Past & Present of Allamakee County, 1913
HISTORY OF WAUKON continued
Early School History - Allamakee College
The Press - Postoffice - Public Library - Financial Institutions - Churches
THE WAUKON SCHOOLS (pg 341-348)
Early School History
Miss Jessie Lewis
The first school of Waukon was out east of town at what is known as the Four Corners-a little log schoolhouse. Mr. D. D. Doe taught there in 1853. Then in the winter of 1854-5 L. O. Hatch taught in town in what is now Nelson Maxwells house. It stood then about where E. Dillenbergs residence now stands. It was a private house, Mr. Israel owning it and living upstairs the familys egress and ingress being through the schoolroom.
In 1855 a schoolhouse was built and Charles Jenkins was one of the carpenters. It stood about where the Sisters school now is. It was mad on the usual plan, with a front door opening into a long hall and a door at each side, one for girls and one for boys, and what an ignominious punishment it was for a girl to be sent out into the cold hall to meditate on her sins. Boys were not sent out; they got a thrashing then and there, provided the teacher could do it. The seats inside were in four rows, the first row large, the next smaller and so on down. Althea Pottle, Ella Hancock and Emma Townsend used to go early, get the back seat and let the older, larger girls take smaller seats in front. But they had a good time on that back seat!
Mr. Augur taught in the winter of 1855-6. There was plenty of snow in those days and no sidewalks to speak of, so Mr. Augur work heavy boots to school and took them off there and wore slippers. He used to put his boots down at the end of the long bench used as a recitation seat. The day before Christmas the pupils took turns sitting on the end of the seat near the boots so as to surreptitiously drop his or her contribution into the boots. They were full by night, mostly vegetables, and as he had to board round, they were not of much use to him.
Miss Susan Shattuck taught the next summer, and in the winter of 1856-7 Mr. Henry Bigelow was the teacher. (Mr. Bigelow later lived in Decorah and taught in a commercial college there until he was assassinated by an insane colleague a few years ago.-Editor.) He was followed by Mr. Wilbur, Dr. Earle and Mr. Eastman. Mr. Eastman and wife also taught a private school in the house now occupied by Superintendent Mills. These gentlemen taught in the winter, and in the summers Misses Addie Walker, Hannah Geesey, Nellie Shattuck, Mate Stillman and Ella Hancock held gentle sway.
In the fall of 1859 Mr. Loughran came and taught in the Presbyterian church, a private school, until 1862, when a brick schoolhouse was built by him, where the present schoolhouse stands. It was called the Allamakee College. The money was raised to build it by selling scholarships at $125. In 1862 school was held by him in Herseys hall, adjacent to the present Meyer hotel (now the Allamakee). Meantime the public school was going on all the time. In 1862 Henrietta Huestis was principal and Emma Townsend assistant. Professor Loughran sold the property to A. A. Griffith of elocutionary fame, who sold it to Martin Stone, and he in turn sold it to the district.
After the college became public property the principals down to the present are given in the following poem by a member of the present senior class of 1903 (Miss Harriet A. Hancock), as taken from her paper at school:
When first our school was graded and in 1864
Was moved to this location, from where it was before.
The competent instructor, Mr. Martin Stone by name,
Had charge and jurisdiction, and overlooked the same.
This honorable position he held for two full years,
When a certain Thomas Cutler undertook to show his peers.
That he was made for teaching and instructing gentle youth.
He was followed, be it noticed (for he stayed not long, in truth).
By a Mr. Charles F. Stevens, then by Miss Marie E. Post.
Mr. A. M. May, succeeded, then Miss Keeler helped them learn,
Then Charles Cressy, J. H. Carroll and J. Loughran in his turn.
The last named held the scepter for a half a dozen years.
The upon the scene another old-timer preceptor appears,
A Mr. David Judson, and so clever was his rule
That many years passed by him before he left the school.
Next there followed A. A. Harper with sway both strong and kind,
Then H. F. Kling, E. L. Coffeen (also a godly name),
Mr. Smith and Mr. Macomber, whose dominion being past,
There followed Mr. Dwelle. May he long remain the last.
To go back to early history. The old school
building was bought by O. S. Hathaway and used for a wagon shop.
It was moved down where Heisers shop now stands. They moved
it across the road, west, and used it as a storing shop. It is
now back of John Hagers wareroom and is used for the same
purpose. (It has since been entirely demolished, in
1907.-Editor.) What stories of good old times are stored away in
that worn old frame. I am reminded fo one romance there. One
fair, bright maid was suspected (and rightly, too) by the
teacher, a spruce and courtly gentleman, for having some reading
matter in her desk not only not belonging to school work, but not
good reading for anyone. He demanded th book. She refused. What
could he do? If it were only a boy now, but a girl-a grown-up
young lady, one of his brightest pupils. He gave her choice, to
give up the book or leave school. She left only to be promptly
sent back by her sensible parents. Either her spirited resistance
or her sweet apology captured the teacher, for a few years later
he married her.
The first few years the school took in all the farming country around, reaching west as far as the Jim Smith farm, where Ezra Reed then lived, and with all that territory there were only about twenty-five pupils. One of the classes in those early days consisted, as near as the writer could obtain the names of the following: Clara and Belle Britain, Emma Townsend, Althea Pottle, Sarah Hersey, Lucinda, George and Rebecca Smith, Frank and Henry Robbins, Susie Paulk, Ichabod Isted, Watson Hanscom, Granville Rose, John Sterling Mather, Sarah Reed, Ann Williams, Sarah Pierce and James Williams.
It is to be regretted that records were not kept, but there are none obtainable any farther back than Prof. D. Judsons time. Then, in 1876, we find a partial record, and in January, 1877, we find the attendance in the several rooms as follows: Prof. And Mrs. D. Judson, 66; Helen Lisher, 46; Jessie Lewis, 39; Ida Thompson, 77; Mary Duffy, 47. Total 275.
The records take us down to the present with about 400 pupils, and though we have the unlucky number of thirteen teachers our school has few equals.
When Professor Loughran built the college he made it his dwelling as well. His family lived on the first floor and boarded a good many of the students, who had rooms on the third floor. Professor Loughran was assisted by his son, Cornelius, and also by W. W. Likens, a Mr. Brock, Miss Higby, Miss Post and Mrs. Calkins, who taught French, and Miss Ishe, music. Later by J. P. Raymond.
The first literary society of Waukon had its beginning in the college of 1862. There were two, one for the boys and one for the girls. They met once a week. A good many of the members then are members of the Womans Literary Society now.
The foregoing history by Miss Lewis was written
in 1902. The public school superintendents who have followed Mr.
Dwelle are: J. H. Bowers, C. S. Cory (who, with C. P. Colgrove,
is now a member of the faculty of the Iowa State Teachers
College), W. H. Ray and C. F. Pye, present incumbent.
The women who have taught are as worthy to be immortalized in this history as the men already named; only their number and the difficulty of obtaining their names for the earlier years makes it impossible to present a full list. There are three names, however, that ought to be mentioned with honor, for length of service. Miss Lizzie Spaulding began teaching in 1881, and has taught here continuously ever since. Misses Ida Thompson and Jessie Lewis began several years earlier, but their service has not been continuous. Miss Thompson retired several years ago; the other two are teaching yet, to the delight of many mothers of young children.
This school teaches the normal course for rural teachers, including agriculture and domestic science. The number of teachers at present, aside from the superintendent, is fourteen, as follows: Principal, Miss Kleespie, mathematics, Miss McDougall; English and history, Miss Stillman, domestic science, Miss Clark; physics, Mr. Salmonson; music and drawing, Miss Harris; eighth grade, Miss Carter; seventh, Miss Bock; sixth, Miss Westrum; fifth, Miss Dial; fourth, Miss Tench; third, Miss Lewis; second, Miss Spaulding; and first, Miss Smith. Miss Smith is also a veteran, having taught here twenty years; and Miss Dial not far short of that.
We might add to the early teachers mentioned by Miss Lewis the names of James Bentley, George Butler and C. W. Walker, this writer receiving instruction under each of them in the old schoolhouse, his home being then in the same block, the present residence of A. M. May. Mr. Bentley taught in 1860-1; Mr. Walker in the winter of 1862-3. We have a distinct recollection of a correction the latter made in our reading The Village Blacksmith: And the muscles of his brawny arms were strong as iron bands, when we insisted in placing the emphasis on the word bands.
Mr. Walker has resisted in McGregor since 1864, where he was for many years ticket agent for the river packets and the Milwaukee railroad, and later mayor of the city several terms. He has retained his popularity among Waukon people, and is still actively engaged in business at eight-two years young-so active and vigorous that the uninformed would not suspect his true years.
Mr. Bentley introduced a moot court, in which he was the presiding judge, for the trial of petty infringements of school rules. This proved rather an interesting diversion for the bright boys, and they soon began to provide so many cases that the time of the court was insufficient to try them all, and this plan of enforcing discipline was abandoned. The date of Mr. Bentleys teaching is established by a cherished memento which we still possess, in the shape of a pasteboard-and-ribbon rosette, bearing an inscription indicating good scholarship and good behavior-but the latter statement always caused the stirring of a guilty conscience. The trophy was accompanied with a silver quarter, which we do not still possess.
At one time (think it was during Mr. Eastmans administration), a flagrant case of insubordination by a grown up young man was referred to the directors, who barred him from the school. As he persisted in coming, however, ti was decided to remove him forcibly if need be. So three directors appeared one day, and upon his refusing to go peaceably they surrounded him in his seat and after a struggle succeeded in ejecting him from the building and locked the door. He lingered around in that vicinity, like Marys little lamb, and when the directors had disappeared from view he cooly picked up a stock of cordwood and with a gentle tap broke the lock and went in to his accustomed seat. This narrator witnessed the performance from the outside of the building, having escaped during the melee, and cannot say what then occurred inside, but school was dismissed very soon after. The final outcome is not now recalled.
Private schools were kept from time to time, and summer schools for the little tots, in various places. We remember attending school in the frame building on the north side of Main street, at the corner of Armstrong, now owned and occupied as a dwelling by D. W. Douglass. Also in the (later known as) Rankin store building on the north side of Main street, which was destroyed by fire in 1878, later occupied by other frame buildings which were torn down to make room for the present D. J. Murphy brick block. Miss Pennoyer is remembered as a popular teacher in some of these early schools.
