The Township of Hazleton was organized by order of the county judge in April, 1853, under the name of Superior
Township. The township was then composed of thirty six sections.
The first election was held on August 1, 1853, and the following is the result: James Huntington and Samuel Sufficool,
justices of the peace; Nathan Peddycord, E. P. Spear and John Kint, trustees.
The name of the township was changed from Superior to Hazleton about the year 1862.
Samuel Sufficool and D. C. Greeley made the first permanent settlement here on February 21, 1847, and in the
northwest part of the township They had emigrated the previous year from Ohio, but stopped for a time in Linn County,
Iowa. They came to the county the summer before and put, up some hay in Buffalo Township. They also constructed
a small shanty and spent the winter hunting and getting the place ready for spring. In the spring they built a
log house with logs they had cut during the winter. Soon after this was completed Calvin Tuttle came with his wife
and moved into it and with him Greeley and Sufilcool lived. That season they broke a tract of sixty acres and raised
a little sod corn.
William Bunce, with his wife and child, came in September, 1847, and built a log house near that of the two first
John Kint and family settled here August 17, 1846. They located on section 2, which land Kint afterwards bought
from the Government. With Kint came Gilman Greeley and wife and his two sons, W. H. and Stephen L. In June, 1848,
Isaac Sufficool, the father of the first settler, came to the township and moved into the house of Sufficool and
Greeley. Orlando Sufficool the same year settled in the southwest part of the township upon land which he had entered
G. M. Miller came to this township in 1852 and settled upon land which he afterward purchased.
A. Belt settled here in 1852. He resided in the township for several years, then moved into Byron Township, this
James Girton came in 1851. Fayette Gillet, a New Yorker, settled in the west part of the township in 1854. W. C.
Nelson, of Pennsylvania, settled at old Hazleton in 1853. He was the pioneer physician of the township. He also
taught the first school established at the above village, which was then the only one in the township. E. W. Tenney
settled here on September 28, 1853. Immediately upon his arrival he opened a store in old Hazleton, being the second
man to do this in the township. L. D. Engle settled here with his family in 1851. W. W. Gilbert, a native of Ohio,
settled in the township in the spring of 1854. He was noted as a hunter.
The first wedding in Hazleton Township was in 1848, between W. H. Greeley and Mary Ellen Sufficool, at the bride's
residence. D. C. Greeley performed the ceremony
The first white child born in the township was Wallace S. Suffithool on January 29, 1849.
The first wheat was raised by Samuel Sufficool in 1848.
Allen Coy was the first postmaster.
The first sawmill was constructed about 1854 by John Moorehouse on Otter Creek. Before he had completed it he sold
it to Isaac Sufficool, who finished it and operated it for a number of years.
A tannery was started here in 1862 by E. W. Tenney, W. A. Nelson and S. Faulkner, which was the only one ever in
William Bunce made the first entry of land here in June, 1847, and at the same time the following also made entries:
D. C. Greeley, W. 11. Greeley and Orlando Sufficool.
After Coy the next postmaster was E. W. Tenney and at this time the office was moved 2 1/2 miles south from the
first site. At the present time Jacob Kiefer is the postmaster, a position he has held for many years.
The first cemetery here was established in the fall of 1849 in the northeast part of the township near the point
of the first settlement. In this cemetery the earliest settlers were buried. A second burying ground was established
in 1855 in the center of the township.
Like the rest of the county the schools of this township were at first largely supported by subscription. In the
fall of 1852 a large log schoolhouse was built in the northeast part of the township by D. C. Greeley and John
Kint. Elizabeth Amelia Sayles taught a class of twelve scholars here that winter. Some of the early teachers were
Abraham Wykoof, Stephen L. Greeley and C. W. Lillie.
THE CITY OF HAZLETON
In the year 1852 a store and postoffice were started near where Suflcool and Greeley made their first settlement
in 1841. The store was in charge of Allen Coy and he also acted as postmaster. Edward Hutchins soon bought this
business. A small community of people lived in the vicinity of this store, but the place never grew and has gradually
sunk into nothing, little remaining now but the site. The place has been known as Coytown.
In the year 1853 E. W. Tenney opened a store 21 /2 miles south of Coy's store. A postoffice was established there
and given the name of Hazleton. Tenney served as postmaster. Three years later C. Weistman also opened up a general
store and this little community quickly became the center of trade for the township. The coming of the Burlington,
Cedar Rapids' & Northern Railroad, in 1873, however, spelled the doom of this village. The route of the road
lay one mile west from the village. Accordingly the stores, shops and nearly all of the dwelling houses were moved
to a position directly on the railroad. This site is now the present City of Hazleton.
