|The news items found on this page were
collected over the years by Dessie Mae [Johnson] Bollier.
Dessie collected the newspaper articles and other news
items of interest to her after leaving Red Oak,
Montgomery County, Iowa and moving to Smithville, Texas.
Express, Thursday, 10 August 1953
Murders At Villisca Unsolved
Confess, None Convicted
county was the scene of the most brutal mass
slayings in the history of this county and the case
remains unsolved despite numerous "confessions" and
Villisca ax murders is the case referred to. On the
night of June 9, 1912, eight persons were killed
with the family ax in the home of Joe Moore,
Villisca hardware merchant.
Mr. and Mrs. Moore, their four children, and two
daughters of Joe Stillinger, Villisca, visiting in
the Moore home for the evening.
the case gained nation-wide attention and did for
many years as investigation continued. Several
person made confessions and several trials were
held, but no convictions resulted. In practically
every case the confessions were by publicity
recently as 1951 confessions to the murders were
made. The latest was in August of 1951 when a
71-year-old Negro at Torrance, Calif. made a
confession, our investigation revealed no basis for
the confession and the case continues a mystery.
Red Oak Express, Date unknown
Named for Richard Montgomery
count was so named in honor of Richard Montgomery,
who was killed in Canada during the Revolutionary
war while leading an expedition against the British.
educated in Ireland, he served in the British army
for a number of years gaining the rank of Captain.
After giving up his British army commission he
settled in New York City.
Revolutionary war broke out he became a
brigadier-general in the American army and was
killed Dec. 26, 1775 in the Canadian action. Among
those serving under him in that engagement was Aaron
contract for paving Red Oak's streets was let in
Red Oak Express
Red Oak Speech by President McKinley
William McKinley and three members of his cabinet
visited Red Oak Oct. 13, 1898.
president and his party were greeted by about 3,000
persons when the special train arrived about noon.
officers accompanying the president were Iowan James
Wilson, secretary of agriculture; Lyman P. Gage,
secretary of the treasury, and Charles E. Smith,
McKinley's reference to the late Darwin R. Merritt,
Red Oaker who died aboard the battleship Maine in
Havana harbor, loc---his speech.
from his remarks were; "I'm glad to be at the home
of that gallant young hero who went down in the
harbor of Havana. His memory will be sacredly
guarded by his neighbors and fellow citizens and
will always be held in remembrance by a grateful
president's train also stopped at Villisca and other
towns along the Burlington railroad.
First Court Term At Frankfort 1856
to The History of Montgomery County the first term
of district court held in the county was Nov. 17,
1856 at Frankfort with District Judge E. H. Sears on
was clerk, L. C. Cook sheriff and Joseph Zuber
jurors present were William Dunn, I. N. Poston,
William Dinwiddie, John Bolt, Tyra Stafford, James
Robertson, Isaac Coon, R. M. McMellon, Henry Kerns
and William Stipe.
two cases handled were debt actions brought in by
change of venue from Taylor county.
Salvation Army Relates History
God Hand to Man'
Lts. Norma Reynor and Thelma Young
1924, marked the establishment of the Salvation Army
in Red Oak. The Army's first building was an old
Presbyterian church on Hammond street near the site
of the new high school gymnasium.
rooms in the Gilmore building on Fourth street were
occupied for 10 years.
Mrs. Nellie Haines made possible the building of the
Army's present building at 310 Market street in
corps was considered a Scandinavian until 1936 when
it was designated as an American corps with Iowa
division headquarters in Des Moines.
Salvation Army's building recently was redecorated
inside and out with money provided by a Montgomery
county resident who wished to remain anonymous.
three-fold program is carried on by the Salvation
Army. It is religious, welfare, and character
building. The Army's motto is "Heart to God and
Hand to Man."
officers of the local corps were Major Skoglund,
Captain Lindquest, Captain B. Reed, Ensign Helm.
Lieutenant Samuelson and Captain Asp.
these officers have been in charge:
Sadie Roettger, Major Anna Patmor, Capt. Dorothy
Britton, Lieut. Kathleen Wilson, Capt. Jane Evans,
Capt. May Hodgeman, Capt. and Mrs. Herbert Bowe,
Capt. and Mrs. George Clifft, Capt. Clara Spargo and
Capt. Dorothy Brown.
Norma Reyner and Lieut. Thelma Young are the present
officers in charge.
