IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.

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History of Clayton County, Iowa
Chapter XXXII

Lodomillo Township


Lodomillo Township
(page 875-880)

This township was organized in 1846, and is 91 north, range 5 west. It is just east of Cass, which is the southwestern township of the county. The lad was principally covered with timber, except the southern and western portions, but much of the timber has been cleared off. The surface of the country is much of it rough, but it contains also much rolling land, that is capable of high cultivation. It is drained by Doe Creek, Gooseberry Creek, Dutch Branch, and other small tributaries of the Volga and Maquoketa. The divide between these two streams passes south of the middle portion of the township.
Lodomillo is said to derive its name from the following circum-stance, though it should be said that some doubt the story: Schuyler Peet once wished to load a fanning mill into his wagon, and the mill being rather heavy for him, he asked a tall Indian passing by to assist in lifting it. The Indian was not inclined to degrade himself by work, and replied in broken English, “Load-a-mill-oh!”

Another story is, that a large patch of watermelons was raised near the present village of Edgewood, and this gave rise to the name of “Load-of-mellons,” which has since become Lodomillo.

Lodomillo was settled largely by immigrants from New England and New York, which fact gave the name “Yankee Settlement” to the village on the southern edge of the township. There are but few Germans and Irish. The first comer was a Mr. Lyon, who located on section 26, in the fall of 1844, and afterword removed to parts unknown. In 1845 the first permanent settlers came - F.C. and William C. Madison, Isaac Preston and Horace Bemis and families; and George L. Wheeler, Rev. N.W. Bixby came in 1847. Other early settlers were John Gibson, Henry Brown, Schuyler R. Peet, Joseph Lee, Oliver Purdy, Nathan Purdy, Moses Purdy, Frank Riley, Jonathan F. Noble and family.

The first marriage in Lodomillo was that of F.C. Madison and Elizabeth Purdy, by Rev. J.W. Bryar, In November, 1848.

The first birth is believed to have been that of Isaac Purdy, who was born July 5, 1845.
The first death was that of Mrs. Elizabeth Madison, June 16, 1850. There are two cemeteries in the township.

The first school was taught by Charlotte Mulliken, in a house built in 1847, near where Walters’ Mill now is. There are at present two school-houses in the township. The first school-house was built on section 36, in 1846. When this became unsuitable for school purposes, the women of the district asked for a new one. The intelligent voters not agreeing to this, Mrs. Peet and several other ladies quietly slipped out one evening while Schuyler and a few neighbors were enjoying a game of seven up, and set fire to the school-house. The log structure was reduced to ashes, and the men concluded to build the new school-house. This was erected in 1855.

The President of the first School Board was Schuyler Peet, elected in 1846.

The first religious services were held at the house of Schuyler Peet, by Rev. Joel Taylor, of the Methodist Episcopal church, in August, 1846, and occurred on election day. There are at present three church organizations – Methodist Episcopal, Free-Will Baptist and United Brethren.

There are no manufactories or mills at present in the township, except a steam saw and grist mill on section 36, built in 1860 by J.W. Windsor. It was burnt in 1874 and rebuilt by Mr. Walters the following year. There are two cemeteries, one in Edgewood, one on section 30.

A brick-yard was started in 1850 by Edwin Steele and a Dr. Webster. Amasa Baker also started a lime-kiln.

The first postoffice was established on section 34, in 1851, and G.L. Wheeler was the first Postmaster. A postoffice was afterward started at Yankee Settlement, now Edgewood, and is now the only one in the township, the other having been discontinued.

The first election was held in August, 1845, in the house of Schuyler B. Peet, section 35, soon after the organization of the township, and passed off very quietly. There were eight votes cast.

The first Township Clerk was Frederick Silas, elected in 1845. The first Justice of the Peace was Schuyler R. Peet, chosen in 1845.


