Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project



History of Mason Township
Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

Mason township is bounded on the north by Lime Creek township, on the east by Portland [township], on the south by Bath [township], and on the west by Lake township, and comprises congressional township 96, range 20 west. The soil is a dark loam underlaid with lime rock. Willow and Lime creeks course through the northern portion of the township, giving a fine water power at Mason City.


The first settlement in Mason township was made by James JENKINSON, a native of Lincolnshire, England. He came from Illinois in 1853, settling on Lime creek, where Mason City now stands. Mr. JENKINSON was a stone mason by trade, and was still living at Mason City in 1883.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: James JENKINSON was born May 10, 1833, served during the Civil War, and died March 15, 1893. He was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

John L. McMILLEN came to this county with JENKINSON, but returned to Illinois, where he spent the winter and came back again the following spring and opened the first store in what is now Mason City. In 1883 he was living in Minnesota.

In July, 1853, John B. LONG came here from Illinois, and settled on the northwest quarter of section 3. He was the first county judge of Cerro Gordo county, and of a scheming, speculative turn of mind, who, before his term of office had expired, resigned, and removed to Arkansas.

Alexander LONG came in 1854, locating on section 4. He stayed but a short time and removed to Forest City. He froze to death Dec. 2, 1856, between Forest City and Amsterdam.

Thomas CASSIDY came, in 1854, and settled on the southeast quarter of section 36 He did not prove up, however, on his claim, but sold out about one year later to N. CASTELINE.

Lee L. BRENTNER was born in Winnebago Co., Ill., Nov. IV, 1842, and was but twelve years of age when his parents moved to Iowa. He enlisted Aug. 22, 1862, in the 32d Iowa, company B, and served with the regiment until the close of the war. He was honorably discharged with the regiment at Clinton, Iowa, Aug. 23, 1865. Among the many battles in which he participated were the following: Ft. DeRussey, Pleasant Hill, Tupelo, Old Taner Creek and Nashville. On his return from the war, he engaged in farming with his father on section 2, and remained there until 1878, when he moved to his farm which he now occupies on section 12. In 1880 he built a large frame house, and in 1882 built a barn 24x56 feet. He was married Feb. 22, 1867, to Samantha GIDDINGS, of Stephenson Co., Ill. They have five children living Luther, Berley, Brooks, Warren and Arthur.

Among those who came in 1855 were: Mrs. Lucinda THOMPSON, C. B. PEABODY, Silas CARD, Elisha RANDALL, John A. FELT, Pierson JONES, Edgar OSBORN, E. D. and Charles H. HUNTLEY.

Silas CARD came from Ohio in 1855, and located in the town plat of Mason City, where he lived the greater part of the time until his death.

Elisha RANDALL came in April, 1855, and located on section 3. In 1883 he was a resident of Mason City.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Elisha RANDALL was born in 1818, and died in 1887. He was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Osman B. THOMPSON, a settler of 1855, was the second son of Benjamin and Lucina THOMPSON. He came to Cerro Gordo county with his mother in 1855. He was born in the town Gilsum, Cheshire Co., N. H., June 9, 1839. He attended the common school in his native State. In 1856 he engaged as a clerk in a store in Mason City. Soon after his employer moved to Nora Springs, Iowa, and Osman went with him and continued as clerk until 1858, when owing to failing health he determined to try farming. He settled on section 23, Mason township, built a house and commenced improving his land and making a comfortable home, which he still occupies, and is making farming a success. He was married March 16, 1861, to Emma ADAMS, of Massachusetts. They have four children Ella, Jennie, Charles and Shirley. Mr. THOMPSON'S farm is well improved, and in 1883 he enlarged his house. He has taken a lively interest in town affairs, and has filled offices of trust in his township.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Osman B. THOMPSON died in 1920. Emma F. (ADAMS) THOMPSON was born in 1840, and died in 1915. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Mrs. Lucina THOMPSON, one of the early settlers of Cerro Gordo county, came here in the fall of 1855 and located in Mason City. She was born in the town of Sullivan, Cheshire Co., N. H., April 10, 1807. Her parents were Dolphon and Aseneth GIBBS. She was married June 4, 1830, to Benjamin THOMPSON, also of Cheshire county, by whom she had four children, three of whom are now living Adelbert M., Osman B. and Orrin V. Her husband died Feb. 5, 1850. On the 9th of September, 1856, she married her second husband, Simon Van PATTER, who lived in what is now Lime Creek township. He died April 7, 1858, and in 1860 she married Stephen MILLER, who also lived in Lime Creek township, on section 33, and died there Dec. 3, 1866. The widow continued to live here until her death, which occurred Sept. 23, 1875. Mrs. THOMPSON, at the time of her death, and for several years previous, was a member of the Baptist Church.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Lucinda THOMPSON'S gravestone gives her death date as March 26, 1880, dying at age 84 years. She was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa. Adelbert M. "Delbert" THOMPSON was born June 4, 1834, and died on December 7, 1899, with interment at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery.

