T103-4N, R4W

From, "The History of Houston County", Taylor Publishing, 1982 - Page 35

The first settlement in Houston County was made in what is now Jefferson Township.  In 1847 two brothers from Pennsylvania, John and Samuel Ross, came up river by steamboat from Galena, Ill. and landed on the west bank of the Mississippi, the spot known as Ross's Landing" from then on.  With the help of the Winnebago Indians, each of the brothers erected a cabin.  Their main occupation was lumbering.

The organization of Jefferson Township took place in 1858.  At the first election, held at the residence of Patrick Donahue, Robert Kenny, John Ross and Patrick Donahue were chosen as supervisors, Mr. Kenny being the chairman.  As available men were scarce, it was found necessary to double some of the offices.  Thus Alex Durkee was made both clerk and constable, John Ross was assistant clerk and treasurer, Patrick Donahue was road master as well as supervisor, and Robert Kenny and Michael Brady were elected justices of the peace.  It is not recorded that any of the town fathers were overworked, and matters ran along quite smoothly for the first year.  It was not long, however, before friction developed, even in that thinly settled community.  In the following year, 1859, Robert Kenny was again elected chairman of the board, and on the last day allowed by law presented his bond, with John Ross for his surety.  It seems that the clerk wished a relative of his to have a place, and persuaded the other supervisors to name him to fill what he alleged was a vacancy.  Mr. Kenny, not being willing to surrender his rights, the matter was referred to the district court, then presided over by Judge Donaldson.  Mr. Kenny engaged Hon. Daniel Norton, state senator, as counsel.  The result of the affair was that the clerk was required to accept the bond as tendered and Mr. Kenny was declared the lawfully constituted chairman of supervisors.

In 1982, the supervisors are George Hammell, Donald Neumann and Wendell Wild.  Hammel is chairman, Gene Pohlman is clerk and Karl J. Krzebietke is treasurer.

The Village of Jefferson grew up on the site of Ross's Landing.  In the fall of 1868, Anton Eck arrived and started a hotel, or tavern.  In the fall of 1869, Lewis Hayes erected a large building, the lower store of which was a store and the upper one a dwelling.  William Robinson built a warehouse for storing grain, and was used several years in that trade, the farmers in the surrounding area bringing their grain here to be shipped out by boat.  The warehouse, still standing in 1982, is in good condition.  A dispute between the railroad company and the village in 1872, on the subject of damages, led to the erecting of the railroad station further south in Iowa.  The village of New Albin, Ia., then absorbed what little business Jefferson had built up.  In the early 1880's the few remaining residents were engaged mostly in fishing, sometimes 50,000 pounds being taken at one haul.  During the next 100 years, commercial fishing was still carried on by Jefferson Township residents.  The Luttchens family was engaged in this occupation for three generations.  Otto Sr., his two sons, Otto Jr. and Armin, and Armin's son, Elmer.  The present owner of the Jefferson warehouse, Lawrence Strong, uses the building in his commercial fishing business.  

Compiled and submitted by Don and Glenda Neumann


1860 Jefferson Houston Index


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Early Settler Surnames

  • Ross

  • Kenny

  • Donahue

  • Durkee 

  • Brady

  • Hayes

  • Robinson

  • Luttchens

  • Strong