|Scattered over Lee County are a number of towns and villages, some of
which are business centers of considerable importance, while others are
merely small railroad stations, neighborhood trading points or post
offices for a given district. In the early days of Lee County's history
there seems to have been a sort of mania for laying off towns,, the
principal object having been the sale of lots to new comers. Hawkins
Taylor, one of Lee County's pioneers, in an article published in the
Annals of Iowa for October, 1870, says: "Speculation was running high
in the spring of 1836, and everybody we met had a town plat. There were
then more towns in what is now Lee County than there are now, if a
paper plat constituted a town; and every man tfn lL :B nad a town had a
map of the county marked out to suit his town as a county seat."
Not all the towns referred to by Mr. Taylor could secure the county
seat. In spite of that fact, however, some of them have survived,
others have disappeared entirely from the map, and it is quite probable
that none of them has come up to the hopes and expectations of the
founders. From a careful examination of old plat-books, atlases and
newspaper files, the following list of towns that are or have been in
Lee County has been compiled: Ambrosia, Argyle, Ballinger, Beck,
Belfast, Benbow Siding, Big Mound, Bricker, Buena Vista, Bullard,
Camargo, Charleston, Connable, Cottonwood, Court- right, Croton,
Denmark, Donnellson, Dover, Franklin, Galland, Hinsdale, Houghton,
Jeffersonville, Jollyville, Ketchum Switch, La Crew, Leesburgh, Macuta,
Melrose, Mertensville, Montrose, Mooar, Mount Clara, Mount Hamill,
Nashville, New Boston, Nixon Station,. Overton, Pilot Grove, Primrose,
Russellville, Saint Paul, Sandusky, Sand Prairie, Sawyer, Shopton,
South Augusta, South Franklin, Summit Siding, Summitville, Tuscarora,
Viele, Vincennes, Walanva,, Warren, Wescott and Wever.
In this list there are a few instances of two names applying to the
same place. For illustration: "Courtright ,, and "Mount Hamill" refer
to same village, the former being used by the founders of the town and
the latter by the post office department. "Vincennes" and "Sand
Prairie" likewise refer to the same place. Galland was formerly known
as Nashville, both of which names appear in the list. Many of these
towns have no special history, but such facts as the writer could
gather concerning them are given below. The figures showing the
population are taken from Polk's Iowa Gazetteer for 19 14.
The old Town of Ambrosia was situated about three miles west of
Montrose. In its early days a general store and blacksmith shop were
located there, and when Ambrosia Township was erected by the county
commissioners in 1841 it was ordered that the first election should be
held "at the Town of Ambrosia." After the railroad was constructed up
the bank of the Mississippi River, missing the town, the business
interests removed elsewhere, the post office was discontinued, and
about all that is left to perpetuate the name is the public school
known as the "Ambrosia District."
The Village of Argyle is situated in Des Moines Township, on the
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, fifteen miles southwest of
Fort Madison. It has grown up since the railroad was built through that
part of the county, has three general stores, a flour and feed mill,
express, telegraph and telephone service, a money order post office and
a population of fifty.
Ballinger is a small station on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Railroad in the southeast corner of Montrose Township. It was
established after the railroad was built and takes its name from one of
the pioneer families in that locality. It has no business interests of
Two miles south of Viele, on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Railroad, is the little station of Beck, or Beck's Siding, but the
place has no history except that a siding was put in here by the
railroad company for the convenience of local shippers and was named
for the owner of the land upon which it is situated.
This town is located in the northwestern part of Des Moines Township,
on the Des Moines River and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Railroad, and had a population of 90 in 1914. It has a money order post
office, a general store and is a shipping point for a considerable
On the Fort Madison & Ottumwa Division of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy Railroad, a short distance northwest of Sawyer, is a
shipping station called Benbow Siding. It has never been officially
platted as a town and the name does not even appear on the time tables
of the railroad company.
1 he old Village of Big Mound is situated in the western part of Cedar
Township, about one mile from the Van Buren County line. It takes its
name from a knoll in the vicinity and in its early days was a trading
point of some importance. After the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant
Division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad was built,
the business was diverted to Mount Hamill, or Court- right, and Big
Mound is little more than a memory.
Bricker is a little station on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
Railroad nine miles southwest of Fort Madison, in Jefferson Township.
It has no history nor no business interests of importance.
