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19 Dec 1998
Recollections of Kiron
Supplied by Mr. G. A. Norelius
circa 1949
The Beginning

J. N. Denison, one of the earliest settlers of Crawford County had one desire for the people of the county during the years soon after the Civil war. It was a desire that he brought to reality. He aimed to locate the people of different nationalities in separate groups as good many were strangers to America and could not speak the English language.

Mr. Denison, who was a agent for the Railroad Land Company, set about diligently on his task of dividing the people of the county and it wasnít long before he had located the Irish and Bohemians in the Vail territory, the Germans north and west of Denison, the English speaking people in the south and west, and the Swedes north of Deloit up to the Sac and Ida county lines. The Swede settlement was bounded by the east sections of Otter Creek and the two sections on the west side of Stockholm Township.

In 1867, C. J. Star, C. P. Frodig and N. F. Rodine, who had been living in Swede Bend, Webster County, Iowa, began a journey to the bottom lands along the Missouri in order to find a suitable location for settlement. These three Swedish settlers were not only traveling to find settlements for themselves and their families, but for their friends. When they reached their destination, they did not find the land to their liking for it was much too flat. They started on the way back to Swede Bend, but stopped on their way homeward at the little town of Denison and there met J. N. Denison, who told them of the land north of Deloit along the Otter Creek. The three men were pleased with the vicinity and decided to stay there. They purchased some land for $3.00 an acre.

In September of the same year, Hans Hallander, Peter Peterson, Elias Munson, and Anders Anderson joined the small settlement. These first settlers were members of the Baptist church and they drew many of their friends, who were of the same faith, to the community. In 1868 the Baptist church was organized and it predominated for a long time. Every new settler that came to the community contacted another, so that by 1875 most of the land was claimed up to the county line and a little territory in Sac and Ida counties as well.

The pioneers were poor and the average farm was 80 acres, some only 40. There were a few, however, that were 160 acres in size. The land was occupied for seasonal contracts with a very small down payment. S. N. Sandstrom purchased his 160 acres with a down payment of only $10.00. Few of the pioneers could afford a frame house, but lived in one room "dug-outs" in the side hills, usually near a stream in order to secure water easily. Many had shallow wells six to ten feet deep and dipped the water up with a bucket which was on a fixed stick. Pumps were a rarity.

Postal Service

The nearest town to the new Swedish settlement during the decade following the Civil War was Denison, and it was a "dogís" journey over bad roads, or no roads at all, with oxen and very poor horses. The nearest post office was at Deloit, which was a long way to travel to get the mail. In 1873, a number of settlers got together and decided to petition for establishment of a post office, and in the following year their petition was granted. A. Norelius was appointed the first postmaster.

There was a good deal of discussion among the people of the small and young community about what the office was to be called. They finally decided that it should be named "Kidron", which is a Biblical name. However, the "d" was omitted for some reason or other, and it came to be called Kiron.

The first post office was located in the home of A. Norelius, and it was there that G. A. Norelius, his son, received his first lessons as postmaster. The mail was brought to Deloit from Denison and every Friday afternoon, Mr. Noreliusí older brother would bring the mail to Kiron by horseback. He was paid a salary of $20.00 a year. Naturally there was very little mail to be brought to the residents of the settlement. At the most, there was 25 of 30 letters which were mainly from Sweden and which came "collect 10¢ ." There were very few newspapers, but the papers that did arrive were mainly Swedish newspapers from Chicago. Some of these papers were: The Svenska Amerikaneran, The Chicago Blodet, The Svenska Tribunen, and the Missions Vannen. Very few of the Kiron settlers subscribed to a county paper.

About 1876 a mail route was established from Denison via Deloit, Kiron and Wheelerís Ranch to Sac City. Later this was changed from Denison to Ida Grove. And so the Mail carriers journeyed to Sac City one day and back to Denison the next, giving Kiron mail three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. After the building of the railroad through Odebolt in 1878, the mail schedule was revised. Under the new schedule, the mail was carried from Odebolt to Denison. In 1872 it was changed again, this time to come from Denison daily, which was continued until the route was abandoned in 1899.

