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MILFORD, ITS LOCATION—THE FIRST SETTLEMENT OF MILFORD AND OKOBOJI TOWNSHIPS—THE OLD TOWN—THE FIRST HOTELS AND STORES—EARLY ENTERTAINMENTS—THE MILFORD LIBRARY ASSOCIATION—AMATEUR THEATRICALS—THE MILFORD DANCING SCHOOL—THE EARLY CHURCHES—THE WORK OF REV. J. R. UPTON—THE BUILDING OF THE RAILROAD FORCES THE MOVING OF THE TOWN—NORTH MILFORD—BUILDING UP THE NEW TOWN—OLD BUILDINGS MOVED UP AND NEW ONES ERECTED.
THE town of Milford is the metropolis of the south part of the county and is located on the range line between Milford and Okoboji townships, that being the center of the principal street. As has been before stated the immediate cause of building up a town at that time and place was the building of the Milford flouring mill in the summer of 1869. This event has been noticed at some length in the history of the county at large. Coincident with the building of the mill was the settlement of the two townships. The first settler in Milford township was A. D. Inman, who came in 1866. Two or three other claims were taken either that year or the next, but were soon after abandoned. There had been but three or four claims taken in the township when the mill company made their selection which was on two abandoned claims. During the summer of 1869 nearly all of the vacant land in the township was homesteaded. Prominent among the settlers for that year were Andrew Blackman, R. C. McCutchin, Z. Slayton, John Allar, C. Christensen, Homer Wise, S. E. Inman, Hiram Ogg, G. P. Clark, H. H. Shipman, C. Tinkham, Eli Miller, E. Freeman, the Reeves brothers, and some others, a few of whom survived the grasshopper invasion, and in some instances the children of the old settlers still occupy the old homesteads of thirty-three years ago.
Okoboji township is older, the first settlers having come as early as 1859. The names of the principal ones up to 1867 have already been given; shortly after that they were reinforced by C. A. Arnold, Levi Knowlton, J. B. Florer, D. T. Jaynes, William Patten, John Matthesen, Halvor Knutesen, Sam Waller, Tom Barcus, Homer Calkins, Edmond Miller, L. F. Griswold and a few others.
The building and successful operation of the Milford mill has already been noticed and the building up of a small town in the immediate vicinity was the natural consequence. The mill company secured a half section of land where their improvements were located upon which, after completing their title, they laid out their plat of the town of Milford in the summer of 1870. Of course, the first improvements were by the mill company themselves and were made during the summer of 1869. As has been before stated, the saw mill was started in July, the grist mill in December of that year. During the summer of 1870 several substantial buildings were erected, the most important of which were the two hotels, one by A. D. Inman, and the other by Case & Arnold, and the residence of T. S. Seymour. Inman's Hotel was so near completion that it was dedicated by a grand ball and dance on the fourth of July.
The hotel which was being erected by Case & Arnold, and known as the Case House, was a three story affair, the upper story of which was intended for a public hall. The buildings were mostly of native lumber and what pine lumber was used in their construction was hauled from Algona, that being at the time the most convenient railroad town. Both buildings were well toward completion by fall and were opened to the public as soon as possible. Their patronage came largely from persons coming to mill, as some half a dozen counties at that time depended on the Milford mill for their breadstuffs. The hotel proprietors soon found out that while there might be good business for one there was not enough for two. The Case House was kept by Austin Case but he soon became convinced that there was no money in it for him as a hotel, and he got out of it in the best shape he could.
Among the early incidents connected with the history of Milford many will remember the Milford dancing school. This was during the winter of 1870 and 1871 and was without doubt the first dancing school in all northwestern Iowa. Whether the steps practiced tended to a more graceful personal movement, or the manners taught and practiced were up to the proper standard in refined society, is an open question, but there was dead loads of fun about it and the youngsters of that day wont soon forget the jolly, rollicking times they had at the Milford dancing school. The upper room of the Case House was utilized for about every purpose imaginable. A stage was rigged across one end of the hall and amateur theatricals became one of the standard entertainments of Milford pioneer society; and by the way, it is very much of a question whether these amateur efforts have been equalled by anything since produced. They certainly have not been excelled.
