Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick


Hair’s Gazetteer of Iowa in 1865 makes two references to a post office located in the northwest part of Van Buren County, named Hickey. I have searched old maps of Village Township in vain, trying to find a post office by that name or another similar name.

It has been suggested that the name "Hickey" was the localized, shortened name of Hickory. There was a rural school named Hickory a few miles southeast of Bonaparte named for a grove of hickory trees. But neither was a post office located there, nor is it located near or in Village Township.

General Andrew Jackson was a very popular figure, and was given the nickname Old Hickory in 1813 by his soldiers because of his unusual hardiness as an Indian fighter. Many places within the United States were named for him, as Jackson, Hickory or as Old Hickory.

It is interesting to note that the village of Independent, located in Village Township where Selma exists, first had a post office named Hickory. The first post office in the vicinity was named Pameko, 1854-1857. The post office of Hickory was established at Independent on September 10, 1858 with Eli Stump appointed as postmaster.

It is believed that the name of the village was changed to Selma by the railroad when it came through around 1860, probably named for the town of Selma, Alabama. The post office, however, was slow in changing its name and remained officially called Hickory until the 1880s.

Selma was a station on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad located along the Des Moines River. The village was first called Independent to distinguish it from Iowaville, located along the river about one mile northeast. The two villages flourished side by side until about 1880. In the 1880s, Selma had a population of 300 while Iowaville was disappearing.

There seems to be no other recourse but to consider T. J. Fitzpatrick’s suggestion as accurate information. Apparently, Hickey was a name given the Hickory Post Office by local citizens. The village also had a popular nickname…..Stumptown!

(T. J. Fitzpatrick, Annals of Iowa, 1931.)

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick