Jewell Historical Society

Here are some local stories relating to Jewell Junction or to the state of Iowa:

Big Attendance at the History Museum’s Meskwaki Program

     An audience of fifty watched and listened to Before Jewell Junction: the Meskwaki, People of the Red Earth at the Jewell History Museum Sunday, July 24.    Museum Curator, Dick Steffen presented a 45 minute power-point program to relate the ‘Yesterday prior to Jewell’ through the legacy of the Meskwaki up to 2022. 

The Meskwaki found their way to the Lake with the Island in the Middle (Goose Lake- east of town) beginning with the 1880 completion of the Toledo and North Western Railroad line from Tama to the start of Jewell Junction and through at least 1930.   Tracing the movement of the Meskwaki from the Quebec, Canada area to Kansas and back to central Iowa, visuals from the Meskwaki Museum and Native American artifacts on loan in the Museum added to the presentation.   A special thanks to Al Teig and John Hays and family for their loan of native artifacts currently in the museum through the end of August/Labor Day.

Listen to this program given July 24, 2022. (MP3 format file) You will not see the images shown during the program,
and during the first three minutes, you may hear some talking as additional guests enter the Jewell History Museum and find a seat.

This South Hamilton Record News article was published June 1, 2022:
Click to enlarge
Next, see the a list of the South Hamilton teachers and the fifth graders who donated the QR Codes at the board meeting.
(This next article is from the Jewell Jubilee/Quasquicentennial - June 7, 2006)


      Part III: The Railroad and Jewell: The earliest railroad effort in the area was in 1874 when a narrow guage rail line (3 feet between the rails) had been completed from Des Moines to Ames.  First known as the Iowa and Minnesota, then the Des Moines and Minnesota, the line met the standard gauged (4' 8.5" between the rails) east-west line in Ames.  Under the presidency of James Callanan, a prominent Des Moines banker and real estate agent, the narrow gauge was finally known as the Des Moines and Minneapolis Railroad and was headed for points north.  For any settlement that hoped for access to markets, a railroad became a necessity.  Callanan started his railroad north.

      Early in 1877, an election was held in Lafayette Township of Story County for a five percent tax to pull the Des Moines and Minneapolis to Story City.  By the spring of 1877, the four southeast townships of Hamilton County (Ellsworth, Lincoln, Lyon and Scott) did likewise, but the monies would have been made available only if the railroad had actually been constructed and operated to within a mile of those townships by December 1 of 1878.   Work began on the narrow gauge line toward a point that matched that location; a town was laid out on April 19, 1878 and humbly named Callanan.   But the future of Callanan lay not there, but to two new towns about to make their debut.

      As the railroad building fever reached a frenzy, the companies began to build extensions throughout the state.  The railroads wanted to capitalize on the investments, so about every seven miles, a depot would be erected, a siding laid down, and a town would materialize around the new hoped for connection to the outside world.   The railroads also built lines solely to claim an area and to discourage incursion by competitors.   The Cedar Rapids and Missouri, now the Chicago and North Western railroad, did just that.   Through a maze of interconnected directorships, new railroad companies came into existence and just as quickly, disappeared.   One new line, the Toledo and North Western Company of Tama, proposed building a line north and west of Tama into the yet unconnected Iowa lands toward Sioux City.   On May 22, 1880, the T&NW proposed building a line from Tama City to northwest Iowa and on into Minnesota if they, too, could win tax incentives and real estate bargains along the way.   With remarkable fervor, the T&NW completed an 80.39 mile line from Toledo to Webster City and ran its first passenger train between the two cities on December 6, 1880.   When the line was constructed, it passed west through newly developed Hubbard, Radcliffe, a new Ellsworth, and through David Jewell enticements of land for depots, shops and yards.   This rapid development in from the east brought a stirring of activity in little towns at the end of the narrow gauge.   It was clear the new railroad missed the existing town to the southeast, Callanan.   Big money could await those who rose to take advantage of this new town; John R. and Jane R. King of Callanan came to the area for profit.

