Pat Burns

 Family and Genealogy

1886 Plat Map of Sections 1-18 of Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa

Ludwig Dörr Descendants:     INTRO  | MENU

Ossian and Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa

Iowa

Iowa was a public-domain state where unclaimed land was surveyed, then granted or sold by the government through federal and state land offices. The first sale of a piece of land from the government was called a land patent and the first owner of the land was called a patentee. Also, early land was granted to US Military Veterans for their service. In many cases these Veterans did not settle on the land, but sold it to other pioneers, frequently using a broker to facilitate the sale. These records can be found online at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website.1

Later, when the land was sold or mortgaged by private owners, the document was called a deed.

The first federal and state transactions were recorded and the paperwork kept at the federal and state level, while all future transactions were recorded at the office of the county register of deeds.

Military Township

Military Township is located on the southern border of Winneshiek County south of Springfield Township, west of Bloomfield Township, East of Washington Township and north of Dover Township, Fayette County, Iowa.

Military Township received its name from the old Military Road, which ran through the area from McGregor to Fort Atkinson and forked off to Old Mission Northwest of Ossian. The 1850 Iowa State Sectional Map shows Ossian and the road leading to Ft. Atkinson and the Agency at Old Mission:1

1850 Washington Township and Military Township Sections.
1850 Iowa State Map - Washington Township and Military Township Sections.

Ossian

The first community in Military Township, was the community of Ossian, settled by John Ossian Porter, who came to Iowa from Pennsylvania about 1850 with his wife Emily, and four children: Inge, Harry and Sally, born in New York and Orville, born in Pennsylvania. Their their fifth child was born in 1855 and was named Ossian and they would have another son in about 1857 named Fingal. I assume both of the last two children were born in Ossian.3

C.C. Cornell, author of The History of Ossian and Military Township writes:3

“John Ossian Porter, born in New York State, and later a resident of Pennsylvania, migrated to Winneshiek County at an early date and founded the village of Ossian.

Mr. Porter purchased the W½ of SE¼, and the SE¼ of NE¼ of section 10, township 96, range 8 in 1850. This property bordered on the ‘Military Trail’, the road connecting Fort Crawford and Fort Atkinson. Evidently, the Porter property contained the ‘Quarter House’, a log structure used as an overnight shelter by the travelers on the Military Trail.

When the Porter’s youngest son was born in 1855, he was named Ossian. This same year the Village of Ossian was founded.

There is evidence that mail addressed to Ossian, Iowa, was delivered to this point as early as 1853. A letter addressed to Nathaniel Cornell, Ossian, Iowa, dated that year, was received by my great-grandfather. Mr. Porter was appointed the first postmaster of Ossian.”

Ossian is showing on the 1850 Iowa Sectional Map as shown above. Although the Village was not “established” until 1855, it was well enough known to show up on this historic 1850 map. Ossian incorporated on February 7, 1876. Sixty-Seven voted for the incorporation and fifty-seven against. At the time there were 475 people living in Ossian.3

AD

Military Township BLM Records

The first BLM record I could find for the Military Township was dated July 10, 1851 to John O. Porter and George Reed for the NW 1/4 of section 10. The earlier record as noted by C.C. Cornell is not in the BLM record, but we know Ossian shows up on the 1850 Iowa State Sectional Map.

The following is the 1886 Plat Map of sections 10 and 11 of Military Township, showing Ossian boundaries at that time: 

Section 10 & 11 of 1886 Military Township Plat Map, Winneshiek County, Iowa.
Section 10 & 11 of 1886 Military Township Plat Map, Winneshiek County, Iowa.

