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Township Organization

This is the same as congressional township No. 76, range 10. In 1856 it had a population of 181; in 1875 it was 1,762. It was a part of Clear Creek township until 1855, when it was organized into a separate township, the population at that time numbering 50. In 1842 a claim was taken in the northwest portion of the township by Roe Clemmons, near what is now known as Holsworth's Grove. This, the first settlement, was made about the same time other parts of the county were settled, but on account of the scarcity of timber this section was shunned, and from this cause the rest of the county was well populated before Lafayette got a start. The next settlement was made in 1843 by J. J. Kreamer and J. P. Kreamer, who settled on Clear Creek, in the southern part of the township. At the time the township was organized the most of the land belonged to speculators, which was found to be a serious obstacle in the way of rapid settlement. In order to remove this impediment, and at the same time secure educational facilities, the few settlers began to levy enormous taxes for school purposes. This had the effect of bringing the speculators' land into market, and of erecting commodious school-houses on each four sections of land in the county. At the beginning of the late war the township had a population of about 200, and of these 21 enlisted in the army.

The township now has a population of nearly 2,500, and so rapid have been the improvements during the past five years that nearly all the land is now under cultivation, and it is now regarded as the garden of Keokuk county.

The first couple married was John Joseph Kreamer and Mrs. Mary Besser in 1845, the ceremony being performed by Jacob Winner, a justice of the peace in Lancaster township. The first birth was that of Joseph Kreamer, December 24, 1845; the second that of Mary Kreamer, November, 1846. The death of Peter Besser, in October, 1844, was the first, he having been buried in the Shockley grave-yard, near Skunk river. Dr. T. B. McWilliams was the first physician to locate in the township, and Rev. Mr. Smith, of the Presbyterian Church, preached the first sermon at the house of E. T. Case, in December, 1855.

The first school-house was built in 1846, on the northeast corner of section 30, at a cost of $653. It was in this house that the first school, consisting of sixty-five pupils, was taught by William McLoud. He received as compensation $15 per month; he is now a farmer, residing on section 26.

A very few settlers came into the township until the year 1853, when there was quite an influx of settlers, so that in 1854 they had a temporary organization; but the first regular election was held by the order of Geo. Crispin, county judge, April 2d, 1855, at the home of Win. Pringle, there being only eleven voters in the township at the time, and the following persons were elected to the several offices: J. J. Kremer, D. Rosecrans, John Crispin, township trustees; Wm. McLoud, township clerk; James Wilson and J. P. Kreamer, constables; C. W. Rosecrans, assessor; Wm. Pringle, supervisor; E. T. Case and E. W. Jeffries, justices of the peace. The present officers are: Justices of the peace, J. C. Evans and F. M. Gortner; constables, P. H. Clarahan and L. B. Disney; trustees, R. T. Carris, David Gregg and N. Besser; clerk, M. F. Mickey; assessor, Daniel Rosecrans.

Mr. Clemens put up a log cabin and lived in it about a year without any door, window or floor, except the mother earth. This cabin was close to the main Indian trail from English to Skunk river, but they were always friendly. During the second winter he was short of ammunition; some Indians came along with a good supply; he tried to obtain some of them but they would not part with any. Some time before he met with an accident which injured his left knee so that he was some lame at this time. He had raised a crop of turnips which he had stored under the floor of his cabin, and the Indians wanted some, but they would not trade powder for them. After a good deal of bantering with them and showing them his knee, they made a bet of fourteen turnips against a castor-oil bottle full of powder that he could outrun them a certain distance; the ground was marked off and he won the race, but before they left he gave them the turnips.


This town was laid out in 1872, by J. P. Yerger and C. H. Achard. It is located near the eastern border of the county, on the divide between English and Skunk river, in section twenty-four, and is surrounded by as delightful country as the sun shines on.

The present limits of the town are: east and west three-fourths of a mile, north and south one-half mile. The first building erected was a drug store, by J. S. Kulp, February 14, 1871, and is still occupied by Mr. Kulp for the same purpose.

The town was incorporated in December, 1873, J. S. Kulp being chosen the first mayor. The independent school district of Keota was organized in August, 1873, and the same fall a school-house was erected.

The Keota post-office was established in March, 1872, Hon. J. F. Wilson being appointed post-master. He still occupies that position. To show the amount of business transacted by this office, it will only be necessary to state that the amount of money transmitted by postal orders alone will, this year, approximate the sum of $30,000.

The amount of shipping done over the C., R. I & P. railroad will amount to about 800 car-loads per annum. The shipments during the month of October, 1879, were as follows: Stock, twenty-six cars; grain, forty-two cars; emigrant's goods, two cars; merchandise, one car; potatoes, one car.

