LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
Banking Growth - Part 3--
Rock Rapids had another promising industry. F. E. Barber and son, Hal, had their squab farm that was being built up quite rapidly. They had visions of supplying squab to the eastern market, which was large.
They bought 500 squabs from Chauncey Kitchen and added them to their own flock, and indicated they figured it would take two and a half years to raise enough birds to produce the squabs the market wanted.
In December another industry operated locally was in the newspapers. Forrest Nichols, who operated the cigar factory, was advertising his cigars as fine Christmas presents. He called attention to his bands-"Chick," which sold for five cents; the "Super Bus," which sold for ten cents; and the "For Nichol Special," which was priced at five cents. Nichols not only made cigars, but he also operated a tobacco store-in front of which stood a great big wooden Indian-the sign of a tobacco store in the early days.
The year 1908 was to be a hot political year. Lyon County was considered a liberal county. This was a stronghold of support for Albert B. Cummings, who wanted to retire the incumbent United States Senator, William B. Allison. In their convention in March local Republicans went on record as supporting the Cummings challenge.
When the local Democrats held their meeting, they were thinking along national rather than state lines and they resolved to give all support to the candidacy of William Jennings Bryan for the presidency.
Even the socialists held a local convention. There were representatives from five towns present. The 13 delegates present agreed they should put up a slate of candidates so petitions were signed nominating these candidates.
There had been numerous changes made in the election laws by the General Assembly, which went into effect this year.
Parties had to hold primary elections-and a new form of ballot was adopted. It was feared the voters would have a hard time figuring out the "Australian" ballot, which had been adopted-but the primary was held.
At the primary in June the Cummings-Allison race was the most important on the Republican side. In Lyon County Cummings carried the vote 811 to 476. There was little interest in the Democratic vote, as there were no contests.
Interest in the coming fall election was built up to a high pitch. The Republicans chose William Howard Taft as their candidate, while the Democrats chose Bryan. Both of the candidates were campaigning all over the country. Democrats flocked to Sioux Falls, where Bryan made an appearance, and a special train was run through here, from Sioux Falls to Sioux City so Republicans could see and hear Taft.
The election in early November proved to be a Republican sweep. In Lyon County the vote was 2710 for Republicans and 1064 for the Democrats. The socialists picked up 56 votes. Cummings was picked for United States Senator-starting one of the most distinguished careers of any man to be in the United States Senate.
Rock Rapids had the reputation of a high-class medical center. Patients came from miles around to consult with local doctors-especially with Dr. G. G. Cottam. To take care of these patients Cottam started the first local hospital. It was merely some rooms at his office, where he could treat patients who came from a distance and where they could rest up following surgery. It was said the rooms were clean and outstanding. The facility had "all the comforts and conveniences.
The Rock Rapids telephone service had been improving over the years after the Western Electric Company of Mason City took over the local exchange. In late April the company announced that it would spend $75,000 to $100,000 for plant improvement in northwest Iowa. They planned, as the major item of expense, to build a "standard" line from Rock Rapids to Estherville. This line would replace the old iron wires with copper and would cost $27,000.
When the annual graduation for members of the class of 1908 was held the last of May, a class of eight students received their diplomas. The class was comprised of Grace Kohrt, Rena Gilman, Vera Cady, Winifred Watson, Capitloa Hamlin, Florence Horton, Harriet Schooler and Carl Johnson. Capitola Hamlin was the valedictorian.
On June 18 it was reported that 54 businessmen had signed up for membership in a new Commercial Club. The signup followed a meeting in the offices of J. H. Harrison. A committee composed of E. C. Roach, J. H. Harrison, H. B. Pierce, T. M. Flemming, Dr. G. C. Cottam and W. G. Smith was named to draft a constitution and bylaws. Other committees were named to solicit memberships.
At the first regular meeting of the Commercial Club in July, the main business was devoted to a discussion of the proposal to buy Island Park and make it into a recreational area for people of the community. The six and one-third acres were available for $650, but it was thought that probably they could be bought for $500. It was suggested that local citizens be asked to contribute not more than $10 each to make the purchase. Reference was made to the beautiful wooded area at the park and the sparkling river that surrounded it.
In August work was started rebuilding the footbridge which went across the river to the Island-it had been taken out by high water.
There was also some talk that women and children hesitated to go to the park because of the large number of hoboes who seemed to rendezvous there when in this part of the country.
The latter part of October a personal was submitted to the voters that the town take over the park and that a park commission of three members be elected to run the recreational facility. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the proposal-178 to 53.
Rock River continued its reputation of a dangerous body of water-drownings over the year had been frequent. In late June Glen Allbright and George Martin were going to the river to swim and William J. Rapelji, stenographer for Roach & Ramsey, asked to go along. They went to the upper millpond and were swimming when Rapelji sank out of sight. Help was secured and the body was recovered. Dr. Cottam and others at the scene tried to revive him, without success. Rapelji had come to Rock Rapids from St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.
