"The first settler in Clermont, or
Township 95, Section 7, who claimed the water power, as Wanzer
did at Otter Creek, was ____ Delaplaine, who made a claim where
Clermont now stands in 1848 and built a cabin.
In 1849, Carlton & Thompson, a mill firm
at Elkader, came to the Turkey River at the point where Clermont
now stands, and bought the claim of ____ Delaplaine (including
Sections 33 and 34). Carlton & Thompson let the building
contract to C. D. Carlton and Charles Sawyer, who moved here in
June, 1849 (the latter with his family), and built two log
houses on what is now Block 24, in Clermont, being the first
houses in the township, after Delaplaine's rude claim cabin.
Small workshops and store rooms were put up from time to time,
which were made necessary by the building of the mill. Mr.
Carlton opened the first stock of goods in the Fall of 1849. In
1850, Edwin Stedman, John Hendershott, Chancy Leverich, with
their families, and J. B. Hough and Andrew Martin, came and
settled in the vicinity of Clermont. On the arrival of Mr.
Stedman and his wife, it was thought that a school must be the
next thing, and accordingly one of the log workshops was vacated
and converted into a school room, Mrs. Stedman being the
teacher. Like all new settlements, this one used its school
house for all public gatherings. In it, Rev. H. S. Brunson
delivered the first sermon in 1851. Mr. Brunson came here to
build a hotel, and commenced it in 1850 and '51, but after
having built about half of what is now the Clermont or Brown's
Hotel, he left; the hotel was finished by the mill company, and
opened to the public by Mr. D. C. Carlton in 1851 or '52.
The first death in the township, so far as
can now be ascertained, was a little daughter of Mr. Nutting,
who settled about two miles above the mills, in the Spring of
1850. Two little girls, sisters, found some wild parsnips, and
were poisoned by eating them, one of whom died.
The first marriages were Abel Nutting and
Mrs. Bevins, Robert Freeman and Julia Cole. Dates not known.
Edward Carlton was the first birth, born in February, 1850.
In the summer of 1851,
Washington Sawyer and his brother Aaron attempted to cross the
river just above the mill dam at Clermont, or were rowing down
the stream near the shore. Washington, who was rowing the boat,
looked around and saw that his head and an overhanging tree were
about to come in contact. Whether his head struck the tree or
not is not known, but by a sudden movement to avoid the blow,
the boat was upset and the two brothers were precipitated into
the rushing waters. Aaron struck out and reached the shore, but
Washington, says an eye witness, made no effort save to grasp
the boat and float with it calmly down the river, until it was
swept over the dam, sending his body beneath the foaming waters
of the river, and his soul to meet its' Master. His body was not
recovered for several days, but was finally discovered in a deep
pool some distance below the dam.
As soon as the saw-mill was
completed, in 1850-51, it was supplied with logs by the
settlers, who procured the necessaries of life by cutting timber
and hauling it to the mill.
The township of Clermont was
first created by the County Commissioners of Fayette County in
1850, but the little settlement had been previously so named and
the post office was also called Clermont.
The early election records are
lost, if any were ever made. The first Justice of the Peace was
Charles Sawyer, who was elected by the town of Pleasant Valley,
composed of Townships 94 and 95, Range 7, in 1850. The first
election in Clermont Township, of which tradition remains, was
in November, 1850, or April, 1851. At this election, which was
held at the house of Charles Sawyer, there were nine voters,
among whom were Charles Sawyer, E. D. Carlton, Edwin Stedman,
John Hendershott, Andrew Martin and J. B. Hough. Sawyer's coffee
pot was used for a ballot box on that occasion, and he was
elected Township Clerk, Edwin Stedman and J. B. Hough, Justices
of the Peace.
The first lawsuit in Clermont
was a case of trespass, tried before J. B. Hough, Justice of the
Peace. Mr. Stephens' cattle, it was alleged, had broken into Mr.
Johnson's enclosure and destroyed some hay and straw, and
Johnson sued for damage. Mr. Peck, of Garnavillo, appeared as
the plaintiff's attorney, and William McClintock, of West Union,
appeared for the defense. Judgment for plaintiff.
About 1851 or '52, the town of
Clermont was laid out by Thompson & Carlton, proprietors,
but the plat was not recorded until 1855, when Mr. Thompson,
having purchased Mr. Carlton's interest, decided to decided to
call it Norway, and so filed it for record.
This was not satisfactory to the
people, who could not be induced to abandon their old and
favorite name of Clermont. Mr. Thompson at last became satisfied
that the name of Norway would not be accepted by the people, and
he consented to abandon the name of Norway, and it was changed
to Clermont by act of the General Assembly, approved July 15,
1856, and re-surveyed by Andris Brandt, civil engineer, and the
town plat of Clermont recorded February 16, 1859, John Thompson,
In 1854, John Thompson erected
a brick flouring-mill, having engaged his men in McGregor, who
walked out with their wheel-barrows from McGregor, and
manufactured the brick of which the mill is built.
