The Toledo Chronicle
Toledo, Tama County, Iowa
July 1, 1875


Early History, Business Prospects, etc.

Montour is situated in Indian Village Township in the southwest part of Tama County, and on the east side of Indian Creek upon the elevated bench on the south side of the Iowa river. It is noted for its beauty, and being an important station for shipping stock and grain on the C. & N. W. R. R, this town should receive the notice in the CHRONICLE, which its situation demands.

After the Mexican war had closed, the South being so intensely pro slavery, as to be unsatisfactory to western emigrants, composed principally of poor but intelligent men; Iowa, although cold and desolate in winter, was beautiful in her June dress, and all through the summer of 1849, a large emigration crossed the Mississippi, and settled in the southern and central portions of the State. Des Moines was a town of about three hundred people; Newton, a very hamlet; Marietta and Marshalltown unborn; Iowa City, although the capital, did not number a thousand inhabitants.

ISSAC ASHER, the first settler of Tama County, made his home in Indian Village township, near the site of Indiantown in the fall of 1849.

ROBERT and ANTHONY GILKERSON, settled near Chelsea, the next year- 1850.

ASHER was a hard working, industrious man, he built his cabin, broke the tough sod and made a rude bridge across Indian creek- and paddled a scow over the Iowa river, as all of our brave Hawkeye pioneers generally did, and commenced living with a patience and endurance, more commendable than the war heroes, of which history makes honorable mention.

When the Indians grew saucy and threatening in the spring of 1850, and a fort was built on timber creek by the distracted settlers of Marshall County, ASHER turned a deaf ear to his friends in that section, and quietly remained at home on his little farm, and his wife as brave as himself, stayed with him.

Among the early settlers of Indian Village township were ISAAC BUTLER, Judge ELI DAILEY, WILLIAM TAYLOR, EDWIN TAPLIN and JOHN GRAY.

N. L. OSBORN, of Buckingham township was a settler as early as 1851, REZIN REDMAN of Howard township, and MYRON BLODGETT, of Indian Village, were prominent settlers about the same time.

In 1852, the county increasing rapidly in population and taxable property, the County Judge of Benton County, issued an order for an election to be held in Tama County and organize the same. Heretofore, the votes were counted for Benton, according to the old State law, that the few settlements west of an organized county, was counted as a part of it, and helped pay State, but not county tax.

This election for the organization of Tama was ordered to be held on the 1st Monday in August, 1852. Howard township electors were to meet at the house of REZIN REDMAN; Indian Village at the residence of Judge ELI DAILEY, a gentleman who had been County Judge in Indiana. Buckingham qualified electors at the house of N. L. OSBORN - these were the only townships organized at the time. The officers elected were JOHN C. VERMILYE, now of Tama City, County Judge; MYRON BLODGETT, Sheriff; JOHN ROSS, Treasurer and Recorder; T. J. STALEY, Deputy Treasurer; W. DANIEL, Surveyor; ABNER PHILLIPS, Prosecuting Attorney; D. D. APPELGATE, Clerk; NOAH MYERS, School Fund Commissioner.

The total expenses for officers fees for the 1852 was $45.95.

This was the year of PIERCE'S election and the Democracy carried everything before them in the State, although at this time in Tama County, local affairs entered largely into the issues of the campaign.

On the Twentieth of October 1853, J. W. FERGUSON, of Timber Creek, Marshall Co., and R. B. OGDEN, of Montezuma, Powesheik Co., were appointed Commissioners to locate the county seat of Tama. After Looking at a point, known as Bruner's Mill, also at DAVID F. BRUNER'S house, they concluded to locate the seat of government for the county, where the town of Toledo now stands, and after talking it over with farmers and others, baptized the town of the future - "Toledo".

The first lawsuit on record here, is that of an injunction and application for mandamus to restrain NOAH MYERS from paying our school monies, REZIN REDMAN, plaintiff.

At the September term 1854 a divorce suit comes up between JACOB W. APPLEGATE and his wife Mary Ann. A man named IRVING sues the School Fund Commissioner.

