Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project



History of Mason City
Mason Township, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Willow Creek Near Mason City, 1915

This is the county seat of Cerro Gordo county, and is situated on sections 3, 4, 9 and 10, of Mason township, at the junction of Lime and Willow creeks, about four miles northeast of the center of the county. In 1883 it contained about 4,200 inhabitants. It was laid out June 28, 1855, by John B. LONG and George BRENTNER. It is generally conceded that it took its name from Masonic Grove, which was called so by John D. LONG, an early settler, who made great pretensions to Free Masonry, but in fact was a "snide" of that order. It was through his influence a post office was established. He asked that it be called Masonville, but upon finding another by that name in Iowa, it was changed to Mason City.

Mason City has many natural advantages, among which are timber, fine building stone, potter's clay and good water power. There are but few towns of its size and wealth that are as well built and contain so many elegant and substantial business houses and residences. The town is settled largely from the eastern and New England States, containing but a small foreign element. A large, beautiful stone school building [Central School], located in a commanding position, is one of the objects which attract attention of strangers who visit the city for the first time, while a number of commodious, elegantly designed church edifices beautify the appearance of the city, which indicate that the religious and moral wants of the community are not forgotten or neglected. Being surrounded on all sides by a rich and well improved farming section, it has secured an unusually large and desirable retail trade, which the generous, enterprising and thoroughly honest business habits of its tradesmen, will long retain. The place has excellent hotel accommodations, and being only nine miles from Clear Lake, it receives much of the financial benefit derived from that popular watering place, throughout the summer months. Three lines of railway enter the city the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, running east and west, across the State, traversing the rich agricultural section between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers; the Central Railway of Iowa, running north and south, connecting St. Louis and St. Paul, and the Austin branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul line, which runs from Mason City to Austin, Minn.


The various plats of Mason City were filed for record as follows:

The original plat for Mason City was filed for record in June, 1855, by J. B. LONG and George BRENTNER, as proprietors. Irving W. CARD surveyed the plat.

Railroad addition to Mason City was platted Dec. 13, 1856. The proprietors were George E. and E. B. D. WOODWARD. The survey was made by I. W. CARD.

What is known on the records as FELT'S plat, took in a portion of the original plat, and was filed Sept. 15, 1857, by Paul FELT. The survey was made by A. GARNER.

BRIGHT'S addition was made Sept. 15, 1869, by Nimrod BRIGHT and wife. Charles McNANY, surveyor.

South Mason City was platted Oct. 19, 1869, by the following named persons who gave a half interest in the same to the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company as a bonus for locating depot grounds thereon: Thomas G. EMSLEY, B. F. HARTSHORN, John PRATT, W. W. ALLEN, George MILLER, L. J. WATERBURY, John S. STANBERY, Russell SMITH and their wives. This plat was surveyed by C. F. VINCENT and contained about 140 acres.

STANBERY addition was filed Feb. 11, 1880, by W. C. and Elizabeth STANBERY, proprietors.

B. RANDALL'S addition was made August 1870. C. F. VINCENT, surveyor.

North Mason City was platted March 1, 1872.

MUMFORD'S addition was made April 19, 1873, by J. V. MUMFORD.

James FOSTER'S addition to South Mason City was platted April 18, 1882, by James FOSTER. C. F. VINCENT was the surveyor.

PARKER & FOSTER'S addition was made May 20, 1882, by Horace PARKER and James FOSTER.

FOSTER'S second addition was platted Nov. 27, 1882. James FOSTER was proprietor; C. F. VINCENT, surveyor.

Horace PARKER'S addition was made Nov. 30, 1882. C. F. VINCENT, surveyor.


Mason City, circa 1870
Courtesy Library of Congress

James JENKINSON made the first settlement, in 1853, on Lime creek, where Mason City now stands. He was accompanied by John McMILLEN, who, in 1854, built and operated the first store in Cerro Gordo county.

George BRENTNER entered land on section 9, which is now in the heart of the thriving city, Sept. 15, 1854, and B. B. RICHARDS entered section 10, October 10 of the same year. James JENKINSON lived in a log cabin on Lime creek, at a point now within the city limits. His habitation was of the rudest structure, 12x14 feet in size. Here he spent the winter of 1853, alone, as Mr. McMILLEN and J. B. LONG had returned to La Salle, Ill., the season being one of great severity. He had some flour and pork, but the spring found him with few provisions. When Mr. McMILLEN and Mr. LONG returned they started a store, Mr. JENKINSON doing the teaming between Mason City and Dubuque.

In August, 1862, George BRENTNER enlisted in company B, 32d Iowa Volunteers. He was in active and severe service and was taken prisoner at Pleasant Hill and confined at Fort Tyler, Texas, where he was held thirteen months and seventeen days. The daily rations were a pound of meat and a pint of corn meal. On one occasion the mill where their corn was ground gave out and they were obliged to eat the corn from the cob, a process which gave them a better appreciation of firm teeth than they had before had. Their coffee was made from the sifting of the meal. He was mustered out of service at Davenport, Iowa, and returned to Mason City and worked as a stone mason.

George BRENTNER born in Lancastershire, England, May 10, 1833, and came to America in 1846, accompanied by his sister. He settled in La Salle Co., Ill., where he remained until he came to Iowa. He was married in August, 1868, to Mary, daughter of David and Ann (DINGMAN) RAGAN. She was born in Joliet, Ill., Dec. 6, 1839. They had one son Daniel A. In 1870 the family removed to a farm Mr. JENKINSON had bought previous to his enlisting, situated in Lime Creek township and valued at $30 per acre. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and belongs to the Odd Fellows' order.

Among the number who came in 1855 were: Thomas DRUMMOND, A. B. MILLER and F. J. TURNURE.

Thomas DRUMMOND was a young lawyer who remained but two years and moved to Vinton, Iowa, from which place he enlisted, serving in the army of the Potomac, and was killed during one of the first (sic) battles of the war. Prior to the rebellion he had been State Senator from his district.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Upon his return to Vinton, Iowa, Thomas DRUMMOND was the editor of The Vinton Eagle, and was the principal factor in founding the Iowa Asylum for the Blind. He was appointed as the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Third Iowa Cavalry by Governor KIRKWOOD and rose to the rank of Colonel of the Fourth Iowa Cavalry. During the last few hours of the Battle of Five Forks, Virginia, Col. DRUMMOND was mortally wounded while bravely leading his men in a charge in General SHERIDAN'S army. He died a few hours later [April 1, 1865]. The result of the Battle of Five Forks, the last battle on Virginia soil, was the ultimate surrender of General LEE'S army in April of 1865.

A. B. MILLER, who was in company with Thomas DRUMMOND in law and real estate, was also killed in the service. These gentleman are treated at length in the Bar and Representative chapters.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Amos B. MILLER, originally from Pennsylvania, was appointed as Captain Company B of the 32nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry on August 12, of 1862, and mustered into service the following October 6th. He was fatally wounded during the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, on April 3, 1864, and died on April 13th.

F. J. TURNURE is one of the pioneers of April, 1855, at which time he located at Mason City, working at his trade of carpenter, as well as engaging in other employments and land speculations. In 1862 he enlisted in company B, 32d Iowa Volunteers, serving three years. He was taken prisoner and kept in [the] Tyler prison thirteen months and nineteen days. After his discharge he resumed his trade, and in 1876 moved to his present home. He has met with some financial reverses, but has always retained the confidence and esteem of his fellow men. He was married in 1868 to Miss HELBEN. They have three children Hattie May, Frank N. and Fred P.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Flavious J. TUNURE was mustered into service on September 11, 1862 with Company B of the 32nd Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was taken prisoner during the Battle of Pleasant Hill, Louisiana, on April 9, 1864, and was later mustered out of service July 5, 1865, Davenport, Iowa. He served as Mason City's first marshal. He was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

John WEST, one of the early settlers of Cerro Gordo county, was born in Yorkshire, England, Dec. 3, 1825. When eleven years old his parents emigrated to America and located in Cook county, where his parents shortly after died. The subject of this sketch was then thrown upon his own resources, working by month and day as he could get work. When seventeen years old, having accumulated a little money, he attended school, receiving a good liberal education. In 1845 Mr. WEST was married to Mary M. ALLEN. She was a native of New York. By this union there were two children A. S. WEST and Olive Elizabeth, who married A. J. BURLINGHAM, and died in 1880 at the age of thirty-four. Mr. WEST was the first boy who hauled water into the city of Chicago, and the first to sprinkle the streets of that city, under a contract. In 1847 he commenced grading on the N. W. plank road. He also graded the principal streets south of Randolph. In 1851 he commenced railroading, which business he has followed, principally, up to 1882. In 1854 Mr. WEST came to Iowa and traveled extensively over the State. In 1855 he moved his family to Portland township. During the same year he built a saw mill at Nora Springs, where he remained for two years. In 1856 he went to his farm and commenced its improvement. In 1862 he enlisted in the 32d Iowa Volunteer Infantry, company B, and was kept principally on guard duty. He suffered much from sickness, and was confined in the hospital for many months. He was discharged [1865] at Davenport, Iowa. Mr. WEST commenced life a poor boy, but by fair dealing and good management he has accumulated a fine property, and today is one of the well-to-do business men of Mason City In politics he is a republican, and while on the farm was elected as justice of the peace. He is a member of the G.A.R. and K.ofP.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John WEST died on September 29, 1901. Mary Matilda (ALLEN) WEST was born July 30, 1826, and died November 8, 1923. Olive Eliza (WEST) BURLINGHAM was born October 3, 1846, and died August 5, 1880; her husband, Andrew J. BURLINGHAM, was born November 11, 1836, and died February 7, 1899. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

J. H. VALENTINE was born in Charlton, Saratoga Co., N. Y., Sept. 6, 1821. His parents, John C. VALENTINE, born in New York and of German descent, and Abagail HOLMES, born and reared in Scotland, were married in Saratoga Co., N. Y., where twelve children were born to them, seven of whom are living. In 1837 they removed to Onondaga county, and in 1844 to Henry Co., Ill., where they lived until 1849, going from thence to Marquette Co., Wis., where the father engaged in farming. He died in 1854. He was a member of the Episcopal Church and an heir to the Trinity church property of New York city. He was a miller, by trade, which trade J. H. also learned and followed in connection with farming. Mrs. J. H. VALENTINE is a native of Columbus, Wis. They have two children Richard, a resident of Mason City, and Lucy, wife of I. P. WHITNEY, of Mason City. Mr. VALENTINE came to Mason City in 1860, when it was a small village and the country sparsely settled, and associated with J. C. COWLES in general merchandise, but in a year purchased his partner's interest and continued alone six years, then embarked in agricultural implements, handling Buford goods, Moline plows, Minnesota chief, etc. He is a member of the Episcopal Church, and a charter member of the Masonic Lodge at Mason City.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: J. H. VALENTINE died on June 11, 1915. Frances VALENTINE was born in 1824, Columbus, Wisconsin, and died in 1921. Lucy A. (VALENTINE) WHITNEY was born in 1854, and died in 1942. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Daniel J. FARRELL was born in Nova Scotia, Sept. 27, 1843. His parents were William and Catharine (WALSH) FARRELL. When he was fifteen years of age his parents emigrated to New York, where Daniel learned the tinsmith trade, but abandoned it and took up that of a stone mason. He came to Cedar Falls, Iowa, in 1864, but the same fall removed to Mason City, where he embarked in the stone and lime business. In June, 1871, he was married to Eliza POWERS, by Father FEELY. She was a daughter of William POWERS. By this union there is a family of three children Mary, William and Daniel. Mr. FARRELL has been identified with Cerro Gordo county for many years, and has seen the gradual development of the surrounding country, from its wilderness like state to a country made beautiful by its well tilled farms, schools and church edifices.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Daniel J. FARRELL died on September 6, 1923. Elizabeth "Eliza" (POWERS) was born in 1851, and died in 1928. Daniel P. FARRELL, son of Daniel J. & Eliza (POWERS), was born in 1878, and died in 1949; his wife, Frances, was born in 1893, and died in 1969. They and Daniel J. FARRELL'S parents, William and Catharine (WALSH) FARRELL, were interred in Block 1 of [Elmwood-] St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Wm. H. FOSTER was born in Onondaga Co., N. Y., Nov. 1, 1838. He is the son of Ransom and Lydia (COFFIN) FOSTER. In 1853 the family emigrated to Ogle Co., Ill, where Mr. FOSTER engaged in farming. In 1869 he came to Mason City. William was reared on a farm and educated in the common schools. In March, 1862, he enlisted in the 65th regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, company A, and participated in the engagement of Martinsburg and Harper Ferry, when he was taken prisoner but soon afterwards was paroled and sent to Chicago, where he was exchanged Jan. 14, 1863, when he again joined his regiment in Kentucky, and participated in the siege of Knoxville In April, 1864, he re-enlisted, received a thirty days furlough and afterward joined General SHERMAN'S command near Atlanta. They were left to look after HOOD while SHERMAN went to the sea. He was mustered out in July, 1865, at Greensborough, N. C. After leaving the army he returned to Ogle county. In 1869 he came to Mason City, where he has since resided He was married, in 1867, at Dixon, Ill., to Anna FREER, by whom he has had five children William H., Samuel S., Lydia A. and Theodore. Mr. FOSTER is a member of the G.A.R.

Rodolphus BABCOCK has been a resident of Mason City since the spring of 1870, when he established the first gentlemen's furnishing store in the city. He was born in Cortland Co., N. Y., Nov. 8, 1831. His parents, Rouse and Lucinda (GILBERT) BABCOCK, had four sons and four daughters. The father was a Baptist clergyman and spent his life in earnest Christian work. He came to Henry Co., Ill., in 1856, and afterwards went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he died in 1863. Mr. BABCOCK, of this sketch, acquired a substantial education and was a teacher a number of years. He has been of late years engaged in insurance business, and was elected secretary of the Farmer's Insurance Company of Cedar Rapids, in 1861, and in 1868, secretary of the Fire and Tornado Insurance Company, of Clinton, Iowa, and so remained until 1871. He has been in insurance business, either as local or general agent, since 1859. Mr. BABCOCK was married Nov. 22, 1857, to Mary E. SCHERMERHORN, born in Otsego Co., KY., in 1837. They, have two children Willis A. and Arthur R.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Rodolphus BABCOCK died in 1905. Mary E. (SCHERMERHORN) BABCOCK was born in 1837, and died in 1907. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

James GIBSON, a settler of 1863, was born in Herkimer Co., N. Y., in January, 1844. He is a son of John and Rachel (VINTON) GIBSON, and was trained to the pursuits of a farmer's son. In November, 1861, he enlisted in the 81st regiment, New York Volunteer Infantry. He was in some severe service at Fair Oaks and other engagements, and was discharged, in 1862, on account of physical disability. He returned to Herkimer county, and in 1863 came to Cerro Gordo, locating at Lime Grove. He was married Dec. 25, 1869, to Frances WILSON, of Owen township, but formerly of Chicago. They have four children Minnie, Maggie, Milton and Morton. The family located at Mason City in 1864. Mr. GIBSON is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.