The first school in Waukon was taught by L. O. Hatch, as stated by Miss Lewis in her sketch, and we give the circumstances as we obtained them from him, thirty-years ago:
In the summer of 1854, M. John Israel and myself united in buying from the county, at $15 each, four lots on the hill just east of the premises now-owned by Dr. Barnes. On these lots, in the fall of that year, with a little help from Charley Jenkins, we built with our own hands a small, frame dwelling house-the fourth frame building erected in Waukon. As winter approached, we found ourselves with a school district duly organized, embracing several families in and about Waukon, but no schoolhouse and no teacher. Our house aforesaid being nearly finished it was rented as a schoolhouse for the winter of 1854-5, and I was employed as the teacher. I was paid $15 or $18 pr month, and boarded around in the families of such men as Samuel Huestis, Robert Isted, John A. Townsend, James Maxwell and others. I had considerable experience as a teacher, but I was never in a school made up of brighter or better pupils than those that gathered around me on long, rude benches that winter, among whom I may mention the names of those who later became Mrs. Hale, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Judge Granger, Mrs. John Griffin; and also Fred Clark and Ichabod Isted.
In 1855 the school district purchased the west two-thirds of block 5, in Scott Shattucks addition, and erected thereon a substantial frame schoolhouse about 28x40 feet in size. Wm. Ramsdall and C. W. Jenkins being the builders. It was all in one room except a hallway of about ten feet off the north end, with outside doors in the middle and separate doors for the boys and girls from the hall to the schoolroom, which was heated by an ordinary box stove. At a later day the hallway was taken out and the entire room divided into two, with entrance to each at the center on the west side. After this division, we find in our boyhood diary, which noted only occasional events of great importance, on April 4, 1864, school began, with Miss Althea Pottle teaching the higher department and Miss Clarissa Lyons the other.
Before this division the old school building served as a place for public gatherings of all kinds for several years, until Herseys hall was finished. It was occupied by traveling panoramas, magic lantern exhibitions, etc., and once or more died the county agricultural society have its fair on the premises. Especially will the lyceums be remembered by the old residents, with the concerts by the old glee club, and other interesting entertainments by home talent-to say nothing of the singing schools. The earliest meetings of the religious denominations were also held here, before they were able to erect houses of worship.
At one of the magic lantern shows we remember the screen was placed by the traveling exhibitor well out toward the middle of the room, and while the crowd was gathering he explained that they could sit on either side, that one side of the screen is just as good as the other, whereupon one of the big boys took the liberty to stroll around and investigate, and remarked, it aint either, one side has a hole in it and tother haint, which tickled us little fellows immensely.
In the fall of 1864 an arrangement was made whereby Martin Stone was to teach the more advanced pupils of the school, in the College building, which had passed into his hands, and a similar arrangement was made the following year. In 1866 he sold the property to Thos. A. Cutler, who taught the school there the following winter. In 1867 the district purchased the College property of Cutler for $4,000, and afterwards sold the property in Shattucks addition to various parties. In 1881 the school building was improved by putting in furnace, heating and ventilating apparatus.
In the spring of 1885 it was voted to erect a new school building, and F. M. Ellis of Marshalltown was selected as the architect. Under his plans and specification the following bids were submitted, the bidder to have the old building Geo. H. King, of Brooklyn, Iowa, $13,345; N. H. Pratt, $14,400; S. Peck & Sons, $16,000; E. B. Bascom, $16,800. The contract was let to Mr. King, and the building was occupied late the next fall. The board during this work comprised D. W. Reed, president; and directors, D. H. Bowen, H. O. Dayton, J. C. Hubbell, F. H. Robbins and W. C. Thompson.
The great increase of school population by 1895 made it necessary to provide much more room and in the spring of 1896 an election was held on the question of issuing 44,000 bonds to build an addition, which was carried by a vote of 261 to 243, the women voting on this proposition to the number of 127. The alternative was to provide one or more schoolhouses in other parts of town. The plans of architects C. G. Maybury & Son, of La Crosse, were adopted, the contract awarded to Geo. P. Leefeldt, of McGregor, for $6,750, and the present north wing was completed during that year. The board at this time consisted of: A. T. Stillman, president; and directors, R. J. Alexander, H. O. Dayton, J. E. Duffy, C. H. Earle and J. G. Ratcliffe.
Mr. Stillman has continued as president of the board ever since, or for seventeen years. The other directors at present are, R. J. Alexander, H. L. Dayton, H. A. Howe and Frank Klees.
We find no record of school officers previous to 18599 in which year Moses Hancock was president. C. J. White, vice president; A. G. Howard, secretary; and W. K. McFarland, treasurer.
November 8, 1862, the independent district of Waukon was erected, comprising all of sub-district No. 8 in Makee township; the south half of section 25, southeast quarter section 26, northeast quarter section 35, and all of section 36 in Union Prairie; and section 6 and west half section 5, in Jefferson township. The first election of school officers in this independent district was held November 29, 1862, resulting as follows: W. K. McFarland, president; E. B. Lyons, vice president; J. R. Brown, secretary, and Jacob Shew, treasurer. Directors: J. B. Plant, one year; A. A. Griffith, two years (Mr. Griffith later a noted elocutionist in Chicago, died in Palmyra, Wisconsin, June 19, 1889), and J. W. Pennington, three years. The independent district was formed with a view to effect a transfer of the Allamakee college building to the district, in which to establish a graded school, and in December a committee was appointed to wait upon Professor Loughran with that purpose. In February, 1863, a proposition of Professor Loughran was rejected, and an attempt was made to secure the new court house, then standing vacant. At the regular meeting, March 9th, D. W. Adams was elected president; Moses Hancock, vice president; C. W. Walker, secretary, and I. H. Hedge, treasurer. Since that year the president and secretary of the board have been as follows:
President-A. J. Hersey, 1864-66; L. O. Hatch, 1866-7; Martin Stone, 1867-9; C. T. Granger, 1869-73; John Goodykoontz, 1873-6; A. L. Grippen, 1876; H. H. Stilwell, 1876-9; M. Stone, 1879-80; J. W. Pratt, 1880-1; John Hall, 1881-3; D. W. Reed, 1883-4; Martin Stone, 1884-5; D. W. Reed, 1885-9; H. H. Stilwell, 1889-90; D. H. Bowen, 1890-95; resigned November, 95 and H. O. Dayton to vacancy 1895-6; and A. T. Stillman, 1896-1913, present incumbent.
Secretary-Robert Isted, 1864-5; T. C. Ransom, 1865-7; C. T. Granger, 1867-8; J. W. Pratt, 1868-74; A. J. Rogers, 1874-82; E. M. Hancock, 1882-96; E. D. PUrdy, 1896-1913, present incumbent.
Treasurer-(Since 1882)- L. W. Hersey, 1882-3; J. H. Boomer, 1883-4; J. W. Hersey, 1884-5; J. H. Boomer, 1885-8; L. W. Hersey, 1888-94; L. A. Howe, 1894-1902; A. T. Nierling, 1902-06; W. H. Niehaus, 1906-10; S. W. Ludeking, 1910-13, present incumbent.
In 1908 it became necessary to make improvements in the heating plant, and it was decided to remove the old furnaces entirely and heat by steam. Plans were adopted for a modern steam heating plant, with fan system of ventilation, and automatic regulation. Bids were advertised for, March 2d, and examined May 20th, as follows; Lewis & Kitchen, $7,500; Thill & Laptz, $8,717; I. E. Beeman, $9,278; Peter Johnson & Son, $11,266.65. The contract was awarded to Lewis & Kitchen, lowest bidders, and plant installed during the summer vacation.
The present value of the school building and contents is considered to be $40,000.
In 1863 the number of school age in the district was 307
In 1882 the number of school age in the district was 472
In 1895 the number of school age in the district was 678
In 1898 the number of school age in the district was 725
In 1912 the number of school age in the district was 622 (Males 317; females, 305)
Present enrollment is about 400.
The first class to graduate for the high school was in 1879, and consisted of Misses Minnie C. Earle, Jessie M. Lewis, Lizzie W. Spaulding and Lizzie G. Ward. The total number of graduates is now 330, including the eleven of 1913.
About the year 1894, or 95 the remnant of the old Waukon Library, which was started in the early sixties by the Waukon Dramatic Club, as the result of a series of delightful entertainments by home talent-and talent it was, of the first order-was turned over to the care of the school, as a nucleus for a school library, which now possesses some 1,800 volumes.
When the old library was established the books were kept for years at the home of D. W. Adams, and comprised a most excellent and varied selection. Later the library was housed in other homes, and was for some time kept up by the Young Mens Temperance Association, by whom it was finally transferred to the school.
ALLAMAKEE COLLEGE (pg
While of brief existence, this institution is worthy of mention as contributing to the ancient history of this town and county.
Its conception was in 1859, when on the 6th of March, J.C. Armstrong, J.B. Plank, C.J. White, Walter Delafield, M.G. Belden. R.C. Armstrong, James Maxwell, Jacob Shew, Benj. H. Bailey, Joseph Savoie, T.J. Goodykoontz, William S. Cook, John Chapman and Lewis H. Clark, associated themselves together in a corporation to be known as the Allamakee Association, to be under the supervision of the Colesburg Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, for the purpose of erecting suitable buildings for the advancement of scientific and religious learning, to be known as the Waukon Seminary. Out of this grew the Allamakee College, a catalogue of which was printed in 1862, from which we gather its history, in substance, as follows:
A number of citizens of Waukon and vicinity, deeply feeling the want in their rapidly growing community of an institution of learning of an academic or collegiate order, entered into an agreement with Rev. J. Loughran, A.M., formerly president of Waynesburg College, Pennsylvania, for the erection in Waukon of a suitable college edifice, and the maintenance therein of a school as above named, on the following plan: They stipulated to draw in favor of said J. Loughran their promissory notes, each for $125, to be paid within one year from date, for which they should receive from him certificated of scholarship, each scholarship guaranteeing the tuition of one student for five years in the institution, to commence when the building would be finished. At the end of the five years the title of the property was to pass to Mr. Loughran in the full ownership, being paid for by said scholarships.
To carry out this plan the following gentlemen were chosen by the stockholders with the style and title of Trustees of Allamakee College: R.C. Armstrong, Robert Isted, Walter Delafield, A.M. Haslip, L.G. Calkins, A.H. Hersey, W.R. Pottle, Jacob Shew and Jacob Plank. Walter Delafield donated the whole of block 19 in his addition to Waukon, comprising two acres, as a site for the building. The notes given by the stockholders were transferred by Mr. Loughran to the trustees, and with the money accruing they erected a three-story brick edifice, in size 47 by 64 feet, the height of the stories being 11, 13, and 8 ½ feet, respectively. Its accommodations were, four large recitation rooms on the first floor, a hall in the second story 44 by 52 feet, and eight rooms in the third story, each 13 by 19 feet, designed for students desiring to board themselves. This was built in 1864, following the completion of the courthouse, but was not finished for occupancy until the following spring. In the fall of 1862 there were ninety students in attendance, double the number entitled to tuition on scholarships, that being but forty-eight.