In connection with the amateur theatricals it may be well to notice the occasion that produced them. Early in the history of Milford several of the prominent ladies conceived the idea of breaking the monotony of pioneer life by organizing a library association. Under the intelligent leadership of Mrs. T. S. Seymour, Mrs. H. C. Crary, Mrs. I. S. Foster, Mrs. A. Case and a few others an organization was soon effected. The first problem that presented itself for solution was the question of funds. After duly considering the matter it was decided to provide a series of entertainments among which amateur theatricals had a prominent place. These entertainments were phenomenally successful and were liberally patronized, thereby enabling the projectors to carry out their plan of procuring a small but well selected library of choice literature and placing it within the reach of all who chose to avail themselves of its privileges.
The Milford Library Association is one of the pleasant memories of the early days of that thriving place, and is one of the many evidences tending to establish the claim, which has been heretofore commented on, that in intellectual development and mental culture the early settlers of this county were much in advance of what is usually expected of a pioneer community.
The old hall was also used for religious meetings in the early days. The first sermon preached there was by Rev. J. R. Upton. Mr. Upton was sent to the frontier by the Home Missionary Society of the Congregational Church and for a while was supported by them. Perhaps a brief notice of his labors would be in place here as well as anywhere. Mr. Upton was a graduate of Amherst College and was conceded to be one of the finest scholars in the state. He was not an orator, indeed, his manner as a speaker was not at all prepossessing until you began to follow his line of thought and get interested in his subject and his manner of treating it; then it became intensely interesting. There have been many more entertaining speakers in this county than Mr. Upton, but for profound scholarship and liberal culture he was the peer of the ablest. No minister of any denomination in this county ever took the deep interest in the cause of education that was always manifested by Mr. Upton. Teachers' associations and teachers' institutes he always attended, not as a guest to be invited to open with prayer or to offer a few commonplace remarks that meant nothing, but he was always a member and attended as an interested worker, and one who was in part responsible for the success or failure of the enterprise. He was one of the early homesteaders in Excelsior township, but his work extended to all parts of the county. After living on his homestead the time necessary to perfect his title, he removed to Spirit Lake but kept up his work in the different localities for several years until the death of his wife broke up his family, after which he removed to Sibley. While his work was not showy, it left its impress on society equal to any one who ever labored here.
The first school in Milford was in the summer of 1872 and was taught by Miss Helen Lawton, of Emmet County. She was succeeded the following winter by Miss Emma Gillett also of Emmet County. During the summer of 1873 and the following winter the school was taught by Mrs. A. L. Buckland. Shortly after this Mrs. H. C. Crary became identified with the Milford school and taught several terms in succession with marked success. R. B. Nicol taught the last term before the school was moved to the new town.
`The first regular practicing physician in Milford was Doctor Everett, a young man of decided ability, who settled there in the fall of 1872, but his health failing after a few months he returned to his former home in Illinois, where he soon died. Previous to this time Dr. W. S. Beers had practiced some but he was in other business and did not care to practice when not absolutely necessary. Dr. H. C. Crary established himself in Milford in the fall of 1874 and remained in practice there until he moved to Spencer in the fall of 1880. He was also superintendent of schools during this period.
The first postoffice in Milford was established in 1869 with I. S. Foster as postmaster. He was succeeded in the office the following year by L. A. Litel, who held it until 1872, when he resigned and W. F. Carlton was appointed. He continued in that position until the fall of 1881 when he was elected county auditor and moved to Spirit Lake, when Mr. Foster again took the office which he had vacated eleven years before, and was acting in that capacity when the town was moved to its new location in 1882. The mail facilities at that time were a daily stage from Spencer to Jackson and return. The pioneer stage line of Bailey & Barney is well remembered by the old timers.
The first store in the old town was started by L. A. Litel in the summer of 1870, he having purchased of A. D. Inman an old granary building which he moved to the town site and fixed up as a store, and occupied it temporarily while he was erecting a more commodious building into which he moved the ensuing fall. He remained in business there until the fall of 1871, when he was succeeded by Carlton Brothers, who in November, 1871, started in with groceries and hardware. The following summer they put in a set of tinner's tools, the first in the county. In 1873 they added dry goods.
