Henry County, IAGenWeb

City of Mt. Pleasant.

Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa
Chicago: Acme  Publishing Company, 1888.


Pgs 668-678

The State of Iowa has within its borders no city that is more attractive or beautiful, considering its size, than Mt. Pleasant, nor is there one with more natural advantages, or settled with a better class of citizens. It is located in Center Township, a little south of the geographical center of the county, on a high prairie when it derives its name. Strangers visiting the city for the first time invariably remark on its beautiful situation. Improved as it is at the present time, yet it was hardly less beautiful in the fall of 1834, when Presley Saunders, from Sangamon County, Ill., first let his gaze fall upon it, and determined here to make his home. Selecting it as his claim, he returned to Illinois, and early in 1835 came back, settled upon it and here has since continued to reside. In this year, 1888, he is numbered among the earliest pioneers of Henry County, and as such is honored and respected. But not alone as a pioneer, but as a representative citizen, one who has done much to build up the beautiful city, and, as a business man, always been upright and strictly honest with his fellowman.

On the organization of Henry County by the Territorial Legislature of Wisconsin in the winter of 1836-37, Mt. Pleasant was chosen as the county seat, and here the seat of justice has continued to remain, notwithstanding two or three vigorous efforts have been made to remove it to another locality. The city has never had anything to resemble the modern boom, but steadily grew for a number of years, and was first incorporated by an act of the Territorial Legislature of Iowa, approved Jan. 25, 1842. The charter provided for a government consisting of a President and four Councilmen and a Recorder. S. B. Parker was the first President. The town at this time was quite small, and the expense and trouble of maintaining a municipal government were probably found rather onerous, and it was permitted to collapse. As far as it is known, no special effort was made to again incorporate for some years, but an act was finally secured from the State Legislature, approved Feb. 5, 1851, incorporating the town of Mt. Pleasant. This time the executive authority was vested in a Mayor, the other officers remaining as before. Col. William Thompson was chosen Mayor; Harpin Riggs, Titus V. Taft, John S. Green and Alvin Saunders, Councilmen, and Henry H. McMillan, Recorder. Under this charter the municipal affairs of Mt. Pleasant were administered until the spring of 1857, when it was organized under the general act, and is now a city of second class.

The first store in the place was opened by Col. J. H. Randolph, May 12, 1836. The Colonel had first started in business in Burlington, but not liking the location, came on to Mt. Pleasant, where he became a pioneer merchant. He was in a short time followed by others, among whom was Presley Saunders, the founder of the town, who at the present time is doubtless the oldest merchant in the State in point of continuous service in the mercantile trade. To-day the city is well represented by every class of trade, and her merchants are regarded by the wholesale and jobbing trade as among the safest in the State.

John P. Grantham was the pioneer school teacher of the city, opening and continuing a term of school in the spring of 1837, in a little log cabin which was used as a church by any who desired to hold services therein. Those who attended school in that little log cabin more than a half century ago, are now among the aged men and women, or have passed over the river. The teacher lingered till 1887, when he too went to meet his reward. The humble beginning of the Mt. Pleasant schools was in a strange contract to those of the present. No better schools are to be found in the State than those in this city, and their high rank has been maintained through long years. In addition to the public schools, the Iowa Wesleyan University holds high rank among the most noted of Western colleges or universities, while Howe’s Academy has always been regarded as a first-class institution. For many years the city has been known as the Athens of Iowa.

The religious interests of the place have always been carefully guarded, and to-day it is represented by a number of strong churches, representing the leading denominations of the country. The first house of worship was erected by the Cumberland Presbyterians in 1840, on the corner of Main and Madison streets. For some cause the society did not prosper, and its organization was dissolved many years ago. At the present writing the following-named denominations are represented here: Advent Christian, Baptist, Christian, Catholic, Congregational, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Universalist.

The Methodist Episcopal Church of Mt. Pleasant, now known as the First Methodist Episcopal Church, was the first religious society organized in Henry County, as well as in the city. From an historical sketch of the church, prepared by John P. Grantham, the following extract is taken:

“As early as the latter part of the year 1835, that part of the Black Hawk Purchase in which Mt. Pleasant is situated was made missionary ground, and the Rev. John Ruble, who had just been transferred from the Illinois to the Missouri Conference, was by the latter sent on as a missionary to occupy and cultivate the new field. The exact date is not known, but it is understood that he came on promptly, and preached his first sermon in the house of Presley Saunders. Soon after his arrival, wisely concluding that it was not well for man to be alone, Mr. Ruble was united in marriage to Miss Diana C. Bowen, daughter of Issac Bowen. But his work was short. In the month of May, an all-wise yet inscrutable Providence released him from his labors on earth, and the man of God, the self-sacrificing missionary, was taken to his reward beyond the river. He died and was buried in Burlington, but his remains were subsequently removed to the old cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, where his ashes now rest by the side of the wife of his youth.

“Mrs. Ruble lived to see the remains of her husband thus removed, and to bury by his side a second husband, Dr. W. C. Stephenson; and to leave at the time of her own death, a third husband, Samuel Smith, who has since been buried in the same lot. Thus four sleep together till the resurrection morn, when they will ‘neither marry nor be given in marriage.’