Business Houses

Dry Goods, Groceries, Clothing, Boots and Shoes.—Moses & Erdice; J. H. Williams: Littler, Ashby & Co.; D. Sidey; Johnson & Schreckengast; M. Singmaster; Thompson & Bro.

Hardware, Sewing Machines, Guns, etc.—Palmer & Tallman; Joseph Kulp.

Druggists. J.S.Kulp, D.L. Nercross; J.B. Irwin.

Agricultural Implements, Stoves, etc.—J. C. Clark, Ezra Barnes.

Clothing.—Isaac Klein.

Meat Market.—J. Chatterton & Son.

Millinery and Dress-Making.—Fanny Shurts; Mrs. J. B Irwin; Sue M. Yockey; Mrs. R. S. Brice.

Grain Dealers.—Junkin & Ruder; J. S. Rice.

Furniture and Undertaking.—Henkle & Ritchey.

Flouring Mill.—Hefflefinger & Stewart.

Carriage Factory.—Van Winkle & Sons.

Hotels.—J. B. Warrington; L. A. Morton.

Produce Dealers.—J. F. Graham; W. L. Williams.

Livery.—J. C. Huskins; L. A. Morton.

Lumber.—Henkle & Hutchinson. .

Boots and Shoes.—M. Daiber.

Jeweler.—G. H. Mantz.

Photographer. —H. T. Holden.

These firms all carry a good stock and are among the most enterprising in the State. The location of the town is a good one, but the great secret of its success is to be found in in the character of its men of business. Instead of discouraging competition, every inducement is held out for new firms to locate in the town, and to manufactories especially have they held out special inducements. As an example of the amount of business which one man can successfully engage in, E. M. Ritchey, of this place, affords a good illustration. He is a member of the firm of Henkle & Ritchey, which carries a large stock of furniture of every description, also of the firm of Littler, Ashby & Co., the leading dry-goods house, and besides this deals in sewing machines and musical instruments, and is secretary of the glass company. There are others who have more capital and transact fully as much business, but we refer to him as a fair example of what a Keota business man is. Keota owes its prosperity, however, as much to G. L. Reed, the editor of the "Eagle."To him belongs the credit of securing to Keota

The Glass Works

Mr. J. H. Leighton, then living in Wheeling, West Virginia, had been corresponding with parties in Oskaloosa, in this State, in reference to the erection of works there, but not meeting with satisfactory encouragement he determined to look up a more desirable point. Seeing a copy of the Keota "Eagle"in Wheeling, and being struck with the enterprise of the business men of this city, he determined to apply here and see what encouragement he would receive. Accordingly Mr. L. corresponded with Reed, and through the courteous offer of Mr. Reed to lend him all the assistance in his power, he came on, and to-day, as a consequence, Keota, a comparatively new town in the wilds of Iowa, as the Eastern capitalists would say, is blessed with glass works, in full blast, turning out as good work, and as much of it, as any factory of its size in the United States; in fact it is the only flint glass works this side of Cincinnati.

Mr. Leighton came here comparatively unknown, although having the best of references from the attorney-general of the State of West Virginia and other prominent officials of the city of Wheeling; but even with these substantial tokens of his integrity and worth, it was only with the utmost endeavors and hard work that the large project was carried through.

These works are owned by a joint stock company, incorporated under the laws of the State, with the following officers:

President—J. C. Charlton.
Secretary—E. M. Ritchey.
Manager—J. H. Leighton.
Directors—H. Henkle, G. Gregory, J. W. Tallman, R. S. Brice, J. C. Charlton.

The building is 50x104 feet, and has a seven-pot furnace. Ground was first broken for the building in May, 1879, and by September the works were in operation.

After three months' trial the venture gave such flattering promise of success that the directors determined to double the stock, which was immediately taken, chiefly by the first stock-holders. About forty workmen are now employed, and this force is to be largely increased as the factory has facilities for the employment of double the present force. Mr. Leighton, the manager, comes of a family of glass manufacturers, and possesses secrets relating to the manufacture of glass which have never been suffered to get out of the family, and as a consequence of this the glass which is being made under his direction is of a very superior quality. The goods turned out by this establishment are of a finer quality and can be subjected to more severe tests than any other made in the United States, and so generally has this fact come to be recognized that without any particular effort to introduce the goods, the demand far exceeds the supply. Sand of a superior quality is procured within a few miles of the factory, while coal peculiarly adapted to the melting process is procured at Oskaloosa, at a distance of thirty-five miles, from which circumstances this establishment has great advantage in freights over every other in the country. The following are the chief constituents which enter into the material from which the glass is made.

