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Delaware County, Iowa  



History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People

History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume I.

Captain John F. Merry Supervising Editor. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914 page 289-295



Chapter XXV





     Adams Township was erected September 29, 1855, and is congressional town­ship 87, range 6. It lies in the extreme southwest corner of the county, having Buchanan County for its western boundary and Linn County on the south. Hazel Green Township is on the east and Prairie on the north. 


     Buffalo Creek enters Adams on section 18 and cuts across the corner, leaving its territory on the southeast corner of section 32. This stream receives the drainage from the greater part of the township and the land in general is covered with a heavy bed of drift, upon which is a soil unexcelled in the Mississippi Valley. This means that Adams Township farms are highly productive and in keeping with the general harmonious customs of the people in Delaware County. These farms indicate thrift and progress on the part of their owners.


     James Robinson, an Irishman, came to America in 1844 and to Delaware County in 1852. He married Mary A. Gregg, in 1854, also of Ireland, and they were the parents of twelve children. For many years Mr. Robinson lived on section 8. John Robinson also came from Ireland and settled in the township in 1854. He married Margaret Swindle in March of that year. She was also born in Ireland. Their home was on section 5.


     Benjamin Burgess, an early settler of Adams Township, came to the county in 1855, and in 1859 married Ellen Haight, a native of Ohio. Mr. Burgess was a good farmer and citizen.


    Charles Falconer, a native of Scotland, came to America in 1842, and to Delaware County in 1855. He married Rebecca Pierce in 1857, and in 1864 enlisted in Company I, Fourth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. He was with Sherman in his march to the sea.


     James Cromwell came to the township in 1855 and was one of its valued citizens. By a strong effort he succeeded in having Tower Hill Postoffice established, which was the first in the township and was kept by him for many years. He was one of the few who succeeded in organizing the first district school, in 1858, when the first schoolhouse in the township was erected.


     Henry Ehlers was a native of Germany, whence he emigrated to Canada in 1854. Mr. Ehlers arrived in this township in the spring of 1855 and in 1862 married Anna B. Mangold, who was born in Switzerland. Mr. Ehlers was a member of Company I, Fourth Iowa Infantry and was with Sherman in his memorable march to the sea. He was a member of the board of supervisors, and the station on the Illinois Central near his farm was named Ehlers in his honor.


    Cornelius Hurley was born in Ireland and immigrated to America in 1853. He found his way to Delaware County in 1856 and the same year married Jane Garman, also of Ireland.


     Andrew De Woody was born in Pennsylvania in 1820, married Rachel Bardue in 1843, and with his family came to this county in 1856, settling in Adams Township.


     W. H. Lenox came from Ireland to America in 1832 and to this county in 1857, settling on section 27. He married Sarah Burgess in 1858. James McElligott was also a son of the Emerald Isle. He crossed the Atlantic in 1848 and arrived in this township in 1857. He married Ellen Behan in 1858, and for many years their home was on section 10.




     One of the best business towns in Delaware County is that of Ryan, which was laid out August 28, 1888, by J. A. Thomas, Andrew E. Anderson and Arthur I. Flint.


     Perhaps the first business enterprise in Ryan was started by Arthur Flint, who opened a general store about the year 1886, in a one-story frame building, now occupied by Worley's harness shop.


    Some time in the year 1891 Lon Benninger and John Snyder, under the style of Benninger & Snyder, opened a store. In 1892 Nicholas Weiler had his meat market running and he is still in the business.


    C. E. Worley was Ryan's first harness maker. He began business in 1893, in the old Flint Building, and still holds forth there. Mr. Worley, active and progressive, became Ryan's chief executive and during his administration a splendid system of waterworks was established.


    Shortly after Worley's arrival F. M. Foley engaged in general merchandis­ing, also J. A. Thomas. After a short while Thomas sold out to Charles Van Anda and Will Sutton, who made up the firm of Van Anda & Sutton. Their successors were Connor & Smith, both surnamed Charles, who came two years later.


