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Delaware County, Iowa
History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People
History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume I.
Captain John F. Merry Supervising Editor. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914 page 217-230
Delhi Township was one of the first to be accorded political importance, having been organized March 24, 1847, and is congressional township 88, range 4. It lies in the second tier from the south and is bounded on the north by Oneida, on the east by North Fork, on the south by Union and on the west by Milo. The locality has contributed largely to the county's early history, which makes it of special interest not only to the people living within its confines, but to the county generally.
The land here is highly cultivated and the homes of the husbandmen are of the best. The same may be said of all improvements, that go to make the surroundings comfortable and a happy, contented people. The land is traversed by the Maquoketa, its tributaries and Plum Creek, which afford ample drainage and water. This section of the county is well adapted to general farming and stock-raising.
The first settler, John W. Penn, came as early as the spring of 1838. He was a Virginian by birth, and in 1833, left the Old Dominion for the almost unknown west, stopping at Dubuque. Coming to Delaware County, he took up a claim in this township, on section 9, in a beautiful grove, which afterward became generally known and designated as Penn's Grove. In 1846, Mr. Penn married the widow of Drury R. Dance. The latter was treasurer of the county and in February 1845, before the expiration of his term of office, was foully murdered. Penn was one of the prominent figures in Delaware's history, was one of her first county collectors, served ten years as sheriff and held other positions of trust.
John Corbin and wife came from Ohio over the trackless prairies to Delaware County in 1839, and settled in Delhi Township. At the time of his locating here there were no actual settlements in this part of the county. He was an active, industrious man, and was highly respected. He died in 1883 and his widow survived him many years. A son, Doran S. Corbin, was born in his father's log cabin in 1850, and his farm, adjoining the Village of Delhi, was one of the finest in the county. John W. Corbin, another son of John Corbin, was horn in January, 1841. His is credited as the third birth in the county. He served in the Civil war, married Augusta Plash in 1866, and served the county as sheriff from 1875 to 1877.
William H. Baker was a native of New York. His parents came to Delaware County in a very early day. The father was an able lawyer and died at his son's house in Delhi, in 1856.
Rheinard Kahmer left his adopted state of Illinois in 1839 and settled in Delhi Township when it was but a wilderness. At the age of forty-five years he enlisted in the Civil war as a member of the Twenty-first Iowa Infantry. He lived to see the county grow and prosper for over a half century.
Charles W. Hobbs was one of the early and chief factors in the settlement and organization of Delaware County. He settled near Gilbert D. Dillon's, in North Fork Township, in 1840, and in the following year he removed to Penn's Grove. This pioneer was born in Queen Annes County, Maryland, in 1805. From October 1836, to October, 1837, he served as clerk in St. Louis and in the latter year went to Dubuque. Leaving Penn's Grove in the spring of 1841, he removed to Delhi Township and built a cabin on his land, just outside of the confines of Delhi. The stone chimney of this primitive home remains standing as a landmark of the first habitation in that locality. In the year 1857 Mr. Hobbs left Delhi for Osage, where he served two and a half years as receiver of the land office. The office was then abolished and he returned home. He was the first clerk of the District Court of Delaware County and also clerk of the Commissioners' Court, which position he held for seven years. Mr. Hobbs was also recorder of deeds one term, took the United States census for the county in 1860, was justice of the peace several years and also postmaster at Delhi.
Benjamin F. Moffatt settled on Plum Creek, east of Delhi, near Schwartz' place in 1840.
George and John Cutler built their cabins on land located between Moffatt's and Penn's Grove, and near them Moses Pennock settled at this time, which was the year 1840.
The Lindsay family, formerly of Eads' Grove, also located in this community at this period.
In 1841 Simeon Phillips and his son, Fayette Phillips, settled near the lake.
George Pease, with his family, consisting of wife, two sons and two daughters, came to Delaware County in 1845 and entered a quarter section of land near Delhi but lived near Bailey's Ford. In August, Mrs. Pease died and was buried close beside the road, about a half mile east of Bailey's Ford. Soon after his wife's death Mr. Pease returned to the State of New York.
Charles F. Fleming was an early settler here. He was a native of Sweden, "a '49er" of the goldfields of California, and coming to this township, at one time was the possessor of over two thousand acres of land. When he first located here he built a steam grist mill on the banks of Silver Lake and afterward purchased the Rocky Nook Mill property on the Maquoketa.
Leonard Norris was among the earliest of the hardy land-seekers who came to this county in 1843, when but few white people had ventured into what was thought a wild and cheerless Eldorado. With his young wife he settled on section 14, entering the land and building a cabin thereon. This was his home for many years.
