This township was first set off as a part of Ocheyedan township and was
called East Ocheyedan. It was later organized into a separate township
with the following officers: Trustees‐John Logan, J. C. Wilmarth and
James Hall; clerk‐M. A. Benson; assessor‐J. W. Luke; justices of the
J. C. Stewart and C. E. Benson; constables‐James Kilpatrick and
James Mercer. The present officers are as follows: Trustees‐Earl Beck,
W. J. Burley and J. L. Timmons; clerk‐C. C. Wilmarth; assessor‐C. M. Lamb.
This township has no town, railroad, or churches. The most of the government land in this township was secured by patent, by the use of land scrip or railroad indemnity land in 1870, before the rush of homesteaders came into the county.
Section 2. This section was at first taken by speculators. Later Martin Ziehr bought on section 2 and by industry and good judgment has built up a fine improved farm.
Section 3. On section 3 is A. Miller, a thrifty German farmer, who is doing well.
Section 4. On section 4 we find George Forbes, who is happy and prosperous.
Section 6. Samuel B. Everett, Robert S. Hall, Albert B. March, Henry C. March and Fred H. Hunt constituted a part of what was known as the New England settlement. Robert S. Hall was elected county treasurer, held the office three terms and made a good and efficient officer. He moved from here to Long Pine, Nebraska, where he engaged in the lumber business and later in the banking business and made some money. He is now retired and living in LaMesa, California. He and his wife visited in Sibley and vicinity recently and are in good health for people of their age. H. C. March is dead and Albert March recently sold his holdings here and moved to Missouri. Fred Hunt and his son are still living on the original claim and are among the prosperous farmers of the county. Fred Hunt was at one time county supervisor. Mrs. Hunt, who was a March, died last year. She was a leading spirit in the east end of the county and is greatly missed.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 545
9. Benson and son are prosperous farmers who came from
the east. Father Benson lost his wife here and later married
moved to eastern Iowa, leaving his son to attend to the farm.
Section 10. C. W. Worrick bought a fine three-hundred-and-twenty acre improved farm and makes a specialty of stock.
Section 14. Among other early settlers, not homesteaders, appears the name of George Thomas on section 14. He later moved to Harris and engaged in the mercantile business and was the first mayor of that town; later, he was elected county auditor and served with credit three terms. He is now living in California. Another early settler on section 14 was James Hall, whose wife was a sister of George Thomas. Mr. Hall sold and moved to northern Minnesota, where he died a few years ago. His wife survives him. The Hall farm is now owned by O. A. Metz, the present county recorder.
Section 17. Charles Waters on section 17 is another good example of what industry will accomplish in this country.
Section 24. Earl Beck came to this section a few years ago with little or nothing and now owns a two-hundred-and- forty-acre farm.
Section 33. Joseph Smith is a substantial farmer on this section. This township supports nine public schools, but no church within its borders. The people worship in Ocheyedan, Harris, or in a country church just across the line in Dickinson county. The whole township is now cut up into well improved farms and is a very prosperous community.
large amount of the best land in this township was taken by speculators
before the homesteaders could
get a chance to enter it. The Des Moines
Valley Railroad Company secured under an indemnity claim sections 4, 9,
10, 13, 14, 15, 23 and 24. David C. Shepard secured sections 12, 26 and 34
on college land scrip. John Lawler obtained on some kind of land scrip, sections 32 and 36. Thus homesteaders were deprived of about one-half of the
land in this township that ought to have been left open to homestead entry.
It was all
very fine land and those who got it would have been very indignant
if they had been charged with stealing it. However, the grasshopper scourge
coming on soon after the land was secured and having to pay taxes on it so
long before it was saleable, and then only at hard-time prices, these land
speculators did not realize as much profit as might be thought.
Section 2. Hermon Runyan settled on this section and kept a few cows (35)
546 0'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
and managed to get through the grasshopper times with his large family.
prospered and passed into easy circumstances, retiring to the
village of Ocheyedan where he died a few years ago. Gideon Thompson
also settled here, but sold and left the country without making much impression. Elmer R. Hazen was a carpenter by trade and depended on work
carry him through the hard times. He was a big strong man and a good
workman, but a periodical drinker. He would complete a job and then get
tipsy it was his boast that he was Elmer R. Hazen, the noble
grand. He had a peculiar experience in Sibley along in the eighties.
On completion of a school house in his township, he settled for his work and then came to Sibley to pay his lumber bill and get drunk. After settling his bill he had about one hundred and forty dollars left when he went to the saloon. W. T. Miller saw him go in the saloon and knew what it meant. A few hours later Miller went to the saloon to look him up and found him in a maudlin condition. Miller said, "Hazen, give me your money," and he handed over his poket book. About three days later Hazen called at Miller's office, pretty well sobered up, but crying. Upon inquiry as to the trouble he said some one had stolen his money. After berating him a while for getting drunk and having so much money with him. Miller turned to his safe and handed him the pocketbook and told him to count it and see if it was all there. It would be useless to attempt to portray the expression on Hazen' s countenance upon finding his money. He had no recollection of having surrendered it. Samuel A. Colby, who settled on this section, made little impression.
Section 3. P. Boss came here in 1902 with a small amount of capital and now owns five hundred and forty acres in this township. He made it in general farming and stock raising, handling principally black cattle.
Section 6. Here was James Morrison and William R. Clement, neither of whom remained very long. William H. Lean remained long on his claim and became well to do. He served as a member of the board of supervisors several terms and was an influential man in his township. Wallace M. Moore was a one-armed old soldier and was elected county auditor to succeed Frank Robinson. The convention that nominated Moore was stampeded over the cry for "One-armed Moore." Many thought Frank Robinson, who had served efficiently and honestly, ought to have another term, but the convention ran wild for "One-Armed Moore." Mr. Moore made a faithful and capable officer and was reelected several times. After retiring he moved to Mt. Vernon where he died.
Section 8. Here was Henry Babcock, who was an energetic fellow
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 547
and, being from the state of New York, he knew the value of cows. Consequently a few cows and some young cattle carried him through the hard
times. In later
years he sold here and moved to a farm a few miles south
City where he died a few years ago.
Orvis Foster settled on this section. Mr. Foster was
having quite a
hard time to
get along, so Henry Babcock, who was school director for that
district, proposed that Mrs. Foster teach their school, which was made up of a
few small children.
Consequently Mrs. Foster presented herself before the
county superintendent of schools for examination and failed. Finally it
was arranged that if every one in that district, having children of school
age, would sign a written request for Mrs. Foster to be allowed to teach the
school, the superintendent would give her a permit. Such request was signed
permit was then issued. She taught several terms and gave satisfaction. That was another
way of bridging a family over the hard times and
at that time was all
right. William Shipley made little impression.
Thayer clung to his claim as long as he was able to work. He
was postmaster of Gopher post office a long time. When unable to work
he sold and retired to
Sibley where he and his wife died.
Section 9. A. Knox came in 1891 and bought one hundred and sixty acres on time and now has six hundred and forty acres in this township, all made by general farming.
Section 10. Lewis Klatt is getting along nicely on his three-hundred and-twenty-acre farm.
Section 11. H. and J. Legate are prosperous and industrious farmers and in a few years will be wealthy.
Section 12. Clark Howard has prospered so well that he is already leading the retired life in Ocheyedan.
On section 13 is L. H. Holle, a thrifty farmer and stock raiser.
On section 15 is John G. Benz, who is getting rich and buying more land.
Sections 16 and 17. Five Frey brothers came from northern Illinois, and bought on sections 16 and 17 in this township and all prospered. Dirk Frey, who proved to be quite a leader in Baker township, settled on section 17 and prospered so well that a few years ago he retired with a nice competence. He now lives at his ease in Sibley, where for many years his son, Otto J. Frey, was clerk of district court. Dirk Frey was justice of the peace many years in Baker township.
Section 18. Jake Brandt donated ground for a co-operative store and, on account of the great distance from town, it prospered until the Gowrie branch was built through that part of the county. That store saved the
548 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
farmers of the neighborhood much money and time as well as many miles
travel. When that store was started
they secured a postoffice and called it
post office of Gopher was discontinued and all got their mail
at Melvin. When the railroad was built, and a town established, it continued
under the name of Melvin. Henry Klappine left quite early. Henry Simmons sold in
1873. Fred Frisbee filed on this section but lived principally
in Sheldon where he and his brother engaged in the livery business for many
years. In the meantime they handled real estate and became quite wealthy.
they invested in bank stock extensively. Mr. Frisbee still owns his
original homestead. Frank H. Quiggle also settled on section 18 and still
owns and lives on his claim. Elmer Simmons sold and left
Section 20. Henry Dunkelmann was a sturdy German and very industrious. He hung on through all the hard times and at last won out. Of late years he has been leading a retired life on the old farm about one mile from Melvin. When Henry Dunkelmann located in this county in the spring of 1872, there came with him a young German of noble birth and filed on an eighty-acre claim on the same section with Mr. Dunkelmann, and although of gentle birth he took up the work of a pioneer with all the earnestness of a veteran. He broke prairie, planted and sowed the same as other settlers. Being a single man he lived in the Dunkelmann family and they became great friends. The grasshoppers destroyed his crops in 1873 and again in 1874, and then this young German, Josef von Willemoes-Suhm by name, became discouraged, sold his eighty acres, with sixty-three acres of breaking, for two hundred and fifty dollars and left the country. However, this fine prairie made such a deep impression on this young man, that after about forty years' absence, this man, who had become a traveling salesman, returned to visit his old friend Dunkelmann. When he and Dunkelmann visited Sibley last fall he was as enthusiastic as a boy over the marvelous changes. He related with much pleasure and merriment how he and Dunkelmann started out on horseback one fine May morning in 1873 to visit Sibley and could not locate it. Finally a shower came up and they were obliged to seek shelter in a big house, and lo! they discovered they were in Sibley. By the way, this man has been successful in a business way, not only having saved a competence, but being retired on a liberal pension by his firm for long and meritorious service. Don Josef considered it a huge joke on Don Henry that he, an old cavalryman in the Civil War, and a prairie rider generally, could not locate the county seat in his own county. Nathan D. Bowles was a stirring fellow, but did not remain many years. Valentine Quimiett's stay
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 549
was of short duration. Hans Graves is still living on his claim, but sold and
gave possession March 1, 1914. His life on the farm was a success.
Section 28. Fritz Ohm made a short stay here and moved to Monroe county in an early day. Jerry Graves still lives on his claim. He moved to Sanborn and, after trying town life one or two years, vyielded to the call of the soil and returned to the farm. He thinks a man can enjoy his old age on the farm where he spent all his working days as well and much happier than in town. Cyrus J. Dewey was a transient. Frank Graves died on his claim about fifteen years ago. Frank Graves has retired and lives in Ocheyedan. Peter Graves conducts a restaurant in Ocheyedan.
Section 29. E. Bentz is a successful farmer. Mr. Bentz secured part of the town site of the new town of Melvin.
Section 30. Fritz Rhode died several years ago. August Genz is hardly remembered. Martin S. Stanford and Sylvester Larabee were not stayers. W. A. Waldo, who entered a claim on this section, remained here several years and then sold out. He conducted a livery stable for a time in Sioux City, but eventually landed in California where he was living at last report. He was a well educated gentleman and taught school several terms while here to bridge over the hard times.
Section 31. A. Saeinga came here with the proceeds of the sale of a forty-acre farm in Illinois, settled on section 31 and now has four hundred and eighty acres in this township, as well as property in Melvin. O. M. DeFries has made a comfortable competence here and now lives in Melvin.
Section33. John Isly has made enough to retire and now lives in Hartley.
Section 34. Henry Schmoll is an intelligent and industrious farmer who is one of the county supervisors. He was supervisor during the time the new court house was under construction and has proved he is a painstaking and efficient officer.
Section 1. Among those who came after the grasshopper period we
find M. A. Cook on section 1. Mr. Cook came from the south and lives here
because he cannot stand the southern climate. He has a novel house, built
of concrete in bungalow style, and the most novel feature of it is the fact he
did the work with his own hands. He is now
erecting a concrete barn. He
was one of the first in the
county to have a silo.
Section 2. Thomas Pell was a Methodist minister of considerable talent,
550 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
short on education and
expression, but long on ideas. He was a good man,
big, angular and strong. He preached some for the Methodists in Ocheyedan in the
early day and later for the Congregationalists in Sibley. While
preached in Sibley, he resided there also. His features were rugged and
expressive, but somewhat irregular. His mouth twisted to one side and gave
appearance of whispering something to the right ear which he did
not want his left ear to overhear. He died
many years ago dearly beloved
highly respected. Ed. E. Tipple was also a claimant on this section.
After proving up, Mr. Tipple moved to Sibley, where he now resides. His
wife died a few
years ago. Here also was John Cashen, a typical Irishman.
He later moved to
Sibley, and for many years was an all round man for
Dr. Neill and at the same time acted as
city marshal. He was proud of his
position and maintained the dignity of his office in martial style. He died
many years ago. After his funeral some one handed W. J. Miller fifty
cents saying it was from John Cashen. Miller was not aware that Cashen
anything. When on his death bed he directed payment of a few
debts that were
forgotten by the other parties. C. F. Kreuger was a thrifty
German on this section, who later moved to southern California. His son,
Fred, now lives on the old place. O. J. Hungerford was a single man and
died about 1887 in the Osceola House in Sibley.
