History of Dahlonega Township, Wapello County, IA
From: History of Wapello County, Iowa
By Harrison L. Waterma, Supervising Editor
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. Chicago 1914


Dahlonega Township was organized June 4, 1844. The judges of the first election were Edward Haggard, Isaac Hill and C. Gleason. The township is situated in the central part of the county, and is bounded on the west by Center, on the north by Highland, on the east by Pleasant, and on the south by Center and Agency townships. It has but fifteen sections, which are drained by Sugar and Little Cedar creeks. The land is good prairie soil, and about three fourths of the township consists of well tilled fields. There is some coal. From its 8,379 acres of farm land were produced in 1913, 109,000 bushels of corn; 45,000 bushels of oats; 7,500 bushels of wheat; 1,300 tons of hay; 2,500 bushels of potatoes; 600 bushels of apples; 2,315 head of hogs, and 660 head of cattle.

It is claimed that William Guiltier, who presided over the old "Hoosier House," which stood about two and a half miles southeast of Dahionega Village, was the first white man to cross the line at Agency, when the New Purchase was opened to settlers, at midnight, May I, 1843. A number of others came in, however, at about that time, among them the Godfreys, Kittermans, Lewises, Sharps, Hills, Haggards, Gleasons, William Brims, Wesley Hedrick, Joseph H. Hedrick, Martin Koontz, James Woody, W. B. Woody, Benjamin Brattain, John Moore, N. D. Earl, N. H. Gates, Peter White, John and Joseph Knight, John W. Caldwell, the Whitners, McClungs, Wrights, Gossages and Lowenbergs, who came in the '40s and '50s.

George Godfrey entered Dahlonega Township in 1843. In 1848 he married Margaret West, daughter of a pioneer. George M. Godfrey, one of the children, was born in this township in 1850, and in 1863 removed to Ottumwa with his parents and became a jeweler.

Elias Kitterman was born in Virginia in 1809. He immigrated to Indiana with his widowed mother and in 1842 they were in Princeton, Illinois. At the time of the "New Purchase" opening, in May, 1843, Elias Kitterman settled in the county, choosing a tract of land in Dahlonega township, on which he located and farmed until 1874, when he removed to Ottumwa.

Alvin Lewis was one of the hardy and venturesome sons of the soil who came out from Ohio in the year 1837, and began life on the prairies of Jefferson County, Iowa. In May, 1843, he came into the "New Purchase," and located in Dahlonega Township on section 5, where he remained fifteen years. He then removed to Ottumwa and conducted a drug store a couple of years. Peter Kitterman was among the two thousand or more pioneers who came into the "New Purchase" in 1843. He located in Dahionega Township and took part in the "Dahlonega War" so called, which was a hand to hand fight among settlers over land claims.

John J. Sharp was a pioneer settler in 1843. He was a Virginian by birth and a miller and blacksmith by trade. Corning to Iowa in 1837, Mr. Sharp finally reached Wapello County in 1843, and at the time of the opening settled in Dahlonega Township. In 1849 he removed to Ottumwa and ran a hotel until 1853.

Caleb Miller was born in Indiana, and in the fall of 1846 settled in Dahionega Township, on a claim which he entered. This was the pioneer's home until his death, which occurred in 1874. W. H. Miller, a son, was nine years of age when his parents located here.

William M. Dimmitt, a native of Indiana, settled in Wapello County in 1848, choosing that part of it lying within the borders of the present Township of Dahlonega. He bought a farm in section 10, and for several years he spent a busy life tilling the soil and engaging in other useful pursuits, finally moving to Ottumwa, there to enjoy the rewards of industry and thrift. His son, William H. Dimmitt, was born on the homestead in 1853.

Alexander Vanwinkle settled on a farm here in 1850, and James Anderson located on section 19, this township, in 1853.

L. Lively was a Virginian, who immigrated from Indiana to Wapello County in the spring of 1852, and located in Dahionega Township, where he cultivated a farm until 1865. In the latter year he removed to Ottumwa.

J. C. Hinsey came to Wapello County in 1854, and settled in Dahlonega Township, where he remained until 1865. He resigned as an army surgeon in 1863, and returning to Iowa, took up his residence in Ottumwa, where he practiced medicine. While in Dahlonega, Dr. Kinsey served as a member of the board of supervisors. He was also county coroner four years. A distinction he prized highly came to him in 1856, when he acted as chairman of the meeting at which the republican party was organized.

Joseph Schertz was born in France. Be became a resident of Vapello County in 1855. He followed milling as an occupation.

