Historic Places     

Breda: Origin and Settlement

Breda is a town in Iowa located in the heart of the Corn Belt. It is situated in Wheatland and Kniest Townships in the northwestern part of Carroll County, being thirteen miles from Carroll, the county seat. Breda is on the Sioux City Branch of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, which was built in 1877. The town of Breda was technically founded when this railroad was built. This typical American rural town has a population of 553 people. Friendliness, honesty, and loyalty are natural customary habits that may be expected from every citizen of the community.

Main Street, Breda, Iowa orth side of street bout 1910

It was in 1869 that the first settlers came from Galena, Illinois and Hazelgreen and Dickeyville, Wisconsin to establish new homes on the prairies of Northwestern Iowa. These early settlers were for the most part sturdy Germans and thrift Hollanders. Among the early pioneers were the families of Richard and Henry RICKE, Martin LUDWIG, John LeDUC, Mathew SNYDER, William LAMMERDING, Henry OLERICH, and Ben and Clem KNOBBE. These men bought land from the Railroad Company for $4 an acre.

On the barren prairie lands not a piece of wood as thick as a finger was to be found and not a tree was to be seen. Before many years had elapsed however, these lands, which a short time ago were the hunting grounds for Indians and roaming lands for buffaloes, were dotted with cabins and neatly planted groves of timber and the fruitless prairies were changed into fertile fields. It took men of courage and perseverance to accomplish what these pioneers did. The breaking up of these lands was no easy task for a man could only clear between 10 and 15 acres a season with continued hard labor.

Since there were no roads or as yet a church in Breda, people traveled on horseback, in wagons or walked through swamp grass to attend services at Mt. Carmel Church. The children would walk to Mt. Carmel twice a week through the tall prairie grass and mud for religious instructions, and often they were obliged to take their shoes and stockings off and wade through water and swamps.

Before the grain elevator and the railroad came to Breda, the farmers would load their livestock, potatoes, vegetables and grain on a wagon pulled by oxen or horses and take them to Carroll. They started very early in the morning and came home late in the evening. Since there were no roads on which they could travel, these early pioneers had to make their own trail through the swamps and tall grass. The farmers were later aided in selling their products by railway when the railroad came through Breda in 1877. Eventually the greatest step in aiding the pioneers by way of transportation was the automobile and the truck. The automobile aided in taking people to town, to church and for business purposes. The truck was used for hauling the needs of the farmer or businessmen in town and for the selling of goods to another city or farm.

The first roads that the farmers made were very crude. They took a walking plow and made furrows for the ditches. Then they cleared the tall grass from between the two furrows. When it came to grading the road they used a crude grader consisting of large heavy planks which they dragged on the ground. Later the county furnished heavy steel graders with a long blade underneath to cut down the roots in the road. Although Carroll County is not rich in gravel deposits they later obtained it from neighboring counties to surface the roads.

A great inconvenience for the early pioneers was snowstorms in the winter season. Sometimes the settlers would not see one another for weeks and in some severe cases for a month or more.

In 1869, before Breda was an incorporated town, the inhabitants were governed as a part of the township. Trustees of the township attended to all business and local affairs. The Secretary of the Board of Trustees was in charge of legal documents and transactions. Elections were held at appointed posts such as schoolhouses and community centers.

In 1871, the Chicago fire caused many who had lost their homes to come to the plaints [sic] of Iowa. Many settled in Wheatland Township.

In the summer if [sic] 1877, the Sioux City Branch of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad was built through the community. The question arose as to the location of the depot. This question brought up a discussion and several pioneers were in favor of having it built one mile from its present site. The company finally bought 177 acres from Clem KNOBBE, Benedict SCHETTLER, Henry RIETER, and William ARTS and located the depot at its present site. Other buildings soon surrounded the little station, and the town of Breda was formed.

The question is often asked why the town was named Breda. Some of the first suggestions for names were St. Clemens and Artsville. Because Superintendent Hall and the building force of the Northwestern Railroad were then stopping at the hotel of John LEDUC and during November of that same year the town was founded, he gave Mrs. LEDUC the honor of naming the town. At first, the names of New Holland and Roermond were suggested, but as there were already other towns in the state whose names were similar to these, they were rejected. Then Mrs. LEDUC suggested the name of Breda in honor of a city in Holland. As there were no other towns of that name in Iowa, the town was named Breda. Mrs. John LEDUC had the honor of naming the town in return for the painstaking services she rendered Superintendent Hall and the construction crew of the Northwestern Railroad Co.

On October 30, 1877, an election for the incorporation of Breda was held. It carried by a vote of 36 for and 5 against the measure. The names of the 44 men voting in this election were as follows: S.N. MCCORMICK, J.H. KNOBBE, J. VANEVENTER, A.J. POWELL, Joseph DYKE, Ubba ALBERSON, H. SCOTT, Henry BRUNING, Henry OLERICH Jr., U.C. JONES, Henry OLERICH Sr., H.W. LAMMERDING, W. LAMMERDING, J.H. BOHNENKAMP, Frank SALMEN, Joseph KEMPKER, J.B. EBERLY, R. RICKE, J.L. PERRY, A.T. OLERICH, John OLERICH, Frank LAKE, Anton STORK, Joseph OLERICH, John FRANZEN, Theodore LOCH, John LEDUC, Joseph SCHELLE, Fred GEETS, G. HANNSEN, J. Frank DERNER, N. CORTENBACH, C. KNOBBE, Henry PAPER, Wm. LEETS, B. BRUNING Sr., J.H. BRUNING, V.R. JACKSON, A.L. GNAM, Herman GNAM, and C. BRUNING, Sr.

Thus through the efforts of our pioneers and the continued progress throughout the ensuing years, Breda has developed into one of the cleanest rural cities to be found anywhere. It is most progressive and therefore offers the community many advantages rarely found in other cities of its size.



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