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Biography of David Warnock

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In the spring of 1869, two families, David Warnock and Joseph Ferguson, were crossing Iowa to settle in Ida County. The Warnock family had originated in Ireland and had been at Dubuque Co., Farley, Iowa. They traveled the distance to Ida County from Dubuque Co. in a covered wagon, and arrived on June 10, 1869. Only 7 families resided in Ida County at that time. Soon after they arrived, they broke the sod on their land.

Richard Warnock was Dave Warnock’s father, and Dave’s mother was Frances. The parents were Irish. They waited a year or two before they left Farley, Iowa, for Ida County near where Battle Creek is today, to join their sons’ families. Their children were David, James, Margaret, Samuel, George, Frank, William, and Lowry.

David had married Mary Ferguson on his covered wagon travels to Ida County, and then established a blacksmith shop in the winter of 1870 on the east side of the hill directly south of where the Maple River bridge was later built. He had the shop for 6 or 7 years. If he needed to collect a bill, he’d “go after it.” Dave was born at Allegheny City, Pa. on Sept. 5, 1846. At the age of 8 he was living with his family at Dubuque, Iowa, and helped his father on the farm. He did hold a position of fireman on a steam boat, covering the river route from Dubuque to St. Paul before coming to Ida County. When in Ida County, he carried mail for 3 years, via the pony express, between Ida Grove and Mapleton. The pony express was discontinued in 1877 when the railroad was completed through Battle Creek. His first homestead was staked by himself, just south of Battle Hill. A Land Co. attempted to jump his claim. Dave had to journey a distance of 65 miles to Sioux City by foot and arrived within 14 hours to establish and procure his rightful deed. He had encountered the Sioux River swollen and the country flooded, and swam the angry waters to get there. His family first lived in a soddy and replaced it with a frame house. Dave and Mary had 4 children: Margaret, Frances, Joe, and Beulah. Margaret and Frances were born in the homestead built in the south side of Battle Hill. Dave towed a lot of machinery and wagons across the Maple River, and rescued many cattle from the flood waters.

The railroad came through Battle Creek in 1877. The railroad had stockyards down by the tracks and cattle were fed and “finished” there for sale in Chicago. By 1915, Battle Creek called itself “the world’s largest shipping center of fat cattle.” The cattle traveled by train to the market in Chicago.

Richard Warnock hauled all the crude lumber by team and wagon from Denison, Iowa, to build a home and some sheds on land they settled south of the Maple River near where Battle Creek, Iowa, is today.

A ‘trail’ that later became a road passed by the buildings a short distance away. This trail was used as a racing trail ‘track’. The Indians delighted in racing and yelling and leaping off and back on their horses. The Indians did not harm the people, and were of a friendly nature, especially with those ready to do ‘barter trading’ with them.”


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