History of Garfield Township, Plymouth County, IA
From: History of the Counties of Woodbury and Plymouth, Iowa
A Warner & Co., Publishers
Chicago Illinois, 1890-91


GARFIELD, a fine township in Plymouth county, which was named in honor of one of the presidents of the United States, is the southeast corner township, and comprises congressional township ninety, range forty three west. At one time this subdivision was embraced in what was known as Elkhorn civil township, but since September 6, 1882, it has had a separate organization.

It is bounded on the east by Cherokee county, on the south by Woodbury county, on the west by Elkhorn township, and on the north by Henry township. The enterprising village of Kingsley, located on section thirty, is a thriving station on the Kingsley spur of the great Chicago & Northwestern railway system. This is a magnificent agricultural district, and at this time is among the most thoroughly prosperous in all Plymouth county. The chief stream meandering through the fertile prairie lands of Garfield is the West Fork of the Little Sioux, which runs southwest through the territory. In 1885 the population numbered about 400, of which 300 were American born, and 100 foreign - mostly German and English.

First Settlers. - To a man named C. Gard, belongs the historic honor of being the first to make an actual settlement in what is now known as Garfield township. He located on the southwest quarter of section thirty four in 1878.

Close brothers (Englishmen) took a large body of land next, and the same year they came in, they broke a large amount of land, erected thirty six farm houses, and rented most of their lands out. The following constituted the first settlers: C. Gard, Mr. Mickley (section thirty two), J. J. Heacock and the Close brothers in 1878, S. Hammer, Hiel Heald, F. Amos, Henry Cook, I. A. Fish (1879), L. H. North (1880).

Early Events. - The first school was taught in 1881 in a building erected on section fourteen.

The first regular preaching services were conducted in 1883 at Kingsley and at the school house, section fourteen, Rev. G. W. Kliner of the Methodist church officiating. The first religious services in the township were held by the United Brethren people, S. V. King officiating. The first birth was that of Frankie Amos. The first birth in the village of Kingsley was Kingsley Bowen, in 1883. The first death in the township was thatof a child of Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Heacock, in 1878. The first marriage was that of Percy Clarke to Catharine Cloeman in October, 1880, L. H. North, a justice of the peace, officiating.

Kingsley. - This is an incorporated town, located on section thirty, of Garfield township, and was platted June 4, 1883. It is the chief town in the south half of Plymouth county, and furnishes a grain and stock market for an immense territory, and hence is one of the most thoroughly prosperous towns in the county. Its streets are daily filled with farm teams, and the merchants are usually busy. It has a population of about 800 people, nearly all of whom are Americans. Kingsley has the merited name, far and near, of possessing the most enterprising and best class of merchants and tradesmen to be found in this section of Iowa.

The town depends upon the Chicago & Northwestern railroad for its shipping facilities. At present, 1890, there are over sixty business houses, all doing a flourishing business. There are two good banking houses, several churches, a live local paper - the "Kingsley Times" - and one of the best public schools, outside of Le Mars, in the entire county. The town is beautifully situated on rolling, high ground, with broad well kept streets. The first attempt at business at this point was in the summer of 1883, when the railroad was completed. The old town, postoffice and trading point for this vicinity, as has been stated, was Quern, which was platted in 1880, by Close Brothers, with whom the railroad company had some misunderstanding, and as a result they changed their route and located what is now known as Kingsley. The few dealers at Quorn at once removed to the newly platted town, about a mile to the east.

The first to engage in trade in Kingsley was Gaspar Bros., with a general store. They moved from Quorn in August, 1883. J. F. Varner, who was also a pioneer at Quorn, moved his stock at about the same date. The first house erected was built for saloon purposes. The first hotel was the Curtis House, built by John Curtis. The first hardware was sold by Rathbun & Ireland, who removed from Quorn. The first to deal in agricultural implements were Rathbun & Ireland. The first lumber dealers were Lewis & Brockman. The pioneer grain dealers were Herron Bros., who still operate in that line. They also bought the first live stock shipped from Kingsley. The first to deal in furniture was C. H. Loring. The first blacksmith to pound and weld by his glowing forge in Kingsley was Charles Bowers. The first wagon shop was conducted by M. A. Oberholser. The first to engage in the harness trade at this point was M. A. Condon. The drug business was first represented by Marshall & Banks. The villagers were first supplied with meat by Scott Bros. The pioneer liverymen were Hamil Bros.

