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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
Hon. David Archer.
John C. Wilson.
George G. Clyde.
Lafayette Presbyterian Church
This church was organized in 1855, under the direction of Rev. D. V.
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
Transcribed by Pat Wahl