History of Sac City, Iowa, Part 2
From: History of Sac County, Iowa
By: William H. Hart
B. F. Bowen & Company, Inc.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1914


What is known as the Commercial Club, in Sac City, was organized in 1910 and has accomplished big things for the place. It unites the business men and concentrates their aim on the general welfare of the place. Practically every business man here is associated with this club, which is purely a business institution for the upbuilding of Sac City. At first they were prominent in laying off the Hawkeye Cutoff, which runs from Fort Dodge to Sioux City. They aided in putting up sign boards and also assisted in doing much towards good roads in the county. Among the early officers and committeemen were such men as the following: J. H. Stafford, F. W. Loring, George B. Perkins, J. M. Fox, L. R. Wayt, F. R. Brownell, W. A. Ball, S. M. Elwood, Asa Platt, H. J. Drewry, Byron Wallace, J. W. Wilson and J. H. Harter. The Commercial Club works under the city's motto, "We do better - me and see."

The present officers (1914) are: R. L. McCord, Jr., president; W. 3. Findley, vice resident; R. R. Cobb, secretary; John H. Fox, treasurer:

The city is provided with an to date opera house, which was opened to the general public in December, 1883, "The Planter's Wife" being the first play put upon the stage. In 1906 the association was reincorporated with a capital of twenty thousand dollars and the present opera house was erected.

The Chicago & Northwestern railroad entered the city in 1879, and this greatly enthused the people to set about improving the place. The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad entered the city in 1899, thus giving connections with two great trunk lines of steam railway.

Public drinking fountains were provided in the city, through the efforts of the Commercial Club, in September, 1911.


The manner in which any people - city or country - cares for its departed dead, is almost a true index to the real character of such people. This marks the distinction between the civilized and uncivilized.

What is known as Oakland Cemetery Association was formed and duly incorporated May 25, 1874, under the state incorporation laws provided for in the statutes as a corporation, "not for pecuniary profit," and the articles provide that no stock shall be authorized, no certificates of stock shall ever be issued and no dividends ever be declared. The object of this corporation is to purchase, or acquire by gift or othenvise, lands suitable for cemetery purposes and to care for and maintain a cemetery to be known as "Oakland Cemetery" and to sell and convey lots herein for cemetery purposes only. No member has any interest in the assets and property of the association and all money received shall be used in buying additional real estate, caring for the property and beautifying the grounds. The affairs of this association are managed by a board of directors, and are in no way controlled by any religious organization or body. The grounds are kept up from the proceeds of the lots sold, and a small annual fee charged each lot owner for the care of his or her lots. The original cemetery, as above named, consisted of between fifteen and seventeen acres of land just north of the city, proper, and in the beautiful second growth oak forest, near the bridge crossing the Coon river into Sac City. A cement walk runs from the main street of the city to the entrance of this portion of the cemetery. By reason of what nature has done for this site, and the improvements made by the association, it is called by visitors of extensive travel to be one of the finest burying grounds within all Iowa. J. W. Sutherland has been the painstaking sexton for many years.

Only a few years ago it became manifest that the city would ere long need more extensive grounds and, wisely, the directors of the association purchased a large addition on the uplands, to the north of the first named grounds. Here there are already a goodly number of graves. At the entrance of the addition there stands an imposing granite monunment in memory of the soldier dead of the community. This was the work and donation of Messrs. W. B. Wayt & Son, wholesale and retail dealers in granite and marble work, of Sac City. Its base and sides contain the following inscriptions:

"Presented September, 1906, by W. B. Wayt and Son to the
General W. T. Sherman Post No. 28 G. A. R."
"Dedicated to the Defenders of the Union-1861-1865."
"May the Remembrance of Their Valor and Patriotism be Perpetuated."

These inscriptions are on the base and sides of the twenty foot shaft. The monument stands where the south sunlight strikes it in full force. It is surrounded by a good cement circular walk, with a neat stone carted rustic seat where the passer by, be he an old veteran, the son of a veteran or a civilian, may pause and rest and there reflect upon the defenders of the flag of our country.