BLM Records 1851-1854

The following spreadsheet is a list of the BLM records from 1851-1854 for Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa, Meridian 5th PM. The records prior to 1851 were not found online.4

AccessionNamesDateDoc #Twp – RngAliquotsSec. #County
MW-1075-022PORTER, JOHN O,
REED, GEORGE
7/10/185161973096N – 008WNE¼10Winneshiek
MW-1074-470UNDERSON, JOHN W,
COYLE, THOMAS
8/1/185144081096N – 008W
096N – 008W
096N – 008W
E½NW¼
NW¼NW¼
SW¼NE¼
34
34
34
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-1083-314SHARP, ANDREW,
HEDGE, ABSALOM,
HEDGE, WILLIAM
9/1/185110177096N – 008WNW¼3Winneshiek
MW-1094-109SENNES, HALVOR T,
NESBITT, SAMUEL S
10/1/185156739097N – 008W
096N – 008W
096N – 008W
S½SW¼
NW¼NW¼
NE¼NE¼
35
2
3
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-1094-156SANFORD, HORATIO W,
KAYLOR, MICHAEL
10/1/185137465096N – 008W
096N – 008W
096N – 008W
NW¼SE¼
E½SE¼
SW¼SW¼
9
9
10
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0606-273GLEASON, SALEM,
GLEASON, SALEM
2/10/18523227096N – 008W
096N – 008W
E½SE¼
E½NE¼
5
8
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0608-354FRAZER, HERNDON,
FRAZER, HERNDON
2/20/185210814096N – 008WNE¼SE¼32Winneshiek
MW-0608-361SMITH, JACOB,
SMITH, JACOB
2/20/18522034096N – 008WSW¼SW¼33Winneshiek
MW-0608-364ASHBY, MARY,
ASHBY, JOHN
2/20/18522426096N – 008WNW¼SE¼32Winneshiek
MW-0609-048PECK, WILLIAM F,
PECK, WILLIAM F
3/1/18525848096N – 008WNE¼1Winneshiek
MW-0609-103BROWN, HENRY,
BROWN, HENRY
3/1/18523183096N – 008WNW¼1Winneshiek
MW-1097-155BROOKS, ABIEL E,
BROWN, JAMES
5/5/185247642096N – 008WNW¼11Winneshiek
MW-0633-023WILTSE, HENRY A,
MCWALIS, JOHN
9/1/185235473096N – 008WNE¼NE¼22Winneshiek
MW-0633-051WILTSE, HENRY A,
CLEAVLAND, IRA
9/1/185236958096N – 008WSE¼NW¼22Winneshiek
MW-0676-104HANSON, OLE,
HOPKINS, JAMES M
4/15/185329751096N – 008WSW¼SW¼31Winneshiek
MW-1105-416SANFORD, HORATIO W,
STORY, SOLOMON
6/15/185353347096N – 008WNE¼2Winneshiek
MW-1106-286BROOKS, ABIEL E,
TURNER, HENRY R
7/5/185347636096N – 008WNW¼10Winneshiek
MW-1106-287BROOKS, ABIEL E,
EAST, HENRY
7/5/185347634096N – 008W
096N – 008W
N½SE¼
N½SW¼
10
11
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-1106-331BROOKS, ABIEL E,
JONES, EDWARD D
7/5/185347637096N – 008WNE¼9Winneshiek
MW-1106-332BROOKS, ABIEL E,
THOMPSON, WILLIAM H
7/5/185327635096N – 008W
096N – 008W
096N – 008W
N½SW¼
SE¼SW¼
NE¼NW¼
10
10
15
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0686-234LEWIS, JOHN,
LEWIS, JOHN
8/1/185310634096N – 008W
096N – 008W
