Early Settlers page 4

Alexander Family

     I would like to relate a little history of the Alexander family who lived in a log cabin on their farm 1 mile north of Sac City.  My grandparents, Thomas and Margaret Alexander, came to Sac City, Iowa from Chili, Ohio in 1861, by oxen drawn covered wagon.  They had two little girls, Jennie and Josephine.   Josephine died soon after they arrived.  Grant Alexander was born in the cabin.  they built the new house several years later.  My father, Walter Alexander was born there 3 September 1868.  Thomas had to go to Fort Dodge for material to build the new house.  The trip had to be made in winter, as Hells Slough, over by Lytton, was impassable at normal times.
     Jennie married Charles Frisk of Storm Lake.  They were parents of Ernest and Jessie.  My uncle, Grant Alexander married Emma Bellevale of Wall Lake.  They were parents of Zenla.  My father, Walter, married Eva Meyers of Liscomb.  They were parents of Elsie, Bessie, Velma, James Edward and Hobart.   My father went to Drake University of art, penmanship and then to Chicago's engraving school.  He was a jeweler and did very lovely works of art in gold, sliver and mounted diamonds in fancy and emblem rings and etc. 
     The city moved and restored the cabin.  It is in Chautauqua Park, M. Bessie Fickel, b. 21 November 1891

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Judge Eugene Criss

Judge Eugene Criss      Eugene Criss was born in Preston County West Virginia 27 July 1822, the son of Michael and Maria Armstrong Criss.  He was educated in the common schools of Maryland.  His father was a Methodist Episcopal Minister.  He was married 9 March 1843 to Miss Frances Hall of Preston County, West Virginia, the daughter of Jesse and Sarah Hall.  She was born on a farm in Monongahela County, West Virginia 16 May 1823.
     The family  consisted of six children namely Mary Jane, James S., Helen B., Nancy Emeline, William H. and Lola.
     They moved west in 1844 and lived on a family farm prior to moving.  He worked in the lead mines near Galena, Illinois for a period of three to five years.  They also rented a farm in Jo Davis county, Illinois for two years.   later he was in the mercantile business in Shullsburg, Wisconsin for eleven years.   In the spring of 1855, they loaded stock and moved west.  Four months of travel brought them to Sac City in August 1855.
Mr. Criss erected the first Sac City building size sixteen by twenty feet.  The doors and windows were hauled from Dubuque a distance of 270 miles.
     Shortly afterward he pre-empted a claim of 160acres, continuing to add to his land possessions until he owned fifteen hundred acres.  He donated land for the first cemetery.  He was a prominent fur buyer and Indian trader for several years.  He erected the first flouring mill and built the famous mill dam.  He was a miller, lumberman, merchant and farmer.  he was the first Post Master of Sac county and the County judge in 1868.  He was elected to represent the district in the State legislature, and later was a candidate for Senator.  During the Civil War he served as Provost Marshal of the district, headquarters in Fort dodge.  The territory covered nearly all of Western Iowa.  He was prominent of Freemasons, Politically first a Whig and later a Republican.
Alice Criss
William Henry Criss, son of Judge Eugene Criss and Frances Hall Criss, was born in Sac City, Iowa 17 July 1857.  He received his education in schools of Sac City, and reportedly had not left the city for more than six weeks in his life.
     He was married 24 October 1886 to Alice L. Bechler who was born 14 April 1864.  She was the daughter of George and Hannah Bechler, natives of Pennsylvania.  The emigrated to Illinois in 1867 and to Sac County in 1875 and settled on a farm five miles north of Sac City.  William and Alice L. Criss had seven children; Leon, Una, Eugene, Georgia, Ralph, Glenn and Verlyn.


William H. Hobbs

WM. Hobbs

     William was born in New York City on 12 august 1837.  Shortly after his birth the family moved to New Orleans.  Left an orphan at the age of fourteen, William made his home with his uncle in Shullsburg, Wisconsin.  He attended a Catholic school and later worked for Eugene Criss, in his store in Shullsburg.  In 1855, when the Criss family came to the present site of Sac city, then eighteen years old, he came as a member of their family, arriving here 6 November 1855.
     The next year a land patent of 160 acres was recorded in his name.  On 18 November 1858, he married Lydia Jane Wine.  After their marriage they decided to go to California with Lydia's father.  When they reached Pike's Peak, William and Lydia decided to go 
back to Sac city, but Lydia's father continued and located a gold claim in Placerville, California.  Lydia passed away 17 July 1864, William married again to Elizabeth Ellen Wren.
     William was elected twice to be the county Clerk and was the first county Auditor.  Hewas elected in 1871 as County Treasurer and again in 1875.   He was Mayor of Sac City at the time of his death, which was 12 March 1888.


Honorable Phil Schaller

Philip Schaller       Honorable Phil Schaller was a representative of Sac county to the Twenty-first General Assembly.  He moved to Eden Township, Sac county in 1871, and to Sac city in 1878 when he became County Treasurer for eight years.  He also served as a county supervisor and was mayor of Sac City for two terms.  In 1896 he was a voting delegate to the Republican National convention in St. Louis.  Phil Schaller was born in Woerth, Alsac Loraine, in 1838 and came to the United States at the age of 16 and settled in Clayton County, Iowa.  He was naturalized at Garnavillo, and in 1862 he enlisted in the Co.E., 27the Iowa Infantry, and served 3 years to the end of the civil War.  He was active in the western battles - Steele's Arkansas expedition, the Meridian campaign, Red River Campaign, Smith's expedition to 
Tupelo and Oxford, pursuit of Price through Arkansas and Missouri, Battle of Nashville, and Movile Campaign.
     After the war he returned to Clayton County as a wagon maker and soon thereafter married Emeline L. Knight.  In 1871, the Schallers with their two daughters, Losisa and Eugenie, came  to a farm in Eden township north of Early on Highway 71.  His wife's parents, Jonathan Knights, also settled in Eden.
     Mr. Schaller worked with the Iowa Railroad Land company and was Right of Way Agent for the Chicago and Milwaukee R.R. when it was built into Sac City. The town of Schaller was named after him in honor of his services.
     Phil Schaller, was especially proud of his membership in Gen.W.T. Sherman Post No. 284, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he was state commander.   He was active in the  
Mrs. Schaller
Presbyterian Church and the lodges.  He helped start the Sac City Institute, and was trustee there as well as of Buena Vista.  He had interests in several banks.  He was a member of rose Croix Commandery No.38, Knights Templar and the Des Moines Consistory and the Shrine, and was grand treasurer of the Grand Lodge of AF and Am of Iowa.
     While Phil Schaller came from France, his wife's family came to the United States in
1653, with several descendents serving in the American Revolution.  After his first wife's death, he married Mrs. P. Fishman.   She continued living in his Main Street home many years after his death.  Much of the original interior beauty has been preserved.


Biographical history of Crawford, Ida and Sac Counties, Iowa
Chicago. Lewis Pub. Co.. 1893

M. BARNT, whose post-office address is Early, Sac county, Iowa, is ranked with the most prominent men of Clinton township. In sketching the lives of the representative citizens of Sac county, we make the following record of him, and with pleasure present it on the pages of this volume.

Mr. Barnt was born in Fayette, Pennsylvania, March 3, 1844. His father, David Barnt, was a son of David Barnt, both natives of Pennsylvania, the latter being a soldier in the war of 1812. His mother, whose maiden name was Mary M. Resler, was also born in the Keystone State. When S. M. was seven years old his parents moved to Tuscarawas county, Ohio, where, some years later, his father died, aged forty-six. He led an exemplary life; was by occupation a farmer, and in religion a devoted member of the United Brethren Church. The mother died in Tarna county, Iowa, at the age of sixty-four years. Their family was composed of seven sons and five daughters. Two of the sons served in the late war, Daniel R., who was a member of the One Hundred and Twenty-sixth Ohio Infantry, lost the use of his arm at Spottsylvania Court House, and Levi, who served in an Ohio regiment.  The subject of our sketch resided in Ohio until 1869, when he came to Tama county, Iowa, and located near Toledo, remaining there until 1878. That year he settled in Sac county. His first purchase of land in Clinton township was 240 acres, and to this he has since added until he is the owner of 826 acres, all under a high state of cultivation, his home farm comprising 518 acres, is known as Brookside farm. He has 149 acres near Early, twenty acres being within the corporate limits of the town. He also owns 135 acres in Wall Lake township. Besides being the owner of this property, he has $5,500 invested in a meat and provision market at Early. Mr. Barnt's commodious two-story residence, with its bay window, veranda, attractive lawn, grove and orchard of nine acres, is one of the finest homes in Sac county, the general surroundings at once stamping the owner and his family as people of culture and refinement as well as affluence. His farm is well supplied with good barns, cribs, granary, etc., and has an excellent supply of spring water. He also has a creamery on his farm, which was built in 1878, and which is fitted up with modern machinery. Among his stock are fine specimens of Jorman horses and shorthorn cattle.