J. O. PRICHARD has been a resident of Mason City since 1869. He was born in Wales, June 22, 1835, but was left motherless when an infant. When sixteen years of age, accompanied by a friend, he emigrated to the United States, first stopping at Racine, Wis., where he learned the carpenter's trade, which he has since followed. In 1862 he went to Cambria, enlisting in company H, 36th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor, and was disabled seven months. After his discharge he returned to Wisconsin, resuming his trade, and in 1869 came to Mason City. He has been twice married. In 1864, to Margaret J. WILLIAMS, who died of consumption in 1866. In March, 1868, he married Florence DAYTON, by whom he had three children, two of whom are living Charles E. and Arthur. Mr. PRICHARD is a member of I.O.O.F. and of the G.A.R

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: J. O. PRICHARD's gravestone gives his birth date as June 23, 1830. He died August 23, 1909. Florence A. (DAYTON) PRICHARD was born August 27, 1844, and died on December 8, 1906. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

J[acob]. H. Van WIE has resided in Cerro Gordo county since 1869, and has since been engaged in following his vocation. He was born in Cayuga Co., N. Y., Jan. 24, 1844. He is son of Henry and Lavinia Van WIE. His parents went to Wisconson in 1850, where he was reared to manhood and received a common school education. At twenty years of age he fitted himself for the duties of his present calling. In 1862 he enlisted in the 19th Wisconsin Volunteers Co. E. He was stationed at Newbern, N. C, and was in the service twenty-three months, when he was discharged on account of illness. He returned to Wisconsin. In the spring of 1883 he formed a partnership under the firm name of Van WIE & KISNER. He is a member of the Odd Fellows' order, and in political faith is a republican. Mr. Van WIE was married Jan. 8, 1879, to Addie CASE, a native of New York. Their three children are Arthur, Mary and Gertie.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Jacob H. Van WIE was born January 24, 1839 (as per his gravestone, and died on November 25, 1916. Addie M. (CASE) Van WIE was born July 17, 1857, and died on December 23, 1926. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Horace VINTON settled in Cerro Gordo county in 1870. In company with Mr. FITCH he engaged in the sale of agricultural machinery, under the firm name of VINTON & FITCH, which soon after became VINTON, ENSIGN & DOUGAN. This business connection continued a few years, and, in 1873, Mr. VINTON bought 160 acres of land in Lime Creek township, where he lived two years and returned to Mason City. Mr. VINTON was born Aug. 27, 1809, at Willington, Conn. His father, Seth VINTON, was one of the minute men of the Revolution, who marched from Stoughton at the Lexington alarm. The father settled in Willington in 1781, where his father and friends were located. He died at Rockville, in Vernon township, Conn., at the residence of Mr. VINTON of this sketch, aged ninety-two years. His wife, Polly (RUDER) VINTON, died in the same house in 1853. Horace VINTON was reared on a farm and acquired a good education. At the age of twenty he left home and found employment at $10 per month in a factory. He had to buy his time paying from his wages. He bought a site and built a mill at Rockville, which is now the site of one of the largest factories in Connecticut. He remained in Rockville twenty years. In November, 1831, he was married to Lucretia JOHNS. He left the land of wooden nutmegs in 1854 and settled at Rockford, Ill., where he was interested in a planing mill and sash factory. Mr. and Mrs. VINTON are members of the Congregational Church, of which he is deacon.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Horace VINTON died June 23, 1893, aged 83 years. Lucretia (JOHNS) VINTON died at the age of 79 years on October 31, 1883. They were interred at Block 2 of Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

C. E. CRANE was born in Bridgeport, Vt., June 1, 1818. He was reared in his native place, trained to agricultural pursuits, and acquired his education in the common schools. He was married in 1842 to Ellen ADAMS. Of their six children but one is living Delia. Mrs. CRANE died in Middlebury, Vt., where Mr. CRANE was engaged in mercantile business about six years. In 1854 he came to Fond du Lac, Wis., where he married Frances PARISH. They had two children Will E., a graduate of Iowa State University and now assistant professor in that institution, and Edith, wife of F. C. PATTON of Minneapolis, Minn. Mrs. CRANE died in Fond du Lac in 1864, and Mr. CRANE was married a third time, in 1866, to Alice S. FITCH. They have six children - Flora, Charles, Fred, Eva, Harry and Mary. In the fall of 1867 Mr. CRANE moved to Green Bay, Wis., where he was interested in lumbering. He became a resident of Mason City in 1870. He was an old time whig in political faith, in early manhood, and joined the rank of the republican party on its organization.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Charles E. CRANE died in April [gravestone illegible]. Alice Sarah FITCH CRANE was born in 1838, and died in 1903. They were interred in Original Block 3 at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

George H. HARDING has been a resident of Mason City since 1871, with the exception of a single year, when he lived on his farm in Lime Creek township. Mr. HARDING was born in Orange Co., N. Y., Jan. 1, 1836. His parents, David H. and Fannie (REEVES) HARDING, were both natives of the same county. The mother died in 1864; the father died at Mason City in December, 1880, at the advanced age of seventy-seven years. Mr. HARDING was raised on his father's farm, and acquired his education in the winter terms of the public school. He learned his trade at the age of twenty-two, and made it his active pursuit until he came west. He was married in Chautauqua Co., N. Y., to Cynthia BRIGHTMAN, who died in March, 1874, leaving one child Fannie. The character of Mrs. HARDING is held in loving remembrance by her family as a consistent Christian and a faithful wife and mother. The present wife is a sister of the former Mrs. HARDING. She is the mother of two children Edna and Charles H. The farm of Mr. HARDING contains 240 acres, valued at $7,200. In politics he is a democrat, and is posted on all the issues of the times.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Cynthia (BRIGHTMAN) HARDING was born September 8, 1843, and died March 29, 1874. George H. HARDING died January 12, 1920. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

J. S. WHEELER, one of the enterprising stock men of Cerro Gordo county, was born in Madison Co., N. Y., May 15, 1821. His parents were Joseph WHEELER and Sally (SHELTON) WHEELER, natives of New York State. They were married in Connecticut and emigrated to Madison Co., N. Y., where he embarked in farming. They were the parents of seven children, three sons and four daughters. Mr. and Mrs. WHEELER were ardent supporters of the Baptist Church, of which they were members. In 1855 the family went to Boone Co., Ill., near Belvidere, where Mr. WHEELER embarked in farming, and where he remained until his death, which occurred in 1859. Mrs. WHEELER died ten years later. J. S. WHEELER, the subject of this sketch, was reared as a farmer boy, receiving his education in the common schools. In 1855 he removed to Illinois with his parents, where he became acquainted with and married Nettie CATTON. In 1871 they came to Cerro Gordo county, settling in Mason City, where he has been largely engaged in shipping and raising stock. Mr. WHEELER is among the largest stock shippers and growers in northwestern Iowa, In 1883 he had 800 head of stock on his farms, his shipments amounting to 900 car loads of stock and about fifty car loads of hogs. He has 2,300 acres of land in Cerro Gordo county, valued at thirty dollars per acre; 440 acres in Benton county, valued at thirty-five dollars per acre. He has a beautiful residence in Mason City, valued at $7,000. Mr. and Mrs. WHEELER are the parents of one child May, wife of James E. MOORE. They are members of the Baptist Church of Mason City.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Jonathan S. WHEELER died at the age of 92 years in August of 1911.

Hathorn McCULLOUGH was born in Buffalo, N. Y., Nov. 29, 1838. His parents, John H. and Sarah F. (WELLS) McCULLOUGH, were the parents of three children Hathorn, William and John Allburt. The father died in 1845, and the mother was afterward married to Luther BUXTON. They had three children Emma J., Francis G., deceased, and Henry L. Mr. McCULLOUGH received a good education, and in 1859 went to Wisconsin, locating at Oshkosh, Winnebago county, where he was occupied with farming. He was married there to Charlotte M. BROWN, a native of Pennsylvania, born March 24, 1839. Mr. and Mrs. McCULLOUGH have five sons Frank H., William A., Alfred H., Jesse H. and John R. In 1872 the family removed to Cerro Gordo county, where Mr. McCULLOUGH again interested himself in farming until the spring of 1883, when he established his present business, and is proprietor of the Mason City Dairy. He has twenty-live fine milch cows, and is doing a good business.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Hanthorn McCULLOUGH died on September 21, 1913. Charlotte M. (BROWN) McCULLOUGH was born March 24, 1839, and died June 22, 1907. Jesse E. McCULLOUGH ws born in 1868, and died in 1933; his wife, Maude (HOWE) McCULLOUGH, was born June 24, 1874, and died September 6, 1916. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

L[ewis]. S. EAGER became a resident of Mason City in 1876. He was a citizen of Falls township for many years, and has seen the development of Cerro Gordo county from its earliest settlement. He was born in Windham Co., Vt., Oct. 31, 1827. He is a son of Nathan and Theda (SHERWIN) EAGER, natives of Vermont. Their family included seven children, six of whom lived to mature years. Mr. EAGER grew to manhood in the Green Mountain State and obtained a fair education. In the fall of 1852 he came west and entered a business house at Buffalo Grove, Ogle Co., Ill. In the winter of 1854 he went to Cedar Rapids in the interests of his employers, and during the following summer traveled through Cerro Gordo county. The promise of the country allured him, and in 1866 he established a dry goods store at Shell Rock Falls. He was married in 1860 to Lydia WILTFONG, and the family household includes three children Jessie, Nahum Hiland, and Arthur. Mrs. EAGER is a member of the Methodist Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Lydia (WILTFONG) EAGER was born in La Porte County, Indiana, on January of 1825, the daughter of Michael and Catherine WILTFONG, sister of Elijah WILTFONG, and died January 1, 1903, aged 78 years, New Carlisle, Indiana.

George W. BRETT was born in Boone Co., Ill., Oct. 13, 1849. His parents, William and Ellen BRETT, were natives of England. They came to America about the year 1843 and located in Illinois. Their children included three daughters and one son. Mr. BRETT, Sr., went to Bremer Co., Iowa, in the fall of 1866, and took up his residence at Waverly, since which time he has been interested in land speculation, and is one of the largest holders of real estate in northern Iowa. Mr. BRETT, of this sketch, settled in Mason City in 1878, chiefly for the purpose of superintending his father's business at this point. He graduated from the International Business College of Chicago, July 2, 1874. He was married in Brandon, Wis., to Alice, daughter of Ezra SHELDON, a native of Onondaga Co., N. Y., born in March, 1851. Mr. and Mrs. BRETT have two children Bert H. and Hattie R. Mr. BRETT is a member of the Knights of Pythias.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: George W. BRETT died in 1936. Alice (SHELDON) BRETT was born in 1851, and died in 1936. Bert H. BRETT was born in 1876, and died in 1934; his wife Eudora G. was born in 1879, and died in 1956. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

G. T. BURGESS was born in Blue Earth Co., Minn., March 12, 1856. His parents, J. L. and Miranda (BELL) BURGESS, were natives of Indiana. They went to Minnesota in 1854, and were among the earliest settlers of Blue Earth county. Mr. BURGESS went to school in the log school houses of the pioneers, and at fifteen learned the trade of carpenter and joiner, which he followed some years. He was married in 1880. to Mary A. DAVIDSON, of Janesville, Minn. They have one child - Nellie. In 1882 Mr. BURGESS came to Mason City. He is a member of the Odd Fellows' order at Mason City.

John RUSSELL has been a resident of Iowa since 1853. In that year he came to Cerro Gordo Co., Iowa, to enter land, and in 1855 moved his family, settling in Lime Creek township. He came to this county in company with David and Edward WRIGHT. He built a log cabin in which his household resided a few years. It had a shed roof and no floor, and the fire place extended across one end of the building. In common with pioneer testimony, both Mr. and Mrs. RUSSELL say they never experienced happier days than there, when everybody tried to make the best of everything. The nearest trading post was in Independence, 150 miles distant, a trip to which, made with an ox team, occupied two weeks, and the family left behind were in a region infested with Indians. Mr. RUSSELL walked to Des Moines to enter his land, carrying with him $4,000 to enter land for other parties. The houses on the route were few and far between, and Mr. RUSSELL had several times to sleep in the brushwood. He was born in Westmoreland Co., Penn., Feb. 15, 1809. His father, John RUSSELL, was a native of Scotland and emigrated to America early in life, with his parents. The grandfather of Mr. RUSSELL was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, and died at the age of 104 years. His father was a pioneer of Ohio, and he received his first rudimentary education in a log school house in the Buckeye State, which building was lighted through an aperture cut in the logs and shaded by greased paper. Slabs were used for floor and seats Mr. RUSSELL was married in 1831 to Matilda FERGUSON. Her father was a native of England and her mother of Pennsylvania. Mrs. RUSSELL was born in Ohio. She became the mother of ten children. Four of her sons were soldiers for the Union, and two gave their lives defending their flag. Following is the list McCollum, of Polk Co., Oregon; Harrison P., Jacob, Joseph A., deceased; Elizabeth, deceased; William, died near Vicksburg; Emily, wife of Dr. HARRIS; Sarah O., Mrs. Thomas HODGES, and Samantha.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John RUSSELL died at the age of81 years on August 27, 1890. Matilda (FERGUSON) RUSSELL died at the age of 77 years on August 11, 1890. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Capt. E. D. DOUD, a prominent citizen of Mason City, located here in 1869, buying a large tract of land 1,440 acres in Cerro Gordo county. He was born in Washtenaw Co., Mich., Oct. 11, 1837. He is a son of Calvin and Rebecca (DANIELSON) DOUD, and one of a family of three sons and four daughters. His parents died when he was a boy and he was bound to a man named Anthony OVERACKER, who deserves kindly mention for the manner in which he discharged his obligations. The latter settled in McHenry Co., Ill., where Mr. DOUD grew to manhood and obtained a good education. In September, 1861, he enlisted in the 8th Illinois Cavalry, (Jack FARNSWORTH'S big abolition regiment), company H. His command was sent to the army of the Potomac, then under the leadership of Gen. McCLELLAND, where his regiment was in much active service. It was in the advance at Gettysburg and drew first fire from the rebels. He was commissioned first lieutenant, and promoted to the command of his company in August, 1863. He was on the staff of Gen. DAVIS three months, and detailed to a command just before the fight at Beverly Ford. Capt. DOUD won his laurels by meritorious conduct, and was honorably discharged in October, 1864, at the end of his term of enlistment. He was married in May, 1875, to Clara E. COLE, of Maine. He has two children Grace E. and Ardine C. Capt. DOUD has always been actively interested in educational matters.


The first marriage was that of William WILLSON to Abigail GARDNER, who were married by Judge LONG, in 1855.

The first death was Mrs. James STEWART. Her remains were buried near where CARD'S block was erected, and were never removed.

The first school in Mason City was taught by Mrs. Lizzie THOMPSON, in 1856.

The first birth was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfonzo GARNER.

The first store was opened by John L. McMILLEN in 1854.

The first millinery in Mason City was opened by a Miss S. E. HARTSHORN, now wife of J. J. RUSSELL, in 1864.

Telephonic communication was effected between Mason City and Algona, in May, 1878, a distance of over sixty miles.

At the first election in Mason City a cigar box served as a ballot box; it was secured by an iron padlock, nearly as large as the box itself, as the law provided it should be locked.

Perhaps the club dancers of to-day may be interested in knowing when the first "dress ball" was held in Mason City. In March, 1856, J. B. LONG dedicated his new store building by a dance. That the party was a success, may be inferred from the fact that there were seventy-five couples in attendance. Mrs. McMILLEN got the supper for over 150 persons. They came from far and near, and had a royal time.

In July, 1876, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William BURGE was fatally burned by a kerosene explosion, occasioned by the child's trying to rekindle a fire to play ironing with, her mother having just finished her week's ironing and calling on a neighboring lady. She only lived four hours.

In the spring of 1876 an ice gorge was suddenly formed in Willow creek, resulting in much damage. After the gorge, which caused the high water at the Commercial street bridge, gave way, it carried the heavy mass of ice farther down into PARKER'S mill pond, where the ice had not before been broken, piling it up several feet above the level of the pond. As the heavy mass was forced by the flood upon the thick ice of the pond, it was broken up and piled higher yet, making a most formidable appearance. It was thought at one time that PARKER'S mill must surely so down stream with this fearful tide of surging, trembling icy mass. Large blocks of ice were thrown upon the embankment on the west side of the pond, and against the heavy earth and stone embankment or ice-breaker of the flume, which caused another gorge before the mill was reached. Here it remained until about 11 o'clock at night, when it again broke away, taking a large share of the central portion of the dam, and materially damaging the ice guard and flume. The huge blocks of ice grazed the mill, breaking the weather boards and window sills, which must have been all of seven feet above the ordinary level of the mill pond. The heavy oak timbers twelve inches square, over the flume, fully seven feet high, were struck by a cake of ice and they snapped like a brittle pipe stem or a dead reed. The damage done to Mr. PARKER, upon the occasion, was figured at $500.


This exposition was given under the direction of the ladies of the Congregational aid society, on the anniversary of WASHINGTON'S birthday, and of the Nation's one-hundredth. There were many curious relics among which was one of peculiar interest, exhibited by Mrs. ALEXANDER, it being a letter written by Richard Henry LEE to George WASHINGTON, dated "N. Y., Nov. 9, 1777."

Several specimens of continental currency were shown, giving a striking contrast between those primitive times and the day in which we live. A pipe of peace shown by W. V. TICKNOR was a fine specimen of Indian skill and handiwork.

Among ancient documents was a printed proclamation for a day of fasting, under King George III. The dry goods merchants of Mason City had on display a large and finely selected stock of fancy goods, fabrics and garments, to show a contrast with those arranged by the ladies of ancient styles and primitive manufacture.


There is perhaps no better index to the character of a people than the interest manifested on public occasions. No people in Iowa held more befitting ceremonies over the death of President GARFIELD, than did the citizens in and about Mason City. Under an order of the mayor, all business was suspended from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Most business houses were deeply draped in mourning, and men of all political parties seemed to be pressed down under the National calamity. The memorial service was held at the city park, the Methodist church bell sounding the solemn dirge knell. The procession was headed in the following order: The Band, followed by the officers and speakers; the Grand Army of the Republic; Iowa National Guards; Masonic Fraternity; Odd Fellows Order; and following these, came five hundred school children, which made an imposing sight. At the head of each school was born a banner, containing these mottoes: "GARFIELD, the poor widow's son;" "GARFIELD the teacher;" "GARFIELD the law maker;" "GARFIELD the statesman;" "GARFIELD the ruler;" "GARFIELD the ideal American, his virtues we will imitate;" "I would rather be beaten in right than succeed in wrong;" "Talent is the power to do hard work;" "His character was as grand and simple as a collossal pillar of chiseled granite."

