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The general surface of Webster County is very similar to that of the
northern tiers of counties, extremely beautiful. It is what may be termed
moderately undulating, except on the margin of the rivers and streams, where
there are frequent ranges of bluffs or hills of considerable size, intersected with
ravines. The county is well watered by rivers and creeks, the margins of which
are skirted with woodland and beautiful groves, there being an admirable
distribution of prairie and woodland to suit the wants and convenience of the
farmer. There are twenty congressional townships in the county, and 460,800
acres of land, 42,300 of which is timber of good quality, besides what may be
called inferior timber, in small detached groves, which would make the timber
land about equal to one tenth of the whole. The growth of the uplands consists of
every variety of oak, hickory, hazel, elm, grape vine, blackberry, linn and plum;
the bottom lands produce ash, different varieties of oak, black walnut, white
walnut or butternut, elm, linn, quaking asp, sugar maple, hackberry, cottonwood,
grape vine, plum, crab apple, sumach, and a variety of other trees and shrubbery.
The soil of the prairies, and particularly of the alluvial bottoms is
extremely rich and fertile; it is a black, vegetable mould, intermixed with a
sandy loam, easily cultivated, and stands drought remarkably well. In the upland
prairies the soil will average from 18 to 24 inches in depth. The surface is nearly
black, but becomes lighter in descending until it imperceptibly mingles with a
bed of reddish clay, or gravel and sand, sufficiently compact to preserve
moisture, and capable of being converted into excellent soil. The county
generally abounds with fine springs of water, and good water is usually obtained
in the upland prairie, from 20 to 30 feet below the surface. The proportion of
wet or swamp land is small, and this proves to be the best when it is properly
drained and cultivated.
The principal streams within the limits of Webster County, are the Des
Moines, the North and South Lizards, and the Boone Rivers. The Des Moines
enters the county on the north lines, and winds through near the center, running
from north to south. The North Lizard enters the county from the northwest, its
general course being from the northwest to the southeast; the course of the South
Lizard is from the southwest to the northeast, and the two streams uniting near
the City of Fort Dodge, run directly east, and there empty into the Des Moines
River. The Boone River flows westward but a few miles through the southern
portion of the county, emptying into the Des Moines. Besides these rivers the
county is intersected with a large number of smaller streams, among which are
Skillet, Crooked, Brushy, Deer, Elk, Badger, Beaver, Soldier, Coal and Holliday
Creeks, all of which are tributary to the Des Moines River. The Des Moines is a
beautiful stream, with rock or gravel bottom; its main branch heads in
Minnesota, about 70 miles north of the state line, and is fed by what are called
the Shetek Lakes. This river was originally named by the Algonquins the
"Moingonan," by Charlevoix "Moingona," and by the Dakota or Sioux Indians
"Eah-sha-wah-pa-tah," or Red Stone River. The Lizard was named by the Sioux
"Was-sa-ka-pom-pah," the river with lizards. Boone River was named after
Captain Boone, of the U. S. Dragoons, who first explored the Des Moines
Valley, above Coon forks. The Sioux name for Boone is "Sha-I-ha-shah-wah-
pa-tah," Red Willow River. The smaller streams were all named by the first
settlers, and the troops stationed at Fort Dodge.
This county was originally included in the neutral ground established
by treaty with the Sac and Fox and the Sioux Indians. Owing to the warfare kept
up between those Indians, the United States Government interfered, and brought
about a treaty between them, which resulted in their ceding to the United States
a strip of land forty miles wide, reaching from a point on the Mississippi, near
the mouth of Paint Creek, above Prairie du Chien, to the Des Moines; the Sac
and Fox Indians ceding twenty miles wide on the south, and the Sioux twenty
miles on the north.
In order to arrive at any thing like a correct knowledge of the early
history of Webster County it will be necessary to go back to the establishment in
May, 1843, of Fort Des Moines, situated at the junction of the Des Moines and
Racoon Rivers—on the site of what is now the City of Des Moines—which
continued to be the outpost on the northern frontier of Iowa, until the 11th of
October, 1845, when it was abandoned. At that time the territory lying north,
northeast and northwest of Fort Des Moines was comparatively an unexplored
region of country, inhabited only by the wild Sioux Indians, and ranged by
buffalo and elk.
The Legislature of the State of Iowa during the session of 1850-'51 laid
out what is now Webster County, then named Yell County, and the present
Hamilton County was called Risley County. But afterwards at the session of
1852-'53 the Legislature was induced, upon a petition from the settlers at Boone
Forks-then the only settlement in the two counties-to unite them into one, which
was named Webster, and in April, 1853, Webster County, embracing the two
counties above named, was organized.
