The full legal number of schools (9) are in operation. The wages paid to
teachers and money spent for equipment brings us the best teachers and
our schools are certainly high class. A number of older pupils attend
the high schools in neighboring towns and at present several of our
young people are at college. A number of our teachers are and have
been for several years tile product of our own schools. Quite a
difference between present educational opportunities and those offered
by Mrs. Sneer's Kitchen school in '81.
On Mt. Joy, a high hill in the northeastern corner which has been so
named, are two churches. The Church of God, built in 1893, and a
Norwegian Lutheran Church, built a few years later. A store started here
at the cross roads did a good business for a time, but burning down for
the second time, was not rebuilt. There is now a small blacksmithing and
machine shop. Large herds of cattle, hogs and sheep are fattened and
marketed annually. The farmers are nearly all heavy feeders. Land is
raising and has raised a great deal in value. Some farms are selling as
high as $80 to $100 per acre at present. Contrast this with $15.00
fifteen years ago. We may never send anyone to the Senate, we don't ever
expect to see one of oar number in the President's chair, but we can
raise corn and feed cattle. Remember.
BUNCOMBE TOWNSHIP AND HAWARDEN.
BY WM. E. WEST.
Sioux County was organized some time prior to 1868. From what little
history we have been able to find the less said about it the better.
With the assistance of my friends and what data I am able to collect,
will give it mostly from the date of my arrival, which was August 11,
I have in my possession the first book used by the township clerks to
record the proceedings of the Board of Trustees and the first Minutes
read as follows:
Calliope, Sioux County, Iowa.
February 20, 1869.
Buncombe Township Board of Trustees met pursuant to notice.
Present--Wm. Maulam, A. St. Clair and J. L. McCrery. Board called to
order by J. L. McCrery, Chairman. Ordered that an election be held on
the first Saturday in March to elect three Sub-Directors for School
District No. 1, Buncombe Township, Sioux County, Iowa.
(Signed) R. R. McCrery, Clerk.
(At this time Sioux County was all in Buncombe
The second meeting recorded states that
R. R. McCrery
resigned as clerk and Rufus Stone was appointed to fill vacancy at same
meeting. A. St. Clair was appointed member of Board of Supervisors to
fill vacancy caused by resignation of R. R. McCrery. At next meeting
Peter Romine's name appears as a member present of the Board of
Trustees. Records, however, show no action constituting him such member.
The date of this last meeting before the arrival of the writer was June
I will never forget when my brother, G. B.
West, Eli Johnson and
myself drove over the bluffs five miles south of Calliope and Mr.
Johnson, who was driver, stopped the team at the highest point and
pointed out the town of Calliope to us away up the river and I suppose
that the same remark made by my brother at that time has been repeated
many times, viz.: "isn't that a most beautiful valley."
We arrived at our destination a little late for dinner, but Mrs.
Stone, wife of Rufus Stone, who has been named as Township Clerk and was
also County Treasurer, Auditor, Recorder, Clerk of Courts and various
other officers, (Calliope was at this time no County Seat), proceeded to
welcome us and in short order had a fine dinner ready for us. And we
gave no sign or intimation that it was not thoroughly appreciated.
The residents of Sioux County, with the exception of three families,
lived at Calliope, and were the following persons: Rufus Stone, Mrs. M.
A. Stone, F. P. Stone, D. U. Stone, Miss Emma Allies, Alexander Johnson,
Sr., Eli Johnson, a single man, Andy St. Clair (a Frenchman), Peter
Romine and Charlie Boone, who acted as deputy officers. There were three
log houses in Calliope at this time and a frame building, 14 by 16,
which did duty as a court house and for county offices.
The three families spoken of outside of Calliope,
15 miles up the Rock River; then about 4 miles farther up the river was
John Wilson and his son, Ira S. Wilson, lately surveyor of Sioux County;
and about four miles farther and a little above where Rock Valley now
stands, was the Runyon family.
During the month of August, this year (1869), Calliope experience its
first boom. Our old friend, Geo. H. Root, together with his wife and
family (Mrs. Root being still alive at this writing at the advanced age
of 66 years), their son G. H. Root, his wife and two small daughters,
Albert Root and wife, another son, H. H. Lantz, a son-in-law of Mr. and
Mrs. Root, and A. C. McDonald (the first carpenter to appear in the new
county), coming from Appanoose County. There were several others who
came in about this time, among whom were the two big Lambert boys from
The writer took a trip back to Harrison County after
chopping and floating logs down to Otis Mill, located 6 miles down the
Sioux, to get his team. Found household goods for my brother at Sioux
City on return. After this hauled lumber from Sioux City for the first
school house in Sioux County. This house is now standing and has been
used as a residence for several years.