Section 4. E. A. White was well known in and about Sibley but left the county in an early day. S. A. Wright later moved into Sibley as county treasurer. For some years he was bookkeeper in the First National Bank. He was quite a capable man. Later he moved south. John F. Glover was the second clerk of courts. He served one term as representative and has lived in Sibley ever since. He was at one time editor of the Sibley Gazette. He is a lawyer, pension agent and Congregational minister. At present he has no church, but acts as a supply minister quite often.
Section 5. A. Chadwick is a model farmer and a thorough dairyman. F. F. White, a brother of E. A. White, also left early.
Section 6. Nathan H. Reynolds was the father of J. S. Reynolds, who was county auditor seventeen years; father of C. P. Reynolds, the owner of a fine eighty-acre farm bordering on Sibley; also father of Edward Reynolds, of Sibley. Sarah R. Rosenberger was also on section 6, but little is remembered of her. Joseph Buchanan left the county soon after securing title. John Webb, the first Methodist preacher in Sibley and one of the first to conduct religious services in the eastern part of the county, had a claim on this section. The other minister in the eastern part of the county was Elder Dean, who was the first Congregational preacher in Sibley. More about both
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 551
of these good men will be found in the chapter on churches. Rev. Webb
died in southern California and Elder Dean is still
Section 7. M. P. Feldcamp and N. P. Feldcamp are prosperous farmers and both have fine improvements.
Section 8. Here was M.J. Campbell, for many years county surveyor. A few years ago he moved to the state of Washington where he soon died. Here also was Samuel Herbert, who moved to southwestern Missouri where he died. W. W. Webb, son of John Webb, had a claim here. He soon moved to Sibley where he lived many years. Later his mind became affected and he was taken to the asylum for the insane where he committed suicide. Cyrus M. Brooks, son-in-law of John Webb, was here. He was the first clerk of courts of Osceola. He died in middle age. D. L. McCansland was county recorder several terms and lived many years in Sibley. He finally moved to Rock Rapids where he lived a short time and then moved to southern California, where he now resides. He came here a confirmed consumptive and nearly helpless. He regained his health here and now weighs over two hundred pounds. J. R. Wolff has a model farm on this section and has recently completed one of the finest residences in the county. His farm is the old claim of Samuel Herbert. E. Ebert is an intelligent farmer and one of the leaders in this township. He also has a beautiful farm home and good farm. C. D. Garberson, on section 4 and 8, has recently moved to Sibley and is at present one of Sibley's stock buyers.
Section 10. Harvey Walters lived many years in Sibley where he died. Enoch Jenkins left early. He will be remembered as "Post Hole" Jenkins. James Bowles did not remain long. Edward Laherty was section boss on the railroad and was accidentally killed.
Section 12. E. S. Fairbrother did not remain long. C. H. Bull later bought more land and became a prominent dairyman. He came from a dairy country in the state of New York, and put in practice here with marked success what he learned as a boy in New York. He gained a competency and moved into Sibley as a retired farmer. Later he sold his interests here and moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, to be near his daughter and only child. He is still living and enjoying life. John Sclecht was here but a short time and little is known of him. John E. Johnson, a Norwegian, was quite prosperous and died some years ago, leaving quite a valuable estate. His original homestead is still in the family. C. J. Moar yet resides in the county in Ocheyedan township.
Section 14. Fred Kreuger still lives in the county on his father's old homestead. J. H. Kilpatrick was a transient. O. C. Staplin sold his farm
552 O BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
twelve or fifteen
years ago and bought in Dickinson county. He is now
retired and resides in
Spirit Lake. Little was known of John Sovey. Wallace Rea sold before land values advanced
very much, and being a veteran
of the Civil War, arranged to live in the Old Soldiers' Home, where he died
Adam Huls came about
twenty years ago with only a few hundred
bought two hundred and forty acres on section 16, in Viola
township, under contract. He worked hard and saved, until he had his farm
nearly paid for and then traded it for a two-hundred-acre farm on section 14,
in East Holman.
Losing his son, on whom he relied for help, he sold about
years ago for one hundred dollars an acre and retired to Allendorf
purchased a commodious home and is now living at his ease and
Section 17. W. E. Dawson has a farm on section 17.
Section 18. H. K. Rodgers, the first merchant of Sibley, filed on this section and made it his home, walking back and forth from the store every day. He actually lived on his claim the required time. He still owns the land but lives in California. J. B. Miller was a transient. John W. Jenkins entered the northwest quarter, now occupied by Sibley, the gravel pit and Sibley Cement Works. C. W. Jenkins for some time conducted a grocery and restaurant business in Sibley. He finally sold and moved to Kansas City, where he is now engaged in the musical instrument business. J. M. Jenkins was Sibley's first doctor and served one term as county superintendent of schools. He eventually sold out here and died in the western part of Plymouth county where he owned a large stock farm. F. E. Kenedy, now living on section 18, originally lived in Viola township, but later bought his present farm from P. A. Cajacob, his father-in-law. He has made quite a fortune and now lives in Sibley, engaged in the stock buying business. His home farm was the homestead of Dr. Jenkins.
George and Frank Mackinson came quite late and bought the J. R. Morris farm in section 19. They are prosperous farmers and take a great interest in stock, especially good horses. Frank recently moved to Sibley on account of his wife's poor health. She died in October, 1913. George also lost his wife some years ago and is now living on the farm with his second wife.
Section 20. J. Q. Miller's pre-emption was on this section. His homestead was on section 28. He still lives in the township on section 23, where he owns and conducts a successful dairy business. L. F. Diefendorf was a prominent man in the county for a few years, but sold and left at an early
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 553
date. Michael Daily sold as soon as he could get his title to Dr. Jenkins.
His home was in LeMars. Harris Durkee was not an actual settler.
Section 21. S. M. Cronin bought all of section 21 from the Iowa Land Company. He came from LeMars. As a home place he bought a fractional forty on section 18, near Sibley, and built a fine house for a home. He died last year.
Section 22. J. S. Reynolds was county auditor for seventeen years. He died some years ago. G. E. Pensyl, formerly of DeKalb county, Illinois, now owns the Reynolds quarter. He is a successful farmer. F. R. Coe located on this section but could not stand the grasshoppers, so sold and left early. Henry Klimppin only remained long enough to prove up, sell and get away. S. H. Westcott was well known in the county until the time of his death in Sibley.
Section 24. John McDonald, of Sioux City, was a transient here. Hiram Austin early moved to Missouri, where he died. H. G. Doolittle was a prominent figure. He was a member and foreman of the first grand jury that indicted the grafters. He served as county surveyor several terms, postmaster in Sibley eight years, rural mail carrier several years and is now living a retired life in Sibley. Robert Magee and William D. Lamb were both transients.
Section 26. C. R. Mandeville sold his land early and moved into Sibley and followed the carpenter business. He is one of three living members of that famous first grand jury and now resides in Holton, Kansas. C. B. Hobart, a fine fellow, was a transient here. W. H. Mandeville held his land quite a while, but eventually moved to Sibley and later to the state of Washington, where he now lives. P. L. Thompson lived on his land a short time. Timothy Green was also an early settler on this section.
Section 28. William R. Wells, a Vermonter, pre-empted the northeast quarter of this section and hung on all through the grasshopper times and some years later. He was a single man and not well adapted to the cold winters here. He finally moved to southern California, where he died. W.J. Miller moved to Sibley during grasshopper times, was principal of the Sibley schools four years, held various offices, engaged in the lumber business and is now conducting a broker business. He has been justice of the peace for eighteen years. He is now writing this history. He knew them all. J. O. Miller is still living and farming in the county. Mahlon Harvey bought the southeast quarter and later the southwest quarter and stuck to the land. He served three terms as representative. His land made him well off. He died recently. G. H. Perry homesteaded here, but sold early
554 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA
to W.J. Miller. Mr. Perry now lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and
he made a fortune in land and Sioux Falls property. C. W. Sollett came
from Chicago and located on the old Wells' claim. He and his son are
farming and raising thoroughbred Hereford cattle.
Section 30. Here were Joseph Chambers, Simeon Turnbull and Gared Post, who did not live on the land much and sold early. Hiram Burt made his home on his claim until he sold and moved to Sibley. Later he moved to Clear Lake where he died. John Kahill was a transient.
Section 32. H. W. Phillips was a prominent citizen here while he remained. He was quite a sheep raiser. In about 1892 he sold to S. J. Campbell and moved to New Mexico and engaged in ranching. He died many years ago. H. L. Clappsaddle was a bona fide settler through all the hard times, but finally sold out and moved to Mountain Grove, Missouri, on the Ozark range, where he now lives a happy and easy life. William Horton and John N. Kettle became discouraged with grasshopper times and sold, returning to Illinois at an early day. Neither improved his condition.
C. S. Janes came quite late, but has prospered on section 32. He has recently bought a home in Sibley and retired from farming, leaving the farm in charge of his son.
Section 34. Orin Levissee was the neighborhood blacksmith but sold early and now lives in northern Wisconsin. James T. Greenfield held to his homestead and bought more land from time to time until now he has seven hundred and twenty acres, one of the best improved farms in the county. He has rented his farm and lives in Sibley at his ease. George W. Greenfield and L. D. Barnes sold their claims to James T. Greenfield and both died many years ago. Peter Philben was a prosperous sheep raiser and farmer, but became dissatisfied and sold out, moving to the state of Washington, where he died many years ago.
Section 36‐George Schroder clung to his land and prospered. He now rents his farm and lives in Sibley enjoying a retired life. Henry Schroder held his land until the time of his death a few years ago. Of late years he rented his farm and made his home in Sibley. Robert Smith still holds his claim on this section but is living quietly in Sibley. He was a soldier in the Civil War. E. H. Benson sold and left early. William Gee died many years ago. The Jenkins, Mandevilles, Millers, Greenfields, Clappsaddles, Hortons, Kittles and Perrys were from northern Illinois and made quite an Illinois colony.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 555
This township was set off from Horton township in 1874. It was so
named on account of the fair and beautiful view it presented before the
white man defaced the unbroken beauty of its gently undulating surface
with plow and trail and homesteaders' shack. In 1870 it was a rich pastoral scene of unblemished
beauty, covered with sweet prairie grass, thickly
bedecked with the wild rose, prairie pink, gorgeous wild lilies and yellow
golden rod. It appeared as if nature did its utmost to create a magnificent
garden. Even the common resin weed that bordered each slough or
run, made as fine a display as the most carefully cultivated bed of golden
glow. This section of the country was so attractive in appearance that a
few sections were
gobbled up by speculators before the homesteaders arrived.
The names of the actual
early settlers as nearly as can now be remembered or ascertained are as follows:
On section 8 were Charles A. Foot, Alonzo Smith and S. A. Dove. Mr. Dove was later on the board of county supervisors for several terms and made a good officer. He now lives in Los Angeles, California.
On section 10 were John Stewart, Egbert F. Wheeler and J. S. Davison. Mr. Davison later was elected to the office of clerk of courts, in which capacity he served several terms with credit. He is now practising law in Long Pine, Nebraska.
On section 20 located H. D. Persons and J. W. Flint, the latter soon moving to Sibley where he worked at the mason's trade and died in an early day. J. L. Flint and Scott Case were transients in this section.
On section 22 were two prominent men. Thomas Jackson later sold his farm and moved to southwestern Missouri where he prospered and died a few years ago. Charles Ambright soon moved to Sibley and was leader of the first Sibley band. He is now living at Columbus Junction and is reported by his son-in-law, J. Fred Mattert, as well and happy.
Section 28 was settled by J. L. Pfaff, who is now living in Nebraska. He visited in Sibley last year and seemed hale and hearty. N. R. Cloud, another early settler of section 28, married Clara Wyllys, of Wilson township, and twenty-two years ago sold and moved to the state of Washington where he now lives. He and his wife visited in and about Sibley in 1913. Benjamin F. Webster, a veteran of the Civil War, was also a settler on section 28 and is still living on his original claim. He is the only homesteader in this township who bears this distinction. Although seventy-six years of age, he is hale and hearty and enjoying life. He is loved and respected by his neighbors and by all who know him.
556 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Section 30 was taken by Thomas Light foot, who proved to be a transient.
George Hamilton also located on this section and became one of the foremost and best known farmers in the
county. He was not only a good
farmer but a noted stock raiser. He built
up the most extensive herds of
Polled Angus cattle in northwestern Iowa. He died in 1911. Another
of our prominent citizens, William Mowthorp, settled, lived long and died
30. He was many years on the board of supervisors and was
always alert for the best interest of the county. He was frequently mentioned as a candidate for state
On section 32 was Henry Clafflin, who only remained about long enough to prove up and sell out. O. E. Cleveland remained through all the hard times and some time after, but finally sold out and returned to Pennsylvania. His oldest son still lives in the county and resides in Ocheyedan where he has been serving as justice of the peace for many years. Very few of these old settlers are now alive. They were a fine lot of people with not one black sheep in the lot. They and those that followed them have changed Fairview township from a fair open prairie to a wellcultivated tract with good graded roads and substantial improvements.