At the session of the Legislature in 1856'-7, the original county lines
were restored, by striking off the territory formerly embraced in Risley County,
and erecting a new county, which was named Hamilton, and Webster City made
the county seat. The new county embraced the Town of Homer. This left
Webster County with all the territory originally embraced in Yell County, to
which has since been added township number 90, taken from Humboldt County.
The troops having abandoned Fort Dodge previous to the division of
the county, the idea of a military reservation of land, which before then had been
entertained by the government, was abandoned. A United States Land Office
had been established, and opened for business on the 5th day of November, 1855,
with Gen. V. P. Van Antwerp, for Receiver, and William H. Merritt, Register;
after which the increase of population in the northern part of the county, in the
vicinity of Fort Dodge, was very rapid.
At the session of 1859-'60, the Legislature virtually abolished the
office of county judge, and made provisions for the election of county, or rather
township supervisors, whose duty it was to manage county affairs.
In August, 1853, the first county election was held, at which seventy-
six votes were polled, and the county officers elected were as follows; Judge,
William Pierce; Register and Recorder, Tolman Woolsey; District Clerk, Jesse
Goodrich; School Fund Commissioner, John Tolman; Sheriff, J. Doty; Justices
of the Peace, John Johns and L. Mericle; Constable, John Heffey; Township
Clerk, Sherman Hart; Assessor, Samuel Eslich; County Surveyor, George
Homer, the first county seat, situated about 19 miles southeast of Fort
Dodge, near Boone River, was surveyed and laid out in the Fall of 1853. Here
the first post office in the county was established, and Granville Berkley was
appointed post master. His office was in his house, and he kept the mail matter
in a box under his bed, and those who called for letters drew out the box and
examined for themselves.
The first court in Webster County—embracing what is now known as
Webster and Hamilton Counties—was held at Homer, in the Fall of 1854, the
Honorable C. J. McFarland, District Judge, presiding.
In April, 1856, after a very exciting canvass, the citizens of the county
decided by a large majority, at an election held, to remove the county seat from
Homer to Fort Dodge.
The first court held in Fort Dodge, after the removal of the county seat,
was in August 1856. Honorable J. C. McFarland presiding. Court was held in
the public school house, then in an unfinished state. In April, 1858, the County
Judge, Doctor L. L. Pease, submitted to the citizens of the county a proposition
to build a Court house at Fort Dodge, which was carried by a majority of one
hundred and ninety-nine votes, a violent opposition being made by the citizens
of the south part of the county. In August, 1858, the contract for building the
court house was given to Messrs. H. D. Merritt and Israel Jenkins, at $39,450.
The plan adopted for the building was drawn by A.V. Lambert. After
commencing the building, the original contractors sold out the contract to
Messrs. Sweeny & Tierney, who progressed with the building until the first
story was completed, when they gave up the contract to the original contractors,
Merritt and Jenkins. In June, 1860, they sold out to Thomas Snell, of Illinois,
and Abner Taylor, of Fort Dodge, who never finished the building as required
by the plan adopted, omitting cupola and other parts. They were obliged to pay a
considerable amount of money, as damages for non-compliance with the
The building is situated on a reserve square, on the corner of Market
and Sixth streets. The Fort Dodge Company, by their agent, William Williams,
donated to the county the ground on which it stands, also the square opposite.
Commencing to build the court house aroused the citizens of the southern part of
the county, who, urged on by their old allies at Homer, commenced the war
against Fort Dodge anew. They held meetings, from time to time, and finally
determined to remove the county seat to Border Plains, for their own especial
benefit. G. C. Goss, John Johns, and others, circulated petitions praying for the
removal. In July, 1858, they came up in force, accompanied by lawyers from
Homer. Profound arguments were made, but the remonstrances presented to the
County Judge were too strong for them-they failed in their attempts. The first of
November following they made another effort, and again failed, their chief
object being to stop the building of the court house. Finally, they called in a
lawyer of Webster City who, in council with legal men of Homer, determined on
the plan of forming an alliance with the settlers in Humboldt County, (who
fancied they had grievances also) to take from Webster County township no. 90,
alleging that it belonged to Humboldt. They took out an injunction, which was
granted by Judge Hubbard, of a foreign district, to stop the work on the court
When Fort Dodge was established, the Indians deserted the east side of
the Des Moines River and fled to the west side, then Indian territory.