Sand, pounds - 1,400
Carbonate of soda, pounds - 600
Lime, pounds - 200
Nitrate of soda, pounds - 200
Arsenic, pounds - 10
Manganese, pounds - 5

The establishment is now turning out work which would have seemed impossible in a town which seven years ago had no existence, and whose location ten years ago was the centre of a bleak, uncultivated and uninhabited prairie. Its success affords a good illustration of what skill, coupled with enterprise, will accomplish.


The first school building was erected in the fall of 1873. It was a frame building and contained two rooms. In 1875 an addition was built to this building of two more rooms, thus furnishing accommodations for the rapidly increasing school population, also completing the original design and making of the building a very handsome structure. The building as it now stands cost about five thousand dollars. The principal is R. P. Kelley, and the attendance is about two hundred. The school board consists of E. Moses, Jerome Palmer, A. K. Stewart, H. Henkle, J. W. Tallman, M. A. Hulse and G. L. Reed. E. Moses is president and J. T. Webber treasurer.


The Presbyterian Church was organized May, 1855, the original members being John Reed, J. A. Reed, Mary A. Snodgrass, Hannah J. Reed, John Marshall, R. B. Curry, John .Seaton and others. In 1875 a frame church-building was erected, at a cost of $3,000. Thus far the pastors have been Rev. J. V. Smock, Rev. Garret Hugger, and Rev. Alexander Danskin, the present one. The present membership numbers seventy.

The Methodist Episcopal Church was organized in 1873. The following were among the original members: L. Duskee, Luther Torrey, A. J. Echerd, P. Kiser, H. P. Newton, G. P. McCrary and J. F. Graham. In the fall of 1873 a frame church-building was erected at a cost of $2,500.  In January, 1874, the building was dedicated by Bishop Andrews. Revs. Messrs. Twining, Gortner, Davis, Miller and Pugh have been the pastors up to the present time, the latter serving in that capacity now. The membership numbers sixty.

The Baptist Church was organized in December, 1872. J. K. Bryson and wife, A. Sypher and wife, Aaron Richardson and wife, Samuel Wise and wife, G. W. Cady and wife were some of the first members. The church-building was erected prior to the organization of the church; in October, 1872, it was completed. It is a neat frame structure and cost $1,871. The building was dedicated in October, 1872, by Elder N. A. Reed. Elders Wood, Frey and Tracy have been the pastors. The congregation have no regular pastor at present. There are about ninety members. now.

The United Presbyterian Church was organized in June, 1873. Theopilas Kirkpatrick and wife, Samuel Srocox and wife, Samuel McKee and his wife, with fourteen others, constituted the first organization. A frame church-building was erected in 1876 at a cost of $4,087. It was dedicated on the sixteenth of December, 1876. Rev. Robert H. Barnes has been pastor from the first. There are at present about one hundred members.

Secret Societies

Adelphi Lodge, No. 353 A. F. & A. M., was organized under dispensation in July, 1875. The charter members were Hon. J. F. Wilson, Isaac Farley, E. Moses, N. G. Field, E. M. Ritchey, H. Henkle, J. Palmer, William McLoud, Hon. H. N. Newton, H. P. Newton, A. L. Erdice and. Daniel McFarlane. The present officers are, Isaac Farley, W. M.; Daniel McFarlane, S. W.; J. Palmer, J. W.; F. B. Home, treasurer; E. M. Ritchey, secretary; A. J. Lindner, S. D.; Robt. Renfroe, J. D. There are thirty-six members of the order.

Enterprise Lodge, No.159, I. O. O. F., was originally organized at Talleyrand, and was removed to Keota in 1872. It has about fifty members with the following officers: B. F. Elliott, N. G.; H. Mantz, V. G.; E. M. Ritchey, treasurer; A. Green, secretary.

Keota Lodge, No. 103, A. O. U. W., was organized in February, 1876. Daniel McFarland, G. L. Reed, Isaac Farley, J. C. Clarke, H. Henkle, J. O. Wallace, F. M. Smock, J. H. Stauffer, A. L. Lindner and E. M. Ritchey were the charter members. J. O. Wallace is M. W.; Z. W. Hutchinson, F.; J. C. Clake, O.; J. E. Glover, recorder; E. M. Ritchey, financier; M. A. Hulse, receiver; A. Stewart, guide; are the present officers of the Lodge, whose membership numbers thirty-three.

