Shannon City

Some Early Settlers of the Shannon City, Grant Township Area (from the Shannon City Centennial Book)

Asa Ames, Samuel Ruby, John Shockey, John Thompson, John Coin and A. J. Snyder were among the early settlers of Shannon City prior to 1860.

By the early 1870's: McKee, Oakes, Stryker, Wolfe, Ide, Beall, Bottleman, and Richards families moved Into the township.

The 1876 Colby Book lists Simpson, Ballantine, P and G Bilderback (1868) and Hardy owning land where Shannon City now stands.

Jefferson Township had a population of 527 in 1860 and 734 In 1870.

The site for the town of Shannon City was picked by the railroad. The original town site was surveyed and platted in early 1888.The land was owned by Bilderback family who settled here in 1868. M.C. Creight and Levi Knapp bought the first lot on February 2,1888 and was followed closely by Dr. F.W. Loomis on March 27, 1888. Shannon City was on its way to being a real town, unlike two former communities to the southeast, Glen Haven and Walnut, which died soon after they were founded.

The name of Shannon was sent to the post office department, however, this name was rejected as there were several other Shannons. The name of Loomis was suggested and soon approved by most of the settlers. However, Dr. Loomis didn't care for the effort to name the new town after him. He suggested that Shannon City would be a good name. A railroad man is believed to have commented that the area looked just like his old home in the Shannon Valley.

The post office was established on November 5, 1887, with postmaster Dr. Francis W. Loomis, who had first settled in the Shannon City area in 1880. He was married on December 25,1880 to Minervia S. Johnson, and first lived at Mortimer. Later, he settled just south of Shannon City near where the cemetery stands now. The Loomis family would remain residents of Shannon City until her death in 1945 and his in 1950.

Dr. Loomis was the first builder in the town, as his drug store (including post office) was constructed before Levi Knapp and Joseph McCreight of Tingley could get the store building up. The town was laid out on June 5,1888 on both sides of the county line with the businesses mainly on the south (in Ringgold county).

G.W. Grant built the first hotel in 1888 on the corner lot in Union County (currently the site of Ruckman's Building). G.W. Grant and son Henry established the first stable down the street to the west about the same time. J.K. Ewing began buying grain for Mr. Abbot of St. Paul in the fall of 1888. He was also the first lumberman, and later added coal. Over the next 20 years, J.K. Ewing would have many other business activities in Shannon City.

During this early period, several houses were moved from the Eugene and other rural areas. Dan Dodge moved his house from Mortimer, then built himself a new home. Houses were going up at a fast pace. J.W. Ewing and son-in-law William Wolfe were keeping busy with their lumber yard.

In 1889, real estate was beginning to boom. A. Balentine built a second hotel one block north of the Grant hotel. By August 1889, this hotel was managed by a Mr. Farley. Frank Beall was the first proprietor of a hardware store on (the Union County side).

By 1889, Shannon City was booming. The town boasted 3 stores, 2 hotels, a blacksmith (A. Burgess) and several other businesses. Carlton Snyder opened a grocery and meat market in 1889, thus making the third store. P. Conner was one of the first, if not the first agent, for the "Maple Leaf Route." Several members of the rail crew made their home at Shannon City. There were no less than three carpenters in town. These being Dan Dodge, E. Grimes, and H.P. Culverson. Hudson Banning soon joined this list of early builders. Tallman and Bottleman started a second lumber yard sometime between 1890-1892. In July 1889, Grant built a new livery. Henry had dissolved a short-lived partnership with O. Brown. In April 1889, Perry Reed and Wid Bagg of Afton built a blacksmith shop with Burgess as their smith.

Frank and Simon Wolfe constructed a creamery for D.W. Oaks and Son. They went to Wirt (Ellston) to purchase the parts for the creamery and soon groceries to the line of business. Sometime in 1888, a brass band was started, and in a short time became famous in the area. The Shannon City Brass Band took part in Decoration Day ceremonies at Knowlton in May 1889.

July 4, 1889, the Grimes timber, just east of town, was the place to be. Shannon City celebrated the July 4 with a huge picnic. This might have even been the second year for this event. Some 172 vehicles were counted and large numbers of humanity was reported. Ice was a real treat for those turning out and this made lemonade all the much better.

Jerry Sullivan from Afton (later a U.S.Judge) known as one of the best orators in S.W. Iowa. spoke. The tradition of July 4th celebration in timber east of Shannon City was started by Dr. W.O. Christy who was born in October of 1845. He built a house in Shannon City and had his office there in later years. Not long after this, a third Doctor was in Shannon City. Dr. Louis St. John moved into Shannon City; he had been in Eugene and Tingley prior to this. Dr. Loomis built his house in 1889 on the Union County side of the street.

Between 1889-1891, fire destroyed most of the businesses on the Ringgold County side of the line. Dr. Loomis led the rebuilding on the north side with his office on the west side of Main Street. Others soon followed. The Methodist Church was built in 1889, thus Shannon City had a church. The school was built in 1890. Two more additions named for M.E. Cassady-Cassady's 1st and 2nd additions were open by 1892.

