GHOST TOWNS of RINGGOLD COUNTY
RINGGOLD COUNTY, IOWA, 1895
The New 11 x 14 Atlas of the World, Rand McNally Corp. 1895.
Athens or Athens Center Later called
History of Athens Township, Arthur L. LESAN, 1931
BLACKMORE, also known as Blackmore Corner A post office from 1880 to 1895 that was located in Section
8, Monroe Township. Formerly was a post office known as Prairie View.
Reminiscene of the Early Days in Liberty Township
by Stewart L. Thompson, 1914
BLOOMINGTON A post office was established in Bloomington during June of 1875 grounded in the hope that it
would become an important rail town. However it was bypassed. The post closed in 1880, opened again in February of 1888 but closed
permanently in January of 1890. Bloomington was located in the northeastern part of Section 10, Riley Township.
BORNEO See Delphi below.
BOZARIS A post office from 1873 to 1875 located in the eastern part of Section 19, Benton Township, off of
State Highway K northwest of Grant City, Missouri. Some records spell the town's name as “Bozzaris.”
CALEDONIA A small village laid out in 1855 in the western part of Section 11 of Lotts Creek Township, founded
by Peter WALTER with the WALTER, STUCK, and SWIGART families being the first residents. The town was named Caledonia, taken
from Sir Walter SCOTT'S Lady of the Lake. The post office opened in 1856 and closed in 1908. A store, church, and school are all that remain. Caledonia is a Latin name given by the Roman Empire to a northern are of Great Britain. Infamous outlaws
Clyde BARROW and Bonnie PARKER , along with Buck and Blanche BARROW, stopped at the Caledonia store for supplies when they passed through the vicinity in 1933.
The last building remaining in Caledonia, 2007. This building was the office of Dr. A. W. REYNOLDS.
"The Caledonia Store Site: The first store here was owned and operated by General E. MOORE (illegible) was fleeing from the law. Stopped (illegible)."
Holland FOSTER wrote a paperback book entitled The Ghost Town of Caledonia in 1978.
CLIPPER A post office from 1874 to 1888 located the western part of Section 29, Middlefork Township. Harvey
WAUGH was the postmaster, earning a salary of $6.80 during his first year of service. When the community did not grow
as expected, the post office was abandoned.
CROSS A post office from July of 1856 to October of 1879, except two brief intermissions in 1866 and 1873,
in the northeastern part of Athens
Township near Kellerton. Cross was located at the Merritt Station, one of the former stagecoach stops and operated by
the MERRITT family. When the post office was abandoned in 1879, it was relocated two miles east to a neighborhood
known as New Chicago.
History of Athens Township, Arthur L. LESAN, 1931
CUSTER A post office that existed, location unknown, from 1876 to 1877.
DELPHI A place shown on maps of the early 1880's located in Section 22, Benton Township, at or near the
railroad town of Delphos. Delphi, also called Borneo, operated as a post office from September of 1880 to November of
EAST KANSAS CITY A village located across the river and east of Knowlton, circa 1880's.
ESTELLA A post office from 1861 to 1871 located in the eastern part of Benton Township.
EUGENE A village located in the northeastern part of Section 13, Jefferson Township, approximately five
miles north of present-day Tingley. The post office opened
in 1858 and closed in 1887. Eugene was a thriving community until the advent of railroads. Most of the town moved to
Tingley when the railroad bypassed Eugene and came through Tingley instead.
Eugene Fire, 1879
FLUSHING A post office from 1871 to 1874 in the central part of Jefferson Township.
FOREST HOME, also known as Rooster Bend was located near Forest Home Cemetery, located approximately
three miles north of Redding. Although the community does not appear on any of Ringgold County's early maps, Edwin
BENNETT said in a June 12, 1896 edition of the Twice-A-Week News that Forest Home was situated near the Grand
River and the Platte River which assured plentiful sources of water. There was a sawmill, a shoemaker, a pump and mill
dealer, and a fruit and nursery dealer conducting business at Forest Home. Long-time residents of Forest Home in 1896 included
H. T. MILLER, R. O. DAIN, William DEIBERT who owned an orchard, Ed POLLEY, Edwin BENNETT, Abner LOWDER, and Frank SEATON.