To show the sentiment which prevailed in the hearts of this vast band of mourners, we give one of the five resolutions offered by the committee, which consisted of Hon. I. W. CARD, L. L. KLINEFELTER and S. H. WASHBURN.

-Resolved, That to the affectionate son, toiling boy, honest man, faithful teacher, tender hisband and father, brave soldier and master of rulers, James A. GARFIELD, we bid hail and farewell; and to his long enduring and noblest of widows and family, his children and grief stricken mother, we tender that sympathy which meaneth much but availeth nothing; with only this one consolation for a broken family, a sorrowing Nation and grieved world. He rests well, whose work is well done."


Mason City was incorporated as a town in 1870, and in 1881, became a city. The following named persons have served as mayor, in the order in which they came:

W. C. STANBERY, W. W. KNAPP, A. B. TUTTLE, D. B. MASON, J. B. DAKIN, B. F. HARTSHORN, R. WILBER, John D. GLASS, W. V. LUCAS and John CLIGGETT. The latter was elected in 1880, and was still serving in 1883.

Anson C. OWEN, marshal of Mason City and a pioneer of Cerro Gordo county, has been a resident of Cerro Gordo county since 1853. He was born in Tompkins Co., N. Y., Jan. 14, 1810. He is a son of Jonathan and Betsey (LUDLUM) OWEN, natives of Orange Co., N. Y. They had five sons and four daughters born in Tompkins county, all of whom reached maturity and reared families. Mr. OWEN, senior, served in the War of 1812, in Colonel CAMP'S Cavalry. He was a farmer, and in 1828 united mercantile operations with agriculture, and maintained his double business eighteen years. Mr. OWEN, of this sketch, was reared on a farm with primitive advantages for education. He went to Detroit in the spring of 1833, then a village with one street and a population of 200. Three years later he went to Jackson Co., Mich., where he obtained emplomyent in a saw-mill. The next year he went to St. Joseph on foot, by the old territorial road, and on to Chicago by schooner. The great city of nearly 600,000 people was then a collection of a few shanties. In 1837 he took the first stage out of Chicago bound for Rockford. He made a claim of land in Owen township, Winnebago Co., Ill., six miles north of the city of Rockford, and improved a farm. In 1839 he hauled the first load of wheat from Winnebago county to Chicago and sold it for thirty-eight cents per bushel, taking his pay in leather. He was married in 1840 to Lorinda THOMAS.

Mr. and Mrs. OWEN had four children Martha, Marilda, Robert and May. In the spring of 1853 he moved his family to Cerro Gordo county and entered a claim at OWEN'S Grove, named in his honor. His family lived six months in tents, and in the spring of 1854 he removed them to the place where he was building, a log house. July 5, of that year, the Sioux Indians drove them from the county, and they took refuge at Cedar Falls, where the household remained six weeks while Mr. OWEN returned and finished his house, where they set up housekeeping about the middle of August. Land came into market about this time, and Mr. OWEN went on foot to Rockford, Ill., obtained what money he needed at 40 per cent, and in September went to Des Moines and purchased his land. His nearest neighbor, at the time he improved his farm, lived ten miles away. In 1864 he sold his place and bought a farm one and a half miles north of Mason City, in the township of Lime Creek, which he sold in 1868 and moved to Mason City.

Mr. OWEN came to Cerro Gordo county with but $5 in money, but with determination, hard work and economy he has acquired a comfortable substance. He took the first government mail from Cerro Gordo county to Iowa Falls, in 1862. He made the route, fifty miles, on snow shoes.

Mr. OWEN is a radical republican, and was one of the first supervisors of Owen township. He has held his present incumbency five years, and is a popular official. His information concerning county and town affairs is unlimited. He has been a surveyor many years, and is probably the best posted man in the county on sectional lines.

Marcus OWEN is the only child, born to them at Owen's Grove, this county, being the first birth at the grove. Mr. OWEN was one of the earliest settlers of the county, and many a way-faring traveler has just cause to remember, with lifelong obligations, the kindly treatment and hospitality of this old pioneer. Mr. OWEN is seventy-three years of age, and despite advanced years, he is hale and hearty still.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Anson C. OWEN died in 1892. Lorinda (THOMAS) OWEN was born in 1823, and died in 1918. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

James M. BECKER was born in Bradford Co., Penn., Aug 8, 1839. He is a son of Captain David and Fannie (BENHAM) BECKER. His parents emigrated to Carroll Co., Ill. in 1843, where they spent the last years of their lives. James M. was reared in Carroll county, and in 1864 he enlisted in the 164th regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, company A. His regiment was placed on duty at Springfield, 111. In 1866 he married Ellen C. CUMMINGS, of Vermont. They have had five children, three of whom were living in 1883 Fannie, Lorenzo and Ruth. Mr. BECKER came to Mason City in 1870. In politics he is a republican. He belongs to the A.O.U.W. and G.A.R.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: James M. BECKER died on May 26, 1899. Ellen C. (CUMMINGS) BECKER was born January 15, 1840, and died on August 13, 1916. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.


Mason City Post Office, 1920

Before 1857, the people of Mason City and the surrounding country obtained their mail through carriers paid by private subscriptions. Upon one occasion James JENKINSON, the first settler on Lime creek, brought the mail on his return from Dubuque, and at night it was placed in a tub, which before morning was full of rain water, the letters being all afloat. It is related that it was the custom of the early settlers to ask every one who came from a southeasterly direction to Mason City if they had any mail for these parts.

A postoffice was established at Mason City in 1857. Jarvis CHURCH was the first postmaster. He was succeeded by A. GARNER. In 1869 Dr. Silas CARD was appointed; he held the office till the time of his death, in 1874. He first received $25 per month, which was hardly enough to pay the expenses of running the office. Mrs. CARD was appointed to fill the vacancy caused by her husband's death. She resigned in 1877. In April, 1877, I. W. CARD was appointed and was still holding the office in 1883. His salary at first was $1,800 per year. It was made a Presidential office in February, 1872, and became a money order office Aug. 1, 1870. The first order issued was to Edwin WOODMAN, payable to Caroline WOODMAN, Monroe, Wis.; amount, $25; date Aug. 11, 1870.

The first order received for payment was from L. L. KING, Rockford, Ill., to Solomon SIMPKINS, bearing date Aug. 12, 1870. Up to Aug. 27, 1883, there had been 16,335 money orders issued from this office. The business of the office was five times as great in 1883 as it was in 1877, being quite typical of the business interests of the city. The office is fitted up in a style that would do credit to a much larger city.


Mason City Depot

Mason City is not a railroad town in the ordinary sense of the term, but more than this, it is the center of a grand far reaching system of railways, which is to bring thither for exchange the products of the various sections of our country as from distant countries. The construction of this vast system of road has but just commenced to give vigor and impetus to Cerro Gordo county. Mason City has felt the boom which is destined to make her one of the strongest places in northern Iowa. These three railways which center here were finished in the fall and winter of 1870. The year following the population of this place nearly doubled, and in wealth it quadrupled, and at the date of this book, real estate has advanced 50 per cent within twelve month's time. So it will be seen that the railways have done much for Mason City and surrounding country, and the speculations as to her future are not idle fancies, but rational conclusions, drawn from the general surroundings.


This line was completed to Mason City in 1869, placing the town on a direct line with Milwaukee, to which point the large grain crops of the county are annually transported, at the same time giving direct connection with all points east. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul is the most thoroughly equipped road in the great northwest, and is almost universally acknowledged to be such by the teaming thousands who avail themselves of this royal route.


What is known as the Austin Branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, was first built by the Mason City and Minnesota Railroad Company, connecting Mason City with the Milwaukee line, running from St. Paul to Dubuque via. Austin, Minn. Thus it may be seen that this road and the Central of Iowa, form a complete continuous and almost air line from Duluth, on Lake Superior, to St. Louis, the great emporium ot the south, thus giving Mason City two additional outlets for her produce.

George W. SANBORN, superintendent of the Iowa and Dakota division of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, was born in Bath, N. H., Sept. 25, 1832. He is the eldest of five sons; his parents being Martin L. SANBORN and Emeline SMITH. Mr. SANBORN received a good common school education and remained on his father's farm until he attained his majority, when he left his native hills to seek his fortune in the great west. He came to Milwaukee, Wis., and went to work on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, which was then in its infancy and was known as the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad. For thirty years his time and energies have been spent in the service of this great corporation, and he has worked his way up from a brakeman to his present responsible position. In 1869 Mr. SANBORN was appointed assistant superintendent of the northern division of the road, and the following year was transferred to the Iowa & Dakota division, which at that time extended over only 126 miles, but which under his superintendence has grown into 576 miles, with its present western terminus resting on the banks of the Missouri river, at Chamberlain, Dak. Mr. SANFORD possesses great executive ability, untiring energy, courage and endurance. These qualities, coupled with his early training in constructing and operating the roads under his superintendence, make him one of the most practical, experienced, and best equipped railroad men of the day in our new northwest. Immediately upon receiving his appointment on the Iowa & Dakota division, Mr. SANBORN came to Mason City, where he has since resided. He has always taken a deep interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of his adopted city, and its healthy growth and present prosperity are largely due to the fact that he established the headquarters of his division here. His services as a member of the school board for several years, serving a portion of the time as its president, have been of great and permanent value to the community. In political sentiments Mr. SANBORN is a democrat; he has not, however, taken any active part in political affairs, and has never sought political honors, having found in his legitimate business employment for his highest powers. He is very modest and unassuming in his habits and manners; is the staunchest of friends and loves to dispense hospitality with a free and generous hand. The employees of the road know that if they do their duty they have no truer friend than their superintendent, who looks carefully after their wellfare and is prompt to resent their wrongs as if personal to himself. In 1858 Mr. SANBORN was married to Miss E. E. RICHARDS, daughter of Mills RICHARDS and Amelia HUMPHREY, natives of Connecticut, from which State they moved to Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. SANBORN have four children Harry R., George L., James S. and Anna Laura. Mr. SANBORN is still comparatively young and is in the full maturity and vigor of his powers.

Dennis H. CROSS, foreman of the car shops of Mason City, was born in Canada East, July 4, 1854. When about thirteen or fourteen years of age, he came to Iowa and located at Monona, Clayton county, where he followed farming. In 1870 he came to Cerro Gordo county. In 1880 he was appointed foreman of the car shops, and has the charge of twenty-five men. He was married in 1874 to Mary O'NEIL, by whom he has had four children William H., John J., Mary E. and Aggie.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Dennis H. CROSS died in 1919. Mary (O'NEIL) CROSS was born in 1852, and died in 1924. Children of Dennis H. and Mary (O'NEIL) CROSS: William H. CROSS was born in 1875, and died in 1962; Mary E. CROSSwas born in 1874, and died in 1954; John J. CROSS was born in 1877, and died in 1914; Dennis L. CROSS was born July 25, 1885, and died December 10, 1856, and his wife, Amanda (SCAGEL) CROSS, was born October 7, 1879 and died June 4, 1979. They were interred in Block 4 of [Elmwood] St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.


This line was built into Mason City, on its route through Cerro Gordo county, from south to north, in 1870, which established a direct communication with St. Louis and St. Paul, without change of cars. For a few months Mason City was the terminal point of the road, but shortly pushed northward to complete the grand chain between the south and north. This road has been of invaluable service to the farming class, consequently to all, by giving them a southern outlet on the east via the numerous east and west routes through Iowa, all of which are crossed by this line. This road does both a heavy passenger and freight business; for the former it is a very popular route, and its management has provided the finest coach equipment, which can be procured. This railway did more for the development of Cerro Gordo county than any other ten factors, as prior to its construction there was no way of getting coal for fuel, and the scarcity of timber kept settlers away; but no sooner had this line been completed, than large amounts of coal from southern Iowa were shipped to the county, and then heavy settlement commenced.

C.M. & St.P Railyard and Depot, Mason City


The first sermon preached in Mason City was heard by nearly all the inhabitants of the county, who assembled in a newly built house, without a floor; the audience being seated upon the joists, while Rev. Mr. STYLES (United Brethren) addressed them. This occasion was rendered all the more historic by John McMillen shooting a wolf in his hen house before service commenced.


The Baptist Church, of Mason City, was organized, Nov. 17, 1866, with ten members: A. DUNHAM and wife, John KELLER and wife, Mrs. WILLIAMS, Mrs. MILLER, Harriet TUTTLE, Nella TUTTLE, Mr. RENNILLS and wife. Rev. George W. FREEMAN, of the Home Missionary Society, was the moderator of the meeting, which was held in the old stone school house in Mason City. A. DUNHAM was chosen as the first deacon, and John KELLER as church clerk. The society here took for its name "The First Regular Baptist Church of Mason City." The society had no regular pastor until 1871, but had various ministers preach, for them from time to time. Rev. Mr. CRANDALL supplied the pulpit for a part of 1869-70, but in February, 1871, Rev. S. C. SALE, of Waterloo, Wis., was called to the pastorate. Among those who filled the pulpit between the years 1866 and 1871, was a theological student from Kalamazoo Charles LEGG. Rev. Mr. SALE remained with the Church, until October. 1872, and was succeeded by Rev. Mr. TUCKER, who remained until some time in 1877. Mr. TUCKER was a man of great force of character, full of religious zeal just the type of a man the Church in its infancy and weakness needed; and he proved, during his six years of labor, to be a great power to the society, the influence of which is still going on. Following Mr. TUCKER came Rev. Austin GIBB, who remained one year, after which Rev. Mr. SALE returned and labored with them for two years and a half. Rev. W. H. H. AVERY was then called, and he continued until 1882. During 1882-3 the Church was without a pastor. In August, 1874, the society took the first steps towards erecting a church building their services having been held at the stone school house, Congregational chapel, and various places up to that time. During 1869, while Rev. CRANDALL was yet with them, the ladies' sewing society of the church was organized, one too, which afterward proved to be an arm of strength to the church proper. At a business meeting held in August, 1874, the following building commitee was appointed: Messrs. TUTTLE, WHEELER, GLASS, WALLING and BROWN. This committee took no active measures until the spring of 1876, when they purchased lots and put in a foundation, costing $580. FARRELL, LEWIS & WHITE did the mason work, which was said to be the best job in this section of country. Soon after the superstructure was added a frame building, constructed by W. W. BLOOD, at a total cost of $5,300. The church was completed and dedicated, Nov. 1st, 1876. The dedication services were of the most imposing character. Rev. Mr. HURD, of Marshalltown, preached the dedicatory sermon. The presentation was made, on behalf of the building committee, by John D. GLASS, one of their number. His remarks were very appropriate, brief and comprehensive. The key was then received by Deacon DUNHAM for the trustees, who also made very befitting remarks. The dedication hymn, which was composed by the pastor, Rev. C. T. TUCKER, read, in part, as follows:

"Through weary months of toil and care,
Thy people, Lord, have wandered alone;

The jubilee, at length appears.
Nor prayer, nor hopes have been in vain.

Accept the gift of house and heart,
Within these walls, O, deign to dwell,

Let saints rejoice, nor hence depart,
Till faith and hope their souls shall fill.

And when, with house not made with hands,
At length our weary way we wind,

Permit us Lord, in fairer lands,
To sing and praise thee withont end."

The church is provided with a fine pipe organ, valued at $1,500, though not costing the Church this amount. The Sunday school organization was formed in 1870, in the old stone school house, with J. G. BROWN as its first superintendent, who was succeeded by Messrs. DUNHAM and HUGHES; also Mrs. J. S. WHEELER and John D. GLASS. At the time of the organization the school numbered thirty members; in 1883, it had an average attendance of 105 scholars. The minutes of the Baptist Church for 1882, show a Church memberbership of 144.

In 1883 the officers were: G. R. MILLER, J. D. GLASS, Charles HUGHES, J. A. RICHARDSON and J. G. BROWN, trustees; 0. A. GOODHUE, E. J. SLEEPER, J. G. BROWN and Charles TONDRO, deacons; J. G. BROWN, clerk; A. B. TUTTLE, treasurer.


The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized by the following named eleven members, March 8, 1857: Elisha RANDALL, wife and daughter, Mrs. J. B. LONG, Mrs. George BRENTNER, Timothy PARKER and wife, Alfred TAYLOR and wife, N. M. ADAMS and wife. Rev. FREEMAN was the first pastor. The first quarterly meeting was held March 15, 1857. The society held services for some time in the upper story of John L. McMILLEN'S store, and afterward at the school house. In 1872 a fine brick church was completed just west of the DYER House. The basement was built a year or two earlier than the building proper. Owing to hard times, work on the main building was suspended, a roof put to the basement, and services held therein until building was resumed in 1872. The basement was finally divided into three class rooms, one of which is used for a lecture room. The main audience room is well planned, and has a seating capacity of 400. A rich, mellow- toned pipe organ, costing $1,000, has been highly prized by the society, who maintain one of the best church choirs in the State. In 1883 they were trained by, and under the leadership of Prof. HUNTLEY. The society built the best parsonage in their conference in 1881. This is a spacious two-story frame house, situated near the public square. The cost of this building to the society was $2,300, exclusive of grounds. This society is indebted largely, to Elisha RANDALL for personal services rendered in the erection of this house of worship. He worked, planned and gave his money freely toward the church of his choice. In 1883 the membership was 201, and the church was in a flourishing condition. Its pastor was Rev. J. T. CRIPPEN. A well organized, good working Sunday school existed in 1883, which had a membership of 174. The school had a library containing 400 volumes.


