A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement
Volume 1
Chicago, Illinois
The Pioneer Publishing Company



In the early settlement of the West every state had its quota of land speculators, whose principal object seems to have been the laying out of towns, without the slightest regard to the geographical importance of the site or its possible future commercial advantages. The great aim of these speculators was to sell lots to new immigrants. An early Iowa writer (Hawkins Taylor in the Annals of Iowa) says: "Everybody we met had a town plat, and every man that had a town had a map of the county marked to suit his town as a county seat."

Many of these prospective towns were advertised throughout the East in a manner that did not reflect much credit upon the veracity of the advertisers. The proprietors of some of the towns along the Des Moines River sent out circulars showing a picture of the town, with a row of three and four-story buildings along the river front, large sideDash; wheel steamboats lying at the landing, etc., when the truth of the matter was that only an occasional steamboat of very light draft was able to navigate the Des Moines, and the town consisted of perhaps half a dozen small cabins. A few of these towns, by some fortunate circumstance, such as the location of a county seat, the development of a water power or the building of a railroad, have grown into considerable commercial centers. Others have continued to exist, but never have grown beyond the importance of a neighborhood trading point, a small railroad station, or a post village for a moderate sized district. And some have disappeared from the map altogether.

Fortunately for Emmet County the mania for founding towns had about spent its force before the first settlements were made within its limits. The pioneers who settled and organized the county were more


interested in the development of its natural resources than they were in speculation. A few towns were laid out purely for speculative purposes, but those of the present day, with one or two exceptions, are located on the lines of railroad that traverse the county, and have at least some excuse for being on the map. Most of them were founded after the railroads were built. From a careful examination of the platbooks, old newspaper files, documents, etc., the following list of towns and villages that are now or have been projected in Emmet County has been compiled: Armstrong, Bubona, Dolliver, Emmet Grove, Estherville, Forsyth, Gridley, Gruver, Haifa, High Lake, Hoprig, Maple Hill, Raleigh, Ringsted, Swan Lake and Wallingford.

Some of the smaller towns were never officially platted, and, like Topsy in Uncle Tom's Cabin, they "jest growed." They have no special history, but such facts as the writer could gather concerning them are given in this chapter. In the case of the incorporated towns, the population given is taken from the United States census for 1910, and that of the smaller places is taken from Polk's Iowa Gazetteer for 1915-16.


The incorporated town of Armstrong is situated in the eastern part of Armstrong Grove Township, on the Albert Lea &ammp; Estherville division of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad system, nineteen miles due east of Estherville. When the railroad was built in 1892 it was known as the Chicago & Iowa Western. The town was laid out by the Northern Iowa Land and Town Lot Company, of which F. E. Allen was president and S. L. Dows was secretary. On July 7, 1892, the plat was filed in the office of the county recorder. It shows twenty-eight blocks, . with a total of 518 lots, north of the railroad and five large outlots south of the tracks for factory sites, etc.

Prior to the platting of the town a postoffice had been established at Armstrong Grove. E. B. Campbell was the first postmaster and kept the office at his residence on his farm. Mail was carried from Fort Dodge and later from Bancroft by H. J. Felke. When the town was laid out the postoffice was moved to the new village and Mr. Campbell became the first merchant in Armstrong. He was succeeded as postmaster by George Stewart. The postoffice has grown with the town. Three people are employed in the office and there is one rural mail route which delivers mail to the inhabitants of the adjacent rural districts. The present postmaster is Kaspar Faltinson, whose commission was issued by President Wilson on June 6, 1913. The receipts of the office for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1916, were a little over $3,700.

On January 17, 1893, a petition was presented to the District Court


asking for the incorporation of Armstrong, to include certain territory in the west half of Section 14 and the east half of Section 15, Township 99, Range 31. The petition was signed by E, J. Breen, T. W. Doughty, E. J. Boots, W. A. Richmond, James A. Colvin, Charles Ogilvie, T. L. Thorson, A. W. Colvin, I. E. Davis, J. M. Gannon, J. F. Hutchins, J. Jackson, Albert Davis, A. Haider, O. A. Canfield, A. Loomer, D. T. Jenkins, C. B. Mathews, J. T. Benson, W. T. Gannon, William Musson, L. L. Lawrence, B. F. Robinson, James Duffy, J. A. Finlayson, S. M. Andrew, David Mitchell, George Stickney, Jr., D. K. Hawley, W. L. Rairden, E. W. Darling and William Stuart, The large number of signers gives some idea of the rapid growth of the town.

