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


This township is composed of congressional township 71, range 12. It is situated in the southeastern corner of the county and has for its southern boundary Davis County; on the east is Jefferson County; on the north, Pleasant and Agency townships; and on the west, Keokuk and Agency townships. The prairie and bottom lands are both fertile and highly productive. They are drained by the Des Moines River, which cuts across the southwestern part of the township, and its tributaries. The Keokuk & Des Moines Valley and Chicago & Southwestern Railroads, both now parts of the great Rock Island system. enter the township on the east and west and leave it at the southeastern and northwestern corners, crossing each other at Eldon. Here abounds conèiderable coal and one of the largest mines in the county is at Laddsdale, on the Davis County line near the point where a branch of the Rock Island leaves Wapello County. The township has 10,911 acres of farm land, which produces large quantities of corn, oats, wheat and hay. Considerable cattle and hogs are raised for the markets.

Washington was the first township organized in the county. It was erected at the first meeting held by the County Commissioners' Court, May 20, 1844. The house of Thomas Ping was selected for the polling place and the judges were Reuben Myers, Robert Wright and Silas Garrison.

The settlement of Washington Township began with the coming of John B. Groover, a German, who located on the present site of Eldon in 1842, before the treaty had been signed by the original owners of the soil with the United States Government. Groover built a cabin near where the round house stands in Eldon, but was not permitted to remain unmolested, as he was a "squatter" and on the land illegally. He was driven off by Government troops but soon after the opening, in May, 1843, he returned and lived upon his claim about three years, when he died and was buried at a point in Eldon which happened later to be on the grade of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad. In excavating for the road bed this pioneer's bones were brought to the light of day by a breaking plow.

The first sheriff of the county, Joseph Hayne, was one of the first settlers of the county and located here. Among others who came about the same time were John Priest, Gideon Myers, Joseph H. Flint, S. M. Wright, Thomas Ping, James Acton, John Acton, L. A. Myers, G. D. La Force, Demps Griggsby, Thomas Foster, Daniel Dennison, G. B. Savery, John Mael, Reuben Myers, Martin Fisher, E. Cummins and James H. Cartwright, who came to this township in April, 1843, bringing with him only one leg, as he had lost the other. Cartwright had the distinction of being the original of a justice of the peace, the central figure in John Mulvaney's celebrated painting, "The Trial of a Horse Thief in a Western Justice's Court," which was valued in Chicago at $8,000, and occupied a place of honor in the gallery of the Lotus Club at New York City.

From a sketch prepared by a representative of the family it appears that William Betterton, who was born in Washington, D. C., came to Iowa in 1837 and settled in Wapello soon thereafter, locating in Washington Township. As the county was not then open to the settlement of "Whites," the query arises, "why was he permitted to remain?" However, the birth of Edwin Betterton, a son of William, is given as having occurred in Washington Township, January 3, 1840, so the family must have been here at that early day and before the county was legally given over to settlers. Of the Betterton family there were twelve children. The elder Betterton died in 1860 and his representatives give him the distinction of being the first white settler in this part of Iowa.

L. A. Myers was here in 1842 with a view of locating, but returned to his home in Indiana. He was back in 1844 and purchased a claim on section 15.

Reuben Myers settled in this township in 1843, coming from Indiana.

Thomas Foster was one of the original pioneers, who came in 1843 and located in this township. He married Miss P. J. Dennison in 1845 and reared a family of nine children. The Foster home was on section 8 and here the children were born. Mr. Foster was well known in the county as an influential citizen and a prosperous farmer. At one time he owned 8,000 acres of land.

May 1, 1843, S. M. Wright, one of many others, stepped over an imaginary line in response to a signal that the "New Purchase" was open, and coming into this township, selected land for a farm He was energetic and industrious and soon had to his credit 1,000 acres. Mr. Aright was Wapello County's first coroner. He also served the county as superintendent of schools and for a time was postmaster at Old Ashland.

