MOUNT PLEASANT, a thriving post-village, capital of Henry co., Iowa, 65 miles S. of Iowa City. It contains an academy, and numerous stores. Two or three newspapers are published here. (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)
MOUNT PLEASANT The city of Mount Pleasant, the county seat of Henry County, was incorporated by the Legislature several years since. Its government is vested in a Mayor, Board of Aldermen, Recorder and Marshal. Its charter is liberal, conferring all the powers necessary to suppress drinking and gambling establishments and to abate nuisances in general. ~ : Its location is a little south of the geographical centre of the county, on a high prairie, hence its name. Big Creek, a clear, beautiful stream, surrounds the city in the shape of a horse-shoe, one and a half miles distant north, west and south. Both timber and stone of an excellent quality, are found everywhere on this stream, hence no city in the State could be more conveniently and advantageously situated as to these indispensable articles, to growth and general prosperity. The B. & M. R. R. runs through this city, the depot being from a quarter to a half mile north of the public square.
This road gives direct railroad communication with the East by way of Burlington, Chicago, &c. The nearest river trading point is Burlington, twenty-eight miles distant. The village of Mount Pleasant was located by Presley Saunders, in the spring of 1836, he having made a claim, covering the ground, some time previous. Dr. J. D. Payne made the original survey of the town, and Joseph Moore built the first cabin. At this date the city has a population of 5,000, with 12 dry-goods establishments, 17 family groceries, 3 clothing and tailor establishments, 3 tin and hardware stores, 3 drug stores, 2 saddleries, 8 boot and shoe stores, 3 butchers' shops, 1 queensware establishment, 2 livery stables, 2 furniture establishments, 2 steam flouring mills and 1 foundry.
CHURCHES.—Two M. E. churches, 1 old school Presbyterian, 1 Congregational, 1 Baptist, (missionary,) 1 colored Baptist, 1 Universalist, 1 Christian, 1 Episcopalian, 1 United Presbyterian, and 1 Roman Catholic. All the foregoing have comfortable and commodious houses of worship. Those of the Asbury M. E. and the O. S. Presbyterian, are among the finest in the state. There is one public library with several hundred volumes. Henry R. A. Chapter No. 8 meets Thursday on of before each full moon. Mount Pleasant Lodge No. 8, A. F. & A. M., meets Friday before each full moon. Henry Lodge No. 10, I. O. O. F., meets each Monday evening, Mystic Lodge No. 55, I. O. O. F., meets each Tuesday evening. Industry Encampment No. 18 meets 1st and 3d Thursday evenings of each month. Centre Lodge No. 47, I. O. G. T., meets every Saturday evening. The Home Journal is published every Saturday.
The state institution known as the “IOWA HOSPITAL FOR THE INSANE" is located one and a quarter miles from the public square, a little south of east. The state has already expended about $400,000 on this humane institution. It has been pronounced by competent judges among the very best institutions of the kind in the United States. The tract of land purchased by the State for the hospital, contains 160 acres in a square form. The site of the building is on the east side of the tract, and a more beautiful site for such an institution could not well be found. At the present date there are 260 patients in the asylum. Its officers are Dr. A. J. Patterson, Medical Superintendent, Dr. D. C. Dewy, assistant, George Josselyn, Steward, and Mrs. George Josselyn, Matron. With these enlightened, competent and accommodating officers, the management of the institution has met the highest expectations of its friends. Whoever visits Mount Pleasant should not fail to examine the Iowa Hospital for the Insane. It will well repay the trouble.
EDUCATIONAL.—There is no one thing connected with the city of Mount Pleasant, of which her citizens are so proud as that of her educational interests having already, in consequence of her superior advantages in this respect, secured the appellation of the “Athens.” of Iowa. At the head of her institutions of learning, stands the Iowa Wesleyan University. This institution is under the patronage and control of the Iowa conference of the M. E. Church. It is the oldest chartered institution of learning in the state. It is located one half mile north of the public square, and within the corporate limits of the city. A tract of 20 acres for this college was secured at an early day, lying in a square form, ten acres of which are enclosed and ornamented, in the centre of which stand the college buildings. The size of the main edifice is 100 by 55 feet, three stories high, with ample recitation, lecture and chapel rooms. HISTORY.—This institution was originally chartered by the Territorial Legislature of Iowa, by the name of “Mt. Pleasant Collegiate Institute." In 1849 it was tendered, with a beautiful plat of twenty acres of ground, and a two-story brick building, thirty by sixty feet, to the Iowa Annual Conference of the M. E. Church. It was received and adopted, in 1850, as their “Conference University,” and for its support and maintenance as such, they pledged their “paternal patronage.” The Legislature of the State at its session of 1854–5, amended its Charter in accordance with a petition of the Iowa Annual Conference, changing its name to “Iowa Wesleyan University,” and clearly defining its powers as a University. The Charter was accepted, according to one of its expressed conditions, by the unanimous vote of the Iowa Conference, in September 1855, from which period the legal existence of the Institution as a University dates.
This Institution is in a very prosperous condition. At present it is conducted by the venerable Charles Elliott, D.D., President, with an able and efficient corps of professors and teachers.
Professor Howe's High School and Female Seminary, is well and favorably known throughout southern Iowa. For years past this institution has seldom numbered less than 100 students.
Professor E. L. Belding's Mt. Pleasant Female Seminary, is understood to be mainly in the interest of the Old School Presbyterian church. It is in the corporation, one mile east of the public square, on the main road to Burlington, and at the northern terminus of the Asylum avenue. Rev. Mr. Belding has procured a very commodious building for this Institution, and has a good school which is growing in interest daily.
The corporation of Mt. Pleasant as an independent school district has erected a brick edifice at a cost of $23,000. There are 800 pupils in attendance on this school at this time. It is under the care of Professor J. Allison Smith, with eleven assistant teachers and is one of the best schools of the kind in the State. (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)