HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
MINDEN TOWNSHIP AND TOWN OF MINDEN.
Minden is the central township in the northern tier of
the county. It is a full congressional township, was formed
by a part of that of Neola, until 1877, when, in answer
to a petition of Mr. James Crow and the requisite number
of signers, their petition was granted. The township took
the name of the little town already formed on the line of
the Rock Island road. The first election took place in October,
1877, in the schoolhouse in Minden. The judges were Wm.
Spears, August Kaven and James Crow. The clerks were J.
R. Crow and J. Lake, and about one hundred votes were cast.
There is really no waste land in this township. It is gently
rolling and only occasionally a little broken and along
the streams, the principal ones being Keg crook, running
southwesterly with about two-fifths of the territory on
the east and three-fifths west of that stream, and the Mosquito,
cutting a small portion off the northwest corner. It is
peculiarly fortunate in railroads, the Rock Island cutting
it centrally in one direction and the Great Western in another,
while the Milwaukee clips off the northwest corner after
leaving Neola. There are no large natural groves of timber,
but the next generation will have plenty, for, being settled
largely by Germans, they will have trees and flowers, and
are rapidly planting groves. Mr. Casper Foster, of Davenport,
Iowa, purchased 10,000 acres of the Rock Island road, and
a condition was that the company should establish and maintain
a station on this property. This was complied with, hence
the town of Minden, named in memory of Minden back in the
fatherland of most of these industrious settlers. The first
house built in the town was by Hugo Prester, Mr. Foster
built the second and Peter Ehlers the third. G. Diederich
built the first store in 1875, and moved in a general stock
of goods from Avoca. J. O. Jeffries built the next business
house and engaged in the grocery trade, with a restaurant
attached. Messrs. Bartel & Co. became successors to
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
Diederich by purchase and Mr. Diederich then erected another
building, which he subsequently sold to Stuhr Brothers.
The first carpenters of the town were Henry Urbahan, August
Kaven and Fred Kruganbery. The first blacksmith was a Mr.
Rodecker. The first lumber business was by Messrs. Pria
& Hornley, a Davenport firm. Peter Ehlers was the first
to begin the grain trade. Dr. McLeod was the first physician
to hang out his shingle in the little town and James Crow
the first land agent. Under the jurisdiction of Mr. James
Crow a schoolhouse was built. Previous to this time a school
had been taught by a Mr. Kelsey in one room of Mr. Foster's
residence. The same year that saw the new schoolhouse a
prairie fire came near destroying the town, but its approach
was discovered in time to enable the citizens to protect
and save their homes.
The first board of trustees of Minden township met and
organized January 26, 1877. At their meeting the township
was divided into five subdistricts for school purposes.
No township in the county takes more active interest in
their public schools than Minden. The statistics for the
year 1881 show the following: Number of graded schools,
8; number of ungraded, 8; number of teachers employed, male,
5; female, 12; average pay per month, male, $35; female,
$33.75; number of persons between the ages of 5 and 21 years,
156; male, 123; total average attendance, 95; value of schoolhouses,
$3,530; value of apparatus, $9.10.
Minden had a German day school, the only one in the county
at that date.
In 1878 a German Lutheran church was organized, with Rev.
Julius Oehlert as pastor. The original members were August
Kaven, Adam Turk, John Stuhr, Jr., Jacob Wasser, Deidrich
Rohlfs, Peter Alleman, August Bock, Wilhelm Bolte, Wilhelm
Giese, John Stuhr, Sr., August Giese and Carl Leitzke.
A small church was completed and furnished. The lot on
which it was built was presented by Mr. Casper Foster. A
Sunday school was organized in 1876, with James Crow as
superintendent. At last reports Conrad Neil was superintendent;
John Crow, secretary; J. A. Yoder, treasurer, and E. O.
Morgan, librarian, and an attendance of forty pupils. I
The growth of Minden has not been so rapid as some of the
other towns of the county, but has always enjoyed a substantial
progress, which makes success a foregone conclusion.
The following are the names of some of the principal business
men up to the year 1880: J. B. Norton, druggist; John Hammer
and J. C. Garmong, hardware; Peter Stuhr and J. C. Garmong,
agricultural implement dealers; Stuhr Brothers, J. W. Crow
and J. H. Yoder, dry goods and grocery merchants; Seiffert
and Weis, lumber dealers; L. Harm, physician and surgeon;
J. C. Garmong, harness dealer; Henry Rolfs and H. Peterson,
blacksmiths, and Adolph Winder, hotel proprietor.