The Congregational Church, of Mason City, was organized March 7, 1858, under the direction of Rev. Thomas TENNEY, of Plymouth, who, as missionary of the American Home Missionary Society, had held this as one of his preaching points since 1855. As there was no church building previous to 1868, services were held in private houses at first, and afterwards in the school house or court house; but more frequently in a school house, three miles north, on Lime creek. This building was afterward purchased by some of the citizens and enlarged as a chapel. A church edifice was completed Sept. 4, 1868. The lot upon which it was erected was purchased in April, 1866, for $30. The house was formally dedicated May 12, 1868. The cost of the building as it then stood was $4,294. This amount was raised by subscription, except $500 donated by the Congregational Union. In 1871 a belfry and spire was erected at a cost of $500. The following are the names of the several pastors serving the church since its organization in the order in which they came: Revs. Thomas TENNEY, S. P. La DUE, James D. MASON, James B. GILBERT, William P. BENNETT, Newton F. BLAKESLEE, E. C. MOULTON, and James R. KNODELL. The latter was pastor in 1883. The first members were: Nathiel ADAMS, Emma ADAMS, Emma E. ADAMS, Charles M. ADAMS, Simon Van PATTER, L. J. Huntley, Lucy TEMPLE, Elizabeth DIBBLE, Jane E. GARNER, T. GREEN, Eleanor FLORENCE. Up to August, 1883, the register of communicants showed that 226 persons had been members of the church since its oreranization. The first deacon of the church was Simon Van PATTER. In 1883 this society was in a flourishing condition, being out of debt and the possessors of a finely furnished church with a large pipe organ, costing over $1,000.


The Catholic Church, of Mason City, was organized in 1864, at which time a few Catholic people had settled in and about the place. Previous to this they had occasional services at private houses, but no regular meeting place or priest, but depended solely on missionaries from abroad. In 1870 the erection of a church was commenced. The building committee were: Daniel J. FARRELL and Thomas EAGAN, both of whom did much for the church. The first trustees were: Timothy DWAN, John GRIFFIN and William USHER. The house of worship was begun in 1870 and completed in 1871. It was built by subscription, at a cost of about $2,000.

Among the first Catholic families who settled here were: Daniel DOUGHTY (sic, should be DOUGHERTY, James MACKEY, John BURNS, William POWERS, William FARRELL, John PERCELL, Dennis McMORROW, Thomas EAGAN, Timothy CRONAN, James LANDERS, James O'RILEY, Robert GLASS, John COLLINS, N. McKenna, Dennis CRUDEN, Thomas CROSS, Martin SOLIN, John GALLIGHER, Thomas O'RILY and David KELLY. Father FEELY, a missionary located at Charles City, deserves much credit for the building of the Mason City church.

In 1873 the mission was divided, and Father FANNERY, who took in a large territory adjacent to this county, was the next priest in charge. He remained two and one-half years and was succeeded by Father Thomas O'RILEY, who carried on the work two years and was succeeded by Father Michel CAROLAN, who still serves the church.

There are 125 families belonging to the society at present. They conduct a Sunday school, which was organized in 1872 by the priest, and taught by some of the members of the congregation. The average attendance is about seventy. Much credit is due to Mr. FARRELL for the services he rendered the church in its infancy, when it needed just the kind of aid which Mr. FARRELL so freely gave. The church in 1883 was in good financial condition, being out of debt, and the owners of other property. The church is 30x50 feet, with gallery, giving a seating capacity of 400.


The Episcopal denomination had a well organized society in 1883, at which time a new church edifice was being erected.

Rev. William L. ESTABROOK, pastor of the Episcopal Church of Mason City, was born in New Brunswick, Jan. 24, 1827. His parents were William L. ESTABROOK, a native of New Brunswick, and J. B. (NEWCOMB) ESTABROOK, of English descent. The son received his preparatory education in St. John Academy, and when about sixteen years of age, he commenced reading medicine with Dr. FITCH, a graduate of Edinburg. In 1847 he graduated at Philadelphia College. He then practiced medicine at St. Johns for one year. In 1848 he went to Bangor, Maine, where he was married to Frances C. HALL, daughter of Capt. William HALL, of Maine. In 1849 he went to California, around Cape Horn, as surgeon and part owner of the vessel. In 1852 he returned from California and located at Loch Haven, Penn., and engaged in the practice of medicine. In 1855 he removed to Albany, Ill., and in 1857 to Clinton Co., Iowa. In 1861 he was received as deacon in the Episcopal Church, by Bishop LEE. In 1861 he was commissioned chaplain of the 15th Iowa regiment, and also acted as surgeon. In 1863 he was appointed, by Gen. GRANT, as chaplain of all the regiments at Memphis, Tenn., and was afterwards appointed chaplain at Keokuk. In 1864 he was commissioned surgeon of the 45th regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, with the rank of major, serving until the close of the war. He was ordained a priest in 1847 by Bishop LEE, of Davenport, Iowa, and has officiated most of the time in Iowa and Illinois. In 1882 he came to Mason City, Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. ESTABROOK are the parents of one child Jessie R , wife of Warren BARNHART, of the firm of BARNHART Brothers & SPONSELLER. Rev. ESTABROOK has for a long time been a member of the Masonic order, and also of the I.O.O.F.


The first cemetery in the neighborhood of Mason City, and the one in use until 1867, was situated about a half mile northeast of the city, on section 3, on Lime creek. But as the country further developed, it was deemed necessary to procure other grounds, consequently, in 1867, an incorporated organization was perfected, known as the Mason City Cemetery Association, which purchased the present grounds [Elmwood Cemetery] laying a half mile to the southwest of the city, on a beautiful, well-drained plateau, decending towards the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad. Being somewhat higher than the town, the view in either direction presents a charming sight. The society, after purchasing the land, platted it and thus the present cemetery was opened; but not until 1871, was there much improvement made upon the grounds. At that date the grounds were fenced, lots staked off and systematically numbered. The Catholic portion [St. Joseph Cemetery] of this cemetery is in an enclosure just north of the other. Among the fine monuments in this cemetery are two of an imposing character, that of Leonard HILL and Mrs. A. T. PARKER. The people of Mason City are public spirited, and in the matter of caring for the city of the dead, they are not found wanting. Each recurring springtime these grounds are almost daily visited, the green carpeting about the graves smoothed down and a floral offering left upon the sacred mounds. A sidewalk runs from the city nearly to the grounds. The citizens of the place take interest in the annual Decoration Day of the soldier's graves, always having befitting ceremonies upon that occasion.


The first school in Mason City was taught in 1856, by Mrs. Lizzie THOMPSON, wife of A. M. THOMPSON, who came from Keene, N. H., in 1855. The school was held in a log house owned by J. B. LONG.

Central School, Mason City, 1900

Mason City has ever been progressive in educational matters, which speaks well for the people. In 1872 the erection of a magnificent school building was commenced, and on the 4th of July, that year, the prominent feature of the celebration programme, was laying of the corner stone of this school house, which so beautifully adorns the city and is the just pride of her citizens. A throng of people assembled to witness the imposing ceremony. Mr. MOULTON, county superintendent, delivered the address, after which the corner stone was placed, and the school board and teachers each gave expression to some sentiment, as his or her turn came to take the trowel. A tin box containing the following articles were placed within the stone: A copy of the school laws of Iowa; a copy of the [illegible]; the court calender; MOULTON'S address; a half silver dollar each from Messrs. SANBORN, TIFFANY and TUTTLE, and an express package, contents unknown, from A. J. BENTON.

This building was formally dedicated, Oct. 10, 1874, with appropriate ceremonies. The people of Mason City had waited long for the completion of this, one of the finest structures in the entire northwest, and as the day drew near, all were zealous to take part in the ceremony. Never before had Mason City witnessed such a gathering of citizens, the expression of whose faces attested the pride and gratification all felt within, over the final completion of the union school building. The Mason City cornet band opened by an overture which was followed by "Crowned with the Tempest," rendered by Prof. HUNTLEY'S trained choir. Prof. GILCHRIST delivered an able address, after which A. B. TUTTLE, on behalf of the school board, presented the building in a formal manner to the people of Mason City. The response in behalf of the citizens was offered by Hon. Edwin FLINT.

This building is a three story stone structure, built at a cost of $30,000. In 1883 there were 950 scholars entitled to school privileges in Mason City, independent district.


Mason City Park, 1907

But few northern Iowa towns have a more desirable park, than Mason City. The grounds which are level and smooth, have become well sodded, and the lawn in the springtime and summer presents a carpeting of rich dark green, which, together with the hundreds of evergreens, alder and maple shade trees, affords a landscape most charming to the eye. The park is well protected by an encloure of a plain, yet very substantial fence. There are four gateways of entrance, one at each of the four corners, with foot paths running diagonally across the grounds The city has, at the cost of $300, erected a stately observatory, or band stand, in the centre of the park, which lends greater attraction to the grounds. This stand is an octagon, running up about twenty-five feet, capped with a symmetrical, tin topped dome, surmounted by a tall flag staff. The citizens take a just pride in this park, and it is a very popular resort in summer time, being used for gatherings of a public character.


The following societies were represented in Mason City in 1883: Masonic, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Ancient Order of United Workman, Grand Army of the Republic and Iowa National Guards.

OCCIDENTAL LODGE, No. 171, was organized May 3, 1878, with the following charter members: George R. MILLER, P. W. M.; J. B. MONTAGUE, M. W.; R. D. PATTON, O.; Richard VALENTINE, recorder; F. M. RODGERS, financier; T. G. EMSLEY, receiver; C. P. SHIPLEY, guide; M. H. KLING, I. W; Ed. T. ELY, O. W.; Will Ed. TUCKER, M. S. SCHERMERHORN, J. H. CAUGHT, Henry KURL, Benjamin PARDON, T. B. McMILLEN, William B. SILSON, E. WARBASSE, Dr. C. H. SMITH and James RULE. In 1883 Capt. George R. MILLER was grand worthy master of the State lodge. At the time the Iowa branch of the National order of the A.O.U.W. [Ancient Order of United Workers] withdrew and organized an independent lodge of their own, the Mason City lodge was the first subordinate lodge which took action in this direction. The difficulty arose from the fact that the Grand Lodge made extortionate assessments upon the subordinate lodges, for the relief of the yellow fever sufferers. M. D. SCHERMERHORN, a prominent attorney of the city, opposed the payment of these excessive assessments, and he opened up the way, he found many ready followers. As soon as it was made known throughout the State, a general secession followed, and the result was the lodges of the entire State withdrew, with but few exceptions. In 1883 the Mason City lodge numbered fifty-one, and was in a flourishing condition.

LODGE 70, KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS was initiated in Mason City on the 23d of March, 1882, by the following charter members: C. H. McNIDER, J. B. DAKIN, J. H. WALSH, J. J. CLARK, H. R. LLOYD, D. J. STEWART, Duncan RULE, T. W. THOMPSON, A. H. CUMMINGS, E. J. ROSENKRANS (sic), George WATKINS, A. R. SALE, W. B. McNIDER, L. W . PHILLIPS, O. R. HALL and J. E. E. MARKLEY. Its first officers were J. E. E. MARKLEY, C. C.; Duncan RULE, V. C.; C. H. McNIDER, K. of R. and S.; A. H. CUMMINGS, M. of A.; George WATKINS, M. of V.; J. J. STEWART, M. of F.; J. B. DAKIN, P. C.; J. J. CLARK, P.; A. B. SALE, O. G.

This lodge is becoming a popular lodge in Mason City, notwithstanding nearly every other secret society is well represented here. They leased for a term of years the third story of West's block, on Commercial street, and have a lodge room proper, 25x56 feet, which is furnished in a pleasing manner with the best of carpeting, upholstering work, pictures, altar, etc. Through their kindness the A.O.U.W., Railroad Engineers' Union and Firemen's Union, all use the comforts and conveniences of this hall, which they sub-rent of the K.ofP. The total membership of the lodge in 1883 was forty-three.

Company H, 6th regiment, Iowa National Guards, was organized May, 1873, as the Ellsworth ZOUAVES [Post], with forty-three men. The officers consisted of S. B. DEXTER, captain; H. G. SHOCKEY, 1st lieutenant; W. W. JONES, 2d lieutenant. It was afterward reorganized and became a part of the 6th regiment, I. N. G. [Iowa National Guard]. In the summer of 1877, this company was called to Plymouth to protect the people against a band of 275 tramps. In 1878 the company built their armory, which is 28x50 feet. This building cost $625, and is provided with gun racks, clothing cases for each man, and other conveniences. In 1883 they had $300 in the treasury and were out of debt. The company ranks well with any in Iowa, and is made up from the best men of the county.

The following is a complete roster [1883] of the company:


On the evening of Oct. 12, 1877, the. members of company A, 6th regiment, I. N. G., presented their late captain, now Major S. B. DEXTER, with a splendid sword and belt, as a token of their high esteem for him as a commander. The presentation speech was made by John CLIGGITT. The sword, belt and scabbard cost the company $40.

Farnsworth Post No. 42, of the Grand Army of the Republic [G.A.R.], was organized at Mason City, June 12, 1881. The first roster contained the following names:

E. D. DOUD, Com.; George C. POISAL, Sr. Vice Com.; D. H. BAKER, Jr. Vice Com.; Henry A. MARSH, Adjt.; J. S. CLARK, S. C. RANSOM, Q.M.; J. A. COTTON, O. G.; James H. GIBSON, O. G.; C. E. BEAKER, S. M.; William AIRHEART, 2d M. S.; _. M. ADAMS, Burdette PAYSON, John BEAZOR, F. B. FLORENCE, Edward ROBERTS, A. C. BEMIS, Tim O'BRIEN, R. S. LILLIBRIDGE, G. O. BROWN, James JENKINSON.

In addition to these charter names, have been added and were members of the post in 1883:


1912 G.A.R. Parade, Mason City

Benevolence Lodge, No. 145, A. F. & A. M. [Ancient Free & Accepted Masons], received its charter June 8, 1860. W. C. STANBERY was the first W. M. A lodge had been organized as early as 1856, but never chartered. The officers of the order in 1883 were: I. R. KIRK, W. M,; J. SHERMAN, S. W.; W. W. CAMMERSON, J. W.; J. H. VALENTINE, S. D.; F. P. WHITNEY, J. D.; C. H. McNIDER, secretary; James RUB__, treasurer; George SYMES, tyler. At this date the lodge numbered ninety-four, and was in a very flourishing condition.

Mr. GOLD, of the State Grange of Iowa, organized a grange of the Patrons of Husbandry, in Mason City, March 13, 1873. The names of the twenty-eight charter members were enrolled at that time, from which the following officers were elected: Master, George VERMILYA; overseer, H. K. PERRY; secretary, F. M. RODGER; treasurer, L. HILL; steward, D. J. FARRELL; assistant steward, J. R. ADAMS; gate keeper, T. H. COGGSWELL; lecturer, George R. MILLER. With the decline of this order throughout the State, this lodge ceased to exist.

Mason City Public Library, 1907

The City Library Association was organized in April, 1876. Prior to this date, the library was not under the charge of the city, but controlled by another society; but at this date the books and other property were passed over to the city, upon the conditions that they make an addition of at least $100 worth of books annually. To the city this was indeed a liberal offer, as the library then contained several hundred dollars worth of books. At the following city election a vote was taken by the people, upon such a proposition, and was carried, and the tax-payers assessed for the support of this library.


Lime creek and its main tributary, Willow creek, the outlet of Clear lake, which unite a half mile east of Mason City, are two very remarkable streams of the purest water. The former, in its entire course through a supposed circle, dashes over a rocky bed, and much of the way is walled in by precipitous ledges of lime rock, ranging from ten to fifty feet in height, while the latter stream, through the last two miles of its course, forces its way with an almost irresistible current through similar ledges of rock. The volume of water in these two streams affords ample supply for milling and manufacturing purposes, and so great is this fall that dams affording from eight to ten feet head may be built every mile of their course, without the interference one with another; and so high are these rock-bounded banks that but very little of the adjacent land can be in any case overflowed. H. G. PARKER, at his flouring mills, on the Willow creek, obtains a fall of ten feet, without setting back the water more than eighty rods.

To the pioneer there is always much of interest connected with the first mills built. The first mill in Mason City was erected in the summer of 1855, when the few settlers were rejoiced to know that a saw mill had been put in operation by Elisha RANDALL, who was in company with Samuel DOUGLASS, of Vinton, Iowa. This mill sawed its first board in October, 1855, serving a good purpose in cutting lumber for the buildings to be erected the coming spring. But in the spring of 1856 the proprietors were obliged to witness the rewards of their hard labor, and the pride of the settlement, swept away in a few moments by a flood; but with pluck and energy they soon rebuilt, adding a corn cracker, which was highly appreciated by the settlers, whose chief diet was corn bread.

