Source: Osceola Centennial Issue...1851 to 1951, Osceola Sentinel, August 2, 1951,

Few Know Hopeville Was 'Commie' Colony

One of the most complete accounts of the founding of Hopeville and Murray comes from an old Sentinel file, told by Hiram Lamb, who arrived in Clarke county, when he was 20 years old and settled with his parents in what was to become Union county, three miles west of the present site of Hopeville.

Dozen Families

Not many persons know that Hopeville was founded as a communistic colony, organized in Farmington in Lee county. It was known as the Hopewell colony and in February, 1851 about a dozen families entered land around the present site and had the town platted. The colony failed the next year and the group disintegrated.

The Lambs came to Iowa by team from Indiana and when they built their first home on Grand River west of Hopeville, their nearest neighbor was 15 miles away. They got their mail at Winterset and Garden Grove and groceries from St. Joseph, Mo.


Hiram Lamb entered the land in East Hopeville before the Farmington group arrived and his was the first house erected on the present town site early in 1852. It was of hewed logs and had a shingle roof. Folks thought he was "putting on airs" with such a fancy house.

The Hopewell colony's groundwork led to the official founding and naming of the town in 1852 by D. Newton and Dr. Emery.

The Sentinel relates:


"Through the years of 1851 and 1852 Mr. Lamb killed many deer. The first postmaster in Hopeville was D. Newton, established in 1852. The first store was opened by a Mr. Freeman in 1854. Mr. Lamb voted for General Scott for president in 1852, voting in Union county."

"The first murder committed in Hopeville was that of old Doctor Lucas in 1855. A man named Jacobs shot him. Jacobs had been arrested for horse stealing. Bad blood came up between Lucas and Jacobs because Jacobs was going to make a confession that would have wrongly reflected on Dr. Lucas, consequently the doctor started to Jacob's home to chastise him. Jacobs waylaid the doctor on his premises and killed him instantly. Jacobs was tried, convicted and sentenced for horse stealing but was never tried for murder. He never appeared in Hopeville again."

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