The announcement in the catalogue goes on to say: The trustees have manifested a most praiseworthy liberality and perseverance. They have raised and almost completed the building in the face of the greatest money pressure ever experienced in the West. The institution is now in successful operation. One hundred and twenty-five students have been in attendance during the past year, and over three hundred since the commencement of the school in 1859. But this summer is the first we have occupied the college building. The scholarships became available when we entered the building.
Rev. J. Loughran, president, resided in the building with his family. He was ably assisted during the first three years by the following faculty:
J.C. Loughran, higher academic.
G.H. Brock, higher academic. (Enlisted in Co. B, 12th Iowa Infantry, October 7, 1861.)
W.W. Likens, collegiate scientific.
Mrs. Jennie Calkins, French, German and mathematics.
Mrs. Jennie Loughran, lower academic.
Miss Pennoyer, lower academic and professor of photography and phonetic shorthand.
Professor Loughran had opened what was called the Waukon High School, October 3, 1859, in the Presbyterian church, and conducted the same successfully for three years or until the college building was completed, with the above named assistants, and Prof. A.A. Griffith in elocution. Mr. Loughran was pretty thorough, both in instruction and in discipline, believing in the virtues of the old-fashioned switch. The timid ones among the pupils however dreaded the expression of his displeasure, as worse than a licking. In his catalogue he says: "We do not use the topic system as it often tends to strengthen the memory as the expense of the reasoning faculties. We require our students to analyze each lesson, and where it can be done, to explain fully the rationale of the process on the black-board. Where the black-board cannot be used, they must give the analysis verbally or in writing. During the recitation they are not allowed the use of books. * * * The object is to draw them out, to interest them in the subject lesson, and to excite them to depend as much as possible upon their own reason." All of which is doctrine too often neglected at this day.
The institution was deserving of success, but unfortunately it was not such as hoped for; probably the absence of so many young men during that time in the war was one of the causes; and in May, 1863, a corporation styled the Allamakee Collegiate Institute was formed for the purpose of canceling the indebtedness against the Allamakee College and perpetuating the institution. In the same year the property was purchased by Martin Stone, and a few years later passed into the possession of the Independent school District of Waukon, as described elsewhere.
It would be interesting to print here the names of all enrolled as shown by this old catalogue, but the list is too long. But the list of those still living here (all or part of the time) is very brief:
Year 1859-60--- Ellen Hedge, Althea Pottle, John P. Raymond, collegiate, Mary Stillman, Martha Shaw, DeEtte Clark, Emery Pratt, George Schrody, Samuel Thompson, Herbert Townsend, Nelson Maxwell, Perky Raymond, academic.
Year 1860-61--- (Omitting repetitions) Phoebe Maxwell, Henry Bentley, collegiate; Emma Townsend, Mary Johnson, Bert Taggart, George Johnson, Ellery Hancock, academic.
Year 1861-62 --- (Omitting repetitions) Eva McClaskey, academic.
In July, 1876, after closing his contract with the Waukon public school, Professor Laughran bought the old German Presbyterian church building and removed it to his premises on Worchester street, where in September following he opened an institution of learning called the Waukon Seminary, well supplied with maps, charts, chemical and philosophical apparatus, and more especially for the purpose of preparing students for teaching, or for a college course. Professor Laughran had devoted a long and active life to the interests of education, and was exceedingly well qualified for instructing in the higher branches. His seminary continued to flourish for several years, until in 1883 it was discontinued, and Mr. Laughran removed to White Lake, South Dakota, to the regret of hosts of his old Waukon friends, where he died in or about the year 1900 at a ripe old age.
The Wawkon Journal, the first newspaper published here, was established by Frank Belfoy in the spring of 1857, and was free-soil in politics. It was first printed in the Taggart building, situated on the northeast corner of Main and Armstrong streets, which is still standing, the residence of D. W. Douglass. This lot, being lot 4 in block 2, Armstrongs addition, was purchased of Armstrong in 1856, for $25, by Mr. John A. Taggart, who built the house thereon. After some nine months Belfoy sold the paper to Frank Pease, who made a democratic sheet of it and changed the name to Allamakee Herald, the first number of which was issued February 26, 1858. It was a six-column folio, issued Fridays; and one M. M. Webster, a lawyer, was associated with Pease for a while, as was also R. K. Smith, who afterwards went south and his fate is unknown. He was a brother of James C. Smith, a pioneer of Volney, later a hotel man in Waukon and Decorah, and at the time of his death, in 1875, owner of the part of Waukon where is now Ratcliffes addition. The Herald was discontinued in May, 1859, and Pease drifted southward, continuing in newspaper work; but in 1878, when last heard of, he was city clerk of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
In August, 1859, the paper was revived under the name of Wawkon Transcript, also democratic, by T. H. McElroy, with whom was associated one Dr. Parker, from McGregor. About one year later they removed the establishment to Lansing and began the publication of the first democratic paper there under the name of Northwestern Democrat.
The North Iowa Journal, republican, was established at Waukon in May, 1860, by E. L. Babbitt and W. H. Merrill, the first number bearing date May 29th. Mr. Babbitt was postmaster in 1861, the postoffice being situated in a two story frame building erected in 1859 by Shattuck and Woodcock, on the corner where the postoffice is now again located. The printing office occupied the rear part of the second story; and it was at this time the writer first became interested in the printing business, being employed as carrier boy for the town list, at twenty cents per week, the first earnings of which he has any recollections.
In 1861 they sold the paper to Leonard G. Calkins and Albert B. Goodwin, and returned to Wyoming county, New York, where Babbitt died a couple of years later. Twenty-five years later Mr. Merrill became editor of the New York World. Goodwin disposed of his interest to Calkins; and in April, 1862, the Journal suffered a temporary suspension, but was revived about August 1st, with Calkins and Cole editors, Chas. B. Cole publisher. In September the name of L. G. Calkins appears as publisher, Cole still being associated with him as local editor. About November, Cole assumed the entire control, made its politics democratic, and in March, 1863, removed the Journal to Lansing.
For nearly five years thereafter Waukon was without a local paper. In the winter of 1867-8 negotiations were entered into with Chas. W. McDonald, then publishing the Gazette at Blairstown, this state, who came here and on the 9th of January, 1868, issued the first number of the Waukon Standard. After publishing it three months he sold to R. L. Hayward & Co. (The company being A. M. May) and went to Illinois, and later to New York where he was for some time engaged in the Swedenborgian Publishing House. He next published a paper at Sioux Falls; and later became superintendent of schools of Aurora county, South Dakota. Under its new management the Standard was edited by A. M. May, who continued its chief editor for thirty-three years, and made it a strong, pure, and reliable local family newspaper. It has always been republican in politics. His first partner, Mr. Hayward, did not come to Waukon until the following August; and in March, 1869, he disposed of his interest and went to Arkansas, and eventually to San Antonio, Texas, where he was engaged in newspaper business and where he died in August, 1882. Mr. May then (1869) associated with him one Jas. H. Brayton, who although a good printer had some habits that threatened to swamp the establishment, and after about four months Mr. May found it necessary to assume the entire control.
In December, 1869, E. M. Hancock became associated with May in the business, but withdrew in July following. August 1, 1872 Chas. R. Hamstreet bought an interest in the office, which he held until June 1, 1873, when he disposed of it and engaged in farming near Clear Lake, Iowa. At that time E. M. Hancock purchased a half interest in the concern, and May & Hancock conducted the business for nine and a half years, until January 1, 1882, when Hancock disposed of his interest to Mrs. May, the firm becoming A. M. May & Co. The firm title continued thus, or as A. M. May & Son (Frank H. And later R. B.), until January 1, 1901, when R. Bruce May become sole proprietor. In June, 1909, he disposed of the plant to John H. DeWild, his foreman, an excellent printer, who continues the business and who put in the first linotype machine in the county. Bruce May is now in a fine printing establishment at Iowa Falls.
Upon the completion of the railroad in 1877, the Waukon Democrat was started by Daniel OBrien, who sold it July 5, 1879, to John W. Hinchon, ex-county superintendent of schools, who sold it in July, 1882, to T. C. Medary & Son (George C.) And went to Algona, Iowa, where he became one of the proprietors of the Algona Courier. The veteran printer, T. C. Medary, died in 1893, and George, who had been railroad mail agent for some time, succeeded to the active control, but lived only a few weeks, dying August 13th following. Another son, Edgar F., who had been publishing the Postville Graphic, then took charge of the Democrat and continued its publication for five years, selling June 15, 1898, to E. L. Coffeen and A. P. Bock, who changed it politics and name to Waukon Republican. Mr. Bock purchased his partners interest in September, 1902, and continues sole proprietor today. Mr. Coffeen resumed his profession of teaching, as superintendent of schools at Decorah, Mason City and Marshalltown, and is now a prominent educator in Massachusetts.
In July, 1899, Ed. F. Medary revived the Waukon Democrat; and about the same time W. J. Wallis & Son started a new paper, the Allamakee Democrat, but less tan a year later sold out to Mr. Medary who consolidated it with his own plant which he continues to published, together with a supplemental sheet devoted to Waterville affairs and called the Budget.
In October, 1882, the Waukon branch of the Allamakee Journal was established, under the personal management of Thos. F. Dunlevy, who has thus conducted it for over thirty years. So today Waukon has for newspapers, two republican and two democratic.
The post office was first established at Waukon in the early fall of 1853, with Scott Shattuck as postmaster. He was succeeded by L. T. Woodcock, and he by W. Beale, in the summer of 1856, the office then being removed from the Woodcock store building on west Main street to Beales new store on the now vacant corner opposite the Allamakee House on Allamakee street. In 1859 R. C. Armstrong was appointed and the office went back to west Main street, opposite the Presbyterian church. He served but a year or two, having met with the misfortune of finding one morning that the valuables of his office had disappeared during the night. The brunt of this misfortune fell upon his bondsmen, as Armstrong departed from the county. He was succeeded by H. Stroud, a shoemaker, in the latter part of 1860 or 61, who served but a short time and was followed by E. I. Babbitt, and the office was located in the new Woodcock building on the corner of Main and Spring avenue, where it is now again. Babbitt was succeeded by L. G. Calkins in 1862, who held the office during 1863. During most of his term, however, L. M. Bearce was his deputy and virtually postmaster, as Calkins had but little to do with the office. From 1864 to 1871 Wm. R. Pottle was the incumbent, the office going directly across the street to the north side of Main street. During his term it was made a money order office. Mr. Pottle died in March, 1872. In January, 1871, Mrs. E.E. Stevens became postmistress (in her frame building, corner of Main and West streets -- burned down in 1891), and so continued until succeeded by D.W. Reed, July 1, 1879.
