IAGenWeb Project

Shelby County


1889 History Index

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



Kirkman is a village, platted in November, 1880, situated on section 22, township 80, range 38, in Jefferson Township. It is seven miles northeast of Harlan, the county seat, and is the present terminus of the Kirkman branch of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway. It is situated on the Nishnabotna River, which is the crookedest stream in all Iowa.

The history of this village dates back to 1880-'81, when the railroad was constructed. The first house built was the "Kirkman House," erected by Moses Woods, and now managed by James Robins, who purchased it in 1888.

The first dealer was J. B. Stutsman, a pioneer merchant of Council Bluffs, who located at Kirkman in the fall of 1881. He soon became a member of the firm of Kuhl, Muchler & Stutsman. Another early firm in general merchandise was Howland & McEwen, who failed in business.

Graham Bros. sold the first hardware in the spring of 1883. The firm is now Graham & Ottawa, doing a general merchandising trade. D. Jessup embarked in the grocery trade in 1884, and finally failed.

The first to sell drugs was James French (the present county auditor), who was also the first postmaster. He lost his stock of goods by fire. The present drug dealers are Dr. Palmer and Dr. Guthrie.

The first blacksmith of Kirkland was Hans Sanber, who, with Will Sharp, came in 1888; they are the present workmen in that line.

Harmon Peacock has followed wagon-making from the earliest date of the village.

A man named Needles bought grain at first. The business then fell to Burk & Graham. An elevator was built by Mr. Ferguson, who died in 1888, the property passing into the hands of John Schroggs, who still controls it. When the place was first started it had lumber yards. In 1888 the Green Bay Lumber Company absorbed the two yards remaining at that time.


was established in 1881, with James W. French as the postmaster. Following him came David Carter, who succeeded him January 1, 1888. It was made a money-order office July, 1884. The first two orders do not appear on the records of the office, but the third one was issued to B. F. Lancaster, for the amount of $20. Up to November 14, 1888, there had been just an even 2,000 money-orders issued from the Kirkland office.

The only religious society of the village is that of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which was organized in 1881, with a membership of thirty persons. They now double that number. A good church was built in 1883, at a cost of $1,500. They now have service only once in two weeks, Rev. Fansett dividing his time between Kirkman and Irwin.

An excellent school building was erected in 1883, at an expense of $2,200; it is a two-story frame structure, divided at present into two departments, each having a teacher.


The following were the active dealers operating at Kirkman in November, 1888:

John Doran & Co., general stock.
J. O. Closter, general stock and farm implements.
Graham & Ottawa, general stock.
Dr. Palmer, drugs.
Dr. Guthrie, drugs.
Green Bay Lumber Comp'y, lumber dealers.
John Scroggs, grain elevator.
Burks & Graham, grain elevator.
James Robinson, proprietor hotel.
Mrs. Closter, millinery goods.
F. P. Oldfield, barber shop.
David Carter, postmaster.
David Rodman, harness-maker.
Hans Sanber, blacksmith.
Will Sharp, blacksmith.
Harmon Peacock, wagon-maker.
Robert Steen, liveryman.
David Coster, meat market.

Previous <=== Continue Reading ===> Next

Transcribed by Cheryl Siebrass, August, 2015 from "Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties", Chicago: W. S. Dunbar & Co., 1889, pg. 290-291.

Site Terms, Conditions & Disclaimer