E. D. HUNTLEY came from New York in the summer of 1855, and located at Mason City, where he lived four years and moved on the southeast quarter of section 16, where he remained until 1870, and then removed to Kansas. During his stay in Cerro Gordo county he served two terms as county clerk, and was also one of the supervisors.

Charles H., brother of E. D. HUNTLEY, came in 1856. He afterward married a daughter of Elisha RANDALL, enlisted in company B, 32d Iowa Infantry, in 1862, and was killed at the battle of Pleasant Hill, in 1864.

In 1855 Pierson JONES and Edgar OSBORN, natives of Steuben Co., N. Y., came here from Winnebago Co., Ill. JONES entered the west half of the northeast quarter of section 36. He died in a few years and was buried in Owen's Grove. OSBORN entered the east half of the same quarter section, but he remained only a few years and went to Kansas.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Pierson JONES died at the age of 38 years on December 24, 1863.

The following were the principal settlers of 1856:

Peter S. BEEBER, a native of Pennsylvania settled on the northeast quarter of section 11, but later removed to Dakota.

John A. FELT, a native of New York, settled on section 12, remained until the close of the war and removed to Webster City, Hamilton Co., Iowa.

J. P. TAYLOR, of New York, came in 1856, settling on the northeast quarter of section 13. In 1869 he sold and removed to Charles City, where he engaged in the banking business.

Alfred TAYLOR, brother of J. P. TAYLOR, a native of New York, came in 1856 and settled on the southwest quarter of section 12. He improved his land and built a stone house. He died in Mason City, after which his widow moved east.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Alfred TAYLOR died at the age of 53 years on September 6, 1876. He was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Frank E. TEMPLE, one of the early settlers of Cerro Gordo county, purchased his present home in the spring of 1856 on section 23, living, however, in Mason City, renting land, but in the meantime continued improving his farm until 1866, when he built a comfortable residence and removed to his own home. He was born [May 29, 1829] in Gilsum, Cheshire Co., N. H., and was reared on a farm. When twenty-one years of age he worked in a woolen factory at Gilsum, and later at Harrisville. He was married Feb. 13, 1855, to Lucy A. RUGG, born in Sullivan, Cheshire Co. In the same spring they emigrated west, remaining awhile at Whiteside, Ill., then coming to Mason township. Mrs. TEMPLE was one of the first teachers in the county. Mr. TEMPLE has filled offices of trust in the town and is one of the school board.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Frank E. TEMPLE died September 10, 1899, with interment at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Among those who settled between 1856 and 1860 were Bruce A. BRYANT, James CLARK, Elihu BROWN, L. A. FRANKLIN and Dr. OGDEN.

L. A. FRANKLIN came in 1859 and settled on the southwest quarter of section 16, where he remained until 1870, when he removed to Kansas.

Dr. OGDEN, of New York, came in 1860, settling on section 25, where he lived a few years, after which he moved to Mason City and practiced medicine awhile, and finally removed to Nebraska.

