Towns - Post Offices - Rail Stops
of Jefferson County

(Polk Township)

"PACKWOOD. Secs. 13 & 14, Polk Township, Named for Samuel Packwood, who owned the town site. Plat, p. 23, 1909 Atlas. P.O. Est. 8 Jan 1883, Lenora F. Thomas first postmistress; Geo. W. Caldwell p. m. in 1894, succeeding J. A. Clark. In 1890, Packwood had three general stores, one hardware store, two grain elevators, a brick and tile factory, M.E. Church, Christian Church, school, etc. Pop. in 1890, 245. Packwood today is a thriving town. ("Pretty Packwood," Ledger Sept. 7, 1892, and "Packwood & Its People," Tribune  Dec 16 1896.)"
The above information was compiled by Mary Prill and published in the Hawkeye Heritage, July 1967.

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.


 Samuel Packwood was born in Indiana in 1818. He married Melinda Goss in 1844. Samuel Packwood and his family moved from Indiana to Des Moines County, Iowa. About 1874 the Packwood Family moved to Jefferson County Iowa. Samuel and his oldest son purchased adjoining farms. It was on his farm on the north half of section 14 in Polk Township that Samuel Packwood founded the town that bears his name. The town was incorporated in 1894.

The Railroad

 Packwood was located along the Burlington Western Railroad. Samuel Packwood gave four acres of ground to the railroad. On this 4 acres the railroad built, a depot, stockyard, a siding, a water tank and reservoir. The Burlington and Western railroad was purchased by the Chicago Burlington and Quincy railroad around the turn of the century. In 1910 the C.B.&Q. widened the track from narrow to standard gauge. In 1934 the railroad was sold to the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad. The M. & St. L. was purchased in 1960 by the Chicago and Northern Railroad. The railroad line was abandoned in 1972.

Businesses in Packwood

 By the end of its first year of existence Packwood had 4 businesses. The first businesses in Packwood were 2 grocery stores a dry good store and a hardware store. Other businesses through out the years were hotels run by S.J. Loughery, in 1884, James Lounserbone. John Berne, Charles Huss, Mrs. S. J. Hawthorne who ran the Arand House, Mr. and Mrs. Nate Thomas who ran the Packwood Hotel for a short time.

 Farmer's Savings Bank was organized August 22, 1888, by some Fairfield businessmen. It was first located in the building where the library is presently located. Some of the members of the bank's first board of Directors were Ed Hunt, D. B. Stubbs, Charles Herring and Dillon Turney. In 1897 the bank was incorporated. The first president of the bank was Andrew Ryman. Other presidents of the bank in its early years were E. A. Miller, 1913, L. K. Wallace R. H. Myers and J. E. Wallace. In 1918 a new 25 feet by 50 ft. building was built where the bank is located today. The bank became under private ownership with J. E. Wallace as the first private owner. In 1977 the bank building was doubled in size and remodeled. The present bank was currently opened in 1978.

 Packwood elevator was prominent a business for several years. It was opened in 1884 by J.A. Condon. It was operated by E. A. Miller in 1896. A. D. Hayes and Company later purchased the elevator. B. T. Lutes managed the elevator for Hayes from 1914 to 1931. Other proprietors of the elevator were a Mr. King who became manager after B. T. Lutes, John Sustman, Ray Doak, Everett Spanier, and Louis Doty. Harvey Condon later purchased the elevator. Ray Goehrig and Paul Glassnap were mangers for Condon. The elevator was sold to Dale Sullivan in 1971. Today the elevator is privately owned.

 There have been a number of general stores and grocery stores over the years in Packwood. The first stores were run by Thomas Bell and Albert Grafton, and Robert Dale Owen. Other people who have run grocery stores in Packwood were George Speilman, Walter Minscher, Emory Edwards, E. L. Mikesell, Elmer Hixson, Orville Steel, Earl Wells, Minnie McKay, Jeff Cox, Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Myers, Earle Fry, Wendell Pirtle, Marion Caughell, Keith Baldwin, Raymond Gill, Jack Whitten, Robert Whitten, Henrietta Whitten, Charles Davis, Ernest and Raymond McCreery, Roby and Ildrie Johnson, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Mitchell and Carl Padgett.