      With money from his grain and saloon businesses in Callanan from 1878 until 1881, John R. King and his wife, Jane, bought up what property they believed would be the site of the new town along the Toledo and North Western.  With his money, he persuaded the railroad to build the depot on his land south of the tracks, applied for a post office to be in his part of town south of the tracks, and put his lots south of the tracks up for sale.   To make more money, King platted his lots at 22 feet in width and 120 feet in depth.   King's Main Street shrank to 80 feet wide, rather than maintain the 100 foot width in Jewell's town.   From the Jewell family account, there never was any animosity between the Jewells and the Kings.   The Kings made the money, but the name Jewell stuck as the new entity was labeled Jewell's Junction or Jewell Junction.   Once the railroad had arrived and businesses began to build on King's land, the original town began to move to the new Main Street, todays' north-south street through Jewell.   David Jewell and his wife were buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Jewell.   King's legacy ramains through a scholarship fund for local students known as the Jane R. King fund.

(View the article.)
This next two page note was written in April 4, 1898,
which was four years after the dedication of Jewell Lutheran College.


Jewell, Iowa      April 4, 1898 
Mr. N. J. Nelson
          Ellsworth, Ia.

My Dear Sir:

     It is my painful duty to report to you Jessie's conduct here so that you may give him a fathers reprimand and counsel.

     His conduct in general was unsatisfactory and several weeks before the close of the term he apologized publicly in 

chapel for violating the regulations of the school.     But the deplorable climax was reached just after school closed.

     He was discovered one evening in the ladies dormitory in one of the girl's private room together with one girl, the door 

locked, and the light out.     We believe that you desire to be informed of such a serious trespass of right conduct and we

also feel it our duty to do so.

Meyer Brandvig.


This next story was published in the Jewell Record March 9, 1922
(by Ida Iverson)

Painting Schoolgirls

     Beginning about last fall a dangerous disease broke out among the girls going to our school.   A few of the school girls came to school with their cheeks and lips painted and their eye brows darkened.   It seemed to be a contagious disease.   The person who sat next to one would say, "If she can use rouge and lip stick why can't I?"   Fortunately they all did not say that, or the school room would have became a beauty parlor (?) , made up of only paint and eye brow pencils.   Even the little girls of the grades caught this disease.   Perhaps that is where the style of using all this came from.

     If someone should ask the victims what was the benefit of all this paint, they would not be able to give a good answer.   We suppose some girls put it on to make themselves pretty, but who likes to look at a girl who is all painted up like a movie actress.   The girls who are not afflicted with this habit, laugh at their painted schoolmates.   We even heard that boys talk about them in doubtful language.

     We know that many of the parents disapprove of rouge, for some of the girls who use it have to put it on after they come to school and wash their faces before going home.   We are waiting for the day when their mothers come to visit school and see them.   We can imagine that several would ask to leave the room at the same time to wash it off.

     There are people who object to too much face powder.   But powder, used only to take the shine from the face should not be counted in the same class as rouge.   Powder when properly used does not cheapen the appearance of a girl as rouge does.   But it is a sign of very little self-respect to put it on your face in the school room, in the halls, or in other public gathering places where others can watch you.

     As long as we live with other people, we must watch what other people think of us.   If painting our faces make other people laugh at us, why do it?

View that 1922 newspaper article which includes this news and more.

The next two news stories are from 1908.

This ordinance no. 72 passed by the City of Jewell Junction was published October 8, 1908.
Click to enlarge
(You may wish to enlarge the image with a click to see more detail.)

     On June 4, 1908, a special 15 car merchants train from Cedar Rapids spent half an hour in Jewell while the merchants shook hands with Jewell business men.   The 20 piece traveling band entertained local folks at the depot and at the corner of King and Main.

<------- This Record News article was published June 4, 1908

Cedar Rapids Jobbers Were Here.

     The Cedar Rapids wholesalers, jobbers and manufacturers arrived on their special train as scheduled last Friday forenoon and spent thirty-six minutes in Jewell.   The special came in from the north, arriving here at 11:09 and departed at 11:45.   The visitors were accorded a lively welcome, the depot grounds being thronged when the special pulled in.   The small boy and the small girl were very much in evidence and enjoyed the affair hugely.   The tourists left Cedar Rapids Monday morning on their trip through north-western Iowa and reached home Friday night.

