History Victor, IA
From: History of Iowa County, Iowa And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chiago 1915


The Town of Victor was originally called Wilson, in honor of George W. Wilson, the man who entered the land and took a very active interest in the affairs of the town. Joseph A. Blackburn was the man who founded the town on May 5, 1863, and caused to be laid out the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 19, township 8o, range 12. Other additions have since been made at different times.

In the autumn of 1865 Mr. Hunt erected a grain elevator. In the fall of the previous year R. C. Boughton came to the new town. A short time after his arrival he went into the meat market business and later opened a grocery, which he successfully managed for several years. In the fall of 1865 John H. Funk, having erected a building, established himself in the mercantile business. Later, with J. W. Garrett, he engaged in milling. Senaea Townsend was the first physician. I. S. Richards, a native of Virginia, came with his family about 1865. He taught school in the vicinity of Victor for several terms and then entered the land agency business here. William A. Patrick came from Ohio in 1867 and became a Victor merchant, also dealt in the grain business. J. C. Gridley established the first hardware store.


In the year 1869, under the Iowa law providing for the incorporation of towns, Victor was incorporated. Under the direction of G. W. Wilson, the town was laid off into lots by the surveyor, Charles Shotwell, in 1861, eight years prior to incorporation. The change of the name from Wilson to Victor occurred in 1865. The first officers of the town were: A. H. Simpson, mayor; H. M. Wilson, recorder; F. P. Hutchins, marshal. Following Simpson in the office of mayor have been: William A. Patrick, H. F. Garretson, E. P. Hall, J. E. Wilkins, J. P. Englebeck, R. C. Broughton, H. Howard, Lewis Clark, D. W. Phillips. Dr. G. F. Bott is the present mayor.


The first weekly paper in Victor was called the Victor Sun and was edited by D. B. Eaton in 1871. Then G. W. Rutherford took the paper and called it the Index, after which it was edited by W. Clapp, and after his death in the spring of 1875 his widow became the editor. E. E. Merritt and Charles Kelsey followed, then J. A. Shanks. The latter had established the Labor Herald at Ladora on November 21, 1878, and was continued there until the latter of February, 1880, when it was removed to Victor and was then called the Victor Herald. This paper died in the '90s. The Victor Record, the present weekly newspaper in Victor, was established in 1906.


The postoffice was first established 1 1/4 miles south on the state road in July, 1854, with Samuel Drummond as postmaster. It was called Victor from a town by that name from New York State and when removed to near the depot in March, 1862, still retained the name. After Mr. Drummond some of the first postmasters were: Wesley Hunt, F. C. Smith, John Ledwich, Melvin Wighton, Dr. D. J. Hussey.

The railroad was built through the town in 1862.

A Mr. McEckley built the first house and store on the present site of Victor. The settlers came from Ohio, Indiana and Maryland, principally Irish and German, and later a few Belgians. Arnold Soer was the first Belgian settler and is now a retired farmer living in Victor.

The City of Victor owns its own waterworks and gas plant. The city seal was adopted in 1868.

Victor had its first election in March, 1869. The first additions to the town after it was platted were called Giffords, Martin and Murphy's first and second addition.

George W. Wilson entered 1,000 acres of land in the spring of 1854 and in order to do this he obligated himself to his father in law, one Joseph Blackburn, back in Ohio. He enlisted in the army and after the close of the war he stopped off in Ohio and paid his father in law the $6c0 obligation. Mr. Blackburn was sick at the time and did not give Wilson a clear deed to the land, but promised to do it as soon as he was able. In the meantime Blackburn died and the obligation still stood against Wilson in the way of a mortgage on his land. Blackburn's sons, John and Theodore, instituted proceedings to recover the father's share of the land and much litigation resulted. Mrs. George W. Wilson is living in Marengo at this time, and celebrated her eighty ninth birthday June 17, 1915.

Mr. Wilson died at his home in Marengo where his wife now lives, a few months ago. They have two daughters and one son living: Mrs. Mary Gunckel, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Mrs. Jennie M. Simpson, of Upland, Cal., and William H. Wilson, of Marengo.

George W. Wilson donated the right of way to the Rock Island Railroad, built the first depot and was the first station agent. Later he became county recorder.

Some other first settlers in the town were: Mrs. West Barker, J. S. Richards, Mrs. Tillie Nace, William A. Patrick, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Mussetter, J. W. Garrett and Horace Mussetter. Westley Hunt had the first store and postoffice. Theodore Smith had the first drug store; N. P. Huntoon the first restaurant; James Gainzley was the first blacksmith. The mill at Victor was constructed by McEckley, who also built the first house. The first lumber yard was built and owned by Walters and Hamilton in 1866. The first church was constructed by the Methodists and was on the present site of the Methodist Church. John Wallick sold cattle and hogs in 1865; Charles Wallick sold grain in the same year; Phillip Oel sold grain in 1868; William A. Patrick sold grain in '68; John Hunt sold grain in 1865. Dr. Eli Eastman was the first veterinarian in the town. John Funk established the first general store in 1865.

The first death in the city was that of Julia Wallick. Charles Comstock came to Victor early and his son, L. B., was the first white child born in the town.

The first section foreman was Mike Kilcoin, also Thomas Carroll, in the spring of 1863.

The first hotel was run by a Mr. Nagley on the present site of the Victor Savings Bank.

Jesse Gwinn aided Wilson to build the first depot for the railroad in 1862, with timber taken from Wilson's land and sawed into boards by them. Wilson rented some of his land to John Keller.

The Farmers Savings Bank of Victor was organized in January, 1891, with a cash capital of $25,000. The first officers were: James Simpson, president; C. H. Bartlett, vice president; H. L. Mussetter, cashier; J. M. Rumple, James Simpson, Thomas Leader, Levi Lewis, John Kraft, C. H. Bartlett and William Hakeman, directors. The present capital of the bank is $50,000; the deposits $509,000 and the surplus $17,000. The following are the officers in 1915. J. C. Engelbert, president; Phillip Mohr, vice president; H. L. Mussetter, cashier; J. C. Engelbert, Phillip Mohr, H. L. Mussetter, James P. Lawlor, M. C. Wentland, D. P. Lanning and Max Speck, directors.

The Victor Savings Bank was organized and began business on July 6, 1905. The amount of the first cash capital was $25,000, which remains the same at present. The first officers were: D. B. Connelly, president; A. C. Bender, vice president; J. A. Rouse, cashier. The first board of directors consisted of the following men: D. B. Connelly, A. C. Bender, L. H. Rinehart, A. A. Rouse, H. Hughes, T. T. Osborn and J. M. Dower. The present officers are: Louis Feller, president and J. T. McGuire, cashier. The deposits at the present time average $172,000. Through efficient management the bank has, in the last seven years, gained strength with every month, until the present excellent standing was gained.


The Methodist denomination was the first to erect a house of worship within the city limits. George H. Blodgett drew up the plan of the building and James Miller did most of the construction. Another structure was erected in 1878 at a cost of $3,000. The first class was organized in 1853; among the early members were: Mary Ann Drummond, Mr. and Mrs. Griswold, Charles Comstock, W. Rosecrans and wife, Isaac Rosecrans and wife, McBurney and wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Switzer and John Gwin and wife.

The first Presbyterian Church of Victor was organized September 28, 1867. This church is not active in Victor at the present time.

The Catholic Church was organized in 1875 and now has a large church building and parsonage. There are 15o families in the congregation.

The German Lutheran Church was started four years ago; that is, regular services were held in the church constructed that year. Prior to this time services were held in the Congregational Church building. Rev. Otto Kitzmann of the Lincoln Township Church also has charge of this society.

The Congregationalists have an organization here, dating from about 1885.


Victor Lodge No. 287, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered March 15, 1870, with the following as charter members: R. C. Broughton, J. Huston, George L. Ostrum, John Elrod, J. P. Hunt, D. L. Lyon, A. Young and S. Boden.

The lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized in March, 1870.

The A. O. U. W. at Victor was organized in April, 1877, with eighteen charter members.

The U. S. Grant Post, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized in 1887 and the following were the first mustered in: H. F. Garretson, H. Howard, D. B. Atkinson, A. McAdam, J. T. Harper, H. H. Sheldon, J. J. Ashley, W. F. Hunt, J. R. Helmstreet, W. K. Nace, Lewis Wigton, Samuel Rogers, Benjamin Lyman, T. R. Smith, A. Emory, Charles Walick, J. S. Funk, S. A. Hibbs, S. F. Donaldson, G. W. Hyter, J. Genzeley, S. Urfer, J. E. Sanders, Thomas Whitworth, A. C. Best, P. H. Burke, D. H. Campbell, G. W. Weatherby, John Forney. H. F. Garretson was the first commander.

Other lodges in Victor at the present time are: Knights of Pythias, Knights of Luther, Modern Woodmen, Royal Neighbors, Rebekahs, Eastern Star and Pythias Sisters.

The first school in Victor was held in a blacksmith shop which was built and owned by L. W. Hunt. This was in the spring and summer of 1864. Eliza Gwinn, now Mrs. W. C. Barker, taught the first school at this time. The building stood just east of where the new creamery now stands. Addie Turley taught the second school in the summer of 1865 in a room used at one time as a blacksmith and repair shop. John G. Simpson, Melvin Wigton, Philip Uhl and John H. Funk were chosen as the first directors of the independent school district of Victor. In 1870 the district erected a building and in October, 1873, it was destroyed by fire. The first grading of schools was done in 1869.

Another authority places the first teacher in Victor as Addie Turley. The facts in favor of Miss Turley or Miss Gwinn are about equal, and it is impossible at this time to determine just who the first teacher was, but it is certain that it was one of the two.

School was also held in the old Catholic Church building, which is now the town hall of Victor. A new school was built in 187c, of frame, two stories in height. There were two rooms on each floor, those on the upper not being finished. This was burned, as mentioned before, on the morning of October 6, 1873. William H. Wilson, who was then a boy, related the following about the fire: "On the morning of October 6th, in company with a young fellow named Washington Hunt, I went out to a grove to pick hickory nuts. We had run away from school and while picking nuts, Hunt remarked that he wished the darned old school would burn down. A few minutes later as Hunt was up in a tree shaking the nuts dawn, he looked over in the direction of the school and saw that it was burning." This school was located at the south end of what is now Main Street. The second school house was also burned, and the district is now occupying the third school building. It is a brick structure and supposed to be fireproof.

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