Among the farmers who came later are Wilson Forbes and Frank Palmer. They came here poor, worked for others and later worked land on shares. Each now has a well-improved farm of three hundred and twenty acres. Cattle and hogs are their specialty. In very recent years L. J. Phillips came to this township and bought the farm of three hundred and twenty acres left by William Mowthorp when he died. Mr. Philips is a man of affairs and is so well thought of that he was elected recently to represent his part of the county on the board of supervisors.
C.and F. Snyder are thrifty men who own a fine farm on section 33. The northeastern portion of this township was unsettled for a number of years. It was held by speculators and the railroad company, which, while the school section, number 16, made a vast meadow on which large quantities of hay were cut annually, and shipped to the big markets. All that part of the township was known then as the hay ranch. A little later it was used as a herding ground on which large herds of cattle were pastured each summer. It is now, however, all cut up into well-cultivated farms.
The first officers, as near as can be learned, were as follows: Trustees:Thomas Lightfoot, J. W. Flint and J. F. Pfaff; clerk‐W. S. Blake; justice of the peace‐ George Hamilton and J. S. Davison; constable‐F. M. Cleveland; assessor‐C. A. Foot. The present township officers are as follows: A. T. Winterfield, R. M. Riggs and Herman Umland, trustees; G. G. Brod-
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 557
rick, clerk; A. W. Burley, constable; R. J. Robertson, justice of the peace; William Dietz, assessor. The township has five public schools. The present board of school directors are L.J. Hagerty, Charles Gibson, Ed Fuller, G.G. Brodrick and L.J. Philips, with R. J. Robertson as clerk of the board.
Section 2. Here was David L. Kerr, who sold out soon after proving
up. Charles Wilson was an old man and not very strong but held on as
long as he was able to work and had to sell because he was not able to
conduct a farm. Thomas Thompson remained twelve or fifteen years, but
finally became discontented and sold, moving farther west. Samuel Haney
was a Seventh-Day Adventist preacher and as honest a man as could be found.
He was a
big, strong, hard working man with quite a family to support,
during the hard times he had to borrow a little money at usurious rates
of interest. His
experience was the same as hundreds of others at that time.
He had to have a little
money or himself, wife and little ones would starve.
He was too honest to steal. Moreover, there was no one to steal from. He
could not rob, as all were in the same boat. So he went to the only door
open to him and others, the usurer's office. In a few years the little that he
borrowed was compounded so often and at such a high rate of interest that
eight or ten hundred dollars. Perhaps the usurer did not charge
too much for the chances he took. Loaning money to homesteaders at that
time was a
risky gamble. Haney finally reached another door with hundreds
of others, where the only escape was to plead usury. All the creditors had
to do was to
prove usury to get relief. Mr. Haney did not go to the limit,
but went far enough to force a reasonable settlement. He sold out here
and after a forced compromise went to Minnesota and bought cheaper land.
The turn to better times came and he
got along very well until the time of
his death which occurred
many years ago. Rev. Haney's experience is told
as illustrative of the
way many others had to do to get along during those
Section 4. Edward Everett lived on one of the main roads on the bank of Otter creek about half way between Sibley and Ashton. He had the misfortune to get his foot cut in a mower and his son, then a little lad, had his foot cut in much the same way, so both of them are going through the world with crippled feet. Mr. Everett sold his homestead early and bought cheaper land over near the Ocheyedan mound. When land advanced a little over there he sold again and, moving to Nebraska, located near Lin-
558 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
coln, where he now resides. John Striet still owns his claim and other
land, but has rented and resides in Ashton. Streit held his land until it
became of some value, then sold and moved to Ashton where he died about
twenty-five years ago. F. H. Townsend lived on his claim several years
and then moved to
Sibley and engaged in the agricultural implement business for a few
years. Finally he sold out and moved west. Joseph F.
Fairfax was a transient and sold as soon as he secured title. Jacob Johannes
still owns his claim, but bought and lives on the Abraham Miller eighty adjoining Ashton. Nicholas Boor was a leader among the Germans. He
moved to Ashton at an early date and engaged in the lumber, coal and grain
business and did much to build
up the Ashton market. He died quite
wealthy about twenty years ago.
Section 6. Mathew Spartz, who was one of the settlers on this section, is now a retired farmer and lives in Ashton. Frank Poschack sold after land became valuable and moved to southern Minnesota. Charles Haggerty sold and left in an early day. Michael Langan and Thomas Haggerty sold and left in the early seventies. Byron F. Petingale is still on his original claim. It is doubtful if there was ever a Republican county convention in Osceola county that Petingale did not attend as a delegate, but he never asked for an office for himself.
Section 8. James E. Townsend was always one of our most successful farmers. He served as county treasurer three terms and was an able and painstaking officer. After his third term of service as treasurer he returned to his farm and about three years ago retired to Ashton, where he now resides and is mayor of that thriving little city. One of his sons remains on the farm. Mr. Townsend has one of the best orchards in the county. Francis E. Cook sold early and moved to Bunt, South Dakota, and engaged in the sheep business. He died there several years ago. James W. Carson was a public spirited citizen and was well liked by his neighbors. He died on his claim some thirty years ago. William P. Smith sold in a few years and moved west and is now living in Oregon. He was one of the Quaker settlers.
Section 10. The Des Moines River Valley Railroad Company secured one-half of this section as indemnity land and the other half was entered by Alvin H. Brown and William A. Canfield, both of whom sold and left in 1873.
Section 12. John Neff was quite a prominent man and successful farmer and died on his claim. His widow lives in Ashton. William J. Reeves filed on and entered eighty acres on this section, but later bought
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 559
more land across the road in Goewey township and there built his permanent residence. He was a successful farmer and
bought other land until
he had a fine improved farm of one-half section. As his boys became men
and left home, and as land became valuable, he sold and bought eighty acres
joining the corporate limits of Sibley and one hundred and sixty acres one
mile south of
Sibley. He built a fine home in Sibley joining the eighty
year sold this home and the eighty for sixteen thousand dollars.
He and his wife
spent last winter in California, but returned in the spring
and are now about completing a new home in Sibley. They say California
is fine but Iowa still looks good to them. By industry and thrift they have
acquired a competence. They gave their children all the education they
along lines of their own choosing. Mr. Reeves taught school
many terms and held the office of county superintendent of schools several
terms. Since moving to Sibley he has served with credit on the board of
supervisors several years. Other names appearing on this section are Henry
Freeman, Thomas J. Cox, Edward Cole and Frederick M. Croft, none of
very long, although all were well known at the time. Cox
is reported as dead.
Section 14. Henry Newick was an expert accountant and was township clerk of Gilman many years. He died on his claim about twenty years ago. Thomas Shaw was the first merchant to do business in Osceola county. Before the railroad was built his store stood on the bank of Otter creek, near the southwest corner of the county. Upon the completion of the railroad, he moved his store to Ashton. He was the first merchant of that town, where he remained several years before he sold out and moved away. Other settlers on this section, Andrew Mathews and Albert Rounswell, were well-known transients. William Foster was a prominent man in public affairs, being county supervisor several terms and nearly always holding some township office. He died on his claim when only a little past middle age. Peter Seivert was an industrious German and a permanent citizen.
Section 18. On this section was Martin Rosenburgh, who died in Ashton many years ago. William Schultz now lives in Sheldon, Iowa. Dr. Gurney located on this section, but having been a soldier in the Civil War, he had to live on his claim but a short time until he could prove up. He then moved to Sibley and practiced his profession. He was elected to the office of county superintendent of schools for one term. Later he moved to Sheldon and continued the practice of medicine several years. Later still he moved to Doon, Iowa, and went into the drug business. He died in Doon ten or twelve years ago of apoplexy. John D. Billings and Seth
560 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Wilson were also on section 18, but did not stay long; Eugene B. Hyde
operated with Captain Huff in locating settlers. After the government land
was all taken he sold out and moved to the far west, where he died.
Section 20. On this section was William Dutton, an Englishman and wonderfully enthusiastic about this country, but when the grasshoppers came he soon lost heart and moved to the coast, where he died. He could not stand real hardships. Joseph W. Reagan sold his land too soon to realize much for it and moved to Ashton, where he served as justice of the peace many years. He was a pensioner of the Civil War. Later he moved to Sibley and at a Republican convention held at Ocheyedan he was nominated for the office of county recorder and later elected and held the office three terms. He still lives in Sibley, but is unable to work. Edward Dutton was a brother of William Dutton and had about the same experience. Guilder Everson moved to Clark county, South Dakota. Eugene F. Cox was a transient. Daniel M. Baker sold about 1880, bought near LeMars. later sold again and located on Perry creek about twelve miles northeast of Sioux City, where he still resides.
Section 22 was secured by the Des Moines Valley Railroad Company as indemnity land.
Section 24. Here was Steven B. Brackett, who was not a stayer. Mathew Westcott went off railroading and his whereabouts are unknown. Alonzo L. Stickney was a transient. Lyman H. Hills was a carpenter, and not succeeding as a farmer, he sold his claim, moved to Sheldon and later to Sioux City, where he now resides. Sylvester Close did not become a permanent settler. Frank E. Farnsworth sold early and moved to Oregon, where he died.
Section 26. James A. W. Gibson sold about twenty years ago and now lives with his daughter west of Little Rock, in Lyon county. Iowa. William Jepson committed suicide by cutting his throat while on his claim. Ephriam Miller was a prosperous and successful farmer, but became discontented and sold about twenty years ago and moved to Kansas. While farming in this county he planted a few acres of alfalfa on the Otter bottom which grew and afforded three crops yearly for several years. Finally there was an unusually wet year, when it died. The supposition was that it would not stand excessive moisture. William H. Gibson sold and left early. Aschel Monk sold and moved to Sheldon, where he died.
Section 28 was secured by the Des Moines Valley Railroad Company.
Section 30. Here was Philander Gillett. who sold and left the country soon after proving up. Ashael Gardner was another of the Quaker settle-
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 561
ment who left
early and died in Oregon. William Barnett was one of the
principal men in the Quaker settlement and died of cancer many years ago.
Clement C. Osgood was a successful cattle raiser and had a fine chance in
open country along the Otter creek and was prospering when death
claimed him. His son, Wilber Osgood, still resides on the old claim and
now has a well-improved farm. David Merrill was not a real settler, but
his claim was secured for him.
James M. Merrill died in Sheldon. He
manager and later owner of a big farm on which the Sheldon fair
grounds are situated.
Section 32. The Des Moines Valley Railroad Company secured the north half of this section. The south half was taken by Eldred Hurt, who was a captain in the Union Army during the Civil War. He is generally credited with being the first settler of this county. He always took great interest in public affairs. He served several terms as county recorder and died recently in the far west. Uriah Cook sold early and now lives in the state of Washington. He was another of the Quakers.
Section 34. On this section were Steven Williams, Henry W. Reeves, Henry G. Moore, Charles G. Reeves and Joseph Bunce, none of whom remained in the country very long. Abe Miller was a sterling fellow, but a threshing machine looked better to him than a farm.. He went over the same road that nearly all the threshing machine men went during those early, precarious days.
Section 1. Nels Madison is an
enterprising and thrifty farmer.
Section 2. On this section settled J. F. Jones, or "Fundy" Jones, as he was commonly called. He proved to be a steady and thrifty citizen, who made money slowly but surely. Some years ago he moved to a small town near Spokane, Washington, and a few years since sold his farm for a good price. He died in April, 1914. Here also was Joshua Stevens. He died many years ago, but his widow, who remarried, still lives on and owns the land. Flere O. B. Harding drove a stake and remained many years as one of Goewey's foremost farmers. He always handled stock, and with the exception of a grasshopper years, made money and bought more land. Thus he waxed rich. Finally he retired to Morningside, Iowa, to give his children the advantages of a college education. Lieutenant-Governor Harding, who was born in this county, is one of his children. A few years ago he (36)
562 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
returned to Sibley, enjoying the fruits of his early industry and enterprise,
and is now one of Sibley's must public spirited and enterprising citizens.
Jennings settled on this section, but left early. Eldridge E. Morrison entered eighty acres on this section and later moved to Sibley, where
he died a few
Section 4. Henry A. Francisco, who was one of the settlers on section 4, was a well-known character. He made a living for himself and family through the trying years following the first settlement of the county by breaking prairie for his neighbors, who were able to pay for it, and in swapping horses as a side issue. He was known as the most successful horse trader in the county. Albert Romey gained a livelihood by untiring industry and economy. He was always one of the influential citizens of his township and, until he moved to Sibley, was continuously holding some township office. He still lives in Sibley, conducting a successful grocery business. He is now city assessor. He served several years as postmaster of Sibley. He is a veteran of the Civil War and is still lively and industrious. Andrew Meeser and Samuel Hixon were not well known beyond their own neighborhood and left early.
