History of Boyer Valley Township, Sac County, IA
From: History of Sac County, Iowa
By: William H. Hart
B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914


One of the four central townships in Sac county is known as Boyer Valley, deriving its name from. the beautiful valley of the famous Boyer river, which courses from north to south through this section of the county, taking its rise in Buena Vista county. It has numerous branches forking both to the east and west of the main stream. Boyer Valley is a civil subdivision of the county and comprises all of congressional township 88, range 37, west of the meridian line. The Chicago & Northwestern railway passes through sections 5, 4, 10, 11 and 12, en route from the towns of Schaller and Early, the latter place being within Boyer Valley township and the former in Eureka township. At first what is now styled Cook township was also included in Boyer Valley. Boyer Valley township was organized in 1871. Among the pioneer settlers of the township were the families of J. E. Sanburn, William Cory, Charles Prentice, James Shelinerdine, Samuel Prentice, Elias M. Powers, Dr. Warren A. Mason, H. A. Wilson, Joseph Dick, Messrs. Hiram Sweet and Hayes. In about 1876 Cook township was set off and constituted a separate township in the county. The earliest school house within Boyer Valley township was the old Prentice school, built very early, and was followed by the new building in 1872. It is believed that the first person to settle in Boyer Valley township was William Cory, in 1868, as a homesteader. The second settler was James Shelmerdine, who effected his settlement the same year, but a little later in the season. Charles Prentice was probably the third man to claim land in the township.

This is an excellent part of Sac county, and today is well settled, well cultivated and possesses hundreds of beautiful and valuable farm homes. Nature has done much for this portion of the county and man has aided the work of nature to a goodly degree, until here one finds numerous prosperous homes, with schools and churches on almost every hand. The County Home, where the county's unfortunate poor are cared for, is within this township, on section 14. An account of this is found in the chapter on County Government. In 1905 the state census report for Iowa gave Boyer Valley township a population of six hundred and eighty, exclusive of the town of Early. and the town was given at five hundred and fifty three, making a total of one thousand two hundred and thirty three. Of this number only one hundred and twenty three were of foreign birth.

The federal census in 1910 gave it as one thousand one hundred and seventy three, including Early, with a single population of five hundred.


Early is the only town within Boyer Valley township. It is situated in sections 3, 4 and 9 in the northern part of the township. It is a very enterprising station point on the Chicago & Northwestern railway, nine miles from the county seat and about the same southeast from Schaller. It was platted by the Blair Town Lot and Land Company, October 4, 1882. Its present population is not far from six hundred. It has a Catholic, Methodist Episcopal and a Presbyterian church (see Church chapter). Its secret societies are the Masonic, Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias. It has electric lights, a fine water works system, owned by the municipality; a live local newspaper. the News, and two banking institutions.

The town was incorporated in November, 1900; its mayors have included the first elected magistrate of the little municipality, E. A. North, succeeded by J. F. DeGarmore, E. A. North and the present mayor, J. W. Hartsell. The present (1914) officers are: Mayor, J. W. Hartsell; recorder, C. F. Jackson; treasurer, W. W. Little; marshal, George Bedell; councilmen, F. J. Green, D. D. Carlton, George W. Wadsley, Fred Dahm and J. B. Prentice.

A system of water works was installed in 1895 under bonds issued for three thousand dollars, and in the autumn of 1913 the first electric lights were turned on, to the entire satisfaction of all citizens, who had been displeased with the former coal gas plant and its poor lighting system. The electric plant, also owned by the town of Early, is run in connection with the water plant, which is also among the appreciated things of modern Early, as it derives its supply of the purest water from deep wells, giving forth a never failing supply. A volunteer fire company is always on hand when a fire occurs, and does excellent service. Another feature of the town is its neat public park, a block in extent, which was donated to the public for perpetual park purposes by the Blair Town Lot and Land Company when they platted the town. Its trees and other improvements are fully up to the small town standard. The one thing needed in the place is a new, modern and larger public school building, which question is soon to be agitated and it will certainly be erected ere long. The town is accommodated with two 'phone systems, the J. M. Kelly lines and the Farmer's Telephone Company.

