Cerro Gordo County Iowa
Part of the IaGenWeb Project
Legal non-Indian settlement began in Iowa on June 1, 1833, under the Black Hawk Purchase treaty. For the first time pioneers were allowed to claim new land on the west side of the Mississippi river. A large influx of white settlers soon followed. In the fall of 1836 government surveyors divided the public lands into townships of six square miles and 640 acre sections. In 1838 Iowa received independent territorial status under President Van Buren. By 1851 all of the Indian lands in Iowa had been ceded to the U.S. government and General Land Office surveys quickly divided up the newly-acquired public lands for sale.
The Iowa territory eventually had nine Public Land Offices, the earliest opening in November, 1838 in Burlington, Iowa and Dubuque, Iowa. There were over 20,000 settlers who were in the Iowa territory prior to the first land sales and thus had no legal title to their claims. To protect their interests and to prevent newcomers from buying their lands at government auctions, the older settlers formed "Claim Clubs" to rig auctions claiming the right of first settlement.
Floyd county was formed from the Black Hawk Indian Land Purchase in 1854; In 1855 Cerro Gordo and Franklin counties were formed from the first revision of Floyd County. Butler county had been formed a few years earlier partly from a revised Buchanan and partly from a revised Black Hawk County.
Black Hawk was a leader of the Sauk Indian tribe, who originally inhabited lands in Wisconsin but migrated into Northwestern Iowa and Illinois under pressure from the French and the Chippewa Indians. In 1804 the Sauk and Meskwaki signed treaties giving away their rights to the land adjacent to the Mississippi River in both Iowa and Illinois. White settlers soon began pouring into the area. The Sauk fought on the side of the British in the war of 1812, and afterwards were confined to territores in Iowa. In 1828 President John Adams demanded that the Iowa lands of the Sauk be sold; but faced with hostile Indian tribes to the west, the Sauk attempted to return to their old lands in northwestern Illinois, which instigated the Black Hawk War of 1832, after which the Sauk were removed to Indian territory in the west.
What became Dougherty township in 1870 was formerly a part of Geneseo township in Cerro Gordo County. The new township was organised in 1870 and first named "Prairie" but in 1871 changed to "Dougherty" in honor of its first settler, Dan Dougherty.
Dan Dougherty had previously lived in Norristown, Pennsylvania, outside of Philadelphia, where he worked in an Iron Furnace or Foundry. In 1856 he came to Decorah, Iowa, to the site of the United States Land Office, and filed on 160 acres of government land in section 36 of what is now Dougherty Township in Cerro Gordo County, paying $1.25 an acre. He then returned to Norristown, PA. In the fall of 1858 he moved his family to Clayton county, Iowa, farming there until 1863 when he moved to Cerro Gordo County.
Dan Dougherty was soon followed by other settlers, including John Humphrey and Nicholas Cunningham (who settled just across the county line in Floyd county) in 1864; George Merrick, from Rockford, Illinois, in 1865; Charles McConlogue from Wisconsin, A.T. Ames from Maine, T.H. Harris from Canada, Pat Moran and Joseph Kirk from Wisconsin, J.O. Crapsor from Franklin county, all in 1868; Thomas and John McManus from Wisconsin, and James Jessmore from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, both in 1869.
Other settlers began arriving from Wisconsin, from 1876 to the early 1880's. At about the same time a large colony arrived here from the coal mining areas of Pennsylvania, fleeing labor agitation after a strike by the Molly Maguires.
Dan Dougherty appears to have been the driving force in persuading many of these families to settle in the area. Many of the Irish families who first settled in Dougherty township were from Donegal, as was Dan Dougherty. And there were some personal family ties as well. Nicholas Cunningham, one of the first settlers in the area from Wisconsin, was married to a neice of Mary Gallagher, the wife of Dan Dougherty. Daniel McLaughlin, who came to the area before 1880, had been a boyhood friend of Dan Dougherty's in their homeland of Donegal.