Section 6. On this section settled John H. and William Dagle, whose special crops have been grain and stock, in the production of which the Dagle brothers have been eminently successful. They came with the first and have demonstrated in a marked degree how men can become wealthy in this county by clinging to the land and farming exclusively. They held no office, received no aid, did not speculate, but devoted their entire time to farming and stock raising. Each raised large families of industrious children and were as hard pressed as their neighbors the first few years. When times improved they began to buy more land, to feed more stock, to buy more land, and now their combined wealth is estimated at near the half million dollar mark and still increasing. They are among the few in this county who still reside on their original claims. They are veterans of the Civil War and enjoying reasonably good health. Herman C. Lyman settled on this section, but not having been in the army, could enter only eighty acres. When the hard times passed he found himself with an increasing family and not enough land, so he sold and bought in Baker township, on the Little Ocheyedan, where land, on account of its long distance from market and some hills on part of it, was very cheap. There he exercised his energies in raising stock very successfully. He has been one of Osceola's most extensive stock raisers and feeders. He usually ships his own stock. A well-improved section farm and a long list of personal property now ap-
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 563
pears as a result of his tireless industry. Last year, wishing to withdraw
from active hard work, he erected a comfortable home on a part of his
land and has retired on his own farm instead of moving to town, as is the
custom. George A. Graves came and went with many of his class without
impression. Peter Sherbondy was always a steady, thrifty fellow, who
try to make much show, but kept steady at it all the time, always
making a little money, and is now well fixed. He still owns his farm but
is now. and has been for several
years, the merchant at Cloverdale and
doing a good safe business.
Section 8. This was the home of Henry C. Allen, who was always active in township and county affairs and held several township offices. He was county supervisor many years. He was a veteran of the Civil War and a prominent Grand Army man. He sold his land and moved to western Nebraska, where his wife died some years ago. Being left alone and having some property near Hot Springs, he arranged with the institution of the Soldiers' Home of that place for a home. He likes the climate, surroundings and water of that place, and is enjoying his declining years in comfort and contentment. While here he was a good neighbor, an honest and painstaking official and public spirited citizen. He visited Sibley and his old friends last summer. Anna Hanslip and James Hanslip located land here merely for what they could get out of it and were never active in affairs in any way. Christian Thompson and Knute Thompson entered land on this section, made some improvements, planted groves and sold while land was very cheap. John Gray was an old soldier, entered a quarter section here and lived on it many years. As the infirmities of old age came creeping on him, he sold his land and moved to Ashton, where he died a few years ago.
Section 10. William Mitchell settled on this section and was as full of pluck as a nut is full of meat. He was poor, but hardy as a knot and blessed with a large family. His only team was a yoke of oxen. The oxen and an old wagon were about his only asset as far as property was concerned; he and his ox-team worked an overland freight route between Cherokee and Roger's store in Sibley. Through fair weather and foul, he went over the road, walking beside his team. He and his oxen might easily have perished had they been caught out in a bad blizzard. Like a fatalist, he kept plodding along and proved that it was not ordained that he should die that way. However, he sold and left the county before land was worth much and thus lost the reward that was in store for him. The last heard from him he was a stone mason in Mankato, Minnesota, and had acquired a comfortable home.
564 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
He deserves all the good luck that is likely to come his way. G. L. VanEaton
came from southwestern Wisconsin and was a
hustling and enterprising
citizen from the start. When the
Chicago, Cedar Rapids & Northern
Railroad came through the county he moved to Little Rock, in Lyon county,
and engaged in the lumber and grain business. He bought more land near
place and, although still living in Little Rock, has retired from business.
recently celebrated his seventieth birthday with a banquet. He is an
old soldier and is enjoying good health. George E. Perry and Clark A.
Perry filed on this section and lived on it many years. They sold and moved
to Sibley when land was worth about one-half its present price. However,
they bought more land and received the benefit of the advance. They were
both in the Civil War.
George E. Perry later moved to Sioux Falls, where
recently. Clark is still living in Sibley and is quite deaf. They
were quite active while they lived in Goewey.
Section 12. Here was A. Waldo, Oscar Barnett, Andrew Meisser and Isaac N. Porter. A. Waldo had a son, Byron Waldo, who attracted some attention. He was a good neighbor and fine fellow. However, he tired of farming early and went to railroading and eventually died of consumption while yet a young man.
Section 13. Jake Brandt, on section 13, has made a successful farmer.
Section 14. Leonard Meisser was one 0f the claimants on this section. John I. Perry was a brother of George E. and Clark A. of section 10. He remained on his claim until the county was pretty well developed and then sold and moved to Sanborn, where he died many years ago. His widow is still living and makes her home with Mrs. Alva Harding, a married daughter, in Clark county, South Dakota. Elias Johnson and George R. Garwin left early. Titus E. Perry was the father of the other Perys mentioned, and being an old man. remained quietly at home and made a good farm of his claim. He died on his claim many years ago. His widow survived him several years.
Section 16. This school section was sold to J. T. Barclay in the early days and he sold it to actual settlers.
Section 18. Andrew Christionson, Frances Allen, August Thompson, John Henderson, Chris Anderson and Samuel Y. Denton were all well known at the time they were here, but none of them took any active part in affairs, and all sold out early and left without making much impression.
Section 19. Charles Bangert bought the east half of section 19 in the year 1885, paying therefor the sum of three thousand eight hundred and forty dollars. He put on a fine set of improvements and could sell now for
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 565
more thousands than he
paid hundreds, and his land is still advancing in
price. After serving on the board of supervisors several terms, he declined
to be a candidate
again. While on the board he was one of its most useful
recently retired and moved to Ashton.
Section 20. Here settled William R. Foster. He came from Canada and was a man of sterling qualities, a hard working, industrious fellow and good neighbor. The afternoon of January 12, 1888, was fair and warm. The teacher, a Miss Reeves, taught the school in that district and boarded at Foster's. In the afternoon Mr. Foster drove over to the school house after the teacher and his children and then thought of an errand to attend to at Charley Hoffman's house, a distance of perhaps eighty rods. So he walked over there without an overcoat. While stopping there to visit a few minutes, they heard the wind, and looking out, discovered a full fledged blizzard raging. Hoffman insisted on his taking an old overcoat to throw over his head to protect his face and neck from the driving snow. Foster took the coat reluctantly, saying he could go that short distance regardless of the storm. He started out bravely, and although there was a row of trees and a plain track, so bewildering, stifling and benumbing is the influence of a blizzard, that although he afterwards remembered seeing his own trees and hearing his own dog bark, he passed his house and became completely confused and lost, all within a few rods of his home. In his wanderings he ran or stumbled against a hay stack and had just enough life and strength left to dig a hole in the leeward side of the stack. He burrowed in as far as he could and remained there in a benumbed condition all night. Foster was a strong man, and by the exercise of his will to the limit, he was able to crawl out in the morning and resume wanderings more dead than alive. He finally ran up against the house of Alexander Gilkerson, on section 28, about two miles from his own home, where he received care and attention. As a result of this blizzard he lost all the fingers on both hands. Notwithstanding this handicap, he continued on the farm, and years later he told the writer that he got along better and made money faster after the loss of his fingers than he did before, assigning as a reason that not being able to work in the field, he had plenty of time to look after all the little things about the place. He died some years ago on the old homestead, and his wife and daughter still live there. Edward Keenan, James Keathman and George Lees also entered claims on this section, but were not stayers. Mathew Attall was also here and stayed longer and was better known.
Section 22. Willard Perry was not strong physically and consequently was not able to make much impression. Deloss M. Quiggle located on this
566 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES. IOWA.
section, and left early. Bennett Heathman, Steven Higgins and Deloss
Cramer sold and left before reaping much benefit.
Section 23. C. M. McDougall, on section 23, is one of Osceola county's most thrifty farmers.
Section 24. David J. Spencer sold early and the last known of him he was janitor of a building in Sioux City. Lymon Garman did not remain long. Wallace A. Spencer remained several years on his claim before he sold and moved to Sibley. Later he moved to Sioux City, where he died a few years ago. His widow, who was a Perry, still lives in Sioux City. Jacob B. Lent was sheriff several terms and county treasurer three terms. He saved a little from his salary as county officer and bought a farm in Roberts county, South Dakota, where he now resides, and is prosperous. James Ford married a daughter of H. C. Allen. He owns and lives on his homestead. By thrift and economy he has won a competence. Lewis Folsom located here and was on the main trail between Cherokee and Sibley. Although he had only a small house and stable, he and his good wife never turned away those who traveled between those places and found it necessary to stop midway, over night, or for a meal. Mrs. Folsom suffered all the inconveniences and privations of those times, yet her kindly and helpful hospitality will always be remembered by those who traveled that trail during that period.
Section 26. Here was found Albert H. Lyman, who was a well-known character in his way. He was such a big talker that he was nicknamed "Windy Jake." He was an enthusiastic defender of the homesteaders in their rights. If any one attempted to contest a homesteader's claim, he had "Windy Jake" to consider, and it would be a pretty brave man that he could not bluff off. He died on his claim many years ago. Adam Batie was a successful cattle man. Benjamin F. Mundorf and William C. Bell did not remain long after proving up.
Section 28. On this section was Alexander Gilkerson, who was a model farmer, a public spirited citizen and splendid neighbor. He stayed on his claim until recent years when, being afflicted with a distressing cancer, he moved to Sibley and died in great distress. His wife moved to Melvin. Here was also Henry Hoffman, a well-known character all over the county. He was a successful farmer and a good neighbor. Wherever he went he was heard from. In recent years he retired and moved to Sanborn. He died on the road, from heart failure, while hauling a load of grain from the farm. On this section were located Byron F. Hoskins, Mary E. Hansonhart and Frank O. Messenger, all of whom left soon after proving up
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 567
Mr. Messenger was an unsuccessful candidate for sheriff several times, and
there were those cruel enough to say that that was the main reason for his
early going. The reason he gave for leaving was that the wind blew too
much to suit him.
Section 30. George W. Carter, George Barker, George W. Barrager and E. D. VanHorn settled here. Barrager is the only one on this section who remained long enough to be called a permanent settler. He improved his farm and erected a good set of buildings, but finally sold and moved to Sheldon, where he died February 7, 1914. He served as county supervisor of Osceola county with credit several terms.
Section 32. Here settled James Hollman, a native of England, locating in Goewey township in 1871. Before settling in this county Mr. Holland had a varied experience in this country. About the year 1860 he walked to Pike's Peak in search of gold. He remained out there about three years, the most of the time prospecting, although he made some investments. He at one time owned eighty acres where the city of Denver now stands. Finding that all was not gold that glittered he returned to Wisconsin in time to enlist in the Twenty-second Wisconsin Regiment and served nearly to the close of the war, when he was discharged on disability arising from a wound received at the battle of Peach Tree Creek. About thirty years ago he sold his farm and bought fourteen lots in Chase addition to Sibley with a residence on two of the lots. During the remaining years of his life he spent many contented hours in his big garden. November 8, 1873, Sylvia Holland was born, said to be the first white child born in Goewey township. James Holland was married to Hulda Atall in 1863. George L. Spaulding also located on this section. He was one of the first survivors, and while he was led to believe the actions of the board were for the best interests of the county, he never received any benefit from the proceedings of those troublesome days. He was considered an honorable and useful citizen in Goewey township and was nearly continuously in some township office, either on the school board or serving as justice of the peace. He died on his claim many years ago. Sidney C. VanHorn and David F. Curtis left the county in an early day.
Section 34. Willhelm Elling died in Sibley Hospital recently. John A. Haas and William C. Coats left the county during its early history. J. C. Inman and Samuel N. Daggett died on their claims some years ago.
Section 36. Henry W. Mumford, Elisha Daggett, William Daggett, Barnard Ellis and Enoch Ellis were all good worthy citizens, but Elisha Daggett and Enoch Ellis were the only ones to remain permanently. The
568 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA
others drifted away in an earlY day. Mr. Daggett and Mr. Ellis, who remained, died on their claims not many years ago. Some of their descendants are in the county yet. Cyrus M. Morris also settled on this section, but could not stand the pressure of the hard times and went back to the state of Maine.
This is indeed a beautiful township of land, not only fair to behold but possessed of a soil of inexhaustible richness. It is drained by the Ocheyedan river and its tributaries and its gently rolling surface makes an ideal agricultural district. The railroad company secured all the odd numbered sections, as elsewhere, but owing to its great distance from any railroad the homesteaders did not find it so early, a fact which gave the speculators time to buy it all up at government prices. This township had no homesteaders and, consequently, was settled later than any other portion of the county. However, most of the settlers that came here had a little money and, coming when the grasshopper scourge was a thing of the past, made good improvements and prospered from the very start. The Mennonites, noted principally for their peculiar religious beliefs, settled in this township in the eighties. They were an industrious, thrifty, and economical people and prospered and grew rich on the fertile soil. Among these colonists, principally from Ontario and Pennsylvania, were Jesse S. Bauman (a minister of that faith), Elias Bauman, Henry Gregory, Jacob S. Bubacher, Elias Gengerich, Davin M. Slaupper, David Weaver, Peter Lehman, Emanuel Bubacher, Sidney Gengerich, and a few others. They believe that the New Testament is the only rule of faith, that there is no original sin, that infants should not be baptized and that Christians ought not to take oaths, hold office or render military service. Menno Simons was the founder of their faith. The main interest of the sect lies not so much in dogma as in discipline. They are not allowed to marry beyond the brotherhood. They abstain from all worldly vanities and refuse all civic duties. They refuse to take an oath or use the sword. When they are used as witnesses in court instead of administering the usual oath the following formula is used with them: "You solemnly affirm that the evidence you shall give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, under the pains and penalties of the law of perjury?" These people are distinguished for simplicity and indifference to the greater world, while at the same time, industry and concentration have made them generally well-to-do. Their religion has varied but little in the course of centuries. The
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 569
following incident illustrates the strictness of their discipline: Jesse S.