Three miles west of Keokuk, in the southern part of Jackson Township,
is the little hamlet of Buena Vista, a flag station on the Chicago,
Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, though the railroad company does
not keep an agent there. Mail is delivered to the few inhabitants
through the Keokuk post office.
Bullard, or Bullard's Station, is situated in the northeastern part of
Jefferson Township, on the Burlington & St. Louis Division of the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, five miles from Fort
Madison. Mail is received by rural delivery from Montrose.
Among the early settlers of Des Moines Township was Samuel Hearn, who
established a ferry across the Des Moines River, not far from the
present hamlet of Hinsdale. A settlement grew up about the ferry and in
time a post office was established there under the name of Camargo.
Both ferry and post office were ultimately discontinued and the site of
the village is now farming land.
The Town of Charleston was laid off by George Berry on September 23,
1848, for Jacob Hufford, and the plat was filed in the office of the
county recorder on June 1, 1849. The original plat shows forty-eight
small and three large lots, with Hackberry, Main and Elm streets
running north and south, and First, Second, Third and Fourth streets
running east and west. It is located nearly in the center of the
township of the same name, on the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant Division
of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, eighteen miles from
Keokuk. In early days Charleston was a popular place for holding
conventions, on account of its central location, and at the special
election held in August, 1845, the town received forty-one votes for
county seat. At that time Charleston was in the zenith of its glory.
Failing to secure the county seat, the town has kept on in the "even
tenor of its way," and is now a trading point for a large agricultural
district. Its estimated population in 1914 was sixty-five. It has three
churches, a public school, a money order post office with one rural
route, express and telegraph offices, telephone connections, a hotel, a
general store, and does considerable shipping.
Twelve miles northwest of Keokuk, on the Chicago, Rock Island &
Pacific Railroad, is the little flag station of Connable, so called
from the owner of the land at the time the station was established. It
is merely a shipping point and has no commercial interests of
This is a station on the Fort Madison & Ottumwa Division of the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, twenty-three miles from Fort
Madison. It is located near the line dividing sections 10 and ii in
Cedar Township, not far from the site of the old Village of
Russellville, has a general store, a money order post office, telephone
connections, a Methodist Episcopal Church, and in 1914 the population
was estimated at twenty-five.
The original plat of Croton was filed in the county recorder's office
on May 3, 1849, by Lewis Coon. It shows twelve blocks ot eight lots
each. Subsequently six similar blocks were added, making a total of 144
lots. Croton is situated in the southwestern part of Van Buren
Township, on the Des Moines River and the Chicago, Rock Island &
Pacific Railroad, twenty-six miles northwest of Keokuk. It has
Adventist, Baptist and Methodist Episcopal churches, a money order post
office, telephone connection, express office, a public school and an
estimated population of one hundred.
The Town of Denmark is situated near the center of Denmark Township,
seven miles north of Fort Madison. Sawyer is the nearest railroad
station. Denmark was laid out by Timothy Fox, Curtis Shedd, Lewis Epps
and W. Brown and the plat was filed for record on January 17, 1840. It
has two general stores, a private banking house, harness and wagon
repair shops, a hotel, an independent tele- phone exchange, an academy,
in connection with which is conducted a library, Baptist and
Congregational churches, and in 1914 the population was estimated at
Early in the spring of 1 88 1 the Town of Donnellson was surveyed by H.
A. Summers, county surveyor, for Esten A. Donnell and others and the
plat was filed in the office of the county recorder on May 21, 1 88 1.
Since that time Borland's, Abel's, Frank's and Trump's additions have
been made to the original plat, the last named in June, 1905.
Donnellson is situated in the southwest corner of Franklin Township, at
the junction of the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant and the Burlington
& Carrollton divisions of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Railroad. It has two banks, an electric plant, a flour mill, several
stores, a good public school building, a weekly newspaper, German
Evangelical, Methodist Episcopal, Mennonite and Presbyterian churches,
a money order post office with four rural routes, and a number of
pleasant residences. According to the United States census for 1910 the
population at that time was 337. It is one of the Incorporated towns of
No official plat of the old Town of Dover is available, so that its
early history cannot be given with certainty. It is located in the
southeast quarter of section 8, in the northwestern part of Franklin
Township and in 1914 consisted of a general store and a few dwellings.
