they concluded the best thing to do was to camp
right there, which they did. The horses were turned loose to drift for
themselves, the snow was scraped away with a shovel and the whole party working
as best as they could from that time until dark, got a shelter rigged up and
camped for the night. This shelter was made with the aid of blankets and the rig
they had been driving. The next morning it was storming as bad as ever, but
about ten o'clock Mr. Quinlan ventured out a little way to look for his horses,
but could not find them; in fact, so dense was the storm, that he might have
passed very near them without seeing them; so lie returned to the camp anti
spent an of that day and the following night there, and all they had to eat was
a little candy, but thanks to the settlers foresight in stopping where they
were, they came out the second morning, a little frostbitten, but safe, and only
to find that they had spent two days and two nights almost within 100 rods of a
house, the existence of which they were ignorant, so dense and so blinding was
the storm. This is related merely to show what was in store for a pioneer.
By GEORGE VAN PEURSEM.
requested by the publishers of the Sioux County Atlas to briefly relate our past
experiences in the settlement of Sioux County, and in Sherman Township, we
decided to grant that request, with the view also to inform the present
generation, which is unacquainted with the many troubles and difficulties with
which the first settlers had to contend. We also desire to do our share in
making the Sioux County Atlas, about to be published, as valuable as possible.
The writer visited Sioux County in the fall of 1872,
and was convinced by many evidences that a successful settlement could be made.
Those who had already settled were full of courage, but as is most always the
case with new settlements, they had not calculated on disappointments. The
writer came from Pella, Iowa, to Sioux County in the spring of 1873, with wife
and five children. We were all full of courage and hope for the future, but
during the month of June, the grasshoppers, coming from the south, visited our
locality and destroyed the small crop that was put in. Numerous were the
discussions made, and opinions held in reference to this plague; many also
became discouraged; and this discouragement increased when these grasshoppers
made their return trip in the fall. We were compelled to contend with these
insects for three years. If it had not been for the two most influential men
among the people, namely, Rev. S. Bolks and Mr. Henry Hospers, whose memories
should be held sacred, nearly all the first settlers would have returned whence
they came. These men could fill one with courage under the greatest
difficulties; even then, many returned to Pella.
The writer will never forget the time when his crop for
three consecutive years was destroyed, and when he offered for sale his
homestead, with house and crop, for $300.00, Mr. Hospers said to him,
"George, you are not going to leave us"? The writer asked him,
"Will you support my family this winter"? he frankly answered,
"Yes, if necessary." The writer also will never forget the time when
the board of supervisors requested him with F. Heemstra and James McDonald as
trustees, and J. C. Emery, as Clerk, to appraise Section 16, being a school
section. We were informed that according to law, we could not appraise the land
for less than $6.00 per acre. Conversing with one another, we seemed to agree in
our opinion, that the land would not be sold until the next generation, because
we were not allowed to assess it lower than $6.00 per acre; this same land has
since been sold for more than $100.00 per acre, as it is adjoining to Maurice,
and as Maurice is a prosperous village, the land is still raising in value. The
village of Maurice came into existence in 1884, when the Chicago and
Northwestern Railroad was built through this territory. The same year, a Dutch
Reformed Church was established, later on a Roman Catholic Church. The church
building of the Reformed society is now insufficient to hold the worshippers and
is being enlarged and remodeled at an expense of more than $5,000.00. The
population of the village consists of different nationalities, and yet they live
peaceably with one another.
However, entertaining the fear that my article may
become too lengthy, I close with my best wishes for the success of a new Sioux
SOME OF THE TRIALS OF PIONEERING.
BY J. C. EMERY.
As requested, I give
my first experience in Sherman Township. I filed on my homestead the 10th day of
June, 1872. I then returned to near Madison, Wisconsin, and in October, moved my
family consisting of a wife and one child to Sioux County. I then built a sod
house 12 x 28 with shingle roof, the rafters resting on the sods; I plastered
the inside with mud, my wife papered it with old newspapers, so any one coming
in could see at once that we lived in a temple of knowledge; we learned
something there, but honestly for comfort, that was the best house I ever lived
in; it was warm in winter and cool in summer.
After getting my family under our own roof, I counted
the remainder of my capital and found just four dollars and sixty seven cents,
and winter near by. I had, after coming here traded a horse for two hundred and
fifty bushels of corn and an old cow; so far as feed and corn bread was
concerned, I was all right.