Isaac Smith moved from Ohio to Delaware County in 1847, coming overland by wagon and carrying such household and other effects as could be conveniently carried by wagon. He settled in what was known as the Bay neighborhood in Delhi and Union townships. He was a member of the celebrated "Gray Beards," of the Thirty-seventh Iowa Infantry. His son, Perry L. Smith, came with them, and in 1856 removed to Delhi, where he clerked in the dry-goods establishment of Elisha Brady five years. In 1861 he enlisted in the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry and served until the close of the war.
H. 0. Hull, a native of Illinois, came to Delaware County about 1849 and entered land in Delhi Township. At the time there were only a couple of small buildings where Delhi now stands. A son, Charles N. Hull, who became a prominent live stock dealer at Hopkinton, was born in Delhi Township in 1850.
Jeremiah B. Boggs came to Delaware County in 1850 and settled in this township. He was married to Catherine A. Black in 1861, served as deputy sheriff in 1857 and 1858, was elected sheriff in 1861, county judge in 1865 and auditor in 1869.
Junius A. Griffin was born in New Hampshire and came to this county in 1851 with his father, who entered land on section 15.
George Tubbs was one of the pioneers of Delhi Township. He was a native of New York State, where he married Amy Swift, who came with him to the prairies of Iowa in 1851 and settled in this township. For many years they lived on section 16.
Samuel Allison, Sr., who lived for many years on section 26, came to this township from Ohio in 1852. He soon thereafter returned to Ohio, where he married Rachel Bell, and then took up his residence here. He became one of the large landowners of this section.
Ethan S. Cowles was born in Massachusetts. He came to Delaware County in 1852. He soon thereafter went to Illinois and married Phebe Eddy in 1854. They settled in Delhi but in 1856 removed to Richland Township, where he entered land and was appointed the Campton postmaster in 1857. In 1877 Mr. Cowles became sheriff of the county and again took up his residence in Delhi, then the county seat.
Andrew Stone, one of the early settlers of this township, immigrated from the State of New York in the spring of 1854 and settled on section 9, Delhi Township, where he resided one year. He then removed to the Village of Delhi and served as justice of the peace, township trustee, director of the poor house and in other official capacities.
Benjamin Thorpe, Sr., was a native of Connecticut. He removed to New York and from there immigrated to Iowa, settling in this township in 1855. In the following year he became a merchant in Delhi.
J. B. Swinburne was horn in England and came to the United States in 1852, first settling in Illinois. In 1855 he located in Delhi and in 1859 went into the printing office of the Delaware County Journal, then under the editorship of J. L. McCreery. In later years he worked on the Dubuque Times and the Delaware County Union at Manchester. He took charge of the Delaware County Recorder at Delhi in 1872, and in the fall of that year bought the Recorder, changing its name to the Delhi Monitor. He is still a resident of Delhi and was elected mayor of the village at the time of its second incorporation in 1909.
One of the pioneers of Delaware County was George Wattson, who came from Michigan in 1856 and settled near Delhi.
Elisha M. White, a New Yorker by birth, settled in this township in 1856. The following year he married Betsy Tubbs, daughter of George Tubbs.
THE FIRST COUNTY SEAT
The acquisition of the land on which Delhi stands was by entry from the Government by the county, details of which have been given in a former chapter, together with a relation of the difficulties encountered by the Commissioners' Court in raising' sufficient funds to pay the price of the land --- the sum of $200. However, after Delhi had been chosen the seat of government, Joel Bailey, county surveyor, in March, 1842, assisted by Charles W. Hobbs and Fayette Phillips, chainmen, and John W. Penn, stakeman, surveyed and platted the town site, but the plat for reasons heretofore mentioned, was not recorded until March 31, 1846. The land selected lies on section 17, Delhi Township, and the town was named Delhi by order of the Commissioners' Court.
As will be seen elsewhere in this volume, the first building erected in Delhi was a log cabin-like structure, built by the settlers for a courthouse, on the southeast corner of the quarter section. This was the only house on the town site until the county secured title to the land on which it was situated. Close by, however, but on a contiguous quarter section, was the cabin of Charles W. Hobbs. No other improvements were made in the proposed town until 1846, when the county was enabled to sell lots and give good titles thereto, but in that year several lots were sold, upon which log structures were erected. The first to be put up was a cabin by Levi Ellis, and the second by John W. Clark. The latter's crude habitation was built near the "Big Spring,'' which was the first and only cabin in the town until 1851. William Phillips built a log structure in the place about this time. Along about 1847, Arial K. Eaton, who became one of the prominent lawyers and business men of Delhi, built another near the southwest corner of the town. It might be here stated that the town lots were offered at $5 each, but not many of them were sold even at that price until 1851, when a new spirit seemed to have taken possession of the place and its advancement was accelerated. Probably the incentive to this new departure might have been attributed to the earnest and enterprising efforts of Frederick B. Doolittle and others, who took up their residence here at this time, or a little later.
