ONTARIO & BLOOMINGTON
There have been several fires at Ontario since and including 1869.
Two good store houses—good ones—were burnt, goods included in the year 1869. Hiram Scott owned one of these good buildings and C. & E. Thurman owned the other. Fired by lightning, or so supposed.
The elevator was burnt about 1878—a very fair building. The cause of the fire mysterious. One or two blacksmith shops were burnt since 187O. A store house of G. C. Harrison's burned about 1873. The station house or depot on the railroad, burnt June 30, 1882, cause of fire unknown. A new and substantial depot building was put up on the same spot of the first one; was built in the latter half of 1882. Nevertheless Franklin Township has two live villages—Ontario and Gilbert. Gilbert is situated on sections four and nine, and was laid out as a town, January, 1880.
Ontario was laid out January 16, 1869, on the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of section 31, township 84, range 24. The townsite of Bloomington is in Franklin, and situated on the northwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 25. It was laid out in June, 1857, but does not seem to improve. It once had a post office, called "Camden," but that long since was vacated. Frank Thompson and I. T. Evans were the postmasters.
Ontario has two churches—one a Christian Church, the other a Methodist Episcopal Church, a brick building. Bloomington has a Methodist Episcopal Church building but no organization just now.
There are several cemeteries in Franklin Township. One is in the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of section 4; and one in the northwest quarter of the northeast quarter of section 1; and one in the southeast corner of the northwest quarter of section 13, and one in the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 36, township 84, range 24. (See "Cemeteries" Index.)
First settlers of Franklin Township were among the following, viz: John H. Keigley, A. Hipsher, I. Cotton, Wm. McMichael, Adam Grove, Joshua B. Grove, Robt. M. Hunter, Frank C. Hunter, Henry Barnes, Sam J. Hiestand, T. F. Jones, W. J. Freed, Henry Clay Cameron, Fred Eckard, James Briley, Ira Briley, Elisha Briley, E. C. Evans, W. D. Evans, Otho French, Frank Thompson, Eli H. French, John Zenor, P. R. Craig, John Miller, Rev. Job Garberson, Elias Pocock, Mr. — Riddle, Joshua Foster, Wm. Arrasmith, Peter McNerney, Dr. Favre, S. P. O'Brien, Dr. Phipps.
The first postmaster of Ontario was Hiram Scott, who had been the postmaster of New Philadelphia. When office was changed to Ontario, the office was called "Ontario Postoffice," and Mr. Scott continued as the postmaster. Something like —— years ago Frank M. Coffett succeeded Mr. Scott. J. L. Stull is now the postmaster for Ontario. There is a fair warehouse at the depot. The depot building is a good and substantial building but not large. Ed. Allen is the Ticket or Station Agent at Ontario.
Gilbert has J. B. Grinnell for the present postmaster, and Wm. L. Marshall for Ticket Agent.
The two Church buildings, heretofore named are nice comfortable houses.
There are twenty members of the Frank Bently Post No. 89, of G. A. R. A. J. McFarland, Commander.
Gilbert Brothers have a good brick building for their business house. They also have a fine looking elevator.
The building in which Mr. A. U. Stewart has his stock of goods is a brick building. The Directory will show the business men.
There were during the year up to September 1, 1886, 112 cars of stock shipped, and seventy-two cars of grain, from Gilbert; and in May and June, 1886, four cars of stock, and in June, July, August and September, twenty-four cars of grain were shipped from Ontario.
Henry Clay Cameron, on section 19, on the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter, has one of the most substantial brick dwellings in Story County. The brick appeared to be all hard, regular in size, smooth and square corners. This is more than can be said of the brick of many of our brick buildings. The house is a two story house. The main building and ell are two stories. It is a plain building with but little, if any, fine style finish outside. A. J. Hunter, on the east half of the northeast quarter of section 20, has now a very fine dwelling, one and a half stories. high. His barn is also a fair barn. Mr. Hunter died since writing the above. Mr. Ward, on the northwest quarter of section 29, has a fine looking one and a half story building. In passing is to be noticed a newly finished one and a half story building on the southeast quarter of section 32 by I. N. Briley. It seems to be a well finished house. Mr. G. Ferguson, on the southeast quarter of section 15, and near a fine brick school house, has a fine residence. The house, grove and out fixtures on "Bible Creek" show well. Mr. J. B. Grove's fine house, on the hill-top, makes a fine appearance. He has a good one. Mr. Grove's house is on the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 23. Mr. Wm. Arrasmith has not so fine a house and barn as some others, but he has a lovely situation. His native grove, for protection, is surely nice and valuable. He resides on the northeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 23, and is one of the first settlers of Story County. He is a good one. Yes, nearly all the old settlers are good ones.
In passing by Bloomington a short distance to reach the cemetery, several nice improvements were noticed. At the cemetery I found the very worthy name of a very worthy man on a nice monument, situated near the center of the cemetery. This name was "John Miller," with whom I had been acquainted for many years. I think, as an honest, a noble man, he had but few to excel him. In getting the names and ages of the dead in the cemetery for my history, I had then about 2,600 of the dead listed when I approached the monument of "John Miller." There have been but few of that number that brought to my mind so much of the past and present. He was, as my cemetery list shows, near eighty-four and a half years old.
Passing a short distance below Bloomington a good frame building in the southwest corner of section 30, township S4, range 23, just in Milford Township. This residence belongs to M. J. Craig. Still a little south is a fine two story brick building owned by J. E. Davis. This is in the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of section 36, township 84, range 24. While he has one of the excellent dwellings of the county, he has also a very fine barn and outfixtures. His front yard is ornamented with evergreens-an evergreen fence or hedge, nicely trimmed so as to be about four feet high, makes a fine appearance. Why should Mr. Davis not beautify his premises since "Prairie City is just across the street east of his brick, and since he owns the entire city. It once had a house on it, and one John Vest had some goods and groceries for sale. Go in, Mr. Davis! The town was laid off January, 1854.
There are many valuable improvements, I did not get to see, in the township, for which reason I cannot give them. The bridge across Skunk River, on the south line of the township is a good one. The iron bridge across Skunk at Hannum's mill probably is one of the best in the county. A very good bridge is placed across Squaw Creek on the middle line of section 20 running east and west.