     There were about eighty people in the company, including a band of twenty pieces.   The latter organization furnished some excellent music on the street corner.   Their train was a fine one, including seven coaches, buffet and baggage car, diner, day coach, three sleepers and a superintendants private car.   The visitors called on the local business men during their short stay here, not soliciting business but merely informing the business men of the fact that Cedar Rapids is on the map, commercially.

Jewell and Hamilton County have had several very significant
contributions to the history of Iowa 4-H.  Here is one:

     In the early 1920’s the Hamilton County Lamb Club organized a band under the leadership of Mr. John Bonner from Jewell, Iowa.   John was the 4-H Lamb Club Leader in Lyon Township.   Mr. Bonner recruited the skills of Mr. W. L. Schaub of Blairsburg to serve as the director of the band and George Hanson of the Ellsworth News to serve as manager.   Eventually the band expanded to include young people from all over the county.   They practiced almost every Sunday afternoon during spring, summer and fall.   The band members’ mothers provided supper for the members, if they were to have a concert in a county town on Sunday evening.

     The 1928 Hamilton County Extension Service Reports indicate that the band was very active.   They played at the Iowa State fair, the Hamilton, Boone and Webster County fairs, held two concerts at the American County Life Association meetings in Ames and in numerous concerts at various towns in the county.   That year the International Livestock Exposition invited the Hamilton County 4-H Band to be the official band for the show.   The band played at the National 4-H Club Congress the first week in December as well as leading the parade for the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. 

     The Hamilton County band was honored to be the official band for several years following this initial performance.   Eventually the livestock show officials decided to pass this honor on to another state.   But the Hamilton County 4-H Band continued with several in-state engagements.   The 1934 Annual Report stated, “It would be very hard to estimate the value of the fine performances of the Hamilton County 4-H Band.”   In addition to their appearances in Chicago, they appeared in concerts in Alden, Clarion, Fort Dodge, Blairsburg, Blue Earth, MN, and the All County 4-H Club as well as neighboring county fairs. 

     In 1931 after the band had made three performances at the International Livestock Exposition, the Hamilton County 4-H Club Band approached Dr. Karl King, a well known composer, to write a special march for them to perform in Chicago.   He wrote “International Favorites.”   This march is on display at the Karl King Music House in Fort Dodge, Iowa, as well as the Hamilton County Extension Office.

     Owen Crosby, a member of the band, said that in a restroom in Chicago some boys from another state asked them who paid for their trip, and he said they paid their own way, and the boys could hardly believe it – this included buying their own uniforms – part of their expenses were paid by raising money through fundraisers – many of the tickets were sold to “friendly merchants.”

 You may visit the site where this story appears:  Iowa 4H Foundation  (opens in a new browser tab)

     Standing  - (left to right) - William Pitzer, Bernard Demoratsky, Casper Torkelson, Dick Osteen, R. L. Bright, Martin Teig, Alvin Gere,
     Myron Gere, Geo. A. Hanson, Rex Yockey, John E. Olsen, Arnold Twedt, Vernon Peterson, Clayton Kent, Clair Iverson.
      Seated - (left to right) - Director W. L. Schaub, Salmer Sather, Alton Berggren, Paul Weaver, Jack Phillips, Joe Henderson, 
     Merdis Miller, Lloyd Okland, Uryth Dillavou, George Sather, Russell Bergeson, Virgil Jones, Carl Teig.