In August, 1853, the population, independent of the troops at the Fort,
was about 150 souls, all of whom were located in the vicinity of Boone Forks,
from eighteen to twenty miles south of Fort Dodge. They were composed
principally of emigrants from Missouri, North Carolina and Indiana, with some
three or four from New York. They formed a Republic of their own. Law and
justice was administered in their own way. Every one read the code of Iowa, and
expounded the law to suit himself. It was not long until a few troublesome
characters came in and trouble commenced. Quarrels about claims and all kinds
of contention arose amongst them. (It was the privilege of all to make claims.
Every man, woman and child had a claim to see to new comers.) Little was
attended to but quarrels and litigation with one another, for the first two or three
years. When a law suit was to be tried, all the settlers would attend, quite an
array of men with their rifles in their hands.
The first settlers in Webster County were Isaac Bell, L. Mericle, Jacob
Mericle, D. B. Spalding, Osborn Brannon, Henry Lott, John Tolman, Frank
McGuire, Minton Brasfield, Squire McGuire, William Pierce, Tolman Woolsey,
Samuel Eslich, Thomas Holliday, E. Gatchell and Philemon Johnson,
independent of the troops at the garrison.
Reverend J. Johns, who settled among them, preached and expounded
the scriptures for them on the Sabbath day, when he was not too busily engaged
in hunting elk and deer, or bee hunting or trapping.
The first child born was Jackson Mericle, son of Jacob Mericle. The
first death was that of Henry Lott's wife.
The first marriage that appears on record was that of John A. Holmes
and Emily Lyons, May 14, 1853, by William Pierce, County Judge. It does not
appear, however, that Judge Pierce was elected, or that the county was fully
organized, until in August of this year, and therefore the presumption is that he
held his position by virtue of appointment.
The first settlers in Webster County underwent severe trials and
privations. They had emigrated from other states to better their condition, by
securing land. They dearly earned all the advantages they gained, shut out,
comparatively speaking, from the world, to shift as best they could and obliged
to resort to hunting and trapping to procure the necessaries of life. The nearest
mills where flour or meal of any kind could be had were at Fort Des Moines or
Oskaloosa, a distance of from 80 to 150 miles.
The State Geologist, in his report for 1870, says; "It is believed that
about four-fifths of the area of the county are occupied by the lower coal
measures, the strata of which, including valuable beds of coal, are well
developed." Again, "Thus far, at least three distinct beds of coal have been
identified within the limits of Webster County." Then, after explaining that at
present it is only along the valley sides of the Des Moines River and its tributary
creeks that these beds are at present accessible, he says, "But there can be no
doubt that they may be reached by shafts from the prairie surfaces, over a large
part of the county."
All the coal mines of the county are opened by "drifting" from the
ravines and minor valleys into the hill sides, and as the veins seldom "dip" the
mines are easily drained, and consequently kept very dry. They are also easily
ventilated. In relation to the quality of Webster County coal, the State Geologist
says: "The quality of the coal of Webster County is equal to the average Iowa
coal." But by comparison of the coal of this region with that of the other coal
districts in the State, competent judges declare that the coal of this county is far
superior to any yet found in the Western States. Cannel coal, which is most
valuable in the manufacture of gas, yielding 10,000 feet to the ton, is here found
in great quantities, the supply being deemed inexhaustible.
There are large tracts of coal lands in the county, which indicate veins
of from two to eight feet in thickness, in which banks will be opened as soon as
the superior quality of the Webster County coal becomes sufficiently known to
create larger demand for it. And from the interest exhibited by railroad and
manufacturing companies, and others in the mining enterprises of the county,
and the superiority of the coal to be found here, it is safe to predict that for the
"Fort Dodge Coal" there will, at no distant date, be a demand far in excess of the
most sanguine expectations entertained for it.
By the census of 1875 there are nineteen coal beds now open, which
employ 227 hands, and mined during the preceding year 78,800 tons of coal.
IRON ORE, OCHRE BEDS, FIRE AND POTTERS CLAY.
"Vast deposits of black-band and kidney iron ore are found imbedded
along the streams and draws, extending back into the hills, and containing a
percentage of iron which renders it valuable for smelting. This ore is found on
sections 1, 12, and 13, township 87, range 28, and 3,87,28, which is easy of
"On sections 1, 12, 13 and 18 we find heavy deposits of red and
Spanish brown ochres, of excellent texture and quality.