Judge George H. Carr, of the District Court, after considering the petition, granted the prayer of the petitioners and appointed E. J. Breen, Charles Ogilvie, B. F. Robinson, J. A. Finlayson and A. W. Colvin commissioners to call an election for the purpose of submitting to the legal voters living within the territory to be included in the town limits the question of incorporation. The election was held on March 13, 1893, commissioners Breen, Ogilvie and Robinson acting as judges, and L. L. Lawrence and T. L. Thorson as clerks. The result was forty-seven votes in favor of incorporation and only four opposed. Returns were made to the District Court as required by law, and on April 6, 1893, the order for the incorporation was formally issued and recorded. Meantime the following officers had been elected: E.J. Breen, mayor; R. Gabriel, clerk; B. F. Robinson, treasurer; George V. Davis, marshal and street commissioner; J. A. Colvin, L. J. Rohde, E. J. Boots, George Stickney, Jr., J. L. Guest and T. L. Thorson, councilmen.

Following is a list of the mayors of Armstrong, with the year when each was elected: E. J. Breen, 1893; Kaspar Faltinson, 1894; B. F. Robinson, 1895; A. A. Reynolds, 1896; Charles Ogilvie, 1899; James A. Colvin, 1900; Charles Ogilvie, 1902; B. J. Dunn, 1904; H. A. Kingston, 1906; S. D. Bunt, 1908; Kaspar Faltinson, 1910; H. A. Kingston, 1914; W. W. Brooks, 1916.

The Armstrong Opera House was built by a company which was incorporated on May 6, 1903, with a capital stock of $15,000, with William Stuart, John Dows, J. L. Guest, George Stewart, N. Griffin, John Flemming and H. A. Kingston as the first board of directors. By the erection of the opera house Armstrong was provided with a place for holding public meetings and entertainments.

On November 13, 1912, a petition was presented to the town council by the Armstrong Cement Works for a franchise to establish an electric light plant. The proprietors of the cement works offered to pay the expense of holding an election to submit the question to the people. An election was accordingly held on December 9, 1912, and the franchise


was granted by a vote of nearly four to one. The plant was completed and placed in operation in the spring of 1913. An excellent system of waterworks had been installed some years before.

In 1910 the population was 586. Armstrong has three banks, all established about the time the town was incorporated, churches of five different denominations, a good volunteer fire department, a weekly newspaper (the Journal), two large grain elevators, a school building that cost $50,000, a cement block and tile factory, a creamery, a number of well stocked mercantile establishments, several minor business concerns and a score or more fine residences. In 1915 the property of the town was assessed for taxation at $311,135.


Some maps of Iowa show a place called Bubona in the northwestern part of Jack Creek Township, where there is nothing but a rural school and a few dwellings near. The writer has been unable to learn that a postoffice by that name ever existed there.


Near the center of Lincoln Township, on the Jewell & Sanborn division of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad system is the incorporated town of Dolliver. It was surveyed and laid out for the Western Town Lot Company, of which Marvin Hughitt was president and J. B. Redfield secretary, and the plat was filed in the office of the county recorder on May 8, 1899, about the time the railroad was built. On the original plat are shown seventeen lots east of the railroad tracks marked "Depot Grounds," and on the west side of the railroad are six blocks, divided into ninety-seven lots. The east and west streets are Shafter, Main and Otis, and the north and south streets are Dewey, Schley and Sampson. With the exception of Main Street all bear the names of United States army and naLvy officers in the Spanish-American war. On August 8, 1911, a new survey was made by A. M. Jefferis by order of the town council.

At the November term of the District Court in 1901 a petition ask- ing for the incorporation of Dolliver was presented. The petition was signed by T. C. Pier, H. F. Keables, George A. Ports, W. S. Newton, C. E. Jackson, F. D. Colgrove, B. B. ElUott, J. F. Lamb, H. P. Wilcox, B. F. Wright, M. A. Holtzbauer, Roy Wertz, T. Cunningham, C. F. Wendt, B. Lamb, J. A. Reagan, L: P. Stillman, M. Sweafet, W. H. Kep- hart, I. L. Chandler, C. E. Sullivan, A. N. Eells, I. Coleman, W. A. Russell, W. S. Mescrip, N. L. Erickson, N. Benson, F. S. Arnold, C. O.


Harris and S. B. Reed. At that time the town was only a httle over two years old, and as the thirty signers all represented that they were residents and legal voters in the territory it was proposed to incorporate, it will be seen that Dolliver had experienced a rather rapid growth.

When the petition was presented to the court, W. H. Bigelow came in with an objection. He claimed ownership of the greater part of the east half of Section 22, Township 100, Range 32, and set forth that there was no necessity for incorporating so much territory. After hearing both the petition and remonstrance, the court ordered that Mr. Bigelow's land be omitted from the plat of the town and appointed T. C. Pier, J. A. Reagan, L. P. Stillman, C. E. Sullivan and B. B. Elliott commisioners to hold an election and submit the question of incorporation to the voters. The election was held on December 17, 1901, when the vote was thirty in favor of incorporation and only one opposed. On February 5, 1902, the court approved the report of the commissioners and ordered an election to be held on Monday, March 31, 1902, for town officers. At that election T. C. Pier was chosen mayor; George A. Ports, clerk; H. P. Wilcox, treasurer; S. B. Reed, B. B. Elliott, J. A. Reagan, C. E. Sullivan, H. F. Keables and L. P. Stillman. Returns of this election were presented to the District Court at the April term, and on April 16, 1902, the court declared the town of Dolliver "duly incorporated according to the laws of the State of Iowa."

