OF SIOUX COUNTY, IOWA
THE BEGINNING OF THE COLONY.
BY H. J. VAN DER WAA.
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
THE LATE HON. HENRY HOSPERS
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.
L. VAN DER MEER
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.
D. VAN DEN BOS
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.
H. J. VAN DER WAA.
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.
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.
JELLE PELMULDER, Deceased.
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
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...
Continued on Page 2