W½SE¼
E½SW¼
18
18
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0686-362SANFORD, HORATIO W,
ROSS, JAMES
8/1/185324743096N – 008WNE¼SE¼11Winneshiek
MW-0686-363SANFORD, HORATIO W,
ROSE, RUSSELL
8/1/185328403096N – 008WSW¼SE¼11Winneshiek
MW-1107-317CREMER, WILLIAM,
BURNETT, JAMES W
8/4/185360600096N – 008W
096N – 008W
096N – 008W
SW¼SE¼
W½NE¼
SE¼NW¼
6
7
7
Winneshiek
MW-0671-193HIGGINSON, JOHN C,
COPELAND, HORATIO
9/1/185361698096N – 008WNW¼NE¼8Winneshiek
MW-0671-329BARNEY, WILLIAM JOSHUA,
READ, ARAH,
READ, FRANCIS
9/1/185346616096N – 008WE½NW¼6Winneshiek
MW-0671-330BARNEY, WILLIAM JOSHUA,
THOMPSON, DAVID
9/1/185378484096N – 008WSW¼NW¼6Winneshiek
MW-0671-401COLLINS, JOHN,
EVERETT, DANIEL
9/1/185326057096N – 008WNW¼NW¼17Winneshiek
MW-0671-402COLLINS, PATRICK,
SHIFLET, ST CLAIR
9/1/185380426096N – 008WNE¼NW¼17Winneshiek
MW-0671-412COLLINS, JOHN,
MCGEE, JAMES WILLIAM,
MCGEE, ELIZABETH REBECCA,
MCGEE, PATRICK
9/1/185337757096N – 008WS½NW¼17Winneshiek
MW-0710-244CREMER, WILLIAM,
ALLEN, PHEBE,
ALLEN, AARON
9/10/185326271096N – 008W
096N – 008W
SE¼SW¼
NE¼NW¼
6
7
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0710-280HIGGINSON, JOHN C,
BURBANK, SULLVAN
9/10/185315699096N – 009W
096N – 009W
096N – 008W
NE¼SW¼
N½SE¼
NW¼SW¼
13
13
18
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0714-495HOWARD, JOHN R,
HOWARD, MORRIS
9/10/18531896096N – 008W
096N – 008W
S½SW¼
E½SE¼
3
4
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0705-261WAIT, HENRY,
NELSON, ROSWELL
10/1/185316316096N – 008WS½NE¼18Winneshiek
MW-0705-356SWATS, LEWIS,
LAY, CATHARINE,
LAY, JOHN
10/1/185341704096N – 008WS½SE¼1Winneshiek
MW-0705-357SWATS, LEWIS,
ISELEY, CONROD
10/1/18534969096N – 008WN½NE¼12Winneshiek
MW-0705-369BEARD, ABRAHAM,
HOLT, RALEIGH
10/1/185314138096N – 008WE½NE¼13Winneshiek
MW-0705-378MICHAEL, ANDREW,
SWINT, JAMES
10/1/18538824096N – 008WN½SE¼12Winneshiek
MW-1108-362HIGGINSON, JOHN C,
FIELDS, SAMUEL
10/4/185344152096N – 009WE½NE¼13Winneshiek
IA1290__.041CREMER, WILLIAM11/1/185314126096N – 008WN½SW¼6Winneshiek
IA1290__.067LAWRENCE, EDMUND P11/1/185314160096N – 008WSW¼SW¼5Winneshiek
IA1290__.068LAWRENCE, EDMUND P11/1/185314161096N – 008WSE¼SE¼6Winneshiek
IA1290__.069LAWRENCE, EDMUND P11/1/185314162096N – 008WNE¼NE¼7Winneshiek
IA1290__.070LAWRENCE, EDMUND P11/1/185314163096N – 008WNW¼NW¼8Winneshiek
MW-1113-075BROOKS, ABIEL E,
STEVENSON, JOHN A
5/1/185447639096N – 008W
096N – 008W
S½SE¼
S½SW¼
10
11
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0782-063SANFORD, HORATIO W,
