Biographies from the "Pioneer History of Pocahontas County"
Robert E. Flickinger, 1904
BOYD, JAMES, after whom the Boyd school district, No.
4, was named, was a native of Ireland, where he married and raised two
sons, Arthur and William. On coming to this country he lived several
years in the Province of Ontario, Can., and in 1866, located in Lizard
township, where he and Arthur secured homesteads on sec. 34, and
William on sec. 36. All of them left the county about the year 1874.
BREITENBACH, JOSEPH, was sheriff of Pocahontas county
from Jan. 1, 1874, to Sept. 13, 1878. After nearly five years of
public service in this capacity he met with an accident while getting
a load of hay on the prairie near Pocahontas that resulted in his
death that day. The court at its next session, Hon. Ed R. Duffie,
presiding judge, on the recommendation of the bar, had the following
resolution spread on the public records: “That in our business
relations with the deceased during many years, we have found him a
fearless, active and efficient officer; that we sincerely mourn his
death and tender our sympathy to his bereaved family."
He came in 1867 from Wisconsin and located on the SE1/4 Sec. 22. He
left a wife and three children. His wife later married August Miller,
lives in Lizard township and still owns the old homestead.
BROWN, JOHN, DAVID, ARCHIBALD, HENRY AND JOSEPH, five
brothers and their father, coming from Canada in 1866, secured
homesteads on sections 36 and 26. John died on his farm in
1870. In 1873 the others left the county, their father returning to
Canada, Archibald, Henry and Joseph going to the state of Washington.
BROWN, EDWIN V., who in 1868 located on Sec. 12, a
brother-in-law of John M. Brown, is now living at Fort Dodge.
BROWN, JOHN M. (b. 1836), owner and occupant of 400
acres, principally on Sec. 18, has been a resident of the township
since 1876. He is a native of New York state, where he married in 1856
and located on a farm. Dec. 30, 1862, he enlisted as a member of the
2d New York heavy artillery, and continued in the service until the
close of the war. He participated in the battles at Pittsylvania,
River, Talapotany Creek, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Ream Station,
Hatchers Run, Five Forks, South Side R. R., Amelia Springs and Round
Fort. He was taken prisoner by the Confederates April 7, 1865 while
making a charge on Round Fort, Virginia, in which 575 men were lost in
a few minutes, but was recaptured two days later when Lee surrendered.
After keeping a hotel couple of years in Shenango county, N. Y., he
again located on a farm where he remained until 1876, when he came to
his present location on Sec. 18, where he commenced with 80 acres
which he was the first to occupy and improve. He has "grown up with
the country" by becoming a good leader in the work of improvement. As
years have passed he has added 320 acres to the original purchase and
the buildings erected are rated as the largest and finest in the
His large dwelling house was built in 1891, soon after the erection of
the barn. The buildings are protected by an ample grove and he is now
enjoying the fruit from a good orchard and a plot planted in small
fruits. He is an aggressive and successful farmer and his value as a
citizen has been recognized. He has served more years as a trustee
than any other citizen of the township, and was coroner of the county
Six of his family of nine children are living.
Orville (b. N. Y. 1859), in 1881 married Elizabeth Dawson of Calhoun
county, lives on Sec. 18, and has eight children, Edna, Sidney, Sarah
E., Robert, George, Floyd, Ernest and Ivan.
Clayton (b. N. Y. 1868), in 1891 married Mary A. Smith, lives in Lizard
township, and has two children, Clarence and Lilly.
George G. (b. N. Y. 1870), in 1893 married Emma L. Anderson and lives
Lillian, a very successful teacher, in 1896 married Edward P. Trenary
and lives in Grant township.
Rose A., a teacher, in 1901, married Ernest Barger, lives at Cedar Falls.
CALLIGAN, JOHN (b. 1822), who was the first settler to
effect the location of his family in Pocahontas county, on the SE1/4
Sec. 2, Lizard township, is a native of Galway county, Ireland.
In 1817 at 25 he came to St. John's, New Brunswick, and the next year
to Maine, where in 1849 at Ellsworth he married Bridget, sister of
Michael Broderick. He remained there until the spring of 1856, when he
brought his family to Fort Dodge, where he arrived May 13th. This trip
was one he never forgot. He came on the cars as far as Dubuque, which
was the terminus of the railroad. He paid the driver of a stage coach
$45 to take his wife and four children to Fort Dodge, and then he set
out on foot and walked the entire distance of 200 miles. The only
bridge west of Dubuque was at Cedar Falls over the Cedar river.
Usually he had to wade or swim the streams. Arriving at Fort Dodge he
pushed on 20 miles further west where his brother-in-law, Michael
Broderick, was awaiting his arrival, and by his help he was enabled to
locate his family on the frontier in the Lizard settlement before
those who had taken claims before him. These facts suggest the courage
and indomitable perseverance of the man. He did not shrink from a task
because it was difficult. If the wilderness was wild before him he
knew why he had traveled all the way from Maine to the Lizard and
without any indecision or hesitancy began to lay the foundation for
his future home and fortune. In this effort be encountered many
discouragements, but rising above them, achieved good success. He
possessed the faculty of utilizing to good advantage the resources of
nature that for many years were free around him. As the years passed
he enlarged and
beautified his home, increased his original farm to several hundred
acres and occupied it until 1894 when he moved to Gilmore City, where
his estimable wife, also a native of Ireland, died at 80 in 1901.
His house was used for the elections and meetings of the township
officers during the year 1865. He served as a trustee of the township
in 1862, was a member of the first school board, and the first school
district was named in his honor.
His family consisted of five children:
Edward M. (b. Maine, 1850), who taught the first school in Fonda, in
1878 married Mary Lane and located on a farm. He served several years
each as clerk, trustee and justice. A few years ago he moved to Dakota
City where his wife died in 1898 leaving a family of eleven children.
Mary A. in 1872 married M. J. Henneberry, lives in Humboldt county and
has six children.
Thomas J. (b. Maine, 1853), in 1878 married Mary J. Crilly and their
only child died in infancy. He has a splendid farm in Lizard township
which he occupied until a few years ago, when he moved to Gilmore City
where he has since been engaged in the real estate business. He was a
member of the board of county supervisors 1884-86.