Published in the Jewell Record on July 27, 1916.    View that news article

     The men of Jewell, were they to do a little checking up on themselves, would not be able to escape the conclusion that they are pretty good citizens, pretty loyal supporters of their home town.   The're a modest lot, the folks here in Jewell, but they can't dodge the charge.   The evidence is too conclusive.   The bunch sticks by the home town.   They come across every time they see a chance to give Jewell a good boost.   They give good support to the town ball team.   They give loyal support to the churches and schools of the town and are putting them out in front.   Jewell business men are putting up the cost of developing and maintaining a splendid town band and they don't mumur about the expense.   Municipal improvements are moving along year by year at a rate that is putting Jewell on the map as a real live, enterprising town and Jewell folks are boosters for it.   Every time something is to be done to provide a day of entertainment for the patrons of Jewell, the business men of the town came forward gladly and liberally.   The recent July Fouth celebration was a good instance of it.   Nearly to a man the business men of Jewell and other men as well pulled their coats off, jumped into the harness, gave days of work and contributed liberally of their cash to make it a big day.   There were mighty few who could be called "slackers".  The Boy Scouts project is up now.   There is $1,500 to be raised to buy the land a part of which is to be used for the Scout home and the balance of which is to be held for other public uses in the future.   Mark the prediction -- there won't be much trouble in raising the money.   Jewell people don't hesitate long when it comes to helping along any good thing for Jewell.   That's the story all along the line.   Our business men here in Jewell are making a town here; the citizens of this town are responding to every call.

     There's a moral to all of this.

     How much is contributed to these things that make for the betterment of Jewell by the business men of Webster City or of Fort Dodge or of Des Moines?   How much is contributed by Montgomery Ward or Sears Roebuck?   How much is contributed by mail order furniture dealers, or mail order printing concerns, or mail order dealers in lumber and building materials, or mail order dealers in clothing or ladies' cloaks and suits, or any other mail order or out of town concerns?

      Not one red cent!

      How much will these vultures contribute towards the Boy Scout building project?

      Not a penny!

      How much do these out of town concerns contribute to the support of our town band, or our town ball team, or our chautauqua, or our celebration, or to our schools and churches, or to our municipal improvements?

      Not a single red copper!

     The business men of Jewell bear the big burden of the expense of making Jewell a better town in which to live, the business men aided by a few other men who, like them, have a big place in their hearts for anything and everything that boosts for the home town.

     The people of Jewell profit by what the business men do to make Jewell a better town.   They have a better town in which to live, better schools to which to send their children, better churches at which to worship, better surroundings and better opportunities for their families.   Their property advances in value as the town is built up.

       The people in the country surrounding Jewell profit as the business men of the town make Jewell a bigger and better town.   They get better markets, they get better trading service, they get a town that offers them more in business, and general community respects.   Their farms are worth more by reason of being located near a better town.

     The business men of Jewell are not alone in the work of building a bigger and better Jewell, but they do a big part of it.

     And the business men who give such loyal support to Jewell deserve an equally loyal support from the people of this community to profit by it.

Read a story about one of the first physicians in Hamilton County.

Click to enlarge this news article.
Click to enlarge

1846 and earlier, Indian Territory

Prepared by Martin E. Nass

     This area was occupied by four different Indian tribes.   The Ioway tribe, for whom Albert Lea named our territory, occupied mostly the banks of the Des Moines River to the south.   The Sioux tribe was located to the north, the Sac and Fox tribes living in the southern part of our county.   The Sioux were very warlike and constantly fought with the Sac and Fox.   To effect a peace in the area, the government drew a line that ran to the north of our counties.   It was called the "Neutral Line."   The Sioux were to stay north of the line, the Sac and Fox to the south.   This line was drawn in 1825.   In 1830 two more lines were drawn, one 20 miles north of the Neutral line, the other 20 miles south of the line.   This area was called the "Neutral Strip."   The Indians were paid 3 cents per acre for this land.

     In 1835 Major Kearney and a company of Dragoons were sent to the area to scout, map, and try to get the Indians to live in peace.   As they traveled up the Des Moines River, they took an unnamed fork along a tributary to the east.   This was named the Boone River to honor Capt. Nathan Boone, the 10th child of Daniel Boone, and a member of the expedition.   Lt. Albert Lea, another member of the party was the first to label and call this area Ioway.

     We became a state in 1846 and as yet our county lines had not been drawn.   Boone County was created as the settlers moved north.   In 1850, the legislature decided to create two adjacent counties, just to the north of Boone County.   The west county was called Yell, the east county called Risley.   Both were named to honor captains of the Mexican War.   The two counties had no settlement yet.   Only about 12 families lived here.

