Past & Present of Allamakee County, 1913
Lansing twp - Linton twp - Ludlow twp - Makee twp - Paint Creek twp
LANSING TOWNSHIP (pg 267-271)
Organization dates from February, 1852, and its boundaries include all of ranges 4 and fractional 3, in township 99 north, exception fractional section 34 set off to Lafayette. The population in 1854 was 440. The history of the township is largely the history of the city, which is given a chapter by itself. Aside from the pioneer settlers therein mentioned, however, there were numerous settlers in the valleys and on the ridges and prairies outside, the following occurring among the names of those who took Government land in 1851 or earlier. Among the earliest of these was Andrew Sandry, who came in 1849 or 50, and resided here until his death in the spring of 1913, for sixty-three years or more. Others were: Fred Lenz, Samuel Baumann and Peter Riser, Ernest Mueller and John Bakewell (1850), Melchior Schindler (1850), Peter Stauffacher, Elisha Woodruff and John Cole, 1851.
The following named were some of the earliest settlers taking land direct from the Government or of the school fund in Lansing township, aside from those elsewhere named. Viz: S. H. Haines, Adam Hirth, Peter Hirth, John Soll, Henry G. Weaver, John May, John Englehorn, John Baker, Michael Englehorn, John Carlisle, Jacob Englehorn, John A. Hirth, John Bakewell, John Riser, Elisha Hale.
The first enumeration of Lansing township, in 1854, showed a population of 440. By the census of 1910, it was 666, exclusive of th city.
Lansing township officials are at present: Clerk, H. H. Gilbertson; trustees, Julius Feuerhelm, Henry Gramlich, Frank Thomson; assessor, Henry Becker; justices, Edw. Bensch and P. S. Pierce; constables, H. F. Gauintz and Stewart Cooper.
Columbus -This famous name was given to the most important point in the county at the time, a landing place on the Mississippi just below, or southeast of, the mouth of Village creek. It was often called Capoli, from the name of the bluff at the base of which it lay, which appears in the narratives of the early explorers as Cap-a-l-ail, in Schoolcraft, or Cape a Tale Sauvage, as in Beltrami. It became the first actual county seat of Allamakee county in the spring of 1851, the nominal location at the old stake in Jefferson township not having been utilized, and so remained until Waukon was made the county seat by the commission for relocation two years later. The first recorded term of District court was held here in July, 1852, and for two years it was a rival of Lansing as a business point. The proprietors of the townsite were Leonard B. Hodges, Thomas B. Twiford, and Aaron Chesebro, who platted the land in 1852, reserving a plot of two acres in the center for prospective county buildings, which never materialized. At the June, 1852, term of the County court it was ordered that the Columbus town lots be advertised for sale, on the terms one-third down, balance in one year, and the proceeds be applied to the erection of suitable county buildings at that place. Elias Topliff also had a proprietary interest in the place about this time. L. B. Hodges, a prominent figure in the early history of the county, later became Commissioner of Forestry of the State of Minnesota, and had charge of tree-planting along the line of the Northern Pacific railroad. He published some valuable works on forest culture, and died at St. Paul in 1883.
While there was some sale for Columbus lots for a time, the town collapsed after the removal of the county seat, and eventually all the lots were disposed of at tax sales and are not part of a farm owned by G. M. Kerndt. A postoffice was established at Columbus in the latter part of 1851. And there was here at a later date two stores, a good sized hotel, and a steam sawmill.
North Capoli -Lies half a mile to the north and west of Columbus, and adjoins the south line of South Lansing, both now within the coronate limits of the city of Lansing. The latter was platted by John Haney and H. H. Houghton, February 22, 1858. And North Capoli was platted April 16, 1860, by Elias Topliff and J. M. Rose, as trustees of the Columbus Land Company No. 1.
Church -This place has never been platted as a town, but is a thriving little village which has grown up in recent years, on the northwest quarter of north east quarter of section 32, near the southwest corner of the township, seven miles from Lansing. Isaac Bechtel was the owner of the forty, and has sold off building lots for stores and dwellings from time to time as the growing settlement required. Geo. C. Coppersmith started a store here in 1898, and was appointed postmaster. He sold out in 1903 to Benjamin Decker, who continues to do a thriving business, and is now postmaster. Mrs. Wm Buege keeps confectionery and notions; and Wm. Lenz is the blacksmith. The Calhoun Creamery Company is located here, and has proven a permanent and prosperous institution. This was incorporated March 7, 1896, with a capital of $3,000 with right to increase to $4,000. Its first officers were: President, Frank Stirn, vice president, A. J. Williams; secretary, A. J. McCaffety: treasurer, Peter N. Smedsrud; directors, Chas. P. Nierling, George Rice and J. M. Thomson.
The German Evangelical Congregational Society of Lansing Ridge was incorporated October 19, 1868, with the following named trustees: Frederick Lenz, John Engelhorn, and Isaac Bechtel; and other incorporators were Rudolph Baumann, Conrad Engel and Jacob Blumer. In 1909 a reincorporation was effected, the trustees being Isaac Bechtel, Henry Marti, and Frederick Schweinfurth.
Emanuel Methodist Episcopal church in Lansing township was incorporated January 4, 1882, by Henry Lenz, Alexander Fischer, and G. Michael Wirth, as trustees, appointed by the quarterly conference in Lansing township, of the North Western German Conference.
The Methodist church on Mays Prairie, section 20, erected a sone house of worship many years ago. This church became incorporated in June, 1874, by a meeting held at the stone church, Christopher Schultz, chairman, and John Spicker, secretary and the following named were appointed as incorporators: Ernst Gramlich, George Murray, Peter Hirth, Gottlieb Staak, Andrew Leppert, Frederick Reiser, and Christian Manderscheidt. Rev. A. Panzlan serves this church and M. E. Church at Dorchester, we believe.
The Salems church of German Evangelical Association, also Mays Prairie, was organized July 15, 1903, by J. M. Krafft, representing the Evangelical Association of North America in Allamakee county, and duly incorporated with the following named trustees, viz: Julius Feuerhelm, Wilhelm Worm, and Chas. Dee. We believe the same pastor serves this and the churches of the same faith of Lansing and Thompsons Corners. Rev. A Raecker, until quite recently at least.
