History of St. Charles, Madison County, IA
From: History of Madison County, Iowa
And it's people.
By: Herman A. Mueller
S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago 1915


The land on which the City of St. Charles was originally located is the west half of the northwest quarter of section 24. The north "forty" was entered by William Wallace White, January 10, 1851, and the south "forty" by Jesse C. Young, December 14, 1850. Later George Hartman bought the north "forty" and he inspired the project of locating the town. The platting was done for George Hartman and Jesse C. Young, October 7, 1852, Simmons Rutty, surveyor. Hartman was an enterprising man and besides being a considerable farmer, operated a large sawmill on the Clanton, a short distance southwest of the present bridge near Hanley. The town as laid out comprised four blocks, called respectively the northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast sections, which in this respect is unlike any other town platted in the county. The owners gave the place no name at the time, which was also a novelty in town building For some time the little community discussed one name and then another, until finally it generally was agreed to call it St. Charles, after a town in Missouri. This name was adopted but it seems has never been entirely satisfactory. The postoffice was established December 13, 1853, with David Downs in charge. For some years the growth of the town was slow but when the railroad came its spirits were revived and since then St. Charles has advanced in a steady and substantial manner, until it is one of the best business towns of its class in the county.

The first house erected was by John Byers, in 1853, shortly after the town was laid out. This was a one story log dwelling.

Milton Thompson opened the first stock of merchandise in St. Charles and was soon followed by B. F. Allison and the firm of Browne & McCreary.

Adam Stuffier and Charles Young were early blacksmiths.


St. Charles was incorporated under an order of the Circuit Court at the March term of 1876, when it was ordered by the courts that J. M. Anderson, W. E. Mack, H. D. Bean, E. Faust and William McClure be appointed commissioners to hold an election as provided by law. In pursuance of this mandate of Judge John Mitchell, an election was held at the township house in St. Charles on Monday, the 15th day of May, 1876. Upon the ballots voted was printed the following: "For incorporation or against incorporation," and forty two citizens expressed themselves in favor of incorporation. Thete were only two votes cast against it. The names of the voters follow: Ephraim Wallace, Walter Wallace, William Ross, Alonzo Emery, N. B. Morgan, William M. Anderson, S. C. Coletrane, Grove Robiuett, W. E. Mack, J. T. Anderson, J. M. Anderson, P. V. Carpenter, George Patton, D. P. Morgan, John F. Johnston, G. W. Armstrong, William McClure, E. Faust, H. D. Bean, David Wallace, Jacob Kepner, William Beaver, S. H. Lyons, S. L. Wood, William L. Brown, D. Boswell, J. R. Robertson, N. D. Bean, Hiram McCandless, Jackson Kleckner, William K. Kramer, G. C. Lawhead, Roberts, Stephen Steele, C. W. Thompson, L. J. Forney, S. M. Wallace, Andrew Reid, B. W. Tincher, J. C. Armstrong, T. F. Hoff, R. C. Nickle, R. Dick, William Barton.

On the loth day of July, 1876, at the township house in St. Charles, the first election was held in the town for municipal offices. H. D. Bean was elected mayor, William McClure, recorder; T. Roberts, William Beaver, George Patton, J. M. Anderson and E. Faust, trustees. On the 14th day of July the newly elected officers met at the township house, qualified and perfected the organization of the incorporated town.

Among other proceedings of this meeting was a motion authorizing the mayor to purchase a docket and journal. David Wallace was elected mayor and W. L. Browne, treasurer. The mayor was instructed to appoint a committee to draft rules to serve as a manual to govern the council. This committee consisted of T. Roberts, William McClure and George Patton.