The character and style, as well as the expense of the hundreds if not thousands of tombstones and larger monuments throughout both the older and later sections of Oakland are a credit to those who had them erected to the memory of their friends. There are no very elaborate and expensive monuments, but all are of more than the average age, and bespeak taste and sentiment in keeping with the sacred enclosures. No more beautiful spot could have been selected by the people of the city for a last resting place of their dead. In the springtime, when all nature is at its best, on Memorial or Decoration day, the new leaves of the great number of native oaks cast a light shadow over the sacred mounds, which are carpeted with a mantle of grass, well cared for and mowed sufficiently to present a sight not soon to be forgotten by the beholder. Here rests pioneer, later settler, soldier and civilian. "And they sleep and heed it not."

The names of the original trustees of the cemetery association were D. Carr Early, B. W. Trout, W. H. Hobbs. N. W. Condron, S. W. Sinclair, J. L. Woodward, Thomas Alexander and Eugene Criss.

The first burying ground near Sac City was that near pioneer J. W. Tiberghien's farm southeast of the city two or three miles. There were buried a number of the earlier deceased persons of the county, and many of the pioneer settlers there rest from life's cares and joys. These grounds, consisting of about five acres, are cared for in a most sacred and scrupulous manner by J. W. Tiberghien, who takes great pride and considers it a duty imposed upon him, so long as he lives, to see that this spot of ground is properly protected and cared for. Here are tombstones showing many persons buried there to have been born before 1800, a thing not observed at another place in Sac county. These grounds were first used at the commencement of the Civil War by the public, but previous to that a few had been buried there.

Pioneer Hugh Cory states that at an early day there were found three Indian burying grounds, situated in triangular form, on the southeast corner of the present public square, and on the opposite side of what is now Main street, near the east end of Monument park. Here were excavated many Indian skeletons when the street was dug away for town improvement purposes.


Perhaps no better history of this institution can be givens than the following record which was made and deposited in the corner stone of the new Carnegie Library building, which record runs thus:

"On the snowy night of January 11, 1907, a mass meeting was held in the courtroom to plan for a free public library. Miss Alice Tyler, secretary of the Iowa state library commission, gave a talk on "Public Libraries and the Practicability of Procuring a Library for Sac City." Professor Garrett, superintendent of the public schools, presided. At the close of the talk committees were appointed to draft a constitution, secure members, and to solicit funds. The committee on constitution, composed of Professor Garrett, G. W. Lee and S. M. Stouffer, conferred and recommended a constitution adapting the requirements of the state library law to the needs of towns without maintenance tax. This was used until the town had such a tax. Miss Tyler brought with her a case of fifty books from the state traveling library and left them for three months and thus the library was started.

"In February a meeting was held at which it was found there had been one hundred and forty six members secured, each paying one dollar a year membership fee. From this number a board of nine trustees was selected, as follows: Dr. B. P. Blackstone, J. H. Tait, Ed Welch, Jr., G. W. Lee, E. L. Ahrens, Mesdames Z. Fuller, E. N. Bailey, F. W. Loring and Miss Nellie Banes. The personnel of the board has changed but little, thus giving continuity and uniformity to the work. Dr. Blackstone was the first president; Mrs. Loring, vice president: E. L. Ahrens. treasurer, and Miss Nellie Banes, secretary.

"The council room, in the new city hall, was secured for the library, the city furnishing the light. From the beginning it has been open two afternoons and evenings, each week, and, for awhile, two hours each Sunday afternoon. Seven young ladies have served as librarians and much credit should be given them for their interest and faithfulness. They are Misses Eva Fitch, Nellie Banes, Mary Fuller, Clare Persons. Pearl Ahrens, Nan Denman and Ida Ahrens.

"The annual reports show the steady increase in interest which the movement had from the beginning.

"The first annual report, made March 4, 1908, shows the library association now owns eight hundred books, has two hundred and fifty borrowers and has received $307.19, expended $233.06, leaving a balance of $74.13 in the treasury. Plans were made at this meeting to raise a fund of $1,000 and $403 were subscribed.

