In 1865, the citizens of Monticello having confidence in the permanence and prosperity of the town, and in view of their appreciation of the influences of the press as an educator and leader of public opinion, began to agitate the prosperity of establishing a local newspaper. The matter met with so much approval that material was procured and an office established. On the 10th of July of that year, the first number of the Monticello Express was published, Mr. O. D. Crane, editor and proprietor. On the 15th of February of the same year, the office passed under the management of Mr. James Davidson, who continued the publication of the Express until the 8th of August, 1867, when Scott & Howard became proprietors. Soon after, Howard disposed of his share to Scott, who in turn sold to N. G. Sales, but Scott continued as editor until the 4th of April, 1868, when Sales sold to G. W. Hunt, who continued as editor and proprietor about four years. On the 4th of March, 1872, Hunt sold the office to the Monticello Press Association, W. H. Walworth, Treasurer, and John Blanchard, editor and manager, and, after a brief period, Mr. Blanchard became editor and proprietor, and continues such at present writing. The Express is an eight-column folio, and is published weekly on Thursday. From the first it has been a pronounced Republican paper, and notwithstanding the frequent changes in proprietorship, the circulation has steadily increased.
At the time that Mr. Blanchard took charge of the office, they were issuing about twenty quires, and now the issue is more than double that number. Under the present management, the paper is ably edited, and is remarkably aggressive and outspoken in its policy. Mr. Blanchard is a ready and vigorous writer, and the power and influence of the Express is growing more and more extended every year.
Monticello Liberal—The first number of the Monticello Liberal was published at Monticello on the 19th of September, A. D., 1872, by the Monticello Printing Company, with G. W. Hunt, editor and manager. The paper was published under the auspices of the Printing Company for about two years, when Mr. Hunt became the editor and proprietor, and has continued such from that time forward. The Liberal is an eight-column folio, and is published weekly, on Thursday. The mechanical work is well and neatly done, and the editorial department well conducted. The Liberal supported the Independent party during the Greeley campaign, and since that time the political complexion of the paper has been Democratic. The office is well supplied with material in its jobbing department, and receives a good share of patronage.
On the 19th of November, 1873, at the instance of the people at the other end of the county, Mr. Hunt began the publication of the Wyoming News, and continued its publication for about a year, and then disposed of the enterprise to P. D. Swigart, who changed the name to Wyoming Journal. The News was neutral in politics.
The publication of Die Freie Presse, a German weekly newspaper, commenced at the Liberal office on the 20th of December, 1877, Mr. Hunt editor and proprietor Die Freie Presse is one of the official papers of the county, and statutes making it such because it is the only German newspaper published in the county.
Mr. Hunt has had a long editorial experience, and the Liberal and Die Freie Preise have their appropriate share of the newspaper patronage of the county.
Methodist Episcopal Church—It cannot be ascertained when the first sermon by a Methodist minister was preached in Monticello. It was occasionally visited by itinerants, but no regular appointment was made until 1861. In that year, Rev. J. Williams preached on the circuit which embraced Monticello. The membership was small and very much scattered. In 1862, Rev. G. Stanley was the preacher in charge, and the society increased its numbers. In 1863, Rev. J. S. Eberhart was the Pastor. During the year, the present church edifice was erected. Previous to this time, the society worshiped in the schoolhouse. At the time, the membership was about fifty. In 1864, Rev. H. C. Brown was Pastor, and, in 1865, he was re-appointed. The society now became a station, with about ninety members, and paid $500 salary. In 1866, Rev. F. W. Vinson was appointed to the charge, and during his administration the membership increased to ninety-five. His salary was $800. In 1867, Rev. H. H. Fairall was Pastor, with a salary of $950. During the year, a large two-story parsonage was built, costing $1,300. In 1868, Mr. Fairall was re-appointed, with a salary of $1,000. During his administration, the membership increased eighty-fifty by conversions and thirty by letter-making a total of 175. During the two years, the Church paid out for improvements, benevolent purposes, ministerial support and contingent expenses, $3,500. In 1869, C. C. Symons was appointed Pastor, and served one year. He was succeeded by Thomas Thomson, who also served one year. In 1871, F. X. Miller was appointed Pastor, and served three years. J. S. Eberhart was also Pastor for three years. The present Pastor is Rev. J. L. Paine, who is on his second year.
