Odebolt, Iowa - December 1880 Odebolt Observer
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The Observer
Published every Wednesday, By

Odebolt, Sac County, Iowa.
Subscription, $1.50 per year in advance.

Wednesday, December 1, 1880, Vol. 1, No. 23

__Only one more month remains of leap year.  Hurry up, ladies.
__Wall Lake will vote on the question of incorporation, December 7.
__A Skating rink is what Young Odebolt is pining for just now.  Can’t some enterprising man get one up?
__H. C. Wheeler and family have left for their usual winter residence in Chicago.  Their address is 585 West Jackson street.
__Bro. Miller accuses Bro. Denny of the ruinous and unprofessional folly of publishing a six column (quarto) paper in a five-column town.
__The new town on the Sac City plug is to be called Fletcher, or Fricker.  [Fletcher’s name was later changed to Lake View.]
__Mr. Pitsor has just finished plastering the Catholic church in Wheeler’s addition.
__Beautiful New Year cards of original and unique designs, printed at this office.  Call early.
__The sale of holiday goods in town for the last few days has been immense, but the supply seems to be holding out.  The times are good, business brisk, and Santa Claus will be very liberal to the little folks this Christmas.
__Weather moderating for the Holidays.

Wednesday, December 8, 1880, Vol. 1, No. 24

__More coal wanted is the general cry.
__Farmers say it is almost impossible to get much needed help for corn picking.
__A GOOD AVERAGE. – Mr. Jacob Anderson, foreman of the Cook farm, shipped Friday a carload of hogs which averaged 398 pounds.
__Mr. C. W. Pitsor is plastering the new Presbyterian church, and tells us he finds it no fool of a job to keep Jack Frost from having a finger in the business.
__An extra freight train has been put on the road and will probably be continued until the rush of grain and stock is over.
__The post office here will be made an office of the Presidential appointment, with salary fixed at $1200 per year after January 1st.
__Mr. Henry Hanson last week purchased his partner’s interest in the Swede store, and is now its sole proprietor.  Mr. Hanson has just purchased in Chicago large additions to his stock.
__Mrs. Brady of Odebolt, horse-whipped her divorced husband, on one of the public thoroughfares last week.  Odebolt is getting to be a bad bold town. – Battle Creek Times.
Not a bit of it.  We know a man who has money that says Odebolt has more society to the square inch than [the town down the road.]
__The stores are taking on holiday airs.
__The seats for the new school house arrived yesterday and will be put in at once.  The schools will probably open in the new building next Monday.
__We have in stock wax candles and all trimmings necessary for fitting up Christmas trees.  Come and see them. – Red Front [a general store]

The Odebolt Observer
Wednesday, December 15, 1880, Vol. 1, No. 25


Sac county is in the third tier of counties east of the Missouri river and in the fourth south of the northern line of the State.  It contains 256 square miles, or 368,640 acres, and its area probably comprises a larger percentage of choice farming lands than any other of equal extent in the State.

The first settlers—some half dozen in number—came in 1850 and located farms in the eastern part of the county along the Coon river.  Others followed in 1854 and located in the south-eastern part of the county at what is now Grant City.  During the two following years quite a number of others settled within the borders of the county.  Among the early settlers we find recorded the names of the following persons:  Joseph and Leonard Austin, F. M. Cory, W. V. Lagrange, _______ Seymour, and _______Waggoner, who were the pioneers of 1850; Basler Williams, and others of 1854; soon after them came others many of whom are now prominent citizens of the eastern part of the county—Messrs. E. Criss; D. Carr Early, Wm. Hobbs, J. Williams, Wm. Montgomery, Samuel Watt, Francis Aayers and others.

C. W. Williams, T. E. Brown and a Mr. Huford were a commission appointed to locate the county seat.  They chose the present site of Sac City on which the town was laid out in the summer of 1855.  The first house built was a log one by Mr. Criss which was used as a hotel.  In those early times the settlers underwent the usual hardships of pioneer life.  Their nearest post office was Fort Dodge, a distance of fifty miles; Des Moines, 105 miles distant, was their depot of provision supplies, while much of the material used in buildings had to be procured at points on the Mississippi river.

Grant City, (named for a distinguished general whose prefix was Ulysses S.,) was laid out in 1863—two years prior to the location of the county seat.  It is situated on North Coon river, with abundance of timber and good water power at hand.

The first election under a county organization was held on the 7th of April, 1856, at the house of Eugene Criss, at which the entire number of votes cast in the county was 37.  The officers then elected were:  S. W. Watt, County Judge; Francis Ayers, Clerk of the District Court; W. V. Lagrange, Sheriff; H. C. Crawford, Prosecuting Attorney; F. M. Corey, Treasurer and Recorder; and Jacob McAffee, Drainage Commissioner.

The first District Court in the county convened at Sac City June 8th, 1857, Judge J. C. McFarland presiding.  The docket of the term comprised three causes.

Up to 1877 there was but little settlement in the county except in its eastern and south-eastern portions.  In this year the Maple River railroad was constructed, opening up the southern and western portions of the county to settlement.  So excellent was the country thus opened up and so unsurpassed were the advantages offered by choice and cheap lands, that its settlement and rapid improvement have been a marvel even in Iowa.

The first town located on this road in this county was Wall Lake, which in the short time it was the terminus of the road, shot up into a dignity and importance almost metropolitan.  It did not go back to its primeval state when the road was built beyond it, as many towns have done, but is full of business, with the push and enterprize [sic] characteristic of western towns in this part of Iowa.  The population as taken from the census of June last is a trifle less than three hundred.

Odebolt was the next town laid out on the Maple Valley railroad, as its line was continued westward.  It is but three years last October since the first building was erected here.  What it is to-day is partially told elsewhere in this paper.  Its settlement and business have been as marvellous [sic] as has that of the beautiful country which surrounds it.  And yet, rapid as has been its growth, it has not outstripped the development of the country adjacent to it.  In this fact may be found the secret of the astonishing amount of business it is doing, and a guarantee of even greater growth and prosperity in the future.

The growth of the county is well substantiated by official facts and figures:  The census of 1870 showed the total population of the county to be 1,411; in 1875 it had increased to 2,873, or nearly double that of 1870.  The census of 1880 gave the population at 9,300—an increase over that of 1875 of 6,427.  Its present population may safely be put down as not less than 10,000.

(Researched and submitted by B. Ekse)


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