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
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
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.
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.
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.