Vol. 1 of the 1914 Delaware Co., IA History pgs. 311-314





Rev. J. H. Kasson, of Baraboo, Wisconsin, about the year 1854 left the place mentioned, with the intention of joining a colony of homeseekers at Grinnell, Iowa. Upon reaching Delaware County he had grown tired and disspirited and being pleased with the location of section 11, in Oneida Township, pur­chased the southwest quarter, on which he built a frame house. This tract of land eventually became the site of Almoral. In the spring of 1856 a group of men, styled the Stafford Emigration Company, of Amherst, Massachusetts, sent delegates to Iowa in search of a place to locate a colony. The men composing the delegation, upon inspection of the country, did not see enough to interest them and returned east without making a selection, but did report unfavorably to the company of their investigations. At the time the organization was ef­fected in Massachusetts, Rev. H. N. Gates and D. S. Noble were living at the Yankee Settlement; L. O. Stevens at Hopkinton; and Joseph Dunham, F. W. Dunham and J. B. Dunham, at Bowen’s Prairie. These persons, with their families, had joined the colony and expected to become members of the colony. After the failure of the delegation to select land for the proposed scheme of colonization, F. W. Dunham, Rev. H. N. Gates, L. O. Stevens and D. B. Noble took up the investigation of the country through Western and Northwestern Iowa, and finally came upon the present site of Almoral, where they camped and met Rev. J. H. Kasson, who had by this time secured a neighbor in the person of John A. G. Cattron, who had built a home on the northwest quarter of section 11. Mr. Kasson was induced to dispose of his holdings. Adjoining land was purchased by the quartette of homeseekers, making in all six hundred and forty acres, which was intended as a nucleus of a settlement whose people should build up the Congregational Church and an institution for the educa­tion of their children. One-fifth of the land thus secured was donated as a permanent endowment for an academy or high school.


On November 23, 1857, James H. Kasson laid out the town of Almoral on section 11, being part of a tract of land he had retained. F. W. Dunham was the surveyor. Here Rev. H. N. Gates had built a house in the previous fall, the first one in the village. The structure was removed to Earlville about the year 1860.


A school was opened in Almoral in the summer of 1857 by Abbie E. Dunham, in a log cabin, which stood on the northwest quarter of the southwest quarter of section 11.


In September, 1858, the progenitors of the settlement, which was first des­ignated as the Stafford Colony, incorporated the Almoral Institute under the laws of the State of Iowa. The incorporators were J. H. Kasson, L. O. Stevens, Joseph Dunham, William G. Strickland, H. N. Gates, Elijah Gates, J. A. G. Cattron and David Roland. These worthy men were also the first trustees. Building operations were commenced immediately and a frame structure, 24x30 feet, was erected on lot 1, block 10, in which the first term of the Almoral Institute opened December 1, 1857, under the charge of Rev. H. N. Gates. There were about twenty pupils. Before the institution closed its doors, Rev. H. N. Gates, L. O. Stevens, R. M. Marvin and F. W. Dunham taught here and a district school was conducted in connection with the institute until its close in 1860.


After the close of the institute this property reverted to the donors, who transferred it to the Almoral Congregational Church, together with other prop­erty. The church had been organized in 1857. Rev. H. N. Gates was the first pastor, and W. G. Strickland, deacon.


The postoffice was established here March 24, 1857, and F. W. Dunham was placed in charge. At first mail was received weekly. The first arrived at this office in April, 1857. The office has long since been discontinued.


Almoral has the distinction of having organized the first brass band in Delaware County. It came into existence in 1858. J. B. Dunham was its leader. This musical organization appeared in different parts of the county at political meetings during the national campaign of 1860, and when a number of its members enlisted for the Civil war, the band became extinct.


A commodious schoolhouse to replace the log cabin was built in 1864 in Almoral, at a cost of about one thousand dollars, and when it was completed it was one of the best buildings of its character in Delaware County.


Almoral became quite a bustling little trading point and remained so a few years. A creamery was started early in 1876, by William G. Strickland, J. B. Dunham, J. A. G. Cattron, William Hockaday, and others, and was operated successfully a long time.

John Cruise later established a creamery on section 12, near Almoral. The town itself has been wiped off the map.




By Mrs. J. B. Dunham (1907)


In the fall of 1856 a small colony of eastern people came to Almoral, which was then a wild prairie country, to make homes and build up religious insti­tutions. During that winter Sabbath services were held at the home of Rev. James H. Kasson.


In the spring of 1857, March 26th, a meeting was held at the home of H. N. Gates, and the Almoral church was organized, consisting of the following thir­teen members: Messrs, and Mesdames H. N. Gates, L. O. Stevens, Joseph Dunham, Francis Dunham, W. G. Strickland and James Kasson, and Miss Sarah Lease.


Of this number only five are living: Mrs. Mary Kasson, of Des Moines, Iowa; Mrs. Jeannette Stevens, of Blair, Nebraska; Mrs. A. M. Sanborn and Mrs. Eunice Strickland, of Almoral, the latter being in too feeble health to attend the celebration of this semi-centennial.


Rev. H. N. Gates was the first pastor. May 16, 1857, the church voted to approve the action of Rev. Mr. Gates in requesting the admission of the church into the Dubuque association, at its meeting at Maquoketa. During that sum­mer services were held in a log house near the creek, on the place now occupied by Austin Slick.


A high school building was completed that season and services were held in it. In the fall of 1871 this building was repaired and reseated as a church, and divine services were maintained there until the first church was erected.


In 1872 arrangements were made that the Methodists should occupy the church every alternate Sabbath. Reverend Platt was the first Methodist minister. A union Sabbath school was maintained and the associations were very pleasant. Everything was in perfect harmony for many years until the Methodist society became so small, on account of removals and losses by death, that those remaining were transferred to the Earlville church. I remember some of the ministers saying they could not tell who were Methodists or who were Congregationalists, such a spirit of Christian fellowship was manifested by both societies.


In 1856, through the generosity and untiring efforts of one of the pioneers who has recently passed to his reward, forty-five acres of land were donated to the church, the proceeds of which the society has enjoyed ever since and will continue to do as long as it exists.


From the earliest years of the church a Sabbath school was maintained, and during the period of union services the superintendent was sometimes Methodist and sometimes Congregationalist. The Sabbath school at the present time is in a very prosperous condition and although it is now a Congregational school the present superintendent, F. E. Bell, is a Methodist.


In the spring of 1902, the old church building was found to be unfit for use and it was decided to build a new church. Through the combined efforts of pastor and people the present edifice, costing over twenty-five hundred dollars, was completed that fall and dedicated February 8, 1903, free of debt. The church is at present in a prosperous and harmonious condition. The member­ship numbers sixty-nine—the largest in its history, twenty-seven having been added during the past year. May the church continue to grow in numbers and Christian influence, and may many present at this glad anniversary live to celebrate the centennial anniversary of its institution.


Becky Teubner, Contributor



Back to Township Histories


Back to Main Page
Back to Iowa AHGP
Back to AHGP