One of the most active leaders in the affairs of Delaware County for over a half century was F. B. Doolittle, a native of New York State, who left the scenes of his boyhood for the forests of Michigan. In the fall of 1849 he set out and came to Delhi, Delaware County, and after viewing the country, concluded to settle here. He then went back to Michigan made arrangements for a permanent settlement and returned in the spring of 1850 with about three hundred dollars. The first summer he worked on farms at 50 cents a day and in the meantime made preparations and later started the Silver Lake Nursery. He introduced many valuable varieties of fruit, inspired settlers to cultivate all the hardy kinds and published a pamphlet on fruit culture, which was copied extensively in horticultural and agricultural reports. He remained in the nursery business some fifteen years, giving employment to a large number of men, and then located in Delhi, where he found a field in real-estate dealings and continued in that vocation until he acquired for himself at one time over two thousand acres of land. Judge Doolittle built one of the finest residences in the county, on the banks of Silver Lake, and was a prominent figure among the men who organized a company to build a railroad to Delhi. He did effectual work in organizing the Davenport & St. Paul Railroad Company, also the Delaware County Construction Company, for the purpose of building the Davenport & St. Paul' Railroad through Delaware County --- a distance of thirty miles. He was elected treasurer of the company and general manager to manage its business. He was the founder and laid out the Town of Delaware in this county and induced the Davenport & St. Paul Railroad to make its crossing at that place. He was elected judge of Delaware County in April, 1855, to fill a vacancy and afterward was reelected for the full term. He was the first United States revenue collector in Delaware County and held the office five years. He died a short time ago.
One of the first industries established in Delhi was a blacksmith shop by one Mitchell, who located in the place in 1849.
Daniel Baker built the old Iowa House in 1851, on a lot donated for the purpose by Frederick B. Doolittle, who had, in connection with William Price, helped to hew the timber for the log courthouse and taken his pay in town lots at $5 each.
The "Blue Stone" was opened by Thomas Helm on a lot donated by F. B. Doolittle, and several other buildings were erected that year, even though some of the lots had advanced to the high (?) price of $25. For several years thereafter the town grew and by 1856 it was an active, thriving, industrious trading point. In the meantime, in 1853, the new courthouse had been completed. The Harding Hotel was also built that year and for two years thereafter a steady advance was in evidence on every hand. G. W. Ashburn became landlord of the Harding House, and he had all that he could do to provide a place to sleep for his many guests. But the swerving of the Dubuque & Pacific Illinois Central Railroad three miles north from town and the financial distress of 1857 dealt such serious blows to the prosperity of Delhi, that it never recovered from the results, although it secured railroad facilities in the building of the Davenport & St. Paul Railroad through the place in 1872. But the effect thereof was of no lasting benefit.
DELHI IS INCORPORATED
Upon petition of a number of the citizens of Delhi, Judge Benson, of the County Court, in December, 1854, ordered that an election be held January 15, 1855, to decide the question as to whether or not the town should be incorporated, and appointed William F. Tanner, William Phillips and George Sheldon judges; C. W. Hobbs and S. F. Parker, clerks of the election. Thirty-seven votes were cast for the measure and none against. The court then appointed January 27, 1855, as the day on which the citizens were to select by their vote five persons to prepare a charter for the government of the town. On that day Arial K. Eaton, James Wright, W. K. Griffin, Daniel Baker and S. F. Parker were elected. The charter as prepared was by order of the court submitted to a vote of the electorate February 28th, and was accepted by unanimous vote of twenty-eight. The charter is herewith given verbatim, because of the unusual history connected with it. Few towns have permitted their charters to lapse through nonuse of the privileges therein granted.
CHARTER FOR INCORPORPORATING THE TOWN OF DELHI, DELAWARE CO., IOWA.
''Sec. 1.-- Be it ordained and established by the People of the Town of Delhi Delaware County State of Iowa with the sanction of the majority of the votes of a public Election held in said Town for that purpose.
''That the South East quarter of section seventeen in Township 88, North of Range four West of fifth pr. mr. in Delaware Co. State of Iowa, be, and the same is hereby declared a Town Corporate by the name and style of the Town of Delhi. And its Inhabitants are hereby created a body corporate and politic by said name, and by that name shall have perpetual succession and shall have and use a common seat which they may alter and change at pleasure.
"Sec. 2.--When any tract of land adjoining the Town of Delhi shall have been, or shall hereafter be laid out into town lots and duly recorded, the same may by a majority of the Votes cast at any regularly notified meeting be annexed to said town and form a part of it.
''Sec. 3. - - Said Charter shall take effect and time said Town shall become duly incorporated on the first day of March A. D. 1855.