Mr. RANDALL relates a touching incident of pioneer hardship, in which a man named Place, living twenty-four miles to the north, in Worth county, came in the winter of 1856-7, over the crusted snow-drifts on snow shoes, drawing a sack of corn on a hand sled. It was Sunday morning and he asked Mr. RANDALL if he would go to the mill and grind it out for him, as his family were at home suffering for something to eat. Mr. RANDALL went to the mill and turned on the water, ground the little grist and sent the man home rejoicing over his precious treasure.

A few years later this mill was enlarged and run by E. RANDALL & Son, and in 1875 it was rebuilt and machinery put in for the new prooess plan of making flour. These improvements, together with a new dam, cost about $5,000. The following year Mr. RANDALL sold to John T. ELDER, who was operating the mill in 1883.

Hon. Elisha RANDALL, builder of the first saw and grist mill at Mason City, was one of the thirty-four men who organized the county. He is a son of Elisha and Betsey (BROWN) RANDALL, of Madison Co., N. Y. He was born Sept. 22, 1818, at Brookfield, Madison Co , N. Y., where he gained man's estate, receiving a liberal education. In the autumn of 1854 he came to Iowa, halting a short time at Waterloo; but the following June came to Cerro Gordo county to make it his home. Soon after he came, he, in company with Samuel DOUGLASS, of Vinton, Iowa, built the first saw mill at Mason City, and two years later, a grist mill. In 1872 he patented a lime kiln, known as RANDALL'S Perpetual Lime Kiln, which has since been sold in all parts of the country, and from which he has received a good royalty. Mr. RANDALL, better known as Judge RANDALL, from his having been county judge of Cerro Gordo county, was the first supervisor from Mason township. He was also justice of the peace for many years. He served the county as recorder one term and has held other important offices of trust. He belongs to the Masonic fraternity and has been a member of the Methodist Church since seventeen years of age. In politics he was first a whig and later a republican. Oct. 31, 1838, he married Lucy M. YORK, of his native county. Mr. and Mrs. RANDALL have reared twelve children. At the breaking out of the rebellion Mr. RANDALL had no sons old enough to send to the service; but he sent three sons-in-law, one of whom was Charles H. HUNTLEY, adjutant of the 32d Iowa, who was killed at the battle of Pleasant Hill [Louisiana on April 9, 1864]. Judge RANDALL is a modest, unassuming man, with whom it is a pleasure to converse, making warm friends wherever he goes. In 1883, though sixty-five years of age, he was still in possession of all his mental and physical powers, and comfortably situated, having a beautiful home in Mason City, where he was enjoying the rewards of a well spent, active life.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Elisha RANDALL died in 1897. Lucy (YORK) RANDALL was born in 1821, and died in 1913. Interments were made at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

J. T. ELDER, owner of RANDALL'S Mill in 1883, has been a resident of Cerro Gordo county since 1869, when he engaged in farming, which pursuit he followed seven years. In 1876 he bought the Mason City Mills, which he still operates. Mr. ELDER was born in Center Co., Penn., Feb. 25, 1820. His parents went to Clearfield county, and he was married in 1842 to Caroline SABIN. She became the mother of nine children, six of whom are now living James, Emily, Jane, Niles C., George N. and John R. Mr. ELDER removed to Indiana Co , Penn., where his wife died in 1862. He afterwards married Susannah CHRISTMAN. In 1859 he removed to Hancock Co., Iowa, where their stay was brief. Mr. ELDER is a practical millwright and carpenter. He began life a poor man, and by hard work and good management he has accumulated a competency. Mr. and Mrs. ELDER are members of the Methodist Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: J. T. ELDER died on March 29, 1908. Susanna (CHRISTMAN) ELDER was born January 31, 1826, and died on June 19, 1906. James ELDER was born January 14, 1844, and died September 20, 1923; George Newton ELDER was born in August of 1859, Pennsylvania, and died in 1942. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Parker's Mill

In 1870 H. G. PARKER built a flouring mill on Willow creek, just east of the business portion of the city. John KNIGHT, of Charles City, was the master millwright. The water power furnished by Willow creek is never failing, its waters coming from the outlet of Clear lake. The mill is situated on the west bank of the stream, the eastern bank being a ledge of lime rock over thirty feet high. A strong dam is thrown across the stream which gives the mill a twelve foot head, sufficient for almost any amount of powerful machinery. In 1877 H. G. PARKER sold out to his cousin, A. T. PARKER, who was still operating it in 1883, as a merchant and custom mill.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Horace G. PARKER was born July 20, 1823, and died on December 16, 1897. Alanson Townsend PARKER was born in 1839, and died in 1925. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.


Mason City

In 1854 the first steps were taken in the direction of commercial developments. John McMILLEN started the first store in Cerro Gordo county, at Mason City, that year; his combined store and residence being the second house in the place, the first being built by James JENKINSON, in 1853, on Lime creek. The next to engage in business was Robert CLARK, who came from Rockford, Ill., and erected a store from native lumber, near where TUTTLE'S store afterward stood. He continued two or three years and closed out. In 1858 Mr. McMILLEN built another, and more commodious store on the opposite side of the street from his first place of business. About the same time John B. LONG erected a frame store building near where HOXIE'S Block now stands, and opened up a general store. He continued three years and failed.

The first to engage in the grocery business were STACKHOUSE & BELT, in a log house, in 1855; they run a year and closed out their stock. D. J. PURDY was the next to engage in the exclusive grocery trade. He first started in a little frame shanty near the present site of WARBASSE & LEE'S store on Commercial street. He operated there a year or more and then moved to another location, where he remained until 1878, then moved his stock to Spencer, Iowa. In 1879 he returned to his old stand in Mason City, and in 1883 he moved into the HOXIE Block. In the spring of 1870 M. TIFFANY & Bro. engaged in the grocery trade. After a partnership of eight years Major TIFFANY sold to his brother, and in 1880 engaged in trade alone. Among other dealers in this branch of trade were: GRIFFIN Bros., who opened a store in 1874. Edward GRIFFIN sold his share to his brother Edwin after a few years, and he was still engaged in trade in 18S3. Next after GRIFFIN Bros., came D. McGRIGOR, who rented the BABCOCK building. BAGLEY & SHOCKEY came next, run awhile and finally Mr. BAGLEY sold to SHOCKEY. Mr. BAGLEY then engaged in trade alone. Charles KING and a man named Staples were engaged in the grocery trade about the same time.

Major TIFFANY located at Mason City in the fall of 1869, when the house of TIFFANY Brothers established a grocery and provision trade. Mr. TIFFANY sold out, and, in company with Wm. ENSIGN, bought a stock of ready made clothing, but soon after be again disposed of his interest and started a dry goods store, associated with Wm. WRIGHT. This relation continued three years. In 1881 he began the erection of the brick block which he now occupies. In dimensions it is 22x80 feet, and is two stories above the basement. It is a fine, substantial building, and cost about $6,000. The stock includes a full line of fancy and family grocries. Mr. TIFFANY was born in Columbia Co., N. Y., April 20, 1881. His parents, Robert and Sarah (NICHOLAS) TIFFANY, went to Racine (now Kenosha) Co., Wis., thence to Columbia, and finally to Marquette, where the father died in 1882. Mr. TIFFANY was reared on a farm, and was engaged to some extent in lumbering. He was married in Columbia Co., Wis., to Elizabeth STEINHART, who was born at Kinderhook, N. Y., in 1831. Mrs. Tiffany died Dec. 14, 1881. She was a faithful and consistent Christian, and belonged to the Methodist Church. She is survived by four children Delilah, Mary, George and Charles. Mr. TIFFANY is a member of the Methodist Church, and has been actively identified with the interests of Mason City since he became a resident here.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Major TIFFANY died on December 2, 1912. Elizabeth (STEINHART) TIFFANY died at the age of 51 years and six months on November 20, 1881. Carrie E. TIFFANY, second wife of Majory TIFFANY, was born October 25, 1844, and died December 28, 1913. They were interred at 1st Added Block B of Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Daniel McGRIGOR came to Mason City in 1865. Arriving here he had ten cents, but he found work as a day laborer. His first business venture was in the furniture trade. Later he interested himself in the grocery business, in company with D. J. PURDY, which enterprise continued eighteen months, during which they started a branch store at Northwood, which when the partnership ended Mr. McGRIGOR took and run a short time and then sold it out to good advantage. Mr. McGRIGOR had previously purchased a farm, and he turned his attention to its management for three years, at the end of which time he exchanged it for astockVof clothing, and, not long after, admitted Mr. PURDY as a partner. They removed the enterprise to Spencer, and in addition operated as a banking house, which joint business they conducted about a year and encountered disaster in their financial project, on account of devastation by grasshoppers. They returned to Mason City with the stock of goods and closed it out. Mr. McGRIGOR soon after opened his present business, in which he has since continued. He was born in Queens Co., New Brunswick. Oct. 30, 1841. He is a son of Samuel and Sarah Ann (WITHROW) McGRIGER, natives of the same place, who now live in Ontario. They are the parents of fourteen children, seven sons and seven daughters. Mr. McGRIGOR was married in 1860 in Canada, to Marilla, daughter of William DEAN. They came to Illinois in 1864. They are members of the M.E. Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Daniel McGRIGOR died on June 5, 1911. Marilla (DEAN) McGRIGOR was born on May 26, 1841, and died on July 18, 1926. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The first exclusive clothing store in Mason City was opened by R. BABCOCK, in the spring of 1870. He continued about four years and sold to D. McGRIGOR, who took the stock to Spencer, Iowa. The second clothing store was opened by Dan HAY. Following him came SCHLESHINGER, FRANKEL & Co., who soon changed to HENERICK, SCHLESHINGER & FRANKEL, who were the leading dealers in 1883. Soon after the railroad came William ENSIGN engaged in the clothing business, and soon after the firm took the name of ENSIGN & TIFFANY. In 1883 the firm had changed to ENSIGN & ROGERS. The fourth firm to deal in clothing exclusively was S. A. SIRRINE & Co. In 1883 this line was represented by ENSIGN & ROGERS, S. A. SIRRINE & Co., and HENERICK, SCHLESHINGER & FRANKEL.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Rodoulphus BABCOCK was born in 1831, and died in 1905, with interment at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The pioneer dry goods house of the city is PRATT Bros., who embarked in trade about 1870, continued until 1877, when they removed to Greene, Iowa. In 1871 the dealers were PRATT Bros., William KELLEY, LYONS & Co., A. B. TUTTLE and John L. McMILLEN. Various changes had been made up to 1883, when the dry good trade was in the hands of M. V. ROBINSON, W. S. WRIGHT, A. B. TUTTLE, J. PASEDACH and WOOD & WILSON.

A. B. TUTTLE, a pioneer merchant, has been largely identified with the interests of Cerro Gordo county since he first settled within her borders, in the spring of 1856. He with his two brothers were pioneers of Clear Lake township, and his residence was the second built in the town of Clear Lake, which was then jnst laid out. He operated there as a farmer and gave considerable attention to the practice of law. In 1863 he removed to Mason City and embarked in commercial business, and included in his operations traffic in merchandise of varied character, dry goods, boots and shoes, and groceries, but after a time he limited his transactions chiefly to dry goods. His store is among the finest in Mason City, his stock presenting full lines of such merchandise as his patrons demand. His long and intimate association with the people of Cerro Gordo county has secured a strong support for his business, and a feeling of confidence among his fellow citizens, which has a sure foundation in his manly uprightness and integrity. Mr. TUTTLE was born in Herkimer Co., N. Y., Jan. 24, 1825. He is a son of Ira and Lucy (BROCKETT) TUTTLE, both of whom were natives of Connecticut. Ira TUTTLE went, at seven years of age, to reside with his grandfather in Herkimer county. He there passed his youth, grew to man's estate and married. The family included four sons and four daughters, all of whom attained maturity. Mr. TUTTLE, of this sketch, the third son, was brought up on a farm until the age of fourteen, when he became a student at Fairfield Academy, and afterwards finished his education at Clinton Seminary and Hamilton College, at Clinton. He graduated in 1848. He paid all the expenses of his collegiate course by teaching, and afterward continued his labors as a teacher while pursuing the studies necessary to fit him for an attorney. He was under the preceptorship of Professor DWIGHT, of Hamilton College. He finished his legal studies in 1851, and in that year was admitted to practice in all the courts of the Empire State. He was married in 1849 to Harriet M., daughter of Allen WIGHTMAN, of Heikimer Co., N. Y. In 1852 he went to Lake Co., Ohio, and became principal of Madison Seminary, where he remained a year, going thence to Ashtabula, Ohio, where he held for a time the post of principal of the schools. In 1854 Mr. TUTTLE removed to Muscatine, Iowa, where he was principal of the High School for a season, and was also admitted to the bar. On his entrance into political life, Mr. TUTTLE was an adherent of the free soil party, and on the organization of the republicans, as a factor in the political element, he joined their ranks and has since advocated their principles. About 1860 he was elected county superintendent, and served two years, organizing the first teachers' institute held in this county. He was the second mayor of Mason City, acted as councilman a considerable period, and was for twelve years a member of the school board. The fine public school building, erected at an expense of $30,000, is a lasting and creditable memento of the labors of himself and compeers during his official connection with the educational interests of Mason City. Mr. and Mrs. TUTTLE are the parents of two daughters and one son. Minnie E., eldest daughter, is the wife, of C. H. HUGHES, attorney. The others are Hattie W. and Maynard TUTTLE. The parents are members of the Baptist Church. It seems only just to Mr. TUTTLE to state, that he has acted most vigorously and effectively with the temperance element of his county and State.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Alvah B. TUTTLE died on September 20, 1898. Harriet M. (WIGHTMAN) TUTTLE was born on March 22, 1823, and died on January 3, 1899. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The first furniture dealer in the town was W. S. HARDING, who opened a store in 1862. The following named have been in this business in the order in which they appear: HARDING & ALLEN, HARDING & DEVERAUS, McGERGOR & DEVERAUX, Mr. STEVENS, STEVENS & MERRILL, MERRILL, LAW & DEVERAUX, and MARTIN, RAY & RANDALL. In 1883 this branch of trade was left in the hands of B. RANDALL, HARDING Bros. and J. H. HARDING.

Benjamin RANDALL came to Mason City, in 1863, and began to work at his trade, that of a builder and joiner. After some years of successful effort, in 1872 he astablished his present business, which has steadily increased from its inception. He was born in Madison Co., N. Y., Nov. 21, 1837. His parents, Elisha and Betsey (BROWN) RANDALL, were both natives of the Empire State. They died in his early youth and he was brought up by an elder sister. He was married in 1859 to Lucy A. SMITH. They had four children Charles, William, Fred and Ida. Mrs. RANDALL died in 1878. She was an exemplary Christian, and a member of the M.E. Church. Mr. RANDALL was married in 1880 to Mrs. C. N. CRANDALL. He belongs to the M.E. Church, and is an esteemed citizen. By his industry and cautious management he has prospered.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Benjamin RANDALL died in 1920. Lucy A. (SMITH) RANDALL was born January 10, 1839, and died September 10, 1879. Charlotee N. CRANDALL RANDALL was born in 1841, and died in 1903. Charles H. RANDALL was born in 1860 and died in 1909; William E. RANDALL was born May 31, 1863, and died on June 23, 1915; Fred RANDALL was born on January 31, 1866 and died on September 24, 1931; Ida B. RANDALL was born on February 14, 1874 and died on February 3, 1889. They were interrest at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Owen DAVIS opened the first drug store in 1865. He sold to ALLEN & ALEXANDER, who continued six months and sold to Byron GAMAGE. MARSHALL & KIRK were proprietors of this stock in 1883. The second drug store was started by N. J. BETTS, who run about a year and sold to Luke & Gamage, who finally sold to George S. STOCKWELL, who was in trade in 1883. The third drug store was started by Dr. S. HARRIS, in 1869. He built a fine brick store on Commercial street, opposite the city park. MARSHALL & STEWART opened the fourth stock of drugs, in ALLEN'S block, where they remained until August, 1883, then removed to the FOSTER building. The firm at this time was STEWART & SARGENT. Warren A. CROSBY opened a drug store in 1883, in the FRINK & WEIR block.

The buisness establishment of STEWART & SARGENT was founded in June, 1882, by MARSHALL & STEWART. In March, 1883, Mr. SARGENT bought the interest of Mr. MARSHALL, and became a member of the firm. The salesroom of the house is 22x90 feet, and the stock is complete in all its departments including drugs, paints and oils, wall paper and fancy goods. They make a specialty of fine perfumeries, handling WRIGHT'S goods.

