W. W. DeWolf


I moved from Montour, in Tama county, in 1876, to Reinbeck in company with Truman Pierce and John Maholm. I had a store building built in which I did business for a good many years. The first time we came there were no buildings, and all we could see was some stakes set in a corn field by a surveyor. I bought a lot on which to build my store building, and the other men each bought a lot. We could not easily get stone for foundations, and so we set our building on piling until stone was brought in by railroad. Quite a few other buildings were erected at the time mine was, among them being those of Sauers Bros., Rouse & Wheeler, Otto Kerchoff's meat market, D. J. Hawley & Co.'s drug store; Peter Sieck's hotel, Ben Thompson and Andrew Wilson's elevator, etc. M. M. Lewis started the first lumber yard, Brooks and Moore started the first bank. The first doctors were Drs. Sibert and Gillen, and later Drs. Powers and Bradford arrived. Thomas Salt was our first mayor and Geo. Depew our first marshal. The first school house was built in '78. Henry Biebesheimer built a flouring mill which was run by steam power. In 1882 the Iowa and Nebraska railroad was built, giving us a second line. Black Hawk township paid for all the right of way and made the compnay a donation of $4,000. The road is now known as the Great Western. When the road was being built most of the merchants sold the sub-contractors and the men who worked for them goods on time, but some of them skipped out without paying. The writer had some previous experience in that line so he took no chances and lost nothing that way. When the depot was located there was from one to two feet of water standing on the ground where it was built, and a strong effort was made by some of the citizens to have it put on higher ground, but they failed to have the change made.

Reinbeck was at one time a competitor for the county seat and offered to give a block of land on which to build a new court house and also $20,000 in money toward building a new court house. There was a lot of excitement and bad feeling at that time over the matter. In 1888, when the vote was taken on the question of a tax for the erection of a new court house in Grundy Center but one vote was cast in favor of the tax, all the rest ebing against it. The most important question for a while was, who cast that vote? Black Hawk had defeated Grundy Center, and Holland and Reinbeck were happy. Before the proposition came before the people again three years later Grundy Center had learned something and put up a guarantee to contribute $6,000 and there was but little opposition to the tax and the proposition was carried. I was pleased with the result, as the court house is a fine buildng and I had worked hard to elect the Democratic board which built it.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 15 May 1924, pg 3