This originally included all of Post, Franklin and Fairview at the time of organization in 1851, as before stated. Its present area conforms to that of congressional township 96-4, except that portion in the southeast corner set off to Fairview as shown in the chapter on that township. The name of Bunker Hill was first considered for this township, but Linton was finally adopted in honor of the Lintons, Dr. John Linton, manager of the Old Mission, and Thos. C. Linton, the organizing sheriff of Allamakee county. There was another brother, Wm. C. Linton, who came from Kentucky and located with his brothers in this township, but removed to Clayton county in 44, later to Mitchell county, and in his old age made his home at Pasadena, California, where he died January 21, 1899, aged ninety-four years. He was a soldier in the Mexican war.
Ion - The first village in Linton, was first called Bunker Hill, but when it was platted into town lots, January 1, 1855, an opposition developed to this name, and the original proprietors agreed to select the name by lot, each writing his choice on a slip of paper and drawing from a hat. Our long-time county surveyor, H. B. Minor, is authority for the statement, that Sewell Goodridge, one of the proprietors, having recently read a novel in which he had admired a character by name of Ion, and nothing more suitable occurring to him at the time wrote that name on his slip, which was the one drawn, thus establishing the name of the village. The survey and plat were made by D. W. Adams, for the owners, Sewell Goodridge, Chas. W. Cutter, and Abram J. Kennison, and Ion postoffice was established about this time, with Sewell Goodridge postmaster, it is believed. Down to 1860, Ion was in Linton township, but by the setting off of section 24, in that year it was placed within the jurisdiction of Fairview, of which township it has ever since formed a part. The postoffice has continued here without interruption, we believe, until superseded by the rural delivery. Andrew Kean, postmaster in 1892, died in the summer of 1013. This vicinity is now served from Waterville. A postoffice called Egan was in existence in section 2, Linton township, for several years prior to the rural service, with James Egan postmaster.
Ion was another of the good milling points on Yellow river in the early times. Indeed, it was at one time the most important in the valley. Girts and Colegrove in 1874, built a new flouring mill, which they put into operation January 1, 1875. There is not a general store at Ion Kept by Olive G. Grady; and Geo. M. Hulse is the shoemaker. Mr. A. E. Colegrove, miller and farmer, came here in 1860, but served in the Civil war, which service cost him his eyesight, and when his sight entirely failed he removed to Waukon, where he resided for many years, until his death in 1902.
Buckland - Was the site of Buckland Mills, also on Yellow river, near the center of the township. It was laid out April 28, 1858, by Austin and Harriet L. Smith, John and Lucy Davis, and Asa and Cordelia Candee, and plat acknowledged before James H. Stafford, justice of the peace. The town plat was vacated May 10, 1881. There was a postoffice here in 1892, E. I. Cahoon, postmaster.
Staudingers Mill on Suttle creek was running to its full capacity in 1868, in the west part of Linton township. In the spring and summer of 1872, Wm. Staudinger built a 40 x 50, two and a half story flouring mill on the west branch of Suttle creek, a tributary of the Yellow river, about a mile further up than the old mill. This was on the route of the proposed narrow gauge railroad from Monona to Waukon, which was then being surveyed. An old map published early in 59 shows a mill located on Suttle creek, in section 30, known as Knabbs Mill. Also Newcombs Mill, situated on a creek in section 6, two miles north of Yellow river. The Staudinger Mill is now used as a barn.
The following named early settlers were among those who came in 1854 or sooner and took land from the Government, or the state, viz: Jacob Welliver, Samuel Denning, Robert Elliot, Lawrence Byrne, Marshall S. J. Newcomb, Thomas Dunn, James Adams, Thomas Crawford, Mathew Glynn, John Kelly, Lawrence Maloney, John Denning, Seth N. Stafford, John B. Sutter, Selden Candee, Charles Miner, Chas. Reidel, Henry Wiethorn, John Plank, Lewis Renzihausen, John G. Rupp, Anthony Gass, Samuel W. M. Moody, Allen Scott, Jacob Sawvel. Of these, but a very few are still living in the township.
The Methodist Episcopal Church of the Yellow river and Clayton Mission in Linton township, was incorporated, August 11, 1859, John Plank, Jr. Geo. Koch, Henry Peitzman, and Bartheld Liebenstein, being the incorporators.
About the year 1860 the following there was an active Baptist church organization at Ion, served a part of the time by Elder Poole, of Rossville. They bought a small building at Ion for a house of worship, which they sold to George Hulse when the organization was broken up.
The First Methodist Episcopal Church of Ion was incorporated December 28,1868, the trustees being at the time, S. C. Hulse, H. B. Miner and Charles Miner. J. H. Gile was also one of the incorporators.
Ion, Volney, Monona, and McGregor at one time composed the Ion Circuit, served by such later well-known preachers as J. F. Hestwood and Nathaniel Pye. The latter resided at Ion for a number of years.
The population of Linton township in 1854 was 225, and in 1910 it was 581. At the first enumeration it had a much larger area than now.
Linton township officers in 1913: Clerk, E. Pufahl: trustees, John Huffman, Chas Topel, Mike Peters; assessor, Jas. Egan, Jr.
The commissioner to organize this township was Ezra Reed, a pioneer of 1850, on section1, and the organizing election was held on Monday, April 1, 1852. The population in 1854 was 208; in 1910 it was 777. No villages have ever been laid out in this township, but it has the reputation of being the wealthiest agricultural township in the county, having the largest area of tillable wealthiest agricultural township in the county, having the largest area of tillable land, being mostly prairie. A postoffice called Ludlow was kept at the house of H. G. Grattan, postmaster, on the Waukon and Postville, road, in section 10, for about twelve years, being discontinued prior to 1882. The township is fully covered by free delivery now. It is noted for its churches and schools, creameries, and a local store has generally been kept in one part of the township or another. At present the only one is located on the southeast corner of section 8, owned and managed by John E. Maier. There is but one creamery now operating, the Ludlow Cooperative Creamer y Company, incorporated April 11, 1894, with a capital stock of $5,000, the first officers being A. G. Winter, secretary and treasurer. It is situated on the south line of section 9, a quarter of a mile east of the store. On early maps of Iowa published in 1857 a little village called Grantville is laid down in the southeastern part of Ludlow, but we have been unable to ascertain that there ever was a settlement or postoffice of that name in the vicinity.
