time engaged in the Swedenborgian Publishing House. More recently he published a paper in Sioux Falls; and is at present we believe, located at Wessington Hills and Superintendent of Schools at Aurora county, Dakota. Under its new management the Standard was edited by Rev. A. M. May, who has been its chief editor from that day to this, and has made it a strong, pure, and reliable local family newspaper. It has always been republican in politics. His first partner, Mr. Hayward did not come to Waukon until the following August; and in March 1869 he disposed of his interest and went to Arkansas, and eventually to San Antonio, Texas, where he was engaged in newspaper business and where he died very recently—in August, 1882. Mr. May then associated with him one Jas. H. Brayton, who although a good printer had some habits that threatened to swamp the establishment, and after about four months Mr. May found it necessary to assume the entire control. Brayton was afterwards heard of in Minnesota, and the western part of this State, engaged in printing, and in less honorable though more lucrative occupations; and it is said proved quite successful at poker.

In December, 1869, E. M. Hancock became associated with May in the business, but withdrew in July following. August 1st, 1872, Chas R. Hamstreet bought an interest in the office, which he held until June 1st, 1873, when he disposed of it and engaged in farming near Clear Lake, where he still is. At that time E. H. Hancock purchased a half interest in the concern, and May & Hancock continued to conduct the Standard for nine and a half years, until January 1st, 1882, when Hancock disposed of his interest to Mrs. May, the firm becoming A. M. May & Co.

Upon the completion of the railroad in October, 1877, the Waukon Democrat was started by Daniel O’Brien. July 5th, 1879, it passed into the hands of John W. Hinchon, who published it three years, and July 26, 1882, sold out to T. C. Medray and Son.


Among the early business institutions the old steam sawmill was one of the very best. It was built D. W. Adams and D. E. Whitney in the fall of 1854, and finished the following spring and went into operation. It did a large business for a year or two, but was destroyed by fire in 1857. Adams then sold his interest to W. C. Earl, who with Whitney rebuilt the mill shortly after. In February 1859 Earl purchased the interest of his partner, Ed. Whitney, who died a few years since in Minnesota. The mill was run by a 50-horse power engine, and did all kinds of sawing, planing and turning. In 1862 the property was rented to Granger & Gada, who also did custom grinding of flour and feed in addition to the wood-working. The mill stood on the lots in front of Earl’s present residence, and was for years one of the institutions of the town. As it outlived its usefulness it was finally dismantled, the machinery sold out, the great stone and brick chimney toppled over, and in July 1870 the building was moved back to the rear of the block where it is still used as a barn and warehouse.

In January or February 1859 a banking and exchange office was established by Walter Delafield, who built the little brown building just west of the National House for that purpose, now used as a carpenter shop. It run for not much over a year, Delafield returning to the east in August, 1860.

The Hersey block of stores, next south of the Mason House, was erected in 1859. The second story was occupied with a hall, the first and for a long time the only one in town. Barnard Hall was finished off in the winter of ‘69-70. The first drug store was that of R. C. Armstrong, and stood on the corner opposite and north of the Presbyterian church. It was moved "down town" in later years, and occupies the southeast corner of Main and West streets. In 1859 this same Armstrong put up the first brick house in the village, on the north side of Main street, in his addition. The first brick stores were erected by Robbins Bros. And Adams & Hale, on the corner of Main and Allamakee, in 1869. The large frame building now occupied by the marble shop was put up by Shattuck and Woodcock in 1859, on the corner where Boomer’s Opera House now stands. Barnard and Hersey’s store was built in 1867.


