James Parden opened the
first stock of furniture, being succeeded by J. L. Finch, and he by S. C.
Haines. John Maher opened a second stock in the store now occupied by Geria
& Roelofs, later purchasing the Haines furniture, selling out to Peter
McKellar, and he to M. S. Huie. The Warren hotel and opera house block were
erected by Mulhall Bros. In 1892, the former Dunham hotel building being moved
to its present location on Kimball avenue, half a block form Mitchell street. A
Brass band was organized in the early eighties, but as the members are scattered
no definite information can be obtained regarding it.
As previously stated, Matt Blau opened the first
saloon. Soon after Dan Maloney opened a second in a small building about where
Woodward Bros. Are now located. He was succeeded in about a year by a man named
About 1884 John Mandercheid came from Sheldon and
erected a two story building used for a saloon below and a residence above. Ed
Rhodes, soon after the town was started, opened the first meat market. The years
from 1884 to 1890 were boom years not only for Rock Township and Rock Valley,
but also for the whole of northwestern Sioux County. Township 96, extending
across the entire county east and west, mostly owned by non-residents, was
rapidly settled, the writer having on one occasion south of Rock Valley, counted
no less than twelve teams breaking prairie all in sight at one time. Now as the
writer closes this brief and of necessity imperfect sketch let him request that
the mantle of charity cover its defects, sins of omission and its unavoidable
"Don't view him with a critic's eye,
But pass his imperfections by."
HISTORY OF ST. MARY'S
CATHOLIC CHURCH, ROCK
REV. JOHN A. O'REILLY.
It was in the autumn
of the year 1881 that the Rev. John A. O'Reilly, then pastor at Sheldon, and now
pastor at Rock Valley, came to Rock Valley and celebrated the adorable sacrifice
of the mass. The public school building, small in those days, though large
enough to suit the purpose, because of the few pupils to attend school, was used
for divine service on that occasion and for some time after.
Rock Valley had a population then of about twenty-five
or thirty, and among the number in town and country were twelve Catholic
families, whose hearts were gladdened when they had an opportunity to be present
at the adorable sacrifice. After Rev. Father O'Reilly had attended to the
spiritual wants of the Catholic families a few times, they concluded that it
would be well to build a church; and, accordingly, with scanty means but willing
hearts and brawny muscles, they commenced the work, and in a very short time had
a building 32 x 40 erected and furnished with the necessaries requisite for
divine service. If I well remember, two lots were secured from Mr. A. J. Warren,
owner of the town site, one of which was donated by that enterprising and
The lots selected were on the wild prairie
and the writer then thought and said that a sidewalk would never be laid so far
away. Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis. Times change and we change with
them. Now, not only do walks surround the location but are laid nearly half a
When the Catholics had their own church building they
rejoiced exceedingly, and though the building stood on the wild prairie, a
solitary monument to their ambition and energy, they seemed to feel as happy as
if the building was within a stone's throw from their doors. And I may add happy
days, inasmuch as the few families united and helped each other, so that they
seemed to appear not as separate families, but as one large family. The same
church building, erected by those early pioneers, still stands, and with
additions added, continues to be used for divine services. The public school
building, so much used in those day and for various purposes, has since been
converted; into a private residence, and is now owned and occupied by Mr.
Sebastian Dischler, one of the early Catholic settlers.
Of the early Catholic pioneers some have gone to their rewards; others are still
living in Rock Valley, engaged in various occupations and enjoying the blessings
and comforts that they reaped for themselves by their energy and thrift through
the long years of persevering toil.
The early Catholic pioneers still living in this
locality are Messrs. Henry and Louis Henningfield, P. A. Cummings, Henry
Schemmer, J. B. Foppe, John Murphy, Bernard Sandschulte, each one of whom could
interest and entertain newcomers for hours, even days, as describers of the
early history of Rock Valley and surroundings.
