I'm attaching a very old photo of Remsen that was in my Grandma's  things.  It's a postcard and dated either 1900 or 1908.  The photo was taken from the old Remsen watertower and looks to the SW to the cemeteries in the distance.  The house in the foreground is still in existence although moved to the next lot south -- probably when the owners wanted a new basement under it. ~photo contributed by Linda Mohning, of near Remsen, Iowa 

LeMars Evening Sentinel, Tuesday Evening, June 16, 1885

Additional Accounts of the Destruction in Town, and Reports from Neighboring

~above Remsen town destruction photo (1885) submitted by researcher, Douglas Olson

~above Remsen school building photo (1885) submitted by researcher, Douglas Olson


The Catholic Church built a couple of years ago at a cost of $6,000 is a
complete wreck; insurance $1500.

The schoolhouse was turned upside down and really demolished. It cost $2700
last summer, and is insured for $2000.

The howls of Conrad Small was carried off its foundations about 15 feet, and
I.D. Smith's new house was served about the same way.

The Blake house was damaged in a variety of ways.

The tin roof was taken off of Schultz's agricultural warehouse.

Lawyer Roseberry had his house and barn damaged to the extent of a hundred
dollars or more, and half of the remaining houses in town were damaged more
or less.

A Holland family, newcomers, and bearing a queer name, tenets of one of I.D.
Smith's farms, was badly used up. The house was demolished, one child
killed, another had its leg broken, the man was severely hurt on the head,
and the woman somewhat bruised.

Rudolph Lang, brother of the county supervisor of that name, and Mr. Kinne,
both newcomers, who had built good houses and barns on their farms near
Remsen had everything swept away by the blasts, and both were wounded. Mr.
Lang was badly hurt.

The fine barns of Nic Kaiser and of the late Nic Plettchette were totally
demolished and Kaiser had a horse killed.

John Lemon and family occupying the house of J.H. Page, vacated it during
the storm and one of the children, a little girl in her nightshirt, was lost
and not found until nearly morning, and then in a nearly perishing

H.W. Alline's farm buildings were badly used up.

The lumber yards of Townsend brothers and Z. Gilman were both demoralized.

J.H. Brown and Lyman Spencer had their barns demolished.



     Congressional township ninety-two, range forty-three west, since October 18th, 1881, has formed the civil township of Remsen; prior to that date it was included in Marion township. It is bounded by Meadow township on the north, Cherokee county on the east, Henry township on the south and Marion township on the west.

     The Dubuque & Sioux City (Illinois Central) railway passes through the northwest corner of the township, with a station known as Remsen, which is located on section six.

     The chief stream of Remsen township is Whiskey Slough, in the eastern part of the territory.

     The population in 1885 was given at 650, of which 400 were American born. The present population is 1,279

    The oldest settler now living within the township is Henry Mullong, who bought a second-hand homestead claim of S. C. Pringy, on the south half of the southeast quarter of section twenty-eight. Mr. Mullong settled on the land in 1873, and he thinks that it was originally claimed by the first settler of the township, whose name is forgotten, in 1867.

    The next to locate was J. J. Murphy, on the southwest quarter of section ten, where he still lives. He is at present in the employ of the Illinois Central Railroad Company, at their water tank.

    Ed. Wilier came to the township in 1878, and bought land of a speculator named Baxter. This land was on the northwest of section thirty-two.

    Until after 1880, there were no settlers in Remsen township to speak of, and from that time on the territory was largely settled up by Germans, who have come to be wealthy farmers and stock-growers.

    Many artificial groves adorn the township and lend both beauty and actual value to the domain.

    There are no religious societies in the township, except those found at Remsen village, the only post-office and market place in the township.

    The first school was taught at the residence of R. E. McCaustland, on section thirty-four, about 1880. At this date, 1891, the county school records show that this township has five sub-districts, which are provided with four good school houses. The total enrollment of scholars is ninety-three.

    The village of Remsen is situated on the west half of section six in Remsen township. It was platted August 28th, 1876, by the Sioux City and Iowa Falls Town Lot and Land Company. Since then five additions have been made. It is located on a beautiful tract of rolling prairie land, and is now a thriving little mart of about 537 people. It derived its name from Dr. William Remsen Smith, of Sioux City, a large land owner. It was made a station on the original Dubuque & Sioux City railroad line, and has come to be one of the best market places and shipping points along the line.

    The first business in Remsen was engaged in by J. H. Winchel, who owned a large farm one mile north, and H. W. Alline, of Remsen, under the firm name of Winchel & Alline. Scales were put in and grain bought and shipped. This was in the fall of 1880. At the same time P. Hopkins, of LeMars, bought and shipped,, from this point, cattle and hogs.