Banman, a leader among the Harrison township Mennonites, has a very large
set of farm
buildings and he installed an electric plant and lighted his
buildings with electricity. He also put a telephone into his house. For this
he was called before the church to show cause why he should not be excommunicated. While he had a hard
fight on his hands, it cannot be learned
that he was turned out.
This township has no railroad, but about twenty-five years ago there
was a town
platted on section 8 and called Lexington and a post office was
established by the name of May City. Rufus H. Towrnsend, who was the
first merchant in Harris, moved his stock of
goods to this new town of
Lexington, or May City, as it is commonly called, and conducted a general
store and acted as
postmaster for twenty years. He sold out last year and
moved to northern Wisconsin, having sometime before purchased a dairy
farm there. Mr. Townsend and his wife were in
quite poor health about
they moved to May City, but they regained their health completely
in Wisconsin. They attribute this remarkable and fortunate change to
Among other settlers who came to Harrison township in the eighties
Mayor, Theobold Henning, F. Henry Newkirk, John Settler,
Hermon Eden, William Eden, George A. Sauer, William D. Sauer and
Henry Small. Mr. Small was county supervisor several years.
On section 20 are David Wilson and John Byers, both thrifty farmers. Mr. Byers had a peculiar experience with his buildings. He bought what was called the Jeffries farm, on which was a large double house and a whole village of barns. Lightning first struck and fired one of the barns and from this others caught fire. All the barns and the granary were burned, leaving only the house. About two years later a cyclone dipped down and blew away his house and barns, leaving only a corncrib standing. Mr. Byers was fortunate in having insurance and drew from the insurance companies six thousand dollars in about two years. It is needless to say Mr. Byers favors adequate insurance.
Horton township is much the same as the rest of the county, except that the Ocheyedan river crosses it from north to south near the west border. Along this stream there are a few low hills in places. However, the homesteaders found good selections and occupied them from 1871 to 1873, as follows:
570 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Section 8. Lester C. Washburn, Sylas Cook, W. H. Gibbs, James
Griffith and S. A. Colburn. None of these settlers remained
very long on
their claims. Mr. Griffin moved into
Sibley and engaged in the implement
business, later sold out and moved to Nebraska, where he died many years
ago. S. A. Colburn moved to Sibley and got a precarious living as best
Section 10. A. M. Kimball, T. D. Romans, Edward Bauerand and F. Chkonald were transients, of whom little was ever known.
Section 12. F. McConnel, P. E. Randall, Eliza Tilton, W. R. Bowling and W. H. Yates. The first three of these were transients, but Mr. Bowling remained in the county until the time of his death a few years ago. He was a good neighbor and a public spirited citizen.
Section 14. William H. Bisbee, J. McDonald, C. M. Richards and T. T. Bowling were all transients, except Mr. Richards, who moved to Sibley and established a dray line. He is now dead.
Section 18. Martin Day, Amanda M. Haslip, George Machenson and William Filke. Mrs. Haslip was the widow of a captain in the Civil War. She was the mother of Mrs. J. H. Douglass of Viola township. Later she built a home in Sibley, where the Sibley hospital now stands. She died many years ago. William Filke still lives on his claim and is rich.
Section 20. T. O. Wilbern, Daniel Stevens, H. B. Clemens, Mathias Stevens and Horace J. Dawley. Mr. Wilbern was one of the early merchants of Sibley, where he still lives a retired life looking after his property interests. He served as mayor of Sibley several terms and is now justice of the peace. H. B. Clemens lived on his claim a good many years and finally moved to Sibley and was engaged in the dairy business for several years. Later he moved to the state of Washington, where he still follows the same business.
Section 22. William J. Quinn, W. W. Herron and Joseph H. Kerns. Mr. Herron remained a few years and was a stirring citizen. The others were transients.
Section 24. Luther Phillips and James Dibbin were both transients; Samuel Collett was a well-known character; Seymore Coyer still holds his land, but is living in Ocheyedan, and is wealthy. John Robertson still holds his land, but of late years has been residing in Ocheyedan. He moved to New Mexico in 1913.
Section 26. A. C. Burnham, F. M. Barnes, W. J. Gibson and W. H. Gibson were all transients.
Section 28. Ira Stevens, J. H. Fenton, and J. S. Reynolds. Mr.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 571
Fenton was one of the first
supervisors, but did not receive any of the benefits of the
early grafting. Mr. Reynolds' homestead was in East Holman.
where more will be recorded concerning him.
Section 30. J. C. Willey, William Reid and Adam Kundret. These men moved away directly after proving up.
Section 32. Samuel Brown was an old soldier and lived on his claim several years after proving up and then moved to Sibley, later selling his land. His wife died a few years ago and he is now living with his son, Dr. Fred J. Brown, of Sheldon, Iowa. D. Redington and J. B. Hazlett, both transients, secured the rest of this section.
Section 34. Captain L. G. Ireland, who settled on this section, will be remembered as an enthusiastic man on the subject of tree planting. He preached that it was every man's duty to plant trees and he practiced what he preached. Not only did he plant the trees but he undertook to have in his grove every variety of tree that would grow in this vicinity. The big grove on his claim is a living monument to Ireland's enthusiasm. N. W. Emery was of a more practical mind, and while he planted a large grove, he devoted more time to general farming. Jacob Brooks planted a large grove also. Mr. Ireland died in the south. Mr. Emery died on his farm, and Mr. Brooks died in Sibley.
Section 36. A. V. Randall, who now resides in Ocheyedan, settled on this section near the west shore of Rush lake, T. S. Wallace on the north shore of the same lake, and J. H. Attall on the south shore. Of these early settlers few remain. Many are dead and others drifted away seeking greener pastures where grasshoppers were unknown. Very few held onto their land long enough to gain by the material advance in the price of land. William Filke is the only one in this township to hang on and he still lives on his original claim. He stuck through all the hard times and raised stock and gradually bought more land until now he owns eight hundred acres of good Osceola county soil with plenty of good buildings. He is one of the wealthiest farmers in the county, a good record for a man with only one hand.
The history of this township would not be complete if the influx of immigrants from 1883 to 1885 were not mentioned. They were generally supposed to have come from Indiana. In fact, they came from a neighborhood on the border between Indiana and Illinois. Among these can be mentioned W. H. Noehren, who bought and settled on section 22 and for many years made that his home. He was for some time an efficient member of the board of supervisors. He now resides in Ocheyedan and is recorded
572 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
among the business men of that town. Fred Glade settled on section 23 and
always wielded a
strong influence in township affairs. He reared a large
family and he and many of his children still reside in this county. Dick
Wassmann bought the L. G. Ireland farm, which is one of the best and most
attractive places in the county. Mr. Wassmann added to the already great
variety of trees planted by Captain Ireland until it is claimed there are over
one hundred varieties of forest trees in the beautiful
grove that delights the
eye as one drives
past it. Mr. Wassmann served three terms as county treasurer and at one time wielded a powerful political influence in the east end
county. After retiring from the treasurer's office he was connected
with the bank of Ocheyedan until his death a few years ago. There is hardly
space to mention at length all these strong men to whom Horton township
owes much of her
present prosperity. Among them is found such well
known names as
August Palenski, Chris Bremmer, August Bremmer, Charles
Greip, Edward Hoffman, Conrad Hattendorf, Henry Bremmer, Herman
Bremmer, August Clans and August Consoer. Other names appearing are
Engle, Hromatka, Ling, Osterman, Piscator, Sixta, Weston, Zick and Wickland. These, with others, have changed this township from a sparsely settled, and in places poorly farmed, district to one of the garden spots of northwestern Iowa.
A German church is found in Horton township on section 27 which is more fully mentioned in the chapter on churches. Horton supports six public schools. The present trustees are August Clais, Conrad Bremmer and Adam Engle, with George T. Ling as clerk.
Ocheyedan river, originally a wandering stream, crosses this township
from north to south. The
Ocheyedan valley is quite broad and contains good
land. Some of the bottoms are too wet for cultivation but make fine
and meadow. Some of the best meadows in the
county are in the Oycheyedan valley. A big ditch has been recently made by a dredge, thereby
straightening the stream and making more of the land fit for cultivation.
speculators got only one of the even numbered sections‐section 26‐in
township. The rest of the government land was taken by homesteaders.
Section 2. This was taken by Mark M. Smith, Ashley Smith, T. A. Taylor, A. B. Elmore, C. R. Boyd and D. H. Boyd. Mr. Elmore and wife are both dead. The Boyds are still alive and reside in Ocheyedan and are among our most respected citizens. The Smiths have all moved away.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 573
3. Among those who came later and established homes we find
C. C. Simmons on section
3, who has a fine farm.
Section 4. On this section was Elder Dean, who held the first church services in the eastern part of the county‐first in his own homestead shanty and afterwards on the claims of others in the neighborhood. More may be found about Elder Dean in the Sibley Congregational church items. Here also was E. N. More, who remained in the county until the time of his death a few years ago. Walter Woolridge was well known as he lived on the bank of the creek on the main road between Sibley and Ocheyedan. Jennie Keeler was a school teacher. James Dailey moved to California many years ago. Archibald Dailey was also here a short time. G. Pearson came from Marshalltown, Iowa, bought and settled on the old Dailey claim on section 4. On account of the homesickness of his wife he tried his best to sell out a few years after he came but, as luck would have it, he could not sell at that time. In time the wife became reconciled and he kept the land and became wealthy. He died in April, 1914.
Section 6. Here was George N. Taylor, who lives in Ocheyedan and is past ninety years of age. S. S. Parker later held the office of county recorder several years. He was possessed with the hallucination that he could trace a criminal in his mind and locate him. The term hallucination is used for the reason that he never got any results, but died still firm in his belief. He was an old soldier and did some secret service duty in the army and always had an idea that the rebels were still after him to get revenge for something he did while in the service and that he must always watch out and keep in hiding. He died a natural death a few years ago in South Dakota. He was a good citizen, a splendid neighbor and valuable friend. Other settlers in this section were Fred Kirby, J. C. Moore and David J. Jones. Kirby and Jones both died in this county.
Section 8. William D. Dunning and Rosetta Smith. Later Dunning and Mrs. Smith married and both died many years ago. Franklin Frick moved to California and is now dead. Elihu Dubbs and John Hanon also had claims on this section but were not permanent residents.
Section 10. Here Cline Bull, one of the early successful bankers, filed on and secured a quarter section under the timber-culture act, generally called a tree claim. Mrs. Maria P. Pell, wife of Rev. John Pell, secured a quarter section for the minor heirs, William H. Kimberly and Delia A. Kimberly. Will Kimberly later was clerk of courts several terms, studied for the ministry and is now engaged in missionary work in Nebraska. Delia
574 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
A. Kimberly was for many years a popular school teacher in this county
and died a few
years ago. Her funeral was held from the Allendorf church
and was one of the largest ever held in the county. The Des Moines Valley
Railroad Company secured the south half of this section as indemnity land.
Section 12. John H. Johnson died on his claim several years ago. William M. Combs, a transient, also had a claim here. Alden Carpenter will be remembered as the father of Mrs. A. Romey. of Sibley. He and his wife died at the home of Mr. Romey several years ago. James M. Sutton, who was quite a noted cattle man, is dead.
Section 13. T. B. Fletcher is a man of affairs and a prominent citizen on section 13.
Section 14. On this section located George C. Farr, L. T. Tatum, Carl Boer and Luke Horriban. Horriban was an extensive cattle raiser and at one time had the whole Ocheyedan valley for a herding ground. He died a few years ago in South Dakota. The claim of D. D. McCallum was on this section. He spent his odd moments reading law and was admitted to the bar and practised in Sibley. Later he received the nomination for district judge on the Republican ticket and was elected. He died from cancer of the face and neck. His son, A. W. McCallum, served several terms as clerk of district court and is now doing a prosperous abstract business in Sibley. Mrs. D. D. McCallum lives in Sibley with her son.
Section 18. Edgar Cole was a transient. Joseph Kirby died in Ocheyedan. Thomas P. Bailey moved from this section to Springfield, Missouri, where he recently died. Eugene Hayes did not remain long.
Section 20. Charles A. Stevens was a permanent settler. Edward Lord early moved to Sibley and later to the far west where he died. Mary Ann Naggs was the widow of Fred Naggs, who lost his life in the February blizzard of 1872.