Joseph H. Flint, who came into Wapello County in 1843, was one of the men to whom can be ascribed the title of pioneer. That was the year when Wapello County was given over by the Government to the white man and Joseph Flint was one to take advantage of the homestead law. His claim was one half mile east of Eldon, where he lived until 1866 and then bought what was known as the Knight farm in Washington Township. Here he resided until his death, May 22, 1871. Rev. Flint was a minister of the Baptist Church and followed his vocation most of his active life. This hardy settler also served in the State Legislature in 1846 and was county judge from 1858 to 1862. A son, Isaac Flint, attended a district school of Washington Township, and the school year of 1857 in Ottumwa. For a number of years he was identified with newspaper work, part of which was on the Ottumwa Democrat, Ottumwa Times and El Paso Times. In 1899 he returned to farming in this township.

J. W. Acton belongs in the class of 1843, coming that year into the county from Van Buren County. He was a native of Ohio. Mr. Acton entered land in Washington Township soon after his arrival and followed farming until his death in 1875. A son, James J. Acton, was born on the homestead in 1848. The Actons figured largely in the history of this community.

D. P. Cremer may be classed among the first settlers of Wapello County, as he was here as early as 1844 and located in Washington Township. Mr. Creamer's daughter, Rebecca, married Richard Cremer, who was one of the pioneers of this county, his parents bringing him here when a child.

William Strickland, with his seven year old brother, Marshall W. Strickland, came from Illinois to Wapello County in 1844 and located on section to, Washington Township. He remained here several years and then removed to Missouri. Marshall became a resident of Agency City in 1851 and for three years ran a blacksmith shop. In 1854 he returned to this township and began farming on a tract of land lying on sections 2, 11 and 12, which was his home for many years.

Enos Moore, of Ohio, settled in the county in 1845 and for many years was known as one of the staid and reliable men of Washington Township. For years he served faithfully and well as justice of the peace.

Henry Kuhns came to Wapello County in 1846, and in 1867 he moved from his former farm to section 26.

Z. T. Knight was born in Wapello County in 1847. He married Susan Flint, who was also a pioneer, her birth taking place in Wapello County in 1853.

D. Newell was one of the men who located in the township in 1847 and acquired large tracts of land before his activities ceased. T. B. and John D. Newell both were born here, the former in 1856 and the latter in 1852. L. F. Newell came with his parents. The Newells were of the salt of the earth and were valuable additions to the community. John D. Newell married Ida M., daughter of Dr. Weir. She was born here in 1852.

Elijah Johnson, born in Indiana, came to Wapello County with his parents, Nicholas and Diadama Johnson, in 1848, the journey being made by wagon in two weeks. The family settled in Washington Township. In 1863, Elijah located on section 24, in Agency Township, and acquired several hundred acres of land by industry and superior judgment.

Jesse Hodson, an Indianian, removed to Wapello County from Henry County in 1848 and settled in Washington Township in 1849. Here his son, Reuben Hodson, was born March 4, 1849. The elder Hodson was a good fanner and also followed the occupation of a miller. His death took place in 1857.

Vincent Vass, a blacksmith by trade, began his farm life in this township in the year 1849. John C. Vass, a son, was then a lad of seventeen summers, who assisted his father in turning the virgin soil into a highly cultivated and productive farm, which eventually became his property through purchase.

Washington J. Warren located in this township and at once began the life of a farmer, in which he made a success. His record as a soldier in the Civil war was worthy of every commendation.

J. A. Israel located on section 3, in this township, in 1853. He was sent to the Legislature in 1877.

Patrick Henry immigrated from Indiana to Van Buren County, Iowa, in 1838, and to Wapello County in 1854, locating on section 2, Washington Township.

Leonidas M. Godley became one of the residents of this township in 1854, coming from Jefferson County. Mr. Godley was a veteran of the Civil war. In 1864 he was elected clerk of the courts and held the office fourteen years.

