This flourishing town is at the terminus of the Clinton Division of the Chicago & North-Western Railway, and here are located the round-house and machine shop, giving employment to several hundred men. The impetus given by the selection of this town as a division terminus was very great, and the growth of the town for several years after being laid out was extremely rapid. The town site, which was laid out by Presley Hutton, in 1860, just previous to the completion of the railway thus far, lies on the sloping northern bank of the Iowa River, which allows of excellent drainage facilities. Not only this, but toward the southwest is one of the most beautiful views in the interior of Iowa, the timber along the river and the hills beyond forming a beautiful prospect to the observers's eye.
In the Fall of 1861, William White built a store house, which was immediately occupied with a stock of goods by a man named Crider.
During the Winter of 1861Ä2, and just after Mr. Presley had platted the town site, another store building was erected by I. N. Isham, which was occupied by H. H. Smith, who brought on a stock of goods and began business. George Lowe completed a grain warehouse about the same time, but it was idle property, for Belle Plaine was not yet a station. The Construction Company had got into a difficulty with the Railway Company, and because the latter had decided to build a town here the other company laid the switch tracks at Buckeye, about three miles east, and were doing all they could, with considerable success, to foster the growth of that town.
A building was also erected for a saloon in the Fall of 1861, but the proprietor having been carefully advised, removed the shanty off the town plat, but began business close by.
In the Spring of 1862, the first dwelling house was built by William White, followed in a short time by Mr. Forbes, who was clerking for Mr. Crider. Shortly afterward, a small house was removed from Gwinnville to the town plat of Belle Plaine. Several houses were also erected during the Summer and Fall of the same year.
The first sermon over preached in Belle Plaine was by Elder Holland, a Christian minister, in the Fall of 1862, the Crider store, then being vacant, serving as the place of worship.
Two small schools were taught in BelIe Plaine during the Winter of 1862Ä 8, one by Mrs. Greene and the other by Mrs. Pillbeam, whose husband was, at that time, Pastor of the circuit of the M. E. Church.
The certainty that the railway company were favoring Belle Plaine induced the settlers to petition for the removal of the post office from Gwinnvllle to this place, which was granted by the postal authorities, and the office was removed in July, 1862, D. C. Forbes having been appointed Postmaster.
The first building erected in 1863 was by Dr. Crawford, who was the first physician to settle in the town.
During 1863, Mr. Crider found his business so alarmingly unremunerative that his creditors took possession, sold the goods at auction and divided the resulting cash as by law provided.
James Ellis started a blacksmith shop dining the Summer.
The business interest of Belle Plaine, in the Fall of 1863, as near as can now be ascertained. was as follows: E. G. Brown, who had purchased Mr. Isham's business, general store; Andrew Hale, grain and stock dealer; James Smart, lumber dealer; Carter Buckley and George Watrous, grain buyers; J. B. Daniels, harness maker.
William Shaffer was the first station agent.
The business houses at the close of 1868 were very numerous, the list being given herewith: Seven general stores, eight groceries, four agricultural implement houses, three hardware stores, five lumber dealers, two furniture stores, three drug stores, one book store, two millinery shops, five tailors, six physicians, six attorneys, two jewelry shops, one music store, three dentists, four wagon shops, four blacksmith shops, three hotels, one livery stable, nine saloons, four boarding houses, four shoe shops, three harness shops, two auctioneers, one flouring-mill, one planing-mill, two painters, one bakery, two dozen carpenters, one tobacco store, five drays, five insurance agents, one newspaper, several grain buyers, etc.
Belle Plaine was incorporated in 1868, and took its charter as a city of the second class.
A bank was established in July, 1869, by S. L. Bardwell, of Chicago, a much needed adjunct to the business of the young city.
Franklin Schild was drowned in Salt Creek August 23, 1869. He was on horseback, driving home some cows, and attempted to cross the creek at a deep place. The horse, in floundering, threw him off, and, being unable to swim, he perished before help could reach him. He was about 21 years old.
A musical convention was held at Belle Plaine in the latter part of September, 1869, conducted by Prof. Palmer, of Chicago.