BIG FIRE AT HAZLETON
On Friday morning, May 3, 1889, at 1:45, the' inhabitants of the prosperous little town of Hazleton were rudely
awakened from their deep slumber with the cry of fire and turned out to find the entire business portion of the
place threatened with utter destruction. Having no regular organization, and but few facilities for fighting a
fire, by the united efforts of the entire population the flames were soon got under control with the loss of but
four buildings, the opera house, barber shop, one store and dwelling house. A loss of $20,000 was caused in one
The origin of the fire is unknown, but was supposed to be the work of an incendiary. The opera house, where the
fire started, was a substantial frame building 40 by 80 feet and was erected some years previous by Mr. Fret King,
at a cost of $3,500. The furniture and fixtures cost about eight hundred dollars more. This was a great loss to
the people of Hazleton. Arrangements had been made for a. May Pole dance on the evening of the fire. South of the
opera house was a store operated by Oscar Tuttle and in this was located the postoffice. Everything pertaining
to the postofuice was completely destroyed and Mr. Tuttle's loss on stock of goods was estimated between thirteen
thousand and fourteen thousand dollars.
Realizing the advantages of the steel road, the town soon began to pick up in commerce and trade and has now reached
a high position in the county. For a period of twenty years the town began to have more courage, and, having the
advantage of a splendid agricultural district surrounding, believed that the business of the town demanded incorporation.
So, in the summer of 1892, the town was incorporated and the first meeting of the council was held on August 8,
1892. W. A. Nelson was the first mayor; W. G. Kiefer, recorder; A. W. Jarrett, D. N. King, E. A. Matteson, J. D.
Lawrence and Henry Miguet, trustees. Following Nelson as the first mayor came in order: H. E. Searle, E. A. Matteson,
P. E. Gardner, O. A. Bates, James E. Friars, E. H. Latham, H. H. Hunt and Thomas Netcott, the latter at present
in office. The other officers at present are: W. G. Kiefer, treasurer; George J. Wengert, clerk; W. S. Woodworth,
T. E. McCurdy, W. L. Miller, Henry Minuet and J. Cappel, councilmen.
Hazleton has two banks, the Iowa State Bank and the Hazleton State Bank, both of which are in excellent condition.
The Iowa State Bank was officially organized on March 31, 1913, by R. B. Raines, it G. Swan, J. B. Truax, W. E.
Bain and M A Smith. Swan was the first and present head of the institution; H. F. Suhr is the vice president; and
J. N. Smith is the cashier. The capital stock is $25,000 and the amount of deposits at the present time is $80,000.
The bank, upon its organization, bought the corner lot next to where they are now located and are going to move
into this location very soon.
The Hazleton State Bank was organized in the month of May, 1893. The incorporators were T. E. McCurdy, M. M. Miguet,
O. M. Gillett, Frank Miguet, A. W. Jarrett, O. P King and Theodore Messenger. T. E. McCurdy was the first president;
N M Miguet, vice president, and Willis G. Kiefer, cashier. These officers have not been changed, with the exception
of vice president, since the establishment of the bank. The capital stock is $25,000, the surplus $40,000, and
the deposits amount to $225,000. The present bank building was bought at the time of organization. The bank magazine,
The Financier of New York, in 1910, gave the Hazleton State Bank fourth on the roll of honor of Iowa. The three
leading banks were old established institutions at the time the Hazleton Bank was organized.
Another distinct feature of the Town of Hazleton is the fair which is held here every year. The fair is in charge
of the Hazleton District Fair Association and was first started in the year of 1894. This exhibit has steadily
grown, until now it is conceded to be better in respects that the county fair held at Independence. G. M. Miller
and J. B. Shaeldeford were the men to first start this fair, using their own money to pay the expenses and also
to give cash premiums. Shackleford retired after one year and then Miller operated it alone every year until three
years ago. Tents are raised to house the exhibit each year, and besides this there are many amusements and entertainments
for the people. Exhibits of live stock, vegetables, grain and all farm products are shown. The fair lasts one day
and is generally held on the third Wednesday in September.