Mr. Barnt was married December 18, 1872, in Tama county, Iowa, to Adelaide A. Smith, a native of Ashtabula county, Ohio, and a daughter of Henry and Jane (La Bounty) Smith, the former a native of Connecticut, and the latter of Ashtabula county. Ohio. Grandfather Smith was a soldier in the Revolutionary war. Grandfather La Bounty was a native of Canada and the son of French parents. Mrs. Barnt's father died in Sac county Iowa, at the age of seventy-five, and her mother is a resident of Sac City. Mr. and Mrs. Barnt have three children:
Henry Smith. Jessie May and Levi R. Henry S. received his education in the Sac Normal, and is now a successful teacher in this county, and Miss Jessie is also a popular and successful teacher.

Politically, Mr. Barnt is a Republican and has most acceptably filled the office of Justice of the Peace. He and his wife are members of the Pleasant Hill Methodist Episcopal Church, of which he is a Trustee and a liberal supporter. He is also an active Sabbath-school worker. His daughter; Miss Jessie, is Secretary of the Sabbath-school.

Such, in brief, is the biography of one of Clinton township's well-known men.


Father Michael Joseph Quirk

First Generation

1.     Father Michael Joseph Quirk1 was born2,3,4,5,6,7,8 29 Nov 1838 in Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi. He died4,9 15 Aug 1922 and was buried4 in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Key West, Dubuque County, Iowa.

Michael studied2 at St. Mary's Seminary, Perry County, Missouri. He studied2 at St. Vincent's College, Cape Girardeau, CGC, Missouri. He studied2 at St. Thomas Seminary, Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky. He studied2 at St. Frances' Theological College, Milwaukee, MC, Wisconsin. He was accounted for5 24 Nov 1850 in South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa. He was accounted for3 21 Aug 1860 in South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa. He was accounted for6 23 Jul 1870 in South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa. He was ordained4 by Bishop John Hennessy 29 Nov 1871 in St. Raphael's Cathedral, Dubuque, Dubuque County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1872 - 1875 to Sacred Heart Church, Littleport, CCT, Clayton County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1872 - 1875 to St. Michael's Church, Garber, Clayton County, Iowa. He was assigned from2 1875 - May 1877 to St. Joseph's Church, Rickardsville, J, Dubuque County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1877 - 1879 to Sacred Heart Church, Reilly Settlement, CC, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1877 - 1879 to St. Rose Church, Eden Township, Fayette County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1879 - 1887 to St. Brigid's Church, Grand Junction, Greene County, Iowa. He was accounted for7 19 Jun 1880 in Grand Junction, Greene County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1887 - 1888 to St. Joseph's Church, Barnum, Webster County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1888 - 1889 to St. Patrick's Church, Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1889 - 1890 to Sacred Heart Church, Early, Sac County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1890 - 1892 to St. Joseph's Church, Barnum, Webster County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1892 - 1899 to Mt. St. Clare Convent, Clinton, Clinton County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1899 - 1902 to St. Mary's Church, Hawarden, Sioux County, Iowa. He was accounted for8 11 Jun 1900 in Hawarden, Sioux County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1902 - 1903 to Sacred Heart Church, Spencer, Clay County, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1903 - 1904 to St. Columbkille's Church, North Fonda, PC, Iowa. He was assigned from4 1903 - 1907 to Our Lady Of Good Counsel Church, Moorland, WC, Iowa. He retired as4 an active minister 1907. He was assigned from10 1912 - 1917 to Mt. Alverno, NOTFS, Clinton, Clinton County, Iowa. He was accounted for11 24 Sep 1913 in Clinton, Clinton County, Iowa. He retired as10 an active minister 1917.

Notes -

1.  The Biographical and Historical Record of Greene and Carroll Counties, Iowa, Lewis Publishing, Chicago, 1887 cites Fr. Michael J. Quirk's birth date and place as November 29, 1838, Vicksburg, [Warren County,] Mississippi.

2.  Federal Census records provide the following information.

a. US Federal Census, 1850 - South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa. Age 11 on November 28, birthplace Mississippi [1838].

b. US Federal Census, 1860 - South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa. Age 21 on August 21, birthplace Mississippi [1838].

c. US Federal Census, 1870 - South Fork Township, Delaware County, Iowa. Age 27 on July 23, birthplace Mississippi [1842].

d. US Federal Census, 1880 - Grand Junction, Greene County, Iowa. Age 36 on June 19, birthplace Mississippi [1843].

e. US Federal Census, 1900 - Hawarden, Sioux County, Iowa.  Age 61 on June 11, birthplace Mississippi [1838].

