Union Township Cemetery Folklore


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Union Township Cemetery Folklore

By Beth Annis Freese
The Union Cemetery was started as a private cemetery by my grandfather, Albert Bush Frink, who wished to be buried on his own farm. He died December 16, 1891 and was buried, according to his wishes, in the area designated. My grandmother was soon informed that this could not be, and so she sold the ground to Union Township for a cemetery.

However, the deed for out family lot was dated September 5, 1896. In the same month four others were recorded and one of those was to Charles Gutzell, who was one member of the Nomadic Tribe. Frank Jenkinson often told that he had to go help make out the lot “for a man with a long, flowing beard”. His fee for the service was 25 cents – which, by the way, he never received.

February 20, 1912, another lot was sold to Charles Gutzell. There is no other record of sale, but the cemetery plot shows a lot purchased by H. and E. Jeffrey. About this time all the lots purchased by the Gutzells and Jeffreys were enclosed with a cement base and a foot or so higher cement railing. There was a small ornated gate as an entrance into the lots.

This story, which has piqued the interest of Iowans for many years, had its beginnings back in 1896 when Alanzo Gutzell, a young man in a wandering, dark-skinned group of travelers, died of tuberculosis in Union Township, three miles north and one and one-fourth miles east of Algona, just east of the entrance to the Norton farm now rented by the Melvin Alts.

The Gutzell group generally camped about a mile south of the Norton place near a stream in the woods on the Frank Thompson place. This would be a few rods south of the D.A.R. marker for Gopher College. They probably camped there that night, but when they realized the boy was dying, moved him to a clump of willows east of the Norton place because of the superstition they may have had about death occurring at their usual camping ground.

All night they carried on in their weird ceremonial customs – yelling, moaning, singing and dancing, to which was added the constant barking of dogs – and all to the great discomfort and annoyance of those living in the neighborhood.

It was my father who heard the weird cries as the boy was dying. We lived approximately two and a half miles west and a mile and a half north from the place were Alanzo was, so my father did not hear the voices.

In the morning the wagons made ready to move on, leaving the body of Alanzo on a mattress in the road. It was Frank Riebhoff, who lived just south of the Norton place, and not my father, who stopped the lead wagons and tried to make the drivers understand that Alanzo must be buried. However, the law enforcement agencies from Algona had to be called out before the people would do a thing.

The “Old Queen”, as we always called her, claimed they were Catholics, but the priest refused to allow burial in their cemetery, mainly on the grounds that Alanzo was not given last rites. Just why they chose to purchase a lot in the Union Township Cemetery is not entirely clear, unless it was that the lot was much cheaper and in a remote place.

And so in August 1896, Alanzo was buried in the Union Township Cemetery. However, it was some years later before the usual monument appeared to mark his resting place.

The GUTZELLS continued their semi-annual visits to the cemetery on their trips north in the spring and back south in the fall. On some of these spring trips they set out flowers. One Mrs. Henry Tjaden recalls five small tubs of pansies were placed just outside the fence for the five graves.

The children of Frank Riebhoff recall their father telling in the early days of these visits to the cemetery by the Gutzells. They would camp at their usual places in the Frank Thompson woods. Early in the morning some of the Riebhoffs would see a few of the buggies or wagons go by, the ladies in their best and all seated seriously.

On these trips some remained at the camp and no dogs were allowed to accompany any of the wagons. In the late afternoon they would return – and the Riebhoff family would remark, “Well, they have been over to visit the graves today.” There was always a quiet seriousness about the ones who made these trips. During their ten-day camping period they often made a couple trips to the cemetery.

In July 1911, Oliver, a brother of Alanzo, was brought back for burial. This was when the second lot was purchased in the name of Charles Gutzell, the fence was added, and perhaps another tree or two set out.

Soon the “Old Queen” died, and with her passing the number who came back each year grew less.

On October 1, 1912, Albert Jeffrey, the 10-year-old son of H. and E. Jeffrey, and a grandson of the “Old Queen”, was buried in the family lot. The late Rev. A.H. Wood, then pastor of Good Hope Church, had charge of services.

Each fall Mr. Jeffrey would bring a box containing a hair wreath to be stored at tour house during the winter months. In the spring he would call for it, and again it would be placed among the stones and shells which had been some of the playthings of little Albert.

Once or twice we accompanied father to the cemetery to visit the Jeffreys, but I can’t recall that Mrs. Jeffrey and the little girl ever said much. The little girl was about our age and except for her very dark skin and the fact that her skirts were longer than ours, she was much like us.

There was a fifth grave, which may have been a child killed by a man grading the road. Since there is no one living that was an eyewitness, the name of the supervisor must be omitted, as there are descendants who could be sued. The story is the children began to swarm over the machine and so the driver stopped. The children wouldn’t get off. When the driver started up the horses, a child was thrown before the grader and killed.