Ellen F. in 1880 married P. R. Powers, lives at Lohrville and has a
family of nine children.
Maggie (b. Aug. 11, 1857), the second child born in Pocahontas county,
in 1884 married Morris O'Connor, who died the next year leaving one
child. In 1889 she married James Whelan, lives at Emmetsburg and their
family consists of eleven children.
CAREY, JAMES C. , who in 1870 located on Sec. 26, was
quite successful and became the owner of 240 acres. He raised a family
of several children, two of whom are married, and served four years as
a trustee. In 1899 he moved to Fort Dodge where he died in the fall of
CARSTENS, JACOB (b. 1819), resident of Lizard township
since May, 1865, is a native of Germany. In 1847 be came to Wisconsin
and after engaging in railroad construction three years he returned to
Germany. In 1854 be came to Clayton county, Iowa, and after engaging
in the land business six years be again returned to the fatherland. In
1861 he returned to Clayton county and in 1865 secured a homestead of
80 acres on Sec. 22, Lizard township. Soon afterward he bought 320
acres more on the same section at $3.00 per acre. Accompanied by his
nephew, Diederic Hoefing, he began life on this homestead in a sod
shanty that lasted three years, and he devoted his time and attention
to dealing in land rather than farming. The following incident related
by his longtime neighbor and fellow countryman, Carl Steinbrink, gives
one a good introduction to Mr. Carstens. In 1866 when Carl Steinbrink
and Fred Kelsow arrived at Fort Dodge and were informed that a
homesteader by name of Carstens owning 400 acres in the locality to
which they wanted to go, was then in that town, they felt very sure
they would be able to complete their journey to Lizard township in his
wagon. So when they were introduced to each other, Steinbrink very
confidently said, "You are in town with a team, ain't you?" "No," said
Carstens, "I don't have a team, all I've got is a cat." That surprised
Steinbrink and he quickly exclaimed, "Why man, what kind of farming
are you doing out there? I want to go out and see it." "Well," said
Carstens, "I am not a farmer, I am buying land and selling it." After
a little further explanation, the three men, Carstens, Steinbrink and
Kelsow, started with their luggage and walked to Sec. 22, a distance
of 20 miles.
As a dealer in lands he has become quite successful and is now the
happy owner of more than 2,000 acres in Lizard and adjoining
townships. His grove of walnuts and maples, containing fifteen acres,
is one of the largest in the township. He has been very contented and
happy living alone and utilizes his spare moments by reading good
books and caring for a few cattle and fowls. He is now over 80 years
age and is quite hale and hearty for a man of his years. He has not
taken much interest in politics. A few years ago he presented the
Lizard Lutheran church with a good bell and organ. He is an honest,
upright citizen and is very highly respected by all who know him.
CARSTENS, JOHN, cousin of Jacob, married Lena Carstens.
In 1867 he came with his family to Lizard township and located on the
NW1/4 Sec. 22. He improved and enlarged this farm to 320 acres, and at
the time of his decease at 65 in 1899, left a family of eleven
children, four of whom are married. He was a good farmer and served
six years as a trustee. He was one of the founders of the German
CARSTENS, GERHARD B., in 1867 came
with his brother, John H, to Lizard township and located on Sec. 30. He
has been very successful as a farmer and is now the owner of 320 acres
which he has improved with good buildings and groves. He married
Elizabeth, sister of Diederic Hoefing and has raised a large family.
COLLINS, MICHAEL, (b. 1821; d. 1898), member of the
first board of county supervisors in 1861, became the wealthiest and
in some respects the most prominent of the Lizard pioneers. His axe
was one of the first to ring in the woods along the Lizard and his
stalwart form was among the first to startle the Indian in Pocahontas
county. He was a generous, honorable man whom to know was to become
his friend. He participated in the organization of Lizard township,
and also of Pocahontas county. He served as the first clerk of Lizard
township, took an intelligent and active part in the management of its
affairs and made a good success of his own business. He served three
1862-64, as county treasurer and recorder and the next year as county
treasurer. Walter Ford, his friend and neighbor more than forty years,
said of him: "In those early days people in search of homers were
directed to Collins' grove where they found Michael Collins always
willing to assist them and welcome them under his roof. He took them
over the prairies in his wagon and showed them the choicest
homesteads. He was often called from his work several times a day,
when Lizard creek was high, to ferry travelers across it in his dugout
which was hewn from a basswood tree. His services were always gratuitous."
When he left Pittsburg, Pa., for Iowa in 1855 he was accompanied by
his younger brother, Hugh (single), and James Hickey. Soon afterward
he was followed by his elder brother, Patrick and their cousin, Roger
Collins. Michael lived on the farm until 1877. He then moved to Manson
and in 1891 to Clare, where he died in 1898.
His family consisted of three sons, Patrick and James, who died young
in Ireland, Bridget, who cared for him after his retirement from the
farm and Michael T.
COLLINS, MICHAEL THOMAS, (b. Dunbeg, Ireland, 1844),
at 12, in 1855, became a resident of Pocahontas county. In 1865, he
married Fannie Haire, a teacher, and after two years' residence in
Fort Dodge bought a farm of 200 acres on sec. 12, which he has
improved with good buildings and still occupies. He has served as
trustee and assessor in the township, and, as a county supervisor in
1887-92, was the last representative of Lizard township on that board.
His wife in January to May, 1865, taught the second term of school in
the Calligan district in the log cabin of Dennis Connor. She was a
refined, cultured christian woman whose life, as a wife and mother,
was a gracious benediction in the home and family circle. She endured
patiently the trials incident to pioneer life, the rearing of a large
family, and in 1900, passed to her reward.
His family consists of nine children one having died in infancy.
Michael Joseph (b. 1866), in 1894 married Annie Cain, and lives at
Clare, where he is engaged in land, insurance and auctioneer business.
He has one son, Harold David, and one daughter. Fannie.
William John (b. 1868), graduate of the law department of the Iowa
State University in 1895, began the practice of law at Clare that
year. Sept. 20, 1897, he established the Clare Examiner and continued
as its editor until 1900. He is now devoting himself to the practice
of his profession and has a promising future before him.