On the 9th of May, 1857, several of the prominent citizens of Lansing adopted articles of incorporation of the "Lansing, Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota R.R. Co., " to build a railroad to the state line, towards the south bend of the St. Peters river in Minnesota, with a capital of $4,000,000. Not to be outdone, Waukon proceeded to organize the "Prairie du Chien & Mankato R. R. Co.," with a capital of $5,000,000, the articles in incorporation of which were signed at Waterville, Oct. 15, 1857, by Scott Shattuck, F. Belfoy, Wm F. Ross, W. H. Morrison, J. Beebe, N. A. Beebe, Col. J. Spooner, W. W. Hungerford, Geo. E. Woodward and L. T. Woodcock. The board of directors for the first year consisted of John T. Clark, William H. Morrison, J. Spooner, Francis Belfoy, Geo. E. Woodward, N. A. Beebe, William F. Ross, William W. Hungerford, A. B. Webber, J. T. Atkins, H. L. Douseman, Albert L. Collins, and T. R. Perry; and the officers were John T. Clark, president; Francis Belfoy, secretary; W. W. Hungerford, treasurer, and Geo. E. Woodward, chief engineer. The last mentioned has since become an architect of more than national reputation. Books were opened for the subscription of stock, and the line was surveyed that fall through Winneshiek and Mitchell counties to the state line, commencing at the mouth of Paint creek.

We find a record of Oct. 20th, 1858, when the second annual meeting of the board of directors was held in the office of the company here. That meeting was largely attended and very enthusiastic. Every county along the line was represented. Over $14,000 stock was subscribed on that day. Letters were read from distinguished railroad men in Wisconsin and Minnesota, all speaking unqualifiedly of the Paint creek route as the very best west from the Mississippi in northern Iowa, and predicting its completion at an early day. For the second year J. T. Atkins was president; N. A. Beebe, vice-president; Hungerford, secretary, and J. T. Clark, treasurer and attorney.

April 27, ’59, a delegation from Waukon attended an enthusiastic railroad meeting at Prairie du Chien, and were met at Johnsonport by the ferry boat and brass band from that town. But it was all of no use. The Bloody Run route west from McGregor was eventually adopted, and our town drank to the dregs the cup of disappointment. All hope was not abandoned, however, and April 15, 1862, the "Prairie du Chien and Austin R. R. Co." was incorporated. This also came to naught, and Feb. 4, ’63, was organized the "Prairie du Chien and Cedar Valley R. R. Co.," which resulted as had the others.

In 1871 the B., C. R. & M. Road was extending up towards Postville, with the intention, as stated in railroad meetings at Independence and elsewhere, of extending on northeast by way of Waukon to the river. This gave new hope, only to be followed by disappointment again. Then Judge Williams’ narrow gauge enterprise was planned and partially executed. Propositions were made to Waukon in 1872 for a branch to this place. We accepted, and did our full part, by way of voting aid, subscriptions, surveying, etc., till the eastern financial end of it collapsed, causing an abandonment of the project, but not until several lines were surveyed to Waukon from the Iowa Eastern, by way of Monoma and Postville.

Waukon had become used to disappointments by this time, and the subject was pretty much at rest till the fall of 1874. Then Lansing began to agitate the county seat question again. This was the one thing needed to rouse our citizens to action, and they took hold of the matter in earnest. After considerable talk and canvassing of the matter, articles of incorporation of the Waukon and Mississippi R. R. Co. were adopted, with the following incorporators: W. C. Earle, A. E. Robbins, C. Paulk, Jacob Plank, H. S. Cooper, John Goodykoontz, P. G. Wright, C. Barnard, H. G. Grattan, Jeptha Beebe, C. O. Howard, G. P. Eells, H. H. Stilwell, C. W. Jenkins, G. M. Dean, F. M. Clark, C. S. Stilwell, J. W. Pratt, L. Howes, J. A. Townsend, and James Duffy. Until the first election by the stockholders, the officers consisted of C. D. Beeman, president; H. S. Cooper, vice-president; C. S. Stilwell, secretary, and John Goodykoontz, treasurer. At the annual meeting of the stockholders, April 6th, officers for the ensuing year were elected as follows: D. W. Adams, president; C. D. Beeman, vice-president; Martin Stone, secretary; L. W. Hersey, treasurer; and G. W. Stoddard, W. C. Earle, Jas. Holahan, G. G. Grattan, H. H. Stilwell, and Fred. Hager, directors.

