The Illustrated Historical Atlas of Sioux County Iowa

Part III Section 2 Page 1

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     After renting land for two years, and giving a third of the crop for rent I made up my mind in that way I could not get a place of my own, for the land around Pella was high. My wife and I made up our minds to have a sale and move to Northwestern Iowa and take a homestead. I had written to Mr. Harlan, a land agent at Storm Lake, regarding homesteads there; his answer was, there were, and for all my friends. I then went to the printing office of Henry Hospers to have my sale bills printed. He asked me what I intended to do; I told him I intended to move to Storm Lake and take a homestead. 

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He asked me if I knew if there was government land enough for a colony; I told him as far as I knew there was; be said he would write immediately to the agent, and he would receive a reply before my sale, and if he received a favorable answer, we might call a meeting and try to organize a colony there. In about a week he received a favorable answer, and called me to his office and read the letter to me. Then and there we decided to call a meeting to be held at his office in three weeks for the purpose of starting a colony. During the meantime we had ample time to talk about the subject which was well discussed. Mr. Hospers had the meeting well advertised and wrote about the necessity of seeking a place where we could go in a body. 

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Born in the Netherlands, August 27, 1830
Settled in Sioux Co., 1869

At the appointed time, the people came from far and near; there was so much interest shown at the first meeting that the office was well filled, there being hardly standing room; the meeting was called to order and the object of the meeting stated. Mr. Hospers was chosen chairman; then the subject was thoroughly discussed and the necessity of a colony where parents with their children could spread out and get land for them. On motion, it was decided to send a committee to Northwestern Iowa and look up a suitable place where we could get land in a body; and especially examine soil and subsoil. The committee chosen were H. Muilenburg, S. A. Sipma, J. Pelmulder and H. J. Van der Waa. Necessary funds were raised to bear the expense of the trip, and the writer offered to take his team and wagon without charge. We went to work at once getting the necessary articles ready for the trip; the wagon had to be fixed; bow and cover put on; messchest and tent were secured; the messchest had to be well filled for we expected to be gone four weeks. 

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The morning before starting, I traded off my team of horses for a span of young mules; I thought they would be better although they had never had a harness on. For a time it seemed that we would not get them harnessed; they would kick the harness off as fast as we could put It on; this delayed us two hours before we had them hitched to the wagon, so when we got started, we left Pella in quick time, and kept it up for several mites. The harness was not taken off the mules until on our return trip, when they were well broken and gentle.
     The spring was very wet; rivers and creeks were full to their banks and had to be forded, for most of them had no bridges or they were washed away by the high water. We drove out to J. Pelmulders, eight miles north of Pella, and stayed there the first night. The next morning we started early for Newton, and from there we went to Fort Dodge, where we stopped a day or two to look at the country; but It did not suit the committee. From there we went to Storm Lake; we had no roads or bridges all the way; we went by the compass and Railroad stakes; a river had to be forded with steep banks on either side, three of our party got out to shove the team in while I drove; when the mules came near the water they would stop and the men back of the wagon shoved them in, and then they jumped in the back end of the wagon; when the mules swan to the other side they could not pull the wagon up the steep bank; after getting the mules across, we hitched a chain to the tongue, dug trenches for the wheels and finally got the wagon out. 

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We arrived in Storm Lake Saturday night and decided to stop there over Sunday. We stayed with a Methodist preacher who had been sent there to do missionary work among the early settlers; his home was a small sod house in the northwest part of the town. Monday morning, we went on our journey, following the old government road from Storm Lake to Cherokee; there were no settlers living along the road; the bridge across the little Sioux river had been washed away by high water. There was some kind of a ferry and they took us across for $5Mfl: as we did not like to swim our team, we paid the price and took the ferry. There were a few houses there, and an old stockade and some barracks where soldiers had been stationed; we bought some provisions and went on. We passed through some fine country; here we stopped for one half day to examine the soil and subsoil and also the water and drainage of the land. The committee thought if we could get a township or two here in a body, it would be a suitable place to locate a colony. We were very careful In looking over the land between Fort Dodge and Storm Lake; so when we arrived at the land office in Sioux City and found what land was government land and In a body, we knew what we would choose from. 

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S. A. SIPMA, Deceased.
Born in Netherlands, 1813.
Settled in Sioux County, 1869
Died January 13, 1895

It was Saturday evening when we came through Melbourne, a small settlement and a German church; we camped near the town on the Floyd river, and Sunday morning the minister's wife came to us, and seeing that we were going to rest on the Sabbath day, brought us some religious tracts, and invited us to attend the services and hear her husband preach, so we all went to church; he preached in the German language; we, being Hollanders, could not understand It at all, but enough to know that we had heard a good sermon.
       Monday we arrived In Sioux City, just two weeks from the time we left Pella. The next morning we went to the land office. The doors were open at nine o'clock, but before that time there was such a mob In front of the door trying to get in as soon as the door opened; some of them after the same quarter section, and fights were frequent, and races run to see who could get there first. 

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Orange City.
Born in Netherlands, March 1st, 1817.
Settled in Sioux County, 1869.
Died October, 1900.

At noon we got to speak to one of the land officers; we told him what our business was, and made arrangements to meet him In the office after supper. He let us In at the back door and we got all the Information we wanted and told him we would report favorably on the land from ten to fifteen miles west from Cherokee on both sides of the Railroad survey. In the land office we found that in Cherokee, Sioux, Lyon and Obrien counties, that land could be got In a body for a large colony.
     After a thorough investigation, we returned to Pella to report, arriving there just four weeks from the time we had started. A meeting was called at the office of Henry Hospers, and when the...

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