IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

Table of Contents

History of Clayton County, Iowa
Chapter XXVII

Garnavillo Township

Ceres * Garnavillo

Garnavillo Township
(page 786-790)

The township of Garnavillo is bounded on the north by Farmersburg and Clayton Townships; on the east by Clayton and Jefferson; the south by Jefferson and Volga, and on the west by Read. It contains thirty-three sections in ranges 8 and 4, township 93 north. It is mostly a beautiful rolling prairie, well watered, and stains some of the finest agricultural land in the county. It is drained on the east by Buck Creek, which flows to the Mississippi, and on the west by tributaries of the Turkey. The population of the township is 1,174, mostly Germans. The township is capable sustaining a large population.


The first settlement of Garnavillo was made by immigrants from Eastern States, and the German population came in later. The first settler in Garnavillo Township was Dr. Frederick Andros, to located on the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 20, township 93 north, range 3 west. He was a native o f Massachusetts, and came here from Dubuque and built his cabin January, 1836. He removed to McGregor in 1865, and is now in Mitchell, Dak.

John W. Gillett came about the same time from Maryland, sting a farm on south half of section 7. He broke the first soil Garnavillo on section 18, northeast quarter of the northeast quarter, in June, 1836, and raised the first crop of wheat. A man named McMaster came with Gillett, and the two were in partnership three years, when they divided. In March, 1876, Gillett sold his farm to Henry Dettmer for $19,000, and went to Atlanta, Cass County, where he died early in 1880.

In the following year, 1837, came Andrew S. Cooley, who settled section 31, and moved to Mendon Township in 1868, and a Mr. Davis, who settled on section 12. George W. Whitman settled on section 17, in 1838, and went to Minnesota in 1855. About 1843 several came to Garnavillo, among whom were Reuben Noble, Samuel Murdock and Elias H. Williams, all afterward distinguished as Judges. James Watson came at an early date, settling first on section 17, and afterward on section 18, on what is now the G. M. Porter place. Mr. Watson gave the site for the town, when the county seat was located at Garnavillo. Other early settlers were A. C. Rogers, afterward a Judge, who came in the spring of 1848, and kept a store at Garnavillo five years; William H. Stevens, who came the following fall, and still lives in Garnavillo. William Schoulte, who settled on sections 24 and 25; Gerhard Kregel, still living with his sons in the southern part of the township; B. F. Schroeder, Dietrich Sehroeder, Robert Drips, Levi Angler, John Hochhaus and Samuel Holmes.

The first birth was either that of Storrs Andros, son of Dr. Frederick Andros, or that of Noah Cooley, a son of Andrew S. Cooley.

The first school-house was of frame, and is now used as a shoe shop. It was built about 1844, as a Congregational church: it was situated in the western part of the village, near the cemetery. Here the first regular religious services were held, though occa-sional services had been held in private houses by that pioneer preacher, Henry Gifford.

There are now seven school-houses, and the school property is valued at $7,000. There are now four churches in the township three of which are in the village of Garnavillo, and one of which is at the place called Ceres, on the southern line of the township.

There are at present two postoffices in the township, Garnavillo and Ceres. The former was established very early about the time the village of Jacksonville was surveyed.

There are two mills in the township, of which the following are brief histories:


The Garnavillo Mill, located on Buck Creek, on the Clayton road, was built about 1857 by John Tangeman. He owned it till 1872, when he sold it to Augustus Wehler. After a year or so Diedrich Benter became proprietor, and in 1873 it was bought by Geo. W. Kennedy, who is now sole owner. It is of brick, 26 x 37, three and a half stories in height. It cost about $9,000. It has three run of stone, of which Mr. Kennedy put in one. It first had but two.

The "Valley Mill" was built as a saw-mill in 1850 by Watkins & Corning. Watkins soon sold out to Corning. In 1853 B. F. Schroeder and J. H. Kuenzel bought an interest in the mill, and he three ran it about six months, Then Messrs. Schroeder & Kuenzel bought out Mr. Corning and put up a stone grist-mill bout 40 x 60, two stories and a basement in height. It contains two run of stone. In 1867 Mr. Schroeder sold his interest to J. C. Kuenzel, a brother of J. H. Kuenzel, and the mill is now owned and operated by Kuenzel & Bro. It is located on section 16, southeast quarter of southeast quarter.