Major Reed moved the office to the east side of Allamakee street, where the O'Brien building now is, and continued as postmaster until the middle of the Cleveland administration in 1887, when T.C. Medary was appointed, and the postoffice went down onto Spring avenue. F.H. Robbins was appointed by President Harrison, taking the office October 1, 1889, and serving four years, when T.J. Kelleher received the appointment by President Cleveland, in 1893. He was succeeded by F.H. Robbins again, during the McKinley regime, who served from February, 1898, to December 31, 1903. P.S. Narum then received the appointment from Roosevelt, entering upon his duties January 1, 1904, and is now well along in his third term. He removed the office to its present location, the Boomer Opera House.
In the spring of 1911 some of the public-spirited ladies of Waukon, mostly members of its numerous clubs, discussed the question of forming an organization for civic improvement, and the various ideas advanced became materialized on the 13th of March in the organization of the Women's Civic Improvement League, of which the officers elected were as follows: President, Miss Leah Jones; vice president, Mrs. W.C. Earle; secretary, Mrs. S.W. Ludeking; corresponding secretary, Mrs. Keo Minert; treasurer, Miss Cora Miner.
The first and immediately visible results were chiefly in the "cleaning up" day for the streets and alleys, and an interest in the better care of the residence lots. But the ladies had plans for other kinds of improvement, among them the establishing of a public library, and for a location they secured from the city council the use of the small room in the south part of the city hall building, and the larger room on the east side for a reading room. Here the beginning was made on January 13, 1912, when a collection of 149 books and some magazines was opened to the public, with Mr. W.C. Wilkinson in charge as librarian. At this writing, in March, 1913, the number of volumes has increased to almost 1,000, and the record shows that 8,160 volumes were loaned during the ear ending March 1st. The sources of income have been from voluntary contributions, occasional dinners and socials, and delinquent fines. The reading room is entirely free, as well as the library, and is well supplied with current magazines and papers and is well patronized. Thus a good beginning has been made, and doubtless the ladies of the league will be encouraged to continue their efforts in this direction. At its March meeting the league elected the following officers for the ensuing year: President, Mrs. J.B. Jones; vice president, Mrs. Keo. Minert; secretary, Mrs. P.N. Heiser; corresponding secretary, Mrs. J.E. O'Brien; treasurer, Miss Ella Vold; board of managers, Mesdames W.C. Earle, H.E. Taylor and J.F. Dougherty
INSTITUTIONS (page 355-361)
Early in the year 1859 Walter Delafield bought of Wm. S. Cooke a small lot 20 by 40 feet in size, west of the Wookcock store building on the south side of Main street, on which he put up a one-story frame building and opened a banking exchange business. It was a little too soon, and a year or so later Mr. Delafield closed it and returned to the East. In 1858 his father, Edward Delafield, had purchased and laid out Delafields addition, and they had expected great things of the village. Walter Delafield was attending to the affairs as his fathers attorney in fact, and he was very popular while here. He later became a prominent Episcopal clergyman, and further mention of him will be found in the sketch of the Waukon Episcopal church.
WAUKON STATE BANK
Twelve years later, in May, 1871, Lewis W. Hersey opened the first permanent bank in Waukon, with J. B. Turck, of Milwaukee, in connection with their mercantile business in the stone block on the east side of Allamakee street. In March, 1873, Mr. Turck retired, and Mr. Hersey continued the business until May 13, 1874, when he disposed of his mercantile interests to Augustine Hersey & Son, and from that time on devoted his attentions solely to the banking business. In January, 1879, Geo. W. Stoddard and C. T. Granger united with Mr. Hersey in establishing The Waukon Bank, occupying a new building erected by H. H. Stilwell on the opposite side of Allamakee street, especially fitted up for the banking business. The officers were: C. T. Granger, president; L. W. Hersey, cashier; Geo. W. Stoddard, assistant cashier; with a capital of $10,000, which was increased to $15,000 January 1, 1884.
On April 29, 1892, the business was incorporated under the name of Waukon State Bank, with a paid up capital of $40,000; and on April 26, 1912, when the charter expired, it was renewed for another twenty years. The bank continued its business in the same location for thirty-three years, or until February 1, 1912, when it moved into its own elegant new building on Main street, in the very center of the business section, where they have roomy, well lighted, attractive quarters, equipped with every modern convenience and protection, including safety deposit boxes for the use of its patrons. The officers of the bank have been: President, C. T. Granger, 1879-91; G. W. Stoddard, 1892-93; L. W. Hersey, 1894-1902; L. A. Howe, 1903 to the present time. Vice president, M. W. Eaton, since 1897. Cashier, L. W. Hersey, 1871-93; L. A. Howe, 1894-1902; S. W. Ludeking, since 1903. Assistant cashier, L. A. Howe, 1892-93; S. W. Ludeking, 1897-1902; C. M. Stone, since 1909. Directors, L. W. Hersey, 1892-1902; G. W. Stoddard, 1892-93; C. T. Granger, 1892-93 and 1895-1913; J. W. Thomas, 1892-97; Henry Dayton, 1892-94; M. W. Eaton, since 1894; J. C. Crawford, since 1894; Moritz Kerndt, 1898-1905; L. A. Howe, since 1903; S. W. Ludeking, since 1906; R. J. Alexander, since 1913.
Thus it will be seen that L. W. Hersey, founder of the bank, was cashier or president nearly thirty-two years, until his death in 1903. L. A. Howe, now president, entered the bank as clerk and bookkeeper January 1, 1883, and has been continuously connected with it for thirty years. M. W. Eaton has been vice president for sixteen years; and S. W. Ludeking, assistant and cashier for the same period. This is a record of stability that is indicative of the character of this institution, and for all these years the Waukon State Bank has enjoyed a liberal share of the public patronage. The management has always been conservative, and mindful of their responsibility to depositors, to safeguard their interest first of all.
During the past three years this bank has paid to its depositors as interest on their deposits the large sum of $29,812.31. Its April statement, 1913, shows a capital and surplus of 450,000. Undivided profits, $19,999.23. Deposits, $377,467.80. And total resources, $447,458.03.
BANK OF WAUKON
In the spring of 1878, following the arrival of the locomotive in Waukon, numerous enterprises were launched, among them being a second bank, by B. F. And J. H. Boomer, who came in and built for that purpose the brick building on the east side of Spring avenue now occupied by the Model Restaurant. Being energetic and pushing they soon built up quite a patronage, took an active interest in the business affairs of the town, and ere long acquired considerable property. They bought the Grange building formerly occupied by the Hedge & Earle drug store, moved it across the street, and on its site erected the Boomer Opera House. This was destroyed by fire in February, 1891, but immediately rebuilt, and is now occupied by Woodmens Hall and the postoffice. In 1892 J. H. Boomer retired and went to Hot Springs, South Dakota, and thence to Idaho, where in 1907 he was city clerk and police magistrate of the city of Wallace. In 1893 the affairs of the bank were wound up, and the properties acquired by B. F. Boomer eventually passed into other hands. In recent years he has conducted the Grand Hotel.
CITIZENS STATE BANK
The Citizens State Bank of Waukon was incorporated April 29, 1892, and commenced business July 25th following, with a capital of $25,000. Its first officers were: President, A. Deremore (who held this position til his death, October 18, 1897) vice president, W. L. Duffin; cashier, W. E. Beddow; assistant cashier, J. E. Duffy; directors, A. Deremore, Joseph Zimmerman, J. F. Dayton, W. L. Duffin and W. E. Beddow.
The incorporators consisted of the above named, with M. A. Creglow, Geo. Creglow, J. R. Beddow, M. B. Hendrick, James Duffy, H..G. Fisher, William Daulton, Henry Helming, and Mary M. Quigley.
The management leased of F. H. Robbins perhaps the best location in town for banking institution, on the corner of Main and Allamakee streets, which they have occupied continuously for these twenty-one years. The rooms were finely finished and an equipment put in that was up-to-date and more handsome and convenient than any in town at that time; and the enterprise proved successful from the start. In February, 1910, the capital stock was increased to $50,000, and in May, 1912, the organization was reincorporated for a second period of twenty-five years from July 25, 1912.
Since the first officers above mentioned the list has been as follows: President, W. C. Earle, 1899 to present date; vice president, W. L. Duffin, 1892-99; D. J. Murphy, 1899 to this date; cashier, W. E. Beddow, 1892 until his death, in 1910; W. H. Niehaus, 1910 to present date; assistant cashier, J. E. Duffy, 1892 until his death in 1899; C. H. Earle, 1899 to date. Directors, at present are: W. C. Earle, Ella M. Beddow, C. H. Earle, K. H. Niehaus and D. J. Murphy.
The official statement of the bank, in April, 1913, shows total assets of $310,746.77, and deposits of $260,394.48.
FIRST NATIONAL BANK
In January, 1893, the comptroller of the currency at Washington issued authority for the organization of a national bank at Waukon, a large part of the stock of $50,000 having been then subscribed by farmers of the county, by the efforts of B. F. Boomer and others. The charter was duly issued, April 22, 1893, and the bank opened for business June 5th, the capital of $50,000 being fully paid up, and the following officers were chosen: President, B. F. Boomer; vice president, J. M. Barthell; cashier, Allen B. Boomer; assistant cashier, Wm. J. Mitchell; directors, J. M. Barthell, K. T. Anderson, B. F. Boomer, Joseph Haas, H. S. Luhman, Chas, Bayless, Henry Deters, H. S. Cooper, Willard Bacon, H. F. Opfer, Henry Kiesau, Ben Troendle, W. J. Mitchell, W. T. Gilchrist, Patrick Waters, Frank Liethold, M. M. Fitzgerald, Chas. Allison.
On the 2d of September following the president and cashier, F. B. And Allen Boomer, tendered their resignations, which were accepted; and to succeed them W. J. Mitchell was elected president, Otto J. Hager, cashier, and A. T. Nierling, assistant cashier.
This bank continued to operate in its first location in the Boomer bank building, on Spring avenue, for another year, when in September, 1894, it removed to the new Dillenberg block on the east side of Allamakee street, which had been erected and fitted, out in first-class shape for this purpose. Here their constantly increasing business was conducted for ten years, until they moved into a building of their own in their present quarters on the north side of Main street. This building was purchased for the permanent home of the bank, and was entirely remodeled, with a handsome new stone front. The most approved safeguards for the protection of its valuables and those of its patrons have been installed, as well as ample safety deposit boxes, and all the modern conveniences.