R. A. Smith also erected a store building and started a general store in the fall of 1870, and remained in business there until January 1, 1872, when he sold out to Dr. W. S. Beers, who, after continuing in business there for a while, bought the Case House and fitted up the lower room for a store, to which he transferred his business, where he remained until 1874. He then sold out to Wallace Smith and moved to Spirit Lake. In the meantime he had rented the old store to A. Price, of Lakeville, who occupied it as a drugstore for a while, after which it was moved down to the lower mill. Wallace Smith remained in business until the spring of 1877, when he sold out and moved to Westport.
In 1876 the Carlton Brothers finished off a store building which had been commenced by I. S. Foster & Company, across the street from their first location and moved their business into it, remaining there until 1879, when the store was occupied by I. S. Foster & Company, and the Carltons occupied the building vacated
Wallace Smith. I. S. Foster & Company continued in the business until the locating of the railroad forced the moving of the town, they moving with it. The first blacksmith shop in Milford was conducted by S. E. Inman and George Middleton, but they were in a short time succeeded by Chris Kessey. Several residences were built, but these cannot be noticed in detail.
As a village the old town of Milford started in with as bright prospects as any new town away from railroads could desire, but the money panic of 1872, succeeded as it was by the four years of entire destruction of crops by the grasshopper raid, put a stop to its growth, and when they had partially recovered from that the location of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad forced an entire change of location. Most of the important buildings were moved to the new town the last, but not least being the "old grist mill," which, by the way, had been thoroughly overhauled and entirely rebuilt and fitted up with modern machinery long before its removal. It is not at all probable that the mill as rebuilt on the present location contains a single piece of machinery or stick of timber that was originally used in its construction, but it is the old mill, all the same and will always remain such to those who were interested in starting the project and have watched its progress through the varying vicissitudes it was destined to pass.
In the summer of 1873 Henry Barkman and R. A. Smith erected a second mill on the outlet a mile below the other one. It was believed at that. time that the outlet water power would prove a permanent one and had it done so it would have been one of the best in the state. The work on the mill was in an advanced state when the country was struck by the memorable grasshopper raid of 1873. To stop where they were and to go no farther was to lose all that had been done, while the outlook was not very promising in case they went forward with their work. This, however, they finally decided to do. Accordingly the work was continued and the mill put into running order in October, 1873. The mill did fairly well that season as the destruction of crops was but partial. Had emigration remained what it had been for three years previous, the mill could doubtless have been made to pay, but instead of that large tracts of land were abandoned and in some instances whole neighborhoods almost depopulated. Again, what wheat was raised during and after the grasshopper visitation was far inferior in quality to that raised before. Owing to all of these adverse circumstances the mill never was made to pay. Mr. Barkman died in February, 1878. For a while after his death the administrators of his estate continued to operate it but it was a losing game.
After several shifts it finally fell into the hands of D. N. Guthrie, who overhauled it entirely, throwing out the old buhrs and putting in the roller system with all the modern improvements. About this time the water supply failed and he was obliged to add an engine and power house. All of these changes involved heavy expense, much greater than was at first anticipated, and Mr. Guthrie was finally glad to dispose of it for much less than it cost him. As has already been noted the first railroad was built into Milford in the fall of 1882, and that the location of the road forced a change in the location of the 'town. The new town appears on the records as North Milford, although it is known throughout the county by the old name of Milford. The land on which the new town is located was purchased by John Lawler, and the town as laid out by him was surveyed and platted and the plat put on record August 21, 1882.
The first business set up in the new town was the lumber yards of Rasmussen Brothers. Later on they added coal and grain. Several new buildings were erected that fall, also several were moved up from the old town. One of the first of the new buildings erected was the Commercial Savings Bank. A hardware store was erected by R. M. Brigham and occupied by Snyder & Bowers.
I. S. Foster & Company opened the first dry goods store in Milford. They moved up their old store from the old town, which they set back from the street and used as a ware room, and erected a large store in front of it. J. A. Ellis erected a store building that fall, and in January the firm of Ellis & Blackert opened up a general store. There were two lumber yards started at about the same time, the first one as already stated by Rasmussen Brothers and the other by P. Staur & Company, Charles Darrow acting as agent and salesman.