Following is a list of persons who have held the offices of mayor and clerk since St. Charles was incorporated: 1876-H. D. Bean, mayor; William McClure, clerk; 1877-Jackson Kleckner, mayor; C. W. Thompson, clerk; 1878-Jackson Kleckner, mayor; C. W. Thompson, clerk; 1879-S. L. Wood, mayor; C. W. Thompson, clerk; 1880-S. L. Wood, mayor; C. W. Thompson, clerk; 1881-I. M. Clanton, mayor; C. W. Thompson, clerk; 1882-George Patton, mayor; C. W. Thompson, cleric; 1883-W. B. Hodge, mayor; George Patton, clerk; 1884-W. B. Hodge, mayor; S. N. Sayre, clerk; 1885-J. W. Baird, mayor; S. N. Sayre, clerk; 1886-john Baird, mayor; S. N. Sayre, clerk; 1887-A. V. Barger, mayor; S. N. Sayre, clerk; 1888-John McCandless, mayor; S. N. Sayre, clerk; 1889-S. G. Stouffer, mayor; S. N. Sayre, clerk; 1890-J. M. Browne, mayor; G. W. Jeffries, clerk; 1891-J. M. Browne, mayor; G. W. Jeffries, clerk; 1892-J. H. Stuffier, mayor; J. L. Armstrong, clerk; 1893-J. H. Stuffier, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1894-C. F. Wood, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1895-W. H. Cater, mayor; O. M. Horton, cleric; 1896-E. P. Bell, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1897-E. P. Bell, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1898-E. P. Bell, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1899-C. F. Wood, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1900-C. F. Wood, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1901-P. S. Wise, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1902-P. S. Wise, mayor; O. M. Horton, clerk; 1903-P. S. Wise, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1904-G. A. Zimbelman, mayor; J. L. Armstrong, clerk; 1905-G. A. Zimbelman, mayor; M. I. Bean, clerk; 1926-P. S. Wise, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1907-P. S. Wise, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1908P. S. Wise, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1909-P. S. Wise, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1912-G. L. Archer, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1911-G. L. Archer, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; I912-G. L. Archer, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1913-G. L. Archer, mayor; J. L. Fleming, clerk; 1914-P. S. Wise, mayor; Clive Johnson, clerk.

St. Charles has not yet reached that stage where it feels able to assume the expense of installing public utilities such as waterworks, sewerage, electric lights and paving. But it has the incentive and the inclination so to do and the time is not far distant when St. Charles will be enjoying these privileges and conveniences the same as some of her neighbors. Notwithstanding these drawbacks the town has many natural attractions, such as a pure atmosphere, plenty of good water, excellent transportation facilities and the surrounding country replete with finely cultivated and improved farms, whose owners are frugal, industrious and prosperous. With these conditions and blessings St. Charles has every incentive to continue on her road of steady advancement and has high hopes for the future. Her school and church buildings are modern and substantial and meet the requirements of all involved in their maintenance, and as a business and shipping center she gives way to none in the county, when all things are considered.


The St. Charles Savings Bank was organized by W. A. Tris during the spring of 1904, and on May 26th of that year opened for business in the building formerly occupied by the Citizens Bank. Its first board of directors was: J. D. Whisenand, J. G. Olmsted, Edwin A. Nye, H. F. Cross and W. B. Brown, all prominent business men of Des Moines, and Francis Power and E. B. Cochran of St. Charles. The first officers were: President, J. G. Olmsted; vice president, Francis Power; cashier, W. A. Tris; assistant cashier, N. J. Tris. In 1913, after nine years of continued growth, larger quarters became necessary, and a fine bank building was erected on the corner, which in its complete accommodations will make a suitable home for many years. Thirty stockholders representing a wealth of perhaps two million dollars are at present connected with and behind this bank. Its present officials are: Francis Power, president; A. R. Downs, vice president; W. A. Tris, cashier; and W. D. Downs, assistant cashier.

J. F. Johnston's Bank began business in June, 1901, with a capital of $20,000, with the following officers: President and sole owner, J. F. Johnston; vice president, W. A. Barnes; cashier, Henry Hayden; bookkeeper, Carrie E. Johnston. Later the capital was increased to $30,000, and in 1905 to $50,000. In August, 1905, Mr. Hayden died and soon after Herman A. Mueller became cashier, and Carrie E. Guilliams assistant cashier. The officers in 1909 were: President, J. F. Johnston; vice president, Carrie E. Guilliams; cashier, H. A. Mueller; assistant cashier, C. C. Guilliams. In April, 1913, H. A. Mueller quit the employ of the bank after eight years of faithful service, and C. C. Guilliams became cashier. The bank has grown rapidly in the past ten years and is one of the leading private financial institutions of the county.


After St. Charles was platted in 1852, and until 1889, the town was a subdistrict of the school district of South Township, being subdistrict No. 3 when first organized (see early schools of South Township), and later it was changed to No. 6 The first structure was a one room building, erected about 1858, which was replaced by a two story building of two rooms in 1877. The first building was moved on the north side of Main Street and is now used by W. B. Snider for a general store. In 1886 another two story building was added, making four rooms and a high school was organized, with Jackson T. Rhyno as the first principal. He served two years and George M. Langeteig followed in 1888. In 1889 St. Charles was made an independent district and since that time the following named have served as principals: J. D. Phillips, 1889-90; J. H. Schroeder, 1891; L. J. Little, 1892-7; J. W. Radebaugh, 1897-8; J. W. Miller, 1899-1903; A. H. Anton, 1924 to fall of 1906; Fred B. Tyler, 1907; E. G. Lockhardt, 1908-9; Frank E. Moore, 1910; Ray Edmondson, 1911; Merton Crowl, 1912; J. H. Denius, 1913-4.