The 4th of July, 1859, was
celebrated at Clermont in grand style, in the grove near town.
The services were opened with prayer by the Chaplain of the Day,
Mr. Cobb; John Thompson was President of the Day; the
Declaration of Independence was read by Mr. Lane; oration by Mr.
French. After the services at the grove, the procession
re-formed and marched to the new brick block, where the table
was laden with all the good things obtainable. About 500 people
took dinner, after which they repaired to Union Hall, where the
regular toasts were read by Mr. Larrabee, after which was supper
and the whole interspersed with music.
Clermont was incorporated
August 16, 1875. The first Mayor was H. G. Clark; Trustees: C.
W. D. Lathrop, Edwin Stedman, Alex. McKinley, John Crowe and J.
P. Blackett; Recorder, W. M. Newell; Treasurer, Edwin Stedman.
The first ordinance passed was entitled "An ordinance
regulating public shows, menageries, circuses, concerts and
For 1876, Mayor, G. E. Dibble; Trustees, E. Stedman, L.
Goodrich, John Crowe, Alex. McKinley and J. P. Blackett;
Recorder, G. A. Appelman; Treasurer, W. A. Wickham.
For 1877, Mayor, G. E. Dibble; Trustees, Edwin Stedman, David
Baker, Lyman Goodrich, Phillip Pfannmillen and G. A. Appelman;
Recorder, James Blackett; Treasurer W. A. Wickham.
For 1878, Mayor, G. A. Appelman; Trustees, E. Stedman, L.
Goodrich, E. Jogerst, D. Baker, M. M. Wood; Recorder, F. P.
Harold; Treasurer, W. A. Wickham.
As before stated, the first
school was taught by Mrs. Stedman in 1850. In 1852, the district
purchased of Albert Palmer his old cabin on Vine street, near
the river, in which school was taught until 1854, when a brick
school house was erected on the site the present one occupies.
The Independent School District of Clermont was formed in 1860,
and in 1867-68, the old school building was taken down and a new
one erected, being a graded school, in which Prof. F. Wood was
the first Principal. The present Principal is J. A. Burch.
St. Peter's Church - This
church was organized in 1856, and built a small frame church, on
what is now Block 40, the same year. The dedicatory services
were conducted by Bishop Loras, and their wants were thereafter
supplied by Father Richard Nagle for about twelve years. Rev. J.
J. Quigly then preached once a month for one year, when Rev.
John Smith came as the first resident Pastor. In 1870, the
society commenced a parsonage, but did not finish it until 1872.
It cost $5,000. Rev. M. O. Carroll succeeded Father Smith in
December, 1872, remaining until the latter part of 1875. Rev. E.
O'Sullivan, the present Pastor, took charge in 1876. The society
is now (1878)about commencing a new church edifice 45x90, to
cost $8,000. Sunday school is held every alternate Sabbath.
Connected with this church, there was organized St. Peter's
Total Abstinence Society, which lasted about two years, but is
now extinct. John Crowe was President.
The Presbyterian Church was organized February 28, 1859. Its
first Deacons were Alexander Fay, Ebenezer Hyde and A. G.
Collins. First Trustees, E. Stedman, E. D. Button and A. J.
Collins. These Trustees purchased Lots 10, 11 and 12, of 7, and
built the church, which was dedicated October 11, 1863, by Rev.
Charles R. French, who remained about ten years. Rev. Dickey
preached for a short time, but the society, by death and
removal, became so small, that of late no services have been
Church of the Savior, Parish of the Protestant Episcopal
Church, was incorporated April 2, 1866, with the following
Vestrymen: James P. Blackett, D. D. Sanders, J. N. Dennis, C. W.
D. Lathrop and R. V. Appelman. The church was built in 1866-7,
and dedicated by Bishop Lee from Davenport.
The Baptist Church was
organized in 1875; services were held by Rev. J. B. Edmonson.
Their present wants are supplied by M. H. Perry, from West Union
every other week. They have no church building as yet.
Methodist Episcopal Church of
Clermont was organized in 1856, by Rev. J. M. Rankin, Rev. H.
Brunson, Presiding Elder. The members of the first class were G.
G. Brainard (Class Leader), A. D. Miller (Local Preacher), H. N.
Brainard, S. D. Brainard, E. Thompson and M. Miller. The
successive Pastors were as follows; Rev. F. C. Mather, 1858; J.
Fawcett, 1859; W. E. McCormick, 1860-61; William Cobb, 1862; R.
Ricker, 1863-4 and '65; Isaac Newton, 1866; S. Knickerbocker,
1867-8; B. F. Taylor, 1869-70; S. L. Garrison, 1871-2; P. E.
Miller, 1873-4; J. S. Ward, 1875-6 and '67; F. E. Brush, 1878.
