deposit your money and know it is safe. A
jewelry store owned by E. C. Carpenter and operated with profit to him and his
patrons. A furniture store that carries a good stock of furniture and
undertakers' supplies, owned by Saterlee & Peebles. A harness store where
you can find first-class goods at the right price. We have two blacksmith shops
and one machine shop where you can get your repairing done in good shape. Two
clothing stores, owned by Karr & Taylor and C. L. Kidwiler & Co.
respectively, both stores doing a fine business. Four elevators where you can
sell your grain and get the right price for it and honest weight. The Farmers'
Co-Operative Company bought the mill building. The machinery is to be moved out
and they will then fix it up for an elevator where they will deal honestly with
the public. Two lumber yards that handle good lumber at reasonable profit. A
meat market where you can get a nice tender piece of meat. A shoe shop where you
can get your shoes made almost as good as when new. A dentist who delights to
hurt you for a reasonable fee, he will also make you a set of teeth that will
never ache. This is the home of Dr. T. E. McCaughan and Dr. J. E. Ballachey,
both fine practitioners. They will cure you if you get sick, if medical skill
will reach your case. One saloon and one billiard hall, both doing well. One
livery barn doing a good business. We have four church edifices, namely:
Methodist, Presbyterian, United Presbyterian and Lutheran: all of the societies
have good congregations, who listen to able discourses delivered by their
respective pastors. We wish to mention our public schools, of which we are all
proud. Our schools are presided over by competent instructors, as our school
board is very careful as to whom they employ as teachers. A mayor and city
council who look after the welfare of the town. We have excellent water works
and a good fire department, hence we are fairly well fixed to extinguish fire.
Our town never had a fire of much consideration, therefore we still have the
original buildings, some of which are old and out of date. We look for an
Interurban to enter our town in the near future from Sioux City, the company has
opened up an office here and are engaged in securing the right-of-way. The town
voted a franchise to a company to put in a gas plant, but they do not show up to
do any work. B. Frank Knapp edited the first newspaper in the town, the first
number of the paper was issued in February 1884, and was called the Ireton
Clipper. The paper was run by different persons under the same name until the
present owner, Lee D. Maynard bought it, and changed the name to The Ireton
Ireton has several civic societies, namely: Masons,
Oddfellows, Grand Army of the Republic, Women's Relief Corps, Eastern Star,
Daughters of Rebecca, Woodmen and Modern Brotherhood of America, all seem to be
doing good work. The first society organized in the town was Launtz Post G. A.
R. mustered in October, 1883, with Levi M. Black, Post Commander; the second
organization was the Masonic Lodge with B. P. Bennett, Worshipful Master. The
town is badly in need of an opera house, as it has no public hall sufficient to
hold the people who want to attend shows and mass meetings. The church edifices
will compare favorably with those of any other town of its size. The first
church building was moved in town from the Cemetery ground in 1884 and placed on
the lot now occupied by the magnificent Methodist Church building. It was soon
found to be too small for the congregation, hence another building had to be
erected. The old building was moved to Elm street and converted into a
residence. The building then erected was an unlucky one for on the 4th day of
July 1884, a cyclone passed over Ireton and destroyed a small dwelling and a
barn, several pieces of the barn penetrating the church building, doing much
damage to the property; in 1892 the spire was struck by lightning and knocked it
off; that not being the last damage, for on the 24th day of January, 1904, the
building was completely destroyed by fire, necessitating the building of another
church, which was consummated by the erection of the present fine edifice.
Our town is surrounded by one of the best farming
countries in the great state of Iowa, the best state in the Union. One will have
to travel many miles before he will find a more frugal and industrious set of
farmers; to go through the country and see the fine farm buildings and the well
groomed farms is proof to the assertion. Land is very high around Ireton, but
not too high for its value; many of the farms are worth more than $100 per acre,
in fact, they are selling for more than that. No town on the Northwestern Road
between Hawarden and Eagle Grove ships more stock than Ireton, we ship about 350
car loads yearly from the town, that is, stock and grain. J. H. Sherman was the
first grain dealer in the town and J. C. Beckwith was the first medical doctor.
J. H. Sherman, W. U. Sulser, Levi M. Black and each of the banks deal in real
estate. W. S. Johnson, W. J. Reid, C. H. Muth, G. L. Riley, W. G. Colwill and W.
