Odebolt, Iowa - 1880 Businesses

VOL. 1, NO. 25

The  1880 Business of Odebolt

(transcribed "as written" by B. Ekse from microfilm, January 2002)

In connection with a brief history of Sac County contained in this number of the OBSERVER, we have thought best to give, briefly, a summary of the business of Odebolt, as it exists at present.  In this we shall only be able to mention those firms and individuals now engaged in business here.  To mention those who have at various times been thus engaged, and who are now out of business or have moved away, would far exceed the limits of our space, and possibly if given would be of little interest to present readers.  All we shall aim to do is to give the present of Odebolt, and its past history only so far as that of her present business men may be connected with it.  For the sake of uniformity we classify the business houses under appropriate headings:


In this line Odebolt is perhaps as well supplied as any town in North-western Iowa.  The pioneers in this branch of trade were Messrs. McKibbin Bros., whose building, now occupied by them, corner of Main and Second street, was among the first, if not the first one built in the place, three years ago last October.  This is still the leading house of its kind, and though making dry goods its principal feature, has extended its lines into nearly all the departments of a general stock, chief of which are groceries, clothing, boots, shoes, hats, caps, notions, etc.  In quantity, quality and variety of the goods carried, the store of Messrs. McKibbin Bros. indicates that their customers not only buy largely, but that they buy goods of the best quality.  The name of this house is familiar to the readers of THE OBSERVER, and the character of its proprietors for liberality and honorable dealing is above reproach.

Burnside Store

Next in date of arrival is the dry good store of Mr. J. W. Burnside, corner of Main and Second streets.  He carries a good general stock of goods and has a thriving and prosperous trade.  He is not quite so well known to the thousand readers of the OBSERVER as we could wish, or as we think it would be for his interest to become, yet for all that he is a pleasant man to deal with and stands well as a fair and honorable merchant.

Mr. W. W. Sindt, who succeeded Mr. Jas. Ross in the dry goods business by the purchase of his stock and building in August of 1879, has since enjoyed a steadily increasing trade; until the past fall he found it necessary to enlarge his area, by building an addition to his store.  He carries a general stock, dry-goods being a principal feature.

Some time after the sale of his store to Mr. Sindt, Mr. Ross again engaged in the same business, building on the east side of Main street, where he carried on the business of general merchandising successfully, until last September, when he sold his stock of goods to Messrs. Jones & Brunson.  Mr. R. has not again embarked in trade, though we should not be surprised at any time to record such an event.  He has ably fulfilled the office of Justice of the Peace for two or three years.  He will doff the judicial ermine Jan 1, 1881, when he will no doubt give his attention to his private affairs.

Messrs. Jones & Brunson, who succeeded Mr. Ross as above stated, at once added largely to the stock and have now one of the handsomest stores in the place.  Mr. Brunson, the resident partner, is to the manor born, having been bred to the business.  Though but a few months here as yet but just getting acquainted, his trade has been entirely satisfactory.  He is thoroughly posted in his business and takes a pride in it, as all good merchants do.  He does not need to be told of the benefits of judicious advertising, and uses printer’s ink liberally, as these columns attest.

Last, but by no means least in this enumeration, is the store of Mr. Henry Hanson, the able manager of the Swedish Farmers’ Society.  He recently purchased the interest of his late partner, Mr. John Williams, and has admitted to partnership Mr. John Mattes, a brother of Mr. Joseph Mattes, of the firm of J. H. Ketterer & Co.  Mr. Hanson has just returned from Chicago, where he purchased large additions to the stock.  The assortment is a general or miscellaneous one, dry-goods being a prominent feature.  The house does a large trade with farmers of its nationality, who are quite numerous here and number among them some of our most prosperous citizens.  The reputation which the Swede Store, as it is generally called, has acquired for fair dealing and low prices, has given it a large custom from people of other nationalities who after all are strikingly akin in their desire to buy goods cheap.


