"SALT CREEK TOWNSHIP"
This is a full Congressional township, comprising township 82, range 13, west from the fifth principal meridian, containing about 23,040 acres, and is located in the extreme southeastern corner of the county.
Much may be said concerning the first settlement of a country and the early days of its pioneers. The great changes wrought in this section in so short a time are an ever fruitful item of discussion and speculation, and it must be that the natural resources of this part of the country are above the average, and the settlers, as a rule, must have been an energetic, enterprising class. Putting these two things together, the present state of the country may be accounted for, and the wonderful rapidity of its development in a measure explained. The hardships, privations and sacrifices of the first persons to locate here are often spoken of, and it is now considered an honor to have been in any way connected with the early development of the country. And this praise is not undeserved. The meed of glory justly belongs to those brave men and women who left the comforts of eastern homes to establish settlements, subdue the land and obtain a foothold in these then western wilds. The new settler of to-day has no conception of what a new settlement was here thirty years ago, and there is no comparison between the two, except as showing the great difference. Thirty, forty and even fifty miles from market, without roads of bridges, through dense forests and trackless plains, are different conditions of things than the western settler of to-day contends with. Lines of railway traverse now nearly every agricultural portion of the county, affording easy transportation and ready market.
Salt Creek township, with one exception, contained the first settler in Tama county. Anthony Wilkinson came here in October, 1849, from Ohio, and located on section 20. William and Robert Wilkinson also came this season, and made selections on sections 20 and 21. The Wilkinsons are mentioned at length in the Early Settlement chapter. This was the only settlement here for some time.
Robert Arbuthnot, of Pennsylvania, came in 1851, and bough University land on sections 1 and 12. He lived there until his death. His widow and children lived there until 1882, when they removed to Plymouth county, this State.
B. W. Wilson came in the fall of 1852, and settled on section 35. He lived there for two years, then went to Poweshiek county, Iowa, where he now lives. Mr. Wilson was from Indiana.
John Hester came in the same year and located on section 26. He returned to Indiana three or four years later.
Levi Marsh, the pioneer merchant of Tama county, came to the township in June, 1853, and located on section 1. He is a native of the old bay State, born in Barre, Worcester county, May 16, 1818. When fifteen years of age his parents moved to Worcester, where he was apprenticed to a shoemaker to learn the trade. He worked at this business but one year, and then hired to the Harring Brothers to drive teams in hauling brick from the brickyard to the asylum in Worcester. He continued in the employ of the Harring Brothers for three years at Millbury Village, and then engaged with Laring Foster to learn the carpenter's trade. He worked at that trade for twelve years in Worcester, then went to Illinois, purchasing a farm in Will county, where he lived on year, and then returned to Massachusetts, spending one year in Holden, and one year later, again came to Illinois, locating at Plainfield, where he worked at his trade. In 1853, in June, he came to Iowa, and entered land on section 1, township 82, range 13, now known as Salt Creek township. Mr. Marsh erected the first frame building in the county, and in the fall of that year opened a general merchandise store. If not the first, this was the second store to be opened in the county. He is still in the merchandise business, and has been ever since 1853, when he first opened his store, with the exception of two years. He is also the proprietor of the Irving Mill. In 1856, he platted the town of Irving, and in 1874, built a church, and it was through his efforts that a society was organized. It was under his supervision the building of the Irving Collegiate Institute was completed. Mr. Marsh has been twice married, his first wife being Miss Matilda H. Whiting, of Barre, Massachusetts; she died in November, 1859, leaving one son, now engaged in the hardware business at Springfield, Nebraska. His second wife, to whom he was married in September, 1861, was Miss Emma E. Royce, of New York State. They have two children: Frank L. and Elmon F. Mr. Marsh has held various offices in the township, and has always proven himself a man of sterling qualities, well worthy of the trust reposed in him by the people. He is thoroughly alive to the needs of the people and takes a deep interest in all projects which tend to benefit his township and county.
In 1853, James A. Willey came from Illinois, and setttled on section 15. Mr. Willey was born in mercer county, Pennsylvania, October 22, 1822. He was raised on a farm, and at sixteen years of age came to Illinois, where he was employed at breaking prairie for several years. In 1849, he was married to Miss Mary J. Glancy, a native of Indiana, who came to Illinois when six years old. Six children have been born to them: Susan J., now Mrs. Daniel O. Wilcox; Lucy E., now Mrs. R. C. Brown, of Richland township; George G., Eller P., Edna A. and Elizabeth B. In 1853, they came to Tama county, and settled on section 15, Salt Creek township, where he is extensively engaged in farming and also in stock raising. His farm contains 800 acres of well improved land. He was one of the early settlers of the township on the north side of the river. Mr. Willey has taken an active part in the support of schools and in public affairs, having faithfully served his township in various ways. He is an enterprising citizen and a good neighbor.