In 1891, the post office was moved to a new building and A. B. Falk was appointed postmaster. Two years later, G. A. Norelius was appointed postmaster and the office was moved to the Norelius and Nordell Store. The post office was moved back to the Farn building in 1897 with S. N. Sandstrom the postmaster.

Old Kiron

With the breaking of the prairies and the settling of the country, frequent sharpening of the plow leys was one of the things demanded of the struggling settlers. Because of this new demand, several blacksmith shops sprung up in the small Swedish community, However, most of the smiths were old men, having learned the trade in Europe. Consequently, most of the men were not the best of smiths and could not do satisfactory work too much of the time.

Peter Buller, an ingenious farm boy, decided to try his hand at being a blacksmith. He made a bellows and a forge, and used a railroad iron as an anvil. Peter was successful and as soon as he acquired better equipment he built a small shop on the corner of his fatherís farm at the crossroads. This was in the year 1878. The shop came to be enlarged many times and then wagon repairing was added to the work Peter Buller could do. In addition bobsleds and harrows were manufactured. The wood working needed by Peter Buller was done by Erick Olson for a time and he was then succeeded by Erick and James Swede.

In the spring of 1883, the Swede brothers built a small addition to their shop and put in a small stock of groceries, some work shoes, and various notions. Heartened by the outcome of their first venture, they built a larger building across the street a few years later. The new business enterprise continued until the death of Erick Swede in 1890. The store was closed and the building was vacant until April 1, 1891, when Lester and Cole of Odebolt furnished the store with stock. But these two men sold their store the following year to Norelius and Nordell.

In the spring of 1891, A. B. Falk and company erected a store and continued in business until about 1896 when they were succeeded by the Larson-Erickson Company. A. Arvidson and Hanson and Company in turn took over the business establishment. The latter company closed out the business in 1899 when the railroad was built. The building was moved to the new town and was occupied by Al. Hanson, who put in a hardware stock.

During the fall and winter of 1898-1899 the railroad was surveyed and in the spring of 1899 construction commenced. All preparations were made to locate the station to the northwest of the road intersection, but being unable to purchase the land to plat the town, they located the station one mile west of the desired location. The town site was purchased by the Western Town Lot Company from N. P. Swanson and the town was platted. On August 24, 1899, the company agent, P. W. Whiting, held the sale of lots. Business places in the old town had a preference at the sale. G. A. Norelius was appointed local agent for the company.

Relocation to New Site

After the sale of the lots on August 24, 1899, an exodus from the old town to the new followed. Those in business in old Kiron then were : Norelius & Nordell and Hanson & Co., general stores; Peter Buller, wagon shop; P. A. Peterson, blacksmith shop; John Thunstrom, harness and shoe repair shop; E. E. Lawrence, bicycle shop; Dr. F. A. Burrow, physician; Green Bay Lumber Co., a small stock in anticipation of the building of the railroad. These businesses were all moved to the new town except the stock of Hanson & Co. Which was closed out and the building was moved and is now owned by Kermit Benson, postmaster, and is used as the post office.

The first business house in the new town was that of Norelius & Nordell. H. L. Ward hauled the first material for the foundation of the store and business was commenced on September 16, 1899. Mr. B. N. Benson was Herbertís first customer.

The first new building to be erected was the blacksmith shop of P. A. Peterson and during the fall J. A. Lawrence erected a building (now the Locker) which was occupied by G. F. Schneider as a barber shop, E. E. Lawrence, bicycle and repair ship and E. C. McKeever as a harness shop. Mr. Lawrence had living quarters above.

Dr. F. A. Burrows erected a building which was occupied by Hunter, Norelius & Nordell as a drug store and A. Sederberg, jeweler and watch repair. Dr. Burrows had living quarters and office on the upper floor. C. J. Chinburg erected the building now occupied by the Canada Drug Co. and put in a general stock.