3.  Ref. General Biographical Information:
     History of Dubuque County, Iowa; Weston A. Goodspeed, ed. by F. T. Oldt and P. J. Quigley; Chicago: Goodspeed Hist.         Assoc. 1911 [St. Joseph's Church, Rickardsville, Dubuque County, Iowa]

St. Joseph's church at Rickardsville was established by the French settlers before 1837, about two miles south of the present church. Father Cretin, later bishop, was the first pastor and probably organized the congregation. In 1860 a large frame church was erected at Rickardsville, which was nearer the center of the parish. In 1905 a fine brick building was erected. Among the pastors have been Rev. Frs. Malony, Byrne, Quirk, Daly, Brody, McCarthy, Mahoney, Clark and others. Adjacent is the school, priest's residence and cemetery.

4.  Ref. General Biographical Information:
     Source: 1967 Atlas of Dubuque County, Compiled by the Title Atlas Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota

ST. JOSEPH PARISH, Rickardsville, Iowa
Nestled on the eastern slope of hills in north central Dubuque County, the spire of St. Joseph Church, Rickardsville, attests to the faith of the typical American in his God. The origins of the parish go back to a nucleus of French settlers from the Trois Rivieres District of Quebec, Canada. The location of the original church was at Five Points, across the valley, south of the present church. As early as 1840, Bishop was visiting the locality to minister to the spiritual needs of the settlers. The first church, constructed of logs, was erected in the early 1840's. Father Joseph Cretin probably organized the parish and served as its first pastor. The early baptismal and matrimonial records of the parish were kept ot the Cathedral in Dubuque. The records preserved in the parish begin with the year 1852. Father Victor Bodon, who was pastor at that time, served the parish until 1860. In that year, the location of the church was changed to Rickardsville and a large frame church was built. From 1860 until 1875, Rickardsville and Holy Cross were served by one pastor who resided at Holy Cross. In 1875, Rev. M. J. Quirk was appointed resident pastor of Rickardsville, and built a substantial frame rectory. He was succeeded by Revs. M. M. Doly; J. P. Brady; M . W. McCarthy; and T. Mahoney. Father George Clarke arrived in Rickardsville in 1893 and was pastor until his death, Sept. 4, 1922. He had spent all of his years as a priest in the parish. The present brick church was dedicated in his pastorate in 1905.
Other pastors who succeeded Father Clarke were: Revs. Hubert Holsters; Joseph Richard; Hermon Dietz; Msgrs. Victor Hintgen; Henry Scharphoff; and the present incumbent, Rev. John P. Smith . The first French settlers were succeeded by an influx of Irish families, then later farmers of German descent from neighboring parishes settled in the Rickardsville parish. Today, it is typically American in its racial composition.
The parochial school was begun in 1927, during the pastorate of Father Holsters and has about 145 pupils enrolled in 8 grades at the present time. The Franciscan Sisters of Dubuque have served in the school since its foundation and are assisted by lay teachers. During the pastorate of Father Deitz, a fine new brick parish house was built. During Msgr. Hintgen's pastorate, Rickardsville became a part of Leo Central Catholic High School in Holy Cross. Msgr. Scharphoff consolidated the participation of the parish in the Central High School.
Today the parish consists of about 125 families. About one half of these commute to Dubuque for work, and the other half are engaged in the pursuits of agriculture.

5.  Ref. Clayton County, Iowa
     Transcribed by Roxanne Barth for the IAGenWeb Archives.  Submitted August, 2000, by Roxanne Barth , IAGenWeb  
     Clayton County Coordinator.

Township history from History of Clayton County, Iowa, 1882, Chicago: Inter-State Publishing Co., 1882. Reproduced by the sponsorship of the Monona Historical Society, Monona, Iowa, reproduction Evansville, Indiana: Unigraphics, Inc., 1975, p. 729-736.