Kingsley soon saw the necessity of becoming an incorporated town, and so the step was taken in the spring of 1884. The names of the mayors and recorders for each year are here subjoined:

1884 - Mayor, J S. Ellis; recorder, John T. Ireland. 1885 - Mayor, G. A. Garrard; recorder W. R. Savage. 1886 - Mayor, G. A. Garrard; recorder, I. S. Knowles. 1887 - Mayor, C. B. Oldfield; recorder, I. S. Knowles. 1888 - Mayor, C. B. Oldfield; recorder, I. S. Knowles. 1889 - Mayor, C. B. Oldfield, recorder, I. S. Knowles. 1890 - Mayor, F. R. Robinson; recorder, J. A. Ingalls.

The incorporation government has always been of the best, most enterprising type, and good order has ever prevailed. Much attention is paid to public improvements, including the building of sidewalks, etc., all of which tend to make the town a desirable place in which to live.

The first postoffice in this section of Plymouth county was at Quorn (but was subsequently transferred to Kingsley), which office was established in 1880, with Peter Gaspar as postmaster. He was succeeded by C. E. Ireland, and he was followed by M. L. Marshall. From his hands the office passed to those of F. A. Winchel, and then back to those of Peter Gaspar, who was succeeded by the present incumbent, O. D. Heald, April 1, 1890. It was made a money order office in August, 1884. The first money order was issued to John S. Ellis, for the sum of $1.80, payable to J. E. Simpson, Dubuque, Iowa. There had been issued, up to May 29, 1890, 2,922 money orders, and 7,426 postal notes. The office has been kept in different store buildings until this season, when the present postmaster erected a neat frame building on North Second street, to which he moved May 20, 1890. No other business is transacted therein, and it gives greater satisfaction to the general public. "Star routes" run from Kingsley, to and from Le Mars, via O'Leary and Neptune. The mail from points east and west comes over the Northwestern railroad.

Commercial Interests, 1890. - Kingsley has come to be an excellent town, surrounded by an unequaled rural district. While it is in the newest portion of the county, it is well developed, and accounted as a fine business point for all trades and professions. The men who conduct the several commercial and professional callings today are as follows:

Attorneys - J. M. Wormley, John A. Dewey, D. W. Wood.
Agricultural implements - S. A. Tennant, Knowles & Smaltz, Law Bros.
Banks - Bank of Kingsley, Kingsley Bank.
Blacksmiths - Charles Bowers, Charles Price, C. C. Schneider, F. A. Barns.
Boots and Shoes - John Gasper.
Coal Dealers - D. Joyce, M. A. Moore.
Drugs - Martland & Banks, J. J. Wilder, Wilson Bros.
Furniture - C. H. Loring.
Grocers - Clarence Wood, M. S. Snider, C. Stortz & Co., Gaspar Bros., J. F. Varner, J. J. Filson.
Grain - Cathcart Bros.
General dealers - William Rieke & Bros., W. F. Howard, M. C. Evans, Martin Kalbileisoli, W. H. Miller.
Hardware - S. A. Tennant, Knowles & Smaltz, Law Bros.
Harness shops - M. A. Condon, H. Rhode.
Hotels - Georgies, Stowell Hotel.
Jeweler - C. E. Smith.
Lumber - D. Joyce, M. A. Moore.
Livery - Trotter Bros., James Grieve, D. W. Peer.
Miller - J. J. Heacock.
Photograph gallery - George A. Fox.
Press - The "Kingsley Times."
Physicians - Drs. J. J. Wilder, E. H. Banks, R. D. Mason, J. R. Walcutt
Real estate - J. S. Ellis, J. M. Wormley.
Stock dealers - Herron Bros.
Saloons - Three "Holes in the Wall" (unlicensed saloons).
Veterinary - Peter Elliott.
Wagon shop - M. H. Oberholser.

Churches. - No better index can be given of the morality of a town than the church spires pointing heavenward. It leads one to believe, though an entire stranger in the land, that he has come among a God fearing people, with whom it is indeed good to dwell. At Kingsley the Christian element predominates to a good degree, as may be evinced by the fact that here one finds a Methodist, Congregational, Catholic and Baptist church, one of which, the Methodist Episcopal, numbers about 200 members.

The Methodist Episcopal church of this section of the county was at first formed by a class at Quorn, and belonged to the Le Mars circuit. In 1883 it was organized at Kingsley, as soon as the plat was surveyed, almost. At first they occupied unfinished buildings as places for worship, but in 1885 a neat frame building was erected, at a cost of $2,500. It is thirty by sixty feet and seats 300 persons, comfortably. Opera chairs are provided for a part of the seats. The church tower has a bell which cost $115. A neat parsonage was erected for the society in the fall of 1887, at an expense of $600. It stands alongside the church building. Hugh Mason was class leader at Quorn. The following have served as pastors of this church: Rev. G. W. Kliver, one year; Rev. C. C. Stire, one year; Rev. J. W. Forsyth, one year; Rev. A. J. Beebe, one year; Rev. F. E. Drake, Rev. D. M. Beams, Rev. G. W. Klepper, six months; Rev. Hugh Hay, the present pastor. The present membership of this church is 200. The well managed Sabbath school averages an attendance of about sixty six. Its superintendent is W. F. Smith. The 1890 church officials are: R. H. Lacy, class leader; J. F. Varner, recording steward; J. S. Ellis, district steward. In Kingsley, as in most new towns, the Methodist people have been first on the ground, and have worked with heart, hand and money to further the glorious gospel tidings.

