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The 1879 History of Jones County Iowa was transcribed by Janet A. Brandt.


Panoramic view of Anamosa from The Library of Congress, American Memory, Taking the Long View, Panoramic Photos, 1851-1991.
You can download a high resolution file of this photo at their website.


The first schoolhouse built within the township was on the Marion road, near a mile from the village. It should have been in the village, but unfavorable feelings against Russell and the town, on the part of outsiders, located it otherwise. It was a log cabin perhaps 18x20 feet, and served the growing generations for some years.


In 1840, a weekly horseback mail was placed on the route between Dubuque and Iowa City, via Edinburg, the then county seat, and coming into the military road at Dartmouth, now Anamosa. In 1841, Gideon N. Peet procured the establishment of a post office at his residence, a mile west of Russell's, and was appointed Postmaster. This was the first post office and Postmaster in the township. The nearest post offices being then at Edinburg, James Hutton, Postmaster; Big Woods, Mr. Grauel, Postmaster; Rome (now Olin), Norman B. Seely, Postmaster; Springville, Col. Butler, Postmaster, and Monticello, William Clark, Postmaster. Mr. Peet conducted his post office well, but the business was light, for the people were few, and the rates of letter postage were burdensome. Money was a scarce article, the country not having recovered from the effects of the crash of 1837, and the Government accepting nothing at the land offices or post offices except gold and silver. The money mostly current was "red-dog," "wildcat," and "stump-tail," that is, the money of State banks, and no man receiving it one day could tell what it would be worth on the next. In such a condition of things, and every man hoarding to pay the Government for his land, the amount of mail sent and received was small. After some months, Mr. Peet wished to rid himself of the care of the office. Russell desired the position, as he said, "so that he could read all the papers," and the expression may have been one of his many jests. In some way, and through his personal friend, Senator A. C. Dodge, at Washington, his wish was gratified. Months passed. The mail came weekly at about the noon hour. Almost daily, Russell might be seen stepping to his door after dinner, and, with vexation depicted on his face, looking up the road leading into the timber and to the Wapsipinicon bridge. Waiting for the mail kept him from his farm work, and finally he declared the post office was "nothing but a plague," and sent in to Washington his resignation in favor of A. B. Dumont.
Dumont was a carpenter, one of the two sons of J. B. Dumont, then recently arrived from the State of New York, and settled in Fairview. The other son was Fred, and invalid at the time, and now one of the substantial farmers near Fairview. The new Postmaster, Mr. Dumont, had a job at Marion, Linn Co., and placed the office in charge of Edmund Booth, his next-door neighbor, for a few weeks. The time ran into six months, and, still having work at Marion, Dumont concluded to resign. Dr. Sylvester G. Matson, then living on the military road just south of Reed's Creek, desired it, and Mr. Dumont resigned in his favor. Mr. Booth remarks that during the six months the post office was in his care, the sum total of his compensation, that is, Postmaster's percentage on receipts, was just $6. Dr. Matson held the position some months, and, like his predecessors, found the glory small and the pay still smaller. He, too, threw up the affair, and another man succeeded him. The name of the office all this time was Pamaho, suggested by Mr. Peet in his petition to the Department in 1841, Mr. Peet stating it was the name of an Indian chief in Wisconsin. It was while Dr. Matson was thus Postmaster at Fairview that a post office was established at Lexington (Anamosa). Pratt R. Skinner was appointed Postmaster. He was a well-educated, intelligent and enterprising man, brother of Dr. William M. Skinner, now one of the leading druggists in Anamosa, and is now living in Oregon.
Anamosa has had successive Postmasters: Pratt R. Skinner, C. L. D. Crockwell, Samuel Cunningham, Alex Shaffer, J. H. Show, Amos H. Peaslee, of Fisher, now Gillen House-Dr. N. G. Sales, H. C. Metcalf, Richard McDaniels and H. Hollenbeck. During the administrations of Pierce and Buchanan, a period of eight years, no less than seven different Postmasters were appointed in succession for her accommodation.
It was during this that the old site-down-town-of Anamosa, was being gradually deserted by the business men for up-town. The building of the Fisher House and the general building of residences on the higher ground, had started the movement. Some hard feelings among the down-towners grew out of this and the post office was removed alternately, up and down town, with the advent of each new Postmaster, until Peaslee's appointment, after which its stay up town became permanent. When Shaffer was appointed was appointed, he said in view of these alternate removals, that he would get a wheelbarrow. Meeting Mr. Booth, he remarked: "Up-town has come down town," to which the latter replied, "'Up-town' will turn 'down-town' upside down." These are quoted as showing some of the humors of the time.
