Perry History

Excerpt from The History of Dallas County, Iowa, published in 1879 by the Union Historical Company of Des Moines, Iowa

This town is located in the northern part of Spring Valley township, on sections 9 and 10. It is one mile from the Boone county line, three from Greene, and six from Guthrie. Being thus favorably situated a large portion of the trade is drawn from three counties, thus making Perry one of the most enterprising and live business towns in the county.

Perry derived its name from one of the owners of the road at that time, Col. Perry, of Keokuk.

The town was laid out in the winter of 1868 and spring of 1869, by John and Harvey Willis. The original town plat contained about 220 acres. Five acres was donated to the railroad company for depot purposes, also thirty-two lots south of Willis avenue, were given to the company.

The first merchant in the place was D. J. Pattee, who first opened a store one and one-half miles west of Perry, two years before the railroad was completed. As soon as the town was located he moved his store and stock of goods to Perry. The building was 22x60 feet, two-story frame, and it was located on the corner where his present business house stands. It burned down February 7, 1870.

B. B. Campbell built the first residence. It was a frame building on lots 11 and 12, block 20.

The first death in town was that of a child of Levi Thornburgh. The first death of an adult in town was that of Dr. J. H. Fry.

The burying ground is located one mile north of town, and contains ten acres of ground. It was laid out about one year ago. It is nicely located, and in time will be nicely arranged for this purpose. It belongs to the city and is under its management.

In 1870 the population of Perry was 301. The town was incorporated March 27, 1875.


Mayor-J. H. Conley.


Robert Ginn,
W. H. Chandler,
J. H. Willis.
Recorder-A. G. Webster.
Treasurer-Robert Ginn.
Marshal-A. D. Haskins.


W. H. Chandler,
S. A. Carpenter,
Robert Ginn,
Will. McLuen,
B. F. Newport.

The present officers are:

Mayor-D. J. Pattee.
Recorder-O. H. Ainley.
Treasurer- Wm. Jennings.
Assessor-A. D. Haskins.
Marshal-J. T. Davis.


Wm. Jennings,
H. A. Hoyt,
J. A. Waldo.
D. W. Payne,
F. M. Hain.

Council meets first Monday night in each month, in Pattee & Webster's office.


The first post-office in Perry was established in the summer of 1869, D. J. Pattee as postmaster, who has held that office ever since to the general satisfaction of the people.


Of this mill the people of Perry have reason to be proud. It was built during the summer of 1875, by Messrs. Otis & Selby Bros., at a cost bf $12,000. It is 40x70 feet in size, three stories high, with stone basement, and fire-proof engine room. It had originally three run of stone, and is fitted throughout with the latest improved and best machinery that could be obtained.

In the fall of 1878 there was added another run of burs, and also another chest of bolts for the new process of making flour, at an additional cost of about $1,000. Their trade extends all along the Des Moines and Fort Dodge railroad. This mi1l is now managed by A. W. Otis.

There are two plow factories doing quite an extensive business, F. M. Hains' and M. A. Conley's. Their plows are extensively sold throughout this section of the country.


The school-building is located on Second street, near the business center of the town. It is a two-story brick, a fine structure, nicely finished and furnished, and is 50x60 feet. It was built in 1876, at a cost of between $11,000 and $12,000. It is divided off in four departments, and four teachers are employed.

Principal, G. Perkins; Intermediate, Miss Ella Cassidy; First Primary, Miss Rebecca Bohrer; Second Primary, Miss Ena Balentine.


President-Rev. A. E. Simons; Secretary-J. Parmenter; Treasurer D. J. Pattee; George Harlen, F. M. Rain, W. F. Cordell, W. L. Warren, Wm. McLuen.

Average attendance about 200. The first lady teacher in the town was Miss J. Perkins, and the first gentleman teacher Jesse Macey.


This church was built during the summer of 1873. The building is frame, 30x60. They hold meetings the second Sunday of each month, and are now talking of building a new brick church, which they hope to have completed during the coming year. Priest, P. J. Harney.


The following sketch was kindly furnished by the pastor, which we give in full:

"The Perry Baptist Church was organized in 1869 in a school-house four miles south of town and was then known as the Spring Valley Baptist Church. There were nine constituent members.

"In January, 1870, the place of meeting was changed to Perry, and the name changed to the Baptist Church of Perry. At the time this change was made the church numbered about 20 members. There have been received into the church since that time by baptism 91, and by letter 62.

