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History of Cass Co. 1877


Incidentally, in this work we have already given much of the history of the town above named. It was, from March, 1853, to October, 1869, the county-seat of the county, and from 1855, to the year 1868 (when the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad was built across the county) was the principal trading point for the entire county. The town was located by commissioners (see page 27) for the seat of justice, but as to who gave it the name it bears we have been unable to gain any information. Because the county bore the name of Cass it was probably thought that it would be entirely proper to complete the Michigan statesman's name by calling the town Lewis. And this reminds us that a number of years ago a prominent citizen of Lewis, (who is now a prominent citizen of Atlantic) conceived the idea that it would be a good thing for General Cass to buld a court house. He accordingly wrote to the General, that inasmuch as the county and county-seat had been named in his honor, it would be a very appropriate return of the favor, a sort of acknowledgement, as it were, for him (the General) to forward the money with which to build a good court house at Lewis. The old Michigander did not take kindly to the proposition, and the money was never sent out.

S. M.Tucker, the pioneer lawyer, built the first house in the town in 1853. The house was a small, one-story frame structure, and still stands. The sale of lots by the County Judge, did not occur until in October, 1855, (see page 28).

Geo. M. Elsey, who now resides near Lewis, was one of the early settlers of the place. He came there from Mahaska county in the fall of 1856, he at first opened a store on the street corner, east of C. C. Reynolds & Co.'s present house. He bought the building of Chas. Baldwin and moved it from a point on the 'Botna. Mr. Elsey sold goods a year in the old building, then built the house where . Bradshaw now lives, and put in a good-sized stock of goods there. In 1858 he sold out to Keyes, Peck & Co. and returned to his present farm. Mr. Elsey is a native of Ohio.

Captain J. H. Coe, is a Connecticut Yankee, and came to Cass county, in 1856, settling in Lewis, where he has since resided. In 1856 Captain Coe went to Burlington, and bought a Manny reaper which was the first reaping machine brought to the county.

The postmasters have been, so far as we know: Isaac Dickerson, Henry Temple, Thomas R. Chapel, Teneycke Beekman, and Dr. M. J. Davis, the present incumbent.

H. K. Smith, of Ohio, built the first hotel, of any consequence, in 1857, which was called the Henderson House. It was destroyed by fire several years ago. David Johnson, who now resides on Indian creek, built a large hotel in Lewis, in 1857, and kept it a few years.

G. I. Chizum, came to the county in 1854. He has been Sheriff, member of the board of Supervisors, etc.

H. Littlefield came in 1856.

Dr. Swisher settled at Lewis in 1853, or 1854, and remained about a year, being the pioneer doctor of the place. Dr. Henry S. Carey moved from Albia, Monroe county, to Lewis in 1855, being the first physician who settled permanently. He died in 186--, Dr. A. Teal, who now resides in Bear Grove township, located in Lewis in 1856, for the purpose of practising homeopathy. Dr. John B. Carey, a brother to Dr. H. S. Carey, came in 1858, and practiced with his brother. He died in 1863. Dr. N. W. Whitted came in 1860; enlisted in the 23d regiment in 1862; came home and died in 1865. Dr. D. Findley located at Lewis in 1862.

Chas. W. Baker, from Maine, opened a saddlery and harness shop in the place in 1858. Mr Baker continues to reside in Lewis, and is at present in the boot and shoe trade.

The early settlers in and about Lewis were New Englanders. There were the Mills, Stanleys, Baldwins, Barbers, Gridleys, J. H. Coe, T. J. Allyn, and Reuben Brackett, and others who no doubt were attracted to the place, because Rev. Geo. B. Hitchcock had located there and started a Congregational church.

The court house was built in 1856. In that year Isaac Dickerson, (representing Shoemaker & Wilson, of Oskaloosa,) opened the first stock of goods in the place.

J. W. Brown, was the second attorney -- arriving in 1856. L. W. Ross, was the third, coming out the same year. Henry Temple was the fourth -- reaching Lewis in 1858.

The District Court was regularly held in Lewis, for the first time in 1855.

The town being near the Nishnabotna river, was early supplied with a good mill run by water-power. The mill was built in 1856 by Keyes, Peck, & Co.

A perusal of the chapter entitled "The Press," on pages 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, and 56, will give some idea as to what the town was in the year 1861.

For historical mention of the churches, societies, and associations, see pages, 64, 65, 66, and 68.

Not withstanding Lewis yielded up some of her best citizens, to Atlantic, when the last named town was established, the former on continues to be a good town and continues to improve. She has good business houses, a good mill, run by water, good churches, a fine school building, and with her many advantages is destined to thrive in the future.

From the History of Cass County, Iowa Together With Brief Mention of Old Settlers
by Lafe Young, Atlantic, Iowa:  Telegraph Steam Printing House, 1877, pp. 106-108.
Transcribed for Cass County by Cheryl Siebrass, July, 2013.

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