In the Fall of 1869, the business of the town included eight dry goods stores, nine groceries, four clothing stores, three boot and shoe stores, three drug stores, three hardware stores, two furniture stores, two tailor shops, four millinery shops, two agricultural depots, two jewelers, three lumber yards, one book store, two livery stables, one flouring-mill, two harness shops, one photograph gallery, two carriage shops, one musical instrument and sewing machine agency, two meat markets, four saloons, three hotels, one bakery, one bank, one newspaper, two grain elevators, five lawyers, four physicians and one dentist.
A peat bed was discovered on the farm of Peter Spracklin, a short distance from Belle Plaine, in 1870. The bed covers about thirty acres, and is, in some places, ten feet deep.
Conductor William Arthur and a brakeman, Charles E. Sullivan, both residents of Belle Plaine, were killed September 3, 1870, at the sand bank west of the town. Both sprang to the brake when the engineer signaled, but, the upright rod giving way, they fell under the moving wheels and were instantly crushed to death.
A Teachers' Institute was held at Belle Plaine in November, 1870, presided over by Supt. H. M. Hoon, of Vinton; W. M. Wilcox, Secretary. The lectures were by Rev. Mr. Lane, Mr. Crawford and Prof. S. A. Knapp. Ninety-eight were enrolled as members of the Institute.
During 1870, there were shipped from Belle Plaine station 1,029 car-loads of grain, which would indicate, as a fair average, thirty-two wagon-loads sold every working day during the year.
During 1870 and 1871, several meetings were held at various places, Belle Plaine among the rest, for the purpose of securing the construction of an extension of the North Missouri Railway from Ottawa to Waterloo. A company was formed to build a narrow gauge between the terminal points named above, with place of business at Belle Plaine.
In 1871, the officers were: S. L. Bardwell, President; James R. Graham, Vice President; C. D. Tanton, Secretary. Directors - George Mason, Waltham, Presley Hutton, Belle Plaine; James R. Graham, Redmond.
The route of the proposed line is a most inviting one, and it is quite probable that when business confidence is restored there will be little difficulty in securing capital to construct and equip this line.
The Belle Plaine Musical Association was organized in March, 1871, at the close of a convention instructed by Mr. Brown. The first officers were: W. F. Atkinson, President; James A. Guest, Vice President: James E. Townsend, Secretary; Mrs. T. Lawrence, Treasurer; B. G. Brown, Musical Conductor; W. L. Prentice, Assistant; Miss Franc C. Pier, Miss Katie Brown and John Q.Hutton, Executive Committee.
An election was held at Belle Plaine, in the Summer of 1871, for the purpose of granting township aid to the company, but the project was toted down. Another election was held March 21, 1872, when the tax was voted by 133 majority.
E. B. Severn, a well-known citizen of Belle Flame, died suddenly at the railway station, November 17, 1871, while superintending the loading of some stock on a car. He had formerly been a Christian minister.
The First National Bank of Belle Plaine, was organized in May, 1872, with a capital of $50,000. The first Directors were: James A. Wiley, W. A. Scott, G. H. Warren, J. H. Schiltchiting, Win. Montgomery, D. W. Read and J. A. Durand. The following week, D. W. Read was elected President, and S. S. Sweet, Cashier.
A great flood occurred along Salt Creek June 1, 1872, caused by a heavy rain the night before. The passenger train from the East was detained about two hours before reaching Belle Plaine, and ten minutes after crossing the bridge across Salt Creek, the bridge was swept off its piers by the rushing waters. Two or three families in the southwest part of the town were removed by boats. Considerable damage was done along the valley above by the flood. The following week, a mile of track was washed out between Norway and Blairstown, and breaks were made in other places in the track in Benton County.
A collision occurred in July, 1872, between a pusher-engine and a construction train, near Belle Plaine, in which seven men were killed or mortally injured. Their names were William H. Anderson, Michael Brandon, John Carroll, James Carroll, Weasel Churchick, Joseph Hanesch and John Oliva. The Coroner's jury censured the Division Superintendent and Train Dispatcher for neglect in not notifying the driver of the pusher-engine that the construction train was in the vicinity.
April 2, 1873, the commodious residence of J. W. Filkins was destroyed by fire, and his valuable library consumed. The property was worth about $3,000; insured for about $2,000.
Russel Nichols, a child of 7 years, was drowned in the well near the roundhouse, May 4, 1876.