On the 12th of June, 1881, a severe hailstorm struck Minden
township and inflicted damage to the extent of $20,000.
The storm came in two divi-
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
sions and met near the residence of Mr. F. Bloomer, where
the damage to house, trees and grain amounted to $1,000.
Although quite a town had started soon after the advent
of the Rock Island road, it was not incorporated until 1890,
since which time its growth has been steady and healthy.
At this time, 1907, it has two banks, the German-American
and Farmers' Savings; general stores, Peiper & Mischler,
George Groneweg & Ca., and W. L. Richardson; hardware,
Stuhr-Ehlers-Hood Company; drug store, Max Lehman; elevators,
P. Ehlers & Stuhr; Reesy Grain Company; lumber yard,
Green Bay Lumber Company; livery barn, Louis Ehlers; saloons,
H. J. Hesly, August Kaven, Peter Schwensohn and Fred Priest;
blacksmiths, E. G. Krundel, Fred Schultz and G. H. Muhlstein;
physician, Grant Augustine; one millinery store, one harness
shop, one meat market, three hotels, Mrs. Dorscher, Mrs.
Schmidt ,and T. J. Groepper; one church, Zion Congregational;
Masonic Lodge, Na. 575; one I. O. O. F., one Woodmen of
the World, German verein; graded school, with L. B. Pruitt,
principal, and five teachers; opera house, two pool halls,
one wagon shop, printing office, Times-Herald (weekly);
one tank manufactory, canning works; building contractors,
August Bostedt, Henry Schilling and Herman Veith; two stock
buyers, Henry Piper and Hesley Thompson; two barber shops,
two dray lines; city waterworks, from wells to tank fifty
feet high, an elevation of one hundred feet; Independent
Fire Company and brass band of twenty pieces, Julius Stuhr,
leader. Population of town, 400; mayor, John Geiger.
The township officers are Henry Holzfoster, Joseph Holm
and Peter Langer, trustees; Julius Stuhr, clerk; John W.
Crow and John Geiger, justices of the peace; G. A. Leitzke,
constable and Gustave Baumsberger, assessor; school board,
Henry Blumer, president; John Geiger, secretary, and Fred
There are nine subdistricts in the township. According
to the census of 1905, there were in the township outside
of town of Minden three hundred and thirty-one of school
age, of which one hundred and seventy-one were males and
one hundred and sixty females.
In town of Minden there were one hundred and forty-seven,
of which sixty-six were males and eighty-one females.
The people are largely German and have brought the industry
and thrift, for which that nation is noted, and which so
readily assimilates with the American, and, as such, we
welcome and congratulate them on their prosperity.
The present city officers are as follows: Mayor, John Geiger;
clerk, Lewis Rohlfs; council, A. E. Grueman, J. U. Reesy,
Jacob Geiger, G. H. Muhlstein, E. P. Otto and D. H. Auper.
Masonic Temple, Council Bluffs
(click on image for larger size)
This is a full township of thirty-six sections. It is bounded
on the north by Harrison county, east by Minden, south by
Norwalk and west by Boomer townships.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
June 10, 1872, a petition, signed by H. G. Fisher, George
Remington, Fielding Steele and seventy-eight other citizens,
was presented to the board of supervisors, asking that honorable
body to form a new civil township to comprise a part of
the townships of York and Boomer. It was ordered by the
board of supervisors ,that township 77, range 41, and township
77, range 42, is hereby organ.zed into a civil township,
to be known as the township .of Neola. It is broken only
along the streams. It is doubtful if two per cent is unfit
for cultivation. Nearly the whole surface is rolling prairie
and very productive and will raise all the staple crops
The township is drained by Mosquito and Pigeon creeks and
their tributaries, nearly all of which are fed by living
G. W. Henderson claimed the honor of being the first permanent
white settler in the township. He came from Van Buren county,
Iowa, in March, 1855, pre-empted the southeast quarter of
section 12, and began at once to build a shelter for his
family and to break ground for a spring crop.
Mr. Henderson's first neighbor in Neola township was Mr.
Norman Abbott, who settled in section 19 during the latter
part of the same month. Mr. Abbott remained a resident of
the township until 1865, when he sold his farm to Thomas
Cellars, who, in turn, sold it to a man named Hillsworth.
William Tidwell came to the new country and settled in
section 18, near Mr. Abbott. Joseph Balsley and Joseph Mecklin
settled on Pigeon creek in 1855. Mr. Balsley continued a
resident of this township until his death. The next to choose
a home in the prairie now within the boundary of Neola township
was John O'Brien, who settled .on section 23. Prominent
among the early settlers was Mr. Z. Remmington and family,
who settled on section 33. Mr. Remmington, however, did
not become a resident of this township until 1858. He lived
on his place of first settlement until his death.
