One of the natural beauty spots of this area is Avery
Hill which is located just to the west of Bradgate above the West Fork
of the Des Moines River. The hill was named for O. F. Avery, the
first settler who came here to farm. He built his house in
November 1859 and planted corn the following spring.
Avery Hill has been a haven for wild life and a great
place for mushroom hunts. Several generations of Bradgate
youngsters have enjoyed sledding and tobogganing down the hill.
For a number of years, the United Methodist Youth
Fellowship held Easter morning sunrise services on Avery Hill followed
by breakfast at the church. The boys would spend part of
Saturday building seats and arranging a setting. They then spent
Saturday night camping on the hill. It has also been common to
see a campfire at night while the Boy Scouts camp out among the many
In the 1960's the decision was made to cut through
Avery Hill with a road in order to have a more direct route to Gilmore
City. A new bridge was built across the river and a blacktop
road was built from the top of the hill to the west edge of town.
This spoiled the hill for sliding and much of the area is now under
In the 1920's an effort was unsuccessfully made to
make Avery Hill into a park. During the Depression in 1932.
Pocahontas County made arrangements with the owners and let people cut
firewood. There were some trees left with the hopes that the
woods would replenish itself. Later owners have cut or bulldozed
out trees so it has never been the same.
Several men of the area tell of the big Indian mound
which was a favorite place for sledding. it was round with the
center sunk--the boys guessed from the Indian dancers. There was
a large hole in one side where men from a nearby town dug out some
trinkets. The State of Iowa ordered the things returned and it
was undisturbed until the road went through. East of the mound
was a spring that flowed the year around.
In 1976 an effort was successfully made to stop any
more destruction of this historic spot. It is an Indian burial
ground dating back to before the time of Christ.
The last battle between two Indian tribes in Iowa was
fought in 1854 on Avery Hill between the Winnebagos and the Sioux.
Some eighteen Sioux warriors, under the leadership of Coustawa (Big
Tree), surprised the tribe of Winnebago but were driven back after the
death of Coustawa. One of the Sioux warriors was reported to be
Inkpaduta who later led a band of Sioux in the famed Spirit Lake
Massacre. The Pocahontas County Historical Society has marked
the battle spot on the Clarence Stearns farm with a flag pole.
The late Harold Lees and Lawrence Ripperger had large
collections of Indian artifacts which they found in their many walks
along the river and on Avery Hill. Donald Brandhoij has a small
sword which was brought to Avery Hill in 1858. Antone Anderson
wrecked an old cheese house on the farm, sold the junk in it to Cecile
Jones who in turn gave the sword to Chris Brandhoij.