G.G. Pritchard


Gurley G. Pritchard was born in Pittsfield, Michigan, in 1840. In 1856 he became a resident of Iowa, settling first at Belmond as one of the younger members of a large family. During his stay in Belmond in company with his brother Martin he built the first frame dwelling house in Wright county. In its re-modeled condition it is still in existence a mile and a half northeast of Belmond and is the property of Geo. Richardson.

In the spring of 1857 the family came to Alden and began housekeeping and keeping boarders in the building now owned and occupied by John Adam Rink. After the completion of the Alden House they removed to that building and began operating a regular hotel.

The financial panic of the summer of 1857 is deeply impressed on Mr. Pritchard's memory. It came with the suddenness of an earthquake. They had eighteen regular boarders and many transients, money was passing freely and provisions were plentiful. Two weeks later they had no boarders, provisions or money, men were thrown out of employment, debts went unpaid and hardship prevailed. Mr. Pritchard finally found a job teaming for Duane Young which he gladly accepted for 25 cents per day.

In the spring of 1861 Mr. Pritchard started for Pike's Peak in company with Irving Whitney, J.O. Jordan and David Peabody. He drove an ox team for Pleasant Jones, carrying provisions. His compensation consisted in the right to freight 100 lbs. of his own property through and board himself. He was not allowed under any circumstances, to ride on the wagon and was obliged to walk the entire distance. The next year he went west again this time in company with his brother Martin. One of the teams driven wasa yoke of cows which furnished an abundance of milk all the way and sold for double their cost when they arrived in Colorado. In 1864 Mr. Pritchard was united in marriage to Juliet Rosecrans, daughter of Judge Rosecrans, who was an uncle of the historic commander of the Army of the Cumberland. It was of Judge Rosecrans that Mr. Pritchard bought the Lovejoy printing press which had been thrown into the Mississippi at Alton, Ill. because of its abolition expressions. He dragged it from Clear lake to Belmond and with it founded the Belmond Mirror. Mr. Pritchard was actively engaged in business in Belmond for twenty years, interesting himself in stock, grain and general merchansise (sic) as well as the Mirror.

Mr. Pritchard's most entertaining of the early history of Alden's railroads. He built the mile of Illinois Central east from the Alden depot and was vice-president of the original Chicago Iowa & Dakota company. It was at this suggestion that Judge Porter was invited to join in the enterprise. The company was originally organized to take control of the abandoned Belmond-Garner grade but Mr. Porter soon gained supremacy and building commenced at the south end instead of the north. The Burlington then built over the old grade before the new company could show possession and the north end of the project vanished in the clouds.

Three children of the four born to Mr. and Mrs. Pritchard are still living: Charles G. of Buffalo Center; Blanche Grundy now of Des Moines but many years past a resident of Eagle Grove, and Edgar B. of Alden. Mr. Pritchard's politics has always been republican and his religion, as he expresses it is "to do right." He has been a Mason since he was twenty-four years old and a Knight Templar during much of the time.