Hardin County - Sherman Township

The Past and Present of Hardin County Iowa
ed. by William J. Moir. Indianapolis: B. F. Bowen & Company, 1911

Transcribed by Linda Suarez

For General William T. Sherman, of Civil war fame, was a township named Sherman, comprising township 87, range 22. It is the one in which the town of Radcliffe is situated. Of its organization let it be stated that it dates its history from 1870, the first election being held at the house of Herman Wiltzein, when the following were elected township officials: Trustees, E. Heinzerling, Fred Winterfield, S. Knudson; clerk, Philo Williams.

The only running streams in this township are Honey and Tipton creeks. It is entirely a prairie section, and when first settled was full of many marshes and ponds, which were not looked upon with much favor, but as the country was settled these ponds were drained by open ditches, blind ditches and now by miles of tiling, which has carried off the surface water, making the township one of unsurpassed richness for all kinds of agricultural purposes.


Milton Kennedy was the first man to make a permanent settle in Sherman township. He had, for several years, resided in Ellis township, this county, but in 1864 he built and began to make a home on section 1 of this township.

Unfortunately, the majority of the land within Sherman township was "gobbled up" by speculators, and by them held, which greatly retarded actual settlement being made as soon as in other parts of Hardin county. Then again the fact that the township was timberless had much to do with its fair, fertile domain not being improved sooner than it was. It was but natural that farmers, then as they ever have have in new countries up to within recent years, selected lands where they could get timber with which to build and to provide themselves with fuel. This was certainly true in Sherman township's settlement. Many a pioneer was content with a tract of quite inferior land, if he could only have a small piece of timber for fire-wood and rails with which to build fences about his place. The items of fuel and fencing have long since been changed by the coal field developments in Iowa and the introduction, about 1874, of the barbed wire fencing material.

During the years from 1864 to 1871 the following came to this township for the purpose of making homes for themselves and families:

T. Knutson, 1866; Adolph Bucholtz, Fred Winterfield, William Davis, Michael Nestor, Samuel Young, 1869; E. Heinzerling, Charles Hough, J. L. Liscom, Fred Finn, Samuel Elliott, Herman Wielzin, 1870.

Early Events

The first birth in Sherman township was Mary, daughter of Philo Williams and wife, born July, 1869.

The first marriage was that uniting Fred Winterfield and Wena Radhoe, married in the autumn of 1872, by Andrew Bronson, a justice of the peace of Ellis township.

The first death in this township was Ole Anderson, who committed suicide in 1869. He had lost his wife and, under a depression of spirits, ended his own existence.

A smallpox epidemic broke out in this township in 1871, when Fred Wagner, wife, daughter and son-in-law, Henry Krueger, arrived from Germany. The physician did not respond to the call, but sent a young medical student, who soon pronounced it the dread disease. Five deaths ensued before the scourge could be stopped. This caused a demand for the first cemetery which was located on section 1.

Town of Radcliffe

The largest town platted in Sherman township is Radcliffe, laid out in the fall of 1880, when all the station points along the then newly constructed line of the Northwestern railway were started. It is situated on section 29 and was named by Mr. Bliss, land man for the company. No improvement was made until 1881, when A. N. Drake erected the first building, the lumber being hauled from Hubbard by teams. In this was started the first store of the town.


A postoffice was established here, before the railroad had been completed and A. N. Drake was appointed postmaster. The persons who have held this position are: A. N. Drake, William Weimer, Alonzo Garrison, O. J. Heng, George W. Jones, F. E. Drake, the last named having served thirteen years to present date. Four rural routes go from this office, all established November 15, 1901, and average twenty-four and a half miles. The business of this office in December, 1910, amounted to $1,598.10.

The first white child born in Radcliffe was Mamie Drake, daughter of Addison and Carrie Drake. F. D. Cooledge and his son-in-law, who were among the first settlers of Radcliffe, started a store and Mr. Drake was the first postmaster.

The railroad was completed to Radcliffe (Toledo branch of the Chicago & Northwestern railroad) July 15, 1881. R. C. Hungerford was the first station agent.

The general dealers of this place in 1882, second year of the town's history, were, Bergfield & Baer, Stukenberg & Thalman, Rorem Brothers, A. N. Drake and I. Goodman. The drug business was in the hands of Bently & Adams. In the lumber trade, there were H. D. Ballard and W. H. Nash. Thomas Hollis followed in this line, as did J. M. Huffman & Company. George Flinn commenced in the furniture trade in 1882. Thomas Hollis & Company established the first grain elevator in 1882. An early fire swept away some of the stores and grain warehouse.