George Crittenden, Samuel Bates and John Smith entered land in Salt Creek township, in 1853, and but one of these parties remained to witness the development of the country. This was Mr. Crittenden, who now lives on the Robert Wilkinson place. Mr. Crittenden was born in Washington county, Indiana, October 23, 1825, and was reared on a farm. When eighteen years of age he started out for himself, going to Illinois, where he found employment on a farm at $10 per month. When he was twenty years old he engaged with a blacksmith to learn the trade. He was married in Mercer county, Illinois, August 12, 1846, to Miss Amelia LaRew, of Wayne county, Indiana. They have eight children: Levi P., Isaac L., Monroe D., Edward C., William W., Carrie A., Fred and LeRoy P. After working at the blacksmith's trade for three years, Mr. Crittenden took a claim, improved the land, built a house and lived there one and a half years, then sold out and came to Iowa. He settled on forty acres of land in Jones county, and lived there early a year before he "proved up," then borrowed money at 40 per cent. interest with which to "prove up." Before the year had passed, however, he had sold out for $350, and in the spring of 1853, he came to Tama county, and entered 120 acres on section 32 of Salt Creek township. He improved the land, built a house and lived there until 1876, when he purchased 190 acres of the Wilkinson estate, on section 19, on which there was a good set of buildings. He makes this his home, and is engaged in stock raising and general farming. In July, 1862, he enlisted in Company B, 28th Iowa, and went south, participating in the battles of Fort Gibson, Champion Hills and Vicksburg. He was honorably discharged at New Orleans, August 27, 1863, on account of physical disability, and he returned to his home. He has never fully recovered his health.
John C. Smith was born in Logan county, Ohio, April 11, 1811, and was brought up a farmer, reaching manhood in his native State. When twenty-seven years old, he came west to Illinois, and in 1838, married Miss Francis Strain, a native of Ohio. By this union there were twelve children named as follows: Angelina, Sarah, James, Elizabeth, Maria, William, Jacob, Charles, John M., Allen B., Perry B. and Bartholomew. Mr. Smith came to Iowa in 1852, and located on a farm on section 31, where he continued to live until his death, which occurred December 22, 1865. He was a worthy citizen, and a pioneer of Salt Creek township.
About this same time Charles Algeo came here from Washington county, Ohio, in 1852, but only remained a short time, when he removed to Missouri.
Thomas Algeo came with his brother Charles and both settled on section 19, but Thomas died the following fall.
Another settler is said to have come the same year, by name, John J. Howard, who settled on section 28, and after a number of years removed to Illinois.
George S. Williams entered land on section 1, Salt Creek township, in 1853, and is still a resident. Mr. Williams was born in Miami county, Ohio, April 1, 1818, and spent his younger days on a farm. He was married in 1837, to Miss Maria Long. This union was blessed with three children, only one of whom is now living, Henry Harrison. Mrs. Williams died in 1841. His second wife, to whom he was married in 1842, was Miss Martha Bare. In 1853, Mr. Williams came to Iowa and entered a large tract of land in Tama and Benton counties. In 1854, he erected a saw-mill on Salt creek, and in a few years built a flour mill. In 1877, his flour mill was burned, and thus the earnings of a life time were swept away. He at once commenced to rebuild the mill, but before completed he sold out, and now operates it for Levi Marsh, the present owner. Mr. and Mrs. Williams are the parents of four children: Josephus, Davis, Allen and Frank L., the eldest two being practicing physicians in Nebraska.
Benjamin F. Beabout from Kentucky, located on section 23, in 1853, and in 1855 left and went to Missouri.
Benjamin Pearson, a native of Ohio, came to the township in 1853, and located on section 11, where he lived until 1870, when he removed to Cedar county, this State. He was a carpenter by trade, but is now engaged in the mercantile business at Springdale.
The following season, John M. Brothers arrived from Ohio, and remained for a number of years.
Section 35 received a settler in 1854, from New York, by the name of Hulitt Davenport; he was quite a speculator and owned many different farms and moved about considerable, but at length he settled down on his original claim, where he died in 1870.
