The county seat and principal town of Benton county, is a flourishing town containing about 3,000 inhabitants. It is situated on the west bank of the Cedar River (south bank at this point), and occupies the only really fine position for a good town on the Cedar in Benton county. It is on a high bottom that never overflows, and the prairie gradually rises from the bank southward, and affords beautiful sites for residences. The timber on the opposite side is nearly two miles in width. Nature has done much for this spot, and the good taste displayed by the citizens of the city in the construction of their homes and arrangement of their grounds, renders it one of the most attractive and beautiful towns to be found in Iowa – "The Beautiful Land."
As far back as 1843, a grove of cedar lined the river bank where Vinton now stand, many of the trees being tall, straight and free from knots. These trees were cut down by an adventurous spirit of the name of Thompson, and by him rafted to St. Louis, where they brought a very large price. "Cedar" Johnson the next year had a logging camp farther up the stream, and in 1845, James Newell cut a raft in Black Hawk County, which about exhausted that valuable timber. Other parties had ascended the river before Thompson for the purpose of logging, one of whom was Dyer, a misshapen, hump-backed creature, who could neither read nor write.
The town of Fremont, now Vinton, was laid out in Lots 5, 6 and 7, of west half of Section 16, Township 85, Range 10, November 24, 1849, James Leverich, proprietor, Irwin D. Simison, surveyor, and the plat was recorded November 29, 1849. The first settler on the original plat was Chancy Leverich*, who came in 1845, and built a cabin near the river; he remained here a year or two and sold to Gideon B. White, or "G. Billy," as he was familiarly known, by whom the claim was sold to James Leverich.
Much of the early history of Vinton is necessarily a part of the history of the county, and will be found in the general history, so that brief allusion are all that will be necessary here.
In April, 1849, when the question of removing the county seat from Northport or Vinton, to a point nearer the river, was submitted to the people, the only building on the original town plat, was the log cabin and grocery, built by Chancy Leverich, in 1845.
Mr. James F. Beckett and his family, settled here in the Spring or Summer of 1849, and H. R. Sanders, Beckett’s son-in-law, built a house on the street north of the Court House Square, during that Summer; it was a frame house. The only log building so far as is known, ever erected on the town plat was that built by Chancy Leverich, in 1845-6. The saw mill erected on Mud Creek in 1849, by John Royal and C. C. Charles, supplied the lumber for the first houses in Fremont. The third building was erected on Beckett street, by J. R. Beckett, son of James F. Among those who settled in the new town in 1849-50-1, were Dr. J. C. Traer, Dr. C. W. Buffum, Cyrus C. Charles, Harrison Bristol, John Alexander, James Crow, W. C. Stanberry, J. S. Tilford, and others.
*Chancy Leverich was in West Union, Fayette County, in 1850-1; built the Leverich House on the present site of the Descent House, in that town in 1851. He then west to Clermont where he remained a while, and then west to Minnesota, where it is said he laid out the town of Austin, and was killed in a drunken brawl in a saloon in that town, about 1854.
The First Sermon
The first Court House of which mention has been made elsewhere, was also the first School House and Church. In it was held the first religious services held in Fremont, on the second Sunday in August, 1850, by Rev. Dr. Wood, of Iowa City. The building was yet unfinished, and the floors had not been laid, nor were there any windows or doors, except the openings left for them; a rude platform of puncheons laid across the sleepers on one end was constructed for the minister, while the little congregation sat on the floor timbers with their feet on the ground.
The First Store
The first store if it may be called such, was a sort of grocery and saloon, by Chancy Leverich, in 1848. A year or two later, Cyrus C. Charles opened a little shop, and kept a few goods; the first stock of goods however, of any account, was opened in the Spring of 1852, in the lower story of the Court House, by Russell Jones, as agent or partner for Greene & Brothers, of Cedar Rapids.
The First Blacksmith
was James Wood, a native of England, who visited the place in 1849. When he arrived here, seeing no signs of the town, he inquired of a man he met how far it was to Fremont, and was very much surprised when he was informed that he was then standing on the public square. The shell of the Court House was then standing, but he thought it was intended for a barn. Mr. Wood returned to the place in 1850, and established himself as a blacksmith, building his shop near the river, on a lot at the foot of what is now Beckett street. The lot was donated to him by Mr. Beckett, and he purchased the lot adjoining it for $2.50.
The First Post Office
The first post office in Benton county was established at Northport-Vinton, October 1, 1846, called Vinton, and Stephen Holcomb was appointed Postmaster. In 1850, a mail route was established between Cedar Rapids and Cedar Falls, via Fremont, and July 4, of that year, a post office was established, and J. L. Beckett appointed Postmaster. The contract for carrying the mail was awarded to David King, of Kingston, now a part of Cedar Rapids, and Greenbury Luck carried the mail once a week for four years. The mail for Cedar Rapids arrived here on Friday. About 1853, another mail route was established form Quasqueton to Vinton, over which the mail was transported once a week, arriving at Vinton every Wednesday, and leaving every Thursday morning.
First Births, Marriages and Deaths
John H. Kelsey and Mary A. Webb, married March 10, 1853, and Marquis D. L. Webb and Mary J. Beckett, married April 5, 1853, were among the first if not the first marriages in Fremont.
The first births were those of James W. Sanders, born March 25, 1850, and William M. Traer, born May 25, 1850.
The first death in town was that of Samuel Rosebury, in the Spring of 1851, and the second that of James F. Beckett, in November of the same year.
The first school in Fremont was taught in the old Court House in the Fall and Winter of 1852-53 by George Parish. The house was burned before the term closed. The next Summer, Miss Jennie Chapin taught school in a little brick building on Main street, known as Alexander’s office. A school house was built that Summer, and in the Fall, Mrs. Fellows taught the first school in it.
The United Brethren Church was organized here about 1853, probably by Rev. William Stiles, and in 1854, through its Trustees, James Richie, James Crowe and William Ludlow, purchased of James Crowe a building on Jefferson street, for $725 (the building is now occupied by Mr. Baumer), and held services therein until about 1858, when it ceased to exist. Rev. Mr. Newman was the last preacher.
Settlers Were Welcomed – Speculators Told to Pass On
When immigration to the town was fairly begun, it is said that as soon as a man arrived he was accosted with the familiar frontier whoop and questioned closely as to his business. If he proved to be a speculator, he was kindly but firmly told that he had better pass on. If, however, he asked to become a permanent settler, he received the well-known frontier welcome. What that was, only those who have experienced it know what genuine hospitality is. Everything the hard-fished, large-hearted pioneer had was at the service of his guest – his house, his money, food horses, wagon, everything, and he was treated as one of the family.
In 1854, the town contained, by actual count, two hundred inhabitants, Mrs. Beckett being the "census taker."
The first celebration of Independence Day at Vinton was in 1852, which was attended by fifty persons, the whole country-side turning our in force. The observances were held in a building erected by Thomas Pound for a store. Mr. Rice was President of the Day, and W. C. Stanberry, Vice President. John H. Kelsey read the Declaration of Independence, and suitable sentiments were responded to by others.
An amusing circumstance occurred during the speeches. Stanberry had some time before kissed a German woman named White, whose face was neither comely nor clean. Greenbury Luck, the mail carrier, was extremely tight, and every little while would break in on the speaking to propose three cheers for the man who had "kissed the Dutch woman." The hit was irresistible; and after Greenbury had called for applause two or three times, Stanberry, in absolute despair, was compelled to leave the room until his persecutor got too sleepy to remember him.
A dinner was served by the women present. The meat was supplied by Mr. Vardeman, who had killed a sheep for the occasion. Mr. Pound had brought some lemons from Dubuque, which formed the basis for lemonade, and Dr. Traer furnished some "pop."
A few got patriotically tight in the afternoon, but kept within the bounds of decorum. Indeed, in spite of the temperance sentiment now prevailing, the historian is of the belief that the pioneers of Benton County had a right to taste a little whisky at their celebration of the seventy-seventh flight of the American Eagle.
The First Paper
The Vinton Eagle, a small six-column paper, made its first appearance on Wednesday, January 10, 1855, with Frederick Lyman, Editor. Although it is not an historical number, there are some matters of interest to be gleaned from its columns.
On Saturday, January 6, 1855, the Western Stage Company established a tri-weekly line of stages between Vinton and Cedar Rapids, and Mr. Lyman pointedly asks, "What has become of the tri-weekly Mail that we so earnestly petitioned for months ago?"
From the advertising columns it appears that Vinton Lodge of A., F. & A. M., held its regular meetings "Saturday evenings before the full moon." Vinton Lodge, No. 32, I. O. of G. T., met every Friday evening. W. E. Smith, W. C. T.; James Wood, W. S.
James Wood advertised "lands for sale." John J. Tyler, late from Europe, advertised that he intended to carry on the business of plastering, laying stone, brick, etc. Taggart & Douglass wanted 1,000 saw logs at the Vinton Steam Mill. J. C. Traer was the druggist. Green & Jones kept a general stock of dry goods, boots and shoes, groceries, crockery, etc.; Elijah Evans, dry goods, hardware, drugs and medicines, etc.; Brubaker & Catlin, dry goods, hats, caps, clothing, etc. D. B. Keys, also, had a general assortment. The Illinois House, by J. B. Webb, and the Howard House, by John H. Shields, were the hotels.
John M. Cantry’s legal card was first on the first page; James Crow, County Surveyor, General Land Agent and Justice of the Peace, followed in the same column; John Weare was running a weekly line of stages between Cedar Rapids and Cedar Calls, with "Lawrence" for driver.
In No. 2 of the Eagle is a brief description of Vinton, which is prefaced by the editor as follows: "Not being in possession of the necessary statistical information, having called in vain upon a few of the older residents to furnish us with facts and figures, we shall merely give our conclusions drawn from observation during four weeks’ residence in this town." He then proceeds to give his "conclusions." "The town proper is of only three years’ growth, and contains upward of 500 inhabitants, who came from all parts of the United States, but mostly from Indiana and Ohio. A slight sprinkling of Yankees, a few Dutchmen, one or two Englishmen and a convayniant number of Irish completes the catalogue.
One good school house is completed and occupied with 100 scholars. The school was ably conducted by two teachers, but Mr. Lyman had not yet learned their names. Two churches (Presbyterian and Methodist) and a fine Court House were under contemplation. There were three hotels and one steam sawmill of "mammoth dimensions but limited machinery at present."
Vinton Price Current
Vinton, January 17, 1855
Beef, per pound, 4 to 5 cents; butter, per pound, 20 cents; beans, white, per bushel, $1.00; chickens, per pair, 20 cents; corn, per bushel, 25 cents; corn meal, per bushel, 45 cents, eggs per dozen 12 ½ cents; flour, per barrel, $7.00; ham, per pound, 6 cents; lard, per pound, 8 cents; oats, per bushel, 25 cents; potatoes, per bushel, 50 cents; port, per hundred, $3.50; shoulders, per pound, 4 cents; wheat, per bushel, 75 cents; wood, per cord, $2.00.
The second term of Mrs. Fellows’ school for girls commenced in Vinton, October 1, 1855.
September 20, 1856, Everett Keys, of the firm of D. B. & E. Keys, lost his life at the saw-mill, northeast of Vinton, owned by the firm. He was watching the motion of the circular saw, and, being asked by one of the men to assist in lifting a board off the carriage-way, he stepped forward to lift it, when it caught on the saw, swung round and threw him against it. One leg was instantly severed from the body and the other badly mangled. Medical help was procured as soon as possible, but he lived only two hours. He was buried by the members of Vinton Lodge, No. 83, I. O. O. F., of which he was a member.
The Vinton Cemetery Company was organized October 30, 1858, with S. D. Redfield as President; Charles M. Hare, Secretary; John S. Tilford, Treasurer; W. C. Smith, R. Kennedy, J. E. Palmer, J. F. Young and Joseph Dysart, Directors.
E. Humphreville, who had been a citizen of Benton County since 1855, died in Herkimer County, N. Y., on the 13th of April, 1859, of consumption.
The bridge at Vinton was first crossed by a wagon and team June 27, 1857. This important improvement was accomplished by a stock company, formed in November, 1856, composed of J. C. Traer, J. E. Palmer, J. W. Filkins, John Mason, J. S. Hunt and others. The structure which was erected by Kelly & McCoy, cost $8,500. The entire length was 462 feet, resting on eight piers, each pier being composed of sixteen piles, each pile driven into the river bed a distance of twelve feet. The piers were protected by solidly-constructed breakers. The transverse floor timbers were twenty feet long, giving a clear width of sixteen feet.
Vinton (as described in the Eagle of September 17th), in 1859, had fourteen houses engaged in general trade, one banking house, two insurance agencies, eight attorneys, five physicians, one dentist, twenty-five builders, two furniture shops, one milliner, three blacksmith shops, one plow factory, one harness shop, one tailor, three shoe shops, one jeweler, four hotels, a stage office, two butcher shops, two livery stables, three secret societies, two printing offices, one female seminary, five religious organizations, one steam saw-mill and one ferry. Eighty-five buildings had been erected in the preceding twelve months, and nineteen were at that time in process of construction.
The establishment known as the Vinton Mills was erected in the Fall of 1857, by J. F. & W. H. Young, at a cost of about $20,000. It is run by steam, and has three four-foot buhrs.
The Eagle Mills, owned by Durand & Kimball, were built in 1869 or 1867.
In 1861, the population of Vinton, by census taken in September, was 1,010; 477 males and 533 females.
