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CHAPTER XIII EARLY TRADES AND TRADERS


MAJOR WILLIAMS' STORE  FREIGHTING IN AN EARLY DAY  UNITED STATES LAND 

OFFICE OPENED - WAR TIMES - A SHOEMAKER POET - ARNOLD'S MILL - THE 

"COLBURN VEIN" - GYPSUM AS A BUILDING STONE - "JACK-OF-ALL-TRADES" - 

THE PIONEER NURSERYMAN. 

The first store in Fort Dodge was opened in 1855. Since that time the mer- 
cantile Hfe of the city has grown until now there are over one hundred and fifty 
retail stores alone, to say nothing of the wholesale establishments and manu- 
facturing plants. 

In the early spring of 1855, Major William Williams, who was at that time 
sutler to the United States troops stationed at Fort Dodge, came to the fort 
and opened a grocery store in the block just west of where the Wahkonsa school 
now stands. His first clerk was George B. Sherman, who began working for 
him April loth and continued in his employ for three months. Mr. Sherman 
then began to build a store for himself. James B. Williams also helped in his 
father's store, and when his father was appointed postmaster, took entire charge 
of the store. Later he was associated in business with John Lemp. When the 
Civil war broke out, the young storekeeper, James B. Williams, answered the 
call for volunteers, and became first sergeant of Company I of the Thirty- 
second Iowa A'olunteer Infantry. When he returned home after the war, how- 
ever, he did not return to the mercantile business, but opened the first abstract 
office in Fort Dodge and continued in this work until his death. 

The stock of the first store was by no means an exclusive grocery stock, 
but was made up of a general merchandise stock. In addition to the staple 
provisions, there was calico, muslin and denim cloth for clothing, a few tools 
and hardware, some household utensils, and a little patent medicine. There was 
generally, too, something kept for "snake bites.'' There was but little ready- 
made clothing. 

There were no clubs to go to in those days, so the thrifty housewife made 
not only her own clothing, but those of the family. Some even wove their own 
cloth and spun the yarn of making the stockings and mittens. Fur used for 
caps and other articles of apparel was procured by trapping, for the woods 
were full of small fur-bearing animals. Beaver, otter, coon, fox and muskrat 
were found in abundance, while deer, bear and wolf were not uncommon. All 
the merchandise kept in stock was freighted from Keokuk, which was at that 
time the nearest railroad point. The freight was three cents a pound, and there 
was no interstate commerce commission to adjust rates. When to this was 

165 



166 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

added the railroad charges, even the staple articles of iood Iiecame expensive, 
and necessities became luxuries. 

The nearest grist mills where flour and meal could be obtained were Oskaloosa 
and Des Moines. A trip to the mill took two weeks under the most favorable 
circumstances. In bad weather the time was even longer. During the severe 
winters of 1855 and 1856, when going to the mill was well n'igh impossible, and 
the cold piercing v^'inds and drifting snow prevented even the most courageous 
from venturing an}' distance from home, the old coffee mill on the shelf was 
made to do double dut3\ The corn for johnny cake and corn pone was shelled 
and ground in the old mill. Corn was ground not only for meal, but rt)asted 
and then ground, it made a substitute for coffee. This coft'ee substitute was 
used not on account of the deleterious eft'ects of the genuine, but because the 
real article was a luxury, not to be used every day. Thus the old mil! played 
an important part in the pioneer household. 

One of the pioneers in speaking of those early days said, "There wasn't 
much style put on in those days. Comfort took its place. There were no fancy 
fixings like bouillon, salads and ices. A few slices of steak from a saddle of 
vension fried in the fireplace, some hot cornbread, some molasses from the 
jug vmder the kitchen table, some corn coft'ee piping hot, sufficed our needs. 
With such a meal, we soon forgot the fatigue of the day's hard work. It cost 
$9.00 to have a barrel of salt hauled from Keokuk to Fort Dodge. This made 
it necessary to retail it at five cents a pound in order to come out even. Sugar 
sold at eight pounds for the dollar, and there was no shopping around to get 
nine. Even green coft'ee cost thirty cents a pound. This we took home and 
roasted before grinding. There was no 'grind it please' request to the grocer 
in those days. We were glad enough to get it green. .And there was no co- 
operative delivery either. When the molasses jug was empty we took it to the 
store ourselves to get it filled. We usually had a ])iece of stout cord, or rope 
run through the handle of the jug, and thus we carried it suspended from the 
shoulder; sometimes we poked a stout stick through the handle and carried it 
over our shoulder. Flour cost $10.00 a sack, and not guaranteed at that. Corn 
meal sold at $1.50 a hundred pounds." 

