of Jefferson County
"LINBY. Sec. 5, Polk Township. Plat, p. 23, l909 Atlas. P.O. Est. 23 Feb 1904 with Lafayette Dudgeon as first postmaster."
The above information was compiled by Mary Prill and published in the Hawkeye Heritage, July 1967.
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The following story was originally one of a number of articles in the Fairfield Ledger which was later included in the book Villages and Towns of Yester-year in Jefferson County by William R. Baker. We hereby include it on this page with the permission of the Fairfield Ledger.
Names mentioned in this article are as follows:
William Brown; Frank Hoover; Eunice White; Mr. and Mrs. Dave Smith; Dr. James Stepp; Ire Clingman; John Clingman; A. J. Roland; Orb Reighard; Hairy and Kenneth Mowrey; Charles Linder; Guy Black; Rev. Larry Boatman; Roy Lewis; Barbara Hall.
The town of Linby was a
rapidly growing little community around the turn of the century, not only
because one railroad had arrived, but also the arrival of another railroad
which crossed the original right-of-way.
Linby has dwindled in size, but it is still a little community located in the northwest corner of Polk Township in northwest Jefferson County.
The arrival of the two railroads brought a number of employees to the community and provided excellent passenger and freight service for the area. It was anticipated Linby would some day be a major town of 2,500 population or more.
The first railroad to reach the community was the Burlington Western which arrived in 1882. It was a narrow gauge railroad, later sold to the Chicago, Burlington Quincy Railroad. Soon after the sale of the right-of-way it was changed to standard gauge in 1890.
Land for the railroad was purchased from William Brown. Forty acres of land was laid out for the town of Linby.
In 1902 the Milwaukee Railroad built a rail line from Davenport southwest to Kansas City, crossing the CB&Q tracks at Linby. The Milwaukee built a depot at the crossing. Frank Hoover was the first agent.
Because of the crossing an interlocking signal system was necessary to protect the trains, and it was necessary to have an operator on duty 24 hours a day.
Three operators were hired, each working an eight hour shift, in addition to the agent. Section crews were located at Linby by both railroads and the town began to grow rapidly, creating need for goods and living quarters.
The depot was quite large, built to accommodate a number of passengers. The main office surrounded by windows commanded a view down the right-of-way of both railroads. The remainder of the building included a waiting room, baggage and freight room. Up to 20 or more trains passed through Linby including passenger trains day and night.
Years later as rail business diminished the station at Linby was closed April 25, 1956, after automatic signals had been installed. The building was removed in June, 1958, and the CB&Q Railroad ceased operations and the rails were removed in 1971.
The Milwaukee line is still operating with a number of freight trains passing through each day. Only a small tool shed marks the spot where the depot once stood at the crossing. The abandoned right-of-way can still be traced by a line of trees at the location.
Stories concerning Linby's past history includes a murder which took place in the early days. A storekeeper accused a barber of stealing kerosene.
The barber, enraged by the accusation, went to the store armed with a gun. He found the grocer cutting cheese with a big knife. As they approached each other the barber fired, wounding the grocer twice. But the grocer kept approaching and stabbed the barber with the knife. The barber died almost instantly. The grocer was exonerated on a claim of self defense.
A leisurely stroll on the sidewalks that still line the center north-south street in Linby provided an opportunity to see where many former business establishments and homes were once located.
Eunice White, a longtime resident of Linby was the guide. She and her husband both remember when Linby was a busy and growing community. Two buildings linked with the past are still standing. They are the old restaurant and hotel, and a doctor's office and home.
The restaurant was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Dave Smith on the first floor, with the hotel rooms located on the second floor.
Dr. James Stepp arrived in Linby and erected an office building south of the restaurant. Later he was married and living quarters were added.
An early history of Linby prepared some years ago by Mrs. Ire Clingman, now deceased, said the first house was moved to Linby from the John Clingman farm which later became a boarding house. In 1902 a store building which housed the post office was erected. The Linby post office was established in 1904.
The town began to grow. A. J. Roland built an elevator and stockyards. Orb Reighard operated a blacksmith shop in 1914. Harry and Kenneth Mowrey built a lumber yard which was destroyed by fire in 1930.
A tile factory was constructed in 1909 from which many cement blocks and tile were shipped via the railroads. The Linby Bank was established in 1908 with Charles Linder as cashier. It closed in 1933 and the building was razed in February, 1977.
A grocery store was located across the street from the hotel and restaurant. The Odd Fellows Hall was built in 1914. Guy Black operated a hardware store on the first floor with the lodge hall above.
Linby had its own telephone switchboard. Other businesses established in the town during its years of growth include a pool hall, barber shop, livery stable and millinery shop. Foundations are still visible where some of the early buildings were located.
New homes were built as the population increased. This brought about the need for a church. The railroad superintendent gave permission to hold services in the depot. William Brown later donated two lots on which to erect a building to house the Competine Mission Chapel. It was dedicated in June, 1906.
In October, 1909, the name was changed to the First Baptist Church of Linby. It was destroyed by fire February 2, 1958.
August 6, 1958, the erection of a new building was started, with Ira Clingman as carpenter. He was assisted by men of the community who donated their labor. The first service in the new building was held March 1, 1959. The church still holds regular services each Sunday with the Rev. Larry Boatman as pastor.
Mrs. White attended Sunday School in the former building and attends services in the present church.
As the town grew it became evident a school was needed. Children were attending school at Belleville and Pleasant View schools. Through the efforts of Dr. Stepp, a school was erected in 1915.
It served the community until the reorganization of schools in Polk Township at which time students began attending schools at Packwood. Still later the Packwood School became a part of the Pekin Community School District with elementary and high school buildings at Pekin.
