Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

Chapter 19

Past & Present of Allamakee County
, 1913

Hanover twp - Iowa twp - Jefferson twp - Lafayette twp

At the March 5, 1855, term of the County court the boundaries of this township were defined, comprising the congressional township of 99-6, taken from Union City township, and a warrant was issued to Marshall Cass to organize same. As in the case of most of the townships no record is found of the election of the first officials. The population in 1856 was 211. Among the early settlers were: Michael Halvorson in 1852; Wm. Reed, in '53, at what was afterwards known as Reed's Corners; Dan Carr, about '55, a well known and popular character and good judge of a horse, went to California in 1892 on account of ill health, and died there the following spring; Hans Simenson; Wm. McLaughlin; John C. Barr, a fine old Scotchman; Lars Peterson, Marshall Cass, Ole Simenson, Maurice Brushnahan and others, James Delaney, the Larsons, Jeffrey McGrath, Hans Hanson, Christopher McNutt (who started the first gristmill in the early fifties, on the Iowa river in section 30), John Cunningham, Michael Stack, Peter and William Fitzgerald, Andrew Jacobson.

The first postoffice in Hanover was at New Galena, prior to 1861. Reed's Ridge postoffice established July, 1873, eight miles north of Waukon, on the Galena road, Wm. H. Reed, postmaster. Hanover postoffice established at Ferris Mills on the Oneota river, February, 1875, O.F. Ferris, postmaster. This was later removed to section 29, where John Ward conducted the office for many years. He died December 9, 1893. Ferris Mills (formerly McNutt's Mills), was for many years the best known in this part of the county, and was a frequent resort for Waukon fishermen and picnic parties. The dam was almost completely destroyed by the flood of June, 1875; and in the July storm, 1882, the race was so badly damaged tha, considering the failure of wheat raising, it was not thought best to make repairs again.

Cavins' Ford, in the fifties, was the Iowa river corssing in the northeast quarter of section 8; and prior to 1859 a gristmill was in operation on Bear creek in the northeast part of section 4.

The Catholic church in Hanover was early established, but we have no information of the date. It was incorporated November 20, 1911, as St. Mary's church of Hanover, Most Rev. James J. Keane, archbishop, ex-officio president; who, with Vicar General Roger Ryan, and the pastor, Rev. F. McCullough, ex-officio vice president, and laymen, Lawrence Byrnes and Michael Tierney, constituted the board of directors.

New Galena, so named for its lead mines, was the only village ever platted in this township, but the plat was never recorded. It was situated on the north side of the Oneota, in section 1, below the mouth of Waterloo creek and nearly opposite the mouth of Mineral creek in the valley of which was the principal lead deposit.

In 1856 one A.C. Tichenor discovered what he supposed to be paying quantities of lead, in the valley of Mineral creek, and not having sufficient means of his own to carry out his plans, went to New York city to get men of capital interested, stopping in Indiana to see Phineas Weston, the owner of the land, with whom it is supposed he made satisfatory arrangements for opening a mine. In New York he succeeded almost immediately in interesting one Jas. T. Moulton, who laid the matter before another party of some means, Aug. F. Lee, and together they proceeded to act in the matter. Mr. Lee came on with Tichenor, looked over the ground, procured specimens of the ore and had it tested, and everything proving satisfactory, Moulton and his son Arthur came on with all the necessary materials and laborers and proceeded to erect buildings. Among others, they built a large store, which was filled with a huge stock of goods purchased in New York by F.M. Clark, who had accompanied Tichenor east for that purpose, and who clerked for Moulton & Lee until the following January. At one time the company had as many as a hundred men in their employ. the village site was laid off into lots and streets, and some of the lots were sold at good round prices. The village at its best comprised some eight or ten houses, but they have disappeared, and at this time the land where the town stood is one of the best farms in the Iowa valley, and is owned by Levi Green. Some of the buildings were moved off, and others left to fall to pieces. Among the latter was a large stone barn which stood until about 1880, a monument of the New Galena folly.

The company penetrated the side of the bluffs on Mineral creek and took out ore in such quantities that they felt warranted in erecting a smelting furnace, which was done some fifteen rods south of the bridge which was built at a later day, and smelted a considerable quantity of ore, but it did not pay. the ore was mostly in the shape of floats, but they kept on, hoping to strike a paying "lead." In this they were disappointed, however, as no well defined lead was developed, and the store part of the venture was the only thing about it that paid. It was not long before Tichenor had run through what little means he had invested in the concern, and Moulton and Lee, disappointed in their bright expectations, were inclined to blame him for the result of the enterprise, and so cast him off. The elder Moulton took to drink; and sometime in the course of a year the whole thing collapsed under the stress of circumstances. The creditors got what they could out of the property, and we believe Moulton and Lee returned to the east. Tichenor, it seems, could not give up the idea of getting riches out of a mine, and sought the mines of the west. Twenty odd years later he was heard of in connection with a fraudulent mining concern, shares of stock in which he had sold to the extent of $20,000 or $30,000.

Among our county records we find the "Articles of Association of the New Galena Lead Mining and Real Estate Company," entered into on the 18th day of August, 1857.

James Thorington, James T. Moulton, J. Arthur Moulton, Aug. F. Lee, Wm. L. Easton, Leonard Standring, Warren Ballou, james I. Gilbert, Grant Telford, Milo C. Fuller, Alanson H. Barnes, D.B. Defendorf, L.B. Defendorf, S.H. Kerfoot, James L. McLean, Robt. L. McClelland, Horatio Hill, Solomon Goodrich, E.E. Cooley formed themselves into a body corporate under the name and style above mentioned, "for the purpose," the document goes on to say, "of mining, smelting, and manufacturing, lead, and for the purpose of acquiring, by purchase or otherwise, any lands in the state of Iowa, or any other state or territory in the United States; and for lying out such lands into towns or villages, additions to town or villages, and disposing of the same at private or public sale; and also for engaging in interal improvements, manufactures, agriculture and commerce, and in any or all financial or monied operations not inconsistent with the laws of the State of Iowa," etc. "The document further provides that the capital stock shall consist of $200,000, of $20 a share, with power to increase to not exceed $500,000. The principal place of business was to be the village of New Galena, and the directors shall cause semi-annual dividends to be declared out of the profits of the company." About how many dividends were declared may be readily imagined. We believe this company did continue to operate the diggings for a time, but they were finally abandoned entirely.