Since 1869, Charles W. Coe has held the position of Postmaster, a period of ten years, and to the satisfaction of the public.
The Court House too, was, for a time, a bone of contention between up and down town.
The facts above recorded were obtained from old settlers, and from those whom the writer has reason to believe to be wholly reliable.
The name of the present county seat of Jones was suggested by Edmund Booth. The incident that led to the selection of the name Anamosa is related elsewhere, as is also the history of its early settlement. The place was first named Dartmouth, then Lexington, and afterward Anamosa. The site of Anamosa is quite romantic and beautiful, the scenery in the vicinity adding much to the attractiveness of the city, which sits upon a delightful portion of the undulating timber-land situated at the junction of the Buffalo Creek with the Wapsipinicon River. The situation possesses the natural advantages necessary to the permanence and prosperity of a town. The abundant water-power afforded by the Buffalo and Wapsipinicon has been somewhat utilized, although the interests of the citizens of Anamosa demand a much more liberal use of these inanimate and tireless forces. The quarries of most excellent building stone, in the neighborhood, constitute a never-failing source of cheap and ever-lasting material for building purposes.
The name and plat of the town as Dartmouth were lost because no record was made. The town as Lexington was laid out in the year 1846, by R. J. Cleaveland, of Olin, now dead. He was a graduate of Harvard, intelligent, chivalrous, kind and noble hearted; was a genuine patriot, joined the Ninth Iowa Volunteers in the war of the rebellion, was sixty or nearly that old, at the time, but Col. Wm. Vandever, of Dubuque, was a personal friend of his, and, in consequence of this fact, he was mustered into the service, notwithstanding his age. During the war, he acted as army correspondent, and signed himself "Leonidas." He died a year or more ago, at the age of seventy-two. The name Lexington was changed for Anamosa, and that portion of the city now called "down-town" by some, by others, "Dublin," corresponds to the original town of Lexington, or Anamosa. To the original town there have been made the following additions and subdivisions:
1—Crockwell's Addition in the year 1848.
2—Crockwell's Out—Lots in the year 1847.
3—Ford's Addition in the year 1848.
4—Walworth's Addition in the year 1849.
5—Walworth's Out—Lots in the year 1849.
6—Fisher's East Anamosa in the year 1850.
7—Fisher's Addition in the year 1865.
8—Webster's Out—Lots in the year 1854.
9—Haddock's Out—Lots, 27, East Anamosa
10—Keller's Subdivision of Lot 1, Fisher's Addition.
11—Warren's Subdivision of part of Walworth's Addition.
12—Shaw's Subdivision of Lot 1, Section 11, Town 84, Range 4.
13—Soper & Boardman's Subdivision of Lots 25, 26, 28, 29, Fisher's East Anamosa.
14—Kimball's Subdivision of 5, 6 and part of 7, Webster's Out—Lots.
15—Peters' Subdivision of the west half of Lot 4 of Fisher's Addition.
16—Gibb's Addition.
17—Skinner's Addition.
18—Boardman's Subdivision of Lots 2 and 3 of Webster's Out—Lots.
19—Peters' Subdivision of Lot 30, and west half of Lot 31 of Walworth's Addition.
20—Huber's Subdivision.
21—Shaw's Subdivision of the east half of Lot 4 of Fisher's Addition, and part of the northeast quarter of the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of Section 2, Town 84, Range 4.
22—Hick's Addition.
23—Shaw's Subdivision of Lot 25 of Fisher's East Anamosa.
24—Sales' Subdivision of Out—Lot 1 of Walworth's Addition.
25—Boardman & Soper's Subdivision of Lots 6, 7 and 10 of Anamosa.
26—Booth's Subdivision of Lot 2 of Fisher's Addition.
27—Crane's Subdivision of part of Walworth's Addition.
28—Osborne's Subdivision of part of Walworth's Addition.
29—Fisher's Subdivision of part of Walworth's Addition.
30—Subdivision A of Skinner's Addition.
31—Shaw's Subdivision of Lot 26 of Fisher's East Anamosa.
32—Shaw's Subd'n of part of Lot 4, and the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Secs. 10, Town 84, Range 4, west of the Fifth Principal Meridian.
