History Towns in Winnebago County, IA
From: History of Winnebago County and Hancock County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organization,
Progress and Achievement.
The Pioneer Publishing Company
Chicago 1917

For locations not listed visit the Winnebago County Page.


Located in Buffalo Township, twenty miles northwest of Forest City, on the Rock Island Railroad, is the town of Buffalo Center, one of the most enterprising and energetic of the smaller cities of the state. The town has a system of waterworks, an electric lighting plant, two banks, a newspaper, fire department, four general stores, six churches, and a population of near 1,000 people.

The plat of Buffalo Center was first filed July 25, 1892, by J. Thompson, Clara K. Thompson, J. F. Thompson, Julia A. Thompson, C. H. and F. L. Kelley, proprietors. J. H. T. Ambrose was the surveyor of the town plat, at the request of the above. This plat consisted of the southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 99, Range 26 West. It has now been vacated, however.

On July 30, 1894 there was filed in the county recorder's office a second plat of Buffalo Center. This comprised a part of the southwest quarter of Section 17, Township 99, Range 26 West, also a part of the northwest quarter of Section 20 in the same township and range. Frank H. Fisk surveyed this new plat at the request of the Buffalo Center State Bank.

On January 18, 1894, a petition was filed asking for the incorporation of the city of Buffalo Center, also claiming a population at the time of 350 people. The petition was signed by the following: J. S. -nand, M. Jackman, B A Pannkuk, L. B. Draper, R. Rowley, E. It Wilson, Charles S. Dempsey, Knute H. Helle, L. E. Trefz, Ed. Staadt, E. J. Wood, E. E. Secor, J. J. Roach, M. O. Smith, G. P. Dempsey, T. O. Thorson, John Tegland, E. W. Russell, P. E. Lyon, P. J. Johnson, E. M. Bakke, N. P. Johnson, G. A. Jorgenson, O. G. Bugton, Frank Wilson, Albert Nash, J. W. Woodcock, C. E. Anderson, John S. Daum, A. Cady, O. A. Sawdey, H. G. Gardner, T. S. V. Wrollie, L. A. Hauge, R. Johnson, A. M. Gunder, Sam Nelson, N. A. Dreesman, L. H. Gotwait, William Kane, G. K. Lien, M. Jackman, O. M. Greinder, L. M. Slaba and Ord Curtis. E. E. Secor, J. S. Ulland, L. M. Slaba, George Dempsey and H. G. Gardner were appointed commissioners of election by the court. The election to determine the question of incorporation was held February 17, 1894 and resulted in a vote of 106 to 2 in favor of it.

A bank called the Buffalo Center Savings Bank was incorporated December 17, 1892, with a capital stock of $12,000. The first directors were: B. A. Plummer, J. Thompson, John Law, G. S. Gilbertson, J. F. Thompson, E. E. Secor, C. J. Thompson and C. H. Kelley. This bank filed dissolution proceedings April 18, 1894, and the liabilities were assumed by the Buffalo Center State Bank. The Buffalo Center State Bank was incorporated January 8, 1894 by the following; J. Thompson, B. A. Plummer, J. F. Thompson, C. H. Kelley, K. K. Hellernd, C. J. Thompson, E. E. Secor and G. S. Gilbertson, with a capital stock of $25,000. The Citizens State Bank of Buffalo Center was incorporated April 7, 1898, for $30,000 by the following: J. Thompson, J. F. Thompson, B. J. Thompson, T. Jacobs and P. M. Joice.

The Farmers Trust & Savings Bank was incorporated May 21, 1914, for $20,000, with the following officers: J. J. McGuire, president; E. B. Aukes, vice president; F. L. Sharon, cashier; C I. Anderson and H. D. Feldick, directors. E. E. Sapp is now assistant cashier. The capital stock is the same at present and the deposits amount to about $250,000.

The First National Bank, dating from 1898, is officered by the following: C. W. Gadd, president; J. W. Woodcock, vice president; J. J. Guyer, cashier; B. McDermott, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $50,000 and the deposits amount to about $250,000.


The city of Thompson, with a population of close to 575 people, is located on the Rock Island Railroad, in King Township, fourteen miles northwest of Forest City. It has two banks, a newspaper, five general stores and other places of business such as drug stores, hardware stores, elevators, etc.

