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Biography of John H. Moorehead

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J. H. Moorehead came to Ida County in June, 1856. He was born in Zanesville, Ohio, September 21, 1808. He was a son of Thomas Moorehead who was of Scotch ancestry. He had been engaged in shipping flour down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans.

In 1854, Mr. Moorehead came to Iowa City, Iowa, where he remained until 1856, when he and his family came to Ida County. He took an active part in all public affairs and assisted in the upbuilding of the county. He had been a man of business for many years and shouldered the public duties which were thrust upon him. When the Ida County government was organized in 1858, he was chosen as County Judge. By this time, there were 38 people residing in the county. The county courthouse was established at his home in 1860. The first post office of the county was also at the Moorehead Homestead by 1857, and stagecoaches traveled daily from Fort Dodge to Sioux City, and back. Mrs. Moorehead prepared meals for the riders of the stagecoaches, and travelers could room there, also.

When John Moorehead came to Ida County, he made his residence in the grove near where the town of Ida Grove was later established in 1877. When they first arrived in the county, they lived in a trapper’s cabin near where the Timber Creek and the Maple River joined, until their log cabin had been built nearby. The log cabin had one room downstairs and an upstairs for the men and boys. The family brought Mrs. Moorehead’s mother with them, along with a hired girl. This thriving place became the Moorehead homestead, and was christened Ida Grove by Mrs. Martha Moorehead. Martha was the daughter of John A. and Mary A. Good of Martinsburg, Virginia and was born July 6, 1814.

J. H. helped plat and lay out the Village of Ida, and on April 13, 1871, the plat was recorded. Here the village was built, and after the appearance of the railroad in 1877, the new town of Ida Grove was platted. Many of the businesses were moved from the Village of Ida to the location of the new town built beside the railroad tracks. It new town was named Ida Grove, the same as the Moorehead homestead.

John and Martha had five children: Anna L. (the wife of Rev. Dr. Woodworth), William C., Hammond A., Frank R., and Giles C. (the first white boy born in Ida County on November 2, 1856). Giles was reared on the old home place and received his early education in the schools of the district and at Sioux City, Iowa. He graduated from the medical department of the State University of Iowa on March 5, 1875. He located at Ida Grove and setup medical practice there. He made a specialty of diseases of the eye.

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