Moses C. Israel was born and lived in Ohio until six years of age, when he moved with his father, Thomas Israel, to Indiana. He came to Wapello County in 1854, locating on a farm in this township, in section 11.

M. B. Myers came West from Indiana in 1834 and finally settled in Wapello County in 1855. He first began clerking in Thomas Ping's store at Ashland. After several removals he returned to Wapello County and entered the grocery business. Later he was a member of the railroad contracting firm of Gray, Baker & Madison. He was elected county auditor in 1875 and 1877.

William J. McCarroll was born in Ohio. He came to Wapello County in 1856 and settled in Washington Township. Mr. McCarroll removed from his farm to Ottumwa in 1871, where he opened a hardware store.

Alfred Carr came from England in 1857 and took up farming in this township the same year. Their son, Alfred, was born here in 1859 and became one of the well to do and influential men of the locality. The parents both died within a few years after taking up their residence here.

George W. Creath was a "Buckeye" by birth. He came to Wapello County in 1858 and located in Washington Township and lived for a long period of years on a farm he had purchased. His Civil war record was a good one and as a citizen he stood well. Mr. Creath married Melissa J. Myers, whose father, Reuben Myers, settled in this township in 1843.

Hiram J. Israel, a son of Thomas Israel, was born in Washington 'Township in 1859. At the age of twenty two years he purchased a tract of forty acres of land in section to, in this township, and as the years accumulated added largely to his possessions.

Moses C. Isreal was an early settler of this township, entering a claim and improving his land holdings, which made him a prosperous and influential citizen.

S. L. Hearn was one of the very early settlers in the county, coming a year before the opening of the New Purchase." His home was on section 35. Mr. Hearn entered land and by his industry accumulated several hundred acres in Washington Township.

Washington Township was organized into four school districts in 1844, each district being three miles square. The first schoolhouse was built that year in the northwest district and taught by John H. Nicholas. Thomas Foster was the school director and G. B. Savery, secretary. There are now nine school buildings in the township.

Thomas Ping was the first justice of the peace in the township and John B. Caldwell the first constable; S. M. Wright was the first coroner.

Silas Garrison took the initiative in religious matters and discoursed the first public address on biblical topics given in the township. Reuben Myers and Enos Moore organized the first Sabbath school in the first schoolhouse built here.

Washington Township has its "deserted village," which in early days was a thriving little trading point and the literary center of this part of the county. One of the pioneer teachers of Ashland, to which reference has just been made, has written of the past glories of the old place and given its history in detail, which is here reproduced:


The village of Old Ashland, in Washington Township, was once a prosperous place of several hundred inhabitants. Thomas Ping laid out the town, kept a large hotel and entertained the travelers. The state road passed through Ashland and was the stage coach route across the state. "Stage drivers," as they were called in those days stopped at the Ping Hotel. Mr. Ping also kept a large barn for the stage coach horses and here the drivers would change horses before going on. They drove from four to six horses at a time, owing to the condition of the roads and number of passengers.

At one time Ashland had four stores of merchandise, a bank, the Good Templar Hall, a sawmill and brick yard and the postoffice, with a daily mail.

Ashland schools were good, students coming from all the adjoining towns as far as Burlington, Oskaloosa, Albia, Fremont, Drakesville and Brookville. The school building was a two story brick, two rooms below. The upper story was left in one large room and was used for religious purposes until the Methodist Episcopal Church was built. At first the school was called Ashland Seminary; this was during the '50s. Some of the teachers who taught during those years were Miss Ann Frizzelle, Messrs. Dwight, Dawson, Nelson and Fish. About 1860 the school board hired Professor Hull and sister to take charge of the school. Then students paid tuition. Professor Hull changed the name of the school from seminary to Ashland Academy. His wife taught music and drawing.