ALLYN, SOPHIA,
ALLYN, NATHAN
5/10/185416847096N – 008WNW¼NW¼5Winneshiek
MW-0782-094SANFORD, HORATIO W,
AMIS, LINCOLN
5/10/185447696096N – 008WE½SW¼22Winneshiek
MW-0782-216BARNEY, WILLIAM JOSHUA,
BOYD, MARY J,
BOYD, ALEXANDER H
5/10/185441925096N – 008WSW¼SW¼6Winneshiek
MW-0782-294CLARKE, ASA B,
CLARK, JOHN
5/10/185450574096N – 008WNE¼SW¼8Winneshiek
MW-0782-377SHEPHERD, HENRY,
SHEPHERD, HENRY
5/10/18548267096N – 008W
096N – 008W
096N – 008W
SE¼NE¼
W½NE¼
NW¼SE¼
11
11
11
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0782-464SANFORD, HORATIO W,
EAMICK, PETER
5/10/185443801096N – 008WSE¼SE¼20Winneshiek
MW-0782-465SANFORD, HORATIO W,
PARIS, ALBERT
5/10/185482033096N – 008WSE¼NE¼28Winneshiek
MW-0782-490TORGRIMSON, LEIF,
WALTERS, CHAMPLESS
5/10/185457231096N – 008WSW¼NW¼22Winneshiek
IA1290__.448BARNEY, WILLIAM JOSHUA6/15/185414580096N – 008WW½SW¼15Winneshiek
IA1290__.451LARSON, HANS CHRISTIAN6/15/185414584096N – 008WW½NW¼15Winneshiek
IA1290__.453EIMERS, WILLIAM6/15/185414587096N – 008WSW¼NW¼7Winneshiek
IA1300__.029BARNEY, WILLIAM JOSHUA6/15/185414669096N – 008WNW¼SE¼6Winneshiek
IA1300__.399FOLSOM, LEVY B6/15/185415082096N – 008WNE¼14Winneshiek
IA1310__.034DECOW, EBER6/15/185415223096N – 008WNE¼NW¼2Winneshiek
IA1310__.035DECOW, CHARITY6/15/185415224096N – 008WSE¼NW¼2Winneshiek
IA1310__.276LENSING, WENZEL6/15/185415476096N – 008W
096N – 008W
E½SW¼
SW¼SW¼
7
7
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
IA1330__.015JOHNSON, JOHN6/15/185416259096N – 008WW½NW¼27Winneshiek
IA1330__.114LARSEN, PEDER6/15/185416365096N – 008W
096N – 008W
E½NW¼
SW¼NW¼
8
8
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
IA1330__.115GARVER, ANTHONY6/15/185416366096N – 008WSE¼SE¼3Winneshiek
IA1330__.214BURHANCE, JOHN H6/15/185416476096N – 008WW½SE¼3Winneshiek
MW-0809-047BARNEY, WILLIAM JOSHUA,
MARTIN, JAMES G
7/10/185490903096N – 008WNE¼SW¼34Winneshiek
MW-0809-205HALVERSON, CHRISTOPHER,
MCPARLIN, CASSANDRA H,
MCPARLIN, WILLIAM
7/10/185493343096N – 008WNW¼SW¼33Winneshiek
MW-0802-091BARNEY, WILLIAM JOSHUA,
MCGEHEE, MARY P,
MCGEHEE, NATHAN G
8/1/185483388096N – 008WSW¼NE¼6Winneshiek
MW-0802-321OLESON, SAMUEL,
MILLER, CATHARINE,
MILLER, MICHAEL
8/1/185442858096N – 008W
096N – 008W
SE¼NE¼
SW¼NW¼
22
23
Winneshiek
Winneshiek
MW-0814-135BURKANCE, JOHN H,
BURKANCE, JAMES
8/1/185417163096N – 008WNE¼SE¼3Winneshiek
MW-0575-068WOOLSON, ALBERT,
EDWARDS, LEWIS R
11/1/18543786096N – 008WSW¼NW¼31Winneshiek
MW-0575-330MICHAEL, ANDREW,
NEWCOMBE, CHARLES
11/1/18541024096N – 008WSE¼NE¼12Winneshiek