A "Young Men’s Christian Association" was formed December 21, 1867, with S. A. Knapp as President; B. R. Sherman, Vice President; S. H. Watson, Treasurer; J. W. Bar, Secretary; H. M. Hoon, librarian; B. R. Sherman, S. Williams, James Wood, Alex. Sanderson, Geo. Pierce, Directors. A small library was soon afterward procured, most of the books of which are still preserved, and are kept at the Herald office. Perhaps it would be a good plan to turn the library over to the Reform Club, lately organized, by which society it could be made the basis for a library worthy of the town.
Railroad At Last
The people of Vinton had sought for more than fifteen years, and that almost without ceasing, to obtain a road through the county seat; but every project failed of accomplishment until 1865, when an organization was effected at Cedar Rapids, called the Cedar Rapids & St. Paul Company, which promised to build a road through Benton County by way of Vinton for the sum of $75,000, and the further donation of the county’s swamp lands, worth some $15,000 more. In 1868, the franchise of the company and the grading that had been done became the property of the Burlington & Cedar Rapids Company, which gave renewed vitality to the enterprise. The officers of the Burlington Company at that time were: George Green, President; Charles Mason, Vice President; R. M. Green, Secretary; J. W. Traer, General Agent. In the hands of these energetic men the road was completed from Cedar Rapids to Cedar Falls about New Year’s, 1870.
The first train arrived at Vinton Dec. 12, 1869, and the occasion was celebrated by a banquet at the Asylum on the 21st. A large number of guests from Cedar Rapids attended.
In 1873, what is now known as the Dakota Division of this road was begun at Vinton, and constructed to Traer in Tama County. It has since been extended into Grundy County, and during 1878 will cross the Iowa Division of the Illinois Central.
The Burlington system of roads has thus placed Vinton in position to thrive for many years; and the coming of the locomotive has produced a marked change in the appearance of the town. Rows of brick buildings filled with goods and thronged with customers, daily bear witness of the happy emancipation of the town from the irregular movements of little steamboats, the insufficiency of stage coaches and freight wagons.
The first hotel in Vinton was a small frame building opposite the Court House, followed by the "Black Bear." The next in order was the Howard House; then the Shields House, built by Catlin, who kept it about two years, when J. H. Shields bought the property, and remained as its landlord till 1868, when he was succeeded by Mr. Starkweather.
In 1856, Jones & Bristol, two enterprising citizens, built an addition to their brick store, and on the 23rd of July in that year opened the "Fremont House." This was for many years a noted hotel, and many a ball supper has been provided in its dining room, as well as formal dinners, when the best and bravest of the Benton boys were departing for the front, and to welcome them home. Mr. Ralyea was for a time the landlord of this hotel, and in 1856 Eliphalet Howard took possession.
The Ralyea House was erected in 1874, under the personal supervision of Mr. Ralyea himself, who thereby obtained a first-rate building at a comparatively reasonable cost. The building is three stories high, with basement. The third story is a mansard. The building is finished in the very best manner inside, and the furniture and carpets are of the best. There are but few hotels in Iowa that equal the Ralyea as a home for the traveling public, and none that surpass it. This gentleman’s able management as a hotel keeper well deserves a word of commendation, and the future landlords of Benton County will do well by their guests to imitate his management.
July 9, 1878, Charles Casena was thrown from a horse into the river, at the foot of Washington street, and drowned in the same place where Milton Gerbrich and the one-armed colporteur were drowned a year to two since. Charley came to Vinton about ten years ago in company with a band of Italian minstrels, and was induced to leave the company, and was cared for by James Chapin for a few years. Since then he has made a bad record for himself.
The town council of Vinton met for the first time August 9, 1869, it being composed of the following gentlemen: Mayor, James Wood; Paul Correll, M. Donelan, Cornelius Ellis, John Gilmore, Nathan Hays, J. A. McDaniel, D. Stick and H. H. Sterling, Trustees; W. F. Kirkpatrick was elected City Clerk.
Ordinance No. 1 was "An ordinance fixing the bounds of Wards."
Ordinance No. 2, "An ordinance defining and punishing misdemeanors."
Sept. 6, 1869, W. F. Kirkpatrick resigned the office of City Clerk, and A. A. Wentz was appointed to fill vacancy. Mr. Brown was appointed City Engineer at a salary of $4 per day.
Robert St. Clair was City Solicitor, but resigned Sept. 24, 1869; George M. Gilchrist was appointed, Oct. 1st, to fill vacancy.
1870 – Mayor, James Wood; Treasurer, Wm. W. Hanford; Solicitor, George M. Gilchrist; City Assessor, Levi S. Miller; Marshal, Ezra Bigelow; Trustees, J. L. Tinkham, J. F. Young, 1st Ward; N. Hays, M. Donelan, 2nd Ward; Wm. A. Gwinn, John Gilmore, 3rd Ward; C. Ellis, R. N. Young, 4th Ward. A. A. Wentz appointed City Clerk, and James A. Brown, Engineer.
June 10, 1870, Ald. Gilmore and Ald. Donelan were appointed to attend to matters relating to a city jail.
July 1, 1870, Special Committee on Jail reported county jail not for sale at that time.
Sept. 16, 1870, on motion of Ald. Ellis, the Finance Committee were instructed to look after ground on which to build a city jail.
On motion of Ald. R. N. Young, a committee consisting of Aldermen Ellis and Hays was appointed to draw a plan for a city jail.
1871 – Mayor, J. C. Traer; Marshal, W. W. Means; Treasurer, W. W. Hanford; Assessor, Levi S. Miller. Aldermen, J. F. Young, 1st Ward; W. B. Reynolds, 2nd Ward; Geo. W. Ridge, 3rd Ward; C. Ellis, 4th Ward. Clerk, A. A. Wentz.
April 7, 1871, on motion of Alderman Ridge, the Chair appointed a committee, consisting of Aldermen Ridge, Ellis and Gilmore, to draft a plan for a city jail, and see if grounds can be procured on which to erect it.
April 14, 1871, Committee reported a plan for jail, which was accepted.
On motion of J. F. Young, the Chair appointed a committee, consisting of Young, Hays and R. N. Young, to contract for the building of jail according to plan.
April 21, 1871, the Mayor was instructed to buy the lot of Mr. Horridge, north of Court House.
May 5, 1871, Mayor reported that he had bought said lot for $300.
May 12, the Clerk was instructed to draw warrants in pay for the building of the jail upon the order of the Chairman of the Jail Committee. Jail finished soon after, but record does not state what it cost.
1872 – Mayor, J. C. Traer; Treasurer, W. W. Hanford; Solicitor, G. M. Gilchrist; Assessor, John A. Bills. Trustees, George Horridge, 1st Ward; Nathan Hays, 2nd Ward; W. K. Platt, 3rd Ward; D. H. White, 4th Ward. Clerk, A. A. Wentz; Marshal, W. W. Means.
