Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

Chapter 21

History of Lansing
Past & Present of Allamakee County, 1913

The Churches - The Press - Financial Institutions - Fraternal Societies
Postoffice - Public Library - Military Company


THE CHURCHES (page 430-439)


Tradition says “ the first public religious service held in Lansing was conducted by Reverend Mann in a log cabin on Front street, then the home of John Haney, Sr., in the winter of 1848-49.” Uncle Elisha Warner, of Prairie du Chien, often came to Lansing to minister to the people. In 1851 Lansing was included in the Yellow river circuit, and Alfred Bishop and wife sent to this circuit. He was returned for the second year and in 1852 the name of the circuit changed to “Lansing Mission.” It had nine appointments, including Monona, Pleasant Ridge, Old Mission, Hardin, Miner School House, Postville and Old Stake. He soon added Freeport, Decorah and Burr Oak and others, until when he left there were twenty-three appointments, forming a circuit of three hundred or more miles, and requiring three weeks to go around, being at home but two nights in the three weeks. Services were held in private houses, over stores, and in the schoolhouse where one was built.

The first class in Lansing was organized June 13, 1852, consisting of: Benjamin Pilcher, leader; Emogene Pilcher, Robt. . Stevenson, Caroline Stevenson, Samuel McNutt, Olive E. McNutt, George Battles, Abel Prichard. In 1853 L. S. Ashbaugh was sent to the circuit, and next year John W. Webb. From 1855 to ‘57 Lansing was dropped from the circuit. During this time H. W. Houghton came to Lansing and served as class leader and preacher. The old church, 20x30 feet, was built in 1857, and in 1860 or ‘61 an addition was put on to accommodate the growing congregation. There were about two hundred in the Sunday School. This building later became a private dwelling, on Platt street.

An effort was made to secure a resident pastor. Reverend Houghton preached his farewell sermon August 14, 1859, and went to conference to request that Lansing be made a station and a pastor sent. F. X. Miller, a slender youth, full of energy and spiritual life, was sent and given a salary of $300. A. H. Ames followed in 1860, C. W. Brewer and Elias Skinner in 1861, F. C. Mather in 1862, H. W. Houghton again in 1863, B. D. Alden in 1864. A revival this year doubled the membership of the church.

In 1865 F. C. Wolfe came as pastor’, and this year the present church property was built at a cost of about $3500, and dedicated November 4,1866 by the Rev. A. J. Kynett. In 1867-68 Joseph Redlington was pastor; and in 1869-70, C. F. McLean. In 1871 Matthew Henry Smith, an Englishman. 1872 J. A. Kerr; he was a preacher after the old style, much moving about and much noise. In 1873, J. F. Wilcox. During this year Miss Leonard assisted in special meetings and a large number were converted. Many of them have served well the church and society. The older citizens well remember the remarkable conversion of J. W. Bates, the large-hearted keeper of the Lansing House. In 1874, T. E. Fleming came to his second or third pastorate, afterwards presiding elder. In 1875-76, George Elliott succeeded his friend Fleming. He has since filled some of the first churches in Methodism, at Philadelphia, Washington and First church, Detroit. In 1877, H. W. Pratt, brother of Congressman H. O. Pratt. In 1878, H. W. Houghton was pastor for the third time. He was followed by Thomas Oliver (later the patentee of the Oliver typewriter), and he by D. M. Parker; a student by nature, kind-hearted, spiritual, loved by the people, he remained three years.

In 1883 there was no pastor; R. K. Pierce in ‘84, and again no pastor the next year. 1885, F. T. Heatley from Wisconsin supplied from February to October 1887, H. J. Bowder came for a three years’ pastorate. 1890-91, J. B. Wyatt. 1892, W. A. Allen. 1893-95, E. D. Hall. A revival during the last year materially increased the strength of the church. 1896-97, E. P. Stubbs. 1898, W. G. Crowder, and 1899, D. C. Perry, 1900-01, C. E. Stenson; 1902-94, R. M. Wyant; 1905, S. C. Johnson; 1906, E. R. Langworthy; 1907-08, L. F. Havermale; 1909, W. W. Robinson; 1910, N. F. Norton; 1911, J. C. Warton; 1912, supplied. 1913, Guy Rutherford.

In 1886 New Albin was made a part of the Lansing charge, one pastor serving both places. This continued down to ‘94 when E. D. Hall was given a helper in Squire Heath. Next year the charges were separate. Village Creek has formed a part of the charge for many years, services being held once in two weeks in the schoolhouse, in the afternoon.

The M. E. Church choir was organized in 1858 with Jos. Hoberg leader. Prior to this the few members who worshiped in the little schoolhouse near the park, used the M. E. Hymn book and Mr. Hemenway pitched the tune. In 1858 Rev. Sifford kept a singing school. A little later an organ was purchased, and a choir made up of the following persons: W. D. Morgan, Jos. Hoberg, S. M. Baldwin, C. Selle, A. Wood. Robt. Whitney, Mesdames V. K. Houghton, Georgie Berry, A. H. Woodruff, E. D. Hale, Misses Susan Anthony, Freelove Baldwin, Adeline Baldwin. Lizzie Morgan, organist.