In December, I made my first and last trip to the Rock
river for wood; I shall always remember it. I went over to Indian Creek
and stopped with my wife's father, Jackson Atwood, the first night. Early in the
morning my brother-in-law and I started for the Rock; before noon it began to
snow and it came thick and fast, all the rest of the day, and well into the
night; when we got out the next morning, it was clear as a bell, the sun came.
out as bright and warm as a spring morning. When we were at the stable, taking
care of the horses, my brother-in-law came in and said that we had better till
the mangers as full of hay as we could for a blizzard was coming; we did so and
fixed the boards that we had for a door as well as we could and started for the
house. By that time you could not see ten feet away from you, nor did we see the
barn again for two days. I counted myself lucky to be in a house; I thought of
the family at home, twelve miles away, but knowing that they had plenty of fuel,
I did not worry, as I should if I had known their situation; when the wind
struck our sod house from the north west (the rafters, as I said before resting
on the sod walls), the roof began to dance up and down too lively for comfort,
but what can't a woman do? I will tell you what she did. She took a piece of
rope that was in the house and tied the rafter and the bed together, then piled
all she could find in the house that she could carry on the bed and so held the
roof down. After the storm was over, she tunneled out of the house, for the snow
had drifted higher than the door, and also dug her way into the barn and fed the
old cow and horse that had been two days without feed.
Then in June came the grasshoppers and for three years
they destroyed nearly all of the crops; those were the days that tried the
mettle of our people. Those that were lucky enough to have another home went
there, the rest had to stay; just grab a root and hold on. And so it is in every
new country, there comes something, we will call it a Fanning Mill, something to
separate the chaff from the wheat; those that had no faith in the future of the
country left it, but fortunately most of the people of Sherman Township were
composed of Hollanders, Irish and Germans with a sprinkling of the proverbial
Yankee, who like the other Yankee, when told that he was at the point of death,
took out his jack-knife and whittled it off.
And today we see ten public school houses and three
churches in Sherman Township.
I wish time and space permitted me to call to notice each one of our citizens
that have helped to make Sherman Township so prosperous and one of the most
productive in the best County of Iowa.
THE ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC
In the early days of
Sioux County, long before the town of Maurice had its beginning, there were
numbered among the early pioneers, as is usually the case in such instances,
several Catholic families.
The religious conveniences of those days were far from
what they are at the present time, and many were the hardships undergone by
those pioneer Catholic settlers to take part in their religious services.
It was a long time before those who had settled down in
Grant and Sherman Townships were strong enough in numbers to erect a place of
worship for themselves, and for years, they had to make long and hard trips to
Alton and Le Mars to attend divine service.
ST. MARY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, MAURICE.
Later on, as their
numbers increased, the Catholic population grew strong enough, and was
centralized sufficiently to establish themselves as a mission, and for several
years before the founding of the town of Maurice, as well as two years after its
beginning in 1882, Rev. John O'Reilly of Sheldon came here and ministered to the
people. In those days, the services were held in the homes of various members of
the congregation and later in the first school-house erected in the new town.
Father O'Reilly also had charge at that time of the missions at Rock Valley and
Hawarden, besides his home parish at Sheldon.
In the year 1884--two years after the founding of
Maurice--the congregation had grown to such an extent that they decided upon
building a place of worship for themselves, and on November 10th of that same
year, the present Catholic church as it now stands was completed. The committee
in charge of the erection of. the building was as follows: Peter Cribbens, Luke
Fitzpatrick, Michael Keough, James McDonald and Patrick Quigley,--the first of
whom has long since moved to Missouri and the others having one by one, passed
to their final reward. Mr. John Lynch, still a citizen of the town as well as a
member of the congregation, was the contractor and builder.
Father O'Reilly was succeeded as pastor by the Rev.
Father Sullivan who remained from 1884 until August of the following year. In
1885, Rev. John Phelan--now of Sibley--took up the work, and ministered to the
wants of the congregation of Maurice, in connection with the missions of Rock
Valley, Hawarden and Akron. He continued as pastor for five years.
In 1890, Rev. Father Donahue assumed the pastorate at
Maurice-though living in Hawarden-with Akron as an extra mission, and he
performed his duties faithfully and well until his removal to the eastern part
of the state in 1896.