After George B. Sherman left the employ of Major Williams, he and X. B. 
Morrison formed a partnership, and erected a store building ior their use. This 
was the first store building after the town was laid out. It was finished in the 
fall of 1855. 1'he work of getting out the logs and hauling them to the water- 
mill was begun in the month of August. The soldiers at the f^rt bad ])rought 
with them sufficient machiner}- to ecjuip a small sawmill. With the river to 
supply the power, ([uite a quantity of lumber was sawed for Iniildings. The 
store was completed in November, 1855, and in December of the same year, the 
firm of Sherman & ^Morrison began business. They had a general merchandise 
stock which would j^robably have invoiced at $1,500. 

The next firm to go into business was Dawley & \\'oodbury in 1856. They 
occupied the first brick store ever built in Fort Dodge. This building was built 
by Morgan and Beers and stood on Sixth street back of the present (jarmoe 
block. However, this did not prove a successful venture; and in the fall of 
1857, Ab Taylor purchased the stock, and continued the business as a general 
merchandise store. 
Mr. and Mrs A. M. Dawley
HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 167 

While not an early storekeeper, yet in the mercantile life of the city, D. 
W. Prindle played an important part. Coming to Fort Dodge in 1854, he helped 
to build the first store building. He then engaged in the business of freighting, 
hauling goods from Muscatine and other railroad points until 1857. In that 
year, he married and moved to a farm four miles northwest of town. Often 
the receiver of public money, carrying the money from the government land 
office, rode with Mr. Prindle on his trips. In 1874 Mr. Prindle returned to 
Fort Dodge, and engaged in the grain business, as the successor to Colonel 
Leander Blanden. Another early "freighter" was John J. Burns, Sr., who hauled 
the first load of freight from Iowa City to Fort Dodge. 

The Prusia hardware store was the earliest of its kind. In 1855 E. E. 
Prusia came to Fort Dodge, and in partnership with his step-father, George 
Klinedob, started a tin shop in a little slab shanty on Williams street. Mr. 
Klinedob died in 1865, and Mr. Prusia continued the business for many years. 
Then he, too, gave up an active control of the business, removing to California, 
where he still lives. The business is today -the oldest and largest wholesale 
and retail hardware business in the city. 

Two new mercantile establishments were added to Fort Dodge in 1856. 
John Haire started a grocery store, which he ran for several years, later going 
into the clothing business. The same year, Charles Rank opened up the first 
bakerv, on the site of what is now the interurban station. This he conducted 
for four years. Later he engaged in the dry goods business, and still later went 
into the shoe business. Though of later date, Jacob Schmoll may also be classed 
among the pioneer bakers. Mr. Schmoll started a bakery in the building now 
used by the Conway cigar store. 

The first drug store was in a building on the site of Frank Gates & Son 
dry goods store and was run by James Swain. Later he moved to a building 
that stood where the Fort Dodge National Bank now stands. Mr. O. M. 
Oleson, when he first came to Fort Dodge, worked for Mr. Swain. 

