Muscatine County, Iowa
Muscatine Journal & News-Tribune
Centennial Edition
31 May 1940

Section 7 - Page 9 & 10, Submitted by Shirley Plumb, July 6, 2012

Page 9

Bozarth, Parvin Were Leaders in Education

The names of Valentine Bozarth and J. A. Parvin stand out in the early history of the educational system in Muscatine. Parvin is credited with opening the first school in the county in 1839, and in the same year Bozarth opened a school in Wapsinonoc Township. Later, because of his pioneering work, Parvin was elected president of school district No. I, the area extending east from Sycamore Street. D. Franklin Wells was principal of the district No. 1 school at that time. A year after Parvin’s election, N. L. Stout was elected president of district No. 2 and G. B. Denison was elected principal of the No. 2 school at a salary of $ 500.

During the 1840’s, three directors served the Muscatine school districts, but in 1853, through the enactment of a state law, the number of directors was increased from three to six, each for a term of three years. Prior to that time, each of the three directors had served a one-year term.

In the spring of 1853, the Rev. A. B. Robbins was elected president of the No. 2 district, and Jacob Butler, Joseph P. Freeman and Franklin Thurston were chosen as directors. A disagreement in policy led to the resignation of this board, and a year later a new board was elected, consisting of S. G. Stein, Henry Reece, J. P. Freeman, S. B. Hill, Alexander Dunsmore and Alfred Purcell. Alva Tuttle was elected Principal at that time, but soon afterward was replaced by Mr. Denison again. Other principals who followed in order were Nathan Hoag, Samuel McNutt, and Moses Ingalls.

Mr. Wells continued as principal of the No. 1 school until the close of the 1856 school year. Then in order came Thomas Beaham and Dr. D. H. Goodno. In 1858, the office of county superintendent was created, and William F. Brennan was the first to be chosen to that position. He held the office until 1860, when the Rev. Charles Woodhouse was elected. The latter served until 1862, which he was succeeded by Dr. D. H. Goodno.

Concurrent with the reorganization of the entire system of study in Muscatine schools in 1864, a new corps of teachers was employed. At that time, F. M. Witter was named to the office of superintendent and principal of the high school, with Miss Alice H. Reed as his assistant in the high school. Other teachers employed in the system at that time were E. Cleveland, Miss Z. B. Raymond, Miss E. Williams, Miss Marietta Bentley, Nancy Martein, William Hoopes, Miss M. C. Mitchell, Miss Minnie Morrison, Miss S. M Mitchel, Miss Anna Johnson, Miss Bessie Van Buren and Miss M. H. Washburn.

Later on, Irving B. Richman served in the joint capacity of city schools superintendent and high school principal, and in June, 1881, R. B. Huff was chosen to the position. Mr. Huff served for only three years, being succeeded in 1885 by O. F. Emerson.

In 1885, the positions of superintendent and principal were made separate for the first time, and E. F. Schall was named to the latter post in the high school. At the same time, Irving B. Richman was chosen as superintendent, and continued in that capacity until 1901.

On July 1, 1901, W. F. Chevalier was named to the position of superintendent, and served until July 1, 1910. His successor in the latter year was T. W. B. Everhart. The year of 1901 is also important as the one in which R. M. Arey was chosen as principal of the school. Mr. Arey was succeeded in 1910 by Mr. True.

Another outstanding figure in the history of education in Muscatine is Dr. G. O. Morgridge, who served as a member of the board of education longer than any other man in Muscatine. Because of his record, he was chosen as an honorary member of the board after poor health had forced his withdrawal in 1901.

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Picture Story of Progress in Transportation

Photos of Trolley pulled by two mules. Two trollies on a track. Trolley pulled by a horse standing next to horses hooked up to wagon.

Horse and mule-drawn vehicles were utilized when the first public transportation system was inaugurated in Muscatine during the latter half of the 19th century. Presented here are views of the old street car barn, which was located on the southwest corner of Third Street at Mulberry Avenue, a picture of one of the early cars “in action” and a picture typical of the era when the electric trolley system was inaugurated. Later this mode of transportation likewise yielded to changing times and bus service was inaugurated.

Plans were laid in 1882 for the building of the first street railway system in Muscatine. “The city had grown to the proportions necessary for rapid transit and in 1883 a company organized for the purpose of constructing and operating a railway,” a record of the start of the project states.

First officers elected were Peter Musser, president; George Dillaway, vice president; T. R. Fitzgerald, secretary and Orange Chapman, superintendent.

The road was built in 1883; something over two miles of track, and the first car was run over the line on Sept. 11 of that year. “The motive power was of mule and horse flesh,” the history records.