He was a striking figure, very large and very careless
of his personal appearance and dress, but a very learned
man, a surveyor by profession, a man of strong connections,
an uncompromising republican, and for a time the only one,
he claimed, in his township, and used to send himself down
as a delegate to conventions, and was always seated. Old
Ike Sigler, who was just as strong a democrat, but a good,
jolly fellow withall, used to say Mr. Remmington might stay,
but they would not admit any more republicans into the township.
But both of them have long ago passed from view, but not
from the memory of us old-timers.
Neola township had no special attractions until 1869, when
the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad was built
and the town laid out on the lands owned by Messrs. Withrow,
Wright and Allen. The first house where the city now stands
was built by D. Little about 1868, who kept store in the
building. The second was put up by Mr. Kuhl, a harnessmaker.
Mr. Norris was the first blacksmith to open a shop in Neola,
and it was in the loft of this shop that Mrs. Doane taught
the second term of school in the town. The first term was
taught in Neola in the winter of '69-70. Miss M. Webster
was the teacher, and the school was held in the building
owned by David Tostevin.
The Neola house was among the first buildings in the town,
and was erected by Charles Hamilton.
HISTORY OF POTTWATTAMIE COUNTY
It was built for a hotel and has been used as such.
A postoffice building was erected in 1870 by Mr. Duncan,
who was also the first postmaster.
Daniel Flynn erected a building the same year and opened
a saloon. Mr. C. Dillin engaged in the grain trade as early
as 1873, to which he added the sale of coal and lumber,
and built up an extensive trade in each of these commodities.
In 1878 Mr. Dillin built a grain elevator of a capacity
of 10,000 bushels per day, and was the first permanently
located dealer, though Mr. Duncan was the first to buy any
grain marketed at Neola.
The first grain elevator was built by Mr. C. Hamilton.
Both elevators, however, were built in 1878, and their capacity
was about the same. Mr. Dillin began operating his October
1 and Mr. Hamilton began a month earlier.
In 1882 the town received its charter and became a city,
and elected the following officers: J. P. Organ, mayor;
C. M. Crippen, recorder; O. L. Davis, marshal. The city
council was composed of T. Rishton, W. Downs, J. W. Butler
and R. F. Lovell. The principal business at that day was
done by the following persons: Grain, C. Dillin and J. A.
Hamilton; general merchandise, H. Mendel, B. Rishton, J.
W. Butler, F. Rishton, Eggleston Brothers and Bradley &
Burton; druggists, Vanness, C. F. Robbins and B. A. McKay;
hardware, Reichart Brothers, C. M. Witt and C. B. Stone;
clothing, Remmington Brothers and C. M. Crippen; stock buyer,
G. W. Rogers; newspaper, Neola Tribune, E. P. Innes, editor;
real estate, H. L. McWilliams and D. Tostevin: hotels, Commercial,
S. Burgess, proprietor; Neola house, McKinney, proprietor;
bank, Neola, Mr. Henry, president; Mr. Lodge, cashier; meat
markets, Haggerty & Reichart and Handbury & Sills;
livery stables, A. King and Downs & Mott; insurance,
H. L. McWilliams and Riley Clark; millinery, Mrs. F. M.
Gallup; [c]arpenters, Purcell & Rogers, Eli Vickery,
Wm. Schierbrook and Mr. Fulgen; physicians, Drs. Barton,
Vanness, Harvey, Todd and Lawrence; attorneys, H. L. McWilliams
and J. P. Organ; postmaster, G. W. Remmington.
The school statistics for the township for 1881, outside
of the city, were: Number of subdistricts, six; ungraded
schools, six; months taught, nine; teachers employed, males
eight; females, four; compensation per month, males, $34.16;
females, $33:75; number of school age, males, one hundred
and thirty-five; females, one hundred and sixteen; school
houses, frame, six; value, $4,475; apparatus, $1.85.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows was the first secret
society to organize a lodge in Neola.
Neola Lodge, No. 410, was organized on May 27, 1880. The
first officers were: J. A. Hamilton, N. G.; E. E. Harris,
V. G.; J. C. Chapman, secretary, and Jacob Brown, treasurer.
There were forty-four members in 1881.
Irwin Lodge, No. 118, Iowa Legion of Honor was the next
secret society to effect an organization in' Neola. This
was on August 15, 1881. The first officers were: E. Reichart,
W: P.; John Watson, V. P.; E. L. Eggleston, R. S.; C. M.
