New Browns 

Browns, Sugar Creek and Riggs, Waterford Township, Clinton County, Iowa

Compiled by Lorraine Houghton and Marilu Thurman, updated August 2006.
Thank you so much to Lorraine and Marilu for sending this information to us. 

New Browns

Browns Station, located in section 3 of Waterford Township, became known as New Browns. New Browns had a post office from June 18, 1883 to April 30, 1915. After rebuilding the new tracks in 1913, the Browns station was moved about 1 1/2 miles to the east to New Browns. The depot was simply loaded on a flat car and hauled to its new location.

Later this railroad was known as the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad Line. This was a major help in opening this area for the transportation of residents and the shipping of produce, stock, planting seed, coal, and limestone by products to and from this area. Residents remember coal coming into Browns by the train carload. The farmers would load up their horse drawn wagons, haul it home and also haul it to the church and school for heating in the winter. St. Joseph School students remember that a coal bin had to be dug out of the ground adjacent to the school in Sugar Creek, with two to three foot diameter holes on top, so that the wagons could be backed up to unload the coal into the coal chutes and into the coal bin.

At one time, there were four passenger trains passing daily. You could ride to the nearby towns, or you could ride to Chicago in 5-1/2 hours with all of the stops in between. Depot agents for New Browns were Frank Zeiser and John McGuire. After the New Browns station closed, the store/hotel and the front of the depot were moved to the Joe Banowetz farm. We don’t know if they were put on skids, but somehow, with the help of horses, they were brought up a big hill and hauled about 2 miles, to the Joe Banowetz farm, where they are now located.

According to the 1892 Farmer's Directory of Clinton County, Iowa, the following families are listed with a Browns address: John Ahlers, Barney Arkenberg, Henry Arkenberg, John Becker, Matt Banowetz, Mike Banowetz, August Bormann, John Bormann, Jos. Brinkman, Otto. Brinkman, Henry Brown, John Burkens, William Burkens, John Buthala, Joe Determan, Elizabeth Frett, John Frett, William Frett, John Harty, George King, James Kirwin, George Lamoth, Patrick Lanigan, Aloys Nichause, Hans Nurra, Andrew Peschel, John Powers, John Proost, John Puetze, Herman Rolling, Charles Ross, M.J. Roweder, Fred Shrader, Joseph Smith, Martin Teshack, and Jacob Thieson.

In reviewing the 1905 Directory of Farmers and Land Owners of Clinton County, Iowa, the following families are listed with a Browns address: John Ahlers, Barbara Arkenberg, John Arkenberg, Barney Arkenberg, M. B. Banowetz, Joseph Buthala, August Boehmer, Louis Boehmer, John Boehmer, William Boehmer, Henry Bormann, John Bormann, Bernard Brown, J.D. Brown, Adolf Brinkman, Ada Brinkman, Henry Brinkman, John Burken, William Burken, Joseph Determann, Matt Determann, Frank Dedrick, Mrs. Ferring, Anton Ferring, Charles Franke, William Franzen, Henry Franzen, John Frett, Peter Frett, Mrs. Robert Fulton, Emil Fuegen, Matt Jerman, George King, George Lamoth, George Lamoth Jr, and John Lamoth, George Luckrige, Fred Mangler, Hans Miller, Andrew Peschel, John Powers, John Proost, Michael Reuter, Herman Rolling, Peter Roseman, Mrs. Schmidt, August Soenksen, Joseph Sterk, Martin Teshak, Barney Timmer, Henry Trenkamp and John Zeiser.

Some landowners in Fairfield Township, Jackson County in Sections 32 through 35 called Browns their home also. Some had land in both Jackson County and Clinton County. The county line was about ½ mile north of Browns. According to the list of residents in Fairfield Township in 1913, they are as follows: Mrs. John Ahlers, J. Buthola, Mrs. Louisa Boehmer, Louis Boehmer, N. and A. Bormann, John Bormann, Henry Franzen, Louis Franzen, William Franzen, Mary Haylock, L. F. Kukkuck, H. P. Miller, P. Peschel, A. F. Russell, H. Schlemma and Joe Skoff, William Schmadke, Fred Schmidt, G. H. Stamp, John Sterbenz, John Stocken, Barney Timmer, and Louis Wink.

New Browns had a creamery and wagon shop run by Joseph Sterk, who had learned the trade before he immigrated to this country. Andrew Peschel sold his Old Browns store to Frank Zeiser, who moved it to New Browns. New Browns also had a stockyard, where the cattle were kept to await shipment to Chicago. At New Browns you can see the remnants of the train tracks heading east, behind a large farm gate and utility sign, in the bottom land. The Milwaukee railroad had twin tracks in New Browns. Four passenger trains went by daily. One could ride to Chicago in about 5 ½ hours with all of the stops in between.

In 1908, a small lime kiln sprang up in the extreme east side of the New Browns. You can see it near the trees, to the east of that farm gate and utility sign. It was Reverend Haubrich who began interest in this project. He went to Chicago to get some men to start up the industry. The men agreed and a small industry was started on the Barney Timmer farm. It was called "Sugar Creek Lime and Cement Company". The officers of said company were: L. Brieske, President, J. B. Rubly, Secretary, S. Wringer, General Manager, Barney Timmer, Supt., and J. P. Haubrich, Treasurer. The limestone kiln still stands today in silent testimony to an industry which once thrived from the lime hills and cliffs in the Sugar Creek territory. It took a tremendous fire to heat the rock from the surrounding hills. When it was melted, it was sent to Chicago by way of the Milwaukee railroad, running through New Browns. Some of the stone by products were used to plaster and paint the walls in the big buildings in Chicago. According to the St. Joseph’s Church Sugar Creek Book, union troubles were the cause of the failure of the small industry.

The 1925 Waterford Township directory shows the following families living in the Browns area. They are the families of:

John and Catherine (Brown, Underberg) Ahlers,
Mathias and Katherine (Franzen) Banowetz,
William and Magdalena (Zeizer) Banowetz,
John and Carrie (Kimman) Boehmer,
Louis and Anna (Teshak) Boehmer,
William and Angeline (Schanfezder) Boehmer,
Mrs. Henry Bohrman,
John and Cathrine (Trenkamp) Bohrman,
Adolph and Elizabeth Brinkman,
John and Catherine (Berding) Burken,
Joseph and Marie (Mertens) Determan
John and Elizabeth (Timmer) Elsner,
Henry and Mary (Trenkamp) Franzen (The Spring Valley Pleasant Home Dairy Farm),
John and Carline (Borman) Frett,
Emil and Josephine (Underberg) Fuegen,
John and Mary (Assenmacher) Herwath,
William and Mary (Reuter) Kieffer,
William and Josephine Koch (The Walnut Grove Dairy Farm),
Mrs. Catherine Lamuth
Jacob and Elizabeth (Reuter) Lehnertz,
Henry and Laura Luskey,
Alfred and Ella McCloy,
Johanna (Burke) Powers, William Powers,
Michael and Mary (Burken) Reuter,
Peter and Kathrine (Banowetz) Reuter,
Catherine Roling,
Herman and Agnes (Soppe) Roling,
Peter and Mary Rossman,
Charles Schrader, Fred Schrader, Max and Ruby Schrader,
Anton and Frances (Rose) Teshak,
Bernard and Wilhelmina (Burken) Timmer,
Henry and Christina (Banowetz) Trenkamp

Note - I have included the maiden names in parenthesis when I knew the name.