Settlers in Military Township

Cornell writes:3

“Those who record history say that the next settlers in the neighborhood were Chauncey Brooks, and Captain Caleb Brooks. Following the Brooks were Adolph Howard, John R. Howard and Charles Wood, all of who moved in after an overland trip from their home area of Erie County, Pennsylvania.

Nicholas Linbeck and family are recorded as the next settlers, while soon afterward was James Brooks, H.P. Nicholson, Sr., who purchased land in section 4, and Barney Boyle.

Judge John DeCou and wife who originally settled near Moneek in 1850 moved to Military Township and lived in the same location throughout the rest of his life.

Henry Scheidelmantel, now shortened to Scheidel, settled in section 5. Historians say Erick Anderson purchased a stock of goods from a Mr. Lathrop who had been located at Moneek, but when he felt that the town of Moneek was dying fast, he was glad of a chance to sell the stock. Anderson’s place of business became the first store and he the first merchant. The Centennial history says, “at this time the country was poor and everybody seemed to want credit. Mr. Anderson very generously trusted them and as a result, his mercantile business was a failure.”

Our Dörr/Doerr ancestors, Wilhelm and Anna Doerr purchased about 300 acres in section 18 in the fall of 1854. They do not show up in the BLM records, so most likely purchased their land from veterans and their brokers that were granted the property.

1886 Military Township Plat Map

The following is the 1886 Military Township Plat Map5 that show names of the owners in each section. This includes many familiar names including but not limited to: William Doerr Jr., sections 18 & 33; Joseph Imohl [Imoehl], section 18; Theodore Uhenkackhan [Uhlenhake], section 19; W. Cremer, section 7; Henry Euick [Einck]; Henry Mollers [Moellers], section 30; Frederick Gerleman, section 5; Herman Zwerbohmer, section 6; Henry Scheidemantel, section 5; Joseph Schissel, section 21, Andrew Meyer, section 15; Henry Hemsath [Hemesath], section 9; John and Mary DeCow [De Cou] section 1 and many more.

1886 Plat Map of Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa

Log Cabins

Cornell3 wrote the following about the early settlers living conditions:

“Early settlers built log cabins for sheltering their families. The open spaces in the log cabin were ‘chinked’ and covered with a mortar of mixer clay and grass; the floor was either the earth packed hard with use, or ‘puncheoned’ with split logs’ the roof was made of ‘shakes’ or split oak about an inch thick, ten inches wide and four feet long, held in place by stone anchored poles.

The chimney was a ‘cat and clay’ arrangement of sticks and thick clay in which the fire must not be too hot even though the kettle that cooked and baked must be swung.

Hinges for the pegged door and the latch that locked from the inside also were of wood with a hole through the first plank for the latch string of buck skin to hang out.

Mr. Nicholson’s description of early daily life in a small log cabin is worthy of note.
“A log house, 12 X 13, with no attic, was kitchen, living room, bed room and pantry combined. A small lean-to and loft were later additions, in these surroundings, children were reared until better accommodations could be afforded. Not only the family, but also visitors were entertained, and strangers sheltered within its walls…

The roof was protected by hewed oaken shingles that shed rain quite well, but when a blizzard raged, much snow sifted through the chinks. Our urchin brothers and sisters, upon arising in early morning, would have to seek a place to plant their bare feet among the tiny snowbanks upon the floor.”

Ossian Newspapers

Newspapers are a great place to find interesting events and stories about a community. There were many publications that failed in Ossian. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to find any of these online. The following is a list of publications that C.C. Cornell listed: 3

DatePublicationPublisher or Editor
1870The Winneshiek RepresentativeT . B . Wood
1876The Ossian EnterpriseWm. B. Morey
1877The Ossian IndependentMr. McKinney
1880The HeraldG. W. Garrison
1881The HeraldF. B. Hanna
1884The BeaconBert Burdick
1885The Ossian BeeWoodruff & Go.
1885 (June)The Ossian BeeGarter & Woodruff
1886 (August)The Ossian BeeM. J. Carter
1898 (Dec.)The Ossian BeeW . J. Daly
1899 (May)The Ossian BeeHeck & Wimber
1899 (June)The Ossian BeeA. C. Heck
1905 (April)The Ossian BeeHeck & Schmitz
1905 to 1909The Ossian EnterpriseOssian Printing Go
1910 (August)The Ossian BeeT . F . Schmitz
1942 (April)The Ossian BeeDon Amundsen
1977The Ossian BeeDirk Amundsen

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church

The first Catholic Church in Ossian, a frame church measuring 80 feet long and 31 feet wide with seating for 250 was dedicated as St. Francis de Sales Church in 1869. In 1895 an increase in membership prompted the planning for a new church. That church was torn down in 1996 due to structural problems. The church that now stands was dedicated in March 1998.6  

Many residents of Ossian and Military Township attended school at St. Francis de Sales School.