A two story brick building, consisting of eight rooms and basement, was erected in 1911-2, at a cost of $15,000. St. Charles can boast of as good a school as any town of its size in the State of Iowa.

The first officials of the St. Charles independent school district were: J. M. Browne, president; R. D. Minard, secretary; David Downs, director; C. F. Wood, treasurer. R. D. Minard has held the position of secretary to the present time. The high school has an excellent four year course and to date (1915) has graduated 150 students, 74 boys and 76 girls, the first class being graduated in 1893.


The early records of this society state that "about 1852 a number of families came to the county who were members of the Associate and Associate Reformed Presbyterian churches. The first of these was Oliver Crawford, who in 1852 settled in Crawford Township on the farm still known by his name. J. G. Freeborn, Anderson McLees, Robert Gamble and William Kenedy came to the same neighborhood soon after. These persons soon organized a society for social worship and catechetical instruction on the Sabbath to supply the place of preaching. About this time Joseph Henderson, John and Robert Baird and a few others who had located near St. Charles united with those above named in an effort to secure preaching, at least occasionally. The first minister was the Reverend Mr. Tindsay, of the Associate Church; then came the Rev. John W. McClain, of the same denomination. On the 19th of February, 1852, an Associate Reformed Church was organized by the Rev. James Greene a t the home of J. G. Freeborn with a membership of seventeen."

From the old session records which have been preserved since 1855 the following list of charter members of the Clanton congregation of th. Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church when organized, February 19, 1855; is found: Oliver Crawford, James G. Freeborn, George Piper, Robert C. Baird, Margaret Gamble, John W. Baird, Joseph Henderson, John Wilkins, Lucinda Crawford, Martha Freeborn, Anderson McLees, Robert Gamble, Sarah Gamble, Nancy Baird, Margaret Henderson, Mrs. Wilkins. Robert Gamble and Jchn W. Baird were elected ruling elders and James Greene, moderator.

From 1857 to 1862 this congregation sat under the preaching of different ministers, among others, the Rev. James Miller and Reverend Mr. Vance. Little can be discovered of the congregational history from 1862 to 1867, except that the congregation existed at that time as a United Presbyterian Church, the legitimate result of the union of 1858. Perhaps the war had muck to do with the incompleteness of the session records at that time. In. 1867 the session was moderated by the Rev. Andrew McCartney. During this year four members were received from the Old School Presbyterian Church. May 1, 1868, there were forty one members. In 1868 and 1869 the session was moderated by the Rev. A. J. McCartney and Doctor McCaughan. The present house of worship was built in 1868. On May 1, 1870, there were fifty six members.

Rev. A. J. Graham was the first pastor of the congregation. His pastorate began in 1870 and continued about three years. In 1874 Rev. G. P. Raitt began his pastorate, which continued ten years. Rev. J. C. White acted as moderator in 1884 and 1885. In 1886 Rev. Wilson R. Baidridge was called to the pastorate. His pastorate lasted until 1893. From 1893 to 1905 there was no settled pastor. Rev. M. R. Cochran was stated supply from 1895 to 1898, and Rev. Leonard Proudfit was stated supply from 1899 to 1904. February 1, 1905, W. F. Graham assumed the pastoral duties and was installed on the loth of June following. After a pastorate of about four years Reverend Graham resigned to take up work elsewhere, and for some time afterward the congregation was served by occasional supplies. Then for two years Rev. M. M. Milford held services on alternate Sabbaths. Later Rev. I. C. Rankin served as stated supply for about two years, and in July, 1914, Rev. H. J. Bell took charge of the congregation as stated supply. The present membership is about seventy five.


The church was organized in the spring of 1857 by Reverend Short, of Winterset, Iowa. Meetings were held in the schoolhouse or in the homes of the members until about 1870 when a church building, under the pastorate of Rev. J. P. Roach, was built on the lots still occupied by the present church building. Meetings were held about every other Sunday for many years until Reverend Roach came, who was a resident pastor and did much for the church. The first building was blown down by a hurricane some few years after its erection, so until the present church was built about 1890, services were held in the homes or in some empty store building. Services were also held in the building vacated by the Methodists and owned by the Old Style Presbyterians. Reverend Carpenter, later chancellor of Drake University, preached several years during its early existence. Some of the charter members and families belonging at that time are as follows: Isaac Clanton, Joel M. Clanton, George Smith, William Adams, Milton Thompson, Mr. Lympus, George Hartman, Mrs. David Downs, Wesley Stuffier, who was killed in the Civil war, John McGinnis, Sr., and four sons and a daughter, all of whom had families; Samuel Fife and others. For many years the pastors have been students from Drake University, and at present Rev. Herman Olmstead is serving the charge every Sunday. The church is in a flourishing condition with about one hundred members.