1873 – Mayor, A. Haines; Treasurer, S. E. Keith; Assessor, L. S. Miller. Trustees, J. M. Crandall, 1st Ward; L. S. Miller, 2nd Ward; R. H. Quinn, 3rd Ward; C. C. Lawton, 4th Ward. Clerk, A. A. Wentz; Marshal, George Ridge.
1874 – Mayor, A. Haines; Treasurer, E. Evans; Assessor, John Shaffer; Solicitor, G. M. Gilchrist. Trustees, A. H. Ellis, 1st Ward; M. Donelan and L. S. Miller, 2nd Ward; H. Stanton and F. R. Voris, 3rd Ward; D. H. White, 4th Ward. Clerk, G. M. Taggart; Marshal, W. W. Means.
1875 – Mayor, W. B. Reynolds, Sr.; Treasurer, R. N. Young; Assessor, John Shaffer; Solicitor, D. E. Voris. Councilmen, H. H. McElroy, 1st Ward; John Rider and M. D. L. Webb, 2nd Ward; J. A. McDaniel, 3rd Ward; J. B. Locke, 4th Ward. Clerk, C. S. Bennett; Marshal, J. C. Slosson.
1876 – Mayor, W. B. Reynolds, Sr.; Treasurer, R. N. Young; Assessor, John Shaffer; Solicitor, D. E. Voris. Councilmen, H. H. McElroy, 1st Ward; John Rider and M. D. L. Webb, 2nd Ward; J. A. McDaniel, 3rd Ward; J. B. Locke, 4th Ward. Clerk, C. S. Bennett; Marshal, S. D. Redfield.
1877 – Mayor, W. B. Reynolds; Treasurer, J. W. Smock; Solicitor, E. R. Clingham; Assessor, J. R. Christy. Councilmen, John Stickney, 1st Ward; Paul Cornell, 2nd Ward; F. R. Voris, 3rd Ward; George Gilchrist, 4th Ward. Clerk, C. S. Bennett; Marshal, W. W. Means.
1878 – Mayor, L. S. Miller; Treasurer, James Smock; Solicitor, G. W. Burnham; Assessor, J. R. Christie. Councilmen, J. F. Young, 1st Ward; E. Forrester, 2nd Ward; Samuel B. Corning, 3rd Ward; D. H. White, 4th Ward. Clerk, C. S. Bennett; Marshal, W. W. Means.
In the Spring of 1872, a second-hand Button Hand Engine was received at Charles City for trial, but failing to give satisfaction, the Council of that city ignored it and purchased another machine. About this time the Town Council of Vinton were taking steps to protect themselves in the event of fire, and, learning of this engine at Charles City, appointed a committee to go there and investigate the matter; and, as a result of their labors, the engine was shipped to Vinton for trial. It seems that the committee had agreed to buy the engine if it would throw water as represented by the agent, but upon test did not satisfy the Council; however, to avoid law suites and trouble, the engine was taken, but never manned. It has been recently overhauled and is ready in case of emergency.
In the Fall of 1872 the Council purchased another hand engine, a new "Button," and in December of the same year, a company was organized to man it, C. E. Porter being elected as the first Foreman. The company was named the
S. H. Watson Fire Company,
In honor of their generous donator, who had presented them with $100 to purchase uniforms, etc. E. D. Stedman is the present Foreman; J. E. Brady, First Assistant; W. W. Martin, Second Assistant; John Moyer, Engineer. The company numbers forty men.
Rescue Hook and Ladder Company
This company was organized about the same time with the fire company, and was first under the charge of W. D. Reynolds, Forman (who has remained such ever since); J. C. Matthews, First Assistant, and J. F. Young, Second Assistant. His present assistants are W. H. Brown, First, and Charles Goodwin, Second. Their wagon was built at home by J. M. Crandall.
In 1877 the Council appointed E. D. Stedman as Chief Engineer and W. D. Reynolds, Assistant Chief Engineer. A building for the engine and hook and ladder companies was erected in the Winter of 1872-3, on the northwest corner of Main and Market streets, but was removed in 1877 to the city lot on the southwest corner of Washington and Concord streets. The department is still in the able hands of Chief Engineer E. D. Stedman and Assistant Chief Engineer, W. D. Reynolds.
The first meeting of the Board of Vinton Independent District was held April 6, 1861, Joseph Dysart, President, and W. W. Hanford, Secretary. The bounds of the district were established by a committee of the Board in consultation with the Township District officers. Messrs. Adams, Webb and Watson were appointed to make inquiries in reference to a building site. April 22nd, the Board rented the basements of the N. S. Presbyterian and Methodist Churches for school rooms. May 4th, E. Bennett, U. E. Traer, Fannie Kiddoo, Nellie Howe and Mrs. J. F. Young were employed as teachers.
May 3, 1862, it was voted to receive the deed for school house site from J. S. Tilford, and give him an order on the County Treasurer for the money in his hands, to be applied as party payment thereon. December 8th, Mrs. Greer was authorized to employ an assistant in her room at $8 a month.
April 20, 1863, a committee was appointed to report a plan for building, and on the 17th of May, it was resolved to let the contract for building the foundation. In October, the contract for the brick was let at $5.75 per thousand.
May 5, 1864, S. H. Watson was authorized to negotiate a loan of $6,000, payable in installments within six years. June 21st, contract was made with Finkbine & Lovelace, of Iowa City, to construct the building. January 30, 1865, the Board resolved to vacate the church basements by January 1, 1865.
March 24, 1866, it was resolved to erect an addition to the building. September 9, 1867, $5,000 in bonds were voted for the purpose.
At the annual election in 1872, it was voted to issue bonds for the erection of a new building in the Third Ward.
March 13, 1876, the people voted in favor of an issue of $10,000 in bonds for the erection of another school building, which amount was increased by $2,500 in June. The construction of the edifice now known as the "High School," was completed in 1877, and it has been occupied for school work for the past year.
The present officers of the Board are: W. B. Reynolds, President; T. S. Palmer, George Horridge, Lewis Quinn, J. M. Crandall, E. M. Evans, Directors; James A. Brown, Secretary; G. M. Gilchrist, Treasurer.
The following were the teachers employed during the school year of 1877-8: H. M. Hoon, Principal; Mary D. Warner, Assistant; Alice M. Bingham, Mrs. N. E. Pierce, Mary E. Marine, Ada Voris, Mattie Voris, Clare R. Van Horn, Ora M. Ketchum, Verona Marcellus, Etta A. Palmer, Miss C. S. Hall and Miss W. A. Burr.
The United Presbyterian Church of Vinton was organized in 1857 by Rev. Hugh Sturgeon, a committee for the purpose from the Presbytery of Cedar Rapids. Its original members numbered seventeen. The pulpit was filled by various supplies until 1862, when Rev. S. M. Kier was called and installed as the first Pastor. He served the Church for some three years. After a vacancy of about a year, Rev. W. A. Pollock was made Pastor, and served the Church for three years.
