ALTON , IOWA
(By D. Glysteen)
It is almost 26 years ago that the inhabitants of Pella , Mari on County , began to complain about the big emigration to Pella , because it became too crowded. One talked about looking for another area to found another settlement. A meeting was held therefore, a committee was appointed and it chose Sioux County .
After having been here for 25 years we hope to celebrate this year in commemoration, how the Lord blessed here.
After we had settled here and after God had given us a rich harvest, and after we sold our wheat for $1. and the oats for .25 a bushel, we started calculating: .25 bushel from one acre, and $1. per bushel, that is $1000 for 40 acres. We thought we were doing quite well. But the Lord made us see that we trusted ourselves too much and that there was danger in forgetting Him. Therefore He showed is His displeasure and sent us hordes of grasshoppers that covered the land and destroyed almost all the crops. We had to do with God and He wanted to teach us dependence upon Him so that we would be humble. We had grasshoppers in Sioux County 3 years in a row and we believe that God heard the prayers of His children, for the plague was taken away never again to return.
It would not be necessary to tell you that these times were difficult. The first settlers were, without any exception, needy, so that many would have returned to Egypt again, if their possessions had not been so heavily mortgaged.
Our leader, Mr. Henry Hospers, kept encouraging the people through this difficult time and he showed us by his deeds, that he wished us well. He gave almost all he had, to whom ever came to him I'm sure nobody left with empty hands. Rightly we may say: he was the Father in the Settlement.
And now concerning Alton .
Alton was built soon after a railroad was laid from Minneapolis to Sioux City , So we soon got a depot and a hotel. One can understand that the place soon expanded, considering that people form all over Sioux County had to come to Alton to take products to market. A few years later we obtained a second railroad. And when we tell a stranger that 25 years ago there was no bush or tree here, he is amazed, because every farmer has a nice grove, a nice house and good, precious stables.
Mother Pella, who is grandmother already, is not surprised. She knows about our expansion, she visits her children often. She loves us and we hope that she will come this year to celebrate with us; to thank the Lord. For where the child's heart is blessed, the parent's heart rejoices.
Yes reader, it is enjoyable to drive through Sioux County . Especially when one takes a look at the churches and parsonages. Then one says: this is a land, where the Lord blesses, not only temporarily but where are many children of God, who believe that the Lord has multiplied them and that they are dependent upon Him in all things.
And returning to the subject of Alton . When we first came here, there was nothing to see, as we mentioned previously. Now we have two railroads, 3 churches, a large public school with a high school department, a brickyard, a dairy, a flour mill, 4 elevators, a machine shop, a druggist, 2 blacksmith shops, 4 general stores, 2 barber shops, a tailor, a clothing store, 3 hotels, 2 lumberyards, 2 shoe makers, 2 stockyards and water works. So you can see, there is much business here. Come and convince yourself. We invite all, especially the friends of Pella also whoever has not been here yet. You'll admit: you had not heard the half of it.
Rev. J. W. Warnshuis
Alton Reformed Church