In July work was progressing rapidly on the new Pierce-Keenan building. The builders had not hired a contractor, but were handling the construction themselves. Foremen were brought in from Sioux Falls to supervise the construction and all local workmen who wanted to work were hired. Even then it was thought best to hire additional workers from Sioux Falls to speed the work.
Rock Rapids had long needed a larger library. They used a small building at the intersection of Main Street and Greene. The People's Church, which was located across the intersection, was having troubles so a deal was arranged. O. P. Miller and Mrs. J. K. P. Thompson agreed to buy the People's Church and give it to the city for a library if the city would levy $500 a year to maintain the library and would buy three lots to the south of the church to add to the library. E. Huntington, who owned two of the lots in question, agreed to give them to the project, and the Hathaway estate, who owned the other lot, agreed to sell it to the city for $200.
The congregation of the People's Church agreed to pay the city $1,000 for the old library, and this was used to put new steps on the former church, point up the stone, paint and decorate.
The year was not a year for real estate appraisals, but personal property valuations in the county were sharply higher. There was an increase in these valuations of just about a half-million dollars, to the total of $3,007,659. Added to the former real-estate totals, actual valuation of all property in the county was placed at $15,102,000 by the county auditor.
Vital statistics for the community showed there had been 297 births in the county in 1907 and 33 deaths. One hundred twenty-four couples had been married and there were eight divorces. Incidentally all of the divorces were granted for cruel and inhuman treatment or habitual drunkenness.
Times were changing rapidly in Northwest Iowa-and that change was evident in many ways in Rock Rapids. The old upper Berkholtz Mill, which had ground grist for farmers from a wide area around Rock Rapids, had sat idle for some time. When it was built the lumber had been brought in on wagons from Sibley, which was the nearest point where there was rail transportation. The plant had been rather crude at the start, but modernization had made the mill not only efficient, but a good moneymaker for a long time. The Berkholtz' were no longer owners of the property, with S. S. Wold and Mrs. G. E. Davis holding the title. A deal was made in January 1909 whereby the mill was sold to Harm U. Kruse of Little Rock. He tore the mill down and used the lumber to build part of a set of buildings on his farm in the eastern part of the county. Mrs. Davis and Wold kept title to the land and the lower part of the dam, which in the early days provided the power to operate the mill.
New business was coming to Rock Rapids. M. A. Hornseth who had a small shoe repair shop on Marshall Street, bought property on Main Street, put in a big stock of shoes and expanded his business to serve the footwear needs of people of the community.
In April the first display advertising for automobiles was found in the Reporter. That year George Watson took on the dealership for the line of Mitchell cars. He advertised that he had three different models on display-the 20, the 30 and the 40. The number it seems referred to the horsepower of the rather large, four-cylinder cars.
Prospects for the sale of automobiles were evidently real good and in June the Rohde Brothers announced they had taken dealership for the Velie line of cars. These cars were a little bigger and more costly than Watson's line of Mitchell's. The Velie was made by the John Deere farm Implement Company, and were thought to be very fancy.
The following month Rohde Brothers & Smith took on another line of lower priced cars. This line was the Regal. It sold for $1250 where the Velies were priced about $1750.
Reports every week told of the sale of the cars by local dealers. Watson particularly was moving a lot of cars-so much so that he decided to build a big garage. He bought property a block south of Main Street on Story, and started excavation for a big 50X110 building. The structure was to be as nearly fireproof as it was possible to build two stories in height with a lodge room for the Knights of Columbus and apartments on the second floor.
It wasn't all good news as far as business was concerned, however. F. E Barber, who had built a large squab farm a couple of years previously, and had been building up his flock of birds since, decided to quit. He said that while the business was promising he could not care for 3,500 birds alone and there wasn't enough profit for him to hire extra help. He sold all 3,500 birds-except a few he kept to produce squab for his own table, to a man by the name of DeMay, who shipped the whole lot to Chicago. Barber decided to tear down the sheds and use the lumber to build several bungalows on the property.
February 1909 was a real bad month, weatherwise. Starting the first of the month there was storm after storm-and they were bad ones. Starting with a drizzling rain that first storm of the month turned to snow and a real high wind developed. Only the fact that there was no loose snow on the ground prevented a blizzard worse than that of 1888, the Reporter said. As it was, some chimneys were blown down, windows were blown in, telephone and electric service was knocked out and railway service was stopped for 48 hours.
A week later another blizzard hit. Mercury dropped to nine degrees below zero and an estimated two feet of snow fell in 36 hours. There were huge drifts, rural mail carriers could not get out, and there was no train service.
Two weeks later there was a repeat of blizzard conditions. The deep cuts which had been made so farmers could get to town, were drifted shut, the trains could not run and everything came to a standstill. The Illinois Central started a train from Cherokee to Sioux Falls, but it was stuck between George and Sheldon. A special snowplow with a big gang of shovelers was sent out to get the train out of the snowdrifts. It finally reached Sioux Falls many hours late.
On June 3 a weather crop bulletin indicated that temperatures were below normal. There were gentle showers, most of the corn was planted and grains, gardens and grass were in good condition.
The rainy season continued. Seven and one-half inches of rain fell in Rock Rapids during the month of June according to the records of W. C. Wycoff, who was the official weather observer. On June 26 one and one-quarter inches of moisture fell and the next day there was .83 inch. Everyone was delighted-although temperatures were somewhat low.
Heavy rains again caused a delay in getting the fair off to its appointed showing and it had to be set back one day. Nevertheless reports were that attendance was good, the displays were outstanding and the racing was real fast. A modest profit was reported following the show.
The September crop report issued September 9, said that while crops had been damaged by the extreme heat and drought in the latter part of July and all during August, the rains the first of September had helped. Temperatures had dropped to freezing the first of September, but it was thought only minimal damage was done. There was a warning however, that several weeks of drying weather would be needed to mature the corn crop. Some of the farm operators were cutting and stacking their corn, for fear it would not mature enough for picking.
Rock Rapids continued to be a popular entertainment center. The Opera House was the scene of almost weekly shows, musicals and dances. One of the most popular entertainers who had been coming here for years was Katherine Ridgeway and her dramatic company. She presented the final number of the Lyceum course in March. There was mention of the fact that Rock Rapids people were sorry they would not get to see her any more, because she was leaving the stage to get married.
In May the community had its first opportunity to see talking pictures. A traveling company brought a Camaphone to Rock Rapids. This equipment made it possible to show a moving picture with the sound effects coming just at the right place.
Every community in the county had its celebrations during the summer-one of the most popular being the Old Settlers picnic at Doon. In 1909 more than 200 people went to Doon on a special train on the Bonnie Doon. The main attraction of the picnic was a wrestling match between a former heavyweight champion, Farmer Burns, and a man by the name of Wasson-Burns was the winner. There was a baseball game, band concert, picnic lunches, and all of the other features of a community picnic-including a fight over the baseball game between Doon and Edna.
Although Rock Rapids had become quite a medical center-the doctors were constantly faced with the fear of outbreaks of disease. In March the whole area got a scare when scarlet fever broke out. Worst hit was the family of M. F. Johnson, 10 miles southwest of Rock Rapids. There, six children of the family came down with the disease and three of the children, daughters 14 and nine years of age and a baby died. The other children were also very sick, but recovered.
April brought another scare when the Henry Nagel family near Alvord and the Jelmer Freeds of Rock Rapids became sick from eating pork which was infected with trichina. Dr. Cottam tested "hundreds" of samples of meat that the families were eating, including some smoked sausage and the trichina worms were found. Both families were very critical for a period but they finally recovered and warnings were out that extreme care must be used in preparing and eating pork. It was thought that probably only one hog in the lot slaughtered had been infected, but the results were quite serious.
Dr. G. G. Cottam, Rock Rapids physician and surgeon, was called over a wide area to operate on critically ill people. There was a constant stream of people coming here from the area to consult with him and to have surgery here, where he could take care of them in his small hospital. His reputation was such that the middle of July he was called to Des Moines to do an operation before the members of the Iowa Clinical Surgeons Association-a great recognition of his ability and skill.
In April William "Bill" Kaltenbach, for the past quarter century the Rock Rapids expressman, announced his retirement. He also retired the team of horses he had driven on the express wagon for 23 years.
Kaltenbach had a serious heart condition and he died in October. The Reporter said, "He was a crusty old fellow, who was ready at all times to give anyone a tongue lashing, but equally ready to forgive and forget. He was known to every man, woman and child in the community and to most of the traveling men who came to Rock Rapids. He handled thousands and thousands of dollars of express company money, and never was off a cent in his accounts."
Rock Rapids had been the scene of experimental work all winter carried on by International Harvester on a machine to pick popcorn in South America. Barney Gronke, an expert for the company, had been here working on the machine and fields at the C. E. McDonald and T. J. McMains farm were used for the project. J. E. Stone, the inventor of the machine, and Arthur Johnson, superintendent of the Harvester Company, had been here off and on all winter working with the project. In April the machine was pronounced perfected and it was shipped back to the plant-and the Harvester men left town.
In April also, people of the community had a chance to see the vending machines being developed by C. D. Davison. Davison was a former printer for the Reporter and now was editor of the Little Rock Leader. The best machine of the bunch was one for the vending of stationery and envelopes. It was said to be excellent and many orders were being received. A display of the machines was set up in the Lyon Hotel.