On December 4, 1890, the second request for the post office with the name of Shannon City was turned in by the third postmaster - F.W. Beall. The site was moved to the Union County side at this time. The post office was quick to accept the name, however the railroad was slower and Loomis remained on some timetables up into the 1890's.

O.B, Emerson had taken the place of P, Connor as the RR agent. A man by the name of Harding was an agent In 1892.

The name Hardy was listed on some maps, Henry Grant sold his livery to Millard Goodale in November 1890. Joseph Boyce became the owner of the north hotel about this time. Enos Drollinger (who had lived in Shannon City 1889) purchased the south hotel from the ranks in 1891, S. Wolfe and Frank Beall. The Knapp store changed hands often. Charles Dennis, George Case, John Fryer, Ewing and Wolfe, M.E. Cassady and Bennett were managers up to 1894 when T.A. Fisher obtained control. Mr. Fisher had operated a large general store at Kew (2 Y2 miles east of Knowlton on railroad line) for several years. C.S. Boynton and Wolfe and Jacobs were store keepers in the early 1890's.

Two families that would remain in Shannon City for years became part of the community, and would remain part of the Shannon city business community for years. Charles and Mattie Abel returned from Washington state in the early 1890's. Noah Agler purchased the Goodale blacksmith shop in January 1892. Both Agler and Abel ran a blacksmith shop for years - until the auto came on the scene.

Nels Farley ran the restaurant In the early 1890's. Ike Roat started the first meat market and supplied the meat for the restaurant. Holmes and Goldsmith established a grist mill and saw mill at the same time. Shannon City was becoming more of trading center for the surrounding area. J.B. McCartney opened his harness shop on the county line (north side) about 1895. McCartney had lived in the Eugene area for several years.

Several events In 1892 help to make Shannon City even more of a city. A.E. Bigelow of New Hampton opened a private bank with local man, S.E. (Sam) Beall as cashier. W.G. Galloway was also a early cashier. The newspaper, The Shannon City Sun was first printed in this year. Glen B. Coate was the editor. H.W. Ferguson opened a furniture store during this time.

The Presbyterian Church opened in 1892 and the Advent Church in 1893, making three churches in Shannon City. P.W. Miller was early Justice of Peace and also sold insurance. F.C. Morley was the first veterinary and C.D. Mahon was one of the first barbers. Grandma Dodge was the first dressmaker. A few other firsts (so believed) were: Logan Smith first man to get married in Shannon City.

Mr. Clearwater was the first jeweler. Dr. Hackett was first dentist. Mr. Campbell's house was first to burn. George Hubbard was the first man to die. By 1895, some Shannonites were boasting a population of around 500, however, the state census in the same year counted only 368. The business list in 1895 was a long one:

Blacksmith-C.F. Able and Agler and Son. Hotels, Boyce and G. A. Frazer, manager at the General Stores and Groceries- Skinner and Godfrey, Frank Wolfe, Wolfe and Ewing (also lumber). Confectionery and Res. - Frank Roat and Nets Farley. Harnessmaker . J.B. McCartney. Shoemaker . Sam Richard (taken over from Will Wrightmire).

Hardware - F.M. Beall and Brother. Barber - H_R.Wilkinson (age 25). Meats - Edwards and Roat. Grain - J.K. Ewing. Shannon City Sun - J.C. Cole and Semore Wilson_ Insurance - Perry Miller. Livery - Feed - Dray - Enos Drollinger. Baker - J_B. Allen. Flour mill - E.B. Goldsmith. Doctors - Dr. W.O. Christy and Dr. F. W. Loomis. Clarence McConnell ran a drug store in the second building from the county line on the west side of Main Street.

Music teachers - Georgia Cole and Anna M. Rex. Painters, mason workers, and carpenters make up a good list - John Ford, George Merriam, Hudson Banning, Bert Clark, A.W.Tallman, Ben Tallman, James McCullen, Joseph Darlinger, E. Lambert (owner of the brick yard at the east end of town, east of the tracks). By all accounts, they were all busy in their trades - helping Shannon City with "it's boom." Alva Simpson was a well digger.

Robert Moor was the R.R. agent in the mid 1890's. Frank and John DeLay operated a livery In this time period. The Shannon City Bank, located just north of the south hotel, had a capital of $5,000.

Around 1897, H.L. Floyd opened a barber shop on the west side of Main Street. Z. Roberts purchased the lumber yard from J.K. Ewing and W. Wolfe and Tallman and Bottleman. Vorhies and Lamphear and McFarland were in the 2 hotels. J.L. Saur was A.R. agent. A large hall was built between the bank and south hotel around 1894.The first floor in this building known as the Guessford building was a furniture store. Entertainment was held in the second floor of this "Opera House." G.M. Canfield had a furniture store for a few years, and a Mr. Stone also operated it.

Millard Goodale, who had a blacksmith shop and a butcher shop at different times In Shannon City, built one of the first "Merry-Go-Rounds" with the help of others. This "Merry-Go-Round" was taken to the Iowa State Fair about 1895.

Millard Goodale was a son-in-law of George W. Wilson (from Arispe). He would be followed by three brother-In-laws, Perry Blackburn Wilson, Jess B. Aikin, and Horace Bishop to operate business In Shannon City.