The plat of Thompson was filed March 24, 1892. The survey was made on the 22d and 23d of March, 1892, by Frank N. Pitkin, at the request of J. F. Thompson, vice president of the Chicago and Iowa Western Land and Town Lot Company. Frank Thompson, Steve H. Pitkin, Mortimer Cooper and O. T. Severs were assistants on the survey. The survey was described as follows: Beginning at a point 1241 feet east of the northwest corner of Section 26, Township 99, Range 25 West and on the north line of the said Section 26, thence south 1321 feet, thence east 1399 feet, thence north 1322 feet to the United States quarter post, thence west on section line 1399 feet to the place of beginning. A second plat filing was made June 11, 1892, describing the land as the south half of the southwest quarter of Section 23 and the west half of the northwest quarter of Section 26, Township 99, Range 25.

On March 17, 1894, there was filed a petition asking for the incorporation of Thompson. This position was signed by the following: H. G. Beadle, C. P. Jessen, M. J. Cunningham, H. Erickson, E. S. White, Ernest Siljenberg, O. G. Beckjorden, T. M. Wilkison, L. F. Ozmun, Nels J. Wasley, C. J. Shauger, J. M. Johnson, Jr., G. B. Johnson, J. F. Lynch, L. A. Grant, M. O'Neil, A. Helm, T. C. Knapp, J. L. Johnstone, Ole Jerde, S. C. Castleman, Hans Anderson, H. L. Huitz, E. E. Thompson, O. Finstad, F. W. Thompson, Ole Berke, W. T. Kendall, L. L. Spencer, Eugene Reiley, E. E. Brewster, F. M. Linehan, L. T. Brethaner, M. L. Thorsheim, W. E. Grant, John Ellickson, H. C. Mortenson, James Ellickson, C. T. Fletcher, George Wilkison, J. T. Hyde, and Thomas Nugent. The petition set forth the fact that the population of Thompson at that time was fully 230 people. E. E. Brewster, J. F. Lynch, J. L. Johnstone, W. T. Kendall and J. M. Johnson were appointed commissioners to hold the election for the purpose of deciding the question of incorporation. This election was held according to statutes February 15, 1894. For incorporation there were cast 47 votes and against it only 3 votes. The order of the court for incorporation was dated February 24, 1894.

The Farmers Savings Bank of Thompson was incorporated and articles filed August 31, 1892, by the following: G. W. Beadle, G. R. Maben, S. C. Gardner, James Ellickson and M Johnson. The capital stock was placed at $10,000.

The State Bank of Thompson filed articles of incorporation October 31, 1896, with a stock of $30,000. J. F. Thompson was the first president; F. N. Vaughan, vice president; and W. B. Vaughan, cashier. The articles were also signed by J. Thompson, B. J. Thompson, E. Huntington, William Larrabee, I. N. Perry and Josiah Little. The present officers are: B. J. Thompson, president, J. O. Osmundson, vice president; G. Gordon, cashier; and H. W. Nelson, assistant cashier. The capital stock is still $30,000 and the deposits amount to $150,000.

The First National Bank of Thompson, which dates from 1897, is now officered by the following named: N. E. Isaacs, president; C. Larson, vice president; T. E. Isaacson, cashier; L. E. Isaacs, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $50,000 and the deposits average $230,000.


Leland is a town of 200 people, on the M. & St. L. Railroad in Forest Township.

The official plat of the town of Leland was filed July 15, 1887. The town was laid out by the county surveyor, L. T. Thompson, by direction of John D. Leland, on the southeast quarter of the northeast fractional quarter of Section 2, Township 98, Range 24 West. The survey of this forty acres was made on July 8 and 9, 1887.

The first structure on the site of the town was a hotel building erected in 1880 by Ole Ambrosen for keeping the crew of men then working on the M. & St. L. Railway. About the same time Matt Johnson moved the store building from the original Benson's Grove to the location of the present town. Pat Mahar rented this building and there kept the first store in the town, succeeded immediately by Ole Michaelson and J. D. Leland. T. J. Butcher erected the first residence. The postoffice was moved from Benson's Grove by the efforts of Mr. Leland and the name changed to Lelandsburg, which has since been contracted to simply Leland.