Recently twenty-nine members have been dismissed to form a new church in People's township, Boone county. The present membership of the church is 115.

"Rev. E. R. Swain was pastor for one year after the first organization. In January 1, 1870, Rev. A. E. Simons became pastor and has continued as such until the present time. Lewis Maulsby was the first deacon of the church. The present deacons are A. Parker, David Bonine and S. J. Bromfield. The trustees are A. Parker, W. H. Phelps and A. Ashcroft. The clerk and treasurer is W. H. Phelps.

     "In 1870 the church procured the lots upon which the church building stands, laid the foundation for the building, put up the frame and enclosed it, In the spring of 1871 the house was temporarily seated and used in that condition until the winter of 1872-3, when it was completed, and dedicated in April, 1873. The entire cost of the building and furnishing has been about $3,500. There was upon the church lots when first obtained, a small house, which has been used as a parsonage; this has been enlarged so as to make a very commodious and pleasant dwelling at a cost of several hundred dollars, so that during this time there has been expended upon the church property some $4,200.

"This enterprise was undertaken by a church numbering only about 30 members, all poor; and has been carried through by indomitable pluck, hard work and personal sacrifice. A Sunday-school has been maintained from the first. Rev. A. E. Simons is the present superintendent. The average attendance is about 100."


Of Perry was organized October 17, 1869. Rev. I. F. Miller, pastor; Rev. Samuel Jones, presiding elder; H. A. Chappelear, class leader, and David Kelley, steward. The original members were Nancy Chappelear, Mary Kelley, Isaac Townsen, Hannah Townsen, Anna Townsen, Eliza Fry, Rebecca Allen, Lizzie Miller and Eliza Chappelear.

Rev. I. F. Miller resigned the charge at the end of two months; Rev. H. B. Kees completed the year. On the fifth of Sept., 1870, Rev. I. Mershon was appointed to the charge and remained one year. Four additions were made to the church membership that year. Rev. W. C. Smith was next appointed, Sept. 24, 1871. For two years he labored with great success, and an addition of 94 members was made. Rev. D. Lamonte succeeded him Sept. 15, 1873; Rev. M. D. Collins being then presiding elder, having been appointed Sept. 15, 1872. Rev. Lamonte only staid one year when Rev. S. Snyder was appointed Sept. 15, 1874; he was succeeded by Rev. E. W. Brady, Oct. 12, 1875; and he by Rev. Samuel Jones, Sept. 26, 1877, the present pastor, who is now completing his second year as pastor of this charge, and who has kindly furnished us with the materials for this sketch.

The church records show a present membership of 110, and though additions have been made to the church membership under the administration of each pastor, and frequently large ones, still the records show that over 100 have been dismissed by letter to other churches; so that the permanent increase has not been so perceptible on account of so many removals; but it is to be hoped that all these have only gone out as ministers and helpers in other parts of the Lord's vineyard.

During the administration of Rev. D. Lamonte the first church building was erected on the corner of Third and Warford streets. It, is a frame structure 35x55 feet, costing $3,100, very neatly finished and furnished inside and outside, and was dedicated in November, 1874, Rev. Kendig officiating. During the administration of Rev. E. W. Brady, a good parsonage was built on lots 3 and 4, block 39. The property is now worth $1,000.

The membership of the church is well represented in all the business of the town, and more than half of the professional men are members of the M. E. Church, and as the pastor states: "the corporation officers, merchants and manufacturers, together with the several professions, bear a greater proportion to the number thus employed, than the proportion of the membership does to the number of inhabitants; which proves that the talent of the town is we1l represented in. the M. E. Church."

A. O. U. W.

This society was organized in the spring of 1877, with the fo1lowing named persons as charter members:
      D. J. Pattee, P. C. Rude, J. E. Reed, W. L. Warren, M. W. Slocum, H. .T. Holmes, G. Harlan, P. H. Dunlap, W. F. Cardell, S. Parmenter, D. W. Payne, N. Endequist, H. Courtney, C. Lombard, J. S., Goss, S. Pangburn, L. H. Pickerel, A. T. Hart, E. W. Brady, J. P. Spalding and C. H. Amley-21.

