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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 280-283



Chapter XXIII




Page 280


The Town of Greeley is quite an important business center of the northern portion of the county. It was laid out on the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 29, the survey being made August 28, 1854, by A. G. Noble, and plat recorded February 24, 1855. Samuel Lough owned the land and projected the town giving it much assistance in its infancy. The post- office was established in 1854 and named Plum Spring, but in 1863 this was changed to Greeley. The reason of the first name was that a splendid spring of water was near the Lough residence, near the town site.


In the fall of 1854, Charles S. Taylor built a house one-half mile east of the Lough home and was the first building to be put up in Greeley.


Early March, 1855, William Cattron purchased the Taylor property and also lot six of Lough. On lot six he put up a building, stocked it with merchandise and at once opened the first mercantile establishment in the place.


The next persons to build and enhance the importance of Greeley were J. B. Taylor, H. C. Drybread and Miss Lizzie White. Soon their activities in this direction were followed by others, who engaged in business.


It is probably not generally known in Delaware County that the Village of Greeley is the home of one of America's most famous song writers and talented vocalists - J. F. Martindale, better known in theatrical circles by the stage name of "Frank Howard." Mr. Martindale is the son of one of Delaware County's early settlers and esteemed citizens, Rev. John Martindale, of the Christian Church.   J. F. Martindale was born March 7, 1851, and that same year his father settled in the vicinity of the present Village of Greeley, where the young man spent his childhood and youth.  He was a musician from infancy, although he never took a lesson in his life, his father being opposed to children receiving any musical training. His first song was entitled "Baby's Kiss," written in 1878, and met with public favor. This was followed by "Still Far From Me." Then in 1882 appeared "Pansy Blossoms." Everybody sang that, and the author's next songs were "When the Robins Nest Again," "I'll Await My Love," "Sweet Alpine Roses," "Howard's Cradle Song," "Sweet Heather Bells," and the "Springtime and Robins Have Come," "Veneta," "A Faded Pansy," "The Sailor Boy's Return," "Two Little Rugged Urchins," "Only Blue Bells" and others of less popularity. Mr. Martindale sang for two years in the Coliseum at Chicago, and in 1874 was with Happy Cal Wagner's minstrel troupe, one of the popular organizations of its day. He then joined the Barlow, Wilson, Primrose & West Company, and it was during his engagement with this company that he brought out, and sang for one season "When the Leaves Begin to Turn." His next engagement was with Thatcher, Primrose & West, with whom he traveled three years. He also was with Dockstader's Twenty-ninth Street and Broadway minstrels in New York City. Retiring from the stage, Mr. Martindale took up his residence at his old home in Greeley, giving his attention to farming in a small way, and to the breeding and development of trotting horses on a somewhat extensive scale. He owns a farm of 200 acres adjoining the site of Greeley, which is well improved and has a splendid stud of thoroughbred horses, containing some notable purse winners, among which may be mentioned "Happy Medium," "Membrino Medium," and "Saxony." His brood mares were all of the Hambletonian and Membrino breed.


      Greeley did not amount to a great deal until the coming of the Davenport & St. Paul Railroad in 1873. Then outsiders began to take notice of the coming little village, and the population grew apace, until now there are about four hundred souls within its corporate limits, 100 less than in 1900, however. In 1872 Horace White contributed to the advance by building a hotel, which received the traditional name of the "White House," and was Greeley's premier hotel. Previous to this event, however, a tavern had been kept for some time by Abram Parliman, at his house on the Lough farm.


Greeley incorporated August 29, 1892, and on the 3rd day of April, 1914, voted by a majority of 26, for the establishment of a municipal electric light plant. Work on the improvement at once was begun; it was completed and in full operation August 15, 1914. The corporation was empowered by vote of the citizens to issue $8,000 in bonds and the powerhouse, equipment, poles, wire, etc., built and installed at a cost within the obligation assumed in selling the bonds. The town has not as yet a waterworks or sewage system, but these are in contemplation and will be inaugurated at no far distant day.


Greeley's equipment for educating its children is of the best. The Independent School District of Greeley was organized April 11, 1875, at which time H. C. Drybread, L. H. Keyes, and George Griffith were elected directors; the board then selected H. C. Drybread for president of the board, L. H. Keyes secretary, and James Wilson treasurer. In the fall of 1875 a schoolhouse was built, which in 1894 was destroyed by fire and the present excellent building, a two-story brick, was immediately built to take its place. This is a graded school and employs four teachers.


The postoffice was established in 1863. S. N. Talcott received his commission as postmaster April 28, 1863. The names of those who succeeded him follow: Jerome Baker, December 7, 1863; Job Gildersleve, April 7, 1871; Milo Blodgett, August 8, 1876; E. H. Cummings, July 24, 1882; Milo Blodgett, Jun 15, 1883; B. E. Farwell, December 3, 1885; Timothy W. Hatfield, December 3, 1901.


Greeley claims the largest creamy in the county. It has been established a quarter of a century, and is operated on the cooperative plan.


Another claim Greeley boasts of is its market for imported draft horses. A. B. Holbert has long been in the business of going to Europe and bringing back with him large strings of big horses for breeding purposes and claims to have the largest stables of them in the United States. The many large and splendidly appointed buildings on his farm near town, filled with the choicest and handsomest of big, splendidly built Percheron and Belgian horses, go a long way to confirm the position the people here take in regard to this great industry. The firm of Lang & Co. also is extensively engaged in the importation and sale of horses.