A post office was once maintained here, but it has been discontinued
and the few inhabitants now receive mail by rural delivery from the
post office at Donnellson.
The Town of Franklin (also called Franklin Centre in early days) owes
its origin to the commissioners, James L. Scott and S. C. Reed, who
selected the site as the place for the county seat of Lee County, an
account of which is given in the chapter on "Settlement and
Organization." The town was laid off by order of the county
commissioners on March 21, 1840, and was for a time the seat of justice
of the county. Franklin is situated in the eastern part of Franklin
Township, on the Burlington & Carrollton Division of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railroad, twelve miles west of Fort Madison. It
is incorporated and in 1910 reported a population of 138. It has two
general stores, a furniture and undertaking establishment, a money
order post office, telephone connections, a hotel, and is a ship- ping
point for the surrounding country.
When this village was first laid out it was called Nashville. The first
settler here was Dr. Isaac Galland, in 1829, after whom the post office
was named when it was established some years later. The first
schoolhouse in the State of Iowa was built at Galland — or Nash- ville,
as it was then called — in 1830. Galland is situated in the
southeastern part of the Township of Montrose, on the Mississippi River
and the Burlington & St. Louis Division of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy Railroad, three miles down the river from Montrose. It was
at one time a trading point of some importance, but its glory has
departed, the post office has been discontinued, and the few
inhabitants now receive mail by rural delivery from Montrose.
This is a small station on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Railroad m the southwestern part of Des Moines Township, seventeen
miles northwest of Keokuk. It has no special history.
Houghton is situated in the eastern part of Cedar Township, on the
Keokuk & Mount Pleasant Division of the Chicago, Burlington &
Quincy Railroad, thirty-three miles from Keokuk and twenty-two from
Fort Madison. It has two general stores, a money order post office,
telegraph and express offices and about fifty inhabitants.
On January 27, 1870, William Crosley filed in the county recorder's
office the plat of town called Jeffersonville, which had been laid out
for him by William H. Morrison, deputy surveyor, in June, 1867. The
plat showed sixteen lots in the northwest quarter of section 16, near
the junction of the Burlington & St. Louis and Burlington &
Carrollton divisions of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway
System. Subsequently the plat of Viele, just north of the junction, was
surveyed and Jeffersonville passed into history.
In May, 1856, F. M. Jolly employed Samuel W. Sears, then county
surveyor, to lay off a town on his farm in the southeast quarter of
section 7, township 68, range 3, about three-fourths of a mile from the
present railroad station of Wever. The original plat showed six large
and twenty-four small lots, which were all sold, and Jollyville was a
thriving little place until Wever sprang up on the railroad, when the
business interests all removed to the new town.
It is hardly appropriate to classify this place as a town, as it is
merely a siding on the Burlington & Carrollton division of the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, about two miles west of the
Town of Warren and was placed there by the railroad company for the
convenience of a few shippers in that locality.
La Crew is a station on the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant Division of the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, in the northwest corner of
Franklin Township, near the Marion Township line. It was laid off by
James A. Davis, county surveyor, November 1, 1881, for J. and W.
Bonnell and J. W. Powell, and the plat was filed for record on May 22,
1882. It is twenty-eight miles from Keokuk and eighteen from Fort
Madison, has two general stores, a hotel, express and telegraph
service, telephone connections, etc. A post office was formerly
maintained here, but it has been discontinued and a rural route from
West Point now supplies mail daily.
Hawkins Taylor, in the article referred to in the opening of this
chapter, says Leesburgh was laid off by William Skinner some time prior
to the spring of 1836, and that it was located a few miles south of
Franklin. No official plat of the town can be found and nothing can be
learned of its history further than the above meager statement of Mr.
Taylor. It was evidently one of the "paper towns" which were so common
in early days when speculation was rife.
This is the first station southwest of Fort Madison on the Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. It is six miles from Fort Madison, in
The original plat of Melrose, which was filed on November 20, 1857,
shows thirty-six blocks of twelve lots each, located in section 1,
township 65, range 6, in the northwestern part of Jackson Town- ship.
No railroad ever came to the town, which failed to fulfill the
expectations of its founders, and the plat was subsequently vacated
with the exception of a few lots upon which dwellings had been erected.
On August 29, 1855, L. E. H. Houghton, B. Smith and F. W. Billigman
filed with the county recorder a plat of the Town of Messingerville,
located in the northwest quarter of section 24, township 65, range 5.
