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History of Adair
County, Iowa,
and its People.  1915.

Volume 1.


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Orient Township occupies the space of a full congressional township.  The watershed of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers traverses the township from the northwest to the southeast corner and on either side of this several streams find their source.  The two principal streams are the Nodaway and the Nine Mile Run, together with their branches.  The Nodaway flows to the southwest, while Nine Mile Run takes a northeasterly course.  The only timber in the township is found along the banks of the Nine Mile Run. 


The official organization of Orient Township occurred on June 7, 1869.  It was organized as Dayton Township, but not long afterwards changed to its present name, by a petition to the board of supervisors of Adair County, in September following the organization, and signed by the leading citizens of the township.   The first election was held in October, 1869, and the officers chosen were:  Judson Morgan and W. H. Strong, justices; J. L. Leggett, clerk;  T. N. Thatcher,  W. A. Jennings, constables;  R. Schweers,  R. Dillow,  H. Launder, trustees;  R. L. Johnson, road supervisor; there was a tie vote between J. C. Hoffstatter and N. Harris for the office of assessor.


The pioneer settler of the territory now known as Orient Township was Reuben Dillow, a native of Ohio, who emigrated to Iowa and entered land upon section 26 in July, 1860.  Immediately he constructed a small house for himself and family.  The hardships undergone by the pioneer and his family were many; their rude dwelling afforded little protection from the wind and snow; for five years their nearest neighbors were fifteen miles distant. They went to Winterset and Afton to do their milling and to get provisions.  Dillow never had any education, but learned to read and write after he was thirty years of age.  He prospered in this county, however, during the early years, but in later life lost his hard earned savings through unfortunate circumstances.

Rhineheart Schweers was the second man to take up a residence in the township, settling upon section 16 during the year 1865.  He remained in the township seven or eight years, after which he removed to Oregon, where he died some years later.

The third person to come to the township was Edward E. Kates, who came in the fall of 1865 and located upon section 26.  He only remained here two years, when he emigrated to Tennessee.

Michael Smith came in the fall of 1866 and entered land upon Section 25.

Dr. T. L. Andrews was the pioneer physician in the township.  He afterward practiced at Creston, Ia.


The first birth in Orient Township was that of a daughter of James and Elizabeth Welsh, in the latter part of August, 1860.  The child died in October following, which was also the first death in the township.  The child bore the name of Mary J.

The first marriage which occurred in the township was that of William H. Thompson and Ellen Dillow, on October 8, 1869.

Reuben Dillow plowed the first ground and sowed the first grain in the spring of 1861.

the first funeral sermon was preached by Rev. J. S. Elliott, Methodist minister at Afton, over the remains of a child of Reuben and Eliza Dillow in August, 1861.

The first house was built in the township was that belonging to Dillow, which was erected in the summer of 1860.

The first Fourth of July celebration was held at a schoolhouse on Section 16 in 1869.  Mrs. Hannah H. (Thatcher) Armstrong read the Declaration of Independence.  She was the school teacher at that time.

The first Sunday school in the township was organized in 1869, at a schoolhouse on section 16. Dr. T. L. Andrews was elected superintendent.

The chapter on education contains the story of the early schools in Orient Township.


The town of Orient is located almost in the geographical center of the township from which it is named.  In January, 1879, the railroad reached the point on which the town was laid out in the spring of the same year.  A postoffice by the same name was previously established not far distant from the place, and which was afterward removed to Orient.

The first business established was by George Peet, who located in January, 1879, erected a small elevator and began buying grain from the farmers.  He also had a lumber yard, the first in town.  A short time afterwards Marcus Hennesy located at this place and engaged in the coal and grain business.  Following him came Collins & Young, who erected a building 22 by 46 feet, of two stories, and opened a general merchandise store.  Slocum & Stowell succeeded this firm in 1880, carrying on the business until June, 1883, when  Mr. Slocum succeeded the old firm.  Another general stock was added to the town by Eugene H. Sprague in 1879.  He previously carried on business on Middle River, but removed his stock to Orient and erected a building.

The hardware business was first represented in Orient about January, 1882, by Frank Cobb.  He carried on the business for about a year, when John Peet purchased and took possession.  George W. Lewis was the first blacksmith in the town.  John W. Banks opened a harness shop in 1881.  In 1880 John C. Hoffstatter opened a wagon and repair shop.  Henry Schertinger entered the meat market business in July, 1884.  The station at Orient was completed and opened for business on April 14, 1879.

Marcus Hennesy built the first dwelling house in the town.  It was 24 by 24 feet in size.  Josiah R. Young and family were the first to permanently locate.  George Peat was the first business man to settle down here.  The first child born in the community was to J. N. Colby and wife in the fall of 1879.  Samuel Crumrine was the first to get married, going to Ohio for his wife.

The ground for the Orient cemetery was purchased in the fall of 1869 of Judson Morgan for $25 and consisted of one acre, located on the southwest quarter of section 16.  The body of William A. Hoffstatter was the first to be interred there.