 In 1979 the grocery store in Packwood closed. The city council and community felt the town needed a grocery store. The city council appointed a committee to look into options for a grocery store. Funds were raised to purchased a building on the west side of the square owned by Junior Horras. Horras had previously operated a furniture store in the building. Applications were taken to find some one to operate the store. Jerry and Shirley Howes were chosen to operate the store. Today Packwood is with out a grocery store.

 There have been numerous restaurants. The first restaurant in Packwood was operated by A.S. Snider. Some of the people who have operated restaurants in Packwood are Tom Mitchell, Henry Avery, Otto Newlin, John Johnson, Bales and Wolcott, Emma Lisk, Don Downey, Harold Nelson, Robert and Mildred Reynolds, Mac McCreery, Dean Downey, John Quail, Keith and Nathalie Mitchell, Diane Dugger, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Myers, Mr. and Mrs. Vie Woolums, Mr. and Mrs. Bill Vanderlip, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest McCreery and Grace Murphy.

 There was clothing store for many years in Packwood operated by Swan Nelson and his brother. Swan Nelson also had a casket store and hearse.

 Packwood Lumber Company was established in 1890. Charles Lyons was the first to run the lumberyard. Steigleder Brothers purchased the lumberyard about 1899. The Steigleder Brothers operated the lumberyard until 1938 when it was closed because of bankruptcy. It was purchased in 1938 by the Fairfield Lumber Company who presently own it. Managers of the lumberyard for Fairfield Lumber were Walter Doak, Fred Ward, Vern Cahoon, and Wayne Hadley from 1964 to 1966. Keith Fritchen became manager in 1966. Wayne Hadley succeeded Fritchen as manger in 1967 and is presently manger.

 In 1957 Harold Dickey started Dickey Transport. The business has grown since its beginning and the company has more than 40 tractors and more than 70 trailers. Harold Dickey was active in the business until his death. The corporation is operated by the Dickey Family.

 A barbershop run by a Mr. Adams was located on the west side of main street. This barbershop is the earliest one on record. The building in which the barbershop was located was destroyed by fire. Other barbers in Packwood were Charles Purdy, Maynard Barton, Robert Lawrence, Roy Reece, a Mr. Dougherty, Robert Walker, David Cook and Carl Hadley who opened a barbershop in Packwood in 1971.

 Packwood Post office was established soon after Packwood became a town. Lenora Thomas was the first postmaster. Other postmasters were Alta Chandler Hinshaw, Libby Lockhart, Wilda Stephenson, Victor Woolums, Evelyn Myers.

 Packwood had telephone service until 1953 from the Southeast Iowa Telephone Exchange. The telephone exchange was sold to Iowa Illinois telephone exchange in 1953. GTE provides telephone service for Packwood today.

 Several doctors have had practices in Packwood over the years. Packwood's first doctor was Dr. C.T. Moorman. Others who have had practices in Packwood were Drs. Walker, Armand, Childers, North Bell, Wimbish, Parks, Steppe, Boss, Prentiss and Demarce. Two dentists who practiced at Packwood were Drs. Foote and Eller.

 Packwood has had 6 newspapers during its existence. They were The Packwood Herald, The Packwood Review, Tribune Echo, Advertiser, and the Packwood meteor, which was started by Rev H. N. Smith of New London. The Plainsman Clarion, which is published by Louisa Publishing, has a local office.

Warren and Irene Gegner bought lots from Hazel Lockhart and built a locker plant. Don and Edrith Grimes bought the locker in 1945. The Locker was run by Don and Edrith Grimes until they sold it to Dean and Jean Marshall. The Marshalls sold the Locker upon their retirement to Larry and Linda Sample of Ottumwa who operate the locker.