Foremost among the store of this specialty, is the Red Front, by Messrs. F. P. Motie & Co.  In our three-year-old town any one is a “pioneer” who has been in business over two years.  Messrs. M. & Co. dating from October 1878, are fairly entitled to that honor.  The stock carried by this house and the extent of its sales, weekly or monthly, would scarcely be credited by one unacquainted with their business.  With the number of homes in the place, which are engaged in whole or in part in the sale of groceries and provisions,  one would think the business sadly overdone.  But this [is] far from the fact.  There is not one of them which does not appear to be doing a satisfactory business, while many of the larger houses are kept busy from one week’s end to the another [sic].  The increase in the trade of Messrs. Motie & Co. is almost phenomenal and indicates not only the rapid settlement and development of the country about Odebolt, but the further fact that this house has by fair and honorable dealing, held the customers it has gained and kept its place on the tidal wave of prosperity.  The “Red Front” is known far and wide as headquarters for anything in its line, and its obliging proprietors as most liberal and courteous tradesmen.

The house of Mr. Wm. Sampson, west side of Main Street, is another which makes the trade in groceries and provisions a special feature.  He too dates far enough back to come within the circle of ancient and honorable pioneers, having commenced business Sept. 1, 1878.  His first location was in the Keck building on Main Street, where he remained until last spring when he moved to his present location on the west side of Main Street.  He carries a good stock and has a flourishing and prosperous trade.  He is satisfied with fair profits, and his goods are just as he recommends them to be.

Frank Corey has been in the grocery business but about three months, but in that time has built up a good trade.  He carries a good class of goods, sells at reasonable prices and is popular with his customers.  He, too, is familiar to the readers of the OBSERVER.  He knows that the people know that as a rule those dealers who advertise their goods are the ones who sell them.  Starting as Mr. Corey did, into a trade which if not already overdone, was under a sharp competition, it is plain to see that judicious advertising has been a prominent factor in his success.  This, with fair dealing and close attention to business, is drawing to him a good trade in spite of able competition.

Messrs. Lang & Nelson, on Second St. are yet new in the trade, having just opened a grocery store in the room formerly occupied by Mr. Williams.  They have a nice stock, are courteous and obliging gentlemen and will doubtless successfully compete for a share of the trade in their time.  Their ad. will be found in this paper.


The oldest line in this house here is that of Messrs. J. H. Ketterer & Co., who purchased the stock and succeeded to the business of Mr. W. Van Deusen in Aug. 1879.  Since then its sales have vastly increased, with the growth and settlement of the country, until the house has become one of the big business institutions of Odebolt.  The gentlemen composing the firm were both Clinton county boys.  We don’t know that this of itself is a sufficient explanation of their remarkable success--perhaps not; but their public spirit and liberality has certainly had much to do with it.

The only other exclusively stove and hardware house is that of G. W. Sutton which is popular with all, and is enjoying a regular business “boom” as indeed are both of the hardware houses in the sale and equipment of stoves.  Neither house is afraid to tell the people of Sac county where they are and what they are doing.  They advertise liberally.

West Main, Nov. 1886 blizzard, Odebolt Reporter


Mr. C. S. Lee has been in this business longer than any of his competitors, we believe.  That he has made a marked success of it is certain.  It was first conducted as a restaurant and boarding house, and though retaining those features still, it has branched out into a first-class grocery store.  Mr. Lee is very popular with his customers and possesses the knack of having just the thing you want and can find hardly anywhere else.  If one cannot there find the article he wants, he may be sure it is out of season and out of date.  He keeps the only news stand in town and can furnish people with any of the leading newspapers and periodicals in the U. S.  Mr. Lee is not afraid to use printer’s ink, and he makes it tell.

Mr. M. H. Hempen, now in this business, was, we believe, the first settler and first business man in Odebolt.  Before the railroad reached this point or the town was laid out, he sold “supplies” to the hands building the road, from his shanty by the side of the track.  He was one of the first to stock his stakes here as soon as the town site was chosen.  For a year or so he ran a saloon and dispensed the “crather” to thirsty pioneers--but upon the advent of churches, bibles and a $500 liquor licence [sic], he wisely determined to quit the immoral traffic and opened a restaurant and grocery.  He is doing a flourishing business and is a popular and liberal tradesman.  He is no stranger to the readers of the OBSERVER.