C. M. C. STEWART was born in Appanoose Co., Iowa, June 23, 1858. His parents, J. and R. S. (DUKES) STEWART, came to Iowa in 185V, and when twenty years of age, he was employed by J. S. TAYLOR & Co., of Ottumwa, Iowa, where he acquired a thorough knowledge of the drug business. He came to Mason City in 1882, and is a member of the Knights of Pythias.

C. W. SARGENT was born in Centerville, Appanoose Co., Iowa, Jan. 1, 1862. At the age of sixteen he was employed by ROBINSON Bros., of Ottumwa, Iowa, where he remained five years, when he purchased Mr. MARSHALL'S interest in the drug business of MARSHALL & STEWART.

The hardware trade was first represented by GLOYD & WALL, in 1870, in a building near where SHOKEY'S building now stands. This firm continued about three years, when Wall sold to GLOYD, and a little later GLOYD sold to Bailey & Co. W. W. TOTTY was the next to engage in the hardware trade. He was succeeded by GLOYD & HERRICK, who continued the business until the time of Mr. GLOYD'S death, in the spring of 1883, when Mr. HERRICK became sole manager of the business. WARBASSE & LEE entered the hardware trade in 1875. Following them came FARRELL & WHITNEY. Mr. FARRELL purchased Mr. WHITNEY'S interest in 1880. About the same date J. J. GLASIER started a lumber yard and carried a stock of builders hardware. W. J. KONVALINKA came to Mason City, in 1882, and opened a large hardware store in the ALLEN block. The hardware trade in 1883 was represented by W. J. KONVALINKA, WARBASSE & LEE, GLOYD & HERRICK and J. A. FARRELL.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Byron V. GLOYD was born May 9, 1843, and died on May 17, 1883. Lucinda M. GLOYD died on November 3, 1887. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

George L. HERRICK, junior member of the firm of GLOYD & HERRICK, was born in Franklin Co., N. Y., Oct. 19, 1841. His parents, L. C. and Lorina (THAYER) HERRICK, are residents of Sparta, Wis. Mr. HERRICK'S business in early manhood was a lumber dealer. He enlisted in 1861 in the three months' service, in a regiment which on its organization became the 4th Wisconsin. As he did not wish to join that command, he enlisted in the Wisconsin 1st Battery of Light Artillery. The regiment enrolled at Racine and was sent to Louisville, Ky., and finally to New Orleans, when blockake running was in vogue. The battery was engaged in the taking of Arkansas Post and in the siege of Vicksburg. It accompanied the Red River expedition into Texas, under Gen. SMITH, returning to New Orleans, where the men were discharged. They were mustered out at Madison, Wis., numbering eighteen men out of 155 who went into the service. Mr. HERRICK was married in 1865 to Emma R. HOLCOMB, of Addison Co., Vt. They have two children. Mr. HERRICK belongs to the order of Masons, Royal Arch Chapter. The business establishment of GLOYD & HERRICK is on Commercial street, and is a spacious structure, 22x125 feet, two stories in height, with a basement. A warehouse, 18x26 feet, is attached to the premises. Their stock is a complete assortment of all goods belonging to the trade.

W. J. KONVALINKA was born in Iowa City, Iowa, Jan. 6, 1856. His parents, Joseph K. and Anna (CERNEY) KONVALINKA, were natives of Bohemia. They emigrated to Iowa in 1855 and located in Johnson county. His father was a millwright by trade. In 1883 he still lived at Iowa City. The subject of this sketch was a student of St. Joseph's school, and at the age of thirteen he was employed by GLENN & PRYCE, afterward John GLENN. In 1875 he entered the employ of DONAHUE & McCOSH, with whom he remained about six years, traveling in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota and Dakota. In 1880 he engaged with KIRK'S Iron and Hardware Co., of Chicago; but in March, 1882, seeing a chance to better himself, financially, he abandoned the road and has since been the manager of the business house of KONVALINKA Bros., of Mason City. June 6, 1881, he was wedded to Clara McMILLEN, a daughter of John L. McMILLEN, one of Mason City's pioneers. She was born July 9, 1862.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: William J. KNOVALINKA was born June 6, 1856 (as per his gravestone), and died on May 14, 1920. Joseph W. KNOVALINKA was born November 14, 1858, and died on March 7, 1939. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

John (sic) A. FARRELL was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Jan. 5, 1846. When thirteen-years-old he emigrated with his parents to Brooklyn, N. Y., when he commenced to learn the trade of tinner. He was also employed as a clerk in a wholesale store. In 1867 he came to Mason City, where he embarked in the tin business, in company with J. H. VALENTINE. He was subsequently employed as mail agent on the C. M. & St. P. Railroad, running between McGregor and Canton, Dak., which occupation he followed for ten years. He is at present engaged in the hardware business, in Mason City, and by close attention to business has built up a good lucrative trade. In March, 1875, he was married to Miss M. J. WATSON, a daughter of Joseph [and Elizabeth (WALKER)] WATSON, a native of England. One child blesses this union Vincent A.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Joseph Allan FARRELL died on November 28, 1915. Mary J. (WATSON) FARRELL was born November 28, 1850, and died on July 20, 1931. Elizabeth (WALKER) WATSON was born February 1, 1826, and died on October 19, 1906. Dr. Vincent A. FARRELL ws born in 1876, and died in 1936; his wife Marie was born in 1877, and died in 1965. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

John LEE, of the firm of WARBASSE & LEE, was born in Brooklin, N. Y., Aug. 15, 1883. His parents are of Scotch descent. Mr. LEE was educated in the common schools, after which for fifteen years he engaged in the butcher business. He spent the next ten years of his life in speculation. Following this he was employed in the United States custom house, which place he resigned and was asked by C. A. ARTHUR, the present President of the United States, who had charge of such matters, to name his successor. In 1875 he came to Mason City and embarked in trade. In 1876 he was elected as one of the city corporation board. He was married in 1868 to Susan C. STRYKER. Mr. and Mrs. LEE have three children living Susan C., Harry and Charles. In politics, Mr. LEE is a staunch republican. He was one of the members who formed the Grant Club, in Brooklin, N. Y. He also belongs to the Masonic fraternity.

The first regular grain buyers in Mason City were VALENTINE and KERRL, who commenced operating in 1870, at the Milwaukee depot. The following year Mr. HENRY built a large elevator on the Milwaukee road. W. W. CAMERON erected an elevator on the Central Railroad of Iowa, in 1882. Among others who have bought grain are ROBINSON and COUNCIL. In 1883 the grain dealers were: W. W CAMERON and BASSETT & HUNTING.

W. W. CAMERON established his business at Mason City, in 1873, and was the first man to handle grain on the Iowa Central Railroad from this point. In 1882 he built the elevator which he now operates, which has a nominal capacity of 15,000 bushels, and is operated by a twenty-horse power steam engine. Mr. CAMERON was born in Bristol, Ontario Co., N. Y., May 1, 1845. His parens were Peter and Julia (PATTERSON) CAMERON. The mother is first cousin of the celebrated Elizabeth PATTERSON, of Baltimore, Md., who married Jerome BONAPART. The CAMERON family came from Scotland, in 1803, and settled in Steuben Co., N. Y., in a township then not organized, but afterwards named CAMERON, after the head of the family. The father and mother were married at Rochester, N. Y., in 1825, and reared a family of five sons and two daughters, all living to rear families. The father was an active man with extensive business relations; was an old line whig, became a republican on the organization of the party and adhered to its fundamental principles until his death. Mr. CAMERON of this sketch was educated at Franklin College, where he graduated in 1861, and immediately enlisted in the 10th regiment of New York Cavalry. He passed through the stormy events of the war at Fredericksburg, and many other points, and at Gettysburg was taken prisoner and incarcerated in Libby prison at Richmond, where he was held seven months before being exchanged. He served the remainder of his period of enlistment at Annapolis, Md., and was mustered out of service at Elmira, N. Y. On his discharge he came to Iowa and located at Independence, Buchanan Co., where he was assistant agent of the D. & S. C. Railroad, two years. He then went to Ackley and under the style of West & Cameron, engaged in banking. This enterprise closed, he went to Grinnell as station agent of the I. C. Railroad, where he remained one year. He came to Mason City in the same employ, in 1872, but established himself in 1873 as stated. Mr. CAMERON was married in 1870 in Ackley, to Martha FREEMAN. She died in 1873, leaving two sons Will. W. and Robert B. The present Mrs. CAMERON was Anna, daughter of Benjamin FIELD, of Monroe Co., Iowa. They have three children Stella, Nellie and Claudie May.

The pioneer lumber dealer was George VERMILYA, who opened a yard in 1865. WILSON & HERRICK were the next to engage in the lumber trade. Following these dealers came Benjamin RANDALL. In 1883 the trade was represented by N. L. PAGE, J. M. ELDER, J. J. GLASIER and E. R. BOGARDUS.

James ELDER settled in Mason City in the fall of 1869. He founded his business in 1874, and has since prosecuted it with vigor. Mr. ELDER was born in Clearfield Co., Penn., near the Susquehannah river, Jan. 14, 1844. John T. and Caroline T. (SABIN) ELDER, his parents, went to Indiana Co., Penn., when he was nine years old. He came to Hancock county in 1869, where he remained but a few months. In March, 1871, he married Jennie, daughter of W. C. STANBERY, a native of Mercer Co., Ohio. They have three children Blanche, Bonnie and Howard S. Mr. and Mrs. ELDER are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: James E. ELDER died on September 20, 1923. Jennie (STANBERY) ELDER was born June 20, 1848, and died on January 5, 1903. Howard S. ELDER was born November 18, 1877, and died on February 19, 1965. Bonnie (ELDER) DIKE was born May 9, 1875, and died on August 13, 1966; her husband Chester Thomas DIKE was born August 13, 1879, and died on August 2, 1958. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

L. A. PAGE came to Cerro Gordo county in 1870, where he had previously connected himself with his present business at Mason City. Mr. PAGE was born in Windham Co., Vt., Sept. 4, 1843. His parents went to Dane Co., Wis., when he was six-years-old. There he attained majority and received a good education. He went to Decorah, Iowa, in 1865, where he was for a time employed in the postoffice, and afterwards engaged with J. C, BLACKMAN in buying grain at Conover. Mr. PAGE was married in November, 1874, to Emma BURNHAM, of New York. They have three children Harry D., Leroy A. and Ida Floy. Mr. PAGE is a member of the Masonic order.

The first to sell agricultural implements in the place was John F. TAYLOR, who afterwards removed to Charles City, Iowa. He was followed by J. H. VALENTINE, LLOYD, VINTON & ENSIGN, and LLOYD & DAGAN. In 1883 the trade was in the hands of Mr. VALENTINE, G. A. STEARNS, BUSH & BISHOP and PATTON Brothers.

E. R. LLOYD became a resident of Mason City in July, 1868. His initial business venture was the leasing of a stone building, which was then being erected by TUCKER & FRANCISCO, where he put in a general stock of hardware, and in September of the same year commenced the hardware and agricultural machinery business. In 1870-1, in company with A. B. TUTTLE, he built what is known as LLOYD & TUTTLE'S block and public hall. In 1871 he sold his hardware stock, and attended more strictly to the agricultural machinery business, and in December, 1872, J. M. DOUGAN became associated with him in this business. These relations continued until near the close of 1875. Mr. LLOYD has been active in the progress of Mason City ever since he came to live in the county. He has erected two fine business houses, also several dwelling houses, and is now engaged in the real estate business. He owns several valuable farms in Cerro Gordo county, and town property in Mason City. Mr. LLOYD was born in Wales, Great Britain. When a child he came to America with his parents, who located in Oneida Co., N. Y. At the age of sixteen he removed to Wisconsin, where he was variously occupied until 1861, at which time he entered into the furniture business at Fairbault, Minnesota. This business he continued for some time, when he sold his interest in the business and became associated in the hardware business with his brother, D. D. LLOYD, and W. W. KNAPP. This business he continued until the fall of 1867, when he sold his interest in the business to his partners and removed to Mason City. Mr. LLOYD is a republican in political sentiment, and was elected a member of the first city council after the city was incorporated, and to the same office four subsequent terms. He belongs to the order of Masons, Blue Lodge and Chapter. In June, 1881, he was married to Delia (sic) DOUGAN, of Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. LLOYD have one child.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Edwin Rowland LLOYD was born on August 28, 1834, and died on February 7, 1892. Della (DOUGAN) LLOYD KIRK was born on February 6, 1862, and died on September 4, 1944. They were interred at 1st Added Block A, Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

J. M. DOUGAN, of Mason City, was born and raised on a farm near Johnsburg, Warren Co , N. Y. His birth occurred Nov. 2, 1829. John DOUGAN, his father, was of Irish extraction. His mother was Elizabeth (McGIBBERY) DOUGAN. His father went to Dodge Co., Wis., where he died in 1873, and his wife died two years later. Both were zealous adherents to the Baptist Church. Mr. DOUGAN received a good education at the united district schools, and worked on the farm summers until twenty-one years of age, when he learned the different trades of carpenter, millwright and pattern maker, which he pursued variously for eighteen years. In November, 1869, he came to Mason City and engaged in selling agricultural machinery. In the spring of 1872 he connected himself with E. R. LLOYD, under the style of LLOYD & DOUGAN, which interest continued until December, 1875, when they commenced operating in real estate. Mr. DOUGAN was married in 1854 to Miss E. A. NICKERSON. Of their six children three are living Allen D., Frank and Archie. Mrs. DOUGAN died in June, 1881. She was a member of the Congregational Church, and left an enviable record as a Christian wife, mother and friend. The present Mrs. DOUGAN was Etta VAUGHAN, of Montrose, Penn. Mr. DOUGAN is a republican and a member of the I.O.O.F. He owns 400 acres of land.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John M. DOUGAN died on March 20, 1912. Eliza A. (NICKERSON) DOUGAN was born on December 2, 1835, and died on May 31, 1881. Marietta "Etta" VAUGHN DOUGAN was born August 5, 1842, and died on August 11, 1892. Archie Matthew DOUGAN was born July 17, 1874, and died on March 1, 1955. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

G. A. STEARNS is one of the live, active business men of Mason City, Cerro Gordo Co., Iowa. He established his business here in April, 1875. He is located on Commercial street, between Fifth and State streets, where he keeps a full line of agricultural implements. His salesroom is 22x100 feet, and his plows, reapers, threshers, etc., are from the very best manufacturers. By honesty, industry and push, he has built up a good business.

The first hotel, though not advertised as such, was a log house built by John L. McMILLEN in 1855. It was the only house in which travelers were given shelter. Pioneers relate how they spent the night there, and upon getting up in the morning, had to stoop in order to dress themselves while they stood in several inches of snow.

The first regular hotel was a frame building erected by Jarvis CHURCH and James STEWART and operated by the latter.

The next hotel was run by Solomon ZUVER, in 1857, on the north bank of Willow creek. Following this the Waukonsa was operated by Horace GREEN, in a building erected for a store. A history of this hotel, which was written for one of the county papers, entitled "Removing a Landmark," is here subjoined:

"This week Marshal OWEN and a force of men were engaged in removing one of the landmarks of Mason City. In the year 1855 John L. McMILLEN built a log house, 16x18 feet, on what is now Commercial street. It stands next to the express office to-day. In it, before completed, was preached the first sermon preached in Cerro Gordo county, by a traveling Congregational minister. After the house was completed, McMILLEN put in a stock of goods, which were the first brought to the county. A short time afterwards, Mr. McMILLEN sold out to Robert CLARK and J. B. LONG. who continued to sell goods some time. The building was then rented to Horace GREEN, who converted it into a hotel. While CLARK and LONG owned it they built several additions. The house was afterwards known as the Waukonsa. GREEN was succeeded by A. M. THOMPSON as landlord, and he by BUMGARDNER, who gave place to W. R. QUINCY. The part torn down by Marshal OWEN and men was the north wing used as a parlor for the old Waukonsa when at its best. In this old time parlor the celebrities of northern Iowa, who came here for business or pleasure, were accustomed to elevate their feet, drink toddy and smoke dark clay pipes. If the old logs in that landmark could speak and reason, they would unfold a tale that would be rich with frontier incidents. Among the noted guests who ate hash at the Waukonsa and are so well remembered by old settlers here are: Judge PORTER, and ex-Gov. EASTMAN of Eldora, W. N. DAVIDSON and D. W. DOWS, of Hampton; Judge McFARLAN, of Boonesboro; Judge FAIRFIELD and J. G. PATTERSON, of Charles City; TIMBERWOOD, of Waverly, and W. P. HEPBURN, of Clarinda, with scores of others who came here to attend court. Those days of rollicking good times all came crowding upon the the mind, as the old settlers gazed upon the sturdy building as it was being torn down under the blows of the advancing ax-man. The men who were prominent about it in early days are scattered. LONG in Arkansas, Judge Robert CLARK has gone to join the throng of the dead; McMILLEN, GREEN, THOMPSON, OwEN, QUINCY and others still remain here, but time has left the traces of his hand on their brows, and the streak of grey that skirt their lQcks tells the story of the conflicts they have met in pioneer life. The destruction of the old log cabin, the Waukonsa, calls up these reminiscences of the past and we pause to look back over the history we have helped lo make, and it seems more like a dream than a fact of our life."

