Iowa has its own draft horse history. The American Cream Draft horse was developed in the early 20th century in central Iowa and is the only breed of draft horse to originate in the United States. It has a cream-colored coat, pink skin, amber eyes, and white mane and tail.
The sale of a mare named Old Granny in 1911 in Story County marked the beginning of this unique breed. The buyer kept the foals to continue her bloodline.
The American Cream was registered as genetically separate from other draft horse breeds in 1944 and recognized by the Iowa Department of Agriculture in 1950. Draft horse numbers declined when tractors replaced horses, but with renewed interest in this breed the registry was re-activated in 1972.
It is estimated that there are about 400 in existence today. Some may be found in tourist areas pulling carriages and wagons, including Colonial Williamsburg, VA, with a few being used in farming. The horses pictured are owned by Tony Stalzer, who lives in Zearing. (2022 photo)
Munterville. Where is it? Located about six miles north of Blakesburg, it is not on most Iowa maps. A big red barn, an immigrant memorial, a Lutheran Church, and a few houses are all that remain today.
Southeast Iowa was a key area for Swedish immigration, including this village. In 1847 settlers arrived in Wapello County and established Bergholm. It was changed to Munterville in 1870 when the post office was established in recognition of Magnus Munter, a prominent community leader. The post office closed in 1905.
The Swedish Immigrant Memorial in the lawn of Munterville Lutheran Church, adjacent to the church cemetery, commemorates the settlement by Swedish immigrants. It depicts a family dressed in pioneer clothing, rather than Swedish clothing. Three flagpoles surround it: a U.S. flag, an Iowa flag, and a Swedish flag, as well as a brass plaque listing donors and memorials of former residents.
About ½ mile east of the monument is a barn, erected by an early settler, whose name is unknown today. The red barn is in excellent condition and stands out in the countryside. It was the site of the Alex Johnson Dairy that sold raw milk from the1920s-1940s. Shown is a milk bottle cap from this dairy.
The Lutheran church was an integral part of the community but unfortunately closed several years ago due to declining membership. It will be kept in good repair for years to come, fortunately, by money set aside by members and descendants. Adjacent is a large, well-kept cemetery where many immigrants and probably the builder of the barn are buried. (September 2022 photos)