Plymouth County, Iowa

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Towns, Cities and Townships

- - - CITIES AND TOWNS - - -
Akron * * * Brunsville * * * Hinton

Kingsley * * * Le Mars * * * Merrill

Oyens * * * Remsen * * * Seney

Struble * * * Westfield

Abandoned Towns, Villages And Post Offices

- - - TOWNSHIPS - - -
Township Histories

. . . about Akron, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


The incorporated town of Akron, on the line of the Sioux City division of the Chicago, St. Paul & Milwaukee Railroad, was originally platted as "Portlandville," by Sargent & Crill, in 1871. It is located handsomely in section 31, its plat extending to the Big Sioux river on the west. The river there affords a splendid water power, which has been utilized for many years.

The commencement of business at Akron (old Portlandville) was in 1871, when E. W. Sargent opened a general-merchandising store, soon followed by Martin & Dorsey. Mr. Sargent handled the first grain there, both as a milling man and a shipper by rail. The first to sell lumber was S. Bevins and the first live-stock man was Thomas Sedgewick. The pioneer blacksmith was M. W. Toppings; Henry L. Waterbury was the first harnessmaker. The first retail merchant was J. Booth. The first hardware merchant was William Love, in 1877. The first to engage in the drug trade was L. H. Farmer. The earliest implement dealer was M. L. Disbrow. The first to handle furniture was August Peterson. The main street of the village was named after the landlord of the first boarding house and two other streets, Sargent and Hardy, perpetuate the names of the early residents.

The first child born in Portlandville was a son of Mr. and Mrs. George Reed, in August, 1871, the second being a son of Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Barr in the spring of 1872.

The first school was taught by Mrs. E. B. Donaldson in 1873 at her home, and the same year a school house was built at a cost of three thousand dollars.


The land on which was located the original village of Portlandville, now Akron, was homesteaded by Thomas and John McLain in 1857. There were no permanent settlers on the land for a decade or more after this date and the tract changed hands a number of times before 1871. For several years previous to this date E. W. Sargent and L. N. Crill had been operating the "Big Sioux" flour and saw-mill, about fifteen miles down the river. In the spring of 1871 these gentlemen desired to extend their business by establishing a flour-mill farther up the river and finally decided that the comparatively high banks of the river at the point now called Akron afforded a splendid location for a water-power. Accordingly they bought, at the munificent price of five dollars an acre, the tract of land surrounding that point and prepared to dam the river, build a mill and lay out a townsite. There were at that time no settlers in what is now Portland township, with the single exception of J. B. Hughes, who had located on the land immediately east of that bought by Sargent and Crill and was living there until he could "prove up," which he did in the fall of 1872.

When the construction of the new mill was decided upon, Sargent and Crill prepared the lumber for it at their plant and hauled the material by teams to the proper place. H. D. Barr hauled in the lumber for the first building in the new settlement, a small shanty owned by a man named Readan and located at what is now the corner of First and Dakota streets. Following this were erected a hotel constructed of rough boards, and a dwelling for H. D. Barr. The hotel, or boarding house, was owned by George Reed and was located on the present site of the Opera House block. About that time was built, south of the mill, a small store, operated by E. W. Sargent.

In the year that the railroad reached Portlandville, which was in 1876, Mr. Sargent built the first grain elevator on the north side of Reed street. During that same year the Portlandville Blade was launched by James W. Sheppard.


During the first two years of the history of this village, mail was brought weekly by a one-horse rig, which followed the river from Sioux City to Sioux Falls. In 1873 was established the first regular post office, mail being brought from Elk Point. T. S. Martin was the first postmaster and his successors were as follow: C. E. Robinson, Amy Hampton, F. T. Sheppard, 1Ir. Peck, B. B. Harrington, A. L. McGinnis, C. P. Kilbourn, B. F. Winterstein, H. J. Muhs, Mrs. M. A. Muhs and Bezie Dee. Several rural routes radiate from this post office. There are now three going into South Dakota and four altogether in Iowa. At first this was known as Portlandville post office, but on account of there being found another town by this long name in Iowa, it was changed to Akron, in 1882. A money-order station was established there on July 1, 1878, and the first order was issued to David Strohben, for the sum of thirty dollars, payable at Traer, Iowa.


The census of 1880 showed that the village had a population of two hundred and forty-two. Two years later came the agitation for separate town government. The petition for incorporation, signed by thirty voters, stated that the village had a population of three hundred. At an election held on September 7, 1882, incorporation was decided upon by a vote of forty-one to sixteen. The new town was christened Akron, a name selected by Mr. Sargent, as the old name was considered too long. The first officers included the following: James Biddlecome, mayor; A. P. Douglas, clerk; H. J. Muhs, treasurer; R. D. Clark, assessor; A. H. Smith, marshal; E. W. Sargent, L. H. Farnham, B. B. Harrington, R. E. Blades and J. Beaulieu, councilmen. The following men have served as mayor: James Biddlecome, E. H. Tryon, A. L. McGinnis, S. G. Baker, M. A. Agnes, J. P. Kendall, A. G. A. Palm, O. F. Haskell, W. C. Bryant, Tim Sullivan, William Slaughter, R. A. Smith, Dr. G. H. Wooten, N. S. Moore, and A. L. Yeaton, the present incumbent.

The town officers of 1916 include the following: A. L. Yeaton, mayor; F. W. Burnett, clerk; J. L. Beck, treasurer; J. H. Kerr, health physician; C. P. Vargason, marshal; J. C. Rogers, superintendent of light and water plant; R. A. Broadbent, J. B. Klauer, E. H. Youngstrom, Ernest Ostrom, H. Shoulberg and T. L. Burnight, councilmen.


In 1882 was built the present school building, at a cost of ten thousand dollars. After a few years an addition was necessary and two rooms were added on the north side. In 1907 a new addition, thirty by fifty feet, was constructed, at a cost of six thousand dollars. At the present time with an enrollment of three hundred and twenty-five the building is overcrowded and a room formerly used by the Commercial Club is used for school purposes. Prof. A. Huffman is superintendent of the school and eleven teachers are employed. Eighty pupils are enrolled in the high school, the largest number in the history of the school.