This brewery was built about 1855, one-half mile west of the village of Garnavillo, by J. C. Kuenzel, who operated it for some me and sold it to H. C. Meyer. The transfer was made Nov. 12, 1863. At that time the brewery consisted of only one part of what now stands, the other part having been built later. Mr. Meyer, in February, 1867, sold the property to Henry Schumacher. Mr. Schumacher moved with his family into the residence adjoining the brewery and there lived and operated the same until his death, which occurred Aug. 11, 1881. Mrs. Schumacher still lives there and manages the business. The second part of the building as put up by Mr. Schumacher in 1869. The first building is 22 x 60, two and a half stories in height. The second part is 22 x 48, and of the same height. The malt-house is 20 x 24:. The fomenting house 12 x 24. This establishment brews on an average 600 to 700 barrels of beer a year, and has produced as much as 800 barrels in a single year. The beer is supplied Garnavillo, Clayton, Clayton Centre, Ceres, Motor and other places. About 2,000 bushels of barley and over 1,000 pounds hops are used annually. This grain is raised all in the neighborhood. The brewery and land on which it is built cost about $18,000. Henry Schumacher was born in Hanover, Dec. 1821. His father, Carsten Schumacher, was a blacksmith trade, and Henry learned this trade as he grew up, and he had also a full training in the schools of Hanover. He worked at his trade in Germany till he was twenty-four years of age, and then emigrated to America. He was four months on the voyage and landed March 4, 1846. Landing at New Orleans, he worked at trade with his uncle for a while, and then came north, arriving at Garnavillo, July 3. Here he worked for a farmer named Burkhardt a few months. Then he was in the employ of William Schulte for a short time. Then he worked for Reuben Noble, in Garnavillo. The Herald, of Elkader, said, at the time of Mr. Schumacher's death that "Rueben Noble never had a truer friend then Henry Schumacher." After leaving Mr. Noble he entered a farm in Read Township, now owned by a Mr. Buckman. This was in 1849. Here he remained until 1854. He then bought a farm near Clayton Center, owned by Henry Wilkes. On this farm he remained until 1865, when, in company with J. L. Hagensick, he built the brewery at McGregor. In November, 1866, he bought a farm near Postville, and remained there till February, 1867, when he bought the brewery near Garnavillo, where he remained until the time of his death. Mr. Schumacher was married Dec. 24, 1852, to Margerethe Hagensick. By this union there were ten children, of whom seven are living--Mary (Mrs. Tangeman), Christian W., John F., Maggie (Mrs. Roebken) Amelia, Henry and Bertha. Mr. Schumacher was always a Republican. He was for many years a Justice of the Peace. He was a member of the Lutheran church.

He had hosts of friends in Clayton County, and was universally respected for his sterling integrity, his business capacity, and his eminent social qualities.


This useful organization, in Garnavillo Township, was formed April 29, 1868, at the school-house in Garnavillo. It had an informal existence as early as 1850, and had been a very efficient agent for the protection of the farmers. The officers for the first year were: President, B. F. Fox; Vice-President, J. Meyer; Secretary, G. W. Beach; Treasurer, Matthew King; Captain of Riders, Henry Schumacher; Lieutenant, H. Schroeder. Besides these two last, there were ten riders, making a full company of twelve. The membership at the start was about thirty.

A formal constitution was adopted, in which the objects of the association are set forth as follows: "The objects of this society shall be the recovery of horses or mules stolen from its members, and the detection oand punishment of the thieves." From the regulations we make the following extracts:

Any person living in the townships adjoining the township of Garnavillo of good moreal character may become a member of this society by signing theconstitution and paying the initiation fee of $2.

There shall be elected annually twelve riders, of whom one shall be captain and one lieutenant, and whose duty it shall be when a horse or a mule is stolen from a member of this society to pursue and use due diligence for the recovery of the horse or mule and the arrest of the thieves.

There shall be an annual meeting of this society on Whitmonday of each year for the election of officers and the transaction of business.

It shall be the duty of any member of this society having a horse or mule stolen to immediately inform the president, whose duty it shall be to notify the captain and riders. Said riders shall immediately report to the captain and proceed under his direction to pursue the horses or mules thus stolen. Said captain and riders shall each furnish their own horses, adn shall each be allowed the sum of $5 per day, calling twelve hours a day.

