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Shelby County

Elk Horn

Elk Horn (1)


Elk Horn is located at latitude 41.591 N and longitude -95.059 W and an altitude of 1361 feet (1).


Caroline Winters is known for naming Elk Horn for the prominent number of horns. (3) Although unofficially recognized for naming the settlement, she is also considered to be the first post master. (4) She and her husband Theron, lived 2 miles south and ¾ miles west of the current city location. (5)

In 1867 a post office was erected at 2531 500th Street (Gerry and Carrie Greve home) with Lorenzo L. Winters as the first officially recognized postmaster. (6)

Elk Horn is well known for its Danish community. The first Danes moved to Elk Horn in 1875 and in 1878 established the first Danish Folk High School in the United States. (7)

The city was incorporated Nov 2, 1901 as “Lot 10 section 1, township 78, Range 37, Shelby County” (8, 9)


The Elk Horn Cemetery is located in Shelby County, Clay Township T78 R37 S01.(10)


  1. Iowa Gravestone Photo Project. Elk Horn Cemetery. (accessed October, 8 2009).
  2. Elk Horn, United States Page. (accessed October 12, 2009).
  3. Norma Lange Nelson and Wava Petersen. Elk Horn Community History (Audubon, Iowa: Audubon Media Corporation, December 2000), 12.
  4. Ibid, 3.
  5. Ibid, 12.
  6. Ibid, 12.
  7. Barabara Lund-Jones and John W. Nielsen. Embracing Two Worlds: The Thorvald Muller Family of Kimballton(Dana College, Blair, Nebraska: Lur Publications, 1998), 84.
  8. Shelby County Iowa Towns. Organization of Towns. (accessed October 8, 2009).
  9. Nelson and Petersen. Elk Horn Community History, 5.
  10. Elk Horn Cemetery. (accessed October 2, 2009).


List of community residents forthcoming

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Galland's Grove


Galland's Grove, about one-half of what became known as Grove Township, was at one time covered by a heavy growth of virgin timber. Although Latter-day Saint settlers probably came to the area prior to 1854, the town became a primary settlement of members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Galland’s Grove was established in about 1847 and named for its founder, Abraham “Abel” Galland. Abel crossed Iowa from Nauvoo, Illinois in 1846.  In 1847, he followed an old Indian trail north from Kanesville and parallel to Mosquito Creek through Pottawattamie and the present-day Harrison County.  He had been told by an Indian agent that honey could be found to the north.  He found the honey and named the place Six Bee Tree Grove.  In addition to honey, there were great virgin stands of native American black walnut trees.  Abel built a small log building that served as a school and church.

Abel was the son of Mathew and Hannah Fenno Galland.  Abel was born in 1787 in New Jersey.  His younger brother was Isaac Galland.  Isaac studied and practiced medicine among the settlers.  He purchased land in Commerce, Illinois in about 1839 and then sold nineteen thousand acres to the Latter-Day Saints.

Abel and his wife, Lucy, did not go west to the Salt Lake Valley. They spent their days in the Grove where Abel died on June 22, 1857.  Amy’s last days were spent in Crawford County, and she died on July 30, 1877.  They were buried at Galland’s Grove.  The location of that early cemetery was lost until recently.

Galland’s Grove was an important location for the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints.  The Galland's Grove Branch was organized October 21, 1859, by Elders W. W. Blair and E. C. Briggs, with thirteen members: William Van Ausdall, Uriah Roundy, Rena Roundy, John A. McIntosh, Alexander McCord, Elizabeth Williamson, Alexander Hunt, Lewis Jackson, Elizabeth Thomas, and Alexander Black. William Van Ausdall was chosen as the first pastor (1).

The Galland's Grove Saints held their religious meetings in a log building for more than twenty years. The chapel was of unhewn logs, built in the early fifties. It was roofed with split clapboards ripped from straight-grained logs cut in three- or four-foot lengths. The clapboards were held in place by poles lying across them lengthwise of the building and fastened at either end, since at that time they had nails. The old-time members delighted in telling of the pleasant memories and the spiritual blessings they had enjoyed within those humble walls (2).

The Galland's Grove District was organized by the General Conference, October 6, 1863. John A. McIntosh was chosen president and presided at the first conference of the new district held in the log church house. Oliver E. Newcomb, Sr., and Nathan Lindsey acted as clerks.

Seven counties comprised the district at the time of its organization, but it later comprised twenty-one: Shelby, Crawford, Carroll, Greene, Guthrie, Audubon, Humbolt, Pochontas, Sac, Ida, O'Brien, Emmet, Osceola, and Kossuth. For the general good of the district two to four conferences were held each year (3).

In 1880, the society commenced the erection of a neat edifice, which was finished in 1881, at a cost of $1,300. At first their services were held at private houses, later in a log schoolhouse which was accidentally burned, when they built a log church which served until the new church was built.  The membership in 1880 was 276 (4).


