December 4, 1879
Glimpses At Its Past and a View of It To-Day.
When the glorious land surrounding the now most prosperous and best known
city of the Northwest was the habitation of the free bird of the wilderness;
when the graceful section of the deer and the nobility of nature were
implanted in reverential thought by the hunter and the scout; when the trail
of the Indian or the path to the river by the beast of prey was the only
evidence of life, than a few, but brave pioneers from eastern lands, fought
their way by dire disadvantage through this section. Not far from Sioux City
the greater number settled. Yet scattering huts showed smoke at a distance
until 1862, when came words of fear and stirring relation. The Indian, with
all the fierceness of power, was placing Minnesota settlers to cruelty,
ending in death and their bones and homes in ashes. Although hundreds of
miles away, the alarm caused a stampede and Sioux City became the shelter
against an invading foe who never arrived. It was four years thereafter when
this immediate vicinity gained its pioneer, viz: Captain B. F. Betsworth. He
erected a log cabin about forty rods from where Gehlen’s flouring mills now
echo civilized power. He brought with him Mrs. Betsworth and ten boys and
four girls of the family had reason to believe in their captain father’s
choice of land. He also erected the first frame building, now owned by Mr.
Gibbs, which was removed from its original site in a grove near the mills
Another frame dwelling went rapidly to household strength, and became
inhabited by I. P. Ladd and family. Amos Marvin also arrived the same year
(1866) and Ladd and Marvin are now regarded citizens of Woodbury county.
Squire Rubel and the Taylor family added strength to the settlement in 1867,
preceded in 1866 by Betsworth, McCurdy and Black, who greeted them with true
The settlement grew space, and the true showing of Christian feeling was
exhibited in action. All knew each other—implicit confidence reigned
supreme. Love was known without the Eden serpent. To ask was to receive. The
sorrow of one family became a grief to all, and the joy of one was gladness
to the other. A great joy was given to the settlement in June, 1867. A child
was born. Matrons were in glee, and the infant was baptized John by all the
mothers vocabulary of endearment, and he became more than a nine days’
wonder. He was the first born of Mr. and Mrs. John H. Betsworth.
Grief reigned, however, shortly thereafter upon the decease of one of the
most reserved of ladies, Mrs. Taylor. All were mourners, and the interment
was a portrayal of pioneer heart feeling, and the softened foot steps and
hushed voices were home accompaniments, till as all events wear themselves
against the sands of time. The county settlers then heard that a marriage
was afoot, and sure it proved to be. A loving couple from Sioux county, with
more love than discretion, bid defiance to parentage and came here to be
united holily. The first young people who, from LeMars vicinity, became one,
were Andrew Black to Jane McCurdy, with Squire Kramer as officiating
justice, who resided seventeen miles south of this city. Then there was a
During 1867, one of the most enjoyable times Plymouth county ever had was
held on the banks of the Floyd river, in celebration of the 4th of July. The
harvest came and 25 bushels of wheat, 75 bushels of corn and potatoes
galore, were nothing to brag of. The first hall meeting for political
purposes occurred the same year in a frame building, where the postoffice
now stands. The meeting was conducted in order, and appointed delegates to
the Republican State Convention.
The first court excitement was neighborhood gossip. Several of the Hibernian
settlers talked dog, and a dog was shot, which caused a week’s trial before
the first justice of the peace, Squire John H. Betsworth.
The settlement desired church services according to denominational thought,
and the Roman Catholic Church became erected in 1876.