In case of the recovery of a horse or mule stolen from a member of this society, the owner thereof shall pay into the treasury of the society ten per cent of the cash value of such animal, over and above his required assessments, said valuation to be determined by three members of the society. In case of the arrest of the thief by any member or members, he or they shall be entitled to a reward of $50, to be paid out of the funds of the society.

The present officers of the society are: President, F. Cann; Secretary, Helmuth Brandt; Treasurer, Henry Brandt; Captain, C. G. Stickfort; Lieutenant, W. H. Boals; Riders, Henry Hill, Wm. Beck, James Uriell, X. Schaffer, F. Schumacher, Fritz Bruns, Elwin Torry, Ludwig Mueller, Wm. Moellering and Henry Ruder. The organization is a great benefit to the members, and while it has never made but one ride after a thief, its existence has undoubtedly prevented horse-stealing. The thieves have a wholesome dread of the "riders."

Township Officers

The present township officers are as follows: Trustees, L. C. Meyer, G. H. Bierbaum and L. A. Sackett; Clerk, W. F. Meyer; Assessor, A. C. Rogers; Justice of the Peace, Theodore Krasinsky.


Ceres is a postoffice on the southern line of the township, established within a few years. There is a German Lutheran church there, on section 34, which was built in 1858. It is a stone structure. The first pastor was Rev. Paul Stockfeld, who organized the church, Nov. 9, 1874. He removed to Plymouth County, Neb., and since then the minister at Garnavillo supplies the pulpit. At its first organization the church contained about twenty-five members, but by removals and deaths its membership has been reduced to fifteen.


(page 791-802)

The village of Jacksonville was laid out on the southeast quarter of section 18, township 93 north, range 3 west, by C.S. Edson March 10, 1844, on land belonging to Clayton County. In 1846 the name of the village was changed to Garnavillo. South Garnavillo was laid off in May, 1863, on the southeast quarter of section 18, township 93 north, range 3 west, by County Surveyor Ezra Hurd, on land belonging to B.F. Schroeder. The name Garnavillo was selected by Judge Samuel Murdock, it being the name of a village in Ireland. The following beautiful poem was written by the Judge:

Bright gem of the prairie, I hail thee with pleasure,
And take up my pen to address thee in verse;
Though bright be my theme, or discordant my measure,
I hope thou’lt receive it for better or worse.
How oft have I gazed where kind nature had squandered
And lavished her grandeur and riches on thee,
And thought to myself as around thee I’ve wandered,
No spot in this world was so pretty to me.
And oft in my rambles on life’s early morning
Have I hied to some spot where my vision was clear,
To behold the bright sun in effulgence adorning
Thy green fields and meadows with roseate cheer.
It was then in my heart I addressed the Great Giver,
And hailed to the bright prospect with juvenile glee,
And thought to myself I could linger forever
Round thy woodlands and valleys so pretty to me.
Thy bright former days I remember with pleasure
When oft we assembled at morning or noon,
Or danced in the eve to some sweet flowing measure
That came from the air of some darling old tune;
And here in our gladness and mirth was extended
To all a glad welcome in equal degree,
And when fleeting years these diversions had ended
I still though them lovely and pretty to me.
I know that in me there's a passion for straying,
To follow some phantom by night or by day
Where fickle allurements are every betraying,
Like fields that look greener when they're far away.
And others may call on my muse for sweet measures,
Yet the brightest and purest I'll cherish for thee,
To cling round the days of our bygones and pleasures
That once were so lovely and pretty to me.
I've reposed in cool shades 'mid the evergreen bowers
That lie to the south near some tropical shore,
Where landscapes are decked with perpetual flowers
The brightest and fairest that lands ever bore;
I've lingered likewise on the crest of the mountains,
And gazed down green valleys that stretched to the sea,
And heard the wild roar of their cataracts and fountains,
Yet none were so lovely or pretty as thee.
I've searched every land that's between the two oceans,
And roamed over mountains and valleys and glens,
And some may call forth the profoundest emotions
That ever were uttered by lips or by pens.
But ere I had sounded their praise, in devotion
My thoughts in a moment reverted to thee,
And though grand and as green as isles of the ocean,
Yet none were so lovely or pretty to me.
The stormcloud may rage and whirlwinds may cover
They green fields and meadows with thistle and thorn,
Dark clouds in their fury around thee may hover,
And all these fair fields be uprooted and torn;
Yet still in my heart I will love thee forever,
In wealth or misfortune, whichever it be,
Neither blight nor destruction shall cause me to sever
Thy bright former prospects once pretty to me.
Though the world may conspire and invite me to leave thee,
And hold out temptations that bid me to roam,
Though palace and treasure await to receive me,
In rank or misfortune I'll call thee my home;
Neither wealth nor rich treasure shall cause me to sever
The ties that once bound me so sacred to thee.
But in life or in death I will cherish forever
Our bygones and pleasures once pretty to me.