The original town as laid out and platted by Major Williams was not finally 
brought into market until 1855. In the meantime a postoffice had been estab- 
lished here, and at the session of congress in 1854-5, the public land depart- 
ment in Iowa had been reorganized and two new land offices, at Fort Dodge 
and Sioux City, had been established. In the summer of 1855 immigration into 
this section of the state was quite active; and during the summer of 1856 was 
still more so. Quite a number of young men seeking a place to establish them- 
selves in business came to Fort Dodge, and several persons wnth families also 
bought lots and commenced building; so that by the fall of 1856, it began to 
take on the appearance of a thriving western village. The fact of the estab- 
lishment of a United States land office at this place, in addition to the man}' 
nattiral resources of the surrounding country, induced quite a number of per- 
sons to settle here with the purpose of going into the real estate business. The 
beauty and fertility of the new country is well told by Major Williams in his 
notes on its early history, which he left at his death. He says: "We arrived at 
the point designated on the 23d of August, 1850. (Referring to the arrival 
of the troops of which he was the post trader.) The officers and men of the 
detachment had served through the Mexican war, and many of them in the 
Seminole and Florida wars, and from what they had heard of the country 



168 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

they were to be stationed in, they expected to find a region similar to Florida; 
covered with lakes, ponds, swamps and destitute of timber; but they were 
agreeably disappointed. All were highly pleased with the location. The fine 
groves of timber, above and below, the pure springs of water and rippling 
streams, together with the appearance of coal, gypsum and other minerals; 
the building stone and enchanting scenery, caused all to pronounce it the most 
beautiful part of Iowa they had ever seen. When the plans for building quar- 
ters, and arrangement of the buildings were under consideration, it was deter- 
mined to build convenient as possible to the fine spring of water, and where 
they would be sheltered from the northwest winds by the timber. It was the 
opinion of all the officers at that time, that owing to the beauty of the loca- 
tion, and the resources of the country, at no distant day a town of some import- 
ance would be built on the site." 

In May, 1856, the county seat was moved from Homer to Fort Dodge. 
This removal brought with it several county officers who became permanent 
citizens of the town. Among them was the county judge, Hon. Wni. N. Mer- 
servey, who up to his death, in all the enterprises of the town was an active 
participant. But many things tended, in the early history of Fort Dodge, to 
retard its growth. Soon after the resources of the country began to be under- 
stood abroad the financial crisis of 1857 produced business stagnation through- 
out the entire country. It was especially severe in its effects in a new country 
where there was no accumulated capital and where the people were all poor. 
It had its natural effects on Fort Dodge. The town had scarcely began to 
recover from the effects of the business disaster of 1857, before the Civil war 
was upon the country. This necessarily turned back the dial of material growth 
another four years. Almost every able young man in the town joined the army. 
From the meagre population of Fort Dodge and Webster county, two com- 
panies were recruited. Company "A" of the Eleventh Pennsylvania Cavalry; 
and Company "I" of the Thirty-second Iowa Volunteer Infantry. 

Besides these two companies, quite a nvunber of young men were enlisted in 
other regiments; so that the town remained almost stationary in respect to mate- 
rial progress, until the close of the war. Another thing which seriously affected 
the growth of the town for some years were the land grants. Although they 
probably hastened the building of railroads, yet the fact that one-half the land 
was withheld from market discouraged immigration to the country. This was 
especially the effect of the River Land grant; and when the war was over, and 
things began to put on a hopeful front, the grasshopper invasion came like a 
scourge, and gave the country and every useful enterprise another back-set. But 
by the year 1872 the town and the country began to make a solid and substan- 
tial growth. Fort Dodge has never had anything like a boom, but for the 
last twenty years, progress has been steady and healthy. 

"Honest" John Thissell who first ran a hotel in the old barracks, opened his 
grocery store in 1866 and continued in the same location until 1883, when he 
retired on account of poor health. 

The firm of Furlong & Mulroney began business in 1865 in a wooden building 
on the site of the building now used by IMcIntire and Mallon as a grocery. 
This building was later torn down and the present brick structure erected. In 
1875, Mr. Mulroney purchased his partner's interest. Mr. Furlong later went 
F. J. Guenther and Hiram Hulsizer
HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 169 

into business on the east side of the public square, establishing the firm of Fur- 
long & Brennan, 

The first harness shop was opened in 1857 by P. R. Baldwin in the old com- 
missary building of the fort. He remained in business until 1861, when he en- 
listed in the army and served through the Civil war. Returning to Fort 
Dodge, in 1870, Air. Baldwin entered the agricultural implement business locat- 
ing on the west side of the public square. He had the first agency in this part 
of Iowa for the sale of the McCormick reaper. 

