Fremont County, Iowa

Newspaper Archives

Tabor Beacon
(Tabor Centennial Issue)

Sidney, Fremont County, Iowa
July 1902
  • July 28, 1952

      In 1846, the families of Noah Green and E.B. Gaylord, who had come with the Mormon migration to Kanesville, chose the hills south of the present site of Tabor for their new homes. From 1847 to 1852 several pioneer families from Indiana and Kentucky located in the timber along the creeks west of Tabor. These were the first white settlers in this vicinity. But the founders of the town were three families from Ohio, those of George B. Gaston, the Reverend John Todd, and Samuel H. Adams, who had come west to build a second Oberlin. After two seasons of flood near Percival, they sought higher ground, and this plateau between the Missouri and Nishna rivers they chose as the best location.

      In April, 1852, they moved upon claims southwest of Tabor. In July 1852, the first two houses in Tabor were completed, and the families of Gaston and Adams moved in. The Todd house was built the following year. Two of these first three houses still stand; the Gaston, now the Starret house, at the southwest corner of the park, the Todd house west of the park.

      Other families soon joined these. All the men of the community met in town meetings to decide matters of importance. Jesse West became the first blacksmith, first postmaster and built the first hotel. In 1857, M. L. Carpenter established the first general store, his building now being rebuilt into the Isis theater. A stage line from St. Joe to Kanesville (Council Bluffs) ran through Sidney, Tabor, and Council Bluffs. Traces of the old stage road may still be seen on some farms near Tabor. Early stations were the Green home, now Guy Boone’s south of Tabor, and the Hurlbutt, later the Wilkins, now the Marvin Vinton home north of town.

      On July 4, 1854, the first passengers on the underground railway were taken from Tabor to Lewis, the next station. From then until 1860, Tabor conductors made numerous trips to help the slaves to freedom, usually under cover of night and corn or hay.

      Tabor history is also closely connected with the struggle to make Kansas a free state. John Brown, often with his sons, frequently stopped here, sometimes remaining for several weeks at a time. General James K. Lane was also a visitor, drilling troops in the square, as the park donated to the town by George B. Gaston was then called. Arms were stored in barns and cellars and refuges were cared for. Among the houses associated with John Brown were the Gaston (Starrett) house, the Jonas Jones house, now the Reeves Funeral Home, and the house now occupied by Carters on Center Street. The last two have been rebuilt.

      During the Civil War, almost ever able bodied man was in service, Pastor Todd going as Chaplain. The same patriotic spirit was manifested during the World Wars and is seen in the Korean struggle. A large percent of our young men are now in uniform.

      From the first, Tabor has been a religious center. In October, 1852, the Congregational church was organized. Other denominations followed; today Tabor is proud of its five active churches.

Source:transcribed by Lois Shaul

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