In 1894 J. M. Barthell was elected president, and H. F. Opfer, vice president; both now deceased; and June 30, 1909, E. Dillenberg was chosen to succeed Mr. Opfer, in the vice presidency.
January 20, 1902, O. J. Hager became president, and A. T. Nierling succeeded to the cashiership, and they have continued in these position since that time. Both have been connected with the bank in one capacity or another for twenty years. J. C. Ludeking entered the banks employ as bookkeeper about that time (1902) and was promoted assistant cashier, September 21, 1994. E. A. Allanson has been with the bank since April 21, 1907, as stenographer and bookkeeper; and Miss Clara Hanson was employed as stenographer in December, 1912.
The First National has for many years enjoyed the good will and patronage of the community; and its business has so grown that in January, 1913, ti became advisable to increase its capital stock to $100,000 thus doubling its former capital, and making it one of the strongest financial institutions in northeastern Iowa. The present assets of the bank are $860,000, or more than double what they were ten years ago. Present deposits are $665,000; and there has been paid in dividends to the shareholders $156,000.
PEOPLES NATIONAL BANK
The organization of another national bank to accommodate the growing wealth of the farming region round about Waukon had been contemplate for some months, and plans were finally perfected under which a charter was authorized, and the Peoples National Bank of Waukon commenced business August 12, 1912, with a capital stock of $50,000. Fine large rooms were leased in the new Cain block, and equipped for the banking business with a completeness unsurpassed by any in the county.
Of course the institution was assured of a good patronage before its opening; and a comparison of its later statements shows a good healthy increase of business. Under the comptrollers call of February 4, 1913, its total resources were $220,866.54, and deposits $157,092.27. Under the call of April 4th there were, resources $293,876.26, and deposits $230,613.59.
The officials of this institution are all well-known residents of the county, as follows: President, T. B. Stock; vice president, L. T. Hermanson; cashier, P. I. ODonnell; directors, T. B. Stock, L. T. Hermanson, C. J. Hansmeier, C. G. Helming, P. S. Narum, Ed Teeling and D. J. Murphy.
THE WAUKON METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
By A. M. May
The first Methodist Episcopal minister on the Waukon circuit was Rev. L. S. Ashbaugh, during the last half of the conference year 1852-3. He had as a colleague, Rev. H. S. Brunson. That fall the conference met in Dubuque and Rev. H. S. Brunson was appointed presiding elder. Rev. John Webb was appointed to the Waukon Mission with Joel Davis, a young man of much promise, as colleague. Mr. Davis health failed about the middle of the year, and Mr. Webb continued the work alone, with the following appointments:
First Sabbath, at 10:30 A. M. At Lansing; 3 P. M., at Wakefields schoolhouse; 5:30 P.M., at Lansing Ridge, ten miles west of Lansing. Second Sabbath, 10:30 A. M. At Hales schoolhouse; 3 P.M., in the courthouse in Waukon; 7:30 P. M., at Burgess near Rossville. Third Sabbath, 10:30 A. M., at Decorah; 3 P. M., at Freeport; 7:30 P. M., at Frankville. Fourth Sabbath, 10:30 A. M. At S. Leaches; 3 P. M., at Burr Oak; 7:30 P. M., at Carters mill on the Upper Iowa river. The Saturday evening previous at Canoe. The Monday following at 7:30 P. M., at New Oregon Grove, where Cresco is not situated; thence for home at West Union to pay my family a visit, and then off for Lansing to begin the circuit again.
The trustees of the Waukon church were W. R. Pottle, E. B. Lyons, Thomas Feeley, John Israel, Father (George C.) Shattuck, Edwin J. Raymond. The stewards were, W. R. Pottle and E. B. Lyons. Class leader, and also local preacher, Thomas Feeley. (In 1890 Mr. Feeley was living near Winterset.) Father Shattuck and myself took an ox team and drew from the timber sills for a Methodist church near the courthouse. I think my successor failed to follow it up and they forfeited the lot. Reverend Ashbaugh was the first regular minister appointed to the Waukon church, and myself the second. The next annual conference was held at Keokuk, and I drove from Decorah to Keokuk, something like three hundred miles, to attend that conference. The next year I was appointed to the Garnavillo circuit, including McGregor. It is said that a Methodist minister, Wm. Sweet, held services in Makee and Union Prairie in 1853-54, and doubtless was also at the young town of Waukon, but it is not certain. The church was organized while Rev. Webb was pastor in 1854, with the following members: Mr. And Mrs. W. R. Pottle, Mr. And Mrs. H. R. Pierce, Mr. And Mrs. E. B. Lyons, Mr. And Mrs. Thomas Feeley, Mr. And Mrs. E. J. Raymond, Mr. And Mrs. John Israel, Mr. And Mrs. Peter Mills, Mr. And Mrs. A Pinney, Mr. And Mrs. S. Hamler. Reverend Webb was pastor for the years 1854-55. At Keokuk the conference was divided, the northen portion becoming the Upper Iowa Conference, and Rev. C. M. Sessions was pastor of the church for the year 1856. His circuit included Waukon, Lansing, Waterville and Rossville, appointments on sundays, with a week-day appointment at the home of James Shepherd, on Lansing Ridge; and another week-day appointment on Columbus Ridge, this society consisting of John Reed and family, John Stillman and family, Rev. S. H. Greenup and family, and Rev. M. Howard and family. The late Colonel Spooner of Waterville gave material aid, though not a member of the church. The Columbus Ridge interests were transferred later to the Waukon church. All these pioneer members have gone to their final reward. April 30, 1855, the church purchased the corner lot on Allamakee and Worcester streets, now the property of J. H. Hale. In 1859, they purchased lots 1 and 2, block 14, Delafields addition, where E. D. Purdys residence is now, and a small frame church was erected at a cost of $800. During the building of the church the services were held a part of the time in the Cumberland Presbyterian church. A Sunday school was organized with Clark Bean as superintendent, and a Band of Hope was formed for the children. During this year the trustees were, W. R. Pottle, E. J. Raymond, E. B. Lyons, Thos. Feeley, H. R. Pierce, Moses Wood, C. Bean; the stewards were D. Jaquis, A. Penney, John Reed, S. Hamler, D. Miller and J. W. Flint. A Mason & Hamlin organ was purchased and the late John Eddy was the first organist. Among the early choristers were I. M. Bearce. Herbert Bailey, Elbridge Morrison. The members were Mrs. Crouch, Mrs. Skinner, Mrs. Lowe, Mr. Pottle, Grandpa Taylor. Later, Miss Anna Pottle (the late Mrs. A. T. Stillman) became organist, an efficient and faithful one for many years. And there were Miss Emily Huestis, not Mrs. John Eddy; Miss Hattie Morrison, now Mrs. S. R. Thompson; Miss Abbie Bailey (the late Mrs. Drummond of Dubuque), were also among the faithful members. Mr. Bailey was one of the old-time singing school teachers, able, thorough and successful in his work. His rich, powerful bass voice was known through northeastern Iowa. He removed to and died at McGregor some thirty years ago. The ladies of the church organized a sewing circle with Mrs. W. R .Pottle as president, meeting bi-weekly at the different homes, with refreshments served by the hostess, consisting of bread, butter, one kind of meat, cheese or pickles, one kind of cake and tea; the one exceeding this menu to be fined fifty cents.
Desiring a better location, as the town grew, April 20, 1867 (Rev. B. D. Alden, pastor), the society purchased a site on the corner of Pitt and Worcester streets, moved the church building thereto, and erected a parsonage on the lots thus vacated. Reverend Alden said of this transaction in the Inland Christian Advocate, Des Moines, February 22, 1894: It was our first attempt as a pastor at improving church property. The neat frame church stood in the outskirts of the village, so that we had not a fair chance with the other churches of the place. Efforts had been made before for a change of location, but invariably the efforts had been headed off by those who were not favorably disposed toward us.
The matter was canvassed quietly till we found sufficient encouragement to proceed, when a meeting of the official board was called a committee was appointed to purchase the admirable corner lot, one square from the courthouse, upon which the present church now stands.
The lot, costing $400, was purchased and a portion paid down before the transaction was known to the public. Then there was excitement. One man who owned property next to it, and had been trying to get it but thought the price too high, immediately brought the $400 in cash and offered it to the man from whom we had purchased the property, but the committee had bound the bargain. The lot secured, the church was removed to it and nicely refitted and papered. It was opened for devine service by Rev. Samuel Pancoast of McGregor, and the whole expense, amounting to about $700 was fully provided for. Rev. John Webb preached in the evening, while outside the rain was pouring down in torrents, but the church was filled with rejoicing people. How well we remember the official brethren who stood by us-Clark Bean, Hosea Lowe, H. R. Pierce, W. R. Pottel, S. Hamler, Elihu Morrison, Eli Jones, John Goodykoontz, Daniel Jaquis.
The congregation increased and needed a larger auditorium. Plans were made, and work begun on the present brick church building in May, 1869, but it was not finished until late in 1871, being first occupied on Christmas evening, December 25. It was formally dedicated, Sunday, February 18, 1872, the sermon being preached by Rev. A. B. Kendig of Cedar Rapids, assisted by the presiding elder, Wm. Smith of Decorah, and the pastor, Rev. J. R. Cameron. The cost was $7,015.55.
The choir of the M. E. Church at the time of the dedication, February 18, 1872, was: L. M. Bearce, leader; Miss Anna Pottle, organist; Mrs. John Stillman, Mrs. H. Low, Misses Ruth Bearce (Gardner), Rosanna Rankin (Hancock), Tena Rankin (Manson), Jennie Reed (Bentley), and Messrs. A. T. Stillman, Gene Manson and Charles Osborn.
In May, 1872, the old frame church was sold to C. S. Stilwell, who moved it to the corner of Armstrong and Court streets and remodeled it into his present residence.
The church has been heated by a furnace since 1878. The cupola was completed by Sheffer in 1881 and a bell costing about $700 placed therein.
Rev. T. E. Fleming was the pastor in 1882; the membership was about one hundred and sixty. The Sunday school numbered about one hundred: A. T. Stillman, superintendent. The trustees were: G. H. Bryant, H. J. Bentley, E. D. Purdy, D. W. Reed, Henry Dayton, J. S. Nitterauer; stewards, John Brawford, D. W. Reed, John Stillman, P. C. Huffman, H. O. Dayton, M. W. Nesmith, J. S. Nitterauer, A. T. Stillman, L. Eells
In 1887 the presiding elder was W. F. Paxton; pastor, G. R. Manning. Trustees, G. H. Bryant, H. J. Bentley, Henry Dayton, John Reed, Jackson Smith, E. D. Purdy, C. A. Beeman, Stewards, P. C. Huffman, H. O. Dayton, D. W. Reed, G. W. Haines, John Stillman, A. T. Stillman, Mrs. Jennie Bentley, Mrs. Jackson Smith, W. T. Gilchrist, M. Dowling, E. J. Spaulding, J. J. Jennings. District steward, P. C. Huffman, Recording steward, D. W. Reed. Sexton, R. Wampler.