There are at present 130 members, and thirteen probationers. The following are the Trustees of the Church for 1879: Dr. I. H. Phillips, A. E. Chesterfield, C. E. Marvin, M. W. Herrick, Robert Young, Elijah Austin, G. H. White and Mrs. A. P. Moore. Class Leaders—J. G. Wood and N. W. Austin. Stewards—J. B. Smith, John Moody, N. W. Austin, William Joslin, George W. Condon, Samuel G. Harris and Henry F. Taylor.
The Sabbath school is in a flourishing condition, and has an average attendance of eighty-five. N. W. Austin is the Superintendent.
The Church is free from debt, and is in a good flourishing condition.
German Reform Church—On the first of April, 1870, Rev. G. Rettig came to preach to the Germans at Monticello and vicinity. Four German families in the town professed to believe in the creed of the German Reform Church and were anxious to have regular services, as there was no other German Church organization in the town. They rented a place on First street from Mr. Ch. Siebenthal and fitted it for church purposes. A temporary organization was made; Mr. G. Stuhler was chosen Elder, and Mr. Ch. Siebenthal, Deacon. For four and a half years, divine service was held at the above-mentioned locality. A regular Church was formed April 12, 1874, with Rev. G. Rettig, Pastor; Mr. G. Stuhler and Mr. Thomas Guyan, Elders; Mr. Andrew Ambuhl and John Weibal, Deacons. After the room on First street had been sold, preaching was continued in Marvin's Hall for one year. A resolution was passed to build a sanctuary, and a lot was purchased for $200 on Cedar street. From Marvin's Hall they moved to Kinsella Hall. A commission was appointed to get subscriptions for building a church edifice. Mr. G. Stuhler, Gerhart Eiler and Thomas Guyan were chosen Trustees October 19, 1874. The corner-stone of the new church was laid June 27, 1875, and the church edifice dedicated October 31, 1875. January 23, 1876, Rev. G. Rettig resigned and Rev. A. Kern, of Helvetia, W. Va., was called to the pastorate. He remained with the Church one year and five months, and was succeeded October 31, 1877, by Rev. John F. Graf, of Palmyra, Mo., who serves the Church at present. During his ministry, the Church has paid all its debts on the church building and built a fine parsonage. The present membership numbers about eighty.
Congregational Church—The earliest public Congregational ministrations in Monticello were begun by Rev. E. P. Kimball, June 16, 1860, his salary being mainly paid by the American Home Missionary Society. At this time, it was commonly reported that there was not a praying man in the village, which was probably true. There were, however, a few praying women. The meetings were held in the Monticello Schoolhouse.
The earliest formal step toward organizing the Church was taken September 18, 1860, at a meeting held in the Monticello Schoolhouse, pursuant to a previous call. A resolution to organize under the name of the "Congregational Church of Monticello" was passed, and articles of faith and a form of covenant were adopted. The Church was duly organized November 13, 1860, by an Ecclesiastical Council, convened at the schoolhouse in Monticello, and composed of ministers and delegates representing the following Congregational Churches: The Church at Bowen's Prairie, at Dubuque, at Anamosa and the Church at Cass. The following are the names of those who at the time united as members: E. P. Kimball, Betsey A. F. Kimball, John White, Elizabeth A. White, Celeste E. Wales, Lyman P. Hoyt, Sarah Hoyt, Sarah A. Higby and Mrs. E. J. Leach.
At a regular meeting of the Church, held January 2, 1862, it was voted to circulate a subscription to secure funds to build a church edifice. The effort was not successful. Subsequently, the matter was taken up by the citizens in connection with the members of the Church, and a subscription to the amount of about $1,000, with promises of $300 more. Circumstances unfavorable to the project shortly afterward arose, and the matter remained at a stand-still till the summer of 1866, when a new subscription was circulated and pledges to the amount of $1,800 secured. Lots were secured, but nothing was done that year further than laying the foundation walls and bringing upon the ground a portion of the materials. Plans of the edifice were submitted by Mr. C. C. Walworth, of Boston, and were adopted. Mr. Walworth subscribed $500 for the enterprise, and afterward increased his subscription to $1,000. He also presented the architectural plans and specifications without charge. The cost of the building, according to the design agreed upon, was estimated at $4,000. It was soon after learned that owing to the advance in material, the cost would reach $6,000, unless the plan be modified. Mr. Walworth then secured a modification of the design. The foundation walls were then remodeled, the work being begun on May 1, 1867. On the 14th of the same month, the ceremony of laying the corner-stone took place, and was conducted by the Rev. D. J. Jones, Pastor. Addresses were delivered by Rev. Mr. Jones and Rev. J. Allen. The edifice was in due form dedicated on Sunday, January 27, 1868. After services, a debt of $1,800 was canceled by $2,200 pledges. The dedicatory sermon was preached by Rev. J. E. Roy, of Chicago. The American Congregational Union donated $500 to aid in building. The Congregational Society, auxiliary to the Church, was duly organized December 26, 1865, F. J. Tryon being in the chair. A Constitution and By-Laws were adopted. This society is composed of members of the Church, and of such adult male persons of good moral character as pay $3 annually for the support of preaching. Its function is to co-operate with the Church in holding and protecting the property, and supporting the minister.