Messingerville is now practically a part of the City of Keokuk.
On the Fort Madison & Ottumwa division of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy Railroad, twenty-one miles from Fort Madison, is the
little station of Mertensville. It is in the extreme northwest corner
of Marion Township, not far from the Henry County line, and has no
commercial importance aside from its shipping interests.
The incorporated Town of Montrose is situated in the township of the
same name, on the Mississippi River about midway between Fort Madison
and Keokuk, on the Burlington & St. Louis division of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railroad. It is a town of more than ordinary
historic interest, as it marks the site of the first white man's
settlement in what is now Lee County. An account of this settlement
will be found in the history of Montrose Township.
The first attempt to lay off a town here was in 1836, which fact was
communicated to the war department by Lieutenant-Colonel Mason, then in
command of the garrison at Fort Des Moines. Later in the year the fort
was abandoned and the plat of the town was completed by David W.
Kilbourne, of Keokuk, who gave it the name of Montrose. No official
plat was filed, however, until April 5, 1854. Oren Baldwin, then deputy
county surveyor, who made the plat, states in his report that the
survey was made at the request of Edward and Virginia C. Brooks,
Francis E. Billon, Dabney C. and Walter J. Riddick; that it included
the tract of 640 acres — part of the old Spanish grant to Louis Honore
Tesson — as well as the Town of Montrose, and that it was completed on
May 8, 1853.
Montrose was incorporated in 1857. Dr. J. M. Anderson was chosen the
first mayor at a town election held on June 1, 1857; Washington Galland
was elected recorder, and E. J. Hamlet, Gowen Hamilton, B. F. Anderson
and George Purcell, councilmen. At that time, and for a number of years
afterward, Montrose was an important river town, on account of its
being located just above the head of the rapids, where cargoes were
unloaded and carried over the rapids in lighters, except in times of
high water, when the large steamers could pass over the rapids without
difficulty. The completion of the Government Canal in 1877 put an end
to the lightering business.
David W. and Edward Kilbourne opened the first store in 1839, but were
succeeded by Chittenden & McGavic. A large saw-mill was one of the
early industries. About the time the canal was opened to traffic, this
mill was operated by the firm of Wells, Felt & Spaulding and cut
over fifty thousand feet of lumber daily. It also had machinery for
making shingles, lath and fence pickets and a planing mill for dressing
In 1910, according to the United States census, the population of
Montrose was 708. The town has Catholic, Methodist Episcopal,
Presbyterian and Latter Day Saints churches, a fine public school
building, a weekly newspaper, an opera house, and is connected with
Nauvoo, Illinois, by a steam ferry. The principal business interests
are three general stores, a hardware store, a drug store, the Standard
Garden Tool Company, a button blank factory, large nurseries, coal and
lumber yards, three groceries and a bank. The town also has an
international money order post office and lodges of the principal
fraternal orders. Several fine orchards, truck farms and vineyards are
in the immediate vicinity, the products of which are taken by a canning
factory in the town.
Shortly after the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant division of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railroad was completed, the little station of
Mooar was established six miles north of Keokuk and was named for the
owner of the land on which it is situated. It has never grown to any
This is also a station on the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant division of
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy system of railroads. It is
situated twelve miles from Keokuk, near the northwest corner of
Montrose Township, and is a shipping point for a rich agricultural
It is not often that a small town is honored by having three names, but
such is the case with this one. The original plat was made by James A.
Davis, county surveyor, for A. L. Courtright and R. A. Jarrett and it
was filed under the name of "Courtright 1 ' on July 5, 1 88 1. When the
post office was established there it was given the name of "Mount
Hamill, 11 and as a station on the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant division
of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad the name appears on
the time tables as "Hamill. 1 ' In the survey made by Doctor Davis, the
plat of the town shows fifteen blocks of eighteen lots each, but only
four of the blocks were at that time subdivided. Mount Hamill is
situated in the southeastern part of Cedar Township, thirty miles from
Keokuk, by rail, and about twenty-three miles from Fort Madison.
According to Polk's Gazetteer, the population was 200 in 1914. It has a
bank, an automobile garage, Christian, Congregational and Methodist
Episcopal churches, general stores, an agricultural implement house,
telephone and telegraph service, a fine public school building v etc.,
and is the trading and shipping point for a populous farming community.