A store with general merchandise for the convenience of the neighborhood is now kept by Thos. Delaney on the south side of section 26, on the Waukon road.

Hanover township had a population of 211 in 1856, and only 458 at the census of 1910. The township officers are: Clerk, E.L. Cunningham; trustees, Thos. Lyons, Jerry O'Hare, Michael F. Burke; assessor, Henry Quanrud; justice of the peace, O.H. Monson.

IOWA TOWNSHIP (pg 251-257)
Occupies the extreme northeast corner of the state of Iowa. It was taken from the previously organized township of Union City, and was organized under a warrant from the March, 1855, term of County court. It was not settled up so early nor so quickly as some of the townships, and had a population of only 128 as enumerated, in 1856. But it has made the steadiest growth of any township in the county, and in 1910 it had 961 souls, including of course the town of New Albin, with 588.

Among the earliest to take government land in this township were: John Ross in sections 10 and 11; James Brookman, section 15; Thomas McMahon, section 19; Hugh Hardy, section 20; Eugene Kerrigan, section 20; Nancy J. Jenks, section 31; Frederick Weymiller, section 32; Martin Moore, section 33; James A. Botts, section 34. It is impossible to tell from the records who the earliest settlers were, as the government survey of this township was not made until 1853 and the original entries date subsequent to that, although some may have occupied their selections long before.

October 2, 1853, the County court granted a license to James Brookman to operate a ferry across the Iowa river in the southeast quarter of section 15, township 100, range 4. It is claimed that the first bridge over this river was built at this place in 1858, which would antedate the Chilson's Ford bridge in Union City, built in 1859. That veteran contractor as well as soldier, Capt. E.B. Bascom, of Lansing, recently wrote us: "I was sent to locate a position for the bridge and selected the place where the bridge is at present, but Brookman had a pull on the authorities and it was built near his house. I built the bridge for G.W. Hays to settle a matter growing out of the 'Fleming war' as it was called at that time. This bridge was all right but went out the first high water for the reason it had nothing to stand on; it was built according to instructions, to pay for a 'dead horse,' as the saying is." The next bridge at Brookman's Ford, or ferry, was built by Salmon Wood, in 1863, while Captain Bascom was in the army. It cost $840, mostly raised by subscription in Lansing, but the county made up a deficiency of $200 on this in January, 1864.

Iowa township was the seat of considerable early Indian warfare, the Sacs and Foxes having had villages here at various times, as well as the Sioux village of Wabasha's band as told about in a previous chapter. It is claimed also by some that the prominent bluff known as Brookman's Bluff was actually the place of capture of Black Hawk after the battle of Bad Axe in 1832, and not the Dells of the Wisconsin as the authorities mostly agree to be the fact, and as stated in a previous chapter, on this war. In regard to this matter Captain Bascom writes us:

"There is another matter of history that I think ought to be corrected. I claim that Black Hawk surrendered to the Winnebagoes at the Brookman Bluff, which is the central point of the neutral ground established in 1825. It was also a signal station used by the Indians, and directly opposite Battle Island, where the remnants of Black Hawk's band retreated when he gave up. I had the story as long ago as 1856, by Brookman, and the story was confirmed by the old Indians living here at the time. John Waukon, Jim Brown, Indian Doc and others have told me the same story. Colonel Hitt, of Dixon, Illinois, was here about twenty-five years ago, who was an early settler in that state and a surveyor, and was also in the Black Hawk war. He went with me to the Brookman Bluff and after looking it over said he believed my story was correct. If you and others will go with me to that point I will give the story as I got it from the Indians and Brookman. Townsend, who was in the fight at Battle Island, and who delivered an address at the first meeting of the Battle Island Association, said on that occasion that Black Hawk was a coward and ran away at the first fire of the artillery from the boat, and was seen on top of the Wisconsin bluffs after the battle. That story will do to tell the marines, but not old soldiers. He said that part of Black Hawk's band had crossed the river before they overtook him. Now, the most reasonable thing to do was to retreat to the first high point of land on the Iowa side, which is the Brookman Bluff, and right there was then a large village of Winnebagoes, and it would be a very easy matter for three Indians to take him to Prairie du Chien."

The history of this enterprising young town dates from the construction of the river railroad in 1872, or rather from its inception shortly before that year. It is located on the northwest quarter of section 11, which was bought of the government by John Ross, August 21, 1854. in March, 1871, Mr. Ross contracted with S.H. Kinne to sell an interest in this land to him and J.K. Graves and J.A. Rhomberg, of Dubuque, for the purpose of a town site on the Chicago, Dubuque & Minnesota Railroad, originally the Dubuque & Minnesota, the construction of which had been begun at Dubuque the fall before. September 16, 1871, mr. Ross executed his deed to said parties in accordance with the contract, and died twelve days later. The arrangement for the platting of a town was carried out by his widow, Hily Ross, as administratrix and in her own right, who together with said other parties excecuted the town plat in November, 1872, the road then being in operation.

Previous to 1868 the surplus grain harvested on the prairie farms out in the Portland prairie region on both sides of the Minnesota line had been hauled to Lansing as the most available market town on the river. In that year Wm. Robinson and Hays built a stone warehouse on the banks of the slough north of Winnebago creek, across the Minnesota line, a mile or so north of the site of New Albin which was then a farm. A house or two and a store were built nearby; and lumber to seel to farmers was barged in there, the place being called the "New Landing." There was not space for a town at the foot of the bluff, while at "Ross's Bench" was an ideal site for a large town. This caused the new town to be located there, by those interested in the railroad, and after some four years of uncertainty the upper warehouse was abandoned.

