Town History





Bradgate Early Businesses



Life Magazine Article


The Town That

Wouldn't Died


Avery Hill


Early Settlers


Humboldt County Town Histories

Bradgate, Avery Township


Early Contact with Indians

In the summer of 1863 a large party of Indians passed through Avery Township.  It was reported that it was a party of forty-nine Indians, in complete war ornamentation.   The Indians camped in a grove near Lizard Lake.  One of them went to the house of Mr. Harvey.  Mrs. Harvey was the only one at home and when she saw the Indian, she fled in terror for her husband.  The male settlers were determined to scout around to find the Indians and try to determine  what the Indians were planning.  The men gathered up their families and took them to the Old Rolfe court house, and the residence of O. F. Avery, for protection. 

Then the brave men set off to track down the Indians.  For some time, many of the party as they marched along loudly told of what they would do, if and when, they came in contact with the Indians.  As time went on and the cavalcade approached the timber near Lizard Lake, the talk grew less and less, and each man seemed determined to walk behind every one else. 

On coming close to the grove, they could see signs of the Indians.  Most of those talkative men beat a masterly retreat, but four men, and they were the ones who had said the least, entered the timber.  Here they found a deserted camp and not an Indian near.  Mr. Job Metcalf seeing a white crane near by, raised a gun and shot it.  No sooner had the explosion sounded upon the air, than the brave men who had acted as the reserve, were seen to beat a speedy retreat.   


The town of Bradgate, which was located on the Toledo branch of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, in Avery Township and was laid out by the Western Town Lot Company in the winter of 1881-82.  The plat was filed for record on March 7, 1882. 

Much of the land was donated to the railroad by Cord N. King.  It was hoped that the terminal would be built at this spot but, after the entire valley of the Des Moines River flooded on July 7, 1881, it was decided to move the terminal to Eagle Grove.

The first settlement just east of present Bradgate (Section 8) was named Willow Glen with no record of why this name was chosen.  However, when the town was platted, the name was changed to Bradgate.  Several theories are given as to why this name was chosen but the one accepted by most in that Bradgate was named for Bradgate England, which is just up the river from Rutland, England.  There were at least seven English families who left England and moved directly to the Bradgate, Iowa area.


Cord N. King, the son of Hiram and Sarah Colby King was born September 6, 1829 in Orange, Vermont.  He lived there until March 1864 when he came to Avery Township and purchased 247 acres in section 5.  He bought more land so that he owned 400 acres in 1900 and raised the first thoroughbred stock, both cattle and sheep, ever brought to this area.  cord married Sarah J. Mowe, daughter of Asa and Mary Fuller Mowe on October 23, 1854.  They had no children but Stephen Nelson was taken into their home as a foster son.

Cord operated a grocery store on the west edge of Bradgate from 1876 to 1883.  He wanted the town located at the present location, so he donated land to the railroad to have the terminal built near his hotel instead of east of town where Willow Glen was located.

The King home was outstanding for this part of the country in the 1870's  It contained thirty-two rooms and had an elaborate open stairway made from walnut taken for Cord's land.  All the woodwork was walnut and the rest of the lumber was native.  Water from a spring on the hill north of town was piped to a spring house and then into the house.  The barn near the house was often used as a pony express station.  The house was damaged by a tornado in July 1969 and had to be destroyed.