Durst Mill

Durst Mill

 Correctionville Iowa

Woodbury County, Iowa, USA. Click here for the HOME page.




Durst Mill, Correctionville

    Godfrey Durst came from Oto to Danbury in 1882 to buy land along the Maple River for a mill. He had come from Zurich, Switzerland, in 1886 after the death of his mother. He worked in mills at various places, learning the trade of a miller. He bought land about one-half mile east of Danbury from Thomas Frentress.

    Building the dam was the big project. All of the heavy timbers used in the construction had to be cut from the banks of the Maple River, sawed, and then pulled with horses to the dam site where they were placed one on top of the other, and secured so that high water would not wash them away. The course of the river had to be changed while the dam was being built. All work was done with horses and hand work. The mill was powered by water passing through turbin water wheels. Steam power could be used it the water level dropped. Imported French burr mill stones were used for grinding the grain into flour. The mill turned about 250 bushels of grain into 50 barrels of flour a day.

    The mill was a busy place. The wagons of grain came early in the morning, waiting in a long line to weigh each load. The grain then was shoveled off the wagon, and the wagon weighed again so they would know the number of bushels there was to exchange for four. For every bushel of grain the farmer received 34 lbs of flour. The brand names of the flour made were: Harvest Queen, Golden Crown and Silver Leaf. The mill became known far and wife, and farmers came from long distances. Many had to stay overnight in one of the Danbury hotels.

    In 1899 the grinding system was changed, and the steel roller process was installed. The increased the amount of grain that could be milled in a day to 700 bushels. Mr Durst built an elevator next to his mill that held 40,000 bushels of grain, and a warehouse that held about ten carloads of flour. Flour was shipped all over the United States, Mexico, and China.

    Mark Durst and his wife, Emma, had an interesting experiences when they attended the World’s Fair in Chicago. Many foreign countries had exhibits at the fair. At the China exhibit they purchased a sugar and cream pitcher set. Their names and address were to be inscribed on the set. The Chinese lady, when she heard their names and address, asked if they were members of the Durst family that sold flour in Danbury, Iowa. They assured her that they were, and she told them that her children had learned the English alphabet from the name brand on a sack of flour she had purchased in China.

    Danbury, like many of the towns along the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad line became incorporated in 1882. The first officers elected after incorporation were Mayor, Joseph S Shoup; Trustees, William F Seibold, Dr S A McNerny, David Tangeman, Jacob Peters, Levi D Herrington, and J F Means; G Nicholas Castle, Recorder, Marshall, Levi Herrington; Street Commissioner, J H Ostrom; Treasurer, Dr S A McNerny; Justice of the Peace, William Smith.
The District Township of Liston purchased ground for a cemetery in 1880.

    In April of 1883 a fierce tornado ripped through Danbury, destroying St Patrick’s Catholic Church, and badly damaging the Danbury Public school.

    Adam Treiber, his wife, Bertha, and their small baby, Anton, were in the Jacob Welte store buying supplies when they saw the could in the west. Their home was a mile and a half south of Danbury, and they wanted to get home before the storm as they had four more children at home alone. Elizabeth was eight, Maria, was six, Charley, four, and John was two. When they arrived at their home, Bertha took the baby to the house, and she told the children to stay in the house, and she would help unhitch the horses. The storm came, the small house lifted, and started to roll toward the south. It broke apart and the three older children fell out. A part of the house landed near the creek. The rain came down in torrents. Adam and Bertha started a search for the children. They soon found the older ones, who had cuts and bruises, but the two babies could not be found. The creek was rising fast and a section of the house was about to be washed down stream, but it was held back by a fallen tree. Hearing cries, they found the feather bed rolled up between two studs of the house, and in the feather bed were the two babies.


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Woodbury County Coordinator

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