Fannie in 1900, married M. J. McMahon.
Thomas (b. 1869), Elizabeth M., David J., Maggie, Bridget C. and John
Herbert are at home.
Maggie and Bridget have been attending the Convent schools at Fort
Dodge and Clare; and seven of them, Michael J., William J., Elizabeth,
Fannie, Maggie, Robert and John have met with good success as teachers.
Catherine Kinnerk, daughter of the wife of Michael Collins, Sr., came
with her to the Lizard settlement in 1855. She married Thomas J.
Calligan of Webster county and raised a family of two sons and four
daughters. She now lives on her farm south of Clare, her husband
having died in 1882.
COLLINS, PATRICK, (b. 1819, d. 1897), elder brother
of Michael, after his marriage to Nora Green in Ireland in 1853, came
to Pennsylvania and remained four years. In the fall of 1857, with
wife and three children he located on the SE1/4 sec 12, Lizard
township, and the next year secured the NE1/4 sec. 24. After a
residence of five
years in this county he sold his farms to his brothers, Michael and
Hugh Collins, and moved to Webster County, where he died at 78 in
COLLINS, HUGH, (b. Ireland 1833; d. 1889) younger
brother of Michael came to America in his youth and located at
Pittsburg, Pa. In 1854 he came to Iowa and to the Lizard settlement
the next year in company with James Hickey. They were the first two
settlers in the Lizard settlement, Hickey locating on the SE1/4 sec.
13, Lizard township and Collins on the SW1/4 sec. 18, opposite in
Jackson township. In 1871 he bought the farm of his cousin, Roger
Collins, containing the Collins grove of natural timber on sec. 24,
and it is now owned by his son, Michael J. Collins, of Clare.
COLLINS, ROGER, cousin of Michael Sr., coming to
America at 32, lived in New York and Ohio till 1856, when he located
on a preemption on the NE1/4sec. 23, 160 acres, Lizard township. Later
he also secured the N1/2 NE1/4 sec. 24. In 1871, after a residence of
years he moved to a farm near Fort Dodge and later to that town where
he died at 78 in 1900. His family consisted of one son, who died about
1888, and six daughters, all of whom are married, namely, Mrs. M.
English, Mrs. Matthias Hanrahan of Clare, Mrs. Frank Hogan, Mrs. Frank
McNamara of Fort Dodge, Mrs. Robert McNamara of Belmond and Mrs.
Thomas F. McCartan of Pocahontas.
CONNORS, MICHAEL, who bought the
claim of Dennis Connor, whose vacant cabin built in 1856, was used for
school purposes in the Calligan district 1863 to 1866, came to Lizard
township in the summer of 1857 with wife and one child and located on
the SW1/4 sec. 1. After two years he moved to Independence where he
died in 1862. His wife held the farm until her death in 1890, and it
is now owned and occupied by her daughter Alice. Their family
consisted of four children, Michael and Mary, who have died, Margaret
CRAHAN, PATRICK, (b. 1832; d. 1898), founder of the
Crahan Place on sw1/4 sec. 8, Lizard township, was a native of Clare
county, Ireland, and was left an orphan at nine. Going to the Lowlands
of Scotland at fifteen he found employment as a ditcher, and during
the next six years earned his passage money to America. At 21 he came
Elmira, N. Y. and engaged in railroad construction. In 1854 he married
Margaret McMahon, and soon afterward located at Winona, Wis., and then
in Iowa along the Illinois Central R. R., successively at Julian,
Manchester, Elk Run, Iowa Falls and in the spring of 1869 in Lizard
township. Here he secured the homestead right of J. J. Bruce and began
to farm. He returned to the railroad, however, when he suffered the
loss of crops by the grasshoppers or other causes. Although he worked
on the railroad more than twenty-five years he proved an aggressive
and very successful farmer. As the years passed he added 460 acres to
the homestead, making 620 acres in the Crahan Place, which he made a
His wife in whose honor the Rolfe Catholic church was named "St.
Margaret," died in 1895. He died at 66 in 1898. His family consisted
of eleven children of whom seven are living.
Mary in 1894, married Michael Fitzgerald, located on sec. 1, and died in 1895.
Thomas is owner of a farm of 120 acres on sec. 18. In 1891 he married
John in 1897, married Sadie Tierney and occupies a farm of 120 acres on
secs. 6 and 18.
Nellie, in 1897, married Patrick Conners, and lives on a farm near Barnum.
Katie, in 1896, married Wm. Tierney, and lives at Rolfe.
Bridget and William are at home. Patrick died at 20 in 1896, and
Maggie at 17, in 1899.
DONAHOE, JAMES, (b. 1814), one of the early pioneers of
Lizard township, had a family of nine children, of whom the five
eldest came with him to Pocahontas county in 1856. Two of these
Charles and Mary died during the seven years of his residence in this
Thomas is cashier of the State Bank at Clare.
Peter M., owner and occupant of 320 acres on sees. 36 and 25, Lizard
township, is the only member of the family now living in this county.
He married Ellen Condon, the first teacher in Lizard township, and she
died in 1879, leaving two children, Joseph, who lives on the farm with
his father, and James, a clerk at Clare. Later he married Annie Carey,
and their family consists of Thomas, Mary, Richard, Elizabeth and
Rose Ann, (see p. 163). Mary Jane is at home. Charles, the youngest, is
a member of the firm of Donahoe & Wood, general merchants, Clare. He
married Agnes Calligan and has one child.
DONAHOE, JOHN, who, in 1865, located on sec. 14, after
a few years removed to Lake township, where he died. His wife is dead
also. Their family consisted of four sons, Michael, an invalid, John
and William, who are residents of Lake township, and Wallace, who
lives at Lincoln, Neb.