Witt, F. S..; J. Buchannan, C.; C. B. Stone, T.; A. W. Loomis,
D.: K. Lanning, S.; S. N. Harvey, M. E.; L. W. Todd, M.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIECOUNTY
Agate Lodge, No. 423, A. F. and A. M., was organized in
March, 1882. The first officers were: A. S. Avery, W. M.;
S. L. Harvey, S. W.; W. Harper, J. W.; H. Mendel, S.; J.
W. Butler, T.; J. D. Garrison, S. D.; W. Phillips, J. D.;
N. W. Watson, tyler.
On the 22d of March, 1880, by authority of the Presbytery
of Council Bluffs, a church was organized by a committee
consisting of Revs. G. M. Lodge, F. H. Cleland and Elder
J. S. Love.
The members were John Buchannan and Jessie, his wife, and
their children, Katie, Jennie, Kennedy and David, Lawrence
Hunter and wife, Mrs. Anna Remmington and Dr. Harvey and
All members rose to their feet, made confession of faith,
and the church was pronounced fully and properly organized.
John Buchannan was elected a ruling elder and Lawrence Hunter
A short time subsequent to the organization a fund was
raised, which, together with $500 contributed by the Presbyterian
board of missions, they were enabled to erect a church,
which was completed in March, 1882, at a cost of $1,500.
At this time Neola had two railroads, which afforded shipping
facilities not excelled by any place in the c'0mity, except
From 1882, the close of the above history, to 1907 is a
long reach. Kingdoms and empires have risen and fallen during
this time. It is five years longer than Rip Van Winkle slept
in the Catskill mountains, and it behooves us to leave something
for future generations by which they may know we have existed
or be, like him, "too soon forgotten."
But if other people have been sleeping, those of Neola
have not. We now find a full-fledged city of 1,200 inhabitants,
with its waterworks, electric lights and miles of cement
At this date (1907) Neola has five stores of general merchandise
as follows: One by G. L. Cooper, one by J. L. Wilber, one
by Wm. McGuire, one by Hamilton & Smith, one by M. O'Connor
and one by E. M. Palmer & Co.; one large stock .of clothing,
shoes and hats by George N. Remmington, one of shoes, exclusively
of shoes, by Joseph Jacoby, two of drugs by Hermah Rolfes
and Dr. J. T. Vanness, respectively; implements and hardware,
Schierbrook & O'Connor, and one by T. W. McDermott,
two of hardware by the Frank West Hardware Company and A.
E. Pearce, respectively; two millinery stores by the Haggerty
Sisters and the Brandenberg Sisters; two banks, the Neola
State bank and the Farmers' and Merchants' State bank; one
newspaper, Neola Gazette-Reporter, L. G. Merrill, editor;
two meat markets, Sexton & Shawgo and Sam Gaymen; Green
Bay lumber yard, George Menke, manager, and Rees-Gabel Lumber
Company, John Matsen, manager; one wallpaper store, two
elevators, the Wells-Hord Grain Company, John Hannan, manager,
and the Van Dorn Grain Company, H. H. Pogge, manager; one
graded public school, with principal and six assistants;
one parochial school, with two hundred pupils of both sexes,
while the Catholics have a large church, with congregation
numbering nearly 1,000, while the Methodists, Presbyterians
and Lutherans each have churches. Of hotels the city is
provided with the New Clifton, Williams house and Haggerty
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
house, and three restaurants will feed any overflow from
these. The waterworks and electric plant are owned by the
city. It has a volunteer fire company that carries the state
belt, having won for three years. The city also has two
livery stables and five saloons and a brass band of thirteen
The fraternal organizations are represented by a Masonic
lodge, one of the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias and Knights
The city government at this time is as follows: Mayor,
Fred Foss; council, Ed. Rattigan, George Remmington, N.
B. Chrisman, A. Ransom, H. S. Watkins and G. W. Giese; marshal,
George Murphy, and James Hayes, deputy. The police is limited
to these two, the first doing day duty and the latter at
The township officers are as follows: Trustees, J. D. Porter,
John R. Willmott and Frank Spencer; clerk, J. S. Hermsen;
justices of the peace, Riley Clark and Thomas Kennedy; constables,
C. J. Maxfield and Ed. Ratigan; assessor, W. C. Wilmott.
According to the state census of 1905, there are in the
township, exclusive of city, three hundred and thirty-two
of school age, of which one hundred and seventy-seven are
males and one hundred and fifty-five are females.
