Doon's Early Years
In the pioneering of any settlement one name always seems to stand out above the rest. In Doon's early history H.D. Rice was most certainly that man. He must have been an adventurous and courageous pioneer to remain in his 1869 wilderness home until Doon finally blossomed out as a thriving town twenty years later. Mr. And Mrs. Rice, together with Civil War veterans J.B. Hartson, Emerick Ervin, H.W. Reeves, and L.F. Knight-plus the little colony of Halvor Nelsson's at Beloit, comprised the only Lyon County settlers in the winter of 1868-1869.
The south tier of townships in Lyon County was surveyed the 11th of September 1855 by the U.S. Land Office of Sioux City. Doon Township was organized in January 1871, it being one of three in Lyon County at that time. (The other being Rock and Lyon). It consisted of all of what is now Doon, Garfield, Wheeler, and Dale plus the south ½ of Cleveland, Rock, Liberal and Grant townships. As other townships were formed it kept giving up a portion of the original territory until the present size was decided in 1882 when Garfield was organized. Most of Doon's early and present history largely concerns the townships of Doon and Garfield. Its influence and trade territory, however, does extend into the adjoining Sioux County townships.
Doon remained as a trading post, stagecoach stopover, and grain market for many years. An early historical account had this to say:
"It is one of the oldest towns in the county but on account of not having sufficient railway facilities has never grown to any size. But should the new line of railroad from Sioux City come to this town as is proposed, this will make one of the best towns in the county as it is settled with a well to do and enterprising class of people."
The first frame building near Doon or on the Rock River was erected by H.D. Rice in 1869. It was located near the site of the present dumping grounds. The land on which this building was located was part of a quarter section on which homestead rights had been applied for in 1855 by a Gordon Clark. He died before he could come here leaving the rights to a brother, Cephas, who received the patent in 1866. This is one of the earliest, if not the 1st Lyon County land transactions in the books of the Allbright Abstract Co. of Rock Rapids.
The first building or business on the present site of Doon was erected by G.R. Badgerow of Sioux City in July of 1870. It was used to house several grocery stores, a real estate office, and as an early meeting place for the Lyon County Board of Supervisors. Mr. Badgerow was a promoter and tried to get the Lyon County Courthouse located in Doon. Because Rock Rapids also wanted the prize, a commission was appointed to vote on the matter. It was decided to locate the building in Rock Rapids thereby establishing the county seat. At this time Doon was reported to have had a public hall and an "elegant" school.
North Doon was plotted in Section 25 of Doon township January 7, 1880 by Robert Penman, Lucy Eggleston, Fred Keep, George McQueen, J.A. Wagner, and Ed Bradley.
Doon was plotted by George Bowers and A.H. Davidson on September 6, 1889 on the south ½ of N.W. ¼ Section 25.
Bonnie Doon was plotted by Mary Hubbard November, 1889 on the same section.
The enterprising Rices had kept Doon on the map, essentially as a stagecoach stopover, and now the railroads were coming!
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