Dolliver has two banks, two general stores, a hardware store, a lumber yard, two grain elevators, a telephone exchange, express and telegraph offices, a money order postoffice, a hotel and a number of small shops. Lincoln Township was recently made a consolidated school district and a modern school building has been erected at Dolliver at a cost of $48,000. The town was named for Hon. J. P. Dolliver, who represented the Tenth District in Congress for ten years and was a member of the United States Senate at the time of his death on July 14, 1900. In 1910 the population of Dolliver was 107. Since then its growth has been of a substantial character and the population is now estimated at 150. In 1915 the property was valued for taxation at $30,177.


The first postoffice in Emmet County was established in what is now Emmet Township, where the first settlement was made in 1856. George C. Granger had opened a small store there and around the store and postoffice grew up a little hamlet that became known as Emmet Grove. No plat of the place was ever filed in the office of the county recorder and after the postoffice was discontinued the village ‐ if such it could be called ‐ gradually became extinct.



Estherville, the seat of justice and only city within the limits of Emmet County, dates its beginning from 1858, when Robert E. Ridley acquired 160 acres of ground where the city now stands and built the first house upon the town site. A little later the town was platted by R. E. Ridley, Jesse Coverdale and Adolphus Jenkins as proprietors, and was named for Mrs. Esther A. Ridley, wife of Robert E. Ridley and mother of the first white child born in the town, her daughter Anna having been born in the spring of 1858, before the town was laid out. For some time the proprietors gave lots to parties who would agree to build, but this custom was discontinued after Emmet County was organized in 1859 and Estherville was made the county seat.

A postoffice was established at Estherville in 1860, with Adolphus Jenkins as postmaster. The first mail was received by way of a mail route that ran from Blue Earth, Minnesota, to Sioux City. Previous to this time Mr. Jenkins had formed a partnership with Robert E. Ridley and they built the first mill for grinding com and wheat in Emmet County. This mill was patronized by the settlers for miles around.

In 1861 a new survey of the town was made and a map prepared, a copy of which appears in this work. The writing on this map is so dim that it cannot be made out in the illustration and is here reproduced:

"State of Iowa
County of Emmet

"Be it known that on the 1st day of May, A. D. 1861, before me. Clerk of the Court in and for said County, personally came Robert E. Ridley, Jesse Coverdale, Gaylord Graves and Adolphus Jenkins, who acknowledge this to be a correct map or plat of the Village of Estherville, situated on the southeast quarter (S. E. 1/4) of Section No. ten (10), and the west half (W. 1/2) of Section No. eleven (11), of town ninety‐ nine (99), range thirty-four (34) west. And they furthermore grant and hereby deed to the loving public all the streets of said Village, also the Public Square, as designated on this plat.

"In testimony whereof the above named proprietors and their wives have set their hands this day and year above written.


"The above named are personally known to me to be the identical persons who have here set their hands and acknowledged it to be their free act and deed.

"C. M. KEIPH, Clerk of Court.


"I hereby certify that this is a correct Map or Plat of the Village of Estherville as surveyed by me April 22d, A. D. 1861.

"SAMUEL WADE, Surveyor.

"State of Iowa
"Emmet County

"Filed for record the 1st day of May, A. D. 1861, at 2 o'clock p. m., and recorded in Book .

"ROBERT E. RIDLEY, County Recorder.

"Location of Buildings ‐ Hotel, in Block No. 3; Barracks, in Block No. 59, Lots 1, 2, 3; McKay's Store, in Block No. 23, Lots 7, 8."

It will be noticed upon this map that the public square occupied four blocks, bounded by Fifth, Seventh, Lincoln and Des Moines streets. Some years later Sixth Street was opened through the square and the south half was divided into lots. Some of the leading business houses of the city now stand on what was originally part of the public square.

Owing to the Civil war and the Indian troubles on the frontier the growth of Estherville was rather slow for the first few years of its existence. A school house was built on the northeast corner of the public square in 1860. McKay's general store, Ridley & Jenkins' mill and Amos Ketchum's blacksmith shop were the principal business establishments in early days. In 1866 Simeon E. Bemis opened a store on the corner of Sixth and Des Moines streets, where the postoffice building now stands. The Northern Vindicator, the first newspaper in this section of the state, was started in 1868, and in 1876 Howard Graves opened the first bank in Emmet County.