GOSHEN A village in the northeastern part, section 1, of Grant Township and named by Henry STAHL for his hometown of
Goshen, Indiana. Goshen operated for a while as a station on the Humeston branch of the CB&Q Railroad until the railroad
moved the depot to the crossing in 1889. For a while, the townspeople expected the Chicago Great Western Railroad to
cross through town. It was a great disappointment when the tracks were laid along the river bottom, bypassing Goshen.
Then, Diagonal grew up about a mile east of Goshen, causing Goshen's decline. During its prime, Goshen had a post office,
the Bethel Church, a school located south of the town, a newspaper called The Goshen Gazette, and a physician,
Dr. BEMENT. The post office opened in 1872 and closed
in 1889. The first building moved from Goshen to one mile east, merging with the town of Diagonal on April 1, 1889.
Knowlton Lives Again, includes Goshen
Goshen Town Plat, 1881
Great Land O' Goshen!, by Lawrence P. Todd
Goshen Playbill, 1881
Goshen History, by Mildred Wiley Turnbull
INGART See Ingart's Grove
INGART'S GROVE A post office operating from 1860 to 1883, located in the southwestern part of Section 3,
Middlefork Township. The town continued as "Ingart" from 1883 until 1894.
KEW A former station (#8879) and hamlet on the Humeston branch of the CB&Q Railroad, located about four
miles east of Diagonal. The name “KEW” stood for the CB&Q’S K&W line. Mrs. RUBY fed the men who built the railroad through Kew out of a tent.
The town's sign was a board with the word "Kew" burned into it. Later, the train stopped at Kew only if someone flagged it down.
The post office, opened in 1882 under the supervision of W. D. M. HEATON when the railroad
came through until it closed
in 1889. At one time, there was M. E. CASSIDY's
stock buying station and Mart CASSIDY's store in the settlement with a sawmill located nearby. The town eventually merged into the town of Diagonal located five and one-half miles east of Kew.
KNOWLTON A town and railroad station about one and one-half miles northeast of the present town of Diagonal.
The town was originally called “Indianville” due to its close proximity near an old Indian settlement. It was later
renamed after a railroad official by the name of KNOWLTON.
The post office opened in 1888. Knowlton’s population was
450 in 1898. The town was the main coaling station for the railroad which kept Knowlton active until its unincorporation in the
although the post office closed in 1919. The Ideal Farm Implement Company out of Fort Madison, Iowa erected a factory
building in July of 1902 and began shipments to Texas in 1906. The building burned in 1909. For some time there had been
talk of rebuilding which apparently didn’t occur. The first school at Knowlton was erected in 1891 at the cost of $3,000
with the first class to graduate in 1900. Several fires, the close proximity of the town of Diagonal, and the eventual
school closing led to the demise of Knowlton, Iowa.
History of Knowlton
Story of Knowlton
Knowlton Town Plat, 1881
Life in Knowlton, by A. H. BONEBRAKE
Knowlton Lives Again
LEE A post office that operated from 1898 to 1908, located in Section 20 of Riley Township.
Lee Baseball Team
LESAN or LESANVILLE A former railroad station on the CB&Q Railroad located approximately five miles east of
Mount Ayr. The town had been platted prior to the arrival of the railroad. The post office opened in 1884 and operated
until 1899. Although Lesanville never developed much beyond a stop along the railroad, it had a store, a Methodist Church,
and a cemetery along with post office. The town disappeared by 1942 but the neighborhood continued to be called
Lesanville. Presently the neighborhood operates as a living history working farm.
LESAN House, Lesanville, Iowa pictured at right
LOOMIS, see Shannon City
MARENA A post office that operated in the western part of Section 22 of Lincoln Township. The town was
founded near G. A. WYANT’S mill situated on the east bank of the Platte River. Delacey GARD built the first store and
was also the town’s first postmaster from 1872 to 1885. Also in the settlement was the HERSOM's store,
two blacksmith shops, and a wagon shop. James JOHNS, a resident, was the first person interred in the Clearfield Cemetery.
The Marena post office was discontinued in 1885.