The Commercial House was completed, in 1865, by Martin BUMGARDNER, who was succeeded by George BUNCE. The property was owned, in 1883, by George SANBORN.

The ALLEN House, afterwards known as the DYER House, was erected in 1871 by Dr. ALLEN. The first landlord was B. SILLOWAY. The same year, the Vermont House was converted from a store into a hotel. The St. Charles Hotel was built in 1872 or 1873 by E. A. DEVEREAUX. Mr. JACKSON was his successor and was proprietor in 1883. The Albion House was made from KIRK'S photographic building in 1883, at which date Mason City had the following hotels: The DYER, St. Charles, Commercial, Albion and BALLARD House.

Henry A. DYER, proprietor of the DYER House, at Mason City, came here June 14, 1872, when he became mine host of the St. Charles hotel. He operated as landlord there five years, since which time he has been proprietor of the DYER House, formerly the ALLEN House. He was born in Somersetshire, England, March 15, 1843. He is son of James Jr., and Ann (ANDREWS) DYER, and his parents came to America in 1847, and located in Dubuque Co., Iowa, in 1848. They settled on a farm about a mile from the present site of Dyersville. The father afterward located the towns of Dyersville and Manchester. He died Nov. 3, 1864, at Dyersville. The mother was still living, in 1883, at Dyersville. Mr. DYER, of this sketch, was there reared to manhood, and completed his education at Alexander College. He enlisted in 1862 in the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry, company C. During his first year of active service he was taken prisoner near Perkins' Landing, and was held at Shreveport, La. There he contracted camp diarrhea and dropsy, and came near [to] losing his life. He was sent home on a furlough to recuperate, and passed several months on a sick bed. While en route to rejoin his regiment he received an appointment as quartermaster sergeant at Camp Distribution, New Orleans, La., remaining there six months, and was then detailed to Maj. Gen. Ed. R. S. CANBY'S headquarters, where he acted as head clerk in the field until the taking of Spanish Fort, Blakely and Mobile, Ala. Mr. DYER was in the war during its severest period, and was mustered out at Baton Rouge, La. He returned to Dyersville and shortly after went to Manchester, Delaware Co., Iowa, where he was in charge of the railroad eating house, and acted as bookkeeper for CONGAR Bros. He was afterward engaged four years in the lumber trade. Mr. DYER was married in June, 1869, to Hattie BOLDEN, of Manchester. They have had five children, one of whom is now living Harry E. The DYER House was built in 1871 by Dr. ALLEN, at a cost of $14,000. It has thirty five rooms, and can accommodate fifty guests. The proprietor is better known to the traveling public as "Doc" DYER.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Henry A. DYER was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The first blacksmith was Mr. PEABODY, in 1855. In 1883 the trade was represented by George WHITNEY, TUCKER & Co. HALE & Son, William KNAPP and Samuel WAUGHTAL.

S. B. WAUGHTAL came to Mason City, in 1866, and has pursued his vocation here. The first coal he used after establishing his business he bought at Waverly, at a cost of $50 per ton. Mr. WAUGHTAL was born in [Smithfield] Fulton Co., Ill., Jan. 5, 1834. His father, Frederick WAUGHTAL, was a native of Virginia; his mother, Catharine BAUGHMAN, was of German descent. They were married in Fulton Co., Ill., and reared six sons and three daughters. In 1827 the father went to southern Wisconsin and engaged in mining. He was a soldier in the Black Hawk War, and was in action at Gen. STILLMAN'S defeat. In 1852 he went to Richland Co., Wis., where he remained twelve years. He made his first entry into Cerro Cordo county in 1864, and in the fall of 1868 went to Missouri, where he died in the spring of 1877. The mother is still living. Mr. WAUGHTAL of this sketch was raised in the mining region of southern Wisconsin. At the age of sixteen he started to California, making the trip with ox-teams, which consumed four months. He there engaged in mining nineteen months, and returned to Wisconsin. He was married, at the age of twenty-three, to Sarah CONEY (sic), a native of Randolph Co., 111. Mr. and Mrs. Waughtal had ten children Bashford, George, Catharine, Zillah, Elmer, Fred, James, Sadie, Edna and Alta. Mr. WAUGHTAL learned his trade in Richland, Co., Wis.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Samuel Baughman WAUGHTAL died in Mason City on September 25, 1897. Sarah Ann (COUEY) WAUGHTAL was born at Randolph, Fremont County, Iowa, on January 10, 1839, and died in Mason City on February 1, 1913. Bashford M. WAUGHTAL was born in 1858 and died in 1934; Fred A. WAUGHTAL was born on January 12, 1867 and died on June 26, 1890; George I. WAUGHTAL was born July 18, 1859 and died on August 1, 1895, his wife Amanda (TUCKER) was born September 9, 1865 and died January 23, 1889; Sadie E. WAUGHTAL was born July 26, 1871, and died on October 25, 1896. They were interred at Original Block 1 in Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The harness business was first represented by George PERKINS. In 1883 the dealers were: James WOOD, J. B. TINKER and WEIGLE & McKEEN.

J. B. TINKER founded his business at Mason City in 1876, prior to any like establishment. His stock is such as the trade at this point demands, and his work is guaranteed. Mr. TINKER was born in Chautauqua Co., N. Y., Jan. 22, 1847. He was apprenticed to learn his trade at the age of fifteen, and in the fall of 1876 came to Mason City. He was married in July, 1881, to Maggie L., daughter of G. C. WOOD. She was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1859, and died Aug. 27, 1882. Mr. TINKER has built up a good business and occupies a fair rank among the tradesmen of Cerro Gordo county.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John B. TINKER was born January 22, 1843 (as per his gravestone), and died on April 24, 1922. Maggie L. (WOOD) TINKER was born July 1, 1853, and died on August 27, 1882. John's second wife H. Ella TINKER was born August 4, 1851, and died on April 13, 1936. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The first wagon maker was Mark DEXTER, who ran a repair shop in 1855. This business was conducted, in 1883, by J. WAUNINGER and TUCKER & Co.

Joseph WAUNINGER became interested in the establishment he now owns and operates, by purchase in the fall of 1881. It was instituted October, 1879, by Samuel NORTHCOTT, and in the fall of 1881 a company was formed, consisting of Samuel NORTHCOTT, J. WAUNINGER and O. F. FARRER. The two last named gentlemen purchased the interest held by Mr. NORTHCOTT and continued to operate until Jan. 1, 1883, when Mr. WAUNINGER became sole owner. He employs four hands, his principal work being the manufacture of single buggies and light wagons. His annual manufacture aggregates thirty-five carriages and seventeen cutters. His work is guaranteed to be of a superior make and finish, selected from the best material and constructed by skilled workmen. Mr. WAUNINGER was born in Austria, Oct. 28, 1854. His parents came to America when he was three years of age, settling in Kewaunee Co., Wis. His father was a farmer and a blacksmith by trade, and lost his life by a falling tree in 1866. The mother is still living at the old homestead. Mr. WAUNINGER learned the trade of a blacksmith when seventeen-years-old, and some years later was employed by the Racine Carriage and Wagon Company. He spent four years in Milwaukee, one year at Cleveland and one in Chicago, when he returned to Racine. He is a member of the I.O.O.F.

The first meat market was run by F. STACKHOUSE, in 1856. Among the numerous persons who have engaged in this business were: M. M. BRADLEY, Dan COLLAS, John TERRELL and J. W. BELDING. The business, in 1883, was conducted by BAKER & BRADLEY, SMITH Bros., and BAKER Bros.

The first shoemaker in the place was William WAKE, an Englishman. The first exclusive boot and shoe store was opened by Edward PRATT, in 1873. Among others who have, from time to time, handled this line of goods was S. H. SHELDON, who remained in trade from 1877 to 1881, when he moved to Nebraska. In 1883 the business was in the hands of SMITH & TICHNOR, who carried a large and well selected stock.

The first photographer was indeed a pioneer, James STEWART, who came in 1865.

H. R. KIRK purchased a gallery in 1867, of A. M. THOMPSON, and has been the only one engaged in this art since that time. He occupies a fine building well supplied with modern apparatus, and also carries a complete, stock of albums, picture frames, etc.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: H. R. KIRK took many stero-views of Mason City from atop of the Central School.

H. P. KIRK located in Mason City at the close of the war. He opened his business in 1867, and has prosecuted it successfully since its inception. He was born in Mahoning Co., Ohio, May 21, 1843, and was raised on a farm, receiving a common school education. In 1861 he enlisted for three months in the 14th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and was stationed in Western Virginia. In February, 1862, he re-enlisted in the 13th Illinois Cavalry, company D, remaining about one year and receiving his discharge for physical disability. In February, 1865, he enlisted a third time in the 2d Iowa Cavalry and was in the service until the close of the war. He was married in 1870 to Elizabeth R. daughter of S. D. WORDSWORTH, of Lake Mills, Iowa. Mrs. KIRK was born in Ohio in 1852. They have two sons Clara L. and Verne P. Cerro Gordo county was in its infancy when Mr. KIRK came within its borders. He has seen Mason City expand from a hamlet with three houses to a respectable city of 4,000 people. He leads his profession in this vicinity, and his rooms are a delight to his patrons. They are fitted up with admirable taste, and the evidences of the artists skill are to be seen on every hand.

The first to engage in the marble business was George SHOCKY, in 1873, who sold an interest soon after to Mr. GALE, the firm name being then SHOCKY & GALE. They continued eighteen months, when Mr. ROTH bought SHOCKY'S interest in the business. About the same time BELL & RICE engaged in the business, following it until 1883, when Mr. GALE bought Mr. RICE out, leaving the business in the hands of GALE & RICE.

T. K. GALE has been a resident of Mason City since 1870. He came to Hardin Co., Iowa, in 1857, and built some of the best structures in Iowa Falls. He was also a prominent instrument in the organization of the first Sunday school at Georgetown, a competing town with Iowa Falls. Mr. GALE was born in England in April, 1828. When nine years old he began to learn his trade of stone mason, and served an apprenticeship of five years, walking sixteen miles daily. The first four years he received 25 cents per day, and during his last year of service $3.50 per week. He was married in 1843 to Anna ATTWOOL. They have been the parents of seven children, one of whom died on the passage to America in 1857. Following are the names of the sons and daughters of Mr. and Mrs. GALE Jennie, (wife of James RULE, vice-president of the City Bank), Hattie (Mrs. Mark BRADLEY), Absalom, a student at Iowa University [present-day Iowa State University at Iowa City], George, harness maker at Clear Lake, Thomas and Bertie. Mr. and Mrs. GALE have been identified with the country for a quarter of a century. Mr. GALE has built some of the most prominent of the buildings of Mason City, among them the DYER House, and the M.E. Church of which he and his wife are members.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: T.K. GALE died on January 19, 1902. Anna (ATTWOOLL) GALE was born February 8, 1831, and died on December 17, 1905. Absalom H. GALE was born in February of 1863, and died in 1923, his wife Mabel Emily (EMSLEY), daughter of Thomas G. and Mary Ann EMSLEY, was born in 1868 and died on July 27, 1904, and their son Cecil Emsley GALE was born in July of 1895 and died on February 5, 1903; George W. GALE was born in 1865 and died in 1927; Forest B. GALE was born in 1905 and died in 1906. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa. The Absalom H. GALE family were interred in the GALE-EMSLEY family crypt located in Block B of the cemetery.

C. H. SMITH established himself in the wholesale and retail tobacco business, at Mason City, in the fall of 1882. C. H. SMITH was born in Black Hawk Co., Iowa, Jan. 7, 1857. His parents are Allen W. and Elizabeth SMITH, who emigrated to the State in 1853, settling in Black Hawk county, where the senior Smith first embarked in the hotel business. C. H. SMITH commenced his trade in Waterloo, which he has since followed. In 1882 he came to Mason City, where by fair dealing he has worked up a good trade.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: C. F. SMITH died in1933 and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The first to engage in the livery business was B. Kirk, who established a stable a short time after the war. In 1883 this business was represented by S. W. KEENEY and Mr. CADWELL.

S. W. KEENEY established his business at Mason City in 1882. He has some of the best turnouts in northern Iowa, and keeps sixteen horses. He was born in Wayne Co., Ohio, Dec. 6, 1839. He is a son of C. C. and Phebe (HOTCHKISS) KEENEY, natives of Onondaga Co., N. Y. They were pioneers of Bremer county, where they settled Oct. 13, 1855. Mr. KEENEY was married in 1859 to Roxana, daughter of Andrew DAILEY. She was born in Wayne Co., Ohio, March 25, 1840. They have had three children T. E., Charles H. and Jennie. The latter died in 1872. Mr. KEENEY was engaged in the livery business in Bremer county thirteen years.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: S. W. KEENEY died on February 17, 1915. Roxana (DAILEY) KEENEY was born on March 25, 1840, and died August 15, 1911. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

A. T. LIEN, of the firm of LIEN Bros., coal and lime dealers, is a native of Norway; he was born April 21, 1844, and came to America in 1866, arriving June 28. In 1870 he located in Mason City, and in 1876 he and his brother formed a partnership with FARRELL & WHITE, and built the Champion Lime Kiln, which they managed until 1878, when the LIEN Bros, purchased FARRELL & WHITE'S interest. They continued the business, and in 1881 added coal. They were still in business in 1883, doing a trade of 118,000 annually.


Commercial Bank Building, Mason City, circa 1917

This banking house is on Commercial street, between Fifth and State, in Mason City. It was organized in February, 1880, with H. P. KIRK as president and I. R. KIRK as cashier. They do a general banking business, a large amount of collections are placed in their hands, and they also insure to quite an extent - representing some of the leading companies. The bank fixtures are very complete; a Diebold safe, with improved Yale lock, etc., guarantees safety to their depositors. They draw all kinds of foreign and domestic drafts, and do a large amountof local discounting. I. R. KIRK has the management of the business of the bank, which is meeting with a liberal patronage.

I. R. KIRK, cashier of the Commercial Exchange Bank, was born in Mahoning Co., Ohio, May 7, 1846. At the age of fourteen years he came to Mason City, where he found employment. About the year 1875, associated with M. V. ROBINSON, he established a dry goods house, which was in operation until 1880, when Mr. KIRK entered upon the duties of his present position. He is a member of the Masonic order, and belongs to the Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery. Mr. KIRK'S position in business, social life and general popularity afford unmistakable evidence of his character.


This bank was established in August, 1873, by T. G. EMSLEY, with Mrs. T. G. EMSLEY acting as cashier. A partnership was subsequently formed by T. G. EMSLEY and O. T. DENNISON. In December, 1880, James RULE was admitted as a partner. This bank is supplied with the Hall burglar proof safe, with time lock, purchased at a cost of $1,500. A general banking business is transacted.

The First National Bank of Mason City was established in October, 1881. The officers of this bank when organized, and those holding in 1883, were: H. I. SMITH, president; W. D. BALCH, vice president; J. V. W. MONTAGUE, cashier; C. H. McNIDER, assistant cashier. In 1883 the directors were: H. I. SMITH, W. D. BALCH, R. G. RENNEIGER, J. B. W. MONTAGUE, W. W. KNAPP, R. WILBER and C. H. McNIDER. The paid up capital of the concern is $50,000, with a surplus fund of $5,000. The bank was first started on the southwest corner of State and Commercial streets, but the following year it was removed to the opposite corner, into CARD'S block.

Charles H. McNIDER, assistant cashier of the First National Bank of Mason City, is a native of Iowa. He was born in Dubuque, Feb. 9, 1860. He is son of Thomas B. and Anna E (KANE) McNIDER, natives of New York, who settled at Dubuque in 1856. At the age of fifteen he secured a situation in the Cerro Gordo County Bank as book-keeper, and in 1881 was elected to his present position as assistant cashier. In 1882 he was made one of the directors of the bank where he is employed. Mr. McNIDER is still a young man, and his business career has been one of marked integrity and uprightness. He is a member of the Masonic order.

In 1870 there were two express companies represented in Mason City the United States and the American. The former established an office in the fall of 1869, appointing A. S. CHURCH their local agent He served a year. When the American company established an office, they also made Mr. CHURCH their agent. He was succeeded by A. J. BENTON, who, in a short time, was succeeded by I. R. KIRK, who had charge of the express business until July, 1874, when W. V. TICHNOR took the offices, and was the agent in 1888 for the United States express company. The American has not been represented since about 1874.


This association was duly incorporated Feb. 16, 1880. Their first officers were as follows: John D. GLASS, president; James RULE, vice-president; I. R. KIRK, secretary; H. I. SMITH, treasurer; directors, George HERRICK, James RULE, J. F. BURNS, Benjamin RANDALL, Thomas H. ALEXANDER, John D. GLASS, William B. USHER, W. W. CAMERON, T. G. EMSLEY, John H. CLARK, Will Ed TUCKER, M. S. SCHERMERHORN, J. J. O'ROURK, James H. HILLYER, George H. SHOCKEY.