"Second Annual Report - This shows that on March 1, 1909, the number of volumes owned by the association, 710; number of books added during the year 450; books loaned, 2,600; expenditures, $308.41. Dr. Blackstone having removed from town, W. J. Dixon was elected to fill the vacancy.

"Third Annual Report, March 2, 1910: Number of volumes, 861; number of borrowers, 580; number of books donated, 25; number of books bought, 124; number of books loaned, 4,076; number of magazines taken, 4; number of books mended, 40; expenditures for the year, $210.85. Miss Edna Lyman, of the state library commission, visited the library and held a story hour for the different grades in the public school, meeting the people of the town at night. Story hours for the children were started and conducted by Miss Pearl Ahrens. These proved very helpful and gave the children a taste for the best literature. Later Mrs. J. Irving Brown gave the story hours in the high school building, calling the attention of the students to the best present day fiction.

"Annual Report for 1911: Number of volumes in library, 1,130; number added during the year, 168; total circulation during the year, 6,385; largest daily circulation, 122; smallest daily circulation, 21; average, 64; per centage of children's books circulated, 51 5/6; of adults, 8 1/6; number books rebound, 3; number books repaired, 165; number of newspapers and magazines, 8; number of borrowers' cards in full force, 700; number of days open during the year, 100; number of hours open each week, 10; fourteen story hours were held.

"Movement For Maintenance Tax. - Steps were taken in 1909 to secure a Carnegie library building and a proposition was submitted to the people of the town to secure a library maintenance tax. This proposition was defeated at an election held March 29, 1909.

"January, 1910, plans were again made to secure this maintenance tax and a campaign started. Intelligent interest grew and when the president, W. J. Dixon, appeared before the council submitting the following resolution the council unanimously adopted it; the councilmen at the time were J. H. Stoner, M. M. Heptonstall, C. A. Schulte, A. T. Brownell and Ira Conger, with Dr. W. H. Townsend, mayor. The resolution read: 'Be it resolved by the city council of Sac City, Iowa, that a special election be called, the same to be held on the 12th day of July, A. D. 1910, for the purpose of submitting to the qualified voters of the incorporated city of Sac City, Iowa, the proposition of providing and maintaining a free public library in the city of Sac City, Iowa; that a tax not to exceed three mills on the dollar of the assessable property of the incorporated city of Sac City, Iowa, be levied for the maintenance of said library; that notice of the election be published in the Sac Sun and the Sac County Bulletin; and that the requirements and conditions of Andrew Carnegie be complied with in accepting his donations for such purposes in establishing a free public library, the said city of Sac City guaranteeing for the maintenance of said library the sum of eight hundred dollars per year:'

"This special election resulted in a vote of three hundred and forty nine for and one hundred and sixty four against, and Sac City had a public library maintained by the people and for the people.

At a council meeting held July 28, 1910, the following trustees were appointed as the board: W. J. Dixon, Mrs. F. W. Loring, E. L. Ahrens. Miss Nellie Banes, Orville Lee, E. N. Bailey, G. W. Lee, Ira Conger, and Mrs. Z. Fuller. The following officers were elected: President, W. J. Dixon; vice president, Mrs. F. W. Loring: secretary, Miss Nellie Banes; treasurer, E. L. Ahrens.

"Correspondence was resumed with Andrew Carnegie and a committee was appointed to secure a lot for the library building.

"In January, 1911. Mr. Carnegie gave to Sac City the promise of the sum of eight thousand dollars for a building. The site selected was that known as the old schoolhouse lots, being as follows: Commencing sixty four feet west of the northeast corner of block 17, original town of Sac City, thence south one hundred and thirty two feet, thence west one hundred and twenty feet, thence north one hundred and thirty two feet to the place of beginning: being lot No. 2 and parts of lots 1 and 3 and the alley between lots 2 and 3 in said block 17, original town of Sac City, Iowa, Sac county, Iowa.