a.  [Sacred Heart Church] Littleport

The site upon which Littleport is situated was formerly the rallying ground of the Indians of this section of the country. They made this point their center. Here were held their councils of war; here was smoked the pipe of peace. Often were the red men called together, and the manner of which they assembled has been described by Mr. Quigley. One of the chiefs would ascend the highest hill in the vicinity of Littleport and there discharge his rifle three times, the report of which attracted the attention of neighboring camps, and these signalled their neighbors in a similar manner, and so on until all the tribe were notified. In a short time they were all assembled in the valley, feeling themselves secure in the ravines and under the dense forests of the Volga and Elk. It was here too, where they concealed their stores when starting upon an expedition. After one of the gatherings above described, they would load their canoes with piles of peltry and move down the Volga, stopping at the mouth of the river, where Colonel Wayman and Fred Hartge kept a trading port, where they exchanged their furs for powder and whisky. Drinking usually commenced of such occasions, and quarreling was its natural result.
The unassuming village of Littleport is situated on the Volga River, nine miles from Elkader and twelve miles from Volga City. It was laid out in 1857 by Dennis Quigley, on the southeast quarter of section 25, township 92 north, range 5 west. G.L. Gifford's addition was laid out Nov. 9 and 10, 1874, and upon it are located the hotel, depot, warehouse and lumber yard.
The Roman Catholic church, a short distance from the village, was built in 1870, by the parish of Littleport. It was superintended and erected by D. Hays. Father J.J. Quigley was the first pastor and preached the first sermon. After one year he was succeeded by Father Michael Quirk, in 1872. He was in charge nearly five years, and was succeeded by Father B.W. Coyle in 1876. He is the present pastor. The first executive committee were Dennis Hays, John Farrell and Timothy Murphy. They purchased forty acres of land in 1876 for the church and for a cemetery. The present membership is about thirty-five families. There is a Sunday-school of 100 in connection with the church.


b.  [Sacred Heart Church] Cox Creek

The Cox Creek Church of the Sacred Heart was built in 1875, at an expense of $2,000. It was paid for by subscription, collected by Rev. M. J. Quirk. This Father was the first pastor of the church. James Burns, Englebert Ollinger, Bartholomew Dillon, James Ivory, Timothy Glenning, John Dunn and Michael Carr (who gave the land for the church) were among the first members of the church. The first religious services were held in private houses, particularly at the homes of Michael O'Brien, James Joy and B. Dillon. They were conducted first by Father Michael Lynch. He was succeeded in turn by Father McGinnis, Father Nagel, Father Obyrne, Father Quigley, Father Quirk, Father Coyle, Father Hackett and Father Rowe, the present pastor. The present membership is 225, and the church is now prosperous, and the building is soon to be put in thorough repair. There is a Sunday-school of forty members, organized in 1875. The average attendance is thirty-five.

6.  Ref. Sacred Heart Church [Cox Creek] as cited by Michael F. O'Brien, Clayton County, IA USGenWeb Project 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Cox Creek

by Mary Grace Opitz

Sacred Heart Catholic Church at Cox Creek was located five miles north of Strawberry Point in a beautiful valley along present Highway #13. It was built in 1873 at a cost of $2.000 paid for by parishioners. It was built on an acre of land donated by Michael and Anna Carr to Archbishop John Hennessey of Dubuque. The Carr's lived across the road where Alan Kirby now lives, also known as the Joe McTaggart farm. Father Michael Quirk of the Elkport parish was the organizer and priest. Before the church was built the area was served by pioneer missionary priests from Elkport, Holy Cross and Dubuque who said Mass in private homes, some of them being the home of Bartholomew Dillon, James Ivory and Michael O'Brien on an occasional basis. Every year after the church was built the Elkport priest came up every third Sunday, going to Greeley one Sunday also. It was dedicated on June 16, 1876.
In 1859 two acres of land located near-by was purchased from William and Sarah Johnson by Bishop Clement Smith of Dubuque for $50 to be used as a cemetery. Michael Carr was the first person buried there in April 1875. The cemetery is well cared for and perpetual care is provided for the future.
In 1879 St. Mary's Catholic Church in Strawberry Point was built and the Cox Creek Church became an out mission of it for over half a century.
Custodians of the Cox Creek Church during its 73 years of existence were Michael McTaggart and later his son Joe both of whom lived across the road on Joe's grandfather Michael Carr's farm.
Minutes before Mass was to begin on Sunday Feb. 10, 1946 someone saw flames coming up through the register from the furnace. Before firemen could arrive the fire had spread considerably and the entire structure was burned to the ground in a short time. The parishioners then transferred to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Strawberry Point.
The priests who served Sacred Heart Church from 1873 to 1946 were the Rev. Father's Michael Quirk 1870-1875, B. W. Coyle 1876, John Hackett 1876-1881, Thomas Rowe 1881-1904, John Hartigan 1904-1914, B. E. Erdland 1914, Patrick Reynolds 1914, Valentine Casey 1915-1925, John R. Bowen 1925-1932, Patrick Boyle 1933-1945, and John Fagan 1945-1949.
Some names of long time parish member were O'Brien, McTaggart, Olinger, Farmer, Kenneally, Davis, Dillon, Thyne, Henry, Berns, C. Dittmer, Ivory, Connelly, Glennon, Riley, Hanson, Morris, Tinker, Byrnes, Moyna, McDermott, DeWitte, Carnicle, Mullen, Quinn, and Markham.