Also, in 1854, a man by the name of Shaver, and another named Hopper, arrived. Shaver died in a few years and Hopper was living in this State at last accounts. The same season James Miller and Logan McChesney, the former from Ohio, the latter from Illinois, located on sections 9 and 14. Miller soon died, McChesney remained a few years and then removed to Kansas.
Amos Hancock was also among the settlers of this year, but did not remain long.
John Burge erected a cabin on section 13, in 1854, and here remained a few years, when he removed to Illinois.
John Grubs came the following year, but only remained a short time when he returned to Ohio.
In 1855, James and Henry Colister settled at Irving and engaged in business. The former was a blacksmith, the latter a wagon-maker. They were natives of the Isle of Man. James remained until 1860, when he located at Belle Plaine, where he now lives. Henry removed to Belle Plaine the next year.
George McDonald Chambers located on section 34, in 1856, and still lives there. Mr. Chambers is a native of Louis county, Kentucky, born on the 23d day of November, 1825. He was reared on a farm and when fourteen years old came with his parents to Illinois, where they engaged in farming, and, in 1853, came to Iowa. Here he was married to Miss Adaline Lux, a native of Indiana. After his marriage he returned to Illinois, remaining until 1856, then came to Tama county and settled in Salt Creek township, where he still resides. five children have been born to them: Mary I., Alice E., Rebecca A., Ezekiel H. and George F. Mr. Chambers has served as Justice of the Peace and has held other township offices.
Samuel Prill was born in Virginia, February 18, 1807. He made his home with his parents, in Virginia, until 1827, when they moved to Ohio, settling in Miami county, where he lived until coming to Tama county, in 1855. He located on sections 13 and 14, Salt Creek township, where he lived in a log cabin until 1866, then burned his own brick and built the house in which he now lives, on section 13. He was married, in 1838, to Miss Rebecca Hamer, of Ohio. They have had six children, five of whom are living: James H., Caroline R., John L., Theodore F. and Leander. Their son, John, was born in Miami county, Ohio, November 1, 1847. He came to Iowa, with his parents and was married in November, 1874, to Miss Hannah Baggess, a native of West Virginia, and they have on child - Emily. He settled on a part of his father's farm on section 14, where he now lives in the brick house built by his father. Leander was also born in Miami county, Ohio, and made his home with his parents until 1880. He was married, January 27, of that year, to Miss Emma Rogers, of Wisconsin. They have on child, named Roy. Leander also has a part of his father's farm on section 13, Salt Creek township.
Andrew J. Stewart located on section 8, Salt Creek township, in 1857, where he now lives. Mr. Stewart is a native of Pennsylvania, born February 6, 1813, and was brought up on a farm. In 1837, he married Miss Annie Hamilton, who was also a native of Pennsylvania. They brought up a family of three children: John, Oscar H. and Flora. In 1844, he removed to Michigan and there he followed for a business the trade of a carpenter for about twelve years. In 1857, he came to Iowa and located on section 8, Salt Creek township, where he has since lived. He is a respected citizen and takes great interest in educational matter.
William Kollman settled in Salt Creek township, in 1859, and in 1860, located on section 7. He was born in Hanover, Germany, October 5, 1836. He attended school until fourteen years of age and then commenced farming. In 1854, he came to America, landing at New York city. He went directly form there to Kendall county, Illinois, where he was employed in farming until June, 1855, when he removed to Benton county, and was there employed for two months to work in a brick year, then went to Iowa county, where he was engaged in farming. In the spring of 1857, he came to Tama county, locating in Richland township, where he followed the occupation of farming for two years, then moved to Salt Creek township. June 1, 1859, he was united in marriage with Miss Katurah Stephens. They have a family of four children: Minnie, Edward, Daretta and Iowa Belle. In 1860, Mr. Kollman purchased forty acres of land on section 7, and commenced farming on a small scale. He has been very successful and now owns 330 acres of improved land. He lived on section 7 until 1882, when he purchased a house and lot in Chelsea, where he now resides.
James McIlwain came from New York in 1857, and bought land on section 23 and 24, where he yet remains.
Below is given personal sketches of a number who settled in this township in later years, and who have been prominent in the history of the township.
