Madison Township was organized on March 11, 1857, by order of County Judge Roszell. The first election in the
township was held at the house of Charles Richmond, on April 6th of the same year and the following township officers
were elected: John Marsell, Silas Boss and A. D. Bradley, trustees; Charles Bennett and J. B. Ward, justices; Seth
Paxon and S. M. Eddy, constables; D. M. Brown, clerk.
The first settlement was made by Seymour Whitney in the fall of 1852, in the east part of the township near
the present city of Lamont. He remained here for about fifteen years, then went to Missouri. He was the first clerk
of the township.
J. B. Ward settled in the township in the fall of 1853, in the eastern part. He entered some land for himself and
opened his farm. He also started the first sawmill in the township and later had two mills in his possession.
On March 28, 1853, Silas Ross settled here. He was a. native of Vermont.
Mark Whitney settled in 1853. He assisted in forming the first Free Will Baptist Society here. Alden Whitney settled
here in February, 1854, on section 24, entering the land he selected. He filled the offices of county supervisor,
township trustee and magistrate, being one of the first in the latter office.
E. R. Jenks became a settler in the township in June, 1853. He came to the county in 1851 and had lived for a time
with A. J. Eddy in Buffalo Township. He finally became the owner of about five hundred acres of land in this township.
In the summer of 1853, Silas Ross, Mark Whitney and J. B. Ward built a log schoolhouse and during the following
winter Mrs. Getty Riley taught a school here with about thirty students. The next schoolhouse was constructed at
Ward's Corners, now Lamont, and the next at Buffalo Grove. Among the early teachers were Lucy Ticknor, Jane Bennett,
Melusia Davies and Julia Whitney.
The Free Will Baptist Society was organized in this township on June 27, 1857, with seven members, namely: Peter
Halleck and wife, Mark Whitney, Cyrus Bailey and wife, and N. R. Whitney and wife. The first meetings of the society
were conducted at the home of Cyrus Bailey. The first preacher was Rev. S. Hutchinson. Some time after the church
was organized the members divided and a number living near Buffalo Grove formed an organization there. These two
societies have now been reunited at Lamont and own a substantial church building, having a membership of eighty
people, and a regular pastor.
The old school Baptists organized in this township some time later. There were ten members at first, namely: John
Merrill and wife, J. B. Ward and wife, Charles Richmond and wife, Amanda. Braman and Orrin Ross. The first preacher
was Rev. George Scott. For the first six years of their existence they held services in the log schoolhouse. In
1871 they constructed a frame house of worship, also a parsonage. This society has not been active for about eight
years. The reunion of the Baptist societies has resulted in the reorganization under the Free Will denomination.
The Lutheran Church at Lamont was organized about the year 1898 and in 1900 a church and parsonage were built,
costing about four thousand dollars. The church was dedicated on April 2d of that year. The membership now totals
The first cemetery was established at Buffalo Brove, in the southwest part of the township, in about 1857. A
second one was located at Ward's Corners, now Lamont, in the next year. A third was established in the northeast
corner of the township.
A feed mill was constructed here in 1856, by Whitney and Ward, on the Maquoketa. At the sime time a sawmill was
built, but it did not prove a paying investment. In 1881 a second mill was built near the site of the old one.
The first white child born in the township was Hiram Whitney, a son of the first pioneer, in 1854.
The first death was that of David Cornell, in 1854.
The pioneer blacksmith was John W. Dana, in 1857, his shop being about a half mile east of the then Ward's Corners.
Silas Ross raised the first crop of wheat in 1854.
The first store was kept by Rev. W. Durfey at Ward's Corners.
No hotel was operated in the township Until 1880, when Alfred Bush started a tavern.
CITY OF LAMONT
The City of Lamont is located in the eastern part of Madison Township. The building of the Chicago Great Western
Railroad through the township in 1886 insured the growth of the then village into the prosperous town as at present.