Bruce A. BRYANT is a prominent early settler of Cerro Gordo county. He is at present engaged in raising stock and grain, and has a fine farm of 300 acres containing a new and commodious residence, with a large barn, having a stone basement. He came in 1857 to Iowa, buying land on section 9 in what is now Lime Creek township, but only retained that farm one year. He married Cynthia COLE, of Pike Co., Ohio, in 1860. They settled in Mason township, on section 16, where he built a comfortable house. He enlisted, August, 1862, in company B, 32d Iowa Volunteer Infantry, going to New Madrid, thence to Fort Pillow, on to Fulton, Tenn., thence to Columbus, Ky., where he was taken sick and sent to the Mound City hospital. At Davenport, Iowa, May, 1864, he was discharged on account of disability and returned home. In 1865 he sold his farm on section 16, when he purchased a farm on section 2, where he now lives. He was a native of Chenango Co., N. Y., born Sept. 17, 1835. He enjoyed good school advantages and remained on the farm until seventeen years of age, when he learned the butcher's trade with his father, working at it until 1857, when he came to Iowa. They have three children Almond C, H. Maud and Stephen Grant.

James CLARK, one of the early settlers of Cerro Gordo county, was born in Suffolk county, England, Sept. 27, 1830. His younger days were spent on a farm and at school. In 1852 he left his native land for America, landed at New York, went directly to Columbia Co., Ohio, where he stopped a short time, then went to Waukeegan and remained there six months, then went to Kenosha Co., Wis., where he was engaged on the Kenosha & Beloit Railroad. In 1858 he came to Iowa and settled in township 96, range 19. He enlisted in September, 1862, in the 32d Iowa, company B, and went south. He was with SHERMAN on his Meridian raid; also with BANKS on his Red river expedition; was with SMITH'S corps when he was following PRICE through Missouri. He was present at the battle of Nashville, and the siege of Mobile. He was discharged at Clinton, Iowa, in September, 1865, and returned to Cerro Gordo county. He had, while in the army, bargained for a tract of land with one of his comrades, located on section 16, and on his return, he settled on this farm. He has improved the land, has a fine grove, and in 1882 he built the farm house in which he now lives. He was married in April, 1857, to Georgians FREVETT, of Dorsetshire, England. They have seven children Harry C, William A., Charles I., Cora E , Frank G., Ida May and Bertha H.

Elihu BROWN, who came to Cerro Gordo county in 1859, was born in the township of Barnard, Windsor Co., Vt., Dec. 2, 1822. When thirteen years of age he went with his parents to Ohio, and settled in Ashtabula county. He remained with his parents until he was thirty-two, then went to Monroe Co., Wis., where he was employed through the summer on a farm, and in the fall went to the Black river country and engaged in lumbering. In 1859 he came to this county and first settled in Mason City He was married June 3, 1861. For a few years he rented land on section 11 and other parts of the county In 1871 he settled on the south west quarter of section 11, on land which he had previously bought. He has erected comfortable buildings, has good improvements and now makes this his home. He has one child George E.

There was but little settlement made in the township between 1860 and 1870. During 1869 the following came in and permanently located: Alexander McGOWAN, John VERNALL, Patrick O'NEIL and and Henry A. GILLETT.

Alexander McGOWAN came to Cerro Gordo county in the spring of 1869, and rented land on section 13 for two years, then on section 11 for one year, when in 1872 he bought a farm on section 36, Mason township, where he has since lived, engaged in grain and stock raising. He was born in Saratoga Co., N. Y., on the 23d of November, 1842. When he was thirteen years of age his parents moved to Jefferson Co., Wis., where he attended the common school and assisted his father on the farm, and also in the blacksmith shop, until 1868. In that year he went to Minnesota and spent the summer in Sherburne county. In the the fall he returned to Wisconsin, and the following spring came to Iowa. In 1866 he was married to Melissa FLINT, a native of Wisconsin. They have been blessed with two children John II. and Ida May.

Nelson VERNALL was the youngest, and now the only one living, of eleven children. He came to Iowa in 1869, and bought the southeast quarter of section 25, Mason township. He has improved his land and erected the dwelling in which he now resides. He was born in Franklin Co., N. Y., in [October 1] 1821. His younger days were spent in school and on the farm. He was married Jan. 1, 1845, to Miss E. B. WAITE, of Vermont, and continued to live on the farm with his parents until their death, and until 1869, when he sold the homestead and came to their present home in Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. Nelson VERNALL have three children Herbert N., Mary S. and Charles F.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Nelson VERNALL died on March 11, 1902. Eliza B. (WAITE) VERNALL was born in 1921, and died in 1909. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Nelson's father, John VERNALL, was born in Westchester Co., N. Y. July 10,1775. He was married Sept. 28, 1797, to Sophia SPONER, and settled in Franklin Co., N. Y., where they lived until 1831, then removed to Franklin Co., Vt., and bought a farm near St. Albans where he lived till his death, July 7, 1857. His widow, who was born June 5, 1779, died June 3, 1861.