Letters from Dan Dougherty to friends and acquaintances in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania probably encouraged these colonies of Irish settlers to relocate to the newly-broken prairie sod of Iowa.
Many of the other non-Irish early settlers in Dougherty township had no connection with Dan Dougherty, but like him, were simply filing on newly opened government land. The 1870 census records about 12 families living in what was then a part of Geneseo township but would later become Dougherty township. By 1880 some 56 families were settled in Dougherty township. By 1900, with the fouding of the City of Dougherty, the population in the town itself had exploded to nearly 300 (a figure which probably did not include many of the farming families outside of the city itself in the surrounding area).
The first post office in the area was established May 1, 1866, prior to the establishment of Dougherty township. It was located 2 miles southwest of the later town of Dougherty in Franklin County, West Fork township. The Post Office was named Cold Water and James M. Chambers was appointed the first postmaster.
The post office took its name from Coldwater creek which begins in sections 5 and 7 of Dougherty township and flows diagonally through the township in section 36. It then enters Scott township in Floyd county and then into Butler county where it flows southeasterly through Bennezette township.
This first Cold Water postoffice closed in 1875.
The second postoffice in the area was also called Cold Water and was located 2 1/2 miles from the present town of Dougherty in Butler County, Bennezette township on section 6. The log house which had housed the previous Cold Water postoffice was moved from the farm of J. O. Crapser in West fork township, Franklin county, to the farm of John H. Lockwood in Bennezette township. John H. Lockwood was appointed the postmaster.
This postoffice closed in 1885.
On February 7, 1873, Daniel Dougherty of Dougherty township sold five acres of land in section 36 to William Keenan. On this property the town of Cold Water first came into existence. Like the postoffices, the town was named after Cold Water creek.
In 1881 William Keenan started a wagon shop on his property and by 1883 was also engaged in operating a general store. On October 30, 1888 he sold the general store and the original five acres to John Mullen, who operated the store in Cold Water until 1900. The town of Cold Water businesses consisted of the general store operated by William Keenan and later John Mullen; a postoffice, Wagon shop, Black Smith Shop run by John Fowler, and a dress making shop. Across the road in Floyd county in Scot township was a saw mill and a creamery called the Upper Coldwater Dairy Association of Floyd County.
On April 16, 1866 William Keenan was named postmaster of the new postoffice of Cold Water, which he operated out of his general store in the new town of Cold Water.
The town of Dougherty first came into existence with the building of the Iowa, Minnesota and North Western Railroad. Earlier rail lines had been built between Mason City and Clear Lake in 1896 and 1897. But the builders soon realised more extensive connections would have to be made for the line to be profitable and plans were soon made for further lines north from Mason City to Blue Earth, Minnesota, and southeast from Mason City to Belle Plaine, Iowa.
Construction of the new lines began in 1899, one of the grading camps being located on the farm of Daniel Dougherty in section 36 of Dougherty township. As part of the construction of the new rail lines, fourteen new towns were laid out along the railroad right-of-way.
The new towns along the railroad were:
While the line was still under construction, the Iowa, Minnesota and
North Western Railroad was sold to the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad
Company in Chicago, Illinois. The former owners as a condition of the
sale retained the land that had been purchased along the railroad
right-of-way for the town sites. They then organised a new company
called the Iowa-Minnesota Town Site Company to dispose of the property.
The land reserved for a new town along the railway had been purchased
from Daniel and James Dougherty, Robert Mullin, and the Independant
School District of Dougherty Township.
On October 22, 1900 a petition was filed in the Cerro Gordo County
courthouse for the incorporation of the Town of Dougherty and and election
followed on November 23, 1900 for the purpose of incorporating additional
territory into the town which was to be called Dougherty, named after
Daniel Dougherty, the first settler in the area.
After the establishment of the new town of Dougherty, the Coldwater
postoffice closed on October 15, 1900 because a new postoffice had been
established in the town of Dougherty. The few business that had been
operating in the town of Cold Water then closed and moved to Dougherty
as well, including the General Store run by John Mullin.
