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William Johnston MERRITT (1803-1879, interment Merritt Cemetery) and his family owned and operated a stagecoach stop which was known as Merritt Station. In July of 1856 a post office was established at the little settlement which sprung up around Merritt Station. Because of the cross roads that merged at Merritt Station, the little settlement was named Cross. The post office experienced two brief intermissions in 1866 and on January 13, 1873.

When the post office was discontinued in 1879, the residents of Cross moved to the settlement of New Chicago.

NOTE: Some accounts state that the residents of Cross moved to New Chicago in 1873. It is quite possible that since a new post office was established at New Chicago on January 13, 1873, many of the Cross residents moved to New Chicago at that time.

Photograph by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

Two miles east of Cross was Athens, also known as Athens Center. It was one of the first settlements in Ringgold County and Athens Township would be named after the town. Later, Athens was renamed New Chicago for a family who had moved to the settlement from Chicago, Illinois. New Chicago was located on a branch of the Western Stage Company's line that extended from Ottumwa, Iowa, to Nebraska City, Nebraska.

William Johnston MERRITT was the postmaster at the New Chicago settlement in 1856. Frederick A. "Fred" BROWN was named postmaster of New Chicago on July 16, 1873. He did not want the job but since no one else did either, Fred felt as though it was his duty to accept the position. During the summer of 1876, Mr. GILL retired as the mail carrier for the star route. Lew, Fred BROWN's son, filled the vacancy, carrying mail on the route from Mount Ayr to Decatur City, a distance of 30 miles. He was paid a salary of $400 a year.


Frederick Avery "Fred" BROWN and his family, along with Mr. and Mrs. John M. GUILD and their family, arrived in Ringgold County from Atalissa, Muscatine County, Iowa, in the fall of 1868. They rented a farm south of Lesanville where they spent the winter of 1868 - 1867.

Frederick Avery "Fred" BROWN was born September 30, 1821, Genesee County, New York, and died on December 9, 1910. He married on December 25, 1847, Saybrook, Ashtabula County, Ohio, to Susan T. KNOWLES. Susan T. KNOWLES was born in 1824, and died January 1, 1895. Fred and Susan were interred at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton, Iowa. They were the parents of seven children:

1) Edward BROWN
2) Elizabeth BROWN, married W. M. MERONEY
3) William K. BROWN
4) Mary A. BROWN, married C. S. "Claud" PALMER
5) Albert M. BROWN
6) Robert Lewis "Lew" BROWN, died at the age of 75 on November 17, 1936, Kellerton IA
    interment Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA
    Lew learned the jewelry trade from G. W. WATSON, Mount Ayr; he opened his own shop in Kellerton
    married Roberta Blanche SCOTT, daughter of Capt. Thomas E. and Elenor (MOORE) SCOTT
7) Hattie E. BROWN, died at the age of 6 years, 8 months 12 days, 18 Nov 1872
    interment Merritt Cemetery, Ringgold Co. IA

Members of the John M. GUILD family were:
1) S. H. GUILD
2) David L. GUILD
3) Charles GUILD
Civil War Flags.jpg 4) William GUILD
    enlisted as a Private 11 Aug 1862, age 28, Company E, 35th Iowa Infantry
    died of disease 31 Dec 1864, Davenport IA
5) Laura J. GUILD married 10 Oct 1872, Muscatine Co. IA David B. HINES
6) Mary J. GUILD married 08 Dec 1870, Muscatine Co. IA Charles COPE

Mr. and Mrs. David J. JONES sold their property to William Harrison GALLOWAY on November 8, 1866. A year later, William sold 70 acres of this land to his son William A. GALLOWAY. They built two log cabins on the north end of the farm. The east building had a clapboard roof and was the largest of the two log cabins. This is the farm that Frederick Avery "Fred" BROWN and the GUILD family bought on February 13, 1867.