The first house on the village site was built by a Mr. Thompson. Among the first buildings erected were the hotel and the old building a few doors south belonging to the heirs of D. Benter, both of which were built by John Banfil. The first store was kept by Leander Pelton, in 1844, in the south part of old Garnavillo. Gilbert Douglas was the next merchant, and his store was nearly opposite the hotel. The first wagon maker was Joseph Limbach, in 1857. The first blacksmith was John Hochhaus. * The first shoemaker was Edward Foggs.

The first lawyers were Reuben Noble and Samuel Murdock, who came in 1843. Then came Elias H. Williams. Orlando Stevens, Elijah Odell and H.S. Granger, have all lived at Garnavillo, but the only practicing lawyer now loving at Garnavillo is J.O. Crosby.

The first physician was Dr. Andros, who came in 1836. Among the physicians that have practiced at Garnavillo was Dr. John Linton, one of the pioneers of Clayton County, and who lived here until his death. Dr. D.M. Reed came in 1858 or 1859, and was a partner of Dr. Linton. He served as surgeon in the war, and died soon after the close of the war. Dr. Charles H. Hamilton, now of Monona, was here two or three years, commencing in 1875. Dr. Logier was a practicing physician here for many years. Dr. Baily practiced here two years, leaving in the early part of 1882. William H. Boals came in 1877 and is still here. Charles Duffin was his partner for a while, but is now in Guttenberg.


The postoffice at Garnavillo was established at an early date, and Gilbert Douglas was the first Postmaster. The present Postmaster is H.C. Kuenzel, who was appointed April 21, 1881. He was preceded by George W. beach, who had served about fifteen years. The office was made a money-order office in 1870. The first order issued was Aug. 1, 1870, to John G. Kaiser for $2.50, and it was payable to D.B. Kellogg, at Ann Arbor, Mich. The first order paid was to Mrs. Mary Fowler, Aug. 27, 1870. It was issued to H. Fowler at Mound City, Kan. During the year ending July 31, 1871, the first in which money orders were issued at Garnavillo, eighteen orders were paid amounting to $392.45; 570 orders were issued, amounting to $14,394.80, and the fees received for same were $89.35. During the year ending March 31, 1882, sixty-two orders were paid, amounting to $1,107.89; 940 orders were issued, amounting to $19.797.68, and the fees received were $140.90; stamps sold amounting to $439.30; stamps cancelled amounted to $333.47; amount received on box rents, $47.50. 48


Garnavillo was made an independent school district, March 27, 1876. The first Board of Directors was composed of Helmuth Brandt, J.O. Crosby and William Thomas. The present board consists of D.B. Clair, J.H. Kuenzel and Helmuth Brandt. William Schumaohor * is Treasurer, and W.F. Meyer is Secretary. There are now 134 children of school age, of which seventy are males and sixty-four females. The present building was erected by B.F. Schroeder, at a cost of $3,000. The principal of the school is Leroy Beemer, and his assistant is Miss Linnie Boller. Mrs. Fruschtenicht * teaches German.


The hotel was built in 1844 by John Banfil, who kept it about a year. It was run by various parties until about 1868, when D. Benter became proprietor. Among the various landlords before him was one Forbes, who was here in 1854, Mr. Falkner, Allen E. Wanzer, John Hockhaus *, George W. Beach. In 1873 the hotel was taken by Gustav Wehler, who remained two years. Then he was succeeded by Wm. Brumm, and in 1880 J.F. Schumacher became proprietor. Mr. Schumacher was born Nov. 21, 1955, in Read Township, Clayton County. He was a son of Henry and Mararetha * Schumacher. He commenced attending school at the age of five years. At the age of ten he removed with his parents to McGregor, and in 1866 to Postville. The following year the family moved to Garnavillo, his father having bought the Garnavillo brewery. At the age of fifteen Mr. Schumacher went to Clayton to learn the harness trade with L. Hartwig. He was there a year and a half, and then worked at his trade a short time in Garnavillo. After that he was in the employ of Judge Crary four months. Mr. Schumacher then remained at home till the last part of 1877, when he opened a harness shop in Garnavillo. He remained at this until April, 1880, when he leased the hotel. He was married Feb. 25, 1880, to Lena Brumm. They have one child - Realto. Mr. Schumacher is a member of the Lutheran church, and is politically a Republican.