The Congregational church was organized May 16, 1853, by Rev. Timothy Lyman, with the following members: Lorenzo Bushnell, Mrs. Melinda R. Bushnell, Mrs. Louisa Reed, Lyman C. Reed, Mrs. Fanny Haney, and Mrs. Sarah Cowles. The Congregational society was incorporated May 18, ‘54, the incorporators being Timothy Lyman, Jos. I. Gilbert, John Haney, G. W. Gray, John W. Remine, G. W. Hays, F. D. Cowles, T. E. Williams, and S. H. Haines. The first church building erected by the society was occupied in 1854. On March 6, 1877, this was consumed by fire. During the same year, a new and beautifully designed edifice was begun on the old site. The basement intended for Sabbath school purposes and lecture rooms was completed in 1877 and used by the society for several years as its place of worship. The church building, however was never finished for that purpose, and is now known as “Temple Hall.” Revs. T. Lyman, Geo. Bent, D. N. Bordwell, James B. Gilbert, S. H. Canfield, Orlando Clark, A. Graves, P. Litts and C. H. Rogers, in the order named, occupied the position of pastor.


St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal parish was organized August 26, 1855, by Rev. G. W. Watson, of Clinton, Iowa. The wardens were: George W. Barker and J. I. Taylor; vestry, F. D. Cowles, John J. Shaw and T. E. Williams. In May, 1856, F. D. Cowles and J. I. Taylor were appointed delegates to the convention of the Iowa diocese. Rev. James Trimble served the parish for about one year, coming in May, 1856. During this year services were conducted in a schoolhouse. A church was built between ‘59 and ‘61, on Diagonal street. This was opened for worship on Advent Sunday, 1861, and consecrated by Bishop Lee, in 1862. Rev. T. Harker and Doctor Eddy were both connected with the church during this year. Rev. James Bentley preached occasionally from 1858 to ‘61.

July 23, 1862, Rev. W. W. Estabrook, D. D., delivered his first sermon, and was soon after appointed rector. Sunday, January 7, 1866, the church was destroyed by fire. Steps were at once taken to rebuild, and in 1867 a new church built on the corner of Center and Third streets was first occupied, and consecrated by Rt. Rev. H. W. Lee, May 3, 1868. Soon after this, W. W. Estabrook left the parish and was succeeded July 5, 1868, by T. J. Burke, who accepted a call to rectorship in 1869, resigning his charge in the same year. Reverend Allen accepted a call to the rectorship October 9, 1869, and remained about one year. Rev. Charles Canfield officiated for a few months in 1872, since which time services were conducted occasionally by Bishop Lee.

The first couple married in Lansing according to the rites of this church were Homer H. Hemenway and Amanda S. Gray. They were married February 5, 1857, and the witnesses were John Berry, G. W. Gray and Martha T. Haney. Among the early attendants and communicants were: F. D. Cowles and family, Sarah Cowles (widow) and family, Dr. John I. Taylor and family, S. H. Kinne and family, Samuel B. Johnston and family, and H. H. Hemenway and family. Geo W. Camp was secretary of the meeting of citizens called to organize the parish. In March, 1890, the church building was torn down to make place for a dwelling house.


The following historical sketch of this institution is copied from the souvenir printed in 1905 commemorating the Golden Jubilee of Immaculate Conception church and the Silver Jubilee of Very Rev. G. L. Haxmeier as its rector, which were celebrated on June , 1905.

Rev. Father Hoar, who came to Wexford in 1851 assisted the few Catholics of Lansing. Through his efforts Messrs. Haney and Houghton were induced to donate nine lots to the Trappist Monks should they decide to locate here. The Trappists preferring the country at Wexford, did not accept the gift. The lot on which stands the old church-at present used for the Sisters school-was donated by Haney and Houghton.

The Rev. Father Kinsella of Decorah, ministered occasionally to the spiritual wants of the Catholics, saying mass at Quinn’s house. Divine services were also conducted at times at Trayer’s home and Farrell’s house. In 1855, under the direction of Father Welch, then residing at Wexford, the first church was built, dimensions 23x30 feet, Henry Bensch contractor. Father Welch attended beside Wexford and Lansing, the Iowa River, Dorchester, Waukon and Cherry Mound. From 1857 to 1863 Father O’Farrell stopped occasionally at Lansing, he having no permanent residence. Rev. Father Hannon, stationed at Wexford from 1863-66, supplied Lansing during that time. November, 1867, the Rev. Father Louis 66, supplied Lansing during that time. November, 1867, the Rev. Father Louis Cornelis was appointed as resident pastor.

Under Rev. Father Wm. Jacoby’s most zealous and efficient pastorate from September 20, 1868, to March 15, 1877, the congregation was well organized and rapidly grew in numbers. He enlarged, remodeled and decorated the church, furnished the same with pretty alters, costly vestments, an organ and bell. The house west of the church was purchased by him, and later, when the Sisters of St. Francis P. A. Opened the parochial school, also the house east of the vacant lot.

For two years Rev. Father J. Urbany was pastor.

Rev. F. W. Pape was appointed pro tem from January to May, 1880.

Very Rev. G. L. Haxmeier came to Lansing June 5, 1880.

The cornerstone of the new Immaculate Conception church was laid in June, 1885, and the handsome brick edifice stands directly opposite the old church, fronting on Main street, and cost to complete the bare church about $15,000. Its dimensions are: Main body, 80 feet long by 44 feet wide, with tower in front 14x14 feet, surmounted by a spire 140 feet high, and a sanctuary in the rear 22 feet and 6 inches wide by 20 feet long, at either side of which are sacristies. On the patronal feast, December 8, 1886, it was solemnly dedicated. Since dedication a main alter costing $1,000 and two side alters at $175 each, also new pews and a $1,000 pipe organ, have been added to its appointments, and now a $1,200 peal of bells caps the climax and serves as a testimonial of both the Golden Jubilee of the parish and the Silver Jubilee of Very Rev. G. L. Haxmeier as its rector. In 1893 the parsonage was built.