Blue Lodge Is Oldest in City
Lodge Founded On Nov. 4, 1861
lodge No 162 A. F. & A. is the oldest organization
in Red Oak.
Lodge as it is known, was founded on a dispensation
from the Grand Lodge of Iowa by Grand Master Thomas
H. Benton, jr., Nov. 4, 1861--about seven months
after the outbreak of the Civil War.
Patterson, the first master of the lodge is credited
with starting the movement which resulted in its
members of Red Oak lodge were John W. Patterson, G.
A. Gordon, J. M. Hewitt, William Dunn, W. W.
Merritt, Charles Bolt, John Ivens, Isaac Davis,
William Focht and R. M. G. Patterson.
building on the south-east corner of the square in
the present-day location of Spurgeon's store was
used as the first Masonic hall. Early minutes show
the buying of pine boards for benches and of
expensive curtains for the windows. Monthly rent
were held in this building until 1870. C. H. Lane
had built a three-story brick building on the west
side of the square where the Sundell Shoe Co. is
today. The third floor was rented by the Masons for
$250. a year. The lodge continued in this location
for 15 years until the present Masonic Temple was
built at Fifth and Coolbaugh street June 24, 1885.
The cornerstone of the new temple was laid Dec. 18,
1882 under the supervision of W. H. Hunter,
Frankfort Served As County Seat
important of the now obsolete Montgomery towns was
Frankfort which served as the county seat from 1854
until 1865. At one time three doctors resided
according to Merritt's history, was never more "than
a cluster of buildings."
were several residences, a few stores, blacksmith
shop, school, and courthouse. Most were torn down
and moved soon after Red Oak became the county seat.
Bolt Shoe Store First Opened 1894
In 1894 L.
A. Schwinn and B. D. Bolt opened the Bolt & Schwinn
Shoe store in Red Oak.
was first located on the northeast corner of the
square in what was known as the Miller block. Ten
years later, Bolt bought Schwinn's interest and
change the store name to B. D. Bolt.
Peterson became a partner in the store in 1907 and
the store became knows as Bolt Shoe Co. Articles of
incorporation were filed in 1909 by A. R. Tracy, B.
D. Bolt, R. H. Turner and A. L. Peterson. In 1914
the store was moved to the north side of the
square--the location it occupies today.
bought Turner's interest in the store in 1916. A
fire in 1929 wiped out the store and its stock of
goods. Efforts of Red Oak firemen saved the
telephone office and switchboard that occupied the
second floor in the same building.
fall of 1929, A. L. Peterson restocked the store and
became the sole owner, retaining the name Bolt Shoe
Red Oak Express, Date Unknown
Some Early Facts Found in Montgomery County History
History of Montgomery county says Montgomery county
was organized under a state legislature bill of 1850
which created organization of Montgomery and several
other southwest Iowa counties.
the county was surveyed. There were then some half
dozen families living within the county boundaries.
later a legislative act included Montgomery and
Adams counties together for revenue and tax purposes
and the first election held in the county was that
settlers in the county is credited by Merritt as
being John Ross, a Kentucky native, who in 1849
settled a short distance east of the present
location of Villisca. A year later his brother,
James, became the second settler with the third
settler honors lying between Ezra Healy and John
and 1852 some dozen men and their families took up
residence within what later became Montgomery county
election held in Montgomery county, according to
Merritt's history, was a caucus held in April, 1853,
in a log cabin. Results are not available.
reports the first regular election was in August of
that year in the home of John Harris in Dunn
Settlement on the west side of the Nodaway river
about six miles north of Villisca in what is now the
votes were cast with 12 Democrat votes and six
Whig. The county's political history is said to
date from that election. At that time the county
was all one town shop and Sept. 13 that year a
township elections was held at the Dunn home.
warrant issued by the county was Dec. 30, 1853,
allowing Wells Sager $5.50 in salary for his
services as assessor for 1853. John W. Patterson
was appointed county treasurer and Sager and
Patterson served as a board of equalization of
list of assessments valuations included land at
$1.50 to $2.50 per acre, horses $20 to $75 per head,
oxen $50 to $100 per head, all other cattle $10 to
$40 per head.