The first plat of New Boston was made by Oren Baldwin and it was filed
in the office of the county recorder on July 28, 1855. The town is
located in the southeast corner of Charleston Township and is a station
on the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant division of the Chicago, Burlington
& Quincy Railroad sixteen miles northwest of Keokuk. It has a money
order post office, a general store, and is a shipping point of some
importance. The population in 1914 was 75. It is connected with the
surrounding towns by telephone.
In the southeast corner of Charleston Township, only a short distance
from New Boston, is Nixon Station, at the junction of the Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe and the Koekuk & Mount Pleasant railroads.
Aside from its importance as the crossing of two lines of railway, it
has no commercial interests worthy of mention.
Among the early settlers of Marion Township were Elias and James
Overton, who settled in section 22, in the southern part of the
township. When the Fort Madison & Northwestern Railroad — the
narrow-gauge — was commenced in the early '70s, Mr. Overton laid off a
town on his farm, about a mile and a half southwest of the present
Village of St. Paul, and gave it the name of Overton. Trains stopped
there regularly for a time, but after the road was made a
standard-gauge and became the Fort Madison & Ottumwa division of
the Burlington system the station was discontinued and the Town of
Overton passed out of existence.
On March 20, 1858, George Berry, then deputy county surveyor, laid off
the Town of Pilot Grove near the center of section 10, town-ship 69,
range 6, for Stephen Townsend, Wesley Harrison and others, and the plat
was filed for record on April 16, 1858. It shows 166 lots and a large
public square. Pilot Grove is a station on the Fort Madison &
Ottumwa division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad,
seventeen miles northwest of Fort Madison. It has a post office, a
bank, a general store, telegraph and express offices, telephone
connections, and ships considerable quantities of live stock, etc.
According to the Iowa Gazetteer for 1914, the population was then
On February 28, 1848, George W. Perkins and James H. Washburn laid out
the Town of Primrose on the west side of section 23, in Harrison
Township. The plat was filed in the office of the county recorder on
April 21, 1850. In November, 1878, Levi and Lucretia Davis laid out an
addition of fifty-four lots. Primrose is eighteen miles west of Fort
Madison and about two and a half miles north of Warren, which is the
nearest railroad station. It has a general store, a public school
building, Lutheran, Methodist Episcopal and Presbyterian churches, a
money order post office, and a population of 150.
This town was surveyed and platted by James Hanks on March 11, 1858,
for David Doan. The original plat shows twenty lots. Russellville has
also been called Doantown, after the proprietor. It is situated in the
northern part of Cedar Township.
Concerning this town Polk's Iowa Gazetteer for 1914 says: "St. Paul. A
discontinued post office one and one-half miles from St. Paul station
on the C. B. & Q. R. R., in Marion Township, Lee County, sixteen
miles west of Fort Madison, the judicial seat, and six from West Point
the nearest banking point, whence it has rural delivery." Saint Paul
was laid off by George Berry on the last day of April, 1866, and the
plat was filed for record on the 25th of the following September. It
shows sixteen large lots — 177 by 390 feet — and a public square 400 by
420 feet. A Catholic church was built here at an early day and at one
time Saint Paul was a trading point of some importance. There is still
considerable business done there.
Five miles north of Keokuk on the Burlington & St. Louis division
of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, is the little Village
of Sandusky. It occupies the site of the old trading post established
by the Frenchman, Lemoliese, in 1820. A post office was established
here at an early date, but after the inauguration of the rural delivery
system it was discontinued and mail is now supplied through the office
at Montrose. A general store and a canning factory are the principal
business interests of Sandusky.
Sawyer is a small station on the Fort Madison & Ottumwa division of
the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, six miles north of Fort
Madison. It is the outgrowth of the railroad and has no important
Strictly speaking, Shopton is a part of the City of Fort Madison. It is
so named on account of its being the location of the Atchison, Topeka
& Santa Fe Railroad shops, two miles from the passenger station of
Directly across the Skunk River from the Town of Augusta, in Des Moines
County, is the Town of South Augusta. It is situated in the
northeastern part of Denmark Township and was laid off by George Berry
on April 19, 1843. The history of the town does not differ materially
from that of other country villages.
When the Burlington & Carrollton division of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railway System was built through Franklin
Township it missed the Town of Franklin, passing about two miles south.