     Of note, one family was the Henry Lott family.   Lott came upriver in 1847 and built a cabin at what became known as Boone Forks, on the north side of the the junction of the Des Moines and Boone Rivers.   He had come from the Red Rock area where he had a history of having problems with the Indians.   He came trading firearms, whiskey, and other things with the Indians for furs.   He also managed to steal horses and move them down river, keeping them in caves along the banks, to sell to settlers as far south as Missouri.   One time, when Henry and his older son were across the Boone River, the Sioux came to his cabin looking for their horses.   Mrs. Lott started screaming and when she stopped, Henry decided that she must be dead so he headed south with his son for Pea's Point in Boone County to seek help from his nearest neighbors.   After the Sioux party had taken property from the cabin, they left.   Mrs. Lott sent her young son, Milton, aged 12, to find his father. Milton ran 22 miles south along the west side of the Des Moines River in December without a coat.   He fell exhausted and froze to death.

     When Lott returned with the rescue party, he found Mrs. Lott delirious in the cabin.   She told him to go find Milton.   They found his body, but since it was winter they could not bury him so they placed him in a hollow log and covered the opening with rocks, returning in the spring to bury him where he was found.   Mrs. Lott lingered until January, 1848 when she too died.

She was the first white woman to die in this area.   In 1911 a monument was constructed in Vegors Cemetery, but her body was never located.   It is assumed that she was buried beside their cabin.

Lott and his older son left the area for several years.   They returned in 1852 and tracked down the Sioux chief, Sidominadotah, and moved to be near him.   One day they went to the chief and invited him to join them to track a huge herd of elk.   After they went some distance from the campsite, Lott hung back and shot the chief in the back.   Then he cut off the chief's head and hid the body and head in different places.   Then after dark, dressed like Indians, they went to the chief's campsite and slaughtered the chief's mother, wife, and four of his children.   One young girl ran away and hid.   When the murders were discovered, the Indians went to Major Williams in Fort Dodge for help.   Williams declared that Lott had committed the murders.   By this time Lott and his son were on their way to California, never to be found again.

     Sioux Indian Chief Sidominadotah was murdered in 1855 by Henry Lott, which percipitated the Spirit Lake Massacre in 1857.

     A hearing was held at Homer, conducted by the only lawyer in the area, Granville Burkley.   He claimed to understand the Sioux language, but he didn't.   No judgment was made, so the Indians left with the body, but Burkley kept the head as evidence.   This he hung from a tree in Homer until the wind blew it down.   Then Burkley nailed the skull above the door of his cabin, where it stayed for nearly a year.   The Indians came back for the skull so it could be buried with the chief.   The Indians discussed a retaliation raid on Homer but did not follow through.   Sidominadotah had a nephew, a renegade Sioux, named Inkpadutah (sometimes spelled Inkpaduta) who decided to revenge his uncle's death - such act became the Spirit Lake Massacre of 1857.

Read what is written in Lee's History of Hamilton County about this Henry Lott episode
with the Native American population of central Iowa which helped lead to the Spirit Lake Massacre.

1898 article printed in the Maquoketa Excelsior

Alleged Murderer Captured in Jewell

     The man whom it is supposed is the slayer of Frank Beard, the young man recently shot and killed by tramps at DeWitt, was captured by the city marshal at Jewell Junction Friday morning.   The marshal of couse received the printed description of the men who were wanted for the terrible murder and had placed it back in his pocket a day or so ago, but he has a good memory.   A reward of $1,000 is enough to make any man keep his eyes open.   That morning the officer was on his beat between the east end of the town and the depot.   The whistle of the train attracted his attention, and he wandered to the depot.   It was his business to look at every new comer that reached Jewell Junction, and when he saw a man jump from a box car he sized him up.   "It may be a mistake" he thought, "but that fellow looks mightily to me like the telegram describes."   He took the little yellow paper out of his pocket again and looked at it.   "By cracky," he said aloud, "That's the fellow."   He approached him and told him to come with him.   Jewell was hardly awake then, but a desperate encounter ensued between the men.   Almost hand to hand they fought.   Four times the sharp crack of the revolver in the hands of the murderer rang out, but each time he missed his aim, and five times Marshal Lingle answered the shots with his trusted weapon.   The battle between the men raged so fiercely that the attention of the train men was centered upon them.   The engineer placed his hand to the whistle cord and a steady whistle followed that brought out half the town.   Everyone rushed to the scene.   They saw the predicament the marshal was in and closed in on the murderer.   He was captured and is now in the Jewell jail.   His description that is familiar to every office in Iowa, is that of a man short and heavy set, dark complexion, wearing a dark brown suit with a light crash had.   He had on a pair of broad toed shoes.