In April 1854 an election was held upon "distraining" sheep and swine from running at large," which resulted in a majority for distraining. In April, 1854, Richland township was organized and an election held at the house of ALANSON B. RICH.

The first probate case on record is that of the estate of DANIEL F. HORTON, deceased, NATHANIEL HORTON, and MARIETTE HORTON appointed Administrator and Administratix. The first marriage license issued by the County Clerk was to MYRON BLODGETT and SARAH CRONK, solemnized by Judge VERMILYE at his residence in Toledo, August 1st, 1853. The parties to matrimonial felicity lived in Indian Village.

COL. ISAAC BUTLER of Indian Village township was quite an enterprising man, and as all the travel which came up from Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and the eastern counties of Iowa, westward to Marietta, Albion and Marshalltown passed through Indian Village, he conceived the idea of laying out a town.

EDWIN RUGGLES, now a wealthy merchant of Montour, built in the spring of 1854, a log store near DAILEY'S house, bringing his goods from Rockford, Illinois, by wagon, over 200 miles. The old strap iron rail was not then laid from Galena to Chicago, the Rock Island and Council Bluffs Railroad was only talked of, and the Ranmshorn railroad from Dubuque to Keokuk, had been laughed about, and written up; but not a railroad in the States of Illinois or Iowa in actual running order. No one can guess the vexations attendant on bringing goods into Central Iowa, over the miry sloughs without bridges, roads in their native mud and grass, it was almost impossible to make but a short distance in a day. Then the taverns were hotels for bed-bugs, mice, snakes, and other varmints; in fact, traveling was a bore, even in fine weather. Mr. RUGGLES spent his Fourth of July in Marshalltown, attending the old Marshall House ball at Dr. CHILDS'.

In the spring of 1855 there was quite an emigration to the county and the 1st of August of that year Mr. BUTLER and Butlerville recorded, and WILLIAM TAYLOR having bought out DAILEY'S farm had an addition put on the plat, called Indiantown on the records and that name seemed to cling to the whole, although the post office was BUTLERVILLE.

Gold was the circulating medium and lots of it found its way into the pockets of Iowa merchants, until the crash or 1857.

Mr. RUGGLES paid five cents for eggs per doz, and butter was as low.

C. J. STEVENS, now living in Montour and Clerk of Tama County, came to Indiantown in 1856. He taught the first school in the village, and like MR. RUGLES, was a man of solid worth and intelligence.

FATHER DUNTON of the M. E. Church in Marshalltown, used to preach here with a good deal of unction, and from the marriage records he must have spliced more happy critters than any other man in Iowa.

WILLIAM BOOER was elected Justice of the peace in 1854.

A railroad was hoped for, the Fulton Air Line R. R. was talked of, but none came until 1863, when the Chicago & Northwestern R. R. was finished as far as Marshalltown in March.

A side track was first made at Montour then a platform by the company, finally, September 19, 1863, a town was laid out by PHINEAS HELM and MYRON KELLOGG, and from MRS, BARTKETT’S suggestions, it was christened ORFORD, after a New England namesake, away up in the Green Mountain hills.

PHINEAS HELM was the station Agent and sold his tickets in a little frame shanty near the side track.

Continued on July 8, 1875

Continued from Last week

DR. DOE, the first physician of Indiantown we believe, built a little seven-by-nine store and had a few goods for sale.

Mr. RUGGLES moved down his store in 1864, and commenced business in the same building with Dr. DOE, or rather in an addition to that structure.

Mr. HELM built a little house, in September 1864.

JOHN W. NIMAN was appointed Deputy Postmaster and remained in that position until the next year, in September, when he commenced selling groceries in Orford, and built up a good trade, persons coming from a long distance, to trade with him, Iuka now Tama City, had a little business, but not until the next year, did it begin to build up rapidly.

MR. NIMAN was soon appointed postmaster in the place of DR. DOE, who resigned after two months experience with the mail bags at Orford station. In 1865, Mr. NIMAN was appointed Notary Public, afterwards elected Mayor. Mr. NIMAN is still in the grocery, in the Postoffice, and has always been identified with the interests of the town. He is a prominent member of the M. E. Church, and a staunch Republican.