Among the public utilities of the town is an excellent waterworks system, with mains and laterals throughout the city, and up on the hill, on the east side, is the reservoir of eighty thousand gallons. The electric light plant has recently been taken over by the municipality and gives the town day and night service. For a period of five years the Akron Milling Company furnished the town with electricity and at the end of that period the municipality assumed control.

The streets of the town are wide, handsome and well shaded, and many miles of cement sidewalks have been laid during the last few years, supplanting the old board walks. During the summer of 1916 seven blocks of cement streets were laid in the business district of the town at a cost of twenty thousand dollars. In the town are an unusual number of substantial business houses and modern residences, surrounded by well-kept lawns filled with flowers, shrubbery, fruit and shade trees.


Among the attractive features are the numerous picnic grounds and shady nooks along the Big Sioux river near the town, furnishing respite from the heat and dust of the summer, and where one may enjoy a day's outing beneath the cooling shades and fish from the banks of the river.

At one time the town of Akron possessed one of the most active Conmmercial Clubs of any municipality in the county. The club, organized on March 2, 1909, began its work under the most auspicious circumstances. The first officers included H. W. Fields, president; G. H. Wooton and C. G. Brady, vice-presidents; W. W. Burrill, secretary; F. J. Swanson, treasurer. Club rooms were fitted up and the spirit of the organization was of the very best. Many questions of civic and municipal interest were discussed and decided upon and the good accomplished was far-reaching. With some of the more important questions settled for all time, the importance of the club was somewhat lessened, with the result that it has gradually fallen into a dormant state.

The worst fire in Akron's history occurred in April, 1905, causing a loss of fifty thousand dollars. The building burned was the fine two-story business block known as the Clark-Cilley-Baker building, a brick and stone structure.


Akron's first milling plant was erected in the year 1871 by E. W. Sargent, being one of the first mills in this section of the Northwest. The concern changed hands so many times that it is difficult to name the various owners, but at the time of its destruction by fire in 1898, Messrs. Fields, Slaughter & Miller were the proprietors.

Before the embers of the old mill, had ceased smoking and in the face of the heavy loss, the management was planning upon the erection of a much larger mill to be equipped with all of the latest machinery. Within one day less than five months from the date of the old mill's destruction, the new mill ground the first grist. The maximum capacity of the plant during twenty-four hours is one hundred and twenty-five barrels of flour and forty tons of feed, besides other products such as corn meal and graham flour.

The mill was rebuilt at a cost of ten thousand dollars and at present is owned by a corporation known as the Akron Milling Company.


The business and professional interests of Akron in the autumn of 1916 were represented by the following:

- Auto garages - Wade & Burnight, E. Ostrom, F. C. Olson, Henry Callaghan.
- Attorneys - W.T. Kidd, Yeaton & Ross.
- Auctioneers - J. J. Aalfs, W. H. Morse, F. C. Olson.
- Banks - The First National Bank, The Akron Savings Bank.
- Barbers - F. J. Montague, Hilzemann Bros., Trautt Brothers.
- Blacksmiths - C. M. Hilliker & Son, Robert Schmidt, H. Bohlen.
- Bottling works - Akron Ice Cream and Bottling Works.
- Bakery - William Simeon.
- Clothing and furnishings Burrill - Douglas Company.
- Confectionery - William Eberle, William Simeon.
- Cement block works - C. M. Hilliker & Son.
- Dray line - A. C. Jenkins, Charles Wise, ______ Chamberlain.
- Dentists - Dr. D. J. Conger, Dr. George Wooten.
- Elevators - Farmers Elevator Company, Hunting Elevator, J. W. Hedges.
- Furniture dealers - Klauser-Swanson Co., J. B. Cunningham.
- Feed mill - Akron Milling Company.
- Feed barns - Bohlen Bros., F. Twormbley.
- Grocery and meat market - Harry Cohen.
- General merchants - O. M. Silkebakken, Henry Rohrer, Paul Wendt, George Dudley.
- Hotels - The New Kendall, The Nall Hotel.
- Harness - A. Metz, F. Smythe.
- Hardware - Klauer-Swanson Company, J. B. Cunningham.
- Implements - W. W. Keach, VonHagel & Koch, Akron Implement Company.
- Ice dealers - Cross & Dilly, August Kruger.
- Jewelers - William E. Whitney, Benjamin Winterstein.
- Lumber dealers - Akron Lumber Company, Farmers Lumber Company, Sioux River Lumber Company, Fullerton Lumber Company.
- Light and water plant - Akron Light and Water Company.
- Mill - Akron Milling Company
- Millinery - Pearl Visnow, Mrs. M. W. Strobel, Mrs. J. B. McKelly.
- Meat markets - A. Weidenfeller, H. Cohen.
- Merchant tailors - Earl & Walrod, A. E. Lipp.
- Newspaper - The Register Tribune, Ray A. Smith, proprietor.
- Opera house - Akron Opera House.
- Physicians - Dr. W. J. Bruner, Dr. J. H. Kerr, Dr. George Mattison.
- Photographers - E. Larson, _____ Klemme.
- Produce dealers - L. J. Cross and Company, Hanford Produce Company.
- Plummer - N. M. Hanson.
- Restaurants - Ideal Cafe, People's Cafe, Robinson Brothers.
- Real estate dealers - Roy Root, Redmond Brothers, Robertson & Hays.
- Stock buyers - J. J. Aafs, Farmers Grain Company, Hays & Miller, John Reemts.
- Telephone - Farmers & Merchants Telephone Company.
- Undertaker - Fred Kocty.
- Veterinary - Dr. N. J. Brown.
- Variety store - W. K. Gullickson.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Brunsville, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