On Sunday, March 11, 1923, a sensational prize-winning story written by an Algona girl appeared in the Des Moines Register. It was well-illustrated and a couple of photographs were also used. Soon the Jeffreys returned, very highly-incensed, and took strong exception to the story, claiming they were not and never had been gypsies.

The author was supposed to have contacted the postmaster in the town where the Jeffrey’s little daughter was reported to have been in school, in order to verify her story and the things she quoted as facts.

It must have been at this time that the Jeffreys went to the W.C. Nelson home, south of District 5 school, as Mr. Nelson was then township clerk. Mrs. Nelson does not recall what the men discussed, but probably he came to Mr. Nelson to protect the story. Mrs. Jeffrey, who did come to the house, was dressed much as any neighbor might be. She was, however, extremely angry and kept repeating, “She called my Mother an old Gypsy Queen and she wasn’t”.

One day my father noticed that a great flock of crows kept hovering over the cemetery, so he went to investigate. He thought a lamb might have been killed, or some animal caught in the fence. It was then he discovered the open graves. The markers, shells, and stones were all gone.

He inquired of all the neighbors, but no one had seen or heard a thing. Unfortunately neither my father, or anyone else jotted down the date. Since the story appeared in March 1923, and my father died in November 1926, it had to be in the years between those two dates.

In the spring of 1924 or 1925, Mrs. Henry Tjaden recalls seeing marks of many heavy trucks when she went to the cemetery shortly before Memorial Day to take care of her parents’ graves. She said either side of the cement rails were down but the gate was standing and shut. She wondered if there was a superstition connected with the closed gate.

Many interesting stories were told about the “Old Queen”, but probably the most amazing one centered around a call at the Bob Vincent home, the place just south of the cemetery now owned by Fred Kent. She went into the yard to beg, and needless to comment, she was very proficient in the art. When she saw Ora Vincent, who was a cripple sitting in a wheelchair, she gave her 25 cents and left not to return for many years. When she finally did return she rushed up to Mrs. Vincent and greeted her warmly, jabbering in a strange language. It would have been worth a great deal to see the look on Mrs. Vincent’s face when this happened.

One time the “Old Queen” went to Charlie Cook’s home, our neighbor to the north, just as Mrs. Cook was getting supper on the table for her family of six. On seeing a platter of meat the “Old Queen” asked for a piece. That story ended by one piece of meat being left on the platter for the Cook family. It was also from Mrs. Cook that she begged all the ingredients, one at a time, to make biscuits. She began by asking for salt, when she got that she’d ask for another until she had it all.

Our only experience, which might have been unpleasant but wasn’t, was one very dry fall when they brought their big drove of horses in, to water at our stock tank. My father had to insist that they go to the stream north of us as he was afraid our well would go dry. However, it was not long before the horses were replaced by fine automobiles as the means of transportation.

I have tried to contact the Jeffreys family but so far all has been in vain. I have written to postmasters in towns in Minnesota which they have mentioned as having lived in, but the replies all convey the thought that the writer is an “Old Timer”, he never heard of them.

I have visited towns to the north where the Gutzells and Jeffreys were known to have camped, but without finding the desired information. A mortuary that was supposed to have prepared one of the bodies for burial lost all its records in a fire and so could not verify what I had been told.

If a re-burial permit could be found, that would establish what the State Historical Society needs to know, but so far none has been reported. It is, of course, possible that the bodies were placed in some wooded area known only to the descendants of the family.

Time may yet be able to tell whether this is to be written as history or folklore, but whichever it becomes it still remains one of the interesting stories of Kossuth County, and especially Union Township.

Interesting as it is, people must remember this one thought – that the Union Township Cemetery is not and never has been a “gypsy” cemetery just because five bodies were there for a few years. It is an unfortunate connotation, which must be forgotten instead of publicized.

Just because they did purchase lots in the Union Township Cemetery did not make it a “gypsy cemetery” anymore than the purchase of a few lots in any city cemetery anywhere in the state would give people the right to call it a gypsy cemetery instead of its original name.

The trees have grown tall with the passing years, but they and the uneven ground enclosed by the original railing and the closed gate are all that are left to bear mute testimony to the story of the Gutzell and Jeffrey families, who claimed not to be gypsies, but did once roam this area.