The first store in Orford or Montour was one brought from Indiantown by Dr. DOE, who, wishing railroad communication with the world, found that the rail would not come to him, so, he went to the railroad. EDWIN RUGGLES, quite as enterprising moved his frame store, and plumbed it down by Dr. DOE, thus competition commenced her perfect work.

Rev. Mr. WORTZ preached a sermon at Edwin TAPIA'S barn, one pleasant Sabbath day, the congregation uniting in singing old Coronation with a good deal of spirit. But the most devoted minister in this moral vineyard, was REV. MR. STUART, who pioneered over bad road, to preach the gospel, who went through hardships, and want enough to shame some of our velvet footed preachers into more effort, than reading rose colored essays, and making fashionable parochial calls.

DANIEL HEMPEY built the first residence in the new village, while several houses from Indiantown added dignity and comfort to the place, by being rolled in upon wheels.

C. J. STEVENS having moved his effects to Orford or Montour, went into the lumber trade and agricultural machinery so that the town in the spring of 1865, had seven houses all told. In April, trains did not stop without flaggings, the train men throwing off the mail, as it passed through.

Soon after, MR. BARTLETT repaired over the old stores of Mr. RUGGLES and DR. DOE, and turned the buildings into a hotel, the merchants erecting new places of business.

AMOS ROUSE and Miss ALICE FINCH made a sensation, by getting married this summer, and placing their names into history, as the first wedded couple in Orford.

MR. ALVIN WAY was the first to pass over into the spirit land from among her citizens and Miss LOVELACE (Mary by baptism) was the first school teacher here.

The school house at one time, stood over the south hill, but afterwards was moved into the village.

HARRISON BEALE, in partnership with H. G. WALLACE, bought wheat in the old red warehouse through the season of 1865. They paid from 65 to 70 cents per bushel. MR. BEALE the successful grain buyer of to-day came from Somerset, Pennsylvania, and being one of the best of men, they soon increased the business, so that in 1868, he built a large elevator, that holds 14,000 bushels of wheat- a very substantial structure. Dissolving the partnership later with

H. G. WALLACE, whose word is just as good as a bond, and a man of most stirring activity, built his elevator in 1870, that holds 10,000 bushels of grain. Mr. Wallace formerly lived in Blair Co., Penn., and is doing a splendid business at present. Messrs. Beale and Wallace, have bought One Hundred and Forty-five Thousand, and Six Hundred bushels of grain, also Eight car loads of stock since First of August 1874 up to June 1, 1875. Both firms ship to Chicago and New York, and we think, the above showing of the grain market is a better one than at any station, between Cedar Rapids and Marshalltown, on the line of the C. & N. W. R. R.

The year of 1865 was quite a prosperous one to Tama County as wheat brought one dollar and half per bushel, and the soldiers returning from a victorious army, brought to their Iowa homes plenty of greenbacks, land changed hands, real estate wet up kiting, and the march of improvement was heard in every quarter of Indian Village township.

The frame shanty where MR. HELM kept the freight and station tickets, gave place to the depot now standing, built by the Northwestern Company to the great joy of Orford citizens-the trains leaving passengers in regular order, and a daily mail was established.

In the summer of 1866, one August day the death of MRS. RUGGLES occurring at the same time that little CHARLEY STUART (son of the clergyman) was killed, made a sensation of profound regret through the community. MRS. RUGGLES was much beloved by her friends, Charley, a little boy of three years, was run over by the cars, and crushed to death-both funeral sermons were preached by REV. MR. STUART, although the father’s heart was bursting with grief.

Business increased through 1866. The Congregational Church was built this year, REV. MR. STUART being the settled pastor. Methodist clergymen officiated in the school house after it was moved into town.