A harvest feast was held under the auspices of Expansion Grange September 13, 1873, on the grounds of S. W. Filkins, near Belle Plaine. A display of flowers and fruits, was made, a dinner was served and an address was given by Fred Hovey, Esq., of Honey Creek.
Belie Plaine occupies a most eligible position with regard to business. The nearest towns of importance are Blairstown and Tama City, thus leaving a very large territory of fertile soil, heavily settled with an industrious farming population, tributary to this town. The business men of this town are wide-awake and enterprising. The various kinds of business are quite fully represented. There are several grain elevators, with steam power, two or three flouring-mills in the vicinity, two banks, numerous stores and hotels.
In manufactures, the town is rather backward; but there is no doubt that, as capital increases, a portion will be invested in this direction, whereby the town will increase to the full importance it deserves to hold as the commercial mart for a large portion of the four counties of Benton, Tama, Poweshiek and Iowa.
The municipal officers chosen at the organizing election in 1868, were D. A. Kennedy, Mayor; J. P. Henry, Treasurer; J. F. Roberts, Marshal; E. A. Bird, E. G. Brown, D. C. Twogood and J. Fohls, Councilmen. The first election was May 22, 1868.
The Council held its first meeting at Howard & Johnson's office, June 26, 1868, and after perfecting its organization, passed Ordinance No. 1, providing for the election, by the Council, of Marshal, Street Commissioner and Treasurer. At the same meeting, K. D. Shugart was elected Treasurer, and Joseph Daniels Marshal and Street Commissioner. Ordinance No. 2, prohibiting stock from running at large, and Ordinance No. 3, concerning licenses, were then passed, after which the Council adjourned.
August 11th, the first sidewalk was ordered, on the south side of Second street, between Beach and Maple streets.
March 1, 1869, James Collister was elected Mayor, and John A. Ketring Recorder. April 18th, R. H. Peters was chosen Assessor by the Council, and May 28th, he reported the total population of the city to be 1,446.
March 7, 1870, James Collister was re-elected Mayor, and B. K. Peters was chosen Recorder. December 2, a committee was appointed to ascertain what steps would be necessary to secure protection from fire. January 18, 1871, an ordinance was passed requiring citizens to put and keep in order the flues, chimneys, etc.
March 6, 1871, A. Hale became Mayor, and George Alexander Recorder. May 26th, a contract was made with Smith & Chambers, to build a calaboose, at a cost of $105.
March 4, 1872, W. A. Scott was chosen Mayor; R. H. Peters, Recorder. June 28th, several freeholders living on Sections 20, 30 and 19, Iowa Township, having voted in favor of being annexed to the city, the territory owned by them was added to the corporate limits by formal resolution.
March 8, 1878, W. A. Scott was re-elected Mayor, and D. A. Kennedy became Recorder. May 28d, it was reported that twenty-seven persons had enrolled themselves as a fire company. The offer was accepted by the Council, and they were requested to complete their organization as soon as possible. June 18th, the company reported themselves ready, and requested the Council to provide truck and other necessary apparatus. June 20th, the Council appropriated $100 toward equipping the company, the members of that body having engaged to raise $75 more.
March 2, 1874, W. A. Scott was again chosen Mayor; S. S. Sweet, Recorder. July 17th, thanks were voted Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company for their efforts at the fire in First street.
March 1, 1875, George C. Scrimgeour became Mayor; Thomas Lawrence, Recorder.
March 6, 1876, Mr. Scrimgeour was re-elected Mayor; A. H. Hildenbrand, Recorder. Both were re-elected in 1877.
It is proper to mention that almost annually since the incorporation of Belle Plaine, hundreds of dollars have been expended on the roads in the vicinity of the Iowa River, which, although necessary, has been a heavy burden on this enterprising town.
The city officers of Belle Blaine for 1878, are as follows: G. C. Scrimgeour, Mayor A. Hildenbrand, Recorder; Samuel Wentz, V. Kesl, A. J. Hartman, C. W. Gore, Joseph Daniels, Councilmen; S. S. Sweet, Treasurer; D. A. Kennedy, Assessor; James B. Cruson, Street Commissioner.
Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company, No. 1. - The first meeting to organize this company was held June 24, 1873, at which time James Collister was elected Foreman; C. H. Schnoor, First Assistant; W. P. Tuttle, Second Assistant; S. S. Sweet, Treasurer; Tom Lawrence, Secretary. July 1st, the company had thirty members.
April 18, 1874, a committee was appointed to ascertain and report the cost of suitable uniforms; and on the 14th of July, twenty-seven members had purchased uniforms. August 11th, a committee reported that they had procured and placed the seats for the company's hall.
June 19, 1877, it was resolved to attend the funeral of C. H. Schnoor, whose death had just occurred, and the usual symbols of mourning were placed over the truck house and apparatus.
The officers for 1878 are as follows: S. Sweet, Foreman; M. Prentiss, First Assistant; M. Aulsbrook, Second Assistant; A. Erlanger, Secretary; B. Wilson, Financial Secretary; T. Lawrence, Treasurer.
The fire-record book notes fires as follows: July 16, 1874, a fire broke out in the law office of A. F. Bell, by which several small buildings were partially burned. Two or three were torn down to prevent the further progress of the fire. Fires caught July 7 and December 5, 1876, but were promptly extinguished. May 24, 1877, the house owned by C. L. Ward took fire, and on the following day the Alexander Foundry was discovered to be burning, but both were saved. April 19, 1878, the blacksmith shop near the round-house was discovered to be on fire, but the flames had made such headway that the company and citizens could not save the building. It was accordingly torn down to prevent loss to adjacent property.
The Independent District of BelIe Plaine was organized by the election of a School Board September 4, 1865, at which time John Stowe, M. D., was elected President; Presley Hutton, Vice President; D. C. Forbes, Treasurer; D. C. Twogood, Secretary; Peter Hafer. E. G. Brown, A. Steinacle, Directors. The bounds of the district were noted as follows: Commencing at the southwest corner of Section 16, running east two and a half miles; thence north one mile; thence west two and a half miles; thence south to the place of beginning, embracing Sections 19, 20 and half of 21.
September 9, a committee.of the Board was appointed to ascertain if a room could be procured for school purposes. On the 12th, the committee reported that they could do nothing; whereupon, after discussion, it was decided to buy ground and erect a building 20x30 feet in size, and two stories high, as soon as practicable. December 4, a room was rented of Mr. Daniels for a school room at the rate of $13 per month. Dec. 18, the Board prescribed as text-books:
McGuffey's Readers, Pinneo's Grammar, Ray's Arithmetic, Monteith's and McNally's Geography. Mr. Kennedy was employed to teach the school, but it was soon found that an assistant was needed, and on Christmas Day, Miss Cupid was employed.
At the elector's meeting in March, 1866, the people expressed themselves in favor of a site on the north side of the railroad, and authorized the Board to levy a ten-mill tax for the purpose of building a brick house with stone foundations. The Board were also empowered to issue $10,000 in bonds, but this was, perhaps fortunately, never accomplished. The Board were afterward authorized to issue $3,000 in orders, but they were not able to accomplish even this.
No progress was made in building till Sept. 30, 1867, when the bid of A. Head to construct the building for the sum of $1,415 was accepted. March 12, 1868, an order was drawn in favor of J. P. Henry, the Treasurer, for $1,000, to enable him to pay the money borrowed at Vinton, and for which some of the Directors had made themselves individually responsible.
September 10, 1870, the Principal was directed to have the school graded, and provision was made for advertising the fact, as well as for procuring suitable blanks.
February 13, 1871, the district authorized the Board to issue bonds for $15,000, but this came to nothing. October 5, a contract was made with Smith & Chambers to build an addition to the house at a cost of $550.
October 24, 1872, the Board purchased an organ.
Another house was built for the district in the Fall of 1875, at a cost of $653.25.
The gentlemen named below composed the School Board during 1878: E. S. Johnson, Joseph Paulicek, J. B. Cox, R. M. Bailey, Dr. J. Morley, J. Daniels, Directors; S. S. Sweet, Secretary; John D. Wilson, Treasurer.
The corps of teachers for the school year 1877-8 was as follows: U. B. Sanders, Principal; Lucy Lamb, Assistant; J. H. Welch, South Intermediate ; Miss Julia Powers, Grammar Department. The other teachers were Emma Powers, Mrs. Hess, Miss Henry and Miss Collister.