Another vacancy of a year occurred, when Rev. Mr. Rule was called to the pastorate, in the Spring of 1870. He continued in this office for some two years. Afterward, Rev. P. H. Drennan supplied the pulpit.
A large number of United Presbyterians resided from five to seven miles to the northwest from Vinton, and were finally organized into a church known as the Pratt Creek Church. This so weakened the town organization that it was thought best to disband it; and it was virtually transferred to the Pratt Creek Church, after having accomplished a good work for the Master and the community in its short life of less than twenty years.
The Presbyterian Church of Vinton is a union of the former First and Second Churches. The First was prior to all the other churches of Vinton. It was a New School organization, effected June 27, 1852, by Rev. Williston Jones, a committee from the Presbytery of Des Moines. Its original members were James F. Young, Mrs. Mary Young, John S. Tilford, Mrs. Margaret A. Tilford, James Rice, Mrs. Maria Traer, Mrs. Amy Jones, Harrison Bristol, and Mrs. Mary Bristol. It first stated supply was Rev. John Summers. He preached here for nearly two years and was succeeded in the Spring of 1854 by Rev. Nelson C. Robinson. After a faithful pastorate of seventeen and a half years, he was succeeded, without a Sabbath’s vacancy, by Rev. Stephen Phelps, who served the church until its organization was lost in the new one formed by the union of the two churches.
The Second Church was an Old School organization, effected on the 25th of February, 1854, by Rev. J. S. Fullerton, and Elder William Vaughn, a committee from the Presbytery of Cedar Rapids. Its original members were: Francis J. Dobbins, Mrs. Rachel Dobbins, Mrs. Rachel Gwinn, Mrs. Lavina Beatty, Miss E. Jane Watson, Henry Watson and Ezra Watson. Its ministers were: Rev. W. L. Lyons, who served the church from the Spring of 1856 for about one and a half years; Rev. James Kirk, who served from November 1, 1857, for three years; Rev. J. S. Dunning, who served from 1863 to 1869, and Rev. J. W. Crawford, from the Spring of 1869 until the union of the churches.
The union of the two churches was consummated on the 17th of June, 1872. A basis of union having been carefully prepared and adopted by both congregations, they met, each in its own house of worship, on Monday evening, June 17th. All the officers of both resigned, except the Trustees, who were retained in position, that they might legally hold the property until they could convey it to the Board of Trustees to be appointed by the new church. All closing business of each organization having been transacted, the First congregation, conducted by a committee from the Second, marched in a body to their place of meeting. As they appeared at the door, the other congregation arose, turned to face them, and sang the doxology, "Praise God form whom all blessings flow." The organization was then duly effected, and its officers appointed. Rev. Stephen Phelps was invited to take charge, was in due time installed, and is still Pastor of the church.
The First Church, at the time of the union, numbered about two hundred members. The second numbered about one hundred and twenty-five. During the year 1866-7, known as "the revival year," 168 persons were added to the church. There have been many removals and many deaths. Its present membership is 484.
The meetings of the First Church were held at first in the old Court House. After it burned down, they were held in the sitting room of Mr. J. S. Tilford’s residence; afterward, in Jones’ Hall (now a part of the Howard House); afterward, in the new school house, known as "the Tilford School House," built by Mr. Tilford and Mr. Joseph Young, chiefly for a place of holding religious meetings. The present Baptist Church building was commenced by this society; but before the walls were up it was sold, and a larger house commenced in 1856, completed in 1857. In this house, the congregation met until the time of the union.
The meetings of the Second Church were held at first in "the Tilford School House," afterward, in the small frame church erected by them in 1857; afterward, in their larger frame church built in 186. In this, the congregation worshiped until the time of the union. The united congregation enlarged this house of worship, and used it until October 14, 1877, at which time they dedicated their present church building, which had been erected on the site of the brick church of the former Second organization, and at a cost of $35,000.
The First Baptist Church of Vinton – February 23, 1856, Elder Richard King made an appointment to preach in what is now (1878) known as the Good Templars’ Hall, upon the following Sunday, March 8th. After services, Elder King being chosen Chairman, the following named brethren and sisters, having letters form other churches of like faith and order, were organized into a Baptist Church, to be known as the First Baptist Church of Vinton:
Brethren – Stephen Chapin, Stephen Chapin, Jr., James Chapin, William C. Connell, James L. Pauley. Sisters – Ruth Webb, Mary W. Kelsey, Mariah Connell, Margaret S. Pauley, Lovinea Chapin, Pedee Conant.
Stephen Chapin was elected Deacon, and James Chapin Clerk and Treasurer. May 10th, Church commenced holding their regular weekly services in Tilford’s school house, the building occupying lot now the home of H. M. Hoon. June 14, 1856, the Church gave Elder Ashel Chapin, of the Galena Church, a call to become its Pastor, he accepting and entering upon his labor, the Church voting him $200 a year and the Home Mission Board granting $200 more for support. At the same meeting of the Church, the first Trustees were elected, being for one year, viz.: P. A. Locke, Hermon Stanton and James L. Pauley. July 20, 1856, occurred the first baptism, Sister Cynthia Ann Chase. August 3, same year, celebrated the Lord’s Supper for the first time. August 17, by request, sent Pastor and others as Delegates to Waterloo, to assist in organizing an Association to be known as the Cedar valley Association, April 9, 1857, the Church adopted Articles of Incorporation. November 15, 1857, the Church having bought and fitted up its present house of worship, the building was dedicated to the worship of God, the Pastor preaching the sermon and Elder Joseph Eaton making the dedicatory prayer. The following year, the Church received aid from the Home Mission Board to the amount of $150. September 3, 1859, the Church applied and was admitted into the Linn Association. October 3, Elder A. Chapin resigned and the pulpit was supplied by Elder A. G. Eberhart and others until January 22, 1865, when Elder A. H. Harris became the Pastor of the Church and continued until near the close of his life, who died from the effects of an internal abscess. September 23, 1866, the Church called to its pastorate Elder James Sunderland, of Strawberry Point, who entered upon his labors in November following. April 1, 1871, Elder Sunderland resigned, accepting a call from Sioux City, and the vacancy was filled by Elder N. B. Homan, from Fairview, commencing his pastoral labors January 5, 1873. April 17, 1875, Elder Homan resigned but continued preaching for the Church until September 11, when he removed to Kansas, and the Church gave to its present Pastor, Amos Weaver, a call, who commenced his pastoral labor October 1, 1875, to whom the Church is deeply attached. "A teacher well taught, and a workman that needeth not to be ashamed."