The Fourth of July 1866 brought wagon loads of patriotism into the grove north of town to witness the celebration of American Independence. National Flags were unfurled in the cotton wood trees, anvils sent out their artillery music, that startled the echoes over the Iowa river, the birds cleared their throats for the occasion, and the REV. MR. BLAKE delivered a speech full of happy allusions to the growth and prosperity of the nation, REV. MR. CORDNER read the Declaration of Independence, and the Calathumpians without the count “blow your nose off” paraded in rag-tag and bob-tail jollity, to the infinite amusement of the large crowd in attendance.

The music was fife and drum, JOHN BARTLETT giving an extra screech to the former, as the dinner baskets were emptied with their tempting delicacies upon the long tables set under the trees. It was a happy day in Orford.

Mr. W. W. YARHAM issued the Orford Leader, Vol. I, No. I, October 20th, 1867.

In 1868 the town grew rapidly, sidewalks were put down in some places, and business houses and residences gave employment to her active mechanics and laborers. Pianos, organs and music teachers brought culture to the enterprising village, the post office increased in business, dailies were read, metropolitan airs and styles were talked of, and pictures, laces, French flowers with all the elegant trifles that make up modern parlor refinement, were seen in Orford in place of pioneer simplicity.

MRS. C. E. NIMAN, increased her stock of millinery this season, having commenced in a humble way at first in 1866, and united dressmaking to make it pay. She now has a splendid stock of goods as large as any in the county, consisting of hats in chips, lace and Tuscan braids- hats trimmed, and hats untrimmed, until the eve is bewildered in illusions, wreaths of flowers, veils, sashes, edgings and laces with all the “beautiful nothings,” that make up a first class establishment of the kind. She does more business than any other milliner firm in this section.

MISS DELIA MARSHALL, an accomplished dressmaker, and one of the swiftest bodies with a needle on record, is associated with her in the shop. Miss Marshall works cheaper than dressmakers in Marshalltown, and excels many of them in style. She is agent for Buttrick’s patterns, and can fit a lady better than Worth-than a milliner of Paris.

The first Hardware store opened in the place was in 1868, an enterprise in which J. L. WAGGENOR bore the principal part, putting up an addition to the old Blodgett store, and filling the shelves with a small stock, but being full of wim and activity, he has grown quite wealthy and now owns a grocery in partnership with another gentleman in Union Block, and attends to his Hardware store by the assistance of a clerk. He has a full line of shelf and heavy Hardware, Golden Grain stoves builders materials of the best quality, farmers tools, and Moline wagons without number. Look at his Three River Pumps before purchasing elsewhere-cheap, and his wagons only eighty five dollars. Keeps thorough workman to put up roofing and spouting, and do repairs in the tin shop.

In 1870, MR. NIMAN put up the wood work on the bridge over the Iowa river, and the structure after being properly ironed, was thrown open to the public in September.

Orford became a city the same year-was incorporated with the following officers: Mayor, J. W. NIMAN: Recorder, J. W. STEVENS; Councilmen, H. R. WINCHELLS, S. ELLIS, L. WHITE, DENNIS BEALE, and T. R. OLDHAM. Sidewalks stretched their broad arms over the city, and business was active.

In 1871, Union Block was erected, a splendid structure of the celebrated Oolite Marble, found a half mile west of the city, and the building cost over 12, 000 Dollars.

DR. J. H. STEVENS, one of the first physicians in Montour, having been a citizen, as early as 1865, was elected Justice of the Peace in 1866. One time, he was invited to ride out into the country and marry a couple. After paying three dollars for a lively team, he was quite surprised with the generosity of the bridegroom, who presented him with fifty cents! Mr. NINAN often had a like experience. At one time he spliced a man pretty well to a good looking bride, when the feller pulled out a dollar bill with a grand air, “There take your pay out of that“ said he. Mr. Stevens practiced medicine and filled up a store with Drugs at a later period, and still is in the same place, selling paints, oils, varnish, toilet perfumery and has a full line of all kinds of drug goods, as well as school books.

DR. H. D. HUSTON, also sells drugs, medicines, etc. and in his jolly mood, laughing and full of fun, would sell a dose of bitter stuff with such good humor, that the patient would laugh too, as he swallowed it. He deals heavily in leads, oils, varnish, etc, and he handles a nice line of wall paper, books and stationery. Dr. Huston has practiced medicine, since he came to Orford or Montour,- is a graduate of Ohio Medical College, at Cincinnati, and very liberal in his opinions and sentiments.

