It will be
remembered that on the 12th day of February 1853, steps were taken to
divide Pottawattamie County into three townships. This was done at a
special session of the county court, which was constituted of the
county judge, T. Burdick, who held the office at that date and made
necessary order, and S. T. CORG was the clerk of the court and made up
the record of the transaction. The record so made states in substance
that the former division of the county into election precincts be
discontinued, and the county of Pottawattamie divided into three
townships, viz., Macedonia, bounded on the north by the north line of
the county, east by the east county line, south by the south county
line, and west by the meridian or range line running north and south
across the county between range 40 and 41. It will be seen that this
created Macedonia Township with the same territory that now constitutes
the twelve easterly townships or fully tw! o-fifths of the county, and
the history of the present Macedonia properly begins at that date,
although some incidents date previous to this.
The first settler was Thomas Jefferson RING.
He was born in Massachusetts May 24, 1804. Came west and reached
Louisiana, Missouri, in 1848, and came overland from there and arrived
at old Macedonia May 1, 1848 in time to raise a crop of corn that year.
In 1850, when the emigration to Salt Lake was at its height, the Botna
was out of its banks for three months and caused great delay and
suffering to those who were on their way west. Mr. RING had secured a
lot of flour from Council Bluffs before the river rose and this he
divided with those on the east side, and when this supply failed, they
were compelled to resort to pounded corn.
The next settler after Mr. RING was one by
the name of Jacob MYERS from Ohio, who built a saw mill and then a
grist mill in connection with one HAWS at the old town of Macedonia.
This mill was built in 1848 but was washed out in the great flood that
followed its construction, and after this Mr. MYERS went to Michigan
and was lost sight of. Previous to this, however, J. B. STUTSMAN, one
of the first merchants of Council Bluffs, had bought a half interest in
the mill, and Wm. MARTIN the other half, and in 1851 they erected a saw
mill and in 1853 a grist mill, which was managed by Z. LOSH, an
experienced miller, for a year and by others until another flood in
1861 which took the second mill out and the site was abandoned. But for
a long time before and after the place was called Macedonia, it was
called Stutsman's Mill. And it might be pleasant to the Macedonians to
know that this same old time, generous, enterprising gentleman is at
this time living at ! Harlan and that he carries his ninety years as
lightly as most men of seventy. He also opened the first store. Another
old timer that arrived about this time was a Mr. TUTTLE who afterward
went on to Utah.
In 1852, a Mr. HANSHALDER bought the stock
of STUTSMAN and conducted the business in the same building. The first
school in the township was taught by Joseph LYMAN, when but a boy of
sixteen or seventeen, of which we shall hear more, as he was one of the
boys you can't lose. This school was taught in a rented building, there
being no way to have one built by the public. A blacksmith named Henry
ADAMS started a shop in 1862 and conducted it for two years and sold
out to John McDERMOTT.
The first postmaster was Calvin A. BEEBE,
who lived on the TOMPKINS farm, and it was kept here; and here the
first election after the organization of the township was ordered to be
held. FINK and WALKER had the contract to carry the mail between Des
Moines and Council Bluffs, and there was a weekly service each way. As
soon as events justified it, the Western Stage Co. put daily coaches on
the route by way of Big Grove and continued until the Rock Island
Railroad was built in 1869.
The first schoolhouse built at public
expense was erected a little east of the old town, A. M. DENTON being
the contractor. The finishing lumber was brought from Boonville by
wagon. J. Z. LOSH came in as before stated and conducted Stutsman's
mill a year, but in 1856 he discovered a good mill site a few miles
above, and there he erected what was known for many years as Losh's
mill. With the advent of the C.B.&Q. branch railroad, the new town
of Carson sprang into existence, which will be noted under another
head. That company commenced building a branch from Hastings on their
main line, and they had it completed and trains running to a point
three quarters of a mile east of the old town at the river on the
Fourth of July 1880. Here a new town was laid out and also called
Macedonia. This company consisted of Hon. B. F. CLAYTON, and R. H.
WOODMANCY of macedonia, T. J. EVANS of Council Bluffs, and T. J.
PATTEE, general manager of the C.B.! &Q. Railroad.
The first store erected in the new town was
by R. H. WOODMANCY, the first carpenter shop by J. T. BIRD, and the
blacksmith shop by Henry KEELER and Co., and a new schoolhouse was
built the following season. The Cumberland Presbyterian Church
organized a society as early as 1871, under the auspices of the Rev. J.
W. CARTER. From the date of its organization until 1880, services were
held in the schoolhouse in old Macedonia, but in the fall of the latter
year, they erected a neat edifice in the new town at a cost of $2,000
without incurring any debt.
The Methodist Society that was organized under the direction of Rev.
Thomas H. SMITH was reorganized in 1873 under the supervision of Rev.
Henry DeLONG. When the new town was established, they sold their house
and built a church costing $3,000.
The first child born in the new town was in
September 1880 to Mr. and Mrs. William DYE, and the first death was
that of Mrs. Emma MTICHELL in the same month. The first marriage
ceremony was performed by Rev. J. W. CARTER in the marriage of Mr.
Charles BEESLEY and Miss Ora LOWE in August 1881.
