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A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievement


Digitized for Microsoft Corporation by the Internet Archive in 2008.
From New York Public Library.
May be used for non-commercial, personal, research, or education purposes, or any fair use.
May not be indexed in a commercial service.


Transcribed and donated by Marilyn Setzler.



Page 233          Page 234          Page 235          Page 236          Page 237          Page 238          Page 239




Carroll was laid out, by the town lot department of the Chicago & North Western Railroad, in August, 1867. That fall by vote of the electors of the county the seat of the county government was removed from Carrollton, where it had been since the organization, in 1856. However, the records were not taken to Carroll until the following May. At the time of the transfer the following officers were in charge: W. H. Price, clerk; William Gilley, treasurer; Thomas Elwood, recorder; J. H. Colclo, sheriff; J. K. Deal, superintendent; J. F. H. Sugg, surveyor.

The first building in Carroll was erected by the North Western Railroad Company for a warehouse and supply depot. This being no longer needed for such purposes was sold to William Gilley, who leased it to the board of supervisors for a courthouse and county offices. It was located on the south side of Fourth street, between Main and Court, ground now occupied by the Great Western tracks, and was destroyed in the great fire of 1879. The second building erected was the North Western station, on the west side of Main street, and until it was destroyed by fire, about 1892, it constituted part of the structure that was used so many years by the company, and is well remembered by most of the population of Carroll at this time. A. L. Kidder was the first man to move his family to Carroll and he occupied a building on the south end of the lot now occupied by the Griffith block, fronting Main street. He lived upstairs, and as he was postmaster he kept his office and store (restaurant and grocery) on the first floor. I. N. Griffith opened the first store for general merchandise and Wetherill & Hoyt opened a hardware establishment. William Gilley started a bank and lumberyard and J. H. Colclo kept the first hotel on the corner of Main and Fifth streets. Dr. J. M. Patty was the first physician. The legal profession was represented by J. E. Griffith, 0. H. Manning, Fred Cole and W. H. Tibbles. The first term of court was held by Judge Fred Mott, of Winterset.

The town of Carroll City was organized with the following officers in charge: Mayor, I. N. Griffith; recorder, B. B. Terry; trustees, J. W. King, D. Wayne, L. C. Bailey, F. E. Dennett, and William N. Boots; marshal, Thomas Basler; treasurer, J. E. Griffith and attorney, O. H. Manning.

The census taken in 1869 gave Carroll a population of 384. Subsequent enumerations give the following figures: 1875, 812; 1880, 1,385; 1885, 1,851; 1890, 2,448; 1900, 2,870; 1910, 3,556.

Mayors of Carroll have been: I. N. Griffith, Sr., one year; J. F. Tuttle, one year; J. C. Kelly, one year; J. F. Tuttle, one year; D. Wayne, one year; E. H. Brooks, two years; J. F. Tuttle, one year; William Gilley, three years; J. W. Scott, one year; Thomas F. Barbee, four years; E. M. Parsons, three years; F. M. Powers, one year; M. W. Beach, one year; E. M. Parsons, six years; W. A. MacLagan, four years; E. M. Parsons. four years; S. H. Johnston (incumbent), five years.

Postmasters at Carroll were: A. L. Kidder; S. M. Moore; J. W. King; E. R. Hastings, eleven years; C. C. Colclo, four years; J. B. Hungerford, four years; J. L. Powers, four years; J. B. Hungerford, thirteen years; H. W. Beach (incumbent), one year.

When the county offices were first moved to Carroll most of them were quartered in the room furnished for the purpose by William Gilley who was paid a rental of $50 a month. However, it became necessary to secure additional room and a small building, at the northwest corner of Main and Fourth streets, was secured. The county office was located there and court was held in the same room. The question of building a courthouse was one of the first agitated, but on the submission of the question to the voters of the county it was defeated, the vote standing 53 for, 169 against. However, the following spring, in 1869, the vote was favorable and it was decided to erect a public building in accordance with plans drawn by John W. King. Location then agitated the public mind. Citizens of Carroll had induced the Blair Town Lot Company to donate the present square for the purpose, and efforts to induce the supervisors to locate the courthouse elsewhere were unsuccessful. It is worthy of mention that the contract for setting out the trees on the courthouse site was given to James Wattles, who then resided on a farm on section 1, Glidden township, which was his home for many years. Of the trees planted out most were brought from the North Coon by Mr. Wattles.