Mr. Adam Stuffier, of Norwalk, Iowa, while here last fall (1914) related that he came to St. Charles in 1856 and operated a blacksmith shop. The shop standing on lot 6 northwest section, where W. H. Black's house stands. Mr. Stuffier said that he did not belong to church at that time, and there was no Methodist class in town. In 1858 Reverend Murphy held a revival meeting in the new house of William Bradshaw, now owned by Eliza McLaughlin, and at these meetings Mr. Stuffier was converted. A class was organized with Mr. D. S. Smith leader; he soon after leaving, Mr. Stuffler was chosen class leader, remaining thus until 1868 when he moved to Norwalk, Iowa. St. Charles was first put into the New Virginia circuit; R. S. Robinson, presiding elder, and John W. Anderson was the pastor. Mr. Stuffier had built a shop on lot 6, northwest section, and Mr. Milton Thompson had built a log store on the east part of that lot 6, and in this store Mr. Stuffier and family lived, and in this home for the first two years the meetings were held. As the circuit was large, there was preaching about every third Sunday. Later Mr. Milton Thompson had built a frame store building on lot 3, southeast section, where the blacksmith and garage of P. S. Wise is located. About the year 1860 Mr. Thompson sold this building to the Methodist Episcopal Class for a church and went to the east part of the state. In this building which was transformed into a meeting house, church was held until 1874 when they sold the building to the Old Style Presbyterians and built a church on lots 3 and 4, northwest section. The lots and building are now owned by the St. Charles Park Association. In the year 1905, under the charge of Rev. M. J. Rarick, the present church was built at a cost of about five thousand dollars.

The pastors who have served the St. Charles Church since its organization are as follows: John W. Anderson, 1858-59; Enoch Wood, 186o; Sam Jones, 1861-62; J. Knotts, 1863-64; John Hestwood, 1865-66; Michael Sheets, 1867; transferred to Winterset Circuit, 1868-with John Hestwood, 1868-69; William Abraham, 1870; Israel Mershon, 1871-72; Frank A. Goodrich, 1873; James S. Morrow, 1874; Arthur Badley, 1875; supplied by John Branston, 1876; Arthur Badley, 1877-78; Benjamin Brownfield Kennedy, 1879; Charles W. Stuart, 1880; Benjamin F. Shetterly, 1881; Adam Kern, 1882; George W. Patterson, 1883-84; supplied by Alpheus Hunt, who held a wonderful revival, 1885; Benj. F. Shetterly, first quarter, got into trouble; W. Capps Smith supplied, 1886; Francis Plumb, 1887; Simon W. Lauck, 1888; supplied by W. W. Williams, 1889-90-91-92-93; Frank W. Ewan, 1894-95-96; Andrew Hancox, 1897-98-99; George W. Palmer, 1910-01; William Christie Smith, 1902; Monroe J. Rarick, 1903-04-05; William Mercer, 1906-07; Augustine W. Armstrong, 1908; Albert Edward George, 1909-ro; John A. Evans Cunningham, 1911; supplied by W. W. Williams, 1912-13; W. A. Piper, 1914.

The present membership is about two hundred. Hanley is connected with St. Charles and has services on Sunday afternoons.


The above association was organized July, 1905, and incorporated in August, 1905, by the following incorporators: Henry Imes, J. N. Smith, D. B. Sankey, L. Archer, Johnston & Stayton, L. W. Lynch, S. N. Sayre, P. S. Wise, S. S. Morgan, T. I. Killam, Dr. T. Roberts, Francis Power, Geo. A. Zimbelman, J. F. Johnston, E. E. Williams, H. A. Mueller, Henry Hayden, S. S. Switzer, P. Anderson, E. K. Anderson, J. L. Fleming, James McCloskey, O. M. Horton and Collins & Sloan. The purpose of the organization was to buy the old M. E. Church lots in order to preserve the grove in which old setelers and other meetings of a public nature might be held. Also to have a hall for public meetings and entertainments. The first officers chosen, who served during 1905, were as follows: President, S. N. Sayre; vice president, S. S. Switzer; secretary, Henry Hayden; treasurer, J. F. Johnston; diectors, H. P. Anderson, L. A. Collins, J. N. Smith, F. Power and E. E. Williams. President, 1906: S. N. Sayre; Dr. T. Roberts served as president, 1907-08-09-10-11; W. A. Tris, 1912-13; J. L. Stayton, 1914; O. M. Horton, 1915. Secretary Henry Hayden died Aug., 1905; H. A. Mueller was chosen to fill the vacancy and held the position from that time to date. J. F. Johnston has been treasurer since organization. Directors for 1915 are: H. P. Anderson, E. E. Williams, C. C. Guillianis, J. L. Stayton, and J. N. Smith. H. A. Mueller, secretary; vice president, T. I. Kilian.


The first records of the society were lost, but as near as it can be recalled by Lewis Allen and others, the first "Old Settlers" meeting was held in the Joel Clanton grove, just west of the Joel Clanton homestead, about the year of August, 1885. It was mostly through the energy and persuasion of Dr. William Anderson, a pioneer physician, that the first meeting was held, and the association organized. The first officers chosen were: President, John Byars; secretary, Dr. William Anderson; John Hartman and Lewis Allen, finance committee. Annual reunions have been held since that time and with one or two exceptions, when it was held at Patterson, the meetings have been held in the vicinity or within the Town of St. Charles, where the society was organized. Reunions are usually held during the month of August. Many look forward to this day as a day of meeting old friends and neighbors, and there congregate annually in the grove north of the Opera House, now owned by the Park Association, from one to three thousand people. Those who have been chosen president since 1902 are as follows: C. W. Faust, Dr. T. Roberts, Lewis Kimer, R. D. Minard, H. P. Anderson, Jas. A. Rhyno, W. F. Law and Dr. J. W. Bishop. Secretaries: M. I. Bean, C. W. Minard and E. K. Anderson. Officers for 1915 are as follows: President: James McCloskey; 1st vice president, Samuel Lee; 2nd vice president, Lewis Allen; secretary, Dr. E. K. Anderson; treasurer, J. F. Johnston; chaplain, Rev. W. W. Williams; executive committee, H. A. Mueller, C. C. Guilliains and J. L. Stayton.


John Miller Post, No. 158, Grand Army of the Republic, was organized at St. Charles and received its charter March 3o, 1883. The name assumed for the society was that of a young hero, John Miller, whose home was on the north side of town near the railroad. He was orderly sergeant of Company H, Twenty third Iowa Infantry, and gave up his life for his country at Black River Bridge, in one of the southern states. Sergeant Miller's body was brought home and given the funeral rites of a brave soldier. This was the first burial of a war hero at St. Charles.

The names of the organizing members of Miller Post follow: George W. Armstrong, J. Mc. Armstrong, M. I. Bean, Edward Bell, William B. Hodges, Lewis Kimer, S. A. Lyon, Samuel P. Reed, Thomas Roberts, James H. Stuffier, Silas Sheeley, John Skinner, E. C. Shigley, G. W. Smith, Jefferson Wheat, William Wallace, Thomas Wilson, James Waddell, Nathaniel Winship, James Young. The first officers were: M. I. Bean, P. C.; Lewis Kimer, S. V. C.; Jefferson Wheat, J. V. C.; William B. Hodges, adjt.; Thomas Roberts, O. M.; James H. Stiffler, surgeon; S. P. Reed, chaplain; E. Faust, O. D.; John Lathrum, O. G.; George W. Armstrong, S. M.; P. V. Carpenter, Q. M. S.

Post comamnders from the organization to the present time: M. I. Bean, S. S. King, Daniel Matson, W. B. Hodges, J. M. Brown, James H. Stiffier, S. R. Leonard, Thomas Roberts, S. W. Lee, A. O. Scott, J. M. Brown, M. I. Bean, Adam Siedel, J. W. Carman, O. M. Horton, William Harding, Fred Johnston, J. W. Carman, W. L. Allen, Fred Johnston.

John Miller Woman's Relief Corps, No. 242, was instituted January 14, 1892. The charter members were: Mrs. Jennie Browne, Persis Smith, Emily Stiffler, Anna C. Anderson, Sarah E. Leonard, Carrie M. Martin, Anna Hodges, Florence Jeffries, Margaret Horton, Grace Roberts, Casander Burger, Eliza Hoff, Hannah Woods, R. Jane Stiffler, Margaret Armstrong, Elizabeth E. Mack, Catharine Bean, Florence Wood, Elinor Lee, Etta J. Armstrong, Catharine W. Minard, Louisa Johnston, Hattie Lashed; Addle Carman, Barbara Foster and Isabell Faust.

MODEL LODGE, NO. 315, A. F. & A. M.

Model Lodge, No. 315, A. F. & A. M. was organized and sent in its application for a dispensation March 25, 1872. The application was signed by W. H. Hollinshed and R. D. Minard. W. H. Hollinshed was recommended for master, William Anderson, senior warden, and E. Frank, junior warden. Besides these the application was signed by George H. Cheek, Elijah Kinnaird, W. E. Mack, Allen Lawhead, Sr., H. G. Phillips, Samuel Wallace and J. A. Myers.