Davis are carpenters and builders. F. E. Buck, John Morrison and Fergusson &
Shankland are painters and papers hangers, any one of them will do you good
work. B. Lendt is the only plasterer and brick layer in town and is a good one.
Two dray lines, operated by W. C. Stevens and W. A. Culver, each party running
By Wm. Dealy
Reading Township is
located in the center of the south tier of townships on the south line. The
township is a gentle rolling prairie well drained by small streams and sloughs.
The soil is a very rich black loam with a light clay subsoil, which will stand a
great amount of moisture and in dry seasons will retain moisture so that a crop
failure is a rare occurrence.
Reading Township is without a doubt one of the richest and best improved
townships in Sioux County; it has the good town of Ireton with a population of
about six hundred located on section seven.
The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad was built across
the township from east to west in 1882 which supplied a long felt want.
BEAUTIFUL ARTIFICIAL GROVES.-There being no natural
timber, the early settlers were obliged to haul their wood from the Sioux and
Rock Rivers, and from there they brought slips and seeds which they planted.
Today the township is beautifully timbered with artificial groves. Portable saw
mills have been through and sawed many thousand feet of cottonwood lumber.
FIRST SETTLEMENT.-The first man to settle and make a
permanent home in what is now Reading township was C. D. Allen on the southwest
¼ of section 34, in the spring of 1870. Among those who made settlement in 1870
were Nathaniel Ferris, Hiram Evans, S. D. Hammond, L. D. Sherman, M. D. Smith,
B. F. Granger, Patrick Quigley, M. M. Elder, Harve McCormac, Henry Crowell, J.
W. Saterlee and Michael Glenn. In 1871 all government land was filed on, either
by pre-emption or homestead. Among those who settled in that year was Henry
Kluter, Chas. Hennrich, Byron Peebles, E. R. Day, O. W.Quint, Patrick Clary,
Hugh Davison, James Davison, G. H. Darling, Edward Kellog, Benjamin Putney,
David Burkett McKenyon, J. T. Knowlton, W. I. Knowlton and Geo. Castel.
ORGANIZATION OF TOWNSHIP.-Until the fall of 1871, the
township was not organized. What is now Logan, Buncombe, Washington, Reading,
Center and Eagle, was called Buncombe. In the September meeting of the county
Board of Supervisors, they organized and named what is now Reading Township. The
name Reading being suggested by S.A. Hammond (now deceased,) who came from
Reading Township, Vermont. The first officers chosen were M. D. Smith, A.
Sherman and P. Fosburg, Trustees; E. R. Day, Clerk; George Castle, Assessor; I.
W. Quint and J. H. Lias, Justices; John Corkery and M. M. Elder, Constables; E.
Kellog, Road Supervisor.
FIRST SCHOOLS.-It is not often the first homesteaders
of a new country enjoy the privileges of sending their children to school the
first year of settlement, such was the case in Reading Township. The first
school house was built in the fall of 1870, on the northeast quarter of section
33; the name of the teacher was Mr. Jacobson, a nephew of Eli Johnson who was at
that time County Superintendent of Schools of Sioux County.
FIRST RELIGIOUS SERVICES.-The first religious service
was held in the fall of 1870, in a school house located on the northeast ¼ of
section 33; Rev. Batchelder of the Methodist Episcopal Church was in charge.
Reading township has one church outside of Ireton; The German Evangelical
Lutheran Saint Johns, dedicated July 13, 1884.
GRASSHOPPER RAID.-The early settlers met with not a few
discouragements and hardships, the grasshopper raid being perhaps the most
trying and enduring, their mode of destruction being very effectual; on wheat,
they would gnaw off the straw just under the head, letting it drop to the
ground; on oats they would gnaw the small files which support the oats, leaving
them fall to the ground; on corn they would destroy the silks and tassels. They
also manifest a liking for garden vegetables excepting green peas which they
would not eat. During the nine years of the early settlement, they were with us
five out of nine. In July 1873 they made their appearance, destroying nearly all
the entire crop; in the year of 1874, they took half of the small grain and all
of the corn; the following year there were no grasshoppers, but in 1876 they
came during the last days of July, depositing their eggs which hatched the
following spring and they stayed with us until July, destroying all the small
grain. A good crop was raised in 1878 as they came too late to do any damage,
but laid their eggs which hatched the following spring; This year, they took the
entire small grain crop. During the grasshopper raid, many of the homesteaders
sold their property at a great sacrifice, left the country and located in other
parts. One homesteader was heard to remark that he would rather have an old sow
and seven pigs down by Des Moines than eighty acres of land in Sioux County.