In the city there are three hundred and fifty-four, of
which one hundred and seventy are males and one hundred
and eighty-four females.
Board of education, K. Buchanan, president; G. M. Buchanan,
secretary, and August Sundell, treasurer. Teachers salaries,
$40 and $35 for first and second grades respectively.
Norwalk township was organized June 6, 1873, and was mulled
Norwalk by Mr. R. Foote in honor of Norwalk, Conn., where
he formerly lived.
It is bounded on the north by Neola, east by York, south
by Hardin and west by Hazel Dell townships. Three-fourths
of its surface is drained by the Mosquito, and the southeast
fourth by Keg creeks. The first settlers were Mormons, but
finally they all went on with the last detachment to Utah.
It possesses the same rich soil as its neighboring townships,
and might be said to have no waste land.
The principal early settlers were Joseph Holman, Ezekiel
Dawns, Asa Downs, William Cox, William Hendrix, Johnson
Lane and William Yocum. They all arrived and settled from
1845 to 1850. William Yocum was a wreck physically. He came
from Missouri and while there joined the mob at Horn's mill
against the Mormons. During the fight he received seven
bullets in his body, from the effects of which he never
recovered. He died in Pottawattamie county.
As early as 1847 Ezekiel Downs and A. Smith built saw and
flouring mills on Mosquito creek. They were two-story buildings
of hewed logs. Both mills were run by water power furnished
by a dam built in Mosquito creek. Both mills did a good
business until a flood in 1850, which demolished the grist
mill. The dam was injured as well as the saw mill, but were
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
paired and finally sold to William Garnet, who continued.
to run the sawmill for years. In the winter 1863-4 the first
school was taught in Norwalk township. It was in a log cabin
built by the farmers. The first teacher was Miss Jane Davis.
From this little beginning the schools grew, until in 1881
there were six subdistricts; graded schools; five; months
taught, seven; number of teachers, males, six; females,
five; average pay per month, males, $32.41; females, $26.07;
persons of school age, males, one hundred and seventy-three;
females, one hundred and thirty-eight. Total cost of school
houses, $3,350. In. March, 1882, at Downs schoolhouse there
was organized a Society of Friends, under the auspices of
Revs. Lewis and William Smith.
The following is a list of the original members. George
F. Ward and wife, Jane Ward, Archibald N. Ward, Mary Fleck,
Catharine Whitney, her son William Whitney, A. Mott and
wife, Martha Mott, Ada Mott; Lena Vezy, Albert Shaw, Lizzie
Vezy, Drucilla Downs, Minerva Downs and Joseph Whitney.
It is crossed by three railroads, the Rock Island and the
Milwaukee running parallel with each other along the Mosquito
creek, while the Great Western cuts diagonally through the
These furnish excellent facilities for shipping and, as
a result, quite a young city has grown up, which will require
The town of Underwood was started simultaneous with the
advent of the Rock Island Railroad and has made steady growth
since that time. At this writing (1907) it has three general
stores, one drug store, two hotels, one restaurant, one
meat market, one lumber yard, with large stock, one livery
stable, one machine shop, one blacksmith shop, which, in
addition, handles farming implements; one harness shop,
one shoe and harness repair shop, one creamery, two elevators,
one savings bank, two barber shops, one cement block factory.
The town has two churches, German Lutheran and Latter Day
Saints. The Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors also have
lodges here. The town has a graded school, with one hundred
and thirty pupils, of which seventy-two are males and fifty-eight
Norwalk township, exclusive of Underwood, according to
the state census of 1905, has three hundred and seven of
school age, of which one hundred and sixty are males and
one hundred and forty-seven females. Teachers receive $40
and $35 per month for first and second grades respectively.
C. G. Reese is president of the board of education; F.
T. C. Johnson, secretary and K. W. Klopping, treasurer.
The following are the township officers: Trustees, K. W.
Klopping, Henry Bensen and William Whitney; clerk, W. F.
Schmaedicke; justices of the peace, E. F. Schroeder and
C. D. Langfeldt; constable, George Keso; assessor, F. Lee
Of F. T. C. Johnson, above named, special mention should
be made. For many years he was a prominent citizen of Council
Bluffs. In his young manhood he married the only daughter
of L. W. Babbitt, one of Council Bluff's best girls, was
a democrat of the old school, was public spirited, was president
of the first fire company organized in the city, a large
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
many of the best houses in the city of early times are
of his workmanship, among which was the old courthouse.