Mr. H. T. Martin, in September last, succeeded by purchase to the building and restaurant business of W. F. Moyer, on Main street.  Mr. M. also ranks as one of the pioneers, having been the Railway Company’s first agent here, and holding that position until his voluntary resignation of it last spring.  He scarcely needs introduction to OBSERVER readers, as he was for the first two months of its existence one of its editors, and contributed by his talent and business energy to its firm establishment.  Since he entered his present business, he inaugurated extensive changes in arrangement of the interior of the building, making  it more suitable for the accommodation of guests, and has added to the restaurant a grocery department where a full line of goods is kept.  A very satisfactory patronage seemed to be awaiting him, and from the start he has had all the customers he could accommodate.  He is occasionally heard from through the OBERVER’s local columns, though as an ex-editor and appreciating the full value of printer’s ink, we look for him to come in for a half column at least.  He certainly ought to do so, for “he knows how it is himself.”

Mr. Keck is another popular restaurateur and also one of the noble company of pioneers.  Connected with the restaurant is the store containing a large and varied assortment of the lighter goods sold at such places, which is presided over by M. L. Keck.  He is also known to the OBSERVER’s readers.


Odebolt has three drug stores and is well supplied in this particular.  That of A. Stoopes & Co. on Main street, and generally known as the City Drug Store, dates back to a time which confers upon its proprietors the honorable title of pioneers.  They are among the few who opened business here in 1877.  Their house has had and continues to have a large trade.  Dr. Huson, one of the proprietors is conspicuous as one of our most public spirited citizens, and foremost in every public enterprise or undertaking.

W.J. Summerwill Drug Store, with men in front identified

Messrs. Burleigh & Summerwill, on the north side of Second street,  in addition to a very complete stock of drugs and medicines, paints, oils, etc., carry a good stock of staple groceries.  In the store are also to be found stationery, school and blank books and druggist’s goods generally.  They are courteous and obliging gentlemen and have a fine trade.


Of these, Odebolt supports two--F. A. Matthews, at the Red Front, and W. T. Brown, and the drug store of Dr. Boardman.  They supply the trade well and are kept busy.  The addition to their stocks which each has made in the last year, shows a flattering increase of business in their line, and that there is a demand here for good goods.  They are both occasionally heard from through the local columns of the OBSERVER.


Two good harness makers supply the horse millinery.  The shop of A. C. Rodocker, on Main street, was the first established and has done a very large business.  Mr. R. carries a large stock of completed work, as well as trunks[,] valises, etc.  He is no stranger to the readers of the OBSERVER.

The shop of E. C. McKeever is farther south on the same street.  He also is kept busy supplying his customers.  Both make a class of work which is unsurpassed anywhere in the west.  Mr. McK. is frequently heard from through these columns.


C. D. Shaw & Son, on the north side of Second street east of Main, have nice rigs and let them at reasonable rates.  Their card appears in this paper.

The stable of Messrs. Horan & Robertson, on the same street is said to turn out some nice rigs, though the public are not officially informed of the fact through the columns of this paper.

There is also, we believe, a livery stable run by Messrs. Hunter & Tincher, in the McDougal barn, south of the Odebolt House, but the public do not generally know the fact as they would if the business was shown through the public prints.


The trade in lumber here is large and increasing, and is notwithstanding well handled by our enterprising dealers.  In December 1879 the Green Bay Lumber Company, under the management of Mr. E. C. Finkbine, bought the lumber stock and business of Messrs. Peck & Buchanan, corner of Main and First streets, and have since done a large and prosperous business.  They carry a full stock of all kinds of lumber, as well as sash, doors, blinds, mouldings, &c.  They also handle hard and soft coal.  The company has a branch yard at Ida.  They are well known to the public through the columns of the OBSERVER.

Messrs. S. H. Bowman & Co., located north of the R. R. track, entered into business here in March last, by purchasing the yard and lumber stock of Geist & Buehler.  They carry a large stock of lumber, sash, doors, blinds, building paper, lime hair cement, stucco and building materials generally, and also deal in coal. They have a large trade and are familiarly known to the public through these columns. This company also has a branch yard at Ida.