MARSHALL A hamlet located in the northern part of Section 5 of Rice Township, on the east side of the West
Fork of Grand River, approximately five miles west of Mount Ayr, as shown on maps from 1875 to 1880. Sometimes called
Marshalltown, there never was a post office established in this community. In 1887 the Chicago Great Western Railroad
came through approximately one and one-half miles west of Marshall. This line was called the Maple Leaf Route.
MARSHALLTOWN See Marshall above
MERRITT STATION A stagecoach stop in Athens Township which was owned and operated by the MERRITT Family. The
settlement of Cross rose up around Merritt Station.
MORTIMER A post office that opened in 1883 and closed in 1901, located in Section 7 of Jefferson Township
approximately five miles north of Diagonal near the Zenas KILGORE farm. Union School No. 3 was located across the
road from the Mortimer post office. The Union School was later renamed the Mortimor School. Mortimer was never a town
but appeared on county maps.
MOUNT ZION No information currently available
NEW CHICAGO Name of a hamlet located two miles east of Cross, which had a store, blacksmith shop,
two doctors, and other businesses particular to small villages of the time. The little village was originally called
Athens and Athens Center, later named New Chicago
for a family residing there who had came from Chicago,
Illinois. When the Leon, Mount Ayr, and Southwestern Railroad was completed, the town of Kellerton was laid out in 1879
a little more than a mile east of New Chicago. Then, the village of New Chicago moved bodily to Kellerton.
History of Athens Township, Arthur L. LESAN, 1931
NEW PORT A hamlet in the northwestern part of section 11, Middlefork Township from 1875 to 1880.
POLEN Founded by Samuel POLEN (grandfather of Hugh DAVENPORT of Diagonal), the post office opened in 1891.
Upon selling his farm to Robert G. SNODGRASS, Samuel POLEN moved to Union County, Iowa. Gus FREEMAN took over the store
and post office, serving as postmaster until it closed in 1901. All that remains of Polen is a garage (which was once a
shed), the cave, and the post office house, the original farm buildings of the DAVENPORT farm. Polen was located in
Section 3 of Lincoln Township. Fairview Methodist Espicopal
Church was located south of Polen. News from Polen, date unknown
POYNER The name of the post office operating from 1891 to 1894 at the present village of
Watterson in Lotts Creek Township.
PRAIRIE VIEW The name of the post office operating from 1857 to 1865 at the location of the latter post
office of Blackmore
Providence An early post office.QUINN'S GROVE A post office operating from 1871 to 1872 in the eastern part of Jefferson Township.
REDDING Redding was a post office some four miles north of the present town of Redding from August, 1855 until the
establishment of the town Redding.
REGER An early post office.
RILEY A post office that operated from May of 1886 to November of 1886, location unknown.
RINGGOLD See Ringgold City below.
RINGGOLD CITY Ringgold City was the first settlement in Ringgold County. Located in section 21, the of Lotts Creek
Township, It was originally called Schooler Grove in the 1840's after Charles Harrison SCHOOLER who settled there in 1844.
SCHOOLER's daughter has been recognized at the first white child born in Ringgold County. When SCHOOLER's
wife and infant daughter Manoah B. died, SCHOOLER established the first cemetery in Ringgold County. James TEDROW built a
cabin near the SCHOOLERS in 1846. SCHOOLER and TEDROW, when the settled in the area, believed that they were still in
the State of Missouri. This section of Ringgold County, being close to the Iowa/Missouri border, was involved in a heated
debate, known as the Honey War. Laid out as a town in 1855, the
same year as when Ringgold County was organized, Ringgold City was located on the Dragoon Trace, a natural trail through
the county and one that had been used by the Native Americans and later the Dragoon militia. Although there were high
hopes for the settlement in anticipation of a railroad line and from traffic off the Dragoon Trace, Ringgold City was
never more than a hamlet. Ringgold City's post office was in operation from 1860 to 1908. At one time there was a barber
shop, post office, school, a physician, a blacksmith shop, a general store, plus several other businesses in Ringgold
City. When it became apparent that the railroad would
never pass through Ringgold City, the settlement began to decline. The church was dismantled and moved to Redding in 1939.
In the 1950's the school closed. Raymond V. BANNER published a book about Ringgold City entitled Ringgold City, Iowa:
ROOSTER BEND, see Forest Home.
SAND CREEK, a settlement in the northeast corner of Ringgold County. Two young white settlers, Absalom DRIGGS and David HALE, brothers-in-laws, had gone hunting.