Congregational. — This society was organized in March, 1866, by Rev, S. P. La Due, a missionary of the Congregational society, with four members. In October of that year, Rev. Daniel Lane, who had been formerly a professor in Iowa College, at Grinnell, and who had for twenty-five years been identified with Congregationalism in Iowa, whose labors were abundantly blessed, for the membership had risen to fifty-two just prior to the completion of the church, and on the day of the dedication that number was increased by fifteen.
Rev. Mr. Lane, who came under the auspices of the Missionary Society, preached his first sermon October 4th. This and the two following were preached in the building then used for school purposes. From January 20, 1867, till May 8, 1870, Rev. Mr. Lane resigned his pastorate in October, 1872, being succeeded soon after by Rev. Mr. Wadhams as Pastor, who remained in charge till November, 1874, when he resigned to remove to Charles City.
First Methodist Episcopal Church. — This body was regularly organized June 2, 1866, by the election of G. D. Blue as President; W. W. Benson, Vice President; A. N. Twogood, Secretary and Treasurer. Articles of incorporation were adopted at the same meeting.
June 9, 1866, a committee was appointed to ascertain the cost of erecting a suitable church building, and W. W. Benson, T. Thompson and A. N. Twogood were selected as Building Committee. July 21st, Lot 2 in Block 3 was purchased for church site, and soon after made a contract with D. B. Blue for the erection of a building at a cost of $2,484, and the church was erected daring the latter half of the same year. The date of dedication is lost, but it was probably in January, 1867, the services being conducted by Rev. A. J. Kynett.
Rev. J. B, Taylor is the present Pastor of the society. The membership is about one hundred and twenty.
The present officers are: D. L. Wilson, J. B, Cox, D. A. Kennedy, A. J. Hartman, J. G. Benson, E. G. Swem, W. Robinson, Trustees; E. G. Swem, W. Robinson, E. B, Price, A. J. Hartman, Wm. Rucker.
W. Robinson is Superintendent of the Sabbath school; J. W. Stabler, Secretary; Frank Doughty, Librarian. The average attendance of pupils is about one hundred and twenty-five, taught by sixteen teachers.
First Universalist. — This society organized December 26, 1874. Mr. Bickford was elected President; J. F. Roberts, Clerk; H. Aulbrook, Treasurer ; J. B. Marston, J. D. Wilson, H. Gardner, Trustees. Three persons added their names to the roll during the meeting. The services of Rev. I. A. Eberhart, who had been mainly instrumental in forming the church, were immediately engaged as Pastor.
December 15,1875, a conference meeting of the Universalist ministers of adjacent territory was held at Belle Plaine. About the same time, Rev. J. A. Hoyt became Pastor of the society, remaining until December 31, 1876, when he preached his farewell sermon. Rev. I. A. Eberhart was immediately recalled to bis former charge, which place he still retains.
The society has twenty members. Meetings are held at Grange Hall.
Rev. Mr. Eberhart is Superintendent of the Sabbath School; J. F. Roberts, Secretary and Librarian.
Baptist (Regular). — This church was organized April 28,1877, and confirmed May 19, 1877. The constituent members were S. L. Shults, D. W. Read, G. P. Hapgood, D. M. Reefer, John J. Wiley, Sidney Roberts, Clark Keith, J. N. Gray, Charles Twogood, George W. Fuller, Mrs. C. W. Gore, Mrs. Viola N. Hapgood, Emma Hess, Vinnie Read, Mrs. Phebe Keith, Mrs. S. C. Roberts, Mrs, Julia Twogood, Mrs. Perlina Read, Mrs, Hannah Shults, Mrs. M. W. Craven, Mrs. Mary Early, Mrs. Austa M. Prentiss, Mrs. H. M. Pryne, Mrs. Tamar E. Wiley, Mrs. Mary Keith, Mrs. D. W. Cole.
The only Deacon is S. L. Shults; R. C. Wilson is Clerk; D. W. Read, S. L. Shults, G. P. Hapgood, Trustees.
Rev. Mr. Simmons, of Marion, organized the society, and Rev. J. W. Daniels has been Pastor since its formation. There have been several additions by letter or baptism, so that the society now numbers forty members.
