The Illustrated Historical Atlas of Sioux County Iowa

Part III Section 2 Page 8

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     At the consistory meeting of June 11, 1878, it was resolved to organize an American Sunday school to give instructions to the children every Sunday morning in the English language, but they would also have a couple of Dutch classes for the children who would prefer Dutch.
     The officers appointed by the consistory were: Rev. J. W. Wornshuis, superintendent; Mr. A. Beach, assistant superintendent; Mr. Herbert, secretary; Mr. D. Gleysteen, treasurer. Messrs. A. Beach and John Meyer were appointed pereceutors. As teachers the consistory appointed Rev. J. W. Warnshuis, Messrs. A. Beach, J. Mey, D. Gleysteen, D. Scholten, J. W. Beach and Mrs. A Beach for the English classes, and Messrs. A. Van den Berg and R. Vos for the Dutch classes. The Dutch records show that on March 29, 1879, it had sixty families, 77 members, 140 catechumans and 115 Sunday-school scholars. On the 10th of May, 1880, the contract for the building of the present church edifice ws let to Mr. J. Heinrich for the sum of $4,425, without the chapel. This church was dedicated to the service of God May 22, 1881. The Rev. J. W. Wornhuis, having received a call to the Holland Dutch Reformed Church of Passaic, N. J., resigned his charge Aug. 4, 1886. On the 2nd of August, 1886, the Rev. J. F. Zwemer was called to his pastorate. He accepted the call and was installed as pastor Nov. 4, 1886, serving until Sept. 1, 1888. On Sept. 5, 1888, Rev. J. W. Wornshuis, the former pastor, was again called, accepted and served this church until Nov. 3, 1891. The Rev. Peter Lepertak was called by this church Dec. 2, 1891, accepted the call, and was installed as pastor April 10, 1892, seriving until Oct. 1, 1903. During his pastorate, about August, 1898, the present beautiful and commodious parsonage was built at a cost of a little over $2,000.
     The present pastor, the Rev. A. M. Van Duine was called December 21, 1903, accepted the call and assumed the pastorate February 8, 1904.
At present the church is in a very flourishing condition, and numbers about one hundred and fifty families, two hundred and seventy-five members and two hundred and eighty Sunday-school enrollment.



     Mr. Tjeerd Heemstra was born November 8, 1824 at Marrum, Friesland, Netherlands; he died at Orange City, Iowa April 13, 1901.
     On March 19, 1846, he was joined in marriage to Syke Hoekstra; the following year the couple emigrated to America, six week being consumed in making the sea voyage. They took up their abode in Michigan, being numbered among the pioneers of the Dutch settlement at Holland, Mich. Here they lived for twenty-three years, struggling under many difficulties to get a start. Convinced that the further West offered larger opportunities, Mr. Heenstra decided to take his large family of nine children there, selecting northwestern Iowa as the most favorable spot. He joined himself to the movement just then proceeding from Pella, Iowa, to found a colony in Sioux County, arriving here in the early spring of 1870, and being among the very first to erect his homestead shanty on these bleak but promising prairies in the immediate vicinity of what later became Orange City.
     Mr. Heemstra was a hard worker and a painstaking, successful farmer. He also held various positions of responsibility in the church as well as in township and county government, being a member of the first Board of Supervisors in this county. Though destitute of all schooling by force of circumstances, he had educated himself considerably above the average of those pioneer days. His counsel was therefore frequently sought by his fellow pioneers and his judgment respected by all. At the time of his death, after having lived in or near Orange City for thirty-one years, his wife and seven children survived him.