1854, the county was split into two
townships--Jackson and West.
marriage license issued in Montgomery county is
listed as Jan. 20, 1855, to Samuel McNaley and
Martha Elizabeth Donoho. In that year Frankfort and
Douglas townships were created and in 1861 the first
regular county board of supervisor meeting was held.
eight-year span 1853-1861 the county had made rapid
Red Oak Express, May 1943
Smaha, who was rescued in the south Atlantic when
the merchant ship, Staghound was torpedoed, will
arrive home Friday to visit his parents, Mr. and
Mrs. Fred Smaha. He will be on a 10-day leave.
Red Oak Express
Some of Red Oak's Earlier Industries
has had a number of industries that have since
passed out of existence for one reason or another.
the early ones included as follows:
established on West Coolbaugh in the 1860's by
Webster Eaton and his brother.
built in 1870 and which went out of business with
state wide prohibition.
Fisher's hog packing business started in the '70's;
the George B. Brown iron foundry and machine ship
which also included a carriage making business; Red
Oak Canning Co. which started in 1902.
Houghton Bank Founded in 1879
Presidents In Bank History
Houghton State Bank was organized here in 1879 with
H. C. Houghton sr. as president. The third Houghton
generation is now serving as bank president and the
bank has remained in the family since its founding.
located in the building now occupied by the Faunce
store, the bank in 1898 moved to the south-east
corner of the square in the site now occupied by the
building owned by Edwin Engquist. Burned out in the
1902 fired, the bank building was rebuilt. Since
1940 the bank has occupied its present quarters at
the southwest corner of the square.
C. Houghton sr. served as bank president from 1879
to 1925. His son, H. C. Houghton, jr., was
president from 1925 until January of this year and
is now chairman of the board. He has been a member
of the bank staff since 1906.
Houghton, eldest of four children of Mr. and Mrs. H.
C. Houghton jr., was named bank president in January
of this year. Another of the Houghton sons, Cole,
is one of the two vice-presidents, along with O. N.
Hultman of Stanton.
of directors, includes H. C. Houghton jr., Deemer
Houghton, Cole Houghton, O. N. Houghton, H. L.
Herkert, R. J. Swanson and R. C. Kipp. All are Red
Oakers except Hultman, Stanton, and Kipp, Elliott.
operates an Elliott branch managed by R. C. Kipp,
board of director member. At Red Oak, Vivian Nelson
is auditor and C. Lester Anderson cashier. The bank
has 20 employees, including the Elliott branch.
Artz Drug Store Since '89
Artz Was The Store Founder
September, 1889, there's been an Artz Drug store in
Red Oak on the east side of the square.
came to Red Oak from Donnellson in Lee county and
held pharmacist's license No. 122. He first called
the firm D. Artz Drug store--a name it held until
the business was incorporated in 1908 as the Artz
early officers were David Artz, president; B. W.
Casey, vice president and treasurer; Clara B. Artz,
the early-day personnel included Ernest Collins of
Malvern, Chester Reed, uncle of Clara Reed of Red
Oak, and Will Casey, brother of Ed T. Casey, now
manager and owner of the controlling stock.
pharmacists who formerly were employed by Artz Drug
Co. and now owning their own stores are Don Criswell
of Oakland, Harry Slickerveer of Glenwood and Paul
McKenzie of Red Oak.
1c sale was held in 1910 when the company was first
designated as a Rexall Store.
unsolved slaying occurred in the store in the early
morning of Jan. 5, 1933. Will Casey was shot by an
unknown assailant and died later that night.
Casey's widow was Kate Reifel, sister of Mrs. Ivan
Ellwood of Red Oak.
was active in the drug store until his death at 89
in 1945. Two daughters, Louise Artz and Adalyn Artz,
continue to own and interest in the store.
advertisements of the first calendar printed by
Osborne & Murphy Co. in 1899 was one bought by the
D. Artz Drug store.
Encampment Charted in 1875
Encampment No. 76 of the I. O. O. F. at Red Oak was
chartered April 21, 1875.
members were M. T. Anderson, chief patriarch; E.
Kretchmer, high priest; H. Pegram, senior warden;
Ira Pickett, junior warden; H. C. French, W. H.
Evans, D. B. Miller, A. McConnell, Z. T. Fisher and
encampment meets at 8 p.m. the first and third
Friday of each month. Otto C. Pierson is not chief
Railroad Service in County Since 1869
county has had railroad service since 1869. The
main line of the Chicago Burlington & Quincy reached
the eastern order of the county that year and by the
end of the year the line had been built to Red Oak.
Later the branch lines were added.
grants of county lands to the Burlington railroad
totaled 95,000 acres, or roughly one-third of the