''Sec. 4. -- The inhabitants of said town by name and stile aforesaid shall have power to sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded, answer and be answered and to defend and be defended in all courts in law and equity and in all actions whatsoever, to purchase receive and hold property Real Personal & Mixed for the use of said town and to sell lease improve and protect the same
''Sec. 5.-- There shall be a local Legislature or board of Trustees to consist of a President and Five Trustees who shall he elected on the second Monday of March 1855 and each year there after who shall hold their office, for one year and until their successors are duly Elected & qualified .
"There shall be elected at the same time and place One Treasurer One Recorder and One Assessor who shall hold their office for the term of one year and until their successors are Elected and qualified. The Treasurer shall give bonds to be approved by the president. And all Officers herein specified before entering upon the duties of his station shall qualify by giving bonds (when required so to do). And taking the usual Oath of Office
''Sec. 6. -- If at any time the board of trustees shall think it necessary to change this Charter, they shall give public Notice of said proposed alteration, then said alteration shall become a part of this charter. Alterations to this charter may also be submitted to the people, upon the petition of one half of the Voters in the town and the concurrence of three of the trustees, and decided as above specified
''Sec. 7.-- The board of trustees is hereby invested with power to divide said town into wards, and change the same from time to time as them may deam advisable. And fix the number of trustees to which each ward shall be' entitled to
"Sec. 8 .-- A majority of the board shall constitute a quorum. And said board shall be the Judge of the Election & qualifications of its member determine the rules of its proceedings and cause a record to be kept & preserved of the Same
"Sec. 9.--The President shall preside at all meeting of the Board of trustees, when present and shall have no Vote except when there is a tie, when he shall have the Casting Vote, in the absence or inability of the President to act the Board shall appoint one of their number President pro tem, who shall discharge the duties & exercise the powers of the president during the Absence or inability of that Officer to act. It shall be the duties of the President to see that the laws & ordinances are faithfully Executed Sign all Warrants for the collection of taxes draw all orders on the Treasurer. Certify all necessary proceeding under the Seal of said town of which he shall be the keeper
''Sec. 10.--The board shall hold a meeting within ten days after their election at which time when so convened they may appoint such other officers as they shall deam necessary, prescribe by Ordinance their duties, terms of office and Compensation and require from them the proper bonds to approved by the president
"Sec. 11.--Ordinances passed by the board shall be signed by the presiding officer & attested by the recorder and shall be posted up in three or more public places in the town or published Once in some News paper, published in said town at least 10 days prior to taking effect. they shall also be recorded in a book kept for that purpose and attested by the Presiding officers & recorder
''Sec. 12.--It is the duty of the Recorder to keep a true record of all the official proceedings of the board, which record shall he at all times subject to the inspection of the public and shall perform all such duties as may be required of him by Ordinance.
''Sec. 13.--It is the duty of the Treasurer to receive all Moneys payable to the Corporation, and to disburse the same on Orders drawn by the President sealed with his seal, and Attested by the Recorder and to keep a true account of All receipts and disbursements and hold the same at all times ready for the inspection of the Board. And shall make a statement of the finances of the corporation in the Month of February each year, which shall be plaised on Record. And a copy of the same posted in three public places in sad Corporation at least one week prior to the Anual Election. And perform all other duties that may be required of him by Ordinance.
"Sec. 14.--The board of trustees is here-by invested with authority to make and establish such by laws and Ordinances as are necessary and proper for the' good regulations Safety health & cleanliness of the town and the citizens thereof' to leavy and collect taxes on all property within the limits of the corporation which by the laws of the state is not for all purposes exemp from taxation, which tax must not exceed One pr cent per annum on the assessed Valuation thereof. And its collection of State & County taxes, to establish a grade and regulate and improve the side walks Alleys & Streets, to change the grade, Make compensation to any person injured thereby, to 'provide drains sewers public Wells and such other hydraulic aparatus as they may deam necessary for the convenience of the town, and keep the same in repair to regulate Markets, but not in such a manner as to prevent any person from selling the produce of his own farm in such a manner and quantity as he may deem proper, to license and regulate or prohibit All shows or public exhibitions (if the laws of the state are thereby not interfeared with). To provide against fires breaches of the peace gambling disorderly And indecent houses and conduct, and to make any other Ordinance, suitable and proper police regulations.
"Sec. 15.-- The said hoard of trustees are further authorized And empowered to require the property holders of aney street or part of a street to pave the same or side walks thereof Each in front of his own property when the owners of two thirds of the lots in such street or part of a street petition the board there for.
"Sec. 16.- - No money shall be drawn from the treasury Except by Order of the board of trustees, Signed by the President sealed with the seal of his office and attested by the Recorder
"Sec. 17.- - The board of Directors shall hold their first regular Meeting on the third Monday of March A D 1855, and every three months there after to wit the 3 Monday of June, September and December in each year. And may Hold special Meeting whenever a majority of the Board may deem it necessary.