INSURANCE.-Reading Township is the home of Henry F.
Becker, President of the German Farmers' Mutual Insurance Association of Sioux,
Plymouth and Lyon Counties. The company was organized in 1891; it now has risks
in force to the amount of $3,201,173. The cost of insurance for the past five
years has been $8.86 per thousand. All losses have been always fairly adjusted
and promptly paid. A company that any community could be proud of.
POLITICAL.-Reading Township has furnished her share of county officers, having
had four of her citizens as members of House of Representatives. Truly Reading
should be proud of her citizens.
A BRIEF SKETCH OF THE HISTORY
OF THE GERMAN
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN ST. JOHN'S CHURCH OF READING TOWNSHIP.
By Rev. C. D. Nuoffer
Evangelical Lutheran St. John's Church Organization of Reading Township was
established in the year 1875 with a membership of seven, whose names are as
follows: Messrs. Carl Hennrich, Ernest Hennrich, Henry Van der Hamm, Henry Baack,
John Rentschler, Herman Witt and Fred Franke. Services were at first held in
private homes and later on in school house No. 6, on section 14, until 1884,
when they erected a neat church edifice on a 40 acre tract of land located in
the southeast ¼ of section 15, which had been bought for church, school and
cemetery purposes. Their dedication of their new house of worship occurred on
the 13th day of July of the same year. In 1888 a small parsonage was built which
has since (in 1904) been remodeled into a large commodious mansion as shown in
accompanying cut. In 1894 a school-house was erected near the church building
for the purpose of religious instructions. Besides this school, the church also
conducts a Sunday school with an attendance of from 40 to 50 pupils.
GERMAN EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN ST. JOHN'S CHURCH
The members of the
church have not spared any pains, nor means in beautifying their place of
worship and its surroundings, keeping everything in good order. In 1887, a
number of families severed their membership with this church, organizing a new
congregation in the town of Ireton for the accommodation of such who lived at a
distance of from ten to fifteen miles. This organization, numbering at present
about 50families, being known as the German Evangelical Lutheran St. Paul's
Church. The present total membership of St. John's Church is 231.
The pastors who have served this congregation since its
organization were E. Beck, from 1875 to 1877 in conjunction with Le Mars; F. S.
Buenger, from 1878 to 1888 in conjunction with Mammen. In 1888 however, the
congregation recognized the necessity of having a minister residing in their
midst and sent a call for a candidate of the ministry, which ws accepted by E.
A. Brueggemann a graduate of the Theological Seminary at St. Louis, Mo. Thus
this parish became an independent charge. Since then it has been made the
resident pastor's duty to also take charge of the school and prepare the
catechumens for their confirmation. Rev. E. A. Brueggemann served two years and
was succeeded in 1890 by Rev. E. Riedel who served 12 years. Since 1903, Rev. C.
D. Nuoffer, the present pastor has been in charge of this parish.
THE HISTORY OF ROCK TOWNSHIP.
GIVING ALL THE DETAILS OF THE GROWTH OF ROCK VALLEY AND VICINITY FROM
HOMESTEADATION UNTIL NOW
By Edward O. Plumbe, M. D.
In order to write
the history of Rock Township, or indeed any portion of Sioux County, we must
retrograde to the time when Sioux and several other counties in northwestern
Iowa were subjects of barter and sale, controlled by a speculative ring for
revenue only. Just as Mose Lewis said in Federal Court at Des Moines in the suit
which liberated Sioux County from the payment of large sums in fraudulent bonds
and warrents, the exact amount will probably never be known, emphasized by a
profanely pious assertion that the population, when he came to the county, was
"two men and a n____." [Note from transcriber: the previous word
which was in the original document has been deleted as being offensive.] The
tide of homestead immigration, beginning in 1868, and reaching its culmination
in 1870, when the homestead lands were practically all taken, changed all this
and the election of 1871 practically ended speculative ring rule in Sioux
It is a fact that the west and practically the
northwest portion of the county received the first ripple of the wave of
homestead immigration, partially because, being beyond the twenty mile limit of
railroad lands, homesteads of 160 acres could be secured, and because of the
fuel and building material along the Rock and Sioux rivers, particularly the
former. Pages, yes volumns, could be written detailing the experiences of most