An Odd Fellows lodge was established on the
fourth of February 1881, with W. DYE, E. L. COOK, A. M. COLE, E. A.
VANVRANKEN, A. S. STAGGERS, AND J.S. RAINBOW as charter members, and
the officers installed at the organization were: W. DYE, N.G.; A. M.
COLE, V.G.; E. L. COOK, Secretary, and E. A. VANVRANKEN, Treasurer. The
first hotel was the Macedonia House and was opened by Geo. H. KALER.
The postoffice was removed from old to new
Macedonia, and Ohio KNOX was made postmaster and through his efforts it
was declared a money order office. In 1880, MECKELIVERT & YOUNG
erected a steam elevator, and during the first season managed two
hundred and fifty thousand bushels and in 1881 over five hundred
carloads of grain.
A new HOWE truss bridge was erected across
the Botna at the old town in 1881. A joint stock company was organized
in 1880 to conduct a banking business under the laws of Iowa, and known
as the Macedonia Bank, the shareholders being George MECKELIVERT,
Richard MECKELIVERT, D. L. HINSHIMER of Glenwood, and William DYE of
Macedonia. The Masonic fraternity established themselves in the town
shortly after it was laid out, Ruba Lodge being organized in the winter
of 1881, with a membership of seventeen. John CRAIG was made the first
worshipful master; J. M. KELLEY, the first senior warden; D. L. BULLA,
the first junior warden; Ohio KNOX, secretary; B. F. CLAYTON,
treasurer; S. A. JONES, senior deacon; D. W. BOMFF, junior deacon; J.
W. CARTER, chaplain, and A. B. RAYBURN, tyler.
The most notable event in the early days was
the great fire, which, in March 1882, destroyed the main portion of the
town, but the buildings destroyed were rapidly replaced. The terrible
cyclone that wrought destruction in Grove Township, passed near old
Macedonia and was plainly seen from there as it passed on towards
Long before this, an occurrence happened
that should not be omitted. It appears that in 1859, at a shooting
match into which whiskey entered pretty largely, a young man named Alf
PIERCE lost his life. At the time a man named BATCHELOR kept a store
where the old town still stands, and with his family lived in rooms in
the rear of the store. The merchant sold whiskey to the crowd during
the match, but towards evening the boys getting boisterous, the
merchant closed the store and retired to the back rooms with his little
family. After a while, some of the young men wanted more shiskey, and,
the front being closed, they went around to the rear and entered, at
the same time demanding more liquor, and on being refused, became
abusive, whereupon BATCHELOR took down his gun and shot one of them
named Alf PIERCE dead. It caused great excitement and during the trial
that followed, nearly the entire population of the township were
present. Mr. BATCHE! LOR was defended by Judge A. V. LARIMER and D. W.
PRICE. The latter, in the closing argument, made the effort of his
life, and for nearly a half century it has had no equal at the
Pottawattamie County bar, and the verdict was Not Guilty.
During the nearly half century that has
intervened, great changes have occurred here as well as elsewhere. The
railroad has invaded this quiet nook, a young city as a natural result
has sprung into existence, supplanting the old village, while the
almost boundless prairies have been transformed into as fine farms as
can be found anywhere. So far, the events related applied to the
township, which has been reduced to twenty-four sections, by cutting
off twelve in forming the township of Carson.
The town of Macedonia was incorporated in
1892 with the following officers: Mayor, J. M. KELLEY; recorder, S. H.
HOPKINS; marshal and street commissioner, Wm. MARSHALL; treasurer, T.
I. CLARK; countil, E. E. SMITH, W. DYE, T.J. YOUNG, E. H. SEMPEL, E. B.
LANE, and A. I. MITCHELL, MD. At this writing, it has one bank, one
hotel, two general stores, one restaurant, one hardware and furniture
store, two drug stores, one elevator, one implement house, one livery
stable, one lumber yard, one brick yard, one meat market, two
The Methodists and Presbyterians each have
churches. It has a graded school with principal and four assistants.
The fraternal orders are represented by one Masonic Lodge, one of Odd
Fellows, one of Modern Woodmen and Royal Neighbors. It has also a neat
opera house and a newspaper, the Botna Valley News, one milliner and
dressmaking establishment, and two barber shops.
The present city administration is as
follows: Mayor, J. C. RAYBURN; recorder, H. K. DYE; marshal, W. L.
HOBSON; aldermen, A. M. MILLER, Grant PILLING, Milton OSLER, H.A.
SMITH, J. M. KELLEY and T. C. NICKEY. The town, according to the census
of 1905, had one hundred and nineteen persons of school age, of which
sixty-four were males and fifty-five females. The township, exclusive
of the town of Macedonia, had males, ninety-five, females,
eighty-eight. The Board of Directors are E. A.. SEABERG, president; G.
T. CLAYTON, secretary; and W. J. HAMILTON, treasurer.
The township officers are as follows:
Trustees, N. L. HOBSON, John R. MAYNES, and A. C. LEWIS; clerk, Thos.
I. CLARK; constables, W. L. HOBSON, and Abe BRANDEN; assessor, J. M.
Although this is one of the smallest
townships, it possesses as good soil as can be found on earth, with
streams that are utilized for power, fair groves of timber, and
quarries of stone, and is occupied by as progressive and up-to-date
people as can be found anywhere.