J. A. Webb, a blacksmith, came in 1856, and worked at his trade.

The first white child born in Dahlonega Township was George W. Kitterman, and Dr. McClintock was the first physician. Dr. J. C. Hinsey came some time later.

There never was but one church in Dahlonega. A Methodist Church was built a mile and a half southeast of Dahlonega. Among the early preachers were Reverends Hestwood, Darrah, McElroy, Joe Street and Michael Long. It is said the last named could not even read.

There always have been some coal mines operated up and down Sugar Creek, in the southwest part of the township. The first vein, however which is about thirty five feet below the surface, is all that has been worked.

In the early days there was a pottery shop, long operated by L. F. Stewart, not quite a mile west of the Town of Dahlonega. There was also a brick plant on the old Clapp Farm, which was in operation about a year. About two and a half miles southeast of Dahlonega there was another brick yard, which furnished the material for the brick houses in the town.


Dahlonega's history is co-extensive with the township, as it originated soon after the county was opened for settlement, in 1843, and became quite a business center, claiming at one time a population of 30o, with three stores, a tavern and two small pork packing houses. It had high aspirations and made efforts, early in its history, to have the seat of justice located within its borders, but failed in attaining the coveted plum. The town is located on the northeast and northwest corners of sections 8 and 9, respectively, and never has been incorporated.

In the early '50s hogs were brought to the packing houses, which consisted of log cabins, one of which was just north of the town and run by the firm of Earl, Thompson & Tharp. The products of this concern in those early days were packed and transported by wagon to trading points on the Mississippi and there disposed of.

The farm on which Dahlonega is located was entered and platted by Jehu Moore. The first store here was opened by N. D. Earl and one Street, who called their establishment the "Red Store." N. D. Earl had settled on what is now the Jacob Lowenberg farm, situated about a mile east of Dahlonega. In the early days James Bowen ran a store on the west side of the square.

A four story grist mill was built in the northwest part of the town early in its history, and was moved to Kirkville in 1865. There was also a tannery here in the early '5os, and three or four saloons, but no traffic in whisky has been permitted since the Civil war.

John Gillaspy was one of the early blacksmiths, also Elias Kitterman, whose shop was located just across the street from the grist mill. Peter White was the first wagon maker in the township.

At one time Dahionega had one of the largest hotels in this part of the country. It was a large log structure, built in the early '40s, and was presided over by mine host, Clapp, a short time. There was also a pottery shop here about this time, run by one Haswell.

The first schoolhouse built in Dahlonega was a log structure that was torn down in 1853 to give way to a brick school building. A little later this schoolhouse was abandoned and sold to a church society, which in turn disposed of the property to a society of farmers for hall purposes. It was torn down in the '90s. The present two story brick school building was erected on the square after the first brick schoolhouse was sold.

At one time Dahlonega was quite prominent in the affairs of Wapello County. It was the first town to secure a postoffice and the man first to preside over its destinies was Edmund G. Haggard, who was appointed postmaster at the time the office was established, which was June 13, 1844 six days before the office was established at the county seat. Those following Mr. Haggard in the office until its discontinuance, November 30, 1907, were the following named persons: Jehu Moore, July 31, 1845; Thomas G. Given, July 27, 1847; F. G. McClintic, October 27, 1848; Jehu Moore, August 22, 1853; William Lewis, April 21, 1856; L. E. Gray, July 29, 1858; M. M. Lane, July 14, 1859; William Brown, March 26, 1860; M. M. Lane, May 23, 1860; J. C. Johnson, April 1, 1861; M. M. Lane, November 14, 1861; W. B. Fisher, November 6, 1862; James M. Lamme, April 15, 1863; M. M. Lane, December 19, 1864; John Davis, December I1, 1865; Lydia Norris, September 5, 1866; M. M. Lane, Jr., January 18, 1867; Norris Pyle, September 1o, 1867; Joseph Bowlie, February 19, 1869; Eli S. Ward, April ix, 1877; B. F. Pratt, November I, 1877; M. M. Lane, December 19, 1878; Samuel Denny, September 6, 1880; M. M. Lane, March 20, 1882; William Denny, January 8, 1883; William Anderson, November 20, 1884, William Denny, January 25, 1894.

It is not necessary to go over and reiterate the events in connection with the so called Dahlonega war, as the details have been fully presented elsewhere in this work. But the town still remains; that is, a vestige of it. While it had at one time five stores, two packing houses, a good hotel and shops of various kinds, it is now but a hamlet, in the midst of a rich agricultural region. However, there are seven houses still standing that were built in the early '40s. One of these is a large store building, in which the late General Hedrick had a stock of general merchandise.

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