IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

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History of Clayton County, Iowa
Chapter XXII

Cass Township

Strawberry Point

Cass Township
page 683-685

This township, 91 north, range 6 west, is situated in the extreme southwestern corner of the county, and was named Cass in honor of Gen. Lewis Cass, by Capt. Read, of Read Township, in 1847. The rich soil and other advantages of this region attracted settlers as soon as its fertility became known, and the growth of Cass Township has kept pace with that of townships more favorably situated with regard to water-courses and other conveniences. The northern and southwestern portions of the township are wooded, the balance of the country is a beautifully undulating prairie. The country is drained by the North Maquoketa River (on which, in 1854, David Brown, from Kentucky, built a saw-mill, and laid out a village and called it Mississego; there was a postoffice established here called Cass, of which Mr. Brown was first Postmaster; he was succeeded by G. Cooley, he by John Mortin, when the office was discontinued. The quarterly returns while Mr. Martin was Postmaster averaged about twelve and a half cents. There is now here a feed-mill in connection with the saw-mill, run by Amoandus Bogue) and branches of the Volga.

The first white settler was Joseph Hewett, who lived on the line between the townships of Cass and Sperry, and who came here in 1844 to trade with the Indians. This part of Iowa was at that time a Winnebago reservation. Mr. Hewett remained here until 1851, when the Indians moved West, and he followed. Six white families had arrived by this time. In the year 1846, James Tracy and family settled in the township, located a farm, and began its cultivation. On this farm he remained the west of his life. Other early settlers of Cass were Harrison Boggs, who came from Virginia about 1847; Josh Betts and family, who came from Ohio in 1847; Giles Ward, who came from Illinois in 1848; Alexander Blake, who came from Virginia in 1851; and Ozias Clark. James Alloway was one of those who helped to organize the township. He lives near Littleport. Joseph Tremain and David Mann also came at an early day; David Mann built a grist.

The first frame house built in Cass Township was built by W. H. Stearns and is now owned and occupied by Alex. Blake as a hotel.

The first election was in the fall of 1850. The canvass was very spirited and the voters every one turned out. A justice of the peace was to be elected, for which office there were two candidates. The polls were duly opened and one of the candidates went bareheaded all day his hat being used for a ballot-box. On closing the polls and counting the votes it was found that four votes had been cast, two for each candidate. In this dilemma they drew cuts for the office, which was won by William Alloway. He served his constituents acceptably. At least there was no fault found with him, for he never had a case to try, or a paper to sign.

Once a year the county assessor came into the township, and stayed over night with some settler who would give him a list of the property belonging to the other settlers and if any of them had enough to be taxed, they would be put down.

The first marriage in Cass was James Dickinson and Miss Melissa Alloway daughter of James Alloway. Miss Alloway was at that time the only marriageable girl in the township. The ceremony was performed by Rev. N. W. Bixby, on the loath day of May, 1850 at the residence of the bride's parents. A good dinner was served up by the help of Mrs. Norman Hawley. The table was one-half of a large basswood log, with legs to it, and a neat cloth spread on it. The cake and "chicken fixins" relished well, especially to the "parson," after a ride on horseback of four miles. He received for his services a silver coin of "five franks." Mrs. Dickinson died a few years since. Mr. Dickinson went to Cerro Gordo County and in 1856 laid out the town of Clear Lake in said county. The marriage license for James Dickinson and Melissa Alloway was issued May 7, 1850, by F. Andros Clerk of the District Court of Clayton County.

In 1851 Mr. Woods (familiarly known as "old man Woods") settled here and opened a general merchandise store bringing all his stock in a one-horse wagon.

In the winter of 1850-1 Asa Alloway killed sixty deer in this immediate vicinity. Deer were very plenty at this time and one could frequently see 100 at a time. The same winter James Alloway killed a bear.