FORD, WALTER, (b. 1833; p. 159), one of the most
prominent and successful pioneers of Lizard township, and honored by a
seat on the Board of County Supervisors 1874 to 1876, was a native of
Ireland. At the age of 17 he came to America with his elder sister,
Ellen ”Mrs. Patrick McLarney” and niece, and located at Ellsworth,
Maine, where he found employment in the pineries and remained four
years. In April, 1856, he came to Pocahontas county and located a
claim on the NE1/4 sec. 13, Lizard township. In 1859 he went to
Louisiana, and the next year to Philadelphia, where in May, 1860, he
married Mary, daughter of John Garvey. In 1861, returning to Fort
Dodge and finding employment, first as a teamster and later as a
contractor, he remained there until the spring of 1870, when he again
located on his claim in Lizard township which, in the meantime, had
been occupied by Michael O'Shea and William Price. He improved this
farm with good buildings and occupied it for 24 years. His wife died
in 1882, and in 1884 he
moved to Clare where he still resides.
In making his first trip to the frontier in 1856, he paid the Stage
Company at Dubuque $14.00 for his passage to Fort Dodge. When he
arrived at Iowa Falls the Iowa river, which had no bridge or ferry,
was overflowing its banks, and the stage driver informed the
passengers they would have to wait there until the river could be
forded before they could be carried to Fort Dodge. Three of them
Messrs. Ford, Haney and A. T. Blackshire demanded the return of a part
of their fares, but were refused with a repetition of the previous
announcement. These three men, crossing the river in a skiff, walked
the remaining 60 miles, carrying their valises, and received their
trunks three months
On his return to the farm in 1870 he again began to take a prominent
part in the management of the public affairs in the township and
county. He received a good education, was a neat penman and no one
enjoyed more fully than he, the confidence and esteem of his fellow
citizens. He served as County Supervisor three years, as Assessor
three years and as a Justice eleven years. He has been a member of the
Catholic church from his infancy, was a liberal supporter of the
Lizard church and furnished the outline of its history that appears in
His family consisted of nine children:
Walter P., in 1894, married Elizabeth, daughter of John O'Neil, and
occupies the old home farm on sec. 13. He has taught several terms of
school and engaged two years in general merchandise at Pioneer.
Thomas Edward, married Catherine Malie, of Clare, and died at 27 in
1890, leaving one child, Edward.
Celia Agnes, married James Cody, a painter, lives at Clare and has two
children, Josie and John.
Lillian E., in 1892, married John F. Dalton, editor and proprietor of
the Manson Democrat, and has four children, John, Mary, Lillian and
Mary, at the home of her father in Clare, died at 34 in 1900.
John F., in 1893, married Nellie Howard, lives in Fort Dodge where
he has served six years as Deputy Auditor and is now serving his second
term as Auditor of Webster county. He has two children, Howard and Mary.
Joseph, a resident of Gowrie, is owner of a farm of 160 acres in
Jackson township, Webster county.
Catherine, married Maurice O'Hearne, a blacksmith, lives at Clare and
has one child, Walter.
Lottie, married Wm. J. Wood, a general merchant, lives at Clare and
has two children, Hubert and Eulalia.
GORMAN, JAMES, preempted 120 acres on sec. 12, sold
his interest to Thomas Cotter before he made any improvements, and the
latter sold it to Michael Collins for his son, M. T. Collins, its
present owner and occupant.
HELMICK, HENRY, who in 1869, secured a homestead on
sec. 28, died
about 1874, leaving a family who still occupy the old home.
HENRICK, JOHN, who in 1865, secured a homestead on
sec. 4, still owns it and lives in Manson.
HOEFING, DIETRICK, owner and occupant of 720 acres on
sees. 22 and 23, is a native of Germany and a nephew of Jacob
Carstens. In the fall of 1866, he came and joined his uncle, who had
preceded him in Lizard township one year, and they lived together
during the next three years in a sod shanty that was built on the line
between their homesteads on sec, 22. In 1869, the sod house was
replaced by a frame building 12x18 feet that still forms the main part
of the home of his uncle. In the fall of 1870 he returned to Germany
and in February, 1871, he married Catherine Peters. Accompanied by his
wife he returned to his homestead and erected thereon a good house,
16x24 feet. His progress and development since has kept pace with the
growth of the country. Commencing life in humble circumstances he is
now the happy possessor of a large estate. During the years of 1873-8
the grasshoppers took from him all the capital he brought with him.
These losses were very discouraging, but instead of yielding thereto,
he put forth a noble endeavor to retrieve them in the best possible
manner, and the success achieved became another practical illustration
of the truth of the old adage, that, “Patience and perseverance will
perform great wonders." He learned how to practice economy in the
school of necessity. He has succeeded well in raising cattle and hogs,
and by investing his surplus annual income in Pocahontas county land,
he has found the latter a very profitable investment. Four hundred of
the 720 acres now possessed were bought during the period 1890-94. He
has provided for his family the facilities for a good education and
has been an efficient member of the St. John's Lutheran church since
His first wife died in 1872, leaving one child, Catherine, who is
still at home. In 1873, he married Nettie Webber and their family
consisted of eight children, Dietrick; Annie, who in 1894, married Wm.
Shroeder and lives on sec. 13. Bellville township; Henry, Mary,
Frederic, Frank and Nettie.
KLINGBIEL, GUSTAV, came from Wisconsin in 1867, with
Julius Sell and located on sec. 6. He is now the owner of 160 acres
that are well improved and he has raised a large family.
JOHNSON, JOHN H., who in 1866, located on sec. 10, and
served as Justice from 1867 to 1874, had a good team and did a great
deal of breaking for the other settlers in Lizard and some of the
neighboring townships. He is now living at Fort Dodge.
JOHNSON, DANIEL AND ISAAC W., who in 1866, located on
sec. 10, were brothers. Isaac died some years ago and Daniel is now
the owner and occupant of a fine farm of 160 acres on sec. 16.
KELLEY, CHARLES, (b. 1817, d. 1890, p. 157) one of
the most persevering and successful of the early pioneers of Lizard
township, was a native of Ireland. Locating on sec. 12 in 1856, he
improved his claim and occupied it until his decease in 1890, a period
of 34 years. He was a man of noble impulses and possessed considerable
native shrewdness. He added acre to acre in the early days when land
was cheap and ranked second among the early pioneers in the number of
acres possessed. He was a devout member of the Catholic church, an
enthusiastic leader among the democrats and very nearly secured the
erection of the first court house on his own farm. He raised a large
and intelligent family of sons and daughters, to all of whom he
afforded the opportunity of receiving a good education. His wife
(b. 1834), who is still in the enjoyment of good health, and several
of the younger members of the family still occupy the substantial log
house built in 1856 in a beautiful grove of native timber along the
North branch of Lizard creek.