The directors authorized a survey as soon as possible, which was begun April 19, 1875, and completed May 21, under the direction of D. W. Adams, J. H. Hale, and J. W. Earl. Meanwhile a committee had been at work since January securing the right of way. May 22, payment of accrued claims was provided for. Contracts for grading were let May 28th, and about the first of June dirt began to fly, hope high being entertained of the completion of the road that fall. The grading was completed late that summer, many of the bridges put in, and ties got out ready for the rail. It was at first the intention to lay a hard wood rail, but at a meeting August 25th, iron was decided upon. In December an attempt was made to negotiate a loan, which failed , as did a similar attempt in January ’76. The difficulty was not so much in securing the money wherewith to purchase the iron, as in obtaining it on such terms as would save the road to the stock-holders and not make it necessary that it should pass from their control. Efforts to this end were continually being made. At the general meeting in April, 1878, the old officers and directors were re-elected. Up to April 1st the sum of $33, 533.57 had actually been collected on stock subscriptions. March 15th a law was passed by the General Assembly permitting townships and incorporations to aid in the construction of railroads, and in accordance therewith an election was held in Makee township April 26th, at which a five per cent tax was voted by 342 to 101. Union Prairie township voted a three per cent tax May 17th, by 113 to 51; but aid was refused by Ludlow May 22 ( the same), and by Hanover May 25, where only a two per cent tax was called for.

June 10th, 1876, the W. & M. R.R. Security Co. was organized for the purpose of devising means for completing the road, but was dissolved Sept. 19th, the securities furnished by the members being returned to them. Sept. 19th, 1876, the W. & M. R. R. Guarantee Co. was organized, for the purpose of completing, equipping, maintaining and operating said railroad. The corporators were: Dudley W. Adams, L. W. Hersey, Holahan & Buggy, J. W. Pratt, A. Hersey, Henry Dayton, E. K. Spencer, W. C. Earle, A. J. Hersey, A. E. Robbins, A. Plubiska, C. W. Jenkins, C. D. Beeman, G. H. Grattan, H. H. Stilwell, Low & Stillman, John A. Taggart, J. H. Hale, Lewis Reid, Azel Pratt. And the officers: D. W. Adams, Prest., C. D. Beeman, Vice P., J. W. Pratt, Sec’y, L. W. Hersey, Treas., H. G. Grattan Auditor. The assets of the W. & M. R. R. Co. were leased to the Guarantee Co. f or a number of years for the purpose indicated. In December the iron was contracted for in Milwaukee, upon favorable terms; and an order was made to enforce the collection of delinquent stock.

At the annual meeting of the original railroad company in April, ’77, the following were elected: D. W. Adams, Prest., C. D. Beeman, Vice Prest., H. G. Grattan, Sec’y, L. W. Hersey, Treas., and Jas. Holahan, Conrad Helming, W. C. Earle, H. H. Stilwell and C. W. Jenkins, directors. June 30th J. H. Hale was elected chief civil engineer. July 27th H. G. Grattan resigned as auditor and Jas. Holahan was elected. Sept 3d, at the annual election of officers of the Guarantee Co., D. W. Adams was re-elected Prest., A. E. Robbins Vice Prest., J. W. Pratt Sec’y, L. W. Hersey Treas., and Jas. Holahan, Auditor. H. H. Stillwell was attorney for the company, and D. W. Adams Gen’l Supt. of the road. E. B. Gibbs was secured as station agent at this place.

In July, 1877, first mortgage bonds were issued to the amount of about $30,000, and taken by Messrs. Fairbank, Bradley, and Parks, of Massachusetts, interest eight per cent payable semi-annually. And a short loan of $15,000 was secured from J. H. Fairbank of Winchendon, Mass., ample real estate security being given. The rolling stock was purchased the latter part of that month, and the delivery of iron began early in August. Track laying began September 4th; the locomotive was received September 11th; reached Waterville, nine miles, September 25th; and on October 27th, fifty-three days from the time the first rail was laid, the track was completed, twenty-three miles, to Waukon.

