Decatur County Historical Society Newsletter

Volume No. 1, Issue No. 3, November/December 2006
 Decatur County Museum

The Museum may be viewed by appointment during the winter months. Please note that there is no heat. The Museum is located in the 100 block of North Main in Leon, Iowa.

For viewing appointments, please contact Bob Bixby at (641) 446-3297.

Museum News

The new roof has been installed and should give us many years of service. Plaster repair upstairs will be done in the spring as soon as warm weather arrives.

Future Projects

Future projects for the Museum include:

Increased hours depending on income and volunteers available. Painting the entrance and window frames. Repairing the front door. Plaster, wall and tile repair. Restoration of an existing bathroom that is not in working order at this time. A work table and desk are being considered for genealogists at the rear of main floor.

Davis City Tidbits

News from the Davis City Lariat, 1905

Davis City "The biggest little city on the map" is located in the south central part of the county on the banks of the Grand River, the most important stream in this part of the county.

The town was named after William Davis who established a saw mill here in 1854, and erected the store building in 1856 renting the same to G W Jenree who opened the first stock of goods. Sixteen years later, J R Frisby, who had a general store in Andover, Mo. Came to Davis City and opened a second general store.

Other stores followed operated by E W and A L Teal, W. L. Severe, E S Grimes, Carter Scott of the firm of Scott and McClaren, and Frank Freeman's model barbershop.

Bill Craig was the first postmaster, county surveyor, Mayor, and justice of the peace.


The first school opened in 1857 by Mrs. J S Warner. Teachers in 1905 were Miss Howell, Teacher of the primary room, Professor J W Long assisted by Irven Spencer, Miss Gertrude Sylvester of the Grammar room, Hazel Freeman, and Miss Mabel Cummings.


In 1905 there were four churches, Union, Latter Day Saints, Methodist, and Adventist. The Union Church, in which the United Brethren and Christian denominations hold services, was built by John Clark, an early day settler, built in 1878, at a coast of $4,500. Rev S Harvey is the United Brethren minister.

Page 2.

The Methodist church was built in 1801 at a cost of $3000 and services are conducted by Rev J F Bingaman.

The Latter Day Saints have a nice church and it is filled every Sunday. Services are conducted by a minister of more than ordinary ability.

The Adventists have a small church, but the rostrum is frequently occupied by some very able men, who expound Bible truths in a forcible and interesting manner.

The Baptists are a small group and use the Union Church for their services.


In 1905, there were the following businesses: C B & Q Railway station, Adams Express office, City Hotel and Horton House, Robinson and G A R Hall, The Lariat, news and job printing office and the Inter-State Farmer, Valley and Farmer's Bank, McIntosh's and Shoemaker's restaurant's, Shoemaker's barbershop, and Freeman's barbershop and bath, Shirley and McGee's livery stables, Frazier & Riley's lumber yard; Hartshorne’s meat market and grocery; Robinson's and Laney's drug store; E W Tale’s furniture and undertaking parlors; W L Saver’s and L N Jeffries’s grocery and hardware stores; G M Hogue’s hardware; A M Server’s clothing; Scott & McCarran’s, and C E Neal's general merchandise ; G P Campbell, Joseph Tharp's and Horton and Underwood's, real estate offices; Frazier Bros Flouring mill; Martin and Scott's blacksmith shop; Halstead's jewelry; Sprague’s racket store; Lanning's patent medicine laboratory; A L Teal's produce house; Mrs. Eldora Borger’s, Mrs. Nora Osborn's and Hutchinson & Marble millinery stores; one billiard room; Dr G P Reed and Dr. J W Wailes, physicians and surgeons; F J Horton, attorney at law; Dr Burnison, veterinary surgeon; L A Brown and Burnison & Parker, auctioneers.

Bank Officers

Farmer's Bank: S Radnich, President; J A Frazier, Vice President; O L Frazier, Cashier; S A Radnich, Asst Cashier.

Valley Bank: John N Gates, President and cashier; J V Arney, Asst Cashier.

Christmas Items Davis City

Davis City News

Christmas Items Davis City:

Thursday, December 18, 1913
Editor and Owner, Grant Mallory

High School Notes by Mary Teal:
The seniors have finished their work in the German Classic In St. Jurgen, and after Christmas will take up the study of "William Tell," by Schiller. They are also to write a book review on Immensee or St. Jurgen.
The physics class is studying the subject of pneumatic appliances. We are going very slow in our physics work, but Prof. Howell believes in doing well in what he does do, and it is always the best plan.
On account the school being dismissed (owing to so much sickness) the program was not given and the pupils of the lower Decatur County Historical Society Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 3, Page 3. rooms will have to wait until after Christmas for their candy.
Although we are tickled to get a vacation we were sorry on account of the teachers having worked so hard for a good program.
Miss Bernice Hartley is going to spend her Christmas at her home in Maloy.
We wish all a joyous vacation, hoping that everyone will come back more willing to do their duty.


"Begin the year 1914 right by calling and settling your account with Carter Scott & Son"

"The Union Church is now lighted by electricity, which is a big improvement"
Though the children call me Santa
And I'm growing rather old,
I am not too old for kisses,
And my heart is never cold.
I've long known about the meaning
Of the sprig of mistletoe
When a maiden's found beneath it
With her lips all puckered so.
I have found the dainty maiden
Just as sweet as maid can be,
And as I collect the tributes
You may watch and envy me.
~ Author unknown
"Can you unravel his tale?"
"No: too much yarn in it"

Xmas Candy
"We have a fine line of candy and we are selling it at Bargain Prices."
"9c to 25c a lb"
~ George Henderson Store

Some odd things about Xmas:

"Indians say the best time to catch deer is on Christmas night at 12 O’clock, when they believe the deer kneels."

"The young Armenians, on Christmas Day, pay "hand kissing" visits to their elders."

Gifts of Christmas at Laney's of Davis City
"We now have ready for your selection a complete line of Holiday goods, consisting of Jewel boxes, perfumes, fancy work, toilet sets, handkerchief boxes, gloves, cut glass, dolls, fancy scarves, and books. A complete line of jewelry"

Page 3, Donations

Donations to the Decatur County Historical Society and Museum may be sent to:

Great Western Bank
c/o Chet Redman
111 N Main
Leon, Iowa 50144
Checks may be made out to: The Decatur County Museum.
Decatur County Historical Society   ***   Decatur County IAGenWeb