The official roster of Ludlow township in 1913 is: Clerk, Paul Hagen; trustees, A. I. Steffen, F. H. Dipping, Chas. E. Regan; assessor, Ed Ludeking; justice of the peace, J. H. Simmons.
Of the early settlers in Ludlow township the following came in 1851 or before: Ezra Reed, Luther Howes, Reading Woodward and Benj. Woodward, Wm. Trotter, Wm. Dunn, Charles Ragan, James Shaff, Wm. Rankin, David J. Miller (1850), Daniel Jaquis; also Schenck, Beard and Cutler, who made, their homes on the Winneshiek side of the line, and C. J. F. Newell, who sold his claim and took another in Makee township. Others who followed in rapid succession were: L. W. Goodrich, John Letchford, James Vile, Absalom Thornburg, S. I. Cochran, Jacob Overholt, D. A. Sackett, John A. Taggart (these two latter identified with Waukon), J. W. Granger, N. E. Hobble, David and James Rankin, Nicholas Wettlofer, Frederick Hagen, P. G. Wright, Moses Shaff, Stephen Meriau, Francis Bryant, and others. Warner Howard, who died in Ludlow in 1880, is said to have located here the year the Indians were removed, which was in 1848, but whether in this township we have no define information.
The German Presbyterian church of Ludlow, situated on the north side of Section 9, is an outgrowth of the church of the same named organized in Waukon, in the year 1856. During the pastorate of Rev. John Renskers in 1864. The church divided, and those living in this vicinity in 1865 erected a church building here, under the administration of Rev. S. Elliker, who soon resigned, and was succeeded by C. H. Schoepfle, and he by Wm. Shover, in the summer of 1868, who served until January 29, 1871. Rev. Henry Knell was then called, who preached his first sermon here. February 12, 1871. Under his pastorate a new church edifice was erected, and the old building was thenceforth used as a schoolhouse. His resignation took place November 5, 1877, and he died a few years later. He was succeeded by Helder Smit, who remained only eleven months. After him Rev. E. Schutte was called, first preaching January 26, 1879. The church was organize with very few member-among the most active being Simon, Conrad and August Helming-but increased very rapidly, its active members numbering 233 in 1882. In 1895, March 13th, the church was reincorporated as the Zalmona German Presbyterian Reformed church. The then pastor was Rev. J. H. Stark, and at the present time Rev. Ferdinand Zissler serves this church.
The Reformed Salem church of Ludlow was organized February 11, 1895, and incorporated June 1st, with the following named constituting the board of trustees: Henry Kiesau, Henry Ludeking, Simon Struckmann, and Herman Schnittger. Others prominent in effecting the organization were: Simon Kiesau, Fred Krumme, and George, Simon, Fred and Herman Becker, and others. Dr. H. A. Muehlmeyer, president of the Reformed Seminary at Sheboygan, Wisconsin, effected the organization, by request of members of the Presbyterian Zalmona church who lived two, three, and as far as five miles west and southwest of that church. The Reformed church is a sister church to the Presbyterian church, the former originating in Switzerland and Germany, the latter in Scotland, both from the efforts of the reformer Calvin and others in the sixteenth century. The charter members, nearly all from the reformed province Lippe, in Germany, in organizing, preferred to connect themselves with the Reformed church in the United States of German origin. The congregation in harmony and peace soon bought grounds for a church and parsonage site of Henry Ludeking, on which the buildings were erected in the northwest corner of section17, and for a school and a cemetery of George Becker in the southeast quarter of section 7. A picture of the church accompanies this article. The first pastor called from the seminary at Sheboygan, was Rev. L. C. Kunst, serving the congregation from July, 1895 to May, 1903. The second pastor was Rev. Julius Gaenge, serving from July, 1907 to June, 1908. The third was called in Sept. 1908, and served them till this date, March, 1913. The congregation flourished from the time of its beginning, and has a bright future. It now numbers 190 communicant members, and contributes freely toward all missionary and benevolent purposes. Already their present church edifice is becoming too small for them, and there is talk of erecting a more appropriate building for their needs in the future. (We are indebted to the retiring pastor, Rev. Edward Vornholt, now about leaving for a new field, for the data regarding this church.)
The Bethlehem church of Ludlow township (Presbyterian), filed its articles of incorporation on November 4, 1898, the trustees then being August Klein, Simon Nagel, and Edward Bechtel, and a church was built on the north line of section 27. Rev. H. F. Sinning is the pastor of this church.
The formal organization of this township was accomplished on the first day of April, 1852, but we are as much in the dark as to the officers elected here as in the other townships. We quote from Judge Dean:
At the March term, 1852, of the County Court, held at Columbus, the legal voters in Township 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 Divine 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.
Makee Ridge, as it was afterwards called, had among her early settlers a large per cent from Maine, and being shrewd, prudent and enterprising Yankees they soon grubbed out, fenced in, broke up, and cultivated farms, built themselves frame houses which they painted white, made a turnpike road through the village one mile in length and were so far ahead of the surrounding country in style and improvements that they soon were dubbed by the settlers who came in from Hoosierdom, with the sobriquet of Nobscotters, and the ridge with the name of Penobscot, and this name like the lingering fragrance of the faded rose hangs round them still.
It has been established that Thos. A. Minard and C. J. White were the first justices of the peace in the township.
The first log cabin in Makee township was built by Patrick Keenan in 1848, where the county farm now is (southeast quarter of section8), as related in the chapter on the pioneers. The second a mile and a half east of Waukon by Prosser Whaley in 49; and the third, or about the same time, the Shattuck cabin on the site of the future Waukon.
The first school was taught by L. W. Hersey in the fall of 1853, in the log cabin built by Azel Pratt for a dwelling in the fall of 1850, he meanwhile having built a frame dwelling in 53. Mr. Hersey was followed by F. M. Clark, in the same house, with such pupils as Hersey and John Pratt, Lib Bearce and others. Mr. Clark was the eldest son of John T. Clark, the pioneer lawyer, and he was engaged in business in Waukon later, and in other towns, finally establishing himself in a banking business at Lime Springs, where he died but a few years ago. About the time of this school Mr. D. D. Doe taught for a while in a log hut east of Waukon. He was later a prominent business man in Waukon, where he built the fine residence in the east part of town that was in later years the home of G. W. Hays for a long time. Mr. Doe then went to Lansing where he resided until his death. His daughter married Mr. Dick Haney, of Lansing, who went to South Dakota and was until quite recently a member of the Supreme Bench of that state.