From a very small beginning the congregation now numbers 130 families, aggregating over 600 souls, and has always been noted for its generosity, good will and loyalty to both church and pastor.


The Sisters’ school was started in 1874 by Sisters Alphonsa and Thomasin of the Franciscan order. The former remained in charge for seven years. The school was first held in the basement of the church on North street, the younger children being taught at the Sister’s house. At one time there were five Sisters here, a teacher of fancy work, a music teacher, two school teachers and the house sister or Mother Superior. After the new church was built, the school was removed to the main floor of the old church where two commodious rooms were fitted up with all the necessities and conveniences of a schoolroom. Over one hundred pupils are enrolled in charge of Sisters Ambrose and Athanasia. Sister Lidwinia, the Mother Superior, has been in charge for twenty years. Sister Alphonsa died at the convent in LaCrosse a few years ago.

The children of this school received a diploma, for the excellence of their work in drawing, at the World’s Fair in 1893. Much credit is due Very Rev. Father Haxmeier for the growth and prosperity of the school.

Upon coming to Lansing Rev. Father Haxmeier had charge also of St. Joseph’s church at New Albin, which he visited once a month until 1903. Lack of space forbids a recount here of all that Very Rev. Haxmeier has accomplished during the quarter of a century at Immaculate Conception and the twenty odd years that he guided the destinies of St. Joseph’s. Suffice to say that combining as he does great business ability with sterling priestly qualities, his pastorage has been most successful, and that he is acknowledge by all, regardless of creed or nationality, as a man who honors his high and holy calling and who has the love and respect of the whole community. In April, 1905, he was made an irremovable rector. His parishioners are devotedly attached to him, and hope that he will remain with them for many years to carry on the great work entrusted to his care.

The Immaculate Conception church of Lansing was formally incorporated November 16, 1911, Archbishop James J. Keane, ex-officio president, Rt. Rev. Roger Ryan, vicar general, Rev. G. L. Haxmeier, pastor, and Gustav M. Kerndt and Devillo A. Holmes constitution the board of directors.


In the spring and summer of 1865 frequent visits were made to Lansing by the Rev. James Frothingham, then settled in Caledonia, Minnesota. These visits resulted in the organization of a Presbyterian church. Mr. Frothingham, assisted by Elder Eben S. Albert, of Mt. Hope church, effected the organization Sunday, June 18, 1865. The services were conducted in the Episcopal church edifice on Diagonal street, subsequently destroyed by fire. The following persons presented certificates of membership and letters of dismission: Eben T. Albert, Mrs. Jane Albert, Sarah and Elizabeth Albert, and Mrs. Margaret Ratcliffe, from Mt. Hope church, Allamakee county, Iowa; James and Jane Logan, Mrs. Annie Stafford, Miss Helen Gilchrist, Miss Rachael Elmendorf, and Mrs. G. W. Hays, from other churches. Mr. A. W. Purdy, Mrs. Delia Delevan Purdy, and Mrs. Margaretta Macbay were admitted on confession of faith. These persons were formally declared organized as a church, and Mr. M. E. Albert was chosen ruling elder.

A meeting of the regular attendants on the services of the church was held in the parlor of the American House, on Monday evening, May 7, 1866, for the purpose of organizing a church society. A committee of three was appointed to draft a constitution and by-laws for the society, in order to a proper incorporation. The committee consisted of Rev. James Frothingham, M. M. Wester, and Cyrus Watts. At a subsequent meeting held at the same place, the committee reported a constitution and by-laws, which were adopted. Articles of incorporation were duly adopted and recorded soon after this, and a church society duly organized according to the laws of Iowa and the Presbyterian church, to be known as the First Presbyterian church of Lansing. The first trustees were: Amos W. Purdy, Eben T. Albert, and William C. Macbay. February 7, 1867, these gentlemen were reelected, Mr. Purdy for three years, Mr. Albert for two, and Mr. Macbay for one. January 6, 1868, the term of service of W. C. Macbay having expired, A. H. Woodruff was chosen trustee. Mr. E.. T. Albert was reelected in January, 1869. At the annual meeting of the society, held January 3, 1870, the method of electing trustees was changed, the changed by-law providing that three trustees should be annually chosen to serv for one year each. At this meeting E. T. Albert and A. H. Woodruff resigned. The term of A. W. Purdy expired. An election of trustees according to the new method resulted in the choice of Cyrus Watts, George D. Purdy and G. A. Rockwell.

In January, 1871, Cyrus Watts, S. O. Smith and George Albert were chosen trustees. W. H. Burford, G. A. Rockwell and Cyrus Watts were trustees in 1872. Dr. N. S. Craig, C. T. Hart and Joseph Smith in 1873. Starr Rockwell, Geo. W. Albert, J. W. Thomas, M. McCormick, H. H. Hemenway, James Ruth, Jas. M. Thomson, Earl M. Woodward, and H. J. Frothingham, were other trustees down to 1882.

August 3, 1889, Rev. James Frothingham requested that the pastoral relation be dissolved, on account of ill health; and as it seemed a necessity to the pastor the congregation concurred. A farewell reception was given him at the residence of J. W. Thomas, September 3, 1879, at which resolutions of the church were read expressing the regret and sorrow of the church and congregation at the loss thus sustained.

July 4, 1866, ground was broken for the erection of a house of worship, on North Third street, and it was occupied the following winter. It is constructed of brick, will seat about three hundred persons, is nicely furnished and in all respects a most pleasant place of public worship. The first meeting in the church was held January 31, 1867, and the first Sabbath service February 3d following. A fine pipe organ was place in the church in 1882. And about 1897 stained glass windows were put in, and other improvements made. Heating furnace and electric lighting have also been added.