When the townsite of Brunsville was laid out by the Western Townsite Company, there was a need of a general market and a trading center in the community and after due deliberation the land owned by Mrs. Brun was chosen, and the village was named in her honor. An eighty-acre tract was platted and within a few months a cow pasture was transformed into a thriving village. Edward Johnson was the first man to see the opportunities of the place in a business way and he established the first general store. Others soon followed and as will be noticed by the present business directory, most of the staple lines of business are represented:
* Banks - Bank of Brunsville, Farmers Bank.
* Blacksmiths - Fred Toel, George Benton.
* Creamery - Plymouth Creamery Company, Jobe Kennedy, manager.
* Elevators - Farmers Elevator Company, Frank Hoese.
* General dealers - Edward Johnson, John Hauschildt.
* Hardware and harness - John F. Dirks.
* Implements - George E. Pew.
* Lumber dealer - Brunsville Lumber Company, George Popken, manager.
* Meat market - Nate Gearke.
* Physician - Dr. C. G. Ellsworth.
* Restaurant - C. M. Richards.

During the spring of 1911 the citizens of the village cherished a desire to become a distinct municipality and articles of incorporation were secured. The first municipal election resulted in the election of the following: C. M. Richards, mayor; Ed Johnson, treasurer; B. J. Luken, Clerk; J. H. Dirks, B. H. Luken, O. F. Vollmar, Fred Toel, councilmen. The present officers include the following: O. E. Pecks, mayor; Jobe Kennedy, clerk; Edward Johnson, treasurer; Henry Johnson, Fred Toel, T. M. Harms, J. W. Hauschildt and George Popken, councilmen. Although the village is yet in its infancy, it has shown great strides in business and civic improvement. Several blocks of cement walks have been laid and many new and modern dxellings have been erected with an idea of permanency. The business houses are modern and substantial, a fact that goes to show the confidence the people have in the future of the town.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Hinton, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


Hinton, a station point of the various railroads passing through there, is situated in section 8 of Hungerford township. The post office was established there in 1883, with Samuel Davis as postmaster. He was succeeded by H. S. Hubbard, B. F. Bogenrief, G. W. Sheets, M. H. Mammen, and the present postmaster, Mr. Winter. The first hotel was conducted by Mrs. H. E. Winters.


In the autumn of 1916 the interests of Hinton were summed up as follow:

- Auto garage - O. C. Brown & Son, William Schneider.
- Banks - Bank of Hinton, Security Bank.
- Barber - J. H. Levins.
- Blacksmith - Herbert G. Soule.
- Druggist - P. S. Tronsrue.
- Elevators - Atlas Elevator Company, Thorpe Elevator Company, Farmers Co-Operative.
- General dealers - E. M. Winter, Reliable Mercantile Company.
- Hardware dealer - Haas-Thuenk Hardware Company.
- Hotel - Hinto Hotel.
- Implements - Hauff Brothers.
- Lumber - S. H. Bowman Company, Farmers Co-Operative Company.
- Meat market - A. J. Taylor.
- Newspaper - The Hinton Gazette.
- Physician - Dr. J. H. Robbins.
- Restaurants - Hawkeye Cafe, Mrs. B. Kay.
- Real-estate dealer - Westmore Land Company.

The village of Hinton, although small, exerts quite a good deal of influence locally. It is situated in the heart of an excellent agricultural community and the volume of trade transacted at this point is larger than that of many towns many times its size. The village has excellent schools and churches, which are a true index of the character of the people. The school building, which was built in 1906, is quite overcrowded and a movement for a new consolidated school building is on foot. Six teachers are employed and H. H. Foster is principal. The enrollment is one hundred and thirty.

Hinton was incorporated about 1907, but the records are not to be found today. The 1916 officers are: John Casper, mayor; George Ellison, clerk; H. C. Brown, treasurer; J. H. Thompson, J. I. Levins, H. J. Schneider, T. S. Tronsrue and H. G. Soule, councilmen.

On May 23, 1914, Hinton was visited, at half past one o'clock in the morning, by a fire that destroyed five buildings causing a loss of thirty thousand dollars. These buildings were the Bank of Hinton, H. F. Bogenrief & Son's hardware store, B. S. Tronsrue's drug store, H. H. Lever's barber shop, Crouche's restaurant, Doctor Robbin's office, the Hotel Hinton and the residence of E. M. Winter, partly destroyed. The fire originated in the hardware store. The buildings were all frame structures and were soon replaced by substantial brick buildings. The town had no fire protection whatever at the date of this fire.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Kingsley, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


The town of Kingsley became an incorporated town in 1884. The place was platted in section 32 of Garfield township on June 4, 1883, following the building of the Chicago & Northwestern railroad through from the east to Moville, later extending on to Sioux City. Kingsley is the next largest town in the county to Le Mars, the seat of justice. In 1890 it had a population of 649; in 1900 it had reached 720, and in 1910 the United States census gave it as having a population of 977. It is a busy up-to-date town supported by a wonderfully rich, well-developed agricultural section. From its earliest inception this place has been noted for the business snap and genuine enterprise of its business factors. As early as 1890 there were over sixty business houses, including two excellent banks and a live local newspaper, which are mentioned at length in chapters on these topics. The town is beautifully situated on high, rolling ground, and has broad well-kept streets. The first attempt at opening business there was in the summer of 1883, following the completion of the railroad. An old village, known as Quorn, was platted in 1880 by the Close brothers, with whom the railroad had a misunderstanding, which resulted in a change of plan on the part of the company, which changed its original route and located what is now Kingsley. The few dealers at Quorn soon removed their business to the railroad town, which was only a mile to the west.