"W. J. Dixon, E. N. Bailey and Mrs. Loring were made the building committee. Miss Alice Tyler, of the state library commission, met with the board and gave a talk on the requirements and needs of a library building. Proudfoot, Bird & Rawson, of Des Moines, Iowa, were chosen as architects for the building. After submitting three plans to Mr. Carnegie and making the changes he desired, plans were accepted and work commenced in the spring of 1912, W. J. Gordon being the contractor. Owing to pressure of outside business, Mr. Dixon asked to be released from the building committee and Mr. Ira Conger took his place, D. E. Hallett kindly assuming the superintendency of the building. July 1, 1912, the corner stone was laid with the following program: Prayer, Rev. R. L. Barackman; music; laying the corner stone; address, "Corner Stones," Rev. J. Irving Brown; music; benediction, Rev. Henry B. Burns.

"From the children of the town has come the greatest inspiration and for them, for all the peoeple and for future generations, the board of trustees has sought to meet the needs of the times, to anticipate the needs of the future and to uplift for all time, through the best literature, not only this community, but the communities which shall be touched by the citizens of this town."

In January, 1914. there were in this library one thousand eight hundred and seventy five volumes; a list of nineteen magazines and two daily and two weekly newspapers taken. The present librarian is Nan Denman.


The centennial of the inauguration of President George Washington was observed in Sac City, April 30, 1889, when a fine programme was had and in which the following made addresses: Judge Eugene Criss spoke of Washington from his childhood on down through his surveying experiences, and his military career. He was followed by J. E. Robbins, J. H. Tait, A. B. Mason, Hon. D. J. McDaid and W. H. Hart. At sunrise there was fired the salute of thirteen guns, representing the thirteen original states. The bells of the town rung out clear and musical at nine o'clock in the morning.


The postoffice at Sac City was established in 1857. It was on the old stage coach line from Fort Dodge to Sioux City. Before its establishment mail was brought by individuals who were hired here and sent to Fort Dodge and given twenty five cents a letter or newspaper brought back here to the little settlement. The advent of the stage was indeed a great event in the history of Sac county. Sac City had a stage station kept by pioneer Eugene Criss, who also kept travelers and homeseekers. His log house and spacious barn were ever open to guests and many a night, relates the venerable old Mrs. Criss, still surviving aged about ninety years, her husband used to be called up later than midnight, by weary teamsters and travelers who knew full well that here they might find rest for themselves and their beasts. She remarks that "We always found room for one more."

Sac City is now a second class postoffice, made so July 1, 1909. eight mails being received and eight dispatched daily. The free rural delivery routes now number six. The amount of savings deposits have so far only reached two hundred and six dollars. The amount of business transacted during the year ending November 30, 1913, was $9,992.03. This is exclusive of money order transactions.

The postoffice has been housed in its present quarters for twenty years. So far as no remembered, this postoffice has never had a loss by defalcation, fire or robbery.

The present force in the office includes postmaster Charles L. Early, his assistant postmaster, just nominated but not approved at this date; Fred C. Davis, first clerk; David W. Lafferty, carrier rural delivery No. 1; Sanford R. Bodwell, No. 2; Claude B. Keir, No. 3; Lee Tiberghien, No. 4; Charles W. Hurst, No. 5; and James W. Cafferty, No. 6.

It is believed that the great lack of boxes in this postoffice, at this date, is due to the fact that the government proposes to ere long establish a free city delivery in Sac City.

The following have served as postmasters at Sac City since the establishment of the office fifty six years ago: Andrew J. Taylor, October 24, 1857; William Todd, from April 9, 1859, to May 7, 1867, when D. C. Early commenced his duties and served till December 30, 1868. and was succeeded by A. H. Hendrickson, who held the office to March 1, 1871, and was followed by J. E. Armstrong, and he was followed February 2, 1876, by R. H. Latuoreaux, who held the position till J. H. James was commissioned, December 2, 1886, serving till James N. Miller took the office, January 20. 1890, serving until J. W. Garrison's appointment, December 20, 1892, he serving until November 4, 1893, and was succeeded by James L. Comstock. and he in turn was followed November 5, 1897, by J. W. Wilson, who held the office 'till the present incumbent, Charles L. Early, was commissioned, February 5, 1906, under President Roosevelt.

The average term has been for the whole period here in Sac City, four years and eight months, R. H. Lamoreaux having held the office the longest period, ten years, from February 2, 1876, to December 2, 1886.