Section 22. Amos Buchman lived in a dug-out on the bank of the Ocheyedan which had belonged to trappers some years before. Mr. Buchman was a tailor by trade, a good tailor but a poor farmer. He clung to his claim long enough to get a patent and eventually moved to Sibley and worked at his trade until near the time of his death. T. L. Hayes, Ludwig Grodt and Helmuth Steffinhagen were other settlers in this section. The two latter moved to Ocheyedan where Steffinhagen died and Mr. Graves is leading a quiet and retired life.
Section 24. Of Peter YWinland, Joseph M. Rice and Charles Grodt not much is known. The Tatums all moved south a short time ago. Joseph
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 575
P. Tower, or "Old man Tower" as he was called, had such an extremely hard experience that mention of it should be made so people living here now surrounded by comfort available in this latitude may know how people clung to the land in that early day. Mr. Tower was a veteran of the Civil War but was not receiving any pension at that time. He had a wife, but was too poor and decrepit and broken in health to support a home. He was also afflicted with fever sores on his legs that kept him from working or getting round very much. Mrs. Tower lived with her own folks in Washburn county, Wisconsin, while Mr. Tower drifted into this county to file on one hundred and sixty acres of land. He did odd chores for the neighbors for something to eat and when the weather would permit slept on his claim in a cave with a few boards over it. He was unable to do any hard work and although all his neighbors had about as much as they could do to get along yet they were inclined to help him secure title to his land. However he was possessed with the idea that they wanted to jump his claim and kept himself miserable worrying about it. The winter before he could prove up he secured a leave of absence from his claim and went to Milford and cared for a drove of swine for his board and in the meantime made enough money to pay the government entry fee. He spent the last summer on and around his claim and in the early fall came to Sibley to make final proof before the clerk of the district court. Old. decrepit, ragged and gray, the clerk took his evidence, but had to have two witnesses. He was so afraid his neighbors would jump his claim that he dared not ask them. The clerk, knowing them all. said he would find the witnesses. When the matter of the land office fee was reached he had to have help to rip his clothing in which he had sewed his money for fear of being robbed. In getting his change, all in small pieces, a few old dry crusts of bread that he had to live on during the trip, came to view. When his clothing was thoroughly searched for money and counted he was one dollar and forty cents short. It would be hard to conceive of a picture of more despondent misery than was depicted on that poor old man's countenance when it was discovered that he had not money enough. However the clerk told him not to worry‐that he would make up the difference. The clerk later took him home and gave him something to eat and supplied him with a package of grub to last him until he reached home. The next day it was very little trouble to find the two witnesses required. In fact, it was discovered that all of his neighbors would have made it hot for any one who would have attempted to contest his claim. The proof was forwarded to the United States land office at Des Moines with draft for the required fee. Thinking the land officers might be interested, the clerk
576 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
wrote them the old man's condition and
story. In due time the final receipt
arrived and with a return of the draft with these words, "Mr. Griffin and
myself decline to receive any money from this claimant. Please return the
draft to Mr. Tower and
long may he wave." The draft and final receipt was
sent to him and he was never seen in the
county again. This proof was
made in October, 1875. The records disclose that on December 16, 1887, a
warranty deed, free from all incumbrance, was filed in the recorder's office
in which the consideration
appears as forty-seven dollars and life support.
Mr. Tower was
probably never very smart, but if the recording angel's records could be scanned his name would no doubt
appear in a prominent place
among the heroes.
Section 25. J. D. Kelley has a nice half section farm on sections 25 and 26.
Section 26. This section was taken by speculators.
Section 28. Wallace A. Chamberlain, John N. Coleman, Isaac Middleton, James Middleton and A. S. Lewis left early. Claus Yess, a hard working German, settled on this section. He bought more land and the land and crops made him wealthy. Mr. Yess now lives in Ocheyedan enjoying the fruits of his hard work and good judgment.
Section 30. Here was William H. Hays, D. W. Chamberlain, and Edgar Frary. Mr. Frary died a few years ago. Huston A. Doolittle served through the Civil War and now lives in Sibley.
Section 32. John Rode died in Melvin a few years ago. W. H. Barkhuff died on his claim several years ago. W. R. Smith is in the country yet. John Brammer is dead. Little is known of Luther L. Webb.
Section 34. Lewis Thomas, Delos Lyons and George Williams did not remain long enough to be termed permanent residents. John Hesbeck still owns his land but has retired and now resides in the town of Ocheyedan. John D. Smith is in the far west.
township was set off from Horton in the seventies and the homesteaders were as follows:
Section 8. Obed Averill, Alonzo Averill, Elmer Mulinex, David Averill. Alonzo Averill later moved to Sibley where he lived many years and then moved to southern California where he died a few years ago. His widow now lives in Los Angeles, California.
Section 10. Here settled William Rubow, who about thirty years ago
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 577
sold his farm and moved to southwestern Iowa where he now resides.
Charles Bennett remained
only a short time. E. S. Bennett remained on his
many years and finally retired from farming and moved to Sibley.
Mr. Bennett is one of
many others who have always been satisfied with
Section 12. On this section was Charles C. J. Ball, whose stay was short. Emaline Scribner and J. F. Scribner were also transients. Peter Shaw later retired to Sibley, and when the Burlington Railroad came into the county, he went to the new town of Melvin and established the first pool hall and lunch counter in that town. A few years ago he returned to Sibley and is now enjoying a retired life of ease.
Section 14. Here was Charles A. Shaw, who remained in the county until the time of his death many years ago. J. F. Ramsen left early. Charles C. Ogan lived on his claim a few years and then moved to Sibley where he remained a few years and then moved on. It is reported that he died last year. John H. Douglass was closely identified with the early history of this county. He was sheriff several terms and won the reputation of guarding the interests of the homesteaders against agents who attempted to enforce collection of machine debts, a fact which made him very popular. He belonged to no political party, but always ran for office as an independent candidate. He called himself a Mugwump. He earned much money as sheriff and in working for the Iowa Land Company. Besides he received a pension, but he spent it all as fast as earned. He was generous to a fault and would give away his last dollar as freely as though he was a millionaire. He looked for every one to do the same by him with the result that he died a few years ago in destitution. It was his philosophy of life to spend his money for himself and family as he went along and who will say he was wrong. That was, his choice.
Section 18. Here again appear Alonzo Averill, Elmer Mulinex, Sidney Beckwith, A. B. Graves and Abigail Beeman. During the grasshopper scourge Sidney Beckwith drove his team over to Pierre, South Dakota, and hauled freight to the Black Hills until the distress here was over. He then returned to his claim and settled down to general fanning and stock raising. As his stock increased he bought more land and waxed rich. Recently he retired from the farm and moved to southern California where he is enjoying life to the fullest, still holding his land
Section 20. Here settled Edw(in T.added in pencil. also noted corrected by his own daughter) Smith, I. H. Smith, Samuel B. Smith. John Tann, a brother-in-law of the Smiths, and Cornelius Collison. I. H. (37)
578 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Smith is dead, Samuel B. Smith, at last report, was living in Minnesota.
Edward (win)Smith lived on his land until about twenty years ago when he moved
to Little Rock and engaged in the hardware business and prospered. He
bought more land and still holds it, but is now leading a retired life in Little Rock.
Section 22. Here settled M. D. Hadsell, John Joseph, J. H. Hart and John P. Hawxhurst. Of this number only Mr. Hawxhurst remained to make a permanent citizen and he early took up his residence in Sibley. He married Miss Thomas, a sister of Will Thomas. He was editor of the Sibley Gazette for many years and later clerk of the district court several terms. He was prominent in the Masonic order and died in Sibley a few years ago. He was a good and useful citizen. Fred Attig and L. H. Morse each own a half section on 22 and were quite early settlers and first-class farmers and good money makers. They still live on their farms, both drive automobiles and appear prosperous and happy.
Section 24. Here was Lyman Clark, George W. Ketcham, Merritt R. Winchester, Jeremiah Burgh and N. Irwin Wetmore, all of whom remained long enough to be well known, but sold and left the country before realizing much benefit from the material prosperity of the country. Mr. Ketcham will be particularly remembered for his peculiarities and eccentricities.
Section 26. E. Headley did not become a permanent citizen. J. S. Patterson remained on his original claim until the time of his death a few years ago except two or three years in Sibley just before his death. He was an old soldier and a highly respected citizen. His widow survives him. Jackson Blair was a stirring and influential citizen who sold about twenty years ago and moved to Nebraska. He visited in Sibley during the summer of 1913 and is looking well and prosperous. Willis H. Gates lived on his claim until he was elected to the office of county recorder and then moved to Sibley and made a popular and efficient officer several terms. He died in Sibley a few years ago highly respected. His widow survives him and lives in Sibley.
Section 28. George Carew settled on this section, but early moved to Sibley and bought the Sibley Gazette and managed it many years. John P. Hawxhurst was his editor. Mr. Carew died in Sibley many years ago. David B. Wood also settled here. About thirty years ago he sold and moved to Springfield, Missouri, where he died recently. R. J. Willy was a transient. Hugh Jordon was an attorney in the early history of Sibley and, being an old soldier, filed on a quarter section for what there was in it, a customary
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 579
procedure during those early times. Mr. Jordan remained in Sibley and
practiced law until the time of his death many years ago. His widow survives in
Sibley. Henry Hall came so early he should be mentioned with the
early settlers. He was street commissioner in Sibley for many years.
Section 29. J. P. Walbran settled on section 29 and engaged exclusively in general farming and has prospered.
Section 30. This section was settled by Henry Gresham, A. G. Vanblerscum, Charles Nulton and Theodore J. Stage. Mr. Stage proved to be the only stayer on this section. The rest were well known but could not stand the pressure of the hard times and sold for a trifle and left. Mr. Stage is now leading a retired life in Sibley and is a useful and respected citizen. Frank Chase should also be recorded among the early settlers of this section. He commenced working for Mr. Walbran when a mere boy and he proved to be a faithful farm hand. He married the daughter of Mr. Walbran and set out farming for himself on section 30 and now is one of the prosperous farmers and land owners of Viola township.
Section 32. George S. Downend was a prominent man in public affairs and an able county supervisor several terms. Some twenty-five years ago he sold and moved to southwestern Iowa and later to Missouri where he still resides. George W. Turk died early and his family are scattered. One of his sons lives in Little Rock. Abram Shapley filed as an old soldier on the southwest quarter of this section and early bought the northwest quarter. The last year of the grasshopper scourge he had nearly all of this half section in flax. About the time it was all up and looking fine the hoppers hatched out on the whole half section so thick that the ground was literally alive with them. Of course that looked extremely discouraging and Mr. Shapley spent considerable time and money trying to sell at ten dollars an acre. He had a fine grove started and good buildings and although his offer was very cheap yet he could not find a buyer. Fortunately as soon as the hoppers gained a little strength they hopped off without doing the crop very much damage and Mr. Shapley harvested his flax and realized the ten dollars per acre for all his land. He kept the land until it brought a good price, when he sold it and retired to Sibley, where he died a few years ago.
P. L. Piesly was a hard worker and for many years was the principal stock buyer and shipper in this vicinity. He died on his home farm some years ago. His widow now lives in Sibley and his son manages the farm.
Section 33. Peter Rhemes is on section 33.
Section 34. J. F. Bough and M. M. Horton did not stay long. William
580 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
E. Ripley was an old soldier and received a liberal pension on account of
his defective vision, incurred as a result of the service, and shortly after proving up moved to Sibley where he died many years ago. His widow still resides in Sibley. John F. Stamm held the office of sheriff three terms and
made a faithful officer. He also was an old soldier and died in
Sibley a few
years ago. His widow survives him and resides in Sibley. James F. VanEmburg left early.
Section 36. Charles C. Torry was a carpenter and early moved to Sibley and worked at his trade a few years and left the country. Joseph Ferrin lived and worked his claim a good many years, but about thirty years ago sold out and moved to Wisconsin where he died two or three years ago. He was a single man and farmed at a disadvantage. David Watt was a transient and little known. Levi Shell, being a veteran of the Civil War, filed on a quarter of this section and still owns the same. It is now a well improved farm worked and managed by Mr. Lehman, a son-in-law of Mr. Shell. Mr. Shell was one of the first lumber merchants of Sibley and still resides in Sibley and is the senior member of the Shell Lumber Company, which is doing an extensive business in building material and cement.
Among the more recent arrivals of prosperous farmers are H. C. Conradi, J. G. Groenewald, Thomas Giken, S. Gardas, E.A D. Nachtigal, H. J. Onken, Henry, John J. and Peter J. Onken, C. H. Slocum, and C. C. and William Truckenmiller. William Truckenmiller is building in Sibley this year preparatory to living in town. There are many other thrifty farmers in this township but space will not permit mention of them all. Viola township is one of the garden spots of the county. The land is good and it is thoroughly handled.
This township supports six public schools and there is a German church on section 22. The present township officers are Herman Groth, John Onken and E.A.D. Nachtingal. trustees; Lamber Duis, clerk; M. F. Olson, constable and Jake Redinius, assessor.