The Security Savings Bank is an outgrowth of the private banking concern of Thomas Cole, founded in 1890. This was a year or so after William Millen attempted to found a bank in the village and failed. The Security Savings Bank was incorporated September 15, 1908, after taking over the Cole interest, by J. U. Rector, J. D. Chase, I. C. Odell, William Odell, W. P. Harris, G. L. Baker, Gertrude G. Cole, H. Wilson, D. W. Clements and W. H. Norris. The capital stock was $15,000, and officials: W. H. Norris, president; J. D. Chase, vice president, who died February, 1914 and was succeeded by I. C. Odell; F. B. Wilson, cashier.


The Christian Church was organized before the founding of Greeley, at a meeting in the Poultney schoolhouse, three miles east of the town, June 15, 1851.  Rev. John Martindale and H. C. Drybread and wife, James Roe and wife, David Martindale, Robert Overocker and Job Gildersleve established this society. After additional members had been admitted, Job Gildersleve and John Fosselman were chosen elders, and E. Hutton and S. Talcott, deacons.  The first services of the society were held in the schoolhouse and private homes of members until 1867, when the present church building was erected. For over a quarter of a century John Martindale ministered to the spiritual welfare of this congregation and then resigned, when the pulpit was occupied in their turn by Rev. W. M. Roe, John Eucell and John Smith. For some time past there has been no resident minister.


St. Joseph's Catholic church building was erected in 1874. The first services were held by Rev. M. Quirk, in May, 1875, in the new structure. He remained until October, when he was succeeded by Rev. B. Coyle, who was followed by Rev. John Hackett. For many years past there has been no resident priest in Greeley, the church being attended by a priest from Strawberry Point. The present pastor who visits here from the place mentioned is Rev. Father Erdland.


       The Methodist Episcopal Church of Greeley was founded in the Old Poultney log schoolhouse in the early '50s and became a part of the church at Greeley, organized in 1883, by Rev. L. L. Lackland, then pastor of the charge at Edgewood. Among the members at that time were Jesse Perkins and wife, James Rutherford, Sr. and wife, Mrs. Alvira Wilson, Mrs. Harris, Mrs. Miller, Mrs. Henry Box and daughter, Charlotte Box, Mrs. A. A. Strong and daughter, Jennie Strong. Under Reverend Lockland's faithful pastorate, the membership increased in number and soon a Sunday school was established. The first meetings of the society were held in Greeley, in the Universal Church. In 1886 Reverend Lockland, by request, returned to Greeley for the third time. He was succeeded in 1887 by Rev. E. J. Lockwood, under whose administration a house of worship was built and dedicated.


In 1913 Rev. B. A. Alexander came to this charge and during his stay remodeled the church. The following pastors, in addition to the ones already mentioned, have presided over this charge: Revs. John Gammon, Dewitt C. Perry, E. R. Leamon, Jess Smith, Robert Lusk, Charles Blake, W. A. Gibbons, John Dundson, under whose pastorate the parsonage was built; J. B. Metcalf, H. C. Crawford, Elmo Keller, Earl Carnahan and B. A. Alexander.


There was a Universalist Church here at one time.  It was established December 28, 1865, at the residence of J. Baker.  In 1868 the society built a house of worship and Rev. Joy Bishop was the pastor. This church lost its local identity a number of years ago.


Tadmor Lodge, No. 225, A. F. & A. M., was instituted under dispensation, November 15, 1867, and received its charter June 3, 1868. The first officers elected and installed were J. H. Nietart, W. M. ; D. W. Jenkins, S. W.; John Drybread, J. W.; John Corell, Treas.; Luther Keyes, Sec.; Jerome Baker, S. D.; Timothy Noble, J. D.; Lewis Wells, Tyler. The lodge has 121 members.


Rob Morris Chapter No. 208, Order Eastern Star, was organized October 28, 1891, with twenty-nine members. The above lodge of Masons has an autograph letter hanging on the wall of its lodge room which it prizes very highly. It was sent to the lodge April 15, 1901, by the Marquis Landsdown, acknowledging receipt of a letter by him, in which the lodge expressed the regrets of its members upon the occasion of the death of Queen Victoria.


Greeley has a very strong and enthusiastic lodge of Odd Fellows, the members now numbering 140. It is Greeley Lodge No. 418, organized October 21, 1880. In the year 1904 this organized body of men erected a splendid two-story brick business and lodge building, having a frontage on the main street of the town of fifty feet, and extending back eighty feet. The cost was about twelve thousand dollars.


Elk Encampment of this body, No. 141, was organized October 20, 1891, and has eighty members.


Maple Degree No. 227, Daughters of Rebekah, was organized October 18, 1895. It now has 150 members. The names of the charter members follow: N. Griffith, Nancy Griffith, Q. M. M. Taylor, Kittie Taylor, S. B. and Sarah S. Sloan, R. W. and Annie C. Fishel, May Fishel, J. M. Fishel, Ida V. Fishel, L. Matthews, C. Matthews, J. M. Lillibridge, Mary Lillibridge, Ed and Louisa Corell, Charles and Belle Kellogg, Cyrus and Etta McKinnis, Etta McRichard, M. C. and Jennie L. Way and Henry and Lolee McGarvey.   


~ 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. Page 280-283.


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