The number of Catholic families now exceeds one
hundred, about sixty of which live in Rock Valley, the others in the country.
They are the owners of an entire block on which stand fine church, school and
pastoral buildings; all of which, as well as the block, are free from debts.
Rock Valley today has a population of about eleven or
twelve hundred, and judging from present indications, there is every reason to
believe that before many years pass, the town will be large enough to bear the
proud distinction of a city.
THE UNITED PRESBYTERIAN
CHURCH OF ROCK VALLEY,
By REV. R. E. LACKEY.
existence of this church began on that day in the spring of 1883 when Rev. W. J.
Graham arrived and took charge of the work. Previous to this time services had
been held, from time to time, by Rev. J. W. Johnston, Rev. D. C. Wilson and
There was no formal organization until August 11, 1883.
On that day, by direction of the presbytery of College Springs, of which this
section of Iowa was then a part, the congregation was regularly organized. Rev.
D. C. Wilson presided. The following officers were elected: Elders, Robert
McLean and Levi P. Gilbert; Trustees, Matthew Eernissee, D. C. Galbraith and C.
M. McBride, M. D.; Treasurer, William M. Shipman.
On the same day,
August 11, 1883, a call was extended to Rev. W. J. Graham to become the pastor
of the newly organized congregation. He accepted the call and thus the little
congregation, fully organized, was started on its career, which has made it a
power for good in the community down to the present time.
On Nov. 1, 1887, the presbytery of northwestern Iowa
was organized, with Rock Valley as one of the congregations under its
jurisdiction. It is still subject to the same presbytery.
The congregation has had seven pastors. Their names follow, with the years
during which they had charge: Rev. W. J. Graham, 1883-1884; Rev. C. L.
McCracken, 18861893; Rev. S. R. McLaughlin, 1894-1898; Rev. 'VV. H. Anderson,
1899-1901; Rev. J. E. Heeter, 1902-1903; Rev. H. C. White, Ph. D., 1903-1905.
Rev. R. E. Lackey took charge in November, 1905, and is still the pastor.
Mr. Robert McLean is the only one of the officers
elected on the day of the organization who is now in the congregation. Of the
twenty-five charter members, only four remain. They are Robert McLean, Mrs.
Robert McLean, Mrs. Susan A. Shipman and James Chisholm.
The present session consists of the following elders:
Robert McLean, W. J. Skewis, Peter McKellar, C. J. Fink, W. J. McLean and J. C.
Stuckslager. The following have been elders in the congregation at different
times in the past: Levi P. Gilbert, J. H. Blatherwick, George A. Rugg, J. M.
Shaw, Joel Gardner and A. McArthur. The present Board of Trustees consists of W.
C. Leonard, N. P. McLean and J. C. Stuckslager. Treasurer, C. J. Fink.
Three hundred and thirty-six members have been received
into the congregation since its organization. Of these, only ninety-two remain
on the roll today.
During the first four years of its existence, the
congregation had no church building. With commendable courtesy, the Methodist
people allowed the United Presbyterians to worship in their church at such times
as the building was not needed for their own services. But on July 14, 1887, the
present building was dedicated. In it regular services have since been held. The
pastor preaches at two services each Sabbath. The Sabbath school meets at the
close of the morning service; the Junior Christian Union, under the leadership
of Mrs. Gertrude Veldboom, at 4 p. m.; the Senior Christian Union, Lewis Dean,
president, at 7:15 p. m., just before the evening service. There is also a
flourishing Ladies' Missionary Society, Mrs. R. E. Lackey, president, which
meets monthly. The congregation gave for purely mission work last year, an
average of $5.08 per member, and for all purposes, an average of $25.43 per
THE REFORMED CHURCH OF ROCK
REV. JOHN ENGELSMAN.
"the Reformed Church in America" desires to be and is the exponent of
Truth in the spirit of the Fathers; and by tenaciously clinging to its
"Forms of Unity"-the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession and
the five articles against the Arminians--from the time of its existence, i. e.,
for about 300 years, it has proved itself in its orthodox belief a bulwark
against the immoral influences of religious liberalism of our century.