Gov. F. M. Drake had two sisters who attended school at this time. In 1862 Professor Hull resigned and enlisted in the Seventeenth Iowa Infantry as lieutenant of Company E. Professor Shelton and sister took charge of the schools for a while. Afterwards Miss Everett and Miss Ward had charge. Professor Hull resigned and came home from the army. In the fall and winter of 1863-4 he had what he called a "select school," kept up by tuition, in the upper room of his residence. Heside the schools already mentioned, there was a public school which was well attended.

Ashland is justly proud of her past record, when we remember such men as Dr. D. A. La Force and L. M. Godley, at one time county clerk of Vapello County; P. I. B. Ping, state senator of Kansas; Andrew Israel, now of Denver; Judge George W. Niniocks, of Great Bend, Kansas; Rev. T. J. Myers, of Mount Pleasant; Ira A. Myers, and others who have gone from Old Ashland to be a blessing to the world. The church and the school buildings were built of brick that were made and burned in the brick yard south of the school building. The old style manner of making brick was by mixing the clay by hitching a horse to a rude looking hopper and grinding until of the proper consistency, then molded and dried in the sun until ready for the brick kiln.

The mail came to Agency after the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad passed through the country, and there was no more need of the stage coach. Ashland still had daily mail but it had to be carried from Agency.

Latham Searle, father of Dr. W. B. Searle, was postmaster during the Civil war and was always on time with the mail. People knew just when to expect their mail and all rushed to the postoffice to hear the latest news from the enemy. Who was killed? Who taken prisoner? Who missing? Where was the latest battle fought ? Who of the Ashland boys were among the killed and wounded? Such were the questions asked in those days, while the postmaster was distributing the mail. The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad passed north and the Keokuk & Des Moines south; the Rock Island came from the northeast and crossed at Eldon and all left Ashland to one side. A number of Ashland people bought lots in Eldon known then as Ashland Crossing, and moved, until now there are only a few houses left that were here in 1860. Ashland still has good schools, employs good teachers, has Sunday school and preaching every Sunday. Our forefathers have laid a good foundation, the young and rising generations are following in the way that makes for peace and happiness here and the promise of eternal life hereafter.


Eldon is situated on the north bank of the Des Moines River, in sections 26 and 27, and was laid out in 1870 by J. M. Love, George Gillaspy, Edward Johnston, William Leighton and George Williams. O. Baldwin, of Keokuk, did the platting. Among the first to locate in the new railroad town were James Bradley, Peter Mulvaney, Martin Dooley, W. H. Cass, Ed Dibble, Patrick Russell and J. C. Nelson. The inception of the town was by reason of the site being made a station, on the line of the Keokuk & Des Moines Railroad, now the Rock Island, and named Ashland Crossing; later it was called Williamsburg and eventually, Eldon.

The land on which Eldon stands attracted William Riordan, John Flynn, Timothy Ryan, Jere Keefe and a few others, in 1861, as a desirable place in which to live and here they erected modest homes, which became the nucleus of the future town. William Flint built a sawmill, which was kept busy supplying lumber to others desiring to build; and the place grew. It is now a division point of the Rock Island Railroad and the Southwestern branch of that road crosses here. The population is about two thousand and the town is centrally located between Ottumwa, Keosauqua, Bloomfield and Fairfield. It has a municipal electric light and waterworks system, many churches, two good school buildings, library, opera house and holds yearly the splendid "Big Four" fair.

The town of Eldon separated from Washington Township in 1872 and was incorporated. The first officials were: D. K. Taylor, mayor; Ed Dibble, recorder; Peter Mulvaney, treasurer; A. L. Irving, Adam Blair, J. C. Nelson, F. X. Kaffer, trustees.