Alfonzo Z. Rawson is a native of Morrow county, Ohio, born November 16, 1844. When six years of age he went with his parents to Michigan, where they lived on a farm. When fourteen he went to Indiana, and in 1862, enlisted in Company G, Forth-fourth Regiment, which soon went south and joined the Army of the Cumberland and saw active service at once. After serving three years he was honorably discharged in 1865, then came to Chelsea, Iowa, where he has since been a resident. In 1870, he married Miss Melissa A. Welch, a native of Illinois. They have one son - Erie. When Alfonzo was sixteen years of age, he learned the carpenter and wagon making trades, and in 1871, opened a shop in Chelsea, where he has since been following his trade. He has served as school district Director for ten successive years. In 1880, he was elected County Supervisor for a term of three years, and is at present serving a second term as Mayor of the town of Chelsea.
Jerry Donavon settled in Salt Creek township in 1865. Mr. Donavon is a native of county Cork, Ireland, born in March, 1826. He was raised on a farm, and when nineteen years of age came to America, landing at St. Johns, New Brunswick. From there eh went to Boston, where he worked on the railroad and followed that business for a number of years. In 1856, Mr. Donavon was married to Miss Bridget Burk, a native of Ireland. They have been blessed with eight children - John, Jerry, Mary, William, James, Katy, Frank and Michael. Mr. Donavon has a fine farm of 120 acres, all under good cultivation.
Isaac Moreton came to Tama county in 1865, and located on section 33 in Salt Creek township, where he has since resided. He was born in Pennsylvania, April, 5, 1814. When he was quite young his parents removed to Clermont county, Ohio, and settled on a farm, where Isaac lived until coming to Iowa, in 1865. In 1837, he was united in marriage with Miss Sarah McNeal, of Clermont county, Ohio. They have been blessed with two children - Mary and John L. Mr. Moreton is a man that takes an active interest in church matters.
Henry F. Davis is a native of Pennsylvania, born January 23, 1827. He was reared on a farm and when nineteen went to Ohio, where he spent three years engaged in farming. In 1847, Mr. Davis was married to Miss Elizabeth Clark, and then removed to Pennsylvania, where they remained for two years. Mr. Davis came to Illinois, and in 1861, enlisted in the 102d Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Company K. He went south with the Regiment, and was soon taken sick with the measles, and nearly lost his life through exposure. His wife, however, came and nursed him back to health; but the strain was too much for her; she took sick and in a few days passed away. In 1864, Mr. Davis was discharged from the service and returned to Illinois. In 1866, he came to Iowa and in 1868 settled on his present farm.
Richard Turnbull was born July 4, 1832, on the Isle of Man. He was brought up on a farm, and when fourteen years of age, began learning the millwright's trade, which he followed for a number of years. In 1853, he was married to Miss Catherine Collister, a native of the Isle of Man. They have two children: William E., and Bramwell A. In 1870, they came to America, stopped for a short time in New York, then came to Tama county and settled on section 23, Salt Creek township, their present home. They have 410 acres of land and have been very successful in their farming operations.
Deacon C. E. Covell was born in Williston, Chittenden county, Vermont, November 19, 1809. When a young man, he learned the cooper's trade. In 1854, he moved to Illinois and spent the summer in McHenry county. In the fall he went to Fort Atchison, Wisconsin, where he worked at his trade two years and then came to Iowa, and entered land in Mount Vernon township, Black Hawk county. He moved from Wisconsin to his new home, with two yoke of oxen, taking his household goods and camping on the way, the trip taking two weeks. The family lived in the wagons for three weeks, and then built a board shanty 10x16 feet. He improved the land, and a few months later, erected a good frame house. In 1868, Mr. Covell purchased town property in Chelsea and now makes that place his home. In an early day he assisted in the organization of a Baptist Church in Black Hawk county, of which he was elected deacon. Soon after his arrival in Chelsea, he aided in the organization of a Society here, and was one of the leading members as well as a deacon. He was one of the original directors of the First National Bank of Tama City. Mr. Covell was married July 4, 1833, to Miss Charlotte Buell, a native of Essex, Chittenden county, Vermont. They have three children living.
Jacob W. Shaler was born in Pennsylvania, December 28, 1850. He was reared on his father's farm and received a good common school education. At nineteen years of age, he came to Iowa with his parents and commenced the study of telegraphy; taking charge of the railroad office in Chelsea, in 1872. After working nearly six years in the railroad employ, he bought and sold grain for three years. About one and a half years after leaving the employ of the railway company, he engaged in the lumber business, handling a general line of building material, in which business he is still engaged, meeting with much success. In 1873, he was married to Miss Ralda Roe, a native of Iowa. They have a family of three children: Nellie, Henry L. and Horace W. Mr. Shaler has filled the office of Justice of the Peace, since 1879, has been Township Clerk for eight successive years, and is serving another term of two years, making ten years all told. Mr. Shaler has buried two children.