The first persons to embark in business at Kingsley were Gasper Brothers, with a general-merchandise store. This firm removed from Quorn in August, 1883. J. F. Varner, another pioneer in Quorn, moved his stock of goods to Kingsley about the date last mentioned. The first house erected was built for saloon purposes. The Curtis House, built by John Curtis, was the first hotel in the town. The first hardware was sold by Rathbun & Ireland, who removed from Quorn. The first to engage in the sale of agricultural implements were Rathbun & Ireland. The earliest lumber dealers were Lewis & Brockman. The pioneer grain dealers were Herron Brothers, who continued many years; they also handled large amounts of live stock, buying and shipping. C. H. Loring was the first to engage in the furniture trade. The village blacksmith was Charles Bowers. The first wagon shop was conducted by M. A. Oberholser. The harness business was first repreresented by that master leather-worker, M. A. Condon, who later moved to Le Mars and there carried on a large shop. The drug business was first repreresented in Kingsley by Marshall & Banks. Scott Brothers sold the first meat from a small butcher shop. Hamil Brothers was the first firm to conduct a general livery business and later Trotter Brothers had an up-to-date stable.


In the autumn of 1916 the following were the persons engaged in various business and professional callings in Kingsley:

Attorneys - Hess & Hess, George W. Sturgis, J. M. Wormley.
Auto garages - Motor Service Company, Hans Peterson, Henry Miller, W. C. Grathens.
Auctioneers - C. J. Vandaworker, A. A. Lyle.
Banks - Bank of Kingsley, Farmers National Bank, the Kingsley Bank.
Bakery - Kingsley Home Bakery.
Blacksmiths - Rathbun & Turkington, Peter Toohill, C. H. Price, M. Preigmalman.
Barbers - Victor VWilliams, W. Cagley, G. L. Arnold.
Creamery - Payne Brothers.
Clothing - William H. Mason, Cooper Clothing Company.
Drugs - Payne's Pharmacy, Larson & McMahon, Schneider Pharmacy.
Dray line - Theodore Peterson & Son, V. A. Dunn.
Dentist - Dr. James Sharp.
Elevators - T. S. Cathcart, Farmers Elevator Company, Trans-Mississippi Grain Company.
Furniture - Charles Whitnell, C. Knowles.
Flour and Feed - Charles Alger.
General Merchants - Reike Brothers, Cathcart & Stamp, Ellis & Ellis.
Grocers - E. M. Casper, Fernand Johnson.
Hotel - City Hotel.
Harness - A. G. Ogren, T. W. Grier.
Hardware - C. 0. Whitnell, W. B. Davis, C. L. Knowles.
Implements - John Ebelheiser, Hans F. Peterson.
Jewelers - Payne's Jewelry Store, I. B. Lund, Larson & McMahon.
Livery - Wright & Johnson.
Lumnber - Kingsley Lumber Company, Joyce Lumber Company, Farmers Lumber Company.
Mill - Kingsleye Milling Company.
Meat markets - Frank May, Thompson Brothers.
Merchant tailor - Gustav Swanberg.
Milliners - Carrie Rupp, the Staak Hat Shop.
Newspaper - The Kingsley News - Times, J. H. Beardsley proprietor.
Opera house - Kingsley Opera House.
Photographer - The Lynn Gallery.
Produce dealer - Stauffer & McCord.
Physicians - Dr. J. G. Chapman, Dr. E. J. Leichty, Dr. B. F. Wendell, Dr. J. R. Walcut.
Restaurants - Charles C. Cunningham, Cora Barrett, Dolphins Cafe, Peter Cafe, Carl Lissner.
Stock buyer - Farmers Elevator Company.
Shoe shop - W. H. Smith, Charles Somermeyer.
Undertaker - E. Derby, George Knowles.
Telephone - Kingsley Telephone Company, New State Telephone Company.
Theater - The Reliance, Hoop's.
Veterinary - C. H. Koon.
Variety Store - C. A. Caldwell.

Kingsley, is one of the most prosperous towns in Plymouth county, well as as in the Northwest, and, according to the last census, made the greatest growth of any town in the county during the ten years previous. The town shows the imprint of prosperous business men who are ever alert to make Kingsley a greater and better town. The town's population represents several nationalities and at the present time numbers about one thousand.

The neat and commodious churches, with their spires pointing heavenward, are indications of the character of the citizens. Almost all religious denominations are represented and are well supplied with comfortable houses in which to worship. The Methodist church was the first to perfect an organization in the village, but other denominations soon followed and they are all united in an aggressive and uncompromising warfare against sin in whatever form or name it may be found.

The school history of the town is indeed interesting. Soon after the town was platted a school was necessary, on account of the rapid growth of the village. During the first year school was held in empty buildings about the town. The following year, 1885, a school building consisting of four rooms and a recitation room was constructed and was used until 1894, when a two-room addition was made. This served the needs of the town and community until 1912 when a new building became an absolute necessity.

One of the most important events in the history of Kingsley occurred on October 27, 1912, the date of the laying of the cornerstone of the new thirty-thousand-dollar school building. Much interest was manifested in the affairs and it was an occasion of great rejoicing by both old and young. While the weather was bad and many were thus kept away, yet the services were attended by more than one thousand people. The Masonic order of Kingsley had charge of the services and Rabbi Joseph Raush, of Sioux City delivered the address. The building is of brick and stone and contains sixteen rooms, including a fine gymnasium. The site is one of the very best in the state and the building one of the most completely equipped. The present enrollment numbers about three hundred.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Le Mars, Iowa

Throughout all of Western Iowa the name of "Le Mars" is indissolubly connected with the idea of thrift, prosperity and enterprise. It is a growing little city, a prosperous one, and a pleasant one in which to live, as witness the unanimous opinion of all who have had occasion for knowledge in the premises. By a vote of 476 to 111, at a general election of 1872, Le Mars was made the county seat of Plymouth County. Its location is at the junction of the Illinois Central and the Sioux City & St. Paul Railroads, twenty-five miles northeast of Sioux City. The land upon which the city is located, originally belonged to Jerry Ladd, B. F. Betsworth and Mr. Marion. The location of the town-site was accomplished in the summer of 1869. The facts in a connection with the selection of a name for the future city, are thus narrated: "Soon after its location the place was visited by John I. Blair and other railroad officers, accompanied by a party of ladies. Upon the latter Mr. Blair conferred the privilege of selecting a name for the prospective city. The initial letters of the Christian names of the ladies were combined so as to form the name Le Mars, and it was agreed that this should be the name of the new town."