The Sac City Chautauqua Association was organized in the month of December, 1904, at a public meeting assembled for that purpose. It was thought to be in time for holding a course of lectures in 1904, which was carried out. The first committee appointed to perfect the organization consisted of these gentlemen: Prof. G. W. Lee, S. M. Elwood, Dr. W. J. Findley. S. M. Stouffer, Dr. J. H. Stafford and W. J. Dixon. The same month a stock association was formed of about one hundred and twenty members or shareholders, who under the terms of the rules and incorporation specifications were to have shares of ten dollars each and the assessment on same to keep up the association should in no case be allowed to exceed the price paid for such share in the association. The corporation was perfected by the election of its nine directors as follows: W. J. Dixon, F. E. Gordon, Dr. W. J. Findley, Fred R. Stearns, Dr. Z. Fuller, Frank R. Brownell; Rev. Walter Tobert, G. W. Lee, Frank W. Loring and its officers were chosen as follows: W. J. Dixon, president; F. E. Gordon, vice president; Dr. W. J. Findley, secretary; Fred R. Stearns, treasurer.

The institution was formed not with a view of making any profit, but simply to secure high class entertainment in the way of public lectures, etc., which should be forever void of the cheap and demoralizing tendencies in lecture platform work. The first active work was when Dr. Findley and Frank R. Brownell went about soliciting subscriptions for the hundred and twenty shares taken, which was all soon accomplished. The real date of perfecting the association's organization was December 21, 1904.

In the spring of 1908 an auditorium was erected, just at the west entrance of the fair grounds, on the east bank of the Coon river. It is ninety eight by one hundred and twenty feet, with an octagonal front. It required eighty thousand feet of lumber, one hundred and twenty squares of roofing material and a ton of nails to construct it. Its cost was three thousand four hundred and seventy five dollars. Hon. Phil Schaller, now deceased, donated a handsome United States flag which each season adorns the dome of this building, which is nestled in among the native trees along the waters of the Coon. They now own eleven acres along the Coon river front - a natural park - and have expended about seven thousand dollars and only owe a thousand dollars at this date, or thereabouts. The officers for 1914 are: F. E. Gordon, president; Otto Pfaff. secretary; George B. Perkins, treasurer.

The remainder of the board of directors are as follows: Dr. W. J. Findley, who was secretary for years, F. H. Coburn, Orville Lee, W. J. Dixon, C. C. Jameson and Dr. Z. Fuller.


The first meeting of the Sac County Farmers Mutual Insurance Association was held in June, 1875, at the county auditor's office. The first officers elected were: Phil Schaller, president; H. A. Pierce, vice president; Joseph Dobson, secretary; James Taylor, treasurer. A board of directors was selected from the townships, sixteen in all, one being a resident of each civil township in the county. The company insures against loss by reason of fire and lightning, on all farm property, - real estate and stock, - but no town risks are taken. The following have served as secretaries: Joseph Dobson, James N. Miller, Elwood Tatum, Walter Rutledge, F. E. Gordon, from 1893 to January 20, 1914; F. H. Colburn, who is still serving as the secretary. The present (1914) officers are: R. M. Long, president; L. E. Irwin, vice president; F. A. Colburn, secretary; J. Y. Campfield, treasurer. The 1914 board of directors are as follows: C. A. Drewry, D. McTigue, F. E. Smith, George W. Gould, John Haling, A. Mason, E. A. Walked, W. W. Rhoades, E. L. Ahrens, Ed. Williams, C. L. Wade, S. E. Peck, L. P. Lowry, William Nutzman, Charles Hechtner, W. F. Charles.