Other Packwood businesses were taverns, a Deep Rock Tank Wagon Service by Mac McCreery, a butcher shop which was run by John Sipes and Arch Stevens. Sable Blacksmith and hardware operated by Warren and Bertha Sable and another hardware and feed store run by Wallace Myers. Harlan and Charles Nelson operated Nelson's hatchery. Davis Oil Company, which was started in 1926 by Ira and Mae Davis. It was purchased by Harold Dickey in 1940. There was also Wake Feed. Operators of that business were Walt Naylor, W. H. Myers who sold feed in his hardware store. Vie Woolums, Gary Wolf, Paul Glasnapp, Leroy Rogers, Larry Deutschle.

 S. A. Dickey started an implement business in 1936. He sold Massey Harris implements. Lawrence Leisure purchased the business in 1937. Leisure sold the business to Harold Dickey in 1938. He ran the business until l964 when he closed it out. S. A. Johnson and Roby Johnson managed the business for Harold Dickey during the 1940s.

 Another implement business, which sold Allis Chalmers, was run by Zerle Myers and Bill Mills at their business, which was Myers and Mills Hardware and Harness.

Packwood has had several gas stations and garages. Operating gas stations over the years in Packwood were Newt Reinier, Byron Adams, Mr. Scarborough, Roby Johnson, Zerle Myers, Gerald Shy, and Neal Smith. Gus Bissig, Harry Mitchell, Tom Brown, John Marley, Eddie Paxton Jr. Bud Carter, Mac McCreedy, John Quail, Richard Nicola, Dean Downey.

 There were stockyards owned by the railroad. These stockyards were at the south end of Main Street. Another stockyard was started in 1948 by Lyle Brinton who was from Brighton. The stockyard was west of the cemetery and was on ground purchased from Clair Clingaman.

Industries around Packwood

 The tile and Brick factory was one of Packwood's early industries. It was located a short distance southwest of the depot. It was started in 1886 by Robert Stuart. Others who have owned and operated the Tile factory were S. M. McHose, The Supernois Bothers and the Steigleder brothers who were the last to own and operate it. The tile factory was closed in the 1930s.

 Middlekoop Seed Corn Inc. located southeast of Packwood was started in 1948 by John and Anna Middlekoop. The company is well known in the area for its seed corn.

 The Other Side of the Fence is operated by Don and Julie McKay on their farm south of Packwood on the Packwood highway. The Other Side of the Fence makes various candles, which they sell wholesale, to private and various markets around the United States.

Churches in Packwood Past and Present

Swedish Lutheran Church

 The Swedish Lutheran Church held services in a school building that had been moved into Packwood. This was in 1896. Little information is known about the church.

Packwood Christian Church

 Packwood Christian Church was organized on October 5, 1889. Two years before the church was organized a meeting was held at I.A. Downey residence to discuss building a church building in Packwood. Seven hundred dollars was pledged for the building. A committee was chosen to oversee the construction of the church building. The building was dedicated on November 23, 1890.
Charter members of the church were Isaac Downey, Sarah Downey, A.E. Grafton, Mertie Grafton, P. B. Grafton, Abner Heald, Martha Heald, Rachel Hollingsworth, Lida Miller, Isaac Webb, Nancy Webb, Martha Webb and Arthur Webb.

 The first pastor of the church was Brother M. C. Morrow who was hired in l887. He was hired on a part time basis. A new church building was erected in 1923. For a number of years the church had a part time minister. For 22 years the church was a yoke with the Packwood United Methodist Church. The yoke was broken up when the Methodist church decided to merge with Ollie and from the Prairie View Methodist Church. Harlan (Frosty) VanVoorst was hired as pastor. The church has an average attendance of 93. The church has weekly Bible studies. There is also an active men's group. Every year the church sponsors a Hymn Sing.

Packwood Methodist Church

 The congregation who attended church services at Pleasant Hill School one mile north of Packwood decided to move to town in 1883. A new church building was erected south of where the Methodist Church building stands. This building was destroyed by fire in December 1887. The congregation had gathered for a Christmas Eve service. A wax candle was knocked over and ignited a decoration made of cotton. Before it could be extinguished it ignited other items. A panic ensued as people tried to flee the building. Several people were injured from being trampled. The congregation grew as the town grew. In 1893 it became a part of the Brookville circuit. A new church building was erected in 1903. In 1922 the building was remodeled. For 22 years beginning in 1968 the church entered a yoke agreement with the Packwood Christian Church. The yoke agreement ended in 1993 when Packwood Methodist voted to merge with Ollie and form the Prairie View Methodist Church.

