IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items

Correspondence of the Times
Ion in 1856

Ion, Allamakee Co. Iowa
Oct. 23, 1856
Ed, North Iowa Times

Dear Sir:
Having so earnestly extended to all your friends in Northern Iowa an invitation to furnish you with a description of their respective localities, I have ventured upon a rough sketch, of the village of Ion, sometimes called Bunker Hill, from the fact that the Post Office here was once so named, but for what reason "scarce a Yankee could guess."

Ion is situated on Yellow River about 6 miles from the mouth on a high bottom surrounded by the best timbered country in the State, on the road leading from Monona to Lansing, about 8 1/2 miles from Monona and 10 miles from Rossville. Its location is one of the most healthy in Northern Iowa not excepting the high rairies, and it possesses one of the best water powers on the river; for the latter reason the first improvement made was in mill building, to which the entire attention of its proprietors was directed. Since the completion of an excellent Saw Mill and a very superior Flouring Mill, both of which are now in successful operation, the latter running day and night with two run of Burrs, turning out flour of a quality equal to any made in the State. The village has been laid out in lots of 1/4 acre each and sold at moderate prices, and now numbers about 120 inhabitants. It has one store well stocked, one blacksmith shop and another store is about being erected. A company from the east have recently purchased lots here and bound themselves to erect a large building for the manufactory of Cabinet furnitre, chairs, &c., intending to employ from 20 to 25 hands in the business. This point, they say, has better facilities both for water power and timber than any other in this section of counry.

There have been large preparations made for the erection of suitable buildings for a Tavern and Boarding houses which are now in progress. The want of such accommodations has retarded the growth and prosperity of the place heretofore. -- During the past and present seasons much attention has been paid to the opening and improvement of roads, and we now have the river well bridged at this point, with an excellent road leading out to the high prairie in Clayton Co., with a much easier grade than from any other point on this river, presenting no steeper ascent than is to be found on the high rolling prairies, after they are reached.

There is also a good road leading northwardly by which Lansing, Rossville, Waukon and the north and northwestern country can be reached with heavy loads without "let or hindrance;" and, although not yet completed, one leading to the mouth of Yellow River, there to be met by a Steam Ferry from Prairie du Chien; much labor has been and is still being expended on this road and it is intended to be when made, an excellent one; if not completed this season (which will be the case if labor sufficient can be obtained) it will be done early in the spring.

This point has never been puffed in the newspapers nor by handbills and advertisements posted up at every corner, nor has any effort been made to induce ersons from abroad seeking locations, to visit it, and heretofore having been a little off the main traveled thoroughfares, it has escaped the attention of the public, had it been otherwise it might and probably would have been one of the largest towns in the County.

As yet I have said nothing of its prospects for the Rail Road, because I do not believe its growth or prosperity depends upon it, yet the Yellow River bottom has, ever since a R.R. was contemplated on this side of the Mississippi River to connect with that terminating at Prairie du Chien, been regarded as one of the most feasible routes and the mouth of Yellow River a prominent candidate for a starting point; and its prospects are now fully equal if not superior to any other.

In conclusion permit me to give it as my opinion, humble as it is, that Ion surrounded as it is by an already large and rapidly increasing population of enterprising farmers, offers the best inducements for the enterprise of the merchant, the manufacturer, and mechanic of almost every description, and as there is to be in the spring a large amount of building done here, contractors now and during the winter, will do well to look to this poiint, and persons acquainted with brick-making may here find profitable employment.

May all success attend you in your new enterprise, and while we desire to see this point flourish we will not be envious of the growth and posperity of others.

I enclose a list of subscribers to your new and valuable paper, trusting that you will "continue in well doing," that which you have so well begun.

Yours truly,

- source: North Iowa Times, McGregor, 11/7/1856
- transcribed by Sharyl Ferrall

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