(This article originally appeared in the Kossuth County Advance, July 27, 1962, and was reprinted in the Advance, June 25, 1979 and again The Algona Upper Des Moines, July 8, 2004)


   In the center of the east side of the Union cemetery there is a concrete fenced in area where it is told of a “Gypsy” family buried there.  They were found in the Emmetsburg Cemetery two years ago by a person doing research.  I believe the story is true about them being moved because the family insisted they were not “Gypsies” because the dates found in the Emmetsburg burial records coincide with published stories and “hearsay”.  The headstones located in Emmetsburg are the same ones pictured in a Des Moines Register story about the families and their removal from Union Township Cemetery.   The area was “probed” by a local funeral director employee and no remains were located. Submitted by Ron Dodds (8-30-2011) Union Twp Sexton

At the End of the Gypsy Trail
by Gladys Tribon

(using her sister’s name Ruth Tribon)

Excerpts from the Des Moines Register on March 11, 1923

Beginning in 1896, a caravan of nomadic travelers (often called gypsies) would camp near a stream in the woods north of Algona. This site would be north of the current River Road Golf Course and south of the D.A.R. marker for Gopher College. A member of this wandering band, a young boy by the name of Alanzo Gutzell, was dying. Based on superstition that gypsies had about death occurring at their usual camp grounds, the young boy’s body was moved to a site one half mile north of the Frank Riebhoff farm. All night the nomadic group carried on in a ceremonial custom of singing, moaning, yelling and dancing. In the morning their wagons made ready to move on, leaving the body of Alanzo on a mattress on the ground. Frank Riebhoff stopped the wagons and made the group understand that by Iowa law, Alanzo must be buried. A lot was purchased in the Union Township Cemetery in August of 1896. Alanzo Gutzell was buried in the western portion of Union Township Cemetery. The Gutzell family would visit the grave twice a year on their semi-annual visits to Algona in the spring and fall.

In July 1911, a brother of Alanzo (his name was Oliver) was brought to the cemetery and buried next to his brother. A short time later, the mother of the boys died and she was buried next to her sons.
On October 1, 1912, Albert Jeffrey, the 10 year old grandson of Mrs. Gutzell was buried in the Union Township Cemetery. A fifth grave came later when a child of the nomadic group was killed in the area by a man grading the road.

Algona Upper Des Moines – Wednesday, April 17, 1929:

Gypsies Pass Through The City Monday.

Ten automobiles loaded with gypsies landed in Algona Monday. They were met at the gates of the city by Officers Newville and Green and escorted through the city with an invitation not to return. They were west ward bound and most of the cars were Cadillacs. It was estimated that nearly a hundred men, women and children were in the cars, some of which bore New York and Illinois number plates.

Early Settlers of Union Township
Early History – as written by Mrs. Floyd R. (Ethel) Gardner in May of 1954
Union was a part of Algona township. Then in October 1869 a colony from Darien, Wisconsin came to Fenton and being ambitious for distinction succeeded in having a part set off with the name Darien. This was Fenton, Lotts Creek, Burt and Union townships. That was annulled in September 1870. Then the Farmer township was established in June 1882 which was Burt and a mile and half of the north part of Union, but in September that was blotted out of existence. Union was created in February 1883 and a mile and half of Cresco was added except the city Algona. In January 1884 Union was established as it is now with first election at the Frink schoolhouse on the Frink place in the SW ¼ of section 10. The judges were William Fletcher Hofius, (1830-1909) William T. Bourne (1837-1923) and Morris B. Chapin (1841-1908).

D.E. Stine and William Ingham (1827-1914) came in November 1854. Mr. Stine took a claim on what is now the C.S. (Jim) Shipler place, which was the E ¾ of section 24. The men returned to Cedar Rapids. Mrs. Stine refused to come here so he transferred his claim to Mr. Ingham who returned with A.L. Seeley as a companion in January 1855. They built the first cabin in Union, which was a few rods south of the permanent home. Mr. Ingham named the creek the “Black Cat” after a creek in New York where he formerly lived. Mr. Ingham and Mr. Seeley stayed there the winter of 1855-1856. The next summer two men, Charles E. Putman and Thos. C. Covel, from Cedar Rapids joined them. They had no neighbors west of the river.

May 2, 1855 August Zahlten (1817-1912) came to Algona from Humboldt and worked for Judge Call in Algona. In the fall he bought a claim of 160 acres, the NE ¼ of section 36, from Mr. Gates. It’s now known as the Dickinson place. (2003 – Gilbert Buscher) Swan Peterson lived there before him. He sold a year later to James Roan (1816-1886) and then he bought south of there from Mr. Graw. This became the permanent home and his grandson, August Slagle (1884-1973) now owns the place. Mr. Zahlten married Margaret Riebhoff (1837-1903) daughter of Michael Riebhoff (1806-1898, he fathered 20 children).

June 4, 1956 Horace Schenck (1822-1894) took a small claim on the SE ¼ of section 23. (2003 – Ken O’Leary lives there, the land is owned by Schenck Heirs) In 1864 he joined the second calvary. Mrs. (Elizabeth Orvis) Schenck (1818-1889) was given great credit for her sacrifices for the soldiers and ranked second in the presentation of the prize flag presented to the Sanitary Fair at Dubuque in the summer of 1864. In March 1868 the two story log house was destroyed by fire, burning two little boys, Alfred and James, eight and six. The lilacs, at the home place west of the permanent house, is where they were burned. Three generations have worked the place. Alfred Schenck (1897-1979) owns the place now.