August Reinking built a saloon on the site now occupied by the Legion Hall. Adam Auchsetter built the second saloon on the site of the present lumber shed. Mauritz Bros. built the first hotel. This hotel and saloon were destroyed in June 1901. This was the first destructive fire in Kiron. John Thunstrom built the building now owned by Carl Schiernbeck for a harness and shoe shop and a shoe stock was added later. Charlie Reinking had the first butcher shop; A. F. Miller, livery and feed barn; E. L. Miller, dray; Dr. F. A. Burrows was the first physician and V. E. Michealson the first implement dealer. Peter Buller moved his shop, the present Moller Produce Station and occupied same as a wagon repair shop.

F. M. Pomeroy was the first station agent. N. P. Swanson and N. P. Nord were the first stock buyers and loaded directly into the cars before the stockyards were built. Al Hanson soon opened a hardware store.

P. A. Peterson moved his house and the Mission Church was moved in that fall. The Baptist church was moved in during the winter of 1900. The residence of G. A. Norelius was erected before winter, also a part of the J. A. Lawrence house.

The carpenters of that day were J. A. Lawrence, J. A. Engberg, John Jacobson, August Samuelson, Jonas Johnson, Martin Borge. Plasterers were B. N. Benson and Nels Ecklund. Painters were Jonas Swede and J. A. Nordell.

The Trans-Mississippi Grain Co. Built the elevator during the winter of 1900 and A. L. Pomeroy was the first manager.

The Boyer Valley Banking Co. Founded a bank on January 1, 1900 with W. J. Sandberg as cashier. This bank was reorganized and incorporated on October 1, 1905 as the Kiron State Bank with Henry Hanson as president, August Lundell, vice-president and W. J. Sandberg, cashier. The directors were Henry Hanson, Joseph Mattes, W. F. Bay, August Lundell and W. J. Sandberg. The first building was wrecked and the present building was erected in 1907.

The Green Bay Lumber Co. Was moved to the new town with W. R. Graham as manager. The Bowman and Kranz Lumber Co. with Joseph Mengis as manager was the second yard. The third lumber yard, the Farmers Lumber and Coal Co., was organized in 1903 with a capital stock of $6200. The first manager was A. C. Anall, who was succeeded by J. A. Engberg. In August, 1906, J. E. Hoaglund was appointed. The officers and directors were : E. N. Sandstrom, president; C. W. Nelson, Treasurer; Nels Johnston, secretary; C. Wellendorf, W. J. Hewitt, B. A. Samuelson and J. P. Turin, directors. This yard still exists. The other two closed out a few years after the founding of this yard.

 New Kiron

The town was incorporated in the spring of 1900 and the following were elected: Mayor, F. M. Pomeroy; Councilmen: G. A. Norelius, F. A. Burrows, P. A. Peterson, N. P. Swanson, Albert Hanson, And J. A. Lawrence. Clerk, W. R. Graham, Treasurer, E. E. Clauson, marshal, J. C. Minges. The first meeting of the council was held in the waiting room of the depot on the night of the 25th day of June, 1900.

On July 20th, 1906, a contract was made with the construction of a 24,000 gallon steel tank, 550 feet of 6 inch and 3950 feet of 4 inch mains. The system was installed in the spring of 1907. The town was bonded for $5000.00 the bonds running for ten years at 6 percent was sold to the Kiron State Bank at par.

The first newspaper was the Kiron Sentinel published by Henry and Walter Ward under the name of Ward Brothers. The first issue being on March 8, 1900. H. T. Ward succeeded to the ownership and later sold the paper to Lawrence and Son who changed the name to the Kiron News. The Ownership passed to P. C. Lawrence who published the paper until August, 1910, when it was sold to E. B. Nordell. Subsequent owners of the paper were: R. G. Warrington, C. W. Bursh, David Phillips, George and Mrs. Grow, I. H. Hospers, Bob Lyons, J. W. Young, Allen Jorgensen and Philip Wangler when it expired.