The first lumber yard was that of Keefer, Blanden & Norton, which was 
established in 1858. In those days the most of the lumber was hauled from 
Iowa Falls to Boone. Another pioneer lumber merchant was J. O. Slauson, who 
opened a lumber yard in 1868. 

The earliest real estate men were Ben Grayson, who came to Fort Dodge, 
October 18, 1855, and L. M. Olcott, who came in 1856, Olcott later became 
county judge. 

The first livery was run by a Mr. Halleck. In those days, the top buggy 
with the spring seats was as much a sign of luxury as the six passenger tour- 
ing car of today. 

The first jewelry store was run by a man named Anskins. While perhaps 
not the first, Leisenrings photograph gallery near the public square was one 
of the earliest. 

The first clothing store was opened by David Fessler, in 1858, in the land 
office building, in a room twelve feet wide and fourteen feet long. Mr. Fessler 
stayed here six months, and then moved his clothing stock to a building near 
the courthouse, and owned by Henry Burkholder. In 1872, he built the brick 
block, which was known as the Fessler Opera House block. Here he con- 
tinued in business until his death. 

The Laufersweiler furniture store was the earliest of its kind. Conrad 
Laufersweiler came to Fort Dodge on the "Charlie Rogers,'' in the spring of 
1858. He brought with him a small stock of furniture consisting of a few 
beds, and some chairs and cupboards. This stock was placed in a small room 
which he rented, and which had been built for an office, having been occupied 
by the Strow brothers as a law office. It was eighteen feet wide and thirty 
feet long, and was located where the Messenger building now stands. He 
used the front part for a store room and the rear for his work shop. Mr. 
Laufersweiler made all his furniture himself, out of black walnut lumber, and 
afterwards exchanged the furniture for more lumber. Coffins were also made 
out of the same kind of wood. 

A fashionable milliner of those early days was Mrs. Rose Wilbur. The 
fashionable "modistes" were Mrs. Stephen Bouelle and her two daughters. There 
were no hobble skirts in those days, instead "my lady" wore hoops. The large 
merry widow was unknown, and in its place there was the demure poke bonnet. 

The earliest brick-maker was Henry A. Piatt. Upon coming here in 1858, 
he started a kiln just below the old Bradshaw plant. Later he engaged in the 
grocery business for some twenty-five years at the corner of Fifth street and 
Central avenue, just south of the public square park. 

Jacob Brown, Sr., claims the distinction of being the oldest continuous grocer 
now in business in Fort Dodge. Mr. Brown started in the grocery business 



170 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

on the second day of November, 1877, at his present location, Xo. 15. South 
Sixth street, and has continued in business ever since. Previous to that time, 
he had a blacksmith shop, on the same site, which he started in 1868. 

D. M. Crosby, known as "genial Morg," was the pioneer shoemaker and 
started the first boot and shoe store in Fort Dodge. The first extension sole 
shoe was made in his shop by his brother, C. IT. Crosby and was worn by Governor 
C. C. Carpenter. Governor Carpenter who was a civil engineer, was very much 
annoyed on his trips across the prairies by the sharp edge prairie grass, which 
would cut holes through the toes of his boots. He had tried putting tin tips 
on them, but this was not entirely satisfactory. It occurred to Mr. Crosby one 
day, that if the shoe or boot was made with an extended sole, that it would 
protect the upper. He spoke to his brother about it and he in turn worked out 
the idea. The first pair of boots, proved so satisfactory, that Mr. Crosby had 
more business than he could do. One day a boot and shoe salesman from Chi- 
cago came into the shop and seeing the boots became very much interested in 
the soles. The boots, which Mr. Crosby had, sold for $10.00 a pair. A con- 
tract was made, however, with the salesman to manufacture a cheaper boot, 
which would retail for $6.00 a pair. Mr. Crosby sold a number of cases of 
these boots, and so popular were they with the trade that the factory sold many 
thousand of cases. 

