Volney, Part 1

This is part 1 of an article published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 263 (Fall 2012). Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin. Here is a link to part 2.

The Volney, Allamakee County, Iowa post office was located “about a mile north of Smithfield, 8 or 9 miles southwest of Waterville (NE/SE Sec. 13, Franklin Twp. 96N, R5W) on the Yellow River”. [1] Smithfield is located on the NW, one fourth quarter, Sec. 14, Franklin Twp. and was plated February 11, 1854. It was about a mile above Volney. There was no post office in Smithfield. Smithfield was a reference point because of the Smithfield Mills which were operated by Austin Smith. [2] Research on the Waterville post office has been published in three issues of the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin beginning Oct., Nov., Dec., 2010 and concluding in Jan., Feb., Mar., 2011, p. 3-9 and concluding in April, May and June, 2011. [3]

The Village of Volney lies within the boundaries of Franklin Township which was established by the Allamakee County Courts, with the east and west side boundary two miles further east than they are presently. On March 28, 1855, the west one third of Township 96, Range 5 was transferred from Post Township and added to Franklin Township. On February 4, 1856, the west one-third of Township 96, range 4 was assigned to Linton Township. Both of those decisions about the 96N area of Volney were ordered by the Courts to allow the boundaries to conform to the Congressional Township Lines. [4]

The earliest history of Volney was described by W. E. Alexander in his 1882 History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties Iowa. He wrote that “Volney, on the eastern line of Franklin Township was laid out by Samuel and Margaret Briggs, February 12, 1856, in accordance with a survey made the previous October [1855]. Thos. Crawford, J.P., made the acknowledgement. We [W.E. Alexander] have not been able to ascertain the date of the first settlement.” [5]

Ellery M. Hancock essentially repeated W.E. Alexander text about the establishment of Volney but added that “There had been a settlement here for some years prior to this [1856], and a post office was established in February 1852.”[6] Continue reading

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Volney, Part 2

This is part 2 of an article published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 263 (Fall 2012). Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin. Here is a link to part 1.

There is an interesting local historical note about the Volney Methodist Episcopal Church which was incorporated March 22, 1890, although the church, itself, was first organized at a much earlier date. According to Ellery Hancock “The following [were] named Methodist Church trustees: 1. P. Emerson, F. W. Tangerman, H. A. Burnham, A. 1. Campbell and W. H. Adams.[1] What is interesting for postal history is to note that the first three named trustees all served as Volney postmasters. Their four successive postmaster appointments extended over 28 years. Horace Allen Burnham, known as “Horace” or “HA”, was postmaster immediately before J. P. Emerson, who was then followed by Frederick W. Tangerman, who was then followed by J. P. Emerson for a second appointment. These post office appointments reflect that these men were already recognized community leaders and their personal interrelationships were typical of the social and leadership characteristics of a closely knit rural village.

We have mentioned James P. Emerson and Frederick W. Tangerman earlier and briefly. Horace Allen Burnham, the ninth Volney postmaster from July 29, 1871 served for only ten months until succeeded by James P. Emerson April 15, 1872. Burnham was born in St. Lawrence County, New York on April 3, 1844, the son of Joseph and Maria Burnham. At the age often years he came with his parents from New York to Beloit, Wisconsin. A year later he came with his parents in a Prairie Skooner, with five or six yokes of oxen, from Wisconsin to Iowa, locating at Dorchester, Allamakee County. [2] He grew to manhood and received his elementary education in the Dorchester vicinity. He also taught in the Dorchester rural schools for six or seven years. In the year 1864, when he was united in marriage to Miss Julia Thompson, they set up housekeeping near Volney. For a number of years Mr. Burnham taught in Volney area schools in the winter time and farmed in the summer season. On October 10, 1906 his wife died. For a time his cousin, Alvin Findley, made his home with Mr. Burnham. Etta (Findly) Burnham and John (Findley) Burnham became a daughter and a son by adoption. On January 26, 1909 H. A. Burnham was united in marriage with Mrs. Mary Jenkins. Continue reading

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Hello 2014!

2013 in review from the Waukon Standard… part 1 and part 2.

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Buckland (Sixteen)

This article was published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 264 (Winter 2013). Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin.