W.B. Moore (1804-1870) came a little later than Mr. Schenck and bought the quarter on which Mr. Ingham had built the cabin on SE ¼ of Section 24. (2003 – Brian Murphy owns the land) His brother Robert Moore purchased the SW ¼ of section 24 (2003 – Melvin Alt owns the land) where Thompson lived, later Michael Riebhoff bought part of NE ¾ of section 24 where his son Frank lived for years and now is owned by Dr. L.R. Potter (1890-1969). Mr. Riebhoff was married twice, had six children by his first wife and fourteen by the second wife. With the coming of Mr. Riebhoff, the Moores and Mr. Schenck this made four neighbors on the west side of the river.

Joseph Thompson (1831-1901) first settled east of town. He came to Kossuth in 1856. He went to Idaho for four years in the gold rush then returned, living on the place east of town for one year, selling, and buying the Robert Moore place and making it a permanent home until his death. There have been three generations working the place.

In June 1855 Edward Putnam took a claim. The NE ¼ of NW ¼ of section 14, (2003–Victor Garman owns the land) the old F.M. Taylor (1840-1915) place, now owned by the Western Buyers. In 1856 he sold to a Rev. McComb (1817-1888) a Presbyterian Missionary.

In 1856 John James settled on the SW ¼ of section 13, (2003 – Michael Elbert owns the land) later the Thomas Sarchett and now Walter Rich (1917-1973) place. Alpheus Lawrence settled on the west half of SW ¼ of section 11 (2003 – Victor Garman owns the land) which is now the Vic Garman place back of the old Sarchett place, and on time the W.T. Taylor place.

Jonathan Callender came about the same time, 1856 and took two claims on being on section 14 around the Brophey territory. He was the first teacher aa “Gopher College” just below Riebhoff place in section 24.

John Love claimed the SW ¼ of section 10 (2003 – Scott and Jean Rath own the land) and had his cabin in section 9 on the creek. This later was the A.B. Frink place. Mr. Frink (1822-1891) came in 1868 and bought several acres of land. He married Bethsheba Wagner (1835-1922) after losing his first wife (Mary J. 1882-1856) and one child. Mrs. Frink was one of the organizers of the Mothers’ Club. Later the daughter Kate (1864-1962) and husband Will Annis (1857-1926) took over the place. This is now the Glen Jenkinson place. A plot of land on the Frink place was sold to the township for a cemetery in 1893.

(Union Township Cemetery is located in section 10, the SE ½ of the SW ¼ )

At one time Samuel Reed of Irvington had the title to some land in section 10 which he gave to his three sons. John had the W ½ of the NE ¼ but lived on the east half, (2003 – Shey owns the land) which was a part of the Tjaden place later. Albert had the N ¼ of the SE ¼ which is a part of the Casler place. Black now lives there. South of Mr. Reed, the Butterfields and Dave Wade had homes. Ben Reed the third son had the E ½ of NW ¼ which is now owned by W.H. Reidel.

In 1857 M.D. Blanchard located on the NE ¼ of section 26. He was county superintendent of schools and treasurer for the county at one time. His son-in-law, Andrew Barr (1857-1907) owned the place later, now it is owned by Louis Nitchal. Mr. Barr married Elizabeth Blanchard.

In 1858 Eli Ferris claimed the SE ¼ of section 14 (2003 – Elmer Alt owns the land) which is the Herman Dau place owned by son Clarence Dau (1895-1962) and Joe Miller lives there. Ferris and Jonathon Callender batched together while holding claims. One time the other neighbors were away and they had to fight fire for two days and nights.

Elias Weaver (1834-1913) took a claim in June 1858 which is a short 30 acres in the middle of the S ½ of section 36. This was the father of Mart P. Weaver (1872-1959) of Algona. He sold to H.F. Watson (1829-1914), then the Calls and Lars Jensen bought from the estate in 1888. Mr. Jensen later had his name changed to Lars Johnson (1836-1910). The place was put up for taxes in 1889. There have been four generations on this place.

In 1859 W. Fletcher Hofius (1830-1909) took a claim on the NW ¼ of section 25 (2003 – Hoover owns the land) and lived there during the summer. During the Indian scare in 1862 they lived with Joseph Thompson east of town. Mrs. Hofius was Joseph Thompson’s sister. Later he moved to his claim and stayed there until his death. His three sons, Charley, Jim and George (1865-1915), lived on the place at various times. Some say there was a brewery on the east end of the place next to the river on what was later called the Swanson bayou.