Business Interests of 1911

General Dealers - George Sampson, A. Gronsdahl, L. C. Thalman, John Amundson, Martin Sevold, Henry Stukenburg, E. T. Reisetter (E. T. Reisetter & Company), Radcliffe Mercantile Company (A. and E. T. Rorem).

Drugs - F. E. De Marsha, M. L. Hatterstad.

Furniture - C. L. Lewis.

Clothng - O. L. Iverson.

Hardware - Friest Brothers & Company, Radcliffe Hardware Company.

Farm Implements - Johnson Brothers, J. H. Luglan.

Millinery - Wade & Hiller, Minnie Iverson.

Meat Market - G. D. Sheldon.

Harness Shop - J. H. Foster, - - Williams.

Photographs - F. S. Howe.

Blacksmiths - Mason & Butler, Thomas Tweet.

Restaurant - Fred Fiest, W. G. Houck.

Hotel - The Finn, by Henry Luglan.

Banks - Drake & Ballard Investment Company, Bank of Radcliffe, Farmers' Bank and First National Bank.

Livery - G. D. Sheldon.

Grain Elevators - Farmers' Elevator Company, Kunz Grain Company.

Lumber - Hoffman & Himmel.

Live Stock - G. H. Stout.

Newspaper - Radcliffe Signal.

Auto Garage - Amundson & Thorson Auto Company.

Physicians - Drs. G. A. Stalford, R. R. Gaard.

Dentist - F. M. Preston.

Opera House - "Finn's Opera Hall."

Music Store - A. C. Amundson.

Incorporation History

Radcliffe was incorporated in July, 1891, and the following November the first officers were elected as follows: Frederick Finn, mayor; R. B. Ballard, recorder; A. Hemmelman, treasurer; O. J. Heng, assessor; councilmen, D. F. E. DeMarsha, A. P. Baer, William Weimer, A. Garrison, W. A. Drake, J. W. Pearce. The original incorporation included a section of land, but only fourteen blocks were platted at first.

The following have been mayors in Radcliffe to date: Frederick Finn, 1891 to 1894; A. N. Drake, 1894 to 1895; T. S. Waud, 1895 to 1896; Frederick Finn from 1896 to 1901; F. L. Howe, 1901 to 1904; S. L. Iverson, 1904 to 1906; C. E. Meyers, 1906 to 1908; Fred Stuckenburg, 1908 to 1910; S. L. Iverson, 1910 and still in office.

The officers of the town in January, 1911, were: Mayor, S. L. Iverson; recorder, E. T. Rorem; assessor, John Thompson; treasurer, C. T. Weimer; marshal, J. D. Mason; councilmen, A. Rorem, H. A. Drake, O. J. Johnson, T. T. Friest, C. E. Meyers.

In 1901 the town was bonded for water works to the amount of eight thousand dollars, drawing five per cent. interest. Three wells were sunk and a steady, ample supply of the best water was obtained and this has given the place an abundance of pure drinking water and also protects the town from fires. A stand-pipe tank was constructed, twenty by twenty feet, and this is elevated to a height of ninety-two feet, giving a fine water pressure. A volunteer fire department makes the town safe, as every business firm is represented in the fire company. The present fire chief, T. S. Butler, has served in all now about six years.

A private gas company, producing gas from gasoline, furnishes private and street lamps to all parts of the town.

Village of Sherman

A postoffice was established at Sherman, which is a new station point on the Short Line railway, in Sherman township, in the spring of 1903, a year or two after the road was constructed through the township. It is a fourth-class postoffice and no money order or rural delivery is as yet transacted there. Two mails are received each way daily. The postmasters having served at his point thus far are: Frederick Finn, Marie Schmedika, John Ellerbrook, Elmer McFarland, Otto W. Topp and the present postmaster, Dr. J. C. R. Hochstetler.

The present business of the village consists of a good general merchandise store, a few shops, and warehouses and the depot.

Township Officer, 1910

Justices of peace, G. W. Jones and S. L. Iverson; constables, A. J. Jones and J. B. Fister; clerk, G. W. Jones; trustees, R. H. Bergfield, J. J. Himmel and H. F. Winterfield; assessor, N. L. Webster.

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