Abel Galland’s obituary that was published in a Council Bluffs newspaper stated that he was buried at the Galland’s Grove Cemetery.  Over time the location of that cemetery was lost.  The journal of William Smith recounted that his wedding took place in the little log church in 1853.  The group attending the wedding walked to the courtyard through the graveyard.  Thus, the original cemetery was near the original church. 

Using ground-penetrating radar, nine graves in the area were discovered.  On Sunday June 24, 2012, the Abel Galland Memorial Cemetery was dedicated. 

Possible Burials

Name Birth date Death date
Abel Galland 7 Mar 1789 22 Jun 1857
Amy Furby Galland 12 Jul 1789 30 Jul 1877
Lavina Hancock 10 Sep 1845 1846
Benjamin Hancock 1844 1847
Thomas Hancock 25 Jan 1788 4 Jan 1848
Sarah Barrett Chandler 6 Apr 1780 27 Sep 1850
Thomas Cummings 1852 1852
David Galland 1809 1852
Sephrone Thompson 25 Mar 1853 1853
Solomon Hancock 1824 1859

Most of Abel Galland's descendants stayed in Iowa. One grandson, Benjamin F. Galland, the third child and oldest son of David Galland who was the oldest son of Abel settled in Salt Lake City. David died in 1852 and was buried at the original Galland's Grove cemetery. His wife, Druscilla Dragoo, moved to Hughes County, Oklahoma where she died in 1905. Benjamin's wife was Permilia Ann Walker. They had nine children. The first three were probably born at Galland's Grove. By 1880, the couple had moved to Utah and by 1885 had a child born in Salt Lake City. A third-great grandson of Abel Galland was a major contributor toward the beautification of the Abel Galland Memorial Cemetery.

Three memorial headstones were added to the Abel Galland’s Memorial Cemetery for its dedication.  They were Blanche Pearsall, 1872-1872, daughter of J and H Pearsall; Sarah Pearsall, 1872-1885, daughter of J and H Pearsall; Son, 1872-1872, child of T D and K Pratt.  These three children were actually buried in the Galland Grove RLDS (Holcomb) Cemetery. 

Another cemetery was located about 1 mile east of Galland’s Grove.  The exact date of the establishment of that cemetery is not known but it would have been about 1860.  It was known as the Galland’s Grove RLDS Saints or Holcomb Cemetery.

Early Burials

Name Birth Date Death Date
Eva Crandall 22 Feb 1861 12 Mar 1862
Henry F. Klopping 6 Dec 1861 28 Jan 1863
John T. Marion Andrews 22 Jan 1831 12 Apr 1863
Sarah “Sally” Duntley Holcomb 12 Mar 1809 25 Oct 1864
Mary Caroline Young 24 Apr 1865 29 May 1865
Patience Bentley Homer 7 Feb 1835 10 Mar 1867
Elizabeth Jane Liston Williamson 15 Jan 1830 25 Oct 1869

There were no official sexton records, however a hand drawn map of the cemetery was found in the home of Samuel Francis Neslan Smith.  He lived close to the cemetery, and it is believed he created it. 


1. Wilcox, Pearl, Roots of the Reorganized Latter-Day Saints in Southern Iowa p. 259.

2. Ibid, p, 272.

3. Ibid, p. 269.

4. Ibid, p. 272.

View list of Community Residents

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Leland's Grove

Leland's Grove

The two room log cabin on the left was built in 1856 by Benjamin Leland.  It was originally located at Leland’s grove but in 1970 was moved to Potter’s Park Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa.   The right log cabin was built by John McIntosh in 1857 in Galland’s Grove, Grove Township.  They are on display and a part of the Shelby County Historical Museum (SCHM). (1)


Leland’s Grove was a thickly wooded area, around 300-400 acres, in the Southwest corner of Shelby County.  It was just west of Mosquito creek and as Ron Chamberlain says, “it is just a rocks throw from Harrison County.”(2)   Leland’s Grove was found in Cass Township, T79 R40 S31 just south west of Portsmouth. (3)  It lied about “35 miles east from Council Bluffs, on the line of the Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul railroad.” (4) 


Leland’s Grove was settled by and named after Benjamin Leland in 1856.  Leland, who had previously lived in Galland’s Grove, walked up the ridge along the Mosquito Creek from Council Bluffs and established Leland’s Grove.  Benjamin Leland was born in Ohio 1824. (5)  He was called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with Eden Smith to Erie County, Pennsylvania in April 1843. (6)  The Leland family stayed in Iowa, left the Mormon Church and joined the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints. (7)  The settlement lasted until 1890.  Currently the timber has been cleared out from where Leland’s Grove was located.  A memorial or sign was placed at the gravesite for the Benjamin Leland family.  There aren’t tombstones there because they were all destroyed.  (8)