Patrick O'NEIL is a native of Ireland, born in 1843. In 1860 he left his native land far America, and landed at New York, going thence to Ulster county, where he was employed in farming for one year, then went to Phillipsburg, where he entered the United States' service as a teamster, then went to Washington, and joined the army of the Potomac. He was with the first brigade, second division, eleventh army corps. He remained in the government service three years, then returned to New York, and from there went to Rock Co., Wis., where he was employed at farming during the summer seasons, and in the pineries during the winters, until 1869, when he came to Cerro Gordo county and bought land on section 1, Mason township, where he now resides. He was married in 1875 to Maggie CHALAHAN (sic). They have three children James, Daniel and Mary.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Patrick O'NEIL died on March 2, 1908. Margaret "Maggie" (CALAHAN) O'NEIL was born August 13, 1847, and died on January 30, 1920. Daniel O'NEIL was born June 02, 1888, served during the Spanish-American War, and died June 25, 1918. They were interrred at [Elmwood-] St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

In February, 1870, Edwin G. JOY started from Wisconsin with a span of horses for Iowa, arriving here in nine days, and at once settled on section 16, Mason township, on land which his father had purchased for him the previous year. On this farm he has ever since made his home. He was born in Booneville, Oneida Co., N. Y., his parents being Edward and Caroline GRIFFIN. When he was three years of age he was adopted by Abiathar JOY, of Jefferson Co., N. Y., with whom he lived until he was seventeen, when the family moved to Wisconsin and settled near Beaver Dam, Dodge county. He attended the common schools, worked on the farm, and at the age of nineteen went into L. E. PIATT'S store, at Beaver Dam, as clerk, where he remained about three years. On Aug. 15, 1862, he enlisted in company E, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry, and started for Missouri, but at Cairo he was taken sick and was honorably discharged Nov. 6, 1862, on account of disability, when he returned to Wisconsin. As soon as health would permit he engaged in farming, which he pursued for three years then went to Beloit and became traveling salesman for a marble firm. Here he was married March 19, 1868, to Anna E. ACKLEY, of Beloit, Wis., and after continuing as salesman for about fourteen months, he returned for a few months to Beaver Dam, and from there came to his present home in Iowa. Mr. and Mrs. JOY have five children Earnest, Carrie, Harry, Minnie and Mattie.