“John Ruble was esteemed a man of God by all who knew him – all bore testimony to his faithful and efficient labors in the ‘Master’s vineyard.’ And, notwithstanding his race was so short, he had consolation, in his last hours, of knowing that his labors had not been in vain. Success had attended his efforts to rear the standard of Emanuel in the wilds of the Black Hawk Purchase, and to organize on an enduring basis the church of his choice.

“The spring of 1837 found the village of Mt. Pleasant growing rapidly, and the Methodist element, under the wise, efficient and spiritual economy of the church, not only keeping pace with other denominations, but in advance of them all. The society at this time probably numbered from thirty to forty members. These were not all in the village, but were scattered for miles. They were all in one class, of which Henry M. Snyder, of precious memory, was leader.

“Among those who were pioneers of Methodism in Mt. Pleasant, and who were members of Father Snyder’s class at the above date, Dr. Jesse D. Payne, Dr. W. L. Jenkins, Samuel Nelson and their families are remembered by the writer.

“At that time, Norris Hobart was the ‘Circuit Rider,’ and administered the Word of Life to his Mt. Pleasant hearers once in four weeks, extraordinaries excepted – for it must be borne in mind that it required a ride of from one hundred to two hundred miles each round, over a country destitute of roads, except such as were designated as ‘bridle paths,’ and with streams unbridged – hence the hungry flock could not always rely upon the monthly visitations of their preachers.

“It is worthy of remark, that in those primitive days of our Methodism, all this labor, toil and suffering were required and generally actually performed on a pair salary of from $100 to $200. No, when we look at our stationed preachers, with salaries of $1,000 to $2,000, and who are expected, ordinarily, to preach only on the Sabbath, we are forced to the conclusion that some of the old landmarks of Methodist economy are being swept away – and so mote it be.”

Time passed, the society grew in numbers, and in 1843 steps were taken for the erection of a house of worship. A substantial frame building, 35x45 feet, was erected and dedicated in December of that year. Services were held in this house until the erection of the Asbury Church in 1867. This house was remodeled and enlarged during the pastorate of Rev. J. B. Blakeney, which extended from 1882 to 1885, the improvements costing $8,200. The value of the church property is not estimated at $25,000, including a parsonage. The membership of the church is quite large, composed of some of the best and most influential citizens of the city. Methodism has been a strong hold upon the people here. In connection with the church is a large and flourishing Sabbath-school. Rev. J. W. McDonald has been pastor of the church since September, 1885.

The First Presbyterian Church, of Mt. Pleasant, was organized April 28, 1840, by Rev. L. G. Bell, with six members. John McCoy and Dr. Tom C. Stephenson were chosen and set apart as Elders of the church.
The first supply of the church was the Rev. Mr. Leonard, who preached the sermon at the time of the organization.

In 1844, the Rev. P. Cummins, of Philadelphia, began to labor with encouraging prospects, and was soon after elected to the pastorate.

In 1845 the membership of the church had increased to fifty-six. For a period of three years, there is no record of any meeting or session, and the date in which Mr. Cummins ceased his labors is not certain, although it was probably prior to 1848.

The spread of denominationalism, and other causes, had reduced the membership, by this time, to a mere nothing. It was evident that there could be no assurance of permanency until a church building was erected, and measures were thereupon taken to build a house of worship, the Rev. F. B. Dinsmore agreeing to become permanent supply if the building of the church be guaranteed. The few remaining members, ten in number, were called together for mutual consultation at the house of Mrs. Patterson.

A subscription was begun at the suggestion of Father Bell, he starting the paper with $150, which he afterward increased to $200. The step was a successful one, and a house was soon erected. There was some struggling with poverty, but, by building a kiln, the Rev. Mr. Dinsmore attended to the curing of the lumber, and studied his sermons at the same time. The church was erected upon the site on which now stands the present Presbyterian edifice. The old building, at the erection of the existing edifice, was sold to the colored Methodists.

In 1851 the church was left devoid of session, and a meeting of the congregation was called, at which John Sype and John Gray were chosen to that office. In 1852 Rev. Mr. Dinsmore removed to West Point. He was succeeded by the Rev. Bloomfield Wall, who remained three years. In 1855 the Rev. Timothy Stearns was called to the pastorate. His ministry was a successful one. Taking the church when its membership was forty-five, he had only labored three years (1858) when the number increased to 166; and which number being too great for the dimensions of the church, a new edifice was erected, at a cost of $12,000, the same being that now used by the congregation. The Rev. Mr. Stearns afterward removed to Ft. Madison, where he died, and is buried here.

The next two years the church had the service of Rev. A. C. McClelland, present Secretary of the Freedman’s Committee at Pittsburgh. He was succeeded by the Rev. J. W. Larrimore, who left in 1863, and entered the army at Chaplain. He had increased the membership to 204. The Rev. G. Bergen then filled the pulpit for a period of six months. The next year, the Rev. E. L. Belden occupied the pulpit. On Sept. 18, 1865, the Rev. J. C. McClintock was pastor and served until January, 1871, when he resigned, and has since been pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Burlington. In February of that year, Rev. D. S. Tappan, D. D., was called to the pastorate, and has since continued in charge. In the seventeen years of his ministry in this city, he has done a good work, endearing himself not alone to his congregation, but to the committee as well. The church is in a most prosperous condition. Its Sunday-school is also prosperous.