William H. GALLOWAY, born May 3, 1821 in Indiana, was a shoemaker and a farmer. He married on June 24, 1841, Owen County, Indiana, to Sarah Ann LAWSON, who was born January 10, 1824, Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky. William and Sarah moved to Iowa in 1865 where they settled on the W. H. GRAY farm located northwest of New Chicago. They moved to Cowlitz County, Washington, in 1873, and later setted on a homestead near Pine Grove, Union County, Oregon. William died on June 21, 1892, Elgin, Union County, Oregon. Sarah died in September of 1903, Elgin, Oregon. William Harrison and Sarah Ann (LAWSON) GALLOWAY were the parents of:

1) William A. GALLOWAY, born 1844, IN
2) John Tilford GALLOWAY, born 22 Aug 1848, Owen Co. IN
    married Sarah MERRITT, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel MERRITT.
3) Mary Elizabelle (GALLOWAY) BUSSEARS
    born 22 Jun 1850, Spencer, Owen Co. IN; died 23 June 1933, Elgin, Union Co. OR

New Chicago experienced its greatest growth in 1875, which continued to its best year in 1879. During this time, residents included Frederick A. "Fred" BROWN, postmaster; George I. and Isabel B. (GRAY) MAXFIELD family; C. S. "Claud" PALMER family; Bud NOBLE and son James who owned a general store from 1875 to 1879; John HARTNAGLE who owned the blacksmith shop; Dr. L. P. THAYER, M.D.; F. S. RHODES who owned a general store; Mrs. Margaret SCOTT; Captain Thomas E. SCOTT who owned the shoe shop; and the CAMP Brothers, physicians who owned the drug store. The John SCOTT schoolhouse was located east of the settlement.

Before the arrival of the railroad into Decatur County, merchandise was shipped to Ottumwa in Wapello County. Livestock was driven to Ottumwa for shipment to the east. In 1871, the railroad came to Leon, twenty miles to the east of New Chicago in Decatur County. Merchandise was shipped to Leon, then brought overland to New Chicago.

When the Leon, Mount Ayr, and Southwestern Railroad was completed, the town of Kellerton was laid out in 1879 a little more than a mile east of New Chicago. Then, the village of New Chicago moved bodily to Kellerton. Some of the buildings were moved intact while others were torn down and rebuilt in Kellerton. Frederick Avery "Fred" BROWN was appointed as Kellerton's first postmaster on November 24, 1879, commissioned by Postmaster General D. M. KEY.

The John MILLER family arrived from Illinois in 1865. They settled on 120 acres of land which they began to improve and farm long before there was a settlement in the vicinity. Mrs. MILLER's son by a former marriage, John HALE, was the father of Will HALE, born on February 1, 1875, and believed to be the first child born in New Chicago.

John M. GUILD and his family returned to Muscatine County, Iowa, around the year 1872. George I. MAXFIELD bought the GUILD land. Around the year of 1873, George I. MAXFIELD married Miss ROBINSON, a resident of Happy Hollow neighborhood located southwest of Tuskeego. They set up housekeeping in the GUILD/GALLOWAY log cabin.

C. S. "Claud" and Arch PALMER arrived in 1870 with their mother, initially from Ohio and after several years of residency in Durant, Cedar County, Iowa. They built a frame house east of the post office. Genial, industrious, and well-educated, Claud PALMER's talents were always in demand. He began clerking in New Chicago's stores, then taught school which he pursued until his election as Ringgold County recorder in 1894. Claud married Mary BROWN, daughter of Frederick Avery "Fred" BROWN.

Claud PALMER was born in 1851,and died on February 21, 1934.

Arch PALMER returned to Cedar County, Iowa. Mrs. PALMER, mother of Claud and Arch, died at her home located six miles south of Mount Ayr.

John HARTNAGLE arrived from Chicago, Illinois and built a blacksmith shop. It is believed that New Chicago was nicknamed, and eventually named, after him. Besides his blacksmith shop, John HARTNAGLE operated a woodwoorking shop. J. F. SCOTT entered into an apprenticeship with HARTNAGLE in 1878, and continued on with the shop three years after it was moved to Kellerton in the fall of 1879. J. F. SCOTT purchased the business which was still in operation in 1931.