Ladies Mite Society-Mrs. Jennie Burton, president; Mrs. Maria Dayton, vice president; Miss Ruth Bearce, secretary; Mrs. Ellen Reed, treasurer.
The Womens Foreign Missionary Society-Mrs. Carrie E. Manning, president; Mrs. Helen Clark, vice president; Mrs. Henrietta Hale, corresponding secretary; Mrs. Ellen Reed, recording secretary; Mrs. Laura Row, treasurer.
Home College Class-Rev. G. R. Manning, president; Miss Emily Hale, vice president; Miss Jessie Lewis, secretary; Mrs. Mattie Spaulding, treasurer.
Sunday School-A. T. Stillman, superintendent; W. T. Gilchrist, assistant superintendent; Miss Allie Row, secretary; Miss Ruth Bearce, treasurer; Miss Anna May, librarian.
Choir-A. M. May, leader; Mrs. A. M. May, Miss Anna May, Miss Jessie May, Mr. And Mrs. R. J. Alexander, Mrs. And Mrs. W. T. Gilchrist, Mr. And Mrs. John J. Jennings, Miss Ruth Bearce, Miss Louisa Wimmer, Miss Jessie Robbins, Miss Gertie Goodykoontz. Miss Lura Fellows, organist.
July 4, 1891, the new pastor, Rev. W. C. Macurdy, C. A. Beeman and A. T. Stillman were appointed a building committee for planning and erecting an addition to the church building, which was done one the east side of the church, with folding glass doors between, capable of seating about 100, and is used for prayer meetings, Sunday school classes, and other purposes and including the kitchen and entrance recess furnishes room for mite society dinners, etc., and is easily made a part of the auditorium. The cost was about $2,000 ($1,917). The stewards at this time were: H. J. Bentley, W. T. Gilchrist, A. T. Stillman, G. W. Haines, A. M. May, L. J. Nichols, J. Jenkins, David Miller, Levi Armstrong, John Stillman. Trustees, E. D. Purdy, G. H. Bryant, Jackson Smith, C. A. Beeman, H. O. Dayton.
The stewards for 1901-02 were: E. D. Purdy, C. A. Beeman, Jackson Smith, H. B. Miner, G. H. Bryant, Mrs. Hattie Bowen, Mrs. Addie Sanaker, Mrs. Carrie Alexander, Mrs. Mary Dayton. The trustees were: A. T. Stillman, W. T. Gilchrist, H. J. Bentley, g. w. Haines, A. T. Nierling.
The pastor, Rev. W. G. Crowder, had been planning for a pipe organ for the church, and January 16, 1902, a contract was made with the Barckhoff Church Organ Company, of Pomeroy, Ohio, for an oak finish organ harmonizing with fine artistic effect with the surrounding location, and of smooth, pure musical tones at a cost of $1,200. Experienced organists of good judgment have said that it was an unusually fine and valuable instrument for that price. An inaugural concert, dedicating the new pipe organ was given at the church May 15, 1902, the organist being Rev. Hugh D. Atchinson, pastor of St. Lukes M. E. Church in Dubuque, an organist among the best in the West; contralto, Miss Genevieve Wheat, and basso-cantata, Mr. Marion E. Green, both of Dubuque, assisted by the choir.
The stewards of the church for the year 1912-13 are: E. D. Purdy, Jackson Smith, A. T. Nierling, Mrs. H. E. Bowen, Mrs. P. N. Heiser, Mrs. R. J. Alexander, Miss Cora Miner, G. H. Bryant, T. J. Werhan, Chas. F. Pye, J. C. Lewis. Trustees, A. T. Stillman, W. T. Gilchrist, C. A. Beeman, August Hausman, G. W. Haines. Deaconess, Mrs. F. H. Robbins. Sunday school superintendent, A. T. Stillman. President Epworth League, Otto Ney. The pastors salary, including parsonage, $1,200. Value of the church, $12,000; parsonage, $3,000.
The members of the choir are: A. M. May, leader; Miss Ethel Gilchrist, organist; R. J. Alexander, W. T. Gilchrist, Richard Eddy, Ralph Jeglum, Leonard Jeglum, W. H. Niehaus, Misses Lizzie Ney, Gertrude Nye, Dora Eaton, Lucile Eaton, Mabel Dunlevy, Ruth Alexander, Eunice Hartley, Artis Hartley, Lisle Clark, Edith Clark, Elizabeth Lewis, Agnes Kettleson, Hazel Coon, Jennie Coon, Mrs. W. T. Gilchrist.
The ministers who have served the Waukon congregation and church are: Rev. L. S. Ashbaugh, and assistant, Rev. H. S. Brunson, 1852-53; Rev. John Webb and assistant, Rev. Joel David, 1854-55; Rev. C. M. Sessions, 1856; Rev. M. Whitmore, 1857; Rev. John Fawcett, 1858; Rev. W. E. McCormac, 1859-60, Rev. F. C. Mather, 1861-62; Rev. J. F. Hestwood, 1863-64; Rev. A. Faulkner, 1865; Rev. B. D. Alden, 1866-67; Rev. R. Ricker,1868=69; Rev. J. R. Cameron, 1870-72; Rev. Wm. Cobb, 1873-74; Rev. B. C. Hammond, 1875-77; Rev. J. A. Ward, 1878-1880; Rev. D. Sheffer, 1881; Rev. T E. Fleming, 1882-83; Rev. J. C. Magee, 1884-85; Rev. G. R. Manning, 1886-87; Rev. L. U. McKee, 1888-90; Rev. W. C. Macurdy, 1891-93; Rev. W. H. Slingerland, 1894-97; Rev. S. R. Ferguson, 1897-99; Rev. J. W. McCord, 1899-1900; Rev. W. G. Crowder, 1900-03; Rev. K. W. Robbins, 1903-05; Rev. J. R. Caffyn, 1905-08; Rev. T. H. Temple, 1908-10; Rev. W. W. Robinson, 1911; Rev. J. Arthur Young, 1911-13.
ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH AND SCHOOL
St. Patrick's church at Waukon was built by Rev. Denis Brennan in 1868; Andrew Johnson being president of the United States and John Hennessy, archbishop of Dubuque. During Rev. Father Brennan's pastorate the membership was small, but what it lacked in quantity it possessed in quality. Father Brennan was succeeded by Father Lowery; and next came Father McGowan, who in turn was succeeded by Father Hawe, who is now pastor of the Catholic church at Decorah. Father Hawe was followed by Father Byrnes, who died shortly after; and in 1885 Rev. Father Walsh was sent here. In 1906 he was made an irremovable rector by Most Reverend John J. Keane, archbishop of Dubuque.
In 1910 Rev. Father O'Donnell was appointed assistant to Father Walsh whose failing health caused him to resign in 1911, and the present rector, Rev. M.K. Norton is an eloquent speaker, and is regarded as one of the leading theologians of our country. He is one of the diocesan consultors and a member of the official family of Archbishop James J. Keane of Dubuque.
The beautiful new church which is being built this year under Father Norton's direction is to be of the Spanish renaissance or mission style of architecture. It will be 160 feet long and sixty feet wide, of white pressed brick with stone trimmings, marble altars, rails, and vestibules,mosaic floors, and Munich glass windows.
St. Patrick's congregation is composed of about 200 families, and numbers some 1200 souls. The members are engaged in most of the callings of this busy life: the sturdy farmer, the strong workman, the brainy mechanic, the real live [pg 366] merchant and the thoroughly competent professional man. Like our own glorious America they have grown from small beginnings to their present grand proportions. They are God-fearing, patriotic, honest, and generous in their donations to religion and every other good cause. They
believe that all they possess came from the hand of God, and in a spirit of gratitude they offer to the Great Giver of all good a liberal share of their earnings. They remember the stories of hardships told by their pioneer fathers and mothers; they rejoice that they are citizens of the best and greatest country on God's green footstool, and that they enjoy blessings, religious, political and social, greater than were ever accorded to members of the human family since the dawn of human history.
ST. PATRICK'S SCHOOL
St. Patrick's congregation at Waukon takes a special pride in its parochial school, which is a large, imposing structure, ninety feet long and four stories high. The building was started by Rev. Father Hawe about thirty years ago, who invited the Presentatin Nuns of Dubuque to act as instructors. This order is a teaching body of cloistered sisters who came from Ireland to Dubuque in 1879 and opened a convent on West Hill. The first superioress in Waukon was Rev. Mother Presentation, who with two assistants conducted the school for about five years.
The school is now twice its original size and has an enrollment of 220 pupils with seven sisters in charge. The course of study covers twelve years, and includes the curriculum of the public schools. Music, stenography, and a normal teachers course, form special features of the institution. The kindergarten is in charge of Sister Martina; primary grades, Sisters Inviolata and Rita; intermediate, Sister Sacred Heart; grammar school, Rev. Mother Clementina; and the high school and normal, Sister M. Charles. The music school is ably managed by Sister M. Anicetus, a niece of Rev. P.A. Walsh, a former much loved pastor. The graduates of the school number over 150 young men and women who have gone out into the various walks of life, making good in every case, and each in his own way reflecting credit on himself and his alma mater. In addition to the foregoing contribution by Mrs. Cain, and old history published in 1882 supplies the following facts, further supplemented by the county records and newspaper files:
"In 1855 Rev. Father Kinsella bought forty acres of land northwest of town and built thereon a log church, in which his people worshiped for many years. In 1864 they purchased the property of Lewis H. Clark in Waukon, being a part of block 4 in Shattuck's addition, corner of School and High streets, and converted his dwelling into a place of worship. This soon became too small for the growing congregation, and in 1868 the present large brick church was erected on the site of the old building, which was moved a short distance to one side, to the rear of the parsonage. March 9, 1896, the old building was destroyed by fire, in which the records were lost, and this sketch is necessarily incomplete. Since Father Kinsella its priests have been Farrell, Nagle, Lowery, Brennan, McGowan, and Hawe, who still preside over this charge. The church membership is about 100. The church a few years since purchased a part of block 5, opposite their place of worship and parsonage, the site of the old public schoolhouse -- whereon they have this season (1882) erected a fine brock edifice, three stories above the basement, with mansard roof, at a cost of $5,000, for the purpose of a sisters' school."