Hale reported back to the other settlers that DRIGGS had been killed by the Indians who were camping near by. After a
great amount of excitement and further investigation, the evidence revealed that HALE was the murderer. Nevertheless, the
Indians were removed out of the county and down the Dragoon Trace. HALE went free and left the county.
SHANNON, see Shannon City
SHANNON CITY, located 2 miles west of Highway 169, was originally laid out June 5, 1888, on both sides of the
county line with the business section mainly on the south in Ringgold County, and
the Post Office located in Union
1889 and 1891, a fire destroyed most of the businesses on the Ringgold County side of town. Dr. LOOMIS
led the rebuilding of
Shannon City on the north side with his office located on the west side of Main Street. Originally
called "Shannon" the name
of the town was changed because several other Iowa towns were named "Shannon." The town was
called "Loomis" for a long
time before it was eventually called "Shannon City."
SHAWLER A post office that operated from February of 1880 to December of 1880, location unknown.
SILVER STREET A post office operating from 1858 to 1863 located in the northwestern part of Union Township.
The post office was changed to Tingley because there was another Silver Street post office in Iowa.
THOMAS The name of the post office operating from 1884 to 1891. Thomas was the predecessor to the Polyneer post office,
and later still the present village of Watterson, located in Lotts Creek Township.
TINKERVILLE was located approximately three or three and one-half miles southwest of Redding. The community,
which doesn't appear on any early Ringgold County maps, was named by Carl QUICK after a popular newspaper comic strip
of the time. During the late 1890's the land was divided into lots. Tinkerville was never anything more than a cluster
of residences with no businesses located in the area. Many of the concrete foundations of this homes are visible to
the present-day. Children from Tinkerville attended the Fairview School. Residents of Tinkerville included Wes LOGAN, Clyde
and Harla NORRIS, Billy JACKSON, the SCAMMAHORN family, the HERRINGTON family, the FLICK family, the DICKEY family,
the FATTIG family, John FATTIG (1950) and Clifford LUNDGREN (1950).
TUSKEEGO, a town located south of Kellerton, in Decatur County close to the Ringgold/Decatur County line.
UNION HILL A post office operating from 1861 to 1882/83 in the southern part of section 15, Union Township.
William CONE served as the postmaster of Union Hill.
WANAMAKER A post office operating from 1891 to 1902 located in the southeast corner of section 29, Athens
Township. Salem School No. 4 and Salem Evangelical Church was also located at this corner. Also has been referred to as Wanamaker-Salem.
WATTERSON The last of three post office that
[Thomas, Poyneer, and Watterson] that operated from 1895 to 1908, located in Lotts Creek Township of Ringgold County,
WIRT The former name of the present-day town of Ellston. Wirt was the name of the post office that operated
from 1882, when the railroad arrived, to 1895. F. E. NEWMAN was the postmaster in 1884. The town was established in 1884 although a general store had opened its doors for business in July
of 1881. In January of 1886, a two-story frame schoolhouse was completed at the cost of $2,000. In 1886, E. R. PORTER
and Louie CAMPBELL were the teachers for an enrollment of 60 students. The Wasp was the first newspaper which was
published by a Mr. NOAH. Later, he sold the paper to John ABRAMS who changed the name to The News. John THRALL
was the last publisher when the paper ceased publication in 1884. The town of Wirt changed its name to Ellston due to confusion
with Decatur County's town of Van Wert, also located on the railroad line.
WISTERIA HOUSE was a post office that was in operation during January of 1885.
PARKER, Jessie M., State Superintendent of Public Instruction, State-wide Sponsor of the Iowa Writer's Program.
Ringgold County, Iowa History Ringgold Co. Superintendent of Schools. Mount Ayr, Iowa. 1942.
The Mount Ayr Record-News, Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa. December 30, 2004.
Diagonal, Iowa Centennial History: 1888-1988
Shannon City Centennial History: 1887-1987
AVITT, Mike. Pages and Pictures from the Past . . . Ringgold County, Iowa: 1885-2005
Pp. 11, 29, 40.
Paragon Publications, Inc. Mount Ayr, Iowa. 2009.
Compiled & Submitted by Sharon R. Becker, 2008