Chris Kessey moved his blacksmithing business up from the old town and was the first blacksmith. His was one of the first advertisements appearing in the first number of the Milford Mail, and reads as follows :
"You will find the same old man, at the new stand, to-wit, namely: Chris Kessey, who has a new shop in full blast at the new town, and will do all kinds of blacksmithing."
The first number of The Milford Mail was issued December 29, 1882. J. A. Smith, formerly of the Spirit Lake Beacon, editor and publisher.
C. T. Fox was the first physician to locate in the new town, and C. W. Hilbert was the first druggist there. Dr. J. E. Green succeeded Doctor Fox as physician early the following spring, and about the first of June he came into possession of the drug business which he greatly enlarged.
The first agricultural warehouse in Milford was established by Bender Brothers, of Spencer, Frank Knight acting as their agent. They also advertised to deal in grain and stock. In May, George A. White established the White Agricultural Warehouse.
The Central House, by R. C. McCutchin, was the first hotel, and was soon followed by a restaurant and lunch room by Mr. C. Potter.
E. G. Hall was the first to advertise insurance. E. A. Case & Company represented real estate. The livery business was represented by Ira F. Hall and Hiram Davis.
A more extended notice of the pioneer newspaper of Milford, the Milford Mail, is in order. As has been stated the first number was dated December 28, 1882. The paper was founded by J. A. Smith, formerly one of the proprietors of the Spirit Lake Beacon, but before the expiration of the first year he sold out to R. B. Nicol, who assumed full control of the paper and conducted it until about 1886, when he sold out to E. G. Blackert. Mr. Blackert remained in control a short time, when he sold it back to Mr. Nicol, preparatory to going into the Beacon with Mr. Funk. In May, 1898, George Sherburne and W. T. Davidson bought. the outfit of Nicol and conducted the paper until September, 1899, when Mr. Davidson sold his interest to E. E. Heldridge, thus forming the firm as it now stands. Considerable new material was from time to time added, and in 1901 a new cylinder press was put in and a few months later a gasoline engine was added, and other improvements have been made until now it averages up with the best establishments of its kind.
Mr. Sherburne has long been known as one of the ablest job printers in this part of the state, while Mr. Heldridge has a quaint and original way of putting things that is decidedly "catchy," and together they are making the Mail a decidedly readable and reliable paper. In March, 1901, it was enlarged to a six column quarto. It has been one of the official papers of the county since January 1, 1899.
A second paper, the Milford Sentinel, was started by Bryant & Smith in 1896, but they suspended publication in May, 1898. In the September following R. B. Nicol commenced the publication of the Milford Monitor, and conducted it until September, 1900, when the Mail bought the subscription list and Nicol moved the material to Fostoria and established the Fostoria Record.
When the location of the town was changed in 1882, I. S. Foster was postmaster and remained such until 1885, when he was succeeded by E. A. Case, who held through Cleveland's first term. In 1889 he was succeeded by R. B. Nicol, who acted during Harrison's administration, and upon Cleveland's second election Austin Case was appointed and held until after McKinley's election. R. F. Price was appointed in 1897 and still acts in that capacity. It was constituted a presidential office in July, 1900.
The Commercial Savings Bank of Milford was another of the early institutions of the town, it having been founded in 1882. Of course at first the capital was small and the business light, but it has grown with the growth of the country until it is recognized as one of the safe and solid financial institutions of the county. It has recently been changed to the First National Bank of Milford. A second bank, the Milford Savings Bank, was started about 1897 and is also doing a good business.
The independent school district of Milford was formed from territory situated part in Milford and part in Okoboji townships, and one schoolhouse from each township was moved into town and the two were made to do duty for school purposes until 1888, when the old buildings were sold and a more modern structure erected in their place. This building was destroyed by fire in 1891, but was soon replaced by another one built from the same plan as the original.
