This attractive little town is situated along the Chicago, Milwaukee and St.
Paul Railroad where the railway reaches its highest point between the
Mississippi River and the Missouri River, on the so-called watershed, in the
middle of a fertile, softly rolling plain, which as recently as 1881, bloomed
forth as a magnificent cornfield.
Likewise, the surrounding area is mostly flat and very fertile with every
foot of ground devoted to agriculture. Pretty little stands of trees on each
property break up the monotony of this high plain very pleasantly.
The little town owes its origin to the placing of the track of the Chicago,
Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. The railroad company acquired the land from Mr.
Wm. Overmire and in April 1882, divided it into building lots and made further
preparations for a train station and station buildings.
The best-situated building locations were quickly taken and construction was
begun immediately. The first buildings were erected by R. V. [or R. B.]
Hamilton, usually known as “Doc” Hamilton, and James Hart for a blacksmith shop
and wagon-making workshop. Almost simultaneously, the following buildings were
started in succession: T. W. Pexa [or Pexsie?], a two-floor store building;
George Overmire, restaurant; brothers Franz and Conrad Meis, a double store
building for hardware with a large hall; Dominick Kesseler, a two-floor store
building; Peter Neu, a large store building; John Scharwath, a two-floor store
building for a saloon and apartment; Inatz Waldman, a two-story inn and
apartment; John Schmied, a two-floor store building; Albers and Seger, a
two-floor building for a saloon and apartment. Afterwards, three spacious
buildings were constructed by Mr. L. Eike, as well as a number of houses. A
large horse rental stable was built by Mr. John Roth, so that by the end of July a striking little town had arisen on the cornfield. In
August of the same year came the following: the Nelson brothers, Mr. Frank
Seyller, and Mr. Henry Windisch. The former purchased the hardware business from
the Meis brothers and sided the large double store and hall with brick, and
consequently the first brick block building came into being. Mr. Windisch built
himself a general merchandise store. And in the autumn of the same year, the
Meis brothers began to construct their brick block building at First and Main
Street, which did not open, however, until the summer of 1883, part as a
furniture store, part as a hotel. Mr. Robert Anderson was the first hotel
keeper, whereby the hotel took the name, “Anderson Hotel.” A large grain
elevator was built by the Montgomery brothers, the Umphrey brothers established
a bank, and Frank Meis started a second grain elevator in 1884. It should be
noted that the lumberyard of Mr. D. Joyce had already commenced business under
the management of Mr. L. E. Stanton and Mr. John Horn.
Already in the autumn of 1883, there was a suggestion to incorporate the
little town, which materialized the following spring. The first assembly of the
town council was on 3 April. The first officials were: Conrad Meis, Mayor; T. C.
Wolfe, Frank Meis, Wm. Overmire, Frank Seyller, Geo. Umphrey and Peter Neu,
Trustees; L. E. Stanton, Recorder; Schimeck, Assessor; and Thomas Groat,
The first chore was to supply the little town with sidewalks. In 1886, a fire
engine was obtained, which has already provided good service on four or five
occasions, but two large fires were too much for it, namely the destruction of
the railroad station in April 1890, and of the Montgomery Elevator in December
1892, which were rebuilt soon thereafter.
Churches and Schools
Templeton has Catholic and Methodist church parishes. The Catholic parish
counts approximately 150 families, was established right at the beginning of the
founding of the town, and was first administered as a mission by the present
priest, Reverend Father B. A. Schulte, from State Center. The young parish soon
encountered a few difficulties, to wit: a number of Catholics had already built
quite a considerable church and more or less started a parish about
three-and-a-half miles north of here on the farm of Mr. John Schlichte, who had
donated the property, although it was not recognized by the diocese. This
circumstance threatened to split the Catholics into two parishes and, being in
such proximity, dimmed the prospects for a good parish in Templeton. However,
through the tireless efforts and discretion of the Reverend Father Schulte, an
agreement was reached and it was decided to purchase the church building and
transport it to Templeton. A few people donated their entire shares, while
others, who because of the distance were not able to join the new parish, were
paid off with a reasonable sum of money. After a Holy Mass was celebrated by
popular request on 15 August 1883, the transport to Templeton was begun the next
day, and the dismantling and reconstruction was accomplished in such a manner
that the little church has served its purpose up to the present day. The first
Holy Mass had been celebrated in the hall [perhaps referring to the hall
constructed as part of the store constructed by the Meis brothers], and the
first Mass in the church was celebrated on Rosenkranzfest [a German church
holiday celebrated on the first Sunday in October] in 1883.
The building of a new church will soon be necessary and has only been put off
because of the hard times of the last few years, but immediately upon the return
of the Reverend Father Schulte, who is presently visiting the Holy Land, it will
be undertaken with full energy and will be an ornament on the ridge of the great
watershed. A very nice rectory, quite stylish in appearance and design, was
built and finished in 1884. Also worthy of special mention is the Catholic
school, a stately brick building, which was built between 1889 and 1890 and cost
$9000. The building is divided into three schoolrooms and an apartment for the
Franciscan Sisters, who have the duty of instructing 186 students.
The Methodist church was built in 1884 and is quite a substantial building.
The members of the parish are mainly English speakers. The church is
administered by a mission minister.
In the early years, the public school was transferred here from a neighboring
district and was substantially enlarged in 1884. It is conducted by a respected
The population of Templeton and the surrounding area was originally very
mixed, consisting of Americans, Germans, and Irish, but now, however, it is
predominantly German and mostly Catholic.
For business establishments, the town presently has a creamery, two grain
elevators, two lumber yards, three general merchandise stores, two
confectioner’s shops, two hardware stores, a bank, two furniture stores, two
farm machinery dealers, a druggist, two doctors, two harness makers, one shoe
store together with a shoe maker, a 10-cent store, two blacksmith shops, a wagon
maker, two hog and cattle dealers, a butcher shop, two barber shops, a horse
rental business, one hotel, two beer taverns, one billiard hall, one photography
business, as well as a half-dozen builders, and so forth, and the town has a
population of about 400 souls.
In respect to commerce, in 1898 there were shipped from here: 25 railcars of
wheat, 3 railcars of rye, 31 cars of barley, 55 cars of oats, 333 cars of corn,
98 cars of hogs, 27 cars of cattle, and 15 cars of potatoes, hay, horses and
implements, for a total of 458 [the numbers do not seem to add up correctly]
railcar or wagon loads. In contrast, during the same time, Templeton received 3
loads of cattle, 56 loads of coal, 31 loads of lumber, 14 loads of building
stone, 3 loads of lime [or limestone], 6 loads of salt, 5 loads of agricultural
machinery, 2 loads of wagons, 3 loads of bricks, and 2 loads of business
equipment, for a total of 139 loads [these figures also do not appear to add
up]. There were also several shipments of beer, flour, etc. Other mercantile
goods are usually shipped in smaller quantities by local freight. The yearly
receipts for freight shipping, taken in at the local freight depot for the last
12 months ending in March, amount to $28,321.44 for
goods shipped from here, and $14,277.64 for goods brought in or delivered,
amounting to total receipts of $42.699.08 [these figures also do not appear to
add up], in which express or special shipments amounting to an additional $600
per year are not included. It should also be emphasized that the freight figures
for grain this year amount to almost a quarter lower than in earlier years. It
should also be noted that due to the recent hard times there has been little
building or construction, resulting in lower imports, which will increase with
the improvement of the economic situation.
It is not the style or fashion of the writer to brag, but indeed the
information and figures are correct and gathered from reliable sources, and so
he may quietly entrust to the reader to judge what he thinks of the lively and
industrious little town of Templeton.