The Clinton lumber yard is the third in date of location and amount of stock carried.  As the proprietors have not sought to make their business known to the public through the medium of the press, we have no official knowledge of what they have to sell or how they sell it.  The OBSERVER would be pleased to introduce them to that august personage--the public--and do them all the good it can.


Messrs. Geist & Buehler are the pioneers in this important branch of trade, they having commenced business here in March 1878.  Their trade in farm implements and machinery of all kinds has so increased that they have found it necessary to erect a large building in addition to the one now occupied by them.  The new building is 30X36 feet, two storys [sic] high.  They are preparing to open the campaign of ‘81 in better shape than ever before; and with the increasing demand which there is bound to be for all goods in their line, their business will be limited only by their facilities for supplying it.  The firm is well known to readers of the OBSERVER.

Another popular house in this trade is that of B. F. Parker--formerly of Parker & Buchanan.  By the retirement of Mr. Buchanan some months since, Mr. Parker now “goes it alone.”  Ben is a host within himself, and follows the Scriptural injunction of doing what he finds to do with his might.  We have heard the numbers of reapers sold by Mr. Parker last season, and it is so large we dare not give it, except over his own signature, lest our veracity should be doubted.  He is known to the readers of this paper, and we may say to everyone else--everybody knows Ben and the gray ponies.

Another popular house in this trade is that of Voight & Fairbanks, corner of Maple and Second streets.  They sell all kinds of farm implements and machinery, wagons, pumps, etc., and also hard and soft coal.  They have a large trade.  They are frequently heard from through our local columns.  They will handle, the coming season, the celebrated twine binders, the Walter A. Wood, and the Champion, and as will be seen from our local columns are already opening the campaign of ‘81.

Reynold and Kistler's Blacksmith Shop in background


Messrs. Reynolds & Stearns, on First street, have probably the best appointed blacksmith shop as yet in the place.  They are skillful workmen and understand their business thoroughly, as their large custom testifies.  Mr. G. H. Parker, wagon-maker and worker in wood, has his headquarters here, and is also a skillful and experienced workman.  He has been in business here since April of 1878, consequently his work has been tested by time, and makes any recommendation from us superfluous.  Both branches in this shop are represented in the OBSERVER’s columns.

Messrs. Steffens & Stevens, also on First street, rank as A No. 1 workmen.  They have been here since June, 1878.

H. P. Rebberger commenced blacksmithing here in the spring of 1879, having his shop on Main street; afterwards removing to the corner of First and Maple streets.  The building is 24X50 ft., two storys [sic] high and covered with an iron roof.  Horse-power machinery will be put in the basement.  Mr. J. E. Einspahr, well known as a wagon maker of skill and experience, will occupy the second floor, where lathes will be put in for all sorts of turning in wood or iron.  The building is built by Jacobie & Sons, contractors and builders, who have pushed the work along with their accustomed energy.  When completed, the new shop will be ahead of anything in that line here, and will no doubt be represented in the OBSERVER.


Mr. Schmitz keeps the only furniture store in the place.  He commenced business Dec. ‘77, buying the stock of John Wright.  Mr. Schmitz is a practical cabinet-maker and undertaker, carries a large stock of finished work, and though he is as yet without competition in his business, has the reputation of selling his goods at reasonable prices.  His location is east side of Main street.  He makes his business known to the public through these columns.


Besides restaurants and several private boarding houses, Odebolt has three good hotels.  The Odebolt House, kept by jolly Ben. Worden, on Second Street, and the Delmonico, kept by C. S. Stowell, on the north side of the same street are excellent hotels and well patronized by both regular boarders and the traveling public.  These hotels are known by travelers far and near as among the best in the Northwest.  They are seen in the business directory of the OBSERVER.  The other hotel, the German House on Main street, kept by Jacob Koehler, is popular, especially with the Germans, and is a good place at which to stop.


The ladies of Odebolt have certainly no reason to complain that their wants in this line are not fully met.  The millinery bazar [sic] of Mrs. A. C. Rodocker has always a large stock of seasonable goods, and her large trade indicates her popularity with her lady customers.