R. M. Gibbs is Superintendent of the Sabbath school; R. C. Wilson is Secretary; Miss Idalia Daniels, Treasurer. The society bought a lot for a church building soon after its organization, but this was exchanged for two others on Beach street, south of the railroad. The building of the church was begun during the Spring of 1878, and the basement is now completed. The intention is to have the church erected and inclosed during the Autumn of 1878. It will cost, when completed, about $2,500. The building will be a frame structure, 30x50 feet.
Seventh Day Advent. — There was an organization of this church at Belle Plaine some years ago, but it is now dormant. An effort is now being made to revive the church. A tent meeting was held in July, 1878, near the depot, which was fairly attended.
Trinity Church. — This is the local name of the German Evangelical society, which was formed at Belle Plaine in 1865, Rev. Mr. Dubs being Presiding Elder at the time. Rev. Mr. Esher was one of the first Pastors of the church.
The church, which is a frame building, was erected in 1866, and cost about $3,600. It is 34x48 feet in size, and the room is sixteen feet high. The bell cost $300. Rev. Mr. Kipling is now Pastor of the church. The Trustees are Conrad Schild, Ernest Wudy, Henry Schild, Christoph Latge, Charles Snyder. Charles Snyder is Superintendent of the Sabbath school; Reuben Budy, Librarian. The average attendance of pupils is about sixty-five.
Catholic. — There is a Catholic society here, but it has no building as yet. occasional services are held.
The Belle Plaine Cemetery Association. — This corporation was organized in 1867, with A. Phillips as President. Its grounds are three-fourths of a mile east of the town.
An organization of this popular society among the Germans was made in June, 1871, with Hartwig Wessel as President; 0. H. Schnoor, Vice Presidet ; Christian Johannsen, Secretary; Hans Vogt, Treasurer. Practice meetings were fixed for Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. The society has about twenty-five members. The present officers are : S. Wentz, President; H. Lehm, Secretary; F. Kropenhapt, F. Junge, Matt Beck, Trustees.
Hope Lodge, No. 175, A., F. & A. M. — The first Masonic meeting held in Blairstown, under dispensation, was on the llth of March, 1865, at which time Wm. C. Smith sat as W. M.; H. C. Rider, S. W. pro tem.; H. Guinn, Treasurer; J. W. Filkins, Secretary; S. A. Wilcox, S. D.; John A. Dudgeon, J. D.; Philip Parks, Tiler. The other brethren present were K. D. Shugert, James Collister, John Cattron, who were also charter members. The visitors present were Levi H. Shugert, John A. Dudgeon, both of whom applied for membership.
The charter was issued in June, 1865, by E. A. Guilbert, Grand Master, and the Lodge was constituted by James McQuinn, Special Deputy for the occasion.
The deaths have been: William C. Smith, January 30, 1877; George P. Loring, September 14, 1870; M. Alworth, December 1, 1877. 0. H. Silverman believed to have been murdered near Dubuque in 1872.
James Collister has held the office of W. M. continuously for ten years. A Masonic festival was held at Belle Plaine August 7, 1869, at which time about twenty visitors were in attendance from neighboring towns. The new Masonic Hall was dedicated October 29, 1873, the ceremonies being conducted by A. R. West, D. G. M. The present officers areas follows: T. Lawrence, Jr., W. M.; William Lester, S. W.; Charles Dayton, J. W.; J. B. Cox, Treasurer; H. Bell, Secretary; J. W. Craney, S. D.; R. F. Smith, J. D.; J. G. Benson, D. E. Magoon, Stewards; G. Hatching, Tiler. The Lodge has eighty-nine members. Meets Saturday evening on or before full moon.
