gregational Church from date of organization to 1890 when the "First"
church was built; the building was enlarged in 1899 and in 1903
The old parsonage was built in 1891 and enlarged during
1901. The present parsonage was bought and remodeled during the winter of 1906.
After the departure of Rev. B. W. Lammers, the church had no pastor until Rev.
C. Kriekaard was installed in May 1893; he served until September 1896. Rev. M.
F. Broekstra, the next pastor was installed in June 1897 and served until
September 1900. S. Koster was installed during December, 1900. His pastoral
relations were severed by action of the classis of Iowa on the 17th day of March
1905. Rev. A. W. De Jonge accepted the call as pastor and was installed during
November 1905, and is the present pastor.
The above is a short historical sketch of a church
beginning with seventeen members which has grown to two hundred and fifteen
members besides four hundred baptismal members,; families represented, one
hundred and ten; Sunday School scholars enrolled, two hundred; beginning with
debts, now virtually without debt, holding property in Hull as fine as the best
in Sioux County, for church and parsonage purposes. The members and attendants
give freely to both missionary and charity besides paying $1,100.00 annually as
BY HANS MOELLER AND OTHERS.
Plato was formerly a part of Rock Township, known as
Township 96 North, Range 46 West, was later in settling up than its northern and
southern neighboring townships. However, the land was far too valuable, and the
possibilities far too great to permit it to lie unknown and undeveloped. Today,
just as happy homes and fertile farms are to be found there as anywhere in Sioux
County. It is fortunately situated in that it slopes to the several little
creeks crossing it and thus is well drained, but a small percentage of it is
sloughs or wet land.
Joe. Roberts of Rock Valley plowed the first furrow in
what is now Plato township in 1882; he was among the first settlers in the
township, and his brother-in-law, A. McArthur, named the township. It was named
after Plato Township, Kane County, Illinois, Mr. McArthur's former home.
The first settlers were H. Blatherwick, Joe. Roberts,
J. Moss, Alex. McArthurs, Chas. Ellis, Bert Wiggins and father, and Peter
McKeller. These men were also instrumental in the dividing of Plato Township
from Rock (about 1888), into a separate township. The settlement was mostly on
the north and northwestern part of the township. J. Blatherwick owned the farm
now owned by D. De Boers; Joe. Roberts, the farm now owned by Walpole brothers;
J. Moss, the Michael Norris farm, and McArthurs farm is now divided into several
farms. There was a house built about this time on a farm then owned by a Mr.
Kemp of Le Mars, but rented to others, this farm is now owned by Wm. Hulstein.
The first baby who came to the township with her
parents, is now Mrs. ,John Harmelink; she was born in Wisconsin in 1870 and came
here when only nine months old; she is said to be the first child to live west
of the West Branch of the Floyd. Probably the first child born in the township
was Star Thayer, son of Ed. Thayer.
The first school was taught by Miss Lundy, upstairs in
the Joe. Roberts house.
The first school house was built about 1887 where No. 5
The township was organized in 1885.
The Township Clerk was Chas. Ellis.
The German Church was built in 1891 and those
instrumental in its building were Hans and Jacob Moeller, Fred Schlumbohm,
Ernest Bordorf and Fred Hoeck. Rev. E. Hopp was the first pastor, then Rev. H.
Fisher, Rev. E. H. Gillman, G. Janzy, F. Durr and W. E. Gillmann the present
The first person buried in the German cemetery was Mrs.
Hans Moeller, who died April 26, 1894.
In the southwest part of the township, there was
another settlement a little later than the first mentioned; in it were Moody
Armstrong, Dell Thayer, Nick Van Horsen and Hans and Jacob Moeller. These men
had mostly rented land elsewhere before acquiring land of their own. This was
just after the grasshopper raids, so there were great bargains in land, the best
of land could be bought at from $5.00 to $12.50 per acre.
The first house built in this settlement was near the
old trail that came from Orange City to the Rock River. These old trails played
an important part in the settlement of Plato Township, as they offered the only
means of communication with the outside World, and people liked to get near them
to build their homes. This trail came in from Center Township in Section 36,
crossing Section 35 just west of Holstein's house where the ford over Six Mile
Creek was at that time, thence across Section 34 and 28 through the farm now
owned by Hans Moeller, then through Section 29 and 30 into the old stage trail,
this was known as the old Ox Trail. The old stage trail crossed Section 32
northwesterly to northwest corner of Section 30, then Section 19 and into
Garfield Township. The ox trail was worn from four to five feet deep in places
and forded the Six Mile Creek; but had a bridge over Dry run.