Salt Creek township was organized in the spring of 1855, and an election held on the 2d of April of the same year. The officers elected were: Jeptha Edmunds, Stephen A. Wilcox, James A. Willey, Trustees; Simon Overturf, Assessor; John Sale, Jr., Clerk; Reason Overturf, Jonas Young, Constables; James Miller and E. E. Robinson, Road Supervisors.
The following is a list of those who have held township offices and who have been prominent in township affairs: H. Loomis, A. Hale, L. McChesney, J. W. Taylor, A. J. Stewart, W. Benson, D. A. Stevens, C. R. Smith, E. E. Vickery, M. Smith, J. Hutchinson, W. H. Graham, T. Roach, G. McChambers, H. H. Williams, C. C. Coats, T. finch, J. Gitz, S. Smith, B. Pearson, H. L. Smith, C. S. Barton, J. Collister, W. P. Forsyth, S. Hopper, J. H. Ross, E. A. Stockton, W. Camp, J. Shaler, L. Johnson, A. Kile, T. G. Arbuthnot, S. Dudley, A. Wilkinson, J. Roberts, G. Crittenden, C. E. Connell, P. D. Williams, A. Wolf, A. J. Wessel, B. Rector, R. Wilkinson, E. Hancox, J. fitz, S. C. Bailey, P. Spence, S. Prill, T. Park, A. Hall, L. Marsh, H. W. Searls, B. Collins, J. A. Willey and S. Miles.
The officers elected for 1883 are: J. H. Mercer, elect, E. A. Southard, John F. Hall, J. W. Shaler, H. B. Edwards, Justices; A. J. Spence and Leander Prill, Constables; J. O. Shaler, Clerk; and James M. McIlwain.
The first postoffice was established in this township in 1854, and named Kinesaw, after an Indian Chief of that name. A. Wilkinson was the first postmaster. The mail came on the route from Marengo to Marietta, first weekly and afterwards semi-weekly. The first birth was a son to Anthony Wilkinson, he was named William B., born in 1851, and lived until the 22d of October when he died, this being the first death in the township.
The first marriage was George McChambers, of Illinois, to Miss Cordelia A. Lux. The ceremony was performed by Robert Wilkinson, Esq., at the home of the bride on section 21. Mr. McChambers returned to Illinois with his bride, and lived there until 1856, when they settled in Salt Creek township.
The first school was taught in a building erected by Levi Marsh for a store and dwelling. John Shelenbarger was the first teacher, during the winter of 1854-5. The first school house was erected on the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 1, in 1855.
Probably the next school house was built in 1859, on section 30. It was 20x24 feet and cost $500. The first teacher was Daniel Howard. This was in what has been called the Wilkinson settlement. There was a school in another settlement within the limits of the township taught in 1858, on section 9, in a house belonging to Thomas Byron. The teacher was Miss M. Walker.
The first religious meeting was held in the western part of the township, in 1854, at D. D. Wanderly's log cabin on section 13. The services were conducted by a Lutheran preacher.
The next meeting was held in 1855, at the house of Robert Wilkinson, on section 21, by a Methodist minister on the Kostza circuit by the name of Dunton. There was a meeting held in the McChesney House, in 1857, by some traveling preacher.
The next services were held in a saw mill owned by Searles, Elsworth & Hunter.
In 1874, Levi Marsh built a church, and Rev. H. V. Reed, of Chicago, came to hold the dedication services. In July, 1874, the society was organized with fourteen members. J. T. Prime was the first settled pastor, serving two years; then T. G. M. Meyers served three years, and following him came S. S. Hayden, serving two years, and J. R. Hill, one year.
The first sawmill was built on Salt creek, on section 1, in 1854, by George S. Williams. The first saw used was on old-fashioned sash saw, afterwards one of the Muley pattern. In 1864, Mr. Williams added two run of buhrs - one for wheat, and one for corn. This mill was operated until 1878, when it was town down and a building 30x40 feet, two stories high and a basement was erected. Another buhr for grinding wheat, and all the necessary machinery for making flour was added. May 17, 1877, the mill was destroyed by fire. Mr. Williams commenced rebuilding the mill, but before completed sold it to Barrett, Kenner & Fitz. In 1880, Levi Marsh purchased the interests of Kenner and Fitz, and in 1882, became sole proprietor. The mill is two stories high, with basement and two run of buhrs.