This township was organized by an order made April 7, 1873,
on the petition of L. G. Bennett, Hiram Stewart, S. T. Bender
and forty-one others, asking that a new civil township be
created out of congressional township 77, range 40. It is
bounded on the north by Shelby county, on the east by Knox
township, on the south by James township, and on the west
by Minden township. The soil is all that could be desired.
The land slopes gently to the south and west. It was originally
treeless, but the settlers have planted and cultivated groves
of oak, walnut and maple, which have grown until the face
of the country has been changed, not only that, but orchards
have been planted and fruit is being successfully raised.
Two streams run through the township from north to south;
one called the Big Silver coursing through centrally and
the Middle Silver through the western part. These are clear
and fed by springs that never fail. There is not one per
cent of worthless land ill the township.
Among the first settlers were the following: Jacob and
Franz Haas came from Sauk county, Wisconsin, July 12, 1872,
Joseph Frum, from Monongahela county, West Virginia, and
settled February 25, 1872; A. M. Scott is an. other pioneer.
He came and bought land and commenced a farm in 1869. He
went into partnership with P. S. McCandless in opening up
the farm. When they married they dissolved, made a division,
and each farmed his own land. T. Goodwalter came into the
township in 1872. The first road was the Ballard State road,
referred to in annals of other townships. Another was located
in 1870 from north to south in the west part, called the
A. C. Benpett road, and another was laid out from east to
west named the Hiram Stewart.
The first schoolhouse was built in 1871, called the No.2,
and is known as the From school. The first school was taught
by Alonzo Bartnett. No.6 was the next one erected in 1874.
No.4 was also built in 1874, and John K. Cooper, afterwards
county superintendent, was the first teacher. He was a resident
of James township when first nominated on the democratic
ticket in 1879 for county superintendent, and elected by
a handsome majority, although the republicans carried the
county by three hundred majority on their state ticket.
In 1881 he was again elected by about seven hundred majority,
although the county went republican by over three hundred,
his competitor being Miss Ingeletta Smith, a sister of Hon.
Walter I. Smith, member of congress.
Mr. Cooper is a native of Maryland and served in the Union
army in Lockwood's brigade, Twelfth army corps, at the battle
No.5 school house was built in 1877, and Miss Mary J. Trotter
became the first teacher, and No.7, the same year, with
Miss Plumer the first teacher, and No. 8 in 1880, and Fremont
Benjamin, now a lawyer in Council Bluffs, the teacher.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
At the first election to organize the township, held October
14, 1873, there were fifty-four votes palled and the following
officers elected: S. H. Buckley, C. H. Brawn and T. T. Larkin,
trustees; S. B. Frum, township clerk; William Buckley and
F. N. Keeney, justices of the peace; D. Grass and A. M.
Scott, constables; William A. Clark, assessor, and Hiram
Stewart, road supervisor.
On the evening of July 28, 1879, Jacob Maasan was killed
by Christian Pittman. Maasan accused Pittman of tramping
dawn his corn by running his reaper over it, their lands
joining where it happened. There were no witnesses to the
tragedy, only Pittman was seen to run, with Maason in pursuit.
Pittman was arrested and tried, but the jury disagreed.
The case was taken to Mills county, but the indictment could
not be found and the case was dismissed. The case was again
brought before the grand jury of Pottawattamie county and
he was indicted, and again the case taken to Mills county,
where he was acquitted. In his defense Pittman claimed that
Maasan attacked him, threatening to kill him, and that he
cut him in self-defense, but not intending to kill him.
The stab proved fatal, the knife having struck the heart.
In the fall of '75 T. T. Larkin borrowed a gun of Claus
Horst to kill a hawk. A report of the gun was heard and
Larkin was found dead from a shot in the breast, most likely
an accident. Another death was that of Peter Doll, by his
team running away at Avoca.
On the 4th day of September, 1882, an unknown man was found
dead from exposure and intemperance a mile east of the Frum
The early settlers were largely Germans and the first church
organization was the German Evangelical Association, organized
and presided aver by Rev. Aaron Bassart for two years, was
succeeded by Wilhelm Jones, and he, in turn, by Flegler
This, township has no town within its borders, but is in
easy communication with Minden, Shelby or Avoca. It had
no railroad until 1903, when the Great Western passed through
the northwest corner.
The township officers at this time (1907) are as follows:
Trustees, George Haas, C. V. Rack and Henry Flemming; clerk,
C. P. Wasser; justices of the peace, Adolph Baustain and
J. L. Buckley; assessor, E. A. Bergman; constable, W. W.
Of, the present board C. V. Rack is president; E. A. Bergman,
secretary, and D. Gross, treasurer. According to the state
census of 1905 there were two hundred and sixty-six persons
of school age, of which one hundred and twenty-nine were
males and one hundred and thirty-seven females. Compensation
of teachers is $40 and $35 per month far first and second
The first white settlers of this township were Mormons
that came with the great exodus of these people from Nauvoo.