Plato like the other north townships of the
county had to depend on the Rock River valley for its fuel supply, and being
later settled than the others it got only what the other early settlers had
left. Mostly stumps remained, and to get a load of them required a great deal of
labor, but for all the work they were much sought after. While Plato was near
enough to the river to go and return the same day, some of the other townships
were not so fortunately situated, they had to sometimes spend several days to
get a load of fuel; this was a great question always with the settlers, for woe
betide him who was caught short when the north wind began to blow; fortunate
indeed was he who lived near the river, for he was near where it was to be had:
if he lived out on the prairie, it meant long hard drives for him and his team
to procure this treasure. Reader, picture to yourself the early morning hours of
a frosty day, maybe four o'clock A. M., maybe three o'clock A. M., and the
pioneer starting with his wagon and his team. A frugal meal would be prepared by
the good wife while the husband gave the horses their early breakfast, and the
harness hastily put on, and with the above implements and tools and perhaps a
gun, the husband and father would start out on a journey that was to last all
day and perhaps two or three days; sometimes so fierce would be the blizzard
that no load of wood could be brought home at all and only twisted hay would
have to be used; fortunately, the Plato Township people had it a little better
than those of the older townships in this respect, but they had what would try
their mettle, for instead of homesteads they had to buy their land with their
slender means; then too, the most severe winters known came after the settlement
of Plato, and the settlers were not so well prepared as in the older
settlements, for the older townships had in a measure become established in
communities and had better trails than we had.
The blizzard of 1887 caught the Plato settlers as
severely as any. It came so suddenly that it was like a blast out of the very
north. Mr. Hans Moeller relates that while he was choring at his barn an old man
who was with him wanted to go to the house about ten rods away; but that the
wind and snow was so blinding he prevented him from starting until Mr. Moeller
could go with him; they finally started for it after taking their bearings the
very best they could, and took hold of each other's coats to go, but in that
short distance missed it thirty-six feet and had they not ran up against a pump
would have been lost in their yard. This is related to show the intensity of
these blizzards. The school just south of Mr. Moeller's was dismissed about this
time and a man was taking the teacher home. This man had to pass the Moeller
house and saw it but was headed for the next one, Thos. Richardson, but missed
it fourteen or fifteen rods too far west; he got out and examined the ground and
realized that he was lost. The mule he was driving, however, about that time
became tangled up in a clothesline and Mr. Fluegel realized where he was and so
got to shelter by means of the clothesline.
THE REFORMED CHURCH OF CARMEL, IOWA.
It was felt by the Rev. James De Pree, pastor of the
First Reformed Church of Sioux Center and some of the members of his church that
lived in this vicinity that a congregation ought to be organized here. He
brought it before the classis of Iowa, upon which the following committee was
appointed to look after these matters: Rev. J. Huyzenga, Rev. C. Kriekard, Rev.
J. De Pree and Elder Schut. The organization took place July 18, 1895.
Wm. Van Berkum and C. Mos were chosen as elders; P.
Bartels and G. B. Kuyper were chosen as directors. The congregation numbered 27
members, and was named The Reformed Church of Carmel.
For the first three months, the congregation was served
by the theological student, J. W. Te Selle, whom they called two years later as
their pastor. Church and parsonage were built, and the Rev. Te Selle was
installed July 1, 1897 by the Rev's. J. F. Zwemer, J. Huyzenga, J. De Pree and
J. W. Te Paske. Rev. Te Selle served the congregation until January 30, 1900,
when he moved to Hospers, Iowa. The place was vacant one year when the Rev. H.
Dyk Huizen of Sheldon, Iowa accepted their call. He served the congregation
until October 13, 1904, when he accepted a call to the Fourth Church of Pella,
Iowa. During his time, a beautiful parsonage was erected, the congregation was
again without a pastor one year until the Rev. J. W. Kots from Sand Stone,
Minn., accepted their call. He is still serving the congregation.
They have a nice property here with buildings all in
good condition standing on a four acre lot donated by Mr. J. W. Te Grotenhuis of
GARFIELD SIOUX AND SETTLERS.
What is now Garfield Sioux and Settlers Townships,
were at one time all in one civil township called Settlers. Garfield was set
apart and organized June 3, 1884. The petition was presented by O. Waldorf and
others praying for said board to create and organize a civil township. The
territory described in said petition included Section 1 to 36, Township 96-47,
also parts of Section 1-12 and 36, Township 96-48.
To Samuel Bellisfield without a doubt belongs the honor
of being the oldest settler now living in Sioux County. He came to Sioux County
with his parents July 28, 1868 and settled on the Rock River on Section 34 Sioux
Township; the land is now owned by a Mr. Van Dyne. Samuel's father, Peter
Bellisfield, died August 9, 1868, this being the first death of a white person
in the county. At this time there were only four settlers living in the county:
D. M. Morris, who then lived at Calliope, Miner Raymer, Calliope, Andy St.
Claire, Calliope, and Jack Brown, who then lived at what is now Elm Springs in
Settlers Township; the same year came Rufus Stone and his son D. O. Stone and
with Stone came Eli Johnson and Peter Romine, all settling around Calliope. In
and around the northwest part of the county in 1869 to 1872 as near as I
remember, were H. Hazlitt, Ole Gertson, N. Rosgaard, A. T. Quien, J. L. and Ole
Jacobson, John J. and Nels Brogstad and their fathers, also Elis :and O. A.
