Steven Catlin


If Henry Alden is to be remembered as the father of our town, a fact which is quite generally understood, there can be nothing amiss in saying that Steven Catlin is entitled to be remembered as its cousin. Electa Alden, sister of Henry, as his life partner and, in due course of time their son Steven became a member of the tribal coloney in the new town. Later on, Timothy and Electa came also and spent their declining years here. Both are buried in the cemetery west of town.

Steven Catlin was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, November 20, 1836, and arrived in Alden in the spring of 1857. He remembers very well the trip from Dubuque by stage and that he had, as fellow passengers, among others, a lady by the name of Fidelia Rogers, Henry Couillard, William Thatcher and a gentlemen named Hunt.

One of the first jobs of work Mr. Catlin turned his hand to after he arrived here, was to drive an ox team to Webster City for a load of brick. He was accompanied by Robert Treat who drove another ox team. After getting out of sight of Alden not a single house was visible on the journey until they came to Webster City. The oxen seemed to feel the loneliness of the prairie very much. When they came within sight of home both teams ran away and made a sensational entrance into the village. About this same time Henry Couiliard got a job working on the stage road between here and Webster City and wanted to take some pork ut with him. Mr. Catlin, after diligent inquiry found that Mrs. Boldon had a small quantity, but would not sell an ounce. He finally offered $1 per pound for five pounds, but did not get it. Couillard consquently went to work with nothing but bread and plenty of chance to drink slough water. Two days later some campers stole his bread. This reduced him to slough water and he flew his job and came home.

During most of his residence at Alden, Mr. Catlin has owned a good farm, but his work has been that of a carpenter and builder. He has put up a number of good houses but has been particularly well known far and wide, as a builder of frame barns. Indeed it may be said that he has framed nearly all the large barns in this vicinity and is still at the work.

During a visit to his former home in Massachusetts, Mr. Catlin was united in marriage to Mary Jane Hale in the fall of 1860 and returned with her to the western home. Five sons Edgar, Clinton, Charlie, Frank and Ray, and one daughter Luella, now Mrs. Chas. Frisbee, have been born to them. Another daughter, Eva Glen Cora, died after reaching womanhood.