Ashland was laid out on section 9, by Thomas Ping in 1844, and was one of the leading trade centers in the county. Here the mother church of the Methodist Society in Wapello County was organized by Rev. Thomas Kirkpatrick in 1843, and Thomas Ping was made the first postmaster in the township, in i844. The office was discontinued in 1868, when the place was deserted for Eldon the more fortunate new town, which had secured a railroad. The Eldon office was first known as Williamsburg, and was established March 2, 1868. B. D. Loftus was the first appointee, but remained in the position of postmaster only a short time. His successor, Bradford C. Wicks, was commissioned August 27, 1868. E. I. Cummins was the next postmaster, his commission being of date October 22, 1868. In 1871 the name of the office was changed to Eldon and E. I. Cummins was the first one to serve the new town in the capacity of postmaster. His successors were: E. T. Roland, June 26, 1871; William Houston, July 22, 1885; John J. Croddy, January 13, 1888; E. T. Roland, March 25, 1889; Edmond J. Bradley, September 21, 1893; William G. Crow, September 17, 1897; E. T. Roland, March I, 1902.


For many years Eldon had no town hall, but rented rooms for the council. About the year 1899, a one story brick building was erected, costing probably two thousand dollars. The front room is used for meetings of council and the mayor's office. A central room is devoted to the volunteer fire department and apparatus, consisting of hose cart and hose. In the rear are iron cages for the unfortunate ones falling into the hands of the marshal, who represents and is the whole police force of the place.


A good system of waterworks has been in operation here since 1893, when the city built the waterworks. The aqua Jura is obtained from two large wells and is pumped to a reservoir on top of a hill 190 feet high. This affords a pressure of about eighty pounds, which is more than sufficient to throw a stream of water over the highest building.


The streets, public places, business houses and residences of Eldon are furnished lights by a municipal plant which was built out of funds on hand in 1897. The dynamos and other apparatus are installed at the waterworks pumping station, where power is furnished for generating the invisible power. The power house is one story in height and was built of brick and cement. Eldon also has a sanitary sewerage system over a small part of the city. A movement is now on foot for its extension.


Through persistent and strenuous efforts of a coterie of energetic and high minded women of Eldon, sufficient funds were collected through contributions of citizens and entertainments of various descriptions to establish a library in 1906. A room was secured in the Hunnell Building which, after about 1,000 volumes had been collected, was thrown open to the public every afternoon. The innovation was heartily appreciated by many patrons and the promoters were greatly encouraged in their enterprise. In 1908 the library association was incorporated under the state laws and at that time support was secured from the city for the maintenance of the institution. Some time thereafter correspondence was begun with Andrew Carnegie, the Iron King, for the purpose of secWuring a donation from him with which to erect a library building. The effort was successful and $7,500 was obtained. A splendid little brick building was erected on Elm Street on a lot purchased from St. Mary's parish, for $700. On Friday evening, May 9, 1913, this splendid benefaction was opened to the public, after dedicatory exercises had been observed at the Christian Church.

The first permanent officers were as follows: Miss Blanche Norton, president; Mrs. E. E. Hillis, vice president; Mrs. C. E. Abbott, secretary; Mrs. J. O. Hunnell, treasurer; Mrs. N. I. Wilson, Mrs. J. E. \Tamura, Mrs. Henry Vass, Mrs. E. E. Finney, Mrs. W. O. Bagley, Miss Blanche Norton, Mrs. E. E. Hillis, Mrs. C. E. Abbott, and Mrs. J. O. Hunnell, directors; Miss Jessie Alford, librarian, and she is the present incumbent.


Eldon has two banks, the first of which, the Eldon Savings Bank, was incorporated June 5, 1895, with a capital of $10,000, by W. G. Crow, George Earhart, H. C. Mason, S. H. Sawyers and J. E. Varnum.

The first officials were: W. G. Crow, president, and George Earbart, vice president, both of whom are now deceased; and J. E. Varnum, cashier.

The bank began doing business in a brick building on Elm Street and later removed to its present home in a building which was formerly the home of the Bradley Bank. The present officials are: Dr. S. H. Sawyers, president; J. W. Hall, vice president; J. E. Varnum, cashier. Capital, $10,000; surplus, $5,000; deposits, $90,000.

