Toronto - From Wolfe's History

Source: Wolfe's History of Clinton County, Iowa Volume 1 by Patrick B. Wolfe (The name is spelled Thorne and Thorn in the text of the book.) Toronto is in Liberty township.  It was originally Massilion but that was moved to Cedar County.

George W. Thorne was the first to locate at Toronto, and built a sawmill there in 1844, a grist-mill in 1846, and in 1850 started a store.  These mills were the only ones in the country for miles around, and Toronto, so named because Mr. Thorn had been formerly a resident of Toronto, Canada, became the business and social center of the surrounding country.  The town was platted July 5, 1853, by Mr. Thorn, on a part of the southwest quarter of section 17, township 82, range 1.  Jesse Stine, later an attorney of Wheatland, was a partner of Mr. Thorn's from 1854-1865, and during that time they sold forty thousand dollars to fifty thousand dollars worth of good per year. (This would be about 1.4 million in 2020)

George W. Thorn sold his famous mill to John Heller about 1868, who about ten years later sold to David O. Kidd, for thirty years its proprietor.  Mr. Kidd sold to F. H. Pieper & Company, who had been its owner but a short time when it was destroyed by fire, April 19, 1909, and this old land mark removed from the eyes of men. Two men, Messrs. Thorn and Kidd, had each operated the mill long enough to acquire much of reputation as its proprietor.

Cortright brothers were merchants at Toronto from 1854-1869, and then sold to Hoskin & Dickinson, who failed in two years.  B. A. E. Davidson opened a store in 1856, ran about three years, and failed.  In 1867 Hugh Forbes established a store, which E. P. Simmons later bought.  In about 1893 Ed Hart, Sr., bought out Simmons, remained in business for about two years and then turned it over to his son and son-in-law, and this store is now carried on by his sons.  The first hotel was established by Mr. Jenks in 1853.

There is one church, the Catholic, at which everyone is made free to worship.  No doctor is at present located at Toronto, but Doctors Cook and Miller were formerly residents.

The Farmers Cooperative Creamery, established in 1900, has since done a very prosperous business and has been a great advantage to the surrounding country.

The first postmaster was Jesse Stine.  He has been succeeded by George W. Thorn, Sr., George W. Thorn, Jr., Ed. P. Simmons, George W. Thorn, Jr., Ed Hart, Jr., G. W. Mowry, and M. B. Hart, the present incumbent.

The Eastern Stars and some insurance lodges are represented.

The business interests of 1910 are represented as follows: Agricultural implements, coal, F. H. Pieper; general dealers and coal, Hart & Hart; grain, B. C. Horstmann; lumber, J. O. Devitt; stock dealers, O. C. Mowry, Herman Endorf; livery, John Miller, Conrad Endorf; Excelsior Hotel, Mrs. Jacobs; Farmers' Cooperative Creamery, Herbert Morey, president, Ed Hart, Jr., secretary.

Toronto was incorporated as a town in May, 1909.  The officers elected then, who are still serving, were: Mayor, O. C. Mowry; treasurer, J. O. Devitt; clerk, D. O. Kidd; assessor, M. B. Hart; marshal, August Willard; council, Al Conway, N. J. Edwards, M. G. Yale, William Hunter and F. H. Pieper.

A town building of cement blocks, sixteen by thirty-two, has just been completed, with a jail in connection, probably the most secure in the county.  The streets are macadamized, and the town is proud of River View park, which has an opera house and dance hall in connection.  The town has never grown very fast, and has not more than a hundred inhabitants, but lately a wave of building activity has struck it, along with most Clinton county towns.