The first Congregational church of Kingsley was formed February 14:1886, by the following charter members: W. C. Bundy and wife, F. J. Laude and wife, Mrs. C. E. Stowell, George R. Willhoite and wife, Mrs. Cassiday, Mrs. Moulton and J. D. Buckingham. At first the society assembled in Loring's hall, but in the summer of 1887 they erected a frame building, thirty four by forty feet, which cost $2,200, and seats about 150 persons, comfortably. It stands on the corner of Main and Third streets, and was dedicated December 18, 1887, Revs. Walter A. Evans and T. O. Douglass officiating. Six hundred dollars was raised and pledged on the day of dedication.

The pastors who have served are as follows: Rev. D. E Skinner, a short time; Rev. M. T. Rainer, about three years, and Rev. J. W. Chaffin, the present pastor. The present membership is about thirty three. At one time the society had a larger membership, but on account of removals was lessened to the above. An excellent Sabbath school of thirty five pupils is of great help to the society. Its superintendent at present is Dr. R. D. Mason. The first church officials of this society were: Dr. W. C. Bundy and George R. Willhoite, deacons. The last named was church clerk. The present officials are: John Norris, A. E. Gosting, deacons; R. D. Mason, clerk; E. J. Norris, treasurer; D. A. Oltman, F. J. Laude and R. D. Mason, trustees.

The first Baptist church at Kingsley was organized November 7, 1886, with ten constituent members, with appropriate ceremonies conducted by Rev. C. E. Higgins (now deceased), missionary, Iowa Baptist State convention. In response to letters, a council composed of representatives and delegates from sister churches, of like faith, convened in Kingsley, September 9, 1887. Deacon J. D. Gates, of Cherokee, Iowa, was chosen moderator, and Deacon S. D. Holden. of Correctionville, Iowa, was chosen clerk. The result of that meeting was the reorganization of a regular Baptist church. Rev. W. H. Breach, of Cherokee, Iowa, preached the sermon and Rev. A. J. Patterson, of Kingsley, offered the prayer; Rev. Breach gave the charge to the new church, and J. B. Henderson, of Cherokee, extended the hand of fellowship, on behalf of the council.

The society is as yet compelled to worship in rented buildings, but the matter is being discussed regarding the erection of an edifice - a fit temple in which to worship. The present membership is twenty four, and upon an average each has contributed $35 during the past year, 1889, toward church support. Help has been solicited from abroad with which to build, but thus far the fund has not yet been paid over to the Kingsley church; considerable, however is now in the hands of the state association. Perhaps no more worthy, devout, self sacrificing Christian men and women can be found in Iowa than the members of this church, and may the next county historian be able to record the erection of a house of worship at this point.

The St. Michael's Roman Catholic church at Kingsley was formed in 1889, with eighteen families, by Rev. Father K M. Tierney. The present membership is twenty eight families. The church building was erected in 1889 at a cost of $1,600; its dimensions are twenty four by sixty feet. The parsonage was also built the same year, at an expense of $1,000. The society purchased five acres of land, in Kingsley, for church purposes, and the buildings are on the corner of Second and Brandon streets. Father Tierney had to begin from the foundation at Kingsley, there having been no Catholic work at the place prior to his coming. He is entitled to great credit for the zeal manifested and the good work performed thus far. Besides his work at Kingsley, he has to attend to that of St. Joseph's church in Lincoln township, a congregation numbering forty families; also one in Woodbury county, numbering twenty families. At the last named place he has built a church the present season.

America boasts of free schools and religious liberty, hence here in Plymouth county, with a greatly mixed foreign and American population, one finds many different church spires, representing various denominational faiths and creeds, yet all pointing to the same heaven above, while their devotees exercise the untrammeled right to worship the true and living God after the dictates of their own consciences and in keeping with the religious training of their forefathers.

Civic Societies. - As a general rule, in almost all American communities where culture, morality and refinement prevail, one finds well sustained secret societies, which are not, as supposed by some narrow minded people, anti Christian in their tendency. At Kingsley there are the following orders represented: The Masonic, Knights of Pythias, Odd Fellows and a post of the Grand Army of the Republic.