It was not without repeated efforts on the part of citizens of Carroll and vicinity that the present courthouse was built to replace the structure of pioneer days. In the general election of 1885 the proposition to bond the county for funds, with which to build a courthouse was defeated by about three hundred majority. In December of the same year, at a special election the proposition was rejected by the narrow margin of thirty-seven. In the winter of i886 the old courthouse was destroyed by fire and offices were provided for in the Joyce office building, at the southeast corner of Fourth and Main streets. Court was held in "Music Hall," in the second story of the Drees building on Fifth street. Confronted with the inconvenience and expense of renting indifferent quarters for county purposes, the voters by the decided vote of 1,185 to 944 decided to bond the county for $50,000 for the erection of a courthouse and jail, at the general election in 1886. There was no question about the location of the courthouse, as a matter of course. But the proposition to buy a lot remote from the public square for the jail and sheriff's residence received support on the board and from leading business men. But for reasons of economy and other considerations the building was located on the northwest corner of the square, where its prominence has not contributed to the beauty of the public square or its surroundings. The corner stone of the courthouse was laid with elaborate ceremonies on Decoration day, 1887, under the auspices of the Masonic order, and Hon. J. C. Conner, of Denison, was the orator of the occasion. It is generally considered that the county received good, honest results from the contractor.

Many thought in early days that the business section would be located around the square, as was the case in many of the older towns. Major John F. Lacey, afterwards a well known member of congress, tells of being in Carroll a few years after it was laid out. He states that prominent men at that time predicted that the north side of the square would be the center of the business section. Others thought that the east side would be the center, and the prediction that business would cluster along Fifth street was ventured by only a few. When, about 1900, he returned to Carroll and found that business had not located on the east and north sides, he was surprised and concluded that there were considerations in the growth of cities as in individuals that could not be foretold.

The subsequent career of the men who officiated when Carroll was organized and became a county seat is not without interest at this date.

N. Griffith, the first mayor, was the pioneer merchant of the town. He continued in business for a long time and retired under the weight of well spent years. He died in Carroll in 1890, respected by friends of pioneer days and beloved by a family of grown children.

A. L. Kidder, J. W. King, F. E. Dennett, W. N. Boots, and Thomas Basler moved away and have since been gathered to the fathers. L. C. Bailey died in Carroll at an early age. B. B. Terry departed this life in a spectacular way.

E. Griffith, the first treasurer of the town, still resides in Carroll, living in one of the handsomest homes in the city. He has remained in active business ever since and has prospered as if his lines were cast in pleasant places. In a sense he has been a builder, for the excellent business block bearing his name is not the only structure reared by his hands in the years he has been a resident here. He has contributed largely to the moral and material upbuilding of the town.

O. H. Manning, the first attorney for the town, died in 1909, at which time his home was in New York city. He had been a successful banker and business man, and attained high standing as a lawyer. In politics he had been honored, for after serving in the legislature, he was made lieutenant-governor of the state. It was he, who coined the phrase so popular in the campaign of 1882 of "A schoolhouse on every hilltop and no saloon in the valley. "This phrase was the basis of a song that was set to music and sung on the hustings in the campaign that was waged with much zest that year. It is interesting, however, to note that Tom Beaumont, a noted character, who resided at Lake City until his death in 1890, claimed that he was the real author of the expression, and that Mr. Manning had simply used it at the psychological moment and was willing ever afterwards to profit by the thought and expression of a more obscure friend.

Daniel Wayne was a successful merchant and grain dealer in Carroll for many years, but finally moved to Watertown, South Dakota, where he died about 1891. His sons Ed and Wellington, are now residing at Delavan, Illinois.

