Herman A. Mueller
This little trading point is about
eighteen miles southwest of Winterset, and is on the divide
constituting water shed between the Mississippi
and Missouri rivers It is surrounded by a splendid scope of country and is in
the midst of a very fertile farming and stock raising region.
Grand River, worthy of its name, wends its way closely by the town
and in an early day not only supplied water power for milling and
other purposes but upon its banks stretch bodies of timber by
Nature for the uses of mankind.
Macksburg was laid out on sections 9, 10, 15 and 16, March 23,
1874, for the owners of the land, William Octavio Lee, Joseph
Hughes Mack, Elihu G. Barker, Andrew J. Hastie and John D. Love;
Robert A. Patterson, surveyor.
The name adopted is taken from one of the prominent early
settlers of Grand River Township, whose high character,
indomitable energy and enterprise are chiefly responsible for the
establishment of this one of Madison County's commercial centers.
Dr. Joseph Hughes Mack will long be remembered for his own
sterling characteristics and Macksburg will further serve to
perpetuate his name in local history.
Near the town site of Macksburg a post office was established in
1863 and given the classic name of Venus. Andrew
J. Hastie, a pioneer of the township, was installed as postmaster,
and the office continued in existence until 1870, when it was
abolished for the reason that no one could be found to assume the
onerous (?) duties of the establishment imposed by the Government.
However, the office was reestablished in 1871 and when Macksburg
was founded the office was removed to the new town and given its
name, with Dr. Joseph Hughes Mack in charge, and from this time on
Macksburg began to grow and soon assumed the proportions of a
village that gave evidence of one day being able to take its place
in the front rank, as a business and shipping point.
John H. Marley and John D. Love, both of whom were at one time in
charge of the post office, were first in the field as merchants
and were active in increasing the interests of the town and its
upbuilding. Other mercantile establishments and industries secured
a footing in the "burg" and today there are a number of
business enterprises that call to the place a class of people well
equipped to purchase goods suitable to their means, which is
saying a good deal, as they come from farming districts
surrounding the town that cannot be surpassed for fruitfulness and
prosperity anywhere in the State of Iowa.
In the center of the town is a block of ground which was a
donation from Dr. John H. Mack for park purposes. It is a pretty
spot and on its four sides are ranged most the business houses.
The park was originally the site of a schoolhouse and was secured
by Doctor Mack by trading other property for it.
While Macksburg does not have in her confines a printing press,
her business interests, schools, churches and local gossip find a
place in the Macksburg Record, a five-column quarto, established
in 1911. The paper is edited by Mrs. Shell and published at
Lorimor. With its
bank, several general stores, among which is also the post office,
implement concerns, lumberyards, drug and drygood stores, livery
stables and garages, elevator and recently acquired railroad
facilities, Macksburg continues to retain her place in the
county's commercial affairs and socially the town is considered
of Macksburg was incorporated as a town, November 5, 1876.
Dr. Joseph Hughes Mack, M. Osborn, John D. Love, J. D.
Rawls and William Octavio Lee were appointed commissioners to
provide for and call an election, which was held at A. J. Mack's
store. The judges of election were A. I. Mack, William Octavio
Lee, M. Osborn; clerks, George Dudley and John D. Love. Dr. Joseph
Hughes Mack was elected the first mayor of the newly made
municipality. At this time the business interests were represented
in the following industries: general stores, Love, Sharp &
Company, Levi Wolf; hardware, Lee & Lafler; drugs, J. J.
Clark; millinery, Mrs. Mahan; insurance, William Octavio Lee;
carpenter, Levi T. Townsend; shoes, Gray Mahan, A. Kirtland;
harness, J. T. Johnson; blacksmith, Herbert L. Harden; wagon
maker, Alfred Hammers; physicians, Joseph Hughes Mack, John A.
Rawls, Thomas M. Comuck; hotel, Truman H. Gilbert.
The first bank in Macksburg was established in August, 1902, as a
private concern, by L. W. McLennan, of Afton
, which continued under Mr. McLennan's sole control until in
April, 1903, when the Macksburg National Bank was organized. The
incorporators were L. W. McLennan, Jeremiah M. Wilson, Levi T.