Mr. Crosby also had the gift of writing poetry, which, while perhaps lack- 
ing somewhat in poetical quality, still had so much of good humor and such 
a sunny view of life, that they were always popular. "Jingles," he himself 
called them. On his seventy-seventh birthday he wrote the following: 

                         77
According to the good, old book where it is recorded down 
It is seventy-seven years today since I first came to town.
    You must not criticise me, friends, or think I was to blame. 
    For I was just a little kid, but got there just the same. 

Now as I look back on the past the world don't seem so bad 
I was never sorry that I came, in fact am rather glad. 
    I am glad to live on this green earth, am glad that I am here 
    To meet and greet you all, on this, my seventy-seventh year. 

I am proud of this, my native land, the land that gave me birth 
Our president, the most beloved of any man on earth. 
    Our ships sail through the open door on nearly every sea, 
    Our Flag, the loveliest Flag on earth, floats over you and me. 

Experience has taught me this, I find as I grow old 
A kindly word to a breaking heart is better far than gold. 
    But sympathy and kindly words, however kindly said, 
    Will never fit a hungry tramp, like solid meat and bread. 

My faithful wife is with me still, together side by side 
We have met the ups and downs in life since she became my bride. 

Angus McBane and E. E. Prusia
HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 171 

     If it is God's will, we hope that she may still keep up the pace 
     And down the home-stretch, side by side, together end the race. 

You wonder why I lived so long, am hale and hearty still; 
I may as well just tell you now ; with your consent I will, 
    My answer is a simple one, and I hope you'll not forget  
    I never borrow trouble and I never, never fret. 
November 8, 1905. 

Christopher Arnold opened the first barber shop in 1857. He was a native 
of Germany. After graduating from a Latin Gymnasium, he was made chief 
of police in his native town. Later, his views not being in harmony with those 
of king William, he resigned and went to Switzerland. In 1855, he came to 
America, settling at Erie, Pennsylvania. Two years later he came to Fort Dodge. 
In the meantime his property had been confiscated by the German government; 
and when he arrived in Fort Dodge, he carried, all his wordly possessions in 
a little satchell. Borrowing a stove, he opened a barber shop in a small room 
on Williams street between Second and Third streets. Trade was good, and 
he soon saved enough money to send for his family. In the fall of 1865, he 
bought Morgan and Richards' mill, north of the Illinois Central railroad bridge. 
Here a few years later he built a dam at a cost of $10,000. Several times the 
floods and ice gorges of the spring time wrought considerable injury to his 
property. But each time Mr. Arnold repaired his mill, and altogether spent 
$35,000.00 His advertisement in 1876 refers to his mill as being the oldest in 
northwestern Iowa. The mill was finally destroyed by fire in 1879, ^^'^^ ^^'^^^ 
never rebuilt. Mr. Arnold then entered politics, filling the oflice of county 
recorder for two years. During the latter years of his life, he spent his time 
in looking after his property. Because of his readiness with a pen, he was 
often called upon to write letters, and to assist the early German settlers in their 
business transactions. 

Merservey and Weston kept the first feed store. 

One of those induced to settle in Fort Dodge by the business prospects, which 
the coming of the Dubuque & Pacific Railroad promised, was Major Elliot E. 
Colburn, who came to Fort Dodge in 1855, in company with Messrs. Booth 
and Kavanagh. Major Colburn preempted a half section of land, on the west 
bank of the Des Moines river, where he lived for four years. Mr. Colburn 
opened the first coal mine in Webster county in 1856. Prior to this the sol- 
diers at the fort had mined a little out-cropping coal, but had not really opened 
a mine. This was in 1854, and the coal was taken out about a mile and a half 
above the fort, on the east side of the river. The vein was about three feet 
in thickness* The coal was very soft, light and free burning. \Miile this mine 
was beitjg operated, it caught on fire, and because of the nature of the coal, 
consumed nearly an acre before it could be put out. The coal strata opened by 
Mr. Colburn became known to geologists and miners as the "Colburn vein." 
This coal was very hard and heavy. It sold at retail for ten to twelve cents a 
bushel. The actual work- of operating the mine was performed by Thomas 
Donahue. Thomas Flaherty and Walter Ford. Mr. Donahue remained in the 
employ of Major Colburn for about four years. The much talked of railroad 