DR. W. W. LANE, the leading physician of the village has been but two years in practice, yet it entends fifteen and twenty miles away, north and south. He is equally successful I surgery as in Therapeutics, and is as careful in diagnosis as he is thoroughly read in the latest works on medicine-is a graduate of Rush Medical college of the class of 1868-9, and stood high in public favor. Dr. Lane is not a member of any church, but high minded and honorable.

In 1873 the M. E. CHURCH was built- a fine gothic structure that cost Three Thousand Dollars. The church organization is not very large, but the community generally helped build the church, and till its seats to overflowing in every service. The pastor, Rev. Mr.____ is a good man, and the Sabbath School also feels his influence and help.

The leading dry goods house is EDWIN RUGGLES-full of nice prints, percales, Swiss goods, and all that a lady wants, besides the grocery department does a heavy business.

In 1873 there was some excitement about letters being lost on account of a similarity between the names of Oxford in Johnson Co., and Orford, and a meeting was called, a committee appointed to bring in names, to rechristen the post-office, and railroad station. A few suggest Marble City, but on the whole, Montour seemed to meet with public favor, and by order of Post-Office Department, and C. & N. W. Company, the town buried the name of Orford in the leaves of history.

Montour is to have a Seven Thousand Dollar School-House this season -- probably to be built of the Oolite marble, or of brick. There is a large school of 150 scholars - R. WHITE, PRINCIPAL WITH TWO ASSISTANTS.

In 1868 Yarham sold the Orford Leader to a man names Patrick who partly failed in time sold back to Yarham, and he becoming unpopular, the Leader went to grass, was brought by Mr. True, and Yarham emigrated towards the Rocky Mountains in search of fortune-the CHRONICLE becoming the medium of communication with the world of news for the Montour people.

Montour has twenty firms doing business, a mill, and two blacksmith shops.

KELLOGG & VOILES are excellent blacksmiths keeping three forges red hot with work; a turning lathe that does splendid business, and in making a specialty of shoeing horses, dressing up sickle guards, pointing corn plow shovels, and repairing farm tools, the firm have made a great success. Wagons are also put in good repair by good workmen employed by them. Mr. Kellogg belongs to “the big church,” and is a genial neighbor and citizen.

T. P. SMITH & BRO, one of the heaviest firms in Central Iowa in shipments of lime and lumber, opened up trade in 1869. The Orford Lime Company ship through them to every point for builders on the line of C. & N. W. R. R. - all over Nebraska too for it is the purest lime in Iowa - 98 per cent carbonate of lime. The perpetual lime kilns keep up an unfailing supply with the purity of the lime unquestioned. The Orford marble quarry and lime kilns are about a half mile west of town, under the immediate care of W. B. Mumbrue, a thorough business man, and accomplished geologist. Smith Bros sell largely in lumber and other building materials, agricultural machinery, etc., T. P. SMITH is a member of the M. E. Church, and among the prominent citizens of Tama County.

BANK The Montour Exchange Bank has done an excellent business the past season. C. J. STEVENS, Cashier. It has correspondence with National Bank of Commerce, Chicago: and Wm. A. Stephens & Co., New York. Collections made and taxes paid through the Bank. All connected with the institution are reliable men.

ROBERT CROSKEY & SON, keep a very nice meat market fernenst the Bank, selling ice, lard, and cured meats as well as keeping fresh meats in nice order for their customers. Don’t forget the old firm.

BARTLETT HOUSE, was enlarged and refitted in 1869 and is now one of the best kept hotels in the State. Although the trains do not always connect so as to bring Chicago drummers in great numbers, yet the table is excellently kept, and the rooms very neat and clean.

Montour bids fair to become one of the most flourishing towns in the State from the enterprise of her merchants and the social intelligent character of her citizens.

The Total valuation of Tama County is $5,715,169, - Montour $62,500 - Population 525. N. S.