Submitters notes:

The Cox Creek Sacred Heart Catholic Church burned to the ground on Sunday, February 10, 1946. I was six years old. I remember seeing the flames and smoke from our farm about a mile west of the church. The photos have been in the family for years, however I don't know who took them.
Several years ago I was given a single spaced thirty-four page document written by my father's Aunt Margaret Mary Ivory Henry. This wonderful treasure of a document (I call it "Aunt Maggie Recalls") was written my Aunt Maggie later in her life and it was intended for her sons and daughters, so they would be more able to understand her life in pioneer times in Clayton County. I knew this wonderful bright and witty woman in her later years and in my younger years. Aunt Maggie was born in 1869, the same year as my grandfather Michael F. O'Brien and my grandmother Catherine Luella Henry O'Brien.

In this document Aunt Maggie had a few passages about the Sacred Heart Catholic Church:

"The Catholics had long wished for a church. They must drive in their wagon ten miles to Elkader, though priests sometimes came and had Mass in the homes. I remember Mass being celebrated in our own homes. So in 1873 a church was built at what I might call the crossroads near the Carr home, Michael Carr giving the piece of land for its location. I was but four years old so I don't remember the building. Alex Henry, later my father-in-law, assisted by his eldest son Michael then 18, built the foundation. On the steeple was a ball surmounted by a cross. Before they put up the ball, they wished to have to writings and newspapers put in. John Henry [John Henry was to become Aunt Maggie's husband] tells of being sent to the Carr home nearby for some writing. His grandfather gave it to him and the ball was sealed. Years later when the church was changed, the steeple was taken down and the ball opened. But some boys had shot holes in it and the writing was faded and could not be deciphered. Father Quirk was the first pastor. He also had charge of the parishes of Colesburg and Littleport. My sister Maria was the first to be baptized in the church. That was December 8th. This might have been the first time Mass was said there. The first Marriage was that of ______. The first funeral was that of Michael Carr who died in April 1875, and the first to be buried in the new cemetery some distance north. The land for the cemetery was donated by Michael O'Brien.* "

*submitters note: I have always told family and friends that my great great grandfather Michael Carr donated the 2 acres of land for the Sacred Heart Cemetery. Mary Grace O'Brien Opitz's document on the cemetery said that it was purchased from William and Sarah Johnston by Bishop Clement Smith of Dubuque for $50 to be used as a cemetery.)
I might add that that parcel of land is surrounded on three sides by Michael Carr land, or at least it was part of the Joe McTaggart farm and now the Kirby family owns the surrounding land. Before my time there was a road that went by the cemetery and on down across the creek and them up through the Olinger farm. Part of the Michael O'Brien farm, The O'Brien Century Farm, is across what is now a dead end road from the cemetery. That road used to continue up through the Olinger land and then by Austin Thyne's (dad's cousin/uncle) farm and came out on the old 112 (we called it one hundred and twelve or the Black Top). 112 ran from Volga to Highway 13 and it had been renamed.
I do not know when Mary Grace O'Brien Opitz compiled the information in her manuscript. A copy of it had been in my possession for several years, perhaps fifteen. Mary Grace grew up in Cox Creek on the O'Brien Century Farm down in the valley about a mile from the Sacred Heart Church. She was my father's double first cousin. Parish brothers Michael F. O'Brien and John J. O'Brien married parish sisters Catherine Henry and Rose Henry.
I was born on May 3, 1939 on the Marcus O'Brien farm a mile west of the church on what was then a dirt road and was almost seven years old when the Sacred Heart Catholic Church burned to the ground. I remember this happening and in later years finding pieces of broken stained glass at the site. Michael Carr, who donated the land for the Sacred Heart Church, was my great great grandfather.
When I was a teenager I was the caretaker for the Sacred Heart Cemetery. I last visited the cemetery on 24 February 2000. That was the day after my mother's funeral and I was taking my 25 year old son, Sean Michael, on a tour of the 'Valley of His Ancestors', Cox Creek. We spied a bald eagle flying up the creek near the cemetery, the first I had ever seen in the area. I believe that well over half of those interred in the cemetery are my relatives. On this visit I was happy to see that the area between the upper level and lower level is still being mowed. I was the first to mow this area on a regular basis with a push mower. Before that it was cut once a summer with a horse mower.
I also pointed out to Sean the farm where his great great great grandparents Anna and Michael Carr lived, the farm where his great great great grandfather Daniel Ivory lived, the farm where his great great grandparents Anna Maria and Alexander Henry lived, the farm where his great great grandparents Michael and Margaret O'Brien lived, as well as the farm of his great grandparents Catherine and Michael Francis O'Brien lived and where his grandfather Marcus O'Brien and I, Michael Francis O'Brien, were born in the old farm house.
The irony here is that today I received word via e-mail in my home that Mary Grace O'Brien Opitz had passed away in Strawberry Point, Iowa (April 2000)