All the land broken at this time
in Sioux County was ten or twelve acres upon which was a good crop of
oats which all hands assisted in harvesting and stacking. The stacking
was done near the residence of H. H. Lantz, who was doing the stacking.
During this stacking a baby girl was born to Mr. and Mrs. Lantz, being
the first white child born in the County of Sioux. She was named Effie
September Lantz, she is now Mrs. T. E. Granger and lives at Eagle Grove,
In the spring of 1870 a large colony of Hollanders came into tile
east end of the county and went to work with a will to make of the
fertile prairies of Sioux County the best part of the best state in the
Union, which it is today. This spring brought also many new comers to
the west part of the county, among these we recall at this time: J. L.
Chenoweth and wife, Chas. Whalen and family, John and Doe Whalen (single
men), Ab. Sargent and family, W. H. Harvey, Charlie Tarbox, Samuel Heald
and son Fred, S. A. Hammond and family, L. D. Sherman and family, Uncle
Burket with a large family and Charlie French, Selah Van Sickle and O.
J. Dunham. All of these, with the exception of the Healds, located in
what is now Reading and Washington Townships. Samuel Heald bought an
eighty acre tract one-half mile south of the Calliope town site as later
laid out and platted as Heald's addition to Hawarden, and hereon built
this house in 1871 and occupied it until 1888, replacing it by a
substantial brick structure.
FORMER RESIDENCE OF SAM'L HEALD.
The Calliope post office was kept here by Mr. Heald from 1873 to
1888. This was a regular stopping place for the traveling public for a
number of years. The picture of this house was drawn by L. C. Fay,
twenty years later from memory.
In the spring of 1872, my brother, his wife and little girl,
two years old, and myself were going onto our claims of 80 acres each,
which we had taken under the Preemption Act. The winter previous to this
Congress had passed an Act allowing a soldier the privilege of taking one
hundred and sixty acres of land inside the R. R. limit, therefore, we
agreed that he should take the land we had selected which was then the
southwest quarter of section 2, Township 94, Range 47, being now in
Washington Township. We afterward bought a relinquishment of the
northwest quarter of Section 22, same township upon which I made
homestead entry and proved up and received patent as he did for his
quarter, signed by U. S. Grant, President of the United States (we each
having served our country during the Civil War).
The settlers had been coming into the norm and ease part of the
county so rapidly that from this time on tie Township of Buncombe began
to grow beautifully less. One Congressional Township after another was
taken off, gradually reducing it to a fractional township of about
By again referring to the Trustee's Record of Buncombe Township, I
find that at a meeting of the Trustees nerd oil the 11th day of August,
1871, a petition signed by one-third of the resident tax payers was
presented to the board and a special election ordered to be held on the
6th day of September, 1871, at the school house on Section 11-94-47.
Notice of which should be published as required y Chapter 102, Laws of
the 13th General Assembly for at least 20 days before such election.
According to a contract made and entered into by and between said
Buncombe Township and the Sioux City and Pembina Railroad whereby said
railroad was to do a certain amount of construction work before the
trustees of the township were to order the tax levied the proposition
carried by a large majority. The next matter of record is the submitting
to the Board of Trustees an estimate of the work done. This instrument
is attached and recorded both by the township clerk. The road was built
to Calliope in the fall of 1875. Up to this time everything had been
hauled from Sioux City or LeMars and there was great rejoicing
throughout the Big Sioux Valley. The trustees continued to meet at
Calliope until January 9, 1872.
On the 22nd day of January, 1872, the Hollanders, one hundred and
fifty strong, headed by Judge Pendleton of Sioux City as legal adviser,
came over to Calliope, unannounced, and took away without opposition,
the safe with all books of record and hauled them over to Orange City
during tile coldest weather we had that winter. They were a little
hasty, however, for a decree of the district court ordered them returned
at once. At the next general election, the fall of 1872, the County Seat
was legally moved to Orange City.
From this time on Old Buncombe began to prosper as never before. New
settlers were coming in until there was not a vacant quarter section of
government land left and the breaking of the sod and patches of growing
crops were to be seen on every hand.
The grasshopper plague of which so much has been said and written,
was the next drawback and the worst that Sioux County ever had. Although
they had been seen here from 1868 up to 1873 they had visited us only in
small numbers. About the fail of 1873 they came and deposited their eggs
in any and every spot of bare ground in sight, especially were they to
be seen by the millions on every patch of new breaking. Here myriads of
the young were hatched the following spring and these were the ones that
did the greatest damage to the growing crops as they had to stay until
they were old enough to get their wings and fly away to greener fields,
they being at this time full grown hoppers. And by the time they left
they left nothing green but the prairie grass. They did not pass up any
kind of garden track, were especially fond of onions which they would
eat clear into the ground. They seemed very ravenous from the day they
were hatched and started to move. If they were along a public road or on
the prairie they did not cease to hop until they found some kind of
crops upon which they could feed and they seemed very industrious as
they neither slumbered nor slept. By watching a piece of grain you
could see them hopping in the evening. This was proven as there would
not be much green left in the morning. Well they continued to visit us,
young ones hatch out in the spring and old ones fly over, alight and
deposit their eggs in the fall and fly away again (only when the wind
was favorable), however. Those unacquainted with the situation will
wonder how the people stayed so long, the easiest thing in the world,
had to have somebody help them let go. Like the fellow with the bear.
Those that had friends with money left as soon as possible, the rest are
After the hoppers finally left, Old Buncombe again prospered as never
before. The Close Bros. of England, located at LeMars and bought all the
railroad lands that were in the county and bought such homesteads as
they could get at from four to five hundred dollars per quarter, picking
up a good many at these prices. About 1879 they began building,
usually putting a house, barn and granary upon each quarter section, and
furnishing employment for a great many people as they were anxious to
break up as much as possible in a short time.
The writer moved with his family into Calliope in the winter of
and went to work at carpentering with my brother, who had returned from
Illinois and put up buildings on several of the Close Bros. farms. We
built several houses on the east side of the railroad track this winter,
working all winter, although we experienced some extremely cold weather.
Along toward the last of December, Mr. David Stephen, who owned and
operated the only general store in Calliope, took a trip to Sioux City,
via Elk Point, South Dakota, (wagon route) and on his return trip
stopped at Jefferson, South Dakota. They put him in a bed in a room from
which a smallpox patient had lately been removed. Mr. Stephens came on
to Calliope and within a few days was taken very sick laying in bed over
the store where were some of his own family. After a few days he was
covered with corpuscles and felt a little better, getting up and going
down into the store and walking around town exposing a number of
persons. Finally some one who had once had the disease, told him that he
had smallpox. He went at once to the residence of Mr. E. A. J. Estes and
was there quarantined by the Board of Trustees. They at once secured a
physician and took what precautions were by them deemed necessary to
prevent the spread of this dread disease.
Mr. Rufus Stone was one of the first to take the disease and one of
Mr. Stephen's clerks named Samuel Ewait. They were both reported doing
well when a severe blizzard struck this place and it was impossible to
keep them from taking cold and they both fell victims of this, our first
scourge. There were sixteen cases in all and only two deaths. We think
this remarkable when we consider the inexperience of all concerned. To
show the inhumanity of man in times of panic will quote two instances.
Every town within miles of Calliope was quarantined against us and the
trains on the Milwaukee Railroad would go through town as if they had
been sent for. If a person that wanted to send word to his family at
some other point would approach a train they would threaten his life if
he came nearer. As in my brother's case, who was almost beside himself
because he could not hear from his family. There was a car load of cord
wood that laid at Elk Point almost two weeks while we were suffering for
fuel. Having soon exhausted what stock Mr. Stephen had on hand, W. D.
McClure, the local member of the Board of Trustees, and Samuel Heald
went to Portland with a team to get some flour, groceries, etc. They
started very early in the morning and the extreme cold had kept the
guards at home too late to stop them and they got into a hotel before
the scared ones knew of their presence. One man in all the town dared
approach, viz. John Sophie, who came to them and told them to stay in the hotel and avoid
arrest. He kindly took their order for supplies and agreed to send flour
upon first train, but would not take any of their money as they supposed
it tainted. These men lived one mile from town and had not been near
anybody with small pox. But you could hear some of the most horrible
stories of how they were dying like sheep and the farther you got away
from here the larger the stories and the more scared the people.
At this time there was no sanitary fund provided and the board was
sadly in need of funds. The writer, at this time township clerk,
together with W. D. McClure, Chairman, and E. J. Earll, a member of the
board of Trustees, were sent to orange City to make an effort to raise
five hundred dollars ($500.00) to tide us over this calamity. We got
over there without any mishap but there were a good many scared ones.
Mr. Hospers finally consented to let us have the money and we borrowed
from Buncombe Township the sum required and set-...
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