When graduation exercises were held late in May a class of 12 seniors received their diplomas. Superintendent Wilson was in charge of the program. Those graduating were Louise D. Anderson, George W. Feay, Ollie M. Rogers, Clarence H. Eder, Mary B. Hamlin, Lyle E. Wallace, Mary F. Collins, Alice G. Oakes, Irving O. Wycoff, Vera I. Grisell, Ruth E. McKelvey, Mabelle B. Whitney. Estelle McKelvey was the valedictorian and Clarence Eder the salutatorian of the class.
Land prices continued to increase-the $100 an acre price, which was first hit the previous year-seemed to be no stumbling block at all. William Rumohr who had a farm just south of Rock Rapids, made a deal with W. E. Lockwood in May in which he sold 80 acres to Lockwood for $112.50 an acre. Rumohr decided to go out into South Dakota to get some of the cheap land available there.
A small sale of land that was talked about considerably was the sale of a nine-acre tract near Little Rock for $200 an acre. This nine acres was unimproved, except for a grove. It was owned by G. A. Wheatley, Lyon County Sheriff. The closeness of the property to Little Rock was one of the reasons for the high price paid.
The last of September a major land sale was announced. The 240-acre Ed McGuire Farm in Liberal Township, which had been bought in 1908 by Roach, Wold, Keck & Harrison, was sold to Dan McGraw for $119.00 an acre. This was said to have been an all cash deal. It was the highest price ever paid for a major piece of land in the county, in modern times.
The whole community was enthused about the acquiring of Island Park as a recreation area for the community. Much cleaning up had been done. For a time the only access to the park was to go out on the Rock Island Bridge and climb down a ladder to the park. Then the footbridge just east of the depot was rebuilt.
In May a special election was held to choose park commissioners who would have charge of the park and its development. Charles Shade, Dr. J. E. North and E. O. Carpenter were elected without opposition with only 40 votes being cast.
So that teams could be driven over to the park-and even the growing number of automobiles could get across, work was started in September on a concrete bridge at the foot of Eighth Street (now Second Avenue North.) To build the bridge the water in the river was diverted so that it all ran around to the east of the park.
Rock Rapids banks were in a very healthy condition. The Shade group of a half dozen banks and the Miller group with about the same number of associated institutions were running neck and neck for business. On June 24 statements of condition were published that showed Shade's First National had footings of $557,905 while Miller's Lyon County National Bank had footings of $561,041. Rock Rapids younger bank, The Iowa Savings Bank, had footings of $156,000.
After years of argument between the city and the private water works company things came to a head in July and the council decided that the city should buy the business. There was a constant rhubarb going on over pressure in the mains, and also there had been quite a scare when it was found that the water was contaminated and typhoid germs were found. The company brought in an engineer to evaluate the system and he said it was worth $15,000. The company offered to sell for $12,500 but the city wanted to buy for about $6,000.
Finally a price of $8,500 was agreed upon. The city planned to issue bonds to pay the company and also to raise $5,000, which would be needed to move the operation to the light plant and make improvements in the operation. Total cost to the city would be $13,500-but it would save $1,625 it was paying annually to the company for hydrant rent.
The first of August an election was held on the matter of buying the water system and issued bonds for it. The vote was 111 to nine to go ahead with the proposal and October 1, 1909 was set as the date for the transfer of ownership. It was thought that the bonds could be sold by that time, and also that would be the end of a quarter and a good time to make the switch.
Lafayette Higgins, engineer for the State Board of Health came to Rock Rapids and went over the proposal and the system. He said the new well had plenty of water and he thought it would be a pure source of supply for the community. He did tell townspeople thought ought to figure on digging deep wells, to assure the water supply's purity.
If there was one thing that made 1909 stand out in the minds of the people here-and brought the community national recognition it was THE HORSE-and the horse meant only one animal, Pensia Maid.
In July M. C. Shutt, local horseman took a group of his animals east to race them on the grand circuit. One was the little mare Pensia Maid and the other was Hazel Veach. They were trotters and exceptionally fast. Hazel Veach went lame and was brought back to Rock Rapids early in the season, but it was another story as far as Pensia Maid was concerned. Early in the season she had raced at Mason City where she had won the 2:15 trot in three straight heats. Officially the time was set at 2:15, but it was quite well known that the time had been substantially faster, but the judges had not wanted to "mark" the little mare at too fast time.
In July Shutt started Pensia Maid in the big time at Charlotte, Indiana. There she won $2,000 in the 2:16 class. Best time of a mile was 2:08 3/8. The last of July she had hard luck at Detroit, where in a driving finish, she stumbled, broke and had to be reined in. She finished in second place and best time in the race was 2:07. So it went in all the races of the grand circuit-Pensia Maid was the talk of everyone interested in horses.