His family consisted of nine children:
Henry (b. 1856), in 1889 married Agnes McKee and is now engaged in
the drug business at Anselmo, Neb.
Charles Joseph (b. May 6, 1858), the first boy born in Pocahontas
county, after graduating from college at Keokuk, and in 1892 from the
Rush Medical Institute, Chicago, has since been engaged in the
practice of medicine at Burlington.
Annie married Maurice Shine, lives on sec. 18, Lake township, and has
Michael is owner of a farm of 120 acres near the old home.
Mary married John Karnes, lives at the old home and has three children,
Charles, Mary and Rhoda.
Susanna married Daniel O'Hearn, occupies a farm of 120 acres at Clare,
and has three children, Martha, Joseph and Homer.
Rhoda married Michael Keenan, a blacksmith, lives at Fort Dodge and
has two children, veronica and Robert.
Martha, a dressmaker, lives at Fort Dodge, and John, the youngest,
manages the home farm.
Anna, Mary ; Susanna, Martha and Henry spent more or less time
teaching school. Edward, the fifth, died in childhood, and James E.
died at 17,
KENNING, CHARLES, a resident of sec. 29, from 1870 to
1877, was a native of Germany, where he married Mary Shroeder. Coming
to America he
located first in Wisconsin and remained there until 1870. He was very
successful in raising stock and his farm of 160 acres was very soon
increased to 240 acres. He is now a resident of Manson.
His family consisted of five children: Augusta married Rudolph Kelsow
a native of Germany. They occupy a farm of 200 acres on sections 19
and 30, and have four children, Martha, Otto, John and William. Martha
married Frederic Weigert, owner and occupant of 160 acres in Bellville
John, who is engaged in the hardware business at Manson, married
Elizabeth Herbert and has a family of seven children.
William is at home.
Frederic J. has been engaged in the hardware business at Fonda since
1893 in partnership with A. L. Roberts. In 1896 he married Lulu Ellis
and has two children, Grace and Mabel.
Rudolph is engaged in the real estate business in Texas.
MCGABE, PATRICK, an early pioneer that in 1856 located
on sec. 24, was a native of Ireland. He improved and enlarged his
pre-emption to 160 acres. He occupied it until his death, and it is
still in the possession of his wife (Dempsey) and family. He was an
honest and upright man, and enjoyed the confidence of his
He was one of the first trustees of the township, and in 1862, becoming
a member of the second board, served four years as a county supervisor.
His family consisted of seven children:
Annie married John Condon, a farmer, who owns a large farm in Webster
county, and has raised a large family.
Kate is in a Sisters' school at Dubuque.
Alice married Thomas Fitz, and lives on a farm in Jackson township.
Peter, owner of 160 acres, lives with his mother at the old home.
Margaret married Michael Fitz and located on a farm in Humboldt
county, where she died about 1890.
James J. married a daughter of Thomas Brennan, owns a farm of 80
acres on sec. 24 and has three children.
Elizabeth married John Condon and lives in Wisconsin.
MILLER, DAVID, superintendent 1870-71, in 1865 secured
a homestead of 80 acres on sec. 14, which he occupied until 1889, when
he moved to Washington township and soon afterward to Oregon. He was a
good teacher, served as superintendent and also as a member of the
board of county supervisors. He married a sister of George Spragg
during his residence in Buchanan county and she died there. Josephine
Russell, his second wife died before he left the homestead, and he
afterward married Mrs. Willey, who had two children by her first
MCDERMOTT, BERNARD, who in 1868 came to sec. 14, about
1876, moved to Lake township and in 1885 to Nebraska.
NOLAN, CHRISTOPHER, still lives on sec. 3, where he
located in 1869.
NOLAN, NICHOLAS, who in 1869 came with his brother
Christopher, and located on section 4, is still the owner and occupant
of the old homestead which he has enlarged by the purchase of 80
additional acres. His wife died a few years ago. Their family
consisted of four children, three sons and one daughter, Mary, who
married James Mulholland and lives at Gilmore City. John lives at
O’NIEL, JOHN, (b. 1819) owner of a farm of 160 acres
on sec. 7, was a native of Ireland. Coming to America at thirteen, he
located in Canada where he married Constance Godrey and remained until
1871. Then with a family of eight children he located on the homestead
in Lizard township, which he improved with good buildings. He died at
81 in 1900. His wife and nine children, Mary, Alice, Kate, Thomas,
Annie, James, Elizabeth, Lucy, Theresa and Joseph are living. Alice
died at Fort
Dodge in 1899. Annie married J. H. Caswell, a merchant and lives at
Grand Junction. Lizzie married Walter P. Ford and lives in Lizard
township. Lizzie (?) married and lives in Chicago, The others are at
the old home.
O’BOYLE, MICHAEL, (b. 1826; d. 1897), resident of
section 20, Lizard township, from 1876 to 1890, was a native of
Ireland, the son of John and Mary O'Boyle. He came to America in 1851,
and in 1856 at Pottsville, Pa., married Mary Thompson. Later he
located at Shenandoah, Pa., and in 1876 in Pocahontas county. He was a
successful farmer and transformed the wild prairie on which he
located, into a beautiful home. In 1890 he moved to Clare, where he
died in 1897. He was an ardent democrat and a member of the Catholic
His family consisted of four children:
Thomas married Alice Dalton and has been for many years the postmaster
Kate married John Conlee, a merchant, and lives at Manson.
Mary married John Collins, a merchant, and lives at Gilmore City.
Patrick died in 1881.
O’SHEA, MICHAEL, (b. 1822), who occupied the NE 1/4
Sec. 13, from 1864 to 1895, is now a resident of Manson. He is a
native of Ireland, came to America in 1850 and located in Clermont
county, Ohio, where he found
employment boating between that place and New Orleans on the Ohio
and Mississippi rivers. In 1855 he married Catherine Carroll, (b.