On the 17th of June, 1882, the house of worship was struck by a cyclone, which tore down the spire and a portion of the northwest wall, causing a damage of $800.

The Baptist Church of Mt. Pleasant was organized Feb. 8, 1843. The following account of the growth of this denomination in Mt. Pleasant was published in the Journal in May, 1878, shortly after the dedication of the church:

“Thirty-five years ago the first germs of the religious organization were planted in this city, then a village, by the advent of Elder H. Burnett and wife. Alternately with others of different creeds and practices, Elder Burnett preached sometimes in the court-house and sometimes in a house built by Mr. Viney, where now stands the house of Dr. Bird, there being no house of worship in the place. Surely the strongest faith or the most vivid imagination might well be blameless if it failed to foresee the time when, fronting and overlooking that very spot that humble house of worship, lent by the generosity of a private citizen, there would stand today the beautiful house which, dedicated wholly to worship and service of God, is at once a blessing and an ornament to our beautiful city. Within a few months, under the earnest preaching of Elder Burnett, six persons had embraced the truth he set forth and banded themselves together as a church of Christ, after the simple manner of the primitive disciples.

“For years the little company of disciples, gradually increasing in numbers by the accession of willing converts brought in during the frequent revivals with which God blessed them, worshiped here and there, as they found opportunity, sometimes in Brother Burnett’s house, where he now lives, and sometimes elsewhere. Other organizations had built houses of worship, and this band of believers was the last to build then, as now. They struggled on, amid opposition, to maintain the truth and to commend it to others, and after a very weary effort they completed the house now transformed into the home of Mrs. Woolson. This building they occupied for years. Revival after revival added to new converts to their ranks, till the place because to strait for them, and they cast about for larger accommodation.

“Finally it was determined to sell the old house to the United Presbyterians and build a new one.

“Retaining the right to use the old house for one service each Sabbath, the church met there till the summer of 1869, when Mr. Saunders offered the use of his hall, rent free, which was accepted, and the church met there till October of that year, when they entered the finished basement of the new edifice.
“The enterprise was first talked of in 1866, the foundation was laid in 1867, the walls were erected and covered in 1868, and the State Convention of the denomination met with the church and dedicated the basement in 1869. At that time the liabilities of the church were nominally met and provided for; but it was found, on attempting to make collections, that owing to the shrinkage of subscriptions and values there was a deficiency of about $2,500. This was provided for. It was further determined, as the policy of the church, that the enterprise of completing the house should be carried forward piecemeal. During several years the church wrestled with the indebtedness already incurred, but in 1875 a forward move was made in taking down the unsightly board coverings, and putting in their place the stained window-glass which now adorns the building. The vestibule above and below was also finished, with exception of the stairways. In the meantime, the church determined to ask aid from brethren at the East, and Miss Hannah Beard, of Salem, undertook and accomplished that mission so successfully that with the funds thus obtained, together with those raised by the efforts of the church, the entire liabilities have been paid, and the house completed and dedicated free of debt.”

The house is 50x80 feet, built with a solid 13-inch wall, supported by heavy buttresses, and cost about $22,000. It was dedicated Sunday, April 28, 1878, the sermon being preached by Rev. Dr. E. Gunn, a former pastor.

The cyclone of June 17, 1882, struck this church, entailing a great loss. Rev. T. M. Smith is the present pastor of the church.

The Congregational Church of Mt. Pleasant was organized in 1841, and seven years later its present house of worship was erected on the northeast corner of the square. The society for some years after its organization was exceedingly prosperous, but it has always maintained an existence, though sometimes at a great sacrifice to its members. Those serving the church as pastor have been Revs. Waters, Sands, Packard, Hurlbut, Haskell, Drake, Pickett, Barnard, Martz, Nourse, Cakebake, Jones, Sharp, Sabin and O. W. Rogers, its present pastor, who came in February, 1883.

The Christian Church of Mt. Pleasant dates its organization since 1845, and the erection of its house of worship in 1855. Arthur Miller was the first pastor of the church and served two or three, when he was removed by death. Mr. Topliff came next, and was succeeded by Samuel Lowe, N. C. Cory and others. One of the ablest men serving this church was Elder D. R. Dungan, now President of the Bible College, in Drake University, at Des Moines. E. T. C. Bennett was the last pastor of the church, closing his labors in the fall of 1887. For some cause the church has not had that degree of prosperity which might reasonably be expected. Its present membership is about 150. The Sunday-school is prosperous, with an average attendance of about 100. Mr. Grant is the Superintendent.

The Universalists organized a society in this place Aug. 5, 1848, and during the years 1856 and 1857 erected a fine church edifice at a cost of $4,000. The building was dedicated in September, 1857, Rev. O. A. Skinner preaching the dedicatory sermon. On the 10th day of January, 1858, the society was permanently organized as the First Universalist Church of Mt. Pleasant. The church has had no regular pastor for some time, but its pulpit has occasionally been supplied by Rev. S. Crane. This church has the care of a fund of $6,000 left by Dr. W. B. Chambers, the principal of which is permanently invested, while the interest is used to alleviate the sufferings of the needy, irrespective of religious belief.

