The subdivision of Adair county technically known as township 75 north, of range 30 west, is organized into a civil township and called by the name of Grand River. It is an entirely agricultural district, and has no town or village within its limits. The land is of the finest quality, and the surface rolling, and, in the vicinity of the river, quite abrupt. It is one of the best watered townships in the county, as three considerable streams traverse it, together with a multitude of tributaries. Grand river, the largest and most important, enters this township on the north and west lines of section 6, in two branches which unite in the northeast corner of that section. Flowing thence in a general southeasterly course, it crosses sections 5, 8,17, 16, 22, 27 and 35, touching several others on its wandering way, and passes out on the south line of 35. Nine Mile creek, or the south branch of Grand river, enters in the southwest quarter of section 31, and, flowing nearly east, traverses sections 31, 32, 33, 34, and makes a confluence with the parent stream in the southwest quarter of section 35. Bush branch, having its headwaters over the line in Harrison township, enters on the north of section 3, and waters sections 3, 2, 11 and 13, on the latter of which it makes its exit. The population of Grand River is mostly made up of thrifty, industrious Germans, and was, in 1880, five hundred and twenty five people. In 1863 this subdivision had but one hundred and eight souls as residents, and until 1875 the growth was extremely slow, as in that year, although twelve years had elapsed, the census showed but three hundred and forty seven. It was organized in 1855.
EARLY SETTLEMENT. While there is a question of doubt as to who was the first settler upon the soil of what now constitutes the township of Grand River, still the best authorities are agreed that first to make a settlement was James Bush, who located upon section 13, in June, 1854, where he still resides. James Bush is a native of Delaware county, Ohio, being born on the 6th of April, 1832, his parents being David and Elizabeth Bush. He received a common school education in Delaware county, and attended college between two and three years. In 1854 he went to Des Moines, Iowa, where he remained a short time, and then took a trip, on foot, through Dallas, Green, Guthrie, Cass and Adair counties, and concluded to make his future home in this township, which at that time was destitute of inhabitants. In seeking a location for a house, Mr. Bush’s intention was to find a locality where there was plenty of building stone to be found, and his main buildings are all built of stone. His estimable wife has contributed largely, in labor and money, in making their home what it is. He was united in marriage on the 4th day of March, 1855, to Miss Ann V. Jennings, a daughter of Levi Jennings, of Peoria county, Illinois, and four children have blessed their union—Rose M., Frank E., Fred W., and Benjamin E. He now has six hundred and forty acres of land, a large comfortable house, two stone barns, and an orchard of six hundred bearing trees, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising, and has on hand one hundred head of cattle, twenty-seven horses, and one hundred hogs. Mr. Bush has always been a diligent worker for the interests of the township, is one of its most prominent citizens, and in politics is a republican, but has never aspired for political preferment.
In 1854 William Schweers, a native of Hanover, Germany, located in this township with his family. He died in 1880; but he has sons still living in Union township, this county.
George Grimma was the third to make a settlement, coming from Keokuk county, Iowa, to this township and locating upon section 27, in October, 1855. He resided on this place until the day of his death, September 18, 1879. His wife is still living, with a son, on the old homestead.
John Augustine, in the spring of 1855, settled upon section 29. This was about the 1st of May, and after building a log cabin, he set to work to open up a farm. Here he lived until 1871, when he removed to Oreston, and engaged in the business of blacksmithing. In 1881 he returned to Adair county, and now lives on section 35, in Union township. He is a native of Bavaria, Germany, born July 3, 1828, and is the son of Henry and Phoebe Augustine. He came to America with his parents in 1836, and settling in Ashland county, Ohio, they remained there seventeen years. After three years’ residence in Woodford county, Illinois, he came to this county as above. He was married in 1851 to Miss Mary Kinsinger, and they have six children living—Henry, Benjamin P., Anna, Agnes, Ellen and Bertha. Mr. Augustine has been one of the prominent men of the county, and served one term on the board of supervisors.