In the spring of 1902, L. V. Larson erected a brick building which was occupied by C. J. Larson as a meat market and later by P. O. Wolleson, S. S. Stolt, Brogden and Winey and C. S. Johnson as a grocery and meats.

E. E. Clauson put in a stock of furniture and notions in the early part of 1900, also acted as undertaker for a number of years. C. S. Johnson was a member of the firm of Clauson and Johnson for a short time. Clauson continued in business until 1948. He was assistant postmaster during the incumbency of postmaster S. N. Sandstrom and succeeded him as postmaster.

After the destruction of the Mauritz Brothers hotel in 1901, Nels A. Johnson built the Hotel Kiron on the site of the Woods building and the first operators of the hotel were Frank Liljeholm and his sister, Alfina. They were succeeded by Mrs. Wahl who was succeeded by the proprietor, N. A. Johnson. Subsequent landlords were a Mr. Peters, Tom Korstad, J. F. Arf, Mrs. F. G. Johnson, John Ekblad, Mrs. Etta Johnson, Mrs. C. E. Johnson and J. L. Lundberg.

After the automobile came into general use, the patronage did not warrant the operation of a hotel and the proprietor Mr. Johnson razed the building. The first automobile was owned by O. E. Strahn in 1906. It was a foreign car bought in Chicago. Larson and Turin sold many different makes of cars. Among them were the Jacksons bought by W. J. Sandberg, Martin Johnson and John Turin. Mr. Turin owned a high wheel International before this. F. A. Burrows and Oscar Larson drove Stanley Steamers. Herbert Johnson a Reo and Martin Cook an Apperson Jackrabbit.

The Kiron Auto Co. Composed of Herbert Johnson, C. C. Iversen, R. H. Hewitt, and E. B. Nordell was organized in 1913. They sold Cuttinga and King cars. They were succeeded by Oscar Sederberg and Wm. Gronau who built the first garage which is now owned by L. A. Larson. Mr. Gronau was succeeded in the firm by C. E. Sjogren who sold to L. A. Larson in 1917. They sold the Chalmers Car, Fords, Buicks, Olds and Chevrolets. Since 1920 L. A. Larson has been the sole proprietor and has had the exclusive agency for the Chevrolet cars and trucks.

In the early automobile days there was quite a number of different makes of cars sold in this community among them the Hupp, Little, Regal, Maxwell, EMF, Cole, Velie, Mitchell, Brush, Oakland, Currior, Pontiac, Monroe and Nash. Most of them have long been forgotten and only the present day makes are in evidence.

In the spring of 1902, John Hoaglund and son, John built and opened a general store. This was the third general store. The business continued until 1908 when the stock was sold to John Cedergren. John Hoaglund was one of the first storekeepers in Arthur when the railroad was built there in 1877. John Cedergren conducted the business that Hoaglund had started until the spring of 1909 when Larson and Turin acquired a half interest.

One of the earliest public enterprises was the erection of an opera house, which was built by the Kiron Hall Association in 1902. G. F. Schneider was president and Aaron Sederberg was manager. This served as a dance hall and skating rink. Stage shows were presented as well as the lecture courses and many other public gatherings. In 1908 ownership of the building passed to Wm. Strahn and the following year it was acquired by W. J. Sandberg and G. A. Norelius and they sold the building to Art Buller who used it as a tire shop for a time. Later George Lindstrom acquired it and razed it.

In the spring of 1901, Wm. and O. E. Strahn, under the firm name of Strahn Bros., acquired the stock of general merchandise owned by C. J. Chinberg and in the spring of 1905, they bought the hardware stock from Albert Hanson.

A second implement business was opened by N. E. Larson and N. P. Swanson in the spring of 1901. This business came into the hands of Larson and Turin and J. A. Engberg. Mr. Engberg retired after a short time and the business has remained in the name of Larson and Turin to this day. Mr. Turin died in 1948.