At the first meeting the fol1owing officers were elected: W. F. Cardell, M. W.; Dr. P. H. Dunlay, P. M.; H. J. Holmes, G. F.; J. E. Reed, Overseer; C. Lambard, Guide; S. Parmenter, I. W.; A. T. Hart, O. W.; J. P. Spalding, Financier; W. L. Warren, Receiver; D. W. Payne, Recorder.

Present membership, twenty-nine. Present officers: D. J. Pattee, M. W.; H. Courtney, P. M.; P. C. Rude, G. F.; Geo. Harlan, Overseer; R. P. Stiles, Guide; H. J, Holmes, I. W.; J. Goss, O. W.; H. J. Holmes, Financier; C. H. Ainley, Receiver; E. D. Lunt, Recorder. They meet Monday evening of each week.


     Perry Lodge, No. 235, I. O. G. T.-This lodge was organized February 1, 1878. There were sixteen original members, and they now have about fifty.

Present officers: W. F. Cardell, W. C. T.; Mrs. H. J. Holmes, W. V. T.; H. J. Holmes, Secretary; Q. A. Willis, Financial Secretary; Mrs. C. L. Lane, Treasurer; I. N. Willis, Marshal; S. R. Ems, Chaplain; J. H. Willis, P. W. C. T.; Mrs. C. Pierce, W. G.; J. J. C. Van Norden, W. S. They meet Friday evening of each week.


Otley Lodge, No. 299. A. F. &: A. M.-This lodge was organized under Charter in 1871, with seven members, whose names were as follows: S. Pangburn, Robert Hastie, Ira Daty, F. M. Hain, H. A. Chappelear, Horatio Hall and Luma Gee. 

The following are the names of some of the charter officers: S. Pangburn, W. M.; Robert Hastie. S. W.; Ira Doty, J. W.

     The present officers are as follows: W. H. Chandler, W. M.; Ed. D. Lunt, S. W.; H. A. Chappelear, .J. W.; .J. M. Hain, Treasurer; I. Parmenter, Secretary; C. E. Cox, S. D.; J. D. Stiles, J. D. They meet Saturday evening of each month, on or before the full moon. The present membership is fifty-five.

The Palmira Chapter, No 86, received its charter in 1878. 

The present officers are: H. A. Hoyt, H. P.; B. B. Selby, K.; R. Ginn, Scribe; A. D. Hoskin, C. H.; C. E. Cox, P. S.; S. Pangburn, R. A. C.;

W. H. Chandler, M. 1st V.; E. D. Selby, M. 2d V.; S. O. Conger, M. 3d V.


    The following list of business houses and items is clipped from the Perry Chief of January 4, 1879:

Dry Goods, etc.-D. W. Payne, general stock, east side of square; S. M. Thornley, general stock, except clothing, east side; Wales & Co., drY goods, boots and shoes, west side; B. F. Van Leuven, general stock north side; G. H. Rowley, general stock, north side.

Clothing.--J. J. Van Norden, clothing and gents' furnishing goods, east side.  

Groceries.-Parmenter & Co., groceries, queensware, etc., west side; W. Ar Shong, Chinese store, Willis avenue; W. H. Carmody, groceries and restaurant, Willis avenue; J. H. Shippey, groceries and restaurant, Willis avenue; Weaver & Cardell, groceries and drugs, northwest corner of square; Wm. Bollen, groceries and restaurant, Willis avenue; N. Schuchart, groceries, etc.  

Bakers.-J. H. Shippey, Wi1lis avenue; W. H. Carmody, Willis avenue.  

Drugs.-Courtney & Long, drugs, books, stationery and news depot, west side; Weaver & Cardell, drugs, books, stationery, etc., west side; Hunter & Goss, drugs, books, stationery, etc., north side. 

Hardware.--C. H. Ainley, hardware, stoves, etc., west side; Lads &
Selby Bros., hardware, stoves, glassware, etc., east side. 

Furniture.- W. H. Phelps, furniture, coffins, etc., Willis avenue. 

Tin Shops.--J. D. Clark, over Lods & Selby Bros'. hardware store; C. H. Ainley, west side of square. 

Millinery and Dressmaking.--Mrs. J. L. Grace, millinery, west side; Mrs. Whitman, millinery, west side; Mrs. S. Long, millinery and variety store, east side; Milligan & Cassidy, millinery and fancy goods, Second street; Mrs. Gale & :Mrs. Marrs, dressmakers, Third street. 

Livery Stable.-William Bollen, Willis avenue. 