E.P. Schaad lived on the NE ¼ of section 35 which was known as the J.B. Hofius place and now the Wm Kuhn (1900-1985) place. Joseph Zanke came in 1870 on the first Milwaukee train into Algona with Theo Chrischilles and Mr. Stebbins. Mr. Zanke bouth the place from Mr. Schaad. The home was located about half way between the two roads. This is where Joe N. and Mamie Zanke were born. Mr. Zanke was a miller by trade and worked at the old mill on the river north of Algona. Later Mr. Zanke sold this place and bought the NE ¼ of section 34 (2003 – Harold Hunt owns the land) where Peter Erpelding lives now.

Mamie Zanke married Jacob Winkel and lived on the NE ¼ of section 33, (2003–Dean Dodds owns the land) across the road from her folks. Mrs. Winkel’s daughter, Mrs. William (Frances) Dodds and her husband (William “Bill” 1914-2006) now own the place.

Pat McClarney built a shanty on section 2 in 1857. M.W. Thayer claimed a part of section 36 just north of Algona. He joined the army and later lost his life.

Immigration nearly ceased from 1859 to 1864 on account of the war.

In 1864 Uriah Health located on the SE ¼ of section 31, (2003 – Ronald Frideres owns the land) which is a part of Ed Rich’s place. A son-in-law of Mr. Health settled on the ¼ west of him. The Health place became the home of A.D. White and owned by Agnes Gilbert (1833-1902), sister of Thomas Gilbert of Plum Creek and now known as the Sabin place.

Judson Chapin came in 1864 located on SE ¼ of section 29 (2003-Johnson owns the land) where Walter Heerdt now lives and the land is still held by the Geilenfield estate. Chapin’s son Morris (1841-1908) lived on the NE ¼ of section 29 (2003-Loren Johnson owns the land) owned by Herman Hauberg (1878-1965). Morris was on of the judges that helped to organize Union township.

Arthur Gilmore was on the SE ¼ of section 17, where Harvey Reid now lives. The land is owned by his mother, Mrs. John (Ida) Reid (1880-1973). (2003-Ida Reid still owns the land)

Israel Schryver (1819-1901) in 1864 settled on the E ½ of the SW ¼ of section 11. Vic Garman owns the place now. (2003-Kenneth Garman owns the land) This was also the Presley Sarchett (1858-1946) place, Mr. Sarchett had married Minnie Schryver. Presley had formally lived on other parts of section 11.

Albert Wheeler came and settled on the NE ¼ of section 12 in 1864. This is now the Reiken place. John Brown built the first sod house for Wheeler and then he located in Burt township.

In 1865 several settlers came with families. Tom Burt and Tom McArthur (1829-1922) camped near the Blackford bridge before they located their homesteads. The Burts chose the NE ¼ of section 18 and McArthur were on the adjoining ¼ west, the NW ¼. (2003-Jerry McArthur owns the land) They were brother-in-laws. They camped in wagons while building homes and working the soil. That winter McArthur was caught in a blizzard and froze his feet so that he lost eight of his toes. The Burt place is owned by Clarence Riebhoff (1900-1963) and the McArthur place by his grandson, Durwood McArthur (1912-2000) and granddaughter, Mrs. Wm (Lillian) Broederson.

David Pollard (1816-1880) settled on the SW ¼ of section 1 (2003-Bradley owns the land) where the schoolhouse was later but it has now been removed.

In 1866 Norman Hartwell and Peter Martin (1831-1874) proceeded to make their home in section 8. Mr. Hartwell took the N ½ of NE ¼ of section 8 (2003-Marvin Hackbarth owns the land) which is now the Ed Hackbarth place. Peter Martin the N ½ of SW ¼ (2003-Laura Kent owns the land) which is now the daughter’s Mrs. W.A. (Sadie) Knoll (1881-1957) and where the granddaughter, Mrs. Arthur (Minnie) Baker (1907-1991) lives.

(2003-40 acres remain in a Baker Trust)

In 1866 Perry Ward Stow (1814-1879) located on a timber lot south of the Riebhoff place on top of the hill near the “Gopher College” in section 24. A son, Hamilton Stow had a broom factory across the road. C.P. Stow (1848-1925) another son know as “Comp” lived on the Carroll place which was the N ½ of the NE ¼ of section 13 (2003-Jame Merryman owns the land) until 1884 when he moved to Burt. His daughter, Mrs. Charley Phelps (Mary Agnes Stow 1875-1960) is still living.

In the same year, 1866, Widow Burgess and her father settled north of the Albert Wheeler place on S ½ of SE ¼ of section 1, (2003-Walter Campney owns the land) which is now the Herald Campney place. It was one time the Thomas Godden place.

William Pollard lived on the NE ¼ section 2 across from Floyd Bacon. Later Mr. Knight located on the Pollard place.