As a branch of the old tree, "The Netherlands'
Reformed Church," her spires are emblems of the old faith, linked with a
full consciousness of her responsibility in keeping pace with the progress of
civilization and holding before the world an open Bible, and pointing the world
to a Triune God.
Sioux County may call itself favored of the Lord in
that it can pride itself in such a goodly number of local churches of this
denomination, spread over its surface like so many testimonies of its solidity
and love of religion.
And, although it is one of the least of them, even Rock
Valley, however small the Holland contingent of its population may be, has its
The church was organized in November, 1890, by the
Classis of Iowa, through its representatives, the Revs. James De Pree, A. Van
den Berg and Elder T. Wayenberg with 16 votes; while 6 joined by letter and 12
were accepted on confession of faith. Two elders and two deacons were elected,
constituting the first consistory.
Soon a church edifice was erected and the building
dedicated to the service of God. Meanwhile a pastor was called, the Rev. John
Huizenga, from Holland, Nebraska. The call was accepted and the brother
installed in March, 1892. The following year a suitable residence was procured
by purchase from Mrs. E. J. Beyer.
Gradually the church grew. A Sabbath school was
organized, a Woman's Missionary Society and Young People's Societies. In
November, 1902, a pipe organ was installed.
But days of trial approached, when, in November, 1904,
its pastor accepted the call of the Board of Domestic Missions to labor in the
Lord's vineyard as Classical Missionary of the Classis of Iowa. After many vain
attempts to procure another pastor, the Lord at last remembered this little
flock and sent them the Rev. John Engelsman from Randolph, Wisconsin. He took
charge of this church in August, 1905. In the spring of 1906 an exchange of
residences was effected with Mr. A. Schemmer, so that henceforth church building
and parsonage were joined. A debt to the Board of Domestic Missions to the
amount of $800.00 was paid and the new parsonage, free of encumbrance, was
occupied by its present pastor.
A steady growth characterizes this church. About 90
families worship with her at present. The total number of communicants is 131,
and of baptized non-communicants is 318. She certainly has many reasons to thank
the Lord for the prosperity granted her.
THE CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH
OF ROCK VALLEY.
REV. HENRY J. HEYNEN.
Reformed Church of Rock Valley was organized in the year 1891. The church then
numbered but seven families. Their small beginning, however, did not prevent
their gradual growth. In the year 1897 they purchased the church building of the
Norwegian Lutheran Church. In the same year they were gladdened by the coming of
the first pastor, the Rev. A. Van der Velde Van der Boh, who labored faithfully
among them until 1904.
In the year of 1901 the church building was enlarged
because of the growth of the church. After the departure of Rev. Van der Velde
Van der Boh, they secured the Rev. H. J. Heynen, who at present labors among
The church is in a flourishing condition. The
membership is steadily increasing, numbering at present about seventy families,
together more than four hundred souls.
With the blessing of God, of which the church feels assured, the erection of a
more suitable house of worship may be expected in a not far distant future.
BY JACOB KOOLBECK AND OTHERS.
The part of Sioux
County now known as Floyd Township was taken from territory at one time included
in Holland Township. It is described as Congressional Township 95 North, Range
43 West, being six miles square it contains about 23,040 acres. It was detached
and organized through an act of the board of supervisors in 1873.
Its boundaries are Lynn Township on the North, O'Brien
County on the east, East Orange Township on the south, and Holland Township on
the west. The Floyd River meanders through the township from northeast to
southwest, this stream with its numerous branches provides the township with an
ample supply of water for stock and other purposes, and also gives a thorough
and natural drainage system, which pre-eminently fits the soil for the bountiful
crops so frequently harvested in this part of Sioux County. The Chicago, St.
Paul, Minneapolis and...