"On sections 1 and 13, township 87, range 28, and section 18, township
87, range 27, are found immense deposits of fire and potter's clay, of a superior
"Representative samples of the above named deposits have been
procured for the Centennial.
"A short distance up the river, above the sections we have mentioned,
is disclosed a ledge of massive sandrock, commencing on section 1, township
87, range 28, and following the line of the river on both sides, through sections
35,26,27,33,32, and 15, township 88, range 28, which taking the place of the
upper beds of coal, cut them out entirely. Yet, on section 21, the rock nearly
disappears and the coal sets in again, embracing the Otho coal fields, where
banks are opened and large quantities of coal taken out by different parties."
The State Geologist in his report for 1870, before alluded to, says; "The
large deposit of gypsum near Fort Dodge is one of the most important yet
discovered in the United States, and is the only one of any economic value
known to exist, not only in Iowa, but in any of the adjoining states." This
gypsum deposit is near the center of Webster County, the Des Moines River
running through it. This gypsum does not occur in "heaps" or "nests," as it does
in most deposits of gypsum in the states farther eastward, but exists here in the
form of a regularly stratified, continuous formation.
As little can be said with certainty concerning the lithological origin of
this deposit as can be said of its geological age.
According to the results of the analysis by Professor Emery, the
ordinary gray gypsum of this region contains only about eight per cent of
impurity; and it is probable that the average impurity of the whole deposit will
not exceed that proportion. Although it has a gray color, it becomes white by
grinding, and still whiter by a calcining process necessary in the preparation of
plaster of paris. No hesitation, therefore, is felt in stating that the Fort Dodge
gypsum is the best in quality in the country, even for the finest uses. It has been
long and successfully used for building stone by the inhabitants.
Besides the value of this gypsum for building purposes, it is of
incalculable value in manufacturing plaster of paris, land plaster, cement, stucco,
calcine, etc., etc.
It was from one of the above quarries that the celebrated "Cardiff
Giant" was originally taken in a coffin-shaped piece, and shipped by rail to
Chicago, where it was chiselled into the statue of the size of a giant. From
thence it was taken to Syracuse, New York, and buried so as to be easily found
when the owner of the land started to dig a well. For a while it was a great
The ordinary uses to which gypsum has been applied are perhaps
known to most readers. It is easily crushed or ground to a fine powder,
commonly called "plaster," an article which is used as a fertilizer. Being
subjected to a further chemical process, an article called "plaster paris" is
manufactured from it, some of the uses of which are known to most people. But
the people of Fort Dodge have for a number of years been using it as a building
material in the place of common stone. The first to use it in this way was
Honorable John F. Duncombe, who, several years ago, erected a fine gypsum
mansion on one of the beautiful eminences overlooking the Des Moines Valley
at Fort Dodge. This experiment has been a sufficient test of its durability to
induce many others to use it as a building material, and as the result, Fort Dodge
now has quite a number of gypsum houses. The new six thousand dollar depot
building of the Iowa Falls and Sioux City railroad at this place is constructed of
this material, and makes a fine appearance. Some of the advantages of using it as
a building material here, are its great abundance, its accessibility, and the ease
with which it is quarried and dressed for the wall. It may be bored with a
common auger as easily as wood, and, as a consequence, the use of the drill for
blasting in the quarry is unnecessary. The blocks may be sawed, hewed, planed,
or mortised as easily as wood, and with the ordinary tools used in wood-work.
The site of Fort Dodge was first selected for a military post by Brevet
General Mason, then Colonel of the 6th Regiment of United States Infantry. The
object in establishing the post was to keep in check the Sioux Indians, and it was
placed at the extreme western part of what was called the neutral ground
between the Sioux and Sac and Fox Indians. In the Spring of 1850, Major
Samuel Woods was ordered on with a portion of the 6th United States Infantry,
and established the post which was named Fort Clark. But it was found that
another detachment from the same regiment has established another post on the
frontier west, which they also named Fort Clark. To prevent confusion in mail
matters and in forwarding supplies, the name was changed, by order of the
Secretary of War, from Fort Clark to Fort Dodge, in honor of Senator Dodge, of
The reservation of land laid out for the use of the post was four miles
north and four miles south of the fort, and two miles on each side of the Des
Moines River, making a strip of land eight miles in length, and four miles wide,
with the fort in the center. The treaty of 1852 with the Sioux Indians was
confirmed, and the United States Government by that treaty purchased of the
Sioux all the territory in Minnesota, from Lake Pepiu to Rock River on the St.