Mount Horeb Chapter, No, 45, R. A. M. — The dispensation to this body was issued July 11, 1868, by H. H. Hemenway, G. H. P. E. A. Bird was named as M. E. H. P.; James McQuinn, E. K., and E. W. Stocker, E. S. The first meeting under the dispensation was held September 3d, at which time the remaining offices were filled as follows: G. Hutchins, C. H.; W. C. Smith, P. S.; P. W. Thompson, R. A. C.; S. A. Wilcox, G. M. 3d V.; Joshua Worley, G. M. 2d V.; I. I. Messenger, G. M. 1st V.; J. W. Filkins, Sec.; I. Vorhis, Treasurer; J. Collister, Tiler. The Chapter was constituted by P. C. Wright, G. H. P., in person, November 7, 1868. The present officers are as follows; J. Worley, M. E. H. P.; William Lester, E. K.; J. D. Wilson, E. S,; G. Hutchins, Treasurer and C. H.; T. Lawrence, Jr., Secretary and P. S.; George Dayton, R. A. C.; Charles E. Dayton. G. M. 3d V.; J. W. Filkins, G. M. 2d V.; R. F. Smith, G, M. 1st V.; C. Saunders, Sentinel. The membership is fifty. Meets Monday evening on or before full moon.
St. Bernard Commander, No, 14. K. T., was instituted September 29, 1869, by P. C. Wright, Grand Commander of Iowa. The first officers were: B. R. Sherman, E. C.; E. A. Bird, Gen. ; W. A. Scott, C. G. ; James McQuinn, Prel.; James Collister, S. W. ; P. W. Thompson, J. W.; G. Hutchins, W.; J. Worley, Recorder and Treasurer; E. W. Stocket, C. G.; Jacob Springer, Standard Bearer.
The Commandery was constituted by S. F. Bower, R. E. G. C., in person, December 13, 1869, accompanied by C. S. Rollins, D. C. C,; and four other Sir Knights, members of Excalibur Commandery of Boone.
The most notable occasion on which the commandery has appeared in public, was May 80, 1877, when it visited Marshalltown in a body to attend the services on Decoration Day. The Commandery also visited Blairstown, January 31, 1876, on the occasion of the burial of John Van Metre, a member of this Comrnandery, who was buried according to the rites of the Templar Order.
The other deaths among the membership of this Commandery have been, Judge C. H. Conklin, of Vinton, March 17, 1875 ; J. B. Resley, of La Grand, Marshall County, February 16, 1876.
James Collister is now E. C.; E. A. Bird, Gen.; W. C. Smith, Prel. ; J. Worley, Treas.; P. W. Thompson, C. G.; W. H. Sisson, Rec.; J. K. Wagner, S. W.; J. J. Dayton, J. W. ; J. Springer, Standard Bearer ; A. Skiles, Sword Bearer; E. W. Stocker, Warden; W. A. Tewksbury, Third Guard; Charles Saunders, Sentinel.
The Commandery has eighty-four members. Meets on the third Wednesday in each month.
Belle Plaine Chapter, No. 30, Eastern Star , was organized by Mr. Thompson, Deputy Grand Master, about the first of October, 1873. The first officers were: James Collister, W. P. ; Miss Julia A. Brown, W. M.; Mrs. H. Gwinn, A, M.; Miss Cupid, Treasurer; Miss Sarah A. Brown, Secretary, The Chapter is now dormant.
Belle Plaine Lodge, No. 151, I. 0. 0. F. — This Lodge was organized July 11, 1867, by Benjamin Rubert, of Dubuque, Grand Master, assisted by M. A. Newcomb, of Tama City, and A. A. Lindley, of Cedar Rapids, The Lodge was organized in ample form in the afternoon, and B. M. Dodge was elected N. G.; J. C. Kirkwood, V. G.; S. Wyman, Recording Secretary; J. J. Daton, Perm. Secretary; J. B. Marston, Treasurer. In the evening, E. S. Johnson, A. J. Gwinn and E. Musselman were initiated, after which the other officers were selected as follows: P. Smith, W.; J. Voorhies, Comd. ; E. S. Johnson, R. S. to N. G.; E. Musselman, L. S. to N. G.; H. R. Platt, J. G.; A. B. Head, E. S. J. to V. G.; A. J. Gwinn, L. S. to V. G.
An address was given before the Lodge by W. A. Tewksbury, July 2,1869, on the occasion of the installation of officers at Wilson's Grove, two miles northeast of Belle Blaine.
The Odd Fellows' Hall was formally dedicated to society use June 1, 1876, delegations of members of the order being in attendance from Blairstown, Luzerne and Chelsea.
The deaths have been J. G. Kirkwood and Richard Johnson.