The First National Bank began doing business under its charter in 1900. This institution grew out of the private bank of William Bradley and until 1907 occupied the building where the Savings Bank is established.

D. C. Bradley was the first president of the First National, and in June, 1909, retired in favor of his brother, James A. Bradley, both of whom are residents of Centerville. J. O. Hunnell is vice president; C. W. Finney, cashier; and K. C. Finney, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $25,000; surplus and undivided profits, $6,000; deposits, $167,000.


The first school in the Township of Washington was built at "Old Ashland" in 1844, and taught by John H. Nicholas. This school was near Eldon and the children of that vicinity attended there. In 1872 Eldon was made an independent district and on April 23d of that year E. H. Kaffer was elected president and J. E. Alverson, secretary of the first school hoard. Soon a school building was erected and some years later a high school building. The town has always felt a just pride in its educational advantages, which equal any in the county, as its high school is an accredited institution, with all the modern systems and appliances required for turning out graduates fit to matriculate in colleges of the land.


St. Aloysius Catholic Church was the first religious body organized in Eldon, this being about 1872. Building operations began upon a house of worship in that year, but before much headway had been made a high wind blew the incompleted structure to the ground. This was only the beginning of trouble in this regard. Before the church was completed, it was blown down a second time. The first church edifice stood one block west and one north of where the Methodist Church is located. The present structure succeeded the old one in a new location and was put up at a cost of about two thousand five hundred dollars. Father O'Brien, now deceased, was the first pastor. Father Hogan and others later served the church from Fairfield. Father M. W. Vaughn came here July 21, 1913 and is the first resident priest. He is now building a two story frame rectory. This parish has a membership of thirty five families. Services are held three Sundays in the month.

The Methodist Episcopal Church Society at this place was formed through the earnest efforts of Mrs. Henry Dornsifc, mother of Mrs. Murray, a present active worker in the church, who induced a number of the citizens to gather together in 1872 for the purpose of making a permanent organization. A meeting was called, which was attended by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dornsife, Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Shore, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson Myers, Mr. and Mrs. George Knight, Mrs. L. M. Godley and Mrs. Maria Cross, and before adjournment the Methodist Episcopal Church of Eldon had taken on a permanent character. The society was incorporated and after holding services in various places the society occupied a small frame building, which it erected in the spring of 1873. The building was enlarged and remodeled in 1884 and is still in the service to which it was consecrated. Rev. George H. Byrket was the first pastor to occupy this pulpit and remained in the charge two years. He was followed in 1874 by John Davis, whose pastorate also covered two years. Reverend Allender came in 1876 and among others of the early pastors were J. B. Hill, John Hackley and J. B. Hill for the second time. Rev. J. B. Kendrick succeeded Reverend Hill and was followed by Rev. J. D. Simmons, who took up the work on this charge in the year 1888. Then came Reverends Gardner and Patterson. Reverend' Boydston began his pastorate in 1892 and remained two years. His successors were Rev. W. G. Barber, who was here two years; Reverend Beckum, one year; F. T. Barker, six years; Reverend Styles, two years; Reverend Tuttle, two years; Reverend Cogshall, two years; Reverend Cummins, two years; and W. T. Selby, now in charge, in his second year.

About the 1st of September, 1879, Rev. A. S. Elliott, a home missionary, stationed at Belknap, Davis County, visited Eldon, and finding six or more persons members of Congregational Churches proposed to preach to them occasionally. This was acceptable, and on Sunday, September 14th, he held services at the Methodist Episcopal Church and at the schoolhouse that same evening. Meetings continued to be held by Reverend Elliott, Reverend Hayes, a Baptist minister, and Reverend Adams, state superintendent of Home Missions, until the evening of January 2, 1880, when a formal organization of the Congregational Church was perfected, with the following charter members: Charles A. Dibble, Mrs. Catharine Dibble, Miss Laura Dibble, Mrs. Cynthia Huston, Edward P. Howard, Mrs. Mary J. Howard, H. S. Fertney, Mrs. Amelia B. Fertney, Mrs. Charlotte Scheffer, T. C. Boorne, Mrs. Carrie Boorne, Mrs. Hannah Wright, Dr. C. Allen, Mrs. Emma Scheffer, Mrs. Emma Norton, Mrs. Francis Holsey, Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Healy, Mrs. Frances Mosely, Mrs. P. L. Whitney, Mrs. Sarah Hoagland and William D. Hoagland.