J. Wheeler (1860-1922), son of Albert Wheeler (1829-1925), located on the SE ¼ of section 2 (2003-Lindhorst owns the land) which Quinton Bjustrom now owns. Myndret Gordner lived there at one time before moving away. He married Ann Moore, daughter of W.B. Moore (1804-1870).

N.C. Kuhn (1831-1916) had a farm in the location of section 2 but did not settle on it for several years. He later located on a part of section 35 (2003-Clara Keith owns the land) on what is now Sue Keith’s place. N.C. Kuhn is Wm Kuhn’s grandfather.

In 1867 Dr. W.T. Bourne (1837-1923) located on the SE ¼ of section 6 (2003-Rath & Heifner own the land) where the schoolhouse was located but the school has now been discontinued. He later sold this place to Ed Donovan (1849-1933) and bought the W ½ of section 5. (2003-Opal Bourne owns the land) He was Dr. Melvin Bourne’s grandfather.

Horace Wheeler (1840-1896) located on the NW ¼ of section 8. With Peter Martin (1831-1874) south of him on the N ½ of SE ¼ of section 8 and Joseph Martin in a cave on W ½ of SE ¼ of section 6 (2003-Marjorie Rath owns the land) and W.T. Bourne on the E ½ of the SE ¼ of section 6 (2003-Marilyn Heifner owns the land) and a southern man by the name of “Devil” King on N ½ of SE ¼ of section 8. (2003-James Dodds owns the land) This made quite a few neighbors.

In 1869 Fred Pompe (1846-1922) located on the W ½ of section 20 (2003-McEnroe owns the land) which now is owned by Mr. Bickert. E.A. Spear (1825-1910), a grandfather of Bertha Sarchett, worked the S ½ of the SE ¼ of section 35 which is now owned by Mark Elmore. Mr. Spear lived in Algona at the time. George Simpkins lived on the NE ¼ of section 3, (2003-Michael Scott owns the land) now owned by Delos Gardner (1883-1954). The Simpkin’s were the parents of Mrs. Hugh (Nettie) Herman (1872-1946), Fred Koepke (1834-1924) lived on the NW ¼ of section 3. (2003-Ferstl owns the land) The daughter Mrs. Doege now owns the place and the granddaughter, Mrs. Clarence (Eunice) Reibhoff (1905-2003), lives there.

John Koepke (1837-1921) lived on the N ½ of the NE ¼ of section 2, where the daughter, Mrs. Anna Marlow and son live. Ed Donovan (1849-1933) lived on the W ½ of the SW ¼ of section 6, (2003-Doris (Wagner) Holst owns the land) where Mr. Woods recently lived. Later he bought the south half of section 6 and gave it to his three sons. Mr. Donovan was the first secretary of Good Hope Church.

James McMahon located south of the church on the S ½ of the NE ¼ of section 8. Later his son Hugh lived there and William “Bill” another son lived across the road on the N ¾ of the NW ¼ of section 9, (2003-Marvin Broesder owns the land) which Fred Plumb (1893-1985) now owns.

S.D. Patterson (1841-1920) lived on the S ½ of the SW ¼ of section 9 (2003-Dennis Swanson owns the land) where Henry Steinman (1869-1922 lived at one time but now is where Walter Weisbrod farms. Patterson sold out and moved to Algona and went into the grocery business.

Ed Patterson (1868-1905), son of S.D. Patterson (1841-1920) lived on the N ½ of the SW ¼ of section 9 (2003-Marvin Broesder owns the land) on the Ed Broesder estate where William Broesder lives.

John McDonald (1846-1882) settled on the S ½ of the SW ¼ of section 8. (2003-40 acres is still owned by Baker Trust) It was later owned by William Dodds but now is Arthur Bakers (1903-1984). John McDonald (1846-1882) married a McArthur girl. Alex McDonald, a brother of John’s lived west on the SE ¼ of section 7 (2003-Joe King owns the land) on the place from which Floyd Long just moved.

Thomas Hanna (1838-1912) bought the N ½ of section 6 (2003-Still owned by Robert, Dorothy, Phyllis Hanna) but had more land across the road that was in Burt township and where the house was located. There have been three generation working the land. A daughter of Mr. Hanna is still living, Mrs. Sadie Schenck (1866-1954). (2010Gene Hanna’s Robert’s son is farming the land)

In 1875 Rochus Hartman settled on the N ½ of the NE ¼ of section 17. (2003-Delores (Dodds) Thilges owns the land) Pinkeny Ward (1877-1925) bought the place in about 1884. It is now the Homer Dodds place, but farmed by his son, Robert (1885-1918).

Joe Osterbauer settled in the NE ¼ of section 7. (2003-Shey owns the land) Matt Osterbauer in the NW ¼ of section 7. (2003-Darlene Bollinger owns the land) He was Mrs. Ann Fleshner’s father.