The Church has always been composed of a membership of a transient nature, giving off quite as largely as it has received. Under the pastoral labors of Elder James Sunderland, it reached its highest membership – about 160; its present membership (August, 1878) is 140. Of the eleven lay members at its organization, four are still connected with the Church: Stephen Chapin, Jr., and wife, Lovinia Chapin, William C. Connell and wife, Mariah Connell.
Christian Church – This society was first organized in 1867 by Rev. O. E. Brown, meeting, for the first two years, in the Court House, and then for about a year in the old U. P. Church. In 1870, the society built a church 32x56, in the eastern part of the town, which was dedicated by A. N. McConnell, from Marion. Pastors were employed yearly until 1872, when Elder S. T. Shorters was engaged, and has been here ever since. A Sunday school was established about the time of the organization of the church, which has always been under the charge of E. L. Courier, Superintendent.
Church of the Evangelical Association – This mission was located at Vinton by the action of the annual session of the Iowa Conference held at La Porte City in April, 1873. Rev. James Croasman, of the Pittsburgh Conference, and formerly Missionary to Oregon, was the first Pastor. At this time, there was not a member in the town and no place of worship. By the 1st of December, same year, a new and commodious church building was erected and dedicated. Rev. D. B. Byers, of the Illinois Conference, officiating. The building and lot cost $2,065. The following February, a society of nineteen members was organized. Since that date, under the efficient labors of the succeeding Pastors, Revs. Verger and Utt, the society has increased its membership to over fifty, and has a sustained an active Sunday school. Rev. H. M. Sexton is the present Pastor.
Methodist Episcopal – This society was organized in the Fall of 1853, through the missionary labors of Rev. H. S. Burleigh. The class was composed of J. D. Tracy, D. B. Keyes and wife, E. Howard and wife, William Talfe and wife, E. Evans and wife, and J. Morris and wife. For several years the meetings were held at the houses of the various members.
The commencement of the church edifice was between 1858 and 1860, during the pastoral care of Rev. J. H. Reddington, and in 1860, the basement was made ready for use. In 1862, the building was fully completed. In 1869, the increase in numbers compelled an addition, which was completed the same year, in the form of a transept, in dimensions 30x50 feet. The cost of the whole, up to that time, was about $9,000 and the building was thereby made capable of seating seven hundred persons.
The succession of Pastors has been as follows: H. S. Burleigh, Nelson Wells, S. R. Young, B. F. Taylor, Mr. Keith, J. H. Reddington, J. H. Rankin, S. C. Freer, S. A. Lee, U. E. Eberhart, S. A. Knapp, G. W. Brindell, R. W. Peebles, D. Sheffer, T. C. Golden and E. L. Miller – the latter now in charge.
In 1855, there were twenty-seven names borne on the roll, which, in 1857, had increased to eighty.
A parsonage was purchased in 1863, during Mr. Lee’s stay; but this was sold during Mr. Sheffer’s Pastorate, and a commodious building erected to supply its place.
The membership is about four hundred, this being one of the largest religious bodies outside the large cities in Iowa.
C. O. Harrington is Superintendent of the Sabbath school; C. W. Miller, Secretary. About 180 pupils usually attend.
The official Board of the Church is as follows: S. A. Knapp, President; D. Stick, Treasurer; C. O. Harrington, Secretary; L. S. Miller, H. S. Corner, Louis Quinn, Trustees.
Vinton Lodge, U. D., was instituted under dispensation granted May 11, 1854. The first officers U. D. were Elijah Evans, W. M.; W. C. Conrad, S. W.; John McCartney, J. W.; H. Berry, Treasurer; J. S. Epperson, Secretary; A. Johnson, S. D.; H. J. Burley, J. D.; and the first report to the Grand Lodge embraced the names of James Wood, Jacob S. Hunt, John Ferguson, William Jones, Master Masons.
The Lodge was chartered Jan. 6, 1855, and was constituted soon after. The officers were Elijah Evans, W. M.; William C. Connell, S. W.; John S. Epperson, J. W.; Harrison Berry, Treasurer; James Wood, Secretary; William Jones, S. D.; Jacob S. Hunt, J. D.; John Ferguson, Tiler and the first annual report contained the names of the following Master Masons: Alexander Johnson, John McCartney, S. P. Brainard, N. M. Wilson, James Sullivan, Robert H. Wilson, Peter B. Smith, Sanford Moberly, Robert Downs, Payton B. Culver, Samuel Osborn, James Hankins, Charles M. Hare, Hugh B. Jones, Elias H. Bowen, James Thompson, William Kellison, Rev. John Wright, Thomas S. Palmer and Wesley Whipple. Elijah Evans was succeeded as W. M. by William P. Lathrop and George Horridge.
It is proper to remark here that J. W. Bowen and wife celebrated their golden wedding August 8, 1878.
The deaths have been W. P. Lathrop, December 31, 1873; David Vanskike, Spring of 1859; Thomas Drummond, killed (see War Record); Jacob Oyler, October 1, 1875; D. B. Ramage, December 19, 1868; Alden Crandall, February 9, 1866; Douglas W. Marsh, March 23, 1874; C. H. Conklin, March 16, 1875; W. W. Hanford, 1876; Thomas Roberts, January 9, 1870; Austin Knox, February 25, 1871; J. G. Tuttle, Winter of 1874-75; Elijah Evans died in Kansas recently, but had dimitted some years before.
The present officers are J. C. Traer, W. M.; E. A. Hewes, S. W.; Ezra L. Goodenough, J. W.; J. Bills, Treasurer; J. P. Mathews, Secretary; A. B. Forester, S. D.; R. McLain, J. D.; J. W. Bloodgood, S. S.; will C. Boggs, J. S.; Benjamin Kendall, Tiler.
Meet Tuesday evening on or before full moon. The membership is 100.
Adoniram Chapter, U. D., R. A. M., was organized and dispensation granted July 10, 1856. Its first officers were W. P. Lathrop, H. P.; E. Evans, K.; J. M. Saffrod, S.; T. S. Palmer, Treasurer; J. J. Alexander, Secretary; William C. Connell, C of H.
Adoniram Chapter, No. 15, was chartered June 1, 1857, but made no return to the Grand Chapter the first year, nor until 1862, when W. P. Lathrop was H. P.; E. Evans, K.; John Alexander, S.; James Sullivan, treasurer; T. S. Palmer, Secretary; W. C. Connell, C. of H.; and it reported 15 members, having exalted 3. In 1865, B. R. Sherman was H. P.; W. C. Connell, K.; E. Evans, S.
The present officers are J. C. Traer, M. E. H. P.; W. C. Connell, E. K.; A. B. Forester, E. S.; J. A. Bills, Treasurer; J. P. Matthews, Secretary; M. Meredith, C. H.; E. L. Goodenough, P. S.; T. S. Palmer, R. A. C.; A. Rose, G. M. 3d V.; M. Stern, G. M. 2d V.; R. M. Rumbaugh, G. M. 1st V.; B. Kendall, Guard.