St. Michael’s Parish of the Protestant Episcopal Church was organized at Mt. Pleasant, Sept. 12, 1856. The rectors from that date to the present time have been Revs. D. T. Hutchinson, F. E. Judd, Benjamin R. Gifford, C. B. Stout, W. H. Cooper, T. B. Nash, Jr., T. B. Nash, Sr., Walter A. Turner and D. C. Howard. During the term of Mr. Stout, the church was built at a cost of $6,000. It is of the early gothic style of architecture, and presents a very neat and attractive appearance. A fine altar set, vases and cross, were presented to the parish by Hon. Hamilton Fish, ex-Secretary of State under Grant, through Gen. N. Greusel. The gift was highly appreciated by the parish. In the fall of 1887 the church lost by death one of its most useful members, Miss Emily Rukgaber, who for some years had served as organist. In honor of her memory a beautiful memorial window was placed in the church at a cost of $150. St. Michael’s Church is in a prosperous condition.

The Catholic Church of Mt. Pleasant was organized about 1853, and was first served by Father Wheeler as the first permanent priest. A fine church was erected in the south part of the city, during the pastorate of Father Slattery.

The Seventh-Day Adventists have also an organization. The following in relation to that body of believers is from one of their number, a member of the Mt. Pleasant Seventh-Day Adventist Church”

“A Seventh-Day Adventist Church consists of a body of Bible believing Christians, covenanting together to keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus, and subscribing to no creed but the Bible. The peculiar tenets of this church are a belief in the nearness of the coming of Christ, the observance of the seventh day Sabbath, and immortality through Christ at the resurrection of the just. They advocate strictly temperance principles, discarding all intoxicating liquors and tobacco. They have no settled pastors, their mission is the world, and their ministers are usually engaged in promulgating their doctrines in new fields, but often visit the churches and hold meetings with them. The church officers are Elder, Deacon Clerk and Treasurer.

The first organization of a church of Seventh-Day Adventists in Henry County was effected by Elder B. F. Snook, in the spring of 1862, in Center Township, about six miles southeast of Mt. Pleasant, and called the Liberty Church, and when organized consisted of fifteen members, afterwards increased to about sixty. Jordan Sharp was the first Elder, succeeded by A. A. Fairfield. On account of defective church records, and other causes, a re-organization was effected Feb. 27, 1872, by Elder George I. Butler, with a membership of twenty-four. Jacob Hare was the first Elder, then B. C. Chandler was leader, afterward elected Elder, succeeded by C. A. Washburn, who is Elder at the present time, Elders Jacob Hare and Stephen Pierce (now deceased), Ira J. Hankins, C. A. Washburn and George I. Butler (who held a course of tent meetings in the Mt. Pleasant Park in 1876 and is now President of the General Conference) have been members of this church, and when not preaching in other fields, and at home for short periods, have held meetings with the Mt. Pleasant Church.

There are now 116 names on the church book, the loss through deaths, removals by letter, and dismissals, brought the number of active members to eighty-one. The Mt. Pleasant Church is supported by free-will offerings of its members; they keep up a contingent and poor fund, besides paying yearly about $800 into the general church treasury. This latter amount is one-tenth of their increase, the payment of which is not made compulsory, but this is believed to be the Bible plan of supporting the Gospel, and generally adopted by the Seventh-Day Adventist people. In the spring of 1884 they built a new, neat and commodious house of worship, 45x28, on Main street, one and one-half blocks south of the public square, where meetings and Sabbath-school are held regularly every Sabbath (seventh) day, besides the weekly prayer and social meeting.

This people also have a tract and missionary society, which is composed of the individual members of the different churches, and they become members by paying $1 each, which entitles them to the privilege of drawing from the large amount of reading matter kept on deposit in each State, from which the different churches and workers are supplied for the purpose of distributing to willing and interested readers, by which means, and through sending out their periodicals, a goodly number are brought into their ranks, and as a rule those who are thus brought in become permanent workers in the cause.

The German Presbyterian Church of Mt. Pleasant was organized in 1864, Rev. W. F. Bruechert being the first pastor. In 1867, during the pastorate of Rev. F. Smith, a house of worship was erected at a cost of $3,500. Rev. M. Buettel was pastor for some years, and was succeeded by Rev. Henry Schmidt, who was called to the pastorate in 1880, and continued until September, 1886. He was succeeded by Rev. John W. Everds, the present pastor. In connection with the church is a flourishing Sunday-school.

The Second Baptist Church, composed of colored people, was organized July 17, 1863, and has since been generally in a prosperous condition.

A colored Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1865, and shortly after the chapel of the Protestant Episcopal Church was purchased as a house of worship. Rev. Charles Holmes was the first pastor, and Rev. W. H. Coston at present ministers to the flock.

Mt. Pleasant is well represented by the various benevolent orders, including Masons, Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Good Templars, and others.

The Masonic order has a large membership, comprising many of the best and most influential men in the community.