The first hotel-keeper was G. H. Ford, who was also the first blacksmith. The house he kept as a hotel was built by E. Booth and sold to Ford.
The second hotel-keeper was C. L. D. Crockwell. He built the "Waverly House" for a hotel, and it continues to be kept as such at the present.
Mahan and John Crockwell kept the first store, which was a small affair, and the principal commodity kept for sale is said to have been poor whisky.
The second mercantile firm was that of Skinner & Clark in 1847. Messrs. Gillett & Osborne opened out as dealers in general merchandise about the same time.
Dr. Clark Joslin was the first physician, and is still in practice as such is company with his son, J. M. D. Joslin.
Dr. Joslin and Crockwell established the first drug store. Crockwell, it is said, after a time went to Utah and became a Mormon.
About 1848 or 1849, J. H. Fisher opened a store at the mill on the Buffalo, and after a time, moved his stock to the town and continued the business.
Messrs. Cary & Show were among the early mercantile men of Anamosa and kept jewelry, boots and shoes, etc., for sale. Show emigrated to Missouri and became a Judge on the Supreme Bench of the State. Cary moved to Utah, and is in the real-estate business at Ogden.
The first tailor was William Sterling, in 1848. He was afterward County Recorder and also Treasurer of the county.
The first lawyer was Rockwell, in 1847. In 1849, he was Chief Clerk of the State Senate.
The first child born was Maria Ford, daughter of Gideon H. and Hannah Ford. This child grew up and married Israel Fisher, and they now live at Webster City in this State.
The city now numbers (1879) upwards of two thousand inhabitants, mostly Americans. The census of 1875 showed a population of 1,598. The census was taken by the Township Assessors, and, it is thought by some, was not very carefully made.
Anamosa was incorporated as a village in 1856, and as a city in 1872. Col. W. T. Shaw was the first Mayor.
At this date, Anamosa contains a number of elegant private residences, many handsome cottages, and a very fine display of good and substantial business houses. With a magnificent system of water-works and three well-organized fire companies, the city is well protected from the ravages of fire. There are six churches, two newspapers, two graded schools (including Strawberry Hill, which is so related to the city as to properly belong with it), two private schools, one bookstore, two news depots, two libraries, two banks, seven dry-goods stores, two clothing stores, three drug stores, three millinery stores, five hardware stores, seven grocery stores, one candy manufactory, four confectioneries and restaurants, one cigar manufactory, one cemetery association, one marble shop, two undertakers and furniture dealers, one art gallery, one cigar and tobacco store, three shoe-shops, four blacksmith-shops, three harness-shops, three wagon-shops, one machine-shop, three flouring-mills, two grain elevator warehouses, two-lumber-yards, three tailor-shops, one planing-mill, one cooper-shop, five hotels, three jewelry stores, two provision stores, one feed and sale stable, two livery stables, two dentists, four architects, one civil engineer, one general insurance office, one express office, two meat markets, three barber-shops, one soap-factory, one water-works company, three fire companies, one opera house, eight secret societies, two railroad offices, two ice-houses, one brewery and three saloons. There are twelve doctors and fifteen lawyers.
The business houses are compactly built of brick and stone, and present a neat and handsome appearance. The public walks are mostly made of stone, and the principal streets well macadamized. The county has no Court House, but owns good and commodious rooms in the Shaw Block, where the court-room and county offices are conveniently arranged. The jail is a substantial building for the safe keeping of those unfortunate enough to become its inmates.
The public school buildings and churches are sufficiently large and commodious to meet the wants of the people and are neat and handsome structures.
The Additional Penitentiary is within the city limits, and, when completed, will add much to the architectural appearance of the city. The inhabitants are an intelligent and industrious people, and the morale of the city is most excellent.
Anamosa held its first elections as an organized town on the first Monday of April, 1856. Mayor, William T. Shaw; Recorder, C. C. Peet; Council, G. W. Keller, Joseph Mann, S. T. Buxton, H. C. Metcalf.
1857—Mayor, Robert Dott; Recorder, Charles D. Perfect; Councilmen, H. C. Metcalf, S. S. McDaniels, E. Cutler, Burton Peet.
1858—Mayor, A. H. Peaslee; Recorder, E. Cutler; Council, E. T. Mellett, W. R. Locke, J. J. Welsh, A. P. Carter.
1859—Mayor, George W. Field; Recorder, C. L. Hayes; Council, J. J. Welsh, W. R. Locke, A. P. Carter, J. L. Brown.