Name of settler (year settled) place of origin. (9)

Leland, Benjamin L. (1854) Ohio
Lytle, Samuel H. (1856) Ohio
Bell, Thomas (1865) England
Bullard, Jonathan (1868) Canada
Butler, V.H. (1862)
Gollop, John (1859)
Hall, David (1868)
Halliday, Henry (1864) England
Handy, William (1869) England
Hewitt, Buck (1855)
Leytham, Richard (1865) England
Shackelton, B.S. (1869) England
Shearer, George (1855)
Springer, B.V. (1862) Indiana
Tutty, David (1856)

From the Iowa census 1860. (10)
June 12th 1860  Leland’s Settlement in the south west corner of the country.
Benjamin L. Leland    38        abt 1822          Pennsylvania   Farmer
Elizabeth Leland         27        abt 1833          Illinois             Housework
John C. Leland            10        abt 1850          Illinois  
Deborah M. Leland     8          abt 1852          Illinois
Mariette Leland          6          abt 1854          Illinois
Emaline Leland           4          abt 1856          Iowa
Charles T. J.                2          abt 1858          Iowa
Rachael M. Cram        46        abt 1814          New Hampshire
Josephine Cram           5          abt 1855          Missouri

John Gallup                 49        abt 1811          New York       Farmer
Marietta Gallup           42        abt 1818          New York       Housework
Isaac N. Gallup           21        abt 1839          New York       Farm hand
George W. Gallup       15        abt 1845          New York       Farm hand
Elijah Gallup               13        abt 1847          New York      

David Jones                60        abt 1800          Pennsylvania   Farmer
Mercy Jones                54        abt 1806          Maryland         Housework
Aaron Jones                15        abt 1845          Ohio                Farm hand
Janice H. Jones            10        abt 1850          Iowa

Lorenzo M. Cracken   42        abt 1818          Indiana           Farmer
Delorus M. Cracken    38        abt 1822          Indiana            Housework
Gorge Cracken            19        abt 1841          Illinois             Farm hand
Asa Cracken                10        abt 1850          Iowa

The Leland family name has pretty much died out but the Lydle name continues.  Lydle is the family name for one of Benjamin Leland’s daughters. (11)


Leland’s Cemetery is located between Portsmouth and Persia, just west of highway 191. (12)  Specifically it is in Cass Township T79 R40 S31, Shelby County “35 miles east of Council Bluffs”. (13)  There are 3-4 graves of Leland family members. (14)



  1. Ron Chamberlain, phone interview, by Rachel Briggs, October 5, 2009.
  2. Ron Chamberlain, phone interview, by Rachel Briggs, January 28, 2010.
  3. Iowa Genealogy Web Project, Leland Grove Cemetery. (accessed December 9, 2009). 
  4. Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Journal of History, volume 12-13 (Lamonl, Iowa: The Board of Publication of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, January 1919), 272-276 (accessed December 9, 2009).
  5. Ron Chamberlain, phone interview, January 28, 2010.
  6. BYU Studies Since 1959. Biographical Registers – S, found under the entry of SMITH, Eden. (accessed October 7, 2010).
  7. Shelby County Historical Museum. Flyer. (712)755-2437.
  8. Ron Chamberlain, phone interview, January 28, 2010.
  9. Iowa Genealogy Web Project,Shelby County, Iowa Early Pioneers. (accessed Feb. 19, 2015).
  10., 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line] (Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009) Census place: Harlan, Shelby, Iowa; Roll:  M653_339; Page: 685; Image: 247; Family History Library Film: 803339.
  11. Ron Chamberlain, phone interview, January 28, 2010.
  12. Ibid.
  13. Leland Grove Cemetery. (accessed November 12, 2009).
  14. Iowa Genealogy Web Project, Leland Grove Cemetery.


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Shelbyville Map


Found in the “Northeast quarter of Section 27, Township 81, Range 40, Grove Township.”  As reported by Marshall Turly, of Council Bluffs City, J. F. Vails, of Crawford County, and Lorenzo Butler, of Harrison County, Shelbyville "was across the road west a short distance from the well known residence of F. J. McNaughton, one of the prominent pioneers of Shelby County."  (1)


Shelbyville was organized by Mormon dissenters on 21 December 1853. (2, 3)  It was the first town organized in Shelby County. (4)  The settlement was officially platted 5 February 1855. (5)  Shelbyville was the county seat after a proposal from a committee of L.D. Butler, John E. F. Vails and Marshall Turley. (6)  The court voted in favor of this proposal and was attended by William Vnausdall (judge); Andrew Foutz (sheriff); Vinsan G. Perkins (clerk); Alxander McCord (recorder and treasurer); and James Ward (prosecuting attorney). (7)  A court house was to be erected and in 1859 a vote was cast for the location.  Shelbyville was outvoted by nine votes, moving the county seat and new court house to Harlan. (8)  The town thrived for a meager 6 years but when the political power moved, the homes and businesses were destroyed or relocated.  Now there is no evidence of the old settlement. (9)