In the fall of 1851 the first school was opened in a residence building now owned by Elmore Hertwood, and was taught by Alex Blake. The first log school-house was located one-half mile east of Strawberry Point, opposite the present cemetery. It was used for preaching in those times, and Rev. George Scott says he froze his ears one day while preaching there. The first frame school-house was built on the place now owned by the Webb Bros., and is now used as a wagon shop by them.

The first postoffice was established in the spring of 1854, and E. L. Gardner was the first Postmaster. The mail was carried by David Merritt, from Forestville to Strawberry Point for twenty five cents. In the fall of 1851, David Mann built the first mill the Spring Branch next above Thomas Alderson's farm. Being asked how much he could grind in twenty-four hours, Mr. Mann replied that by "lamin her right through" he could grind about two bushels. In 1851 the first horse team was brought into Cass Township, by Alex. Blake, Sr.

In 1852 Alex. Blake, Sr., erected a small feed mill on Spring Branch one and a half miles north of Strawberry Point; this mill was run by a very large spring, the water of which fell about twenty-five feet directly upon tile water-wheel of the mill. He afterward converted it into a flour-mill, and in 1858 it was burned down. In 1859 the location of the mill was moved about one-half of a mile down stream where the additional assistance of several large springs gave them a fall of about sixty feet, and a large stone flouting mill and brewery was erected thereon, by John Kleinlein, and both are now in successful operation.

The history of Cass Township has been one of steady prosperity and thrift. The population is now 1,507. There are eight school houses besides one in Strawberry Point, which employs five teachers. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad runs through the township, thus affording ready communication with the outer world.


Strawberry Point
page 685-689

This village was laid out by William H. and D. M. Stearns in 1853 under the name of Franklin, but as there was another postoffice by this name in the State the present name was retained for the postoffice; this is a thriving village of about 700 inhabitants situated on section 22. The name was originally applied to that point of timber where Ozias Clark now lives. About 1854 the name was coaxed east, to where the cheese factory now stands, and connected with a postoffice. As early as 1850, Strawberry Point was known over Northern Illinois and even farther east. At that time all the land belonged to the Government, except the present farm of Giles Ward, which he entered in 1848. The first wagon-makers and blacksmiths were Baird & Inger.

The first hotel was built in the fall of 1854 by Mr. W. H. Stearns, and is now known as the Blake House. The Barnes house was opened in September, 1881, and is now run by Peter Keith.

Alpheus Scott was the first lawyer. The bar is at present represented by A. R. Cole and B. W. Newberry.

The schools were graded in 1868, with K. W. Kingsley as Principal. The following have since served as Principals: M. J. Goodrich, Miss E. J. Peer, J. F. Thompson, C. P. Clark, Charles Brandon, A. E. Dean and E. G. Cooley.

The principal interests of Strawberry Point are centered in the creamery business. The first move made in this direction was in 167, by Busher & Grannis. They took the milk from 250 cows the first year and made cheese. A. O. Kingsley was the next start in the creamery business in 1870, and he built the first cheese factory in the State (in Delaware County). He began with 3,000 pounds of milk a day, which amount has been increased to 28,000 pounds. At first it was all made into cheese, but now is made into butter, all of which is sold East. At the present time fifteen creameries ship from Strawberry Point.

The village has an excellent school, employing five teachers.


Strawberry Point Lodge, .No. 130, A. F. & A. M., was organized in 1858, with thirteen members and the following officers: Dunton, W. M.; A. Scott, S. W.; M. O. Barnes, J. W.; D. Bradford, Treas.; A. Grannis, Sec.; G. W. Gebbard, S. Schofield, J. D.; Wm. McCarthy, Tyler. The present membership is forty-two, and the officers are: N. Schofield, W. M.; S. Chipman, S. W.; W. E. Little, J. W.; T. Dunning, Treas.; E. H, Hoag, Sec.; J. D. Inger, S. D.; D. P. Gardner, J. D.: A. Blank, Tyler; W. J. Hicks, Chaplain.