The membership is 44. Meet Tuesdays after full moon.
Knights of Honor
Anchor Lodge, No. 1137, was organized July 10, 1878, by C. H. Cogswell, G. D., and M. H. Westbrook, D. G. D., with a membership of about fifty. The first officers elected wee E. A. Hews, D.; M. Meredith, V. D.; B. Murphy, A. D.; A. D. Griffin, P. D.; E. D. Stedman, R.; A. A. Wentz, F. R.; G. Knox, Treasurer; W. Palmer, G.; J. Knapp, W.; W. W. Webb, S.; E. S. Miller, G. The Trustees are G. W. Tannerhill, C. D. Fulton and C. C. Griffin.
The lodge meets on the first and third Mondays in each month, heretofore at Masonic Hall, but hereafter at Stick’s Hall. The main feature to this society is mutual life insurance.
I. O. of O. F.
Vinton Lodge, No. 83, was organized Feb. 8, 1856, but its charter was not granted until Oct. 8, 1856. The organizing officers were D. D. G. M. L. H. Keys, and Samuel Jack, G. Marshal. The record does not show who the charter members were, but gives the following first officers; M. D. L. Webb, N. G.; J. W. Webb, V. G.; J. H. Shutts, Sec. (succeeded on the third meeting by W. L. Lathrop); George W. Sell, Treas. The present officers are: E. M. Evans, N. G.; P. A. Locke, V. G.; J. A. Bills, Treas.; F. M. Rambaugh, Sec.; D. M. Witherrow, P. Sec. The Lodge has a finely-furnished hall in the building on the southwest corner of Washington and Jefferson streets, in which they meet every week.
Vinton Encampment, No. 59, was chartered October 22, 1873, and was organized by C. Fordyce, under dispensation of S. S. Winall, assisted by members from Cedar Rapids Encampment. The charter members were E. M. Evans, C. R. Wilkinson, James Wood, J. W. Seward, James W. Smock, A. A. Gerberich, John Hoyt, G. W. Smith, B. R. Sherman, D. M. Weatherough, R. McKinstry. The first officers were: C. R. Wilkinson, C. P.; D. R. Sherman, H. P.; D. M. Weatherough, S. W.; John Hoyt, J. Warden; A. A. Wentz, Scribe; J. W. Smock, Treas. The present officers (1878) are: C. R. Wilkinson, C. P.; D. H. White, H. P.; A. A. Gerberich, S. W.; F. M. Rambaugh, J. W.; J. W. Scribe; D. Stick, Treas.
A. O. of U. W.
Vinton Lodge, No. 30 – This Lodge is the oldest of this order in Vinton. It was organized and received its charter October 28, 1875, by D. D. G. M. W. Chrisinger, from Dubuque, with the following charter members: A. D. Griffin, W. C. Connell, W. B. Van Horn, C. S. Bennett, J. W. Bloodgood, I. N. Chenoweth, E. M. Evans, Z. R. Detwiler, C. D. Fulton, W. A. McAllister, W. B. Reynolds, Jr.; S. S. Reynolds, Cyrus E. Porter, C. R. Wilkinson, C. C. Griffin, J. W. Smock, W. H. Brown, O. Horn. The first officers were, A. D. Griffin, P. M. W.; W. B. Reynolds, Jr., M. W..; C. Porter, F.; C. R. Wilkinson, O.; W. A. McAllister, Recorder; C. S. Bennett, Financier; I. N. Chenoweth, Receiver; E. M. Evans, Guide; Wm. C. Connell, I. W.; I. W. Bloodgood, O. W. The present officers are as follows: E. F. B. Langstroth, P. M. W.; G. L. Rock, M. W.; I. W. Bloodgood, Foreman; George W. Burnham, Overseer; J. D. Steves, Guide; I. D. Shotwell, Recorder; Chas. F. Goodwin, Financier; C. C. Griffin, Receiver; W. C. Boggs, I. W.; R. A. Green, O. W. The Lodge meets Thursday nights in Masonic Hall.
Cedar Lodge No. 53 – This lodge was organized March 10, 1876, by G. M. W. B. S. Fowle, G. R. D. S. Stephenson, and D. D. G. M. W. A. D. Griffin, and had the following charter members: D. E. Voris, Robert St. Clair, John D. Nichols, A. Rose, George Knapp, Warren L. Brown, M. Meredith, J. D. Hawthorne, Fred Tyler, Hudson Burr, L. Ralyea, Jos. S. Spurr, J. C. Thompson, John S. Stanley, H. D. Smith, James W. Butler, James W. Brown and R. N. Young. The first administration was by D. E. Voris, P. M. W.; Robert St. Clair, M. W.; J. D. Nichols, G. F.; A. Rose, O.; George Knapp, R.; James Hawthorne, F.; Warren L. Brown, receiver; Fred Tyler, Guide, James Brown, I. W.; J. F. Spurr, O. W. The present officers are as follows, A. Rose, P. M. W.; E. D. Stedman, M. W.; M. Sterne, Fia.; J. E. Marietta, Recorder; J. F. Spurr, O.; W. S. Palmer, Foreman; S. H. Sheffer, Guide; J. A. Bills, Receiver; D. Aikley, I. W.; S. Starks, O. W.; Trustees – J. C. Thompson, G. W. Tannerhill and H. S. Conner; M. Meredith, Medical Examiner. The lodge meets every Friday night.
I. O. of G. T.
Vinton Lodge, No. 32, Independent Order of Good Templars, was organized some time in 1854, and is now the second in age in Iowa, and the third oldest in the world. W. C. Smith represented the Lodge at the first Convention of the Order held in Iowa, at Iowa City, December 24, 1844. February 21, 1862, the name was changed to Redemption Lodge, No. 32, and a new charter was issued to Elijah Evans, Amazette H. Evans, John W. Traer, Alice Traer, Benjamin Honeywell, Michael Smith, Mary E. Hare, Minerva N. Craig, N. C. Phelps, Joseph Russell, E. M. Evans, William Geddes, l. M. Hoke and A. H. Ellis.
The list of the first officers cannot be obtained, the early record having been lost. The Lodge has, however, never been suspended. Its charter was issued by the R. W. Grand Lodge of North America.
The Lodge owns a lot and two-story building, the second story of which is used for its hall. The lower story is rented for business purposes. The membership is about seventy-five.
The officers for the third quarter of 1878 are: L. H. Defenbaugh, W. C. T.; Mrs. J. P. Matthews, W. V. T.; Jas. M. Dorwin, W. S.; Miss Lou Shockley, W. A. S.; Walter Rodgers, W. F. S.; Mrs. Helen C. Atkinson, W. T.; Miss Nellie Boyd, W. C.; E. H. Jordan, W. M.; Miss Hattie B. Jones, W. D. M.; Miss Emma Thompson, W. I. G.; E. C. Hood, W. O. G.; Thos. Atkinson, P. W. C. T.; Miss Anna Miller, W. R. H. S.; Miss Nettie Jameson, W. L. H. S.