From the very start the village was a live one, the population increased rapidly, stores were built, and elevators and warehouses for the handling of grain and produce, the town becoming an active market at once. the Tartt & Palmer elevator was built in 1874. A new schoolhouse was completed in the fall of 1874, at a cost of $1,800; and a Catholic church building was raised in September of that year, 35X60, to cost $4,000.

At the April, 1895, term of the District court a petition of C.J. Travis and twenty-eight others was presented asking an order of the court for the incorporation of the town of New Albin, to comprise the northwest quarter of section 11 and the west half of fractional section 2, and showing the number of inhabitants within said territory to be 489. On the 18th of that month the court granted the petition and appointed the following named commissioners to order an election: John Haugh; Ben Pohlman, William Ions, Sr., C.A. Petrehn, and L. Ferris. The commissioners caused an election to be held on the 20th day of May, at which the proposition was carried by a vote of sixty-eight for and twenty-eight against. At the ensuing election for town officers, in June, the following were elected, viz: Mayor, Wm. Coleman, Jr.; recorder, Louis Fritz; trustees, H. Martin, R. Thompson, G.A. Erickson, M. Moore, Fred Meyer, and A. Sahli.

The present corporation officials are: Mayor, Fred Wild; clerk, Reuben may; assessor, Michael Moore. The Iowa township officers are: Clerk, Michael Moore; trustees, Fred Meyer, Thos. F. Reburn, L.P. Weymiller; assessor, Dan Kelly; Justices, J.W. Irons and G.A. Erickson; constables, Ed Fish and Chas. Dougherty.

The town has no waterworks system as yet, but there is plenty of water at hand for all purposes, supplied by eight artesian wells, 470 to 550 feet in depth, with a good head above the curbing. A volunteer fire company is organized, with equipment of a hand pump and three and five-gallon extinguishers.

The population of New Albin by the census of 1910 was 588. of Iowa township, exclusive of the town, 373, as against 128 at the first enumeration, in 1856.

The present township official roster is as follows: Clerk, Michael Moore; trustees, Fred Meyer, Thos. F. Reyburn, L.P. Weymiller; assessor, Dan Kelly; justices, J.W. Irons and G.A. Ericson; constables, Ed Fish and Chas. Dougherty.

The Catholic church of New Albin was established at an early day, the exact year of which we have not been informed. Father Haxmeier of Lansing, had charge of this church also, from 1880 to 1903. A good substantial building was erected about 1875, but was replaced in 1910 with a much larger and finer edifice at a cost of $16,000. The incorporation of this, St. Joseph's church, was effected December 9, 1911, Archbishop James J. Keane, ex-officio president, the resident pastor, Father E. Ryan, ex-officio vice president, with Vicar General Roger Ryan, being the incorporators. They together with the associate lay members in the corporation, Herman Martin and John Bacon, constituting the board of directors; the secretary and treasurer to be elected by the board. Father Ryan is still the resident pastor.

St. Joseph's Court, Cathollic Order of Foresters, was organized here some years ago, and is a flourishing institution.

Methodist Church -- The New Albin class was organized in January, 1874, by Rev. H.W. Houghton, W.H. Tuthill being appointed leader. From this time until 1895 Lansing and New Albin were one charge.

Reverend Houghton carried on the pastoral work until 1878, without any salary. He was succeeded by Dr. R.C. Ambler, who supplied for the year ending October, '79, his salary being $75.

Rev. A.M. Sanford, the next pastor, remained three years, at a more respectable salary. Rev. L.N. Green was appointed as his successor, also remaining three years. The ensuing year there was no pastor. The Sunday school work was kept up by A.P. Petrehn. The next year Rev. F.J. Heatly was appointed. He supplied both New Albin and Lansing from May until conference time, when H.J. Bowder took up the pastoral work and carried it for three years. J.B. Wyatt, the next pastor, remained two years, and his successor, W.A. Allan, one year.

In 1894 it was decided that the work was too heavy for one man, and Squire Heath was appointed assistant to the Lansing pastor, E.D Hall. This arrangement lasted one year, after which Mr. Heath assumed full control and New Albin became an independent charge. Mr. Heath remained two yeras, with annual salary of $600.

Rev. R.L. Finney was appointed his successor and remained for one yera, till 1897 conference, when W.G. Crowder became pastor for one year only. A.A. Hallett succeeded him, in 1899. B.C. Barnes followed and stayed two years ending with 1901 conference, when H.E. Kester was appointed, remaining through 1904. W. Lease, 1905-6; C.C. Casper, 1907-09; Henry Allshouse, 1910-11; E.T. Gough, 1012-13.

Quarterly conference roll: W.O. Bock, C.J. Travis, Ed. Bock, R.C. May, H. Riser, Wm. Thompson, R.G. May, C.M. Steele, Mrs. W. Thompson, Mrs. J.F. Goble, Cora Thomson, Mrs. O.C. Tartt.

The church sustains a flourishing Sunday school, of which W.O. Bock is superintendent.

In the year 1902 this church built a parsonage at a cost of $2,500, located upon as fine a site as there is in town.

German Evangelical -- In the year 1885 was organized the German Evangelical St. Peter's church at New Albin, with the following named trustees: Henry Burmester, Henry Luetschens, Louis Missall, Ferdinand Kubitz. L. Missall was the clerk.

[transcription note: this heading appears in the book in this place, although the ensuing text is about schools. See farther below for postoffices]
The New Albin public schools comprise about eleven grades, and employ five teachers. No data being at hand regarding the beginning of the schools here, a list of those who have had charge cannot be given. Prof. Frank Rice was principal in 1884, and since that time some of the more prominent ones have been J.R. McKim, J.P. Conway, C.E. Wright, --- Craig, and numerous others, mostly remaining but one year each. The present incumbent is now on his second year, Prof. Erich C.R. Jordan. There is a good school building, and a good interest manifested, the enrollment being 161 out of a possible 220 of school age in the district. The officers of the school board are: President, E. Rice; secretary, R.G. May; treasurer, G.F. Wild.