In the summer of 1854 the Makee schoolhouse was built, the first one in the township; but before it was fully enclosed came the great hail storm and tornado which moved it a few feet from it foundation; and we may add, entirely destroyed the crops which had been put in, in that vicinity. This was a good sized frame building, with a steeple. It served its purpose for half a century, until replaced by the present brick schoolhouse erected in 1905. The first school in this old house was taught by Eugene K. Barnett, in the winter of 1854-5.
The Makee postoffice established in 1852 on the opposite side of the road, to the west of this schoolhouse, was discontinued sometime in the sixties, and about that time a postoffice was established in the northeast corner of the township called Lycurgus. This was discontinued in January, 1868, but was reopened two years later at the house of C. O. Howard, on section 8. Later it was removed to its former location, about 1872, in charge of Chas. Nees, in connection with his store and hotel. Since his death Mrs. Nees had continued the business at the old homestead, and kept the postoffice until the introduction of the rural delivery system a few years ago.
C. O. Howard and his brother Alvin G., with their aged father Azel, came to the ridge in the early fifties. The father died many years ago. C. O. Built the first elevator in Waukon upon the advent of the railroad in 1877, and continued a prominent business man here until his death in 1904. A. G. Went to Nebraska, in 1883, and after 1905 made his home with his son, Willis, at Clarkston, Washington, where his wife died, but he remains well-preserved in his eighty-ninth year.
The St. Marys Catholic church at Lycurgus was established at an early time, and was presided over for many years by Father M. K. Norton, now in charge of the Waukon parish. They have a very fine property, but the edifice, which was of stone, had became insufficient for the needs of the community, and has this spring of 1913 been razed to make place for a fine new structure which which has been contracted at a cost of some $20,000. The plans call for a building of mission design, with a superstructure of hollow tile and pebble dash, a tile roof and trimmings of copper. This church organization became duly incorporated December 11, 1911, with Rev. T. R. Campbell pastor, and Peter Plein and Patrick Whalen lay directors, associated with Archbishop Keane and Vicar General Roger Ryan composing the board. Rev. Father McNamara is the present pastor.
Of the earliest settlers in this township the following took government land in 1850 and 1851, possibly some of them in 1849, viz: John A. Wakefield, north part of section 2, whose biography appears on another page. Hugh Norton later owned this farm. The stone schoolhouse on this farm was built in 1868. Wm. M. Dibble took the northeast northwest section 19, in 1850, but soon sold to W. R. Pottle and he to Alvin G. Howard, who lived there many years. It is now the Kasser home. Abram L. Bush, southwest quarter section 20, 1850: Gunder Hanson, northeast quarter section 22, 1850; Charles Krieger and Andrew Kosbau, sections 32 and 33: C. J. White, section 20; Knudt Knudtson, section 15; Landolin Haas, Section 3; A. J. Hersey, section 7, 1851, Geo. W. Randall, section 9; Moses D. Bush, northeast southwest and Richard B. Charles northwest southwest section 19; Uriah Whaley, section 27; Thos. A. Minard, sections 29 and 32; Samuel M. Stevens, northeast quarter section 29; David Whaley sections 19 and 30, north of fair grounds, a little log house he built was standing until a few years ago; Wm. Niblock, section 33.
The following took school lands, in or previous to 1854, and the date of settlement is difficult to ascertain. Some of them were here in 1851. Jacob Marti section 1 and 2; Allen and Job Blanchard, C. J. White, Halvor Peterson, Jehial Johnson, Halvor Oleson, Chas. Paulk, Jas. B. Conway, Enoch Jones, Wm. Escher, Henry Ruegemeier; also Chas. Drawis, L. J. Nichols, Wm. And Joseph Burton bought lands.
The very earliest settlers, including Prosser and Archa Whaley, the Pratts and Herseys and others, are mentioned more particularly in another chapter. Jackson Gould settled what has recently been the Fourt farm, northwest section 19.
The iron lands on section 17 were entered from the government by Frost Gerry, in June, 1852, and were sold to A. H. Hersey in the January following. The main portion of them composed the Stoddard farm, from 56 to 62 owned by N. Taylor and G. W. Stoddard. Dinah Randall owned this a short time, then Geo. W. Hays for three years, who sold to Geo. Griswold, and he to John M. Barthell in 1875, who owned it during the prospecting and development of the mines.
The population of Makee township was 470 at the first enumeration in 1854. It was 811 exclusive of the city of Waukon, by the 1910 census.
The township officers ain 1913 are: Clerk, F. E. Kelley; trustees, Chas. Johnson, Robert Connor, and W. H. Ebendorf; assessor, Fred Hansmeier; justices, T. T. Ericson and P. J. Quillan; constables, D. R. Walker and Scott Jones.
PAINT CREEK TOWNSHIP
The township was organized under an order of the County court in April, 1852, Mr. James Bryson, Sr., being appointed commissioner; but not until the December 1853 term were its boundaries officially designated, it being taken from Taylor township. Two election had been held prior to this, however. It was rapidly settled up in the meantime, so that by the enumeration in 1854 its population is given at 414. The census of 1910 shows 881. By action of the court its name was on May 7, 1855, changed to Waterville, but two years later, March 2, 1857, the first name was restored. The following account of its settlement is copied from an article prepared by John S. Bryson in 1880, with additional matter from a family history he later wrote, which was printed in a booklet for private distribution in 1901.
On the morning of the 8th of May, 1850, James Bryson and family arrived at what was then called McGregors landing, now the city of McGregor, with teams and baggage, and at once started for Garnavillo, the county seat of Clayton county, seeking a home. After resting here two days, they, in company with part of Robert Moores family, who had made a claim on Paint creek, started for Allamakee county, following the trail via what is now Monona, then called Sodom (inconsequence of its whiskey trade with the Indians), then down Hickory creek to Clarks ford on the Yellow river, then north to the old stake in Jefferson township, now the farm owned by Elias Pettit, and a short distance east of his house, and down on to Paint creek, where they camped May 11, 1850.