Early in September she raced at Indianapolis and took second money-with time 2:05 3/4. It was the fastest time made in an open race all year. Next it was Syracuse, New York, where the Maid was first in a $10,000 race, and her share of the purse was $5,000. Shutt was getting all kinds of offers for the mare, but was not interested in selling.
September 23 it was reported that she had won the $10,000 race at Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus, Ohio newspapers said Pensia Maid was the most popular trotter of the season. Pointing out that she was only 14 hands, three inches high, they commented on her great speed. The paper said "she was so pure gaited that it was not necessary to have any rigging of any kind."
Then Pensia Maid went into the biggest race for trotters of the year. The Transylvania Stake at Lexington, Kentucky. There, while the purse was not so big, the fastest horses of the country were to meet to decide the superiority of the trotters. Pensia Maid came through with flying colors. She demonstrated her superiority in all three heats, and set a mark of 2:04 1/4 for the mile. It was the crowning triumph of a most successful racing season-and Shutt and the little mare headed home.
Shutt and Pensia Maid reached Rock Rapids and people here were ready for a celebration. They hired Stevens Military Band of Sioux Falls, and as soon as the train got in with the band, on the morning of Wednesday, October 20, the band and a large number of citizens went to the Shutt home to serenade the famous horse and her owner. Then everyone went downtown where a stand had been erected and there were speeches by Attorney Sam Riniker and others, with Mr. Shutt responding. Twenty-one hundred people were fed at a barbecue and the day was set aside for celebrating. The Reporter said that with the whirlwind finish Pensia Maid had demonstrated on the Grand Circuit, she was "ready to race for a king's ransom in any field." The community presented Shutt with an engraved cup of heavy silver, 16 inches high, on a six-inch ebony base. It was engraved with the name of Pensia Maid and her championship with her mark of 2:04 1/4.
Circuses played an important part in the life of people of the community. Two hundred people bought tickets on a special train on the Illinois Central to go to Sioux Falls to see the Barnum & Bailey circus perform in midi-July. When the same show was at Sheldon a day later 52 bought tickets on the train to go for the showing there. Barnum and Bailey was one of the two great circuses showing in the United States. The other was Ringling Brothers. Not too many years later the two coming into a colossal company that still makes a tour annually to major cities of the United States.
But while Rock Rapids people appreciated circuses, they did not appreciate having a circus come along which might interfere with the Lyon County Fair. Just the weekend before the 1909 showing of the Lyon County Fair, Yankee Robinson Circus came to Rock Rapids to put on a show. They were met with hostility, and refused a permit to hold their performances. The circus management wouldn't take "no" for an answer so they decided to put on the circus anyway, and set up for the program. Mayor C. W. Bradley sent his police force to the ground and arrested most of the men with the show for trying to perform without a license. They were all jailed, and the show flopped. There was a repercussion however, two weeks later Bradley and Marshal Carroll were both served with summonses to answer to charges of false arrest brought by A. E. Root and J. A. Mortley, two of the circus people arrested. The suit never did get tried-but it seems that no other circus ever tried to show here just before Lyon County's own fair.
The year 1909 came to an end with the dedicati0on of the I.O.O.F. Lodge's new hall. The group had bought land just across the alley west of the Reporter office, where they planned to build a lodge room. F. P. Wallace owned the building just west of the property they had bought. He made a deal with the lodge to take the second floor of the building he owned and fix it up for their lodge purposes, while he would take their lot and build a two-story building-the lower floor for an addition to his furniture and undertaking business, while the second floor was made into apartments.
The lodge hall was completed and just before the end of the year a dedication was held. State Grand Master Gunn of Red Oak came for the event. There were also delegations from Little Rock, Luverne and George and individual members from many other lodges were present.
The dedication was held in the clubrooms, following which everyone went to Unity Hall, where a banquet was served. The Millhouse String Orchestra of Sioux Falls played for the banquet and afterward provided music for dancing which went on into the wee, small hours of the morning.
Politics were really being taken seriously in Lyon County in 1910. There was considerable unrest in the country-and especially in this area. The Democrats, who seldom won much in the way of political offices, were laying plans to upset the "applecart" of Republican supremacy, which had pretty well been accepted since the Civil War.
But it wasn't only the Democrats who were stirring around. Republicans, too, were making plans for new faces in the coming campaign.
When Sam Riniker, prominent Rock Rapids attorney, went to Des Moines early in January he talked with a lot of party leaders-and helped with plans for the campaign, for he was the 11th District Committeeman.
When he returned to Rock Rapids a story appeared in the Des Moines papers that Riniker had decided to throw his hat in the ring and be a candidate for State Attorney General. Riniker immediately announced this was not so-and retraction was printed by the Des Moines papers-but it was pointed out the retraction was in small type. Many party leaders were still talking of a Riniker candidacy.