Strawberry Point Lodge, No. 131, A. O. U. W. This lodge is instituted in 1877. Its charter members were J. H. Barney, W. E. Little, D. Clough, C. H. Bungay, D. F. Boynton, Dan. C. Dean, J. F. Weck, J. T. Snyder, M. A. Hoag, F. Smith, A. D. Eaton and A. O. Kingsley. Its present officers are: G. W. Wait, P. M. W.; W. B. Fields, M. W; J. B. Morey, For.; J. C. Snyder, O.; M. A. Hoag, Rdr.; A. D. Eaton, Tim.; J. D. Inger, Recor.; E. M. Culbertson, G.; H. R. Eaton, I. W.; A. T. Little, O. W. Meetings are held Monday evenings of each week. The present number of members is fifty-two. There have been two deaths in this lodge. It is nearly unanimous in favor of the Supreme Lodge.


The M. E. Church was organized in 1857 by Rev. D. M. Sterns. The following pastors have served in this church. Wm. Lease, 1857-'9; T. Olmstead, 1859-'60; J. W. Waterberry, 1860-'2; Thos. Moore, 1862-'3; S. Knickerbocker, 1863-'6; J. L. Kelley, 1866-'7; J. F. Hestwood, 1867-'9; Jacob Hurrell, 1869-'70. M. H. Smith, 1870-'71; S. N. Van Arsdel, 1871-'2; Edwin E. Weber, 1872-'3; Wm. Young, 1873-'4; J. F. Hestwood, 1874-'7; J. G. Van Ness, 1877-'9; E. Ketchum, 1879-'80; W. D. Mabry, 1880-'81: T. McKim, 1881, present pastor. Important revivals were held in 1868 by J. F. Hestwood, in 1874 by Wm. Young, and in 1878 by J. G. Van. Ness. The church edifice was erected in 1865, 36 x 48, at a cost of $2,000. A parsonage was erected in 1876 at a cost of $800. The Trustees, nine in number, are at present as follows: John Porter, Ozias Clark, John Deys, Wm. Coolidge, S. N. Bixby, Ed. Alderson, W. E. Little, L. M. Blank and Rob't Carrier. There are seventy-five menbers, and the congregation numbers 200. The general condition of the church is encouraging. There is a flourishing Sunday school, with an enrollment of 105 and average attendance of ninety-five. Mrs. L. W. Blank is Superintendent.

The Universalist Church, was organized in 1858 by Rev. P. Smith. The first members were Joseph Hallowell, Chas. James H. Grannis, Wm. Grannis, Alexander Blake, P. Blake, Joseph C. Tremain, Chaney Bemis, E. Dunton. Frederick Adams, Mrs. M. M. Hallowell, Mrs. Calista Hall, Mrs. Matilda A. Dewey, Mrs. Eliza P. Grannis and Mrs. M. E. Dunton. J. C. Tremain and Joseph Hallowell were Deacons; Chaney Bemis, Treasurer; P. Blake, Clerk. The first services were held at a log school-house two miles northwest of Strawberry Point. The pastors have served as follows: P. Smith, two years; Jay Bishop, five years; Mr. Wakefied, one year; P. Hathaway, one year, Mr. Odiorne, two years; and J. W. Hicks, six years. The church building was rected in 1865. The present Trustees are M. O. Barnes, C. Bemis and P. Blake; Treasurer, H. J. Pease; Clerk, P. Blake. Number of members since organization, sixty; present number fifty. The church is at present not holding services.

The Regular Baptist Church at Strawberry Point was organized as a body corporate on the 14th day of April, 1856, and elected as Trustees E. B. Gardner, James Sunderland and O. A. Sherwood; clerk, James Sunderland. Church was organized Jan. 19, 1858. The constituent members were Thomas King, Alva Bush, Lyman Howard, Salmon Bush, Albert Bush, Henry Howard, Charles Blanchard, E. B. Gardner, Augusta M. Bush, Eliza J. Blanchard, Axif Howard, Sophia Nowell, Elizabeth Blake, Betsey Knight. Two only of this number are still members.

