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The same year John Duff came along, liked the looks of the settlement, and built a blacksmith shop, which he sold in the fall to Phil Lathrop (the same who was landlord at Frankville, fifteen years ago.) The latter united butchering to blacksmithing, and soon after added merchandising. About the same year he built a house, which when completed was opened for the entertainment of man and beast, and the village had a hotel. It was not large, but in those days it was thought to be a good one.'
In 1852, George Crawford, who afterwards went to Burr Oak Springs—another defunct town of early promise-became a member of the community. He was, likewise, a Canadian, and brought goods, mostly cloths, with him. He was a tailor by trade and did a thriving business, which soon required the aid of a journeyman. He soon added groceries to his stock-dry and 'wet' --and prospered as long as Moneek was in its glory.
James F. Andrews, a retired Baptist minister, with two sons and their families, became residents in the same year. They added another store. One of the sons was a doctor, and so the town secured the benefit of clergy and medicine by this really large acquisition. They, however, only remained about a year. The town was outgrowing the settlements, and was not large enough to support so many middlemen."
Louis Boughner, also a Canadian, but of German descent, came along in the same year, opened his kit of tools, and sat down upon his shoemaker's bench. That winter the hamlet began to feel as though it was of sufficient importance to be recognized by the General Government, and postal facilities were demanded. During the winter or following spring these were secured, and Boughner had so far won the confidence of the people that he was chosen to serve as the village Nasby. The office was supported by "Winneshiek”—a post office then situated between Castalia and Postville, at which Mr. D. A. Reed, of Decorah, was then deputy postmaster. It is related by Mr. R. that his brother-in-law was postmaster, and he served as deputy. By this arrangement the mail carrier, or any one calling for mail, was sure to find one or the other at home. The convenience of this arrangement was very great, because the postmaster and his deputy only lived a quarter of a mile apart. About this Winneshiek P. V., E. E. Meader can tell an incident, something like this. About the time the lands were to come into market, he had a large sum of money, amounting to about $100, coming to him in Indiana. There was no expresses in those days, and he was compelled to direct that it be sent in a letter. He expected to receive it at Decorah, then a small office, which, according to Rev. E. Adams, was carried around in Claib. Day's hat. After waiting a more than reasonable time for its arrival, and it not being forthcoming, he became enxious about it. Procuring a list of the offices in the county he visited them
and at last found it intact at this Winneshiek P. O., and went home rejoicing. The sender had failed to address it to Decorah.
That year, 1852, saw a large increase to the settlers outside, as well as in Moneek. Among those who came was Col. D. D. Webster, David Duff, Philip Husted, Andrew Stewart and John W. Smith. The first three still reside on the farms they occupied, surrounded by large families and prosperity. About that time Dr. Riddle, an Ohioan, settled in Moneek. He now lives at or near Nora Springs. Dr. A. B. Hanna, now of Elkader, followed a year or two later, and succeeded Boughner as postmaster, holding the office until it was thrown up--sometime in the sixties.
In 1853 Geo. W. Esty settled there, and is, to-day, the sole owner of what was then a most thriving village. He came from New York, and found the village to consist of eight dwellings, one saw mill owned and operated by Abner DeCow, one blacksmith shop, worked by John Duff, Jr., two stores kept by James F. Andrews and George Crawford; a shoe shop and post office, managed by Boughner, and two liquor saloons, one kept by Geo. Crawford as an adjunct to his store, and the other by a man named Walker, who enlisted when the war broke out, and died in battle. The Yellow River then contained double the water it now possesses, and the saw mill was easily able to run five months in the
year. The timber in the neighborhood was superior, and this won the mill a wide and high reputation. In 1850, E. E. Meader, who had settled at Hesper, obtained there ash flooring for the log house in which he began his Iowa house-keeping. At the time of its greatest prosperity, Moneek contained scarcely a score of buildings, divided into dwellings, shops, etc. But it had a large outlying settlement, and it was this, probably, that made it feared by the dwellers in Decorah and Fort Atkinson when the county seat vote was taken. They were sufficiently numerous to give the two other points a "close call” in a fair poll. Failing to receive the poll book in time, the people of Moneek held an election with as much form and regularity as they could devise, but not sufficiently so to prevent the vote from being thrown out. What might have been, if there had been more determined watchfulness by the people of the village, it is impossible to tell. What did happen is very easy to narrate.