The first business firm established in Le Mars was that of Blodgett & Foster, who were very closely followed by J. W. Young, John GOrdon, Orson Bennett and C. H. Bennett. The first newspaper in the county, the Le Mars Sentinel, was started by J. C. Buchanan February 3d, 1871. Le Mars is surrounded by an extensive farming region, and is a shipping point of unusual importance.

The City Council of Le Mars for 1881, was composed of the following gentlemen: George E. Pew, Frank Miller, Arthur Brown, P. F. Dalton, John Perkee, A. Aldrich. C. P. Woodward was the Mayor; G. W. Argo, City Solicitor.

All branches of business are largely represented, and in no locality in Western Iowa will there be found greater inducements in the way of pecuniary, domestic or educational attractions than in the growing little city of Le Mars. An Unusually creditable showing of Le Mars' business and professional interests appears in the addenda of a biographical nature which are hereunto appended. Among the important industries of Le Mars, may be mentioned the pork packing establishment of Roberts, Frost & Heaphy. The building, which is located in the northeastern part of the city, was erected in the latter part of 1881. It is a frame building, 20x60 feet in dimensions, and has a capacity of disposing of three hundred hogs per day. This building was erected at a cost of nearly $4,000. It is fitted up with the most approved apparatus, and is doing a thriving business.

Le Mars is also supplied with two large flouring mills. The mill owned by Burns, Treat & Co., was erected in the spring of 1876, is 36x80 feet in dimensions, three and a half stories high, with a basement. It was fitted up with good machinery, had a run of eight buhrs, and a capacity of one hundred barrels of flour per day. This building was remodeled in 1881, and refitted with the most modern improvements, having all the latest patterns of purifiers and smut-machines. It now has a run of six buhrs and ten rollers, with a capacity of two hundred barrels of flour per day. This mill ranks with the great Minneapolis flouring mills in regard to quality of patent and fancy flour, graham flour, and all kinds of feed, and their flour may be found in New York, Boston and Chicago.

The City Mills, operated by Gehlen Bros., were erected in 1870, by Peter Gehlen, at a cost of $50,000. This mill is a fine frame building 50x100 feet, with four run of buhrs, and has a capacity of fifty barrels per day. It has all the modern improvements, and is turning out a first-class quality of flour. One hundred and fifty thousand bushels of wheat are handled by this mill each year.

History of the Counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa, A. Warner & Co., Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1890-91, Transcribed by Mary Kay Krogman

. . . about Merrill, Iowa


Only a small number left Merrill to attend college this year. Leona Fagan is a freshman at Morningside, Edna Arndt is at Wayne Teacher's college, Lucretia Taylor has returned to Western Union, Bonnie Stribley is a senior at Drake University in Des Moines, and Gerald Zensen is attending Trinity college in Sioux City. Norma Carlson is taking nurses training at Iowa City.

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kling and Mrs. Rosa Jones are planning to spend the winter in California. Miss Mary Heissel is taking Mrs. Jones place as Dr. Stribley's assistant.

Blanche Williamson is working in the Martin Store in Sioux City. Bob Williamson is attending Central high this year.

There were no Saturday night band concerts this summer because of the lack of available players. The usual pictures were shown to larger crowds than ever.

Mildred and Wilma Taylor are doing office work in Washington, D. C. Wesley Taylor is working for the United Air Lines at Cheyenne, Wyo.

Everett Thompson has spent most of the summer at Wessington Springs, South Dakota, working the farm of his brother, Milton, who has been seriously ill.

Marjorie Lake is now working in an army warehouse in Sioux City. Mary Jean Zensen is working in the Mutual Insurance Company office in LeMars. Florence Rath is working in the D. X. service station cafe in LeMars.

The war has certainly hit Merrill business places, a dozen establishments having closed since Pearl Harbor. At present we have no newspaper, no resident doctor, no milk man, no night watchman, and no undertaker. Dr. Carlson has moved his family to Sisseton, S. D., and is practicing there. Franklin Rash, the undertaker, moved to Onawa, Iowa. Cliff Frederickson is a railroad fireman at Rider Wood, Washington. Harold DeBoe is welder in Minneapolis. John Prather is in Sioux City teaching the blacksmith trade to a defense group, however a new blacksmith is here.

Jake Anderson and Joe Erpelding are doing special work for the Wincharger Co. in Sioux City. All the machinery in the Anderson shop was taken to Omaha for defense work. The Sinclair, D. X., LaBahns, and Kraemers filling stations have closed.

The Ed Mertes family has moved to Sioux City. Ed works in a packing plant, LaVerne chauffeurs at the Bomber Base, and Mercedes does war work at Dayton, Ohio. The Harry Hammonds also have moved to Sioux City where Harry works for the Lewis System and Blanche at the Livestock National Bank.

Mrs. Irene Nigg and sons are living in Santa Monica, Cal., where Mrs. Nigg and Bruce are working while Craig is attending school. Marion Dennler Miller and Betty Ellis are also at Santa Monica employed by the air craft industry while Beverly Schindel is doing stenographic work there.

[Le Mars Semi-Weekly Sentinel, Le Mars, Iowa, published Friday, December 31, 1943, submitted by Mary Kay Krogman]

. . . about Oyens, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


Oyens is the only village or hamlet within Marion township. It is a small station point on the line of the Illinois Central railroad, situated in section 5. It was platted in 1886 and is midway between Le Mars and Remsen.

The business interests of Oyens in the autumn of 1916 were as follows:

* Bank - Plymouth County Bank.
* Blacksmith - Paul Peterson.
* Barber - James Burnes.
* Elevator - Oyens Co-operative Elevator Company.
* General Dealer - Charles Masuen, John Meis.
* Harness - Axell Jensen.
* Lumber dealer - Oyens Lumber Company.
* Restaurant - J. F. Kaiser.