John HARTNAGLE eventually moved to Decatur County, Iowa. He was married to Lois GREEN, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Miles GREEN. Lois (GREEN) HARTNAGLE died in March of 1944, Des Moines, Iowa, with interment at Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. John and Lois (GREEN) HARTNAGLE were the parents of four children:

1) Ruth HARTNAGLE, married L. G. CLUM of Lamoni IA
2) Tena HARTNAGLE, born 1887; died 1968
    interment Crown Hill Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Jefferson Co. CO
    married Dr. E. SHAFFER of Delta, CO
3) Addie H. HARTNAGLE, died at age of 12 years, May 1905, a few days after her father
American Flag.jpg 4) Chester H. HARTNAGLE, born 1893, Kellerton IA
    Veteran World War I, Sergeant with the 88th Division, Headquarters Troop
    manager of Chamberlain Hotel, Des Moines IA
    married Elsie FARRAND, born 1901,Des Moines IA; died 10 Feb 1995
;                 interment Masonic Cemetery, Des Moines IA

John HARTNAGLE died the last of April in 1905, Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, with interment at Catholic Cemetery, Leon.

Dr. L. P. THAYER was New Chicago's first physician. Dr. THAYER built a store building east of George MAXFIELD's residence and on the south side of the road. Here, he established his office.

F. S. RHODES arrived in New Chicago in the spring of 1875 and rented the store portion of Dr. THAYER's building. F. S. RHODES had formerly been a Captain with the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He brought with him what he called a 'bankrupt' stock of goods which he sold at auction. He added to his stock which included dry goods, groceries, hardware.

The THAYER building was moved to Kellerton in either 1879 or 1880, and was relocated on Decatur Street. Joe EURITT later bought the building and used it as a residence. The building was moved again in 1901 to make room for the Ringgold County Savings Bank. The Kellerton Globe observed on April 21, 1901, "The workmen began digging the drain and excavating for the foundation of the new bank building the first of the week. Joe EURITT moved his building into the street several days ago, and yesterday SHANER and DAVENPORT hitched their enging to part of it and hauled it across the track, which attracted considerable attnetion."

NOTE: Joseph EURITT was born in 1854, and died in 1926, with interment at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton, Iowa.

F. S. RHODES married Captain Thomas E. SCOTT's daughter, Mrs. [Ruth (SCOTT)] Al COLE, pictured at right. For a while, Ruth owned and operated a millinary shop in the SCOTT building which had been re-located in Kellerton. The RHODES moved to Argona, Kansas, and later moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

When F. S. RHODES was operating his store in New Chicago, he lost a $20 gold piece in the yard. A thorough search failed to find the coin. Ivan DANIELS bought the land, and in 1920 he plowed up the gold piece.

Civil War Flags.jpg Captain Thomas Empson SCOTT, the son of Lemuel and Penelope SCOTT, was born on January 1, 1813, in Virginia. When he was nine-years-old, the family moved to Highland County, Ohio, where he grew to maturity. He married on May 24, 1832, to Elenor MOORE, the daughter of Joseph and Hannah MOORE. Elenor was born on October 12, 1812. Captain Thomas and Elenor (MOORE) were the parents of eight children:

1) Louisa Jane SCOTT, born 22 Apr 1833, Highland Co. OH; died 28 Dec 1891, Kellerton IA
    interment Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA
    married 19 Mar 1851, Highland Co. OH Robert B. JOHNSON
2) Joseph Leonard SCOTT, born 15 Dec 1834, Highland Co. OH; died 17 Mar 1913
    interment Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA
    married 04 Dec 1863 Ellen M. EDMONDS, born 29 Jul 1848, Chillecothe Co. OH
3) Margaret SCOTT, born 10 Feb 1837, Clarksville, Clinton Co. OH; died 08 May 1910, Kellerton IA
    interment Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA
    married James William SCOTT, born in Ohio, no relation
4) Sarah Elizabeth SCOTT, married James ASHFORD
5) Matilda A. SCOTT, born 02 Mar 1842; died 22 Aug 1850
6) Penelope E. SCOTT, born 14 Feb 1844; died 12 Oct 1848
7) Ruth SCOTT, married 1st Al COLE, a railroad man; married 2nd F. S. RHODES
Civil War Flags.jpg 8) John Albert SCOTT
    born 02 Oct 1848, Clinton Co. OH; died 06 Jul 1930, Beaconsfield IA
    Musician Company A 116th Indiana Infantry Volunteers, Civil War
    married 01 Dec 1880 Marietta SLOAN
      Marietta (SLOAN) SCOTT, born 15 Mar 1857, Millersburg IL; died 24 Mar 1946
    John A. and Marietta were interred at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA

From Ohio, the SCOTT family, which included their children and their families, moved to Tippecanoe County, Indiana, prior to the break-out of the Civil War. At the age of 50 years, Thomas E. SCOTT enlisted with Company A of the 116th Indiana Infantry Volunteers, serving as the regiment's Captain. After the War was over, the entire SCOTT family moved to Pratt County, Illinois. Accompanied by their four married children, Joseph L., Margaret M., Ruth, and John Albert, the SCOTTS moved to Miami County, Kansas, during the early 1870's. [Sarah Elizabeth, married to James ASHFORD, remained in Illinois.] After their farm failed, partly due to a grasshopper plague and other trials, the SCOTT family moved to Ringgold County, Iowa, arriving in the summer of 1875 and settling near New Chicago.

Two years later, Captain SCOTT built his shoe shop and conducted a flourishing cobbler business, making and reparing shoes and boots. After Elenor (MOORE) SCOTT's death on May 1, 1879, Captain SCOTT moved to Kellerton in the fall of 1879, and built a small two-story frame house on the east side of Ringgold Street where he continued in the shoe business. He was a member of the G.A.R. William McDONALD Post 435, Kellerton, Iowa. Captain SCOTT was the first mayor of Kellerton, appointed to this office upon the incorporation of the town in December of 1881. Captain SCOTT was also a justice of the peace for many years. During the latter part of June, 1894, Captain SCOTT became too feeble to live on his own. He lived out the rest of his life with his son, Jack F. SCOTT, moving across the street to his son's residence. Captain SCOTT died on July 12, 1894, and was interred beside his wife at the Merritt Cemetery.

The SCOTT building, which had been painted red, burned down along with the livery barn directly north of it on April 1, 1904.

Hilda BROWN, Margaret's granddaughter, at left
Roberta (SCOTT) BROWN DeVOSS, Margaret's daughter, at right

Mrs. Margaret M. SCOTT, daughter of Capt. Thomas E. and Elenor (MOORE) SCOTT, arrived in New Chicago in 1876. She built a home west of the HARTNAGLE blacksmith shop, using lumber that had been hauled from Leon. The house was moved to Kellerton in the fall of 1879 and re-located on Ringgold Street. Margaret and James SCOTT were the parents of seven children:

1) John Franklin "Jack" SCOTT, born 29 Nov 1857, Buck Creek IN; died 09 Oct 1932, Kellerton IA
    married 10 Dec 1882 Matilda SKINNER, born 1857; died 1922
    Jack and Matilda were interred Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton, IA. I.O.O.F. marker at gravesite.
2) Theodora A. SCOTT, born 30 Mar 1860, IN; died 10 Jan 1867, IN
3) Charles "Andrew" Perry SCOTT, born 04 Apr 1863, Buck Creek IN; died 03 Apr 1943, Fullerton NE
    married 1891 Sadie SIDDERS, born 28 Sep 1871 Mount Ayr IA; died 14 Nov 1943, Fullerton NE
    Andrew and Sadie were interred at Fullerton, Nebraska
4) Estella E. SCOTT, born 30 Mar 1865, IN; died 30 Nov 1865, IN
5) Roberta Blanche SCOTT, born 22 Mar 1867, Transitville IN; died 08 Apr 1913, Kellerton IA
    interment Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA
    married 1st 24 Dec 1885, Kellerton IA to R. L. BROWN, son of Fred A. & Sarah (KNOWLES)
    married 2nd 13 June 1909 Jarvis DeVOSS
6) Harrison Empson "Harry" SCOTT, born 12 Jan 1870, Lafayette IN; died 05 Mar 1955
    married 03 Sep 1893, Mount Ayr IA to Cora Ellen BURGESS, born 1870; died 16 Jun 1956
    Harry and Cora were interred at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA
7) Joseph Wellington "Joe" SCOTT, born 23 Dec 1872, Buck Creek IN; died 01 Aug 1956
    married 16 Jan 1907 Bell M. CECIL; born 1875; died 04 Oct 1919
    Joe and Bell were interred at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton IA

In 1875, Dr. Matt Americus CAMP arrived in New Chicago and built a two-story frame building, located on the south side of the road opposite of John MILLER's residence. Soon Dr. Marshall "Marsh" CAMP joined his brother, formerly residing in Wayne County, Iowa. Both of the CAMP brothers were graduates of the Medical Department at the State University (present-day Iowa State University) at Iowa City. With no other drug store within miles, the CAMP Brothers did a thriving business.