    But little was accomplished in the way of business improvements until 1881, when Frank Miller put in a general store.

    The same year the "Blake House" was erected by C. R. Blake. It is now known as the Munhoven House.

    The first to engage in the sale of agricultural implements were Rathmann & Michael. The first hardware was sold by John H. Rathmann. The first grocery store was that of Samuel Wentz. In 1882 a furniture store was put in by Hubert Nothem. The same year, Dr. Theodore Wrede opened up a stock of drugs. "Dr." Baker had kept a few patent medicines, etc., the year prior. A saloon was started to quench the thirst of the pioneers, in 1871, by Peter Monner. The pioneer grain company was Peavey & Co. The first to handle lumber were Townsend Bros., of LeMars.  The first blacksmith to wield his hammer beside the glowing forge was Martin Seba, in 1880-81.  A wagon shop was put in operation by John Schumacher. The first bank was the Bank of Remsen, in 1887.

    In the spring of 1889, the citizens of Remsen concluded, to further the business interests of the place, that it was, best to become an incorporated town. The first election of officers resulted as follows: N. Lang, Mayor; Edward S. Lloyd, Recorder.

    The village supports a local newspaper, edited by J. P. Kieffer, who issues twice each week—one issue printed in German called the "Remsen Clocke" and later in the week one of the same contents, only printed in English, called the " Remsen Bell." These papers have a large circulation, some hundreds going to Europe, sent by Germans to their friends.

    Remsen became a post office point in 1879. H. W. Alline was appointed the first postmaster; he served until 1885, when he was succeeded by L. L. Page, who conducted it until April 11th, 1889, when A. C. Morgan was appointed, and still serves acceptably to all. It became a money order office in 1886. The first money order was issued August 20th, 1886, to Rev. F. X. Schulte, in favor of Appleton & Co., Chicago, Illinois.

    There are two church organizations at Remsen, each having a good building. The Evangelical Lutheran society was formed in 1884 by six members, Rev. Miner, of LeMars, officiating. In 1888 a frame church building was erected at a cost of $I,600. The present membership of the society is twenty-six.

    Until October, 1889, the church was supplied with a minister occasionally from other points, but at that date Henry Bender became pastor and in still serving.

    The Roman Catholic people of this vicinity were first attended by Father Gilchrist, formerly of Marcus, Iowa. He looked to the spiritual welfare of this people for some two or three years. The first church building was blown down by a cyclone in 1885, and the present building was erected the same year. Rev. F. Schulte took charge of the congregation in December, 1885, and finished the new edifice, which seats about three hundred people comfortably. In the fall of 1886 the fine parsonage was built at a cost of $I,900. In the summer of 1888 the parochial school house was built at an expense of about $3,600.

    The winter of 1880-81 is known in the annals of Remsen as the "starvation winter," it might also be termed the "freeze-out winter," because if hunger did beset the little garrison, none the less did the lack of fuel cause much trouble. Those who remember the serious inconveniences of the long snow blockades, even in a much larger town, can imagine the sufferings of those who were ten miles from a grocery store, the same distance from a meat market, and who did not live on a farm, consequently did not have a well filled cellar to fall back on.

    The first school was taught by Miss Mary Alline, during the summer of 1881, in one of the living-rooms of the depot building. It found its next home in a room over J. H. Rathmann's hardware store; from there it was moved to a building owned by J. K. Alline. This house also served the Protestant people of this section as a church. In it was organized the Methodist Episcopal church, under the leadership of William Edgar. The original members were four in number, F. K. Morgan and wife, and Daniel Arburthnot and wife. A successful Sabbath school was for a long time maintained. Its superintendent was Z. Gilman.

Iowa Historical Record
Vol. IX, July 1893, No. 3

Band photo contributed by Jack Martens

This is a photo from an old negative of my father’s. His father, Frank T. Martens, was born in Le Mars on June 1889. I can identify my great grandfather, Theodore J. Martens, as the second band member from the right. Any additional info anyone has on the band would be appreciated.

LeMars Sentinel
Dated May 23, 1898

A few of the old band boys got together last Sunday evening and with the assistance of Ted MARTENS and Peter KRUSE, of LeMars, rendered a pleasing musical program in the public square. The incident brought back pleasant memories of old and we have been almost thoroughly convinced that it is like going without the necessities of life to live without a band organization in our town.

Remsen postcard postmarked Mar 1900, contributed by Linda Mohning

Remsen Opera House

Remsen, Iowa, Groth Block


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