At the millinery store of Mrs. W. W. Shanks, on Second street, is also found a nice stock of goods which are sold at reasonable prices.

Mrs. Prentice, on Willow street, has a good assortment of goods in this line and her prices are with the lowest.  These stores are all popular with the ladies of the place who give them a liberal patronage.  They are all represented in the columns of the OBSERVER.


Mr. A. B. Dubbs is the only one doing an exclusively clothing business in the place, though about all the dry goods houses have more or less clothing in stock.  Mr. D. is a little chary of printer’s ink for his own good, we think, but the readers of the OBSERVER have sometimes had a glimpse of him in its business local columns.


Until quite recently a tailor shop was among the things the town wanted but had not.  We understand one has just been opened on Second street, of which no doubt the public will be officially informed in due time.


Our town has--or had--a photograph gallery, which did very good work.  It was seen the other day on wheels, going “round the corner.”  When it reaches its destination its proprietor will no doubt announce its permanent location to the public.


Two auctioneers “cry aloud and spare not” when extoling the excellence and value of the goods, wares, lands and bereditaments entrusted to their disposal.  Gifted with rare persuasive powers they yet never were known to overstate the possibilities in their goods with intent to extort an undue price.  They are Messrs. Henry Waite and M. B. Purcell.  A letter dropped into the post office, or word left at this office will catch either of them.  Their cards are in our business directory.


Levi Olney and Chas. Schuler do the draying and transferring.  They are careful men and to either can be entrusted the safety of packages.  They are common carriers who have not yet studied luggage smashing as a fine art.  The card of the former will be found in our business directory columns.


The stocks of holiday goods laid in by our dealers seemed two weeks ago to be far in excess of any probable demand, but it is now plain that the stocks were none too large.  In fact, some of the dealers have duplicated their first orders.  Among the houses showing holiday goods in greater or less variety are, F. P. Motie & Co., and E. A. Matthews, at the Red Front; Dr. Boardman at his drug store, Mr. Brown, the jeweler, at the same place; Wm. Sampson at his grocery; C. S. Lee, H. T. Martin and M. L. Keck, at their restaurants; L. Schmitz at the furniture store, and Burleigh & Summerwill at their drug store, whose second invoice of these goods has just arrived.  For more specific mention, see our advertising columns.


Messrs. Wilson & Caswell keep the only music store in the place, though musical instruments are kept at Matthews’ jewelry store and perhaps a few at other places.  Messrs. W. & C. keep organs and musical merchandise generally, and are agents for the Wilson and other sewing machines.  The firm and its business are known through our local business columns.


The extreme healthfulness of Odebolt and vicinity does not tend to make it a doctors’ paradise, yet the four regularly established physicians of the place seem all to be having practice enough to keep the wolf from the door.  Several of the doctors, who at various times during the past three years ministered to the few “ills that flesh is heir to” in Odebolt, after a short stay, removed to more sickly and inviting fields.  That their failure was mainly owing to a want of skill in their profession is stoutly contended by some; but however that may be it is certain that no physician, however skillful, could make much headway where there was little or no call for his professional services.

Dr. Groman is the oldest resident physician, having commenced practice here in May, 1878.  He has a large ride and a good practice.  He is a graduate of the Chicago College of Homeopathy and practices in that school.  His office is over the Odebolt Bank.

Dr. Duval ranks next in date of residence.  He adopts the Alopathic practice.  He has many friends, and a substantial practice.  His office is at the City Drug Store.

Dr. C. D. Boardman, of the same school, has established quite a practice though giving his time largely to his drug store.

Dr. A. H. Hull has been here but a few months, yet in that time has made friends and found patients.  He is a physician of the old or Alopathic school, had had several years’ experience in his profession, and is fast acquiring a good practice.  His office and residence are over Sampson’s store, on Main street.
The physicians are all represented in our business directory columns.


Messrs. Zane & Helsell are the oldest attorneys doing business in Odebolt.  Coming here not quit two years since, they have worked up a very good business.  Besides their law practice which is large, they do an extensive insurance business, representing none but the best of companies.  Their land and loan transactions have been large and an important factor in their business.  They are upright, honorable and energetic men, and have hosts of friends throughout the county.  They are known to readers of the OBSERVER.