A large detachment halted at Kanesville and filled the ravines
surrounding that section, and, spreading northward, nestled
among the timber along the bluffs, and, although their stay
was to be but temporary, they built comfortable cabins and
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
good farms. This was necessary, not only for themselves,
but to maintain a halting place for the pilgrims to rest
and make repairs while on their two thousand-mile journey
of untold hardship.
Joseph Hill was the first Gentile arrival in the township.
He took possession of a tract of land in section 11 on the
Missouri river, near what is known as the old St. John landing,
on which he made his permanent home. He came from the vicinity
of St. Joseph, Mo., in 1850, and was followed the next year
by Joseph Kirby and Arthur Mann.
Samuel Kirkland and Dr. Robert McGovern came the same year,
and the former lived in this township until his death in
1880, and the latter settled just over the line in Harrison
county 'and became one of its most respected citizens.
One of the oldest and most prominent settlers was Basil
Fox. He was born in Putnam county, Indiana, came to this
county in 1852. When the Civil war broke out he enlisted
in the Twenty-ninth Iowa Infantry, commanded by Colonel
Thomas H. Benton, and served until the expiration of his
term, has always been a strong republican, was a member
of the board of supervisors for two years. He finally moved
to Missouri Valley
Sherman Goss; and his family arrived in 1851. Mr. Goss
was shot dead in a claim fight at Old Fort Calhoun, Nebraska,
in 1854, and his widow and children remained in the township
many years. All three of his sons served in the Union army.
To give a list of all the early settlers would make this
history too lengthy. so we must confine ourselves to those
that became most prominent, without any disrespect towards
other equally good citizens. Hiram Bostwick, with his family,
came with the Mormons, located on a large body of land on
the Missouri bottom near Honey Creek lake, and remained
after exodus of that people, built a large house that was
always open to the public. He and his good wife were noted
for their hospitality. The upper part of his big house was
all in one room and was ,ft favorite place for the young
folks to meet for miles around and have their dances, while
the barns and shed would be filled with teams of the guests,
and a bountiful supper would be served. Sometimes things
would get a little boisterous, which was owing to bottles
of something found in some of the sleighs, but so goes the
world. Later Mr. Bostwick became justice of the peace, and
while in that office there was a shooting match at a sawmill
near by and Nick Smith, a tough character that always carried
a rifle, no matter where he was going, or what he was doing,
was killed. It appeared that he had some words with a man
named Fry, and knocked Fry down with the butt of his gun,
and raised it to strike him again while down, but just them
a heavy quart bottle struck Smith on the temple. He sat
down on a log a few minutes and then started for home. Failing
to reach there, a hunting party found him in a cornfield
dead. The question arose, who threw the bottle. There were
perhaps twenty in the crowd, and among them a brother of
Fry's named Chris. He was arrested and brought before Squire
Bostwick, who believed in prompt enforcement of the law,
and there being a great crowd attracted, he ordered the
constable to summon a, jury then and there to try the case.
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
The sheriff quietly whispered the court, and as many jurors
as had been summoned were discharged and the court proceeded
to confine itself to holding a preliminary examination.
The entire crowd was sworn as witnesses, but not one saw
where the bottle came from. After hearing the evidence,
the court remarked: "This looks a little dark, a man
is killed in broad daylight with twenty men looking an and
nobody saw it. The prisoner is discharged." And all
the people said amen.
Although this township had same bad men, and a number of
murders were committed in the early days, the great majority
of the pioneers were sterling men, just such as open up
the wilderness and break the ground for a higher civilization.
It has furnished two county judges, Hardin Jones and Abraham
Jackson. The latter was a democrat after the manner of his
old namesake, and when the war came he came out strongly
far its prosecution, and became a power in the northwestern
part of the county, where there was a large anti-war element,
at that time called copperheads.
Fortunately there were cool heads on both sides enough
to prevent violent clashing. Perry Reel was a sample of
this kind. Although his political sentiments were known
by all men, he was elected sheriff two terms, then county
treasurer, then sheriff again, even when the county was
There is no record of schools previous to 1855, probably
owing to the Mormons conducting what schools there were
in the earlier times in their dwellings. On that year one
was opened in an old Mormon cabin located on section 10
and Jacob Cox was the first teacher. From this start the
interest increased until by 1880 there were seven comfortable
school houses filled with pupils in full operation.