Mt. Pleasant Lodge No. 8, A. F. & A., was the first Masonic society organized in that city. The charter bears the date Jan. 8, 1845. The charter members were: J. F. Kinney, N. C. Hubbard, James Mahan, J. H. Curtz, T. H. Orendorf, J. C. Hall and David Hamlin. The first principal officers were: J. F. Kinney, W. M.; William Thompson, S. W.; Thomas McMillen, J. W.; The present officers are: E. S. Howard, W. M.; E. N. Nelson, S. W.; A. J. Kaufman, J. W.; L. F. Willard, Treas.; T. J. McAdam, Secy.; William Bayles, S. D.; Paul F. Straub, J. D.; W. K. Hobart, S. S.; H. Kronheimer, J. S.; Theodore Schreiner, Tyler. The present membership is 120.

Xenium Lodge No. 207, A. F. & A. M., was chartered June 5, 1867. The charter members were: W. L. Smith, C. B. Gillis, J. McLellan, W. H. Hatch, A. G. Davis, John L. Brown, E. H. Bartlett, F. G. Pitcher, J. H. Keller, David Fisher, E. A. Van Cise, D. L. Paramore, L. W. Vale, William Dudley, F. Y. Jamison, C. J. Leidham and William Gladden. The first officers were: J. L. Smith, W. M.; C. B. Gillis, S. W.; J. M. Keller, W. M.; Henry Bickenbach, S. W.; John Avery, J. W.; Omer V. Stough, Treas.; B. L. Cozier, Secy.; M. B. Hord, S. D.; L. N. Shuberty, J. D.; J. W. McFarland, S. S.; P. Haviland, J. S.; J. McLellan, Tyler. The present membership is seventy-eight.

Henry Chapter No. 8, R. A. M. – A dispensation was issued Jan. 31, 1855, to George Munson, H. J. Howard, John Craig, J. W. Winn, Reuben Allen, Robert Wilson and David Fisher, by whom the first meeting was held February 5 following. A charter was granted June 2, 1855, the charter officers being: George Munson, H. P. Howard, K.; John Craig, S.; J. H. Winn, C. of H.; Jacob Hare, P. S.; Robert Wilson, R. A. C.; D. M. Adam, M. of 3d V.; L. L. Berry, M. of 2d V.; David Fisher, M. of 1st V. The additional charter members were: Reuben Allen, R. L. B. Clark and T. M. Coutter. The present officers are: T. J. Van Hon, H. P.; E. N. Nelson, K.; Milo Hobarts, S.; F. L. Willard, T.; E. S. Howard, Secy.; A. J. Kaufman, C. of H.; J. McLellan, P. S.; Paul F. Straub, R. A. C.; Theodore Schreiner, Tyler. The present membership is fifty-four.

Jerusalem Commandery No 7, K. T. – The first meeting of this body was held at Mt. Pleasant under the dispensation April 2, 1866. The members under the dispensation were: T. Schreinder, W. L. Smith, H. Kronheimer, D. W. Robinson, J. W. Satterthwait, James Piper, H. Ambler, J. Fayerweather, D. F. Carnahan, W. E. Woodward, F. G. Kendall and F. Phelps. R. F. Bower, G. C., was present, and appointed the following officers: J. W. Satterthwait, Gen.; W. L. Smith, C. G.; James P. Sanford, Prel.; D. F. Carnahan, S. W.; D. B. Smith, Jr., J. W.; W. E. Woodward, Treas. and Rec.; D. W. Cowdrey, St. B.; A. Humphrey, Sw. B.; James Piper, W.; J. M. Shaffer, 1st G.; William Shaffer, 2d G.; D. W. Cowdrey, 3d G.; Thoe Schreiner, S. On the 3d of June following, a charter was granted to include within its jurisdiction the cites of Mt. Pleasant and Burlington, also Henry and Des Moines Counties. The officers under the charter were: W. E. Woodward, of Burlington, E. C.; J. W. Satterthwait, of Mt. Pleasant, G.; and W. L. Smith, also of Mt. Pleasant, C. G. Sessions were held alternately at Burlington and Mt. Pleasant until 1872, when a division was effected, and a new charter issued to the Burlington Knights, the Mt. Pleasant Knights retaining the original charter and number. The present officers are: J. W. Satterthwait, E. C.; T. J. Van Hon, G.; W. I. Babb, C. J.; L. F. Willard, T.; E. S. Howard, R.; Benjamin L. Cozier, S. W.; E. N. Nelson, Jr., W.; John B. Coate, St. B.; H. Kronheimer, S. B.; A. J. Kaufman, W.; Theo Schreiner, Guard. The present membership is fifty-two.

The order of the Eastern Star was first instituted at Mt. Pleasant under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter of the United States in 1867, under the title of the “Bethany Family” No. 38, and existed under the above name until the organization of the Bethlehem Chapter No. 38, in 1879. Bethlehem Chapter No. 38 of the order of Eastern Star, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, was instituted in 1879, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter of Iowa. Mrs. Henry Ambler was the first W. M., and J. W. Satterthwait,, W. P. The chapter increased rapidly in membership, until, at this writing, it is the strongest and best working chapter in the State. Its present membership is 123. The present officers are: Mrs. Sarah E. Woods, W. M.; J. W. Satterthwait, W. P.; Mrs. S. H. Osgood, A. M.; Mrs. Melissa Van Hon, Treas.; Miss Jenny Rand, Secy.; Mrs. A. L. Cozier, Conductress; Mrs. Kate Ball, A. C.