Its declive began in 1855. Judge DeCow saw it coming in 1854, and sold his 160 acre claim adjoining the plat for $1,800, to a man named Barnum. The place has been sold twice since, but never for as much money. With the proceeds the Judge settled on the place he now owns, and is very thankful he took that tide in his life at its flood. The tax list of 1855 shows that the Moneek merchant's assessment was $800 for four lots; and Abner DeCow's tavern was valued at the same figuie. In Decorah, at that time, there were only four assessments of greater amount, and
two others only equaled it. The causes for its decline were few and simple. Settlers were thronging into the country, and opening other sections. Post routes and lines of communication were being established. Nature was rather against Moneek. It was nestled away in the valley of the Yellow River, surrounded by mountainous hills, and not easy of access. Notwithstanding this, the founders of the place evidently thought Moneek had such a start that its growth was sure and permanent; that roads must come to them; they could not be left out in the cold. One thing is certain, while the post routes were being established the Moneekers were too busy with their "corner lots. In the meanwhile, a busy, bustling fellow named Frank Teabout, had settled on the ridge, an when the state road' was run he was looking after his interests. The line was established on the ridge; Frankville sprang into existence; and ere they knew it the great tide of emigration which set in was sweeping by them, along the ridge road, but bringing no grist to be tolled and ground for the benefit of Moneek. It had its method of egress, but no artery of trade. The result was certain. Those who were in trade one by one sold out, or abandoned the place; and by the time it was ten years old it was indeed a deserted village.
Early in the sixties its postoffice was thrown up. Abner DeCow enlisted in 1861 and served in Capt. Willett's company of the 3d Iowa Infantry; and at the close of the war removed to Kansas, where he still resides. McSwain remained until about 1865, when he left, principally because the neighborhood was getting too warm for him. The rights of the property were not rigidly observed by everybody about that time; but who it was that was careless as to other people's titles, was not known. At last an old buggy was missed from the road where it had been left. Inquiry was made as to its whereabouts for several days ineffectually, until Judge DeCow (mind, he doesn't tell us this story, and isn't responsible for it) went down to McSwain's to look at some sheep the latter wished to sell. As the families had not visited for a long time, he took his wife and children along. During the day the children went to the straw stack to play, and pleased themselves by climbing to the top, and sliding down the stack. McSwain's boy, however, cautioned the Judge's son not to slide down on a certain side, because there was a wagon under there! This excited his curiosity enough so that he rem mi bered to tell his father about it on the way home in the evening.
It instantly struck the father—there is that missing buggy! The suspicion was more than hinted to the owner, and a search proved it to be the identical buggy. McSwain settled the matter, but used, afterwards, to charge the sheep with being the sole cause of the difficulty. He reasoned it out, somewhat after this manner. If he had not owned the sheep and wanted to sell them, the Judge would not have paid him that visit; the boys would not have
been sliding down the straw stack; the buggy would have remained hid until he could have run it off. Ergo: the sheep were wholly to blame!
This discovery gave the neighbors cause to suspicion McSwain whenever anything was missing; and as there was considerable horse-thieving going on about that time, it became too unpleasant a place to stay. As soon as he could dispose of his property, he folded his tents, and fled away to new fields.
The plat of the village was vacated in 18--; and it is now a part of a good farm, which a clever, thorough going farmer, Mr. G. W. Esty, above mentioned, annually plows, sows and reaps. Occasionally a new comer enquires where was Moneek, and the query calls smile to the face of an old settler, as he cheerfully answers and thinks of the swath it cut in the years which are so recent, and yet in the hurry-skurry of more important events, seem much longer than a fifth century ago.