Peters. Also, all lands of the Sioux lying within the limits of the State of Iowa.
This embraced the lands west of the Des Moines River. Captain Dana, of the 6th
United States Infantry, and others, were ordered to select a site for a permanent
post on the north line of the new purchase. The selection was made at the
junction of Rock River and St. Peters (or Minnesota River), about one hundred
and fifty miles north of Fort Dodge. In the later part of July, 1853, the troops at
Fort Dodge were ordered to abandon the post and march to the St. Peters to
assist in building the new fort. The country between Fort Dodge and the point
they were ordered to being unexplored, it took them until late in September to
finally leave Fort Dodge, being baffled by high waters, etc. The new post
established was named Fort Ridgley. The principal cause for the abandonment
of Fort Dodge as a military post, was the decision given by the Commissioner of
the Interior of the United States, that the grant of lands made by Congress in
1848 to the State of Iowa for the improvement of the Des Moines river,
extended from the mouth of the river to its source. By that decision it was found
that the land (section No. 19, T. 89, R. 28 W.) was embraced in that grant, and
belonged to the State of Iowa.
The main buildings of the fort now form principally the north side of
William Street, beginning between Fifth and Sixth Streets, on what is now in the
town plat, Lot No. 4 in Block No. 2, and extending west to Lot No. 5 in Block
ANCIENT FORTIFICATIONS, MOUNDS, ETC.
After establishing Fort Dodge, some time was spent during the Summer
and Fall of 1851, in reconnoitering and examining the country, with the view of
ascertaining the location of the Indians, and to determine on the best route for
roads as well as to gain a knowledge of streams and the country generally.
"We found many remains of ancient fortifications and mounds, which had
evidently, from their location and construction, been (at some very remote
period) raised for defense and positions of observation, giving evidence that this
northern country was inhabited by a race of people long before the present race
of Indians inhabited it. On viewing the location and tracing the lines we found
them arranged with some judgement. Others evidently were burial places. On
directing the attention of the Indians to them, we were unable to find any among
the oldest Sioux who had any knowledge of them, either by tradition or
otherwise; they all asserted that they were here when their people first came into
the country. The most distinct of these ancient works will be found in the forks
of Boone, on and in the neighborhood of L. Mericle's place, on the west side of
the Des Moines, near where Mr. Beam lives, on Indian Creek, about twelve
miles north of Fort Dodge, on Lizard Rivers, and at Fort Dodge. Some of the
mounds at Fort Dodge have been removed, and in digging into them they were
found to contain the remains of human beings, such as parts of skulls, teeth,
thigh bones, etc., and along with them pieces of burnt or charred wood and
coals. From their location, on high and dry ground, covered with sand and
gravel, together with the appearance of the bones, their color, etc., physicians
and all who examined them, were of the opinion that a great length of time had
elapsed since they had been deposited there, perhaps two hundred years or more;
the ancient mound-builders were in the habit of burning their dead, which is not
the custom of any of the Indians of whom we have any knowledge."
The Indians that inhabited this county and the surrounding section were
Sioux. The acknowledged chief was Red Thunder. These Indians were great
thieves, constantly roaming about in parties, watching trappers and emigrants
who attempted to settle. After the troops abandoned Fort Dodge they became
exceedingly troublesome. For the protection of the settlers, William Williams
was given authority from the Governor to keep peace between them and the
settlers. Major Williams succeeded in doing so very well, until Henry Lott, a
desperate character, waylaid and shot "Si-dom-i-na-do-tab," their chief, and
murdered his squaws and children, of which an account is given in the history of
Humboldt County. After that outrage the Indians were naturally more difficult to
manage, and for some time threatened the whites with destruction. It was some
time after the murder committed by Lott before the skeleton of the murdered
chief was found. In the meantime, the Indians collected on the north, alarmed
the few settlers then in the county very much, until their intentions were
ascertained. They made their raid on the Omahas of the Missouri, returning with
a great number of ponies and much plunder.
CITY OF FORT DODGE.
Fort Dodge, the county seat of Webster County, is situated on the east
bank of the Des Moines river, about two hundred miles west from Dubuque, on
the Iowa Division of the Illinois Central Railway, and about eighty miles north
of Des Moines City, the Capital of Iowa, and is the terminus of the Des Moines
& Fort Dodge Railroad. The town of Fort Dodge is situated on an elevated
plateau, composed of three terraces, which rise in all about one hundred and
fifty feet above the level of the river. On the east it is approached by an
extensive prairie, beautiful in appearance; on the northwest and south it is
surrounded by heavy timber; the banks on the west side terminate precipitately,
forming an amphitheater, and adding exceedingly to the beauty of the scene,
which is not surpassed by any thing west of the Mississippi River.