Ireland 1824) and engaged in farming and railroading until he settled
in this county. He experienced some disappointments on the farm, but
with the help of his son John increased the original 80 to 400 acres
before he left it in 1895. By raising oxen and feeding stock-cattle he
usually fed more grain than he raised. He believes success on the
farm can be achieved by any intelligent person, who practices economy
in expenditures, abstains from the use of tobacco and intoxicants,
works late and early and combines stock-raising and feeding with
cropping. In Manson he has built a large residence and one of the
finest double brick business blocks in the city. He is a member of the
Catholic church and has been a republican since 1860.
His family consisted of seven children, two of whom died in Ohio and
three others in the short space of sixteen months after coming to Iowa,
namely: Michael at 24, in 1889; Kate at 20, in 1890, and Maria at 28
in 1891. Maria in 1886 married Henry Gorman of Chicago, and left one
John, a teamster, is at home.
Bridget in 1882 married Joseph Price, a stock-dealer, and he died at
Manson in 1895, leaving six children, Mary, Kittie, Nellie, Joseph,
Rose and Maggie.
JULIUS, JOHN, who in 1868, located on the W1/2 SW1/2
Sec. 28, is a native of Germany, where he married Minnie Seeman.
Coming to America he
lived several years in Wisconsin and about fifteen in Clayton county,
Iowa. His orchard of two acres planted about 1880 is now in fine
bearing condition and one of the best in the township.
His family consisted of three sons and three daughters:
Matilda married Joseph Breitenbach who died in 1878, leaving three
children, David, Hannah and Adam. Later she married August Miller, and
their family consists of seven sons, Edward, John, Otto, August, Henry,
William and Erick.
Minnie married August Barthold and located in Calhoun county, where
he died. Later she married August Haese and their family consists of
John B. married Bertha Miller, lives at Gilmore city and has a family
of three children, Lydia, William and Matie.
Edward B. is engaged in the drug business in South Dakota, and Henry
is at Gilmore City.
REDMAN, CARL, in 1868 located on section 6. In 1889 he
met with a serious accident while returning from Manson, that resulted
in his death a few hours later. He left one son, Carl, who is still
owner of the old homestead, and one daughter, Louisa, who became the
wife of Gerd Elsen. His wife died at the home of her daughter in Lake
township, in 1892.
RENKEN, MICHAEL, owner of 360 acres on section 20, is
a native of Germany, where he married Antrim Weber. He came in 1868,
has been quite successful as a farmer and has improved his farm with
neat and attractive buildings.
His family consisted of five children: Anna, after her marriage
located in California; Maria married John Jansen, a harness-maker, and
Manson; Henry married Hannah Saathaf, lives on his father's farm and
has two children; John and Frank are at home.
ROST, ARNDT E., Mary Ann his wife, and four children,
Benjamin, Maria, Anna and Ancke, in June, 1868, located on section 8,
Arndt and Benjamin taking adjoining homesteads. Arndt died suddenly at
70, in the spring of 1869, while in the field for the cows. During
that same year his three daughters became ill and died; Maria and Anna
on the same day. His house was located on the line between the two
homesteads and his wife, while living with her son, secured his
homestead. She died in 1882.
Benjamin married Mary Weber and is now the owner and occupant of both
homesteads. He served as a trustee five years. A sister of his became
the wife of John C. Everwine, who in 1869 located and still lives on
section 20. Her family consists of two sons and one daughter.
PRICE, GEORGE, who in 1865 located on the W1/2 SW1/4
SEC. 24, was a native of England where he married. He spent about
forty years in America, locating first in Nova Scotia, then in Dane
county, Wisconsin, in Lizard township, 1865 to 1875, then in Young
county, Texas, where he died.
PRICE, WILLIAM PERRY, (b. 1819), youngest son of
George, came with
his father to America in his childhood, and in 1849, married Mary A.
Wade, of Hamilton, Can. In 1855 he moved to a farm in Dane Co., Wis.,
where in 1861 he enlisted as a member of Co. G, 11th Wis. Inf. and
spent three years in the army during the Civil war. In 1865 he located
on a homestead of 80 acres, on the SW1/4 SEC. 24, Lizard township,
which he improved and occupied until 1875, when he went to Texas, but
soon afterward located in Dent Co., Mo. In 1880 he returned to Lizard
township, where in 1882, his wife and daughter, Charlotte, died
during a scourge of malarial fever. Accompanied by Joseph, his youngest
son, he returned to Missouri, where he married again. His second wife
died a few years ago and he is now at the home at his daughter, Mrs.
J. J. Bruce, of Rolfe. It was just after the battle of Bull Run when
the nation needed men, that he said, "take me." He has had the courage
to express his convictions and. his worth as a citizen has been
recognized wherever he has resided.
His family consisted of four sons and eight daughters, of whom
Caroline, the eldest, died at 11 in 1861, and Henrietta, the youngest,
John W., a farmer, married Mary Holmes, lives near Rolfe and has two
children. James H., a butcher, married Nancy Hale, lives at Rolfe and
has two children. Robert G. married Winnifred Inman, daughter of an
early settler of Des Moines township, and lives in the state of Washington.
Joseph the youngest, settled on a farm in Camden Co., Mo.
Mary J. married James J. Bruce, Alice married Wm, E. Struthers, Maria
married Harry Ham, a farmer, and lives in Des Moines township,
Elizabeth C. married Niels Lilligaard, a farmer and lives in Clinton
township. Annie married Wm. Overmier (now deceased) and lives at
RUSSELL, PHILLIP, (b. 1823, d. 1893) was one of the
most intelligent and highly honored of the early pioneers of Lizard
township and filled the office of justice for eight years, township
clerk, sixteen, county supervisor, two, and clerk of the district
court four, 1861-65. He discharged his public duties with fidelity and
was a devout member of the Catholic church. He died at 70 in 1893,
leaving a good heritage for his children.
His family consisted of eight children, all of whom are living, except
Thomas who died at 21, in 1895.