Rev. Charles E. Schaible occupied the pulpit from October 16, 1879 until November 1, 1881, part of the time as stated supply and the balance as pastor. He was followed by Rev. Joseph Gaston, who began his labors January 1, 1882, remaining until 1883. Rev. A. L. Hutchison acted as stated supply from 1883 to April 21, 1886, when he was installed as pastor. During this time the manse was erected on the corner of Third and Center streets. August 17, 1891, Rev. Hutchinson resigned, and during the period until February 6, 1893, the pulpit was occupied by stated supply, Reverend Robinson and Reverend Bristol. At that date Rev. J. R. McGlade was called, remaining on the field until February, 1898, when Rev. John Cooper came. He was followed by A. P. Cooper in 1903; Joseph Z. Favire, 1905; John P. Engstrom, 1906; Robert Bradley, 1910 to 1912; F. W. Pease, 1913-


The Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran church of Lansing was organized on the 12th of June, 1867, with O. J. Hjort, pastor. The first officers of the congregation were S. Arntson, president; N. A. Nelson, secretary. In October, 1868, the congregation bought the lot on which they in 1872 erected their house of worship, and were served by Rev. O. J. Hjort until his death in 1880. He was followed by Rev. H. A. Hartman, who left for Norway in 1895, since which time Rev. C. J. M. Gronlid has been their pastor.

A bell for the church was purchased by the efforts of the young ladies of the Luther League and hung in 1901. This society was organized May 15, 1897.

The board of trustees of this church is composed of N. A. Nelson, president; C. O. Rud, secretary; Ole L. Moe, treasurer; Nels Larson; and Louis Reppe.


In 1860 the brethren Hammeter and Seder visited some of the Germans living in and about Lansing, and being welcomed among them began to preach here. In 1862 the Lansing Mission was organized and served by the Rev. C. Lahr, who continued the work for two years.

In 1864 Columbus Ridge work was taken from the Decorah Mission and given the Lansing Mission, making thirty-six members, served by Rev. Luter. The work was in charge of Rev. A. Strojmeier during 1865. The following two years Rev. C. Escher, now sainted, served as missionary with good results.

In 1868 the Rev. H. Bunse was given charge of the work, and the Locust Lane appointment added, the work then consisting of four appointments. In the spring of 1869 Rev. C. C. Pfund was appointed, and remained two years, doing successful work. In 1871 Rev. J. H. Pippert was in charge. In 1872 Rev. L. Sheurer was appointed, remaining three years, in which the Columbus Ridge church was built. Again in the spring of 1875 was C. Escher appointed to this work, doing good for the following three years. Conference then sent Rev. E. O. Beck here for 1878, then follows a period of ten years of which no record is at hand.

In 1888 the sainted Rev. J. Knoche labored here with good success, having been here a year or two previous. In 1889 Rev. L. F. Smith was sent and took charge of the mission for three years acceptably. Rev. A. Goetze succeeded him, also remaining three years. In the spring of 1895 Rev. J. Abrams came to Lansing and had charge of the work one year, followed by Rev. A. H. Buente for three years. the charge was given in care of Rev. Schott, who also remained three years, to the spring of 1902. At this time Rev. J. M. Krafft was sent to this charge, finding here about one hundred members, four appointments, with three churches and three Sunday schools.

Rev. A. Raecker has served this church of recent years as pastor.


Under the supervision and presence of Rev. J. Frothingham and Mr. J. Albert, the German Presbyterian church of Lansing was organized May 2, 1869, with a membership of fifteen. It became incorporated April 27, 1870, with a board of trustees comprising John Sahli, Anton Guhler, and William Manger. From the time of organization the ministers of this church were: Rev. F. F. Weiss, 1869-71; F. W. H. Bruechert, 1871-75; L. Abels, 1876-79; J. Lederer, 1880-83; H. Schmitt, Jr., 1885-90; J. Schlechter, 1891-92; F. Urbach, 1892-97; H. DeBeer, 1897-1900; N. Gerdes, 1901-02; Rev. Arnold H. Kegel, 1903-13, the present pastor. Trustees in 1913, G. L. Saam, secretary and treasurer =, and Engelhardt Bartheld.

A Young People’s Society of the German Presbyterian church was organized June 2, 1892, under the direction of Rev. Urbach, with thirteen charter members. The society has thrived, and through their untiring efforts many improvements have been made on the church, including handsome stained glass windows.


Rev. E. Enderson and Rev. H. Gordon began serving the spiritual interests of the Norwegian Methodists in Lansing about 1871. In 1872 Rev. Enderson moved to Lansing and became resident pastor. L. A. Larson came as next pastor. With a membership of fifty he secured a lot and built a little church. Other pastors who served this church were: J. Jacobson, A. Gustafson, A. Ervenson, and R. Holmberg. With the closing of the mills many of the members moved away, and the church building was sold and moved out near Waukon, where it became unused and was eventually torn down.

THE PRESS (page 440-441)

The first newspaper in Lansing was the Lansing Intelligencer, started by W. H. Sumner, with material owned by H. H. Houghton, which he brought from Galena. The first number appeared Tuesday, November 23, 1852. Of those who advertised in this first issue not one is now living in Lansing. They were then written up by the obliging editor in the following attractive style:

“James Peacock advertises a variety of goods, consisting of all the intermediates between a shawl and a coffee-mill, or a California hat and a wash-board. Give him call.