The land reserved for a new town along the railway had been purchased from Daniel and James Dougherty, Robert Mullin, and the Independant School District of Dougherty Township.
On October 22, 1900 a petition was filed in the Cerro Gordo County courthouse for the incorporation of the Town of Dougherty and and election followed on November 23, 1900 for the purpose of incorporating additional territory into the town which was to be called Dougherty, named after Daniel Dougherty, the first settler in the area.
After the establishment of the new town of Dougherty, the Coldwater postoffice closed on October 15, 1900 because a new postoffice had been established in the town of Dougherty. The few business that had been operating in the town of Cold Water then closed and moved to Dougherty as well, including the General Store run by John Mullin.
The Mason City Globe Gazette Weekly
The new Town Starts Out With a Phenomenal Sale
of Lots and A Bright Future
The Commercial club of Mason City had better take immediate steps our the first thing they know the town of Dougherty will annex them.
The biggest and most enthusiastic lot of town site patriots long the line of the North Western gathered at Dougherty yesterday and the selling of lots was something "rich, rare and racy." "Rich" was emobided in the large number of capitalists who invested their shining yellow coin; "rare" was the choice real estate offfered and "racy" was the other name for the auctioneer, John Duff.
At least 2,000 people aside from the big delegation from Mason City, asssembled, and like all gatherings in Dougherty township the good feeling was abundant and predominant.
When the train reached Dougherty, John Duff, who can take more liberties than most anybody else and yet not step on a banana peel, called out:
"The next station is Dougherty, change cars for Dublin and Belfast."
The sale began at 1:30 p.m. and before the supper bell tang the secretery of the Townsite Co. had put down a total sale of nearly $19,000. the first lot sold was the "bank corner" lot purchased by C. H. McNider for $1,025, the highest price paid for any lot in the town. Mr. McNider also paid $975 for another lot, showing his great faith in Dougherty as a good, progressive town. A. H. Gale got a lot at $755 and Geo. Winter also picked up one. Messrs. Joice and Scarr, bankers, also decided that Dougherty real estate was a good thing and made investments.
Two full blocks of fine lots were sold, the average of the lots not being less than $200. Mr. McNider made his purchase because he wanted this particular spot for the bank in which he is interested and was willing to pay a good price for it. Aobut 68 lots in all were sold.
Excursion trains were run from Mason City on the north and Dumont on the south and there were people from Greene, Bristow and a large nubmer of other points off the line.
Hon. Daniel Dougherty, the father of the township and for whom the town is named, was present and made things extremely lively. He will undoubtedly be the first mayor of his own town.
From 15 to 20 buildings have already been erected and they will be moved at once to the lots purchased by the owners of the buildings, and the town will start off with the best kind of a boom.
Dougherty is in the midst of the richest farming land in the state of Iowa and surrounded by the most prosperous lot of farmers, therefore, will always be a first class, lively, bustling town.
President Brice is in pretty good humor over the sales of yesterday.
On September 1, 1901, a fire broke out in George Swallow's Drug Store in Dougherty, thought to be the result of spontaneous combustion in an oil house behind the store. Twelve of the principle businesses on both sides of Main St. were destroyed along with a number of homes. Losses were estimated from $75,000 to $125,000. Most of the businesses were insured for two-thirds of their cash value.
The Daily Times-Herald
The town is located 18 miles south of Mason City
on the Northwestern Railraod. the population is 500.
the town is located in beautiful country with an
extensive trading territory tributary of the same.
The lay of the land surrounding the town is very
pleasing to the eye and is rapidly advancing, got
toward $100 an acre price.
September last this little city suffered what
seemed to be greatly from fire, but it has arisen
in every way much more substantial than before.
Some of the buildings that have taken the place of
the old ones are models in convenience and beauty.