In 1880 the population of the entire county was 1,550, nearly one‐ half of which was in Estherville Township. Early in the summer of 1881 a movement was started for the incorporation of the town and on September 1, 1881, a petition to that effect was presented to the Circuit Court The petition was signed by F. E. Allen, Frank Davey, C. J. Wilson, E. S. Wells, Howard Graves, Lyman S. Williams, A. O. Peterson, W. J. PuUen, W. C. Barber, G. I. Ridley, W. E. Riggs, Henry Coon, J. L. L. Riggs, C. W. Dillman, Knuet Espeset, James Maher, S. E. Bemis, A. H. Stone, R. E. Ridley, W. H. Davis, J. W. Plummer, D. M. L. Bemis, Tolliff Espeset, E. H. Ballard and D. A. Painter.

Judge John N. Weaver granted the petition and appointed Knuet Espeset, F. E. Allen, Frank Davey, R. E. Ridley and L. S. Williams commissioners to hold an election and submit the question to the voters residing within the territory it was proposed to incorporate. The election was held on October 4, 1881, when forty-four votes were cast ‐ twenty‐


eight in favor of incorporating and sixteen opposed. Both sides complained of the light vote cast, the advocates of incorporation claiming that if the people had turned out the proposition would have been carried by a large majority, and the opposition claiming that it would have been defeated. At the next term of court Judge Weaver received the returns and issued the order declaring Estherville to be an incorporated town. Then followed an election for town officers. Dr. E. H. Ballard was elected mayor; L. S. Williams, recorder; Knuet Espeset, R. E. Ridlay, John Ammon, F. E. Allen, J. H. Bamhart and Frank Davey, trustees. These officials took the oath of office on December 2, 1881, And the first meeting of the board of trustees was held on the 6th, when A. K. Ridley was elected town marshal.

Following is a list of the mayors of Estherville under the town government: E. H. Ballard, 1881; F. E. Allen, 1882; S. E. Bemis, 1884; E. J. Woods, 1885; J. H. Barnhart, 1886; A. O. Peterson, 1888; M. L. Archer, 1892. Elections were held annually in March. Dr. Ballard served from December, 1881, to March, 1882. Mayors Allen and Bamhart each served two terms, and Mayor Peterson four terms.


In October, 1892, W. S. Jones was employed to take a census of Estherville and reported a population of 2,185. The returns were presented to the state officials as required by law and on December 22, 1892, Horace Boies, governor; W. M. McFarland, secretary of state, and James A. Lyons, auditor of state, issued their certificate to the effect that they had "made examination of the returns of the special census taken by the authority of the incorporated Town of Estherville and have ascertained that the said incorporated Town of Estherville, Iowa, is shown by said returns to have a population in excess of two thousand, to wit: 2,185. Therefore we find that the said incorporated Town of Estherville is entitled to become a city of the second class."

The first election for city officers was held on Monday, March 6, 1893, when the following officials were elected: A. W. Dawson, mayor; W. A. Ladd, city solicitor; J. P. Kirby, treasurer; C. M. Brown and A. L. Houltshouser, councilmen from the First Ward; M. K. Whelan and Charles Carpenter, councilmen from the Second Ward; F. E. Allen and A. D. Root, councilmen from the Third Ward. N. B. Egbert, who had been elected recorder under the town government, was elected city clerk by the council and has held the office continuously by re-election to 1916.

Following is a list of the mayors since the incorporation of the city, with the year in which each was elected: A. W, Dawson, 1893; E. E. Hartung, 1897; E. J. Breen, 1898; Mack J. Groves, 1903; W. P. Galloway,


1907; H. C. Coon, 1909; J. E. Stockdale, 1911; B. B. Anderson, 1913; Mack J. Groves, 1915.


On February 4, 1891, the city council passed an ordinance granting a franchise to the "Estherville Water Company," but that company did nothing during the next three years toward establishing a system of waterworks. On May 9, 1894, A. L. Houltshouser and E. J. Breen, members of the council, were appointed a committee to secure options on ground suitable for the erection of a stand pipe and pumping station. They reported on May 21, 1894, that John Ammon had agreed to give a lease for a certain site, and that G. N. Coon had offered a tract of ground 100 feet square on the west side of the river for twenty-five dollars. At the meeting of the 21st the ordinance granting the franchise to the Estherville Water Company was repealed, and A. D. Root offered a resolution to submit to the people the question of establishing municipal waterworks and an electric light plant. The resolution was adopted and a special election was held on June 4, 1894. The proposition for a municipal waterworks was carried by a vote of 282 to 12, and for an electric light plant by a vote of 264 to 18.