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church Cemetery is where many of my ancestors are buried.

St. Francis de Sales Church and Schoohouse of 1902, Primary Classroom.

Ossian and Military Township Timeline

1846 –   Ohio became the 29th state in the Union when President James K. Polk signed Iowa’s admission bill into law.

1850 –   Sometime between 1846 and 1850 Iowa established the layout and townships. The 1850 Iowa State Sectional map was printed.

1850 –   By 1850, John Ossian Porter and his family settled in what is to become Ossian.

1855 –   The village of Ossian is founded.

1856 & 1857 – Ossian experiences an unusually severe winter in 1856 and 1857. H.P. Nicholson writes: “Snow fell to a depth of four feet, followed by freezing rain which formed a crust encasing everything in its grasp”.

1865 –   The railroad gave new life to Ossian. Note: After the railroad was put in, there are many accidents where people were killed crossing the tracks. The descriptions state that people and/or wagons were hit by the ‘cars’.

1860 –   By 1860, the town boasted a blacksmith, a millwright, a tailor, a hotel keeper, a grocery store, a carpenter, a merchant, a clergyman and 5 school teachers.

1861 –   The pay for military service in 1861 was: Major General, $469 a month; 2nd Lt. $103.50; sgt. Major, $21; private, $11. By August of that year, the pay of common soldier was raised to $13, and a bonus of $100 in gold promised at the end of the war.

1874 –   A tornado hit the town late in the fall. Several buildings were damaged or destroyed. Dr. Small’s barn was moved at least 20 yards from its foundation.

1875 –   We are indebted to Mrs. John Moellers for the minutes of a meeting held in 1875 for the purpose of forming school district no. 4. The records were kept by William Derr (sic). This district was known as: “The Collins School.” [This is our Wilhelm Doerr. He is said to have been a school director. Mrs. John Moellers was Helena Mary (Doerr) Moellers, wife of John Bernard Moellers and daughter of William Doerr Jr., son of Wilhelm.]

1875 –   A Directory of Military Township for 1875 lists name, occupation, town, acres, section and value. William Doerr Sr. is listed as follows:3
          “Doerr, William, farmer, Festina, 296 [acres], section 18, value $2,883.”

1877 –  A series of fires in the community were recorded. Two of the more interesting ones follow:

    1. January 1877, the citizens of Ossian were aroused from their peaceful slumbers by the alarm of fire. The scene of the conflagration was found to be a building owned by Mr. Groff. The upper story of the building was occupied by the Grof family. The Ground floor was rented by John Murray as a store, while the casement was used as a saloon. The building with all its contents was completely destroyed. The cause of the fire was attributed to a drunken overnight party. Most of the celebrants were in a stupor when the building caught fire; one was saved by being dragged from the premises, he unable to help himself. Mr. Groff’s family barely escaped in their night clothes, as did a clerk who had spent the night in the store.
    2. A fire in the Ossian jail, a few months later, resulted in the death of a vagrant, who, with a fellow transient, had set fire to their straw-filled mattress. An unnamed local blacksmith, alerted by their cries, seized a sledge and broke down the jail cell door and dragged them out; but not before both were seriously burned–one expiring from his injuries

1870’s –This story was published in the Fayette County Union:3 
Mr. Wm. Cleery and his mother were returning home from Ossian in a heavily loaded wagon when their horses were frightened and bolted. Mr. Cleery attempted to hold them back, but the traces became unhitched and the wagon overturned killing the driver and injuring his elderly mother. The Union’s account continues as written: “Mrs. Jordan, the wife of the proprietor of the Hilton House at Ossian, was the sister of Wm. B. McCleery, who met the awful and unexpected death. Mr. McCleery and his mother left the Hilton House in good spirits. That night Mrs. Jordan awoke her husband and told him that she had dreamed a horrible dream. That she had seen her brother William killed. Mr. Jordan told his wife that it was impossible, and after much persuasion she laid down to sleep. About daylight the next morning, a messenger, who had been sent to convey the sad tidings, knocked at the door. Before answering the door, Mrs. Jordan sprang from her bed, crying: ‘I knew it! I knew it! They have come to tell us.’ Sure enough, the dream proved a terrible reality.”