Dougherty has two schools, viz: Public and Sister's
academy. The public school is giving good satisfaction
to the citizens. We found two churches, a Catholic
and a new Methodist Episcopal, which is just being
erected and will be dedicated in the fall. This is a
neat building, centrally located and is very greatly
needed in the community.
One strong factor in this town is the First National
Bank, which was organized in 1900 with C. H. McNider,
Pres., and W. J. Christians, Cashier, capital stock is
twenty five thousand and the deposits average nearly
double that amount. This has centralized the business
and has greatly aided in giving the town a fine
The creamery has had a very successful run and is
at present placing about $2,000 in circulation each
month. This money goes through the local bank and
reaches all branches of commercial business.
We noticed two large lumbering districts that
would be a credit to any town in the state and two
elevators are in readiness to handle the large crop of
grain coming into this popular market. In the past
twelve months there has beens hip[ped from Dougherty
five hundred car loads of grain and live stock and the
aggtregate amount of busniess for the community during
that length of time was two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars, which is a fine showing and speaks volumes for
the bustling town.
We wish ow to call the attention of our readers to
some of the enterprising business men who subscribe
for the Daily Times-Herald of our late visit.
September last this little city suffered what seemed to be greatly from fire, but it has arisen in every way much more substantial than before. Some of the buildings that have taken the place of the old ones are models in convenience and beauty.
Dougherty has two schools, viz: Public and Sister's academy. The public school is giving good satisfaction to the citizens. We found two churches, a Catholic and a new Methodist Episcopal, which is just being erected and will be dedicated in the fall. This is a neat building, centrally located and is very greatly needed in the community.
One strong factor in this town is the First National Bank, which was organized in 1900 with C. H. McNider, Pres., and W. J. Christians, Cashier, capital stock is twenty five thousand and the deposits average nearly double that amount. This has centralized the business and has greatly aided in giving the town a fine commerical rating.MO< The creamery has had a very successful run and is at present placing about $2,000 in circulation each month. This money goes through the local bank and reaches all branches of commercial business.
We noticed two large lumbering districts that would be a credit to any town in the state and two elevators are in readiness to handle the large crop of grain coming into this popular market. In the past twelve months there has beens hip[ped from Dougherty five hundred car loads of grain and live stock and the aggtregate amount of busniess for the community during that length of time was two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which is a fine showing and speaks volumes for the bustling town.
We wish ow to call the attention of our readers to some of the enterprising business men who subscribe for the Daily Times-Herald of our late visit.
This business was started in Dougherty in 1900. The room occupied by these men is centrally located, is 25 X 80 in which they handle dry goods, notions, furnishing goods, shoes, groceries and the public can always depend on the right price. This firm also has a store a New Hampton, managed by J. W. McAloon. the stock carried in the two stores will aggregate $15,000. Their business at Dougherty shows an increase of 33 1/3 pre cent in the last twelve months, which is a fine increase and must be gratifying to the management. They will be visited by the Daily Times-Herald regularly.
Mr. Ryan succeeded to this business one year ago. Here the trade will find drugs, druggist sundries, toilet articles, perfumes, etc., also a full assortment of jewelry, wall paper, paints and oils. Careful attention is given to prescriptions which are filled by Mr. Ryan, who is a registered pharmacist. The Corner Pharmacy handles the best patent medicines and home remedies and is enjoying an excellent trade. He solicits business from everyone who reads this notice.
Mr. Fowler has worked at the business twelve months. He formerly resided at Hampton, Iowa, where he was engaged in the blacksmith business. His shop is centrally located on Main street and is a recognized business center. He makes a specialty of plow work and horse shoeing and conducts a general repair shop. His business is good and he never was more prosperous than at present. In 1900, Mr. Fowler was appointed post master of Dougherty and has filled the position with honor and entirely satisfactory to all concerned. He is one of the substantial citizens and in hearty sympathy with his native town. He will be a regular reader of the Daily Times-Herald from this date forward.