The New Albin Savings Bank was incorporated April 14, 1898, with a capital of $15,000, and the following officers: president, H. Martin; vice president, Wm. Coleman; cashier, L.H. Gaarder; directors, the foregoing officers and G.A. Erickson, R.H. Thompson, F.C. Meyer and W.O. Bock. After a period of about ten years the capital stock was increased to $30,000, March 3, 1908; and the present officers are: President, A.T. Nierling of Waukon; vice president, O.J. Hager of Waukon; cashier, L.H. Gaarder, and assistant cashier, Carl E. Weymiller of New Albin. In April, 1913, their total assets were $418,627.18. Deposits, $332,959.75. Undivided profits, $8,602.85.

The Farmers' Savings Bank of New Albin, organized in 1909, became incorporated November 27th of that year. Its capital stock was $20,000, and the first officers were: President, Joseph Coleman; vice president, henry Wuennecke; cashier, William Lager. Directors, the officers as before named, and George Muenkel, Albert Kuehn, Henry Vonderohe, and Dennis J. Ryan. Present officers: President, J.C. Coleman; vice president, H. Wuennecke; cashier, M.J. Cavanaugh; assistant cashier, A.H. Frieberg. Assets in April, 1913, $187,814.63. Deposits, $110,071.10. Undivided profits, $454.03.

The first postmaster of New Albion was, we believe, Jacob Fitschen, who was followed by Wm. Coleman, who held the office until in the Harrison regime in 1880, when he was succeeded by Wm. O. Bock. In President Cleveland's second administration Michael Gabbett went in, July 1893, and he gave place to G.A. Ericson in President McKinley's time, sometime in 1899, we believe. Mr. Ericson served about four years, being succeeded by W.O. Bock, in January, 1903, who has served since and is the present incumbent.

The New Albin Herald, a small folio sheet, was established about June 1, 1873, by Dr. J.I. Taylor of Lansing, who placed his son, James E. Taylor, in charge of it as publisher. It was discontinued the following year, and the Spectator, an eight-page paper, was established by E.S. Kilbourne, who continued its publication for about five years, when he removed to a new town in the West, in May, 1879, and the paper was discontinued.

About the year 1893 the New Albin Courier began publication, by Walter Travis, but it was discontinued in 1898, and thematerial (with the exception of the press) sold to Coffeen & Bock, who added it to their plant of the Waukon Republican. Soon after this, in the same year, 1898, H.J. Metcalf began publishing the New Albin Globe, continuing it for three years when it was, in the latter part of 1901, consolidated with the Mirror at Lansing, wich continued for some time to run a New Albin page. After an interval, of three years the New Albin News entered the field, the first number appearing in December, 1904, and under the practical management of the proprietor, Ludwig Schubbert, this venture appears to have proven a success and a needed adjunct to the business of this thriving little town.

St. Joseph's Court, Catholic Order of Foresters, was organized here some years ago, and is a flourishing fraternal institution.

New Albin Camp, No. 3309, Modern Woodmen of America, chartered in the latter part of 1895, proved popular here, as the order has elsewhere in the county.

A remarkable figure in the history of New Albin was the venerable Charles L. Poole, who died at the home of a daughter, Mrs. H.H. May, December 10, 1893, nearing the completion of his one hundred and eighth year. Born in Congrasbury, Somersetshire, England, march 15, 1786, he came to this country in 1849, at the age of sixty-three, with his second wife and ten children, leaving his eldest son in England. They settled first in Kane county, Illinois, where his wife died in 1850, and in 1851 he came to Allamakee county which continued to be his home until his death, except for one year in Dakota, where he took a homestead to "grow up with the country." He left weventy living descendants, seven children and sixty-three grand and great-grandchildren. A month before his death Mr. Poole walked to the pools as usual to cast his vote at the general election disdaining aid from the kids of sixty and seventy with their carriages. At one time he owned several hundred acres of land near here, but lost it all, largely it is said through his helpfulness to others.

Another aged and respected resident of New Albin died early in the same year as Mr. Poole, namely Mr. H.G. Smart, who passed away January 17, 1893, at the age of ninety. He had lived here twenty years, and was a teacher in the pioneer days in Clayton county.

It has been stated in an early chapter of this volume that the Iowa tribe of Indians left their name on three streams as laid down on the early maps. One of these was the Upper Iowa, now usually referred to as the Oneota. In Salter's history of the state it is said that the earliest appearance of any form of the name Iowa is in a letter of Father Louis Andre, written from the Bay of Puants (Green Bay), April 20, 1676. He says: "This year we have among the Puants seven or eight families from a nation that is *** called Aiaoua, or Mascoutins Nadoessi. Their village, which lies 200 leagues from here toward the west, is very large, but poor; for thier greatest wealth consists of ox-hides and red calumets. The speak the language of the Puants. I preached Jesus Christ to them. They live at a distance of twelve days' journey beyond the great river called Misisipi."

Perrot speaks of the stream now called the Upper Iowa as "about twelve leagues from the Ouisconsching, and named for the Ayoes savages," and says that he maintained friendly relations with them when he established himself on the Mississippi (1685).

The substitution of the pleasing Indian name Oneota for the Upper Iowa was first made in print about 1889, so far as we can ascertain, by Government geologists; and was further authorized and urged soon after by Professor Calvin, Iowa State Geologist, who applied the name also to a prominent rock formation along the bluffs of this stream. It has the recommendation of avoiding confusion in the use of the name Iowa for two rivers in the state, and preserving the original local Indian name of this picturesque river.

According to the best authority available this township was constituted April 1, 1852, being taken from Taylor township, which at first included both this and Paint Creek. Its boundaries, identical with those of Congressional township 97-5, were confirmed in December, 1853, at the same time as those of other townships to the south and east. The population in 1854 was 371; in 1880, 1,135; and 826 in 1910.

The first settlers here were in 1849, in the following order. Patrick Keenan and Richard Cassiday in the Spring of that year (removing from an earlier claim made in Makee), on sections 15 and 22; William Niblock on sections 4 and 5, in June; and later, the same season, Carlisle D. Beeman no north half of section 21, and Harmon S. Cooper on the south half of the same section. Mr. Kennan’s early experience is told in another chapter. He died in 1878, and Mr. Cassiday in 1879. Mr. Niblock later owned the northwest quarter of section 27. He served his country through the Civil war, in Company A, 27th Iowa Infantry, after which he resumed farm life in this township until his death, in the later nineties. Mr Beeman became prominent in county affairs, dying in 1893. Mr. Cooper is still with us, on the farm he entered from the Government over sixty-three years ago.

Other of the earliest comers into Jefferson were: Daniel Flynn, Patrick Lane, and M. B. Lyons, in section 28, Daniel McAlpine, section 18; John Dundey section 4; Joel Baker, section 20 Nathaniel Mitchell, Chas. B. Churchill and Samuel Pettit, section 26; E. Barlow, John Pettit, Wm. V. And Elias Hatfield, section 24; John Stull, section 35; David Skinner, Wm. T. Stull, section 25; Andrew Peck, Lorenzo Bushnell, section 9; Moses A. Ross, section 17; Reuben W. And Samuel M. Bullock, section 18; Asahel W. Hoag, section 22; Jared Palmer, section 23; John B. Koontz and Josiah R. Dart, section 34; James S. And Jackson Mitchell, section 36; Eston McClintock, section 33; Henry Elliott and Henry M. Stephens, section 27; Harmon Hastings, section 6; E. B. Lyons, section 5; and Oliver Wheeler, sections 13 and 24

The Old Stake
In the year 1849 the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly of Iowa to located the county seat of Allamakee county, which was organized at the January session of said body, looked over the ground and fixed upon a point in the south central part of the county, in the south half of section 23, in now Jefferson township, which has since been known as “The Old Stake.” Just why this point was selected may never again be known, although doubtless they had reasons, some of which we may surmise. There were no settlers near there at that time, unless it may be that it was after Mr. Keenan has removed to his new location a mile or two northwest of that point, from Makee township, which he did in the spring of that year Mr. Shattuck did not reach Waukon until July. There was no Rossville, nor settlement begun there. It would seem that in the commissioners’ desire to get into the central part of the county they had gone as far to the north and west as the conditions at the time would warrant, the settlements then being wholly in the south and east borders of the county. The Government of survey of these lands was this year in progress. It may be that the owners of lands of the vicinity of Postville, Hardin, the Old Mission, and Harper’s Ferry (later so names), as well as possibly Columbus and Lansing, were watching them with jealous eye, and remonstrating against locating the seat of county government away off in the interior out of their reach. At any rate, where the stake was driven the lands were entered as soon as the surveys would allow by parties who did not become permanent settlers.

One good reason for this selection was the fact it was located on an old trail, evidently traveled by whites for many years, running from the Mississippi river, near the mouth of Yellow river, and following the ridge or divide between the latter stream and Paint creek, avoiding the tributaries as much as possible, and extending on to Winneshiek county and the northwest. This old bridle path was in all probability one of the “through routes” from Fort Crawford to Fort Snelling, followed by the early mail carriers mentioned in an earlier chapter of this volume. By this pathway the selection was readily accessible from the Old Mission, which continued to be virtually the headquarters of our county officials until the county seat was relocated at Columbus by the election of 1851.

Wm. F. Ross is said to have been the first settler on this townsite, in 1850, but others followed very closely. Mr. Ross was later one of the school fund commissioners, and at divers times himself took up school lands until he owned many hundreds of acres in different parts of the county. It may be that in settling here he had in view the possibility of making this the county seat, as was attempted a few years later; but this place did not figure in the first county seat election, in 1851. Rossville is on the old road above mentioned, about a mile and a half southeast of where the old stake was planted. The plat was surveyed by Joel Dayton, county surveyor, for the proprietors of the land, comprising Wm. F. And Sarah I. Ross, David and Catherine E. Skinner, and Elias and Mary A. Hatfield, who acknowledged same before Jackson Mitchell, J. P., May 31, 1855. The following year the town aspired to county seat honors in a triangular contest with Waukon and Whaley & Topliff’s Mill; Waukon, the then county seat, retaining the prize, the election taking place in April, 1856. Rossville at that time possessed a steam sawmill and several other lines of trade, and had she obtained the county seat might have had a healthy growth. (David Dial was running this steam sawmill to its full capacity in 1869.) Rossville postoffice had been established in February, 1852, presumably Mr. Ross was postmaster. The postmaster at present is E. W. Stanley.

The business houses at Rossville now, spring in 1913, are as follows: F. E. Graham, feed mill and blacksmith shop; W. Ross Koontz, general merchandise; Albertus Leas, pumps and implements; Mrs.. J. D. Woodmansee, millinery.

Maud -This is the name of a postoffice established some years ago on the line of the railroad, just within the east line of this township. The postmaster is H. H. Larson, who keeps a general merchandise store patronized by the surrounding country. This has been a way station on the Waukon branch for many years, at which passengers and freight are received and discharged for Rossville, about two and a half miles to the south. An attempt is now being made to induce the railroad company to put in a side-track and station building here, which will doubtless be successful.