W. W. Stanfield came here from Sac City about two years since.  He is well and favorably known throughout the county and enjoys a successful law practice.  He also represents one or two standard insurance companies.

Frank J. Jones came here from Grant City in October last.  He comes recommended as a young man of good ability and will undoubtedly win his way to prominence in his profession.  His location is given in our business directory.

Mr. Chas. E. George opened an office here in March last, and at once stepped into a good practice.  In October last he assumed the responsible position of attorney for the Bank of Odebolt, which place he now holds.  He is a young man of fine ability, well versed in the intricacies in business and entirely reliable.  He is well known to readers of the OBSERVER.


The business of insurance is made lively by the active competition of local agents.  The best companies, home and foreign doing business in the State, are represented by the following:  Zane & Helsell, C. E. George, F. A. Ross, P. J. Jones, and others.  For more specific mention, see our advertising columns.


Most of the lawyers of the place are more of less engaged in the sale of lands and the loan of money.  We may note especially Mr. Thomas Gilbert, who has not less than 100,000 acres of choice wild lands, lying to the north-west in this State, as well as a good many tracts will remaining unsold in this vicinity.  He has also some good improved farms remaining unsold.  His headquarters are at the Odebolt House in this place.


This is prominent among the prosperous institutions of the town.  It was opened in November 1878, when its first draft was issued, although its proprietor, Mr. John Wright, had loaned money for some time before that date.  Some idea may be had of the business being done by the bank when we say that it has issued in the little over two years it has been running, over 7,000 drafts, over 2,000 or which were issued in the month of November, just passed; that its collections its first year amounted to $5,000, and for the current year, ending the 31st inst., will exceed $125,000!  Its commercial transactions during the past year reach the astonishing total of $2,500,000.  It is unnecessary to say, with such a showing, that the bank has the unlimited confidence of the business public.


The oldest church organization here, is the Methodist, though for some reason, it has not flourished as it does in most places.  The last pastor. Rev. D. M. Beams, removed at the expiration of his conference year, to Alta.  An appointment was made at the last conference, of a successor to him, but the appointment has not been filled, and the congregation has been left to its own resources for its pulpit supply.  We don’t know but the congregation have been the gainers, thanks to Elders Martin and Pitsor, who have alternately supplied the lack and edified their hearers quite as much, perhaps, as the “stated supply” would have done.  We hope soon to record a concert of action in the Society, looking to the early erection of a place of worship and the securing of regular services.

The Presbyterian is the largest and by far the most flourishing denomination here.  Rev. Gilkerson was its first pastor, who having accepted a call from the church at Battle Creek, was succeeded here last fall by Rev. S. N. Vail [G. R. Carroll and A. K. Baird were the first pastors according to church history].  Under the inspiration of his zeal in the good cause, the society decided to undertake the erection of a church, and at once put their shoulders to the wheel.  The result is, that a fine edifice has been erected and is now nearly ready for occupancy and dedication.  The society has been liberally assisted by our citizens and business men, and by the ladies who have aided not a little to the success of the undertaking.  It is probable that the building when finished will be nearly if not quite free from debt.  This shows what united pluck and perseverance will accomplish.  The new church, it is thought, [will] be ready for occupancy sometime next month.

The German Methodist church is another flourishing organization here.  Rev._____ is pastor, whose labors are divided between the charge here and at ______.  The society have as yet no place of worship of its own, but holds it meetings regularly every alternate Sabbath in the school house on Main street.

The sect known as Second Advents is quite numerous here and in the vicinity, though we believe they have as yet no fixed place of worship or stated preaching.  Elder Pitsor, who is of that persuasion, is a sound and forcible preacher and quite frequently addresses audiences in this place and vicinity.

The Catholics have a fine church just completed in Wheeler’s addition.  Occasional services only are held.  Father Norton’s labors being divided with other congregations along the line of the Maple Valley Road.