"We the Comt. Elected to prepare a charter or Articles of Incorporation for the Town of Delhi in Delaware Co Iowa would Very Respt. Submit the above Charter or articles of Incorporation for the Consideration of the People of said Town, done at Delhi Feb 14 1855.
"D. Baker, Arial K. Eaton,
Saml. F. Parker, E. K. Griffin
On the second Monday in March following, was the day set for the election of municipal officers, but there is nothing definite recorded as to the names of the members selected on that occasion. From traditional sources it appears that A. K. Eaton was elected mayor. But from the returns now a part of the archives of the Corporation of Delhi of an election held in Delhi for municipal officers on the 7th day of March, 1856, it would naturally be gathered that that was the first election held for such officers in Delhi. John H. Peters, John Porter and Peter Case were the judges of this election, and Richard Cummings and Willard G. Campbell, clerks. Daniel Baker was elected mayor; Z. A. Wellman, recorder; John D. Smith, assessor; William Price, treasurer; E. K. .Griffin, George Sheldon, George W. Ashburn and Andrew Stone trustees. There were forty-three votes cast, and the names of those voting are here given: Samuel F. Parker, D. E. Coon, John Porter, J. H. Peters, R. Cummings, E. K. Griffin, G.W. Ashburn, Willard G. Campbell, Truman Mason, Peter Case, Charles Hale, William Phillips, William Vousburgh, James Reek, J. C. Jones, Mr. Gool, William Elliott, R. Morton, Benjamin Kellogg, William Wason, J. M. Brayton. Z. A. Wellman, T. P. Hall, Jacob Phillips, Erastus Morse, Franklin Jefford, B. McCormick, James T. Crosier, Harrison Ashburn, William 0. Glasner, N.I. Noble, D. Baker, William C. Garrett, A. E. House, William Goodhue, Charles Harding, George B. Mort, A. C. Taylor, J. C. Goodhue, Patrick O'Doud, F. H. Williams, John D. Smith and Jacob Galyean.
A short return to the early business interests of Delhi finds a place here, that some not mentioned shall not be omitted. In 1856, William Sylvester, Elisha Brady and one Skerry built a sawmill near the northwest corner of the lake. The building was of stone, and after answering its laudable purpose of turning out solid food for the settlers, it fell from grace, so to speak, in 1862, and was converted into a distillery by George Maxwell, who operated it until 1866, when J. H. Peters took charge of the industry. In 1867 the old building was abandoned and consigned to merited oblivion.
A farmers' club was organized in 1866, by Washington Graham, Samuel Allison, Jr., William Ball, Daniel Smith, John Porter and others, and those named were the officers. Also in 1871, a literary and library association came into being, the leading spirits of which were Dr. Albert Boomer, Mrs. J. H. Peters, Thomas A. Twiss, J. M. Noble and Mrs. D. Louise Ingalls. Quite a sum of money was raised for books, but none purchased.
DELHI INCORPORATED A SECOND TIME
The main purpose in the first instance in having the town incorporated was to afford the citizens authority to make such laws as to protect them from the running at large of stock, which had become a nuisance and a menace to property. This object was attained but its benefits soon were lost sight of and there is no record, under the powers of the decree of incorporation, of another election having been held, so that Delhi drifted back into its former state and remained under the jurisdiction of the township until the year 1909, when a petition signed by thirty-three electors, was filed in the District Court, asking that Delhi be made an incorporated town. The prayer of the petition was granted and the court appointed F. E. Stimson, E. R. Stone, Thomas Simmons, E. B. Porter and A. Sherman commissioners to declare a time and place for holding an election, to determine the sense of the electorate as to whether or not they desired incorporation. The election for the purpose was held on the 2d day of March, 1909, at which time sixty-nine votes were cast for the purpose, and only six against. The action of the commissioners was approved by the court and they were ordered to call an election for town officers, to be held on April 5, 1909, at which time J. W. Swinburne was elected mayor; E. B. Porter, clerk; F. E. Stimson, assessor; and D. F. Jones, F. A. Doolittle, A. Sherman, C. C. White and C. H. Furman, councilmen.
About the year 1900 Delaware County transferred the courthouse property at Delhi, consisting of a fine tract of land, the courthouse and a two-story brick office building, to J. M. Holbrook Post, G. A. R. The latter conveyed the office building to Delhi Township, and the park and courthouse to the Town of Delhi, retaining the right, however, to hold for itself, during the life of the post, the courthouse building for headquarters. In the office building the town officials held their first meetings.