The furniture and cabinet business of Mrs. John Harberg & Son was established in 1854 by John Harberg. He first built a shop across the street from the present shop, and this was burned down in 1854. Another shop was put up, and this was moved across the street to its present site. This, too, was burned down in 1872, when the present shop was erected. The store building was erected in 1870. The business has grown steadily since it was established, and now a fine stock of all kinds of furniture and coffins are furnished. This is the only firm in this business in Garnavillo, and is one of the oldest business houses.

The hardware business of William Schumacher was established in 1873 by Schumacher & Meyer. Mr. Meyer retired in 1891, and is now the proprietor of a general store. The hardware store is situated on the south corner of Clayton and Main streets, and is one of the neatest and most commodius in the village. Mr. Schumacher keeps a large stock of stoves, tinware and all kinds of shelf hardware and farming tools. The business has constantly increased from the start. In the shop attached, all kinds of tinware are made. Large numbers of milk-cans and made here, and the books of the establishment show that 3,000 have been made last year. This is a forcible commentary on the great and growing dairy interests of this part of Iowa.

The wagon factory of Cook & Harberg was started in 1873. It is situated on the corner of Main and Washington streets. Wagons, carriages and sleighs are manufactured by this enterprising firm. Five men are constantly employed, and the firm is pushed with orders.
Mrs. D.H. & W.F. Meyer keep a general store at the corner of Van Buren and Main streets. This store is crowded to its utmost capacity with all kinds of merchandise.

J.H. Tangeman has a general store on Main street, fronting toward the park. This is one of the largest stores in Garnavillo, and does an extensive business.

Wm. Heine keeps a drug store nearly across from the hotel.

H.C. Kuenzel keeps drug and stationery in a store fronting toward the park. He is also the Postmaster, and the postoffice is in the same store.

E. Stevens keeps a shoe shop a few doors below the hotel.

C. Ranzel, next door, also deals in shoes and boots and does repairing.

John Seibert keeps a shoeshop at the corner of Main and Niagara streets.

F. Kuhlman is in the same business at the corner of Center and Adams streets.

The blacksmiths are Emil Walliser, Henry Grentmaker and Henry Hill.

Joseph Limbach keeps a wagonshop on the corner of Adams and Center streets.

The saloons of the village are kept by Otto Brumm, Fred. Thoma and Frank Harnock.

F.D. Walter and H.H. Kuenzel keep harness shops.

L.C. Meyer manufactures all kinds of brushes.

Miss M.E. Schroeder and Lena Tavis are the two milliners of Garnavillo.

J.K. Fleck keeps the only meat market.

Henry Niedert keeps a cooper shop.


Garnavillo Lodge, No. 29, I.O.O.F., was organized Dec. 25, 1850. The first members were B.F. Fox, Ezra Hurd, Gilbert Douglas, Frank Smith, Thomas G. Drips, Allen Millenix, E.P. Atkins. These seven applied for a charter, and this was received Oct. 27, 1852. The present membership is 26, and the present officers are: N.G. Jonathan Briggs; V.G., J.F. Schumacher; Recorder, Fred Cook; Treasurer, William Ahlers; Warden, George Sigg; Conductor, W.H. Boals. The lodge meets every Saturday evening at Odd Fellow’s Hall. It is the oldest lodge of I.O.O.F. in Clayton County. It is now, as always, a flourishing society, numbering among its members some of the best citizens of Garnavillo and vicinity.

