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History of Clayton County, Iowa
Chapter XXVI

Farmersburg Township

Windsor & Bismarck

Farmersburg Township
(page 767-768)

This is township 94 north, range 4 west, and contains thirty-six full sections. It is bounded on the north by Giard, on the east by Mendon and Clayton, on the south by Garnavillo and Read, and on the west by Wagner. It is drained principally by tributaries of Pony and Soy McGill Creeks. The township all things considered, is not exceeded by any in Clayton County in fertility of soil, beauty of situation, convenience to timber, and in general character of inhabitants.

The name Farmersburg was given by Thomas Street, a son of General Street, when he was in command here. Street and others laid out the plat for a village on what is commonly known as the old Billy King land, south of National, very near where Mr. Crosby put down on his map "Ancient Farmersburg." They gave the name of Farmersburg to this place, which name was first given to the postoffice and then to the township.

The first settlement was made in 1846, by Peter Eastman, on the J.P.L. Clark place, section 13. Other early settlers were W. Barber, D. Barber, M. Vansickle, Joseph Tassro, Obediah Brown, John Francis, James Jones, William Linton and M.B. Sherman. The township was organized in 1850. At the first election the following officers were chosen: Trustees, James Jones, Jacob Myers, Peter Lown; Constable, Samuel H. Buck; Town Clerk, Samuel H. Buck;; Treasurer, H. W. Haskins; Justice of the Peace, Joseph Shaft. The township had previously been united with Mendon, Giard and a part of Clayton for election purposes, and the polls were fixed in a log school-house in Farmersburg Township, the first school-house built in the county, it is believed. In April, 1850, there were two tickets in the field, one in favor of transferring the place of holding the elections to McGregor, the other for retaining it at the log school-house. McGregor carried the day. The defeated party then petitioned the county commissioners to separate Farmersburg, which was granted, and the organization took place the same year.

There are three cemeteries in the township, one at National and one at Windsor.

There are eight school sub-districts, and eight school-houses. The value of the school property is about $10,000. The first school-house was built in the Pioneer district, on land now owned by Joseph Mott, on section 10. It was a very rude affair, without desks, and has been recently torn down. Religious services were frequently held in this school-house. The first school was a failure. The first successful teacher was Ann Smith. The school contained children from many miles around.

The present township officers are : Clerk, Cornelius Morgan; Trustees, John Everall, Sanford Blue and D.L. Renshaw; Justices of the Peace, C. Morgan and Charles Hinch; Constables, Washington Hudson and Edward White; Assessor, Fred Tiede.


(page 768-770)

The village of Farmersburg was surveyed in March, 1858, by Norman Hamilton. It is situated on the southwest corner of section 14, the southeast corner of section 15, and the northwest corner of section 23. The proprietors were Silas T. Woodward, Joshua D. Smith, Allen M. Cortis and others.

The first building erected on the site of the village, was built in 1848 by Alva Hazen, and was built of logs. It was soon after converted into a school-house, and used as such for sometime for the surrounding community. The next building was erected by Joseph Shaft, on the corner of section 22, and was afterward fitted up by A.M. Cortis for a residence. The next house was built in 1852 by Silas T. Woodward, one of the early pioneers of Farmersburg, and now a resident of Elkader. He built it for a store, and purchased a few dollars worth of goods at Prairie du Chien; but he never opened store, and used his building as a school-house, while he performed the duties of teacher. In 1853, P.R. Moore brought from Galena the first goods of any note, purchased the building of Mr. Woodward, and opened the first store in the village.

The first blacksmiths were Messrs. Peter & Slaughter. W. W. Goodwin came soon after. He has followed his trade for twenty-six years. Mr. Alger was the first shoemaker. He is now in Dakota.

A saw-mill was built in 1855, by William Harrar. This burned down, and was rebuilt by Calvin Miller. It is now used as a store-house and stable.

The school is graded into two departments. It was begun twenty-six years ago. The teachers are Lucy Kingsley and Inez Woodward. The first sermon in the village was preached by a Rev. Mr. Wood.

The village was originally named Farmersburg, and in 1854, when the postoffice was located there, the name of National was selected for the Postoffice. The first Postmaster was Isaac Stoddard. He was succeeded by N. Slaughter in 1856, the present incumbent. The amount of business done annually is about $100.

There is here a lodge of A.F. & A.M., organized in 1868 by T.D. White, W.A. Knight, A.M. Peters, N. Slaughter and J. H. Francis. Present officers are: John Everall, W.M.; E.C. White, S.W.; James T. Adams, J.W.; A.C. Buck, Treasurer; N. Slaughter, Secretary. There are at present twenty-eight members. The lodge is in a flourishing condition, financially and otherwise.