1860—Mayor, N. G. Sales; Recorder, O. Burke; Council, P. Flannery, J. J. Dickinson, David Graham, J. L. Brown.
1861—Mayor, N. G. Sales; Recorder, O. Burke; Council, William Skehan, Cornelius Peaslee, Benjamin Chaplin, J. J. Dickinson.
1862—Mayor, N. G. Sales; Recorder, J. J. Dickinson; Council, E. B. Alderman, Benjamin Chaplin, F. S. McKean, J. D. Walworth.
1863—Mayor, J. H. Benjamin; Recorder, Robert Dott; Council, E. M. Harvey, B. L. Watson, C. J. Higby, E. M. Littlefield.
1864—Mayor, Israel Fisher; Recorder, E. M. Littlefield; Council, A. P. Carter, W. M. Skinner, J. S. Belknap, J. S. Perfect.
1865—Mayor, Israel Fisher; Recorder, E. M. Littlefield; Council, A. P. Carter, J. S. Belknap, W. M. Skinner, John S. Stacy.
1866—Mayor, John S. Stacy; Recorder, C. T. Lamson; Council, H. C. Metcalf, J. C. Dietz, H. Lehmkuhl, P. Haines.
1867—Mayor, J. C. Dietz; Recorder, A. P. Carter; Council, S. G. Matson, C. W. Hollenbeck, M. H. French, Robert Dott, E. B. Alderman.
1868—Mayor, D. McCarn; Recorder, A. P. Carter; Council, L. Niles, A. Heitchen, B. F. Shaw, H. C. Metcalf, C. W. Hollenbeck.
1869—Mayor, J. C. Dietz; Recorder, E. M. Littlefield; Council, H. C. Metcalf, Thomas Perfect, J. H. Fisher, E. F. Clark, Lyman Niles.
1870—Mayor, E. Blakeslee; Recorder, B. F. Shaw; Council, H. C. Metcalf, J. H. Fisher, B. P. Simmons, A. B. Cox, Lyman Niles.
1871—Mayor, Charles Cline; Recorder, C. M. Failing; Council, B. F. Shaw, W. W. Hollenbeck, D. C. Tice, O. M. Ellis, W. S. Benton.
March 5, 1872, Anamosa was organized as a city, with the following officers: Mayor, Robert Dott; City Clerk, C. M. Failing; Council, A. Heitchen, A. B. Cox, S. G. Matson, J. L. Brown, O. Dunning, S. Needhan, Frank Fisher, C. H. Lull.
1873—Mayor, Robert Dott; Clerk, E. M. Littlefield; Council, A. Heitchen, S. G. Matson, O. Dunning, Frank Fisher, Milton Remley, L. Schoonover, J. G. Parsons, A. V. Eaton.
1874—Mayor, Robert Dott; Clerk, L. B. Peck; Council, Milton Remley, L. Schoonover, B. P. Simmons, A. V. Eaton, J. T. Rigby, J. S. Belknap, J. B. McQueen, Harmon Dorgeloh.
1875—Mayor, Robert Dott; Clerk, L. B. Peck; Council, J. T. Rigby, J. S. Belknap, C. M. Failing, J. B. McQueen, E. B. Alderman, L. Schoonover, George Waters, A. V. Eaton.
1876—Mayor, E. Steever (resigned in June and Robert Dott elected to fill vacancy); Clerk, L. B. Peck; Council, E. B. Alderman, L. Schoonover, George Waters, A. V. Eaton, T. Clancy, J. T. Rigby, D. M. Hakes, J. S. Belknap.
1877—Mayor, A. S. Noble; Clerk, L. B. Peck; Council, T. Clancy, J. T. Rigby, D. M. Hakes, J. S. Belknap, C. L. Niles, D. Chadwick, L. Schoonover, L. J. Adair.
1878—Mayor, A. V. Eaton; Clerk, L. B. Peck; Council, C. L. Niles, D. Chadwick, L. Schoonover, L. J. Adair, E. J. Wood, H. W. Sigworth, W. A. Cunningham, T. R. Ercanbrack.
1879—Mayor, A. V. Eaton; Clerk, C. M. Brown; Council, H. W. Sigworth, E. J. Wood, W. A. Cunningham, T. R. Ercanbrack, I. Fisher, M. Heisey, R. L. Duer, J. P. Scroggs.
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