The application was granted and dispensation issued April 8, 1872. The new lodge held its first meeting on April 16, when the following officers were appointed: R. D. Minard, secretary; W. E. Mack, treasurer; S. M. Wallace, S. D.; G. A. Myers, J. D.; G. H: Cheek, tyler.

The first lodge hall was on the corner west from Johnston's Bank, where it remained until the lodge built the second story of a frame business building. Here it remained until the property was destroyed by fire in 1898. After the fire a hall was rented and occupied over the corner drug store until the Johnston Bank Building was erected, when the lodge built and furnished the second story, in 1900.

Model Chapter Order Eastern Star was formed at a meeting held in Masonic Hall, in January, 1895, at which time a petition for a dispensation was signed by Mrs. L. C. Hartman, Mrs. Sarah E. Leonard, Mrs. Maggie Horton, Mrs. Lida Johnston, Mrs. Susanna C. Bell, Mrs. Rebecca A. Minard, Mrs. Jennie J. Switzer, O. M. Horton, S. R. Leonard, J. F. Johnston, John Hartman, E. P. Bell, Sr., L. C. Minard, S. S. Switzer, H. C. Minard and R. D. Minard. The following officers were elected: Mrs. Susanna C. Bell, W. M.; R. D. Minard, W. P.; Mrs. Sarah E. Leonard, A. M.; Mrs. Rebecca A. Minard, secretary; Mrs. Jennie Switzer, treasurer.

January 15, 1894, dispensation was granted, and on February 25, 1895, Model Chapter received its charter The charter officials were as follows: R. D. Minard, W. P.; Susanna C. Bell, W. M.; Sarah Leonard, A. M.; H. C. Minard, secretary treasurer; Maggie Horton, cond.; Rebecca A. Minard, A. C.; Louisa Johnston, Adah; Jennie Switzer, Ruth; Lura Sayre, Esther; A. M. Horton, warder; E. P. Bell, S.

St. Charles Lodge, No. 416, I. O. O. F., was organized in St. Charles and a charter granted in October, 1880. The charter members were: C. W. Thompson, Dr. Thomas Roberts, H. Burger, T. F. Hoff and C. W. Hale.

The Odd Fellows first met in the Masonic Hall, where the St. Charles Savings Bank stands. This building burned in 1898. A hall was then purchased over the Jennings drug store, which burned December 23, 1911. In the following year the order built a new brick hall on the same site. The lodge is in a flourishing condition.

Madison Encampment, No. 146, I. O. O. F., was granted a charter in October, 1903. The charter members were: George W. Hubbell, Dr. E. K. Anderson, O. M. Horton, J. G. Carter and George Mackrill.

Rebekah Lodge, No. 469, at St. Charles, was instituted in October, 1899, with twenty eight charter members.

Camp No. 2890, Modern Woodmen of America received its charter April 13, 1895, and had the following members at that time: John W. Baker, W. A. Barnes, E. Bell, M. W. Browne, J. L. Davey, H. L. Martin, J. G. Martin, R. W. Martin, J. E. Montgomery, L. M. Ralston, George B. M. Robinette, S. N. Sayre. The first officials were: William A. Barnes, consul; J. G. Martin, clerk; L. M. Ralston, banker.

St. Charles Homestead, No. 200, Brotherhood of American Yeomen, was instituted December 15, 1898, with the following officers: H. F., G. L. Archer; M. of C., W. F. Lurr; M. of A., G. W. Armstrong; W. P., Dr. S. N. Sayre; C., J. N. Smith; O., H. L. Martin; W., W. O. Phillips; S., G. B. Chadd; G., U. F. Templeton; L. Mrs. Lura Sayre; L. R., Mrs. Mary F. Law; organist, Mrs. Hattie Archer.


David and Amos Fife, being my elder brothers, and myself left our homes in the State of Ohio, September 2, 1849, coming by steamer down the Ohio and up the Mississippi to Keokuk, where we worked until December 1st. David and I then started afoot to Madison County, shipping our belongings by freight team to Des Moines. At length we arrived at Des Moines and the next day, about 4 P. M., arrived at Thomas Cason's, hungry and tired. Mrs. Cason gave us our fill of corn bread and buttermilk and it was the best meal I ever ate, so it seemed. We pushed on to Isaac Smith's, where Amos Fife later lived, and stayed all (Saturday) night. The log house was 16 by 24 feet, and with their six or seven children, the Smiths slept in one room. They had good beds. The bedsteads were fastened to the walls.