January 14, 1880, T. C. Boorne and A. J. Scheffer were appointed a committee to solicit subscriptions to secure a lot and to erect a church building. The house of worship was finished that year and on December 8th was dedicated. Rev. B. St. John occupied the pulpit and was the local pastor until 1883, when he was succeeded by J. O. Emerson. Those who followed were namely: Revs. W. M. Brooks, 1884; W. E. Holyoke, 1887; W. A. Black, 1888; E. E. Willey, 1890; J. G. Hodges, 1890; William Jones, January I, 1892; S. A. Miller, October, 1893; George Marsh, December, 1898; J. R. Kaye, January, 1900; P. M. France, April, 1901; Edwin S. McClure, September 1, 1903; Marion D. Reed. 1906; and the present pastor, Rev. J. H. Skyles, who took charge in 1909.

The Free Methodist Church was organized at Eldon in 1887, with Cyrus Marsh, Mr. and Mrs. Alman, Lizzie Haines, Ruth Shunterman, Tndependence Holden, Tda Hollen and Sadie Holien, charter members. The church building, a frame structure, was erected in 1887, and cost $1,000. The pastors have been the following named: 1887-90, S. S. Stewart; 1890, J. P. Doud; 1891, George J. Cameron; 1892-4, J. M. Lute; 1894, S. S. Stewart; 1895, George J. Cameron; 1896-8, L. A. Bishop; 1898-1900, W. E. Ambrose; 1900-1902, W. A. Whitlock; 1902-1904, J. M. Lute; 1904, E. J. Fish; 1905-1907, John Booton; 1907, L. S. Gilkison; 1908, William Hager; 1909-12, B. H. Beahner; 1912, L. S. Gilkison, 1913 to the present time, S. S. Stewart.

J. J. Ritz came to Eldon about 1888 and soon after with Thomas Sheets canvassed the town and got names of all who had been members of a Christian Church elsewhere. He then issued a call for a meeting, which was attended by the following persons, who afterwards became members of the local Christian Church: J. J. Ritz and wife, Thomas Sheets. Elizabeth Johnson, Mrs. Gus Alford, Mrs. George Rock, Mrs. Box, wife of the doctor of that name, and Mrs. Beard. This meeting may be considered the beginning of the Christian Church here. For a year thereafter prayer meetings were held every afternoon at the Ritz home. In the meantime Mr. Ritz secured a minister from Pittsburg, who held services in the schoolhouse, the G. A. R. Hall and homes of members. Later a room was rented over Trott's Store and used by the society, which finally bought the old schoolhouse and moved it to the site of the present church building. Previous to this, however, a lot had been purchased in another part of town but it was sold and the site on which the church now stands was purchased. The schoolhouse was remodeled as it now appears. The present pastor is Rev. C. H. Clark, who took charge early in the year 1914.

The Baptist Church was organized about the year 1893 and had for its first pastor, Rev. Jacob Cornelius. A church building was erected in 1894, which cost about two thousand, five hundred dollars. There are now about seventy members.

The Church of Pentecostal Nazarenes was organized in the year 1913 by Rev. F. C. Behner and Reverend Flanery. Reverend Behner was the first regular pastor. He was succeeded early in the year 1914 by Reverend J. R. Yount. The church has a Sabbath School and Young People's Society. As yet it has no church building. The meetings are held in a hall south of the depot.