1873 –   The winter of 73 was very severe. Trains became snowbound and many people were reported frozen to death. A snowdrift on the railroad tracks near Ossian was reported to be one thousand feet long and averaging over six feet in depth.

1873 –   The editor of The Republican writes: Ossian has lately most effectively dried up the liquor traffic in their midst, and not a drop is to be had anywhere.

1882 –   Telephone established in the community.

1883 –   Mr. Vance, Ossian’s popular jeweler, has invented an ear-piercer which makes piercing a painless art. There is no longer an excuse for ladies not wearing earrings.

1883 –   Our city marshal arrested a young lad for driving too fast on Ossian’s streets. It serves him right! (So, speeding with horse and buggy was a problem in 1883.)

1883 –   Mr. Henry Scott has a number of washing machines for sale. Parties who have tried this new convenience speak with praise of the good work they accomplish.

1888 –   Installed street lights powered with oil.

1896 –   Much of the town’s business district, along with the public school, was destroyed by fire.
1898 – Actual fire department established with pumpers and a building to house equipment.

1898 –  On October 7th, Julius Huber of Fort Atkinson buried alive in a pit while engaged in road work. Smothered to death before he could be dug out.

1900 –   January 18th, fire at Ossian damages the Ossian Band and M. J. Carter’s law library.
1912 – Horse and buggy were still the main form of transportation, but automobiles became more common.

1912 –  “Mr. Victor Cason has purchased the Bullard Hall and announces that he will install his own light plant and show motion picture is Ossian.” Cason’s movie house was known as the Majestic Theatre.

1914 –   Hogs are dying by the thousands to the south and east. The disease is spreading ever closer to Ossian. This must have been the first Cholera outbreak.

1915 –   Ossian barbers raised their prices to 25¢ for haircuts and 15¢ for shaves.

1915 –   An oil sprinkler was purchased by the council and a resolution passed calling for oiling of the streets.

1913 –   Oil street lights were replaced with electric lights.

1916 –   The ratification of an amendment to the U. S. Constitution, legalizing women’s suffrage, was defeated in Iowa, 60 yes, 135 no, in Military Township.

1917 –   The town installed a municipal water system with a 60,000-gallon water tower. This tower was replaced in 1988 with a 150,000-gallon water tower.

1917 –   Iowa went dry after a federal court decision ruled that shipment of alcoholic beverages into the state is illegal.

1917 –   World War I, all male residents of the community between the ages of 21 and 30 years were required to register for military service under the conscription act of 1917.

1917 –   There was great patriotism on the home front during this period. Anyone, who refused to contribute to the war effort, was subject to ostracism by the community. Ossian’s residents, almost without exception, supported the war effort.

1918 –   Spanish influenza was sweeping the nation and became epidemic in Ossian this year.

1919 –   The ratification of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, legalizing women’s suffrage was passed and ratified by the states in 1920– suffrage was granted.

1919 –  The Wiltgen Hotel has installed an “iceless” refrigerator. Evidently this was the first mechanical refrigerator in Ossian.

1920 –  Ossian ladies too advantage of ability to vote, casting 260 votes in the 1920 election.

1921 –  The following speed limits were established for Iowa highways: maximum of 30 MPH for motor vehicles under 3 ton; 25 MPH for vehicles of 3 to 6 tons; and 10 MPH for any vehicle with two or more metal tires.

1922 –   Mayor Schmitz warned motorists that their machines must be equipped with two head lights, a tail light and a closed cut-out. Marshal Grimstad has been instructed to arrest all violators.

1922 –   The Figge Auto Company has installed a wireless telephone (radio receiver) with a range of several thousand miles. Broadcasts have been received from Memphis, Madison and Cedar Rapids. Radio has arrived in Ossian.

1922 –  The state board of health notified the town’s authorities that unsanitary conditions exist within the corporation & must be corrected. Board recommends installation of a sanitary sewer system.