Education in Packwood

 Records show the first school in Polk Township was taught in 1846 by Peter McReynolds. Most early schools were subscription schools. This first school was probably a subscription school.

 A number of country schools sprang up after this first school. The children of Packwood attended classes at District No. 9 School, which was mile south of town. It was called Maple Grove. Two of the teachers at Maple Grove were George Harwood and Clum McPherson.

 In 1895 citizens of Packwood wanted a school in Packwood. A two room school building was erected at the south edge of town. Anna Mahon was the first teacher in this school. There was an enrollment of 94 students. In 1906 the building was enlarged to accommodate the higher grades. In 1919 the Packwood Consolidated School district was organized. A new school building was completed in 1921. The were 153 elementary pupils and 53 high school students that first year.

 The school building housed grades kindergarten through 12 in 1961. In 1958 Packwood voted to become a part of the Pekin Community School District. The last year high school was held at Packwood was in 1961. For several years it was an elementary school for grades K through 8. It was later used as Middle School until the new elementary building was built at Pekin. The school building was torn down in 1980.

Entertainment and Recreation

 Besides businesses and churches and school Packwood has had many clubs which have and still influence the community in various ways. The clubs were service clubs, social clubs. Church groups, Community organizations, 4H clubs and etc.
Besides clubs there have been many activities in Packwood over the years. Bands were organized in 1896, 1909 and 1930. The bands provided entertainment at various events and band concerts were held in the bandstand. There have been many events over the years in town. Some of these events were a poultry show in 1909, a dedication celebration in 1951 when the Packwood blacktop from Packwood east to highway one was completed. Fourth of July celebrations in 1917 and 1931, RAGBRAI came through Packwood in 1979 and 1983. In 1983 Packwood celebrated its centennial with a 3 day celebration. In July 1976 Packwood had a Bicentennial celebration.

Happenings and Occurrences in Packwood

Packwood has had several fires over the years. The fires resulted in property loss but thankfully no loss of life. On April 22, 1963, a windstorm struck Packwood and surrounding area as well as other portions of Jefferson County. The storm struck around 3:45 a.m. Most homes and farms from Packwood east to Pleasant Plain received damage. No twister or funnel was sighted. The wind was thought to be a straight-line wind with a velocity estimated to be 85 M.P.H. or higher. Many people said that like a tornado it roared like a freight train.

Packwood's 2 Two well known Politicians

 Neal Smith who served as Congressman from Iowa for several years was born near Martinsburg. Smith's family moved near Packwood when he was 2 years old. Neal Smith graduated from Packwood High School in 1937. He lived in the Packwood area until called to duty in W.W.II.

 Another well known Packwood resident was Charles (Pete) Nelson. Charles Nelson was born to Swan and Ada Johnson Nelson. He spent his life in the Packwood area. He graduated from Packwood High School. He owned and ran a hatchery in Packwood for several years and later ran an antique store in town. He was first elected to the Iowa legislature in 1935. He was again elected to the legislature in 1953. He also was chairman of the Jefferson County Republican Central Committee and served on the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors. He passed away in 1972.

Packwood Today

Some of the businesses in Packwood today are Farmers Savings Bank, Packwood Locker and Meats, Packwood Lumber Company, Jagen Plumbing & Heating and Air conditioning, Bishop Body and Fender, Dickey Transport and Oil, Kay's Kut & Kurl, Packwood Insurance Agency, Lee's Kountry Repair, The Post office, Packwood Library.

This page was created 06/28/2001. The page may be copied and used for personal purposes but can not be republished nor used for commercial purposes without the author's written permission.

I am the County Coordinator and the Webmaster, the one who is responsible for the IAGenWeb project for Jefferson County, Iowa. Please contact me if you would like to contribute to this database or if you note any problems with these pages.

Return to the Towns Page

Return to the Jefferson County Main Page