Oyens was incorporated in the spring of 1909 with the following officers: Nick Freyman, mayor; John Meis, clerk; Charles Freyman, treasurer; Emil Orbin, justice of peace; Paul Peterson, Jacob Fiedler, Henry Masuen, Charles Masuen and Charles Kuster, councilmen. The present officers include the followving: Paul Peterson, mayor; Peter Fisch, clerk; Charles Kuster, treasurer; Edward Meis, John Meis, J. M. Hentges, M. Reard and Nicholas Feller, councilmen.

No records are available to determine when the postoffice was established at Oyens, but the first office was located in the depot and among the first postmasters was A. A. Alline. Among others have been Steven Ellsworth, John Draut, John Meis, Charles Masuen and J. F. Kaiser, the present incumbent.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Remsen, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


Remsen was named for Dr. William Remsen Smith, a pioneer physician of Sioux City, who had a large amount of land in this vicinity. Doctor Smith was a New Jersey man and was well acquainted with and a close friend of John I. Blair, who constructed the railroad through this county. Doctor and Mrs. Smith also aided Mr. Blair and party in creating a name for the county seat - Le Mars. Remsen was platted by the Iowa Falls & Sioux City Railroad and Town Lot and Land Company, August 28, 1876. It is situated in section 6. But little was accomplished in way of business until 1881, when Frank Miller put in a general store. The same season came in C. R. Blake, who erected the Blake House, later known as the Monhoven House. The first to deal in farm implements at Remsen was the firm of Rathmann & Michaels. The first hardware was sold by John H. Rathmann. The first grocery was started by Samuel Wentz. In 1882 a furniture store was opened by Hubert Nothen. Dr. Theodore Wrede opened the first stock of drugs. "Doctor" Baker had a few patent medicines one year before that. To quench the thirst of those who chanced to stop there a saloon was opened by Peter Mouner in 1881. The town at one date later on supported more than a dozen saloons and many of the present internal improvements about Remsen were the result of the revenue derived from the saloon licenses, which in a recent year amounted to ten thousand dollars.


Peavey & Company were the first real grain dealers at Remsen. Townsend Brothers, of Le Mars, started the first lumber business in the place. In 1880 Martin Seba kindled the first fire in a blacksmith's forge at Remsen and wielded the hammer at his glowing forge many years. John Schumacher started the first wagon-repair shop in Remsen. The Bank of Remsen was started in 1887. Two local newspapers were published there in 1890 the Remsen Glocke and the Remsen Bell.

Early in the nineties the commercial interests of Remsen were substantially as follow:
* Agricultural implements - Scott Brothers, Pew Brothers, Stang & Peters.
* Attorney - Ed. S. Lloyd.
* Banks - Bank of Remsen, Farmers Loan & Trust Company, James F. Toy, president.
* Blacksmiths - Theodore Fiddler, Adolph Hoper, Jost Brothers.
* Coal - Z. Gilman, Townsend Brothers.
* Drugs - Mienert & Fish, H. J. Brink.
* Furniture - H. Nothem.
* General stores - N. Kass & Son, M. Beck & Son, Matt Janse, S. Wentz.
* Grain dealers - Union Mill Company, N. E. Dickey & Company, F. H. Peavey & Company, Cedar Falls Milling Company.
* Hotels - Remsen House, Hotel Monhoven.
* Harness - Charles iBushgens.
* Hardware - Townsend Brothers, Z. Gilman, Henry Schaafs, M. & J. Wictor.
* Jeweler - P. Koehnke.
* Lumber - Z. Gilman, Townsend Brothers, Henry Sudtelgat.
* Livery - One at each hotel.
* Millinery - Mary Victor.
* Stock dealers - Lang Brothers, A. Zink.
* Physicians - H. J. Brink, George Roepke.
* Newspaper The Remsen Bell, J. P. Keiffer, editor.


In the spring of 1889 Remsen was incorporated. The first election of officers resulted as follows: Mayor, Nick Lang; recorder, Ed. S. Lloyd; treasurer, Z. Gilman; councilmen, Hamm Atkinson, M. Scheel, John Fish, Hubert Nothem, Peter Bruscher and George E. Bright. The place was incorporated in order to put a stop to numerous riots and “rough houses” that had been uncontrollable without a municipal law to reach the cases. A good jail was built in 1889 and the beginning of good sidewalks and all that makes a town-desirable soon followed.

The town officers chosen at the March election of 1916 are as follow: J. H. Ahmann, mayor; W. G. Sievers, treasurer; J. A. Tierney, assessor; Barney Bunkers, F. G. Meinert, Louis Singer, Henry Falke, Louis Rubie, council.

More than fifteen miles of beautiful cement walks grace the streets of modern Remsen.


Remsen post office was established in 1879. H. N. Alline was the first postmaster in charge, serving until 1885. He was succeeded by L. L. Page, who conducted the office until April 11, 1889, when A. C. Morgan was appointed. It was made a money order point in 1886. The first order was issued on August 20, 1886, to Rev. F. X. Shuty, in favor of the Appleton Company, Chicago, for the sum of twelve dollars.

There are now extending out from Remsen six rural free delivery routes. The following have been the postmasters since the organization of the Remsen postoffice: H. W. Alline, L. L. Page, A. C. Morgan, F. G. Meinert, J. P. Keiffer, M. D. Mosier, L. H. Schulte, and the present incumbent, Eugene Keiffer.

The churches, as well as lodges, of Remsen will be treated of in the general chapter on such topics.


Under the above caption Mrs. J. H. Winchel wrote of the hard winter and snow blockades of 1880-81, in one of the early historical accounts of Remsen and vicinity:

"It should he said that the, first attempt at business in Remsen was when, in the fall of 1880, John H. Winchel, who owned a large farm one mile to the north of the village, and H. W. Alline, under the firm name of Winchel & Alline, put in scales and bought and shipped grain. At the same time Pat Hopkins, of Le Mars, bought and shipped cattle and hogs from the new station of Remsen.