- Source of history: undated manuscript by Mary Grace Opitz

- Source of photos: submitters private collection

- Submitted by Michael F. O'Brien

7.  Ref. General Biographical information

Biographical and Historical Record of Greene and Carroll Counties, Iowa...Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1887

Michael Joseph Quirk, pastor of Grand Junction Catholic church, was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, November 29, 1838, son of Edwin [Edward] Quirk, of Delaware County Iowa, who was born in Cork, Ireland, and is over [nearly] one hundred years old. He is still hale and vigorous. His mother was Joanna [Johanna] Shane, a native of Quebec, Canada. The father was in Chicago when there was nothing to indicate the future great city except the barracks and a tavern. Our subject was educated at St. Mary's Seminary in Perry County, Missouri, and at St. Vincent's College at Cape Girardeau, and in St. Thomas' Seminary at Bardstown, Kentucky. He received his theological education at St. Frances' Theological College of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, graduating there in 1870. He was ordained at Dubuque in November 1870, by Bishop Hennessy. After his ordination he went to Clayton county and took charge of mission work in that and adjoining counties until the fall of 1875, when he went to Rickardsville, this State, and built a house of worship, being the first resident priest in that place. In the spring of 1877 he went to St. Rose's in Fayette County, where he had much hard work to do. He finished the church and organized other churches, besides establishing a parochial school there. He came to Grand Junction in September, 1879, and has built up a good congregation. He is building a fine brick church, and has six other appointments besides the one in Grand Junction. He is a very hard worker in the cause of Christianity, sparing neither time nor means to further its interest.

8.  This is from the book "Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa" by E. B. Stillman, 1907

Greene county is well dotted with villages that have been made possible by the advent of railways, the necessities of the people and the shrewd calculations of men who saw more money for themselves in a farm platted into town lots and covered with buildings than in an ordinary quarter section acreage under best cultivation. There are ten post offices in the county at present: four on the line of the M. & St. L. Railway, Rippey, Grand Junction, Dana and Paton: five on the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, Cooper, Jefferson, Farlin, Churdan and Adaza; and Scranton, located on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway (as are also Jefferson and Grand Junction) on the west side of the county. Twenty years ago there were nine post offices. Surry has lost its place on the map, and Farlin and Adaza are towns born since 1890. Angus, a once prosperous coal-mining town of 3,700 people, located in Boone county on the border of Greene, is now a hamlet with less than a hundred people, the mines having been exhausted.