The Masonic Hall at Mt. Pleasant was burned Oct. 3, 1883, causing a loss of about $3,000 to the order. All records were saved, except those of Henry Chapter No. 8. The various Masonic bodies now meet in a commodious and elegantly furnished hall on the north side of the public square. The quarters were fitted up with the view to their special accommodation; ante-rooms, library, banquet hall, kitchens, etc., are complete in their appointments. The order is working harmoniously in all its branches, and is in a prosperous condition.

Odd Fellowship dates its existence in this city from 1848, Henry Lodge No. 10, I. O. O. F., having been instituted May 22 of that year. The following named were charter members: D. Gilchrist, H. C. Saunders, L. D. Housel, W. P. Wightman and Charles Cliftman. In the forty years in which it has had an existence, it has doubtless done much good. Prosperity has always attended it, and it has a present membership of 114, with the following-named officers: P. Wertenberger, N. G.; A. A. Druva, V. G.; S. S. Daniels, Secy., and O. V. Stough, Treas.

A second lodge, known as Mystic Lodge No. 55, I. O. O. F., was instituted Feb. 2, 1854, which has likewise had a very profitable career, with a constantly increasing membership, numbering in January, 1888, 120. In the summer of 1879 the lodge was at quite an expense refurnishing its hall, which is now one of the handsomest in the State. The officers for the first half of 1888 are: J. H. Day, N.G.; Jesse Blakemore, V. G.; W. M. Pixley, R. S.; William McCoy, P. S.; J. G. Newbold, Treas.

In connection with the order, Industry Encampment No. 18, I. O. O. F., was instituted Oct. 15, 1857. Its present membership is fifty-four.

The ex-Union soldiers of the city and vicinity maintain a flourishing Grand Army Post known as McFarland Post No. 20, G. A. R., which was instituted Nov. 7, 1879, with the following-named charter members: J. W. Satterthwait, J. W. Newbold, John F. Houseman, N. Greusel, W. H. H. Phillsbury, A. W. McClure, J. W. Powell, C. Rukgaber, J. S. Ferguson, C. M. Snyder, Jr., Ford Nicol, B. L. Cozier, J. W. Burton, W. P. Howe, John J. Safeley, H. K. Williams, W. K. Leisering, W. Beckwith, A. T. Brooks. Its first commander was J. W. Satterthwaite. He was succeeded in turn by the following named: John W. Powell, H. K. Williams, B. L. Cozier, Lot Abraham and C. H. Smith, the last named being the present Commander (in the fall of 1887). The other officers of the post at that time were E. H. Bereman, Adj.; J. H. Keller, S. V. C.; William Pixley, J. V. C.; G. Jericho, O. D.; H. K. Williams, Q. M.; S. W. Garvin, Chap.; W. H. Willeford, O. G.; T. J. Van Hon, S. M.; A. S. Perry, Q. M. S.; B. L. Cozier, C. B. Rukaber and George Gass, auditing committee; W. I. Babb, James Dyer and W. M. Pixley, membership committee; W. K. Liesering, W. K. Hobart and John Brown, relief committee. The Post is in a most prosperous condition, with a present membership of 125, every town in the county, with the exception of two, being represented. It has done a good and much-needed work in the past eight years, in looking after the welfare of the families of ex-soldiers and supplying the needy.

A Women’s Relief Corps has been organized, which co-operates with the post in this latter work.

James Harlan Camp No. 34, S. V. U. S. A., Division of Iowa, was mustered on the 9th of December, 1886, by James D. Bower, Colonel of the Iowa Division, with the following-named charter members, thirthy-four in number: Bert Crane, Newt S. Bangham, Paul B. Woolson, James A. Evans, H. A. Bereman, R. E. Waugh, B. L. Osgood, Edgar R. Sater, Charles Gamage, Herbert Hanson, P. N. Shuber, W. F. Kopp, John Gass, W. E. Simpson, Frank E. Houseman, Charles Houseman, P. H. Smith, John H. Jericho, John H. Schmitz, Joseph Moorhead, Elmer Baldwin, John Abraham, M. D. Andrews, Wesley K. Dillon, W. Jericho, W. D. Hendrix, Fred C. Bent, J. H. Newbold, M. E. Keho, J. B. Trowbridge, W. M. Waymen, N. T. Hendrix, James L. Martin, Frank Baldwin. Since its organization it has taken in four recruits. Although but a few months old at the time of inspection in 1887, it was rated as a first-class camp, and ranked tenth in the Iowa Division. The present officers of the camp are: Wesley K. Dillon, Captain; James A. Evans, First Lieutenant; Pearl H. Smith, Second Lieutenant; Paul B. Woolson, Bert Crane and Fred C. Bent, Camp Council; Frank E. Houseman, Chaplain; Newt S. Bangham, First Sergeant; John H. Jericho, Qm. Sergeant of Guard; H. A. Bereman, Principal Musician; Bert L. Osgood, Corporal of Guard; P. N. Shuber, Champ Guard; Bert Hanson, Picket Guard.