Section 1. Among those who came later after the hard times were
about at an end we find, on section 1, Andrew Rahfeldt, who has succeeded
with cattle and
hogs principally, although he sells some grain each year. He
raises Shorthorn cattle and Poland China
hogs. He is a good farmer and
successful business man and is
Section 2. Here was Girard Post and David Bushel, both transients.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 581
James K. Shaw entered a quarter section on this section. Mr. Shaw did a
prosperous land business in Sibley several years. Finally he and his Family
moved to Salt Lake
City, Utah, where he now resides and is quite prosperous.
Agar now owns and lives on the Shaw farm and is one of our most
enterprising farmers. Moses V. Beede entered the southwest
quarter of this section and lived on his claim many years. He lived in Sibley
years, and from there moved to Ellsworth. Iowa, where he died
poor. He was most prosperous while living on the farm, but was discontented. He labored under the delusion that he was cut out for a business
career. A. H. Baade owns and
occupies the northeast quarter of this section and has a fine home. He came from Parkersburg, Iowa. He and his
son Fred are
prosperous and happy. Leroy Phillips located on this section,
only a short time. A. H. Baade came from Parkersburg,
Iowa. where he had been
working a large dairy farm, and bought his present
twenty-six dollars per acre and built a good house and barn. Now
his land is worth one hundred and
fifty dollars an acre, but is not for sale.
His son, bred, works with him and they are successful and contented. Bert
Agar, after being here a few years, thought he could find some place that
would suit him better, so he sold and looked around one season, but finding no
place that looked as good to him he bought back at an advance, it is said,
of two thousand dollars and has ever since been contented. He has
a fine set of buildings and bought another eighty, so his home farm now
consists of two hundred and
forty acres. He is a successful corn raiser and
cattle and hog feeder.
Section 4. Robert Stamm settled here and stuck to his claim until the time of his death, a few years ago. He was always active in all farmers' meetings. B. A. Stamm later moved to Sibley, where he died recently. Orrin W. Towner and Bela Churchill were transients. W. H. Morrison, who started the first nursery in this county, located on this section. The grasshoppers were so hard on his young trees that he became discouraged and gradually worked out of the nursery business and moved to Sibley, where he conducted a jewelry store. He was for many years treasurer of the township. Later he moved to Kettle Falls. Washington, where he died. His widow still resides in Kettle Falls.
Section 5. W. L. Taylor came from Wisconsin with his brother. John Taylor. John became discontented, sold and moved to South Dakota, but W. L. remained and has succeeded to a marked degree. He is not only a thorough farmer but a good stock raiser. He believes in mixed farming and keeps cattle, hogs and sheep successfully. He worked hard and steadily
582 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
and now has a fine farm.
J. Moet is also on this section and is an excellent
always has something for the market at the proper time.
Section 6. On this section settled J. C. Irwin, Milton Irwin and Garrett Irwin, the latter being the only one of these Irwins left in the county. Here was Archel Tyler, long since dead. Charles A. Sawyer, who was Sibley's first grain buyer and coal dealer, soon moved to California and was lost sight of. James Baily was doing well here, but thought he could better his condition and prospects by selling and buying east of the Ocheyedan, where land was cheaper and settlers not so thick and where he would have a better chance to raise cattle. He undertook to move in the early spring and was drowned while crossing the Ocheyedan river during a time of high water. The proverb about a contented mind might apply in this case.
Section 7. Dick Meyers, who bought on this section, made money and got ahead a little each year. A few years ago he went to Germany on a visit and died suddenly on his return trip and was buried at sea. His widow is conducting the farm and doing well.
Section 8. This section was entered by Preston Bushel, Albion C. Sparine, Newton Richards and Charles H. Call. These men left no footprints. O. J. Ackerman is a thrifty farmer and doing well. J. Frey owns land on sections 9 and 17, and is a prosperous farmer. He is one of the influential farmers of West Holman. He has a large family and is prosperous. He is always a good friend to have in time of need.
Section 9. C. M. and G. W. Flower are prosperous farmers on this section. They do not strive for leadership, but are at their job every day in the year and are making money. R. Fruhling bought the old Captain Riley place and handled it successfully until land was pretty well up in price, when he sold and moved to Sibley, where he engaged in the stock business. He is now with Frank Kennedy, and they are the principal stock buyers and shippers in Sibley, doing a safe and profitable business.
Section 10. Here was Elbridge Morrison, who died in Sibley recently. Jacob C. Miller did not remain long. John Beaumont was an Englishman and quite active in getting out among his neighbors. He was the first secretary of the school board of Holman township and a loyal supporter of the gang of get-rich-quick fellows. This gang rewarded its supporters. While Beaumont was secretary of the school board a new school house was to be built in the Beaumont district and it was proposed to give him the old school house, which would make a very good addition to his homestead shack. A resolution was passed granting Beaumont an advance of twenty five dollars in salary, and at the same meeting another resolution was passed
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 583
and recorded to
accept the Beaumont offer of twenty-five dollars for the
building. That building is still a part of the house on the Beaumont farm. Here was the claim of
Captain D. L. Riley, who was for many
years a lumber merchant in Sibley and one of the board of supervisors.
county owes much to Captain Riley for being redeemed from the
gang and the business of the county placed on an honest and economical
basis. William E. Rose left no mark.
Section 11. A. W. Garberson came from Wall Lake, Iowa, and
bought section 11 and has made extensive improvements on it. He secured
it at a bargain and now it is very valuable. He rents the farm and has a fine
Sibley, where he lives.
Section 12. William A. Laughrey was hardly known. Here was Edward Shufelt, who got big prices for painting school houses and other public buildings for the gang. He died in Canton, South Dakota, recently. Leonard Chamberlain held his claim as long as he could as a homestead and then surrendered his certificate and re-entered it as a tree claim under the timber culture act. He thus kept it off the tax list about fifteen years. The principal mark he left is the fine grove on the "Ash Hill" or Person farm, one half mile north of Sibley. Mr. Chamberlain died in California. John D. Blake, Warren B. Lathrop and Frank Stiles were other settlers. The Stiles eighty was bought by Captain R. J. Chase, platted into lots and blocks and called Chase's addition to Sibley. These lots were all sold and now constitute quite a portion of the town. Stiles was one of the gang. He was the first sheriff and his wife the first county superintendent of schools. Both were found dead in a hotel in North Dakota a few months ago. They were asphyxiated. The southwest quarter of section 12 was always considered as the claim of J. H. Winspear, who was the head and furnished the brains of the grafter gang. In fact, he was the only one of the gang who left the county with any money. Winspear built the house on this quarter. This house was later sold to Ted Baker, a mason, who moved it to its present location and it is now a part of the Rustin residence. The quarter was entered by John D. Blake and Warren B. Lathrop, who transferred it to Shuck and Deland. Shuck was one of the early lumber merchants of Sibley and got into all kinds of financial difficulties. The consideration was one hundred and twenty-seven dollars for each eighty. It is now worth about twice that amount per acre. Lance Polley now owns and resides on the east eighty. John D. Blake and Warren B. Lathrop were either dummies or straw men. People who were here all through those early days knew of no such men. The Winspear residence and the Stiles residence were just
584 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
across the railroad track fom one another. Lance
Polly now occupies one
location and W.J. Miller the other. David Littlechild boarded with
Stiles and worked more or less for Winspear, planting trees and otherwise
improving the place. Winspear always called it his claim. It is looked upon
as one of the "ways that are dark and tricks that are vain" and hard to understand. Another remarkable circumstance about it is that it should be
sold so cheap. But Winspear was at the end of his rope in this county and
thought best to get away quickly. While Winspear furnished the brains.
"Old Stiles," as he was called, supplied the gall in abundant quantities. May
their souls rest in
Section 13. E. N. Person bought the old Chamberlain claim, the northwest quarter of this section, and engaged in the dairy business until he worked off the indebtedness on his farm. He then quit his dairy business, but continued to keep cows and hogs until he accumulated enough to buy a comfortable home in Sibley. His son having married, he retired last year and left the management of the farm to the young man.
Section 14. Henry L. Baker was a brother-in-law of Captain R. J. Chase. Baker was Sibley's first milkman, but sold to H. L. Emmert before land became very valuable. Thomas Parland, a cranky old Englishman, also sold early to Mr. Emmert. W. W. Crum was a brother-in-law of Parland and many years a prominent citizen here. Mr. Cram is now living in Sioux City. His son, Frank Cram, lives in Sibley and for many years has been the county bridge builder. Myron Churchill also had a claim here and in a few years sold to Mr. Emmert and moved to Sibley, engaging in the grocery business. Later he moved to Kettle Falls, Washington, where he now resides. H. L. Emmert secured possession of all this section and converted it into a model stock farm. He sold it recently at a good price. H. L. Emmert, Sibley's first banker, bought, piece by piece, all of section 14. The people who entered section 14 owed him and he reluctantly bought their farms to save himself from prospective loss. He made a model farm of it and recently sold it at about one hundred and thirty-five dollars per acre. He did not buy it as a money making proposition, but to save himself.
Section 15. George DeVries, Henry Reinsma and W.J. Johnson are all prosperous farmers on this section and all have fine improvements. Ed. Rahfeldt came some ten or twelve years ago and built a large feed barn in Sibley, where farmers can drive in and have a warm, dry place for their teams while in town, for ten cents. The barn was a success, but as Mr. Rahfeldt had a growing family, he traded his barn for a quarter section on
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 585
16, owned by Daniel Fox, who was getting too old to conduct farming operations. Mr. Rahfeldt is now a prosperous farmer.
Section 16. J. C. Fox bought two hundred and forty acres on section 16 about twenty years ago at twenty-two dollars an acre. He and his children have worked the farm successfully and his land is now worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars an acre. James A. Park also bought two hundred and forty acres about the same time and at the same price. He fenced and put up a full set of farm buildings. He has recently rented the farm and bought and moved to a nicely improved five-acre tract near Sibley. He would not sell his farm for one hundred and twenty-five dollars an acre.
Section 18. Here was Miles A. Hamlin, who was a soldier in the Civil War, and drew a small pension. He built a house on his claim and put the land in cultivation, then borrowed two thousand dollars on the farm and retired to Sibley. Being a single man he boarded at the hotel. When his loan became due he increased the mortgage and used the cash he received to eke out his pension for a living. The third and last loan was for four thousand dollars. When that cash was all gone he sold the farm and lived for a time in the Old Soldiers' Home, at Hot Springs, South Dakota, and later moved to California, where he is now living. That was his way of making his claim support him. When he dies there will be no estate to settle. Thomas S. Brennon and John Brennon were never actual settlers here, but lived in Sioux City, where John Brennon edited a Roman Catholic paper. He will also be remembered as an eloquent and patriotic speaker. David Whitney still resides on his original claim. He bought more land and is now quite wealthy.
Section 19. A. Klaasson bought a quarter of section 19 and made money. In 1913 he bought a good home in Sibley and retired.
Section 20. P. Herron has a half section farm on section 20 and has been getting rich. He owns another good farm in Minnesota. John Coughlin settled on this section. He was always quite poor while he lived here, but reared a large family and finally got enough together to make a first mayment (sic) on a larger farm in Clark county. South Dakota, at just the right time and has since prospered. He is now in comfortable circumstances. Edward Lindsey was always very poor. He was one of the homesteaders who had to have help. One winter he and his family camped in the court room of the court house at the county's expense. He died long ago. F. M. Palmer left early. C. M. Bailey soon moved into Sibley and was the village blacksmith many years. Later he secured an appointment under the state auditor, who was
586 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
one of his old
army comrades, and moved to Des Moines, where he died
Section 22. George F. Nixon died in Sibley last year, aged ninety three years. Edward Carnes was section boss on the railroad and, being a good, intelligent and temperate man, was raised to roadmaster. He died in Worthington, Minnesota, several years ago. A.W. Mitchell was Sibley's first furniture dealer and undertaker. He sold his business to the Walton Brothers and was one of the rural mail carriers several years. He died recently and his widow and two of his daughters still live in Sibley. Thomas Heck left no tracks. Patrick Larkin was a railroad section boss. William Gache bought one hundred and sixty acres on section 22 about eight years ago, soon paid for it, then bought another eighty acres on the same section, soon paid for that, last year purchased still another eighty just across the road from his first quarter at one hundred and thirty-five dollars per acre and is now paying for that. His experience shows what a good farmer who has a good working family can do with land in this country.
Section 23. C. L. Strickler came here about twenty-five years ago and purchased the north half of section 23. He fenced, planted a grove and put on a set of farm buildings and, being a successful general farmer, made money. He since bought eighty acres on section 22, so now has four hundred acres of fine improved land. His buildings are one mile from Sibley. He has refused one hundred and fifty dollars an acre for his farm and thinks it is worth one hundred and seventy-five dollars an acre. Being out of debt and having money out at interest he has recently rented his land and retired to Sibley. He is still an active man and is president of the Farmers Elevator Company and takes much interest in its management. John Karpen, a mason by trade, made enough money to make a first payment, and bought the south half of section 23 about twenty-five years ago. Some years ago his wife died, but having a daughter old enough to keep house, he and his boys continued on the farm. Last year he sold eighty acres to William Gache for one hundred and thirty-five dollars an acre. This amounted to more than the three hundred and twenty acres originally cost him. He has two hundred and forty acres with the improvements and stock and is out of debt.