Two years after the completion of the Cedar Rapids & Missouri River Railway through Greene county, a north and south railroad was built from Keokuk to Fort Dodge, passing through the east side of the county. It soon became evident that at the intersection of these two roads there would be a desirable location for a town. The "lay of the land" was discouraging for during a wet season fully half the surface was under water, and for a time after the site was established, muskrat houses were as numerous as human habitations. However, when the fact of a town at this point--to be called Grand Junction--was assured, there was eager competition among the owners of land adjoining the two railroads. "Central Grand Junction" was laid out by Hager and Sons and Percival & Hatton, of Des Moines. Howe, a division superintendent, and Estabrook, roadmaster, laid out "Grand Junction." Herron & Kelley of Pittsburgh, Pa., laid out "South Grand Junction," and Seward Smith, of Des Moines, followed with "West Grand Junction." The town includes, according to limits at present established, parts of sections thirty-two and thirty-three, township, eighty-four, and sections four and five, township eighty-three. Hager & Sons donated twenty acres to the Des Moines & Fort Dodge Railway Company with the proviso that the shops be located here, and the land was accepted on the terms proposed.
About this time Dr. C. B. Park and O. B. Miller established lumber yards for the convenience of builders. The first buildings in the embryotic [sic] city were Dr. Park's residence, a store by Geo. C. Hillman, a hardware store by Dr. Park, for a long series of years occupied by H. A. Parmenter & Son, and a bank and several other buildings by Hager & Son, and a bank and several other buildings by Hager & Sons. The Headlight, which pushed into the activities of the town January 1, 1870, did much to encourage immigration and the growth of the place. In fact, the year 1870 was one of the most prosperous Grand Junction ever enjoyed in the way of material progress. The census of that year indicated a population of 444. The growth was steady and stable up to the year 1885, when the enumeration made the population nearly 1,000. At that time one-third of the inhabitants were dependent for support on the railway, the advent of which had really built the town. Hopes ran high during these early years that a branch road would be built from Grand Junction to Sioux City, making the shops permanent and increasing the demand for employees. A few years later the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad took possession of the road, and soon afterward the shops were moved to Valley Junction. Since that time in the matter of growth Grand Junction has been at a standstill. It has always been a good center of local trade, and as the country has been developed by the incoming of new farmers, trade has increased and the same is true of the size of stocks and the character of goods on the shelves of the merchants. It is a remarkable fact that the firm of Geo. C. Hillman & Co., established nearly forty years ago, is still doing business on the same ground and under the same proprietorship as in the beginning.

St. Bridget's Church.--This parish at one time embraced all of Greene county, the western half of Boone and a small strip of Calhoun county. A division came in 1885, when Rev. George Costello was appointed to St. Patrick's church in Cedar township, with Churdan and Lohrville as out missions. In 1893 Rev. Edward O'Farrell, became pastor of Jefferson, with Scranton and St. Mary's, in Franklin township, as out missions. In 1878 Rev. O'Farrell was made resident pastor at Grand Junction, the parish became a compact unit and was thoroughly organized, all the records in the parochial archives dating from his ministry. His successor was Rev. M. J. Quirk, who remained until 1888, when he was succeeded by the present pastor, Rev. P. C. Kenny. Father Quirk's ministry saw many improvements, the opening of Mt. Calvary cemetery, the erecting of the new church, a veneer brick structure in the heart of town and the opening of the parochial school known as St. Mary's academy, in September, 1888, on its present location in block 79. This left the parish property--church and school--in a scattered condition, some four blocks apart, so the present pastor had the church moved in 1896 to its present location, adjoining the school. In 1899 a parochial residence was erected between the school and the church. It is a handsome brick structure, ornamented with cut stone. The financial standing of the parish is excellent. It has ample grounds for all its needs, owns a block and a half of property and has no debt at all. The Grand Junction church recognizes as daughters the prosperous parishes of Jefferson, Ogden and Churdan. It has an out mission parish now supplied by its pastor at Paton, referred to elsewhere.

St. Mary's Academy.--This educational institution, conducted by the Sisters of Mercy, was opened in 1888. It has a building well adapted for school uses and handsome grounds, and a campus that  gives ample opportunity for outdoor exercise. The course of study consists of twelve grades, eight of which are preparatory to the high school, which offers an English and classical course of four years. Special attention is paid to the musical department, both in instrumental and vocal lines, embracing the latest and most approved methods. The art department offers a course in drawing and perspective, with oil and water colors as a later benefit. The usual attendance is seventy-five, and the musical class numbers fifty.

9.  Ref. death of Rev. Michael J. Quirk per Archdiocese of Dubuque web-site per Rev. Loras C. Otting, Director of the Archives and Historical Records, 1229 Mount Loretta Avenue, Dubuque IA 52003.
In the 1923 edition of the Official Catholic Directory, it states in the necrology that M. J. Quirk of the Sioux City Diocese who was absent on leave died August 05, 1922.

Editor's Note:  5 August 1922 as cited by the Catholic Directory Necrology conflicted with earlier Archdiocese of Dubuque archival information.  Fr. Otting notes in follow-up communication:
I called the caretaker of Mt. Olivet, and he read the grave marker; it stated Fr. M. J. Quirk died August 15, 1922.  Therefore, the Official

Catholic Directory Necrology is wrong. Glad you caught that.

10.  Address for Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Mount Olivet Cemetery

Key West, Taylor Township, Dubuque County, Iowa
10378 Military Road, Dubuque, Iowa 52003

(Submitted by Richard Casey)


Can anyone identify these two photos being that of Father Quirk?