The first postoffice in Delaware County was established at Delhi, on March 14, 1844, and Charles W. Hobbs was the choice of the people for postmaster. But at this time he was clerk of the United States Territorial Court, which made him ineligible. How-ever, the next best selection for the position was made by the department, in sending to Mrs. Mary E. A. Hobbs, wife of the pioneer official, a commission as postmistress; this was dated March 14, 1844. William (Uncle Billy) Smith, who early settled at Eads' Grove, was the first mail carrier. He "toted" the mail, sometimes afoot and then a-horseback, once a week between Dubuque and Delhi. The names of Mrs. Hobbs' successors follow: R. A. Fagg, January 22, 1847; C. W. Hobbs, May 14, 1847; J. E. Anderson, December 20, 1849; Zina A. Wellman, April 19, 1850; William Price, April 14, 1853; William H. Gilles, November 19, 1857; Elisha Brady, March 30, 1861; C. H. Cross, February 5, 1866; A. L. Gleason, October 12, 1870; A. P. Barnes, January 4, 1886; A. E. House, April 19, 1886; Lida E. Corbin, June 29, 1893; R. H. Bowman, June 9, 1897; R. J. Van Antwerp, December 13, 1900; Edmund H. Fleming, January 22, 1907.
The first school in Delhi was held in the old log courthouse, commencing in the summer of 1846, under the direction of Roxana Brown, teacher. School continued to be taught in this crude structure that for the first few years of its existence had no roof, as the county was too poor to build one, until in 1852, when a schoolhouse was erected by Contractor Perry Hook. The school was graded and had for its teachers Orlando Nash, principal, and Sarah Davis.
The first schoolhouse, built in 1852, was kept in use for its original purpose until 1868, when it was sold to the Methodist Society for $250 and converted into a church. A new brick school building was then put up, at a cost of $4,000, in which school opened in the fall of 1868 with George S. Bidwell, principal, and Emily Bidwell, his wife, assistant. Two large wings were added to the structure in 1873 and cost about seven thousand dollars, making at the time one of the largest and best buildings in the county for educational purposes; there were six rooms. The original part was three stories and had an ornamental cupola; the wings had two stories. On the 10th day of August, 1914, this fine property caught fire and nothing was left standing but the bare walls. The loss was $15,000; insurance about eleven thousand dollars. While waiting for the electorate to vote upon the proposition of issuing $15,000 in bonds to build a new schoolhouse, the children are being taught in various halls and rooms in the village.
The first attempt at banking at Delhi was when the Delhi Savings Bank was incorporated, January 24, 1899. The men who invested their capital in stock and gave the splendid financial standing were Thomas Simons, A. E. House, E. R. Stone, G. W. Klockentager, J. W. Swinburne, R. H. Bowman, G. O. White, E.C. Perkins, O. A. Holdridge, J. W. Hartman, John Porter, Arthur A. House, E. H. Blanchard, W. H. Baker, Curtis Miller, Peter Lux, David F. Jones, L. Sehnittjer, James M. Phillips, G. B. Davis, G. H. Fuller, A. Bowman, Allen L. Boomer and John R. White, Jr.
The capitalization was $10,000, and the first officials: Thomas Simons, president E. R. Stone, vice president; and U. W. Klockentager, cashier. The institution began doing business temporarily in a little frame building, now occupied by C. L. Jackson's harness establishment. Within a few months it moved into a new, one-story brick structure, which was built for the purpose and stands on the main thoroughfare of the village. A. E. House succeeded to the presidency in 1900 and remained in that position two years, when E. R. Stone succeeded him. At the same time in 1902 J. W. Swinburne was made vice president. Previous to this however, in January 1901, the present cashier, F. F. Stimson, was elected to that office, and in January 1912 Jess P. Sloan was made his assistant. In the year 1909 the capital stock was increased to $20,000 and in its last statement the following interesting figures appear: Capital stock: $20,000; surplus and undivided profits, $11,000; deposits: $147,000.
The people of Delhi and vicinity enjoyed the spiritual comforts, preaching of the gospel and other religious exercises as early as the spring of 1847, when Reverend Briar, a Methodist circuit rider, appeared before a gathering of the settlers at the humble home of C. W. Hobbs. The first Methodist Society was organized in Delhi in 1852, and the Rev. George Clifford was stationed here in 1854. In 1855 Reverand Clifford, with Elder Farnsworth, a Baptist clergyman, held a series of very successful revival meetings and among the converts were two men who afterward entered the Methodist ministry --Revs. S. Knickerbocker and William Glassner.
It was during this year, at intervals, the old schoolhouse, built in 1852, was used by the Methodist Society for meetings and in 1868, when the building was abandoned by the school authorities. The Methodists bought it for the sum of $250. Dr. Albert Boomer, E. Brady and Daniel Pulver were then appointed a building committee to superintend the repairing and refitting of the old schoolhouse and were instructed to make the first payment of $50, and pledge the individual notes of the trustees for the balance. The trustees were Doctor Boomer, Elisha Brady, C. W. Hobbs, Daniel Pulver and George H. Fuller. The Sabbath school was organized in the fall of 1868.