Among those who were in charge of county affairs at the time the county seat was moved from Carrollton, most have passed away.

William Gilley, treasurer, has been a citizen of Carroll ever since and now at the age of eighty-one years is living in quiet retirement with his daughter, Mrs. Emma Gilley Pelsue. His life has been replete of activity and he has performed a conspicuous part in the development of the county and town. He has a distinct recollection of the events of the early settlement of the county and delights to recount the experiences of pioneer days.

W. H. Price, clerk of the courts, moved from the county not many years after and died in Cedar Rapids, which had been his home since leaving Carroll.

Thomas Elwood, recorder, died not many years ago at his home in Glidden, where he had practiced medicine since the founding of that town.

J. H. Colclo, sheriff, continued a resident of Carroll until the time of his death, in the early '80s. He was the pioneer hotel keeper of Carroll and continued in the business up to the time of his death.

J. F. H. Sugg, surveyor, subsequently became editor of the Herald, but in 1870 left for the east. He afterwards studied medicine and practiced for years in Sabula, Jackson county, Iowa. He subsequently moved to Maquoketa, where he continued the practice of his profession.

Among the first business men in Carroll are noted the names of A. L. Didder, postmaster and grocery store keeper; I. N. Griffith, in the general merchandise business; William Gilley, banker and lumber dealer; Wetherill & Hoyt, hardware dealers and J. W. Hatton, druggist.

M. A. Hoyt is still a resident of Carroll. After retiring from the hardware business he practiced law and devoted extra time to investments and the management of extensive landed interests he had acquired. He is today among the wealthiest men in the county, owning about 5,000 acres of land within a radius of thirty miles from Carroll.

G. P. Wetherill, Hoyt's partner in business, moved to Spokane, Washington, in 1903, and has since devoted his time and attention to investments in the state of Washington.

Dr. J. M. Patty, the first physician, continued to practice until the time of his death in 1885.

Judge Mott, who held the first term of court, was a resident of Winterset, and lived there for many years after retiring from the bench and reentering the practice of law.

Fred Cole, one of the first attorneys, went to Dakota in the early '80s and died there. W. H. Tibbles removed to Kansas and attained prominence as a republican politician.



In August, 1867, the railroad company laid out the town and the next year the first school building was erected. From an early history of the county, we glean the following regarding educational conditions of that day: "The first schoolhouse in Carroll was erected in 1868. It was 40 x 40 feet in size, two stories in height, and contained four rooms. It was used until 1880, and then torn down. In that year the north side building was constructed. It is of brick, two stories in height, and contains six rooms. In 1883, the south side building was erected. It is also two stories in height but contains only two rooms." The original north side schoolhouse was the central part of the present building. Because of the crowded condition of the rooms the best portion of the high school building was added in 1891 and at the same time the south side structure was enlarged to four rooms, the same as it is at present. The east part of the north side school­house was built in 1904.

From the first the people, believing that a thorough education is needful for the proper development of their sons and daughters have maintained schools worthy of commendation and which are the pride of the city. The high school occupies one of the nicest school buildings in Iowa. Its location is ideal. The building is thoroughly modern in every respect. Certainly no schoolhouse is superior in construction, appearance and furnishings.

Three regular high-school courses of four years each—The Classical and Scientific and Normal Training—are maintained and specialists are employed as instructors. A library consisting of the best encyclopedias, dictionaries, and reference books, treating of American and English literatures, history, and the various branches of science is kept in the assembly room. The supply of scientific apparatus is quite complete, and there is no experiment called for, in the large, in physics and chemistry that is not performed either by the instructor or the pupil.

The graduates of the Carroll high school are given freshman standing in all the colleges and universities of the north central part of the United States, which includes thirteen states.