For some years past a Christian Science Church has been established here.


At the town of Black Hawk, Van Buren County, opposite lowaville, Pulaski Lodge, No. 28, I. O. O. F., was established August 18, 1850, with twelve members. In 1852 the lodge was taken to Iowaville, and the name changed to Towaville Lodge, No. 28. From 1863 to 1872 the lodge was dormant, but on May 26th of the latter year it was revived with thirteen members, namely: W. H. Cross, J. D. Alverson, B. F. Welch, T. M. Taylor, T. P. Kelley, T. Barnes, T. B. Allen, E. T. Roland, D. Yeoder, J. C. Nelson, J. W. Nicholas, and W. H. Nicholas, of Magnolia Lodge, No. 24, Agency City, who were granted the privilege of removing the lodge to Eldon and changing the name to Eldon Lodge, No. 28. The charter in accordance with the above was granted October 17, 1872, and on the 27th of December following, the removal was made. About 1891 the lodge erected a brick building on Elm Street, two stories in height, and in 1913 built the east half of it. The ground floor has two business rooms, while the upper floor is taken up by the lodge.

The auxiliary lodge, Rachel Chapter, No. 77, Daughters of Rebekah, was organized October 19, 1876, with thirty six charter members.

The Masons have a strong lodge here but no details can be given as to its organization, owing to lack of data. The Order of Eastern Star, Grand Hope Chapter, No. 66, which is auxiliary to the A. F. & A. M., was organized September 13, 1888, with thirty charter members.

Vorhies Post, G. A. R. was organized in the '80s, and the Woman's Relief Corps, No. 43, was organized October 19, 1885, with sixteen charter members.

Advance Lodge, No. 97, Knights of Pythias, was established October 7, 1884, with the following charter members: William Huston, R. W. Huston, E. T. Roland, M. J. Pusey, J. A. Broconfield, B. O. Foss, J. M. Dodge, W. H. Hyde, A. S. Craig, W. S. Stone, J. D. Renfrew, J. M. Schee, F. J. Milks, O. J. Garriott, C. A. Simmons, E. C. Nichols, C. W. Nicklin, I. M. Burgess, D. O. Drake, L. B. Carl, T. J. Knouse, D. W. Drake, L. E. Courtney, J. A. Northrop, C. J. Stevens, J. W. Whitmore.

Eldon Camp, No. 553 M. W. A., organized May 13, 1888, with O. J. Garriott, J. S. Barley, J. R. Patterson, Mark Hillis, W. H. Bierce, R. W. McEldery, A. C. Mowery, A. Schunternian, J. A. Trott, J. E. Bates and M. Whitmore as charter members.

Riverside Camp, No. 4225, Royal Neighbors, organized June 2, 1905, with twenty four members.

Other societies established here are Eldon Lodge, No. 1033, Royal Order Moose, organized June 21, 1912, with forty members; Eldon Lodge, No. 291, A. O. U. W., organized April 24, 1890; Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, Order of Railroad Conductors, Order of Railroad Trainmen, Order of the Maccabees.

The ladies of Eldon have been quite active in the formation of societies peculiarly their own, among which may be mentioned the Fortnightly Club, organized in the '70s the Four M Club, the P. E. O., the Thimble, the L'Regene and the Bay View clubs.


An organization that has attracted considerable attention to this section of the county is the Big Four District Fair Association, which was formed in the fall of 1890. The first officials of the enterprise were W. G. Crow, president; R. Ritz, vice president; Mark Hillis, treasurer; H. R. Baker; secretary. The association bought thirty one acres of land lying along the river and Rock island tracks, upon which were erected necessary buildings. The first meeting was held in the fall of 1891 and since that time annual meets without any cessation have drawn crowds to exhibitions of a high order. The present officials are: Dr. D. A. Jay, president; J. W. Halal, vice president H. R. Baker, secretary.

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