Orient is one of the bright, prosperous towns of Adair County.  In most cases the town is the outgrowth of agricultural fruition and while Orient possesses some elements of growth independent of these, it cannot be denied that to the utilization of Nature's advantages, so plentifully distributed in its splendid surroundings, it is chiefly indebted, not alone for its existence, but also for its past successful accomplishments and its brilliant future prospects.  Orient is surrounded by a magnificent country and one has but to glance over the broad expanse of the surrounding country to discover what is a truly agricultural section, a large portion of which is tributary to this town and for which it is the market place.  The town is an index to the character of the country.  There are hundreds of well tilled farms, numerous herds of excellent cattle, handsome and substantial farm residences, commodious stock barns and well filled granaries.  As a stock and grain country the territory immediately surrounding Orient is equal to any in the state and is the reason for the large shipments of stock and grain which go from this point.

Among the better things which the town may boast of are:  Two banks, three churches, several elevators and mills, a handsome new school building for the high school which was constructed in 1912 at a cost of $13,000; a grade school building built in 1894; good hotels; and good railroad service.  The business men of the town are wide awake and filled with the proper civic spirit and there is every reason to believe that in the future years Orient will have grown to be one of the foremost towns in this section of the state.


The character of the banks in any community is largely a gauge to the prosperity of the people.  The condition of the two banks in Orient testifies strongly as to the solid foundation upon which the community is built.

The First State Bank of Adair County, as it is termed, was opened under the name of the Bank of Orient in the spring of 1894 by Lewis Linebarger and his son, H. N.  On June 2, 1895, the bank was incorporated under the present name.  Lewis Linebarger was the first president;  H. N. Linebarger, vice president and cashier.  The capital stock was $25,000, the same as in 1915.  In 1894 a substantial brick building had been constructed for the accommodation of the bank and which cost about $3,700.  D. G. Wiley came to the bank as bookkeeper in 1896, in 1900 was elected assistant cashier, and in May, 1901, was given the office of cashier.  He resigned this position in June, 1902, and C. A. Haynes was elected in the vacancy.  On December 1, 1905, the interests of the bank were purchased by the following directors and stockholders:  J. T. Dalby,  D. G. Wiley,  E. W. Wiley,  H. A. Dalby,  E. E. Dalby.  J. T. DDalby was chosen as president;  C. G. Wiley, vice president;  and C. A. Haynes, cashier.  In December, 1906, J. F. Kingery took the position of cashier.  A. R. Coffman is the present assistant cashier of the institution.  In all business dealings the First State Bank of Adair County bears the confidence and respect of the people, which is proved by the average total of deposits for the institution, which runs at about $170,000.

The Orient Savings Bank was organized on October 26, 1905, and the charter was issued November 7th of the same year.  The first stockholders and directors of the bank were:  S. L. Shreves, R. A. Shreves, C. K. Shreves, E. H. Shreves, Carrie C. Shreves, B. F. Augustine and Annie Carlyle.  The first capital stock was $10,000.  S. L. Shreves was the first president;  E. H. Shreves, vice president; and R. A,. Shreves, cashier.  On August 22, 1908, the Shreves interests were principally bought out by other stockholders and the following elected as new officers:  M. W. Witham, president;  A. K. Reed, first vice president;  John Musmaker, second vice president;  S. R. Graham, assistant cashier.  On February 14, 1910,  R. B. Farquhar became cashier of the bank, which position he holds at the present time.  On February 19, 1910, M. W. Witham resigned the place of president of the bank and A. K. Reed was elected to fill the vacancy.  On October 1, 1910, A. E. Johnson became vice president, the system of first and second vice presidents having been abolished.  On March 4, 1912, the capital stock of the institution was raised from $10,000 to $20,000.  On January 8, 1913, S. R. Graham resigned as assistant cashier and T. C. Likens was elected, who in turn resigned.  There is no regular assistant cashier at the present time, but Floyd G. Mason fills the position of bookkeeper.  On October 1, 1914, Eugene Tinsman was elected vice president.  The surplus carried by the bank at the present time is $6,000 and the deposits average about $110,000.  The bank building was constructed in the year 1906 and cost about $2,700.  The fixtures cost $2,100 additional.  This bank is a rapidly growing one and is well patronized by the people of Orient township and town.


As in most towns of the size of Orient the fraternal and social life is one of the leading factors.  Among the prominent lodges are: the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Order of Eastern Star, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodmen, Yeomen, Rebeccas, Woman's Relief Corps, Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Ladies' Monday Evening Club.  The latter organization has had, perhaps, more to do with the betterment of the town than any other organization.  The ladies composing the membership of this small club are united to make Orient a clean city for the youth and for their own home lives.  This society is about fifteen years old.  The Masonic and Odd Fellows are united into a Masonic and Odd Fellows Building Association and have a building in joint ownership, the upper part used as a lodge hall and the lower as a store.


The first newspaper to be established in Orient was the Deliberator, by Homer Dewitt, in 1895.  The office was conducted in the room above the present Witham land office building.  Dewitt ran this publication for a few years and then suspended for about two years.  At this time A. T. Fetter came to the town, bringing his own office machinery with him, and started the Reporter.  In two years Frank W. Sprague bought out the Fetter plant and continued the publication until 1901, when he sold to J. M. Triechler.  J. E. Triechler acted as editor.  This owner handled the paper with good success until March, 1915, when he sold out to John U. Gitzy, the present proprietor.  The paper is issued weekly and is a five column quarto.  The circulation is about 700.


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