The Ladies’ Library Association is an institution reflecting great credit upon those interested in its formation and maintenance. It was first organized in 1875, and from a small beginning has grown to be an institution in which the city should take a just pride. Those signing the articles of incorporation were Miss Nellie E. Ambler, Mrs. A. S. Marsh, Mrs. C. T. Cole, Mrs. Alice L. Taylor, Mrs. M. W. Ramsey, Mrs. Callie S. Marsh, Mrs. A. C. Woolson, Miss Rachel Carney, Miss Emma L. Schwenker, Mrs. Charles T. Marsh and Mrs. Belle A. Mansfield.

They commenced with a fund of $360, the net proceeds of a previous lecture course. They resolved to attempt to raise by an active canvass for donations of money and books a sum not less than $5,000. In case this sum could not be reached, they proposed to use $3,000 as an invested fund, the income of which should be a permanent provision for a librarian. For several weeks the ladies kept up a vigorous canvass, but the result fell far below their hopes, being only about $2,000, including several conditional subscriptions, not immediately available. The largest sum subscribed and paid was $100, and the sums ranged from that amount to fifty cents. Notwithstanding their disappointment in the amount raised, the ladies determined to go on in their preparations for a library, relying upon the voluntary service of members as librarians, until they could do better. Accordingly, they proceeded to lease for five years a partially furnished hall in Ambler’s Block, second floor, east side of the public square, at $150 per annum. They provided cases, reading desks and other fixtures necessary for a small beginning, and took possession of the hall Jan. 1, 1876.

The association first secured the gift of a former collection, popularly known as the “Chamberlain Library,” amounting to about 800 volumes. These books had been lying for several years in dusty piles in a back room of Ambler’s law office. They had all been originally donated to Mr. Chamberlain, and consisted of a medley of works of theology, science, travel, and Patent Office Reports, with some very valuable books of reference. These were transferred to the new quarters, cleaned, labeled and arranged. Judge Gillis donated 300 volumes, comprising a complete set of Congressional Globes, Colonial records, and other valuable State documents. Other donations of books were received, amounting in the aggregate to over 200 volumes. The most valuable of these was a complete set of Appleton’s American Encyclopedia, from Dr. M. Ranney, of the hospital. The association purchased 870 volumes, partly at second-hand; a few standard magazines were subscribed for, and quite a number of periodicals and papers were donated for the reading tables, and thus the preparations for opening went on.

There has been a steady increase in the number of volumes year by year, the proceeds of entertainments given by the ladies, and from lectures, being used for that purpose. At present there are about 3,000 volumes in the library.

The success of the association is due to the untiring energy and zeal displayed by the ladies of Mt. Pleasant, under whose auspices it has continued to grow. No outside help has ever been secured, and during its thirteen years’ existence there has been but one paid librarian, and for one year only. The ladies, in turn, act as librarian, laying aside all other duties for the time. Three days in each week the library is open, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, afternoons and evening.

In connection with the association is a Literary Club, organized in the fall of 1883, and which holds regular sessions, the season commencing in September and lasting until May each year. The club is composed of some of the leading minds of Mt. Pleasant, and its meetings are both interesting and instructive.

The officers of the association in the winter of 1887-88 were Mrs. Allie Taylor, President; Mrs. L. Ketchum, Vice President; Mrs. J. S. McGregor, Treasurer; Miss Kitty Ketchum, Recording Secretary; Miss Ada Ambler, Corresponding Secretary. The library committee is composed of Miss Emma Schwenker, Chairman; Mrs. Louie James and Miss Satie Ambler. The entertainment committee consists of Mrs. R. Ambler, Chairman; Miss Fannie Wheeler and Miss Laura Cole.

The Knights of Pythias have a flourishing lodge in this city, known at Eastern Star Lodge No. 6. It was organized May 6, 1870, with the following-named charter members: H. D. Walker, S. L. Daniels, W. F. McClary, Lewis H. Fenton, J. S. Shean, H. W. Templin, W. B. Walker, Walter Dallner, H. A. Gillman, S. N. Thompson, E. J. Lockwood, Theo. Waible, C. E. Thompson, Will Melcher, J. K. Burton, P. A. Dallner,H. De Laubenfels, I. W. Dallner, Charles Prince, Will Schliep, F. W.Schnurr, J. B. Traxler, H. S. Wilder, F. Bonnifield, George A. Owen. This lodge has been honored by the election of one of its members, H. D. Walker, as Grand, who has held the office for a number of years, discharging its arduous duties in a faithful manner.

The Knights of Labor are represented by Local Assembly No. 2189, organized Aug 26, 1882, meeting each Saturday evening. The assembly is in a flourishing condition, with an increasing membership. Thomas Corcoran is Master Workman, and Albert Druva, Recording Secretary.