172 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

did not materialize as soon as expected. Even the vote, by which Webster 
county had agreed to subscribe $200,000.00 to the capital stock of the road, 
had been rescinded by a later vote. Discouraged by the hardships of frontier 
life, Major Colburn returned to Ohio in 1859. However he did not remain there 
long for he too answered Lincoln's call. After service in the army he agaia 
returned to Fort Dodge in 1866. Then he busied himself with the laying out of 
W^est Fort Dodge which was then a part of his claim. Next he undertook the 
development of the coal mines on the west bank of the Des Moines river. In 
this venture, Major Colburn invested $15,000.00 and lost all. For although the 
coal was of good quality, faulty construction destroyed the shafts and water 
accumulated in the mines. In 1869 he removed to New York and later became 
engaged in the lumber business in Texas, where he died in 1875. The next mine 
was opened by Samuel Rees. 

Another early miner was Silas Corey, Sr., who came to Webster county in 
1862 and located on a farm on Holiday creek in Pleasant Valley township, six 
miles down the river from Fort Dodge. At that time only a small portion of 
his farm was under cultivation, and his nearest neighbor to the north was 
ninety miles away. In addition to his farming, Mr. Corey also operated a coal 
mine on Holiday creek which was the first mine to be worked permanently in 
the county. 

G. V. Patterson was one of the early contractors who came to Fort Dodge 
in 1855. The first brick schoolhouse was built under his direction. He was 
the architect of the old St. Charles hotel which was built in 1857. Later, Mr. 
Patterson kept a restaurant, then served as deputy sheriff, and then was an 
auctioneer. Anson V. Lambert, another pioneer builder who came in 1857, 
drew the designs for the first courthouse. 

Air. F. J. Gunther, a brick mason, a pioneer of 1855, worked on the first 
brick store building in Fort Dodge. 

Mr. John Parsons, who came in the spring of 1856, established the first 
blacksmith shop, excepting the one owned by the government, while the troops 
were stationed here. He also for several years operated one of the first brick 
plants. 

One of the early carpenters was Israel Jenkins, who came to Fort Dodge in 
1857. He took the contract of building the first house on the county poor 
farm, and which was let by the board of supervisors in 1873. 

While not one of the earliest settlers, yet in his business Jacob Kirchner was 
a pioneer. He came to Fort Dodge in 1867, and established the first sash and 
blind factory in the city. He continued in this business until 1875, when he 
started a steam flour mill at the corner of Twelfth street and First avenue, 
south. Later the mill was leased to the "trust," and for years stood idle, with 
machinery ready to operate at any time. With the death of Mr. Kirchner, the 
property was rented for a garage, and was destroyed by fire in 191 1. 

Another pioneer contractor was John O'Loughlin, Sr., who came to the city 
in 1856. Mr. O'Loughlin's home in Fort Dodge is built of the native gypsum 
rock. He not only laid the walls, but also quarried the gypsum and cut the 
stone. It took him five years to complete the task. In the early days of building, 
gypsum rock was considered the ideal building material. Its present use, as 
stucco, was not thought of at that time. It was used quite generally for foun- 

Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Haviland

HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 173 

dations, and in the construction of buildings. "Fair Oaks," the home of John 
F. Duncombe, the Illinois Central depot, and Scanlon's blacksmith shop, were 
all built of this material. George W. Roscoe, another carpenter and builder 
came in 1854. 

A quaint character of the early days was Jerry Lenihan, who came to Fort 
Dodge in 1856. He was a man of large stature and great physical strength. 
He never married. At the time the old courthouse was built, Jerry was a lime 
burner, and made as high as $75.00 per day. It is said, that many a time he 
has lit his cigar with a five-dollar bill, much to the wonder of his spectators. 