“F. D. Cowles wants the ‘staff of life.’ Feed him, somebody.

“At the sign of the Elk Horn, E. P. Bircher displays many good things which he offers to part with a for a-‘consideration.’

“T. E. Williams has a well stocked shop-as good as we have seen anywhere. Call on him and ‘exchange tin.’

Chas. J. McGee is prepared to fill your houses with furniture, plain or ornamental, costly or cheap, according to the fancy of the purchaser or the size of his ‘pile.’

“Miss A. M. Battles hopes to receive calls from the ladies-and the amount of their milliner’s bills from their obedient lords.

“James I. Gilbert comes in for his share of the ‘dimes,’ and offers lumber as an equivalent.

“Dr. J. I. Taylor is, we believe, a successful physician, and is supposed to cure ‘all the ills that flesh is heir to.’ Personally we hope to have no need of his services.

“Geo. W. Camp, and Remine, and Shaw, lawyers, are ready for business, and if any of our friends are so unfortunate as to ‘go to law,’ we have no doubt that either of these gentlemen will ‘suit’ them.

Failing health caused Mr. Sumner to retire after a year or two, and the paper passed into the control of H. R. Chatterton, who changed the name to Lansing Mirror. In 1861 or ‘62 it suffered a temporary suspension, but in 1863 Geo. W. Haislet acquired the outfit and began the publication of the Lansing Union. In 1866 T. C. Medary bought it and changed the name back to Mirror, which it has retained to this day. He sold in 1870 to James T. And John T. Metcalf, the latter retiring in ‘74 and James T. Continuing its publication until 1881 when he leased it to Geo. W. Metcalf and Earl M. Woodward, and for the past many years it has been owned and conducted by G. W. Metcalf alone. Under the management of these veteran newspaper men, the Metcalfs, the Mirror attained permanence , prominence, and power. Since the day of its establishment this paper has been republican.

The first democratic paper in Lansing was called the Northwestern Democrat, dating from August, 1860, when McElroy & Parker removed the Waukon Transcript to this place and changed the name. It was suspended after about a year, and in the spring of ‘62 one C. Lomann bought the outfit and began publishing the Lansing Argus. After a few months however, he removed the material to Wisconsin under cover of darkness-and a mortgage.

The North Iowa Journal began its existence as a democratic paper in Lansing in March 1863, under the conduct of Chas. B. Cole. This was another originally Waukon paper, having been established there as a republican paper, in May, 1860, by Babbitt & Merrill. It passed into Mr. Cole’s possession late in 1862, who removed it to Lansing and sold to John G. Armstrong. He continued its publication as a democratic sheet for about three years, when Taylor & Haislet bought him out and changed the name to Lansing Chronicle, which they published as an independent paper until burned out in 1871. The material was mostly saved, and was bought by the Metcalfs who thereafter for a while called their paper the Mirror and Chronicle. The Allamakee Democrat was started by R. V. Surley in the summer of 1870, who after about a year sold out to the Sherburnes. Soon after this paper was consolidated with the Iowa North East, which had commenced publication in 1871 by T. C. Medary, who shortly after acquired entire control, and gave the paper the old name of North Iowa Journal, which he published until December, 1879, when he removed to Mason City. The first number of the Lansing Journal, under the proprietorship of John J. And Thomas F. Dunlevy, was issued in January, 1880, and these able and practical all around print-shop men have thus been engaged here for a third of a century. In 1882 they established a branch office at Waukon, and made a slight alteration in the name of the paper, it becoming Allamakee Journal.

Soon after the railroad reached Lansing, which was in 1872, Peter Karberg established a German paper here, called Die Nord Iowa Post, republican in politics, which he continued to publish until 1878, or possibly ‘79.



The first bank in Allamakee county was established at Lansing in 1859 by G. W. Gray & Co., a firm composed of George W. Gray, J. W. Thomas, and John Berry. This firm had been in the mercantile business in Lansing for several years, Mr. Gray and Mr. Thomas having come to Lansing from Highland, Wisconsin, in 1853, and had done more or less banking and exchange in connection with their general store and grain buying business. In 1859, however, they sold out the mercantile business, and opened a private bank in the building still standing on the south side of Main street, between Front and Second streets, which was afterward known for a number of years as the Markley building, and now (1913) owned and occupied by Henry Strong.

In 1862 they erected a building on the lot now occupied by the State Bank of Lansing, and this the bank continued to occupy until it was destroyed by fire in 1885, when the present structure was built on the same site. The bank vault, which was doubtless, when erected in 1862, the only structure of its kind in the county, proved its fireproof qualities by withstanding this fire and safely preserving its contents, and is still in use by the State Bank of Lansing.

In 1864 Messrs. Gray and Thomas organized, under the then new national banking law, the First National Bank of Lansing, of which Mr. Gray became the first president and Mr. Thomas the cashier. The following year Mr. Gray sold out his interest in the bank, and after conducting a private bank for a few months in a building across the street, he removed to Salem, Oregon, where he resided until his death. He was succeeded as president of the bank by Mr. Gustav Kerndt, the senior member of the firm of G. Kerndt & Bros. In connection with the National Bank, and under the same management, was conducted for a number of years the Allamakee County Saving Bank.