At the time the business of Milford was moved from the old town, Rev. H. L. Smith, of the M. E. Church, had charge of the circuit, and, therefore, was the first Methodist preacher in the new town. His appointments were: Preaching at the Bennett Schoolhouse at 10:30 o'clock A. M., at the Pillsbury Schoolhouse at 3 o'clock P. M., and at Milford at 6:30 P. M. Alternate Sundays: Preaching at the Westport School house at 10:30 A. M., at the Davis Schoolhouse at 3:00 P. M. and at Milford at 6:30 P. M. The Sabbath school at this time was a union Sabbath school, A. K. Turneaure, superintendent
The Methodists were the first to erect a church building in Milford. The preliminary steps were taken early in the spring. A building committee was appointed of which B. F. Wood was president; N. Mowers, treasurer, and H. L. Smith, secretary. The church had so far reached completion that it was dedicated October 28, 1883. In writing of that event the Milford Mail of November second says :
"Presiding Elder Gleason and Revs. Mitchell, Keister and Smith were in attendance, but the active part of the service devolved upon Rev. J. T. Crippen, of Mason City, who came by special request for that purpose and he acquitted himself well."
Mr. Smith was succeeded in 1883 by Rev. M. Keister, who was in charge two years when he was in turn succeeded by Rev. — King, who remained but one year. In 1891 Rev. Shoemaker was appointed to the charge and remained three years, and was succeeded by Rev. Pendell, who remained but one year and was succeeded by F. L. Moore, who remained three years and he was in turn succeeded by Rev. Fegtly, who remained on the circuit two years and was succeeded in 1900 by Rev. Hathaway, who remained on but six months, and was succeeded the following spring by Rev. R. H. Reidy, the present pastor.
During the summer of 1901 improvements to the amount of $4,000 were made on the church building, thus making it one of the most attractive church buildings in the county. A flourishing Sabbath school has been maintained from the first; also an active branch of the Epworth League, and all of the accessories of a live and vigorous organization.
The work of Rev. J. R. Upton for the Congregationalists has already been referred to. His work was largely preliminary and consisted principally in organizing and getting into working order societies in different localities. He organized a society in Milford as early as 1872, and held services there as often as possible without neglecting other duties. In June, 1883, the Milford church made provision for stated services by engaging as pastor Rev. T. W. McHoes, who divided his time between Milford and Lakeville. Indeed, up to this time and until 1888, Milford and Lakeville were united in one society, the services alternating between the two places. For a few years the interest flagged. It was hard times. The membership was small and as before stated the Home Missionary Society withdrew its support. This was about the time that the church at Spirit Lake disbanded and its members went to the Presbyterians.
In 1888 the Home Missionary Society sent another minister to this county in the person of Rev. N. L. Burton. Through his active efforts a reorganization was effected, this time Milford and Lakeville organizing separately. Prominent among the Milford members were Mr. and Mrs. Charles Tinkham, Mrs. T. S. Seymour, Mrs. Wilkinson, Mrs. W. A. Cook, Mrs. C. A. Bunker, and perhaps a few others. New members came in quite rapidly, and the society was soon in a flourishing condition. Mr. Burton was succeeded by Rev. D. E. Skinner, also an agent for the Home Missionary Society. The first president pastor was Rev. L. R. Fitch, who came in 1890. Mr. Fitch was succeeded by Rev. Arthur Weatherly, who remained several years. After Mr. Weatherly the pulpit was occupied one year by Rev. — Gardner, a Freewill Baptist minister. He was succeeded by Rev. R. L. Webber, who remained one year, and in turn was succeeded by Rev. H. H. Burch, who remained about two years, and was succeeded in May, 1901, by Rev. W. G. Johnston, the present pastor.
The preliminary steps for erecting a church building were taken in 1890. The Home Missionary Society contributed four hundred dollars and the balance was provided by the resident members. Work commenced in 1890, and the church was dedicated in 1891. Up to about 1898 the church received some aid from the Home Missionary Society in paying its pastors. Since that time they have relied entirely on themselves. In 1901 a spacious addition was erected at an expense of $1,000. A live Sabbath school and an active Christian Endeavor Society are maintained.
The first Baptist Church in Milford was organized in the summer of 1882, by a voluntary movement on the part of a few citizens of the town, prominent among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Roswell Osborn, and A. K. Turneaure. The meeting for that purpose was held in the schoolhouse in the old town previous to its being moved. Rev. Braistead was the first preacher. He lived at Spirit Lake and divided his labors between the two places. He was succeeded by Rev. Andrews. The first resident pastor was Rev. J. E. McIntosh, who came in the spring of 1891 and remained two years, when he was succeeded by Rev. T. E. S. Lapham. Since that time the church has been supplied by Rev. C. S. Sloan and C. W. Harvey. The first steps toward erecting a church building were taken in 1891, and the church was completed and dedicated that fall, Rev. J. E. McIntosh preaching the dedicatory sermon.