The first public bridge was built over Honey creek by Basil
Fox, the first road supervisor. In 1859 Wiley B. Hatcher
built a small mill an Honey creek, the mill work being done
by Basil Fox and a man named Popps, but the dam was washed
away by flood in '70 and site abandoned.
In 1865-6 A. J. Bell and E. Loveland built a mill on the
Boyer, where the town of Loveland now is, and by which the
town gets its name. It afterwards passed into the hands
of John Hanthorne & Co.
An interesting old settler was Mr. Edward W. Bennett. He
was born in Nova Scotia in 1805. He was a democrat and the
writer of these lines was a strong republican. He had admonished
the writer to never pass his house without stopping and,
after one experience of their hospitality, one would hardly
disregard the admonition.
After the horse was stabled, fed and bedded and yourself
served with an
excellent supper, he ,would kindly say to his venerable
wife: "Annie, please leave some water in the tea kettle
on the stove," and we would adjourn to the best room,
where a bright fire blazed in an old-fashioned fire place.
On the sideboard were a can of choice smoking tobacco and
a couple of decanters glittering in the fire and lamplight.
And he would say: "Now we can leave politics out of
doors and take comfort."
He had been all aver the world as a sailor, had been captain
of police in Buffalo and his conversation was as instructive
as interesting. In the mean
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
time the quiet little wife would sit knitting, but they
are gone, and we almost wonder why it must be so.
In the winter of '71, the people were shocked to hear that
John S. Goss had shot and dangerously wounded his cousin,
Sherman Brown. It appeared that they had had difficulty
during the summer, which was continued until it culminated
in tragedy. Brown lived about two weeks.
In the trial it appeared that Brown was the aggressor and
the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty.
Shortly after this an elderly man named Samuel Fickle was
killed by being shot. It was in his house after dark. Hearing
a noise outside, he went to the door and received a load
of buckshot and was instantly killed, There never was sufficient
proof to warrant a conviction by a jury, but public opinion
pointed to a step-son, between whom there had been bad feeling
for some time.
On the evening of the presidential election of 1872 at
the store of Alfred Frazier, a man named James McMillan
got into an altercation, which resulted in McMillan falling
The first report was that Frazier, who was a powerful man,
with one blow of the fist felled him to the floor. This
was not proven at the trial, and he was acquitted. Mr. Frazier
regretted it, some of his friends say, to the extent that
it affected his whole life up to the time of his death in
In 1856 a Baptist church was organized where Loveland now
is. The original membership was twelve persons, viz.: W.
A. Reel and wife, John Deil and wife, Hardin Jones and wife,
Mary A. Frazier, Cynthia Mace, Ed. ward Latham and Josiah
Skelton. In 1880 they erected a church at a cost of $1,300,
and the membership had grown to seventy-five at that time.
Rev. John Case was the first pastor. It is claimed to be
the oldest Baptist society west of the Des Moines river.
From 1867, when the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad
entered, that was the only one in the township until the
advent of the Illinois Central in 1899. This road established
a station named Grable. There is but one store there as
yet. Loveland is the largest village in the township. Population
about two hundred and fifty; has two general stores, a lumber
yard, elevator and feed mill.
Owing to the level condition of the Missouri bottoms, the
streams coming down from the upland subjected the farmer
to overflow, much to the damage of many of the residents.
To remedy this an extensive system of ditching was inaugurated
in 1903, part of which was by joint action with Harrison
county. Considerable delay has occurred, but at the present
writing it is being pushed rapidly, and it is believed by
the promoters that many thousands of acres that are comparatively
worthless will be redeemed.
The present township officers are: Ed. Wilson, J. A. Currie
and W. J. Myers, trustees; D. H. Bailey and M. C. Brocious,
justices of the peace; J. R. Hutchinson, constable; Oscar
E. Copeland, assessor and Orel Jones, clerk.
Charles P. O'Neal, of Loveland, is president of the school
board; Bruce W. Marehouse; secretary, and J. W. Frazier,
According to the state census of 1905, there was a school
HISTORY OF POTTAWATTAMIE COUNTY
three hundred and twenty-five between the ages of five
and twenty-one years, and for which ten good schoolhouses
About two-thirds of this township is on the Missouri bottoms
and the soil is inexhaustible.
In the extreme northwest corner of this township is a beautiful
lake called Noble's lake, after a man of that name; who
in early times had a sawmill near it, and, although he has
long since died, the pretty lake perpetuates his name, and
is a favorite place for fishing parties.