The Des Moines is a pure clear stream; flows over a rock and pebble
bottom, at the base. The other streams in the vicinity of the town are Soldiers'
Creek, on the north, and Deer Creek, on the south. On the east of the Des
Moines, above the town, the Lizard River empties into the Des Moines. This
stream affords good water power. All these streams are skirted with timber. The
first town plat was surveyed and laid out on the 27th of March, 1854. After the
troops abandoned the fort, Major W. Williams, and his son J. B. Williams, and
Sergeant John Heffley, were the only residents for nearly two years.
Among the first settlers that came to Fort Dodge, after it was laid on, as
a town, we find Colonel Cyrus C. Carpenter, who subsequently distinguished
himself as colonel of an Iowa regiment during the rebellion, and now so ably
fills the office of Governor of Iowa.
In April, 1856, the county seat of Webster County was (by the voice of
the people) removed from Homer to Fort Dodge. Additions were then laid out,
and the town extended.
The first sermon preached in Fort Dodge was by Reverend J. H.
Burleigh, of the Methodist Church. He came to the fort in the Fall of 1851, and
was furnished with a large hospital tent, which was pitched on the ground now
lot No. 11, in block No. 3, where he held a three days' meeting, very much to
the gratifications of the officers and men.
In July, 1856, the first newspaper was published, called the Fort Dodge
Sentinel, edited by A. S. White.
Honorable C. C. Carpenter had the honor of teaching the first school in
the place, there being at that time about twenty children of school age.
William Williams was the first post master appointed, and the first
store opened was that of Williams & Lemp.
Doctor S. B. Olney was the first physician, and John F. Duncombe,
Esq., the first lawyer.
W. R. Miller opened the first house of entertainment, in the building
known as the "Wakonsa House."
The United States Land Office was opened here in 1856, and in June of
the same year the railroad company located their road to this place; and from
that time on the village rapidly grew, until now, by census of 1875, it has a
population of 3,537.
The churches of the place have hardly kept pace with the other
improvements of the village; but the Methodists have just completed a
handsome, costly, brick edifice. The Presbyterian church, of brick, was erected
in 1857, and the Congregationalists erected a chapel in 1870. The Universalists
built in 1869; the Episcopalians in 1858. The Catholic church, Reverend T. F.
Leuehan, pastor, was built in 1856; German Lutheran in 1862, and was built of
stone from the famous gypsum quarries. The German Evangelical built in 1867.
There is a large, brick high school building erected on a very
commanding site, surrounded by a large yard. Other ward schools are built at
convenient locations. A course of study has been adopted by the board,
occupying four years. A convent school, in connection with the Catholic church,
is under the supervision of the Sisters of Mercy, and is styled "Our Lady of the
Lourdes Convent of Mercy." This order was introduced into this state three
years ago, by Reverend Thomas M. Leuehan, and by reason of the competent
manner of conducting the schools has rapidly grown in favor. There is now an
average attendance of two hundred day pupils. The buildings are large and
commodious. See view of the buildings in this atlas.
The passenger depot of the Illinois Central Railroad is built of stone, at
a probable cost of $30,000. The company have a round house and a repair shop,
etc., located here.
There are three flouring mills—two steam and one water power; two
breweries; one pottery, which makes a good article of stone ware; and a few
other small manufacturing establishments.
Almost every branch of trade is represented in Fort Dodge, and the city
is in a flourishing condition.
The Semi-Weekly Times has reached its seventh year, and is managed
by L. E. Train, as editor and proprietor.
The Messenger (Republican) is issued by Albert and Pauline Swaim, as
editors and proprietors, and is now in its volume.
Nine miles from Webster City. The place was laid out in November,
1869, by the Iowa Falls & Sioux City Railroad Company, and named for John F.
Duncombe, of Fort Dodge.
There are several other small villages and post offices about the county,
but none of sufficient size to require a description. Around the various coal
mines are erected numerous buildings, mostly occupied by the miners.
The population of Webster County, by census of 1875, is 13,114. Of
this number, 4,597 were born in Iowa, 3,264 in foreign countries, and 5,253 in
various parts of the United States.