On July 10, 1894, P. Canfield Barney was employed to make plans and specifications for the installation of a system of waterworks, and to oversee its construction. Subsequently the electric light plant was added to Mr. Barney's commission and bids were advertised for, to be opened on August 23, 1894. On that date the contract for the construction of the waterworks was awarded to C. W. Hubbard, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for $10,594, and the contract for the electrical portion of the lighting plant vas awarded to the General Electric Company, of Chicago, for $3,562. The Sioux City Engine and Iron Works' bid of $1,574 for engine and boilers was accepted, but that company failed to carry out its contract and the electric light plant was built and equipped by Adams, Green & Company, subject to sixty days' trial before final payment was made. The plant was found to be unsatisfactory in some respects and at the expiration of the sixty days, on February 25, 1895, Adams, Green & Company were given thirty days longer in which to make the necessary changes to bring the plant up to the proper standard.

The waterworks were completed according to contract and were accepted on January 29, 1895. L. R. Woods was the first water commissioner. The cost of the waterworks and lighting plant to January 1, 1915, has been about sixty thousand dollars. The income from the two plants has been sufficient to keep up the repairs and pay the debt contracted in their construction. Estherville claims to be the first city in the world to use electricity for switch lights in railroad yards.



In the summer of 1899 a petition, signed by numerous citizens, was presented to the city council asking for the establishment of a sewer system. On September 16, 1899, the engineering firm of Wardle & Yeager submitted a proposition to make plans and specifications for a complete sewer system. The proposition was accepted and on October 5, 1899, the city was divided into three sewerage districts. Eleven days later the first sewer contract was made with William Harrabin. From that modest beginning the system has gradually developed until practically all the thickly settled portions of the city have sewer connection. A large outlet opens into the Des Moines River and with this trunk sewer are connected a number of lateral branches. About the close of 1916 an agitation was started in favor of the construction of a septic tank, and it is probable that this method of disposing of sewage will be adopted in the near future.


The first movement toward the establishment of a fire department was made in September, 1884, when the first volunteer fire company of which any record has been preserved was organized with the following members: Chauncey Ammon, M. L. Archer, C. L. Bartlett, W. A. Beecher, T. W. Carter, H. C. Coon, C. W. Crim, C. W. Dilhnan, N. B. Egbert, James Espeset, C. I. Hinman, J. D. Hoover, H. A. Jehu, C. B. Little, A. O. Petersen, Warren Pullen, G. I. Ridley and William Stivers. A campaign for funds for the purchase of a hook and ladder truck was immediately commenced, but after the fund was raised and truck purchased the company had no suitable place to keep it.

An appeal was therefore made to the board of town trustees to provide quarters for the fire company, which adopted the name of "Rescue Fire Company." At the March election in 1887, the question of purchasing a hand engine and erecting a building for the company was submitted to the voters and was defeated. The next year the proposition met with better support and on December 4, 1888, the council recognized the company in an ordinance providing that "The fire department shall consist of a chief, two assistant chiefs, and as many fire wardens, fire enginemen, hosemen and hook and ladder men as now are, or may be from time to time appointed by the town council."

The ordinance further provided that the fire apparatus should be kept in such places as the council might provide. Rented quarters were occupied for some four years. On Monday, April 4, 1892, the Rescue Fire Company elected John Dygert chief; L. E. White and Samuel Fritz, assistant chiefs; A. O. Peterson, foreman of the engine; H. O. Sillge,


foreman of the hose cart; W. J. Pullen, foreman of the hook and ladder brigade. A. O. Peterson was elected president of the company and H. G. Graaf, secretary. Those officers importuned the council at every opportunity until on November 20, 1893, an appropriation of $800 was made for the erection of an engine house.

On September 5, 1910, the fire company sent a committee, consisting of George A. Case, P. Cain and Ford Connelly, to the council to submit the resignation of every member of the company for the following reasons: 1. The quarters provided for and occupied by the company were unsanitary. 2. The fire alarm system was entirely inadequate to the needs of the city. 3. The company had no suitable place in which to care for and dry hose after a fire. 4. The water pressure was not sufficient to extinguish fires. The protest seems to have spurred the council to action. Better quarters were secured for the company and steps were taken to install a fire alarm system and improve the waterworks.


On July 14, 1913, a contract was awarded to Thompson &and Sweet, of Estherville, to erect a city hall and fire station on the lot at the north-‐ east comer of Sixth and Howard streets, which had been purchased by the city some time before. The building was completed and occupied in February, 1914 . Its cost was $12,000. The front portion of the main floor is occupied as a fire station, in the rear of which and the basement are kept electric light supplies, repairs, etc. On the second floor the "fire laddies" have a club room in front, and the city clerk's office and council chamber occupy the rear. Few cities the size of Estherville have a better municipal building.


In the early part of this chapter mention is made of the establishment of the postoffice at Estherville in 1860. The postmasters from that time to the present, in the order named, have been Adolphus Jenkins, Howard Graves, Peter Johnston, Lyman S. Williams, John W. Randolph, M. K. Whelan, George C. Allen and Frank Carpenter. Mr. Carpenter, the present incumbent, was appointed by President Wilson in July, 1913.