Council of Recognition was held Sept. 16, 1856. Delegates present from West Union, Yankee Settlement, Delhi and Burrington, now Manchester.

D. M. Root was the first pastor. Since then Geo. Scott, Alva Bush, James Sunderland, S. Sill, Franklin Kidder, L. M. Whitney, C. H. Mitchelman, George Peck, A. F. Sharpwack and M. H. Perry, have beem settled pastors over this church. The first church edifice was built by this church, with the help received from other denominations and friends. It .is 36 x 52 feet in size and cost about $4,000; it was dedicated in the fall of 1857. This was the first and only church built for the first ten or twelve years, and as used by all denominations, also for political meetings, shows, theaters, concerts, etc.

There have been several seasons of great revival interest and many have been added to the church. The present membership is forty-eight; about 150 have been members at different times. Many prominent ministers in the denomination have gone from this church--Revs. J. E. Clough, J. E. Sunderland, Alva Bush and others. There is a Sabbath-school in connection with this church. L. F. Carrier is the present Superintendent. The church is now gaining ground. The Trustees are E. B. Gardner, T. F. Corbett and L. F. Carrier; Clerk and Treasurer, T. F. Corbett.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized Oct. 1, 1878, Rev. E.G. Barkow. The names of the first members are: John Brader, George Durst, F. Schug, E. Schoeppe, George Deindorfer, H. Busse, T. Schmidt, F. Zeuch, J. Schmidt, S. Moser, P. Brill, F. Haeufler, H. Marquardt and F. Mueller, with their families. The first Deacons were John Brader, F. Schmidt, and George Durst. The first Trustees were Fred. Schug, George Deindorfer and Jacob Schmidt. The first services of the denomination were held in Strawberry Point, in private houses. E. G. Barkow has been the pastor since Oct. 1, 1878. Their church will be completed Aug. 1, 1882. It is 32 x50 feet, and the steeple is eighty-five feet from the ground. The cost will be about $3,000. The present Deacons are John Brader, George Durst and E. Donath. The Trustees are B. Krauss, F. Schug and E. Schoeppe. Twenty-eight families have joined since the organization of the society, and the present membership is forty-two families. The prospects of this growing church are very flattering.

St. Mary's Catholic Church. In the spring of 1878 Father John Hacket was appointed by Rt. Rev. Bishop Hennessey, of Dubuque, to organize a congregation and build a church in the town of Strawberry Point, for the Catholics of the locality. They had been accustomed previously to attend mass at Cox Creek church, about five miles north of the point. The church was completed in 1879. It is a frame building, 30 x 60, and is well located on West Mission street. A parochial residence, adjacent to the church, was purchased in 1880. But few members of the congregration live in Strawberry Point; the majority live west and southwest. The Catholics of the town helped most liberally, however, in building both the church and the parsonage. The church was dedicated Sunday, May 23, 1880. Rev. Father Quigley, of Elkader, officiated, assisted by Father Coyle, of Elkport. Rev. Dr. Dailey of Richardsville, Dubuque County, preached the dedication sermon. Father Hacket was removed by the Bishop to Clermont, in the summer of 1881. He is a young priest of great promise, and is now conducting the building of a $10,000 church at Clermont. He was succeeded by Father Rowe, of Dubuque, who now has charge of this mission, together with those of Cox Creek and Greeley. Mass is celebrated every third Sunday at 10:30 A. M. Sunday-school services are held immediately after mass.


This chapter concludes with biographical sketches.


-Township history transcribed by Roxanne Barth
-Strawberry Point history was transcribed by unknown (if you transcribed this village history, please contact the coordinator so I can give you proper credit for your work)

source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1882. Reproduced by the sponsorship of the Monona Historical Society, Monona, Iowa, reproduction Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphics, Inc., 1975; page 683-689


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