Mr. Bryson located on section 17 and 18, where Thomas and Robert Moore and John Graham had made claims about nine months previous, while the Indians were yet camped there for their winters hunt, this being a favorite hunting and camping place for them. They were gone when the Bryson family came in, but the skeletons of their wigwams remained, and the brands and ashes of their campfires showed that the new settlers occupied as the departed.
Five of the wigwams, or teepees stood close by the finest spring on Paint creek, this spring was covered with a blanket of moss from two to six inches thick, showing that it had been a camping spot for a long time, and the wild deer dare not come to eat the moss, but they did the winter following. We cleared the most of this off the head of the springs, and the water boiled up from ten to twelve inches, flowing over the beautiful green moss as clear as crystal, and as cold as if it came through a mountain of ice.
We found here many flint arrow heads, two tomahawks or hatchets, one dead Indian pony, and many buffalo and elk horns.
The Indians had for years dug up the wild sod in the valley in patches, and raised a crop of what might be called squaw corn, but we broke the first sod on what is now Paint creek on the 15th of May, 1850.
We broke patches on each claim to secure them. Settlers came in fast on our trail all summer. We put up a log house 14 by 18, a store-house 8 by 12, and a pit on the hillside for potatoes, but it was too late for other crops. There was plenty of game, some fish, and wild deer were very plentiful. There were wolves, bears, and even panthers.
The Government put the land into market at $1.25 per acre about the first of October following, and found us with more claimed than we had money to pay for, but Mr. Wm. H. Morrison, who lived near the mouth of the creek, having been appointed agent to select a portion of the 500,000 acres granted by the general government to Iowa for school purposes, came around and we entered our claim as school land; this helped us as well as many more poor settlers by giving us time to get the money and make our payments without submitting to the extortion of the land sharks, as the settlers called those who speculated in land and reaped a rich harvest, at the expense of the hard-working pioneer.
In the summer of 1850, a large number of Norwegians came in from Wisconsin and settled on the Prairie north of the creek, among whom were Swen Enderson Hesla, Ole O. Storla, Ole Grimsgaard, Thomas Anderson, Lars Knudtson, Nels Tollefson, Ole Severson, Bennett Hermanson, who lived in their canvas covered wagon until they could build something to get into, and the most of these families are well-to-do farmers in Paint Creek today.
Theodore and William Moose and William McCoy came in about the same time. James R. Conway, Reuben Sencebaugh, and others came in very soon after and settled on the south side of the creek. In the summer of 1850, a family named Ellis from Linn county, Iowa, came in and selected mill sites on the creek, which were kept running all winter, cracking corn for all who came. The buhrs stood out of doors all winter, and the next spring-1852-they were inclosed, and a small bolt made of book muslin, was attached for making buckwheat flour. Then we lived sumptuously, substituting buckwheat cakes and wild honey for our former diet of pork and corn dodger, and people came from all quarters with their little grists, and in all sorts of conveyances, some from what is now Waukon, some from the Iowa river. It was here I first met Scott Shattuck, late form California, and when I first saw him he held in one hand a piece of raw pickled pork and corn dodger, and in the other hand a large knife with which he was cutting alternate slices of each for his luncheon. This was the first gristmill ever built in the county, if ti had capacity enough to be called a mill. I ran this mill the most of the time the first eight months. Not long after this Nathaniel Beebe commenced getting out timber for what is now known as the Waterville mill, and later Colonel Spooner and Mr. Carpenter came in and joined him, and the mill was built and started in the winter of 1854 and 1855. They also opened a store in the spring of 1855 near the mill. In the spring of 1851, Thomas B. Twiford, of county seat notoriety, and Wm. McCoy built the Thomas Ellis sawmill above where Beumers mill now stands, and it did a good business until 1860.
By this time many settlers had come in, the Norwegians generally settling on the north side of the creek, the Irish on the south side, with a few Americans and other nationalities sprinkled in and among them, but the large per cent. of settlers were of foreign birth.
The first winter we boys learned to split rails, William, James, and I * * * and for three winters between 1853 and 56 we fenced in forty acres each winter. It took two thousand two hundred and fifty rails and six hundred and fifty stakes. We raised hogs and chickens and got good prices the first three years, In the fall, winter and spring of 52-3 I worked out six months for ten dollars per month, and then four months at twelve dollars. My object was to get one hundred dollars to go to Dubuque and enter eighty acres of land, but before I got my money the land was taken. Just then a man came along with forty sheep and a lamb, trying to peddle them, but no one had money. He asked from four to five dollars each for them. I offered him my hundred dollars for them and in a few days he took my offer. The next spring I had a flock of eighty sheep and lambs and had sold eight at six dollars each. The Norwegian women came to buy wool, offering thirty to forty cents for it. They took large quantities to spin into stocking yarn on shares. I sold the yarn at one dollar per pound. The next year I had sixty-five lambs. I now sold enough wool and sheep to raise three hundred dollars which I paid to Sturm on my land, and had plenty of sheep left * * * He made me a deed for the land, and we all felt relieved and rejoiced for we had accomplished our purpose of each getting a farm. Our market to the new comers was about gone, and we had to seek a market for shipments.
The county records fail to show when the township was organized by the election of township officers, but there is an entry in them dated December term, 1853, as follows: Paint Creek township was organized so as to conform to the congressional township of town 97, range 4. The trustees gave the township its present name, and the township records show the first election to be held in Riley Ellis mill, where the corn cracker was, August, 1852, James Bryson, George Watkins and Reuben Sencebaugh being judges of election, and William McCoy and Thomas G. Ellis were the clerks. The trustees appointed William McCoy township clerk. These are the earliest dates our records show.
The next election was held on the first Tuesday in November, 1852, and was the presidential election. The third election was on the fourth of April, 1853, and is the first record I find of the election of township officers. Being for trustees: James Bryson, Andrew Mitchell and Reuben Sencebaugh; for township clerk, William McCoy; for assessor, James Bryson; for constables, John Bryson and John Stull; for justices of the peace, James Bryson; for constables, John Bryson and John Stull; for justices of the peace, James Bryson and Reuben Sencebaugh. At this election there were cast for county seat fifty-eight votes, of which Columbus had forth-nine and Waukon nine. The trustees held two meetings in the winter of 1852-3, one to appraise and divide section 16, and the other to divide the township into road districts, doing this work so well that the districts remain the same to this date.