Nelson Phinney located upon section 25, in the year 1855, where he remained some years, when he removed to Winterset, where he is at present engaged in the coal business. William Shoemaker came here in 1855 and located upon section 25. He afterward removed to Union township, where he is said to have died.
In 1856 Christian Augustine came to Grand River toWL ship, and settled on section 29, where he took up a claim. He is still a resident of the township. Christian Augustine came to Adair county, Iowa, iu 1855, and settled in Grand River township, and improved a farm in the western part of the township, which was his residence until 1882, when he bought a farm of 420 acres of land on section 35, which is now under cultivation and contains a large orchard. He was born in Germany on December 19, 1827, and when twenty-two years of age he came to this country, settling in Ashland county, Ohio, where he resided about three years when he came to Peoria, Illinois, and after being four years a resident of that place, he came to this county. He was married in 1849 to Miss Margaret Ream, by whom he has had eight children—- Rosena, Mary, John, Robert, Fredrika, Catherine, Fred and Christian.
Henry Leveke, one of the prominent men of this township, was born in Germany, in 1847, and there remained until about twenty years of age, when he came to America, and in 1868 settled in Des Moines. He is a mason by trade, and followed that occupation for several years in Winterset and Des Moines. He then bought a farm of two hundred and forty acres on section 25, Grand River township, and has since that time built a nice residence and fine farm buildings. He was married in March, 1871, to Miss Rosena Augustine, a daughter of Christian Augustine. They have six children—Amelia, Fredrica, Fred, Henry, Mary and Rose. Mr. Leveke has a large stock of cattle, and is known as one of the best stockraisers in the township.
Among the prominent men of this township, we must not fail to mention H. P. Scofield, a resident on section 5, He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on the 28th of March, 1846. He came with his brother, H. T. Scofield, to this county, settled in Grand River township, where he owns one hundred and eighty acres of nicely cultivated land, an orchard of one hundred bearing trees, and owns a fine lot of cattle and hogs. He was appointed postmaster in 1877 of Arbor Hill, which position he held six years; has been township assessor, clerk, and secretary of the school board. Mr. Scofield was married on April 3, 1872, to Miss Sarah Pryor, a daughter of S. W. Pryor. They have been blessed with four children—Frank D., Eva M. Benjamin and Charles C. By fair and honest dealings, Mr. Scofield is highly respected by his many friends.
H. T. Scofield, who lives on section 8, and is one of the representative men of Grand River township, was born near Cleveland, Ohio, November 21, 1842, being the son of B. B. and Sarah A. (Bonham) Scofield. When H. T. Scofield was ten years of age his parents moved to Henry county, Illinois, where he resided on a farm, and received a common-school education. August 9, 1862, he enlisted in Company D, 112th Illinois infantry, the company being commanded by T. J. Henderson, ex-United States senator. He took part in a number of important engagements, among which we will mention Knoxville, Atlanta and Franklin, and was discharged in July, 1865. After his discharge he returned to Henry county, Illinois, where he remained three years, and in 1869 come to his present location, which was at that time wild land. His farm contains one hundred and sixty acres of well-improved land, upon which he has a nice comfortable residence and other improvements, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising. Mr. Scofield was married in February, 1869, in Henry county, Illinois, and has six children— Jennie M., Marion E., Clara Dell, Minnie, James Bert and Fanny, He is a member of Myers’ Post, G. A. R., of Greenfield, a member of the school board, and in politics is a greenbacker.
E. M. Schnellbacher son of Peter and Christina (Hufflebird) Schnellbacher, was born in Hocking county, Ohio, May 28, 1848. Parents natives of Germany. Hi father died at the age of seventy-seven in 1877, in Madison county, Iowa. His mother died January, 1884, in Madison county, Iowa, nearly ninety years of age. He came with his parents to Iowa in September, 1854, and settled in Madison county. His parents lived there the remainder of their days, and he has resided in that and this county ever since. He was married January 22, 1868, in Adair county, to Maggie A. Grimmd, Rev, John Schnellbarcher officiating. She was the daughter of George and Anna Grimmd, natives of Germany. He has six children —George H., Eldora, Emma M,, Drusilda, Adelia, Arthur I. He has a farm on section 22, Grand River township of forty acres. His farm is all nicely improved with groves, etc., part of which is native timber. He is a member of Masonic lodge and A. 0, U. W., and in politics a republican. He has been justice of the peace.
