In 1856 Grove City was surveyed and platted by J. R. Kirk, Albert Wakefield, D. A. Barnett, A. G. McQueen, A. P. Thayer, V. M. Conrad, J. P. Wheeler and E. W. Davenport. It was situated about three miles east of Atlantic, on a beautiful and level elevation of land, and bade fair to be a prosperous and thrifty city at no distant day, with broad streets, public square and park, but was cut off in its infancy by the Rock Island railroad, which passed through one corner of the plat, but made no station, and established a depot and other buildings on their present site, which now forms a part of the prosperous young city of Atlantic.

At the March term, 1857, of the county court, E. W. Davenport acting as county judge, A. G. McQueen, R. D. McGeehon and one hundred and twelve others, presented a petition praying the court to submit to the voters of Cass county, at the April election, 1857, the question of the removal of the county-seat from Lewis to Grove City, according to provisions of chapter forty-six of the session laws of the General Assembly of Iowa, for the year 1855. At the same time came S. M. Tucker and one hundred and sixty-three others, with a remonstrance asking that the question be not submitted to a vote of the people. Judge Davenport refused to grant the prayer of the petioners, because the remonstrance contained the greater number of names.

The Grove City folks stuck to their text, however, and in 1858 they petitioned the county judge, Lorah, who ordered a vote on the question of removal. The vote occurred in October of that year, and Grove City was defeated.

In 1868, when the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad was being built across the county, it was the general impression that Grove City would be a station, and a good one. Believing this, a number of business houses were opened in the place that year. Among the new comers, were J. W. Winslow, dealer in dry goods, G. W. Norton, P. Kirby, dealer in boots and shoes, P. Carney, liquor dealer; Kaufman and Co., clothiers; Montgomery and Wynkoop, druggists; J. H. Barnwell, physician; C. F. Loofbourow, attorney-at-law. All of these citizens removed to Atlantic when it was demonstrated that Grove City was not to be made a station on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad. They, however, joined with the land owners, about the place, in making resistance to the establishment of a station where Atlantic is, and only succumbed when all hope of a station at their town was gone. During the progress of the work on the railroad, and before the road had passed the place, Grove City was a lively village.

Grove City, at present, has no business houses, all her business men having removed to Atlantic as soon as the fate of their own town was known, in 1868. There are, however, at the town site, a Methodist church and a good school house.


During the year 1856, A. T. Drake kept a small stock of goods in a building at this point. He soon afterwards disposed [of] the stock and engaged [in] the hotel business. Mr. Drake erected a hotel which was torn down in 1880, and now apple trees are growing where it stood.

The first general store established at Grove City, was by George Conrad, now a resident of Atlantic, during the year 1860. The first stock of goods was purchased at Council Bluffs, and cost about $50. During the first year he carried an average stock of $200 or $300. He erected a walnut slab for a counter, and the first article sold was a paper of soda, for which he received fifteen cents. When Atlantic was started he removed thither, and for a number of years conducted a dry goods store on a large scale, being very successful.

R. D. McGeehon engaged in business in 1862. He conducted the same successfully until the establishment of Atlantic, when he removed the stock to the new railroad point and opened the second general store in Atlantic.

James Jarvis established the first blacksmith shop at Grove City.


A postoffice was established at Grove City in 1857. As there was already an office by the name of Grove City, in Iowa, it was christened Turkey Grove postoffice. Mrs. D. A. Barnett was the first postmistress. She was succeeded by William Curry, who afterwards removed to Des Moines. During the years of the rebellion R. D. McGeehon had charge of the office. When the office was discontinued [in] 1870, Mrs. Albert Wakefield was postmistress.


During the year 1856, John R. Kirk erected the principal hotel at Grove City and it was conducted by him about a year, when he was succeeded by A. T. Drake, who was succeeded by D. A. Barnett. After Mr. Barnett came a man by the name of Leech, who was followed by A. C. Thorp, now conducting the Whitney Hotel, at Wiota. Mr. Thorp disposed of the building to James Tumbleson, who moved the same to Atlantic in 1869. The building is now known as the City Hotel, which is now conducted by Eli Spry.


The first physician to locate at Grove City was Dr. D. Findley, now a successful practitioner of Atlantic. He located at this place in 1861, remaining but a short time, when he removed to the town of Lewis. He remained here until 1873, when he changed his location to Atlantic, where he has since remained.

The second physician was Dr. Morris Hoblitt, who has since died.

Dr. G. S. Montgomery was the next to settle at Grove City, locating in 1863. He remained here until Atlantic was established when he followed the tide and removed thither, engaging in the drug business. At present he is the senior member of the drug firm of Montgomery and Jones.


Rev. William Douthat, an aged Presbyterian preacher, started a select school at Grove City, sometime in the year 1859. It was his intention to try to build up a college at that point. He sold scholarships in the usual way, and many prominent citizens of the county, Samuel L. Lorah, D. A. Barnett, John R. Kirk, R. D. McGeehon, and K. W. Macomber, among the number, purchased scholarships, and aided the venerable educator as far as they could. Mr. Douthat was a man of finished education, a good teacher but was somewhat eccentric in manner. He conducted his school, or embryo college, two years and a half, when he became discouraged and abandoned the project, and returned to Pennsylvania, where he has, from that time to the present, preached the strictest Presbyterian doctrine, unmixed with the popular mildness in touching up erring sinners, which has prevailed to some extent. While Mr. Douthat conducted the school at Grove City, he very often preached in that place and in other parts of the county, but he talked to the unregenerate, in language, too plain to be popular. The room in which he conducted his school was a small log cabin that stood on D. A. Barnett's farm. James S. Barnett, and Henry K. Macomber, mere lads then, were among the old professor's pupils.

Miss Mary Curry (now Mrs. Seaman) taught the first school in Grove City settlement in 1857. She taught in a little house on John R. Kirk's farm, and that little house still has an existence.

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Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass, March, 2022 from: "History of Cass County, Together with Sketches of Its Towns, Villages and Townships, Educational, Civil, Military and Political History: Portraits of Prominent Persons, and Biographies of Old Settlers and Representative Citizens", published in 1884, Springfield, Ill: Continental Historical Co., pp. 850-852.

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