The present officers are as follows : A. W, Smith, N. G. ; J. H. Gunn, V. G. ; R. F. McGuinn, Recording Secretary; H. Goble, Per. Secretary; W. A, Parro, Treasurer. The membership is forty-seven.
Berlin Lodge, No. IS9, I. 0. 0. F. — This Lodge, working in the German language, was chartered in July, 1873. The charter members were : S. Wintz, Hans Vogt, Clans Schnoor, Matt. Ewen and H. Breihultz.
The only death has been that of Clans Schnoor, July 19, 1877.
The present officers are: H. Breihultz, N. G.; M. Michael, V. G.; S. Wentz, Treasurer; H. Schutt, Secretary. This Lodge has thirty members. Meets Monday evenings at Zalesky's Hall.
Home Encampment, No. 48, I. 0. 0. F. — This body was organized April 20, 1870, with the following charter members: Wesley Camp, J. B. Marston, J. J. Dayton, A. J. Gwinn, W. P. Hanson, D. A. Kennedy, E. S. Johnson and R. H. Petter.
The present officers are: C. Ahrans, C, P.; George I. Wilcoxen, H. P.; H. Goble, S. W.; John Durr, J. W.; W. A. Parris, Scribe; W. P. Hanson, Treasurer. There are twenty-two members.
Iowa Valley Lodge, No. 33, A. 0. U. W. — This lodge was organized by I. M, Chrissinger, D. G. M., November 5, 1875, assisted by members of Harmony Lodge, Blairstown. James McMorris was elected P. M. W.; L. W. Ruhl, M. W.; W. P. Tuttle, F.; S. M. Miller, 0.; A. H. Hildenbrand, Recorder; Lee Allman, Financier; John Cattron, Receiver; F. R. Smith, I. W.; Robert Nicholson, 0. W.; J. J. Dayton, G.; George Alexander, James Collister, Will P. Tuttle, Trustees.
The Lodge has had no deaths since its organization.
The present officers are: A. H. Bell, P. M. W.; J. Stabler, F.; Robert Nicholson, O.; A. H. Hildenbrand, Recorder; N. P. Seldan, Financier; J. T. Henderson, Receiver; H. B. Hidy, Guide; A. Seldan, I. W,; Henry Sheets, 0. W.; W. P. Tuttle, E. A. Bird and J. D. Blue, Trustees.
The lodge has thirty-one members. Meets Friday evenings at Zalasky Hall.
Belle Plaine Silver Cornet Band. — This band was first organized March 29, 1875, with C. C. Dunn as Leader; C. P. Hosmer, Secretary and Treasurer. Its present organization is as follows: C. C. Dunn, E flat and Leader; M. L. Prentiss, solo B flat; F. P. Bird, second B flat; H. Penfield, first alto; Wm. Burley, second alto; William Miles, tenor; C. J. Pitson, baritone; James Collister, B flat bass; Henry Woods, tuba; C. P. Hosmer, bass drum and cymbals; Henry Ortschid, tenor drum. The band meets for practice Tuesday and Thursday evenings.
The Belle Plaine State Guards were organized in June, 1875, with H. A. Tyrell as Captain; Hiram E. Hardy, First Lieutenant; John T. Collins, Second Lieutenant; Daniel A. Kennedy, Samuel W. Miller, S. S. Farrington, Henry A. Frost, William S. Foster, Sergeants; Henry A. Stone, Charles W. Gore, Herbert S. Huson, Charles P. Hosmer, Corporals; Charles C. Dunn, Arnold A. Gosdecke, Musicians.
The present officers are : S. W. Miller, Captain; M. E. Aulsbrook, First Lieutenant; H. Read, Second Lieutenant; Henry Frost, Orderly.
Patrons Joint Stock Company of Belle Plaine. — This corporation was organized April 17, 1874, with about eighty subscribers. The first President was J. M. Mellwaine, and L. W. Ruhl was Secretary. The authorized capital is $10,000, of which, some $3,000 has been subscribed and paid in full. The first year or two, dividends were declared; but the enormous shrinkage in value, of 1876-7, prevented any profit being made subsequently. Mr. Mellwaine is still President; A. J Williams, Secretary; H. H. Williams, Business Agent.