G. W. Gower built a steam flouring mill at Chelsea, in 1873. It is a three story building, 30x60 feet, with two run of stone for grinding wheat, and all necessary machinery for making first class flour. Anthony Wilkinson and J. A. Willey succeeded Gower as proprietors of the mill. The mill was closed for a short time, then A. Palmer purchased an interest, and business was again started for a short time. In 1881, Prusha & Slamma purchased the mill, and now operate it, doing a good business.
The village of Irving was surveyed and platted in June, 1856, by N. C. Wieting for Levi Marsh and others. It contained thirty-eight lots. Levi Marsh opened the first store, in 1853, in a small building put up for that purpose. Mr. Marsh has continued in the business ever since, with the exception of two years, and has now the only store in the place. This was, with one exception, the first store in the county, and in early days, customers came a distance of twenty-five miles. Mr. Marsh bought his goods in Chicago, and hauled them from that place by teams. He kept a general stock of goods, consisting of everything from a hair pin up to a barrel of Orleans molasses.
The first blacksmith shop was opened in 1856, by James Collister. Mr. Collister remained till 1860, then removed to Belle Plaine, where he now lives.
The first wagon shop was opened the same year by Henry Collister, who continued his business until 1861. He is now in Belle Plaine.
William McIntosh opened the first harness shop, in 1865.
The business of Irving was, at one time, represented by three ge3neral stores - two blacksmith shops, one wagon shop, one harness shop and a sawmill; but the most of these have been removed to other towns.
The postoffice was established in 1855, and Andrew Hale, an early settler of this township, was appointed postmaster, with the office at his house. Mail was received from Iowa City, Vinton and Waterloo. Mr. Hale was succeeded by Levi Marsh, who remained in office some time, and was succeeded by O. T. Brainerd, Martin Smith, Dr. Benn and Miss Flora Weymer, who is the present postmistress, with the office at her house.
Andrew Hale, first postmaster at Irving, came to Tama county and settled in Salt Creek township, in 1855. He lived in Irving until 1863, then went to Belle Plaine, where he engaged in the grain trade, and later in the mercantile business. He was a native of Ohio, and has made Belle Plaine, Iowa, his home since 1863.
The first hotel was built by Willis VanDorin, in 1855, and was run by him about one year, when it was sold to Henry Travis. The later kept the hotel as long as the business would pay him, and then sold out. The hotel has been kept by several different parties, but it is at present unoccupied.
In 1855, or 1856, George S. Williams made an addition of thirty-six lots to the village.
The medical profession was first represented here by K. D. Shugart, who settled in Irving, in 1855. He is now a resident of Riverside, California.
The village of Chelsea was surveyed and platted by Charles Irish for Seneca C. Breese, in the spring of 1863, on the northwest quarter of section 17. A few years later, James Hunter platted an addition of nine acres on section 7, and in 1870, the Iowa Railroad land company, platted an addition of the same number of acres on section 18.
At the time that the village was platted there was a log house standing on the northeast corner of section 18, and also a warehouse on the northwest corner of section 17. The latter building was erected by J. R. Graham, in 1862.
The first frame building on the plat was moved there by E. E. Vickery to be used as a blacksmith shop. It has since been destroyed by fire. The next was a dwelling moved into the village from Otter Creek, by E. A. Southard.
The first store was opened by W. H. Graham in 1863. He kept a general stock, including dry goods, groceries, boots and shoes, and also sundries, the latter for medicinal purposes. Before this, however, there had been a store started by Peter Bodfish, but this was previous to the platting of the village. In 1861, the railroad was completed to the northwest quarter of section 17, where several buildings were put up, and the little collection of houses were called Otter Creek. This remained the terminus of the road about one year, and, when the railroad moved on, the little village went also.
The first hotel in Chelsea, was opened in 1863, by Mrs. Thompson, who kept the house about three years, the latter part of the time in the house now occupied by Samuel Spense. The hotel business is now represented by Samuel Spense.