The Congregational Church was organized in a log house, in September, 1853. Services had been held as early as 1844, by Rev. James J. Hill. Richard Everall and Holsey W. Wakeman, were the first Deacons. Rev. Littlefield was the second pastor. Next came Rev. D.B.Davidson, who was succeeded by Rev. Giles M. Porter. In 1860 Rev. Mr. Upton came to the pulpit, and after him came Rev. M.M.Wakeman. During his pastorate steps were taken to build a church. In 1873 Rev. Beriah King was chosen to the pastorate, and he remained here till his death in January, 1875. After that came Rev. H.M. Barlett, of the Chicago Theological School. He was succeeded by Rev. E.C. Downs, and he by Rev. Nelson Clark. He died in 1880, and Rev. Joel Beattie then came to the pulpit. The church was built in 1879, at a cost of $2,114. The lot cost $100, and the bell $172.43. The bills for carpets, organ, etc., made the total cost $2,672.26. The first Trustees were : Edwin Sherman, W. W. Goodwin and Washington Hudson. The present Trustees are Edwin Sherman, John Dice and William Reed. The present membership is about twenty. The Sunday-school was organized in 1877, Rev. E.C.Downs being the first Superintendent. The present Superintendent is H.M.Bailey. The average attendance is twenty-five.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1847, by Rev. E. Howard. The first members were Cyrus A. Buch and wife, Nathaniel Wood and wife, W.C. Linton and wife, and Sidney Wood and wife. The first Trustees were W.C.Linton, Sidney and Nathaniel Wood. The first services were held in the log school-house in Pioneer District. Among the various pastors, which this church has had were E. Howard, S.H. Greenup, J. L. Kelly, A. Bishop (in whose pastorate the building of the church was commenced), J.R. Cameron, William Cummings, John Webb and H.H.Hammond (under whose lead the church was refitted at a cost of $1,000). William Loose succeeded Mr. Hammond, and after him came Nathaniel Jones, the present pastor. There have been several revivial seasons of great success. The house of worship was erected in 1855. It is thirty by forty feet, and cost $1,000. The present officers of the church are : N.H. Collar, D.L. Renshaw, S.H. Buck, William and Joseph Neil, William Massey and W. C. Linton. The present membership is about thirty-five. The Sunday-school was started soon after the organization of the church. N. Wood was the first Superintendent. The Superintendent at the present time is L.M. Hollingsworth. The average attendance is forty.

Second Methodist Episcopal Church was organized May 26, 1866, and the first members of the society were William Neil, John H. Bellis, Charles Alery, P.M. White, G.B. Wakeman and Willaim Massey. The articles of incorporation were witnessed by J.E. Corlett, Justice of the Peace. The Trustees are: William Neil, William Massey, J.E. Corlett, Charles Alery, John H. Bellis, J.J. Neil and Elisha Benson. The first services were held in the school-house near by in 1852. Rev. Bishop preached the first sermon. Rev. N. Jones is the present pastor. The erection of the church was begun in 1866. It is thirty-two by fifty-six feet, and cost $2,500. It was completed and dedicated in 1870. The present membership is twenty. Etta Neil is Superintendent of the Sunday-school, which contains thirty-five children.


Windsor & Bismarck
(page 770-771)

Windsor was laid out on the northwest quarter of section 18, township 94 north, range 4 west, by T. Beckwith, surveyor, Apr. 17, 1856. The Proprietor of the site was John C. Russell, who resides in New York City. The village was named Windsor, and the Farmerburg postoffice was afterward moved here. The first store was opened by a man named Simon Huntington, and the first house was built by George Potter. The first wagon-makers were Hinch and Schelliman. The first blacksmith was Washington Hudson, and the first shoemaker was a man named Hubbs. The first school was taught by a Miss Whitney, in 1868. The present school is taught by Martha Kinsley. The first physician was SAmuel Little, M.D., who came from New Hampshire. Dr. James McAlbin was a very successful physician here for twenty years. He came from Springfield, N.H. The present physician is L.L. Renshaw, who is a graduate of the State University at Iowa City, and is having a good practice. The postoffice was established here in 1857, and Simon Huntington was the first Postmaster. H. Knudson is the present Postmaster, and the amount of business done annually is about $70.00.

Bismarck is situated on the northeast quarter of section 6, township 94 north, range 4 west. It was surveyed in December, 1875, by Ezra Hurd, County Surveyor, and the proprietor was Johnson Campbell. An addition has since been made by William Neil, and a part of the village is on E. Benson's land. Bismarck is on the line of the railroad which was known as the I.E.R.R., until its purchase by the C.M. & St. P. in the spring of 1882. The land for the depot was given by Mr. Neil. There is a store here, carrying a stock of general merchandise to the value of about $6,000.


This chapter concludes with biographical sketches.

transcribed by Sandy Bressler (Farmersburg twp. & Farmersburg) and Sharyl Ferrall (Windsor & Bismark)
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;
p. 767-771

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