Thus, after twenty years of disappointments, hoping, waiting, and working, Waukon became a railroad town, with a road of her own building. Just twenty years to a month from the time of the first railroad survey up Paint creek valley, a road was completed over that route; and this village and vicinity entered upon a new era of prosperity. It was entirely independent of any other road or corporation, the people of Waukon having struggled through with the enterprise without a dollar of assistance from outside parties. At the time of its completion the rolling stock of the road comprised one twelve-ton locomotive, sixteen box cars, five flats, and one passenger. The cost of the road and its equipments amounted to about $121,000, or nearly $5,300 per mile, and its total debt was about $50,000, bonded for five years. No great splurge or celebration was indulged in, but on the day of its completion an impromptu affair was gotten up for the entertainment of the people who happened to be in town, and the railroad employes in particular, from an account of which in the Standard we quote as follows:

"On Saturday, October 27, 1877, at 3 o’clock P.M., the engine ‘Union Prairie’ rolled up to the platform of the Waukon depot, Thos. Clyde, engineer; O. H. Bunnell, fireman, and Henry Lear, conductor. For the preceding few days as the end of the track approached town the number of visitors had constantly increased, until, on this day a large crowd of people, consisting largely of ladies, were assembled at the depot and below to witness the last of the track-laying, and get a sight at the first appearance of our locomotive. When the train reached the depot platform the flat cars were crowded to their fullest standing room, chiefly by the ladies and children, and the Waukon band played a joyous strain of welcome. At this point in the proceedings everybody stood still until the camera had secured a photograph of the lively scene for all to look at and laugh over in future years; after which the first ‘passenger train,’ consisting of five flats, densely packed, ran down the road a couple of miles, with the band playing on the front card, and soon returned with whistle sounding, amid some enthusiasm and considerable amusement. * * At 5 o’clock, headed by the band, the hands repaired to Barnard Hall, which had been decorated with flags, as also had most of the buildings in the business part of town. Here, to the number of about sixty, they were treated to a bountiful hot supper, and all the delicacies of the table which the ladies of Waukon so excel in providing, served by the ladies themselves. After them, the public generally fell to and did full justice to the repast, but so amply had the ladies provided for sixty or eighty railroad hands that, it is estimated some 500 people in all were served with supper at the hall, free. * * After supper the floor was cleared, and those so disposed participated in a social dance. * * There were in town during the day an unusual number of people, although no public announcement of any demonstration had been made."

The American Express Co. began doing business over this line in December, and the road began carrying the mails Feb. 11, 1878. April 2, ’78, the annual election resulted: D. W. Adams, president; H. G. Grattan, vice-president; L. W. Hersey, secretary; C. D. Beeman, treasurer; Jas. Holahan, Henry Dayton, W. C. Earle, C. Helming, and C. W. Jenkins, directors.

In September, ’78, James F. Joy, of railroad fame, came on, and after looking over the ground, purchased a controlling interest, of stockholders here, the officers of the Guarantee Co. being succeeded by J. F. Joy, president; F. O. Wyatt, vice-president and general manager; C. M. Carter, treasurer; H. H. Stilwell, secretary; and the road passed into the same management as the river road, with a prospect of being pushed through into Minnesota. The officers of the old original company resigned and were succeeded by F. O. Wyatt, pres.; W. J. Knight, vice-pres.; C. M. Carter, treas.; H. H. Stilwell, sec’y; and Frank Adams, S. A. Wolcott, J. F. Joy, L. W. Hersey and A. E. Robbins, directors. That fall and winter a party of surveyors ran a line for a proposed extension northwest into Minnesota, and also preliminary surveys toward Decorah, with city in August, ’79, voted a four per cent. Tax in aid of an extension to that place, via Frankville. That route having been abandoned, grading was begun on the line down Coon creek, and in October Decorah voted a tax to aid to its extension, and the work of grading was prosecuted vigorously. Nov. 6, 1879, Waukon was put in communication with the world by telegraph.

In the spring of 1880 the work of grading for the extension was resumed, the piers erected for four iron bridges across the Iowa river, and several miles of track laid, when, in May, the line passed into the hands of the C., M. & St. P. R.R. Co., along with C.C. D. & M., of which it was a feeder. Work on the extension, however, did not cease until early in July, when the track had almost reached the Iowa.