Desiring to keep up with neighboring towns on the matter of transportation, the city, on May 29, 1893, discarded the mules in favor of electricity and on that date the electric trolley system was inaugurated.

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Page 10
Montpelier Was First Town in County
History of Moscow Runs Back More Than Century;
Fairport Also Among Earliest Towns

Photos of Nichols School, Conesville School, Atalissa School and U. S. Biological Station at Fairport

Several of the towns in Muscatine County today still stand as evidence of the fortitude and enterprise of the first white settlers to this region, while others are more recent development. Some have histories dating back more than a century, about which there is much early lore, while the founding of others concerns mainly a colorless recital of facts.

Montpelier, probably the first town within the county limits, was laid out by Benjamin Nye, known as Muscatine County’s first white settler, in 1835 or 1836. Here Nye operated a general store, and a post office was opened here. Nye was interested in the store with a man named Major Gordon and it wasn’t long before the two became embroiled in a fight. While Gordon was laid up with knife wounds, his partner pulled out, and the first town of Montpelier soon faded from existence.

Since the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad was built along the banks of the Mississippi, however, a new Montpelier sprung up in 1881, about a mile or two east of the original town, site which today still retains the name of the old town.

The town of Nichols was named by Benjamin F. Nichols in honor of his father, Samuel Nichols, who subscribed liberally for stock in the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroad Co., and donated to them the right of way through his land, in consideration for which they erected a depot on ground also presented by him for that purpose. Platted by George Baumgardner, the town was filed for recording on June 22, 1871. An addition was laid out when the Muscatine and Western railroad was finished to this point in 1873, and in 1875 a second addition was made by T. Nichols. A post office was established in October, 1870, with Benjamin F. Nichols serving as the first postmaster.

Moscow is one of the oldest towns in the county, having been first settled by Henry Webster and Dr. Charles Drury in the fall of 1836. A man by the name of Mitchell opened the first store in the settlement later that year and engaged in trade with the Indians. Moscow was quite a business center for a time in its early days, and bore the reputation in those pioneer days of being a “hard’ place. Fights were an everyday occurrence, and some outstanding event, such as a horse-race, shooting match or physical contest was on schedule almost every Saturday.

The first ferry on the Cedar River at this point was run by William Hendrickson. The first school was taught by Miss May Comstock. In 1866, a dam was built across the Cedar River at this point and a mill erected in 1867 which like many other schemes of early days proved an unfortunate investment.

Located on the line of the old B. C. R. and N. R. R., in the center of Orono Township, the town of Conesville was laid out in March, 1870, and named after its founder, Beebe S. Cone. In July, 1870, Alexander McCurdy erected a fine dwelling house-the first building on the town site-but it was destroyed by fire about five years later. He also opened the first general store in the town.

The post office was established in the spring of 1870, with B. S. Cone as postmaster. It was on May 18, 1878, that the entire settlement was regularly incorporated, as a town and called Conesville.

First called Farnham by the old settlers and later popularly known by the name of Fulton (the township in which it is located), the town of Stockton was platted and recorded in September, 1855, by A. C. Fulton, J. M Burrows, N. Freyervary, J. M. Witherwase and R. M. Prettyman. The town is situated in a rich farming country.

Although the railroad station was then known as Fulton, it was decided to name the first post office Prairie Mills, inasmuch as there already was a town called Fulton in the state. It was W. J. Speer, who was appointed postmaster in 1866, who was instrumental in having the name of both the post office and town changed to Stockton. The first building in the town was a large hotel erected by A. C. Fulton, and a school house was built in 1856.

The name of Atalissa, which was given to a community in the northeast portion of Goshen Township, laid out in 1856, was taken from that of an Indian princess with whom Capt. William Lundy, one of the first settlers, had become acquainted while mining in California. The first post office was moved to this place in 1856 from Overman’s Ferry, and N. C. Swank became the postmaster. The first building was a shanty in which the first store was opened. Among the early residential of the place were James Thompson, Mr. Boggs, Thomas Odell, William G. Holmes, John McIntosh, Samuel Fletcher, Elias Overman and James V. Smith.

Fairport, originally known as Salem, is one of the old towns in Muscatine County, being located along the Mississippi River, seven miles east of Muscatine. The plat for the original village of Salem was filed on April 20, 1939. Presence of potter’s clay in the neighborhood gave the town its main industry. And a number of potteries were established here which carried on a profitable business for a time. The industry was said to have been introduced by Elijah Sells, who was secretary of the state from 1856 to 1863, holing the office for three terms. Adams, a railroad station located on the old Muscatine and Western railroad, was laid out in 1873.

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