In 1856 Mr. James Beebe built a large frame hotel in Waterville, capable of accommodating all the guests that a town of one thousand inhabitants would furnish, but it failed for want of patronage, and its builder is now in New Mexico (1880). In 1857 was organized in this hotel the Prairie du Chien & Mankato Railroad Company, with the Hon. J. T. Clark, now of Postville, for president. The object of this company was to build a railroad from the Mississippi at Johnsonsport, connecting there with the railroad from Prairie du Chien, and running up the creek to Waukon, thence west to Calmar, and on to Austin and Mankato, Minnesota. Engineer Wm. W. Hungerford was the active man in the enterprise and devoted considerable time to it, making surveys and locating the line from the starting point on the river to the state line in Howard county. Most of the resident right-of-way on the entire line was secured, and about forty thousand dollars in subscriptions and donations to the capital stock, the design being to donated this to the railroad company running into Prairie du Chien if they would extend their line across the river and over the route. The enterprise failed, the extension being made via Bloody Run and Monona, in Clayton county.
In the spring of 1857, Spooner and Beebe started at Waterville the first tannery ever built in the county. They purchased a recipe for tanning with japonica, using it with hot liquor, thus tanning the hides in a few days so that they could put them on the market and get returns very much quicker than by the old way of tanbark and cold water. They ran their business about two years, but not proving profitable they abandoned it.
To return to the family experiences:
By 1860 we had actually made and put up six miles of fence, fourteen rails to the rod and four stakes. During these years William, James and myself did most all of this work. Father generally took us to our work early in the morning and took a load of rails home. We had our dinner with us, warming our coffee at a big fire. We walked home in the evening, about four miles; mother always had a good supper waiting for us and we had good appetites for it. As soon as supper was over mother cleared the table of dishes and put on the Bible, newspapers and magazines, and we took turns reading aloud. While one was reading the others were patching boots, fixing ax handles, churning, or doing other little jobs, but all listening. Rossville had a postoffice and mail was received two or three times a week. By reading so much we were posted on the questions that then stirred the country, the slavery question, mormonism, and temperance. Father and I voted for John C. Fremont in 1856, and for Abraham Lincoln in 1860 * * * At this time the people were greatly excited over attempts to open all new territory to slavery, the Mason and Dixons line, squatter sovereignty, the Nebraska bill, the Kansas border ruffian war, the Douglas and Lincoln canvass and the election of Lincoln in 1860.
In 1861 the firing on Fort Sumter aroused the Nation, and James and Alexander both decided to enlist. James, in company with Dr. Barnes raised a company of 130 men. Not being accepted the company was disbanded in June. James reported to Governor Kirkwood and was commissioned in the State service and remained in that service until mustered into the United States service with Company I, 27th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in August 1862. Alexander had a bad accident to his leg, from which he never fully recovered, but he followed his regiment to Vicksburg, was sent back to Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, and discharged. I was then unfit for service not having got over my long sickness, bur during these years I did what I could to
encourage the boys and care for a few of their families. James served to the end of the war, and the history of the 27th Regiment is his war record * * * My father James Bryson died November 30, 1889, at the age of eighty-seven year and three months. (The biography of John S. Bryson, the writer of this sketch, will be found in volume of biographies.-Editor.)
Other settlers who took government or school land in the early fifties were: James Fort, in sections 12 and 26; Lewis Sturm; Chas. Beumer, sections 17, 18 and 33; Lawrence Byrne section 17; Patrick and Edward McGuire, 19; Edward, Patrick and Mathew McCaffrey, 19; Reuben Sencebaugh in 1850, in sections 30,31 and 32; George Watkins in 1850, in section 30; John and Chas. Connery; Charles McKaighney in section 20; Francis McGeough section 28; Thos. Ryan section 28; Peter Cosgrove section 25; N. A., Jeptha and James Beebe, in northeast quarter section 22, present site of Waterville; Wm. R. Ellis, in 22 and 23; James Kavanaugh in 29; Willard green in 33; also Barney McGeough, David Martin, Ole Smeby and three sons, G. C. Lyse (settled at Columbus in 52and here in 54), John and Robert Elliott. Also William Dunn in section 32. A daughter of S. E. Hesla, who settled on section 10 in 1850, was the first girl born in Paint Creek township; she married S. O. Liekvold, and died in January 1902.
This is the sixth town in the county, in size, as well as in order of incorporation. It has grown by force of circumstances, never having been laid out on paper prior to settlement, for speculative purposes. Therefore it does not show the regularity of a premeditated plat, and is not subdivided into blocks. The lots were sold off by the owners one at a time, to prospective builders as needed, and were platted as land lots instead of town lots, and of varying size and irregular shape, according to the requirements of the purchasers and the contour of the land.
The beginnings of Waterville were in the building of the Riley Ellis grist mill, or corn cracker, a half mile below the present post office, in 1850. In 1853 Mr. Jeptha Beebe bought out this rude mill and improved it, and put in a sawmill the same year. The next year, 1854, Nathaniel Beebe built a grist mill for flour, since known as the Waterville Mill, in the present village, in which Jeptha Beebe took an interest, but sold his interest the same year to Col. Jeduthan Spooner, continuing himself to run the saw mill. The three forties covering the site of Waterville were bought of the school fund by Nathaniel A., James and Jeptha Beebe, being the northeast of the northeast, the northwest of the northeast, and the southwest of the northeast, respectively, of section 22, and they sold an interest to Colonel Spooner and D. P. Carpenter, who made arrangements for opening a store. Colonel Spooner returned to the east in the fall, but in May, 55, came on again with a stock of goods, which he opened up in partnership with carpenter.
In 1856 James Beebe erected a large frame hotel, the prospect at that time being very promising for the future growth of the town, possessing three good water powers, and there being a strong probability of the early construction of a railroad along the Paint Creek valley, which was not realized however until twenty years later. A post office was established here in 1856. The store and mill of Messrs. Spooner, Beebe and Carpenter made this village for a time one of the most active places in the county, until the collapse of the railroad project and growth of Waukon, where a steam mill was built, as well as the building of a steam mill at Rossville, combined to detract from its importance. In 1857, Spooner and Beebe started a tannery here, also. Soon after this Mr. Spooners son, who assisted him in his varied business, died, and Colonel Spooner removed to Lansing, and later to Waukon, where he resided until his death, which occurred March 10, 1867. He was an able and influential man, highly respected by all who knew him.