The postoffice dates back to the year the town was platted and has had postmasters as follows, and in the order here given: Eli Haredon, who kept the office in Hunt's drug store; Joseph Cory, under President Cleveland's administration; W. H. Allen, under President Harrison's administration; Joseph Cory, again under Cleveland's second term; A. P. Mennis, who held the position eleven years and was succeeded in 1908 by the present incumbent, Ed. Foster, who was commissioned by President Roosevelt. It is a third class postoffice, with three free rural delivery routes, making a total of seventy eight miles traversed each day by the three carriers, the longest route being a little less than twenty seven miles. The savings deposits have never quite reached the five hundred dollar mark.


According to the memory of pioneer A. Mason, the first hotel in Early was known as the "Engler House," built and conducted by John Engler. The same hotel still serves the public and is known as the Early House.

The pioneer lumber dealer was the manager for the Green Bay Lumber Company, which concern still has a large yard in the place.

Morenis Brothers bought the first grain here and built an elevator for the handling of the same.

The first general store was that of Thurman & Barrett, which in more recent years was known as the firm of Barrett & Carlton.

The first hardware store was that conducted by Roswell Allen.

The pioneer "village blacksmith" - all honor to his memory - was T. Timme.

The first banking was carried on as a sort of "exchange" affair in the first general merchandising store, but the first bank, proper, was known as the Early State Bank, with S. K. Fuller, president, and A. Mason, vice president. This was established in 1888.

The first school house was erected in 1883, and the first teacher was Professor Robinson, of Indiana, who taught in the winter of 1883-4 and continued two or three years longer.

In the month of January, 1914, the business of the town was in the hands
of the following persons:
Auctioneer - F. J. Green.
Agricultural Implements - George W. Wadsley, G. G. Perrott.
Banks - State Bank of Early and the Citizens State Bank.
Barber Shops - George W. Hamm, Blaine Crouch.
Blacksmith Shops - Harry Sampers, G. M. Dunham.
Clothing - Foote & Company.
Cement Blocks - Early Construction and Stone Company and workers in cement, Guy Hair.
Creameries - The Farmer's Co-operative Company.
Dray Lines - Burt Van Vleet, George Bedell.
Drugs - W. P. Hirons.
Dentist - R. D. Kendall, D. D. S.
Elevators - Farmer's Co-operative Company and two line elevators, including the Trans-Mississippi.
Furniture (coupled with Hardware) - J. F. DeGarmo, Hiron & Kirkpatrick.
Grocers - Holdridge Brothers, C. D. Hay and C. Sonneborn.
Garages - Early Auto Company and G. G. Perrott.
Hardwares - Same as furniture dealers.
Harness Shops - W. H. Terrill.
Hotel - "Early House," R. J. Beadle, proprietor.
Jeweler - Ed Welling.
Lumber - Green Bay Lumber Company, A. S. Evans, who also carries builders' hardware.
Livery - William Weaver.
Millinery - Lashier & Co.
Meat Market - Jackson Brothers.
Newspaper - The News, J. C. Blair, proprietor.
Northwestern Depot Agent - J. L. Dick.
Opera House - Early Opera House (new) and Struchen & Rowe, the old hall.
Produce - J. L. Dunham.
Pool Hall - George Fouchs.
Restaurants - L. M. Engler, C. M. Anthony.
Real Estate Dealers - Lashier & McQuick.
Physicians - Drs. J. W. Graham, J. C. Iwersen.
Stock Dealers - W. Watts, B. F. Evan.
Shoe Dealer - Joseph Dick.
Veterinary Surgeons - R. L. McNalley.
Wagon Repairs - Harry Sampers.
Five, Ten and Twenty five Cent Store - William Sampson.

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