Samuel Todd came to Fort Dodge in 1856 with a steam engine and sawmill 
machinery, the first engine used in northwestern Iowa, except a small one used 
by the government for sawing lumber for the fort buildings. His mill was 
located on the south side of town, where he operated it until 1864. He then 
moved it to Otho township, and there operated it until 1869, when he returned 
to Fort Dodge to live. 

"Jack of all trades and master of none,"" is an old saying. This was not 
true, in the case of Uncle Walter Goodrich, Sr., who was jack of all trades, and 
master of each. Walter Goodrich came to what is now Lehigh, October 7, 1855. 
He was a man of exceptional ability along mechanical lines, and during his early 
residence here followed various occupations. As a cabinet maker and car- 
penter he manufactured furniture, "looms, spinning wheels and wagons and 
built houses for the early settlers. As a blacksmith he made their tools, sharp- 
ened their plows and shod their horses and oxen; and as a cooper he made 
tubs and barrels in his shop. He also manufactured coffins and caskets and did 
a general undertaking business. He did some dentistry, and although he did 
not practice medicine he doctored his neighbors with simple remedies when 
they were ill. From the age of twenty-one Air. Goodrich was a preacher and 
untiring worker in the Methodist Episcopal church, and attended to the spiritual 
wants of the people as well as their physical necessities. He christened the 
babies and as they grew up taught them to live; he married them when they 
were grown; and when death came he preached their funeral sermons and com- 
forted the mourning friends. His life seemed entirely devoted to others. He 
took considerable interest in public aft'airs, and at one time served as a member 
of the county board of supervisors. After a useful and well-spent life he 
passed cjuietly away July 7, 1901, at the advanced age of ninety-two years, eleven 
months and three days. 

This chapter contains the names of but a few of the sturdy pioneers who 
helped to make Webster county what it is today. There are many others, who 
did their part, and did it well, yet about whom the present generation hears 
nothing. The greatest work is often done by the unassuming person and the 
world knows nothing of it, nor does history record its achievements. 

PIONEER NURSERYMAN OF THE NORTHWEST 

Mr. A. J. Haviland was the pioneer nurseryman of not only northwestern 
Iowa, but also of all the country beyond. His nursery was established in 1857, 
and for a long time was the only one in this section of Iowa. Mr. W. H. Plumb 
had a small orchard, and made a business of selling seedling apple trees which he 



174 HISTORY OF WEBSTER COUNTY 

raised himself. Air. Haviland, however, raised and sold grafted stock. He 
continued in the retail business until the time of his death. His son, \V. C. 
Haviland, under the firm name of Bardwell 8: Haviland continued the business. 
Bardvvell & Haviland did an extensive business all over the United States, 
shipping to every state and territory. The firm had two plants, one in Hum- 
boldt county and the one in Webster county. The former contained four 
hundred acres, and was the larger of the two, the one at Fort Dodge containing 
only about one hundred acres. 

In the early days of their business, Bardwell & Haviland had the heaviest 
mail of any firm doing business in Fort Dodge. At the present time Mr. W. 
C. Haviland is the sole owner of the nursery farm, which is known as the 
"Orchard Glen Fruit Farm." The nursery business, however, is carried on under 
the name of "Fort Dodge Nursery." The farm contains about 140 acres of 
orchard and small fruit, and its annual oittput is between ten and twenty-five 
cars of apples besides considerable small fruit. 

At the St. Louis exposition, Mr. Haviland received a silver medal and 
diploma for the best barrel of Wealthy apples, and at the Omaha exposition he 
received the bronze medal and diploma for the best exhibit of twenty-seven 
varieties. 

Both Mr. A. J. Haviland, and his son, Mr. W. C. Haviland have proven that 
Iowa and Webster county may be considered an apple and small fruit coun- 
try, and it is largely due to their efforts that the farmers of Webster county 
have become interested in the raising of fruit. Both these men have been iden- 
tified with the work of the State Horticultural Society, Mr. A. J- Haviland 
having been president of the society and also a member of the board of directors. 
    

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