There has always been quite a large per cent of Scandinavians and people of Scandinavian descent in and around Milford. As usual they nearly all lean towards the Lutheran faith. The Lutherans are always strict observers of the ordinances and requirements of their church, and as a matter of course early adopted such measures as their means enabled them to plant and foster their own religious ideas. At first this consisted of ministers of that denomination visiting a community and establishing a neighborhood school at the residence of some settler for the purpose of imparting such instruction as all were expected to become proficient in before being confirmed in the church. The work was conducted in this manner until the summer of 1890, when they erected a commodious church building in the south part of Okoboji township. One of the principal promoters of this enterprise was G. Matthesen, who was with the first Scandinavians that settled in the county, coming as early as 1858.
The Catholics also were early represented in Milford. At the first most of the Catholic population instead of residing in town were scattered out on the prairie in all directions. The first services were held at the house of Daniel Ryan, some two or three miles southeast of Milford, some time in the summer of 1884 by Father Norton, who was then located at Spirit Lake and had charge of the Spirit Lake and Spencer work. The meetings were first held at the homes of the settlers and afterwards either in the schoolhouse or in the hall over J. A. Ellis' store. Father Norton was succeeded by Father Carroll also of Spencer about 1885 or 1886, who was in turn succeeded by Father McCauley. The preliminary steps for erecting a church building were taken in 1887 and 1888, and in 1889 a plain but commodious structure was erected. Among the most earnest workers in this enterprise were Daniel Ryan, the McGuires, and a few others. The membership is nearly evenly divided between the Irish and the German Catholics, and when it came to selecting a name for the new church considerable good-natured rivalry existed as to which side should have the honor of furnishing the name, but the Irish won and the church is known as St. Patrick's church. The priests since Father McCauley's time have been Father Tierney and Father Kirby. Milford is attached to the Spencer parish or rather the same priest ministers to both places.
The different civic societies represented in Milford are the Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen and Yeomen. Gloaming lodge No. 482, A. F. & A. M., was first organized under a dispensation granted by the Grand Lodge of Iowa July 7, 1886. The first officers were: A. Case, W. M.; C. Stuart, S. W.; Frank McDonald, J. W.; T. S. Seymour, Treasurer ; R. B. Nicol, Secretary. A charter was granted June 3, 1887. The first officers under the charter were A. Case, W. M.; B. Pitcher, S. W. ; W. B. Jones, J. W. ; W. A. Meek, Treasurer, and R. B. Nicol, Secretary. The number of charter members was seventeen. Since that time the office of W. M. has been held by B. Pitcher, T. P. Barringer, W. F. Pillsbury, J. L. Bascomb and Q. C. Fuller. The present membership is fifty-seven. The present officers are: Q. C. Fuller, W. M.; S. O. Pillsbury, S. W.; II. S. Abbott, J. W.; W. F. Pillsbury, Treasurer; S. A. Winey, Secretary; E. E. Heldridge, S. D.; F. A. Heldridge, J. D.; A. Case, Tyler. Total number of members since the lodge was organized eighty-nine. Number of deaths in the lodge, three.
In connection with the Masonic lodge a chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star was organized in 1895. The first officers were R. F. Price, W. P.; Mrs. W. H. H. Myers, W. M.; Mrs. E. F. Miller, A. M., and Mrs. E. A. Case, Secretary. The position of W. M. has since been 'held by Mrs. E. F. Miller, Mrs. C. A. West, Mrs. A. Case and Mrs. Dr. Coldren is elected for 1902. The officers for the current year are J. L. Bascomb, W. P.; Mrs. Dr. Coldren, W. 'M.; Mrs. E. F. Miller, A. M.; Mrs. J. L. Pitcher, Secretary ; Mrs. A. Case, Treasurer; Miss Nellie Pillsbury, Conductor, and Mrs. R. F. Price, Associate Conductor. The membership at the present time is not far from fifty, and the affairs of the chapter are in a very flourishing and satisfactory condition.