Masonic.—Waukon Lodge, No. 154, A. F. and A. M., was organized Jan. 31, 1860, under dispensation, the first officers being T.H. Barnes, W.M.; R. K. Hall, Sen. W.; L.W. Hersey, Jun.W.; Geo. M. Dean, Sen.D.; A. Pardo, Jun.D.; Geo. C. Shattuck, treas.; L. T. Woodcock, sec’y; A. A. Sturtevant, tyler. Its charter was granted by the Grand Lodge June 8th, 1860, with the same officers. Its present officers are: C. T. Granger, W.M.; A. G. Stewart, Sen.W.; H. H. Stilwell, Jun.W.; L. W. Hersey, treas., E. B. Gibbs, sec’y; D. W. Reed, Sen. D.; B. Fultz, Jun.,D.; A. J. Rodgers, Sen. Steward; C. S. Stilwell, Jun. Steward; N. H. Pratt, tyler; Rev. B. Hall, chaplain. The lodge is in a very flourishing condition, and occupies a finely furnished hall over Hale & Jenkins’ store. Its present membership in good standing is seventy-four.

Odd Fellows.—Waukon Lodge, No. 182, I.O.O.F., was organized Jan. 3, 1870, with the following officers: Robert Isted, N. G.; J. B. Mattoon, V. G.; H. H. Stillwell, R. Sec.; L. M. Bearce, treas. Number of charter members, thirty-five. Charter granted Oct. 20, 1870. The present membership in good standing is 42, and the officers are: A. G. Stewart, N. G.; E. B. Raymond, V. G.; O. M. Nelson, R. and P. Sec’y; Joseph Burton, treas.

Hope Encampment, No. 77, was organized at Lansing, April 4, 1875; charter granted April 24. It was removed to Waukon March 8th, 1881, and the present officers are: Joseph Haines, C. P.; R. L. Bircher, H. P.; C. S. Stilwell, S. W.; R. A. Nichols, N. W.; O. M. Nelson, scribe; A. A. Barnard, treas.

United Workmen.—Makee Lodge, No. 42, A.O.U.M., was organized Jan.14, 1876, with sixteen charter members, and the following officers: I. Greer, P.M.W.; M. W. Nesmith, M.W.; J.W. Pratt, G.F.; H.O.Dayton, O.; S.R. Thompson, recorder; F. H. Robbins, F.; L.J. Nichols, receiver; L. Anderson, O.W.; A. F. Lathrop, I.W.; D. G. Grippen, A.F. Lathrop, A.T. Stillman, trustees. Its present membership is forty-two in good standing, and its officers are: N. H. Pratt, P.M.W.; P.H.DeLacy, M.W.; J.B. Minert, F.; G.D. Greenleef, O.; J.L. Pratt, R.; F.C. Burdick, Fin.; F.H. Robbins, receiver; E.W. Pratt, G.; U.F. Lewis, O.W.; A. Kellogg, I.W.

Legion of Honor.—Diamond Lodge, No.39, I.L.H., was organized Sept.5, 1879, with the following officers: G. H. Bryant, pres.; A. G. Stuart, vice-pres.; A.J. Rodgers, recording sec’y; E.M. Hancock, fin.sec’y; J.W. Pratt, treas.; A.M. May, chaplain; C.C. Banfill, usher; Don. A. Hoag, doorkeeper; A.K. Pratt, sentinel; L. Burton, L.M. Bearce and M.H. Pratt, trustees. A. J. Rodgers is recording sec'y, and A.G. Stewart, financial sec’y.

V.A.S.—A collegium of this order was instituted here Feb. 19, 1882, with a membership of thirty-two, and officers as follows: A.B. Conner, rector; J.S. Nitterauer, vice-rector; T.E. Fleming, chaplain; F.C. Burdick, scribe; J.W. Goodrich, usher; Peter Stevens, guide.

Good Templars.—Allamakee Lodge, No.127, I.O.G.T., was organized the latter part of 1859 or early in 1860, the first officers of whom we find any record being A.B. Goodwin, W.C.T., and T.J. Goodykoontz, W.S. This organization was quite popular along early in the sixties, and flourished finely; but its light gradually waned, and went out about the latter part of 1872. It was revived early in 1876 as Waukon Lodge, No. 68, but was kept up only a little over two years.