Here the trade will find a general assortment of dry goods, shoes, notions, furnishing goods, groceries, etc. They handle clean and attractive stock at popular prices. They exchange for all kinds of country proudce and are headquarters for everything in the line which they represent. One feature of the business is prices, which from the first they have mdade low and kept them down. They keep a well assorted stock, handle flour in large quantities and make special prices on many things in their line. They solicit a call from all who read this notice and will endeavor to please and satisfy the trade. The Daily will make them a regular visit.
These gentlemen conduct a restaurant and hotel, serve regular meals, lunch, ice cream, and all kinds of summer drinks. They also carry many articles in shelf groceries which they offer the trade at cash prices. Here the trade is supplied with fruits, oysters, etc., in season, and the traveling public will be accommodated for meals at all hours. This is a $1.00 per day house and the proprietors are taking good care of the traveling and commercial public who make this town. The Daily Times-Herald will be found on their tables, from this time forward.
Mr. Wise is a native of Minnesota, was born and educated in St. Charles. In 1892 he began railroading as a station agent on the Chicago & Great Western road and served that company faithfully and acceptably for eight years, after which he came to the Chicago and North Western, was their agent, at Wheelerwood and soon after the company trasferred him to Dougherty, where he has served as agent for three years. His service has been very acceptable to the company and he has made a host of friends in the town and vicinity. He has a comfortable home in Dougherty, a wife and a little son, all which he greatly enjoys. Your correspondent wishes Mr. Wise many years of continued success and prosperity in all his undertakings.
Mr. Kelly occupies one of the new rooms which is 25 X 64 with a basement of the same size. Here he shows an up-to-date line of building and shelf hardware, stoves, ranges, tin-ware, etc. He makes a specialty of the Crown Jewel Ranges which he offers to the trade from $35 up. At present he is planning for his falls tock and he will be able to show the trade and a greater variety than at any former season. His in line as a reader of the Daily Times-Herald.
Mr. Weckler located in Dougherty in April 1901. He came from Allison, Butler county, where he was formerly engaged in the same business nine years, and is a man of twenty year's experience. He erected his own shop which is centrally located and he has from the first been enjoying a growing business. This shop is equipped with modern machinery, has a two and a half horse power engine which runs a disc emery wheel and plow works. He makes a specialty of all kinds of repairing and guarantees, his work to be first class in every particular.
This business was established about two years ago and covers about everything in farm implements and such articles as are needed by the farming community. The building is 72 X 32, two story, with an extensive ware room, every corner of which is full of the best brands known to the trade. For instance, Deering binders, and mowers, Kratzer buggies, Banner wagons, etc. Here the trace will find Eclipse and Perkins wind mills, old reliable brands well known to the trade. This is a great business under strong and able management and from the first has enjoyed the confidence of the public and a growing business. Our readers will make no mistkae when they call on Mr. McCoy for anything in his line and while there they can look over the Daily Times-Herald.
These gentlemen succeeded to the lumber busniess November, last. They handle a complete assortment of lumber, cement, brick, tile and all grades of building material and they are extensive buyers and consequently are prepared to meet honorable competition. C. F. Wendt is the local manager, a gentleman with three year's experience in handling lumber and understands the business in its various details. He will be glad to figure with you and to give you all of the costs estimates of all buildings free and guarantees the prices to be as low as the lowest. While you are figuring with him you can look over the Daily Times-Herald which will be a regular visitor.
This business was started in Dougherty two years ago and from the very first day has enjoyed prosperity. The line covers brand name harness, nets, robes, dusters, blankets, etc. Mr. Kriebs makes a specialty of repairing and cleaning harness and we make no mistake when we say that his work in hand harness is his strongest and best advertisement. He turns out only such goods as he can guarantee to the trade and it is not surprising therefore that his business is growing along all branches. He had joined the Daily Times-Herald army.