Henry A. GILLETT bought the southwest quarter of section 21, Mason township, in 1870, and has since resided here. He has erected good buildings and has a very comfortable home. He has since bought other lands and now owns 320 acres of improved land. He was born in La Fayette Co., Wis., July 14, 1839. His parents were early settlers of that county. The father, Philo GILLETT, was a native of Connecticut, and the mother, Mary (DEBOE) GILLETT, a native of Virginia. Henry's younger days were spent on the farm and at school. In June, 1861, he enlisted in the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, company I. He re-enlisted Dec. 13, 1863, at Wartrace, Tenn., and served till the close of the war and was discharged with his regiment, July 18, 1865. This regiment took an active part in the war, and was at the front from first to last, beginning in the battle at Antietam, Chancellorville, Gettysburg, with SHERMAN on his march to the sea, and in many other struggles of that campaign. After his discharge he returned to Wisconsin and engaged in mining one year, then went down the Mississippi and followed hoating until the fall of 1869, when he returned to Wisconsin, spent the winter in La Fayette county, and in the spring of 1870 came to Cerro Gordo county. In 1869 he was married to Jennie RAWE (sic, should be ROWE), a native of England. They have had seven children James A., Nettie, Mary J., Harry, Philo, Ida, who died in infancy, and Dasie Alice.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Henry A. GILLETTE died on March 21, 1923. He was a G.A.R. member. Jennie (ROWE) GILLETT was born November 18, 1848, and died August 24, 1900. Harry W. GILLETTE, son of Henry A. and Jennie (ROWE), was born October 16, 1876, and died March 12, 1937. They were interrred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Stephen DEYOE sought a home in Iowa in 1869. After prospecting through northern and central Iowa, he finally purchased land on section 25, Mason township He has 240 acres, which he has so improved and beautified that he has now a most desirable and comfortable home, with all necessary outbuildings. He was born in Columbia Co., N. Y., June 30, 1837. In 1852 his parents removed to Iowa Co., Wis., where they purchased a farm and were among the early settlers. His father died July 8, 1878. His mother still retains the homestead in connection with two of her sons. Stephen remained with his parents until twenty-four years of age, when he bought land and settled in Dodgeville, Iowa Co., Wis., remaining until the spring of 1870, when he removed his family to their new home in Cerro Gordo county. He married Mary A. WATKINS, of Worcestershire, England. They have four children Albert M., William J., George and Clyde.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Stephen M. DEYOE died on July 30, 1924, and was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Kettle PAULSON, who settled in Mason township in 1872, was born in Germany, at Schleswig, Holstein, Feb. 27, 1845. He attended school there until sixteen years of age, after which he worked on a farm. In 1870 he left Germany and came to America, landing at New York city, and from there he came to Iowa, stopping in Clinton county, where he was engaged in farming for two years. From there he moved to this county and rented land in Bath township for one year, and then moved into Falls township and purchased land on section 32. Here he lived two years, making improvements on his land, but finally sold and removed to Mason township and purchased land on section 34. On this place he has erected fine buildings, and planted out a beautiful grove. He was married in 1872 to Mrs. Emma HANSEN, by whom he has six children: Caroline, Johanna, Thomas, Matilda, Emma and Clara.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Kettle C. PAULSEN'S gravestone gives his birth year as 1845. He died December 3, 1913. Emma L. HANSEN PAULSEN was born February 13, 1845, and died April 9, 1916. Thomas Hann PAULSEN served with CompanyA of the 52nd Iowa Infantry during the Spanish-American War, and died March 27, 1938. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Washington BRENTER was born in Muskingum Co., Ohio, Aug. 9, 1829. He made his home with his parents until 1850, when he went to California and engaged in mining for three years; then was engaged by the California Steam Navigation Company, and remained in their employ seventeen years. In 1872 he engaged with the Central Railroad Company, and was in their employ six years. In 1878 his father visited him in California, and he returned with him to Iowa. He spent the winter at Forest City with his sister. In the spring of 1879 he settled on his farm, where he now resides, on section 2. He was married in 1861 to Mrs. Sarah E. ROBERTS, who bore him four children George G., Alfred R., who is now in California, Maud E. and Jennie E. Mrs. BRENTNER was born in New York city, in 1839, and died in California in 1873.

William HILL bought the farm on which he now lives on section 23, and settled on it in 1880. He owns a fine farm, well improved, rich soil, and well watered by living springs. He was one of the early settlers of Clayton Co., Iowa, having come there from Ohio in 1^50. There he took government land near Garnavillo, where his wife died, after which he returned to Ohio. In 1851 he went to California, went into mining, and in company with Thomas STRAIN, opened a blacksmith shop and supply store in the mountains, in which he continued for three years, then returned to Minnesota and bought government land and settled in Olmstead county, where he remained twelve years, then sold out, came to Iowa and settled in Winneshiek county, eight miles from Decorah, remaining there until 1880, at which time he came to his present home in Cerro Gordo county. He was born in Muskingum Co., Ohio, Nov. 12, 1823, lived on a farm until he was fourteen years of age, then went to Franklin county and spent three years learning the blacksmith trade; returned to Muskingum county and worked as a journeyman at his trade till 1841, then opened a shop in Hancock county and run that until 1850, when he came to Clayton Co., Iowa. He was married in 1843 to Catharine BENHAM, also a native of Ohio. She died in 1850, leaving one child Mary E. He was married the second time, Dec. 16, 1860, to Mary F. DUNCAN, of Coshocton, Ohio. They have six children Mark W., Andrew J., Fred, Alma, Jessie and Cleora.


Mason township was organized Dec. 17, 1856, and was the fourth township in the county, at which time it comprised nearly one-fourth of Cerro Gordo county. The following were the first set of township officers of the township as it was bounded in 1883:

Trustees, J. M. DOUGAN, B. A. BRYANT, H. K. PERRY; clerk, S. H. SHELDON.

