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19 Dec 1998
(First printed by the Odebolt Chronicle in 1938)
Bought Land For Town In Late Sixties
Moved Buildings to Present Site When Railroad Came
(As told to V. W. Crain)

I will try to do my best to record the early history of Kiron. I may make some errors as to dates, but in the main it will be quite correct.

Kiron, now alluded to as "Old Kiron," was settled about 1870. My father, Andrew Norelius, bought the 80 acres in section seven in 1868 and we came here in 1870. Hans Buller bought the 80 acres on the other corner, Nels Anderson the farm now owned by George Johnson and John Lindblom settled on the northeast corner.

The first settlers, who came in 1867, were C. J.(Charles Johan) Star, C. P.(Carl Peter) Frodig and N. F.(Nils Fredrik) Rodine. These men had been living with their families at Swede Bend in Webster county on the banks of the Des Moines river. They started out to look for a settlement that would be suitable for them to locate, having in mind some point west of Dension.

Purchased Land

These Swedish people had not been in this country for a very long time and they were interested in finding some location where they might be able to keep together and enjoy the friendship and loyalty of the group as much as they had in their previous home. At Denison they were told of the fine land that was located above Deloit. They immediately investigated the possibilities of this location and were well pleased with what they found. The land at that time was purchased at three dollars per acre.

In September of the same year, H. (Hans) Hallander, P. (Peter) Peterson, A. (Anders) Anderson, E. (Elias) Munson and E. (Erick) Erickson joined the group in the new community. In 1868, Mr. Star wrote to his friend, A. (Andrew) Norelius, who was then living at Swede Bend and told him of their fine location. Mr. Norelius was so impressed with the letter that he made plans immediately to leave for this new community, and arrived there in May, 1868. In 1870, H. (Hans) Buller, E. (Erick) Ward and J. (John) Nordell started across the country in a prairie schooner in June and reached the new settlement in the same year.

First Post Office

In 1873, A. (Andrew) Norelius was instrumental in getting a post office located in the settlement. This formed a sort of nucleus for the community. Mail was carried, generally on horseback, from Deloit once a week, for which A.(Andrew) Norelius received $20 a year. The following persons served as postmaster in old Kiron: Andrew Norelius, A. B. Falk, G. A. Norelius and S. N. Sandstrom. After the post office was moved to its present location, E. E. Clauson, Aaron Sederberg, C. S. Billings, Mrs. Melbourne, M. A. Sandstrom and G. A. Norelius have served.

A meeting was called among the settlers in 1873, for the purpose of naming the new settlement. It had been suggested by some that it be called "Swedesberg," but not many approved of this title. For some unknown reason it was suggested by Lars Olson and A. (Andrew) Norelius that the town be called "Kiron," after a settlement in Manchuria. The name was accepted by all and the town has been called Kiron ever since.

School Built

A school was built in 1873, on the Lindblom land north of the corner. This school had an enrollment of as high as 60 in the winter months. The pupils were of all sizes and ages. There I attended my first term of school. We must have had some wonderful teachers as when I started I did not know a word of English, and 10 years later it was possible for me to pass the teacherís examinations.

Peter Buller, an ingenious young man, made a blacksmith bellows and forge and undertook to sharpen the plow shares used in breaking the land. He used a railroad iron as an anvil. It was about 1879 that he built a small shop on the corner of Old Kiron and commenced to do general blacksmithing. He enlarged his business and in a short time he was doing considerable horse shoeing and general work of all kinds.

About 1893, Peter Buller sold out his business to O. E. Johnson who in turn disposed of the business to P. A. Peterson in 1895. Mr. Peterson continued the business until the time of the moving of the town and at that time he collected his equipment and brought it to the new location. He is still doing business, has a first class shop and keeps his equipment up to date.

Wagon Shop

In 1880, Erick Olson started a wagon repair shop and also built sleighs and did general repair work. Later he sold out to Erick and Jonas Swede, who continued the business for some time. A crudely constructed windmill was used for power in their small shop. They did some wood turning and lathe work for which there was quite a demand. The Swede brothers also put in a small stock of groceries. This had previously been done by Peter Buller.

In 1893, John Thunstrom opened a harness and shoe repair shop which he continued for some time. When the new site for the town was located he moved with the town.

Dr. Burrows, who was the first physician, came in 1890 and was located for some time in the old town. Later he moved to the new site.

Other Businesses

A drug store was erected and occupied by the following as proprietors: G. A. Norelius, P. E. Nordell and J. P. Hunter,. A. Sederberg also ran a jewelry store in the same building. C. J. Chinberg of Odebolt built a general store which he later sold to Strahn Brothers. August Reinking and Adam Auchstetter built the first two saloons and the Mauritz Brothers built the first hotel. This hotel and the Auchstetter saloon were destroyed by fire in 1891. V. E. Michaelson established the first implement business. He was first located in Old Kiron and then later moved to the new town and built a building. For many years he conducted the largest implement business in Crawford county. The Green Bay Lumber Company was established in the old town and was the first to erect new sheds at the site of the new location. At this time W. R. Graham was the manager. The Bowman-Kranz yard soon followed, with J. C. Mengis as manager.