On December 31, 1894, swearing a population of 215 people, the citizens of Leland presented to the courts a petition, praying for incorporation. The petition was signed by: Julius Jasperson, G. H. Onstad, P. E. Branstad, J. H. Johnson, M. Michaelson, George Napper, W. P. Buren, O. Michaelson, Henry Smith, A. E. Wilcox, George W. Brown, H. S. Onstad, A. Anderson, George Anderson, Ole Peterson, O. F. Clement, R. Rierson, Nels Quam, Andrew Johnson, J. Winkelman, Charles F. Jenks, Harald Haraldson, T. L. Hallam, F. T. Maidens, Charles Isaacs, Albert Thompson, R. L. De France, F. J. Bowman, O. C. Napper and L. Fingelson. The election, in charge of Commissioners Onstad, Branstad, Johnson, Michaelson and Jasperson, was held February 28, 1895, and resulted in. a vote of 34 to 14 for incorporation.

The year 1900 brought the first bank to the town of Leland. Through the efforts of B. A. Plummer, president of the First National Bank of Forest City, the Farmers Savings Bank was organized in that year. The capital stock was placed at $10,000 and in November 1900, the bank commenced business. B. A. Plummer was elected the first president; J. D. Leland, vice president; and Charles Isaacs, cashier. In the next year Leland and Isaacs resigned and their places were taken by O. Michaelson and E. G. McGreevey respectively. The present officers are: O. Michaelson, president; L. T. Thompson, vice president; E. G. McGreevey, cashier; and Leona Buren, assistant cashier. The capital stock is $10,000 and the deposits about $65,000.


The town of Rake has a population of about 225. It is located on the Rock Island Railroad, in Lincoln Township, twenty eight miles northwest of Forest City.

The plat of Rake was filed August 9, 1900. Thomas H. and Mary Brown were the owners of the land included within the plat, namely: part of the northeast quarter of Section 16, Township 100, Range 26 West. J. H. T. Ambrose surveyed the ground.

The State Savings Bank of Rake was incorporated and articles filed March 5, 1914, with a capital stock of $15,000. The first officers were: A. A. Rake, president; S. C. Jensvold, vice president; J. A. Rake, cashier; L. E. Bolstad, A. E. Helland, Ed. O. Holverson, John R. Unterdahl and Alfred Christopherson, directors. The present officers are: A. Christopherson, president; S. C. Jensvold, vice president; J. Rake, cashier; A. M. Erdahl, assistant cashier. The capital stock is still $15,000 and the deposits average $80,000.


Scarville is a town of 150 people, on the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, in Logan Township, eighteen miles north of Forest City.

The plat of Scarville was filed October 11, 1899. The land named consisted of part of the northwest quarter of Section 19, Township 100, Range 23 West, also part of the northeast quarter of Section 24, Township 100, Range 24 West. C. T. Dyke, a civil engineer and surveyor of Mason City, Iowa, at the request of the Iowa & Minnesota Town Site Company, surveyed the town on the 20th, 21st and 22d of September, 1899.

In 1904 Scarville was incorporated. On May 2d of that year a petition was presented to the court asking for the same and signed by T. J. Folken, S. S. Hanson, L O. Iverson, N. Levorson, A. Iverson, Peder Langeland, H. Iverson, Jake Thompson, Thom Jorgenson, T. Lund, P. H. Moe, S. A. Dale, Oscar Severson, C. L. Tuley, W. E. Campbell, Nels Mandahl, O. J. Folken, C. K. Nelson, John H. Moe, A. Anderson, Albert H. Peterson, A. N. Brudvig, Jr., W. J. Nagel, John Folken, John L. Larson, All Sime, John O. Reue, S. Knutsen. The various formalities were observed according to law and on March 17, 1904, the election was held. There were 30 votes polled, divided as follows: for incorporation, 27; against incorporation, 2; defective, 1.

The Scarville Bank was established in 1903. C. L. Suby is the president of this institution now; and A. M. Larson, cashier. The capital stock is $10,000 and the deposits about $80,000.


Benson, afterward changed to Lelandsburg and then Leland, was platted and the plat filed May 19, 1880. It was laid out at the direction of David Secor and John Law on the southwest quarter of the northwest fractional quarter of Section 1, Township 98, Range 24 West. J. H. T. Ambrose, the county surveyor laid it out on the 12th and 13th of May, 1880.

The plat of Norman, twenty one miles northeast of Forest City, was filed June 15, 1880. It was laid out at the request of John S. Dahle on the 1st of June, 1880, on the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 12, Township 100, Range 23 West. J. H. T. Ambrose did the work of surveying. Norman is now upon the R. F. D. route from Emmons, having no postoffice of its own.

Mount Valley is a discontinued postoffice in the township of that name, now supplied with mail by rural route from Forest City. Ratna, Tweten, Vinje and Delano are small communities without postoffice, permitted to decline for want of a railroad or other incentive to grow.

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