Boothtown (a.k.a. El Dorado)

Hamilton Township, Decatur County, Iowa
In the eastern part of the township Robert BOOTH settled on a farm of several hundred acres in 1854. He had a mill and also a store, and was the first postmaster of the Spring Yalley office. The little hamlet which sprang up about his place of business was variously known as Boothtown or El Dorado. This was on the east side of Little River. Almost opposite on the west side of the little stream settled Austin COWLES, with his two sons, D. C. and H. A. On a little hill not far from the river they built one of the first farm frame houses in the township, and on the river itself they put up a Mater power sawmill, to which was afterwards added grinding facilities. Before a regular school was established in the neighborhood the children used to go to their home of an evening to be instructed in the rudiments of reading and writing. Wesley COWLES, another son, had a blacksmith shop in Boothtown.

James I. DALE was another of the early Little River pioneers. He bought out Jefferson DIMICK, who was named one of the township election judges at its organization in 1850. Mr. DALE had four brothers, Fleming, Ambrose, Dudley and Meredith, who all settled in the same neighborhood and raised considerable families that exercised important influence in the development of the community.

James GAMMILL arrived in the same neighborhood in 1854, and also raised a large family of worth and intelligence. Besides these there were the LANEY, DUNLEAVY, SHARP, WILLIAMS, RUTHERFORD, ROBERTSON, NEWCOMER, McDOWELL, BAYLES and BUDD families. T. J. GRAVES came in 1859 and kept a blacksmith shop in El Dorado.

Boothtown's School may be found on Decatur County's School Page.

SOURCE: CAMPBELL, Duncan. "Hamilton Township Before the War." History of Decatur County and Its People. Vol. I. Chapt. IV. Pp. 41-2. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. Chicago. 1915. Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2013
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