Next day we went to church at George Smith's, the first house west of Isaac Smith's. Thomas Cason (New Light clergyman) preached.

David Fife "took a claim" and we built a shanty on the north side of Clanton, which was later owned by R. M. Young, where we both lived all winter, working at making rails.

Thomas Cason came here in 1847 and bought out Hiram Hurst. He was a very enthusiastic Christian and soon was holding regular religious services at his home, at George Smith's and sometimes at other homes until the Clanton schoolhouse was built in the fall of 1850. In those days ministers did not preach for the money there was in it but for the good they might do. The families composing his congregation or church were: Thomas Cason (eight or nine of them), Jacob Kincannon and family, George Smith and family, Isaac Clanton and family, Rachel Clanton, William Hale and family and David Bishop and family.

The settlers here when I came were: Joel M. Clanton, Isaac Clanton, Charles Clanton, Caleb Clark, Isaac Smith, George Smith, David Simmerman, Nathan Viney (on later Queen place), Norval S. Allcock, William Allcoclc, Pleasant Rollins (1847), David Worley, David Bishop, Bud Whited, Doc. Whited, James Fidler, William Hale, William Nunn (single man) and William Stagerwalt.

During the winter of 1850-51 there was a religious revival and William Nunn was immersed in Clanton Creek. Thomas Wilkinson at the time suggested that the minister had better put him under again, as it was current gossip that he was too intimate with a certain neighbor's wife. During that spring, while William Hale was away all day splitting rails near (now) Hanley, William Nunn and Mrs. Hale loaded up everything, even $200 in gold and Hale's land warrant, and left for Missouri. Hale found his house and premises stripped of contents when he returned home that evening. Next day, being April election at Tiney's (west of Queen's), Hale asked for help to pursue the parties and recover his wife and property. No one would go, so he walked to Marion County, where he got a wagon and team, then took after the miserable couple, and overhauled them in Missouri. He brought Nunn back, turned him over to the county authorities, who held him at Winterset for trial, but no one appearing against him he was released. Hale took his family, before court convened, to near Council Bluffs and the next heard of him was early in the fall of 1854, when I met him on Cox's hill, between Winterset and Middle River. He and his father were on horseback going east.

I have omitted Hiram Hurst since he first settled in now Crawford Township, on what later became known as Cason place. This claim he sold to Thomas Cason in 1847. Later he lived on the old Sayre place, on sections 20 and 29, South Township, east of Elm Grove church. I worked for him on May 7, 1851, and hauled rails to his Scott Township farm. Some of the early settlers tried to make out that Hurst was a criminal; that he had stolen hogs in Missouri. Others said he had burned a building and had to leave Missouri. My understanding was that he got into an altercation with a man in Missouri and nearly killed him. While here he was a very quiet man, had good judgment and was of a fine family. His family here was composed of a wife and four little boys. I have worked for him several times and have always found him a gentleman and his wife a perfect lady. He sold out and went to Nebraska.

Norval S. Alicock came to Madison County in 1847, became quite a noted man in those early days and prominent in the early history of this community. He took part in politics, being a member of the second County Commissioners' Court. He was very prominent as a Methodist exhorter and class leader. Mr. Allcock bought his claim of Gifford Lee, where Hanley was laid out, and lived there until the fall of 1851, when he sold to Abraham Black and moved to the Hurst place, east of Elm Grove. Allcock's home was often used for church services and revivals. It always was the home of the circuit rider. When ninety years old Mr. Allcock walked two miles to church, and was highly complimented by Reverend Wickersham for his zeal and great services in the cause of Methodism in South Township. A monument should be erected to his memory. Elm Grove Church was the direct result of his early meetings.

The three Clanton brothers and Caleb Clark were the first settlers of South Township. They left Buchanan County, Missouri, in April, 1846, bound for Fort Des Moines, following the dragoon track that extended from Fort Des Moines to Fort Leavenworth. It was then well beaten. Clantons and Clark went to Fort Des Moines and not being pleased with the land over there, turned back, bearing southwest, recrossing North River at Linn Grove, and on the divide went into camp. From there the men of the party went out prospecting for claims, going southwesterly, crossed the county line of Warren and Madison into Crawford Township. They crossed Middle River near Hurst's claim and seeing a cabin went to it and found Hurst asleep. At first he was frightened but soon learned the object of his visitors and gave them much assistance in locating their claims on what was afterwards known as Clanton's Grove. They staked their claims May 3, 1846.

In the spring of 1850 many settlers came to South Township. J. C. Johnston and son J. M. located south of Jeff Rhyno's place, across Clanton. J. M. Johnston lived east of the creek.