Rock Rapids had managed over the years to keep the political parties out of municipal elections. The city caucus was held in early March, as usual, and a slate of candidates was nominated by the citizen's caucus. When the election was held late that month-the entire slate was elected without any organized opposition. The new administration was made up of E. L. Partch as Mayor; Dr. G. G. Cottam, S. D. Riniker, J. W. Ramsey, N. Hampe and J. L Egbert, Councilmen; P. G. Smith, Treasurer; I. W. Woodburn, Assessor; J. E. North, E. O. Carpenter and Charles Shade as Park Commissioners.
P. H. McCarty, who was the editor of the Review and was political spokesman for the Democrats, had been stirring all spring trying to make political "hay" for his party. In June he filed charges with the board of supervisors against County Auditor Eggert, charging that Eggert was collecting money from the county for clerk hire, and then pocketing part of that money. The board investigated and announced that after carefully going over all the information and the record, that actually Eggert had paid out $29.33 more in clerk hire than he had collected from the county-all five members of the board signed a resolution saying that Eggert was guilty of no wrong-doing.
Two weeks later McCarty filed an action with the clerk of courts asking an injunction against the board of supervisors to stop them from building a steel bridge across Moon Creek, to replace the old wooden bridge which was unsafe. The supervisors said this was nothing more than an attempt to gain political advantage.
The last of June hearing was held on the McCarty charge before Judge Gaynor at Sioux City. The judge heard all parties to the charge, and dismissed the action, saying there were no grounds for the charge and said there was absolutely no evidence of any fraud or collusion on the part of the board as McCarty had charged.
The feud between the Review and the board of supervisors continued. McCarty each week made all kinds of charges of graft and corruption-but the board refused to be intimidated. In October Frank Creglow, who had switched from the Socialist to the Democratic Party, and who worked for McCarty went before the board and demanded access to certain records, which he said they were covering up. He got into a bad hassle with the members of the board and with some visitors who had business with the board and one of them finally threatened to beat him up. The board finally lost any patience it may have had and had Creglow arrested and charged with disturbing the peace. He was taken before Justice Overmeyer and fined $5.
The board had had enough and on October 27 it was reported they had filed an action for $5,000 against P. H. McCarty and Mary McCarty, owners of the Review, for publishing false and defamatory items about the board's work and its members.
Whether the vicious attacks of the Review had any part in the situation or not, when the election of November 8 was held Democrats here had cut the usual 400 to 500 margin held by Republicans to about 150. In the process, they managed to defeat two county officers-Auditor Eggert, who lost out to E. J. Riegel of Larchwood and Olaf Olson defeated H. S. Boomgaarden by two votes (the official canvas later reduced this to a one-vote margin and the State Legislature was asked, by Republicans to recount the vote.) Nationally Democrats got control of the House of Representatives-one Iowa Republican congressman lost his seat. One of the big factors in the Democratic surge was said to be the German American Liberty League who organized in depth, and in many rural areas were able to swing enough voters to Democratic candidates to influence the election.
In January 1910 Postmaster Chan Smith was notified that he was to list Miss Daisy Robey as regular mail carrier on Rural Route One. Miss Robey had been carrying mail as a substitute and had been making Route One quite regularly as a substitute for her brother, who quit to become head of a dairy business here. Miss Robey was one of the first women to become regular mail carriers in the United States.
The weather had been cold in December and after the start of the New Year, Ed Tressler was busy putting up ice in his ice houses and shipping ice all over northwest Iowa. The ice was 20 inches thick and "clear as crystal."
Early in February C. W. Bradley went to Chicago to be present at the cement show, and to take orders for the Anchor Concrete block machines which were made here and were displayed at the show. He was joined there by E. Huntington and John Olsen, and when they returned to Rock Rapids they announced that their reception at the show was outstanding and that a lot of machine orders had been booked for the local company.
By March, work had been resumed on the new garage being built for G. H. Watson. He had the Mitchell distributorship and was selling a lot of these cars. He also got the dealership for the low priced Brush and this car was also to prove a big seller.
The automobile business was looking real good, so E. C. Pickard got the agency for the Ford cars-and announced that his company offered three models-a touring car at $875; a tourabout or roadster (interchangeable) at the same price and a roadster at only $850. All prices were FOB Detroit.
In March C. F. Shannon, who had been setting up a new furniture store, opened for business. He had what he said was the finest stock of furniture ever shown here. He also had an associate, W. M. Booner, who was a licensed embalmer.
Not to be outdone in the automobile field, Rohde brothers announced their appointment as dealers for the EMF and the Flanders cars. The EMF sold at $1250 while the Flanders was priced at $790-the prices being FOB Detroit.