Christian Dau (1834-1903) came in 1876 settled on the NE ¼ of section 23 on what is now the Scholte place and where Carol Willrett lives. Mr. Dau’s son Herman (1867-1946) lived north of his father on the SE ¼ of section 14 and this is now owned by his son Clarence Dau and where Joe Miller lives. Another son Max was on the N ½ of the SE ¼ of the NE ¼ of section 14 which is owned by Brophy. August Dau (1864-1921), another son, lived on the NW ¼ of section 13 (2003-Priebe owns the land) now the DeGraw estate.

Conrad Herman owned the SW ¼ of section 15 (2003-Angeline Dearchs owns the land) which is now the Henry Dearchs (1882-1959) place. Hugh, a son lived across the road on the NW ¼ of section 22 and Ernest, another son, was on the NE ¼ of section 22 and John had the E ½ of the SW ¼ and W ½ of the SE ¼ of section 21, which is now the George Kohl place.

About 1876 four Salisbury brothers came from Wisconsin. Marion came first and settled in a log house on the NW ¼ and ¾ of the NE ¼ of section 15. This is the Harry Bates (1877-1955) place on which the son Earl (1901-1956) lives. Later Marion Salisbury moved across the road on the SE ¼ of section 9. Then John (1828-1889), the older brother, moved on the place Marion vacated. He died shortly before the family moved to the SE ¼ of section 4 in 1889. In 1890 the sons, Grant (1865-1928) and Linn bought the NE ¼ of section 11 (2003-Donald Lickteig owns the land) from Bill Strickler. This is now the Frank Hofuis place. In 1897 Grant (1865-1928) married Lizzie Reid (1873-1955) daughter of Henry Reid (1848-1926). He soon bought out Linn. The brothers, Marsh and Earl lived around various places but soon left for Oregon with Marion. The mother died in 1904.

Others coming later were G.L. Carroll (1854-1938) on the E ½ of the NE ¼ of section 13. This is now the daughter, Helen Vogel’s place, where Mr. Wiggins lives. Wm Dodds came in 1885 located on the SE ¼ of section 8, (2003-James Dodds owns the land and lives there) There has been four generations living on the place. (1954)

John Cook settled on the S ½ of section 17, where Thomas C. Covel lived before. Mr. Cook was better known as “Cap” Cook. He was the father of Mrs. Melvin Dutton, and Russell Cook (1827-1894). Elliot Cook moved in 1889 on the W ½ of the NW ¼ of section 10 where Mr. Angle now lives. Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Cook were the parents of Mrs. Tom (Cora) Reid.

S. H. McNutt (1854-1938) lived on the W ½ of the NW ¼ of section 35.

(2003-Dirk Hoover owns the land)

H.H. Turnbaugh (1840-1918) was on the NW ¼ of section 28 (2003-Mary Weydert owns the land) where Matt Weydert now lives. He was Myrtle Turnbaugh’s father.

Robert Leason (1858-1937) owned the NW ¾ of section 11 and which is still owned by his wife Anna (1866-1955).

Clark Peck (1843-1927) had the SW ¼ of section 18 (2003-McEnroe owns the land) where the son Harvey (1881-1967) lived for sometime but the land is now owned by his son, Bert (1869-1955), and Mr. McEnroe.

Stephen Tjaden (1840-1914) located on NE ¼ of section 10.

August Doering was on the NE ¼ of section 7 on what is now the Jessie Turner Reid (1897-1980) place and where Arden Hovey lives.

(2003-Maurine Hovey owns land in Section 7 SW ¼ )

W.T. Taylor (1844-1907), better known as Trac, lived on the W ½ of SW ¼ section 11. (2003-Vic Garman owns the land)

D.D. Kenyon had the SE ¼ of section 34 that Harold Hunt owns now.

(2003-Harold Hunt owns land in section 34 the NE ¼)

W.H. Bailey (1856-1900), father of Chester, bought the W ½ of the NE ¼ of the SE ¼ in 1885. This place now belongs to W.C. Taylor (1873-1955) of Algona.

C.E. Walker (1853-1937), a cripple, lived on the Judson Chapin place, the SE ¼ of section 29. This is where Walter Heerdt now lives and is the Geilenfeld estate.

C.D. Ward (1858-1936) bought the E ½ of the NE ¼ and ¾ of SE ¼ . The north part was bought in 1884. Mr. Ward married Fannie Schenck (1862-1930) in 1887 and moved to Plum Creek for a few years. Then he bought the rest of the place with a house and moved there. His daughter Ethel Gardner owns the place. The south part was once owned by Chauncey Taylor and Frank Jenkinson (1857-1935) lived there after his first wife died leaving his with a small boy. He later married Kate Palmer (1856-1934) and the three older children were born there. After a time he bought ¾ of the SE ¼ of section 27 where Richard Leigh now owns.