1923 –   Ossian’s business houses donated several thousand dollars and the town contributed $600 to finance a white way on Lydia and Main streets. The poles and lights were installed by the Interstate Power Company crew.

1923 –   The first municipal sanitary sewer system was installed. This was upgraded twice; once in 1949 and again in 1990.

1924 –   The Bee reported that snow fell in Ossian on August 18, 1924. Was this an all-time record?

1926 –   Mr. Carter reported that the winter of 1925-26 was a rough one. He cleaned the snow from his sidewalk 47 times. There were 103 days of sleighing with drifts reaching a depth of ten feet.

1927 –   A resolution, ordering all property owners whose lots abut on Main street to establish water and sewer connections, was passed by the city council. Ossian’s Main street will be paved next spring. Water connections must be heavy lead pipe sewer connections of vitrified self-glazed, or iron soil pipe.

1928 –   The paving of Main street began at 8:30 on April 23rd. 450 feet of pavement was complete by the 700 P.M. quitting whistle. A series of accidents followed the opening of the newly paved streets. Mayor Schmitz pointed out that they were not intended to be race tracks and that the stop sign at the intersection of Lydia and Main means STOP period.

1929 –   Editor Schmitz reported that good “moonshine” was selling for $4 a pint over the July 4th holiday. He hastened to add that his knowledge did not come from personal experience. We have been told that there were 3 bootleggers in Ossian.

1931 –   A vagrant, quartered overnight in the city jail, inadvertently pressed the button that activates the fire siren. The hastily assembled firemen reported that the frightened hobo was last seen “legging it” out of town. Evidently, he feared the wrath of the inconvenienced volunteers.

1932 –   The state required licenses to operate motor vehicles for the first tim

Attributes:

  • The St. Francis de Sales Church and Schoolhouse of 1902, St. Francis de Sales Primary Classroom. Attribute: Cornell, C.C. The History of Ossian and Military Township, published in 1955.

Citations:

  1. Sections of Washington Township and Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa, clipped from the 1850 Sectional map of the state of Iowa, compiled from the United States surveys also exhibiting the internal improvements, distances between towns & villages, lines of projected rail roads &c. &c.; drawn and published by Guy H. Carleton, Dep. Sur. U.S., Created/Published Dubuque, Iowa, 1850, retrieved from Library of Congress website online at https://www.loc.gov/item/98688477/ (Accessed 1 Oct 2019).
  2. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, “United States Census, 1860,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9B9J-9XL3?cc=1473181&wc=7QXT-L54%3A1589426666%2C1589427527%2C1589427612 : 24 March 2017), Iowa > Winnesheik > Military > image 4 of 19; from “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). “John O Porter Household”, Military Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa. Retrieved online at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M82B-P19 (Accessed 5 Oct 2019).
  3. Cornell, C. C, “The History of Ossian and Military Township” Transcribed by ABBYY fineReader® 12, Adapted to the Web by Bill Waters. (http://iagenweb.org/winneshiek/History/Ossian/Stub.htm, Accessed 22 June 2019).
  4. Bureau of Land Management, “Land Patent Search,” digital images, General Land Office Records,  Iowa, Winneshiek County, Military Township, Township 96 North, Range 8 West, retrieved onliine at http://glorecords.blm.gov/PatentSearch (Accessed 20 Jun 2019).
  5. Military Township 1886 Plat Map. Plat book of Winneshiek County, iowa, 1886. Warner & Foote’s 1886 Plat book of Winneshiek County, Iowa. The university of Iowa Libraries, Iowa digital Library. Plat of Military Township 96, North. Range 8 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian. Winneshiek Co. Iowa. (http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/atlases/id/2420/rec/2, Accessed 20 Jun 2019).
  6. St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, City of Ossian, Ossian Churches, retrieved from City of Ossian Website online at https://www.ossianiowa.com/churches (Accessed 5 Oct 2019).

Disclosure:
The family Information was retrieved from a variety of family trees, webgens and family stories. I will note citations as appropriate and hope the information assists you in your research, but please do not use this as proven evidence. Feedback is welcome!

Pat Burns. Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.
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