KIEFER BANK FAILURES
The Kiefer brothers moved to the City of Hazleton in 1877 and very soon after started a private bank in connection
with their store. In the early '80s they moved the bank into a separate building and conducted a very extensive
business until March, 1913, when they were forced into involuntary bankruptcy. The liabilities amounted to several
hundred thousand dollars and what might be realized out of the assets has not been definitely determined.
The Kiefer Savings Bank was organized on September 14, 1908, with $10,000. capital. Adam Kiefer was president;
E. R. Prindle, vice president; K. K. Kiefer, cashier; and William Smith, assistant cashier. In March, 1913, a receiver
was appointed and in May of the same year the court ordered an assessment against the stockholders. At the time
of the failure Adam Kiefer was president; K. K. Kiefer, vice president; and William Smith, cashier.
The failure of both of these banks is of recent occurrence and so much feeling exists that we deem it inadvisable
to attempt any detailed account of it.
The first newspaper to be established in Hazleton was the Hazleton Pioneer, begun in March, 1900, by Taylor and
Armstrong. This continued about a year and then died. The next paper was Hazleton Advance, which was started by
J. C. Seeley on March 14, 1902. The life of this paper was about four years. The next and last sheet to be published
was the Hazleton Free Press, started February 22, 1908, by E. S. Holmes. On March 25, 1910, this paper was discontinued.
With the exception of the last named all of the papers were weekly. The last was semi weekly.
On March 13, 1884, Capt. H. W. Holman organized a Grand Army of the Republic Post at Hazleton, with twenty seven
members. Among these members were: W. A. Wilson, commander; B. H. Miller, T. E. McCurdy, R. G. Merrill, T. C. Nelson,
J. A. Ward, Pret King, A. D. Allen, John Delan, C. H. Shreeve. These men were the early officers. The Post is still
in existence, although greatly shrunk in numbers.
The Hazleton Opera House was christened on June 1 and 2, 1881. The initial performance was that of "The Merchant
of Venice," with Professor Gibney and Nellie Wilkins in the leads, assisted by a competent cast of local talent.
This place of entertainment is used frequently now for plays of good character and motion picture exhibitions.
A new brick and stone school was started in Hazleton in the year 1914 and is rapidly nearing completion. The cost
of the building will be close to fifteen thousand dollars, and when it is finished Hazleton will have one of the
most up to date schools in the county. N. M. Miguet, president, and George Wengert, E. N. Fortner, L. Gerstenberger
and Henry Suks, directors, were largely responsible for this improvement.
Bryant was the first name of the small town now known as Bryantburg. It was originally a flag station on the
railroad between Hazleton and Independence on the Rock Island. In January, 1885, it became a regular station and
was made a postoffice. Alvin Johnson was the first postmaster.
The Bryantburg Savings Bank was organized on June 21, 1913, and chartered on October 11th of the same year. The
capital stock is $10,000. Alfred Hanson is president; J. H. Menzel, vice president, and O. B. Batcheler is the
cashier. The bank was organized by Rich H. Smith, M. L. Batcheler, O. B. Batcheler, C. V. Spezia, E. J. O'Connor,
Isaac, Alf and I. L. Hanson, all of Oelwein except the Batchelers.
The Methodist Episcopal Society had their first organization about the year 1852. The home of A. Belt first
served as a meeting house. Among the first members of this society were: A. Belt and wife; Nathan Peddycord and
wife; C. S. Belt, and Mr. Russell and wife. Reverend Shippen preached the first sermon. At first the society held
occasional services at the schoolhouse and in private residences. In the year 1879 a building was erected and this
structure has since been extensively remodeled. The society at the present time has a membership of about eighty
The first Presbyterian Church was organized here in 1874 at the home of John Long by Rev. J. D. Caldwell. Their
first services were held in the Methodist Episcopal Church. This church has a small but active membership at the
The Catholic Church of Hazleton was first organized in 1881 by Reverend Father Grady. At this time a small frame
church was constructed. In the year 1905 the present handsome church was built, also the parsonage. Reverend O'Donnell
followed Grady at this pastorate and then came Father McNamee, and then the present priest, N. M. Homan. There
are forty seven families in this church. Father Homan also attends the Lamont Catholic Church where there are sixty
An organization of Free Will Baptists was formed here in July, 1879. They first held services in the schoolhouse
in district No. 9 in the southwest part of the township, until the building of the present church at Bryantburg
in 1900. The church now has a membership of fifty people.
The Methodists also have a church and a building in the northeast corner of the township named Prairie Center Church.
There is a membership here of about fifty people also.