The school was opened in 1883, and in a later year this fine school building was added to, doubling its size. The deed of the present church site in 1864 was first to Mrs. Mary McDevitt, who soon after re-conveyed it to the Rt. Rev. Clement Smyth, of Dubuque. James and Mary McDevitt came to Waukon in 1855, and built a frame dwelling with a basement for Mr. McDevitt's shoe shop, on the corner of Main and Pitt streets, where it was a landmark for many years. The corner is now occupied by Dr. Cain's handsome brick block. James McDevitt died December 11, 1870, and Mrs. McDevitt later married John Quigley. She was again widowed, and was finally provied with a home in St. Francis hospital in LaCrosse, where she passed her last days. Father Brennan did not remain long after the erection of the old church, and in 1869 went to Europe because of failing health. Father McGowan was here during 1874.
St. Patrick's church became incorporated under the Iowa statutes November 28, 1911. Archbishop James J. Keane, ex-officio president; Pastor, Rev. P.A. Walsh, ex-officio,vice president; who, with Rt. Rev. Roger Ryan, vicar general, and lay members, Hugh O'Donnell and Thomas McGeough, constituted a board of directors.
The First Baptist church of Waukon celebrated its semi-centennial in the year 1904, by the erection of a fine new edifice, which was completed and formally dedicated to the service of the Lord on Sunday, September 17, 1905. Its organization dates from June 17, 1854, on which day Azel Pratt and wife Mary, John G. Pratt, Lathrop Abbott and wife Emily, Miles Nichols and wife Hannah, Phoebe Hersey, and C. J. White, assembled at the dwelling of the first named, in the New England settlement named Makee, on what is now as Makee Ridge, two miles north of Waukon, and organized under the name of the Allamakee Baptist church. Of these nine constituent members none is now living, but their memory is fittingly honored by the beautiful window in the south front of the new building. The first named of the, Deacon Azel Pratt and wife, the strong pillars of the church in the first quarter century of its existence, entered into rest but a few days apart, in 1881.
The Baptist Mission pioneer, Rev. James Schofield, extended the right hand of fellowship to the members of the little church, and by the end of the year six more were added to their number by letter and experience. In July, 1855, the rite of baptism was first administered to seven persons, by Elder Scholfield, and the church grew rapidly, seventeen being received by baptism and seven by letter in 1856. John G. Pratt was the first church clerk, and in January, 1855, Azel Pratt and Isaac D. Lambert were chosen as the first deacons. Public worship was held in the Makee schoolhouse; but the growth of the village of Waukon and removal thither of many of the members made it necessary to have service here also, and in March, 1855, Samuel Hill, Jr., was engaged, at a small remuneration, to preach one-half of the time; in the morning at Makee and in the evening at Waukon, the schoolhouse here being built in that year. Elder Schofield continued to labor with the church a part of the time until July 1, 1856. Meanwhile the young preacher Samuel Hill had been, on May 18th, ordained for the ministry, and became the churchs first pastor. In 1857 he returned to his former home in Massachusetts.
The second pastor of the church, according to the records, was Rev. L. M. Newell, who was on May 23, 1857, called by the church at a salary of $500, one-half of which was paid by the Home Mission board, and he remained on the field until June, 1859. In this time the church had assembled in Waukon; and in 1860 we find services were held in the Methodist church every fourth Sunday. Here follows a period of scant records; Rev. C. D. Farnsworth preaching a part of the time and Rev. James Schofield was pastor in 1861.
In 1866 Rev. D. S. Starr was called and it was during his pastorate on July 4, 1868, that the old church society was reorganized and incorporated as the First Baptist church of Waukon, with the following officers: Azel Pratt, A. T. Maltby and A. H. Hersey, trustees; John G. Pratt, clerk; and C. O. Maltby, treasurer. They immediately proceeded to build a house of worship, a frame building, on the north side of Pleasant street, in which the first services were held January 17, 1869. In the spring of 1871 this frame building was sold to A. H. And A. Hersey, and remodeled as a place of residence, for which purpose it is still used, by several tenants, and is known as the bee-hive. The church then purchased the brick building erected by the Congregational society on the present site in 1883, in which they worshiped for thirty-three years, until it was razed, in July of 1904, to be replaced by the present modern structure, at a total cost of about $18,000, including a $2,400 pipe organ built by the Hook-Hastings Co. Of Boston.
The pastors of the church since 1869 have been as follows: Rev. L. L. Frisk, 1870-71; Geo. M. Adams, 1872-73; John M. Wedgwood, 1873-78. Farther Wedgwood was greatly beloved of his flock, but health failing, he took an interval of rest. Later he served the Rossville church two or three years, but increasing ill health caused him to retire to a farm in Fayette county, where he occasionally preached as he was able. In 1887 he returned and built him a home in Waukon, when he continued to reside until his death, in 1891, in his seventy-second year. F. N. Eldridge, 1878-81; M. H. Perry, 1881-82; Robert Smith, 1882-84; F. W. C. Wiggin, 1884-85; Geo. H. Starring, 1886-87; D. N. Mason, 1887-93; E. E. Tyson, 1894-96; Robert Bruce 1896-98; W. C. Stewart, 1899-1902.
Chas. Henry Stull, 1902-05. Under his tireless activity and encouragement the new building enterprise was undertaken and successfully carried out. Having seen the completion of this great work, shortly after the dedication of the new edifice, Mr. Stull tendered his resignation, which was reluctantly accepted, and he has since occupied important fields at Denison and Iowa Falls, this state; St. Paul, Minnesota, Huron, South Dakota; and now in Ohio.
Howard Percy Langridge was then called to this church, in December, 1905, and took up the work with an energy, devotion and tactfulness that brought immediate results; and with so great a sympathy and helpfulness for all in misfortune that he soon endeared himself to the entire community, within the church and without. The circumstances of his tragic death by drowning in the lake of the power company on the Oneota river, May 22, 1909, are too fresh in the hearts of his still sorrowing friends to call for repetition here. A young man of but thirty-five, in athletic vitality, devoted to this family of wife and three young sons, and to the cause which he had espoused; and with so bright a future in prospect, the deplorable event seem impossible. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. A. W. Caul of Vinton (under whose pastorate he was ordained five years previously), assisted by the local pastors of sister denominations, and the remains were taken to Manchester, Delaware county, his former home, for burial
W. H. Belfrey next became pastor, from October 1, 1909, until June 1, 1912. In September following he was succeeded by the present pastor, W. J. Bell.
The church clerks have been: John G. Pratt to 1869; L. W. Hersey 1869-81; John W. Pratt, 1881-94; Mrs. Charlotte Hancock, 1894-1901; E. B. Gibbs, 1901-03; Miss Frances Lathrop, 1903-05; P. A. Anderson, 1905-12; Dr. J. H. Johnson, 1912-13.
Any historical sketch of this church would be obviously incomplete without special reference to Brother John W. Pratt, who was for so many years not only its never-absent clerk and deacon, but also, for over a quarter of a century, the faithful chorister, and who departed his life in 1897. It would also be unjust to omit mention of the faithful organist for many years, Miss Estelle Pratt, still a faithful assistant; and her successor, Miss Lizzie Spaulding. The same might well be said of Mrs. Flora Crawford, Mrs. Ella Howard and Mrs. Evy Howe, the leading members of the choir.
On November 3, 1902, in her eighty-first year, Mrs. Nancy B. Whiting entered into the reward of a long and patiently suffering Christian life; and a few weeks later, January 6, 1903, her brother, Lewis W. Hersey also died, in his seventy-eighth year. His wife, B. A. Hersey, lovingly known by the entire congregation as Aunt, Ann, survived him but a few years. She had made the erection of the new church a possibility by her original contribution of $5,000, when the project was undertaken, which she had later increased, and bequeathed $3,000 as an endowment, the interest to be used only for current expenses of the church. Sister Whiting deeded her comfortable home to the church for a parsonage; and Brother Hersey had been a financial stand-by of the church for many years. All three were very helpful to the church while living, and their works do follow them.
In December, 1903, it was decided that a new church edifice be erected, at a cost of not exceed $9,000. In January, 1904, the plans of architect Dohman of Milwaukee were adopted , and a building committee appointed, consisting of F. W. Goodykoontz, P. A. Anderson, E. H. Fourt, Dewight Sherman and Mrs. B. A. Hersey with C. O. Howard and M. S. Howard advisory members thereof. In June following three additional member were appointed, Pastor Stull, E. B. Gibbs and J. H. Johnson. C. O. Howard did not live to see the work completed, having passed away on the 7th of September. With various alterations made in the plans it was found that the original limit would not be sufficient, and the contract as let to Wm. F. Fuelling of Clayton county called for an outlay of about $13,000, and the old material; which amount was eventually considerably exceeded.
In July, 1904, the old structure was razed, and work begun on the foundation. The cornerstone was laid October 9 by the deacons of the church; and the new building was opened for services June 23, 1905, though incomplete, upon the occasion of the meeting here of the annual session of the Turkey River Baptist Association. Meanwhile, since the preceding June the regular meetings of the church had been held in the City Hall. The formal dedication of the new edifice took place September 17, 1905, the dedicatory services being conducted by Rev. H. O. Rowlands, D. D. , of Davenport. On this occasion the trustees reported the total cost and expenses to date to be $16,101.19. The trustees at that time consisted of: E. W. Goodykoontz, E. H. Fourt, R. A. Anderson, E. B. Gibbs, and M. S. Howard. Deacons: E. B. Gibbs, Dewight Sherman and E. M. Hancock. Deaconesses: Mrs. Margaret David, Mrs. S. D. Torrey and Miss Lida Sherman.
June 20, 1908, a terrific hail storm badly damaged the art windows on the north side of the church. The interior decoration of the church had never been completed, and early in 1910 this work was taken up, and the interior remodeled, a capacious gallery constructed, and the choir loft greatly improved. These repairs and improvements caused an additional expense of some $2,400, and made a very beautiful auditorium. The church was reopened April 17, 1910.
The present membership of the church is about ninety, with the following officials: Trustees, E. H. Fourt, P. A. Anderson, A. E. Entwisle, Mrs. Flora Crawford, E. B. Gibbs. Deacons: E. B. Gibbs, Dewight Sherman, E. M. Hancock, Deaconesses: Mrs. Millie Markley, Mrs. Maude Kelley, Mrs. Ida Entwisle; and Mrs. Margaret David, honorary deaconess for life. Clerk, J. H. Johnson. General auditor, E. B. Gibbs. Chairman of finance committee, E. M. Hancock, Choir; Mrs. Flora Crawford, Mrs. Ella Howard, Mrs. Evy Howe, Mrs. Mabel Colsch, Mrs. Beth Allanson, Messrs. Anderson, Fourt, Goodykoontz and T. T. Ericson. Organist, Miss Lizzie Spaulding.