George Taylor (1836-1863), son of Chauncey Taylor (1805-1876), bought the NE ¼ of section 36 which Frank Harrison (1825-1918) bought later. Mr. Harrison built the first frame hotel in Algona. W., the son took over the place and it is now owned by Mr. Pugsley.

Henry Reid (1848-1926) came to Union township in 1887 and located on the SE ¼ of section 16 (2003-Fred Freese owns the land) after he had taken claim in Burt township. The granddaughter, Mrs. Raymond (Dorothy) Vigdal lives on the place.

Gevert Keuck bought the NW ¼ of section 5 (2003-Opal Bourne owns the land) from the railroad company about 1879 and the son Henry lives there. A cheese factory had been on the place before he moved there.

James Hutchinson lived on the SW ¼ of section 4, (2003-Howard Hoenck owns the land) which later was the son David’s place. Mrs. Robert (Mary) Sarchett (1895-1981) was the granddaughter. The place is now owned by Dr. Lichter of Burt.

B.F. Sroufe (1855-1942) lived on the W ½ of section 12, now the Western Buyers property.

Charles Bishop (1906-1933) owned the E ¾ of section 13, which is now the F.S. Norton (1865-1931) estate and farmed by Melvin Alt.

W.B. Carey (1819-1903), who lived in Plum Creek, owned about ½ of section 25, which he bought from Frank Jarbek in 1877. M.C. Carey was the father of Bertha Carey Gilbert one time county superintendent.

Charley Anderson lived on the S ½ of the SW ¼ of section 25, Carriers, McFadden, Krieps and now Herald Mosher have lived there.

Juluis Mittag (1849-1909) owned the E ½ of the NE ¼ of section 21, which was later purchased by McEnroe.

Milton J. Moore bought the W ½ of section 20 (2003-McEnroe owns the land) in 1902. He did not move on to the place the first year as he could not get possession until a year later. He reared and educated his eleven boys and one girl on this farm. He was supervisor of this district.

W.A. Taft owned the NW ¼ of section 2 later James Hanson, father of Mrs. Lloyd (Luella E.) Schenck (1896-1968) lived there. It is now owned by Floyd Bacon.

J.F. Schoby (1866-1915) bought the SW ¼ of section 34 in 1902 which is now owned by Robert Loss.

(2003-Owners of the land, Alice Loss 60 acres & Joe Garman 70 acres)

John Ricker (1848-1893) came to Kossuth in the early 1890’s, located in Irvington township and later moved to Union township on the SW ½ of section 26 (2003-Shey owns the land) where the two older sons, Joe (1873-1961) and Will (1876-1963) have farmed since the father died in Irvington township in 1893.

May 25, 1954 - By Mrs. Floyd R. (Ethel) Gardner

To Whom It May Concern:

Penny is the daughter of Jim & Helena Dodds.  She was moved from East Lawn Cemetery in Algona to Union Township Cemetery on August 29, 2011 per Jim’s wishes is my understanding.  I don’t believe I would make a public record of this as I don’t have the families’ permission. 

   In the center of the east side of the cemetery there is a concrete fenced in area where it is told of a “Gypsy” family buried there.  They were found in the Emmetsburg Cemetery two years ago by a person doing research.  I believe the story is true about them being moved because the family insisted they were not “Gypsies” because the dates found in the Emmetsburg burial records coincide with published stories and “hearsay”.  The headstones located in Emmetsburg are the same ones pictured in a Des Moines Register story about the families and their removal from Union Township Cemetery.   The area was “probed” by a local funeral director employee and no remains were located.  I have pictures of some the people moved along with burial records from Emmetsburg along with other information about these families.  To my knowledge there are no unmarked burial sites.

   I will keep you updated with any burials occurring in our township cemetery.  Best regards, Ron Dodds (8-30-2011)


Gypsies Mistakenly Arrested For Kidnapping Marlow Child,

of Lone Rock, Are Released.

GRAVITY, Iowa, July 17, 1912—A little child found in the possession of a party of gypsies near here today was believed to be the small son of Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Marlow of Lone Rook who is thought to have been kidnapped several weeks ago, but this was soon dispelled when it was found that the description of the child did not tally with that of the missing Lone Rock baby. After being held for several hours the party was released.

The child found here was but 14 months old, while the lost child is said to be about 28 months old. Rumor that a small child had been kidnapped near here stirred the town into the country to intercept the party. The child was found in possession of a man and woman, both of whom claimed it as their child.

A description of the child was telegraphed to the Marlows, but when they replied that the child was not theirs the party was turned loose. Rumor reached here that the party had been held up again at Bedford, and that positive identification had been made, but this story is discredited here.

Rewards totaling over $3,000 have been offered for the recovery of the Marlow child, which is supposed |to have been run over by an autoist and the body hidden to hide the crime or else kidnapped by a band of gypsies.


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