EARLIER SKETCHES. The following from sketches of early history, published in the Decorah Republican in 1865, give much interesting information, although some points omitted are supplied elsewhere, and the chronology of early settlers given more completely in Chapter I.
It has been repeatedly shown, and it is an undisputed fact, that the Day family are entitled to the honor of being Decorah's first settlers; and, as this has grown into the most important and influential point within the county, it will always give to them a pre-eminence over all other pioneers. But, as we have shown in the history of Fort Atkinson, there were those who preceded them. The Days came to Decorah in June, 1819. The German colony, consisting of Gotlob and Gotleib Krumm, Charles Kregg and Francis Rogers, came in 1847, nearly two years before. We have sometimes doubted whether this is not an error of a year, because the soil was then Indian territory, and not open to squatters. The Indians were removed in 1848, and the reservation opened to settlement. The date, however, has been published, and stands unquestioned, therefore we give it again, with this query, which may substantiate it or correct an error. If it is substantiated, the fact is very clear that they were the first permanent residents.
If there is an error of one year, it will give them a year's precedence over the settlement at Decorah, but it will leave it an open question whether a family named Campbell, who had settled in Bloomfield township: were not as early, or earlier comers. To these may be added the family of ex-Judge David Reed,who followed the Campbells closely, and became the pioneer settlers in the southeast corner of the county.
We learn of these through Mr. D. A. Reed. He informs us that his father's family moved upon what afterwards became the northeast quarter of Section 25, in August, 1848. The family
consisted of eight persons, and he was then 18 years old. They found their only neighbors to be the family of this Mr. Campbeli. He had come in only a few weeks previous, and was still “camping out," or occupying an emigrant wagon, over on the west side of what became Section 23. Both these points were on the Military road, then the only travelled thoroughfare. This would make the Campbells resident from some time in July, 1848. Perhaps Mrs. Campbell, the wife, now a widow, living (we believe) on the homestead which they then squatted upon, may be able to give the exact date. Mr. Reed tells us that Mr. Campbell made claim to a strip of land one mile wide and four miles long, and a year or two later he thought it hard that he could not get $20 for his claim.
Mrs. Powell, the old lady who was canonized in the sketch of Fort Atkinson as the wonderful talker at "Rattle-trap," had also come in a few weeks before, but as she did not long remain, we leave her out of the list of settlers.
Leaving the dates as they have been written, we have this data as established facts: The German colony was first in precedence; the Campbells and Reeds second, and the Days third. If there are any who can dispute this order we have yet to hear a hint or trace of them. They represent, too, three different sections of the county, or independent settlements, each begun prior to July 1st, 1849. In that month of July Geo. Bachel, Joseph Huber, Andrew Myers, Anthony Stottle, Joseph Spillman, and Jonah Rausch, with their families, joined the German colony; and the Goddards came in the fall. In the same month McSwain and Abner DeCow settled at Moneek. These speak of Hawks and Callenders, who were residing over in what has become Frankville township.' Of the date of their coming we have obtained no information. Rev. E. Adams, in his "First Things of Decorah," mentions that the Days found but two settlers between Monona and Decorah, and these were at or near what is now called Frankville.
The history of Moneek added a few other names to that settlement in 1849. To Decorah was added the Painter family, and probably on the first of January, 1850, the residents of the county did not number over two score families, all told. Large accessions came in that year; and it must be left to an "Old Settlers' Association," to gather up all their names and put them on record (this is done in the chapter first of this history). We have a few facis gathered here and there, which will serve as contributions to such a roll of pioneers. Among these, and one of the most valuable, is a list of those who lived north of the Iowa River in 1850. Henry Holm moved into Canoe Township about August 1, 1850. His family consisted of himself and wife, three sons and three daughters. The oldest son, J. W. Holm, is still a well-known resident of Canoe, and was then 19 years old. The neighbors