Prior to the building of the railroad Lamont was indeed a small village. Seymour Whitney deeded the land where
the village stood and built the first house on the spot where Mr. Retz now lives. There was a postofflee established
in 1875 and called. Erie. Mr. Ward was appointed postmaster and he immediately had the name changed to Ward's Corners
in honor of himself. The next change in name occurred when G. M. Foster became postmaster in 1883. Some authorities
claim that the railroad changed the name to Lamont, but the wiser ones concede the act to Mr. Foster. The mail
in the early day was carried by a line running from Independence to Strawberry Point, and later from Forrestville.
Albert Bush was the first hotel keeper in the town. Charles Richmond ran the first blacksmith shop. The first important
step after the beginning of the village was the building of the Baptist church in 1867, just back of the present
Redmond store. It was later moved across the creek to its present location. The first store building was constructed
by Willis Durfey in 1872. In the next year a creamery was built, a fine two story building, by John Stewart. The
upper floor was used as a town hall. Mr. Quick put up the next store building and Whitney Bush had the third. There
were ten or twelve store buildings and an equal number of residences when the railroad came through in 1886. There
were three fairs, or rather barbecues, held in the early days, but the practice has become lost.
The first and best things in the sketch of Lamont are the banks which do business there. Both are among the most
substantial in the county. The Farmers Savings Bank was organized on March 3, 1910. The first officers were: D.
J. Kenna, W. C. Fakk, and M. J. Nolan. The directors were: J. H. Brown, Frank Dozark, Thomas Vanek, A. K. Anderson,
Fred Retz, and A. L. Seeber. The capital stock of this institution is $15,000, the surplus $1,000 and the deposits
amount to $100,000. W. C. Falekis is the president now; Fred Betz, vice president; and O. C. Gladwin, cashier.
The Lamont Savings Bank was incorporated on April 4, 1892. The first officers were: A. R. Loomis, president; M.
F. LeRoy, cashier; A. R. Loomis, E. S. Cowles, M. F. LeRoy, E. H. Hoyt, and E. M. Carr, directors. The first capital
stock was $10,000, which was raised to $15,000 in August, 1899. The present officers are: John Elliott, president;
A. A. Smith, vice president; C. E. Hayes, cashier; and H. M. Fitch, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $25,000;
undivided profits, $7,000; and deposits amount close to $250,000. The directors now are: John Elliott, C. R. Jenks,
Henry Allen-stein, Henry Scharff, A. A. Smith, Thomas Kelsh, James Carr, John Kash, and C. E. Hayes. Prior to the
existence of these two banks there was a private bank known as the Bank of Lamont, run by Oscar Tuttle. This institution
went out of existence. More detailed sketches of these banks may be found in the second
volume of this work.
The newspaper history of Lamont has just begun practically. The first issue of the Lamont Reporter was published
on May 17, 1893, by E. D. Alexander. The paper was a weekly, run every Wednesday. In 1900 J. F. Davidson came into
control of the paper and changed its name to the Lamont Leader. This is also a weekly paper.
The City of Lamont was surveyed in April, 1886, by P. H. Warner and the plat was filed for record December 14th
of that year. A petition Was presented to the court on October 4, 1892, by William Quick and others, asking that
the town be permitted to hold an election for incorporation. This was granted and on November 22, 1892, the people
voted to incorporate the town.
The water plant of the city was procured in 1908 and was the first public utility. It was built by public subscription
and cost about $5,000.
The lodges in Lamont are very numerous for the size of town, but are all strong. There is a lodge of the Ancient
Free and Accepted Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights of Pythias, Modern Woodmen, Woodmen
of the World, and Mystic Toilers. All of these orders have the ladies' auxiliary. A number of clubs are maintained
among the women also, the principal one being the Tourist Club, for the study of literature.
The main industry of the city is the Lamont Cooperative Creamery, established in 1898.
The school building in Lamont is a structure about ten years old, and is convenient and adapted to the latest style
of school architecture. An efficient corps of teachers is maintained here every year.