"The winter of 1880-81 is known in the annals of Remsen as the 'starvation winter' - it might also be termed the 'freeze-out winter,' because if hunger did beset the little garrison, none the less did the lack of fuel cause much trouble and distress. Those who remember the serious inconveniences of the long snow blockades, even in a much larger town, can imagine the sufferings of those who were ten miles from a grocery store, and the same distance from a meat market, and who did not live on a farm, consequently did not have the pork barrel to fall back on.

"The snow-shoveling train that frequently reached us was our only means of communication with the outside world. When that failed us, as it frequently did, and supplies were at their lowest ebb, the hero of the hour was he who volunteered to tramp the ten miles of drifted track, and who came back some the worse for wear, but covered with glory, and well laden with flour and coffee, beans, graham flour, etc. These were divided with the stranger within the gates, who was trying to make his way from Marcus to Le Mars on foot.

"Never was a spring more welcomed than that of 1881. Before spring had fairly opened, S. L. Townsend was ready on the ground to open up a lumber yard; and as soon as it was possible to lay the foundation, a building was erected and a stock of hardware and lumber placed in shape. The next building was a hotel, and in a few days C. B. Blake and family, of Cherokee, took possession and furnished accommodations for a small army of carpenters."


In the fall of 1916 the business and professional interests of Remsen were represented by the following:

* Attorneys - Kass Brothers & Siever.
* Auto garages - Johnson Brothers, Henry Falke.
* Banks - First National, Farmers Savings Bank, German Savings Bank.
* Barber shops -bJack Johnson, Robert Meyer, Leonard Recknagel.
* Blacksmith shops - Ritz Brothers, B. Bornhorst.
* Dentist - Dr. J. C. Esser.
* Druggist - F. J. Meinert.
* Dray line - Kirkhoff & Mechnig, Henry Raker.
* Dry goods - J. P. Beck.
* Elevators - Farmers Elevator Company, Frericks elevator.
* Feed barn - F. W. Griepenburg.
* Furniture dealers - Nothem Furniture Store. Theodore Moeller.
* Grain and feed - H. Frericks & Company.
* General merchants - Nicholas Kaas, J. L. Raker.
* Grocer - Frank Wentz.
* Hotel - Hoffman House.
* Harness shops - John B. Bunkers, Bushgens & Company.
* Hardware dealers - Koob & Rubie, Henry Schaafs, J. T. Wictor.
* Jewelers - Hubert Huewe, Charles Kohler.
* Lumber dealers - East Side Lumber Company, Remsen Lumber Company, Home Lumber Company.
* Livery - Eichorn & Willenburg.
* Merchant tailor – M. Lamberto.
* Meat market - Martin Hatz, George Kramer.
* Milliner - Elma Scott.
* Newspaper - The Remsen bell-Enterprise, Eugene Keiffer, proprietor.
* Oils - Remsen Tank Line Company.
* Opera House - The Grand, The Falke.
* Painter and paper hangers - Nick Thill, Harry Howard.
* Physicians - Dr. NV. H. Hombach, Dr. W. H. Heller, Dr. A. H. Jastrum.
* Photographer - F. E. Dwight.
* Planing mill - Remsen Planing Mill Company.
* Restaurants - Dusters Restaurant, A. Paschke.
* Repair shops - Earnester & Mayrose, Boge Bros.
* Real estate dealers - M. R. Faber, F. G. Eichorn.
* Shoe Shops - J. B. Bunkers, Andrew Nemeth.
* Theater - "The Mystic."
* Veterinary - Dr. T. S. List.
* Variety store - F. A. Johnson.


Remsen is one of the towns in Plymouth county where prosperity really exists. One need only glance at the paved streets and well-improved public buildings and business houses to gain such a conception. The town is known to railroad men as the liveliest town and the foremost trading point for its size on the road between Dubuque and Sioux City. The town has all of the up-to-date improvements found in the modern city, including waterworks, electric lights, paved streets, a fine opera house and two excellent school systems. The people of Remsen are very proud of their public school building, which although not as large as some in the county, is very complete in its equipment. The new building was completed in 1912 with all of the modern equipment. The first graduating class held its commencement in June, 1897, and consisted of the following members: Henry Linderman, Lizzie B. Noethe, Edward Hoeck and Lucy E. Lang. There has been a graduating class every year since that date and usually with a large number enrolled.

Upon the death of Dr. William Remsen Smith, of Sioux City, in July, 1897, he willed the town of Remsen two hundred and fifty dollars for the purpose of establishing a library. The reason for this benevolent act was because the town was named after him and he wished to show his appreciation in some form.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Seney, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


This is one of the two villages in Elgin township-the other being Struble. Seney is a station point on the Omaha railroad line and was platted on December 7, 1872, in section 23, Elgin township. While Le Mars is not far away and affords the best place at which to trade, generally speaking, on account of the larger assortment of goods, yet Seney has given the surrounding country a good market and trading place for many years and today does a large business in the lines there represented.

The first to engage in any kind of business at Seney was Reeves Brothers, who commenced to deal in grain and lumber in the fall of 1873. In the fall of 1874 a general-merchandise store was opened by I. S. Small. He soon sold to George Reeves, and it was not long till the firm was known as Reeves & March, next as, March Brothers, then as V. B. March and then as E. March. This property burned in 1886, at that time owned by E. March.

A general store was opened in 1878 by J. T. Reeves & Company, which Reeves later conducted alone. In 1887 he sold to I. E. Eldridge, who was successfully conducting the business in 1891.

In 1890 the business interests of Seney included the last-named general store, a hardware and grocery store, operated by E. March; S. A. Aukerman, blacksmith; F. H. Peavy & Company and A. W. Gilbert, grain. I. E. Eldridge was then dealing in live stock.