The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in the fall of 1845, by Joel Taylor. The first members were F.C. Madison, Isaac Preston and wife, Horace Bemis and wife, Nathan Purdy and wife. F.C. Madison was the first Class-Leader, and has held the office for thirty years, till he resigned. Isaac Preston was Steward. Joel Taylor was the first pastor, and there have been many others since. The present pastor is Albert Cochran. There have been several very extensive revival services and many confessions, under the pastorates of Revs. Webb, Garrison, and Knickerbocker. Present officers of the church are: Il.F. Byers, Class-Leader and Steward, and F.C. Madison, Steward. Present condition of the church is goof. There has been a membership of about 500 since its organization. There is a Sunday-school of about sixty scholars. It was organized in 1849 and 1850.

The Free-Will Baptist Church. – This society was organized May 13, 1848, by Rev. N.W. Bixby and wife, assisted by Deacons H.C. Crosier and J.A. Smith. Rev. N.W. Bixby and wife came to Iowa in 1847 and became citizens of Lodomillo the same year. They came under the direction of the Free-Will Baptist Board of Home Missions.

The names of the original members of the church are: Newell W. Bixby, Ruby Bixby, Norman Scovil, Mary Scovil, Martha Noble, and Horatio Wilkinson. N.W. Bixby was elected pastor, and Horatio Wilkinson, Clerk. The church was organized in the log-cabin of N.W. Bixby on section 28. The Elder, as he is generally called, has sustained the relation of pastor till the present time, with the exception of one year.

There have been several revival seasons since the organization of the church. The pastor’s wife, Mrs. Ruby Bixby, was during her lifetime very useful in revival work, and the revivals were largely due to her untiring devotion. Rev. William B. Hamblen once held a series of meetings which resulted in the addition of nine members of the church.

Sixty-nine persons have been added to the church by baptism, and fifty-six by letter, besides the original six members. The total membership is 131. There are at present forty members connected with the church, besides a few who are regarded as non-resident members.

Meetings are held at stated times at the school-house, on section 28, and at the Methodist Episcopal church, in the village of Edgewood. There is a covenant meeting once in four weeks, and a ladies’ aid society is connected with the church, which meets once a month. The church is connected with the Delaware and Clayton quarterly meeting.

The Sunday-school was organized in the log cabin of N.W. Bixby, in 1848, with Mrs. Ruby Bixby as Superintendent. The present Superintendent is Henry Joys. Mrs. C.H. True is Secretary. In the last report of the Sunday-school the membership is stated to be forty.

The Winnebago Indians were occasionally troublesome in the early days. Their reservation lay to the west, but they would frequently cross their lines, for “hunting,” they said. But the hunted not only wild game, but occasionally a hog or an ox in some farmer’s claim. This would necessitate pursuit and punishment. The most common and most effectual way to do this was to administer a switching. An Indian feels greatly degraded by a whipping.

Mr. Madison tells of the hardships the early pioneers suffered. Hardships indeed they were, but of the kind that elevate and ennoble man, instead of degrading him. The first settlers were too poor to pay for their land when they first came, and lived on Uncle Sam’s domains, rent free, for many years. When a man got enough money ahead, he would go to the land office at Dubuque and enter his land. The pioneers of Lodomillo went to Dubuque for everything – provisions, mail, flour, etc., could not be procured nearer. The nearest mill was at Quasqueton, Buchanan County, thirty-six miles away, but the Cat-fish Mills at Dubuque were generally patronized. Some pounded their own wheat at first. Those were indeed Democratic days, when a man could go to church in buckskin breeches and blanket coat.


(page 880-882)

Formerly “Yankee Settlement,” was surveyed in 1874 by O.E.Noble, on the southwest corner of section 35. The proprietors were Oscar B. Blanchard, Lewis Blanchard, Mary Blanchard, Miranda Blanchard, Nelson Fenner and Nancy E. Fenner. The original survey of “Yankee Settlement” was made in 1856 by P. Slater, for John Gibson and Ramon Gibson *. An addition was surveyed in 1873.

The name Edgewood was never legally adopted, but was gradually received by the inhabitants. The name was fixed finally by the railroad company giving the name Edgewood to the station in 1876.