Through the efforts of James P. Conner, while serving as a member of Congress from the Tenth Iowa District, an appropriation was obtained for the erection of a postoffice building at Estherville. The building, on the northeast corner of Sixth and Des Moines streets, was completed in 1911 and, including the site, cost $65,000. The office now employs the postmaster, assistant postmaster, four clerks, four city carriers, six rural carriers, a janitor and a charwoman. The receipts for the fiscal year


ending June 30, 1916, were a little over $18,000. F. A. Robinson, the assistant postmaster, has been connected with the office for seventeen years.


Estherville is a division point for both the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific and the Minneapolis & St. Louis railroads, and is the western terminus of the Estherville & Albert Lea division of the former system. It has two railway roundhouses, five banks, three weekly newspapers, two good hotels, a fine public library, a flour mill, brick and tile works, a large cement works, grain elevators, a showcase factory, a telephone exchange, churches of the leading denominations, five public school buildings, good streets, cement sidewalks, a number of well stocked mercantile establishments handling all lines of goods, and many handsome residences. The population in 1910 was 3,404, a gain of 167 during the preceding decade, and in 1915 the property was valued for tax purposes at $882,468.


In Denmark Township, near the southeast comer of the county, was once a postoffice called Forsyth, which was the center of some industrial activity. A butter and cheese factory was established here in 1893. When rural free delivery of mail was introduced the postoffice at Forsyth was discontinued and the people living in that vicinity now receive mail through the office at Ringsted.


This is a small station on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, in the eastern part of Swan Lake Township. It was laid out by the Western Town Lot Company and the plat was filed in the office of the county recorder on April 22, 1899. The plat shows six blocks, with a total of seventy-three lots, west of the railroad. The north and south streets, beginning at the railroad, are Railroad, First, Second and Third. These are intersected by Oak, Maple and Ash, which run east and west. A grain elevator and a general store are the only business enterprises. Mail is received by rural delivery from Maple Hill.


The village of Gruver is a station on the Estherville & Albert Lea division of the Rock Island Railroad, seven miles east of Estherville. When first laid out by John and Anna R. Dows, in the summer of 1899, it was named "Luzon," a plat of which was filed with the county recorder


on September 20, 1899. On April 2, 1900, a petition signed by two-thirds of the voters in the village was presented to the board of supervisors, asking that the name be changed to "Gruver." After hearing the arguments of the petitioners in favor of the change the board adopted a resolution that the "said village shall be known and designated as the village of Gruver from and after the third day of May, A. D. 1900."

Gruver is the principal shipping point and trading center for a rich agricultural district in the eastern part of Center Township, in which it is suited. It has a bank, several stores, grain elevators, Methodist Episcopal and Presbyrterian churches, a good public school, telegraph and express office, telephone connection with the surrounding towns, a money order postoffice, and in 1910 reported a population of 114. In 1915 the property of the village was assessed for taxation at $20,132.


About the close of the last century several towns were projected in Northwestern Iowa by the Western Town Lot Company, of which Marvin Hughitt was president and J. B. Redfield was secretary. One of these towns is Haifa, a station on the Jewell & Sanborn division of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, in the southwest corner of Armstrong Grove Township. The original plat, which was filed with the recorder of Emmet County on June 27, 1899, shows twenty-six lots west of the tracks "for railway use," and six blocks having an aggregate of sixty-four lots east of the railroad. The east and west streets are Pine, Oak and Grant, and the north and south streets are Lincoln, Main and Railroad.

Haifa was founded chiefly for speculative purposes. After the Western Town Lot Company had disposed of the lots, the founders took no further interest in the town's welfare. A creamery was established here in 1900, but it is no longer in operation. According to Polk's Iowa Gazetteer for 1915-16, the population was then estimated at fifty people. A general store and the postoffice are the only business institutions. Recently Haifa has been made the center of a consolidated school district and a new school building erected at a cost of $25,000.


There are probably many people in Emmet County who do not know that a town of some pretensions bearing this name was once laid out in the western part of High Lake Township. It was surveyed in November, 1881, by E. O. Reeder for John and Catherine Lawler, of Crawford County, Wisconsin, and was located on the northwest quarter of Section 20, Township 98, Range 33. The plat filed with the county recorder shows thirty-eight blocks, five of which are not subdivided. The other


thirty-three are divided into 293 lots. Beginning at the east the north and south streets were Emmet, Lake, Main, High and Iowa. The north and south streets, beginning at the north side of the town, were numbered from First to Seventh inclusive.

At the time the town was laid out the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad Company was building its line from Emmetsburg to Estherville and the Town of High Lake was on the line of railroad. When the railroad company removed its tracks a little later High Lake lost its opportunity to become a city, and where it was platted is now a farm. What little business had been established there was diverted to Wallingford, on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific.