Fidelity Lodge, No. 133, A.O.U.W., was organized Oct. 20, 1877, and received its charter Nov. 1, of the same year. The petitioners were George W. Brach, Adam Braun, Henry Oelke, Fred Harberg, L.T. Cooley, William Schumacher, Otto Brumm, Helmuth Brandt, J.H. Tangeman, George W. Kennedy, William F. Meyer, Alvin Torry, Jr., George Weichman, and F.D. Walter. The first officers were: P.M.W., J.H. Tangeman; M.W., George W. Beach; G.F., L.T. Cooley; Overseer, Alvin Torrey; Guide Otto Brumm; Recorder, William F. Meyer; Financier, Helmuth Brandt; Receiver, Henry Oelke; I.S., George Weichman; O.S., Fred Harberg. The lodge was instituted by D.D.G. M.W. Edward Weck. The present officers are: P.M.W., J.H. Tangeman; M.W., D.E. Clair; Foreman, Fred Roebken; Overseer, J.W. Hudson; Recorder, Fred Cook; Financier, Helmuth Brandt; Receiver, L.C. Meyer; Guide, August Ingwerson; I.S., L. Beemer; O.S., William Greul. The present membership is thirty-three. The lodge meets every Thursday evening, at Odd Fellow’s Hall.

There is also a flourishing Masonic lodge here, which has about the same membership as the Odd Fellow’s lodge.

The Union Library is composed of about 350 books, collected by different lodges, and opened to the patrons every Sunday. Charles Clair is the Librarian. Books are drawn for not more than two weeks.

The Garnavillo Socialen Turn-Verein was organized Oct. 1, 1869, in what was known as the old German school-house. Among the most active promoters of the movement were George Weichman, Henry Schumacher, Helmuth Brandt, Peter Maurer, Dr. William Logier and William Ahlers. The first membership was forty-five.

The following extracts are translations from their constitution, which is printed in German, and show the aims and form of the organization:
   "Under the name ‘Garnavillo Social Turn-Verein’, a society of hereby organized, which shall consist of youth and men who aim for physical and mental exercises, and desire to strive for and promote a social brotherly fellowship, and a true German character and purity of manners.”
   “Whoever wishes to become either an active or a passive member, must be a citizen of the United States, or have declared his intention to become such. He has first to pay the usual fee to the treasurer, and must make his application through a member at the first meeting of the month. The vote on his application follows after four weeks’ probation, during which time the applicant must make himself familiar with the duties which he must assume. Those announced as active members have the privilege of attending the gymnastic exercises, as well as the meetings, but those announced as passive members are allowed to visit only the meetings. The chosen one must pledge his hand and word of honor to the sprecher and to the turnwart to faithfully obey the constitution and regulations of the union. If a newly chosen member is prevented from being present at the taking of the oath, for good reasons previously stated, the case is to be taken up at the next meeting. In exceptional cases the oath can be taken privately with the sprecher or turnwarth. In other cases his admission by the sprecher without further proceedings is declared unlawful; in this case, and also in case the application is positively refused by the union, then the fee that was received is paid back to the applicant.
   “Active members must be at least sixteen years old.”

The first officers of the Turn-Verein were: Chairman, Dr. William Logier; Vice-President, Peter Maurer; Turnwarth, George Weichman; Secretary, H. Brandt; Treasurer, William Ahlers.

The present officers are: First Sprecher, Henry Oelke; Second Sprecher, William Oelke, Sr.; First Turnwarth, H. Kuenzel, Jr.; Second Turnwarth, H. Schumacher; Schriftwarth, Fred. Harberg; Cassenwarth, L.C. Meyer; Zeugwarth, John Reimer. The society meets the second Monday in each month, at Turner Hall. The front part of this hall was erected in 1870, at a cost of $1,800. This is of frame, 35 x 50. In September, 1873, the society bought the Methodist church building, and added it to their hall. The cost of this, including rebuilding, fitting up, etc., was about $1,200. A stage was put in at this time. In 1881, and addition 16 x 50 was built, at a cost of about $600. The present membership is about fifty, and the society is prosperous, financially and otherwise. Their anniversary is celebrated every year on the first of October, by a general reunion at the park, with speeches, music and other essentials to a general good time. The hall is neatly fitted up, and will comfortably seat about 400. The society owns a large silk flag, six feet by eight feet, which cost about $150. This was donated to the turners principally by the ladies. This flag is used in all parades and on all important occasions. It contains on the four corners, “Frisch,” “Frei,” “Froh,” and “From.”