There had been continued dissatisfaction with the local telephone system and in March the Tri-State Telephone and Telegraph Company approached the council and sounded them out on the matter of a franchise to put in another telephone system here. The council said they would listen, but made no promises. Then announcement was made that agents acting for the Western Electric Company of Mason City had bought out W. C. Wycoff's system and the rural lines he had built. With the sale they got his franchise which still had five years to run. Wycoff had run the telephone system here for 12 years. When he took over the old Clark Automatic Company, there were 41 telephones in Rock Rapids. When he sold out there were 185 phones connected. The new owners started plans at once to rebuild the system, put in a new switchboard, etc.
The town had taken over the water system the fall before, after a long, unhappy relationship between the private company, which owned and operated the system, and users. Superintendent Shindler was working hard by April to put in new mains and get a new pump station in operation, and good progress was being made. The new mains had progressed to Moon Creek from the old pumping station.
In August 1910 Rock Rapids had a new businessman who was to be prominent here the rest of his life. He was William Thiesen who came here from Jasper, Minnesota, and bought the Oxford Meat Market from Robey and Pettengill.
July and August had been very hot and dry and people of this and other communities were using a lot more ice than usual. Marr & Holliday had bought out Ed Tressler's ice business and were taking care of everyone's needs locally-but they had to turn down request after request for shipment of cars of ice to other towns where none was available. The 1400 tons of ice which had been put up was vanishing rapidly.
W. J. Purchas, who was also to play a big part in Rock Rapids affairs for the next decade, came to Rock Rapids in September. He had bought the Rock Rapids Creamery, built only a couple of years before by J. P. Younger and had plans for expanding that operation.
The late August showing of the fair was highly successful-with good displays, fine horse racing and good attendance. It was said to be the best horse racing program ever seen here.
Late in September it was announced that there would be a lecture course for 1910-11. The promoters announced a schedule of seven programs, starting with the Kellogg-Haines Singing party. Cost of the program was set at $2 for adults and $1.25 for students, and a drawing for seats was held at the Hannum Drug Store.
In January there was news of a former Rock Rapids man, who was going places in industry. S. C. Cox had worked on local papers and at one time operated a small paper here. He did not make a go of it and went east, where he developed a mailing machine used on the big dailies, and started working for some of the press manufacturing companies. His designs started a whole new industry of flat-bed web perfecting presses, which were standard equipment in the small daily and community newspaper field for the next 60 years.
On February 24, W. B. Rogers who had started working at the Reporter as a printers "devil" and had worked up to foreman, bought the Larchwood Leader and moved to that community to make his home.
On November 10 it was announced that W. P. McCaughey had bought the Schroeder machine shop, and would move here to live. He had farmed for some years near Lester and then moved to Des Moines, where he lived most of the time, coming to Lyon County during threshing season to operate threshing rigs. McCaughey was an accomplished machinist, a well-known gunsmith.
The fame of Rock Rapids' Dr. G. G. Cottam was spreading and when he attended the meeting of the Iowa Clinical Surgical Society the first of February, he was elected State President of that group.
Another new doctor came to Rock Rapids in 1910. He was Dr. G. H. Boetel, who came here from Neligh, Nebraska and bought the practice of Dr. Bartine. Bartine's health was bad and he wanted to have an extended rest-after which he planned to relocate in some other area. Boetel opened his practice here the first of March.
The spring of 1910 there was a lot of sickness in this area. Diphtheria and smallpox were almost epidemic. The John Hilbrand home in Allison Township was one of the families afflicted-with six members of the family sick. The quarantine there was lifted in April, after the house had been completely fumigated and disinfected. Among the homes in Rock Rapids which were quarantined were those of L. M. Myott, the Hennings, Hampe and Sheneberger homes.
As a result of his being elected President of the Iowa Clinical Surgical Association, Dr. G. G. Cottam played host to members of that group the first of August. Unfortunately attendance was not up to par because of the heat wave and the great distance from major medical centers to Rock Rapids, but the surgeons who attended had a fine time. The group met at the Comus Club in the morning and then had lunch on the banks of the river. In the afternoon two major surgical operations were performed for the group. That evening there was a party at the Comus Club and the evening was spent at cards and in social visiting.
The community was very disappointed when on September 15, Dr. Cottam announced he would quit his practice in Rock Rapids and move to Sioux Falls. He indicated he needed major hospital facilities for his surgery, which had been growing very rapidly. Dr. Jay M. Crowley of Ellsworth agreed to come to Rock Rapids and take over the Cottam practice. Dr. Cottam recommended Crowley very highly. Cottam had practiced here for 16 years.
Mark Shutt took Pensia Maid and the other horses in his string to Memphis early in February to train them for racing on the grand circuit. The weather was real bad in that area and in May Shutt brought the 14 horses back to Rock Rapids, and finished training here. He started the season with a number of race meets in Nebraska where he won consistently. At Alta in August his horses did exceptionally well, winning three firsts in one day of racing. He had a three-year-old trotter that set a mark for horses of that age, at 2:18. This horse was J. C. Simpson, and Shutt thought he had a real winner developing.