In the southern part of Jack Creek Township is the little hamlet of Hoprig. No official plat of the place was ever filed with the county recorder, though at one time Hoprig was a business center of some importance. A postoffice was established there and in December, 1897, a creamery company was organized. After the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad was built through the eastern part of the county, the postoffice at Hoprig was discontinued and the people there now receive mail by rural carrier froni Graettinger, in Palo Alto County.

HUNTINGTON About the time the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad was under construction in Emmet County, Harry L. and Anna L. Jenkins employed J. E. Egan to lay out the town of Huntington in Section 7, Township 100, Range 33, in the northwest corner of Ellsworth Township on the line of the railroad. The plat was filed in the recorder's office on October 28, 1899. It shows twelve blocks, subdivided into 190 lots. The east and west streets are First, Main, Third and Fourth, and the north and south streets are Railroad Avenue, First Avenue and Broadway. Huntington has a grain elevator, a bank, general stores, a public school, telephone connections with the surrounding country, telegraph and express offices, and is the trading and shipping point for a considerable territory in the northern part of the county and for the southern part of Martin County, Minnesota.


The plat of Maple Hill was filed in the office of the county recorder on August 23, 1899. It is located in the eastern part of Swan Lake Township, on the Estherville & Albert Lea division of the Chicago, Rock


Island & Pacific Railway system, thirteen miles east of Estherville. The principal business enterprises are a general store, a grain elevator and an agricultural implement house. In 1915 a fine school building was erected at a cost of $30,000 as the center of a consolidated school district. A postoffice was established soon after the town was laid out.


This is the only village in Twelve Mile Lake Township. It is a station on the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad, in the northwest quarter of Section 4, and was surveyed by J. E. Egan for Harry L. and Anna L. Jenkins. On October 28, 1899, the plat was filed in the office of the county recorder, showing eleven blocks, subdivided into 166 lots. The east and west streets are First Avenue, Second Avenue, Broadway and Third Avenue. The north and south streets are First, Main, Third, Fourth and Fifth. Raleigh has never come up to the expectations of its founders, a general store, the postoffice and a public school being the only institutions worthy of mention. Polk's Gazetteer gives the population in 1915 as being 26.


The incorporated Town of Ringsted is situated on the Jewell & Sanborn division of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, near the center of Denmark Township. On April 6, 1899, the plat of the town was filed in the recorder's office at Estherville, showing seven blocks of twelve lots each, one block not subdivided, and east of the railroad twenty-one lots "for railway purposes." West of the tracks and parallel to the railroad runs Railroad Street. Then come First, Second and Third streets. The cross streets are Elm, Maple, Oak and Ash. The plat was filed by Marvin Hughitt and J. B. Redfield, president and secretary of the Western Town Lot Company.

In 1885 a postoffice was established at the residence of John Larsen (who was appointed the first postmaster) about two miles east of Ringsted. Mr. Larsen was given the privilege of naming the postoffice and called it Ringsted, after the town in Denmark from which his wife came. When the railroad was built the postoffice was moved up to the station and the name was conferred upon the new town. E. T. Sorum was the first postmaster after the removal of the office, and was also the pioneer merchant of Ringsted, the postoffice being kept in his store. He had previously been engaged in conducting a store at Forsyth. The postoffice now employs the postmaster, his assistant and two rural carriers, and the receipts for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 1916, amounted to about $2,600. A. L. Anderson is the present postmaster.


Mr. Anderson is also the editor and publisher of the Ringsted Dispatch, which was established in 1901.

At the February term of the District Court in 1900 a petition asking for the incorporation of Ringsted was presented. It was signed by O. N. Bossingham, S. J. C, Ormston , J. J. Richmond, Samuel M. Moses, E. T. Sorum, James Hogan, Robert Hanson, A. L. Rasmussen, L. F. Greiner, D. D. Dixon, J. P. Hansen, Christian Ersted, Jens N. Peterson, L. A. Adams, William Nelson, Mads Skow, M. P. Hanson, Hans Johnson, J. W. Lambert, A. Yale, A. E. Erikson, James Healy, T. Healy, James Quinn, R. T. Scott, J. A. Mathieson, C. Christensen, Fred Johnson, Nels Kallsted and W. A. Witte.

Judge W. B. Quarton granted the petition and appointed Dr. O. N. Bossingham, Robert Hanson, A. Yale, E. T. Sorum and William Nelson commissioners to submit the question to the voters living within the limits of the proposed incorporation. The election was held on March 2, 1900, and resulted in thirty-four votes being cast in favor of the incorporation and only one opposed. The report of the commissioners was approved by Judge Quarton, who continued the commissioners and directed them to hold an election for town officers on March 26, 1900. At that time A. Yale was elected mayor; Joseph P. Shoup, clerk; E. T. Sorum, treasurer; William Nelson, Robert Hanson, J. W. Lambert, O. N. Bossingham, J. A. Mathieson and C. L. Rasmussen, councilmen. Three days after this election the order of incorporation was issued by the District Court and made a matter of record.