Among those who are well known and worthy of mention in this volume is G. C. Sackett, who resides on section 2, in Grand River township. He is a native of Ohio, and was born December 29, 1835, his parents being Cassander and Henrietta (Beech) Sackett. In 1849 his parents came to Denmark, Iowa, but had subsequently made a couple of moves. G. 0. received his education at home. He enlisted on the 31st day of July, 1861, in Company 0, 1st Iowa Cavalry, and took part in a number of engagements, in one of which he had the misfortune to lose an eye. His discharge is dated September, 1864. After his discharge he returned to Denmark, Iowa, and in the spring of 1870 came to his present location, where he owns fifty acres of well-improved land, but which was wild when he bought it. He has a fine residence, a bearing orchard of one hundred and thirty trees, and is engaged in farming and stock-raising. Mr. Sackett was married November 6, 1867, to Emma A., a daughter of Alvin and Caroline A. (Clark) Duncan, and five children have blessed that union— Frank A., Carrie E., Anna E., Ida P., and Erwin G. Mrs. S. is a member of the Congregational church. In politics Mr. S. is a republican; has held the offices of constable and trustee, and is a member of the G. A. R.
B. Frank Childs, a prominent citizen of Grand River township, was born on the 17th day of September, 1839, and is a native of Ohio, being the son of S. A. and Elizabeth (Chapin) Childs. When Frank was sixteen years of age, his mother removed to Warren county, Illinois, where they remained some three years, then going to McLean county. He enlisted in January, 1862, in Co. E. 11th Illinois cavalry, under Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, and was engaged in a number of battles, among which we will mention Shiloh and Corinth. He was honorably discharged January 16,1865, after which he returned to McLean county, Illinois, and afterward went to Chicago. In 1868 he came to Adair county and located in this township on section 16, and now has four hundred and twenty acres of good land, and is engaged in farming and stockraising. Frank was married on the 3d of July, 1877, to Ella Thatcher, of Orient, and three children have been born to them—Mabel, Edith and Carl. By fair and honorable dealing he has secured the confidence and esteem of all with whom he came in contact, and is known as a pleasant, sociable gentleman, and one whose latch-string can always be found hanging on the outside.
J. E. Savage, a resident on section 10, was born in Augusta, Maine, on the 24th of December, 1827. He was the sixth child of a family of eight children, and was also the son of John and Nancy (Morrill) Savage. In 1850 he removed to Steuben county, New York, where he was engaged in the lumbering business for several years, and in 1860 he moved to Henry county, Iowa, and 1861 enlisted in Company I, 14th Iowa infantry, and was taken prisoner at Shiloh, and was in the Libby prison for a short time. He was afterward discharged, and after several months came to this county, settling on his present farm, which contains one hundred and twenty acres of good land, which is all nicely improved. He was married in the fall of 1866, to Miss Charlotte I. Collins, by whom he has had four children— Flora L., Edgar E., John E. and Willie 0.
HISTORIC ITEMS. The first birth in the township of Grand River, was that of Frank E. Bush, who first saw the light on the 5th of March, 1856. The first death was that of the same boy, son of James Bush, who departed this life October 20th, 1857.
ORGANIC. Grand River, which then embraced all of what is now Union and Grand River, was organized in 1855, and the election was held at the house of William Schweers, on section 34. We are told that but thirteen votes were polled at that time. John Augustine was elected township clerk and Alvin Greer justice of the peace. Robert Wilson, Alvin Greer and Nelson Phenney were the first trustees. The present officers are: Henry Davis, George Sackett and W. G. Wilkinson, trustees; John Shatto and Joel E. Savage, justices; R. N. Cressy, assessor; and Joel E. Savage, clerk.