Swede Brothers built the first general store in Kiron. This store was conducted by them until 1890, when it was closed for some time. E. W. Lester of Odebolt and Fred W. Cole who now lives in Arthur started a store in 1891. A. B. Falk and company built a store building and continued in business until 1897, when they were succeeded by John M. Larson and John Erickson. Then A. Arvidson and Co. Went into business and was later followed by Al Hanson of Odebolt. Mr. Hanson had the first hardware store, which was conducted in the building now occupied by the post office at Kiron. Mr. Hanson moved when the location of the town was changed and continued in business until 1904. He closed out his general store business in the old town and continued in the hardware business in the new location.

Present Site Surveyed

In the fall of 1898, the present site of the town was surveyed and the railroad was put through in 1899. Due to the fact that the railroad was able to find a more satisfactory site at the present location of the town of Kiron, the people and practically all of the business in existence at that time was moved. The site for the new town was purchased from N. P. Swanson and the sale of the lots was handled by P. W. Whitney. G. A. Norelius was appointed the local agent for the selling of the lots at the site of the new town.

The first business in the new town was that of Norelius and Nordell. In September, 1899, the store was moved to its present location. Herbert Ward, who is still the general manager of the store, was with them at the time. He started in 1898.

The first new building was the blacksmith shop of P. A. Peterson. During the fall of the same year J. A. Lawrence erected a frame building which was occupied by several business establishments. In this building G. F. Schneider conducted a barber shop; E. E. Lawrence ran a bicycle and general repair shop; and a harness shop owned by Thomas McKeever of Odebolt was managed by Dan Parsons.

Blacksmith Shop

O. E. Johnson soon erected a second blacksmith shop and Peter Buller moved his wagon shop form the old town to the location where it now stands north of the Norelius store. E. E. Clauson opened the first furniture store in 1901, and is still in business here. The first stock buyers were Peter Nord and N. P. Swanson.

The first grain elevator was erected by the Trans-Mississippi company in the winter of 1899 and 1900. A. L. Pomeroy was the first manager.

A. F. Miller was the first livery man and E. L. Miller was the first dray man. R. L. Anderson was the first section foreman.

First Mayor

A petition was circulated in 1900, for the incorporation of the town. The first mayor was F. M. Pomeroy and the first council was composed of G. A. Norelius, F. A. Burrows, P. A. Peterson, N. P. Swanson, Albert Hanson and J. A. Lawrence. W. R. Graham was the first clerk and E. E. Clauson was the first treasurer. J. C. Mengis was the first marshal. The first council meeting was held in the waiting room of the depot in 1900.

The Boyer Valley Banking company founded the first bank in January, 1900, with W. J. Sandberg as cashier. The bank was reorganized Oct. 1, 1905, as the Kiron State bank. The officers were then: Henry Hanson, president; August Lundell, vice-president; W. J. Sandberg, cashier. Henry Hanson, Joseph Mattes, August Lundell, W. F. Bay and W. J. Sandberg were the directors.

The first newspaper was the Kiron Sentinel. It was published by Ward Brothers. The first issue of this paper came out March 2, 1900. The ownership of the paper succeeded to H. T. Ward, and he later sold out to P. C. Lawrence. At this time the name was changed to the Kiron News. The paper was published by Lawrence until 1910 and at that time it was sold to E. B. Nordell. The publication was in the hands of several different publishers up until the time it was purchased by the present owner, J. W. Young.

Opera House Built

The opera house was built in 1902. The president of this concern was G. F. Schneider, and it was managed by A. Sederberg until 1908. Several owners then followed up until the time its use was discontinued.

The water works contract was let in 1906 to the Western Steel Construction company of Des Moines. They erected a steel tank with 24,000-gallon capacity and put in 350 feet of six-inch main and 3950 feet of four-inch main. The system was installed in 1907 at a total cost of 4,637.

The fire department was organized September 4, 1903. F. A. Burrows was the chairman and W. J. Sandberg was the secretary. There were 18 charter members in the organization. A Page chemical engine was purchased at the cost of $500 and was later sold when the water works was installed in 1907. Other facilities have been added since that time.

Businesses Continued

Since the founding of the new town there have been several business houses organized and continued. A. E. Anderson opened a general store in 1908. He had previous to this operated a peddlerís wagon north of Kiron and in the surrounding community. John Hoaglund and Son built and opened a general store in 1908, when the business was sold to John Cedergren. Mr. Hoaglund was well-known early settler and lived in this community until the time of his death in 1911. J. Cedergren ran the store until 1909 and then sold one-half interest to Larson and Turin, and they in turn sold the business to C. S. Johnson of Boyer. Several other changes in ownership followed until it was finally acquired by Johnson and Sanders.

The first barber was G. J. Schneider. Other barbers who located in the community were Morris Enright, Fred Horr, James Schneider, Glenn Dorothy, L. C. Goodrich and several others. The present barber is Otto Wassgren.

Second Physician

In the fall of 1906, J. A Mattson located as the second physician. He sold out to W. A. Garner of Ida county in the spring of 1907. In the fall of 1910, Dr. Burrows sold out to W. A. Garner, who is the only practicing physician in the town today.

In the fall of 1906, C. J. Larson built the second meat market and conducted the business until 1909. He then sold out to P. O. Wolleson.

Kiron is now a thrifty little town occupied by a group of energetic and friendly people who are proud of the community in which they live.