This is purely a mutual company, and there have been written. since the company was formed almost forty years ago. 9,258 policies. In September, 1913, there was in force insurance to the amount of $3,857,806. The losses paid from September, 1912, to 1913 amounted to $6,099.88. Property is only insured to the amount of $2,000. Two thirds of the supposed value of the property may be included in the risk taken. The average cost, for the last five years, has been $1.74 per thousand dollars. In 1913 it ran as low as $1.22 per thousand. The annual avreage cost, in the last twenty six years history of the company, has been only $1.83 per thousand dollars worth of property insured. There have been only twenty eight assessments made on the policy holders since the establishment of the company, and the total amount in mills paid has been forty seven and three quarters. This company has always stood the inspection and test of the state insurance department, and today stands high among the "mutual" of Iowa. No chance for litigation, as a board of adjusters and arbitrators obviate law suits. The only expense is the Bunning of the secretary's office and advertising. The farmers get the benefit of all there may be in the company. The main office has always been at Sac City, save for a few months when the secretary resided at a side town. About four thousand dollars is now on hand in the treasury, and this will pay losses until it becomes necessary to assess the policy holders again.


Concerning club life in Sac City, the following has been written especially for this work by Mrs. Robert Engelhardt:

It was the social instinct in mankind which no doubt led to the organization of the Country Club, north of Sac City, officially known as the Good Time Club. The upward tendency of prices of farm lands had resulted in frequent changes in the personnel of the community and the old time sociability of pioneer life was on the ebb, not because the early residents were less social or that the new comers were unsocial, but the natural unrest of a community during the alluring speculative period of rapidly rising values in farm lands and consequently frequent changes of ownership was being felt.

The people seemed dependent largely on their affiliation with church and lodge life in the town for their social activities, there being no neighborhood social center where they might meet and become better acquainted.

Believing that the interests of farm life are best served by the fostering of rural centers, four families who had been drawn together by common interests met at the house of Robert Engelhardt, in November, 1906, and decided to see what could be done toward the organization of a rural club. It was agreed that each family represented should invite one family to attend a meeting two weeks from that time to complete the organization. Accordingly, the families of A. F. Winkler. C. J. Hays, H. F. Purdom and Robert Engelhardt, together with the invited families of S. F. Brown, W. T. Highland, J. D. Eble and John Caves, met at the house of H. F. Purdom and the Good Time Club was officially Munched, with A. F. Winkler as president; H. F. Purdom, vice president, and Mrs. Robert Engelhardt as secretary and treasurer. A simple constitution covering the needs of the club was adopted. The meetings are held in rotation at the homes of the members, every two weeks on Friday evening during the winter months and every four weeks in the summer months. An unwritten law of the club prevents any one occupying the position of president the second time until each family shall have been represented in that official capacity. The elections are held annually, the last meeting in November. The membership is limited to fifteen families and membership in the club is upon invitation after a majority vote and its popularity is attested by the fact that the membership is at all times full.

Although the social feature was predominant in bringing the club into existence, the constitution lays equal emphasis on the cultural. As the membership includes the whole family, the programs are varied, consisting of recitations, dialogues by the children, readings, papers, descriptive talks and music by the young men and women, to which is added like features by the parents, in addition to discussion of current events, legislative, local, state and national, affecting the interests of the farmer; various phases of farm life, crops, tools, live stock. also matters of interest to the home, school and community. The programs are arranged in advance by a committee appointed by the president.

There are no dues, but when money is needed an assessment is made to cover all requirements. Nor is the material life neglected for each meeting, for a lunch is served after the program is completed.

The menu is arranged by a committee, of which the hostess is always a member. The club is divided into two sections, which alternate in helping the hostess prepare the lunch, each member being asked to bring one article which the committee select. The evenings are enlivened by games and social conversation. The good fellowship which characterizes the meetings of the club is perhaps the secret of its continued existence. While the membership is limited, the hostess has the privilege of inviting guests, so that during the year many families are brought in contact with the club. The club has had numerous play times, such as picnics, fishing parties, mask parties, a George Washington costume evening, Valentine and St. Patrick parties and programs, partaking of the various holidays of the year. The present members are the families of: A. F. Wangler, C. J. Hays, Robert Engelhart, F. S. Brown, W. T. Highland, J. D. Eble, James Corset, David Corsant, Theodore Husker, Mrs. George Smith, Clarence Brown, C. W. Highland, Charles Topley, Perry Hoskens and Elmer Cox, with Charles Topley as president: C. J. Hays, vice president, and Mrs. James Corsant, secretary and treasurer.

[Return to part 1 of Sac City history.]

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