Section 24. Here was A. M. Culver, the first treasurer of this county. He died in the Soldiers' Home a few years ago. Andrew Culver, a son of A. M. Culver, lives in Sibley and is a carpenter and builder, and while not wealthy, is in comfortable circumstances. George W. Bean, a son-in-law of A. M. Culver, died in Sibley about ten years ago. Rodney O. Manson,
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 587
who, about twelve
years ago, staked his fortunes on eight hundred acres of
land in Bottineau
county, North Dakota, land, won out and is now quite
wealthy, living at his ease in southern California. He still owns his original
Section 26. Here was Marlin H. Hughes, a former saloon keeper, who entered this land as a gambling proposition in the hope of selling at a good profit. Lorenzo S. McCremly was a transient. Justice R. Rice left at an early date. Frederick L. Ward professed to be a doctor.
Section 28. John L. Robinson, who located on this section, built the first house in Sibley. He died in Sibley at the advanced age of ninety-eight years. Frank M. Robinson, the first auditor of Osceola county, was a son of John L. Robinson, but could not be controlled by the grafters. He was a capable and honest official. L. J. Robinson and Julia A. Palmer completed the occupancy of this section. F. Hinders is a successful farmer of this section.
Section 29. A. Hessebrook settled on section 29 and is a good farmer as well as a successful beeman. He had about seventy swarms in 1910, when all the bees in the county died and his went with the rest. 1910 was such a poor honey season the bees did not have supplies enough to carry them through. J. Gronewall is another good German farmer on section 29.
Section 30. Thomas Jackson, who settled here later, sold his claim and bought cheaper land in the eastern and more sparsely settled part of the county. Later he sold again and moved to southwestern Missouri, where he died recently. Smith Aldrich and Carrie A. Bailey, of whom very little was known, entered claims on this section. Jacob Sperts located here permanently. He was one of the German settlers, most of whom located in Gilman township. C. B. Kent also located here, but left early.
Section 31. Tom Larson came here poor and by hard work, good judgment and economy is now well off and still not an old man. He made it all by farming during the last twenty years.
Section 32. David Littlechild filed on an eighty on this section, built a shanty and broke forty acres. He put in two crops which promised well until the grasshoppers came and harvested both crops. Being discouraged he relinquished his claim to John Melcher for a consideration of two hundred dollars and a yoke of oxen valued at one hundred dollars. Mr. Melcher spent many happy and prosperous years on this land and finally retired to Ashton, where he died last year, at an advanced age, loved and respected by all who knew him. The other homesteaders on this section were Urich B.
588 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
Keniston, Samuel S. Smith and Samuel S. Thompson. These last three settlers made little
Section 34. Here was George Mathewson, who left early. Nels Thompson later conducted a farm implement business in Sibley and finally moved to South Dakota. Thomas Thompson remained through the hard times, but finally sold and moved on west before getting the benefit of the later advance in the price of land. David Johns, or "Shorty" Jones, as he was commonly called, died in Ashton a few years ago. R. Zensen was one of the settlers here whose building spot was on the bank of the Otter creek. He was a permanent settler and a good and valuable citizen. Ole Thompson located here, but did not remain long.
Section 36. Jessie W. Kern filed here, but soon moved away. C. N. Sawyer was the first grain buyer in Sibley. The last known of him he was in California. David Chambers died in Sibley a few years ago. Abe Miller did not remain long. On this section there were two such peculiar men that they should receive a little more than passing notice, William R. Belcher and J. B. Jenney. Belcher was a big, tall man and a trapper by profession. Nothing was wasted with him. He saved the pelts for sale and ate the flesh. When the settlers began to thicken around him he sold out and moved on west. He had several cows and used them as other people used oxen. He broke prairie with a cow team and drove them to town‐in fact, he used them for general team work. When he sold out he hitched a yoke of cows to his covered wagon, started for the Black Hills and was drowned while trying to cross the Jim river in South Dakota. J. B. Jenney bought Belcher's farm. Mr. Jenney first located on section 32 in East Holman on eighty acres, but relinquished it to Edson Harvey, a brother of Mahlon Harvey. Edson Harvey relinquished to Mr. Phillips, who entered it as a tree claim, and the trees he planted to comply with the timber culture act now constitute the fine big grove of heavy timber on the Janes farm. The growing timber in that grove will supply the farm with fuel and posts for all time. Mr. Jenney, who bought the Belcher claim, was a well educated, Christian gentleman. He came from a dairy county in the state of New York and farmed here the same as he had learned in his old home and for a time prospered fairly well, but misfortune seemed to be on his trail. He had four children, all girls. His first misfortune was the death of one of his children by diphtheria. Then his wife, who was a hard working woman, had to go to the insane asylum, where she soon committed suicide. He then tried to continue
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 589
on the farm with a housekeeper, but finding that unsatisfactory, he sold the farm and moved to Hull, Sioux county, to give his girls the advantages of an education in Hull Academy. One of the girls proved to be bright in her studies and graduated with honors. The other preferred to stay at home and keep house. About this time Mr. Jenney became obsessed with the idea that he ought to be a land agent and chose Sioux Falls as a favorable point of operation. They were in Sioux Falls only a short time when the obsession of the land business evaporated. He then engaged in potato and truck raising, from which he made a precarious living for a time. During this latter experience the family made the acquaintance of a wealthy widow who had a large house and extensive grounds, and arrangement was made for the family to move in, Mr. Jenney to care for the grounds. In the meantime the educated daughter, Lilly, married a young man, who was a carpenter by trade but of not a very robust constitution. Eventually this wealthy widow, who had another home in Florida, concluded to move to the latter place and make that her permanent home. She induced the young married couple to go with her for company with the hope that it might prove beneficial to both the young people in the way of improved health. Soon after this a longing took possession of Mr. Jenney to go back to New York and visit old scenes and his brother, and, perhaps, make that his permanent home. On their way to New York he and Belle, the other daughter, visited old friends in Sibley. At that time it was plain that the peculiarities of Mr. Jenney had increased. A few weeks in New York demonstrated there was no opening for them there and as they had a little money left, they moved to Florida, where the other young people were. The son-in-law commenced a small house for them, but before it was completed he died. From a letter received from one of the girls to a Sibley friend recently it was learned that Lilly is postmistress and a notary public in the little town where they are located and Belle took care of the father, who passed away March 10, 1914, at LaBelle, Florida. There was tragedy in the lives of both men, who were early settlers on the northwest quarter of 36.
This township was settled at the same time as the rest of the western
half of the county by the same thrifty class of people. Several remained but
a short time, but many of them remained and became prominent in company
Section 8 was taken by Joseph F. Fairfax, James C. Warrington, R. S.
590 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
John Colvin. All were transients except Mr. Eakin, who later
moved to section 28, where he now owns a four-hundred-acre farm, making
him one of the wealthy men of the county. He now lives in Sibley and his
son lives on the farm.
Section 10 was settled by H. C. Morey, who later moved to Sibley and engaged in the carpenter business and is now a rural mail carrier. Alfred A. Allen and and Charles L. V. Berg were transients. William P. Rhodes soon moved into Sibley and was for many years an efficient street commissioner. He finally moved to the state of Washington, where he died several years ago.
Section 12 was taken by Sylvester Johnson and L. J. Dawley, neither of whom remained very long. Dawley stayed a few years.
Section 14. Here we find William P. Rhodes again. He had a homestead and a tree claim. He put in a few years of his time in cultivating the trees on his tree claim after he moved to Sibley. Reuben Clark remained several years and finally returned to Illinois. William Yahn remained on his claim through the grasshopper times and several years later. Finally he moved to Bigelow, Minnesota, and operated a threshing machine several years. He died many years ago. Emanuel Nix was a transient.
Section 18 was taken by E. A. Frazier, William R. Rood, J. K. Shaw, C. H. Smith and William Boyer. Mr. Shaw now lives in Bigelow, Minnesota. Frazier and Rood were "flitters" Smith and Boyer are both reported dead.
Section 20. Aldon B. Willy; DeForrest D. Bennett, who now lives in southern California; H. R. Fenton and Benjamin F. Tabler both died quite a number of years ago.
Section 22. William N. Bon, Will Thomas, J. G. Miller, Elizabeth Thomas and John H. A. Thomas. The Thomases and Millers later moved to Sibley. Will Thomas was clerk of the district court several terms. He was one of the prime movers in the organization of the Osceola County Farmers Mutual Fire and Lightning Association, which has been in successful operation many years. Mr. Thomas has been the secretary of this association since its organization, and much of its marked success is due to his able and careful management. John Thomas learned the drug business with his brother-in-law, W. R. Lawrence, a druggist of Sibley, and later moved to Nebraska, where he still lives.
Section 24. Daniel J. Gates, Samuel J. Bowor, Isaac Sprecher and Samuel Schultz. These were all good and well-known men but did not remain long enough to reap the benefit they ought to have received by reason of their struggles through the worst of the hard times.
O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA. 591
Section 26. William N. Bull soon moved to
Sibley and later back east
to his old home, where he died a few
years ago. William P. Hawhurst spent
most of his time in
Sibley, where he was editor of the Gazette many years
and later clerk of courts several terms. He was a careful and
man. He died a few
years ago. William N. Lee is now living in Sibley.
John Klampe died many years ago. Elizabeth Davies is still alive.
Section 28. William J. Delworth, Randall Kinnie, Charles W. Fenton and William F. Herbert. Mr. Herbert, at last report, lived in the state of Washington. Robert S. Eakin is now a business man in Sibley.
Section 30. Ishmael Gardner's place of abode is unknown. Charles W. Wyllys was for many years on the board of supervisors and was an able and painstaking officer. Some years ago he moved to the state of Washington, where he died of heart failure in 1905. His daughter visited in Sibley during the fall of 1913. William H. Cooper moved to Sibley and died many years ago. The history of Sophia Oleson and Gust Swanson is unknown. Daniel S. Shell, who was the first liveryman of Sibley, according to last reports, is living in Portland, Oregon.
Section 32. George F. Towner, Oscar Dunton, Thomas J. Cutshall, Sanborn J. Crum, Carlos P. Reynolds and Aaron H. Clark. Soon after the grafting of the first board of supervisors Mr. Dunton was elected to the board and served several terms with ability and honor. He did much to reduce the practice of the board to a useful and economical basis. Mr. Reynolds also served on the board with credit and honor. He is now living in comfort on an eighty-acre farm joining Sibley, for which he has refused two hundred and fifty dollars an acre. He is at present one of the Holman township trustees.
Section 34. Dewitt C. Blacker, John Field, Jacob Schuck, John Cronk and Allen Cloud. So far as known all these first settlers of this section are dead.
Section 36. Charles A. Kirkpatrick, Samuel J. Lyons, Henrich Moeller and August Jarr are all supposed to be dead. Among the later farmers who came into this township is Joseph Raine, who bought the two-hundred-and-forty-acre farm of C. P. Reynolds. He first came into this county and rented a farm in Viola township and, after saving a little money, bought the Reynolds farm, largely on time, paying thirty-three dollars and thirty-three and one-third cents per acre. It was quite generally believed he would lose his meagre savings in a few years. But he kept up his interest and gradually paid off the principal until he was en-
592 O'BRIEN AND OSCEOLA COUNTIES, IOWA.
tirely out of debt. Now he owns a fine farm and is one of the independent
farmers of Osceola
county. His is a fair example of the possibilities of
farming in this county. Industry, economy and thrift have been the secret
of his success.
bought and settled in this township about 1894 and
proved to be an excellent farmer. He entered into general farming extensively and was making money when he was accidentally killed on the
railroad crossing where the railroad crosses the Iowa and Minnesota state
line. He was
driving his automobile and it is a mystery to his family and
friends how a
bright, alert man as he was could get trapped as he did. This
crossing is in a level, open country where both highway and railroad are
visible for a long distance. His widow and family remain on the farm and
manage it. Mr. Hach served on the board of supervisors several years and
was nominated on the Democratic ticket for state
representative, and although he ran ahead of his ticket, he was defeated at the polls by a small
Dirk G. Gronewald bought on section 18 in 1891 and is one of Wilson's progressive farmers and is making good. George Attig bought on section 30 in 1902 and has one of the finest improved farms in the county, with extensive modern buildings. B. C. Hark bought on section 19 in 1895 and prospered so well that a few years ago he retired with a competence and is now living in Sibley and taking life easy in his comfortable home.
H. Horstmann came in 1895 and settled on section 27 and has a fine half section of land. When he took this farm in hand it had been poorly farmed for several years and was in poor condition. However, Mr. Horstmann and his family took hold in earnest and in a few years demonstrated what good cultivation will accomplish on Osceola county land. Of late years he and his family have made their home in Sibley.
Nearly all the first settlers of Wilson township were Americans and many of them were veterans of the Civil War. Owing to the wise management of its leading men, Thomas, Reynolds, Dunton, Eakin and others. Wilson township finances have always been in good shape, and in the early day its taxes were generally the lowest in the county.
This township has a German church located on section 30. The township supports six public schools. The present trustees are William B. Widman, D. G. Gronewald and C. A. Kepka, with Joseph Raine as clerk and William Kepka as assessor.