The Baptist church at Rossville was organized August 27, 1853, at the home of Elias Hatfield, with fifteen constituent members. The record fails to show who was the organizing elder present, but Rev. James Schofield was there in 1854. On September 10, 1853, J. T. Thorp and Elias Hatfield were elected the first delegates and took the first church letter to the Davenport Association. The first member received by letter was Nathaniel Mitchell, December 10, 1853. The first candidate for baptism was received and baptized March 12, 1854. In May of that year a committee was appointed to select a building lot, and in June trustees were elected to hold the property, consisting of a church lot and burying ground. In January, ‘55, steps were taken to raise $1,000 for the purpose of building a house of worship, 32x46x19 feet high. Not until 1862 was the house up and enclosed, and was used the following winter for a schoolhouse; and in 1865 it was finished off inside. In 1873 the church bought a house and lot of Rev. Hanna for a parsonage, but sold it again in ‘76. In ‘85 the church building was thoroughly repaired, beplastered and painted and new windows put in. Further improvements were later made and the seating remodeled. In 1894, the church purchased a lot and erected a parsonage at a cost of about $1,000, and finished paying for same in 1901. It is now out of debt and has a house of worship and parsonage valued, with the lots, at $3,500.

The early career of this old church was vigorous and successful. In 1855 the Davenport Association was divided and the northern part become the Dubuque Association, when this church had a membership of thirty-four. Reverend Schofield was their pastor, and remained until 1860, when the Turkey River Association was formed. Rev. John A. Pool came in 1864, and at the associational meeting in ‘62 there were reported in the entire association of fifteen churches seventy-three baptisms during the past year, of which twenty-seven were at Rossville, under Reverend Pool’s ministry. We have no record of consecutive pastors, but it is recorded that in 1865, Rev. C. D. Farnsworth was pastor at Rossville, and Waukon. Rev. E. P. Dye was at Rossville in 1874, and the record shows an accession of sixty-five members by baptism that year; but two years later the associational minutes show there had been somewhat of a reaction.

In 1879, Rev. J. M. Wedgwood became pastor, remaining for three years, and was a supply from time to time during later years. Rev. W. L. Wolfe was here in 1894-5, followed by E. Bodenham for two or three years; C. B. Carey ‘99; J. A. Lovelace, 1901-2; S. D. Holden, 1904-5; C. H. Stull and H. P. Langridge supplied from Waukon; C. W. C. Ericson, 1908-9; W. R. Bailey, 1910-11. The church has since been without a pastor. The church clerks since 1881 have been N. Mitchell, T. B. Wiley, L. C. Brace, C. Denning, and for the past seventeen years, A. F. Wheeler.

It is fitting here to make further mention of the first pastor of this church, Rev. James Schofield, and his distinguished son, Gen. John M. Schofield. The latter was born in New York in 1831, and graduated from West Point, the U. S. Military academy, in 1853, where he was made a professor in 1855. When the Civil war broke out he was made major of the First Missouri Volunteers, and was on General Lyons’ staff when the latter was killed at Wilson’s creek. He was in command in Missouri until assigned to the command of the Army of the Ohio. He shared in Sherman’s campaign until the taking of Atlanta, when he returned to Tennessee, defeating Hood at Franklin, and was with General Thomas at the battle of Nashville. Early in 1865 he took Wilmington, N. C., and united his force with Sherman. He was later sent on a special mission to France. In 1868-9 he was secretary of war, and then major general and department commander. In 1876-8 he was superintendent at West Point; and upon the death of General Sheridan in 1888, he succeeded to the command of the United States Army. Previous to his retirement in 1895 he was, by act of Congress, made lieutenant general. His death occurred March 4, 1906.

Elder Schofield built a fine brick residence at Rossville, where his distinguished son visited him at times, and both invested considerable in land in the vicinity. Reverend Schofield was pastor of the Waukon church in 1861, after which the writer has no record of him, except that he sold his Rossville property in 1866.

The Presbyterian church of Rossville was organized September 9, 1866, which a membership of eleven, namely, Andrew Henderson, Jane Henderson, Robert Crawford, Sarah Crawford, Caroline Emerson, S. I. Sergent, E. M. Sergent, Robert Henderson, Rebecca Jane Henderson, Martha Anne Henderson and William Henderson. Of these constituent members only the three last named are still living. The church building at the time was an old schoolhouse. Rev. J. Woodruff was the first minister, his ministry continuing from 1866 to 1870, when he was succeeded by Rev. John C. Hanna, who remained with the church until 1872.

For a brief interval the church was then without a pastor; but in 1873, Rev. James Frothingham came and stayed till 1874. From this time the church was supplied by Rev. B. Hall, the Waukon Minister, who preached here every two weeks, and this arrangement continued until 1887. Then ensued a period of some four years without preaching, when in 1891, arrangements were made with Rev. R. I. Van Nice of Waukon, to preach every two weeks, as his predecessor had done. In that year Mr. Van Nice held revival meetings, and eighteen persons were received into the church. This was the beginning of better days in the history of this church. In 1892 Rev. W. H. Ensign supplied the pulpit, from Volga City, and remained till 1893. During his ministry the church was incorporated. In the spring of 1894, Captain O’Brien held successful meetings; and immediately following these services Rev. Z. F. Blakely became pastor, and an accession of twenty-seven persons was made to the membership.

At a meeting on May 21, 1894, it was decided to build a new church, which was completed in, 1895, and the dedication took place on April 21st of that year. The cost of this building was $2,411.13. Rev. James C. Wilson became pastor at that time and continued until 1897, when the work was carried on in connection with Frankville, Reverend Phillips preaching every two weeks, until the spring of 1898, then Rev. T. Reeves preached during a summer vacation of three months. Reverend Baird preached for six months in the years 1898-99, coming from Frankville alternate Sundays. Reverend Reeves again served during the summer vacation of 1899. Reverend Gregg then came from Frankville once in two weeks, continuing this work until September, 1902. Reverend Simpson then became pastor of the church and stayed until June, 1904.