Patrons of Husbandry.—Waukon Grange, P. of H., was organized Jan. 6, 1870. Chas. Paulk was the first W. Master. The institution was very prosperous, and in March, 1871, purchased the old Woodcock store building on the present site of Bloomer’s opera house, paying therefor $2,000. The grange continued in operation about eleven years.

Y.M.T.A.—The Young Men’s Temperance Association was organized in May, 1881, with the following officers: C.C. Banfill, Pres.; R.J. Alexander, Vice Pres.; J. F. Dougherty, Secretary; George Helming, Treas. Although less that a year a half old, it has purchased a library of late and popular books, comprising two hundred volumes, besides tastefully furnishing a hall and paying all running expenses. Its reading room is supplied with all the more popular magazines and periodicals, and is open to the public every evening and Sunday afternoon. In the years gone by there was in Waukon a Young Men’s Library Association, which with the aid of the Amateur Dramatie Club, had accumulated a library of nearly five hundred volumes. These books (or all that were left of them) were placed in the charge of the Y.M.T.A., which thus has control of a circulating library of fully six hundred volumes, open to the public two afternoons each week. The association comprises about sixty members, and is one of the really meritorious organizations of the town, and is doing a good work. The officers are the same as at first, with the exception of Geo. Hubbell, Treasurer, and the addition of a Financial Secretary, H.J. Nichols. The room they occupy has so far cost them nothing for rent, through the liberality of the owner, W.C. Earle.

W.C.T.U.—The Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was organized Feb. 17, 1876, with a membership of fifty-eight, and the following officers: Mrs. E. M. Stilwell, Pres,; Mrs. S.M. Wedgwood, Vice Pres.; Miss Nettie Hall, Recording Secretary; Mrs. L.A. Low, Corresponding Secretary. It has done a good work in the temperance cause. The officers during the past year were: Mrs. Stilwell, Pres.; Mrs. W.L.F. Brayton, Vice Pres.; Mrs. C.D. Beeman, Corresponding Secretary; Mrs. Low, Recording Secretary; Mrs. L.W. Hersey, Treasurer.

Early Settlers.—The Early Settlers’ Association of Makee tp., was organized Dec.2, 1879, with about twenty-five members. The first officers elected were: J.A. Townsend, Pres.; James Duffy, Vice Pres.; G. M. Dean, Secretary; Azel Pratt, Treasurer. The present officers are: James Duffy, Pres.; L.E. Howe, Vice Pres.; Geo. M. Dean, Secretary; George W. Hayes, Treasurer.

Military Company—C.F., 4th Regt. Io. National Guards, was mustered in by Capt. E.B. Bascom, of Lansing, May 15, 1878, with a full complement of sixty-four enlisted men, besides the commissioned officers, who were elected as follows: Captain, D.W. Reed; 1st Lieut., J.W. Pratt; 2d. Lieut., T. G. Orr. In July, the company was transferred to the 9th Regt., becoming Co. E. August 17, Captain Reed was elected Major of the regiment. About Sept. 20th the company received their arms and accouterments. In October, Earle’s hall was leased for an armory. Nov. 7th, 2d Sergt. A.J. Rogers was elected Captain, and 5th Sergt. A. T. Stillman 1st Lieut., to fill vacancy caused by resignation of J.W. Pratt. May 2d, 1879, Orderly Sergt. Dell J. Clark was elected 2d Lieut. to fill vacancy caused by Lieut. Orr’s resignation, and A. H. Peck was elected Orderly. In July the company was re-transferred to the Fourth Regt., becoming Co. I., where it has since remained. In August, forty uniforms were purchased, it being necessary to borrow only $100 to accomplish this, and Sept. 16 to 19 the company participated in regimental encampment at Independence. May 7, 1880, 3d Segrt. J. B. Reid was elected 2d Lieut., in place of D. J. Clark, resigned. Oct 11th to 15th the Co. was in regimental camp at Postville. In August, 1881, Capt. Rogers was elected Major of the regiment; and the term of service having expired, it was a question whether or not the Co. should reorganize. On the 8th the Co. decided by vote to do so, and on the 17th Sergt. A.J. Stewart was elected Captain. The Co. attended the State encampment at Des Moines, second week in October. Lieut. Stillman’s commission having expired, and he desiring to retire, 2d Lieut. J. B. Reid was elected his successor Nov. 25, and Sergt. E. B. Gibbs elected to the 2d Lieutenancy. In June, 1882, with these officers, and E. W. Pratt as 1st Sergt., the Co. attended Brigade encampment at Waterloo, where they received the first prize ($100) for the best drilled Co. in the 2d brigade, comprising three regiments. In September, Barnard Hall was rented for an armory; and that month the Co., by special invitation, attended the grand military encampment at Dubuque, where they acquitted themselves creditably.