Agricultural Implements.- W. H. Chandler, machinery, wagons, drain tile, etc., corner Willis avenue and Second street; J. L. Grace, machinery, wagons, etc., west side of square. 

Wagon and Plow Shops.--F. A. Carpenter, wagon and blacksmithing, west of railroad; F. M. Hain, wagon and plow factory, Willis avenue; M. A. Conley, blacksmithing and plow factory, First street; C. L. Lane, blacksmithing and wagon making, Willis avenue.  

Lawyers.-Cox & Hoyt, office west side of square; Cardell & Shortley, office on Second street, Blakeslee's Row; A. G. Webster, office north side of square.

Physicians.-S. Pangburn, office and residence on Third street; John Ross, office on Willis avenue; T. F. Johnson (homeopath), office at residence; P. A. Mowrer, residence one mile southwest of town.

Real Estate Agents.-Harlan & Rude, office on Willis Avenue; L. D. Gamble, office north side of square; Geo. D. Hendricks & Son, office at depot; Otley & Chappelear, office east side square, up stairs.

Lumber.-Holmes; & Durfee, lumber and grain, Second street, south of square; B. F. Newport, First street.

Perry Mills and Elevator.-Otis & Selby Bros., proprietors, west side of railroad.

Shoemakers.-Swan Johnson, Willis Avenue, west of railroad; F. O. Griswold, Willis Avenue, Winsor's building.

Hotels.-City Hotel, southwest corner of square, A. D. Haskins, proprietor; Perry House, First street, ____ Fleming, proprietor.

Meat Markets.-Isaiah Smith, west side of square; W. B. Newkirk, Second street, Blakeslee's block.

Banks.-Geo. W. Blakeslee, corner Willis Avenue and Second street.
Barber Shops.-C. E. Gale, Second street, in Blakeslee's brick; D. M. Sipes, west side of square.

Jewelers.-J. P. Spaulding, clocks, watches and silverware, north side square; J. R. Winsor, Willis avenue.

Gunsmithing.-F. Rossiter, north side square, rear of Spaulding's jewelry store; J. P. Montgomery, Willis avenue, in Winsor's building.

Nursery.-Geo. D. Barton, one mile north of town.

Painter.-J. F. Hantz, residence on Third street.

Loan Agents.-Harlan & Rude, D. J. Pattee, Hendricks & Son, Geo. B. Paul.

Dentist.-Chas. E. Hunt, office on Second street, in Blakeslee's brick.

Grain Dealers.-Otis & Selby Bros., Holmes & Durfee, O. Bridgman, J. Hart.

Harness and Saddles.-W. L. Warren, north side square; A. W. Parmenter, east side square, at McLuen's old stand.

Butter and Eggs.-J. F. Davis, east side of square.

     Through the kindness of Mr. Jennings, our station agent, we are enabled to give the number of cars of produce, stock, etc., shipped from this station during the year, as follows:
Corn ....................................................664
Hogs ...................................................153
Oats ........ .............................................90
Cattle ...................................................30
Flax Seed .............................................13
Potatoes ..............................................10
Butter and Eggs ...................................12
Wheat ,.................................................. 9
Flour and Feed ......................................3
Lumber .................................................1

Total .................................................985

The 664 cars of corn above mentioned represent 287,000 bushels, which, with the other shipments, make a very good showing for Perry.

Perry is decidedly one of the most live, thorough-going business towns in the west, being surrounded as it is with a large tract of rich prairie and farming land, and so near the line of several different counties, it draws trade from great distances in nearly every direction, and since its first establishment the town has a rapid, steady growth.

The merchants generally carry a full and well selected stock of goods, and the town and inhabitants display a general appearance of thrift and enterprise.

The farming community around are usually well-to-do, industrious citizens, who are becoming extensively engaged in stock and grain-raising, and take great delight in furthering the general interests and growth of their favorite town which gives it the means of growth.

Its location, about midway between the two great east and west lines of railroad to Chicago, and on the D. M. & Ft. D. R. R. connecting these two routes to the great market of the Northwest, gives warrant that the town of Perry is destined, at no very distant day in the future, to become a flourishing town of no small dimensions and importance, even to be numbered among the cities of the West.

The place has one good newspaper, The Perry Chief, the history of which is found in the article on "The Press."

Perry has a good cornet band under the leadership of Marion Flinn.

The present population of the town is about 1,000.

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