Bloomfield Township

Winneshiek County's best known pioneer was probably Hamilton Campbell, Sr. who is recorded as being the first white settler in the county having moved to section 23 on June 10, 1848. This is just East of Castalia.

Recorded as the next white settler in Bloomfield Township was David Reed in section 25 who was better known as Judge Reed, followed by Phineas Banning having moved there in June 10, 1849 with his wife and four children in sections 5 and 6. It is recorded that Mr. Banning traded a gun and the only wagon he owned for the land.

Soon to arrive and recorded as other early settlers were John DeCou, Abner DeCou, Mose McSwain, Gideon Green, and a Mr. Townsden. The first child to be born, say historians; in the township was Miss Sarah Campbell in 1849.

A post office known as "Winneshiek" was established in 1851 in section 26. The Castalia post office was opened in the same year, and was followed by one in Moneek in 1852.

M.P. Riggs, writing for the Winneshiek County atlas, said the first school was built in 1853, while school number 3 commonly known as Red School, as built in 1854. The Castalia School was built in 1855 and number 1 or the White School was built in 1855. The first person to be listed as a teacher was Mrs. Abigail Meyers.

The town of Castalia came into being in the early days because the Military road from McGregor to Fort Atkinson passed through the community. History records show that at one time Castalia was known as "Rattle Trap", but no one seems to have recorded the reason.

The best known town of early history was Moneek, about 2 miles south of Frankville along the north border of the township, on the Yellow River, where general stores, a post office, a mill, taverns, shoe repair shops, a doctor, a lawyer and other businesses and occupations were well represented.

Stories told over and over again are that of the voting for a county seat in 1851. This would determine whether Lewiston, Moneek, or Decorah would become the county seat. As the story goes, a man by the name of Claibourne Day ran the election in a way, which has never been described. A horse back rider who attempted to deliver ballots two days before the election to Lewiston and Moneek never arrived, and Decorah was the winner by what legal-minded persons now days would call a default.

Moneek, in 1851, had a higher population than Decorah, but a person visiting the community now would have a difficult time visualizing this old pioneer village and the important part it had in the early history of Winneshiek County.

Five cemeteries and burial places are recorded for Bloomfield Township. Pleasant View is located just north of the village of Castalia in Section 21. The land was set aside from the farm of W.C. Fox on March 28, 1878. Burial grounds known as the Bloomfield cemetery is located in section 20, just west of Castalia, and it was established in the early 1850's. In section 14 is located the Oak Hill cemetery, first established in 1855 and an area added to it in 1864 from the land owned at that time by Levi Grande and Sam Jones.

Two cemeteries originally marked but now have been "worked over" as a part of a farm field are the Moneek cemetery in section 2 on land now owned by Wm. Ohloff; the another is in section 16, which was known as the Mt. Grove cemetery. The Mt. Grove cemetery was established in about 1856 by the United Brethren. Most of the bodies were taken to the Pleasant View cemetery.

In the case of Moneek cemetery, V.G. Bollman, who has given much time and has shown great interest in care of cemeteries and records of them in Bloomfield Township, said that Indians were originally buried in the Moneek Cemetery, and after 1848, white settlers started using it for burials also. He says that a total of about 40 burials were made in the cemetery, which includes the Indians.

Much credit should go to V.G. Bollman for the fact that through his own personal efforts a stone marker is now located along side the road of the Moneek cemetery so that further generations may know where this historical burial place is located.

Please, contact the county coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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