The more noteworthy fires which have occurred in Waukon are as follows: On the night of Sept 13, 1870, a fire originated in M.G. Belden & Son’s blacksmith shop, standing where Martin’s furniture store now is, destroying all on the northeast corner of Main and Allamakee streets, comprising the blacksmith and wagon shops of Belden & Son, the flour and feed store of R. Isted & Son, and the boot and shoe shop; of a. Plubiska. Total loss about $3,700, insured for $1,900.

On Sunday morning, April 14, 1878, before daylight, a fire originated in Farley’s saloon on the north side of Main street, and consumed that and the Rankin building next west. Loss $1,025; no insurance. The Rankin building was an old land mark, built in ’56 or ’57 by Uriah Whaley, and had been used for various purposes in its day. The second story was once used for school purposes; and the upper part at one time served as a lock-up for criminals awaiting trial.

On the night of August 16, 1878, a fire was discovered about 10:30 o’clock raging in the wall of Farnsworth’s frame store building and dwelling, on the north side of Main street, and destroyed the frame row of stores on that street, and stables, etc. to the northward, comprising: J.P. Farnsworth, two story grocery store and dwelling; W. A. Pottle, two story building occupied by Bentley with jewelry; Carter & Easton, boots and shoes, and Miss Dean, millinery: Nesmith & Gilchrist, two story building occupied by drug store; Pleimling, tailor shop, and two families; Luther Clark, three story residence and store; L.O. Bearce, one story harness shop; Lewis Reid, one story and basement saloon; Sam’l. Huestis, two story building occupied below by Miss Townsend’s millinery rooms, and offices above; A.H. Hersey and M. Stone, two story warehouse; John Rankin, small barn; Tovey & Goodyknoontz, large hotel barn and sheds. The total loss amounted to about $12,000. Although some supposed the fire to have been incendiary, not until more than fifteen months had rolled by was the evidence sufficiently developed to warrant any arrests. In December 1879, Wm. Hennessey, H. A. Hewit and Cliff. H. Wood was arrested for the crime. The first had been keeping a saloon which bore the reputation of a bad place, and which the two others, young men, were in the habit of frequenting. Hennessey was placed in the Decorah jail in default of $10,000 bonds, while bail for the others was fixed at $500 each. Hennesey’s trial took place in May following, resulting in a verdict of guilty and sentence of twenty years in the penitentiary. On this trial H. A. Hewit testified that he and Cliff. Wood were in Hennesey’s saloon on the night of the fire after the others had all gone home, and that Hennessey went behind the bar and took up a beer glass in which was a ball of candle wicking, and said he had had it soaking for two days in kerosene; and that Hennesey put the ball in Wood’s coat pocket and told them to put it in a knot hole which they would find in the siding Farnsworth’s building and set it a-fire; which they did so, Wood putting the ball in and Hewit applying the match; and that although he had been drinking considerable that day he knew enough to know that he was setting the fire, etc. Wood’s testimony corroborated Hewit’s in all essential particulars. Hennessey appealed, but the decision of the lower court was affirmed. Wood and Hewitt took time to plead, and bail was fixed in $2,000. At the next December term Wood plead guilty and received a sentence of four years. Hewit plead not guilty and the case was continued. At the May 1881 term it came to trial, when the jury disagreed. The case was continued from term to term until May, 1882, when it was finally tried and the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty.


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