This home capital association offers good rates of interest to investors, and all the advantages of a savings bank, without the expense and usual risk, the officers all performing their office labors gratuitously and being stockholders in the concern. The money is loaned on first mortgage real estate property, and no loan can be made without the approval of eight directors. To those wishing to buy or build a home, it offers money at law interest or principal on the monthly installment plan, so that by paying about what the monthly rent would be, one can in a few years, possess a home. This plan has aided Mason City very much in her growth, providing as it does for the many laboring men who seek a home here, an opportunity to secure a home on such terms as they can afford.

The officers in 1883 were: John D. GLASS, president; George L. HERRICK, vice-president; Dr. C. H. SMITH, treasurer; O. T. DENNISON, secretary.

Among other prominent men of the city are: Alonzo WILLSON, real estate and loan broker; C. P. SHIPLEY, job printer; W. W. BLOOD and E. D. PAGE, builders and contractors; Rush EDDY, railroad engineer, and others whose sketches appear.

Alonzo WILLSON, one of the settlers of 1855, is a real estate dealer, money loaner and broker at Mason City. He came to the county prior to its organization, locating in Owen township. He came to the city in 1878. He bought land, improved it and followed farming, buying, selling and raising cattle for many years. With the benefits derived from the abundant pasturage of the prairies, and the success which always attends persistent effort, he has accumulated the capital which he has used in his present vocation since 1878. Mr. WILLSON was born at Adams Center, Jefferson Co., N. Y., July 21, 1822. When he was an infant his parents moved to Ontario Co., N. Y., where he remained until he was fourteen years of age. His father, Thomas B. WILLSON, a native of Windham Co., Vt., born May 10, 1802, removed to Jefferson Co., N. Y., at an early age, where he married Phebe WILSON, a native of Washington Co., N. Y. Thomas B. WILLSON was of Scotch, and his wife of English descent. They had three children, two of whom are now living. The family located at Dead Man's Grove, Coles Co, Ill., in 1835, and afterwards resided in different counties in that State. In 1855 they came to Cerro Gordo Co., Iowa, where Mr. WILLSON engaged in teaching school and vocal music during the winters, and mason work in summers. Alonzo was reared on a farm, and received a fair common school education. On the 2d of February, 1845, he married Catharine REYNOLDS, of Edgar Co., Ill. Her parents were B. B. and Monica (BROWN) REYNOLDS, natives of Maryland. His wife, Monica BROWN, while residing in Maryland, near Beardstown, frequently saw George WASHINGTON, and well remembered some of his conversation; also knew Mr. BLISS, who then owned a portion of the land where Washington City now stands. Mr. REYNOLDS went to Jefferson Co. Wis., where he died in 1871, and in 1882 his wife died at the age of ninety-eight. Mr. and Mrs. Alonzo WILLSON have eight children Alice J., Bruce A., Emma C., Buford B., Leonora A., John D. R., Mary M. and Gertrude. In 1856 Mr. WILLSON was elected the first justice of the peace in Owen township, and has also held several local offices of the county. In 1853, and previous to his coming to Cerro Gordo county, he took a company, of men across the plains to California, together with a drove of cattle, and there engaged in the business of supplying the miners with provisions, carrying the same with pack mules over the mountains. He also ranched in Yolo county, on Cache creek, at which place he kept his stock. Mr. WILLSON built the first two-story log house in Cerro Gordo county, and also yet owns the land that he entered on the 25th of June, 1856. He is one of four residents of the county who can show an abstract of title which runs no further.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Alonzo WILLSON died on October 18, 1912. Cathorine (as on her gravestone) (REYNOLDS) WILLSON was born February 1, 1829, and died on May 22, John David WILLSON was born in 1866, and died in 1931. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

C. P. SHIPLEY, job printer, has been a resident of Mason City since 1873, and founded the business in which he is now engaged in November, 1882. By attention to his business and the possession of the requsite skill in his art, he has established a successful trade. Mr. SHIPLEY was born in Baltimore, Md., May 1, 1851, and moved with his parents to Iowa City, in 1856. Mr. SHIPLEY was educated at the High School and spent four terms at the Iowa University. When seventeen years old he went into the office of the Iowa City Republican, as an apprentice, where he remained two years. He then went to Buffalo, N. Y., and entered the office of the Buffalo Courier for the completion of his trade. In 1871 he returned to the Republican office at Iowa City. The next year he came to Mason City and was employed on the Cerro Gordo Republican and Express, as foreman, where he remained until he determined to establish himself independently. He was married in 1875 to Maggie, daughter of John L. McMILLEN. She was born in Rockford, Ill., in 1853. Mr. and Mrs. SHIPLEY have one child Julia Ellen. Mr. SHIPLEY is a charter member and past master of the A.O.U.W.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Clinton P. SHIPLEY died in 1936. Margaret A. "Maggie" (McMILLEN) SHIPLEY was born in 1853, and died in 1940. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

W. W. BLOOD, builder and contractor, came to Mason City in the spring of 1881. He employs from five to ten men and has superintended the construction of some of the finest buildings in northern Iowa. Among them, the PARKER Opera House at Mason City. Mr. BLOOD was born in Saratoga Co., N. Y. His parents, Sylvester and Hannah (HANDY) BLOOD, were natives of the same State. They removed with their family to Delaware Co., Iowa, where Mr. BLOOD, of this sketch, grew to manhood. At the age of twenty-one years he commenced to learn the trade which he has since followed. He enlisted in August, 1862, in company K, 21st Iowa Volunteers, and was under fire at Vicksburg, Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Champion Hills, Black River Bridge, and he was one season in Missouri among the bushwhackers. He was mustered out at Baton Rouge, La., and discharged at Clinton, Iowa. After the close of the war he returned to Delaware county, where he pursued his trade. He was married in 1860 to Lizzie BRYAN, of Ohio. They have four children Pearl, Edwin, Byron and Lyle. Mr. BLOOD went to Nora Springs, in 1869, where he remained eleven years. He belongs to the Baptist Church, and is a member of the Odd Fellows' order and of the A.O.U.W.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: S. BLOOD was born on August 18, 1812, and died on January 29, 1892. Hannah M. (HANDY) BLOOD died on June 13, 1886. They were interred in the First Addition, Block A at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

E. D. PAGE, contractor and builder, settled in Mason City in 1881. He was born in Warrenton, Fauquier Co., Va., Nov. 24, 1852. He is a son of Sidney E. and Lisetta (BAGLEY) PAGE, who went to Virginia in 1850 and remained until driven out by the war, in 1863. The family removed to Camden, Oneida Co., N. Y., where the father was employed in a rake factory. In 1865 he went to Henry Co., Mo., and in 1868 to Rockford, Winnebago Co., Ill. He settled in Hardin county in 1874, and two years later removed to Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo county. He was married at Clear Lake in 1880, to Carrie, daughter of Henry HORSMANN, of Jo Daviess Co., Ill. She was born in 1859. Mr. and Mrs. PAGE have one child Lillie. Mr. PAGE is prosecuting his business with great success. He employs about fifteen men, and his contracts for the current year amount in the aggregate to about $20,000.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Edwin D. PAGE was born in 1854 (as per his gravestone), and died in 1914. Carrie (HORSMANN) PAGE was born in 1858 (as per her gravestone), and died in 1928. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Rush EDDY, engineer, was born in Covington, Ky., Nov. 22, 1855. His parents, Augustus and Julia EDDY, were married in Medina Co., Ohio, in 1851, and about 1853 went to Kentucky. They came to Iowa in 1861 and settled in Howard county, removing to Winneshiek county in 1805. The father died there in 1810. Mr. EDDY became an attache of the railroad at the age of fifteen, when he peddled spikes on the construction corps, and his next post was as first newsboy on the Calmar division. At sixteen he obtained a place as wiper and began firing at seventeen. He got his engine in 1877 and is now running first-class between Mason City and McGregor. His engine was ditched near Clear Lake with himself at the bottom, where he was held fifty minutes, receiving injuries from which he will never recover. Mr. EDDY was married in June, 1876, to Alice McKAY. They have two children Charles Rush and Blanche Pearl.

E. R. BOGARDUS, one of the early settlers and enterprising business men of Mason City was born in Cook Co., Ill., Oct. 22, 1850. His parents were Robert and Maria (VERMILYA) BOGARDUS, natives of Albany Co., N. Y. The family emigrated to Cook Co., Ill., in 1846, where the father died in 1851; the mother came to Mason City where she died in 1882. She was a member of the M.E. Church, and respected by all who knew her. The subject of this sketch, when nine-years-old, came to Cerro Gordo county, where he lived in the family of Judge VERMILYA for a number of years. In 1868 he embarked in farming, but not liking the business he abandoned it and afterwards clerked in a lumber yard. In the spring of 1873 he turned his attention to building and contracting, since which time he has erected some of the substantial buildings of Mason City, employing from ten to twelve men. In 1883 he embarked in the lumber trade. In 1871 he was married, in Mason City, to Mary RANDALL, a daughter of Judge RANDALL, who was born in 1855 in Waterloo, Iowa. Three children blessed this union Winifred May, Buena D. and Ernest E. Mr. and Mrs. BOGARDUS are active members of the Methodist Church of Mason City.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Maria E. (VERMILYA) BOGARDUS was born February 14, 1820, Albany County, New York, and died on January 18, 1882. Edward R. BOGARDUS died on May 22, 1927. Mary (RANDALL) BOGARDUS was born May 9, 1855, and died on January 8, 1912. Winifred (BOGARDUS) BAGLEY was born on August 31, 1874, and died on May 11, 1967; her husband Willis G. C. BAGLEY was born October 29, 1873, and died on October 20, 1943. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

The Mason City Public Library has a collection of E. R. BOGARDUS' blueprints, plans, and photographs of the buildings he designed for the Mason City vicinity. A self-taught architect, his buildings include The DECKER House built in 1894 at 119 2nd St. SE, now a bed and breakfast; The Cherry House, also known as the RATTAY House, built in 1905 at North Delaware and later reclosed in 1967 to 121 6th St. NE; The Klipto Loose Leaf Binder Co. Building for the LeMars Printing Company in 1908 at 15-17 N. Delaware; and Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church in 1913 at 1615 N. Delware.

William H. MASON was born in Cattaraugus Co., N. Y., April 18, 1843. His parents were D. B. and Harriet (STARR) MASON, the former a native of Massachusetts, and the latter of Danbury, Conn., but who emigrated to New York State in an early day, where they were joined in wedlock, and eleven children were born six sons and five daughters. In 1840 the family went to Walworth Co., Wis., and in 1858 removed to Butler Co., Iowa. In 1864 they went to Charles City, and in 1867 came to Mason City, where they lived until 1881, when they returned to Charles City, where they still live, Mr. MASON being at the advanced age of eighty-three, and Mrs. MASON eighty-one years of age. They have lived in each other's society as man and wife for over sixty-four years. William H., the subject of this sketch was, educated at Delevan, Wis., and Beloit College. In 1861 he enlisted in the 7th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, company _. He participated in the engagement at Belmont Mo., where he was wounded in the right hand, and taken prisoner, but was soon paroled and exchanged. He participated at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Shiloh, first battle of Corinth, second battle of Iuka, Chickamauga, Mission Ridge, march to the sea, and at the grand review at Washington, D. C. In the fall of 1865 he was married to Mary DUNN of Kenosha, Wis. Two children blessed this union, one of whom is living Fernia. In 1874 Mr. MASON was appointed deputy sheriff, by H. H. SCHELL, serving nearly four years. In the winter of 1869-70 he built the first livery stable in the city, which is now occupied by S. W. KEENEY and established the first livery and omnibus business. Mr. MASON has 190 acres of valuable land in Mason township, valued at $35 per acre. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic.


During the summer of 1883 Hon. H. T. PARKER and his cousin, A. T. PARKER, erected one of the most substantial and imposing opera houses in all the northwest. The building is 24x130 feet. It is constructed of Mason City lime stone, except the corners of the front, which are from the An amosa quarries. It is trimmed with a beautiful, galvanized cornice and lighted by gas furnished by the gasoline plan. The opera hall proper has a seating capacity of from 900 to 1,000. In order to get a basement of the proper depth, many weeks of tedious blasting had to be done, as the strata of lime stone at this point cropped out nearly to the surface. William FOSTER, of Des Moines, was the designing draughtsman, FARRELL & WHITE, contractors of the stone work, and W. W. BLOOD, the carpenter work. The ground floor of the block was first occupied by WRIGHT & CONGAR, dry goods dealers. The cost of this building was $30,000.


The first lime burned in Cerro Gordo county was burned by Ehsha RANDALL, by placing limestone in a brush heap. This rude lime kiln, constructed in 1855, was made to produce a small amount of lime for plastering up a chimney. Mr. RANDALL, a little later, constructed a regular kiln and produced the first lime sold and used in the county, and continued in the business for many years. Upon the completion of the railroad to Mason City, he, with the other members of what was known as the Mason City White Lime and Stone Company, burned large amounts of lime for shipment to distant parts of Iowa and Minnesota. In 1872 Mr. RANDALL invented and patented what is known as RANDALL'S Perpetual Lime Kiln, which is being adopted in nearly every part of the country, and from which he is receiving a good royalty.

Another company engaged in business in 1874, and during the summer of 1875, notwithstanding the June floods, causing the proprietors of these lime work much delay, they burned and shipped 4,000 bushels of white lime, averaging four car loads per day of building stone, the same season. They kept fifteen men constantly in their employ, even when the concern was in its infancy. They shipped large amounts hundreds of miles to the south and west. Thus it will be seen the lime and stone business of Mason City, even at this early period, was assuming no small proportions.

William O. BARNARD, another extensive lime burner and shipper, also dealer in hard and soft coal, was born in Otsego Co., N. Y., March 4, 181_. His parents were Charles E. and Laurinda (OSBORN) BARNARD. The subject of this sketch received a liberal education, and at the age of seventeen went to New York city, where he was employed as clerk by PLUM, CRANDALL & Co., whom he served about one year. In 1840 he went to Cortland Co., N. Y. embarking in the mercantile trade. A year later he married Catharine E. ALLYN. In 1862 he sold his business and engaged in the manufacture of wooden ware, employing as many as sixty men. In 1866 his establishment was destroyed by fire, causing him a loss of $12,000. In 1871 he came to Mason City. Mr. and Mrs. BARNARD are the parents of two children Laurinda S., wife of William H. ALLYN, Jr., and Lucias A., of the firm of BARNARD & Son. Mrs. BARNARD died in 1879.

Captain J. J. O'ROURK, merchant tailor of Mason City, came here in 1875, and soon after established his present business. He was born in Baltimore, Md., Sept. 5, 1853. His parents came from the Emerald Isle to America in 1852, settling in 1864, at Ann Arbor, Mich. There, in his father's tailor shop, Captain O'ROURK learned his trade, completing its details at Chicago in 1874. He has quite an extensive business, and employs about a half dozen assistants. Captain O'ROURK was married in August, 1881, to Katie, daughter of S. D. WRIGHT, of Wisconsin. They have one child Maurice W. Captain O'ROURK is a member of the State militia, also of the I.O.O.F.

William PENNEY came to Iowa in 1872. He purchased 240 acres-of wild land in Lake and Mason townships, and now has a fine farm under excellent cultivation, with good out buildings and a fine resdence, pleasantly located in a natural grove on section 1, of Lake township. He is a blacksmith by trade, having learned it when seventeen years age, but is now occupied in farming. He was born in Mt. Hope, Orange Co., N. Y., April 13, 1827. When twelve-years-old his parents moved to Sullivan county, where he remained five years, then returned to Orange, where he was three years learning his trade. He was married in January, 1852, to Fannie M. HARDING, of Mt. Hope. He then moved to Cattaraugus county, where he bought a farm and engaged in farming eight years, when he disposed of the farm and opened a smith shop at Little Valley, N. Y. His wife died there in 1864, leaving two children Myron and Addie De Ett. He then sold his shop, returning to his father's home, spent the summer, and removed in the fall to Elk Co., Penn., where he worked at his trade. He was again married March 28, 1867, to Harriet A. HARDING, a cousin of his first wife and a native of Mt. Hope. They then removed to Iowa to their present home.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: William PENNEY died on March 30, 1912. Harriet A. (HARDING) PENNEY was born June 15, 1823, and died on December 19, 1923.

Mason City, 1907

"Mason City." History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Chapt. XXV. Pp. 955-1004. Union Pub. Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Additional information from WPA Graves Survey and cemetery transcriptions

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2011



  • Return to 1883 History of Franklin & Cerro Gordo Counties ~ Table of Contents

  • Return to Cerro Gordo History Index Page

  • Return to Cerro Gordo Home Page


    © Copyright 1996-
    Cerro Gordo Co. IAGenWeb Project
    All rights Reserved.