In 1883 the officers were H. KEERL, H. K. PERRY and B. BRYANT, trustees, and A. R. SALE, clerk.


All of Mason township, except that territory belonging to the independent school district of Mason City is in what is known as Mason township school district at large, in which there were nine school houses in 1883, at which date the following were the directors: Isaac CLARK, F. E. TEMPLE and S. G. Nelson; J. G. BROWN, secretary of the board of directors.

School house No. 7 was built on the southeast quarter of section 2, in 1861. Sarah McPEAK taught the first school. In 1880 this building was destroyed by fire and another immediately erected upon the same site. A. H. DIMMING was the first to teach in this house.

The school house in district No. 2 was built in 1879 on the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 6. Ella MILLER was one of the first teachers.

The first school taught in the neighborhood where No. 4 now stands was taught by Mrs. Frank TEMPLE, in 1862, in a house owned by Dr. HUNTLEY, located on section 16. A stone school house was built a few years later on the southeast quarter of section 17, and was in use until 1880, at which time a frame building was erected on the northwest quarter of section 17. The first teacher in this building was Rushie CILLEY.

The first school house in district No. 5 was first located on section 21, but in 1870 moved to section 23, at which time arrangements were made to erect the present building. Frank DUNHAM was the first teacher in this house.

The first school house in the neighborhood of district of No. 6 was moved from section 21, in 1870, and located on the northeast quarter of section 23. This building was used about three years, and another erected on the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 23. Anna BRIGHTMAN was the first to teach here.

There was a stone school house built in 1857 on the east side of Lime creek, on the southwest quarter of section 12; this was used for several years. The present house was built in 1878, and is situated on the west side of Lime creek, on the southwest quarter of section 12. Cora BROWN was the first teacher here.

The school house in district No. 8 was built in 1874 or 1875. It is located on the northwest quarter of section 36. Nettie BARNEY was the first teacher in this building, but prior to this date a school had been held in Joseph RULE'S house, on section 35, taught by Louise VANDERMARK and Dora ARMITAGE.

The school building in district No. 9 was moved from Lake township in 1879. Ellen BARTON was one of the earliest teachers.

No. 10 School was built in 1881 on the southeast quarter of section 20. Anna GRIPPEN was the first teacher.


The streams which make glad the hearts of the people of this county have evidently worn their way through ledges of lime rock, and along their banks these ledges present perpendicular walls of natural masonry, rising in many places to a height of more than thirty feet, in regular strata, varying in thickness from six to ten inches. The stone is of a very superior quality for building purposes, and can be obtained in almost any required dimension. It is easily quarried and exists in unlimited quantities, and as there is no other building stone between this locality and the Missouri river, it is evident that these quarries are destined to become a literal mine of wealth to their possessors.


A. L. GRIPPEN came from Waukon, Iowa, in 1877 and started a nursery on section 22. His stock was selected from the Iron Clad Nursery of Waukon. In 1883 he had twelve acres in his nursery, the fruit including all the hardy varieties.


Horace GREEN, who was born in Cayuga Co., Ohio, in 1817, was among the first settlers in Cerro Gordo county. He came to Mason City in 1856. The following is from the pen of an old settler who experienced the struggles and privations of pioneer life with the subject of this memoir:

"He came to this county in June, 1856, and built a little cabin near Lime creek timber, and there he bent his energies toward the development of his farm. He was then forty-years-old. He built his camp fire about three miles north of Mason City, but soon after moved their cabin to his farm which he had occupied, and around the spot where the smoke curled gracefully from his rustic cabin, now stands the monuments of his faithful husbandry, and there, like guiding sentinels, stand lofty trees of his own planting, and fruit trees, each spring time sending out their blossoms to his memory. In 1859 he moved into Mason City and opened what is known as the Waukousa hotel, where he and his wife ministered to the wants of the eating public. After several years at this he changed to other business. He spent his last years and was cared for by Dr. NOYES."