The A. F. & A. M., known as Cosmos Lodge, No. 470, worked under dispensation, in January, 1885. The following were charter members: I. B. Southwick, W. F. Howard, M. R. Hammer, E. H. Banks, Daniel Whitney, Blair Severins, S. A. Laude, W. McElrath, N. J. Brockman, L. H. North, A. M. Hutchinson, R. H. Lacy, D. R Mower, Jesse Moulton. The first chief officers elected were: I. B. Southwick, W. M.; W. F. Howard, S. W.; M. R. Hammer, J. W. The present chief elective officials are: I. B. Southwick, W. M.; L. Conklin, S. W.; N. J. Brockman, J. W. At one enrollment this lodge numbered fifty one, but its present membership is thirty seven. Their first place of meeting was over Wilson's drug store, on Main street. At this time they, in company with other civic orders, occupy the hall over Howard's store, to which place they moved in 1887. The present condition of the lodge is good.

Knights of Pythias, Plymouth Lodge, No. 141, was instituted June 14, 1884, by the following charter members: J. R. Walcutt, M. M. Carraher, L. V. Cassady, S. L. Hammer, D. W. Wood, E. F. Miller, W. R. Savage, W. Rieke, C. H. Loring, C. B. Oldfield, J. D. Buckingham, M. L. Marshall, W. E. Benson, M. R. Hammer, F. L. Martlam, E. H. Banks, J. C. Gearhart, J. F. Varner, J. H. Anderson, F. Robinson, J. P. Gaspar, A. W. Patridge, H. G. Mansel, W. H. Miller, W. H. G. Vernon. The first elective officers were: D. W. Wood, C. C.; J. H. Anderson, V. C.; J. F. Varner, M. at A.; W. B. Ammerman, K. of R. S.; A. W. Patridge, M. of F.; M. L. Marshall, M. of R; M. Marshall, I. G.; J. D. Buckingham, O. G. The highest membership has been an enrollment of thirty five. The present condition of the order is good and growing, with a membership of twenty nine. The lodge at first met over Wilson's drug store, but now meets in the hall over W. F. Howard's dry goods store, in the same room used by all orders of Kingsley at present. The officers of 1890, the present year, are: William Rieke, C. C.; William Stevens, P. C.; C. Schneider, V. C.; J. J. Wilder, P.; C. Schneider, M. of E.; E. D. Trotter, M. of F.; Sherm Bell, M. at A.; H. J. Trotter, K. of R. S.; S. C. Myers, I. G.; J. Mattison, O. G.

Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Kingsley Lodge, No. 204, was instituted March 12, 1889. The charter members were as follows:

O. G. Arnold, J. L. Conady, D. Henderson, Lee Johnson, J. A. Ingalls. The first elective officers were: J. A. Ingalls, N. G.; Lee Johnson, V. G.; H. C. Tripp, secretary; J. L. Conady, treasurer. The highest number ever belonging at any one time to this lodge was twenty seven. At present it is composed of twenty five members. They first met at the hall over Howard's store, where they are still located, occupying rooms with the Masonic fraternity and Knights of Pythias order. The lodge is in a good working condition - a band of noble men, with "Friendship, Love and Truth" for their motto and their worldly guide.

General Bell Grand Army Post, No. 332, was organized in the spring of 1885, by about fifteen members - soldiers who wore the loyal, Union blue from 1861 to 1865. The first commander was D. W. Wood. At present this post has a membership of forty three comrades, who meet at the Skating Rink building. The present commander is L. Dean; adjutant, H. A. Dawes; quartermaster, R. B. Toogood. The post has a number of guns, several swords, flags, a martial band outfit, and upon all public days especially on Decoration day, May 30 - they take charge of the ceremonies and help to strew flowers over the graves of departed comrades. Commander Woods served but a short time, when he was succeeded by Oliver D. Heald, who held the position several terms in succession. As the years shall, one by one, steal away, the object of this post will be more and more appreciated, alike by both soldier and citizen, until at last their sous shall sing, "Cover them over with flowers - those dead heroes of ours."

Return to [ Iowa History ] [ History at Rays Place ] [ Rays Place ] [ Iowa Biographies ]

Iowa Counties at this web site Audubon County - Buchanan County - Dickinson County - Fayette County - Hancock County - Iowa County - Madison County - Marion County - Plymouth County - Sac County - Wapello County - Winnebago County - Woodbury County

Also see the local histories for [ CT ] [ IA ] [ IL ] [ IN ] [ KS ] [ ME ] [ MO ] [ MI ] [ NE ] [ NJ ] [ NY ] [ PA ] [ OH ] [ PA ] [ WI ]

All pages copyright 2003-2013. All items on this site are copyrighted by their author(s). These pages may be linked to but not used on another web site. Anyone may copy and use the information provided here freely for personal use only. Privacy Policy