By Joe Rexwinkel

     Nassau Township was organized in the year 1870. At that time it comprised of what is now Nassau, East Orange and Sherman Township. In the year 1876, Sherman Township, by petition signed by residents of said township was given an organization of her own, and some time later East Orange organized as a separate township.
     Nassau is located in the southern tier of townships with Holland on the north, Plymouth County on the south, East Orange on the east, and Sherman on the west. It is a rich and beautiful township with gently rolling prairies, not steep so as to cause farming difficult, nor flat, but every foot of land good for cultivation, and it is all well drained with sloughs and creeks which yield a heavy crop of grass. The Floyd River courses its way through the township, entering near the northeast corner on section 2 and flowing in a southwesterly direction leaving the township on section 33.
     The first election held in the township was on the 11th day of October, 1870, in the house of T. Heemstra on section 4, with T. Heemstra, P. Van Horsen and J. Van Wyk as judges, and A. M. Van den Berg and F. Heemstra as clerks. The following officers were elected: Justice of the Peace, T. Heemstra and John Van Wyk; Township Trustees, A. M. Van den Berg, John Van Wyk and P. Dieleman; Clerk, F. Heemstra; Assessor, T. Heemstra; Constables, W. Rysdam, Arie De Raad; Road Supervisors, P. Van Horsen and G. Rysdam.
The names of the voters at this election (17 in number,) were as follows: T. Heemstra, W. Rysdam, G. Rysdam, A. M. Van den Berg, P. Van Horsen, John Van Wyk, Arie De Raad, P. Dieleman, M. Dieleman, Jacob Sinnema, Theo. Gehlen, Nicholas Frantzen, Peter Frantzen, M. Biever, A. Henrich, Benhard Henrich, F. Heemstra. Eleven of the above named were Hollanders and six Germans; to the best of our knowledge, three of these are still living. W. Rysdam and M. Kieleman retired and are now living in Orange City, and P. Frantzen, one of our prosperous farmers, is still living on his own farm on section 23.
     In the fall of 1873, the writer who was then but eleven years of age, came to Nassau Township with his parents, from Fondulac County, Wisconsin, and has lived here ever since that time, his occupation being a tiller of the soil. At that time our neighbors were more distant than now, they were doubly precious; will mention but one of them, Mr. A. Van Wechel, on section 7, who, because of his hospitality, his house was dedicated as the Elk Horn tavern. Those living in the northern part of the county, had their important place of business (if not their markets,) at LeMars, and as it was a distance of from twenty-five to thirty miles, made Elk Horn tavern their stopping place. Mr. Van Wechel was a prosperous farmer, is now retired and living in Orange City.
     Experiences of the early settlers were varied, although they had one thin in common, they were all poor, poor in money when we came and poorer still when the grasshoppers came; for a few years it surely was a trying time, especially the years 1874 to 1878.
A great many of the early settlers had to depend almost entirely on corn stalks for fuel in the winter, some would chop the stalks in pieces, others would use them whole; it kept one of the family busy keeping a fire.
     The winter of 1876 was another trying time, as the wheat crop was a total failure; our neighbor Joe Kleinhesselink, who had a large field planted to wheat told father that he would not get his harvester out that year. It was the following winter that we had johnny cake for breakfast, and johnny cake at school for dinner, and potatoes and corn meal mush for supper, but I will say that we all thrived and were healthy. Sunday we had wheat bread which was considered quite a treat.
     GRASSHOPPER TIMES.-Well do I remember the first summer we were here (1874) how on a Sunday noon the grasshoppers came from the north, clouds of them just about harvest time, and lit on our fields; the ground was covered with them. Joe Kleinhesselink, on section 9, had a field containing about five acres of sod corn; it was very good in the morning, looked tall and green; in the afternoon it was all stripped, just the bare stalks left, the smaller fields were mostly ruined, while the larger fields held out better. We were fortunate. They stayed only a few days, and left us a small share of the crop.

By Charles Pelmulder
In Sioux County Herald, November 5, 1874
What see I yonder rise,
There in the northern skies,
Like a tall oak?
Say, are they clouds of blue,
That to the south pursue,
Or, is it smoke?
See, see how it doth fly,
Soon 'twill o'erspread the sky
Like a dark pall.
That's no smoke, nor clouds,
Bur grasshoppers in crowds;
Down, down they fall
Numerous like the dust,
Come the hoppers or locust;
They fill the air.
The corn that looks so green
Will soon no more be seen,
All will be bare.
Then will the harvest field,
Naught to the farmer yield,
If they abide.
But on the coming day,
They very likely may
Float with the tide.
A visit brief they made,
With us three days they stayed
Then went away.
Onward their course they bent,
Straight to the south they went,
On the third day.
Great was the damage done,
But helped by the shining sun,
And a few rains,
Plenty of corn and wheat,
For man and beast to eat,
There still remains.
If they do not appear,
Upon another year,
Our crops to spoil,
Then will the people see
What splendid crops that we
Raise on our soil
For 'tis not alone for health,
But 'tis the place for wealth-
In the far west.
Of all the countries wide,
Around on every side,
It is the best.