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: Horace GREEN, died on January 15, 1882. His wife died at the age of 76 years on December 18, 1888. They were interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Mrs. J. M. DOUGAN, wife of one of Mason City's most prominent citizens, died of a cancer at Eureka Springs, Ark., in June, 1881. She was a noble lady, noble in good deeds, and rich in those treasures which adorn true womanhood. Tender of heart, she gave to the suffering poor unsparingly of her means. She was public spirited in a high degree, and active in every worthy cause. One of the best mothers and noblest wives. From a busy life of good deeds she has gone to her reward.

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE: John M. DOUGAN was born November 2, 1829, and died May 20, 1912. He was interred at Elmwood-St. Joseph Cemetery, Mason City, Iowa.

Robert CLARK, or Judge CLARK, as he was known, was among the old residents of Cerro Gordo county, and from an incomplete obituary the following is obtained: "He was a native of New York, but came to Iowa, where he spent over twenty-two years of his life. He was the first justice of the peace to receive a commission in Cerro Gordo county. For several years he lived in Winnebago Co., Iowa, where lie filled the office of treasurer for ten years. He died at Forest City Aug. 12, 1876, aged fifty-one. It was estimated that fully 2,500 people attended bis funeral, the services being held in a grove near Mr. BURNAP'S house, at Forest City. Every body seemed to regard him as a near, dear, and personal friend, and mourned for him as such. Winnebago, Worth, Hancock and Cerro Gordo counties were all represented at this funeral. Mr. CLARK was a Royal Arch Mason and was buried with Masonic honors, over 120 members of the order being present and taking part in the ceremonies, which were of the most imposing character.

On the morning of Aug. 14, 1877, at Plymouth, this county, Rev. J. B. BURNHAM died. He was born Aug. 13, 1809, and was consequently sixty-eight-years-old. He was converted born again Sept. 29, 1830, at which time he united with the Methodist Church. In October, 1835, he married Clarissa Maria SPINK. He was admitted to the traveling connections June 24, 1836. He was ordained deacon June 10, 1838, by Bishop MORRIS, and ordained elder June 21, 1840, by Bishop ROBERTS. He was an itinerant Methodist preacher for thirty years, coming to Iowa about the close of his active ministry, and has resided since at Mason City until the time of his death, except a short stay at Plymouth, where he gave up life's work, departing in triumphant faith. A pleasing incident occurred in early life, which had a tendency to confirm his faith in the Divine call to the ministry, to himself and wife, who were journeying to a session of the Troy conference. While on the way his wife, who had been praying for guidance in life's work, as a herald of the cross, said to him, "We shall be sent to Joy circuit." The reason was asked, and she said she had been praying and something told her. They journeyed on and at conference, when the appointments were read, the bishop reaching the name said, "J. D. BURNHAM, Joy circuit."

Thirty years of life spent as a traveling minister, years of toil, of self denial, of heroism, of incidents thrilling, soul stirring and pathetic. The old times Methodist had to be on the constant move. Souls were considered of more value and moment than home and family surroundings. In those days it usually took four weeks to the circuit. Elder BURNHAM left on his trip one time, leaving his daughter very sick; while he was absent his child died, and as death came stealing over the loved one, she looked up into the face of her mother and knowing death was very near, she said, "Tell papa I am going to Heaven tell him to preach good and meet me in Heaven," and thus the sweet child passed from death.

A few years ago he stood beside the open grave of his wife. She too departed in the triumphs of faith and love. Standing there, while the clods of the valley were falling on the coffin, he could say, "There will be a meeting soon in Heaven." When the elder was prostrate on his death bed, and his body suffering terrible pains, with a clear mind, he would break out singing, "On Jordan's stormy banks I stand," and as the twilight of death settled over him, he would forget all else save Jesus, whose name would quickly arouse him. Thus in faith he settled down in death's cold embrace, with these as his last words: "I am nearing the throne."

He left three children Mrs. S. J. WATERBURY, Mrs. L. A. PAGE and C. H. BURHAM.

His funeral services took place at Plymouth, Rev. H. W. BENNETT officiating. The remains were deposited in the Mason City cemetery.

"Mason Township." History of Franklin and Cerro Gordo Counties, Iowa. Chapt. XXV. Pp. 943-954. Union Pub. Co. Springfield IL. 1883.

Additional information from WPA Graves Survey and cemetery transcriptions

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2011



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