Jeff Rhyno came in 1850 and William Rhyno settled near Peru. Hogan Queen's father settled here in 1850, buying out Nathan Viney, who had settled there in 1848.

Jesse Young came in 1849. He first lived where Caleb Clark lived and built a log house where George J. Carter now lives, one of the original owners of St. Charles.

In 1850 George Hartman and David Downs came from Hendricks County, Indiana. Hartman bought the land owned by Caleb Clark and occupied the previous year by Jesse Young. Downs lived in the same yard for four years.

Hartman was well to do. He brought his money in a chest 18 by 10 by 10 inches, hooped strongly with iron bands, and hauled it out with him in the family wagon. The chest contained $4,000, all in silver. He first opened it at Indianola. Hartman was an honest, charitable man and feared no robbery of his money. Hartman and Downs hired the writer to drive an ox team to and from Burlington in August, 1851, to haul the irons for the first sawmill to be erected in South Township. George Hartman went along. We were gone twenty days and we labored all that fall and winter in putting up the mill. In December, Stephen Divilbliss, of Adel, was hired as millwright. He brought five men along to do the framing and build the mill wheel, but did not finish his work until 1852. The mill began operations as soon as there was a sufficient water supply that fall. The mill and dam were well built and cost heavily. The dam was frame and all the lumber was hauled from Compton's, south of Winterset. Hartman and Downs ran the mill until about 1862 or 1863 and then sold to Dr. Anderson, who at once rebuilt it.

I worked for Joel Clanton from a period in 1850 to August, 1851, and then lived with Hartman until August, 1855.

A town was laid out before St. Charles, about one fourth of a mile northeast of that place, on sections 24 -75-26. It was named Fairview. Samuel Comstock laid it out in the fall of 1850 and put up a store building out of logs 16 by 24 feet. Simmons Rutty was the surveyor. Comstock went to Oskaloosa that fall and laid in a stock of goods and stored them at Joel Clanton's until his building was ready. The goods were sold at Clanton's and I was clerk during that time. Comstock had bought the goods on time and as he never finished his store room, the next spring his creditors took the goods back to Oskaloosa and the history of the Town of Fairview was ended. Comstock had entered a lot of land through Henn-Williams Company, of Fairfield. Unable to meet the payments, he lost everything. Hartman bought the land of Henn-Williams & Company and St. Charles succeeded as a trading point. It was located a little southwest.

The first settler in St. Charles was John Byers. He bought the unfinished home vacated by Comstock in Fairview and moved it on lot 7 in St. Charles. The lot was given him as a premium for being the first man to settle in the town. This was in the fall of 1852.

Milton R. Thompson put in the first stock of goods in the spring of 1853 and ran a general store. One Allison in the fall of 1853 put in the second store. Before this, trading was done at Winterset, Indianola or Des Moines. In 1855 Allison sold his store, which was in a log building on lot 1, to J. M. Browne and William McCreery.

The third store - a log house - was built on lot 5, where the Johnston Bank now stands, by a Mr. Burnsides in the fall of 1854, and a short time later he traded the store to David Fife, who in 1855 moved the stock to Afton, putting up the first store in that new town. J. M. Browne was the manager of this store until 1875 or later.

At the April election of 1852 David Downs was elected justice of the peace of South Township, and Samuel Fife, constable. William H. Compton had been justice of the peace before Downs, but his constable was Harbert in (now) Scott Township.

The first marriage solemnized in St. Charles was in February, 1854. A Mr. Simmons was married to Miss Marshall, a sister in law of Milton R. Thompson, at whose house the wedding occurred. Justice David Fife performed the ceremony. I was one of the guests and thus witnessed the first marriage in the Town of St. Charles. Simmons came here from near Burlington to secure his bride and both returned to his home the next day after the ceremony by wagon. No record of this marriage appears in Madison County.

In the spring of 1853 the first bridge for wagons was built across the Clanton, a few rods below the Hartman sawmill. During this spring thousands of emigrants passed through this part of the county to California. The east and west roads were lined with teams. On this occasion the Clanton was not fordable and hundreds of teams had collected on the bottom waiting to cross. A genius among their number, seing piles of slabs around the mill, planned and built a temporary bridge. Trees of proper length were cut for stringers and hauled to the banks of the stream. One end of the log was thrown into the water and floated to its place. Then men and teams swam across and the other end was placed in position. Slabs, loaned by Hartman, were laid on the stringers loosely, and all crossed over safely. A half day was spent in constructing this crude bridge but it answered the purpose and was used some time, or until the next freshet.

The exodus to California began here in 1849 and reached its maximum in 1850, but lasted several years. The early travelers followed up the divide south of Winterset, without crossing Middle River at all.

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