     The following spring when the grains were up, the little grasshopper came up also, and although he was small he left his mark. Most of the eggs were laid in hard ground or breaking. I well remember, father had a field of oats and there was a piece of breaking alongside of it; when the little hoppers could hop, they aimed for the oat field; it was a sight to watch them, they traveled slow but sure. To prevent their going from one field to another, some would plow deep furrows, hoping they would not be able to cross; others would take boards covered with tar and in that way would catch them; the settlers tried various means, but with no marked success. Some farmers became discouraged and sold their lands for whatever they could get and went back east; they realized but very little for their farms. One man near Orange City sold his homestead of eighty acres and a yoke of oxen for $300.00; the same land sells in 1907 at from $100 to $145 per acre. These were very strenuous times for the pioneers.
     Nassau is now one of the best townships in Sioux County, as everyone will concede who takes a drive over our well graded roads, to see the beautiful farm houses and large barns, the rich fields and pastures, well stocked with horses, cattle and hogs.
     The township has two Railroads, the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha, which was built in the years 1872-1873 through the Floyd valley. On that road is the town of Alton, which previous to 1880 was called East Orange. In the southern part of the township on the same road is a siding or place called Carnes, with two elevators, stock yards, lumber yard, one store and a Post Office. The Chicago & Northwestern runs through the north part of the township from east to west. The north half of the northeast quarter of section 5, Nassau Township, is incorporated in the town plat of Orange City; on this tract of land the electric light plant is located, also the grain and stock marker. With the above three named towns, the farmers only have a short haul to the different markets and places of business.


By Levi M. Black

     Ireton is a town of 600 inhabitants, situated on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, fourteen miles west of Orange City, the county seat of Sioux County, Iowa. The town was laid out in June 1882. It originally consisted of twelve blocks, where the business portion of the town is now located. In 1884 the first addition was platted, south of the original plat, consisting of lots thirteen to nineteen inclusive. Since that time, Thompson's Owen's, McKeever's and Carpenter's additions have been platted. The town was incorporated in 1890. Geo. M. Harding was the first mayor. The incorporation consists of all of section 7, township 94, range 46, Sioux County, Iowa. The town is situated on a nice little hill, consequently no stagnated or impure water infests it. The first settlers on the town plat were Timothy O'Brien and family; that was in June 1882. Mr. O'Brien started the first store in town, consequently he was the pioneer merchant of Ireton. He also had the honor of building the first store building in town, the building now used by J. A. Jenson as a general store. However, the present owner of the building, J. H. Kidwiler, built an addition and otherwise improved the place. The first residence erected in town was done by Close Bros. & Co., which is the brick dwelling owned by Fred Vlotho, our present mayor. Close Bros. had their office in this building while here. The post office was established November, 1882, with Levi M. Black postmaster. Mr. Black is the present Post-master. The depot was built in 1883. Geo. Holden was the first railroad agent, and was the first person to die in town. A. T. Stafford is the present agent and is very proficient. The first iron was laid in town the first of October, 1883, and the first train arrived on the 5th day of that month. We well remember that on the 5th day of October the boarding car of the track laying crew burned and the parties lost all their belongings that they had in the car. We now have four general stores, all of which are doing good and safe business; they are operated by the owners namely: E. W. Black, J. A. Jenson, F. W. Marienau and Fred Vlotho. Two drug stores are operated by the owners, J. H. Pryor & Co. and E. E. Waite & Co., they are both run with credit to the owners and honor to the town. Two implement stores run by the owners, Riter Implement Co. and Henry Heeren, respectively. They handle the best of implements and will give you a fair deal. Two hardware stores, one owned by W. C. Tilford and the other by J. A. Denkman; both doing a good, honest business. Two banks, the Northwestern and the Farmers' and Merchants'; both banks have substantial solid brick buildings, each doing a nice, honest, business, you can


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