Siouxland’s Early Settlers and their History, Clay County

9 Apr

While driving around in Eastern Siouxland a few weeks back I was threading my way taking various roads when I came across the Welsh Pioneer Cemetery in Clay County, Iowa.

And after spending some time online found out that the county itself was platted in 1853. The Welsh Pioneer Baptist Church was the first church built in the county in 1869 near the communities of Linn Grove and Peterson. Those settlements were established in 1867. A Rev. Tones  is mentioned as the first preacher at the only house of worship in the area and preached until 1873. The first church became too small for this congregation and so a second church was built as the congregation grew. Iowa itself was established as a territory in 1838 and became a state in 1846.

Coming across places like this cemetery brings so many questions to mind that I know there are probably no current answers too. Who were these people. What were their lives like as early settlers in this region. Many seemed to be farmers from Scandinavian countries but also English and other people as they arrived to settle in the area. Many grave markers show young people who did not live beyond a year so one knows conditions were tough, and hard for those parents who lost their children. The church being the place they found solace and comfort among friends and neighbors.

And one hopes they lived fulfilling lives in a new world and saw happy times as well as sad as they sought a better life.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa




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