Townsend, Joseph Hughes Mack, Cass Pindell, Ira D. Harrison and
Martin Rowe; and first officials, J. M. Wilson, president; Joseph
Hughes Mack, vice president; E. O. Klingaman, cashier.
Capital stock, $25,000.
In March, 1904, W. W. Walker
succeeded to the cashiership, and in 1908, upon the death of
Doctor Mack, Levi T. Townsend was elected vice-president by the
board of directors. Jeremiah
M. Wilson met an untimely and tragic death, June 21, 1910,
and was succeeded in the presidency by Levi T. Townsend; at the
same time Mr. Harrison went into the office of vice president. The
latter died in November, 1910, and Martin Rowe became
vice-president. Finally, Mr. Townsend disposed of his stock and
Eugene Wilson, son of Jeremiah Morgan Wilson, was made president
of the institution on February 8, 1913.
Plans have been completed for a new bank building, which will
stand on the corner of North and East streets. The structure will
be a one-story brick and it is anticipated the new home of the
bank will be ready for occupancy in the spring of 1915. Present
officials: President, Eugene Wilson: vice president, Martin Rowe;
cashier, W. W. Walker
. Capital, $25,000; surplus, $10,000; deposits, $62,000.
The Macksburg circuit of the Methodist Episcopal Church was
organized in the fall of 1874 and consisted of the following
places: West Branch, Pleasant View, Hebron, Pleasant Valley and Skunk Hollow. The
congregations of the last four held services
in schoolhouses. The Macksburg society first met for worship in
the Kivitt schoolhouse and continued so to do until the church was
built in 1874. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. Thomas
Berry and the regular pastor was Rev. A. Thornbrugh. Up to this
time Macksburg was a part of the Winterset circuit. Rev. Thomas
Berry became president of Simpson College and, in 1876, secured enough subscriptions to meet the quite heavy
indebtedness of the society. At this time Rev. Isaac M. O'Flyng was
the pastor. Ministers following the last named were: D. O. Stuart,
September, 1878, to September, 1879; F. D. Funk, 1879-80; George
M. Jeffrey, 1880-81; B, A. Fassett, 1881-82; J. H. Sensency,
1882-83; J. D. M. Buckner, 1883-84 ; J. H. Warfield, 1884-85: John
Webb, 1885-86: A. O. Miller, 1880-87; E. E. Raymon,
1887-88; William Johnston, 1888-89; J. S. Mason, 1889-90; W. E.
Harvey, 1890-92; Isaac M. O’Flyng, 1892-94; F. S. Bunting, 1894-96;
M. H. Ellis, 1896-97; D. Martin, 1897; F. B. Dunn, 1899-1901; C.
Knowl, 1901-02; J. G. Duling, 1902-04; Charles E. Trueblood,
1904-00; W. C. Smith, 1900-07; J. N. Hosier, 1907-08; Ivan R.
Mills, 1908-10; Roy N. Spooner, 1910-12; L. B. Shannon, 1912-14;
Fred E. Whitney, 1914.
church has a membership in the circuit of 200 and at Macksburg 76,
with an average Sunday school attendance of 80. In the fall of
1914, the church building met with improvements that cost about
$3,000. On the lot adjoining the church is a neat and comfortable
Branch society was organized in September, 1855, by Rev. W. C.
Williams, who delivered the first sermon at the home of Reverend
Rawlins, a local preacher. The succeeding meeting of the society
was held at the home of James Pearson, and the members continued
to meet here the following four years, at the expiration of which
the Pearson schoolhouse was requisitioned for the purpose and used
until the church was built at Macksburg. This appointment was
originally a part of the Afton (Union County) and Ringgold Mission and then became identified with the
circuit and remained therein until the formation of the Macksburg
circuit in 1874.
View society came into being in 1856, under the direction of Rev.
Joel Mason. The initial leader was Samuel W. Milligan and services
were held at the home of Jerub Richmond until the year 1865. From
here the society moved to the F. M. Walker schoolhouse, which
later was purchased, remodeled and dedicated to all things sacred.
