View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of August 10, 2015
Sidney established in 1851, Incorporated in 1870
It was a one-of-a-kind party, that summer of 1951, held in Sidney, Iowa. They were celebrating the 100th birthday of the town and what a party they had. Townsfolk gathered in the town square dressed in the finery of the time when the city was first started.
In the beginning Sidney served a very important stop on the southern trails driven by many a pioneer family headed west. Covered wagons came through Sidney stopping for needed supplies to help carry them along the western trails. A large number continued on to Nebraska City where as many as 100 would gather together to form a wagon train before they headed on their journey.
But some people stayed and the folks, like the Penns, the Crawford,the Jacksons, merchants and store keepers black smiths and carpenters, helped build the town.
That 100th celebration in 1951 featured a parade, program, speeches, music, and more visiting and reminiscing than you can imagine.
My young family were there along with Robertís extended family and I remember the people enjoying dressing up in pioneer costumes and just having a ripping good time.
Not many of us who attended that anniversary celebration are still alive and those who are remember it fondly.--Evelyn Birkby,Way-back Past President Fremont County Historical Society
When I came back to Iowa I was interested to learn that there is a big disconnect between the east side of the state and the west side. The history books emphasised how Iowa was settled in the east and moved west which is partially true. But when we began to build the new museum and put together the exhibits our designer Will Thomson in his research learned about the impact of the Missouri River in settling this area. Our records go back into the 1830's with plenty of evidence settlement occurring. So we know there were vibrant communities in the 1850's including Sidney. That the state of Iowa did not catch up with incorporation until later in the century is also no surprise. It took a long time to get in place all of the legal documents that create a state. -- Lona Lewis, Past-President Fremont County Historical Society
For the last three years, I have helped people find information on their families in Fremont County by searching all available records at the Courthouse. Many times families are looking for events which happened in the 1850's. This causes me to delve into the earliest records looking for any clues and answers to their questions. I've seen the original Court Order at the Clerk of Court's dated September 1851 ordering that a Courthouse be built in the "Town of Sidney". An entry in Court Docket Book 1 at the Clerk of Court's dated October 1851 states that Court was held in "Sidney" Iowa. All court record documents, from 1851 on, were being signed and notarized at Sidney, Iowa. I feel this shows that the Town of Sidney was established in 1851. Sandra Bengtson, Current President Fremont County Historical Society