Clipped From Kossuth County Advance
THURSDAY, AUGUST 28, 1969— ALGONA, IOWA PROMPTED BY SALE OF TOWN. . . Tells story of early history 100 years ago — of Seneca 8 meeting the escaped p.m. a mill He The and top (Esther Charlotte Smith was a longtime Swea City resident and now lives at Charles City. Periodically, down through the years, Miss Smith has submitted articles to the Advance, always much appreciated. The story in Monday's paper about the sale of Seneca prompted the following from Miss Smith). By Esther Charlotte Smith The recent Advance story on the proposed sale of the village of Seneca represents the passing of an era. Now only a crossroads community, the village once held hopes of becoming a thriving city. The township's earliest settler was Joseph Burt, in June, 1865, who staked his claim on Section 6 when the area was still part of Greenwood township. Others followed him and many remained. The name of the township, Seneca, is Indian, of course, but since it was the Sioux tribe who inhabited the area it seems more likely that the township's name was chosen by early settlers who had come from New York state and remembered the Seneca tribe of New York. B. F. Reed's 'History of Kossuth County' tells of an abandoned claim shanty being seen on Section 30 by the 1870 settlers, who conjectured that the house was that of some very early settler whose identity was unknown. This was actually the claim shack built by my great- uncle, J. Thaddeus Morgan of Chicago, who lived there with his family for some years, 186873, then sold out and returned east. His brother-in-law, C. 0. Fish (my grandfather) stayed, and his claim on Section 8 was in family ownership for nearly 80 years. It is now tenanted by Robt. Burt, a descendant of first settler Joseph Burt. ' There was a stagecoach line thru the township (running from Algona to Estherville) in the 1870's and'80s,andthepostoffice ducted prior to 1896 by Mrs. 0. A. Littlefield, who with her late husband had founded the congregation of the famed Little Brown Church near Nashua in 1855. She and her husband are buried in Greenwood Cemetery at Bancroft. As to the village itself, around the turn of the century was its peak. It then included two stores, a district school, a co-operative creamery, a Methodist church served by Bancroft pastors and located diagonally southeast from 'where the consolidated school later stood - - - a telephone switchboard in one of the stores, a postoffice in a residence, and several dwelling houses. About 1898 hopes rose high for the coming of the Chicago Northwestern railroad, which was about to build north and west from its Eagle Grove Elmore branch. The new line was to begin at Burt, and rumor had it that it would pass thru Seneca, across Eagle and Swea townships and connect with another line at Fairmont, Minn. Had this been done, it might, have changed the fortunes of Seneca, since at that time Seneca had no town nearer than ten miles to north, west or east, and none closer than Whittemore on the south. Therefore a railroad could have attracted business from a wide area and the village should have 'boomed'. However, rivalry between competing railroad firms changed all that. The Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern (now the Rock Island) had for six years been halted at Armstrong due to conditions following the financial ; panic of 1893. The Northwestern possibly hoped to reach Estherville before the Burlington could do so, meanwhile allaying the latter's suspicions by a token attempt to build to Fairmont. At any .rate, the Burlington's officials became suspicious, rushed to survey Estherville thru, and began a fast road-construction job aspirations to growth. The church was demolished in the mid-twenties, one store burned, RFD took over the mail service, large telephone companies rendered the Seneca switchboard unneeded, and school district mergers wrote the death warrant for the consolidated school of which Senecans were once so proud. Titonka girl honored at bridal shower TITONKA - An Open House bridal shower honoring Elaine May land, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Mayland, will be held at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, rural Titonka, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There will be a short program at 8 p.m. All freinds and relatives are invited to attend. Elaine is the bride- to-be of Dean Stecker, son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Stecker, Titonka. later for a time in a home in- the village, until the rural free delivery routes took over. The old Ormiston farm in the northwest part of the township was the dinner stop for the stagecoach passengers, some of whom might be lawyers and judges going to hold court at Swan Lake,, later Estherville. One of the last residential postoffices was con- ) It has a was located in various homes and .toward that town. The Northwestern then took a route which would bypass the originally proposed one and headed for Fox Lake, Minn. This brought the towns of Lone Rock, Fenton and .Ringsted into existence, and these three towns in turn drew patronage which had previously belonged to Seneca firms. The coming of good roads and the automobile spelled the end of Seneca's AT THIS offering my Algona and the the Modern and my late with the firm. It has community and Mrs. "Bob" come to to the you have Mrs.