Sunday School: Superintendent, Mrs. Ida Entwisle, assistant, Miss Lida Sherman; secretary, Wm. N. Brown; librarian, Miss Estelle Pratt.
In 1875 the old church was supplied with a bell, through the labors of the young ladies society called The Merry Workers, and it was hung in February. Two months later it was decided to be unsatisfactory in tone and power, and with renewed, effort it was soon after replaced with a much finer and heavier one, the bell that is still in use.
THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
The following sketch of the Waukon Presbyterian church is based on an outline contributed by Pastor Van Nice at our request, which we have enlarged upon from other sources, preserving the sequence of events and dates furnished by him. The first records of this church are incomplete, but it was organized as a Cumberland Presbyterian church by Rev. J. C. Armstrong, who was sent out by the Board of Missions of that church in 1856. On an Indian path, at some springs in the prairie, had grown up a little village called Waukon. Thither Armstrong directed his steps. A number of persons belonging to the Cumberland Presbyterian church had immigrated to this place in the preceding three years, from Indiana chiefly, and services had been held from time to time by Ministers S. T. Stewart, Wm. Lynn and James McFarland. But soon after Rev. Armstrong came, on August 21, 1856, an organization was effected with twenty-four members, as follows: James Maxwell, Jacob B. Plant, Elizabeth Plank, R. C. Armstrong, Mary Armstrong, Josiah Brown, Elizabeth Brown, Enoch Jones, Susan Jones, Wm. G. Mullen, Jane Mullen, Jacob Shew, Susan Shew, John Brawford, F. M. Brawford, Enoch Miller, E. Miller, Simon Gregg, Catherine Gregg, Lorenzo Bushnell, M. B. Bushnell, Alias Aurand, Elam Jones and Isabel Jane Lyons.
James Maxwell, J. B. Plank, Jacob Shew and Simon Gregg were the first elders: and Enoch Jones, Wm. S. Mullen and Elias Aurand, the first deacons. Worship was conducted in the public schoolhouse until the fall of 1858, when the first church edifice of Waukon was completed and dedicated. It was a very commodious building for that time, the main room being 34 by 44 feet, with a vestibule extending across the front 34 by 10 feet. From time to time as occasion demanded the building was improved, a furnace heating plant put in 1878, and in 1885 it was raised, remodeled, and veneered with brick, and a dining room and kitchen installed, converting it into a much more handsome and convenient building. But the fond recollections of the old residents of the village linger around the familiar old building as it appeared in the early sixties, when it was occupied for school as well as church purposes, and for public lectures. Here was held the funeral of the lamented John J. Stillman, in February, 1862, whose remains were brought home from Fort Donelson, the first Allamakee battle sacrifice in the rebellion.
To continue the history of the old building it should be added here that in 1902 it was removed to give place to the new one. But it was not destroyed. They built of oak in the fifties, and built to endure. The house was sawed in two for convenience of transportation, and traveled out into the country about one mile southwest, where it was transformed into an incubator factory. After a few years it came back to town, and may be seen today as a feed stable north of the grand Hotel. It is still good for another journey; and it still serves the purpose assigned to it in whatever capacity, however humble, without detracting from the good accomplished in its better days.
The new and beautiful modern house of worship which replaces the old building was completed and dedicated in 1903. It was the pioneer of the numerous modern church houses the town is now in the happy possession of, and cost near $20,000. A fine organ of the Burlington (Ia.) Pipe Organ Co. Make was installed upon the completion of the building, July, 1903, at a cost of $1,800.
Upon the organization of the church in 1856, Rev. J. C. Armstrong became its first pastor, resigning in the fall of 1859 to become a missionary in Turkey. He afterwards returned to America, and died in 1889. Following him Rev. J. Loughran served until 1862. Then Rev. J. R. Brown, afterwards editor of the Cumberland Presbyterian, and of the St. Louis Observer, was pastor until 1864, when Rev. B. Hall was called to the pastorate and served the congregation for eleven years. After his resignation in 1875, Mr. Hall continued to serve the cause in the capacity of missionary, though retaining his home at Waukon, where he passed away March 18, 1887. Since Rev. Hall the pastors have been: Rev. J. Wood Miller, 1875-8; O. E. Hart, 1878-81; H. D. Onyett, 1881-2; A. Allison, 1882-3; A. G. Bergen, 1883-4; J. D. Gold, 1884-9; and the present pastor, R. L. Van Nice since 1889.
Nearly a thousand members are known to have been received into this church, but death and removals have done their work so that the number is only about 170 at the present time, 1913.
The present elders are James Thompson, W. B. Cowan, A. G. Fiet, and F. H. Nagel. The trustees are L. A. Howe, A. G. Fiet, and I. E. Beeman.
In 1906 the Cumberland Presbyterian and the Presbyterian Church U. S. A. Were untied, and the church at Waukon became a church in the new organization known as the Presbyterian church.
THE GERMAN REFORMED ZIONS CONGREGATION
This congregation was organized on the 13th of February, 1885, by Rev. B. R. Huecker, who was at the time pastor of the Reformed church four miles southeast from town, and was served by him till June, 1886. A substantial brick house of worship was erected in Waukon during the year 1885. Rev. Huecker was followed by Rev. J. Christ, who had just graduated from the seminary. He entered upon his work here on August 8, 1886, and closed his pastorate September 30, 1890. Rev. P. Ebinger was then called to be pastor of this charge, and served from August 24, 1891 till July 9, 1895. During these years the pastor lived in the country, and Zions congregation was connected with that in the country and was served from there. The church in town was growing and at the close of Rev. Ebingers pastorate decided it was best to have the pastor live in its midst. During the summer of 1895 a parsonage was built in town, close by the church. Rev. G. D. Elliker entered upon his work on July 9, 1895, and served for nearly fifteen years. During his pastorate some of the members of the country church wished to unite with the church in town. Others followed and consequently the Ebenezer congregation in the country ceased to exist, the members of all joining Zions church in town.
Soon the old church building was too small to hod the congregations, In 1903 the congregation decided to erect a new church and in the same year preparations were made. In 1904 the new church was built, and was dedicated on January 15, 1905. From the report of the building committee we learn that the cost of the present building is $16,659.36. The congregation is free from debt and enjoying a steady growth. The German language is used in all the morning services and in most of the classes in Sunday school; there are, however, a few English classes and since New Years 1910, English evening services have been introduced. The congregation still adheres to the custom of catechetical instructions for the children. Thus the children are taught the catechism and the Bible from two to four years before they are received into full membership of the church.
The present pastor is Rev. E. H. Vornholt, who came to the charge in April of 1910. There are now 313 members in the congregation. One of the difficult tasks before the congregation is to pass through the transition period safely, from German into English. This will, however, take quite a number of years yet.
This does not exist here today, but the old organization was so much a part of our early history that this sketch must not be omitted. Rev. James Bentley came to Waukon in 1858, sent by the Episcopal bishop to this place and to Lansing. He held services sometimes in the public school building, and in 1859 in the Presbyterian church Sunday afternoons. April 25, 1859, Walter Delafield, Orin Manson, John Griffin, John Phillips, L. B. Cowles, C. Paulk, and A. Parson, organized St. Pauls parish of the protestant Episcopal church, of the diocese of Iowa. The same year they built a small frame church on block 5, Delafields addition, corner of Liberty and High streets. In the summer of 1860 the building was greatly enlarged and the tower erected. While these improvements were being made, the Sunday school, which was very popular under Delafields superintendency, was held in Herseys hall. A 613 il. Meneely bell, costing $250 was also purchased and placed in position, the first church bell in town. It is said that this bell was, a gift from Jay Cooke, later the financial agent of the United States government in the Civil war. This writer has a distinct recollection of the assembling of the Sunday school in Herseys hall one bright summer day from whence with a profusion of oak leaf wreaths and flowers, they marched with banners flying, out to the east of town to meet the coming bell, which had been brought from Lansing by the Columbus road, and escorted it into town to the little church now ready to receive it. In 1895 the bell was taken to the Decorah church. The little brown church and the large parsonage to the north are still standing, the church remodeled into a residence.
Mr. Bentley served as rector for several years, but was later in the employ of the American Sunday School Union, in this state and Kansas. He made his home for years on the farm on Makee Ridge until recently owned and occupied by Hon. E. H. Fourt. Mr. Bentley died September 2, 1893. Rev. James Allen was elected rector, and after him Rev. Estabrook held services occasionally. In the fall of 1867 Rev. A. M. May came to Waukon as rector and served the church in that capacity five or six years; but the congregation had been small since early in the sixties, and regular services were finally abandoned.
Walter Delafield was in 1868 rector of Grace Chapel, New York city, and graduated from the General Theological Seminary in New York in 1869. In 1886 he came from Terre Haute to Chicago, where he organized the Church of the Transfiguration, Forty-third street, near Cottage Grove avenue, which he continued to serve as rector until his death, April 11, 1900.
NORWEGIAN LUTHERAN CHURCH
St. Johns Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran church of Waukon, was incorporated September 22, 1890, the board of trustees comprising Niles A. Rippy, president; Hans J. Bjerke, secretary; Halvor Pedersen, treasurer, and H. H. Larson. In 1907 the church was reincorporated, as the St. John Lutheran church of Waukon, with the following named officials: Trustees, Hans E. Vold, Ole P. Kvernum, and John L. Ehrie; Secretary, S. K. Kolsrud; Treasurer, L. T. Hermanson; Deacons, Olaf Hanson, Tollef Johnson and J. S. Johnson.
About the year 1890 this church built a handsome little frame house of worship, which has been from time to time improved. Rev. M. F. Lunde served the church as pastor from 1890 to 95, when he took charge of the church on Waterloo Ridge. Rev. J. A. Hellesvedt succeeded him here, being transferred to La Crosse about 1905, and he was followed on this field by Rev. Jacob Fjelde, who is the present pastor.
SEVENTH DAY CHURCH
The Seventh Day Adventist Association had an organization and a church building on the Ludlow-Jefferson township line three miles south of Waukon, in the sixties, the membership of which was composed of well known early settlers, including Wm. Andrews, Geo I. Butler, E. M. Stephens, James Vile, John P. Farnsworth, the Bullocks, Washburn, and others. Sometime in the early eighties the little church was removed into town and located upon lot 10, block 21, which they bought of G .L. Teeple, in the block of the Rober t Douglass residence. The society continues to hold social meetings every Sabbath, and quarterly meetings. A Sabbath school is also kept up.
~transcribed by Diana Diedrich, Cathy Joynt-Labath (St. Patrick's Church & School) and Debra Richardson (Allamakee college)
(pages 349, 359 & 369 have photos, and pages
350, 360 & 370 are blank)
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