Perhaps no town of its age in the State has better public schools or a better school building than Odebolt boasts.  The new building just completed, has been erected at an expense of over $3,000.  It is in all respects a model school building and provided with all essential modern conveniences.  In the material surroundings of the school there is now certainly little to be desired, while its interior management seems to be unexceptionable.  The higher department is under the control of Mr. Clarence Messer, and the primary under that of Miss Jennie McFarland.  The official report for the past month shows the actual attendance of scholars to be 152--58 in the grammar and 94 in the primary departments.  The enrollment is probably much greater than the above figures would indicate, as it is known that the old school house, in which the primary was then held, was a very cold room and many children were kept at home from this cause.  Altogether, our people have reason to be well satisfied with the present status of our public schools, and the School Board certainly deserve the thanks of the public (which is all the salary they get) for their efforts to make them second to none in the country.


There are two circulating libraries in the place.  One is kept by C. S. Lee, who thus feeds the mental as well as the physical man, and is largely patronized in the wants of both.  The other is kept by Mr. John Heuston at the clothing store of A. B. Dubbs, and is liberally patronized.


Two weekly newspapers--the Reporter and the OBSERVER--give the local happenings, and as newspapers sometimes will, playfully rub each others’ hair the wrong way.  The former is in its 4th year, the latter in its first.  They are without doubt, (in the opinion of their publishers,) as good newspapers as any other three-year-old town, east or west, can show.  We don’t know if the people of Odebolt and vicinity are proud of them, or if they are, whether it would do to show it, for editors are only human and sometimes vain.  But seriously, neither paper has any reason to complain of a want of patronage now, while in the general growth and settlement of the country, each may confidently look for a steadily increasing support.

It is hackneyed to say, and yet it is true, that there is no influence more powerful towards the settling up and [opening] of a new country than its newspapers, which go forth as representatives of the moral, social and business status of their locality, which is judged in a great extent thereby.  We may be a little vain, but we do not think Odebolt people have reason to be, or are, ashamed of the reflection her newspapers give of her abroad.


Wheeler Lodge A.F. and A.M. meets on Saturday night on or before the full “moon of each moon” at its rooms in Masonic Hall on Main Street.  Jno. M. Zane, W. M.; F. A. Cobb, Sec’y.

Iowa Legion of Honor meets at Masonic Hall every other Saturday evening.  H. T. Martin, Pres.; C. W. Sutton,  Sec’y.

A.O.U.W. meets every Friday evening.  J. W. Burnside, M.W.; W. Van Deusen, Sec’y.

Henry Hanson Elevator, built 1877


The grain buyers of Odebolt are as wide-awake and enterprising a set of men as those of any town in the State, and to the liberal prices paid by them and to their honorable dealings partly attributable the large grain business done here.

The steam elevator, just completed by the Swedish Farmers’ Society which is under the able management of Henry Hanson, with a storage capacity of 18,000 bushels, has the largest facilities.

Messrs. Winchell Bro’s. come next in the extent of their transactions, and following them is the firm of S. H. Parsons & Co.

Below we give the actual receipts of wheat and flax for the month of November, which may be taken as a fair average of the receipts during the winter months in these grains:

Rec’d by H. Hanson 5000 25,000
"   " Winchell Bros 4000 16,600
"   " Parsons & Co. 1500 10,000
_____ ______
Totals 10,500 51,600

Shipments are far behind receipts, owing to the scarcity of cars.  The steam elevator alone has $30,000 worth of wheat and flax in store, and the warehouses of Messrs. Winchell Bros. and S. H. Parsons & Co. are running over.  The total grain storage capacity of our warehouses is 45,000 bushels.


There is no lack, generally speaking, of skillful workmen and responsible contractors here, though at times, such as last fall for instance, the search for an unemployed carpenter was as hopeless as would have been the hunt for an entirely righteous man or for the philosopher’s stone.  Ordinarily our carpenters and builders are equal to the emergency.  Prominent among them are:  Wm. Graham,  Miller & Thompson, L. W. Sutton,  Geo. Merchen, Jacobie & Sons, H. L. Wilson and others, whose names we do not now recall.  Most of these, if not all of them, have their business and address given in the columns of the OBSERVER, and are known to be competent and reliable workmen.