C. W. Miller was recommended for D. G. W. C. T., for the coming year, and James M. Dorwin and C. W. Miller were elected Representatives to the Grand Lodge of Iowa, which meets at Waterloo, August 27th.
Company "A," First Regiment, I. N. G.
This company, called "The Banner Company" of Iowa, was organized September 7, 1871, under the name of "Company A. Vinton Zouaves." The following wee its first officers and members: Captain, has. V. Mount; First Lieutenant, John P. Matthews; Second Lieutenant, Chas. E. Inman; First Sergeant, Lyman H. Starks; Second Sergeant, Mart. D. Starling; third Sergeant, Wm. W. Means; Fourth Sergeant, E. Platt; Ensign, W. O. Robins; First Corporal, George W. Sterling; Second Corporal, Henry F. Wenner; Third Corporal, T. Oscar Johnson; Fourth Corporal, Chas. W. Odell. Privates: Stephen A. Briggs, William Boggs, D. Bixby, A. Bigelow, Louis Biebesheimer, C. D. Brewer, William Brumwill, Newrad M. Bennett, Samuel Corning, Jacob Coutts, Herbert G. Conner, John Dulin, James J. Edmonds, John Edmonds, James H. Forsythe, John Felker, Ezra L. Goodenough, Robert E. George, George Holden, James W. Heller, Wesley Jones, E. M. Knapp, Chas. F. Knowlton, Amos Kendall, Daniel Luellen, Frank Mackey, Denison R. Morton, William Murphy, Frank G. Miller, William McDearman, Thomas McLaughlin, William Oppett, George W. Phillips, Walter S. Palmer, Robert H. Porter, Geo. M. Read, Jas. Smock, Morris Shockley, Geo. K. Storey, Jas. Stanton, T. Stewart, Perry J. Stewart, Squire Smith, Elijah Stout, Wm. R. Stout, John S. Stickney, E. J. Sanders, Dexter R. Spaulding, William Tracy, C. O. Thompson, Charles Thomas, William Traer, Christian Valver, Oliver Wheaton, William A. Williams, Frank White, Clarence White, John W. Wenner, Chas H. Wilber, Ed. D. Watkins, Albertus Wetz, Joseph S. Young. Musicians: Elbert P. Stedman, Walter S. Armstrong, Wm. Bordwell, Geo. W. Edmonds, Jonathan Jenks, A. Sutton.
As this company is, at the present writing, the most proficient military company in the State, as well as one of the oldest, its history is of corresponding interest. The direct cause of the organization of the company was the failure of the Vinton people to organize a parade on July 4th, 1871 – the procession being made up of the visiting farmers. The first victory was achieved at the Benton County Fair, in 1871, when, though but a month old, their sham battle proved to be one of the most interesting feature of the exhibition. Mr. J. F. Pyne presented the company with a flag on this occasion, as an acknowledgement of their instrumentality in adding interest to the fair.
May 30, 1872, the company participated in the ceremony of decorating the soldier’s graves at Cedar Rapids, in which they reflected credit both upon themselves and the town whose name they bore. From September 12th to the 18th, in 1872, the company did guard duty on the State Fair Grounds, in Cedar Rapids, where their soldierly bearing won for them well-merited praise at the hands of the State press, as well as from the press of adjoining States. They assisted in the Decoration services of 1873, at Vinton, and acted as guards to the State Fair of that year, also at Cedar Rapids, and again assisted in honoring the memory of deceased soldiers in the cemetery of Cedar Rapids, in 1874. Always maintaining their record of excellence which they had inaugurated at the start, July 5, 1875, they attended the celebration at Burlington, and won the prize banner; and, in 1876, at the same place, won the first prize in a tournament of five companies,. Their last victory was at Independence, in 1877, where thy won $125 as first prize, at the fair. Their record is thus far at the head of Iowa’s militia. Their old captain, C. V. Mount, is now Major General, commanding this division; and on the list of staff officers are to be seen the names of some of the old members of this company. We herewith give a list of the division staff as it now exists: Col. C. R. Wilkinson, Chief of Staff; Lieut. Col. G. R. Knapp, Assistant Adjutant General; Lieut. Col. M. H. White, Assistant Inspector; Lieut. Col. L. E. B. Holt, Surgeon; Maj. W. M. Traer, Quartermaster; Maj. John Fleming, Commissary; Maj. T. C. Cole, Judge Advocate; Maj. S. A. Wright, Paymaster; Capt. L. H. Starks, Aide-de-Camp; Capt. T. D. McElroy, Aide-de-Camp.
The present company officers are as follows: Captain, J. C. Matthews; First Lieutenant, W. S Palmer; Second Lieutenant, E. J. Sanderson; Fist Sergeant, Milo Whipple; Second Sergeant, Erwin Warner; Third Sergeant, Chas. I. Lawton; Fourth Sergeant, Lorin Bixby; Fifth Sergeant, Joseph Pyne; First Corporal, H. S. Snyder; Second Corporal, H. F. Wenner; Third Corporal, Frank Bender; Fourth Corporal, G. R. Holden; Fifth Corporal, Chas. Gale; Sixth Corporal, O. J. Conner; Seventh Corporal, H. Biglow; Eighth Corporal, H. F. Jameson. The company numbers rank and file fifty-eight men.
Vinton Reform Club
On Monday evening, July 29, 1878, a large meeting was held in the old Presbyterian Church, for the purpose of organizing a Reform Club in Vinton. L. A. Cobb and J. P. Sherman, of Waterloo, were present to aid in the movement. After stirring speeches by Messrs. Cobb, Sherman, Rev. O. H. Phelps, W. B. Reynolds, Jr., and Rev. S. Phelps, eighty-one persons signed the pledge. A committee, consisting of W. B. Reynolds, Jr., A. Haines, W. W. Web, J. D. Steves, D. C> Kirkpatrick, Rev. S. Phelps and J. W. Rich, was appointed to draft a constitution for a Reform Club, and report at the next meeting.
On Monday evening, August 5th, the committee reported a constitution, which was adopted, and officers elected as follows: President, W. B. Reynolds, Jr.; First Vice President, J. D. Steves; Second Vice President, James M. Dorwin; Third Vice President, D. M. Kirkpatrick; Secretary, W. M. Hall; Treasurer, P. W. Watson; Chaplain, Rev. Mr. Miller.
Sixty-eight persons signed the pledge at this meeting. A Committee on Ways and Means was appointed, consisting of Messrs. A. Haines, Smith, Mrs. C. H. Conklin and Mrs. Anna Hanford, and before the meeting adjourned $55.57 were raised. "Let the good work go on."