In 1881 the bank was reorganized as a private bank under the title of the Bank of Lansing, J. W. Thomas & Co. Bankers, no change occurring however in the active management, which had been since 1864 in charge of Mr. Thomas, assisted by Mr. S. H. Hazleton, who entered the bank as assistant cashier in that year. Associated with them as co-partners were Messrs. Moritz and William Kerndt, H. Nielander, and Theo. Brockhausen, and these were the stockholders when the bank was incorporated under the state law in 1884, retaining the name of the Bank of Lansing, which name was changed by an amendment to the articles of incorporation in 1898 to the State Bank of Lansing. It is a noteworthy fact that the present stockholders of the bank (1913) are all descendants of, or related to those who formed the copartnership in 1881.

B. F. Thomas, a son of the late J. W. Thomas, who is now president of the bank, entered its employ as bookkeeper in 1891, was appointed assistant cashier in 1895 and cashier in 1897, being not then twenty-four years old, and was elected president in 1904 at thirty. G. W. Kerndt became a director of the bank in 1903, cashier in 1904, and vice president in 1908, in which latter year Julius Boeckh first became associated with the bank and was elected cashier. These three officers, with Messrs. Theo. Kerndt and H. C. Nielander, compose the present board of directors.

Following is a list of those who have served as officers of the bank since its organization in 1859; President, G. W. Gray, 1859-65; Gustav Kerndt, 1865-73; M. Kerndt, 1873-93; J. W. Thomas, 1893-97; S. H. Hazleton, 1897-1903; B. F. Thomas, 1904 to date; Vice President, H. Nielander, 1893-1905; G. W. Kerndt, 1908 to date; Cashier, J. W. Thomas, 1859-1893; S. H. Hazleton, 1893-97; B. F. Thomas, 1897-1904; G. W. Kerndt, 1904-08; Julius Boeckh, 1908 to date; Assistant Cashier, S. H. Hazleton, 1864-93; B. F. Thomas, 1895-97; E. Y. Arnold, 1906-07.

During all of its existence-now over half a century by several years-this institution has enjoyed the confidence of the people of the entire county, to the fullest extent. A confidence which was merited by the careful and conservative, yet liberal management introduced by the founders and which has ben conscientiously adhered to by their successors; and a confidence bringing with it a liberal patronage enabling it to build up a large business.

The April, 1913, statement of this bank shows a capital of $33,000; deposits of $294,794.39; and surplus and undivided profits of $15,307.54. Total assets $343,101.93.


Recognizing the demand for a second bank in Lansing, the old established mercantile house of the Kerndts incorporated the Kerndt Brothers Savings Bank, January 14, 1908, with a capital of $15,000, and officered as follows: President, G. M. Kerndt; Vice President, M. Kerndt, Jr.; Cashier, C. M. Kerndt; Directors, the foregoing officers together with W. M. Kerndt and M. Kerndt, Sr.

It is needless to say that the institution flourished from the start under the management of men so well esteemed by the people, and on October 18, 1910, it was deemed best to increase the capital stock to $30,000, by amendment of the articles of incorporation. The principal officers remain the same today as at the time of organization. The condition of this bank at the last statement, April 17, 1913, is as follows: Total assets, $360,817.37; deposits, $316,982.14; surplus fund, $10,000; undivided profits, $3,835.23.


Was incorporated July 31, 1911, with a capital of $40,000, and the following officers, viz; President, A. M. Fellows; Vice President, John Decker; Cashier R. G. Miller; Directors, F. J. Spinner, Henry Gramlich, Otto Ruprecht, Carl Johnson, A. M. Fellows, John Decker, J. P. Conway, John A Moellerrman and R. G. Miller.

At the recent annual election the same officers were reelected, with the addition of John H. Thompson assistant cashier. At the meeting of the board of directors the first dividend was declared. To launch an enterprise of the magnitude of this bank and put it upon a healthy paying basis in twenty months is no small accomplishment, and the ninety-odd stockholders have every reason to feel satisfied with their investment. The latest statement of the bank, made to the Auditor of State at the Close of Business April 17, 1913, shows the following gratifying conditions: Assets, $179,421.35; deposits, $136,510.52; undivided profits, $2,910.83.



Although Evergreen Lodge No. 144, A. F. & A. M., at Lansing was not the first Masonic lodge organized in the county, it has the oldest charter of any lodge in the county now in existence. It was given a dispensation on January 11, 1859, held its first meeting on January 13th and its charter is dated June 9th of the same year. The only lodge in the county organized prior to this was Parvin Lodge No. 85, which was organized at Rossville in 1856, but this lodge remained in existence but a few years, its charger having been given up in 1859 or ‘60.

The following were the charter members of Evergreen Lodge: Geo. W. Gray, W. M.; H. H. Hemenway, S. W.; G. W. Hays, J. W.; George M. Dean, Washington Beal, Marshall Cass, John C. Berry, Willard Ballou, George G. Van Wagner, John Gray. Of these, all are not deceased except H. H. Hemenway, who though no longer a resident of Lansing, still retains his membership in this lodge.

An interesting tradition as to the granting of the dispensation for this lodge is to the effect that George W. Gray, who was instrumental in its organization, having forwarded the petition for a dispensation, was so confident of its being granted that he called a meeting of the charter members, some of whom lived at considerable distances, for the purpose of instituting the lodge. His disappointment, then, was all the greater when the petition for a dispensation was, at first, denied. Mr. Gray had the matter so much at heart that he at once started for Iowa City; the home of the Grand Master, to endeavor to have this decision reconsidered. In order to reach Iowa City, there being no railroad here at the time, it was necessary for him to drive on the ice to Prairie du Chien, to go from there by train to Chicago, thence back by train either to Clinton or Burlington and from there by stage to Iowa City. Arrived there, he convinced the Grand Master that there was a proper field for a lodge here and made the return trip in the same roundabout way, reaching home on the very day which he had set for the initial meeting of the lodge.