On August 22, 1872, P. H. Smyth laid off a town on the railroad,
directly south of old Franklin, and gave it the name of South Franklin.
The plat of Mr. Smyth's town shows 108 lots. Several business concerns
moved from Franklin to the new town on account of the advantages
offered by the railroad.
On the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, seven miles west of
Keokuk, in Jackson Township, is the little station of Sugar Creek,
which takes its name from the stream near which it is located. No
official plat of the town can be found and, aside from its railroad
connections, it has no history nor business importance.
In the northwestern part of Washington Township, on the Fort Madison
& Ottumwa division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Railroad, is Summit Siding, a small station established there by the
railroad company for the convenience of shippers in the immediate
vicinity. No town has grown up about the siding.
The old Town of Summitville is situated in the southwestern part of
Montrose Township. It is a station on the Keokuk & Mount Pleasant
division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, eight miles
north of Keokuk and twenty miles from Fort Madison. It has a general
store, a money order post office, Christian and United Presbyterian
churches, a public school building, and in 1914 had an estimated
population of one hundred
This town was laid off by Stephen and John B. Perkins and James Douglas
about 1838, on Perkins' Prairie, in the southern part of what is now
Marion Township and on the road running from Fort Madison to Salem. It
was one of the towns projected for speculative purposes and in the
public library at Fort Madison is one of the advertisements, in the
form of a poster issued by the proprietors, announcing the sale of
lots, in what was to be the metropolis of Lee County. Tuscarora failed
to meet the anticipations of the founders, however, and in time
disappeared from the map entirely.
Viele is situated in the northern part of Jefferson Township, six miles
southwest of Fort Madison, at the junction of the Burlington & St.
Louis and the Burlington & Carrollton divisions of the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy Railway System. It has a general store, ex-
press and telegraph offices, telephone connections and some minor
business interests. The post office formerly maintained here has been
discontinued and rural delivery from Montrose now supplies daily mail
to the inhabitants.
The railroad name of this village is Sand Prairie. It is situated on
the Des Moines River and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Railroad, in the southern part of Des Moines Township, fifteen miles
northwest of Keokuk. It has a general store, a feed mill, telegraph and
express offices, telephone connections, a money order post office, a
public school, and in 1914 had an estimated population of one hundred
and fifty. Vincennes is one of the best shipping points between Keokuk
One of the early towns of Lee County was Walanya, which was laid off by
Samuel Sears in section 18, township 69, range 7, in the western part
of Cedar Township and not far from the Van Buren County line. The
original plat shows a town of some pretensions, but Walanya never came
up to the hopes of the founders and after some years the plat was
Warren is a station on the Burlington & Carrollton division of the
Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, located in the southern part
of Harrison Township, seventeen miles by rail from Fort Madison. The
plat was filed for record on May 1, 1876. It has grown up since the
railroad was built and is the principal shipping point for a rich
agricultural district in Harrison and Van Buren townships. A post
office was once maintained here, but it has been discontinued and rural
delivery from Donnellson supplies the inhabitants with mail daily.
Five miles north of Fort Madison, on the Burlington & St. Louis
division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway System, is the
little station of Wescott. No official plat of the place was ever
recorded and it has no business enterprises of consequence.
In the year 1834 a man named Whitaker laid claim to the site of the
present Town of West Point. The next year he sold his interests to John
L. Howell and John L. Cotton, who in turn sold to Abraham Hunsicker.
Mr. Hunsicker laid off a public square with one tier of lots
surrounding it, and Mr. Cotton built a log house near the northwest
corner of the square and opened a store. This was the first business
enterprise and the place was known as "Cotton Town." During the year
1835 anc ^ ear ly m 1836 a few log cabins were erected. In May, 1836,
William Patterson, A. H. Walker, Green Carey and Hawkins Taylor
purchased Mr. Hunsicker's claim, procured a patent for the land and on
June 11, 1840, laid off the Town of West Point. In an article written
by Mr. Taylor for the "Annals of Iowa," he gives many interesting facts
concerning the early history of West Point, a few of which are here
"John L. Cotton had the only store. The house was about twelve by
sixteen feet, of peeled hickory logs, split side in, rough boards
nailed over the cracks and no ceiling. His stock in trade was one
barrel of 'red eye,' said to be of approved quality; about a dozen
pieces of calico and as many more pieces of domestics; a few fancy
articles, tea, coffee and tobacco, all amounting in value to perhaps
two hundred dollars.