John M. (b. 1861), owner of 160 acres on Sec. 3 and Clerk 1890-94,
after teaching and farming a few years turned his attention to
philosophical investigation and authorship. He furnished the author of
this work most of the facts for the historical sketch of Lizard
township. In 1899 he went to Colorado City and two years later to San
Francisco, where he is now carrying through the press a corrected
edition of a volume first printed by the Ft. Dodge Post in 1898,
entitled, "The Seven Ages."*
Margaret Ellen is a teacher of many years experience.
William P. (b. 1865) is manager of the home farm. In his earlier years
he engaged in teaching, but now devotes his spare time to the insurance
Phillip F. (b. 1867) Mary Alice, a teacher and Lillian B. the youngest
are at home.
Michael J. Russell, (b. 1871) after teaching several years, graduated
at the Iowa college of law, Des Moines, and in 1901, located in
Manson, where he has since been engaged in the practice of law.
James P. (b. 1876) in 1895 married Minnie O'Connell, and occupies the
farm of his brother, John M., on Section 3.
SCHOONMAKER, GARRETT, in 1865 located on the N1/2 SW1/4
SEC. 4, where he established an inn, a store and a postoffice. His
house was on the government route from Ft. Dodge to Sioux Rapids, and
at the time it
was built, there was no other one between it and the latter place. His
two sons, Alonzo and Luther located on farms on Sec. 5. About 1884 all
moved to the vicinity of Manson and later to Sac county, where Garrett
died about 1896.
SCHROEDER, WILLIAM, died about 1880 and his family
still own and occupy the old home on Sec. 29.
STRECKLEBERG, HENRY, and his son Henry Streckleberg,
Jr., in August, 1868 secured the homestead claims of Wm. B. and Chas.
W. Lattin, on Sec. 14. A few years later Henry purchased Sec. 25,
Bellville township, and commenced to raise wheat on a large scale.
Owing to the excess of moisture and the ravages of the grasshoppers
this proved an unprofitable venture. Henry Jr., still owns the farm on
Sec. 14, now increased to 360 acres and lives at Manson.
STEINBRINK, CARL, (b. 1838) one of the most prominent
of the Lizard settlers that came after the Civil war, is a native of
Germany, the son of John and Sabine (Bartold) Steinbrink. His mother
died when he was three years of age and his father when he was eleven.
April 29, 1866, during the Austria-Prussian war, he married Maria
Kalsow (b. 1840). He was then a soldier in the Prussian army and when
in September that year, at the close of the war, he was mustered out
he had completed three years of military service in the Prussian or
German army. Crossing the Atlantic he arrived at New York, October
28th, on his way to northwestern Iowa. Leaving his wife at Iowa Falls,
the terminus of the railroad, he and Rudolph Kalsow, his
brother-in-law, walked to the E1/2 SW1/4 SEC. 22, Lizard township, a
distance of 75 miles. In making this trip they saw only one farm house
between Alden and Webster City. During the years that have passed
since that date he has witnessed a wonderful transformation in this
section of the country. He, too, has been an ideal settler, selecting
his homestead, occupying, enlarging and improving it as the years have
passed. The sod shanty, 12x14 feet, occupied the first four years was
then replaced by a story and a half log house, 16x20 feet, and twenty
two years later or in 1893, it
was replaced by the large frame mansion he and his family have since
enjoyed. In 1888 he built a large barn to take the place of the first
improvements for the care of his stock. Other new buildings have since
been erected and all of them are nicely protected by a beautiful
grove. His orchard is one of the best in the township. The homestead
of 80 acres has been increased to 440 acres and in 1896 he added
thereto some property in Manson that cost about $2000.
He has served as a member and secretary of the Boyd school board ever
since it became an independent district, in 1875. He served as a
member of the board of supervisors six years, 1878-83. He has been a
member of the Lizard Lutheran church since its organization. He has
thus been prominently identified with the development of the material,
political, educational and religious interests of that highly favored
section of the land of his adoption.
He is one of nature's noblemen and enjoys the reputation of being the
largest man in the township, standing six feet, two inches in height
and weighing 225 pounds. The high esteem in which he is held, however,
is due to the excellent qualities of character he has developed, the
good record he has made and the success he has achieved. His family
consists of three sons and three daughters.
Matilda M. (b. 1867), in 1887 married William Onken, a native of
Germany, who owns and occupies 160 acres on Sec. 25, and has a family
of four children, Henry, Maria, Elizabeth and Martha.
John F. (b. 1869), Carl F. (b. 1872), Rudolph Otto, (born 1874),
Augusta and Emma E. are at home.
STENSON, WILLIAM W. (b. 1828), who in 1865 located on
the W1/2 SE1/4 Sec. 14, is a native of Otsego Co., N. Y., where in
1851 he married Sarah M. Coller and located on a farm. In 1856 he
moved to Adams Co., Wis., and in 1865 to Pocahontas county. He
improved and occupied the homestead 28 years, and in 1893 moved to
Manson. The first postoffice in Lizard township was established at his
home in 1868. He served three years, 1875-77, as a county supervisor
of this county.
His wife died at 48 in 1876. His family consisted of three children two
of whom died in childhood. Ida, the second, in 1877 married Seymour
Ferrand, and, after a few years' residence in Calhoun county, in 1889
located on a farm on Sec. 9, Lizard township. They have one son,
William, who graduated from the Manson High School in 1898.
VAN VALKENBURG, A. H., who in 1867 secured a homestead
on Sec 36 is
still the owner and occupant of it. His sister who used to keep house
for him died a few years ago. He has filled the offices of trustee,
assessor and justice.
WAGNER, PETER, who secured a homestead on Sec. 34,
died about 1877
and his wife, who was a sister of David Miller, afterwards married A.
WALLACE, DAVID (b. 1805 d. 1885), ancestor of the
Wallace families of Lizard and Center townships was a native of
Ireland, where he married Mary Bagdad. Both he and wife were of Scotch
parentage and received their early training in the Established Church.
In 1837, after the birth of their first two children, they came to
America and located on a farm in Canada.
