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Shelby County


1889 History Index

Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties
History of Shelby County, Iowa



This is a sprightly village of 500 people, situated twelve miles from Harlan, the county seat of Shelby County. It is on the east branch of the Mosquito River, and also on the Council Bluffs branch of the great Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad. Specifically, it is located on section 5, township 80, range 39, and was originally platted September 1, 1882, by the Milwaukee Land company. Its original name was Marthan, but it soon took the name of Earling.

The first to engage in business was Wendell Like, who opened a general store during the month of September, 1882. Another early dealer was a Mr. Mason. In October, 1882, Byers & Eggen started a general store, and afterward failed. The next to embark in general trade was W. W. Maysent & Co., who commenced in November, 1882. They are still doing a thriving business under the firm name of Maysent Brothers. They carry the largest stock in the place. another quite early firm was J. Dickey & Son, general dealers, whose stock was destroyed by fire in the autumn of 1884, in which about a dozen other business houses were consumed, badly crippling the business of the new village. The first to handle a stock of general hardware were Kuhl Brothers (Joseph and Peter), now owned by Peter Kuhl. August Schunettgen commenced to handle hardware and furniture in 1886 and still continues, having the only stock of furniture in the place.

The first to deal in farm implements were Ford & Son, in 1883; they also carried on blacksmithing. John Lorge followed in the same line of trade.

The pioneer blacksmith of Earling was Frank Naruth, who commenced work at the forge in the autumn of 1882, and is still thus engaged.

Fritz Wilke has been the shoemaker of the village from the time it first had a name.

The livery business was at first conducted by B. F. Lawson, who operated from 1882 until 1886, when Matt P. Kyhl succeeded him, and is still carrying on the business.

Coenen & Mentzer, of Harlan, were the pioneer lumber dealers, and finally sold to Theile & Wilwerding, who are still among the dealers in lumber and coal. Hesse & Hsse engaged in the lumber trade in 1885; they also deal in coal.

The first to deal in grain and live stock were G. H. Doughty & Co., who erected an elevator in 1883. About the same time D. H. Huntoon also built a grain elevator, and commenced dealing in grain and stock. The firm's name now goes as "The Huntoon Company." In 1888 Ray & Thode engaged in the same business, having a warehouse through which their produce is handled.

As soon as the village was fairly started Miss Lizzie Wilwerding opened a millinery shop, which she still manages. She is now the wife of Frank Theile.

Among those who have worked at harness business may be named John Lorge, Fred Fass and Robert Ford.

John Noonan opened the first meat shop in the fall of 1882, and operated the same for a year or two, when he was succeeded by Wilcox & Koling; their business was destroyed in the fatal fire of 1884. Bollerman & Ford then engaged in the same trade, which at present is represented by C. H. Bollerman.

The drug trade of Earling was first started in 1883, by Ed C. Brown, who in 1886 sold to W. R. Brown. After a time he moved the stock to Council Bluffs, Iowa. The next to deal in drugs was Charles Flusche, who operated a while and then moved to Westphalia, Iowa, where he is still in drug trade. In the autumn of 1888 G. R. Roush put in a good stock and is now the only dealer.

Among the various comers and goers in the profession of practicing physicians may be mentioned Drs. McKenna, Cassady, Walters, and the present physician and surgeon, Dr. L. Moser, who came to the place from Council Bluffs in the fall of 1888.

The only commercial hotel of the place is the Commercial House, erected in the fall of 1882, and since managed by its proprietor, Frank Hillas, Sr.


was established in the month of October, 1882, with Joseph H. Kuhl as postmaster. He served until 1884, and was succeeded by Ed C. Brown, who was postmaster until 1885, when Mr. Kuhl again took the office, having received his commission from President Grover Cleveland, in June of that year, and is still holding the office at this time -- November, 1888. It was made a money-order office in July, 1884, the first order, for $10.90, being issued to Nicholas Peters, July 27, that year. The total number of money-orders issued up to November 7, 1888, was 3,339 -- nearly 1,000 per year.


The educational and religious spirit has ever seemed to be uppermost in this village. The large, commodious frame school building which stands just over the line, in Union Township, is a monument of good sense and an index to the educational interest of this people. It was erected in 1884. It is a two-story frame structure, in which three able teachers instruct in a graded system of public schools.

Various denominations have used this school-house for a place of religious worship. The most of the population in both Earling and the surrounding country are Roman Catholic, who, in 1887, erected a fine church edifice, including two school-rooms -- the second story being used for church purposes. The building cost the congregation $3,000, and the excellent and large parsonage, built in 1888, cost $2,200. The rooms are finely finished and are heated by a furnace from below. The first services held at Earling, and for some considerable time, were conducted in John Long's implement house, and in other business rooms. At that time this was within Westphalia charge and was attended by Father Hummert. It became a congregation by itself in 1885. At present the enumeration is eighty-five families. They own a block of land in one of the choicest locations within the plat of Earling, besides two acres used for cemetery purposes, just outside the limits.


The following were the firms doing business at Earling in November, 1888:

Maysent Bros.,general dealers.
Frank Theile,general dealer.
Peter Kuhl,exclusive hardware.
August Schunettgen,hardware and furniture.
Lorge Brothers,farm machinery.
C. H. Bollerman,meat market.
G. R. Roush,druggist.
Frank Hillas,"Commercial Hotel."
Fritz Wilke,shoe shop.
L. Moser,physician and surgeon.
Frank Nauroth,blacksmith.
Matt P. Kuhl,livery and feed barn.
The Huntoon Company,grain and stock.
Hesse & Hsse,lumber and coal.
Theile & Wilwerding,lumber and coal.
G. H. Doughty,grain and stock.
Ray & Thode,grain and stock.
Robert Ford,harness shop.
Dean & Rethlefren,restaurant.
Mrs. Frank Theile,millinery.
Anton Zender,temperance saloon.
John Leoltz,temperance saloon.
Joseph H. Kyhl,postmaster and notary public.

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Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass, August, 2015 from "Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties", Chicago: W. S. Dunbar & Co., 1889, pg. 281-283.

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