The church was again without preaching until April, 1907, when Rev. J. C. B. Peck became pastor until September, 1908, when Reverend Nickless began his ministry terminating in September, 1909. This date marks the beginning of Rev. L. Duckett’s ministry in America, who was pastor until September, 1911. For three months during the summer of 1912, the church was supplied by Reverend Remtsma, student pastor, of McCormick seminary.

There is an old established lodge of the I. O. O. F. At Rossville; also Camp No. 4828 of the M. W. A., organized in 1897, or ‘98; but further information as to the fraternal societies at Rossville is not at hand.
The earliest Masonic lodge in Allamakee county was chartered at Rossville, June 4, 1856, as Parvin Lodge No. 85, to L. B. Adams, T. H. Barnes, W. F. Ross, and nine others, but the charter was surrendered a few years later. The last report made to the Grand Lodge was for 1858, showing the following officers and members: L. B. Adams; W. M.; Dr. T. H. Barnes, S. W.; W. F. Ross, J. W.; Thos. Crawford, Treas; J. W. Nottingham, Sec; R. K. Hall, S. D.; James C. Smith, J. D,; J. J. Pettit, Tyler. Members: Geo. W. Gray, G. W. Hays, Noah Maltbie, Geo. C. Shattuck, Dr. J. W. Singer, John T. Clark, John Brisco, David Skinner, J. Small, S. B. Clark, H. V. Colman, William Ward. These names show members living at Waukon and Lansing, and other parts of the county.

Jefferson township officers for 1913 are: Clerk, Henry Grangaard; trustees, Simon Hansmeier, C. P. Mitchell, G. B. Ralston; assessor, L. J. Larson; justice of the peace, H. H. Larson; constable, Wm. McGuire.

At the March, 1852 term of the County court a commission was issued to I. W. Low to call an organizing election for this township, to be held at the house of Thos. B. Twiford on the first Monday in April following, but no record is found of the election. At this session also the boundaries were established, to include all of township 98, ranges 2,3, and 4. Fractional section 34-99-3 was later set off to Lafayette from Lansing township. Center township was taken from this territory upon its organization in 1856.

Is the name covering a combination of three town plats on section 18, the first of which called Milton, was laid out in 1854 by Jesse M. Rose, who had here built the first flouring mill in the county, the year before. In the spring of 1857, Mr. Rose platted another tract, lying to the east of Milton, and called it Village Creek, which was the name of the postoffice established here at the time. An effort was made to have it called Milton, but there was already a postoffice of that name in the state. Hon. L. E. Fellows, later in the Legislature and for many years judge of the District court until his death within the past year, was the first postmaster. In the fall of 1857 the third plat, called Howard Center, was laid out adjoining Milton on the north, Eldridge Howard, a Methodist minister, being the proprietor.

Village Creek was at one time quite a manufacturing center, several flouring mills having been operated there or in the vicinity, a woolen mill, and later, creameries. The Village Creek Woolen Mill was established by H. O. Dayton in 1865, the building being of stone, three and a half stories. It did a large business until destroyed by fire, October 28, 1868, involving a loss of $35,000, nothing but the bare walls being left. It was rebuilt and equipped with new machinery, but again it became the victim of the fire fiend, May 21, 1875. Within a year it was once more in operation, with new capital interested, under the proprietorship of Howard, Carrolls & Ratcliffe. But the steam, Village creek, being subject to furious floods, from time to time took out their dam and otherwise caused much damage, and great loss of time and expense for repairs. In 1882 they were employing fifteen operatives. But the continued damages by flood, with a combination of other discouragements, finally caused the enterprise to be abandoned.

The Village Creek Flouring Mill has the generally admitted distinction of being the first mill in Allamakee county for the making of flour, and was established in 1853, in charge, it is believed, of a Mr. Valentine, an experienced miller. Peter A. Valentine soon after built another mill a short distance below, on the southeast quarter of southeast quarter section 7, in which Mr. Rose also became interested and later Mr. Edward Brownell. Job Valentine, his son, ran the mill. Peter A. Valentine was a Congregational preacher and removed to Wisconsin, where he built another mill, and preached for twenty years, at Mounty Sterling. He was grandfather of Hon. E. H. Fourt of Waukon. This mill in after years became known as the Centennial Mill. Both of these mills changed hands several times, and both eventually became the property of A. C. Doehler, the well known miller at Village Creek for many years. These mills are not now in operation.

Mr. Doehler keeps a general store here now, and there is but little else in a business way, aside from blacksmith and tinsmith. Mail is supplied from Lansing.

Among some extracts from old diaries of H. O. Dayton, submitted to us by his daughter, we find the following. On March 19, 1857, he says: “I finished up my survey of Village Creek.” In April, that he has commenced work for Mr. Howard on a survey of his town lots in Milton, known as Howard’s Addition. In May he writes as follows: “The town of Milton is coming up. A brick yard, stores, blacksmith shops, and three flour mills in complete operation, begin to let their works be shown.” In October, 1857: “The town of Milton is growing very fast, no less than twenty houses have been constructed in the last nine months.”

December 6, 1858, Mr. Dayton commenced teaching school in this flourishing little town. And again he taught here in the two next following winters. In November, 1860, Mr. Dayton and John Lamb were elected justices of the peace.

On April 30, 1862, one of many disastrous floods visited the Village creek valley, destroying all bridges and flooding the low lands.

In the fall of 1864, Mr. Dayton organized a stock company for th purpose of erecting and putting into operation a woolen factory at Village Creek. On December 13, 1864, the first meeting of the shareholders was held and officers elected as follows: President, H. O. Dayton; secretary, A. Cavers; treasurer, F. W. Wagner; and three directors, whose names are not given.