Ringsted has two banks, Lutheran and Presbyterian churches, a public school that employs four teachers, a good air pressure system of waterworks, electric light, a volunteer fire company of twelve members, with hose cart and hook and ladder outfit, a creamery, a cement block and tile works, a hotel, several mercantile establishments, good streets and sidewalks, grain elevators, a lumber yard, express and telegraph offices, telephone service, a number of minor business enterprises and claims to be "the liveliest and best town on the Jewell & Sanborn branch of the Northwestern Railway system."

On May 13, 1912, the Ringsted Opera House Company was incorporated "to own, operate, manage and maintain a public hall and opera house in Ringsted, Iowa, and to conduct therein entertainments, etc." The capital stock authorized was $5,000, which was all paid up, and the first board of directors was composed of Andrew Larsen, A. T. Fox, J. M. Jensen, H. J. Fink and Ole Justesen. Before the close of the year an opera house was completed. In 1910 the population of Ringsted was 313, and in 1915 the property was valued for taxation at $315,765.



The extinct Town of Swan Lake was the outgrowth of an agitation for the location of the county seat somewhere near the geographical center of the county. As stated in the chapter on Settlement and Organization, the question was voted on at the election on October 9, 1879, when the majority of the votes cast were in favor of locating the county seat on the northeast quarter of Section 25, Township 99, Range 33. That quarter section was at that time unsettled and the land belonged to Alexander Gordon and his wife, Mary J. Gordan, who lived in Elkhart County, Indiana. Prominent ainong the county seat promoters were C. C. Cowell and Asa C. Call, who enlisted the cooperation of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon. Prior to the election of October 9, 1879, when the county seat question was decided by the voters, a town had been surveyed, and the day after the election the plat of Swan Lake was filed in the office of the county recorder showing Alexander Gordon, Mary J. Gordon, C. C. Cowell and Asa C. Call as proprietors. The plat shows a total of 510 lots, with a public square in the center. Through the center of this square ran Main Street north and south, and Broadway intersected the square running east and west.

Swan Lake was located on the north short of the body of water bearing that name, just west of the line dividing Center and Swan Lake townships. Estherville newspapers were wont to refer to it as "the piece of wet ground known as Swan Lake City." Soon after the decision of the voters was announced, Adolphus Jenkins went to Swan Lake and opened a hotel. L. R. Bingham was one of the pioneer merchants. In 1880 the first Presbyterian Church in Emmet County was organized at Swan Lake, which by that time had grown into a straggling village with hopes for the future. These hopes were blasted by the litigation over the county seat matter, and when, in November, 1882, the voters of the county expressed themselves in favor of taking the seat of justice back to Estherville, which then had a railroad, Swan Lake began its decline. It is now nothing more than a memory.


Six miles south of Estherville on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, in the western part of High Lake Township, is the incorporated town of Wallingford, one of the active business centers of the county. It was surveyed by E. P. Stubbs for the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls & Northwestern Land and Town Lot Company, of which C. J. Ives was president and E. S. Ellsworth, secretary, and the plat was filed in the office of the county recorder on July 28, 1882. The original plat of


122 lots was all on the east side of the railroad, but additions have since been made extending the town west to the township line.

Soon after the town was founded a postoffice was established with Carl W. Seim, a native of Prussia, as postmaster. Mr. Seim was also the first merchant in the place.

On August 28, 1913, Judge D. F. Coyle of the District Court, in response to a petition signed by a number of Wallingford citizens, appointed J. H. Morrice, Frank Irwin, J. O. Kasa, M. G. Husby and J. A. Nelson commissioners to hold an election and submit to the voters the question of incorporation. The election was held on September 27, 1913, at the school house in Wallingford and resulted in thirty-six votes being cast for incorporation, with none in the negative. The returns were presented to Judge N. J. Lee on October 3, 1913. Judge Lee then re‐ appointed the commissioners and instructed them to hold an election on the 18th of October for town officers. 0. 0. Anderson was elected mayor; Frank Irwin, clerk; Frank P. Sheldon, treasurer; J. 0. Kasa, J. A. Nelson, Oscar Myhre, M. G. Husby and J. A. Haring councilman.

Wallingford has a bank, a creamery, two general stores, hardware and implement houses, a public school, a hotel, several smaller business concerns, and is a shipping point of considerable importance. It was incorporated too late to have the population reported in the census of 1910, but Polk's Gazaeteer for 1915 gives the population as 300. In the same year the property was valued for tax purposes at $55,743.