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History of The First Swedish Pioneers

By: C. J. Johnson, 1915


Post Office and Mail Service and First School House Built.

Mail service in the early days was different from the many privileges there are now in the rural districts. The first post office we had was located at Deloit and was called Boyer River. All of us were obliged to go there to deliver or receive our mail, which came by stage or Star route twice a week and was carried from Denison via Boyer River, Ida Grove and Storm Lake, Mr. Darling being the postmaster at the Boyer River office.

Denison being the nearest railroad town, the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad company built a road from Boone, Iowa, to Council Bluffs in 1867. The mail carrier always used a lumber wagon as he carried goods for the merchants at Ida Grove and Deloit as well as passengers besides the mail. Ida Grove was an inland town, the same as Deloit. It was a hard drive, especially so in the winter when it was cold and stormy and there was no house between Deloit and Ida Grove, nor on the other end of the road from Ida Grove to Storm Lake. The mail service was quite limited and as we had to go from six to eight miles to the post office and had no horse to drive, it was a long time between mail days. But there was not so great a desire to receive mail at that time as there is now. We did not have any daily papers to read and no novels. Our pioneers used more religious literature than is used now, in our day. We remember well how we used to stand up at some high point and look over to see the old stage road and see the wagon rolling over the divides. We could see it for miles and miles, there being nothing to obstruct the view. There is where the fine German settlement is located, between Deloit and Ida Grove, and the progress that has been made there is wonderful.

The early part of the summer of 1869 there was a school house commenced in the settlement and it was the first one ever erected in that community. That was nearly forty-six years ago, but it stands yet as an old landmark, although it has been moved two different times, it being now on the same quarter section on which it was first built. This old school house has a wonderful history and farther on in this history I will mention more about it, in the chapter in which we take up religious subjects. I will say this, however, at this time, that there have been more precious souls converted to God in this school house than in a great many church buildings.

The contractors who built the country schools in those days were reaping a rich harvest from their work. They usually received from twenty-five hundred to three thousand dollars for erecting a house 18 x 24 feet and 9 feet high, sided on the 2 x 4 with no sheating and all the lumber which they purchased was the siding, flooring, shingles, windows, one door and the finishing lumber, all the dimension lumber, including sheating for the roofs, they cut on the railroad company's land and sawed it up at the mills at Deloit, paying for only the sawing. These men made a considerable amount of money and also knew how to levy taxes on new residence owners and land companies.

The first couple married among the old settlers were John A. Erickson and wife, who were married at Deloit in 1868, as nearly as I can recall, in the month of November, Mr. Darling officiating.

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