Mr. Jeptha Beebe sold his interest here to his brother. N. A. Beebe, in 1857, and purchased a farm two miles and a half west of Rossville. Soon after he engaged as contractor of a stage line from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, to Chatfield, Minnesota. The route being discontinued in 1858, by order of James Buchanan, through the postmaster general, left him with a large amount of stage property on his hands, which he then took to Kansas, and securing another stage line soon after traded his interest for a steam saw mill some fifteen miles south from Topeka, which took fire and was burned in 1860 with quite an amount of lumber and logs, all being a total loss. He rebuilt the mill and sold to other parties, and came back to Allamakee county and rented the saw mill at Waterville one year, then rented a farm near Rossville for one year, and then bought a saw mill on Yellow river, which he ran till 1867, then sold out and turned his attention to farming. In the spring of 1869 he purchased a farm near Waukon, where he continued to reside until about 1905, when he went to California, where he died January 13, 1907. Mr. Beebe was a leader of the Greenback party in the county during the activity of that party.
Daniel P. Carpenter, the associate of Colonel Spooner in the business at Waterville, continued to live in Allamakee county a number of years, but eventually removed to Missouri, where his death occurred in 1882, at the age of eighty-two. His son, W. W. Carpenter, was an assistant of his father and Colonel Spooner in the fifties. He enlisted in 1861 in Dr. Barnes Co. K, First Iowa Cavalry, and served through the war, being promoted first lieutenant. He is now, at eighty, still an active citizen of Ashland, Oregon. His son and namesake, W. W., is a long time and well known resident of Waukon.
The Waterville Mill changed hands many times, and had its periods of alternating prosperity and discouragement. Mr. John Thomas operated it in 1872, and later A. J. Diesen, who leased it to Ed Neudeck in 1877. It passed into the possession of V. H. Stevens later, and was finally run as a saw mill only.
With the construction of the Waukon & Mississippi Railroad in 1877 Waterville took on new life, Mr. Vic H. Stevens, in company with Mr. J. H. Hale of Waukon, erected a large store and dwelling which became the railroad station, express and telegraph office combined, and has so continued until this time. For many years Mr. Stevens was the agent, as well as postmaster, and handled a variety of other business enterprises successfully. In course of time he bought out Mr. Hales interest, and acquired considerable of the land in and about the village. He became interested in telephones, inaugurated a local system, and was the prime mover in organizing the Standard Telephone Co., now operating throughout this corner of the state and in Southeastern Minnesota. Eventually he branched out further and became president of the Interstate Telephone Co., and took up his residence in Dubuque. He retained his business interests in Waterville, however, with Mr. G. Pederson as a partner, who has for many years conducted the affairs of the store, railroad and postoffice, with great popularity and success. (Mr. J. O. Jeglum was postmaster for a time about 1892.) Mr. Stevens a few years ago started a new town called Gregory, in South Dakota, and continued to prosper until his sudden death within the past year.
With the advent of the railroad a grain warehouse was built and operated by Mr. McMichael of Lansing, and immediately commanded a large business. Other business establishments soon followed, and the village thrived generally. Of recent years M. J. Hart has taken a leading part in the local affairs, engaged in handling grain and other produce, and live stock. Others now in business here comprise the following:
Waterville Bottling Works.
Waterville Savings Bank.
Farmers Cooperative Creamery Co.
John Anderson, blacksmith.
Asleson & Anderson, implements.
J. T. Bjerke, feed mill.
A. J. Cole, restaurant.
A. J. Ellefson, hardware.
A. M. Fellows (of Lansing), lumber
S. K. Kolsrud, general merchandise.
Gabriel Pederson & Co., clothing, etc.
Henry Sieg, furniture and undertaking.
Herman Sorenson, furniture.
Spinner Brothers, general merchandise,
Postmaster, Gabriel Pederson. (Rural routes to Elon and Ion.)
Early in 1912 the leading citizens of Waterville desiring to obtain for their community the advantages of an incorporated town, presented to the District court a petition April 2, 1912, asking for the incorporation of a tract described as follows: commencing at a point 20 chains east of the common corner of sections 15,16,21 and 22, township 97, range 4; thence east 20 chains to quarter corner, north 10 chains on quarter line, east 20 chains to eighth line, south 24 chains on eighth line, east 20 chains to section line, south on section line 36 chains, west 20 chains to eighth line, north on eighth line 20 chains, west 40 chains to eighth line, north on eighth line 30 chains to place of beginning; containing 212 acres, and a population of 130. The court appointed the following commissioners to hold an election, viz: A. C. Grimsgard, A. J. Ellefson, G. Pederson, J. A. Anderson and M. J. Hart. The election was held in Harmony Hall May 4, 1912, resulting in 31 votes for incorporation and 5 votes against the proposition. An election was then held, June 8, 1912, for town officers, the following being elected: Mayor, M. J. Hart: Clerk, Joe Bjerke; Treasurer, Peter Arneson; Assessor, A. Asleson; Councilmen, J. A. Anderson, B. J. Dillon, A. J. Ellefson, Ole Hanson and O. G. Kolsrud.
The court, Judge A. N. Hobson, thereupon decreed the town duly in incorporated and election of officers confirmed.
The first assessment of the corporation, in 1913, showed a valuation for purposes of taxation of $78,584 was real estate. The town marshal of Waterville is A. C. Grimsgard.
The Paint Creek township officers this year are: Clerk, H. A. Hendrickson; Assessor, E. C. Dahl; Trustees, K. T. Gronna, M. T. Jacobson, P. G. Hagen; Justices of the Peace, H. A. Hendrickson and C. A. Robey; Constable, A. C. Grimsgard.
WATERVILLE SAVINGS BANK
This institution was incorporated June 16, 1902, for a term of fifty years, with a capital of $1,000, and the following first officials, viz: O. J. Hager, President; M. J. Hart, Vice President: W. F. Nierling, Cashier; these three and A. T. Nierling and H. F. Opfer, Directors. The present officers are the same, with the exception of cashier, that position now being occupied by Peter Arneson, and the directors are now O. J. Hager, M. J. Hart, A. T. Nierling, H. A. Hendrickson and K. T. Gronna. On February 4, 1913, the capital was increased to $10,000. The report of this bank to the auditor of state April 17, 1913 shows: capital paid up, $20,000; profits on hand, $1,905.78, total deposits, $140,734.57; total assets, $162,640.35
The Paint Creek Farmers Telephone Company was incorporated March 22, 1904, with a capital of $15,000, and officers as follows: President, Wm. Rood; Vice President, J. A. Drogset; Secretary and Treasurer, H. A. Hendrickson; Directors, T. G. Fagrie, P. G. Hagen, E. E. Bakkum, H. G. Hagen and Julius Gruber. The principal officers are now: President, Oliver Dahl; Vice President, Frank Kelleher; Secretary, H. G. Hagen; Treasurer, Peter Arneson.