The Independent Order of Good Templars has had seasons of prosperity and seasons of adversity. Several lodges have been organized, flourished for a time, and then suspended. At present the order is represented by Mt. Pleasant Lodge No. 68, I. O. G. T., which was instituted Nov. 16, 1885. Its charter members were: J. R. Payne, Mrs. E. S. Payne, C. H. Peters, Mrs. H. Peters, Dr. J.H. Drake, Mrs. M. E. Drake, Milo Hobart, J. A. Chisman, Helen Page, Nettie Hawkins, F. E. Davidson, Frank J. Drake, Frank H. Boynton, Esther McDonald, Emma Dahlin, W. M. Whitney, Mrs. M. A. Whitney, Mrs. C. S. Shepp, Lizzie Cox, J. J. Forgrave, James McLaren, F. A. Conner, Mrs. Harmison, Mary Munson, Mrs. Belle Grimm, Mrs. F. A. Siberts, A. Spencer, Mrs. L. Shubert, C. F. Devol, George E. Gass, S. B. Potter. Its first officers were: Chief Templar, Rev. J. R. Payne; Lodge Deputy, Dr. J. H. Drake; Vice Templar, Miss Esther McDonald; Chaplain, J. H. Forgrave; Recording Secretary, J. A. Chisman; Assistant, Miss Nettie Hawkins; Financial Secretary, Emma Dahlin; Treasurer, S. B. Potter; Marshall, F. H. Conner; Deputy, Mrs. A. Peters; Guard, Lizzie Cox; Sentinel, Frank J. Drake; Right Support, Clara Holsinger; Left Support, Mrs. M. E. Drake; Past Chief Templar, C. H. Peters.

Since its organization the lodge has been quite prosperous, and has numbered among its members some of the best citizens of the city, those who are thoroughly interested in temperance work. The membership in January, 1888, was 120, with the following-named officers: C. T., Miss Mary Hawkins; V. T., Fred Bent; Secretary, Dr. Clara Swan; Marshall, Ella McClaren; Treasurer, Nettie Gruesel; Financial Secretary, Jessie Hughes; Guard, Charlie Ball; Sentinel, Mertie Millspaugh; Superintendent Juvenile Temple, Jennie Hobart; Lodge Deputy, Frank J. Potter; Chaplain, Mr. J. Bailey; P. C. T., Frank Dickinson.

Under the direction of the lodge is a flourishing Juvenile Temple, with a membership of 140. Mrs. M. E. Drake, of Mt. Pleasant Lodge No. 68, has the honor of being the Grand Superintendent of juvenile work in the State.

There are in the city two solid financial institutions, the First National and the State National Banks. The former was organized in 1864, with Presley Saunders, President, and H. S. Clark, Cashier. Its capital stock was originally placed $75,000, which was subsequently increased to $100,000. Presley Saunders yet remains at the head of the institution with T. J. Van Hon, as Cashier.

The State National Bank, of Mt. Pleasant was chartered in February, 1865, and was an outgrowth of the old Mt. Pleasant branch of the State Bank of Iowa, which was established in 1858 by Timothy Whiting and others. The State National Bank was opened with a paid-up capital of $100,000, Timothy Whiting being its first President, and retaining that position until his death in February, 1887. He was succeeded in that office by his son, John H. Whiting, who was its cashier from the establishment of the bank until January, 1886. The first charter of the bank expired in February, 1885, when it was extended until February, 1905. The State National has had a prosperous career and has ever had the confidence of the business and moneyed men of Henry County. Its surplus is now $50,000, and its depositors are among the best and most cautious people. John H. Whiting is the present President, with R. S. Gillis, Cashier. Both men are well known and universally respected, and under their management the bank will be conducted upon sound business principles.

The manufacturing interests of Mt. Pleasant have not been fostered to any great extent, still there are a few institutions here that deserve more than a passing notice.

The Mt. Pleasant Manufacturing Company was incorporated Aug. 1, 1887, with a cash capital of $10,000, for the manufacture of steel sled-runners, under the Johnson Patent; also steel farm, field and yard gates, and other articles. The works now employ twelve men, and are crowded with orders. The General Manager of the company is Hon. Samuel L. Steele, and the Secretary is Mr. William R. Sullivan. The runners manufactured by this company are unsurpassed in construction, having many improved features not possessed by any other. They are made of steel expressly rolled for the work, are less than half the weight of the cast iron runners formerly used, are not as heavy as wooden runners, and far more durable than either, while they are much neater in design. They have heavy reinforcements on the front of the runner, where the bolt passes through, giving greater bearing surface, and adding strength where the greatest strain comes. A steel shoe is riveted to the bottom so that in case of wearing out it can be replaced at slight cost.

The gates manufactured by the company are light, durable and ornamental, and no stock can break them down. In their construction steel bars and braces are used with barbed wire for field gates, and wire without barbs on yard gates. Their extreme lightness prevents sagging, and with proper care they are practically indestructible.

This young industry, already in so promising a condition, promises to be an important factor in the manufacturing enterprises of Mt. Pleasant.

Leedham and Baugh do quite an extensive business in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds. In connection with the sketch of Mr. Baugh will be found a full account of their works, to which the reader’s attention is directed.

The cigar manufacture is carried on in this city by two firms, those of W. H. Schleip and William Fehse, both of whom do a fine business.

In the connection with the biographical sketch of C. H. Smith is an account of the Scraper works, the largest manufactory in this city.

Transcribed by Conni McDaniel Hall for Henry County IAGenWeb, November 2014.


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