Messrs. C. W. and Chas. J. Pitsor are the principal plasterers and calsominers.  They are good workmen and their services are in such request as to leave them little leisure.


Prominent among the manufacturing industries of the place is the flax mill of Messrs. Winslow & Son, which gives steady employment to quite a large number of men and renders profitable the flax-straw of our farmers which would otherwise be worthless or nearly so.  The mill is kept industriously at work and its familiar whistle wakes the echoes and sluggards in the early morn.  The echoes rise early enough, but the sluggards, of whom we fear ye editor is which, snuggle down for another nap, and rise an hour later.  It is a satisfaction to all our citizens and especially our farmers to know that an industry which makes profitable to them what would otherwise be but an incumbrance, is remuneration to the mill owners.  The product of the mill--the flax--finds a ready market in Chicago at remunerative prices.


is another industry which gives employment to a number of men during the summer season.  Messrs. Tyler and Sherbahn have demonstrated that the best of brick can be made from the soil here.  This was at one time doubted, but the one fact is now admitted by every one.  Messrs. T. & S. have burned several kilns the past summer, and a ready market has been found for them.  The time is evidently not far distant when brick will be largely used in the construction of buildings here.  A fire, which in our “wooden” condition is imminent at any time, would awaken our people to the importance of building against, instead of inviting the destructive element.  We hope to see in the next season’s building more brick used.


Mr. A. C. Rodocker, at his harness shop, keeps a boot and shoe maker whose work is pronounced by good judges to be unsurpassed anywhere.  He makes all kinds of sewed work a specialty.

Mr. Jacob Jacobsen, whose shop in on First street, is a good workman, does any class of work and fills orders promptly.  His card is in our business directory.

Mr. H. Rigby, late of Ontario, has opened a boot and shoe shop on Main street, He several weeks since issued his proclamation to the public through the columns of the OBSERVER, and has found all the work he has been able, with two or three assistants to attend to.


Two good meat markets supply the people with what is needed in this line.  Mr. Wm. Beck on Second street, enjoys the distinction of being “the oldest inhabitant” having been here nine or ten years.  The ordinary pioneer of two years ago must hide his diminished head, and six month settlers like the OBSERVER become a “tender foot.”  Wm. is an old settlers society all by himself.  He keeps a good shop and has a large custom.

Messrs. Edens & Buhmann [sp?]have recently opened a shop on Main street, keep a good assortment of meats and are already well patronized.


Two saloons here find it profitable to pay a licence of $500 each and give bonds to keep an orderly house.  The proprietors probably keep their saloons as orderly as it is possible to do and do business.  If the liquor traffic is a necessary evil and must to a certain extent be endured, it seems as though our city authorities are holding it almost as level as it can be held.


Mr. W. H. Hess is the only tonsorial artist in the place.  He has no politics--at least his razor has none for he advertises in this paper to shave men of all parties.  Ten cents wipes out race, color and previous condition, and all men lie back on his chair on a perfect equality.


E. A. Moody is the principal painter here, and as a sign writer, and in the branches or his art, has, as Dennis would say, “few equals and no peers.”  Mr. Moody is also as adept with the pencil as well as brush and is the Journal’s genial correspondent at this place.


The improvement here in the way of building during the past six months has been twelve residences; seven stores or places of business, with two others enlarged to double their former capacity; the Wheeler ware house; the steam elevator; the Presbyterian church; and the public school house.  These at a low estimate aggregate a total cost of over $25,000.  We had not time to see each builder and the total aggregate is probably a much greater amount.


__We have a limited number of extra copies of the OBSERVER containing a summary of the business men of this city.  Any in want of copies should call early.
__Extra copies of this paper, containing the early history of Sac County and a complete summary of the business of Odebolt, may be had at this office for 5 cents per copy.
__Copies of this number of the OBSERVER go to England, Scotland, Germany and Sweden, as well as to most of the New England States.  Get a copy containing the business summary of Odebolt and history of Sac county and send it to your friends abroad.

Also see "Photos of Odebolt in the Earliest Days" at the Photo Gallery.  Many early businesses are pictured there

(transcribed "as written" by B. Ekse from microfilm, January 2002)


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