In March 1866 his oldest son, John W. Wallace, Henry Shields, his
brother-in-law, James Shields and James Connors came together to
township and secured homesteads of 80 acres each on Sec. 8. They came
by rail to Ackley and walked the remaining distance. Each of the first
three men named built a sod house and began the work of improving their
homesteads. Two months later David Wallace, a younger brother of John
W., arrived, secured a homestead on the same section and built another
sod house. In October 1866 David Wallace and family, which then
included three of his grand children, Mary J., Josiah W. and Francis
Osborne, arrived, began to occupy Connor's homestead and built another
sod house on the same section. These settlers on Sec. 8, were among
the number of those who had to take the lead in this county in erecting
sod houses and planting artificial groves. They experienced no
difficulty in getting sod for their houses, which were used about one
year, but as there were no tree peddlers in those days, they had to go
many miles to obtain the little trees or cuttings for the groves.
David Wallace in 1869 served as superintendent of the first Sunday
school in Lizard township. It met in the Johnson school house on Sec.
4. His wife died at 66 in 1871 and was buried in the cemetery in
Jackson township, south of Clare. In 1876 he accompanied Henry Shields
and family to the State of Washington where he died at 80 in 1885. He
was a tall, large and strong man. His family consisted of eight
Ellen in Canada married Frank Osborne, who died in 1852, leaving three
children; Mary J., Josiah W. and Frank H. She died in 1855. Their
children found a home with their grand parents and in 1866 came with
them to Lizard township. Mary became the wife of George Spragg and
in 1869 located in Cedar township and twelve years later in Nebraska.
Josiah married Ida, a sister of L. W. Moody and located at Pomeroy.
Frank went to Washington.
Thomas H, in Canada married Charlotte Carlisle and later located in Ft.
Dodge, where she died in 1881 leaving three children.
Eliza J. in Canada married Henry Shields who, in March 1866, secured a
homestead on Sec. 8, Lizard township. He improved and occupied this
homestead until 1876 when, accompanied by David Wallace, be moved
John W., Clerk of the Court, 1875-86.
David (b. 1847: d. 1894) in 1870 married Rosa Dempsey, a native of
Canada, and continued to live on the homestead in Lizard township
until 1884, when he moved to Washington where be died in 1894 leaving
four children; William, Ella, Maude and Dot.
Samuel (b. 1851), coming with his parents to Pocahontas county, in 1879
located with his brother John at Pocahontas. In 1881 he married Mary
McLarney and a few years later located at Gilmore City. His family
consists of six children.
WALSH, MICHAEL (b. 1830; d. 1900), one of the early
whom the Walsh (No. 2) school district was named, was a native of Cork
Co., Ireland. In 1852 be came to New York and the next year to Butler
Co., O., where in June 1856, he married Margaret Lully, a native of
Dublin, and located in Rock Island Co. Ill. He was not satisfied with
his prospects there, and leaving his wife with friends he started
afoot for the prairies of western Iowa and arrived in Lizard township
in October following. Here he put a pre-emption claim on 160 acres on
the NE1/4 Sec. 14 and erected a log cabin. The land was put on the
market sooner than he expected and he was then able to buy only 40
acres of the amount claimed. When it was opened for homestead entry he
secured 40 acres more and as the years passed he made other purchases
so that at the time of his decease in 1900, he owned 400 acres. His
16x18 feet is said to have been the first one covered with shingles
west of Ft. Dodge. Ten years later it was replaced by a large frame
house the shelter and comforts of which were shared with many a
wayfaring traveler passing eastward or westward on the emigrant route.
He was a good
farmer and succeeded well in his efforts to transform the wilderness
into a cultivated and fruitful field. He was a member of the Catholic
church, and a man "universally loved and respected."
His family consisted of seven children all of whom have grown up: Mary,
a teacher, Rose, Ann, Philip, Margaret, William and Thomas.
Mrs. Daniel Lane, sister of Michael Walsh, and one of the old settlers
in Lizard township, died at 72 in 1899 at Pomeroy where her husband
WIESE, JOHN (b. 1819), who in 1865 secured a homestead
on Sec. 26, was a native of Germany where be married. In May 1865,
with wife and three children, he located in Lizard township. He was a
good farmer and became quite prominent as a citizen. His wife died in
1887 and he died in 1893. Their family consisted of four children:
Henrietta after her marriage moved to Kansas; Minnie married Henry
Rawdell and in 1893 located in Minnesota; Emma married A. F. Habenicht
and lives in Webster
county; Gustave married Sophia Rawdell and lives in Washington.
WIESE, MICHAEL (b. 1821; d. 1898), owner and occupant
of the NE1/4 Sec.
3 since May 1866, was a native of Germany where in 1844 he married
Caroline Hinz and remained until 1851, when he located in Wisconsin.
Fifteen years later he located on a homestead in Lizard township;
which he improved and enlarged as the years passed to 520 acres. He
was prosperous as a farmer and very highly respected for his many
excellent qualities of character.
For many years he drove a bay horse to Manson whose instinct
seemed almost equal to man's intelligence. When commanded to stand
Mr. Wiese, no matter what the circumstances were, he would not move
until told to do so. The man and his faithful horse grew old together
and when the latter died his master said, He would not long survive
him. This prediction proved true, for he died soon afterward at 77 in
1898. His wife died at 79 in 1901. Both were members of the Lizard
His family consisted of ten children five of whom are still living.
William G., who owns a fine farm on the SW1/4 Sec. 27, in 1881 married
Caroline Siefert and has a family of five children; William, Etta,
Caroline, George and August.
Michael married Ellen Siefert and occupies the SE1/4 Sec. 33.
John E., occupies the old homestead and has a family of five children.
Frederic owns and occupies 80 acres on Sec. 28.
Etta married Adam Wassen, lives in Webster county and has a large
WESTLAKE, WILLIAM W., who secured a homestead on Sec.
28, and served as a justice, 1871-74, died a few years ago and also
his son Wallace. His daughter, Ella, a teacher, married William
Merchant; her mother also married and both have left the county. His
farm is now owned and occupied by F. Vanderhoof.
ZANTER, FERDINAND, who in 1865 located on Sec. 22, is
still a resident of the township. In August 1862 he enlisted as a
member of Co. D, 27th Ia., and spent three years as a soldier in the
civil war. His marriage to Caroline Fieldhaber in September, 1866, is
said to have been the first one in the township.
This website created September 15, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
© Iowa American History and Genealogy Project