The present church building was erected in 1883, with funds raised under the efforts of Doctor Boomer at the time Reverend Holm was pastor. This building was remodeled in the year 1913 and again underwent regeneration in February, 1914, when John S. Westfall was the pastor. There were then 194 members and the attendance at Sabbath-school was 140. The church, as first built, cost about twenty-five hundred dollars. To this should be added $3,500 paid out in alterations made later.
It was under the administration of Rev. W. S. Skinner that the first improvements to the church building began. He is now on the retired list and a resident of Delhi. It was Reverend Skinner who organized a Brotherhood Class, which now has a membership of fifty, presided over by this most estimable superannuate. Reverend Westfall still presides over the destinies of this charge.
The Baptists organized a society in this vicinity May 8, 1853, and held their meetings in the old log schoolhouse. Elder C. D. Farnsworth was the moderator, and R. S. Perry, clerk. On May 14th, Ozias Kellogg and Ephraim Cummings were elected deacons. On the 28th of the month delegates from Cascade, Colesburg and "Yankee Settlement" met in the log courthouse with John Bates as moderator, and organized what is known as a recognition council, which unanimously agreed to recognize as a sister church the one just organized at Delhi. On the 29th the recognition ceremony was preached by Elder John Bates. A house of Worship was not erected until the Fall of 1868. The cornerstone was laid August 18th of that year, but the dedicatory services did not take place until in June, 1873, upon which occasion the Rev. J. Y. Johnston delivered the sermon. This building cost about thirty-five hundred dollars.
Believers in the tenets and precepts of the Catholic faith enjoyed the observances of mass in the early '60s at this place. The first building occupied by the members of St. John's Church was the old schoolhouse, formerly owned by the Methodist Episcopal Society. This was continued in use until late in 1914, when a beautiful new edifice was erected under. the direction of Father Rooney, pastor of the Manchester Church, at a cost of $10,000.
J. M. Holbrook Post, No. 342, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized at Delhi, July 18, 1884, by Erastus Smith, Thomas Simons, Ward White, George A. Fuller, S. M. Nutting, J. C. Crawford, P. B. Littlejohn, John W. Snell, William Thompson, A. E. Carter, William Biddle, A. J. Lett, John Wood, C. M. Griffin, G. W. Ellison, William Lutes, H. L. Doxsee, Peter L. Wragg, Horace Dutton, Matthew Lorig, William Haigh, George D. Smith, John Napur and O. A. Wilson.
For some time the headquarters was in Odd Fellows Hall, until the building was destroyed by fire, when the veterans about a year afterwards were comfortably installed in permanent headquarters in the old courthouse donated them by the board of supervisors. Only five members of the old post now remain in good standing. These are Thomas Simons, J. W. Corbin, Peter Wragg, Ward White, and Peter Jakelin. For the past ten years Thomas' Simons has been the post commander.
The Woman's Relief Corps, a faithful, loyal amid helpful auxiliary, now has a membership of about forty-five. Mrs. Barnes is the president. This society is known as J. M. Holbrook W. B, C., No 101, organized March 4, 1887, by Mesdames Emma Smith, Addie Fuller, Ann Smith, Louisa M. House, Elizabeth Wattson, Marian Simons, Nancy A. White, America Green, Fannie Crozier, May Holcomb, Alzina Stone and Adelia Nutting and Misses Louisa M. House, Addie M. House and Elphia Wood.
Delhi Camp, No. 27, Sons of Veterans, was established December 26, 1908. Thomas Simons was the first commander. This camp is not now and has not been for some time active.
In 1911 Thomas Simons and his patriotic wife, Marian A., presented to the post and Evergreen Cemetery Association, a soldiers' monument, which cost about nine hundred dollars. It is of Vermont granite and stands from the ground up, 16 1/2 feet. The heroic figure of a soldier of the Civil war, stands at parade rest. This beautiful memorial to the soldier dead was dedicated May 30, 1911. Upon that occasion Capt. John F. Merry was orator of the day. The donor made a presentation speech of about fifteen minutes' duration and Abbie Talmadge, a little lady six years of age, daughter of Orin and Alice Talmadge, pulled the cord which unveiled the stone to a large and admiring concourse of people. Thomas Simons, who so generously gave of his means, that the names and heroic deeds of his comrades should be perpetuated, is still living at his beautiful cottage home in Delhi. He came from Dubuque to Delaware County in 1859 and located on an eighty-acre farm in section 23, Delhi Township, which he had purchased the preceding year. He retired from the farm to Delhi in 1883. Mr. Simons was a veteran of the Civil war and served his country faithfully and well as a member of Company K, Twenty-first Iowa Infantry.