First Congregational Church.—This society was organized in Garnavillo (then Jacksonville) in 1844. The preliminary meeting was held Aug. 31, and was presided over by the Rev. Mr. Wells, of Prairie du Chien. The following persons belonging to the denomination, and bringing letters of dismissal from their respective churches, were present and proposed to unite in the formation of the church: Rev. James J. Hill, of Phipsburg, Me.; Mrs. Sarah C. Hill, of Bath, Me.; John M. Gay, Mrs. Sarah Gay, Nancy J. Gay, Mary Gay, Alfred Kinney, Mrs. Penely Kinny, Hugh L. Kirkpatrick, of Potosi, Wis.; James Watson and Mrs. Emily Watson, the last two from Dubuque. Articles of faith and covenant were adopted, and officers were elected. James Watson and John M. Gay were the first Deacons, and John M. Gay was the first Clerk.

In May, 1847, James Watson, Alfred Kinney and Richard Only, were appointed as a committee to superintend the erection of a church. This church was finished and dedicated in November of the same year. The dedication sermon was preached by Rev. J.C. Holbrook, of Dubuque. The first Trustees of the church were John M. Gay, James Watson and Richard Only.

The first pastor was Rev. James J. Hill, who commenced his labors in June, 1844, and who preached his last sermon Nov. 4, 1849. Rev. O. Littlefield was then invited to fill the pulpit, and he remained until January, 1854, when Rev. Mr. Davidson preached one year. Then Rev. L.P. Mathews accepted the pulpit. In April, 1862, services were discontinued, and in March of the following year Rev. G.M. Porter commenced preaching on alternate Sabbaths. Mr. Porter remained till May, 1869. He was succeeded for a few months by J.A. Cruzan, of the Chicago Theological Seminary, and then by Rev. B.A. Dean. Rev. Beriah King commenced preaching Sept., 1871, and the following May was succeeded by Mr. Bartlett, also a student of Chicago Seminary. In November, 1875, Rev. E.C. Downs came to the pulpit, and he remained until July 13, 1879. Rev. F. Schaub supplied the pulpit for a few weeks, and then Rev. Nelson Clark preached a few months. Mr. Clark died while with the church. The last minister was Rev. Joel Beatty, who left July 1, 1891, since which time the society has held no services. There is a flourishing Sunday-school still organized, under the superintendancy of J.O. Crosby. The membership is about 100.

The old church was sold in 1866, and the new one built in 1867. it is thirty feet and four inches by fifty feet and four inches, and will comfortably seat 250. The cost was $3,597.27. The present membership of the church is twenty-four.

The German Lutheran Church was organized Sept. 1, 1853, with fifty-eight members. Among the most prominent of these were Henry Kregel, John D. Kregel, John C. Mohrman, John H. Mohrman, John H. Moellering, B.F. Schroeder and William Oelke. The first Trustees were: John G. Heye, Christian Haukoemer, Louis Eidamas and John C. Mohrman. The first elders were: John G. Kregel and Caspar Bakhaus. The first Vorstehers were John H. Mohrman, William Schmalfeld, John G. Schulte, John H. Kuenzel and Jacob Splies. The first pastor was Rev. Mr. Miller, who remained about two years. The present pastor is Rev. Frank Sommerlad, who came in January, 1882. The members now number about eighty-four. In 1853, soon after the society was organized, they built a frame church 30 x 40, at a cost of about $2,500. This was used until November, 1878, when it was burned down from some unknown cause. A new church was at once put up 40 x 65, at a cost of about $4,000. This is situated on the southwest side of Garnavillo park. The society has always been prosperous, and has done much missionary work in the vicinity. The President of the Society is William Meyer; Secretary and Treasurer, Fredrich Schulleman; Vorstehers: Henry Schulte, Claus Meyer, H.H. Brandt, John Dittman, Fritz Ihde, Gerhard Koester, Christian Meyer, John Reiner, John Stiel and Caspar Werges.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.—In the year 1840 the famous pioneer priest, Rev. J. Cretin, then a resident of Dubuque, and afterward bishop of St. Paul, Minn., visited Garnavillo to attend to the spiritual wants of the small number of Catholic families living about this part of the country.

Right Rev. Jos. Cretin and other zealous Fathers gladly overcame all kinds of hardships to give to these Catholics an opportunity to attend services, and to instruct the youth. None were more welcome visitors than these pious missionaries, and their memory is still most dear to the old Catholic settlers. In want of a church building they were obliged to say mass at the homes of John Barrett and Wm. Schulte. Some of the oldest families were the three brothers Patric, John and Michael Uriell, Messrs. John Barret, Caspar Becker and Wm. Schulte.