Monitor Lodge, No. 491, I. O. O. F., was organized in April, 1886. The Past Grands up to the present time have been: F. H. Bunker, E. G. Hall, W. E. Hall, G. A. O'Farrell, It. B. Nicol, S. A. Wolf, C. E. Blackert, Matt Weiser. The present officers are: Valentine Roasch, N. G.; S. A. Wolf, Secretary. The total membership at' the present time is not far from fifty.
Wallar Post, No. 223, G. A. R., was organized September 13, 1883. It was the first civic society in Milford. The charter members were: R. B. Nicol, Daniel Bennett, James Heldridge, Thompson Emerson, A. D. Inman, William Chase, Horace Bennett, Charles A. Darrow, R. R. Wilcox, D. H. Cole and Ira Foster. In all sixty-five names appear on the records as having been members at some period. The present membership is not far from twenty-five. The G. A. R. differs from all other societies in this: When an old member is "mustered out" there are no young ones to fill their place. The position of Commander has been filled by William Chase, H. H. Shipman, Zina Henderson, A. D. Inman, James Heldridge, R. R. Wilcox, R. B. Nicol, W. H. H. Myers, and Daniel Mead. A more than ordinary degree of interest has always been manifested by the members of this post. In connection with it is an active Women's Relief Corps, and a feeling of comradeship is cultivated and encouraged that is a long way in advance of many other organizations.
Okoboji Lodge, No. 429, Knights of Pythias, was organized in May, 1895. The first officers were: C. H. Perry, Chancellor ; C. A. West, Vice-Chancellor ; H. S. Abbott, Clerk ; E. A. Case, M. of W.; James McElroy, M. of E.; L. C. Miller, M. of F.; George Paton, Keeper of Records and Seals. Chancellors since the first have been C. A. West, R. F. Price, A. H. McCutchin, R. F. Livingston, Q. C. Fuller and George Paton. There were about thirty charter members and the membership does not vary much from that now.
Live Oak Camp, No. 2567, Modern Woodmen of America, was first organized in 1892 with fifteen charter members. The officers were D. L. Van Hansen, V. C.; L. H. Miller, W. A.; J. J. Lee, Banker; C. H. Perry, Clerk. The office of Venerable Consul has since been held by C. E. Blount and J. D. Green. The present membership is about sixty-two.
"Goldenrod" Homestead, No. 250, Brotherhood of American Yeomen, was organized in March, 1899, and the first officers were: C. E. Blackert, Foreman; Mrs. C. M. Coldren, Master of Ceremonies; H. H. Burch, Physician; G. M. Sherburne, Master of Accounts; W. A. May, Overseer; Mrs. Alice O'Farrell, Lady Rebecca ; Mrs. Jennie E. Price, Lady Rowena ; R. F. Price, Correspondent; Mrs. May Hemphill, Guard, and William Paton, Watchman. There were thirty-two charter members and the present membership is about thirty-six. The lodge is in a healthy and flourishing condition.
Milford was incorporated June 11, 1892. The first, officers were: W. F. Pillsbury, Mayor, and H. J. Norheim, Recorder. The Councilmen were William Chase, J. A. Ellis, C. A. West, R. C. McCutchin, Andrew Davidson and G. A. O'Farrell. The Mayors since that time have been C. A. West, H. R. Lund and R. M. Cowham. The present officers are R. M. Cowham, Mayor, and George Paton, Recorder. The Councilmen are, W. H. Myers, C. E. Ulrich, Val Rausch, C. Tortensen, H. L. Van Housen, W. F. Pillsbury. The population, as shown by the census of 1900, is 485. It is claimed by many that this is materially less than the correct number. Now this may or may not be true. The large aggregate of business transacted, the number of churches and societies maintained and the large number of neat and tasty residences that surround the town on all sides would seem to justify this claim. At any rate, it is an uncontrovertible fact that for a town of its reported population, Milford has an unusually large number of pleasant residences. The town never had a boom and has no imposing structures. It has been built up wholly by men who commenced in a small way and have grown up with it. It has no particularly wealthy men to whom the people can turn in an emergency and expect an advance of a few thousands to help them out, and perhaps it is just as well.
It might be interesting to give more attention to the present business and business interests of the town, but lack of space prevents. If this were done in one instance, it would necessarily follow that it should be done in all, and that not only the changes and improvements in the towns, but in the country as well should all be noticed in detail, and this is clearly impossible.
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