There is a monument erected at Shelbyville just 4.5 miles north of Panama and 3.5 miles west of Earling.  It is in the south east part of Grove Township. (10)

Ron Chamberlain, local historian, believes Shelbyville to be named by Horace A. Tarkington.  Tarkington brought the name with him from Kentucky where there is a Shelbyville.  Tarkington was the first Methodist minister and chief Judge. (11)

A Tale of Shelbyville
“It is related that several years ago a settler, in going from Audubon County to Shelbyville, got lost on the prairie; that in wandering about he accidentally crossed a ravine at a point where a vein of coal was laid bare by the action of the waters of the brook which ran by; that he picked up a specimen of the coal and carried it with him till he reached the settlement, where he showed it to parties who immediately started in search of the “valuable land,” taking with them the original “wander” as a guide.  The exact spot where the treasure lay had not been marked, and the exploring party, after a diligent search, was obliged to return without any coal in their pockets! “(12)

A post office was built in February 21, 1854 and was in business until August 21, 1862. (13)  It was located at “latitude 41.7910989 and longitude 95.4808349” or “sec27, T81N, R40W, Fifth Principal Mer.”(14, 15)


The Doyle cemetery is located 1.25 miles west of the monument for Shelbyville.  It is found at latitude 41.8013768 and longitude -95.5086132


This table gives information all known graves in the Doyle cemetery.

  Date of Death Age at Death
KELLEY, Adam 5/17/1879 48yrs/2mos/2days
KELLEY, Frances M. 8/27/1882 19yrs/2mos/28days
KELLEY, George 5/30/1887  
ROUNDY, Zebedee 2/29/1855 21yrs/10days
ROUNDY, Uriah 10/2/1869 72yrs
ROUNDY, Rena (Uriah) 11/2/1880 70yrs
ROUNDY, Asahel 6/6/1878 49yrs/8mos/20days
(Daughter of Asahel and Sara Roundy)
1/10/1880 7yrs/2mos/24days
JACKSON, Andrew 7/13/1872 22yrs/26days
JACKSON, Lafayette
(Son of Lewis and Margaret (Crandall) Jackson)
3/2/1868 23yrs/6mos/4days
JACKSON, Margaret (Crandall)
(Wife of John)
1/27/1856 40yrs
CRANDALL, Magdalene (Wood) 1858? (88yrs 1856 census)
(Daughter of Ed and R. Bristol)
1855 21yrs/9mos
STRONG, Hannah C. (Kemp)
(Wife of Reuben W.)
1864 38yrs
PALMER, Katherine G.
(Wife of J.M.)
3/24/1871 56yrs/8mos
(Children of Thurman Dursic and K.)
10/27/1876 3yrs/7mos/12days
PRATT, Girty M.
(Children of Thurman Dursic and K.)
3/17/1877 9mos/25days
(Daughter of F.J.)
7/11/1880 Infant
MCDONALD, Amanda 4/8/1883 43yrs/11mos/19days
MCDONALD, G.W. 4/30/1893 52yrs/8mos/21days





  1. Benjamin F. Gue, History of Iowa, vol. 1, From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (New York: The Century History Company, 1903), 410.
  2. Ibid.
  3. A. T. Andreas. Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875 “History: Shelby Co., IA”. (accessed Sept, 1 2009).
  4. Ibid.
  5. Shelby County, Iowa. “Shelby County and its Courthouses”. (accessed April 9, 2015).
  6. Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties, Iowa (Chicago:W.S. Dunbar & Co. 1889), 245.
  7. Benjamin F. Gue, History of Iowa: From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.
  8. “Shelby County” ISAC. (accessed April 9, 2015).
  9. Biographical History of Shelby and Audubon Counties, Iowa, 259.
  10. Ron Chamberlain, phone interview, by Rachel Briggs, October 5, 2009.
  11. ibid
  12. A. T. Andreas, “History: Shelby Co., IA”.
  13.  “Feature Detail Report for: Shelbyville Post Office (historical)”. (accessed October 20, 2009).
  14. “Shelbyville Post Office (historical) Shelby County.”,n,shelbyville%20post%20office%20(historical),fid,1982539.cfm#. (accessed October 20, 2009).
  15. “Feature Detail Report for: Shelbyville Post Office (historical)”.
  16. “IA Home Town Locator.”,ftc,2,fid,1982656,n,doyle%20cemetery.cfm (accessed November 24, 2009).
  17. “Doyle Cemetery List, Earling, Shelby County, Iowa.” Created November 29, 1998 (accessed November 24, 2009).

List of community residents forthcoming

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