Delhi Lodge, No. 46, I. 0. 0. F., was organized April 6, 1853. The charter members were John S. Dimmitt, A. D. Anders, _________ Pratt, K. Skinner, Sylvester J. Dunham, W. F. Tanner, William Rice, J. P. Hook and Floyd H. Williams. The last four mentioned were the first officers. The official list was further made up by the addition of H. T. Crozier, Daniel Baker, Peter Case and Norman Haight.
In 1877 the lodge finished a two-story building for its purposes and also as a business place, which cost its members about three thousand dollars.
Silver Lake Lodge, No. 214, Daughters of Rebekah, was organized October 19, 1893, by Ward White, Mrs. E. M. Griffin, J. J. King, E. B. King, E. R. Stone, J. B. Smith, Christina Smith, Mrs. M. A. Simons, A. Jamison, L. M. Jamison, A. J. and Lydia I. Lett, E. B. and Cora N. Porter, L. S. and Alzina Stone, R. D. Barker, C. M. White, Thomas Simons, Louise White, Mrs. Eliza Burton and Mrs. James B. Clark.
The organization of Delhi Camp, No. 7709, Modern Woodmen of America, took place February 26, 1901. The names of the charter members follow: Elmer N. Akers, Charles T. Armstrong, Asyonis Bensley, Fred Brownell, Alfred E. Bing, John G. Daker, Francis J. Gertel, John W. Hartman, Henry B. Hersey, Will L. Boardman, Perry Haight, Elmer E. Holdridge, F. M. Clifton, Oscar A. Holdridge, Charles A. Howard, George W. Keith, Hugh L. Keith, William Kleespies, Henry E. Lewis, Jay L. Lillibridge, W. Z. Phillips, Robert M. Wilson, Charles Lutes, Martin Lutes, Burdett Miller, Edward McMullen, Albert E. Peterson, James Smith, Frank E. Stimson, Hiram N. Willcox, Charles R. Sutton and John M. Root.
The lodge building was destroyed by fire about 1889, when another building, a two-story frame, was built by the lodge. This is the third structure for lodge purposes erected by the local body of Odd Fellows.
Delhi Lodge, No. 94, Modern Brotherhood of America, was organized October 13, 1897, by Edwin H. King, Elmer H. Blanchard, John W. Swinburne, Peter Y. Michaels, Rinehart Erisman, Fred Brownell, Byron A. Stone, William F. Neal, Charles T. Armstrong, Ira Curtis Miller, Albert Meister, George M. Himmel, Linas W. Jamison, Oren Jamison, Mertello J. Mast, Melville O. Dolley.
Delhi now has about four hundred inhabitants. Since the destructive fire of a quarter century ago, brick buildings have taken the place of small frame affairs in the business center, and as a trading point the place is more than holding its own. The plot of ground in the heart of the town, in the center of which is the old courthouse, is beautifully shaded by trees planted in the days of the county's infancy, and around its four long sides a substantial cement walk is laid, the work being done at the instance and expense of Mrs. H. C. Doolittle, widow of Judge F. B. Doolittle, that pioneer farmer, horticulturist, county and town builder and public official. On a neat tablet of granite, standing at the main entrance to Memorial Park (courthouse yard) and erected by Mrs. Doolittle, in 1913, is this inscription: "Walk around park built by Mrs. H. C. Doolittle, as a memorial to her husband, Judge F. B. Doolittle, a resident of Delhi 62 years."
This is one of the forgotten villages of Delaware County that in its day cut some figure in the vicinity of its location. Hartwick was laid out on section 30, by John W. Clark, in December, 1858. He had built a sawmill in 1849, with the timbers of an unfinished mill started by Leverett Rexford, in 1847, on Spring Branch. In 1853, Mr. Clark put up and operated a flouring mill on the Maquoketa, and furnished the settlers for many miles around with breadstuffs and lumber. Previous to laying out the town he had opened a general store and also kept tavern.
A blacksmith shop was started in Hartwick by John Whitman, in 1855, who located in that year, and a couple of years later a shoe cobbler opened a little shop; his name is lost to local history.
Samuel Stansbury started a brickyard about 1857 and Jacob Williams had a paint shop about this time, all of which indicates Hartwick as being a busy point and of some importance. By the year 1858, however, Hartwick had reached the zenith of its career. The founder,. John W. Clark, met business reverses and left the county. Whitman also packed his belongings and forsook the place for one of a more promising future. Others soon followed. The Clark farm, now having another owner, was leased to the county in 1861 for a "poor farm." Williams enlisted in the Civil war, deserted, was arrested by A. S. Blair, deputy provost marshal, and was punished. The Clark mill, like all his property, went into the hands of others and Hartwick, losing prestige, became extinct.
~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume I. Captain John F. Merry Supervising Editor. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago. Call Number 977.7385 H2m.
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