J. W. Thomas was the first candidate initiated after the institution of the lodge. The granting of the charter seems to have been fully justified, from the fact that thirty-four members were initiated or admitted to membership during the first year of its existence. Among this number are the following well known names: S. H. Kinne, H. Nielander, Theo. Brockhausen, L. M. Elmerdorf, S. H. Hazleton, Gustav Kerndt, Chas. Schierholz, Rev. H. W. Houghton, F. W. Wagner and W. D. Morgan, all of whom are now deceased except F. W. Wagner, who is still a member of the lodge.

The first meeting place of the lodge was in the second story of a building on the river front now occupied by Nielander & Co. As a warehouse and grain elevator and known as “Warehouse No. 4" After occupying this hall for a number of years, quarters were secured in the “Concert Hall” block on Main street, which was the home of the lodge until the block was burned in 1885, in which fire all of the lodge furniture, the charter and part of the records were destroyed. After the fire another hall in the same block, but farther down the street, was occupied until 1891. In that year Brother S. H. Hazleton, who had become the owner of the uncompleted Congregational church building on Third street, finished the building and fitted up the third story for the use of the lodge. This building, known as “Temple Hall,” has been its home since that time.

During its over fifty years of existence the lodge has numbered among its members some of the best men of each of the succeeding generations which has contributed to the history of the town, and has always been a power for good in the community. The present membership of the lodge numbers sixty-five.

Following is a list of those who have served as worshipful masters of the lodge since its organization, with the dates of their elections: George W. Gray, 1859; H. H. Hemenway, 1862, George W. Gray, 1863; J. W. Thomas, 1864; S. H. Kinne, 1867; S. H. Hazleton, 1871; L. E. Fellows, 1874; A. L. Battles, 1875; S. W. Hemenway, 1876; S. H. Kinne, 1877; T. C. Medary, 1878; S. H. Hazleton, 1879; G. A. Rockwell, 1880; S. H. Hazleton, 1882; L. E. Fellows, 1885; J. H. Trewin, 1890; A. M. Fellows, 1893; Julius Boeckh, 1897; W. T. Piers, 1899, A. M. Fellows, 1900; B. F. Thomas, 1901; Herman Boeckh, 1906; A. M. Fellows, 1907; Frank L. May, 1909; W. E. Albert, 1910.

The present officers of the lodge are: W..E. Albert, worshipful master; L. T. Hufschmidt, senior warden; Fred Schafter, junior warden; Robert Hufschmidt, treasurer; Julius Boeckh, secretary; W. A. G. Ellis, senior deacon; W. A. Miller, junior deacon; John G. Schafter, senior steward; C. W. H. Kerndt, junior steward; R. A. Cavers, tyler.

O. E. S.

At a meeting of Evergreen Lodge No. 144, A. F. & A. M., February 23, 1895, steps were taken to organize an Eastern Star Chapter in Lansing, and a petition was prepared and forwarded to the Grand Chapter of Iowa, meeting with approval March 27 of the same year. Sister Sarah A. Woods, grand worthy matron, organized Martha Washington Chapter No. 177, with a membership of twenty, and sixty-eight members have since been added. The chapter has lost through demit and death thirty-three members, leaving a present membership of fifty-five. The first officers were: W. M., Martha T. Hemenway; W. R., L. E. Fellows; Assoc. Mat., Libbie K. Pape; Secretary, Susie M. Bacon; Treas., Selma K. Riser; Cond., Lizzie M. Davis; Assoc. Cond., Mary P. Bascom; Chap., Mary S. Fellows; Ada, Anna Smith; Ruth, Elsie S. Fellows; Esther, Mary Piers; Martha, Louisa Boeckh, Electa, Lydia Hazleton; Warden, G. L. Pape; Sentinel, H. W. Riser.

The present officers are: W. M., Louisa Boeckh; W. R., B. F. Thomas; Assoc. Mat., Fanny E. Hemenway; Secretary, Susie M. Bacon; Treas; Martha T. Hemenway; Cond., Frank V. B. Cavers; Assoc. Cond., Gennet Schafer; Chap., Louise M. Boeckemeier; Ada, Libbie K. Pape; Ruth, Mary Gilbertson; Esther, Fanny K. Thomas; Martha, Ruby Fitchen; Electa, Laura Saam; Warden, Mina Boeckh; Marshal, Klara Schafter; Organist, Katie Saam.

G. A. R.

Hemenway Post, No. 344, was organized August 6, 1884, with twenty-two charter members. It was named in honor of Capt. S. W. Hemenway, who served during the War of the Rebellion in the Twenty-seventh Iowa Infantry, and who lost his life through an accident in 1877 while superintending the construction of the city water system. The post was in active existence for about sixteen years, when for various reasons its charter was allowed to lapse.


In the early sixties two societies were formed by the German residents of Lansing, the Gesangverein and the Turnverein. The two were merged, and incorporated with the name of Deutscher Verein, February 12, 1874, with the following named directors: H. Nielander, M. Kerndt, H. Bensch, J. Urmersbach and Jacob Haas. John Schinzel served as president two years, followed by H. Nielander, who continued to hold this office until his death in 1905. Edward Boeckh, Sr., was treasurer of the society from its organization in 1874.

The charter having expired, the society was reincorporated November 11, 1899, with these directors: Robert Hufschmidt, H. W. Riser, B. Erp-Brockhausen, Henry Bensch, and Julius Boeckh, and Recording Secretary Julius Rieth, Financial Secretary Gustav M. Kerndt, Manager Herman Boeckh.