Buckland, Allamakee County, is another of the 19th Century obscure, short-lived, rural post offices. The Buckland post office was located “on the Yellow River, seven or eight miles southwest of Waterville (S Sec. 16, Linton Twp. 96N R4W). [1]

Buckland, itself, as described by W.E. Alexander in his 1882 History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties, Iowa “is the site of Buckland Mills, and is located
on the Yellow River, very near the center of Linton Township, laid out April 28, 1858 by Austin and Harriet 1. Smith, John and Lucy Davis and Asa and Cordelia Candee, acknowledged before James H. Stafford, J.B.[2]

Kenneth Green, another local Winneshiek County historian, in an essay, “Ghosts Along the Yellow River Valley” also describes Buckland. “This town of Buckland which was later known as Sixteen was located near the center of Linton Township on Sec. 16. The plat was laid out April 28, 1851 for Austin and Mary Smith, John and Lucy Davis and Asa and Cordelia Candee. The plat was vacated May 10, 1881.” Green further notes that Buckland Mills “located at Buckland or Sixteen, in Sec. 16 of Linton Township was built by Albert 1. Cahoon.”[3] Continue reading

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Lycurgus, Part 1

This article was published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 250 (Summer 2009). Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin.

Lycurgus is located seven miles northeast of Waukon, NW Sec. 2, Makee Township, 98 N. R5W. The post office at Lycurgus was first established July 23, 1851. John Allen Wakefield was the first postmaster. He served until the Summer of 1854 when he was relocated from Lycurgus to Lawrence, Kansas. His successor, James Haven, was appointed August 12, 1854.

The Lycurgus post office has the distinction of being the only Allamakee County post office having been discontinued and reestablished five times before it was finally discontinued July 15, 1907. The pattern of establishing, discontinuing and reestablishing post offices is not unique in Allamakee County nor elsewhere in Iowa. Some others in Allamakee County were established, discontinued and reestablished like Elon (twice); French Creek (three times); Hanover (twice); Ludlow (twice); Quandahl (twice); Watson (twice); and Willson’s Ford (twice).

Others were established and later renamed and eventually discontinued like Tom Corwin renamed Bunker Hill (1852) and later Ion (1855); Paint Creek Valley renamed Waterville (1856); Center Valley renamed New Galena (1857); Paint Rock renamed Allamakee (1857); Wexford renamed Harper’s Ferry (1861); Lybrand renamed Myron (1868); Granger renamed Forest Mills (1876) and Adams Junction renamed Waukon Junction (1880).

Lycurgus proves to be an unusual example of establishing a post office, discontinuing (often briefly) and then being reestablished. Here is the pattern between 1851 and 1907.

Lycurgus Post Office – Discontinued and Reestablished Between 1855-1907

Established July 23, 1851 Discontinued February 8, 1855
Reestablished May 11, 1855 Discontinued November 9, 1857
Reestablished April 12, 1858 Discontinued December 3, 1859
Reestablished June 11, 1862 Discontinued January 23, 1868
Reestablished February 21, 1868 Discontinued December 8, 1869
Reestablished January 6, 1870 Discontinued July 15, 1907

The postal history of Lycurgus presents several interesting challenges. The name itself presents an interesting challenge. From whence does the name come? Who is responsible for this post office being called Lycurgus? Continue reading

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Elon

This article was published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 246 (Summer 2008). It was presented before the Allamakee County Historical Society, Waukon, Iowa, Thursday, August 28, 2008. Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin.

Elon enjoys a unique place in the memory of many citizens of Allamakee County. Because of its geographical location, almost in the center of Allamakee County, the township in which the Elon post office was established is called Center Township. By County Court order, March 5, 1856 Dr. O. Deremo was appointed by County Judge Elias Topliff as the organizing officer and responsible to call an election for the organization of “Village Creek Township”, the name by which the area was previously known.

The organizing officer, Dr. O. Deremo, was a multi-talented personality. He was a medical doctor who practiced his profession, as well as farmed (Sec. 32). He was the Township Assessor and also taught the first school in the Thomas Anderson district in the adjoining township of Paint Creek in the winter of 1855 -1855.[1]

Elon is considered the highest point in county. From this height Elon offers a view to the north valley of Village Creek and to the south a view to the Paint Creek Valley. Continue reading

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French Creek

This article was published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 245 (Spring 2008). Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin.

French Creek lies on the south bank of the Oneota or Upper Iowa River, about 15 miles northwest of Lansing and 14 miles northeast of Waukon (Sec. 2 French Creek Township 99N R5W). An early atlas 1866 shows French Creek in NE Sec 1 and a grist mill (owned by Porter Bellows) in SEINE Sec. 2.

French Creek Township was officially organized March 3, 1856. The new township was taken primarily from Union Prairie Township. The Township took the name of the creek flowing through it, called French Creek. The name was derived from the name of family which lived at the head of that small creek. It was here in the valley that the first permanent settlers located. The area was mostly settled in 1854.