In 1843 the twenty families belonging to this mission erected a small chapel in a town called St. Brigits; it was the first Catholic church building in Clayton County. The following priests have successively said holy mass in the same: Rev. Fathers Platt and Ott, from New Vienna, Dubuque County; rev. Father Lynch, from Holy Cross, Dubuque County, and Father I'Bern, from Elkader. Rev. Lynch blessed the Catholic cemetery, situated half a mile from the west part of the town, which has become the last resting place of a great many Catholic pioneers of Clayton County. Right Rev. Clemens Smith, Bishop of Dubuque, visited Garnavillo in the fall of 1860, to administer the sacrament of holy confirmation for the first time in this congregation to fifty persons. Shortly afterward Rev. J.J. Quigley, of Elkader, sold the building of St. Brigits to Mr. B.F. Schroeder, of Garnavillo, and bought the eight lots at the south side of the town, whereon stood the foundation for the intended Garnavillo High School. However, nothing was done until six years later, when the congregation appointed a committee consisting of Messrs. James Uriell, Frank Schulte and Caspar Becker as Treasurer, who succeeded in erecting the present church building on the before mentioned foundation, at a cost of $65,000. The dimensions are 50 x 66 feet and twenty-six feet high, and the same still needs a sanctuary at the north side and an addition of about twenty feet with a tower and spire in order to make the structure complete and handsome. Rev. Father Luessman, from Guttenberg, attended the congregation until Rev. John Remper took charge of the same in October, 1877, and remained until Jan. 10, 1878. He erected the present parsonage at a cost of about 41,000.

The congregation remained without a pastor one year until Rev. P.O. Reschong was sent as pastor to Garnavillo on Jan. 17, 1879. he was born at Belgium, Ozaukee County, Wis., in 1856, and ordained into the holy priesthood on the 29th of June, in 1879, at St. Francis, Milwaukee, Wis. The congregation is in a flourishing condition, having sixty families, sodalities and a Sunday-school. The members are greatly in need of a parochial school, and one will be built in the near future.


This was organized Jan. 20, 1872, by electing B.F. Schroeder, President; Helmuth Brandt, Secretary, and J.H. Kuenzel, Treasurer. The company only consisted of five, the two other members being William Oelke and H.H. Schumacher. The company bought ten acres of Conrad Marting, and laid it out into about 600 lots, of which eighty have been sold at $25 each. The grounds are very neatly laid out, and, all in all, it makes one of the finest cemeteries in the county. The whole is enclosed by a substantial fence; a broad drive extends around it; two avenues thirty-three feet wide cross it, and other avenues sixteen and one-half feet wide intersect these. The cemetery is level, and many fine monuments have been erected. It is situated but a short distance west of the village.


Kann, Schulte & Co. have lately erected a creamery in the eastern part of the village. It was put up during the month of April, the full capacity of the works being taxed as yet. At this date of writing (June) they have hardly started, but it promises to become one of the most important enterprises of Garnavillo. Their butter is shipped to Chicago and New York, from Clayton. The cost of this creamery was about $3,000.

The Garnavillo Creamery of Geo. W. Kennedy was started in the winter of 1879-’80 in the old stone building, which has seen service as school-house and court-house, when the county seat was at Garnavillo. Mr. Kennedy had previously erected a building and commenced operations near the brewery, west of the village, but this experiment proved a failure. He tried to have the farmers bring in milk and this plan did not work. he then took the stone building, and adopted the plan of collecting the cream from the farmers by teams which travel around for the purpose. The building is about 35 x 40. The cream vats have a capacity of 1,600 pounds. Steam is used in the creamery. The business has rapidly enlarged during the three years of its existence. Mr. Kennedy at first ran but one wagon, and has added from time to time till now eight are constantly employed. During 1880 he made 31,551 pounds of butter; during 1881 he made 99,749 pounds, while during the first five months of 1882 the amount produced was 35,526 pounds. This is shipped part to Chicago and part to New York.

Notes (contributed by Diane Fagen)
* the following names have been misspelled in one or more places on this page, the first given in this list being the correct spelling:
Hochhaus / Hockhaus
Fruechtenicht /


This chapter concludes with biographical sketches.


transcribed by Roxanne Barth (Garnavillo twp. & Ceres) and Diane Fagen (Garnavillo)
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 786-802


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