The Normal Training department that has just been organized and equipped is proving to be a most excellent course. The idea of the state in maintaining this department is to furnish instruction and training for young men and women who expect to teach. The course is very practical. The work required in the first two years is about the same as is given in the other high-school courses, but during the eleventh and twelfth years the pupil must review several of the common branches, and in addition to this receive instruction in those advanced branches required for a first-grade certificate, methods of teaching, agriculture, and home economics. Not only is the course practical, but is certainly in harmony with advanced ideas in education. Much credit is due the president of the school board and the other four members for securing this department. Just as soon as the law was passed, they decided to ask that the Carroll high school be appointed as one of the training schools. The state superintendent received a large number of requests for appointment.

Only forty-one could be selected, and Carroll has the honor of being one of the first. The appointment carries with it an appropriation of five hundred dollars annually. When a pupil graduates from the Normal Training department, he is granted a uniform county second-grade certificate and after teaching thirty-six weeks is entitled to a first-grade certificate. These certificates are issued to the graduates without writing examinations.

The school board should be commended because of its untiring energy in promoting whatever is for the best interests of the children. A strong and efficient corps of instructors and teachers has been secured. They deserve the aid and cooperation of every parent living in the district.

Quite a number of young people living in other school corporations are enrolled in the school. As a rule tuition pupils are enthusiastic students.

The high school enjoys the distinction of having a band composed of members. The leader is Mr. Dove, principal of the high school. The young men and young ladies each have a basketball organization.

The enrollment is large, while several of the rooms are badly crowded. One point is worthy of notice: In the grades the number of boys attending is about equal to the number of girls; and in the high school a large percentage of the pupils is boys.

The following facts are of interest:

Teachers. Grades. Numbers enrolled are as follows:

North side—Miss Fritz, First primary, 58; Miss McMahon, First grade, 42; Miss Vaughn, Second grade, 35; Miss Anderson, Third grade, 33; Miss Daubenberger, Fourth grade, 33; Miss Winter, Fifth grade, 31; Miss Kelly, Sixth grade, 27; Miss Trevor, Seventh grade, 24; Miss Flyn, Eighth grade, 24.

The enrollment in the high school is 98.

The instructors are as follows: Superintendent, W. H. Gemmill; principal, B. P. Dove; assistants, Miss Mighell; Miss Schulte; Miss Dudley; Miss Bracy and Mr. Ewing.

South side—The three teachers are: Miss Kennebeck, Miss Inskeep and Miss Kelly. Eight years of work is done by these ladies. The enrollment is 57.

Miss Gould is supervisor of music of the entire school.



In the spring of 1893, the Clio Club, a literary organization of Carroll, realizing the need of reference books in the pursuance of their historical studies, conceived the idea of starting a Public Library. After consultation among themselves it was decided that, as the World's Fair was to be held in Chicago during that summer, it would not be expedient to solicit aid from others at that time, as nearly every one was expecting or in hopes to attend the fair.

In the fall, after the fair was over and things had settled into their normal conditions, the ladies went to work and with the aid of the association of the King's Daughters and the business men of the town, funds were secured, so that in April of 1894 the library was formally opened. Until the spring of 1900 it was supported by the Clio Club, who obtained funds for its maintenance by various means available to women for raising money such as dinners, suppers, old maid's conventions, chrysanthemum shows, etc.

For two years a charge was made of one dollar per year for use of the books, but feeling that the usefulness of the library was hampered by this, the charges were removed and the books made free to the public.

In 1900, the city having voted a tax for its support, the library then consisting of about twelve hundred volumes, was turned over to the management of the city officials and a board of trustees was appointed in accordance with the library laws of the state.

As the accumulation of books increased, the quarters in which they were housed proved inadequate and application was made to Mr. Andrew Carnegie for funds with which to provide a suitable home for them. The sum of ten thousand dollars was donated by him for that purpose.

In due course of time the structure was completed, the books moved, and on the thirty-first day of December, 1905, the new building was opened to the public. The building is substantially constructed, is commodious and finished on the inside in a highly artistic manner. It is one of which any town might be proud.

Since the occupation of the new quarters, the use of the library has steadily increased. This is especially true in regard to the use of the books of reference by the pupils of the schools both public and denominational which increases very materially each year, and this feature alone fully justifies the expenditures necessary for the maintenance of the library.

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