Decatur County Historical Society Newsletter

Volume No. 2, Issue No. 3, July/August 2007
 Decatur County Museum

The Museum will be open Tuesdays and Fridays from 1-5. 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

Repairs will begin shortly for plaster repair in three rooms upstairs, window repair in the dining room and school records room, and a new front door. More records are coming soon from the Museum to be posted the Decatur County website.

A complete Eagle Scout Uniform belonging to Bob Bright [1946] and donated by Lois Slade with boy scout book and photo of the scout troop.

Donations - Thanks to Jackie Goeken Moore for a nice contribution.

Decatur County History

From The History of Decatur County and its People by Prof. J.M. Howell and Heman C. Smith-1915.

"Decatur City, another of the county’s substantial towns, is located very nearly in the center of the county. As a trading point it is an important one with many natural advantages. Decatur City is one of the oldest settlements in the county and was first designated as the county seat. Two years later, in 1853, the county seat was moved to Leon.

A common school district was maintained at a very early day. In 1864 it was made an independent district and a frame building, 32 by 40 feet, was built at a cost of $3,000. This building was burned in 1885. The structure was insured for $1,000.

"Several newspapers have been published in Decatur City at various times. The Commoner was published from 1859 to 1861 by F. A. C. Foreman; the Decatur

Newsletter Page 2

Enterprise in 1866-1867 by C. S. Wilson. Foreman went to Chicago from here and later died at Marengo, Ia. Wilson afterwards became editor of the Des Moines Dailey News.

The Des Moines, Osceola & Southern Railroad was built to Decatur City in 1882 and then to Leon and thence south. The name of the road was afterwards changed to the Des Moines & Kansas City, under which it operated until acquired by the Keokuk & Western and made a standard gauge road. The road is now owned by the Burlington Route System.

The first church built in town was in 1856 and was dedicated by the Methodists. Later there were four societies here and all used this one church for services.

An Early Description

"The following description of this town was published in the Decatur County Journal of March 4, 1869, and gives a correct idea of the town at that time:

This place is situated on a high prairie in Decatur Township, two and a half miles east of Grand River, and on the line of the Leavenworth & Des Moines Railroad. It contains three general stores, one drug store and grocery store, one family grocer, one stove and tinware store, three hotels, one milliner, two blacksmith shops, two wagon shops, one chair maker, two cabinet makers, one wheelwright, one harness maker, two shoemakers, and three physicians,

The following are prominent and leading citizens of the place: Dicken & Mechen, S.W. Johnston & Company, P.S. Dickens and A. Miles & Son,, general merchants; A. gill, dealer in drugs and groceries and also proprietor of the Decatur House; Hogue and Caldwell, dealers in stoves and tinware;; Sam Schenck, wagon maker and postmaster; J.H. Horner, harness maker; Thomas Waller, military and general claim agent; C. Schenck and J.W. Laney, physicians; William Kew, shoemaker; Col. H.W. Peck, chief engineer, I. & M. railroad.

Decatur City being on the main road east and west, enjoys the advantages of a daily mail, with a semi-weekly mail south by Eagleville, Bethany, and Gallatin to Cameron on the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad.

"There is a Masonic Lodge and a lodge and encampment of Odd Fellows.


"The Citizens State Savings Bank of Decatur City was organized in the year 1892. At the present time James Creswe is president; H.T. Rauch, vice president; E.W. Townsend, cashier; and O.F. Walker, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $20,000; the deposits are $173,000.

The Decatur State Saving bank was established in 1908 and at the present time has a capital stock of $25,000 and in deposits the sum of $180,000.

W.H. Loyd is president; F.J. Euritt, vice president; James C. Cozad, cashier; and L.D. Shoemaker, assistant cashier.

Both of these banks are doing an excellent business in that section of the county and both have a reputation for strength and integrity."

Newsletter Page 3

Classified Ads-1917

For Sale-Big yellow seed oats. Recleaned timothy seed. 5 tons hay, 1 incubator and an organ.

Chas. McCrosky, Decatur, Ia

A FEW CHOICE S. E. WHITE LEGHORN cockerels. Phone 1 on 57 or address Box 32, Decatur, Ia.

Do you get up at night? Sanol is surely the best for all kidney or bladder troubles. Sanol gives relief in 24 hours from all backache and bladder troubles. Sanol is a guaranteed remedy. 35 cent and $1.00 a bottle at the drug store.

Town News-Decatur Route 2

Vernon Baker and family of near Leon, called on John Norman Sunday.

Mrs. Dorcas McDowell and son Garfield were Decatur callers Saturday.

Harry Carlson, of Decatur, was a visitor in Leon on Monday.

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.
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