E. A. Southard opened the first cabinet shop in 1864. He continued in the business for two years.
The postoffice was established in 1865, and W. H. Graham was appointed postmaster, with the office at his store. He was succeeded by Martin Smith, who held the office until his death. Smith was succeed by Fred Roach who was appointed in January, 1883. The office is now at his store.
The first drug store was opened by Campbell & Sons, in 1866.
In 1867, the first shoe maker's shop was opened by Antone Kooshy, who pegged away until his death.
There are at present, four general stores, one grocery store, one drug store, one millinery store, one harness shop, two warehouses, one wagon shop, one blacksmith shop, one shoemaker's shop, one hotel and one lumber yeard.
L. A. McChesney was the first station agent, followed by VanDusen, Shaler, Walraven and Davis, the present incumbent.
In 1878, the town was incorporated one mile square. The following are the names of the first councilmen: H. E. Covel, Mayor; J. W. Shaler, Recorder; J. Sitler, H. Cory, Fred Roach, J. S. Ormiston and J. H. Mercer. Stephen Smith was elected Treasurer. The Councilmen for 1883, are: A. J. Rawson, Mayor; J. H. Mercer, W. W. Kenner, F. Roach, E. A. Southard, J. B. Musel, G. R. Hershey and Joseph Stephanck, Recorder; F. R. Smith, Treasurer.
The first school was held in a car in 1864, and was taught by Miss Anna Graham. The second school was taught by Miss Sears, in E. A. Southard's cabinet shop.
The first school house was built in 1865. The present house was built in 1881. It is a large two story building well furnished, and is a credit to the town.
The M. E. Church was organized in 1880, by Rev. Horace Foote, of LeGrand, with the following members: W. H. Graham and wife, Mrs. J. F. Kenner, Mrs. W. C. Gotthold, Dr. J. S. Ormiston and wife and Mrs. F. R. Smith. Mrs. J. T. Kenner was the first Class Leader. The church had been built in the winter of 1879-80. It was built by the citizens, and was donated to the society. Rev. Foote was the first pastor, followed by J. G. Wilkinson, who preached for one and a half years, and then removed to his farm in Kansas. Rev. Mr. Stuntz is the present pastor.
A Baptist society was organized at the school house in Chelsea in 1868, by Rev. J. B. Messer, with the following members: William Roberts and wife, C. E. Covell and wife, Henry Covell, Mrs. Frederick Roach and several others. C. E. Covel was elected deacon, and William Roberts clerk. After Mr. Messer, Rev. Cyrus Coltron served one year. The society held together for three or four years, and were served by different pastors.
The Catholic church was built in 1881, and Father Francis Mekota was the first priest. Mass was first said by him, and he has been in charge ever since.
Soon after the village was started, a Union Sunday school was organized by W. H. Graham, who was the first superintendent. The school is still being continued, with an average attendance of forty scholars. Henry Cory is the present superintendent. Mr. Cory was born in Cornwall, England, August 24, 1833. At twelve years of age, he went to work in the mines and continued in that employment until sixteen, when, in company with his mother, brothers and sister, he embarked on a sailing vessel for America, to meet his father, who had preceded them. After being on the water two weeks, he was allowed to go before the mast and work his passage. The family arrived in New York on the 29th of August, 1849, after being eight weeks on the way. The father met them, and they all went to Ohio, and settled in Jefferson county. The subject of this sketch was there married in march, 1854, to Miss Rachel Yates, a native of Belmont county. Mr. Cory rented a farm in that county, where he lived until 1864, then took a team and with his family started for Iowa. After traveling thirty days they arrived in Tama county. The family spent the first winter with Mr. Cory's brother-in-law, and in the spring rented a farm, which he worked for three years. Mr. Cory then purchased wild land in the same township. His wife, born in November, 1831, died in April, 1870. Mr. and Mrs. Cory had been blessed with five children: Lydia A., Mary J., George E., Charles E. and Alice, of whom George E. is the only child living. Mr. Cory was again married in 1873, to Catherine Smith, widow of Andrew Scott. She has one daughter by her first husband, named Arabella Geneva. Mr. Cory improved his farm, and lived there until 1873, when he removed to Richland township, and there followed farming until 1875, when he moved to Chelsea, where he engaged in the mercantile business in company with with J. H. Mercer. This partnership was continued for one year when Mr. Cory sold to his partner, and a short time after bought the store of George Free. He is still engaged in the business, and carries a large stock of goods. Mr. Cory has held the various offices of trust in township and village, and is the superintendent of the Union Sunday school.
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