Oakland in what is now known as Sioux and Settlers Township.
About the first to settle in Garfield were the Millers
and Waldorfs. Mrs. John Miller and her sons Wm. and Frank; Wm. now lives about
two miles south of the old homestead. Mr. Waldorf now lives in Hudson, S. D.
Garfield, however, settled up slowly because there was so much deeded land, and
the settlers were too poor to buy it.
The first house in what is now Sioux Township was built
by the Bellisfield boys on Section 34; this house was a stopping place for all
the later settlers that afterward came in freighting and settling; it was not
intended for a hotel but really became one, and many an early settler has been
entertained at this point. The Bellisfields ran a ferry at this place for seven
or eight years beginning about 1872; before that time, the river was forded
except when high water brought into use the canoes, and later the bridges
Somewhere about 1866, there were four trappers in Lyon
County who fell into the Rock river, and two of them were drowned; one body was
recovered and was buried somewhere on the north side of a burr oak tree, about
one and three-fourths mile east of the river and one-half mile south of the Lyon
County line, in Rock Township, Section 1. This is without doubt the first man
buried in the county.
July the 4th, 1871, a mail route was established
running from Le Mars to Luverne, Minn. This route ran by way of Oshkosh and
Royal Ridge on Section 24, Rock Township. The mail was carried by Samuel
Bellisfield for two years; he still possesses a copy of the original contract
for carrying the mail. The Bellisfields kept a Post-office by the name of Irene
which served the people in Settlers Township; he was Postmaster from the time it
was established until it closed. This route ran from Sioux City to Sioux Falls,
S. D. The Oshkosh office was kept by James Kottrel, the Royal Ridge by John D.
Sorg in Rock Township.
Thoren Anderson, now a resident of Hudson, S. D.,
relates some experiences of the latter part of the seventies. He came from
Norway to Wisconsin in 1873, moved to Lyon County, Iowa in 1876, and in 1877, to
Sioux County, settling on (school land), Section 16 Settlers, now Garfield
Township. Mr. Anderson herded cattle the first four years and had as many as
1500 head in his herd; he afterwards took up farming, and in 1882 purchased of
H. O. Rude, of Ossian, Iowa, the farm he now owns and which is being managed by
his son,' H. A. Anderson. The nearest trading place was old Eden in South Dakota
territory about two miles south of where Hudson now is. The nearest railroad and
grain market was at Le Mars, a distance of about forty five miles. The settlers
used ox teams as late as 1880. There is no doubt but what Mr. Anderson had the
largest ox team in Sioux County; they weighed nearly 4,000 pounds. He sold them
when cattle were very cheap for $130.00 which was considered a very good price.
A flour and grist mill was built on the Big Sioux river
near where the town of Hudson is located, in 1876 by Struble Bros. later known
as the Struble & Thorpe mill. The settlers came from far and near to have
their wheat ground until the spring of 1881 when the mill was washed away by
high water. Struble & Thorpe also operated a ferry at that point.
A man by the name of Spencer owned and operated a saw
mill at Fairview; here the early settlers had their lumber sawed until the
Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul. Railroad was built in 1879.
SCHOOLS.--The first school in the township was taught
by Celia Fauske in a sod house owned by Mr. Anderson on section 16 (a three
month's term in the summer of 1880) ; there were nine scholars, P. H. Austin was
one of the directors. The first school house built in the township was on
section 6 and was moved three times.
WILD GAME.-There were several big herd of elk seen in
the early seventies and some deer. Beaver, otter and mink were quite plenty
along the rivers and a few wild turkeys, but the latter were so wild that but a
very few ever got within range of the settler's gun. A man by the name of Roy
Okey made a business of trapping for several years; he is now a resident of
A WEDDING TRIP.
Mr. Edward Quinlan was making the overland trip from
Le Mars to his home in Rock Township in the winter of 1873. The party were Mr.
and Mrs. Edward Quinlan who were coming from Sioux City via Le Mars and Miss
Buckley, now Mrs. P. C. Sullivan of Rock Valley. It was a beautiful winter
morning and they anticipated no trouble but they were met by a blizzard which
grew in intensity until it was an "old timer," and the roads too,
became obliterated except the faint trace of a track made by wagons going over
this oft traveled route; finally the drivers were misled by the depression in
the snow caused by a furrow some settler had plowed in the ground and Mr.
Quinlan, thinking this was the road turned into it-with the inevitable result
that they were lost completely and as a result drove into the Floyd river. This,
however, didn't matter so much as the Floyd river was frozen up good and solid,
but being so completely bewildered,...