The appointment originally was a part of Brooklyn, or Ohio, circuit and remained as such until 1807, when it became part of
the Winterset circuit and then, in 1878, was transferred to the
When organized, Hebron was one of the appointments in the Macksburg circuit and so
remained until 1883, when the church was removed 2 1/2 miles
south, to Union schoolhouse No. 2. Rev,
J. D. M. Buckner was in charge. Hebron was annexed to Orient circuit in 1889.
Hollow appointment at the time of its organization was a part of
the Macksburg circuit and later was consolidated with Pleasant Valley, in order the better to build
Zion Church . The union of the two
charges, however, was never satisfactory.
society was organized by Rev. W. C. Williams, who preached his
first sermon to this charge in the Peters' schoolhouse, where
services were held the succeeding six years and then the Pragg
schoolhouse was used and the society came to be known as the Pleasant
Valley class. In 1881 it was consolidated with the Skunk Hollow class and
Zion Church was built by them in 1881-82.
Bethesda Baptist Church was organized May 5, 1855 at the home of Alexander Barnum, who, together
with his wife, was of the organizing members.
The others were Hiram Pierce, the first pastor, and wife;
Dr. Joseph Hughes Mack and wife, William Kivett and wife, Ransom
Moon, John H. Bray and wife, Capt. Elihu G. Barker and wife,
Robert and Catherine Wilson, John A. and Sarah N. Marley, Nancy A.
Barker, Mary Moore, and Elizabeth Rawlins. The first church was a
small frame affair that was built the year of the organization,
and stood on the hill one-half mile southwest of town. The present
building, also a frame, was erected in 1874 and cost about two
thousand dollars. Its
predecessor was removed to a lot subsequently purchased by I. C.
Pierce occupied this pulpit a number of years, but how many could
not be learned and the early church records were burned in 1911.
During the past four or five years the church has not been
supplied with a regular pastor and the church membership, at one
time quite large, has been decreasing steadily, through deaths,
removals and other causes. It is now anticipated that soon a
resident pastor will be secured. The present number of names on
the church rolls is 32.
Lodge, No. 406, I. O. O. F., was organized October 2, 1880.
Macksburg Encampment, No. 186, was organized October 21,
1902, and Hawthorne Chapter, No. 350, Daughters of Rebekah, was
organized October 23, 1896.
one time the Grand Army Post was able to muster at its meetings
quite a large body of veterans. But what with the ravages of time
and disease, the ranks of the post have so thinned out that the
organization now can scarcely muster a corporal's guard. There is
still a Woman's Relief Corps that meets occasionally.
Evergreen Camp, No. 4133, M. W. A., was organized August
Macksburg has a railroad. That fact is certainly worthy of mention
before the closing of this chapter. Whether it always will have
one or not is as Rudyard Kipling says, another story. Be that as
it may, the Creston, Winterset & Des Moines Railroad, having a
line of track twenty-one miles long- and reaching from Creston to
Macksburg, was built in 1912 and on the 31st of December of that
year the first train of cars entered the town. The line has been
in operation under many vicissitudes practically all its life, and
it is said that unless the property is placed under different
management, Macksburg will be bereft of an improvement in which
she took a great deal of pride.
taken from the book, “The History of Madison County, Iowa,
by Judy Wight Branson
Edited by Kent Transier
Founding of Macksburg (Madisonian Version)
September 25, 1873
Macksburg – Madison county has a new town – Macksburg. It is
situated in Grand River township, about the center of the
township. The country surrounding it is as lovely as ever lay to
the sun. Even the famous Quaker divide cannot surpass it in
beauty. Two business-houses already front the public square, and
others and dwellings will soon be erected. Two dry goods stores
and two physicians occupy the ground. The town is situated about
half way between Winterset and Afton and should command the trade
of quite a large section of the country. There will be a public
sale of lots on the ground on Saturday, September 27th, and lots
will be given to parties who will occupy them. Dr. Mack is
proprietor of the town and he will push it forward with is
untiring energy. Success to our young sister.
Note: The date of this Madisonian article would lead one to
conclude that the date of the town's layout was earlier than the
"1874" put forth in the article by Mueller.
and edited by Kent G. Transier