In the way of business, the village has a blacksmith shop. owned by George Hughes; an elevator, under the management of the Plymouth Milling Company; the Seney Lumber Company, and the general store coducted by J. M. Whitman.


Seney postoffice was established in 1873, with S. J. Howe as postmaster. He was succeeded in 1874 by I. S. Small, some of the later postmasters having been George Reeves, Mr. March, J. T. Reeves, Jonathan Alderson, William Aird, J. M. Whitman and I. E. Eldridge, the latter of whom took office on June 1, 1887.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Struble, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


This village was named in honor of the late highly-honored Congressman Isaac Struble, of Le Mars. It is situated in section 5 of Elgin township and was platted in the fall of 1889. It was brought about by the building of the old Sioux City & Northern railroad (now owned by the Great Northern system). A postoffice was established there about March 1, 1890, with O. D. Laird as postmaster. By that time the business of the little hamlet had grown to include a general stock kept by Eldridge & Laird, who had embarked in merchandising and grain buying in February, 1890; a hardware and implement house by Ritter Brothers, and live stock by Isaac Speer and Peacock & Sons. There was also a blacksmith shop.

The business interests of Struble in the autumn of 1916 were represented as follows:

* Banks - Farmers Savings Bank, Bank of Struble.
* Blacksmith shops - A. Brandt, H. C. Giese.
* Barber shops - W. S. Wise, -- Recknagel.
* Elevators - Farmers Elevator Company, Atlas Elevator Company.
* General merchants - G. H. Albers, K. & P. J. Kaiser, The Leader store.
* Hotel - Mrs. Anna Giese.
* Hardware Dealer - Struble Hardware Company.
* Harness shop - M. W. Frey.
* Implement dealer - Hauff Brothers.
* Lumber dealer - Struble Lumber Company.
* Livery - Mrs. Nellie Edwards.
* Meat market - H. F. Moelley.
* Newspapers - The Struble Journal, John A. Sayer, proprietor; The Struble News, G. A. Tyler, proprietor.
* Physician - Doctor Ruble.
* Restaurant - Mrs. Christina Uthe.

Since the records of the village have been carelessly kept no information is at hand concerning the early nmunicipal organization of the town. The present officers are as follow : H. Ahmann, mayor; G. H. Albers, clerk; M. W. Frey, C. W. Estlack, Charles Lang, Edward Albert and A. Brandt, councilmen; Dick Jahn, marshal.

The village has maintained an independent school district for about twenty years. The school property consists of a neat two-room building, located on a four-acre tract, well shaded and drained. Two, teachers, Mayme Burns and Hilda Pins, are employed, who teach the eight grades, with an enrollment of about thirty-five.

The village owns a town hall built in 1904, at a cost of about two thousand five hundred dollars. The rear of the building is used for a jail, but since the banishment of saloons the latter is seldom used. The fire department occupies another part of the building. For a small village the department is very complete and quite worthy of mention.

No records are at hand when the postoffice was established, but one can safely say that it was only a short time after the railroad was built through that section. Among the postmasters have been: C. E. Purdue, John N . Sayer, who served from November, 1908, until October, 1915, and William Baak, the present postmaster. One rural route leaves the Struble office.

Struble was incorporated in the spring of 1895. The vote on making the town an incorporated place stood twenty-seven to one in favor of incorporating.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

. . . about Westfield, Iowa

From a 1917 History.


Westfield village was platted in August, 1877, in sections 26 and 27. At an earlier day an attempt was made to secure the county seat for that site, but the seat of justice was located at Melbourne, in Plymouth township – the center of the county, and in 1860 the Westfield project was abandoned.

Thomas Trendle opened the first store at Westfield village in 1877 and was also appointed postmaster. In the spring of 1886 another store was opened by Luke Wheeler and wife. The wife was appointed postmistress and held the office for years.

In the spring of 1888 William Chapman put in a stock of general merchandise. The pioneer blacksmith was a Mr. Plutz. The first school at Westfield was held in 1878 - the first also in the township.


This village of Westfield at present has about two hundred population and has business interests as follows:

- Auto garage-George Mills.
- Bank-Bank of Westfield.
- Barber-Frank Waterbury.
- Blacksmith-J. B. Pope.
- Drugs-W. M. Cunningham.
- Dray-Harry Feltis.
- Elevators-J. F. Burnight Elevator Company, McCaull-Webster Elevator Company.
- Feed barn-F. P. Mills.
- General merchant-A. A. Chapman, Silverberg Brothers, Conway Brothers, E. M. Doyle.
- Hardware-E. C. F. Mohr & Son.
- Jeweler-W. M. Cunningham.
- Meat market-George Hustid.
- Lumber dealer-Fullerton Lumber Company.
- Restaurant-W. B. Toby.
- Stock buyer-F. P. Mills.

Although Westfield appears destined never to be a town of any great size, nevertheless it will always continue to be a local commercial center of considerable worth. All the necessities of life can be secured within the limits of the town and the business men are progressive and wide-awake to the needs of the community. The village has a beautiful new school building, completed in 1915 at a cost of fifteen thousand dollars. At present there are four teachers and C. J. Odegard is the principal. The enrollment is about eighty.

The present officers of the village are: David Cassel, president; Thomas Hanes, clerk; F. B. Mills, treasurer; James Burnight, T. J. Martin, D. F. Connolly, J. M. Clemonson and George D. Main, councilmen; Harry Feltis, marshal.


The postoffice at Westfield has been in the hands of the following: Mrs. Luke Wheeler, James F. Burnight, George B. Main, Chris Rasmusen, M. A. King and W. M. Cunningham. Two rural routes serve the rural conmmunity from this office. In 1898 the postoffice was made a money-order office and on July 19 of the same year the first order was issued to the amount of four dollars and sixty-five cents.

[History of Plymouth County, Iowa, W. S. Freeman, Editor, published by B.F. Bowen & Co., Indianapolis, 1917. Submitted by Mary Kay Krogman.]

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