The first house was built by Joseph Belknap, and he also opened the first store. In 1867 or 1868 Edward Packard started the first wagon-shop. There are now three in operation, those of Robert Roll, James Wyant and Mr. Griffith. The first blacksmith was John B. Crandall, who began in 1856 or 1857. There are now four blacksmiths. The creamery owned by H.F. Beyer was built in 1878. Nelson Fenner was the first shoemaker.

The first school-house was erected in the fall of 1874, and the first school was taught by Miss Lane. It is located on the western side of the village, and is now a graded school; it is taught by H.A. Hollister, Principal, and Elsie Noble, primary.

The Methodist Episcopal church was built in 1856, at a cost of [? $2,000.00]. The first sermon was preached by Rev. H. Brunson, and the first regular pastor was Rev. Simeon Alger. The church was re-built in 1881 at a cost of $2,200. The Free-Will Baptists also worshipped in this church.

The bar was ably represented by Schuyler R. Peet until his death. He was the first lawyer, and a personal sketch of him is given elsewhere. S.T. Richards was admitted in 1881, and is now engaged in the practice of law.

The first physician was Dr. D.W. Chase, who came in 1855. He left about 1865. In that year Dr. Lewis Blanchard came, and he is still engaged in the practice of medicine at Edgewood. Dr. Geo. Peters came in 1879, and Dr. Newman came in 1880.

C.B. Storey opened his hotel in 1873, and Fred Peet was the first Postmaster. John Gifford is the Postmaster at present.

The village is not incorporated, and no census, apart from the township, has ever been taken. Its population in 1860 is estimated at twenty-five; in 1870, 100; in 1882, 350.

Among the business interests of the village are the stores of H.F. Beyer, Blanchard & Bixby, and Geo. Comstock, who keep general assortments of merchandise. The two latter also keep drugs. Densmore Bros. are engaged in the hardware business.

The railroad was built through the place in 1872. It is a part of the O.M. & St. P. system. It was built as the Davenport & St. Paul, and was afterward bought by the C.M. & St. P.

The depot was erected in the summer of 1873. The first agent was George Comstock. He was succeeded by T.A. Allen, and he by J.O. Clifford. Then came O.C. Tomlinson, and after him J.W. Forward, the present agent. The road connects at Jackson Junction; fifty-one miles northwest, with the I. & D.R.R. One passenger train runs each way daily.

The business of the road at Edgewood consists principally of shipments of butter and hogs. The following table gives a summary of the shipments in pounds for the year ending April 30, 1882:

May 10,580 60,000 7,000
June 12,010 80,000 40,000
July 10,090 40,000 4,000
August 8,930 40,000 55,000
September 5,060 60,000 5,500
October 9,685 72,000 30,000
November 5,480 220,000 48,000
December 3,320 250,000 45,700
January 2,320 140,000 112,510
February 1,580 80,000 201,000
March 2,220 60,000 105,430
April   60,000 138,650
  85,693 1,192,000 610,210

Among the miscellaneous shipments hoop-poles are quite a prominent item. Not included in the above table are ties, of which about 25,000 are shipped at this point every year. The ticket sales for the past year were: Many, 1881, $90.31; June, $93.65; July, $138.63; August, $481.60; September, $111.63; October, $116.47; November, $112.12; December, $161.70; January, $97.64; February, $77.80; March, $168.17; April, $190.90; total $81,439.62.


This chapter concludes with biographical sketches.


transcribed by Diane Fagen
source: History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1882; CHAPTER XXXII; pg. 875-882.

-Annotation: "I am the 2nd great granddaughter of John Gibson and was surprised to see a * "Ramon" Gibson listed. Yankee Settlement was first surveyed for John Gibson and Rosanna Gibson (not Ramon), his wife. I have copies of the original handwritten school records for Lodomillo Township & "Rosanna" is spelled various ways through the years, such as Rose, Roseann, etc, and I am sure that "Ramon" should be "Rosanna". John & Rosanna Gibson lived next door to Joseph & Maria Belknap, which can be seen in the early census records for Lodomillo Twp." contributed by Cheron Gibson, San Diego, CA July 2004.


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