This business was started in Dougherty December last. the firm occupies one of the new rooms which has a fifty foot French plate show window. Here the trade can be accommodated with dry goods, groceries, hardware, furniture, etc. This is a large building, in fact two rooms connected with an archwsay where the stock is most elegantly displayed. Everything is marked in plain figures and sold for spot cash. From the first these gentlemen have made the prices low and have been acknowledged leaders in the various lines which they represent. They are hustlers for the trade and the firm has a bright future. We wish them a continuation of their present prosperity and hope they will enjoy the Daily Times-Herald.
These gentlemen are well-known in and around Dougherty, having resided in the township for fourteen years. Two years ago they began business with an entire new stock, consisting of groceries, shoes, and many articles of house furnishing goods. They keep a well assorted stock of groceries and the best brands of shoes known to the trade on all of which they have from the first enjoyed a growing and profitable business. They exchange for everything in the way of country produce and in this respect are ackowledged headquarters. We wish these gentlemen a continuation of their present growing business and are glad to enroll them as readers of the Daily Times-Herald.
Mr. Dougherty succeeded to the entire business that he represents November last. He handles everything in the way of farm implements such as Mccormick harvesters, mowers, and a full assortment of John Deere goods, Woodmansy wind mills, tanks, pumps, etc. The building occupied is 36 X 80, two story, which attracts the attention of all strangers and is an acknowledged headquarters for farm furnishing goods. The present season Mr. Dougherty has sold forty binders and several car loads of buggies. For the next thirty days he will conduct a buggy sale and will clean up on many things in the various lines he represents. We are glad to give him this brief notice and can wish him nothing better than a continuation of his large and growing business. He will read the Daily Times-Herald.
Dougherty. Population 300. Formerly known as Coldwater, is located on the C & N. W. Rway., in Dougherty township, Cerro Gordo County, 19 miles s.e. of Mason City, the county seat, and 145 from Des Moines. Has Catholic and Methodist Episcopal churches, a bank and a weekly newspaper, the Dougherty World. Exp, Am. Tel., W.U. Telephone connection.
Dougherty Population 300. Formerly known as Coldwater, is an incorporated village located on the C. & N. Railroad, in Dougherty township, Cerro Gordo County, 18 miles S.E. of Mason City the County seat, and 145 miles from Des Moines. With a Catholic and Methodist Episcopal churches and a bank. Exp., Am Tel., W.U.
Dougherty Population 300. Formerly known as Coldwater, is an incorporated village located on the C. & N.W. Railroad, in Dougherty township, Cerro Gordo County, 18 miles S.E. of Mason City the judicial seat, and 145 miles from Des Moines. With a Catholic church, a grain elevator and a bank. Exp., Am Tel., W.U.
Dougherty Population 250. Formerly known as Coldwater, is an incorporated village located on the C. & N.W. Railroad, in Dougherty township, Cerro Gordo County, 18 miles S.E. of Mason City the judicial seat, and 145 miles from Des Moines. With a Catholic church, a weekly newspaper, the world, a grain elevator and a bank. Exp., Am Railroad. Telephone, W.U.
Dougherty today is virtually a ghost town; the entire north end of Main Street is a row of vacant lots. The last tavern in town closed in 1999 after a string of suspicious fires. The last general store closed in 1991. King's Radiator Repair run by Timothy J. King, Becky's Mall-Greenhouse (owned by his wife), The Helping Hand Daycare Center and the Cold Water Studio are the only businesses left in town. The Post Office and St. Patrick's Catholic Church are still there, and as one drives through the quiet town of Dougherty, it appears that a large VFW hall is still in use. St. Patrick's elementary school still stands next to the church and cemetery but is no longer a functioning school.
But the farms are still there, although even they have too changed over the years. One rarely sees livestock on Dougherty farms at this date; or for that matter, pastures - the fields are planted from fenceline to fenceline in corn. And the Dougherty people are still there too - many of them descendants of the first Irish and German settlers who came from Wisconsin and Pennsylvania some one hundred and twenty years ago.
Contributed by John McLaughlin
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