Rev. Peter Connelly--now at Merrill came here in 1896
and was established as the first resident pastor of St. Mary's Parish, Maurice.
In connection with the Maurice congregation, he was given charge of the newly
established mission of Struble in Plymouth County. His work was successful, and
the parish continued to grow and prosper during his pastorate. In 1899, the
present parochial residence was built.
Following Father Connelly, came the Rev. M. M. Grady,
in the year 1902. He remained until the year 1904, when failing health caused
him to relinquish his charge. He eventually settled down in Tucson, Arizona,
where he died in December, 1904.
In the spring of that same year, Rev. H. J. Dries--now
pastor at Dedham, Ia.--was sent to relieve Father Grady and he remained until
the following October.
In October 1904, Rev. E. T. McNally was appointed
pastor to succeed Father Dries, and he still remains in charge of the Maurice
and Struble congregations. Father McNally was born in Boston, Mass., 28 years
ago, and made his studies in Boston and New York. He was ordained a Priest in
1903, coming west in the same year. Before assuming charge of the parish in
Maurice, he was stationed with the Bishop in Sioux City and also in Fort Dodge.
He is a public-spirited citizen, a loyal American, and a strong admirer of
President Roosevelt and his high principles.
The Maurice parish is at the present time free from all
debt and still continues to prosper-though many of its older members are
dropping off gradually, year by year-victims of their old age and their early,
The parish--including the mission of Struble--consists
of about 85 families, and numbers among its members, such men as William Dealy,
Chairman of the Sioux County Board of Supervisors; P. H. Moran, for many years
Mayor of the town of Maurice; John Linnan, Daniel Doherty, Daniel Buckley, Hugh
and William McDonald, John, William and Thos. Keough, Patrick O'Hare, John
Tiernan, John Maher, John Fanning, Luke Fitzpatrick, Thos, Quigley and James
Kuborn, all prosperous farmers in the district surrounding the town of Maurice,
and John Lynch, John Crowley and P. H. Vanderwicken, business men in the town
The property, including St. Mary's Church, the
Parochial residence, and St. Mary's Cemetery, which lies a half mile east of
town, is worth at the present time about $10,000, and is a credit to the
Catholic citizens of the parish as well as a credit to the community in general.
THE REFORMED CHURCH, MAURICE,
REV. P. IHRMAN.
The Reformed Church
of Maurice was organized October 23, 1884, by Rev.'s Buursma, Warnshuis and
Elder Muilebburg. The church edifice that stands on the corner of Main and
Fourth street was dedicated to the Lord's work, November, 1884. The size of the
building is 36 by 50 with a censistory room 20 by 24.
The first pastor was Rev. H. K. Boer from Albany, New
York, who assumed charge of the work November 28, 1885.
The parsonage situated diagonally across from the
church building was built in the early part of 1886, by Henry Gerrits and was
occupied April 8th, of the same year. The Rev. Boer closed his work at Maurice,
April 23, 1890, when he took charge of the Reformed Church of Coopers Ville,
Michigan. Rev. P. Wayenberg of Pultney Ville, New York, became the next pastor,
and began his work, July 4, 1890. Although faithful and earnest, his body
gradually weakened by a lingering disease, and he died August 5, 1893.
The next pastor was Rev. Henry Strake from Cleveland,
Ohio, who assumed the pastorate duties here February 21, 1894. On November 15,
1898, he removed to Orange City to become Educational and Financial Agent for
the Northwestern Classical Academy.
The present pastor Rev. P. Ihrman came here from Grand
-Rapids, Michigan, and began his work June 1, 1899.
The organization started with twenty-nine charter
members; sixteen came with letters from the First Reformed Church of Orange
City; twelve with letters from the Alton Reformed Church, and were accepted on
confession of faith.
The church consists of seventy five families, or one
hundred and sixty members.. It is well organized, with a strong consistory, and
financially able and willing to be self supporting, besides aiding the various
boards and institutions of the denomination.
The members of the consistory at present, are as
follows: Elders, George Van Peursem, Henry M. Mensink, William Brink, Gerrit
Brink and James De Jong; Deacons, K. Van der Stoep, B. Kots, James Mieras, Henry
Kooi and William De Jong.
Rev. Peter Ihrman, the present pastor of the Reformed Church spent his boyhood
days in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He...