They were later joined by their sisters: Carrie CAMP; Laura, Mrs. R. EMERSON; Delia CAMP; Ida CAMP; and Flora, Mrs. John MANNING.

The CAMP Brothers moved their drug store to Kellerton in 1880, re-locating on the northeast corner of Block 17 which faced Decatur Street. The building was later moved further south to make room for a larger building, and was later destroy during a fire.

Dr. Matt Americus CAMP was born on January 4, 1850, Pike County, Illinois. He came to Iowa when he was quite young. Dr. CAMP did not marry. He was killed in an automobile accident approximately three miles northeast of Kellerton on December 17, 1916. Interment was made at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton, Iowa.


Dr. Marshall "Marsh" CAMP was born on December 28, 1852. He married on May 23, 1880 to Arabella HAYS, and the couple had three children, Cora (1881-1955), May who died in infancy, and Carroll, born in 1892. After Arabella (HAYS) CAMP's death at the age of 42 years and 7 days on March 9, 1897, Dr. CAMP remarried on September 5, 1898 to Harriett A. SHIELDS, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. S. SHIELDS of Decatur County, Iowa. They were the parents of two children, Helen, born in 1900, and Vivian, born in 1902. They moved to western Kansas, then returned to Decatur City, Decatur County, Iowa, in 1902, where Dr. CAMP continued his medical practice. Dr. CAMP died of Brights' Disease at his home in Decatur City, Decatur County, Iowa, on August 14, 1914, with interment at Maple Row Cemetery, Kellerton, Iowa. Harriett A. (SHIELDS) CAMP was born July 16, 1871, and died on September 7, 1963, with interment at Woodmansee Cemetery near Grand River, Decatur County, Iowa.

During August of 1870, lumber was hauled from Leon, Decatur County, Iowa, and a one-roomed 20x24' schoolhouse was built on the SCOTT farm, thus was known as the John SCOTT School. There were usually about 30 pupils attending this school. The schoolhouse also served as a community center for public meetings, spelling bees, Sunday School and church services. The literary society met at the schoolhouse. Those who taught at the John SCOTT School were Miss Harriet TIPTON from southwest of Tuskeego and who taught until around 1866; Mrs. Lizzie FAULKNER from the WION neighborhood; Miss Lucinda SCOTT, a sister of John SCOTT; Miss Flora [Laura?] GUILD, a daughter of John M. GUILD; Albert BEARD; Arthur L. LESAN; George M. LESAN of Lesanville; Miss Fay MOFFATT who later married Reverend C. TILBURY; Miss Estella HATCH; Miss Laura CAMP, daughter of Dr. Matt Americus CAMP and future wife of Richard EMERSON; John DRAKE, and Ed FRENCH.

John M. GUILD and John SCOTT were the school's superintendents.

The literary society held their meetings at the John SCOTT Schoolhouse every Thursday evening. Even during the winter months, those who attended filled the little schoolhouse, which is amazing considering how sparsely the vicinity was populated at this time.

The schoolhouse was moved to the site of the Corn Stalk School, District No. 6, Athens Township.

Baseball captured the attention of many of Iowa's early residents. Soon town teams were formed and they played against one another. New Chicago's baseball team was named the Chicago White Sox. Members of the team included Bill BROWN, Lewis "Lew" BROWN, Perry DAVENPORT, Truman GREEN, Frank HIGGINS, Tom HIGGINS, Andy SCOTT, Jack SCOTT, Barney STRINGLEY, Lyman STINGLEY, and several others.

  • History of Athens Township, by Arthur L. Lesan, 1931

    PERKINS, H. E. "New Chicago" Annals of Iowa Iowa Historical Society. Des Moines. July, 1933.

    Kellerton Iowa: A History to 1891: 1881 -1981 Pp. 6-15.

    SENGER, Clyde M. Pioneer GALLOWAY Families in the Pacific Northwest: 1852 to about 1880 2007.

    WPA Graves Survey

    American Civil War Soldiers' Database,

    Compilation by Sharon R. Becker, August of 2009

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