"Within a few days after our purchase, my associates returned to
Illinois, leaving me to put up a frame house for each of us, 18 by 32
feet, one story high. I had not a foot of plank to use in any of them;
the studding were rails straightened; the siding split boards, and the
floor puncheons. The front doors and window-sash were brought round
from Pittsburgh and bought at Fort Madison.
"On the 10th of September, 1836, the proprietors of West Point made a
sale of lots, after pretty full advertisement. The proprietors were all
temperance men, and one or two of them were elders in the old
blue-stocking Presbyterian Church. They had set apart a liberal plat of
ground to their late minister, who was coming to settle there, and they
had arranged to build a meeting-house and organize a church. To be a
'hard-shell' Baptist was then respectable with the settlers; to be a
Campbellite was passable; and to be a Methodist could be tolerated; but
they felt that it was asking rather too much for anyone to come among
them and propagate temperance and blue-stocking Presbyterianism. It was
strongly whispered that this was a bad lot to settle in a new country —
in fact, it was whispered pretty loudly. The proprietors were very
anxious to have their sale a success. They were all Kentuckians, and,
at that time, had seen but few Yankees; still, they had picked up some
Yankee ideas, and, as nearly all the settlers were from the South, they
concluded to make, on the day of sale, a regular old-fashioned
barbecue. No sooner was this known than the hard-shells themselves
softened and offers from all quarters were made to take charge of the
roasting department of the barbecue, and the worst of enemies became
friends. Both the sale and the barbecue were a grand success; plenty to
eat for all and well cooked, no one intoxicated, everything cheerful
and pleasant. The sale amounted to about twenty-three hundred dollars.
Not long after this sale, the people of West Point began a fight to
secure the county s.at. The contest was kept up until 1 843, when a
commission composed of Thomas O. Wamsley, I. N. Selby and Stephen
Gearhart, appointed by the Legislature, selected West Point as the most
suitable location for the judicial seat of Lee County. For a brief
period there was rejoicing among the West Pointers, and then another
act was passed, authorizing an election at which the people could
decide the location for themselves. In that election Fort Madison won
and some of the citizens of West Point suffered pecuniary losses in
consequence. But the town held on and in time regained much of its
The West Point of 19 14 is one of the thriving towns of Lee County. It
is incorporated, has a bank, a canning factory, a cigar factory, a
weekly newspaper, several well-stocked mercantile establishments, a
good public school building, an international money order post office
with five rural routes, Methodist Episcopal, Presbyterian and Catholic
churches and a number of handsome residences. Being located on the Fort
Madison & Ottumwa division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy
Railway System, in the center of a rich farming country in West Point
Township, and only eleven miles from Fort Madison, it is an important
trading and shipping point. The West Point District Agricultural
Society has held annual fairs at West Point for nearly half a century.
According to the United States census for 1910 the population of the
town was then 570.
In July, 1 891, Elisha Cook surveyed and platted the Town of Wever for
William and Louisa Blakslee, George W. and Clara Tucker, and others,
and the plat, showing eight blocks of four lots each, was filed with
the county recorder on December 18, 1891. The town is the outgrowth of
the building of the railroad which is now the Burlington & St.
Louis division of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy System. It is
located in the central part of Green Bay Township, eight miles by rail
from Fort Madison, and is the commercial center of Green Bay and a
large part of Washington and Denmark townships. Wever has a savings
bank, three general stores, a money order post office with two rural
routes, a public school, a grain elevator and some minor business
concerns, and in 1914 had an estimated population of one hundred.
The following list of Lee County post offices is taken from the United
States Postal Guide issued in July, 1914, the figures in parentheses
showing the number of rural delivery routes emanating from the office
immediately preceding: Argyle, Belfast, Charleston (1), Cottonwood,
Croton, Denmark, Donnellson (4), Fort Madison (3), Franklin, Houghton,
Keokuk (2), Montrose (4), Mount Hamill (2), New Boston, Pilot Grove,
Primrose, Summitville, Vincennes ( 1 ), West Point (5), Wever (2).
Domestic money orders are issued by all these offices and international
money orders by the post offices at Fort Madison, Keokuk,
Montrose and West Point.
of Lee County,
Iowa, by Dr. S. W. Moorhead and Nelson C. Roberts, 1914