The society built Germania Hall in 1877, which was dedicated February 13, 1878. Since then various improvements have been made such as kitchen and dining room; bowling alleys, hardwood floor and opera chairs put in, and a gallery built.

The present officers are: President, M. Kerndt, Sr.; Vice Pres., Robt. Hufschmidt; Secretary, Julius Rieth; Treasurer, Theo. Kerndt.

M. W. A.

Lansing Camp, No. 2142, Modern Woodmen of America, was organized January 15, 1894, with twenty-two charter members, and rapidly increased in popularity and numbers. To this camp belongs the credit of inaugurating an annual county picnic, the first of which was held at Waukon, and the county membership continued to assemble annually at different places for this enjoyable occasion until recently. At the institution of this camp its principal officers were: Venerable Consul, A. Barge; Clerk, W. T. Piers. Its present membership is 190, with the following officers: Consul, M. H. Phillippie; Advisor, George Miles; Banker, J. Boeckh; Clerk, C. M. Roggensack; Escort, B. J. Byers; Sentry, R. Lowe, Watchman, M. Olson; Directors, M. Whalen, H. Aschom and O. Moe.

Riverside Camp, No. 1521, Royal Neighbors of America, was organized April 13, 1899, with twenty-three charter members, and flourishes along with the M. W. A. With which it is affiliated.


Now represented by more or less active organizations in Lansing comprise the following:

Maple Lodge, No. 35, Iowa Legion of Honor, organized August 14, 1879, has paid numerous death benefits. Present officers: R. Hufschmidt, president; and R. A. Dunlevy, secretary.

Lansing Homestead, No. 287, Brotherhood of American Yeomen, organized June 2, 1899. Principal officers now are: G. F. Roeder, foreman, and C. M. Roggensack, correspondent.

Liberty Lodge, No. 239, Modern Brotherhood of America, was organized March 20, 1895, with a membership of twenty-one, which has been largely increased.

St. George’s Court, Catholic Order of Foresters, and St. Rita’s Court, Women’s C. O. F., are other flourishing organizations.


POSTOFFICE (page 446-449)

Upon the establishment of a postoffice at Lansing in 1849, James Haney was appointed postmaster and held the office until 1853 or ‘54, when he was succeeded by A. W. Purdy, who retained his incumbency through the remainder of the Pierce and Buchanan administrations. Soon after the inauguration of President Lincoln he appointed H. H. Hemenway to this position, who served until 1869, when he was succeeded by J. G. Orr. The defalcation by Orr occurred in July, 1874, and, at the request of his bondsmen, Capt. James Ruth, who was then in the railway mail service running between Dubuque and La Crosse, was placed in charge of the office temporarily, and in September following was regularly appointed postmaster. Mr. Ruth held the office continuously for more than twelve years, or until April 1, 1887, when Robert Hufschmidt was appointed by President Cleveland, who occupied the position until May 1, 1891, when Captain Ruth was reinstated by President Harrison. This kind of “rotation” in office was further carried out by Mr. Cleveland reappointing Mr. Hufschmidt to the position December 1, 1894. February 8, 1899, he was succeeded by J. F. Wier, who served a little over four years. March 2, 1903, Mr. Wier was followed by Geo. W. Metcalf of the Mirror, who has now held the office something over ten years.


A good start has been made toward an institution of this kind through the efforts of the ladies of the Lansing Library Association, who, with the aid of their friends have secured over five hundred volumes, besides a large number of magazines. These with 100 books loaned by the State Library, comprise a variety of reading that is already appreciated by the public. Use of the books is entirely free to all applicants, under the usual restrictions. It is hoped that the building now occupied will become the permanent home of the library, as soon as arrangements for its sale by Capt. E. B. Bascom, executor of the estate to which it belongs, are made. Already he and a number of other generous citizens have pledged a large part of the funds needed for its purchase. Among those largely credited with the success of this commendable enterprise is given the name of Lansing’s long-time resident, Mrs. Martha Hemenway. And it is announced that a bequest of $100 was made in the will of the late Miss Mary Monk, a beloved teacher in the Lansing public schools for over forty years.


The Lansing militia company was organized July 2, 1877, and assigned to the Fourth Regiment Iowa National Guards, with sixty-three enlisted men and three officers, as follows: Captain, E. B. Bascom; First Lieut., Thos.. Spurrier; Second Lieut., Richard Haney. In July, 1878, the command was transferred to the Ninth Regiment, but a year later was again transferred to the Fourth Regiment, in which it remained as Company E. In August, 1881, Captain Bascom was promoted to lieutenant colonel of the regiment, Dick Haney elected captain; H. P. Lane, first lieutenant, and John Dorrman, second lieutenant. Captain Haney resigned in March, 1883, and in June, H. P. Lane was elected captain; John Dorrman, first lieutenant, and Geo. W. Metcalf, second lieutenant. The company was mustered out in 1885, and Lieutenant Colonel Bascom resigned July 4, 1886, at expiration of term of service. The company only had one call for duty, and that was soon after it was organized in 1877, when Captain Bascom had orders to hold his company in readiness to move a moment’s notice, the occasion being the Pittsburg railroad strike which threatened to attain the proportions of a rebellion. The grim old war veteran in commenting recently on this near call for actual duty remarked facetiously, “The captain was somewhat excited, not having seen service, but the men were all cool and no doubt would have done nobly had they been called out; I never had any but brave men in my service.” The company participated in the regimental and brigade encampments six or seven years.



-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; Ellery M. Hancock, 1913, pg. 430 - 449
-note: page 437 has photos and page 438 is blank
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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