Roy Lewis purchased the old Linby school building and it is now an addition to his garage and filling station.
While the town of Linby has dwindled in size and population, it is still home for approximately 40 persons. Barbara Hall operates a beauty parlor; and the Zepher Club organized in 1920, is still active with 17 members.
The following information comes from the book "Glimpses of Yesterday" by Dixie Richardson, published in 1999 and copied here with her permission. The book contains histories and personal memories of Richland, Iowa, and the surrounding area. Copies of the book are available from Dixie Richardson, 556 South Davis, Ottumwa Iowa 52501-5301 for $13.00 and this covers postage and handling as well.
Linby is located a short distance south east of Pekin in Polk Township. Linby came into existence in 1902 when surveyors who were surveying for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad founded it. The railroad was having the area surveyed for a line they planned to run from Chicago to Kansas City. The new line ran through the farms of William Brown, Thomas Linder, and Basil Mowrey and was completed in 1903. The Burlington Western railroad came through the area in 1882. The Burlington Western railroad was later sold to the C. B. & Q. railroad.
The Milwaukee line crossed the C. B. & Q. line on the northeast corner of William Brown's farm. Because the two railroads crossed it was necessary to build a depot. An interlocking system was installed and had to be guarded 24 hours a day. The depot was built in 1902 on ground purchased from William Brown. It was big enough to serve a town of 2500 people. It contained a waiting room and a freight room and a main office for the depot agent and operators. Frank Hoover was the first depot agent. Besides Mr. Hoover there were 3 operators each working 8 hour shifts. As many as twenty to thirty trains per day ran on the new track.
A small train with an engine called the Fox started running on the Burlington Western track about 1892. The Fox earned its name because of its speed and, it was said by residents, that it would just slip up on you at a crossing. The Fox ran from Oskaloosa to Burlington and back each day. The little narrow gauge train consisted of an engine and tender and mail and baggage car and a smoker and day car. The little train was a familiar site on the track for 10 years. After the C. B. & Q. purchased the Burlington Northern line it wanted to run wider trains and the track was widened in 1902. The fox could not run on the wide track so it sat on a siding for a short time and then was later taken to Colorado where it ran on a narrow gauge railroad in the Rocky Mountains near Denver.
The depot was closed in 1956 because of declining business on the railroads and automatic signals had been installed. The depot was removed in 1958. The C. B. & Q. was later sold to the M. & St. L. Railroad. The M. & St. L. discontinued operation in 1971. The I. & M. Rail Link operates on the former Milwaukee line.
Sometime after the depot was built a stockyard and elevator were established by A. J. Roland. Harry Mitchell of Packwood and John Smith of Linby were the stock buyers.
Lafe Dudgeon and F. R. Campbell opened a general store. Other businesses were S. F. Steigleder and son. Another lumberyard operated by Harry and Kenneth Mower. This business was later destroyed by fire in 1930. Walker Rockwell was a brick mason. Rockwell and his wife also operated a boarding house. B. E. Dark operated a general store in a building, which had been moved to Linby. A millinery shop was on the top floor of the store building. Mr. and Mrs. David Smith operated a restaurant in the hotel building. Guy Black ran a hardware store above the Odd fellows Hall and a livery stable. Orb Reighard operated a blacksmith shop. The Linby post office was established in 1904. It was discontinued April 30 1944. Dr. James Stepp came to Linby in 1915 and built a building next to the hotel and opened his medical practice there. The Linby Bank was established in 1908. It closed in 1933. Charles Linder was the first Cashier at the bank. There was also a tile factory in Linby established in 1909.
The Odd Fellows Lodge
The odd fellows lodge members in the area attended meetings at Linby. It was voted to move the building to Linby. The building was destroyed while being moved. A new building was built in Linby in 1917.
Murder in Linby
Linby was the scene of a murder in its early days. One of the
storekeepers at Linby accused the barber of stealing kerosene from his
store. The barber became angry at this accusation. He armed himself with
a gun and went to the store to confront the storekeeper. The storekeeper
was cutting a cheese with a knife and the storekeeper and the barber approached
The barber fired his gun injuring the storekeeper. The storekeeper stabbed the barber with the knife he had been using to cut the cheese. The barber died almost immediately. The storekeeper recovered from his wounds and was acquitted on the grounds of self-defense.
Linby Baptist Church
Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Kenyon felt that a church was needed at Linby as the population had grown enough to support a church. The superintendent of the railroad gave permission to have services in the depot until a church building was erected. A meeting was held in 1905 to discuss forming the Competine Mission Chapel. A committee comprised of A. H. Eller, 0. 0. Phelps, and E. D. Davis was appointed to look into erecting a building. William Brown had left 2 lots in his will for a church and Mrs. Kenyon donated a lot for a church. Construction began on the church in 1905. It was dedicated on June 3 1906. Reverend M. C. Alexander officiated at the dedication. The name of the church was officially changed to Linby First Baptist Church in 1909. It was under the leadership of the Farson church until 1910 when it requested a release from Farson. The church building was destroyed by fire on February 2, 1958. Rev Daniel P. Hill was minister at that time. A new church building was erected and church was held for the first time in the new building on March 1, 1959. Linby Baptist entered a yoke agreement with Ollie Baptist church. Rev. William Clarkson is pastor at Linby Baptist church.
Education in Linby
Children in the Linby area attended school at Pleasant View or Belleville schools. Dr. Stepp felt a school was needed in Linby and convinced the residents of this. A school building was erected in 1917. Students attended school at Linby until districts were reorganized. They then attended school at Packwood. All students today attend school at Pekin Community School.
Today all the original businesses are gone. In later years Roy Lewis ran a garage in Linby until his death. Today Linby has no businesses but has several residents.
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