Later Shutt raced at Mason City, Des Moines, Huron, where he won a substantial sum, but he did not get back to the grand circuit as he planned in 1910.
Lakewood Farm was continuing its reputation as the premier Percheron horse farm in the country. The first week in February another two-day sale was held in Sioux City and 93 animals were sold. The 39 stallions brought in $21,390 and the 54 mares brought $26,255.
O. P. Miller was signally honored in February when he attended the meeting of the church in Chicago. A resolution commending his work for the committee and as treasurer of the general conference (worldwide) was passed and made a part of the church records.
There was quite a scare here the first of March 1910. Because of extremely bad weather no shipments of coal for the municipal electric plant came through. The coal on hand was exhausted-and Manager Gingrich had canvassed all local dealers to requisition what coal they could spare to keep the plant in operation. The dealers were reluctant to let him have the approximately two carloads available-but just when the last shovels of coal were put under the boilers, two carloads of coal arrived and word was received that more was on the way.
March 10 it was announced that the United States Senate had finally acted on Captain W. W. Gardner's pension, and raised it to $24 a month. The House of Representatives had already passed the measure. He had been getting $16 a month.
Marshal Carroll broke into print the middle of March telling farmers that if they did not quit trotting their horses across the bridge, the would be arrested. The rule was that they could not drive across the bridge at more than a walk, as the faster speeds, it was feared, would dangerously damage the bridge. It was announced that fines would be $5.
There was very little crime recorded in 1910-but one murder attracted a lot of attention in December. Then Harry Thomas Jordon was shot to death by his stepson, John Wubbens. Investigation showed that Wubbens had been going by the Jordon farm, when he saw Jordon kicking in the door to the house. He turned around and went back and found Jordon threatening to beat up his wife, (Wubbens mother). She had a gun, which Wubbens took away from her, and proceeded to shoot his stepfather. A coroner's jury was called but did not bring in a verdict, so a preliminary hearing was held before Justice Overmeyer. Extensive testimony was taken and Overmire then ruled that Wubbens was not guilty.
Automobiles were becoming more numerous and one of the popular places for the owners of these cars were at the fair ground, where they could speed around the track. The horse men were complaining that the track was being damaged, so C. J. Miller, assistant fair secretary laid down rules-no speeds over 18 miles an hour, cars could not go closer to the inside rail than the center of the track-and if any horses were on the track, automobiles had to keep off.
There were 18 members of the senior class who graduated from the Rock Rapids High School in 1910. They were Doris Woodburn, Mazah Blair, Joy Smock, Helen Olsen, Florence Jefferis, Ruth Hiesland, Mark Curtis, Benita Creglow, Frances Cox, Ethel Baustian, Marguerite Watson, Elmer Wohlers, Wanda Spencer, William Roths, Elizabeth Lamb, Henry Hampe, Hulda Creglow, Louise Huntington.
When threshing started in August everyone drew a deep breath. The weather had been bad all year-heavy snows, cold weather-and as usual, heat and dry weather during the summer. Oats were yielding 35 to 45 bushels an acre-much better than anticipated.
Nineteen hundred ten saw the peak of the interest in pearl hunting in the Rock River. Joe Zeug was reported to be the champion. He had found many pearls; one of them was a beauty, absolutely round, perfectly white gem, which weighed 10 grains. It was said to be worth "several hundred dollars." He found many others-as did other men who were digging clams, opening them, looking for the pearls and then throwing the clams back into the river. The shells were piled up and in many cases, shipped to Mississippi River towns where pearl buttons were made and where there was a market for the shells.
There was considerable excitement in some circles in early October when saloonkeepers were hauled into court under the new "Moon" mulct law. The saloons, it was reported, were all operating pretty close to the law and injunctions were issued against most of those doing business. These injunctions kept the owners out of business for five years-but in most cases someone else immediately opened and continued the operation. One thing did result, under the new law only one saloon per 1,000 population was allowed-which cut down on the number of thirst parlors doing business.
A call for condition of banks was issued as of November 10, 1910. The Lyon County State Bank had footings of $525,098. The Iowa Savings Bank, $158,407 and the First National Bank had $555,822.
Late in November Deputy Treasurer Stella Weberg received from the Seaboard National Bank of New York, the last of the $145,000 refunding bonds. The bonds redeemed in 1910 were the last of the episode. They had been issued 10 years before and bore interest at the rate of four and one-half percent.
At the start of the Christmas season C. C. Brugmann, who had operated a drug store in Rock Rapids since 1902, announced that he was adding a jewelry department-and that Mr. H. L. McLean would come to Rock Rapids to manage that department. Mr. McLean was said to be a highly skilled watch repairman in addition to his other qualifications.
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