December 14, 1865, a meeting of
the members was held to consider the propriety of building a
church edifice. May 26, 1866, the society adopted Articles of
Incorporation and elected a Board of Trustees as follows:
William Blackett, James Brown, J. S. Rubert, E. Thompson, A.
Flemming, O. G. Brainard and F. S. Palmer. The corner stone of
the church was laid June 4, 1866, P. E. Brown officiating,
assisted by Revs. J. Gould, I. Newton and H. S. Church. The
walls of the building were laid up during that year, and then
work was suspended for want of means. In 1873, the contract to
finish the building was awarded to S. S. Steel, and the church
was completed and dedicated November 9, 1873, by Rev. J. W.
Clinton. The total cost of the church, including the site and
furnishing was $5, 432.94. The society since its house was
erected has been and still is in a flourishing condition.
Clermont Lodge, U. D.,
A., F. & A. M. - The dispensation of Clermont Lodge,
A., F. & A. M., was granted by J. R. Hastrock, Grand Master,
on the 18th day of April, 1860. The petitioners were Charles
Sawyer, R. B. Appelman, P. G. Wright, J. B. Hough, D. D.
Sanders, A. D. Miller, Orrin Hough, Thos. Alvey, Wm. Alvey. The
first officers elected, U. D., were: Charles Sawyer, W. M.; R.
B. Appelman, S. W.; P. G. Wright, J. W.; Orrin Hough, Treasurer;
A. D. Miller, Secretary; J. B. Hough, S. D.; Wm. Alvey, J. D.;
Thos. Alvey, Tiler.
The charter of Clermont Lodge,
No. 160, was granted June 5, 1862. Charles, W. M.; R. B.
Appelman, S. W.; P. G. Wright, J. W., and other charter members.
First officers under charter, the above, and J. P. Calvin,
Treasurer; D. D. Sanders, Secretary; J. B. Hough, S. D.; John
Miller, J. D.; A. D. Miller, Tiler. The present officers are: C.
W. D. Lathrop, W. M.; E. M. Callender, S. W.; T. H. Whiting, J.
W.; W. A. Wickham, Treasurer; O. P. Miller, Secretary.
The Lodge has always been in
good condition. Now numbers over 60 members. Only two members
have died - Bro. Ball, in the Summer of 1863, and H. E. Wipert,
in 1874. The Lodge has a fine hall, well fitted up, and is in a
Clermont Chapter, No.
62, was organized May 5, 1871. Charter members - B. H.
Hinkley, J. P. Blackett, R. B. Appelman, D. G. Goodrich, George
W. Irwin, C. W. D. Lathrop, R. S. Dickenson, R. S. Barclay, C.
F. Weck, Peter Nicklaus. Its first officers were: B. H. Hinkley,
H. P.; J. P. Blackett, K.; R. B. Appelman, Scribe; C. F. Weck,
Treasurer; D. G. Goodrich, Secretary; R. S. Barclay, Tiler.
Present officers are: J. P. Blackett, H. P.; T. H. Whitney, K.;
C. F. Week, Scribe; G. F. Mitchell, Secretary; W. A. Wickham,
Treasurer; H. H. Thompson, Tiler.
I. O. OF O. F.
Clermont Lodge, No.
134, I. O. of O. F., was organized January 11, 1876, and
the following were its charter members: H. A. Windon, W. C.
Lewis, George D. Beaton, John J. Hopper, E. T. Smith, Henry,
Henry Wilmott, B. W. Branch, W. A. Wickham. Its first officers
were: W. C. Lewis, N. G.; Henry Wilmott, V. G.; H. A. Windon, R.
S.; C. W. Ehrlich, P. S.; W. A. Wickham, Treasurer. The present
officers are: H. C. Warner, N. G.; E. W. Appelman, V. G.; E. H.
Whiting, R. S.; B. W. Branch, P. S.; W. A. Wickham, Treas.
Brick City Lodge, No.
81, A. O. U. W., organized August 14, 1876, with
following charter members: H. C. Warner, C. B. Nickols, Paul
Ellings, V. K. Gass, G. F. Mitchell, C. W. D. Lathrop, F. P.
Harold, M. C. Payne, W. A. Wickham, Amos Longfield, D. H.
Whiting, C. F. Weck, John J. Hopper, J. P. Calvin, William
Putnam, H. A. Windon. The first officers were: H. C. Warner, P.
M. W.; T. H. Whiting, M. W.; V. K. Gass, F.; F. P. Harold, O.;
D. E. Baker, Rec.; H. H. Windon, F.; G. F. Mitchell, Recorder;
C. W. D. Lathrop, Guide. Present officers are as follows: C. W.
D. Lathrop, P. M. W.; W. H. Wickham, M. W.; B. F. Dibble, F.; A.
Longfield, O.; D. E. Baker, R.; F. P. Harold, Financier; F. H.
Whiting, Recorder; H. C. Warner, Guide."