    The next business concern to open its doors in Ryan was a department store, stocked with goods by the Standard Lumber Company, of Dubuque. This has been under various managements, since the initial one of Joseph Gloden.




    The first school was established in 1888, in a store building owned by Barney Magirl and taught by Joseph Beacom. In the year 1892 the district erected a school building—one-story frame—on Union Street. The structure was re­modeled in 1901, by putting on another story, thus giving four rooms for the accommodation of 135 pupils, who are taught by four instructors. The school has twelve grades.




    The Ryan Postoffice was established in 1884, with Dennis Magirl in charge. The names of his successors follow: A. I. Flint, May 3, 1889; J. A. Thomas, September 24, 1890; J. H. Beacom, August 23, 1894; James Ireland, September 17,1897; F. L. Houston, December 20, 1901.




     Upon petition of John Dolphin, C. E. Worley, John Reilly, J. Coakley, N. Weiler, F. L. Houston and others, asking that the Village of Ryan be separated from the townships of Adams and Hazel Green, and empowered to formulate and maintain a government of its own, with the rights and privileges of an incorporated town, the prayer was granted and the court appointed John Reilly, E. C. Pound, Robert M. Merriam, C. E. Worley and Fred Houston a commission to call an election, to be held at Koehler's implement store, to vote upon the proposition. In accordance and with directions of the court an election was called and held on the 5th day of February, 1901, at which time the electorate cast its voice strongly in favor of incorporation.


     In the month of March, at the regular municipal election, John Dolphin was elected mayor, and John Reilly, Gottlieb Heisman, F. M. Foley, O. M. Wright, F. L. Houston, John Evart, trustees. The first meeting of the council was held on the 13th day of May following and the city government was in full running order. At that session the officials qualified, who agree to act without pay the first year. John Hazelrigg was appointed clerk, and J. P. Striegel, treasurer. An ordinance was passed for the building of sidewalks and Ed Pugh, at a special meeting, received the appointment of marshal.




     The citizens of Ryan early appreciated the fact that a system of waterworks was necessary to give the people an abundance of water, both for public and private use. They realized the virtue of being secure against losses by fire and to these ends a special meeting of council was held August 28, 1901, for the purpose of calling an election, whereby the general sentiment of the community on the movement could be obtained and made a matter of record. On September 21, 1901, the election was held at Koehler's implement store. Fifty votes were cast, of which thirty-nine favored the building of waterworks, while only seven taxpayers voted against the improvement. Four votes were mutilated and were not counted. The judges of this important election were John Dolphin, John Reilly, H. C. Koehler, John Hazelrigg and R. M. Merriam.


     In 1902 council was empowered to sell the corporation bonds to the amount of $3,000 at 5 per cent interest and a levy of 5 mills on the dollar was made for the purpose. An 8-inch well was drilled, which produces a splendid supply of good water. A one-story brick power and pumping station was erected in the heart of the town, in which was installed a vertical steel tank 9 by 9 by 36 feet, as a reservoir, having a capacity of 16,000 gallons of water. The pressure is sixty pounds and the water is driven into the reservoir by a 12-horsepower gasoline engine. The power house stands on a lot, purchased of P. H. Ryan, for $350. The total cost of the waterworks, including the power house and 1,000 feet of hose, was about five thousand dollars.




     Ryan people organized a fine body of men into a volunteer fire company in 1902, and this department of the town's utilities erected a brick fire station at its own expense in 1913. The building is in the form of a tower from the ground up and on the face of the structure is a tablet, on which is inscribed the following names, the owners of which contributed to the sum of $900, cost of the station: C. E. Worley, chief; J. M. Brayton, W. H. Ward, G. C. Johnston, N. Weiler, A. O. Thompson, R. A. Barry, T. P. Turner, A. J. Keegan, S. S. McAreavy, J. M. Duncan, E. E. Coakley, J. A. Lyness and J. J. Dolphin.



~ source: History of Delaware County, Iowa and its People, Illustrated, Volume I. The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1914, Chicago.  Page 289-295.  Call Number 977.7385 H2m.

~ transcribed by Constance Diamond for Delaware County IAGenWeb


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