On Thursday, June 21, 1923, there were plenty of news articles on the front page of
The Jewell Record.

High Winds Damage Here - Plans Made for a Great State Fair - Ford Motor Co. is 20 years old
Tourists are on Highway - Second Band Concert Draws Another Large Crowd - Corn Gets Poor Start in Iowa
Farmer-Labor Interests are One - Births - Obiturary - Lodge, Club and Society News of the Week
 - Impressions of Stay in Jewell -

Click the article to read for yourself, or more easily read the story seen printed below this newspaper page.

Click to enlarge

Impressions of Stay in Jewell

Relief Editor Writes of Jewell as He Sees it During Short Stay

- Sees Many Good Features -
(By Burt Kroesen)

     The stranger in town will see the things that you see, but he is liable to see them from a different point of view.   For one thing you have seen the same thing so often that its beauty, its newness, its usefulness or its ungainlyness, uselessness or age do not impress you.   During our two weeks stay in Jewell we have noticed some things -- the same things that you have noticed so many times, but we are going to take the liberty of telling just how these things impressed us.

     One of the first things that we noticed was the water fountain for horses and live stock on Main Street.   This may seem like a funny thing to notice, but in our home town this gave way to the modern idea of having nothing to take its place along with the hitching posts and the free tobacco box several years ago.   Of couse, the farmers objected to these progressive steps, as farmers sometimes do, but they very soon forgot the hitching posts and tobacco box.   They bought Fords and could afford cigars, as farmers can you know.   But -- they never forgot the old horse water trough and mourn it to this day.   They cannot haul grain and hogs in the Ford, nor can they always get the Baby Lincoln through the mud to town, so old "Dobin" is still a frequent visitor and the beast it is said regrets the fact that the town is dry, as both man and beast have to wait until they get home for a drink.   However, be that as it may, we noticed the watering place, but have not as yet seen a horse drinking from its cool depths, which leads one to question whether it is really needed or not, although it makes a nice reminder of olden times fast fading into the past.

     Another thing came to our mind was the fact that the people of Jewell are wise in supporting their band.   A band is a good advertisement for the town.   The town that takes all and gives nothing to its patrons in return does not earn a reputation for progressiveness.   Jewell merchants however, support a band.   It is a good band, it gives the patrons of the town a fine evenings entertainment one night each week, it adds to the culture of the community, sets an example for the young and brings out the ambitions of the musically inclined.   And it is a living advertisement for the city.

     A two weeks stay in the city has shown us that the business houses are for the most part progressive, up-to-date and sound financially.   Land speculation, in other words passed them by or they passed up the land speculation.   Until one has been through.  It the curse left in the wake of a land boom is hard to visualize.   To say the least it is appropriate to use the words of General Sherman in regard to war.   Lucky indeed is the town whose merchants kept out of it.

     Another problem that every town has to deal with is that of good roads leading into the city and good streets within the corporation.  The counties under our system of using auto license money in finance the roads are fast building good roads into towns, and Jewell we see is no exception in this instance.   In town the traffic demands streets that are hard enough to hold up the present auto and truck traffic, and streets that will be free from mud during rainy season.   Present day traffic demands all the year service.   Paving puts a burden in overhead in the business district that makes it hard to compete with neighboring trading posts, and raises rents and curtails income in residence properties, in such a way that it is hard for the small town to finance.   Jewell has apparently sovled the problem with its oiled streets.   It must be practical and of low upkeep cost as the people who use it and the people to pay for it are both satisfied.

     Of couse, we couldn't help but notice that Jewell was a school town.   With what looks to be a commodious public school building and a fine little college the town attracts the young folks in search of an education from over a wide territory.   We understand the public school is crowded and the college is growing.