The following year Mr. Dayton visited the best woolen mills in operation in the East, and returning to Village Creek had constructed a large three and a half story stone building, the Village Creek Woolen Mills, which fully equipped, cost not less than $20,000. Not until February 6, 1866, were the mills in operation. On this date Mr. Dayton made this entry in his diary: “We did our first weaving to-day.” The Mills were visited daily by hosts of people, to whom such an enterprise in that comparatively new country seemed a marvelous thing. On April 2d of that year Village Creek had the misfortune to be again visited by a destructive flood, causing the factory dam to go out, washing away all bridges, and doing untold damage along the lowlands. By April 26th the damages to the mill had been repaired, and Mr. Dayton’s entry for this date states, “We finished our first yard of cloth in the wool factory to-day, ready for sale.”

In July, 1866, Mr. Dayton went East, and when he returned in September he brought home a help-meet, having married Miss Maria Aldrich, in New York state. They resided in Village Creek for a period of seven years, where Mr. Dayton continued to operate the woolen mills and in which he was by far the largest stockholder. In 1868 the mills were destroyed by fire, but through the untiring energy of Mr. Dayton they were rebuilt but were again destroyed by fire in 1875.

Chantry -This is one of the embryo tounsites of the fifties which has not been on the map for many years. It was platted August 24, 1857, the owner being Augustus French, on the northeast fraction quarter of section 12, five or six miles below Lansing, and doubtless high hopes were at one time entertained that it was destined to become an important river point.

Lafayette - Was a settlement on the Mississippi about a mile above Chantry. The first settler was Thomas Gordon, in 1850. It was a good boat landing, and at one time possessed one or two stores and a large steam sawmill, but so far as known, no attempt was made to plat and sell city lots here. In 1857 the sawmill was changed to a gristmill by Kinyon & Amsden, which was in 1859 and later known as Foot’s mill.

Heytman’s - Is a more modern map name, being a railroad siding and way station in the extreme southeast corner of fractional section 17.

This was the name given to the pioneer Catholic church of Northeastern Iowa, by its founder, Rev. Thomas Hore, who came here direct from his former home of the same name, it is said, in Ireland, to establish a parish among his countrymen, who were at the time rapidly settling up this vicinity. He came here in the spring of 1851 and purchased thousands of acres of Government lands in what is now Lafayette and Taylor townships, at various points, at the Government price of $1.25 per acre, from the sale of which in the following years, a large revenue was derived. A small church edifice was at once erected, but whether this was upon the site of the present church is not fully established. An early map, published in 1859, shows a Catholic church and monk's house located on section 27, two miles west of the present church. But if ever actually built there the location was very temporary. The Trappist monks contemplated locating in this vicinity, but later decided upon a home in Dubuque. This little church wherever located was undoubtedly the first church built in Allamakee county; and Father Hore was the first Catholic priest to locate in the county. Upon the map above referred to the name Wexford is applied to a small settlement or landing-place on the bank of Harper's channel, in the southeast corner of section 6, range 2, Taylor township.

As to the later whereabouts of Father Hore there are no data at hand to determine. Not long after the parish was erected, Monona seems to have had a Catholic settlement, as the settlements of "Monona and New Wexford" were added to the list of charges of Rt. Rev. Mathias Loras, the first bishop of Dubuque, as stated in an article by Rev. B. C. Lenehan, published in the Annals of Iowa (January 1899). Father Hore was a very popular and influential man, and drew to this point a large immigration of his countrymen who bought the lands he had obtained from the Government. The Wexford church is located on the southeast quarter of southeast quarter section 25, township 98, range 3, in the valley of the creek known as Priest Cooley. The writer is not informed as to the date the present edifice was erected, nor of the succession of priests having this parish in charge. In 1855 Father Welch resided here, and served the Lansing and other churches until 1863. Rev. Matthias Hannon was stationed at Wexford from 1863 to '66. Rev. James McGowan was pastor in 1869; Reverend Nelson about 1883; and Rev. Thomas Laffan, the present pastor, has been here for several years.

This, Immaculate Conception church of Wexford, became formally incorporated February 6, 1912, with Archbishop James J. Keane ex-officio president Pastor Thomas Laffan, vice president; John J. Keane, vicar general, constituting the board of directors, with lay members John J. Hawes and Thomas W. Brennan.

Zion's Church of the Evangelical Association of North America, of Columbus Ridge, was incorporated March 5, 1873, and in July following, dedicated a fine new church building; the trustees at that time: Julius Kehrberg, Frederick Martin, Ferdinand Martin, Gottlieb Goettel, Sr., and Jr., William Gaunitz, and Herman Kehrberg. The present pastor is, we believe, Reverend Pfalsgraff, succeeding Reverend Raecker.

The following names include some of the earliest settlers in Layfette township, but as the date and location cannot in many cases be given with certainty they are generally omitted: Helge Olson, section 32; Simon Decrevel, section 2; Thos. Gordon, section 3; H.H. Pope, section 7; John Franklin, Thomas Bentley, John Cokran, Timothy Madden, Wm. Scanlan, Edward and John Kelly, Edward O'Neill, Thomas Mullins, Wm. Heatly, section 25; Michael Flynn, Austin Joyce and Wm. Fitzgerald, section 34; J.M. Rose, Peter Valentine, Wm. C. Thompson, S.M. Thompson, Patrick O'Toole, Edward Mularkey, section 11; Edward Dungan, section 27; E.A. Tisdale, section 31; the foregoing in range 3, while others in range 2, were: James and Wm. Bohan, sections 17 and 18; Patrick Lawrence and Michael Keenan, section 18; Joseph Flood, section 31. Other actual settlers doubtless came in as early as some of the above mentioned and bought land of original purchasers who did not settler here.

The population of the township in 1854 was 371, and in 1910 the census gives it as 747.

The present township officers are: clerk, Thomas Crowe; trustees, John Bohrer, John J. Haws, Richard Cassidy; assessor, Mat Guider.


~transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall (Hanover & Iowa twps), Diana Diedrich (Jefferson & Lafayette twps) and Cathy Joynt-Labath (Wexford section)

(page 259 has photos & page 260 is blank)

Continue Chapter 19

Return to 1913 Index