French Creek was never a village. W.E. Alexander, in his History of Winneshiek and Allamakee Counties, Iowa, writes that “Alton, still another of the hopeful young villages of the 1850′s, which are nearly forgotten. It’s situation was in the Iowa valley, on Section 1 in French Creek Township, near the mouth of the stream of that name. It was platted January 5, 1858 by W.W. and Nancy Woodmausee.” (Alexander, History Sioux City, Iowa: Western Publishing Company, 1882, p. 400.) Alton never came into existence. Continue reading

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Postal History of Rossville-Maud Allamakee Co. (Part 2)

This part 2 was published in the Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin no. 244 (Winter 2008). Permission to reproduce it here has been given by the author, Brother Leo V Ryan. C.S.V. and by Dr William Dall, Editor Iowa Postal History Society Bulletin.

And now we shift our focus to neighboring Maud! No one can discuss the history of Rossville, and certainly not the history of the Rossville post office, without discussing Maud and the post office at Maud.

In 1897, President Grover Cleveland authorized a new, but unnamed post office to be separated from Waukon, Allamakee County, Iowa. The one and only postmaster was Henry H. Larson.[1] He operated a general merchandise store. He was appointed postmaster at Maud, Iowa, November 18, 1897. He served until the post office was discontinued October 31,1917. He was also Justice of the Peace for Jefferson Township in 1913. Continue reading

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Prehistoric Allamakee County

When I started this website, I began the recorded history of Allamakee County with Marquette & Joliet and  Prairie du Chien. In fact, Allamakee County hosts a rich “prehistory” – events not chronicled by pen on paper, but by humanity on landscape. This entire region is famous amongst prehistoric researchers for the mounds left behind by peoples long gone – some provably two thousand years old. And Allamakee County has one of the premier sites – Fish Farms Mounds State Preserve.

Between New Albin and Lansing, the preserve is a three-acre prehistoric cemetery with a geologic twist.

Between 100BC and 650AD, dead citizens were laid to rest under earthen mounds, and relatives were placed close to ancestors. Over many generations, the mounds grew larger and larger. Today, there are about 30 distinct mounds, cone-shapped, twenty to forty feet in diameter. Continue reading

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“Country School” Documentary Film Garners Coveted Emmy® Nomination

Country School: One Room – One Nation, an award-winning film by Kelly and Tammy Rundle is one of three films nominated for a Regional (Mid-America) Emmy® in the Historical Documentary category. This is the first time the Rundles have entered a film in the Emmy® competition following a March 2012 qualifying broadcast on WQPT-PBS. Former one-room school teacher Nona Hansmeier of Waukon and the Allamakee County Historical Society’s Little Red Schoolhouse are featured in the film.

“We are deeply honored by this nomination,” said Tammy. “And, we gratefully share this wonderful distinction with everyone who helped us make the film,” added Kelly.

Country schools took rough-hewn pioneers and multilingual immigrants and transformed them into a literate and patriotic new nation. Country School: One Room – One Nation provides a never-before-seen perspective on one-room schools in the Upper Midwest. From the first schools in new states to the demise of their widespread use in the 1950s and 1960s, the visually stunning film takes viewers “back to school” for a dramatic new look at the lasting impact of America’s one-room schools.

The critically-acclaimed film premiered at the State Historical Building in Des Moines and has screened in cities throughout the U.S. It was released nationally on DVD in 2011. Iowa Public Television (IPTV-PBS) will feature broadcasts September 2 at 1pm, September 26 at 7pm, and September 29 at 9pm. More broadcasts on other PBS stations will continue through the balance of 2012.

The 2012 Mid-America Emmy® Awards will be held Saturday, September 22, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the historic Midland Theatre in Kansas City.

Country School was partially funded by grants from Humanities Iowa, Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, the Wisconsin Humanities Council, and the Kansas Humanities Council.

The Rundles’ Fourth Wall Films is a film and video production and distribution company formerly based in Los Angeles, California and now located in Moline, Illinois. In addition to Country School, they have produced the award-winning films Lost Nation: The Ioway and Villisca: Living with a Mystery. They are currently in post-production on Lost Nation: The Ioway 2&3 slated for release in November 2012. Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg, produced with Emmy-nominated filmmaker Garry McGee will be released in May of 2013. Visit www.FourthWallFilms.com for more information.

The Mid-America chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) includes television markets primarily in Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas, Illinois and surrounding DMAs.

NATAS is dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry. It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award. For more information visit www.emmymid-america.org.

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