     We attended a meeting of the Community Club Monday night.   The people of a town where they keep up a club do not realize what a good thing that an organization is.   About twety members attended Monday night when there should have been sixty.   Every business man, from peanut vendor to the big interests of the locality should be in the "boosters" club -- and they should work at it.   However, in spite of the fact that a town without a Community Club is working at a disadvantage, it seems hard work to keep one going in most towns, and Jewell is to be congratulated that this one is up and coming.

     The market facilities of the town are good, and they must have fallen into good hands as the record of shipments from Jewell are above the average from towns of this size.   The good service to be had on the Northwestern may in part be responsible for this.   And then too, the fact that this is a junction point may be responsible for many of the more progressive (ideas?) of your city.   The brightest minds of the country are coming and going and the exchange of ideas cannot help but make for a better business community.

     And as the  preachers say, lastly, we believe that Jewell has a better newspaper in the Record than they are entitled to, judging by the support given it.   A 16 page paper in a town of 1200 is going some.   And it should be everybody's business to help keep her going on high all the time.   Your newspaper is the representative of your town.   If you are withholding news from the paper you keep the paper from representing you.   If you are not advertising, the newspaper is not representing you.   The stranger who picks up the Record doesn't know you are here.   The same applies to the newspaper that applies to the Community Club.   25 per cent of the business men give 75 per cent of the support required by both the newspaper and the club.  The same condition exists in other towns and so far there has been no suggestion made whereby the work of boosting a town can be equally divided and at the same time have the town well boosted.

     We have been to church, to (take?) to the show, we have looked the town over and believe we have seen everything but the Ku Klux Klan, and if you have any of those birds they are keeping dark.   To our mind Jewell is up to the standard as a community of 1200 busy souls.

Do you know any interesting stories about Jewell Junction?

Perhaps you should share with us the story of your family.

View Lee's 1912  History of Jewell Junction.

The text from this 1928 news article is printed below the article scan.

(an August 7, 1980 South Hamilton Record News reprint of a story published in the March 22, 1922 issue of The Jewell Record)

A Story of Pioneer Days in Iowa

The following written by A. E. Griffith of Des Moines and published in a recent issue of The Norwestern Christian Advocate portrays interestingly and vividly the hardships that were endured by the pioneers that settled the prairies of Hamilton and Story Counties in the early days.   There are a few still living who will recall incidents in their own experiences similar to that told by Mr. Griffith; and many whose parents lived and have told them of like experiences.   The story is headed, "Coming From Mill in a Blizzard", and is as follows:

     Whee what a beautiful storm!   Come sit by the grate and look out at the flakes of snow whirling and dancing, and the waifs of snow scampering over the drifts, hiding out of the course of the wind.   Hear the winds gleefully howl, "I'll get you, I'll get you," and the crackling flames laugh back their challenge of warmth and comfort at such a merry joke.

     It is not always a joke.   Think of the beasts abroad with only nature's shelter, the cattle with their hair matted with snow and their eyebrows covered with frost, as they turn and drift with the wind or shiver in the scant covering of the bushes along the stream.   Think of the wayfarer who has ventured out to meet the demands of the family, and is caught in the blast of this blizzard; with him, Jack Frost's "I'll get you," is a fearful challenge that may prove all too true.

     I am always reminded, when a storm like this sweeps in off our wide prairies, of an experience which my father had in the early pioneer days of the '50s.   He had come from Indiana with his large family, and settled on the Upper Skunk River, when there were but a few scattered log cabins along the timber and a trading post at Fairview, now Story City.

     The country was wild as the deer and elk that roamed its hills.   Few had ventured to undertake subsistence on what could be wrung from nature.   There were no conveniences and no markets short of a day's journey.   When the flour barrel was about empty it was necessary to go to the mill far up in Hamilton County on the Upper Boone River.

     My father and two of his neighbors loaded their sleds with wheat and started for the mill.   It was fair in the morning biut the journey was long.   At the mill, each would receive his grist in order.   The miller ground and took tollage of each man's grist separately.   As each received his hold he started for home.

     Father was last in order, and did not get started home until it was late afternoon.   A storm was threatening, and he had not gone far before a blizzard struck furiously across the open prairie, where there was nothing to obstruct.   It was snowing fast, and very cold.