The Farmers Cooperative Creamery Company of Waterville is a corporation dating from February 14, 1891, the original officers being: President, John A. Drogset; Vice President, H. Larson; Secretary, J. F. Tracy; Treasurer, A. T. Anderson. The company renewed its articles of incorporation February 11, 1911, with a capital the same as at first, $10,000. At present the officers are: President, H. C. Megorden; Vice President, Iver Thorsen; Treasurer, O. S. Helsa; Secretary, J. T. Bjerke; Directors, Arne Grangaard, Theo Pladsen and Geo. A. Lease.
PAINT CREEK CHURCHES
Lutheran-What is now knows as the Old East Paint Creek Norwegian Lutheran Congregation of the United Norwegian Lutheran Church in America is the parent of organization from which have sprung the several other congregations of the Lutheran denomination in this locality as well as in Lansing and Waterville. This congregation was organized in the year 1850 with the following voting members: J. L. Moller, O. Larson, Arne Knudson, Lars Knudson, Halvor Ellefson, Aslag Solverson, Ole Syverson, Osten Pederson, Ole Olson, Ole O. Kaasin, A. O. Bothum, Ole Helgeson, Syver O. Vold, Thomas Anderson, Ole Storlag, Erik Kittelson, Ole Armeson, Nils Botolfson, A. Knudtson, Hans Nilson, Bjorn Hermunson, Kitel Olson, K. K. Hunstad, Syver Hermundson, Nels T. Roe, Ole Knudson, Ole Ellefson, Lars Arneson, Aslag Gulbrandson, Vik Sven Endreson, Sven Olson, Embret Knudson, Mils Nilson, Ole K. Hunstad, Iver Aslagson, Helge Halvorsen.
The first birth on the records of the congregation is that of Knud A. Knudson, July 13, 1850. The first marriage was solemnized July 18, 1852, Helge Olson and Miss Ragnhild Halvorsen. Our early settlers must have been unusually healthful, as the first death recorded occurred over six years after the organization of the congregation, March 7, 1857, the deceased being a child of less than two years old, by name Mathea Halvorsen.
At the very beginning of its existence this congregation went to work and secured eighty acres of land on which to erect a church and parsonage, being the same land on which they now stand. The first church erected, in the early fifties, was a log building, in which public worship was conducted until 1869, when the present stone edifice took its place.
The following ministers have served this congregation: Revs. Magelson and Brandt until 1853; Dr. N. F. Koren, 1853-63; O. J. Hjort, 1863-79; C. Stoltz, 1879-80; H. A. Hartmann, 1880-95; C. J. M. Gronlid, the present incumbent, has served since 1895.
L. S. Guttebo is the pastor of the East and West Paint Creek Lutheran Synod churches.
The Lutheran Church Association of Waterville was incorporated April 18, 1906, by members of the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Old East Paint Creek and the Old Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Church of West Paint Creek, with the following officers: President, Peter Arenson; Secretary, Ole Hanson; Treasurer, O. G. Kolsrud; Trustees, Olaf Oleson, J. M. Siem and Gustav Ellefson.
Catholic-The date of organization of the old Cherry Mound church, on the Linton township line, was in the fifties, about the time of that at Lansing. We have not been able to ascertain the names of those who have served as pastor there. It became incorporated under the Iowa statutes December 4, 1911, as St. Pius Church of Waterville, with Rev. John Hehir as pastor, then as now, and vice president of the corporation, Archbishop, James J. Kean being ex officio president Joseph Geller and James Slattery were the lay members of the board of directors.
Baptist - There is no Baptist church in the township at this time, but in 1860 such a church was organized, with eleven members. This church was no further report after that year. However, in 1862 another new church was reported organized at Paint Creek, with a membership of fourteen, of whom nine were baptized during that year. In 1865 this church was reported extinct also, the members who had not removed probably changing their membership to the Rossville church.
The present schoolhouse at Waterville, was built about the year 1886, but we are without data as to the first school at this place. With the increasing enrollment it was deemed necessary to have a larger and more modern building here, and an election was held March 10, 1913, on the question of issuing bonds for theat purpose, at which the women turned out to vote also, as is their privilege, the result being in favor of the new building by 62 to 33, the womens vote being 25 for and 13 against the proposition. It is contemplated to erect a two-room building, constructed of roc-faced cement blocks manufactured at Lansing.
The officers of the Waterville district are: President, Jacob Anderson; Secretary, Adolph Asleson; Treasurer, Peter Arneson.
Waterville Camp No. 3470, M. W. A., was organized January 8, 1896, with sixteen charter members, viz: A. Asleson, B. M. Bottolfson, Ed Gaynor, H. A. Hendrickson, Halvor Larson, Harold Hanson, H. H. Larson, Dr. S. C. Myers, Alfred Pederson, G. Pederson, J. J. Kaveny, Jonas Siem, Ole Storla, Carl Spinner, Martin Stromme, Vic H. Stevens, of whom seven are still members of this camp. The first officers were: Venerable Consul, Martin Stromme; Worthy Advisor, V. H. Stevens; Banker, C. A. Spinner; Clerk, B. M. Bottolfson; Escort, G. Pederson; Watchman, J. Siem; Sentry, A. Asleson.
The present membership of the camp is ^3,56 beneficial and 7 social; and the total insurance now carried is $74,500.00. During the seventeen years the camp has been in existence four members have died, three of them by accidents. The official roster now is: Venerable Consul, M. J. Kelly; Worth Advisor, G. Pederson; Banker, A. C. Grimsgard; Clerk, J. A. Anderson; Escort, A. J. Ellefson; Physician, B. J. Dillon, M. D.
~transcribed by Diana Diedrich
(pages 269 & 279 have photos & pages 270 & 280 are blank)
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