The ministers who have served the Church since its organization are Rev. E. P. Kimball, who resigned in 1863; Revs. Isaac Russell, S. A. Benton, J. D. Jones, J. K. Nutting, J. D. Bell, William Leavitt, Loren W. Brintnall and D. Jenkins, the present Pastor.
This Church is in a prosperous condition, and now has a membership of 106. It is what might be called the liberal church of the town, and is decidedly progressive. This is especially so under the administration of the present Pastor. Mr. Jenkins is a young man of good scholastic attainments, and broad and liberal in his public ministrations.
|YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION
An organization with the above title was organized at Monticello November 25, 1867. Officers were elected and a Constitution and By-Laws adopted. For some years, the society grew and flourished, at one time having an excellent reading-room and, apparently, doing much good. Like most similar organizations in towns of the size, it grew and flourished for a time, and then declined and, eventually, ceased to exist.
In the summer of 1877, a stock company was organized, with Hon. George W. Lovell, President, and had for its object the securement of good water privileges for the inhabitants of the city of Monticello. A well was sunk near the depot to the depth of nearly twelve hundred feet, with the hope of securing a flowing well, but the hopes of the company were not fully realized. An abundant supply of water was secured, but it rose only to within forty feet of the surface. The funds of the company being exhausted, nothing was done for the space of about eighteen months, when the company sold out its interest in the well to the city for the amount of their investment, $3,200, the city agreeing to pay the same to the stockholders in the way of water-rents, in installments of 10 per cent each year, for ten years, without interest. An open well to the depth of the surface of the standing water was dug, walled and cemented, and a contract was let to George F. Blake & Co., of New York, to put in a pumping apparatus, whereby the water could be pumped and carried to a reservoir on the hill west of the city. A reservoir was built and neatly inclosed, at the place named, with a capacity of two hundred and fifty thousand gallons. The pumps and necessary appendages have been put in place, and water-mains laid to the principal parts of the city, and everything has been pronounced a decided success. The water is excellent, nearly as soft as rain-water, and two or three degrees warmer than that of ordinary well-water. The supply seems to be entirely inexhaustible. The entire cost to the city of the Water-Works, thus far, has been about $16,000.
The following officers have been duly appointed: S. Y. Bradstreet, Superintendent; Dexter Page, Engineer. Commissioners—S. Y. Bradstreet, Chairman; B. D. Paine, S. E. Sarles, M. M. Moulton, Dexter Page.
The primary object of the company who inaugurated the enterprise has been consummated, and the city has a full supply of good water. From the water-mains, surface pipes are being put in at the present writing, and everything is eminently satisfactory.
The Monticello Fire Company was organized in the year 1872, with a membership of forty-five. The company for some time were supplied with buckets only, and dependent upon no other source for water that that afforded by the cisterns and wells of the city. The following officers were elected at the organization: J. A. Chandler, Foreman; N. W. Austin, First Assistant; Dexter Page, Second Assistant; James Young, Third Assistant; George Whiting, Secretary; C. A. Whiting, Treasurer.
An engine, hose and hose cart and the necessary equipage for a first-class fire company have been procured, and the organization has been kept in good working condition, and at sundry times has rendered effective service in staying the ravages of fire.
Owing to the facilities afforded by the water-works of the city, the use of the engine is not necessary, except at points more than a thousand feet from a hydrant. The present officers are: Dexter Page, Foreman; Isaac Grover, First Assistant; Fred Simons, Second Assistant; William C. King, Third Assistant; Peter Young, Treasurer; Robert Young, Steward; O. B. Rundel, Secretary. The company numbers about fifty men.