     Soon all trace of road or tracks made by the others were obliterated.   The terrific cold and side wind made it hard to hold a steady course.   After a time he became convinced he was off the road, and lost in a blizzard on the wide waste of trackless prairie.

     He did not propose "to die as long as he could see anybody else living" so sought the lee side of a hill, found a big drift of snow, turned his horses around to the sled, but on their blankets, took the scoop shovel, which was always carried for drift emergencies, and dug a hole in the snowbank.   Wrapped in a blanket, he crawled in and set the seatboard up to the opening.   He lay thus until numb and as cold as he dared allow, and then got out and ran in a circle around his team and sled until the blood was circulating rapidly, then climbed back into his kennel shelter.

     This he repeated over and over as he waited for the morning.   Would it ever dawn!   Would he ever see the light again?   After what seemed an incredible time the sun arose, and the morning was clear but very cold.

     As he took in the contour of the country he got his bearings, and knew that on the creek bottom, the winter before, the Staley brothers had a cabin to shelter them as trappers.

     He started out, leaving his team, but progress was slow.   Noting his tracks, he saw he was stepping but two inches past his toes.   He picked out, at different places, gopher mounds, where the wind had cleared the ground somewhat, and he could sit down and rest, but as he came up to them he well knew that if he sat down he would probably never rise, so he pressed on.

     As he reached the brow of the hills lining the creek bottom he saw the smoke of the trapper's cabin.   He walked in upon them just as they were finishing a breakfast of hot biscuit and coffee.

"Why, Uncle Jonah!   Where did you come from?"

"off the prairie," he replied.

"No!   No man spent last night on the prairie and lived!"

"I did, and I'm here.   I'm not so awfully cold, but I am the hungriest man you ever saw."

"Sit up and eat.   We will go fetch your team."

     They bundled up to meet the severity of the storm and followed his path back to the team.   When they tried to move the horses, the one on the windward side would not move.   They pushed her and she fell over.   Twisting wisps of hay they chafed her limbs and worked over her until they could get her up, fastened the two to the sled, and brought them in.   The mare was so frozen that her outer hoofs afterward came off.

     Father sat down to the table, took a bite and a sup of coffee, but could not swallow.   He lay down on the bed and soon was in great agony.   He arose, walked the floor and suffered as though "ten thousand needles" were being thrust into his body.   Those who have had their fingers ache after prolonged snowballing can imagine what it would mean to have the whole body in such pain.   He stayed that day and the next started for home.

     Meanwhile things were happening in the home neighborhood.   The anxiety of wife and family and the interest of the neighbors was such that a company gathered to go in search for him.   They came together at Fairview.   After some consultation the leader announced that if he had started home and was on the prairie he was dead, and there was no use of their jeopardizing their lives to hunt for him.   While they deliberated, he drove in.

     About the same time, in Boone County to the south, two men and a team that had gone to the timber for wood and were overtaken in a blizzard were frozen to death, and were not found until the following spring thawed away the snow.

These experiences well illustrate the hardships and risks the pioneers, the grandfathers of this generation had to undergo.   If they settled in the timber, it took a lifetime to clear a farm.   If on the prairie, it was far to go for wood for fuel, fences or buildings, and they were more exposed to the terrible storms of those early winters.

They challenge us, their successors, with our larger opportunities and privileges, to hand on to those that come after us pioneering as fruitful in blessings as was theirs.

The 1981 Centennial Book THE GEM relates this story:

The story of Jewell began long ago
And the readers of this book will very soon know
Of the hardships and problems our ancestor met
When they traveled to this place a new start to get.

We have tried to tell of the first to arrive
Which takes us back to around '55.
From Lakins' Grove to Callanan
Then on to Jewell their story ran.

To find out who and what and where
Took many people all doing their share
Of reading history books and such
And to these folks we owe so much.

So now we hope if at some future date
Historicans are encouraged to try to relate
What has happened in the past in this small place
They can use this book to help them trace
The families that began and charted the course
Of the town of Jewell from its very source.

April of 2017

(This news article may be clicked to enlarge for easier reading.)
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Because Jewell Historical Society progress continues, these following articles are now old:

November of 2018

View historic photos of Jewell Junction Main Street