Public Library

Keota also has a public library containing about three hundred volumes. The library is located at Irwin's drug store and is accessible to all the members of the association, free of charge. The officers of the association are: Mrs. J. C. Clarke, president; J. B. Irwin, librarian; Miss Mollie Stewart, treasurer; A. L. Lindner, secretary.

The town contains at the present time over one thousand inhabitants, and its municipal authorities consist of the following officers:

Mayor—J. W. Tallman.
Recorder—J. E. Eaton.
Treasurer—J. C. Huskins.
Aldermen—J. F. Wilson, A. E. Stewart, A. L. Erdice, Joseph Charlton, J. S. Kulp, J. T. Webber.
Assessor—J. Koehler.
Street Commissioner—Isaac Schrecpengast.


This is a thriving trading-point on the C., R. I. & P. railroad near the western boundary of the township, five miles west of Keota. It was laid out in 1872 and is situated on section thirty. It contains a post-office, flouring-mill, one hotel, a church, a comfortable school-house, and a lodge of I. O. O. F. The church belongs to an organization of Methodists, Mr. Salisbury manages the hotel, Robert Renfrew is the leading grain-dealer, Namur, Neiss & Fetzer are proprietors of the flouring-mill, while B. A. Cleveland and Hoffman & Bro. are proprietors of two stores of general merchandise.

Though Harper is a comparatively small place, the shipping done there is no small affair. During the month of October, 1879, it reached the number of fifty-three cars, as follows: Hogs, 16; corn, 22; wheat, 6; oats, 4; rye, 3; potatoes, 1; emigrant's goods, 1.

Creswell is a post-office located in Lafayette township, north of Harper.

St. Andrew Society

This organization, as will be seen from the following preamble to the constitution, was formed in November, 1875. The society has flourished from the beginning and has done a good work in the community. The northern part of Lafayette township is settled to a very large extent by people of Scotch origin. They are a moral, order-loving, benevolent and enterprising class of people, and that section of country is one of the most delightful in the State.

Preamble to Constitution

The benevolent feelings implanted by the Creator in the hearts of men are given for practical development, and if it is true that no braver hearts beat than those that throb under a Scottish plaid, much more so is it true that nowhere does the development of the benevolent feelings find a readier expression than among Scotchmen; the expression of these benevolent promptings is not confined to individuals; it assumes an organized form, and thus becomes more efficient, and concentrates individual efforts into a well-digested and laudable system of benevolence; especially is it true of Scotchmen in foreign lands; ever since the organization in 1657, of the "Scots' Charitable Society, of Boston," wherever a few Scotchmen located are together, an immediate desire arises to form a Charitable or St. Andrew's Society, for the purpose of relieving their distressed fellow-countrymen.

In accordance with this natural trait of character, a few of the Scottish residents bestirred themselves to organize the St. Andrew's Society of Keokuk and adjoining counties. A call to meet and celebrate the anniversary of St. Andrew at Keota, was heartily responded to by the residents of the neighborhood and adjoining counties; among those present were Hon. J. F. Wilson, David Ferguson, D. H. Gregg, James Gregg, Dr. McFarland, Robert Patterson, A. Patterson, James Lyle, Robert Renfrew, James Wilson, Thomas Simpson, and other patriotic Scotchmen, who earnestly discussed the propriety and duty of forming a St. Andrew's Society; consequently, on November 30, 1875, the St. Andrew's Society was organized.

A committee was appointed to make drafts of a constitution and bylaws for the society (with David Ferguson as Chairman). A call to meet on February 7, 1876, which constitution and by-laws were adopted, with list of members' name, appended:

Hon. J. F. Wilson.           Hon. David Archer.
Dr. McFarland.               David Ferguson.
D. H. Gregg.                   James Gregg.
A. Patterson.                   R. Patterson.
James Wilson.                 James Lyle.
Robert Lyle.                    Thomas Simpson.
H. Gemeal.                      John C. Wilson.
William Booth.                George G. Clyde.
David Clyde.                   A. Teakle.
W. Ferguson.                  James Ormsbey.
James Gregg, Jr.            Robert Renfrew.
John Driburg.                 Alex. Robertson.
Arc. Stewart.                   A. Stewart.
William Veitch.

Lafayette Presbyterian Church

This church was organized in 1855, under the direction of Rev. D. V. Smock.

J. F. Wilson, wife and daughter, David Gregg and wife, James Palmer and wife, David Clyde and wife, D. H. Gregg and wife, and Miss Susanna Wilson, were the original members.

In 1869 a frame church was erected at a cost of eighteen hundred dollars. It was dedicated the same year by Rev. D. V. Smock. The present pastor is Rev. Alexander Danskin. The membership at present numbers forty.

Transcribed by Pat Wahl