W. A. Conrad


Felix and Clay were one township until 1856, when they were divided, the west half retaining the former name, Felix, and the east half was named in honor of the noted statesman, Henry Clay. The first settler was Cheney Thomas, who came in the spring of 1854. In the autumn of that year H. H. Brooks arrived. The first birth was that of Charles Perry; first wedding was that of Able Beach and Mary Ann Clay; death, that of Cheney Thomas. The first minister was the Rev. John Montgomery, and Caroline Thomas was the first school teacher. J. W. Conrad was the second person in the county to enter or purchase land direct from the government. He made his entry in December, 1853, but did not move into the county until 1855.

Duncan McMartin, of New York, bought about 2,000 acres at an early day and made a trip to this county each year afterward during his lifetime. Mrs. McMartin was a sister to Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the noted woman suffragist. The first Fourth of July celebration was held in Conrad's Grove in 1857. For many years Iowa City was the nearest railroad station and market. The Illinois Central railroad was built to Waterloo in 1861 and things were handy then, as it was only forty-five miles across the prairie to that place, a three days' trip there and back, but we thought nothing of that. The men all wore cowhide boots, no overshoes or felt boots, and many of them had no overcoat. In 1868 there was a postoffice called Wadiloup, about a half mile east and the same distance south of the present location of Beaman, and also a store and blacksmith shop. The place was also called Jerusalem. A man named Snow had a flouring mill down the creek about a half a mile to the east, and his place was called Jericho. The town of Beaman, named for Solon S. Beaman, and his sons, Hal and Horace, was platted in 1875, and then Jerusalem moved up to Beaman. The Farmers Union Railroad was built from Liscomb to Beaman at that time.

In 1880 the Northwestern railroad came, and the town of Conrad, named for the pioneer, J. W. Conrad, was platted. The first grocery dealer was W. L. Seamans; General Merchandise, W. H. Stark; drugs, C. W. Nelson; blacksmith, W. B. Elliott; banker, H. A. Church; doctor, W. P. Penfield; attorney, D. C. Kerr. Al Burton was the editor of the Conrad Journal, and Doc. Nelson built the first hotel, or boarding house. It was 40 or 50 feet long, boarded up and down, had a board roof, and was eight feet in height to the eaves.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 15 May 1924, pg 1